addiction starter-set...

it was warm around here for a whole couple days, so now people are  dancing through the streets, burning their insulated coats, and singing songs about Spring.

however, as it looked like this just a week ago, i am (decidedly) still not convinced.

truth be told, i had a really rough Winter, so i am definitely looking forward to Spring... once i convince myself that it is finally here. i have no idea how people handle life at even higher latitudes, as that 'Winter gloom' is really hard to bear, especially when your mood tends toward gloom on even the best of days. so, while there is a lot of rain in the forecast (it rained all day), there should be plenty of sunshine ahead.

it occurred to me recently that i have a habit of mentioning stuff in this forum, with the claim that i will talk more about it "next time around"... by which point, i am on to some wholly unrelated topic. so, i want to make a concerted effort in the next few posts to revisit some of that already-forgotten stuff. that is, if i can remember what i intended to say in the first place. this will not end well. trust me.

last time around, i mentioned that i had been drinking Turkish coffee. well, that part remains true. i have been drinking Turkish coffee...

and drinking Turkish coffee...

and drinking even more Turkish coffee.

it is his mom's preferred hot beverage, so she is most enthusiastic to get me addicted to the stuff. she even gifted me the pair of handmade mini cup-and-saucer sets she bought back when they lived in France (where my favorite animator was born). so, like many many... manyyy years ago.

note the checkered coat of arms from the Croatian flag on the side of the cup. i thought Caribbean folks were ridiculous with the constant need to display flags on everything, regardless of where we may have drifted to in the diaspora. turns out Croatians are just the same.

me: i thought she got them in France.
him: she did.
me: but it has a Croatian flag on it.
him: everything has a Croatian flag on it.  
me: that is true.

it should be noted that i usually drink hot beverages from my bucket-sized mug of wonderment, so this little cup is like something to rest the teabag in after a good steep.

so tiny. so cute.

the cups and saucers have only ever lived behind the glass doors of a china cabinet, so you know it was a big deal for them to be placed in my care. i used them exactly TWO times before nerves got the best of me. so now i mostly look at them from a safe distance, with admiration... and with fear. 

as a result, most of my Turkish coffees have been sipped from either one of the small glass cups we got as free gifts inside packets of tea from the Middle Eastern grocery store.

or, from one of the several Batman mugs knocking around our home. everyone i know has a few of these things. Batman Forever may have been a train wreck, but boy do i (still) love these mugs! this particular one is The Joker.

the hardest part of making Turkish coffee is developing that lovely creamy layer on the top. this, according to all of the You Tube videos i watched on the subject, is considered to be an essential part of the drink. there is no dairy involved, so it takes a bit of practice (and patience) to figure out that part.

luckily, my favorite animator—who, i might add, does not drink coffee—was most supportive in encouraging me to make as many cups as was necessary to get it right. the early efforts were pathetic. the cat is closing her eyes in shame.

getting better, sorta.

i eventually got the hang of thing. i actually had to blow a little opening in the creamy layer to show the contrast with the coffee.

it should be noted that Turkish coffee (left) is ground super-fine and has a texture approaching cocoa powder, while the coffee i use in my French press (right) looks more like burnt coarse cornmeal. random aside: i have been on a super-dark-roast kick of lately, so my "regular" coffee looks like pulverized charcoal.

additionally, the ground Turkish coffee is usually added directly to the water. they even make special pots for it. they look like metal corn cob pipes. this one was part of my addiction starter-set. note the pen for scale. my starter-set also included a bag of her favorite ground coffee. the woman is thorough in her enabling.

water, sugar (totally optional), and the ground coffee are added to the pot, which is placed on the burner. when the coffee is ready to go, the whole thing is poured into the cup. the fine grounds settle at the bottom of the cup, so you leave that bit behind when drinking the coffee.

so, now i am back to being hooked on coffee... again. last time around, it took a couple years to break the addiction, and i managed to develop a few even-more-absurd habits along the way. but that is a story that i will save for some other day.


new gnus...

me: i want to add a banner to my blog. can you draw a picture for me to use?
him: ooh... that's a good idea. what did you have in mind?
me: i don't know. something cute. maybe some cartoony gnus doing all the random pointless stuff i like to do.
him: that's a really good idea.

that was three years ago.

i did offer the occasional friendly reminder, but he is usually rather busy, so i did not really press the point. then, one day, about this time last year, i asked again.

me: uhm... sweetie... you... uhm... remember those gnus you promised to.... uhm... draw for me like... uhm... two years ago... uhm...?
him: i didn't forget your gnus. i've just been so busy.
me: i know, which is why i didn't keep asking about it.
him: well, i was actually thinking about taking a break this Summer. i have a bunch of new drawing software i want to play around with, so i can use your gnus as a test project. 
me: sounds good!

that was a year ago.

Summer came, and we put the studio on pause and went into relaxing-extra-hard mode. then, as Summer was drawing to a close, the phone began to ring every day with Producer/Director/Coordinator-type people planning for the season ahead.

still, there were no gnus.

then, one day, when he had just gotten off the phone, and was scribbling down the details for a meeting, my patience/sanity finally broke.

me: i hate to sound like a pest, but you promised me gnus by the end of the Summer. now you're signing contracts and going to meetings. what about my gnus?
him: look. i was seriously planning on working on your gnus, but it's really intimidating.
me: what in the world are you talking about??? you are a professional artist. you literally get paid to draw all day. 
him: i know. i know. but it's different.
me: how is that possibly different?
him: well... that's not a big deal. that's just for television. this is for you, so it has to be special. 

then he gave me a smile that said he knew he had just charmed his way into an indefinite extension on the drawing of the gnus.

thus defeated, i gave up too... until one day, when inspiration struck anew.

me:  i know how i can get my drawing of some gnus.
him: how are you gonna do that?
me: you know those flyers you see everywhere for local artists advertising their services? and they're usually art students trying to make a bit of money by drawing logos... that sort of thing?
him: yes...?
me: well, i'm gonna hire one of them to draw my gnus. i'll advertise for a first-year art student, and hire the WORST one of them i can find. then i'll add that gnu picture to my blog, along with a note that says, "i asked my favorite animator to draw me some gnus"... and i'll leave it at that.
him: then everyone will think i did it.
me: exactly!
him: you wouldn't dare.
me: oh, we both know that i would. 

and just like that, ladies and gentlemen... i got my new gnus!!!

he recently had a couple weeks of down time between projects, so he managed to squeeze them in... somewhere between gaming and watching a marathon of k-dramas with me. [we watched Joseon X-Files and Vampire Detective, if you need all the details.]

we also ate lots of tasty things, like his dad's walnut strudel. there are no words to describe how much i enjoy this stuff.

and he made me many cups of his mom's favorite Turkish coffee, so now i am back to being a caffeine addict. thanks again, sweetie. there is a story to the coffee and the cups, which i will save for next time around. as for the fluffy, grey kitty... she was keeping me company.

then, he called me into the studio one day, and i was gobsmacked to see a gnu!!!

me: it's lovely... but... uhm... i thought you were going to do something more... you know...
him: ... cartoony? well, i decided to go for something different. let's see your first-year art student do that!
me: i am definitely not complaining. 

so, thank you, sweetie... finally. and i am guessing i should put in a request now for the next drawing, which should be ready in a decade or two.