Bleary-eyed, I turned to look at the glowing hellish red of my alarm clock.... 4:49 AM it read, the little colon blinking at me fiendishly... Smirking. My clock was smirking unabashedly at me.
"Why am I awake?" I thought with a cranky sigh... well, it was one of those mornings. One of the earlier ones. We were going to have to get up in less than an hour anyway; 41 minutes to be exact. I rolled onto my side, suddenly flushed and wishing the covers were lighter. Uncomfortably, I forced my eyes closed and stuck one leg out into the cooler air of the bedroom to radiate my extraneous warmth.
"Must. Try. To. Sleep. A. Bit. Longerrrrrrrrrr..." I whispered to myself with a sigh.
Tinkle... rustle, rustle....riiiiip, crunch, crunch, crunch, tinkle, tinkle, tinkle...
"GodDAMN it SEUSS! LEAVE THE BOX ALONE!" I said, slapping my side of the bed frame.
The younger of our two maine coon cats loves to eat inedible things. He particularly loves plastic covered anything, buttons, cardboard and paper. Apparently this morning, it was VERY IMPORTANT that he get into a box full of empty metal film cartridges (tinkle) and a package of letter paper (riiiiip, crunch).
Upon my thumping, he leapt onto the bed, fixed me with a reproachful look and whined pathetically.
"Mmmmmrrow," which translates to, "But you put it under the bed. For me." I grabbed him and none too gently, rolled him up in a corner of the comforter. "Puuurrrrrrrrrrrr," went his motor loudly. Realizing I was cold after having sat bolt upright to holler at the kitty, I scooted back to J, his body delightfully warm....
"DING-DING, DING-DING-DIIIIING-DING," sang the alarm!
J had to be up to catch the early bus, and so I had to be up too. I couldn't in good conscience let him head out to class with no lunch, no breakfast, and therefore no sustenance.
Why is it that whenever a body knows they have to wake up earlier, say an hour or more earlier than usually, to do some extra task in the morning, there appears a tiny, crabby, angry elf that pokes the person in the brain, delightedly waking them up half an hour-ish before the alarm clock sounds?
Conversely, why is it that when one doesn't have to rise early, but say, has an important meeting that day, it's so easy to sleep through the alarm.... I bet that damned elf whispers a spell delicately in the ear of the person. Soothingly it distracts the brain and the auditory system, blocking out the normal body wake-up response... which must be difficult for the little bugger to do without sniggering.
So this morning, we got up early.
It was black outside. The air thick, chalky, dark and with a viscosity that could be likened to molasses.
After sending J on his way with two thermoses full of hot food, a hot breakfast of backyard eggs in his belly from our "cluck-clucks," (Eenie, Meanie, Miney and Moe) and fresh coffee laced with cinnamon, I decided that early or not, molasses or not, I was going for my morning walk.
But first, a shower... and some coffee... and feed the yowling mini-lions...
Somehow, I missed the sunrise. Dag-NAB-IT!
Stepping out into the cool morning light, I was struck by the sky, streaked with blue and pink, the trees reaching and unfurling awkwardly upwards, as if they were caught mid-stretch into a twisted, gnarled positioning of limbs.
It was brisk out and delightfully refreshing. I traded my cranky pants for some cheery ones, my coffee finally kicking in.
Peeking over at the driveway on the North side of my house (I live next to a radio station) I saw that Radio Guy 1 and 2's vehicles were parked in their regular spots on the East side of the building. Thinking to myself that I hadn't bothered them in a while, I decided I should bring them some cake.
Everyone likes treats. Most people like cake.
I am frequently messing around in my kitchen due to food allergies, and I quite enjoy doling out my sweet-treat experiments forcefully and cheerfully onto my neighbors, most of whom are male and many who find it exceedingly difficult to say "No, thank you," to a redhead in an apron holding a plate of something warm that smells like chocolate, vanilla, pumpkin, or all three.
Last night I'd made an organic red-velvet cake (gluten-free and vegan because I cannot eat eggs or wheat) on a whim, simply because I'd never made one. It turned out LOVELY.
J is always marveling at my cooking capacity, because I don't often measure when I bake (or cook), nor do I set timers for things. I have always found that it's simply easy for me to eyeball/feel measurements, and I "just know," when it's time to take something off the stove or out of the oven. My grandmother was the same way.
I know that there are a lot of folks out there who believe you MUST MEASURE, especially when baking. I say, do whatever works for you as an individual.
Surprisingly, and contrary to some published popular opinions, my method does NOT mean that 90% of the time, I have burnt or raw, half-done disgusting things in my kitchen. In reality, my friends and family (many of whom suck at lying) tell me I'm a darn good cook.
On the exceedingly rare occasion that something's not come out edible as well as pretty for my efforts, it's usually because I was emotionally upset while creating said dish. No kidding. I cannot cook ANYTHING when I'm out of sorts, because it's a recipe for disaster.
If I'm angry, sad, grumpy or distraught it is INEVITABLE that the cake will stick to the pan, the cookies will burn, the pot will boil over, the sauce will scald, and the veggies will dry out and harden, and I will be a giant GRUMP GRUMP.
Cooking digression now finished... The guys next door like cake, so I brought some over.
We then had a nice discussion covering topics such as why Jake, the amazing golden retriever (who was lying at my feet) wasn't acting like himself, why work is amazing until people get involved, and how it's really frightening when folks over the age of 90 who can't bear to have their independence or their driver's license taken away, decide to solve their navigation/transportation problems by having their grandchildren "tell them directions and when to turn, signal and stop," or by "memorizing where the stop-signs are."
Just in case any of you were wondering, when I'm old and spunky, my grand-babies (provided they have passed their driver's license exam) will be carting me around.
Yes, that's right. I'm going to have lil' chauffeurs. Which reminds me of when my cousins and I would drive our Mimi around.... Hmmm, must blog about some Mimi stories... she's good stuff.
Which brings me to a thought: This has turned in to a lovely beginning to the day.
Maybe I'm being too Pollyannaish, but I really think that it's the little things that can change something boring and mediocre into something quite wonderful.
Taking the time to have a nice chat over a cup of coffee and some red-velvet cake to discuss dogs, compassion and blue-haired drivers took me from an early, rude awakening into a pleasant peaceful place.
That's a damn fine morning.