Wednesday, February 09, 2005


No, that’s not the sound of the Tulip Decapitator giving the hedge a buzz cut (he was a no show). That’s the sound of me working after consuming a Turkish roast gelato that featured genuine Turkish coffee grounds in it.* It was an experience I may not want to repeat.

On the minus side:
I don’t normally “do” caffeine because it seems to be a migraine trigger for me. When I do have anything with caffeine in it, it sends me straight to the Moon. If people are around, I start jabbering until they ask me what I’m on (“Caffeine!”). If there aren’t any people around, I start making grand--but not very feasible--plans to, say, tear up the entire front yard and turn it into a Japanese garden, complete with koi pond, that (thankfully) I think better of as soon as the buzz wears off. In other words, caffeine has no small effect on me. Since I had the gelato around 3:30 PM, it’s very likely I will have trouble falling asleep tonight and/or will sleep badly.

On the plus side:
I was able to focus my caffeine energy on work, which is good, given yesterday’s fairly abysmal level of productivity. Also, my e-mail program was messed up this morning, so B who, in addition to running his own business, serves as my IT person had to commandeer my computer for about an hour and fix the problem, so I lost time there. For yet again saving my computer’s ass, I told him I’d buy him a gelato. (Gosh, he works cheap!) That had the added bonus of giving B and I an excuse to get out and take a short walk in the brilliant and seductive February sun.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about the quality of the light and the unexpected amount of heat the sun gives off here in Portland in the winter that just makes me want to sit outside and bask. (If only I had a laptop!) Even when it’s only in the 40s, boy howdy, that sun makes its presence known. If I’m doing any kind of mild exercise, e.g., walking to a gelato shop, I almost always find I have to take my jacket off--even in January.

I’ve never been much of a sun worshiper--in fact quite the opposite. But there are a few places on Earth--the Italian Alps and the Rocky Mountains--where I’ve felt a powerful impulse to bask in the sun like a marmot. The sun just felt so good there--not hot--just comforting and immobilizing and conducive to some very uncharacteristic lounging in deck chairs on my part. It must have something to do with elevation and possibly the fact that at such high elevations there’s a lot more UV rays coming right at you. I burned in no time at all. Anyway this Portland winter sun reminds me of that Alps/Rocky Mountains sun, although most of Portland is only a couple hundred feet above sea level. Maybe it’s the latitude. I don’t know, but I like it very much. And it always puts me in a good mood--even if I’m not all hopped up on caffeine.

*I could have done without the peculiar gritty texture of the coffee grounds. How is one supposed to dispatch them? I kept feeling like I should chew them, but they’re really too finely ground to chew. I found myself trying out new strategies with every spoonful.


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