three cups of coffee

Since Henry is having technical difficulties with his Blackberry, we skipped breakfast at home and stopped for a bagel as part of our walk. I had one more coffee left on my personalized gift card, so I decided to stop for a short vanilla latte, my favorite Starbucks treat once I made it back to 7th and H.

As soon as I got to the corner, someone said to me, “Can you help a vet get a cup of coffee?” I started to say no, but then saw the fresh cup of coffee in my hand and asked him if he wanted mine. I sort of regretted saying it because I always feel like I am being duped, but the following words just came out of my mouth. “I can make some at home.” So I gave it to him and walked away without looking back to see if he choked on all of the sticky sweet syrup.

I came in and made a half pot of coffee and selected my favorite mug, one of a set of two, which Sarah gave me for Christmas many years ago. It is a mug from Old Salem, which is traditionally used for the Lovefeast service during which participants are served coffee and a Lovefeast bun. I returned to Old Salem to see if I could finish out a set of a dozen or even eight. But the style was slightly different. They had a new manufacturer. I am not sure how to describe it. Almost like the subtle differences between, say Helvetica and Arial fonts, or a Wedgwood tea cup and a white one from Target. My handle was a bit more delicate and I loved the three lines that border the bottom inch. The craftsmanship of the new version is fine. It holds coffee, but somehow it has lost the simplistic style that I fell in love with several years ago. I couldn’t bring myself to buy anymore.

I then found myself telling friends who go to Home Moravian the following: “If an old lady in your church dies, let me know. I want to come to her estate sale.” I also wondered at the Christmas Eve service if they would let me trade out their older mugs with a brand new set from me. Hmmm… but I never pursued it beyond those mildly obsessive compulsive thoughts.

Henry and I always discuss our mild OCD tendencies. He likes for everything to be in order. If I have lots of little stacks everywhere when he gets home, he is likely to instantly become grumpy. My recently admitted OCD habit is that we both have to drink coffee out of matching mugs. And of course the Old Salem mugs are at the top of the hierarchy. We abandoned numerous mix-matched mugs in our move. And I have scrutinized the only other mugs to cross our threshold. We have open shelving in our kitchen that is open to 75% of our apartment. We simply cannot have pure chaos on our shelves.

So this morning as I tried to change my pen cartridge while writing in my journal, my hand accidentally hit the top of my cup of coffee, which crashed on my bedroom floor. The mug broke apart into five or six huge chunks. Not only was that the second cup of coffee I lost today, I broke my favorite mug, which I have no idea how to replace. I was so sad. And to top it all off, my bed skirt soaked up a good portion of the coffee, which means that I need to wash it and, even worse, iron it. This is a chore that I reserve for only very special occasions, like when we move.

I finally had a cup of coffee after my third attempt. But I decided that I should give up coffee for Lent. I called Alex after I went to the Ash Wednesday service at church. When my dad heard this via the speaker phone, he began making fun of me reminding me that I am not Catholic. I pointed out that my pastor is a religious service junkie. So anything goes, well, at least with in the scope of Christianity.

My dad then told me that giving up coffee will help with diabetes, which fortunately I am not. But since he is, I am all about prevention. Plus, I am really hoping that the next forty days of abstinence from a small cup of java will help stop my right eyelid from twitching, which has only started in the last week or so. Maybe God is trying to tell me something because I skipped church this past Sunday to drink coffee, watch CBS Sunday Morning and recycle magazines with Henry.

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  1. LiaStarLight

    Great post, Caroline. I collect Fiesta Ware, and once, after a long trip, came home to find all my open shelves of Fiesta Ware (mostly old) on the floor. I had broken more than 25 pieces, including serving pieces.

    I gathered all the pieces, cried a lot, and created some tile-top tables to commemorate my love for it. When life gives you lemons, make art!

  2. talkwiththepreacher

    Religious service junkie? I’ll take that as a compliment!


  3. Caroline Armijo


    How did your plates fall of your shelf? Do tell. That sounds really crazy. Do you still have your art work?

    I definitely thought that I need to make something with the mug. I just need to wash all of the pieces first!

  4. Caroline Armijo

    Of course that’s a compliment! Glad that you are there to push my boundaries a little.

    I was going to have you put the cross on my hand until your entire service was about having it on your forehead.

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