Posts Tagged 'coffee'

Life in the Office Kitchen

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Neat and orderly with SUCH a variety of choice!

We have a small kitchen in our office. Maybe it’s not that small, but I’m comparing it to the one in my former office, which also had tables and a lot more counter space. We have a snack vending machine, a drink vending machine, a refrigerator, 2 microwaves, a Keurig coffee maker, a sink, and a water cooler. I think that is a fairly respectable work kitchen. The big issue is over the Keurig coffee maker. Let me take that back. For ME, the big issue is that so many people are (1) slobs, (2) can’t follow directions and (3) are selfish. Three issues. (“Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…“) Our company does NOT provide coffee for us (do NOT go there) so I like to surprise my office mates by bringing in coffee, cream and pastries on occasion. Usually on a Monday, or on a day when the weather is awful. If I’ve done the grocery shopping that weekend and thought ahead I’ve tossed in “office goodies”. Often I stop on my way to work to pick up something for snacks or lunch and that’s most often when I’ll also treat the office. I did so on January 6, the unofficial “everyone back to work after the holidays” Monday.

We have what is known as a mobile office. That means that many workers are allocated to this office but they are mobile workers, going out on sales and/or service calls, or visits to client sites. So they don’t have assigned desks and there are always people coming and going. There were 2 people in the office that day that I’d not seen before. I filled up the K-cup dispenser with coffee, and put out a box of non-refrigerated cream pods. I noticed one of these ‘new’ people taking more than just one K-cup. Because I was standing there and watching, she walked out without taking the extras. I’ve seen this before. I’ll fill the dispenser, I’ll notice how many are there, go by a few minutes later and see that it has been depleted. I believe this is due to people “hoarding” the coffee. There aren’t used K-cups in the garbage and there wasn’t an influx of people so if several K-cups “vanish” in the matter of minutes, it means someone walked off with them for their own personal supply. I’m sure they think it’s no big deal – the company will put out more. But it IS a big deal because there ISN’T any more and they are depriving their coworkers of the enjoyment of a free cup of tasty coffee. It infuriates me. Well, that Monday seeing that ‘new’ person lining up an extra K-cup (and using THREE dairy pods in her coffee – that is NOT coffee, sweetie, that’s milk with some flavoring), I lost my temper a little bit. I made a sign and put it out on the counter explaining that it was a coworker supplying the goodies, and the other coworkers being deprived by people hoarding. Two weeks before someone had walked off with a completely full jar of honey that had been supplied by another coworker. Once my note was out another person wrote that one and half full bundles of paper towels had disappeared from the cabinets, as well as most of the paper in the printer. We are past hoarding here, and into STEALING. It’s disgusting.

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Offending K-cups hidden in the BACK of the drawer.

Some of us treat our coworkers from the goodness of our hearts (that would be me *grin*) and some of us treat our coworkers because of dietary preferences. One of my friends here keeps kosher. Yesterday 4 Swiss Miss hot cocoa K-cups appeared in the dispenser. Swiss Miss cocoa is NOT kosher. That means if someone uses a Swiss Miss K-cup in the machine, my friend will need to re-kasher the Keurig so that he can make coffee and tea. *grin* (It’s not that hard to re-kasher but it is annoying and if that’s what he needs to do to feel comfortable, it’s his effort). This morning he came in with tea k-cups and coffee k-cups and filled up the dispenser with those (I’d already added my 6 coffee K-cups). He hid the offending hot cocoa pods in the back of the drawer. *grin* I said to him that people might still be using non-kosher pods and he sighed, shrugged and said yes, but I think people tend to use whatever is in front of them. *laughing* So true!!! So we had a full dispenser of interesting beverages. We also had cream because *I* got tired of people stealing my half-and-half from the refrigerator, and tired of them hoarding the little pods, and I brought in a large container of the powdered non-dairy creamer. I also am the person responsible for straightening out the different sugar substitutes. *laughing* It was making me crazy to see everything all mixed up and messy. I started aligning sugars back in the fall. Someone had left a lot of hot cocoa mix packages on the counter so I found a way to make them neat as well. (Too bad this obsession with order and cleanliness does NOT extend to my house.) It’s now 1pm and it appears that no one is hoarding today, and the caramel vanilla coffee my friend brought in has been a big hit! (I have to say – it smells wonderful.) Peace reigns in the kitchen, at least today.

Perhaps This is What “Health” Feels Like

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Baking powder biscuits made with cream and butter. Yum.

I’m not sure anymore what “healthy” feels like. Are you allowed to have a little bit of sniffles and still be healthy? This weekend I had more energy than I’ve had in weeks. My sister and her husband were coming to dinner on Saturday. I gave myself the luxury of sleeping late (or as late as BC allowed).  When I got up, I fed the cats, put away the dry clean dishes from the day before, made coffee and made up a batch of biscuits!!! I haven’t really felt like baking in WEEKS!
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Have I mentioned here what I’ve been doing with my coffee these days?  I’ve been adding chili powder and cayenne pepper to the grounds before brewing. I sometimes add cinnamon as well. I find the heat really helps to clear my sinuses and cut through any PND syndrome that is present. I learned that I liked the chili/cayenne/cinnamon combination added to chocolate so I figured that it might work well with coffee as well. I think it was on one of Jinjer’s posts that I ended up in a discussion about those flavors, and the fantastic designer chocolate that introduced me to the combination – Chuao Spicy Maya dark chocolate. I love their website as well. How can you resist the slogan: “For when wine just isn’t cutting it“? They sure have me pegged. 🙂
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Anyway, once I had my coffee, I was a fountain of energy. I had the energy to have a text conversation with my niece, I cleaned all the counters, wiped down the white cabinets, swept the floors, damp mopped the floors, and cleaned off the dining room table. I then took an hour to relax and make sure I hadn’t pushed beyond my reserves. Then I started baking the spice cake for dessert, and preparing the vegetables to go along with my husband’s cornish game hens. He was also making potatoes au gratin. Dinner WAS delicious. Apologies that I did not take a picture of the cooked hens & potatoes – you will have to trust me that not only where they delicious but they were beautiful as well. My brother-in-law made TWO delicious loaves of bread – a grainy bread with pine nuts and seeds. Also fantastic and we’ve been enjoying the bread since then. 🙂 They left BOTH loaves with us.

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GC and WC helped my husband research how to cook the game hens

I did send the spice cake home with them. The menfolk told me that they loved the spice cake (made using Tagatesse and Sukrin Gold sugar substitutes) but neither of them much care for cream cheese frosting (in general – it was not a comment on the frosting recipe, which I found tasty). If I’d known THAT, I’d have skipped it and just served the spice cake with whipped cream. 🙂 I’ll know for next time. I have to agree with them. That spice cake recipe made a tasty moist cake that really doesn’t even need frosting. It would be perfect with coffee in the morning.

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very moist and tasty. sorry for the blur. 🙂

So the thing that is totally frustrating me at this point is that it is becoming impossible to obtain Tagatesse in this country. I don’t even mind paying the outrageous price Amazon demanded – $18/1 pound box. (You do realize that white sugar sells for around $1.50-$1.99 for FOUR pounds???) I need to make friends with someone in Europe (NOT the UK)and/or find someone heading over to Europe. Damhert does not ship to the United States. I only have one more box of Tagatesse. 😦

Because I Can

biscuits

baking powder biscuits fresh from the oven

*grin* This post is for my Fundy Bay Friend. I am in awe of all she does and accomplishes way up north in her new home (well new to her but oh so old in many other respects, hence all her accomplishments). She does things mechanical, takes fantastic photos, deals with demanding beasts (both 2 and 4 legged), deals with border police delaying her packages, and so many other successes out there on the island. She insists, however, that she can’t bake. We were discussing baking the other day and she cut me off each time I attempted to suggest she make her own pastry for her upcoming culinary treats. This is for YOU, m’dear, because it’s fun to tease. I woke up the other morning and it was cold and gray and I thought “Biscuits!!!” Warm, fresh biscuits would make this Monday morning palatable. Warm biscuits, fresh coffee. Ahhhh. Let me know if you want the recipe. I promise it’s simple. As for the coffee – *laughing* – I’ll buy a drone and fly some to you.

biscuits and coffee

Ahhhhh

Ahhhh! Morning treasures

buttermilk biscuits and coffee

Buttermilk biscuits hot from the oven and fresh-brewed coffee. Working from home. Day before a holiday and most of my coworkers are NOT working, which means a very quiet day for me. 🙂 My cats and my ‘guys’ are here, too. A morning full of treasures.

If I’m In, I Want Out

thermometer

In the musical ‘Cats’, there is a song about the Rum Tum Tugger. The song is take from T. S. Elliot’s book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (as are most of the songs in the musical).

The Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat:[1]
If you offer him pheasant he would rather have grouse.
If you put him in a house he would much prefer a flat,
If you put him in a flat then he’d rather have a house.
If you set him on a mouse then he only wants a rat,
If you set him on a rat then he’d rather chase a mouse.

It has been another hot and humid week – real feels in the upper 90s. If you are not in air-conditioning, the humidity saps your energy. I worked from home earlier this week and nearly had to set up an IV for myself to drip iced coffee. Last night the rains came through and broke the heat wave. I woke this morning to temperatures in the 60s.  Ahhhh.

I’m working from home today. For the first time in forever (or so it seems) I am wearing jeans, not shorts. I brewed myself HOT coffee. (Although I really do like iced coffee in the hot weather, hot coffee far surpasses it for that first “make the world bearable” sip. 🙂

brewed coffee

Second cup. The one that is the luxurious savoring, as opposed to Wake Me Up

As I brewed a second cup for myself, I thought about how wonderfully cool and pleasant it was. I thought that despite loving the heat, there is nothing as refreshing as when the weather changes and you get those cool fall days. How good it feels not to be HOT! I took a look at the thermometer and saw that it had still not reached 70 (sorry for the poor angle on the thermometer, but it was that or glare).

As I looked at that 66 degree temperature, appreciating it, I thought – if this was the winter I’d be FREEZING at this point. 🙂  I push the thermostat up to 72-74 in the winter. If this was the fall or spring I’d be running my gas log fireplace to take the damp chill out of the air. *grin*

If it’s hot, I want cold. If it’s cold, I want hot. I’m a curious cat.

BC in my lap while I work

I’m a Comfortable Cat. I get to stay in her lap when it’s not too hot. Purr

Resuscitated

You may have noticed that I’ve not posted here for nearly 2 weeks. I claimed to those who asked that I took a break for the High Holidays. I suppose that is true, but there is, of course, more to it than that.

On Yom Kippur those who are able fast. It is a complete fast – no food, no water. It begins at sundown and goes until after sundown the next day. A good 25 hours minimum. While you might think that going without food and water is a hardship, the REAL hardship for many of us is going without coffee. If your body is used to the morning jolt of coffee, spending a day without it leads to a headache. A very very very bad headache. So many years ago I learned to begin weaning myself off of my coffee before Yom Kippur so that I could concentrate on the holiday without trying to focus through the pain of a fierce headache.

I like very strong coffee. Dark roast. Strong. 2 cups. I began the withdrawal a day or so before Rosh Hashanah. I switched to decaf in order to satisfy the behavioral habit. I made very strong decaf (hey, there IS caffeine in decaf). I was doing okay – no headaches. 2 or 3 times between then and post-Yom Kippur I even allowed myself some REAL coffee. I thought I was doing fine.

I wasn’t doing fine. I was in misery. Rebecca Klempner says it best in her totally-on-the-mark post in Tablet magazine: “But the problem with this was that I didn’t really like myself off caffeine. I not only felt less awake, I also felt less sharp, less witty, and less creative. I navigated L.A. traffic with a fuzzy brain, I forgot to pick up the milk on the way home from carpool, and I couldn’t think of appropriate come-backs to my husband’s banter over dinner. And don’t even ask about how my writing was going. I felt like a G-rated William Burroughs deprived of his junk.” Oh, Rebecca, you speak for us all!!!

For the last 2 weeks I have been dispirited. Lethargic. I wake and I am without purpose. Everyone is wrong and horrible and mean and I am so small and overwhelmed and forgotten and everything is just too much effort and what is the point anyway and so what and who cares?

Yom Kippur ended yesterday. I broke my fast with some water after services, then a friend and I returned home and I had something to eat, a glass of wine, and some chocolate. But life was still gray and bleak.
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This morning I woke to a gray world. I snarled at the cats. I dragged myself downstairs. But then – I made a cup of REAL coffee. Real strong dark coffee. And I drank it. Ahhhhhh. I made a SECOND cup and drank it. The sun rose. The air brightened. The world lightened. Flowers bloomed. Wow, I have so much energy I could tackle anything. I feel GREAT!!!!!!! And here it is, 16 hours later and I am still going strong, way too energized to sleep. Here I sit, posting to my blog. Smiling. Happy. Caffeinated.

Coffee, ah coffee!
Oh coffee coffee coffee!!!!!
coffee ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh coffee!

Ahhhhhh!

IMG_9273My first cup of coffee made in the new setup. 🙂 I’m not sure, however, that I’ll leave the pot there. It depends on where I have to place all of the other appliances. It’s amazing how many appliances we have accumulated that need electrical outlets. Microwave, toaster oven, food processor, mixer, phone, radio, and 2 coffee pots (one for him, one for me). I also need counter space for things that DON’T need outlets: sodastream, knife block.

Besides setting up the bistro table on Saturday, we went shopping for pots and pans. My husband insisted he needed new ones. Our old set is only 12 years old and good quality but he neeeeeeeeded new ones. He decided they had to be space-saving as well as quality. I insisted we needed to keep some of the old HUGE pots we have. We do a lot of steaming and large batches of soup and other crowd-sized cooking. IMG_9276Those pots are in good shape and there were not comparable pieces in the sets we were considering. We settled on the Calphalon® Premier™ Space Saving Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set. We were fortunate enough to buy it at a location that was offering a special deal: the matching 4.5 quart soup pot for free when you spent enough dollars on Calphalon. We did. 🙂 We also got two 12 inch pans for the chef: the matching 12 inch every day pan and the matching 12 inch fryer. I told my husband that because I was sooooo indulgent, I expected to be able to decide which recipes got followed. 🙂

This weekend we have preparation for the Jewish holidays. The prep starts with reading the manuals for all of our appliances so we can figure out HOW to use them. The test is on Monday. 🙂

Tomato, Tomahto

tissuesI do like going into the office. It’s good to see people, chat, find out what’s happening in other departments. I really enjoy the drive to the office these days. After decades of commutes on rush-hour packed roads, I now have a commute of 6.7 miles (yes, I measured). It goes through the outskirts of an ecological preserve, past a farm where there are horses grazing in the field, past a lovely little lake and even has the convenience of my bank and favorite grocery store before I reach the office. On the way home I have a great view of the river as well (only in the winter – in other seasons the trees in the park along the river block that view).

I also love having the flexibility to work from home. That’s so helpful if there are contractors coming, or if I need to run errands that are closer to home than the office, or if the weather is terrible and I don’t feel like driving even that short distance.

That flexibility combined with the short commute also means that should I start sneezing and blowing my nose non-stop, I can pack up my stuff and leave the office and head back home. That was Monday. I was all set to enjoy the last week at the office for this year. I bought coffee supplies and donuts for the coffee room. I made myself my coffee sat down at my desk and….. the sneezing started. teapotAnd never stopped. I used up all my tissues. Note to self: remember to bring in new box. After 45 minutes of this I decided that NO one needed or wanted me to stay in the office. We even get lovely emails from HR reminding us to keep away if we are ill. I shut down the machines, packed up and went home (12 minutes door to door. yes, I’m gloating). I drank copious amounts of hot tea, had tissues right to hand, even made the training session I had to lead without sneezing into the microphone. Tomato.

fireplaceTuesday I woke up and felt better, but not well. Obvious decision – work from home again. The sneezing and nose-blowing was over, but the headache and general meh feeling was there. Again, more cups of tea. Another reason to work from home that – I prefer the rest rooms at my house. 🙂

It’s Wednesday and I’m still home, because I thought oh why bother packing up and going in, so many people were planning to take off this week anyway. There weren’t many folk in the office on Monday and I’m sure there will be fewer today.

I’m still home. doorOMG, I’m still HOME. I am going stir-crazy. I know that there are people who like to ‘nest’, burrow in as it were and do…. heck, I don’t know what they do. It’s been over 50 hours straight and I am soooooo tired of this view!!!! I neeeeeeed to get out. The sun is shining. I’m not sick. The cats are terrible conversationalists. Every where I look I see ‘things that need doing’. I want my office. I want OUT. Tomahto.

Anyone interested in meeting for a cup of coffee??????

Must be Getting Cold Outside

with apologies to Neil Sedaka 🙂

Don’t take the dark away from me
Don’t leave my room bright sunny
If you do then I’ll be blue
‘Cause waking up is hard to do

Remember when we went to sleep,
Got refreshed in slumbers deep?
Think of all that I’ve been through
Waking up is hard to do

You know that waking up is hard to do
And I know, I know that it’s true
Don’t say time to rise and shine
Instead of waking up I wish it were still sleeping time

I beg of you, don’t wake me up
Unless there’s coffee in the cup
Come on now another hour or two
‘Cause waking up is hard to do

Just a Short Break

I’m working. Really. I am. This is just a short break. See – my scripting notes are in front of me. I have coffee in hand.
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