Coffee, Food Stamps, Libraries, and Me

Coffee. I love it. Me and what seems like the entire tech world. In our bubble coffee is a superpower, it’s a way of life, it’s a fuel line. It has surpassed an upper and become “our go to.” It’s the perfect geek accessory, and for me, it’s been an extension I’ve grown to count on. One I can honestly align with the most critical times of my life.

Wait, isn’t that getting a bit grandiose? Dare I say no. I’m saying, like for real…I actually can’t picture anything else in as many of my memory frames as I can coffee. I see it next to me most of the way. coffee cup and big sweater

To start it “is my mom” is a million ways.

She loved coffee. Someday I will write the book I’ve started a hundred times that has to do with coffee {stop laughing, its going to be awesome} and I will dedicate to my mom—who took her coffee with just a bit of sugar, no milk. No milk you say?! Yup.

But get this. She didn’t take milk because she was raising two boys on her own and had no money. She would buy milk but it was for the boys and their cereal. So she learned to take coffee without milk. What now sounds so incredibly gross to me in flavor, also represents small sacrifices and strength. Coffee represents that for me.

Then there was my first sips in college.

I had found a home where learning was appreciated, where professors challenged the status quo, where “staying up and drinking coffee was cool.” I was in love.

I remember filling up my “half coffee, half mochas” in the cafeteria and walking through the snowy tundra that was my college (Saint Michael’s is a beautiful liberal arts college that might as well be located in Antarctica given our annual weather patterns). The coffee was my savior. It kept me moving, it kept me warm, it kept me thinking. Coffee represents that for me.

Then came my Masters degree.

Or what I like to call some of the most challenging years of my life. I learned to think in my M.A. I learned to question. I learned to teach. I began drinking white mochas daily. I spent three years in a library, like actually in the building. I wrote a thesis that shook up a philosophy and questioned a theory that had been assumed for years.

I literally shaped my future in that library with a coffee in my hand. I remember walking the book shelves just to stretch my legs, but I’d carry my coffee…staring out the windows onto the Pacific ocean (it was Pepperdine in Malibu, CA…lucky me!) and wondering…what the hell am I going to do with this life of mine? The coffee was my opportunity, it was open doors, it was knowledge. Coffee represents that for me.

Then came L.A. and my first few years in tech.

Holy crap I was broke. I was so broke. I was waitressing every shift I could pick up, running around caffeinated like all hell. Riding my mint green beach cruiser, taking in sunsets, sipping iced coffees. I never stopped buying coffees…there were my indulgence.  I lost hours staring at the waves, sipping coffees, taking in the air and thinking “damn I’m lucky.”

It was those years that made me realize that happiness and the energy of a good life has nothing to do with money…but it might just have to do with iced coffee. It was my smile. My deep breath. Coffee was my simple moment of gratitude for this life. Coffee represents that for me.

And now…Seattle.

I ended up in a city that is known for coffee, and I find the irony so blinding and so serendipitous. Everywhere I look there is a coffee shop. Some are local, some are giants, but all have people just like me walking in hoping for whatever it is that makes them love it so. This city is a coffee lovers dream. It’s home to some of the finest coffee out there {in my opinion}. And it’s also my home. Seattle and its coffee symbolizes a simple city full of passionate people that love a balanced, healthy life full of good people. Coffee represents that for me.

Over the years I have lived, what feels like, a few different lives. From child to knowledge seeker, to academic adventurer, to broke city wanderer to techie to laugher of many moments. All of them have involved a cup of coffee.

When people ask me why I love coffee so much, I can’t help but laugh and think “it’s my home.” It represents every home I’ve ever known. I can go back to any of them with a certain order, with a certain sip, and a deep exhale. That’s why I love it so much. That and the fact that I still see my mom sipping it at our kitchen table growing up. It’s one of the few memories I remember like it was yesterday. Her and her coffee, it’s home to me.

me and a coffee cup and polka dots

this pretty much sums me up. #daydreamer #coffeesipper #smiler

  • Joost de Valk

    Milk in your coffee… That’s like… Such a waste :)

    I’ve always drank mine black, without sugar or milk, and love it that way :)

  • Duane Drzadinski

    My father told me in college that I needed to eliminate cream and sugar in my coffee or I would gain weight or get cavities eventually. So, I heeded his advice and went black cold turkey. Drinking it the same ever since. Thanks Dad. I could lose some weight though… LOL

  • joannalynnlord

    Went black cold turkey?! whoa. you are a strong man. :)

  • joannalynnlord

    @Joost, great minds… thanks for stopping by too! I’m blushing to think you even read my blog #fangirl :)

  • Ryan Bradley

    You ever try Yerba Mate instead of coffee?  Stuff is gold. 

  • Lee Driggers

    Black & a sugar. When I feel frisky I’ll take a shot of Pumpkin or Peppermint :)