So long, Sportello Mornings.

Tomorrow is a no good, very bad day: my absolute favorite morning ritual is coming to an end. Sportello, my “third space”, is no longer going to serve coffee and breakfast. They are ceasing morning operations, and  frankly, I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve been going to Sportello several days a week for more than a year, and I’m just not ready for this break up.

Sportello Counter

This past week I’ve been going through many stages of grief. First there was surprise – I assumed the renovations were just a tidy up – a refresh. And then horror. Then anger. Then self-blame. Now a little bit of self pity. But mostly, I have no idea what I’m going to do with my mornings. Do I bring my coffee to work? Find a new morning space? After tomorrow I have no idea where I’m going to find the calm white counter, barstool with my back to the window, facing the door so I could see people come in. No morning conversations to eavesdrop. And I had such a thing going – I was a regular. You don’t just become a regular – you have to earn it. Build it up slowly over time. It’s a special, warm, fuzzy feeling being a regular.

I’m going to miss the Friday bagels, with the perfect ratio of seeds and salt. Toasted, just lightly – really just warmed. I’m going to miss the Fazenda roast, that perfect coffee needing no cream or sugar. And ice coffee with two straws.

I’m going to miss the ethereal, buttery maple biscuit. I remember my first biscuit – it was on on a Friday, before I realized that I could reserve a bagel, on a busy morning when they had run out. I picked it up reluctantly – despite my love of bagels, I don’t really eat very much of these flour-laden things. And so that biscuit. I took it out the bag as I walked over the bridge, and I had to stop walking because I was having a biscuit epiphany and literally could not keep on going. This was one of the best things I had ever put in my mouth. I may in fact miss this biscuit more than any thing else.

I’m going to miss the hard boiled eggs (three) that I’d pick up for breakfast, and eat slowly throughout the morning.

I’m going to miss turning down the Thursday donuts. And the doughssant craze. And the cinnamon buns (which I never actually ended up trying!).

I’m going to miss Joanne (another regular). She’s the artist. She even painted one of the cows!

I’m going to miss the coffee refills.

I’m going to miss the regulars from the office across the street who’d put up a sign in the window announcing how many bagels they’d like to reserve on Friday.

I’m going to miss that guy with the really impressive Lincoln beard. Yeah, seriously great facial hair.

I’m going to miss those mini quiches that they stopped making earlier in the year. I already missed them for months, and was hoping that they’d return soon.

I’m going to miss the drinks that I rarely got – those stupendous ones with things like ganache in them. I didn’t even know you could put ganache in coffee.

I’m going to miss the croissant yesterday which I ate because there were no maple biscuits left and I thought that I might as well try it given that I’m not going to ever get to eat it again. Dear lord was it a delicious croissant.

I’m going to miss Kaylee, Megan, and Amanda – who saw me most of the time before my morning caffeine (yikes!) and made me feel at home.

Salmon Bagel and Coffee

Sportello Pastries

Sportello Donut Day

Quiche and Coffee


Maple Biscuit Sportello

Iced Coffee


Bagels and Coffee

Bagels on the tray

Goodbye Sportello mornings, you will be missed.

Just a cup.

I decided this morning that I’m going to try to go back to one cup of coffee a day.

At some point, my single cup of coffee in the morning turned into two, and then one mid-afternoon, and then all too often one at five – my crutch to get me through the terrible shock to my system that is daylight savings. This darkness before five is oppressive!

Now, the coffee itself, it’s not all that bad of a habit, and most of the coffee I drink is black, so there’s no impetus to cut back to avoid excess sugar. So why change? Here’s the problem: I love the taste of coffee, and the ritual, and sometimes this means that I drink more than I really need – and I don’t like it when caffeine becomes a craving rather than an “optional”.

So here’s my intention. One cup, in the morning. For the rest of the day, I’ll refill with hot water – my favorite form of hydration. If I feel so inclined to take a 5pm special treat once in a while, so be it, but it won’t be every day.


It’s been quite some time since I’ve shared my daily gratitude exercise here, but I try to come up with a small list on a regular basis that captures the things I’m thankful for. Years in this still feels a little hippy dippy, but being able to acknowledge the good around me really helps me feel better about life.

The little things:

smart and thoughtful coworkers. people who make me happy to show up every day, who are positive, hardworking, and caring.

sandwich fixins’. minus the bread. arugula, mozzarella, prosciutto, basil. also, coworkers that don’t mock me for dumping the contents of several sandwiches into my plate, and leaving a sad heap of bread cast-offs.

new strings. some of the guitars in the house are getting some attention tonight – they aren’t my instruments, but seeing new strings put on, and necks lovingly polished, and then listening to the tuning – is delightful.

twinkle lights. we have our string of lights up all year long in the living room – it always feels magical.

the gently vibrating alarm on my Jawbone Up. way better than getting woken aggressively by a phone alarm, and even though I usually wake up a few minutes before it goes off, it’s still quite comforting.

IOU’s. the parking lot credit card machine was broken tonight, and the attendant waved me off, telling me to pay the next time I was in.

dear book club friends, on our non-book club night, at the bar. added bonus of nostalgia from my college days studying poetry with chili and a pint at the bar (Dunn-Gaherin’s)

One cup at a time.

Last year, around this time, I was immersing myself in a challenge at my gym: focusing on whole foods, cooking, improving my fitness, and increasing general happiness. During this challenge – and let’s face it, I love any sort of challenge – I re-dedicated myself to my writing practice. I made a commitment to journal, free write, blog, and to scrap the hundred of drafts, the worrying, the “is it good enough?” and just publish. I largely stuck with it, and enjoyed the process immensely. This year I’m not doing the gym challenge, but I have a nice race lineup scheduled, I’m working on some new fitness goals, and I have a superb positive attitude email chain with a group of women I’m friends with. It’s a sort of low stress, mini-challenge, and I’m looking so forward to it!

There’s excitement buzzing as we transition into fall, and I’m focusing on being present, making lots of things, and sharing them with the world. Last week Martha Stewart posted about organizing her Basket House (yes, that’s right, she has a house full of baskets), and  although I don’t have a basket house, I do like organizing things. My first almost-fall project? Improve my morning ritual, by de-cluttering my mug situation. 

The set-up: My first step was making a new shelf for my mugs, which you can see in that top picture there. Instead of stacking and stashing my mugs in a cupboard, I took the top of one of my metal kitchen shelves, lined it with cute cork placemats from IKEA, and laid out all my mugs in full view. And because the vessel is just as important as the drink, I also introduced three new mugs into the family, to accompany my favorite Japanese cups and my little Heath Ceramics mug. All three, above, are from Starbucks. Yep. Mass-market, on sale, non-handcrafted mugs. But look how shiny and pretty they are! No regrets!

My morning ritual: most mornings I get up and brew myself a cup of coffee. Either a single cup, with my drip filter, or my aeropress, or if I’m feeling like I need a large dose of caffeine, my French press, or if I’m feeling European, on the stovetop in my Bialetti espresso maker. I go through a variety of coffees: Blue Bottle beans when I have them, or a custom blend from Zabar’s, or something from a local roaster – lately, I’ve been digging Fazenda and George Howell. For espresso or Turkish coffee, I usually use Turkish Mehmet Efendi, or in a pinch my standby espresso powder from IKEA. To accompany my new mug shelf, I also organized all of my coffee tools in one place. Win!

Of course, lest you think I’m all coffee, all the time, I must protest. In the afternoons, I drink tea.

Do you have a favorite mug?

Winter Morning

Morning bed. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who ends up with five blankets on when the weather is cold and snowflakes are coming down. The sky looks like this:

The antidote: Zabar’s coffee.

Shot with my new Nikon D700. (My dream camera!)