reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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coffee mug viewmaster reel. [d.r. thursday]

inane information moment: i am drinking coffee out of this mug right now.

in a small shop on the main street of frisco, colorado (elev. 9075′) these mugs sat on a shelf and waited. since we are bring-back-a-mug (or cloth napkins or a rock or a big branch) people, it seemed destined to go home with us – a black mug with trees and the word “colorado”. how much more perfect can a memorymug get?

it’s visceral drinking coffee out of this mug. it makes me want to walk down main street, jaunt into the bookstore, find the trailhead at the end of the road. i merely have to hold it in my hands and i am in the high mountains, squishing the goodness out of every single minute we get to breathe in that air.

there are quite a few mugs in our mug cabinet. and this is after we pared them down, bringing cups to the church we used to go to for their coffee hour, which had a huge collection of people’s memorymugs. you’d wrap your hand around a floral mug and wonder who gave it to whom. you’d cup hot coffee and laugh at how many i-love-my-teacher mugs had been options on the rolling cart with the coffee urn.

there are some mugs that i simply could not have let go. a peanuts mug from the 70s, a mug from the cape, a handle-less clay mug from a potter in the north carolina mountains, two round glass mugs from which my sweet momma and dad sipped coffeetime, a charlie brown mug from h, the shayne mugs from my sister, our breckenridge cabin coffee mugs, the remaining unbroken snowmass mug, a couple mugs our girl left behind a few summers ago.

i guess that the point is what each of these conjure up nestled in my hands, steaming-coffee-ready. they are like a timeline of life, the viewmaster of the coffee world. click – another slide. click – another slide. choose your mug, choose your reel.

coffee is never just about the coffee. at least that is what i have learned in my life. it is always about the moments and, at risk of hyper-redundant-emotion-waxing, presence is what counts. for there is simply nothing better than sitting here – this very minute i am writing this – early morning, with coffee, under the quilt, dogga at my feet and d next to me, my mom’s old glass nighttable lamp on by our side, snow falling falling falling outside the window, holding every frisco memory in my hands. even if i have forgotten the tiny details of the trip, i can feel the majesty of the mountains and the way it feels to look across lake dillon and catch my breath.

the gift of this mug in my hands is that it delivers me there – just by opening up the triangle cabinet in the kitchen, selecting this mug and pouring coffee. though we are right here – at home – we are also right there. in summit county.

when we talked to 20 on the phone last night he told us he had only one thing of note he had saved recently that he felt worthy. expecting it to be a helpful hint of some sort, we waited. he paused and then quoted, “by replacing your morning coffee with green tea you can lose up to 87% of what little joy you still have left in your life.” (shah of blah tweet)

i suppose you could drink green tea out of this mug too. but why would you do that?

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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the best part of waking up… [merely-a-thought monday]

the conversation started just over nine years ago. emails back and forth and then texts. going back, reading, it is stunning to see how many times coffee entered the stage of our new relationship then, as if it were anxiously waiting in the wings or in the green room, one of the stars of that friendship that grew into love. we would send photos of mugs or cups full of coffee across the country, finding each other in our respective days, the places we were sipping, where we were headed. coffee became a locator. and still now, it was one of the joys of those early days, months and months and months of writing and wondering what it might be like to have a coffee together.

the tiny house had a coffee station. nothing run-of-the-mill and industrial, instead it was a sweet spot along a bit of wall bespeckled with signs about coffee. certainly this was an airbnb owned by someone who appreciates the finer points of first-thing-in-the-morning brew.

i think coffee is one of those things you either love or totally dislike. it’s not really a take-it-or-leave-it kind of beverage. my sweet momma and poppo could sit over coffee for hours. it wasn’t the cup of java that lasted that long; it was the coffee-sitting. it was conversation and quiet, it was waking up and catching up. it was at breakfast, at coffee-break time, maybe a cup after a celebratory dinner. i learned the goodness of coffee-sitting from them and miss those times around their table. coffee makes me think of them.

i know that, although my dad never met david, he is rooting every day for him. i’m sure he watches each evening as david sets up the coffee for the morning, his own practice back in the day. i’m sure he approves heartily when d pours mugs early in the morning, adding no sugar or creamer or milk or sweetener; he was a black-coffee drinker too. i’m sure he smiles and nods when d walks steaming mugs in to me, still with my head in the pillows. he is likely whistling, “the best part of waking up is [coffee] in your cup.” it took a long while for me to convince him that there was coffee that wasn’t folgers. we are big bold coffee fans. but when there was a ball jar sitting on the counter in our tiny house with the words “fresh folgers” on a lid it was me smiling, positive of the presence of my mom and dad.

it is the wee hours of the night as we write today’s post. i couldn’t sleep, so we decided to sit up and compose our blogs. david said, “should i put the coffee on?”. i emphatically replied “no!” as i have every intention of trying to sleep again once we have written and my insomnia turns to sleepiness.

besides, i so look forward to a bit of mountain-town light streaming in the windows in a few hours and hearing david’s voice as he offers me a mug, a cuppajava, as i pick my head up from the cozy pillows. and just like my dad, i can hear it: “the best part of waking up is [coffee] in my cup.”

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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around the table. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

continued vacation haiku (a triple):

i can scarcely say

what it means to gather there:

the magic moments.

my mind struggles to

keep it forefront, remembered.

i lose it in time,

yet never misprize.

it’s the stuff of real heart. life

lived in moments. love.

read DAVID’s thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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plan ahead. [merely-a-thought monday]

chip hailstone box copy 3

my poppo would probably have liked chip hailstone.  an as-long-as-i-can-remember subscriber of national geographic, i imagine he would have liked the show ‘life below zero’.  he was good at solving problems, figuring things out, making stuff out of nothing.  his words of wisdom were simple.  “plan ahead,” he would say.   he was a card-holding-club-member-regular-reader of the handyman magazine; he easily could have been a contributing writer.  he would have loved chip hailstone’s comment, “you can make a long piece of wood short, but you can’t make a short piece of wood long.”  ahyup.  it’s in the details.  plan ahead.

we were coffee-sitting around the kitchen table.  it was a late florida morning, years ago now, and coffee break time was an every-day thing.  my dad suddenly got up from his chair and left the room, using his “stick” to get to the bedroom and back.  he returned moments later and started to speak.  “i have something for you, brat,” he started.  “with these years on your own you have learned so much out of necessity.  it’s time for you to have this.  you have earned it.”  he handed me his handyman club membership card and said, “this is yours now.  i’m proud of you.”

it was big news to get this card from my poppo and i didn’t underestimate its import. it would not have made me more gratified to receive a grammy award.  his -my- membership card is in plain view in my studio, reminding me of my dad and his words to me.

we watch ‘life below zero’ episodes and there are simple wisdoms dancing throughout the show.  things i can hear my dad say in his brooklyn accent.  things you think, “well, duh, of course.”  the same things you realize after-the-fact that you should have thought about before-the-fact.  yup, poppo.  plan ahead.

poppo & handyman club

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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