lockdown cut-down

I have found an unexpected benefit from this whole lockdown situation, and it involves coffee.

Prior to lockdown, I would get coffee from the hospital cafe on most days that I work. When lockdown rules came into place, they no longer allowed use of keep-cups. An understandable rule, but this has been one of the greatest disappointments of all.

At first, I continued to get take-away coffees, now in disposable cups, but eventually the guilt got to me. I decided to cut back.

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simple beatitude

It’s been almost a week since I came to stay with my sister and her family, to meet my new niece and help with child-minding duties while my sister and brother-in-law do other (non-child-related) things. Not everyone’s idea of a restful holiday, but if you’ve worked where I do, you might understand (not to say I don’t like work; it’s just frickin’ tiring sometimes).

As a guest, I’ve been following the routines of the household. Well, most of them. My nephew (who is two years old) has breakfast at 7am, but I don’t sleep anywhere near as early as he does, so I get up a bit later. Still, everyone has lunch at 11am, and then dinner is served at 5pm. Continue reading

universal

I’ve already mentioned in a previous post that I don’t drink coffee very often, and I still don’t, but I’ve been yawning a lot these last couple of days, so I thought it was a good day for a coffee – just to finish off the work week.

Just as a bit of background, I’m one of those odd people who work full-time and never consume pre-work or mid-work caffeinated beverages of any sort. Caffeine seems to have very variable effects for me – sometimes it will make me hyperactive, sometimes it’ll do absolutely nothing, and sometimes I get the diuretic/dehydration effects without the alertness – so I never thought it was worth it to have a morning coffee routine. Generally, for me, coffee is a “now and then” treat, like how some people might have ice-cream or a milkshake or something (I would’ve written cake as well, but I’m not going to kid myself about that!)

Side note: I’ll eat ice-cream whenever the opportunity presents itself, but I tend to avoid milkshakes (and thickshakes) because the very thought of the empty calories makes me sick, but I don’t seem to care about ice-cream calories (???)

Today’s coffee came from Outer Space Espresso in the Valley, which, thankfully, is neither in outer space or weirdly space themed. It’s just that it’s outside. I like the name; thought it was clever. Anyway, it’s a lovely place, and it would have been perfect on a cool, sunny day like today except that we got full-on gale force winds or something, making outdoor activities of any kind just frickin’ annoying (except, I guess, anything kite-related).

For anyone who cares, Outer Space serve Toby’s Estate coffee. Since I don’t drink coffee very often, I don’t think I’m anywhere near qualified to distinguish between a good coffee and an amazing coffee, but I will say that that first sip put such a smile on my face. I have been told by coffee enthusiasts that the perfect coffee should be ready to drink – you shouldn’t have to wait for it to cool down a bit, and it certainly should not scald your tongue ever. By this criteria, I suppose my coffee today was “perfect”.

Well, I don’t think I’ve ever written a post about a place just because they had great coffee, so for me to be writing this now must mean that they did a pretty good job, right? And the service was good too (always an important determinant of whether I’ll return or not).

While I sipped at my coffee, I started pondering about other people’s coffee routines and habits. I thought it was interesting that it’s something that’s commonly consumed alone, but also equally commonly consumed with company – both seem to be socially acceptable. This ubiquitous beverage is also perfect for just about every occasion: whether cramming for an exam or relaxing with a good book; having a business meeting or just a casual catch-up. And it’s served and consumed at all hours of the day. I know some people find the concept of post-dinner coffee a bit ridiculous, but restaurants must offer it for a reason!

What I do find ridiculous is that every morning on my way to work, I see high school students buying and drinking coffee. Every time I see a kid in school uniform (yes, you might be a teenager, but I’m going to call you a “kid” anyway) holding a coffee cup, I kind of cringe a bit. I certainly never had coffee during high school – never needed coffee – and didn’t know anyone my age who consumed it on a regular basis. It just makes me question what’s going on with kids these days. Maybe I’m just a bit out of touch with that generation?

Meh…

To be clear, I don’t have anything against people who drink coffee every day (perhaps multiple times a day) and rely on it. I won’t judge you (unless you’re a high school student, but then I’ll probably just wonder what sort of crazy schedules are being imposed on you that you need to drink coffee at your age).

There have been many studies conducted and articles written about the pros and cons of coffee in relation to health and well-being, but there’s so much conflicting research that I generally don’t pay attention to it. It’s the same for wine, chocolate and other good things in life. People want to try to justify it health-wise, but I reckon if you enjoy it, then it doesn’t matter – just have reasonable limits and stick to them (most of the time).

blog circle

In recent times (by which I mean, like, the last few months, maybe half a year) I’ve been noticing that I’m spending more and more time on WordPress and reading blogs. I think I went through a phase where I just kept following more and more blogs. There used to only be a few that I’d read with any regularity, but I reckon I’ve discovered a lot of new blogs through comments on other blogs. (Often the thought process is something along the lines of “Hmm.. that person wrote a well thought-out comment, which is also (mostly) free from spelling or grammatical errors. Perhaps this person has an interesting blog…”)

I hardly even look at “Freshly Pressed” any more. After all, I have enough blogs to read already! My daily internet routine has become something like this: (1) quickly check emails, and quickly respond or send necessary emails; (2) quickly check Facebook for messages and notifications, and maybe browse my newsfeed in case anything like-worthy has happened; (3) read blogs. (Yeah, usually I’ll only check emails and FB once per day – or usually not at all for emails on week-ends – so these are not great ways to contact me for anything urgent/important.) Depending on my mood and what sort of posts people are publishing, I might spend the rest of the night on WP, or I might go off and do something else.

(NB: Although I have a Twitter account, it is not part of the routine, and any activity that occurs on Twitter is sporadic at best.)

I find this shift in routine kind of interesting because I don’t actually know anyone in “real life” who still maintains a blog and publishes in a vaguely consistent manner. I think a lot of friends from high school, and maybe at university as well, dabbled in blogging for a bit, but then eventually gave it up or forgot about it. The first blog I ever read (that I can recall) was created by a friend during high school (can’t remember what year… maybe grade 9?). I don’t even remember what platform/site she used, but I do remember talking to her about it, and how she actually had to explain to me what a blog was.

Over the many years that have passed between then and now, I can remember her changing her URL, blog title, theme, content, etc, etc many times (probably not quite as capriciously as I’m portraying here but still fairly often relative to most blogs, I reckon). At one stage she had a hiatus in blogging, and I remember being a bit sad about it. I mean, we still talked in real life, but I suppose there was something special about reading her uninhibited thoughts on her blog. I believe that it was she who inspired me to start my own blog – mostly as a place for me to rant, rave and ramble about whatever I wanted, to my heart’s content.

Back in those early days – even in the early days with WP (my blog started out on “Windows Live Spaces” or whatever it was called) – I didn’t read any blogs that were written by people who I didn’t personally know. Now, however, all of the blogs I read are written by people who I’ve never met in person (except one, but she doesn’t post very often). And while I know that a few of my “real life” friends still read my blog (even if only very occasionally – I still appreciate it), I know that the vast majority of my readers are overseas (thanks to helpful WP stats). The majority of blogs that I read are also written by overseas people. And although we will probably never meet – or maybe because we will never meet – I think it’s incredible that millions of people can share their stories with millions of others.

This post was actually supposed to be a quick, short-ish post to mention that I’ve added the “posts I like” widget to the side-bar… I’ve been seeing it on a lot of blogs I follow, and thought it was a great way to, well, share posts that I like. I might write more on this whole blogging business another day. Stay tuned!