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... where only the finest messes are made!

… where only the finest messes are made!

Knotty Girl gave me this coffee sign for Christmas, for the Coffee Corner. I think it looks great. This is not a terrific shot of the Coffee Corner, but you can see the coffeemaker and the really fancy burr grinder, hiding in beside the coffeemaker.

I drove “over the river” to get this coffeemaker at Target in Niagara Falls, NY. It makes a good cup of coffee. I like the thermal carafe, although it is drippy and hard to pour. It has a cool, retro, green glowy clock timer thingy that I don’t use.  When I take the time to clean it properly, it is shiny and nice to look at.

The coffeemaker has all the normal features of a basket style coffee maker. Basket to hold the filter, a place to pour the water.  Although it is shiny (or can be), and it looks like more than your average coffeemaker, it is really just a basic filter drip coffeemaker. Put water in one place, fresh ground coffee in another, press a button, wait, pour, enjoy!

How hard can it be?

The foundational paradox about successfully making coffee first thing in the morning is that one has not yet had any coffee prior to initating a series of seemingly complex tasks.  Let me list, from personal experience, in this very Coffee Corner, the multitude of ways in which the simple process of coffee making can go very, very wrong.

  1. Failing to open the resevoir flap on top before beginning to pour the water in.
  2. Removing the filter basket to empty old grinds but failing to put the filter basket back in. Oddly, the inside of the coffee maker looks the same to caffeine-free me with or without the filter basket. Sometimes, the filter just gets plonked down into the empty space and gets filled with fresh ground coffee. Once the button is pressed, all hell breaks loose.
  3. Failing to empty the thermal carafe of yesterday’s coffee before pressing the button. Yuck! I do love a thermal carafe vs. a glass carafe on a burner. But the visual of yesterday’s coffee is very, very useful at times.
  4. Using the carafe to pour the water in the resevoir vs. using something that can actually pour properly. This carafe is a drippy pouring disaster waiting to happen unless you can get it just so. Which I cannot, first thing in the a.m.
  5. Turning the grinder on without checking that the little cup that receives the ground coffee is properly seated in its place.  If Carly Simon were witness to this, she would sing about “clouds of my coffee” rather than “clouds in my coffee”.
  6. Doing anything, really, that involves me getting the fresh ground coffee bits from the grinder into the coffee maker. This is just too hard for me to do without spillage.

Charlotte is the self-appointed coffee monitor. She inspects the area carefully and has done up some “tickets” for me – with construction paper and coloured pencils – that I get when I make a mess. I’m not sure how much I’m in hock for the fines at this point. She has politely omitted discussion of what my punishments may be. She even often helps clean up, bless her.

Uh oh. I'm in trouble.

Uh oh. I’m in trouble.

Note to self: Learn to use the timer thingy.

My Second Cup 3 comments

My second cup of coffee this morning was a thing of beauty. 100% Guatamalan, fair trade, organically grown, strong, fresh and perfectly tweaked with just the right hints of sugar and real cream with French Vanilla flavouring. It sat, majestically, in its brand spanking new Hawaii thermal coffee mug, adorned with images of sea turtles, stylized in blue. Yes, it sat … and sat … and sat … and was still sitting, waiting for me, when I got home after work.


Hands up if you have left the perfect cup of coffee sitting on your kitchen counter in the morning. More than once.

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Hockey Day In Canada! 2 comments

January 13 is Hockey Day in Canada! (Seriously.) In fact, if all goes well today, I'll be playing in a total of three hockey games myself, with the outside possibility of playing in four. Doesn't that just rock? The term Hockey Day in Canada is a small twist on the legendary Hockey Night in Canada, the now-defunct theme to which many Canadians of my generation can hum in its entirety.

Warm up began for me last night when I played in Game #1 of the 2nd Annual Women of Winter Outdoor Shinny Tournament. The weather for the games last night was not optimal for shinny …drizzle and absurdly high temperatures. Many women had to take outer layers of clothing off by the end of the first period and were playing in single layer shirts. Because of the on/off rain and persistent high temps, the ice was pebbly – it was like skating on gravel. The puck was sticky and hard to manage. HOWEVER, a good time was had by all … our team won our first game, but no one is really paying too much attention to the winning/losing part. It is about playing and having fun.

I have a game this morning, then again this afternoon (early). If we win these, we'll likely make it to the championship game, late afternoon. Then, of course, I have my regular Saturday night "real" league (not shinny) game at 9:00 p.m., in a proper arena with proper gear.

What is the difference between shinny and "real" hockey? Well, some would argue that shinny is "real" hockey and that stuff we see on TV is a mere shadow of the original game. I won't get into that debate here. Here are some of the key differences between organized hockey and shinny:

  • shinny is usually played outdoors on ice that has not got painted lines on it. A pond, for example. In fact, shinny is often referred to as pond hockey.
  • because there are no lines on the ice, there are no pesky rules like offsides and icing. It is a free roaming game!
  • players wear minimal equipment -  in real pond hockey, some play just with a stick and skates and a puck.  I'm more comfortable with my helmet/cage, mouth guard, and gloves. Last night, some women were adding shin guards and elbow pads as they anticipated going for some spills on the rough ice. However, full gear is actually prohibited in this tourney.
  • no goaltenders and, in fact, "goaltending" is against the rules. In real pond hockey, the goal posts are usually someone's boots – which they don't need, of course, because they have their skates on. In our tourney, there are special shinny nets – 17 inches high, normal goal width.
  • no raising the puck
  • when a goal is scored, the team that scored has to clear the ice to half way and allow the other team possession of the puck

That is pretty much it. Basically, give us a sheet of ice and some boots, sticks and pucks and we'll show ya a game!

Power breakfast for three-four hockey games in a day? Mango juice, pasta omlette with spinach and romano, luscious coffee. The weather today is much closer to optimal … temps just below freezing, less enthusiastic drizzle that will likely turn to snow later. Drop that puck and let's play!

PS – Don't forget to de-lurk!

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Insanity Is Repeating The Same Action, Hoping For A Different Result 4 comments

Last year, I bought a new coffee maker. I love my new coffee maker. It has a shiny metal thermal carafe, something I've always wanted because I hate how coffee tastes when it has been kept warm on a burner.

I grumble a bit when I have to make coffee in the morning. Since my fancy new coffee maker is programmable, I can set it up the night before and either have it turn on automatically, or turn it on myself when I get up. It pleases me mightily when I remember to do this before I go to bed because I just have to push a button and my bidding is done. Coffee appears and the world is a better place.

However … this coffee maker has taught me that I am, in fact, an idiot.

This morning, for the third time in recent memory, I poured my coffee (lovingly set up last night, an act that I patted myself on the back for repeatedly), and it was only lukewarm. And it tasted stale and "off". Why? Because I keep forgetting to empty the pretty shiny thermal carafe! Which means the lovely fresh – freshly ground even – coffee rains down upon the old stale stuff leftover from yesterday.

You see, I measure out the water for the coffee I'm making using the mug I'm going to pour it into. Then I add a few splashes for evaporation and condensation. I usually don't use the carafe to measure the water unless I'm making a full pot for guests.

So now I have to throw out my freshly ground pot and make new – again. (grumble)

You would think that one time would be enough and I'd remember. No, no apparently not. So I am blogging about it, hoping that this will burn itself into my memory and I will not have to go through this a fourth time.

Don't bet on it, though.

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