Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cuppa Weaselyak

The first step, I understand, is admitting that you have an addiction. There it is, I've written it down for all to see, I am addicted to coffee. The good thing is, I don't often start off my day trolling the streets for a fix - and end it by waking up in Camden snuggled next to a pants-less man named Armando. Usually, I just stay up a little too late looking for good deals on green beans that I can roast, or scanning to see the new commercial espresso machine reviews... Tired the next morning? No worries, I can fix that...
I know, it's a bit dorky, but I read a lot of reviews and tasting notes on beans - and every once in a while I come across articles about kopi luwak.... here is the deal... there are these weasel-like mammals calm Palm Civets in Indonesia that love eating ripe coffee cherries but can't digest the beans - which are affected by the enzymes in the digestive tract, and are changed by the time they come out the other end. Poo, that is, in case you haven't caught up. These are such great coffee beans by the time they come out though, that they are hella-expensive, and apparently have created jobs for anyone who feels like following civets around until they poop (a career which really gives your resume a little 'pop'). In Vietnam, they have something similar called 'weasel coffee' which is made from beans that another weasel-like cat has eaten and then thrown back up. This is a much cheaper version of the same sort of coffee for a couple of reasons -
1. There is more of the stuff in Vietnam, and it isn't as popular, hence the lower price.
2. Apparently, it is very easy to convince Vietnamese weasels to join weasel fraternities. The hazing is a bit rough ("chug the beans! chug the beans!"), but having AGC (Alpha Gamma Civet) shaved into your back fur really gets weasel chicks going...
Anyway, after a while I just couldn't take the curiosity anymore, and had to try it. A short search later, I found a weasel coffee dealer in Vietnam that sold in the US (god bless the internet, seriously, how many people in 1970 could find themselves some weasel coffee?) and bought a wee little bag to try.
Finally, it arrived in the mail. I'll spare you my lengthy review, because I'm sure you really don't give a crap (get it? crap? ha! oh my god, I'm hysterical) but suffice to say, it was pretty damn good coffee. Honestly, remarkably different from your average cup of joe. So good, as a matter of fact, that I went against my better judgement and told Sara about it, and then had to quick think up a good answer to "Seriously? You put weasel barf in my coffee maker?" which, apparently, is anything except "and I just ordered a sample of the poo one..."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Little Blue Case

I went through most of this week being frustrated, angry and depressed for some unknown reason. Not that it affected me that much, but it was a noticeable change for me, and colored my mood for a good part of the week. The snow was part of it - I spent the last few days wondering if I would be able to get my car out of the street, and back in when I was gone. Aside from that, I'm not entirely sure what was wrong, but I was more stressed than usual - I suppose an accumulation of worries from the last few weeks that finally caught up to me. Weekends without plans are a crap shoot too - you never know if the days will fly by with art projects and pizza making, or the weekend will be filled with nose blowing and tantrums.
It started on a bloody note - Lily had her third or fourth cold in a row, and by Friday evening I was hauling out our last working humidifier so she could sleep through the night without caking herself to the sheets with snot. Sara had neatly tucked it away on the top shelf of Sam's closet and I had to wrestle it down from between the sheets and aquarium filters. With a little jiggling and one last tug I freed it from some unseen entanglement on the back of the shelf - and the water tank jumped off of its base and fell squarely onto my chin before clattering to the floor. As it sat in the tub filling, I checked out the damage in the bathroom mirror - a gaping dime size slice underneath my goatee that yawned angrily back at me, spilling a line of blood down my chin... perfect start to a weekend.
Turns out it wasn't a bad omen at all though, we had a pretty good time despite the Kleenex and slippery roads. Went out to lunch and painted some pottery on Saturday, and got the kids to bed with a minimal amount of drama. Plus, I spotted my little blue plastic case in the basement as I was rummaging through some things, which was a bonus. I've had it for as long as I can remember - it's a little plastic case that snaps shut and has "Trantec Supercable" marked on the front (whatever that is) that I have used since about the 5th grade to store notes from girls. Nothing particularly seedy or private in there, but it's funny to look back and see torn bits of homework with notes ranging from "Jean asked me to ask you if you are going to the dance" (somewhere around 5th grade I'm guessing) to "I know it's been a hard year, and if you need anything, please know that you can call me anytime and I'll be there for you... oh yeah, and Jean is wondering if you are going to the dance" (somewhere around 12th grade). Most of the notes in there aren't all that special, but the box always was - because there was always something exciting about getting a note from a girl, and the box was a few pounds of creatively folded bits of paper - each one hiding a little secret, or a little crush.
On Sunday Lily seemed to be on the road to recovery, and was in a good mood for the most part, but Sara wanted to leave her at home when she went to church (hooray for me!) and I happily agreed to remain un-showered and stay home with her. Lately, she has been a bit of a mommy's-girl, and always picks Sara over me when it comes to comfort or companionship, so it was a nice change of pace to sit next to her on our bed and watch Diego & Dora without her calling out for mom. After an hour or so of Diego saving a lost myasaurus, a pygmy marmoset, and a pair of wayward tree frogs (all with the help of his constant companion Baby Jaguar, who's only discernible skill seems to be the ability to let out a feeble roar just at the exact moment a feeble roar is required) Lily rolled over to say "Dad, you're my best friend". Just so you know, if you hang around her long enough she'll say it to you too, because she says it to pretty much everyone - but it was just what I needed at the moment. Of course, since we aren't living in a Hallmark store, she punctuated the moment by turning back to the TV, slipped on the covers and slammed the back of her head into the almost-healed gash on my chin with such force that I saw stars and tasted a steel-y flow of blood seep into my mouth. Luckily, her enormous head is like a rock and she didn't seem to notice, but I had to catch my breath and shake off the pain a bit before I could see straight. Despite the searing pain, it was a moment I wish I could have saved in a little blue case of it's own. Things aren't often calm around here, and it isn't that often I get to sit next to her in the quiet, her warm shoulder nestled into my arm, without a care in the world.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Your Force To Break, Blow, Burn, and Make Me New

Strange week, in general - successful in that I had a good week with the kids while Sara was in London, but crappy because of a somewhat unhappy customer yesterday. A good balance I guess, I was really pleased that I seemed to manage my time pretty well. I had a decent amount of work to do, but got everything done when I hoped and the kids were blissfully unaware of my stress level. On the other hand I had a disturbing discussion today - I went against my better judgement & sent out something I wasn't particularly happy with & it came back to bite me on the ass. My own fault, really, and luckily it's a fixable situation, but I've been kicking myself all day. The fact that I only slept for three and a half hours last night isn't helping either, and part of my stewing over the whole situation is probably due to my pissy attitude today. Everyone needs a good kick in the ass every once in a while though, and I'm trying to keep in mind that days like these keep one from comfortably slipping down the path into mediocrity.
Aside from all of that, my drowsy spinning head has gone in all directions today. Most days, I can keep to myself for a good chunk of time if I choose to, which has made me into a bit of an introvert.... especially on days like today. Lost in thought, I stumbled around through high school and college, and for some reason wound up in an english class reading Shakespeare with Mrs Betancourt... and for the rest of my morning I was stuck with iambic pentameter in my head.... (please excuse the occasional rhythmic inversion - poetic licence, I'm tired, and you are a big dork for noticing in the first place)
To make the crab and pumpkin soup I need
My stock, a pot, an onion bag of mesh.
Pumpkin from a can? Why not, it's winter
and Bob, my produce guy, can't get them fresh.
... and on and on...
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