In more coffee on June 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm
so i chose independence day as my last day of work. i want a little fanfare/fireworks when i leave my three year-old post. i hate when people cheerfully ask me about my post-work plans. i have none. i am not leaving because i have something better in the works; i am merely escaping. i cannot see my future. the crystal ball is completely dark. i have been foraging for food and accepting charity. we have two plum trees, an apple tree, and blackberry vines creeping in through the back fence. my gardening guru buddy planted basil with me and pruned the citrus plants. when she bicycles over to my house her baskets are always full of garden bounty.
my sister in crime at work supports my fishy inclinations. she always thoughtfully purchases a second box of sardine tins for me at costco and oh-so-generously gave me some prized scallops. a little squeezed lemon and lime and a purloined sprig of parsley, pink himalayan salt & fresh pepper, and next day i was eating scallop ceviche like a queen.
when i can’t afford fresh bakery breads, i have my breakfast salmon on crispbread. i like the sourdough rye because i believe rye is a traditional diets food for us transplanted swiss folk. also makes me think of our childhood baja camping trip where we ate a lot of tuna on crispbread. dad called it hardtack and i was pretty darn grown before i discovered most people do not call it hardtack.
In more coffee on June 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm
an old friend and i discussed my upcoming unemployment. he aggressively flattered me by referring to my frugality. but i am not frugal at all. especially when it comes to food. i am a grownup child of berkeley’s gourmet ghetto and having spent the last three years in a food-politics-correct work realm, no matter how much and often my self-esteem meter dips into the low end, i do feel worthy of good fuel. as my current job comes to an end it occurs to me that Tanja’s Tsk*tsks (job to-do lists) can become Tanja’s Tips (cheap food suggestions). there are still a few pages left in my pink paper notebook.
even though quite a few of us would never say no to slurping raw oysters in the historic caverns of grand central station, some of us can very rarely afford new york travel or naked cowboys (oysters). so then we need to become adept at wistful daydreaming travel in our own town. first, go to top dog on durant and order a bockwurst from the star chef behind the counter. his establishment has been there since 1966. as has peet’s coffee & tea at vine. and in august of that fine year, i got a baby sister. if you still have some traditionally fermented in vintage crocks sauerkraut from work, bring some of that with you. you’ll want mustard of course. then hippity-hop over to the fountain on campus at college & bancroft. you’ll get just a little splishy-splashed as you sit there soaking up sun and all that free european ambiance. if your dad were still here he might wet a napkin in the fountain so you could clean up properly after gobbling up your meal. you might tarry in the sun a bit and make sure you actually look at the homeless people enjoying the fine day too. you never know when you will run into an old friend from back in the day.
to round out your very affordable theme day menu, put aside any stray thoughts & yearnings about your favorite sophisticated bakeries and cafes. stop by the asian faux bakery on durant and purchase a cellophane-wrapped green tea swiss roll from the cheerful youngsters. thankfully, no ingredients are listed so there is no reason not to feel a hundred percent good about your dessert choice. since you stocked up on fresh peet’s italian roast at home, you can stash your cake in your bike basket for later when it is actually the proper time of day for cake & coffee.
top dog bockwurst: $3.25
swiss roll slice: $1.00 (discount for paying with cash)
In more coffee on May 31, 2014 at 5:13 pm
it began in her beautiful garden refuge where we discussed aging and fleeing. we wailed about unfairness and gnashed our terrible teeth. which made my nerves flare up and i cried at my tooth, “can’t you die quietly?!!” and then i was chagrined because wasn’t that what we had just been covering: how people don’t want to pay attention to old ladies who make loud fusses. winds picked up and ominous storm clouds built up in the sky as if to support our fury. magic seeds were pocketed and i hobbled home on my queerly suddenly crippled bike. when bells chimed in the middle of the night, i arose and three sisters flew away to new york city. with my big brother.
our first night had a dramatic soundtrack of thunder with bright flashes of lightning. some of us slept right through the excitement. some of us wanted to scale tall buildings and ford large rivers and visit art-filled museums while we were in town. some of us wanted to loiter on benches, make light smiling acquaintances, indulge in coffee & goodies, and soak up east coast sunshine. we were able to combine our needs and desires for the most part and luckily we had brought our umbrellas. i adjusted to the time change almost immediately because i am a birdbrain. i get up with the sun and at dusk i start looking for my nest. but i am not singing about it like the birds do. we four quiet folk were there to celebrate my outstanding fierce shiny star daughter getting her masters and graduating from the new school of drama. we enjoyed the uplifting ceremonies our first wet evening and then the sun god joined us on the sunday for her picnic in prospect park party. i’ve been lucky enough to know some of her fabulous friends for years and was delighted to meet fine new ones. toasts were made, cockles were warmed, and some of us had a little nap under a tree. like ferdinand.
daughter is caught up in a whirlwind of social and professional offers. she worked, mentored, and taught her whole way through these few grad school years and there is no lull now. she took a few moments to assess my tooth pain and suggested jaw tension could be at the root of my problems. she tried to convince me that i could let go of my lower jaw without being perceived as a slack-jawed idiot. i’m working on it. she says i just need to cultivate attitude. but since i am on my last nerve, we will be having it surgically removed monday morning. because you know what makes it scream the loudest: hot coffee. my trip was funded by loved ones and fueled by peet’s sumatra. lady liberty waved cheerfully at us from a distance as we gathered our belongings and made our long way home as the temperature finally rose to a comfortable eighty degrees. violent winds met us that evening on the west coast. some of us had to rise up and get to work the very next morning. even with our puffy ankles. and now today i have a day off. i am distracted by something calling to me. i am noticing quiet. i am noticing quiet inside of me. maybe when the sun rises tomorrow i will try chirping. just a little bit.
In more coffee on December 27, 2013 at 9:56 am
there once were five queens who ruled a land of (raw) milk and (coconut) honey. one queen loved too much and became sick. he slowly withered and died. the other queens were swept up in a constant cycle of producing and sharing. many lovely gypsies, jesters, and healers passed through their kingdom. the queens grew weary and chose a boy king to rule the land. the people did not love him so he threw gold coins at the throngs and spoke in a sparkly tongue. the land grew bigger and richer but the queens suffered from evil spells. one queen’s mind grew dark and her breast betrayed her. another queen succumbed to winter and lost her hearing. the third queen was plagued by a rash that itched day and night. sometimes the last queen could not be found in the counting house counting all the money because her feelings were too hurt and she couldn’t leave her bed. the queens selected favorite useful people and built a circular maze for everyone to dance through in the hopes of getting somewhere. a new year begins in a few days with hopeful beautiful folk wearing garlands in their hair and dancing in endless circles.
In more coffee on May 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm
let’s review. after body-blocking me while chatting up the pretty lady you cannot then turn around and accuse me of being a quiet wall-flower. insisting you don’t eat dinner as an excuse for never taking me out is not okay. heartfelt thanks for the sandwich i made you but not for the lovemaking that preceded it is kinda off-kilter. how can you be my age and not know that being shitty to the waitress is a deal breaker. why share your favorite movie with me if you are just going to jump me ten minutes in. on the one hand, it is rude to not include me by speaking in another language but maybe i don’t really mind because it reminds me of my swiss dad and you were just talking car stuff anyway. and why in the world do you think your girl friend wants to hear about sports, stats, numbers, or anything at all of a competitive nature; don’t you have any boy friends?
as much as i enjoy every aspect of afternoon coffee shops: the beverages, the company, the goodies, the pursuit of perfect uplifting/comforting moments . . . i feel the opposite way about daytime bars. people who search out a dimly lit bar stool in broad daylight are probably not my people. when i tell you i prefer cafes to restaurants i didn’t mean cafeterias. retro is fun when you wear it, not so much when you eat it. do we really want to know where they are sourcing their turkey gravy, potato salad, and sponge cake from. guys, as much as you like being in the drivers’ seat is how much we girlies don’t like being driven around. and just because she is quiet doesn’t mean the lady wants to give you all of her attention. she might be thinking about cake a little bit.
In more coffee on February 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm
the owl and the pussycat went to see . . . the new coffee shop on dwight near shattuck. and a cute baker-boy with a ring at the end of his nose, his nose (singsong) gave me tips on baking madeleines. so sweet! the owl grumbled that the pussycat could step up her conversational game so that the burden of entertaining each other could be more equally shared but the pussycat was daydreaming about finding a warm patch of sun and couldn’t be bothered. not very wise of the owl to forget that you can’t make cats do anything they don’t want to.
can you believe anthony bourdain got snarly and said there is no such thing as coffee culture? two kinds of people, dude, and you can’t just go around saying the other kind doesn’t exist. lindgren’s coffee and cafe was completely filled on a sunday afternoon with like-minded people interested in setting for awhile in the company of others, sipping a coffee beverage and sampling a baked goodie or two. we were all in the pursuit of light indulgence, light conversation, and lightly committing to sharing some time with friends in the light of day. and sometimes date-lights can lead to something more. the owl and the pussycat went to the hardware store together after coffee.
In more coffee on June 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm
i hate that ten years ago i had to learn how to spell hemorrhage. in an attempt to explain what happened. a medical tragedy that happened to me of all people. i joked with friends that i had finally met mr. right (dr. wright actually) and he wanted to take my uterus. ironically, the surgeon discovered afterwards that he had cut perfectly healthy tissue and i should never have been tampered with. because i still have all my body parts i don’t have to be bitter but i did swear off doctors. forever. i already know how i’m going to go. i’ll be that crabby old lady trying to finish her tv show and . . . my light will go out. and then someone else will have to look after my really old turtle.
sometimes you learn a lesson or two but then your personal settings revert to their original state. and then you are reminded all over again about something you already knew. every time i think i know exactly what to expect, the whole scene changes and that forlorn dusty road ahead of me disappears. i need to learn how to dream bigger. with color. i wonder if i still know how to skip like a little girl.