Thursday, December 8, 2011

Breakfast and Why I Love It (Food Memories of 2011, No. 8)

I typically don't have bad days. Of course I have days when things don't go my way, but the things that get under my skin are high-class, first-world problems, and I have no business complaining about them in earnest. When two cars in a row run the stop sign in front of my apartment building, that really burns me. Or I'll feel a pinch of stress on a morning when I wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes. I'll curse under my breath when someone litters. These are not "problems."

All the real hard stuff, like illness and traumatic family relationships, I already went through when I was younger. My theory is that I got that stuff out of the way when I was young. I paid my dues, some of them pretty high, and now I'm in the clear.

Today, I can't say I faced any real problems, but there certainly were some hiccups. And just when I thought I had them under control by stretching myself thin to correct the course, things went awry again.

Some important documents went missing in the mail, and I'm on a deadline to get them back. Luckily, I had made a copy of them for my own records before sending them off to another party to be counter-signed. The counter-signers dropped them in the mail about two weeks ago, and they never arrived at their destination. No tracking number was used on the mail. They're just gone.

Plus, before the documents went missing, I found numerous errors on them, which had to be corrected. After that, another line was wrong because something had changed from the time the documents were first written. So we had already been through enough.

Because I'm on a deadline, I decided to expedite everything. I scanned the copy of the document I had, emailed it to the counter-signers, instructed them to print and sign everything and told them I'd be by the next afternoon to pick them up. This all worked. Then I dropped the documents off to the next person who looked them over and declared that there was a page missing.

It's not the end of the world, but this snafu caused a lot of stress and frustration.


That little story was my preamble to Food Memories of 2011, No. 8.

Every day in the month of December, I am remembering and appreciating some food moment from the year that's almost over. It's a way of giving thanks and showing gratitude for what I have and everything I have had.

Given the effects of today's events, I would like to do nothing more than relish the memory of something homey and comforting. For me, I feel most at home and comforted when I am alone. Serenity doesn't happen for me when other people are around. I need quiet and solitude.

A long time ago, I learned that the best time for quiet and solitude is early in the morning. Especially when you're young, it's easy to have an hour to yourself if you're willing to get up at 6 a.m. The food memory I want to appreciate and share today is weekly breakfast.

I get up at 6, make a pot of coffee, and shuffle around. Most days, I flip on the radio to listen to the news at a hushed volume. The dog's claws clack on the kitchen tiles as she find a comfortable position to sit. I put together breakfast, usually yogurt or kefir and fruit, but sometimes a steamy bowl of old fashioned oatmeal, or a slice of toast slathered in peanut butter. This ritual takes at least 30 minutes, but it's my favorite 30 minutes of the day.

After that, things speed up quickly, and I'm out the door walking the dog. Sometimes it's the dead of winter and dark, with the wind whipping over Manhattan and across the East River to sting my cheeks. In the summer, the sun is already rising by 6:30, glinting off the bridges and dancing through the leaves.

I don't think I could make it through the rest of my busy day without that half hour to myself with a little something to eat, always something very simple and comforting, and a milky cup of coffee.

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