Posted by Cassondra Murray Mar 6 2012, 11:59 pm in Cassondra Murray, Cassondra's blogs, coffee, mornings, The muse
How many mugs do you own?
Coffee mugs, y’all. I mean coffee mugs.
If you come to visit at my house, I will almost certainly offer you coffee. I’m known for being a coffee-holic, and even when I’m taking a break from caffeine, I still have to have decaf.
Remember that Randy Travis song? The lines go,I’ve got friends who don’t pay their bills on home computers/And they buy their coffee beans already ground
It’s an old song called Better Class of Losers. I’ll link to it here so you can listen to it if you’re too young to remember it, or if it’s been a while. It’s a good song and I like it…and I am one with Randy in that song–I prefer a simpler country way of life as opposed to the faster pace of a city. But that’s not news. If you’re a regular Bandit Buddy, you know that about me already.
When the song came out, it was kind of a joke because so few people did these things, but now, gazillions of people pay their bills on their computers. I don’t, but still, those people Randy is singing about? Alas, in spite of being able to look out my windows and see pasture, wheat and cows (depends on the window),I’m afraid I’ve become one of them.
Because…well…I grind my own coffee beans.
Love Randy Travis, but I love the smell of freshly-ground coffee beans more, so if I want that in the morning, I either have to move into a Starbucks, or grind my own beans.
The rest of my house is rather…well…primitive. And I don’t mean “primitive” as in a decorating style, although that is the design style I love most.
By “primitive” I mean no room in my house is actually finished. My closets have no shelves or racks (yup, still working on those), there is no crown molding much, and there is a gap between the walls and ceilings where the crown should be. There are no baseboards in most of the rooms. Gaps down there too. No doors on the laundry closet, no door facings on the inside of the back door..the 1 X 6 is standing in the corner waiting to be nailed up beside the door. No paint on the door facings which are in place…well..you get the picture.
But gosh…I’ve got a kick-ass coffee maker.
Hey, we all have our priorities, right?
This one is programmable, so it makes the coffee automatically in the mornings, and it has one of those thermos-style carafes because, as I’m a proven vampire, God knows I’m not likely to get to the coffee for a good long while after Steve has already left for work. This way it’s still hot and it still tastes good when I get to it, hours later.
The grinder sits right there beside it. But I have proof…proof I say!…that I am not a coffee snob. The grinder has a clear “hopper” on the top, which can hold up to a half-pound of coffee beans. That’s bad, according to the coffee gods. It’s better for the beans to stay all sealed up in the dark somewhere until JUST before they’re ground.
I don’t care.
I like looking at that little hopper full of beans. It gives me something to stare at for the first five minutes or so of the morning, while my body is standing there waiting for my brain to get in the game. Something to stare at until the coffee floods me with the inner power to look out the window or move around some more.
So my mornings go something like this:
The alarm goes off, and after I’ve slapped the snooze button a few times, working up the will to actually get vertical, I finally roll out of bed, grab my contact lens case, and stagger through the house to the bathroom. On the way, I pass by the coffee maker. Just the sight of it helps me overcome inertia–gives me the oomph to get my contacts in and make it back to the counter.
And that brings me ’round to the coffee mugs.
I’m faced with a choice, you see.
Which coffee mug will I use today?
This choice is critical.
It would make sense to set one out the night before, and thus, the choice would be made.
But that never works. As sure as I set one out ahead of time, on a nice, crisp, folded up paper towel, with a spoon right there beside it, I will look at that mug and think, “Oh, no freaking WAY.” Then I’ll have to put it back and choose another.
Some people have a certain, specific coffee mug which they MUST drink from, and only that one, every day. I grasp that this is the case, but I do not understand this phenomenon.
I am not like that.
The coffee mug I drink from is a part of making the day go right. It varies–the sort of mug I need–and is determined by my just-waked-up state of mind. Whatever frame of mind I’m in, I need a particular kind of mug to either fit it, or alter it…and this is what steers the rest of the day in the right direction.
Laugh all you want. Sticks and stones and all that rot. Me and my coffee mugs, we will remain stoic throughout.
Oh! I almost forgot. I won’t have another blog before March 17, so this is my chance to say Happy St. Patrick’s Day! How about some Irish Coffee for everyone? But for that, I need the good Irish Whisky.
*Sven pokes his head around the corner from the kitchen* “Yes?”
“I need the key to the supply closet—the one with the good liquor.”
“Here you go.” *Sven tosses me the key which he keeps on a lanyard around his neck*
“I’ll give it back in a sec.”
Sven frowns and checks his watch. “Just leave it hooked over the bar faucet. I’ve gotta run out for groceries.”
*I start making coffee for everyone*
Back to what I was saying though…It’s weird, isn’t it, what makes a muse work or not? And even if you have a well-disciplined muse (I had one of these for songwriting. Not so much for fiction.) it’s weird what works to get it going. Mugs are part of that for me.
I have, basically, four types of coffee mugs. The first type is the solid white mugs that came with my set of everyday dishes. They’re a little more refined than a logo coffee mug. (Okay, VERY little..let’s just say they ain’t Royal Copenhagen, ‘kay?) They have a little swirl design thingy at the top. Meh. I never drink coffee from these mundane workhorse containers. I’ve considered throwing them away, but…I like them for hot tea. *sigh*
What? You never knew hot beverages could be so complicated?
The second type of mug…these are music business mugs. This morning’s mug was one from Tin Pan South 1996. I was part of making that amazing, city-wide songwriter event happen for 15 years, and I’m proud of the role I played in that.
Yesterday’s mug was from Corner Music in Nashville. That’s where I bought my gear and my guitar strings when I was actively songwriting and working in the music biz. I have mugs from music publishers, recording studios, and all kinds of music industry events. These mugs are important because I didn’t buy any of them. They were all given to me when I was a songwriter. When I wake up feeling decidedly NOT creative, I choose one of these. It reminds me that I AM a creative being and that I have had more than one “life” as such. Plus, there are memories associated with each one. Good memories, mostly.
The third type of mug is the most important. At least for me as a fiction writer. These mugs are the ones that connect, somehow, to what I write now—genre fiction.
If I’m writing suspense, I have to have a police mug.
I have a Kentucky State Trooper mug—given to me by an officer I worked with on a search & rescue mission one time, and a Nashville Metro Police Academy mug, given to me by one of their officer/instructors after I taught their Academy trainees to rappel. I have a mug from our local Drug Task Force—also given to me by an officer. I have an NYPD Detective mug, given to me by an NYPD Undercover officer.
Hmmm…there seems to be a pattern here.
I’m presently writing a futuristic series, and you know what? I don’t actually have a mug which represents that. *frowns at monitor* Maybe that’s why I’ve been having trouble with this manuscript.
But how does one find a mug from 170 years in the future? Hmmm.
The fourth and last type of mug I shall call “miscellaneous personality” mugs. I have two (one yellow and one blue) with the logo for Kelley Bee supply on them. When I’m thinking of gardening or working outside, I usually choose these mugs, as beekeeping is part of how I keep in touch with the agricultural cycle—the flow of seasons. Another has little gold ink splashes of moons and stars and galaxies on it. I got it at the dollar store for…you guessed it…a dollar. I drink from this mug when I’m feeling philosophical. It helps me connect with my “mystic” side.
I have another set of mugs on the bottom shelf of my china hutch. (Remember, I’m a dish whore.) They’re gorgeous pottery, with hand-painted watercolor abstract florals on them. I know the potter who made them. They were a gift from my husband, Steve, who went to college with said potter. But I seldom use them. I don’t know why. I wonder if it’s because they are “his” art, and I’m trying to spark the muse to make my own.
If you come to my house and I offer you coffee, about ten minutes into your stay you’ll be expected to make yourself at home, ask for what you want, and learn your way around. My pantry is your pantry, and my coffee is your coffee. And my mug shelf is your mug shelf.
A family member said to me a few years back, that every mug shelf he’d ever seen had been just exactly full of mugs. Not one too many, and not one too few. Full. Mine is.
I’m putting that in my new manuscript, and that got me wondering how many mugs YOU have.
For now, I’m dishing up Irish Coffee with homemade whipped cream for all the Bandits and Buddies.
So tell me,
How many coffee mugs do you have?
Are they a hodge-podge mixture, or are they all of one specific theme?
Or… are your coffee cups all a matched set? If so, what do they look like?
Do you have a favorite?
Are you a coffee lover? Tea? Or like Donna and some of the other Bandits, are you one for Coke or Diet Coke in the mornings?
Whether you like coffee, tea, milk, or juice, does it matter what you drink out of first thing when you wake up?
I see people picking carefully when they open my cabinet. And I see other people grabbing the first mug they reach. Which type of person are you?
If you came to visit for coffee at my house, which mug would you choose?
The Bandit coffee mugs are gorgeous. I’ll give away one to a commenter here (I’m just placing the order, so it’ll take a few days) and there’s another chance to win one, plus a whole bunch of other booty if you visit Barbara Vey’s Anniversary Bash! Today is Blogger day, and all your favorite bloggers will be out for a huge party! Have your Irish Coffee here, then stop by her place and join the fun!
Oh, and if Sven is looking for his key, I left it on the faucet like he asked. Y’all let him know, will you?