Thursday, October 27, 2016

OT: Morning Coffee

Clearly I need a break.

This morning I got up well before dawn as I usually do. 4:30am has been my rising time for quite a while. Sometimes it's a bit earlier. Sometimes a bit later. My rising time is much earlier than Ms Ché's, but she stays up much later than I do. She has homework. So much reading and writing to do for her classes at the Institute up the road in Santa Fe.

4:30am is good. It lets me quietly prepare for the day. I have a ritual, I suppose, to go through each morning: rise, visit the bathroom to do my various duties, brush my teeth, wash up, then to the kitchen to make morning coffee, a combination of fresh ground pinon-chocolate flavored beans and usual commercial coffee grounds, whatever is reasonably priced that time at the store.

I make coffee in an antique stainless steel percolator. It's probably seventy years old, a post war Universal percolator I picked up at a thrift store one day quite a few years ago. We have a newer percolator, but it's so big (12 cups, something like that), that we don't use it. Between the two of us, we couldn't drink that much coffee in several days.

There are several older percolators as well, one of which is a charming Depression era porcelain model with platinum trim (oh my) that we've used only once. It works just fine, and makes a well-rounded cup of coffee. Trouble is, we're afraid the works might break partly because it is so old, and partly because it is porcelain and potentially very fragile and that wouldn't be any good. In addition, there are several other percolators, big and small, all old, that we keep for display. They either don't work, or they don't work well enough to use, so we let them shine on shelves as points of interest.

We have toasters, waffle irons, mixers and other antique small appliances on display as well. We use a chrome plated Sunbeam mixer (a Model 12 from the mid-1950s) and a very old Proctor "Automatic" waffle iron (probably dating to 1935 or before) both of which work perfectly. Our toast is made in a very old, perfectly functioning Proctor popup toaster. That's the thing about older appliances. They were built to last.

There was a time when we had some fancier older appliances we routinely used but they were unfortunately packed up and taken to the dump by mistake when we were getting ready for the move to New Mexico from California. That's a hazard, I suppose, when you have so much stuff accumulated over many years, and there is a whirlwind of activity preparatory to a major move. We had four or five people helping at the time, and there was a good deal of chaos sorting out this from that to go hither or perhaps yon. In the end, there were some losses of things we intended to keep, but really not that much disappeared. Quite a lot was given away, not only because we couldn't take it with us, but because we felt it was necessary to contribute whatever we could to better the lives of others -- or at least to amuse them! So the washer, dryer, and refrigerator in California went to other homes, as did a couple of Radio Flyer red wagons, an antique radio, old lamps with glass shades -- though not Tiffany, they were nice enough -- a good deal of furniture, a complete functional Sunbeam mixer set from the early 30s, a rather grand antique pendulum clock, and on and on, all things we couldn't take with us, but which might give pleasure to someone else, even if they immediately turned around and sold them.

It was amazing how much we'd collected over the years, and Ms Ché has recently written a story about that chaotic period when we were getting ready to move and how many meaningful things to her were lost in the upheaval. And what she so surprisingly found had been brought out to New Mexico unbeknownst to her. Her mother's wooden rolling pin, for example, had been given away. But here one day she was looking through a drawer and found her mother's red-handled doughnut cutter, still wrapped in wax paper, and all sorts of fond memories flooded back to her, filling her with joy. Yes, maybe some things were lost in the transition from California to New Mexico, but much was salvaged, and many-- many -- new and wonderful things were gained.

That's all part of what my early morning coffee lets me contemplate before I start the day's activities.

A cup or two of fresh-perked coffee, a couple of slices of toast, maybe an orange or other fruit, and the cobwebs are cleared from my brain, cobwebs that seem to get more dense every week or so. I didn't used to be so terribly forgetful, but I seem to be losing memories more and more as I get older. But some memories are much clearer now than they used to be. The memory exercises I've been doing focused on "houses" where I either once lived or felt at home have been startling in the depth of memories I've been able to recover. All sorts of details I had never thought about have come back, most of them crystal clear, as if no time at all had passed.

And yet many memories of incidents, people, and places I ought to have are simply gone or seem to be. No recollection at all. Ms. Ché often mentions things that she remembers clearly, and she expects me to remember them too, because I was there, but no. There's a blank where those memories ought to be. But then, if I work on memory exercises focused on those things, it's surprising what I can recover. That's part of what I do while sipping morning coffee, and the exercises themselves give me a good deal of pleasure.

I use my morning coffee time to write letters (emails, of course) to the few people I correspond with regularly and to comment on some of the issues of the day on the various few websites I routinely visit; I'll try to write at least one blogpost here; I think about cleaning up some of the mess our new kittens have made overnight. They're as bad as puppies... but at least they use the cat box so there's that.

And I contemplate what I'll have to do during the day, whether I have doctor's appointments or lab work in Albuquerque, various things to do in Santa Fe -- today, for example, is a convocation at IAIA in Santa Fe honoring the hundredth birthday of a co-founder (Lloyd Kiva New); friends will be part of the program, and I wouldn't miss it. Yesterday it was taking in a movie ("Eight Days a Week" with Ms Ché at the Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe  -- she saw the Beatles twice, you know --then hauling ass to Albuquerque to pick up her meds); tomorrow it's the second day of the Convocation in Santa Fe; I have a doctor's appointment in Albuquerque, then a member's art opening at the Albuquerque Museum.

Saturday, there's a Science Café in Albuquerque (Topic hummingbirds) and I think there's a birthday party we're supposed to attend in Santa Fe, and Ms Ché needs to use a gift certificate for Back at the Ranch before it expires.

Oh, it's sometimes a whirlwind. Other times, though, as I sip my morning coffee and munch my toast, I think about how peaceful and relaxing the day could be, chatting with neighbors, listening to the birds, wondering at the knock-out beauty of the sky and the mountains in the distance, reading a magazine or good book. Moments of utter peace.

What a wonder.

Well, I've finished my morning coffee and toast, and it's time for me to get ready for the rest of today's activities. Nice to have a break though from the grueling routines... politics, bleah.

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