In coffee on October 24, 2016 at 2:57 pm
we hear the train whistles blow every day here. last week i followed my sister onto a night train bound for oregon. we hurtled through a night and a day with a voice from above cajoling, teasing, admonishing, and cuddly ishmael in the aisles herding passengers and maintaining order. on the menu: lost souls, odd pairings, and kind strangers. travis shared the last breakfast croissant with me and raphael from switzerland approved of my plans to retire to zurich.
wanda planned the trip, made all the travel arrangements, and brought me a peppermint striped umbrella. and packed my raincoat. it rained a lot in salem. every day. never travel without a grownup. the plan for our three days there was no plans. other than finding gus, the last baby, and sharing meals. coffee dates too. the very best goodie i had was jean’s oatmeal cookies. jean runs a b&b enthusiastically just a few blocks from gus’s college. she enjoyed the challenge of working around all of our dietary peculiarities. in between guests, jean can be found climbing mountains on her bicycle.
gus is lovely. so lovely to be able to picture him in his new natural habitat now. lovely hugs. he was lovely when we lingered a day longer than the other parents. i attempted imitating his lovely posture and stride and have sore muscles for my trouble. we discovered lovely restaurants, museum, bookstore, and vintage antique store. i don’t want to talk about the apple pie. the stream running through the college has ducks.
trip began and ended with the love & support of eldest brother and eldest daughter chauffeuring and fetching us. also wanda and i have grown accustomed to being fed lavishly. i hear a train hooting across town right this very minute.
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.