November 3, 2011 § 24 Comments
I’ve had a long-time propensity towards working in coffee shops. Ever since my crash course in coffee drinking many summers ago in Norway. (I went from drinking cream and sugar with a splash of coffee to drinking plain coffee, black, in the span of about 3 days, thanks to the merciless teasing of my dear uncle. Except for the occasional cappuccino, I’ve never looked back.)
I sit, along with the many other denizens of Laptopistan, titrating my caffeine while hammering through work. Were it 300 years ago, we’d be inventing the stock exchange in London or fomenting revolution in France. Instead, what are we doing exactly? Blogging, I suppose! And dissertating, and consulting, and designing websites, and such and so.
In college, I was never able to study in the library. It always put me to sleep. So, instead I went and studied in the coffee shops. There were two options then, in the sleepy little agricultural town where I went to school. Not a Starbucks or Caribou Coffee in site.
One coffee shop skewed toward the granola, with fair trade coffee, decent organic baked goods, grating music, and dirty old couches. The other had unabashedly Midwestern coffee (i.e. on the weak side), but I loved to go there because it was decorated like a family kitchen. It was the kind of space where I felt comfortable staying for hours.
Like the coffee, the food belonged in a church basement. But, the names always made me laugh.
January 23, 2011 § 21 Comments
We all have something I like to call “the wanting monster.” It’s the little thing inside of us that will barely ever let us be fully content, even if we’ve just received a wonderful gift or had the most phenomenal day. After a brief sojourn of abundance we start to get this creeping feeling, stealing in, tugging at the corners of our minds, trying to convince that something is still missing, even if that thing is only the fact that a beautiful moment can’t last forever. And then we start wanting. More recognition, more control, more money, more toys, a smaller nose, curlier hair, slimmer thighs, bigger muscles… you name it, it can be “wanted after.”
I won’t even get started on the intangibles my wanting monster frequently has me spinning in circles over. But, when it comes to concrete “stuff,” luckily – since I only have a staggeringly small grad student income – my wanting monster isn’t too horribly active. Dangle designer shoes or bags in front of it and it will lumber off to go find a corner to nap in. Roll in fancy cars or high tech gadgets and it will give a loud snore and roll over, completely uninterested. Tempt it with exciting outdoor gear and it might perk up its shaggy head for a moment, intrigued, but it will shortly lie back down again, feeling happy enough with the gear it already has. But oh, show me some lovely dishes or other beautiful kitchenware, and look out! The wanting monster will come crashing in, her eyes glinting with desire. I simply adore beautiful dishes and linens! Even just to look at! Joel, being very handy – a trait that befuddles and amazes my family to no end, since we are not people who build things, we are people who break things – has built us some massive storage cubbies, and already they are half taken up by my swelling collection of colorful dishes and cloths and silverware. (My total adoration of food photography has only been making my dish-lust worse, though at the same time, it sort of justifies it. Maybe? I hope. Let’s just say that it does…) « Read the rest of this entry »