Giving up caffeine: It’s not you, it’s me.

coffee_lambentlifeWe met when I was 18 years old. Fresh faced and ready to explore all that the world had to offer, I ran to you with open arms. They say that college is a time for exploration and experimentation. While some of my college peers tried uppers, downers and round and rounders, I dabbled in flavored lattes and energy drinks. Your bottomless cup was my support during those all-night study sessions at the diner. My 48-count of Red Bull was the only thing there for me when my computer crashed at 2 a.m., wiping my entire Women’s Studies final project just hours before it was due. Through the turmoil of self-discovery and navigating quasi-adult relationships, you were there to lend a comforting lift.

I grew older and wiser and you grew stronger. No longer satisfied with the sickening sweet beverages of my youth, I graduated to the grande triple shot latte. It was more than the temperature of my beverage that warmed my body and stirred my mind. You, caffeine, were the muse to volumes of publications and articles. You sat with me through hours of edits and acted as my meeting and media event side kick. There was no water cooler conversations in our office – only those friendships built during frequent Starbuck’s runs. As time marched on, our relationship evolved from one of convenience to one of necessity.

When I got pregnant, things became a bit awkward between us. Everyone said you weren’t good for me and, truth be told, they were probably right. But I couldn’t just give up on you so easily. We had history. So we met secretly in the diluted cups of half-caff and an afternoon Coca Cola to soothe the nausea.  Childbirth didn’t do much to fix our broken relationship. Taunted by fears of an insomniac infant, you gave me pause. So I mentally packed you away with my expensive lacy bras and turtleneck sweaters, not to be fully enjoyed again until all babies weaned.

Parenting young children brought new life to our friendship. With the whack-a-mole bedtimes and questions of sanity, I was thankful to have you back in my life. Despite the messy house, cranky toddlers and sleepless nights, you were there for me. You saw me at my worst and still shared your mind clearing goodness. You were a key figure in the early years of my motherhood. And I wasn’t alone. As I made new mommy friends, there was as much discussion regarding the location of our next play date as to who would pick up with Dunkin’. We knew each other’s secrets and coffee orders by heart. I traded the fancy (and expensive) Italian beverages for the simple joys of a morning and afternoon cup of coffee. Your predictability was a small comfort in the midst of motherhood’s chaos.

I loved you and was leery of those who doubted your goodness. You were a litmus test to easily determine my compatibility with a potential friend. But as time goes on and I learn more about myself, I began to see a dark side to our friendship. I needed you. At some point, a long history wasn’t enough to ignore how toxic our relationship had become. What once brought me renewed energy and inspiration turned me into an anxious, slightly manic version of my otherwise copacetic self. I hate the way I relied on you to get through the day.

It won’t be a clean break – more of a slow fade – but I’m already feeling the simple pleasure of being less and less addicted to you. I don’t want my mood and abilities to be controlled by a drug (no offense, but that’s what you are). The joy of a caffeine rush simply isn’t worth the racing heart and shaky hands. My heart isn’t pounding hard enough to be visible to others. I have more patience and I’m less on edge. I’m giddy to be exhausted in the evenings and look forward to building a stronger relationship with my other friend – my bed.

I’ve grown and evolved and you’ve stayed the same over the millennia. So really, it’s not you – it’s me. I wish you well and perhaps we’ll cross paths someday during a late night road trip or a particularly vicious migraine. But until then, I bid you adieu.

Good people.

I’m easily jaded.

Cynical, even.

In the past year or so, I’ve become rather leery of people. This was probably exacerbated when someone broke into my car last May while I was picking up E from our neighborhood mom’s morning out program. It took a previously colored view of the world and made it downright angry. So became easy for me to form a natural inclination of distrust towards strangers.

Yesterday, I fought my way through a fog of snot and sinus pressure and managed to get E to preschool and survived a Target run for more tissues. I loaded an unhappy B back in the car and decided a second cup of coffee was crucial to everyone’s survival. We zipped down the highway towards my BFF, Dunkin’ Donuts. They know me by my drive-thru order – a hot coconut coffee with cream and sugar and two glazed munchkins.

Today’s line was longer than usual and B was not happy. We managed the wait with lots of songs, nose blowings and phone calls to Yaya on speaker. When it came our time to pay, the kind girl at the window informed me that order had been taken care of.

Someone paid for my coffee.

Did they know I had a wicked headache? Could they hear my screaming child through two sets of closed windows? Did they see me leading the choir on three renditions of “Old McDonald”?

It was just $2.45. It’s not the cost. Someone thought to do something nice for me. Someone they didn’t know. Someone they’ll never know.

It’s the gesture.

Maybe there are still good people out there who aren’t just looking out for themselves.

I want to be one of them.

Do something nice for someone today, okay?

To market, to market.

Last February, we started buying the majority of our weekly produce and meat at our local farmer’s market. With the addition of our fall CSA share, the only grocery store produce I needed were things like bananas and apples. When the market closed for the season in December, I didn’t realize how much I hate, hate, hate shopping at the grocery store.

I can’t help but wonder how long that lettuce has been sitting in a plastic bag and what on Earth they sprayed it with to keep it from browning. If the produce isn’t sealed, it usually has an impenetrable wax coating that comes off only after a FIT bath. And the prices. Oh, goodness. Eight dollars for a pint of organic Mexican strawberries. It wrong on so many fronts.

Adding to my shopping discomfort, I can usually count on hearing that song from the early 2000s about a big yellow taxi and not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone. Yes, I’d rather have spots on my apples. Please do leave me the birds and the bees. And no, I did not know what I had until it closed for the season.

Anyway. I missed our farmer’s market and Saturday morning routine.

Thankfully – so, so thankfully – the farmer’s market resumed on Saturday and I was there with bells on. Not really, but I did shower for the occasion.

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If you’ve ever in Savannah, you’ve got to get some Perc in your coffee mug. They brew it at a lot of local joints and I’m never disappointed. I bought a pound of the Nicaragua Selva Negra and it’s heavenly.

I also picked up a head of cabbage grown by a local high school’s version of FFA, a bunch of dinosaur kale, beef from Savannah River Farms, and a beautiful dozen of eggs.

My itty-bitty refrigerator overfloweth.

And now, I wait eagerly for our CSA to resume (hopefully) next month.

Hi, I’m Liz and I’m a local/organic/sustainable/delicious food nerd.

Unrelated, my Facebook news feed has been taken over by people rambling on about some sort of football game and posting pictures of delicious looking finger foods. Oh, it’s the Superbowl? This cluelessness only happens when you’re married to a man who isn’t a sports fanatic. How did I get so lucky?