Tag Archives: my office

Military Tanks

22 Dec

It’s late in the morning, and I’m drinking a cup of black coffee that has turned cold because of how slowly I’ve been drinking it.  I’m sitting Indian style on my chair and editing a book on military tanks.

Normally, a weaponry book would get on my nerves.  I’d wonder what choices I’d made in my career that got me to the point that I’m editing books so far from my own gushy interests of literature and birds and art.

Today, though, I’m reminded of another morning.  I remember riding the bus into Manhattan with my dad, passing the Teaneck Armory, and my dad telling me about his days serving in the Greek army.  My dad’s rather private, a trait that runs deep in the family, and I had never really heard him talk about being in the army.  Even though it’s required of all Greek males to serve in the Greek army, the detail that my father served in the army never really cliqued in my mind.  It made me realize how some details in our lives slip away, forgotten until triggered by a source outside us.

Some stories we share over and over again, til the point our friends roll their eyes from having to hear it again.  Other stories we burrow away.  Maybe because they’re painful to remember.  Or maybe because they just seem insignificant.

My Material World Project: Hazelnut Eight O’Clock Coffee

18 Jul

The coffee at my office is undrinkable.  It’s not just that it’s often weak, it’s that it tastes like old coffee grinds.  Maybe I got a little spoiled from my previous job.  Prior to this job, I worked for a company that had an on-site chef, who often whipped up fresh juice combinations and smoothies in the test kitchen.  Even the employees’ kitchen was well-stocked with a wide variety of flavored coffees so I could select blueberry or cinnamon roll, depending on my craving.

I’m not a huge coffee snob.  I can enjoy a good cup of diner coffee.  But the coffee here just doesn’t cut it.  There’s a great Swedish coffee shop called FIKA, which I used to stop into on my way to work.  We Swedes know how to make coffee.  Lately, though, I’ve been making my coffee at home before I leave for work.  I’ve been taste-testing my way through different brands and flavors.  The last three bags, though, have all been what I grew up on:  Hazelnut Eight O’Clock Coffee.

My mom is a coffee fiend.  I don’t remember ever seeing her drink water when I was growing up.  It was always a hot cup of hazelnut coffee.  With the coffee machine always on, the kitchen had a warm, sweet smell to it.  To this day, the smell of hazelnut coffee relaxes me and makes me feel comforted.  It makes me feel close to my mom.

Since she lives in Greece and I live in New York, I don’t get to see her all that often.  Maybe it’s silly, but drinking the same brand and flavor that she always drank has made me feel a little closer to her these past few weeks.

This morning, as I was drinking a cup of horrid office coffee (it’s been one of those days when a single cup at home just isn’t enough…), I remembered a factoid I learned when I was reading up on Louie Psihoyos for the post I wrote on the photographer/film director and his efforts to save the whales: he was a major contributor to the UN-sponsored “Material World Project,” a traveling show of portraits of families around the world with their material possessions.  The above photograph is a shot of the coffeepot that my friend Mario gave me one year for Christmas (thank you!) and a bag of hazelnut Eight O’Clock Coffee that I took the other day.  The only thing missing is my mom.