Aaah, The Early Morning: Coffee, A Puzzle, And A Fine Song

Hello one and all. It is afternoon as I begin to write this story on the fourth day of October of 2018, the year that is rapidly disappearing in our collective rearview mirror. Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring that up! Get your eyes off of that mirror! Even though it ain’t a wonderful thing that our expiration dates are getting closer with each passing second, there’s no point dwelling on that. If it had been up to me, I’ll note nonetheless, the design and nature of the cosmic game we’re parts of would be a whole lot different, a whole lot more user-friendly, than they are. But, par for the course, I wasn’t consulted.

Still, despite my dissatisfaction with how the world and universe turn, there’s one time of day that I am almost always glad to greet: The first hour after I arise at 6:30 AM, when the potential troubles of the day normally haven’t yet reared their f*cking heads, and there’s nary a peep coming from within my house.

“What, do I disturb Your Majesty when I come downstairs in the morning?” my wife Sandy, who snuck up on me to take a look at the mighty words that I’m typing, just snarled at me.

“No, no, not at all. You are the sunshine of my life. You are the apple of my eye. You . . . ”

Oooh! Sandy has unloaded three big, fat kisses upon the crown of my head, one for each of its remaining strands of hair. See? It pays to be complimentary. And it pays to have three strands of hair. Now, there’s a couple of life lessons for ya!

Where was I? Oh yeah, the first hour after I jump, or should I say stagger, out of bed, leaving Sandy to her dreams.

This is my general routine: After visiting the bathroom I head into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of joe. The coffee always is waiting for me, for I fill our Mr. Coffee machine with ground coffee and H2O an hour before hitting the sack, and then set Mr. C’s timer to begin the brewing process at 6:25 AM. The coffee without fail tastes vibrant and strong, because I use a lot of ground coffee in proportion to water, and have discovered over time a number of java brands that really make the grade.

Being a guy who’s happy to provide public service, I’m now going to impart what might be useful information to some: Try combining two or three coffees to create your own personal blend. The flavors and intensities most likely will be very complimentary. If they’re not, then experiment till you find a blend that suits your taste. Me, I use three coffees, one of them decaf, in equal proportions. The current choices are Melitta’s Classic Decaf, Melitta’s Columbian Supreme and Lavazza’s Intenso. I tell you, just writing about my morning beverage is setting me all aquiver. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s jolt!

Okay, getting back to October 4: Filled cup in hand, I relocated to the living room sofa at 6:45 AM, as usual. And also as usual I opened my laptop and signed onto the BrainBashers website to bring up its selection of sudoku puzzles. Man, how did I live for so many years with no awareness of sudoku, a captivating numbers puzzle that I first attempted seven years ago? It didn’t take long for me to become an addict.

I felt content and subtly happy as I filled in numbers on a BrainBashers sudoku grid, giving my flabby brain its daily dose of exercise. And I became even happier when I flipped on my portable radio, something that I rarely do, silence-seeker that I ordinarily am at that time of morning. Lo and behold, at 6:59 a terrific, endearing song (Homesick) by The Marcus King Band burst forth from WXPN, a Philadelphia station. I think that Homesick helped speed my way through the puzzle’s nooks and crannies. At my discouragingly advanced age I need all the help I can get. Here’s Homesick:

So, the time has arrived for my second public service announcement: If ever you have the chance to see The Marcus King Band in concert, don’t toss it away. I plan to catch them when they pass through Philadelphia next month. They are tremendous, a young Southern rock/soul group whose leader (Marcus) plays electric guitar, well, electrifyingly. They knocked me out when I watched them on Conan O’Brien’s late night television show in August. And they knocked out Conan too, leaving him kind of gaga. These guys, I firmly predict, are going to become big. Here’s the band’s performance on Conan’s program:

I’ve now performed two good deeds in one day. Who knew that writing could be so fulfilling? Without a doubt I’ve earned myself a reward! And I know who will be delighted to bestow it upon me.

“Oh, Sandy! I think I discovered a fourth strand of hair. The crown of my head sure could use another kiss.”

“Oh yeah?” says Sandy from 60 feet away. “I’ve already blessed your scalp three times today. That’s my limit. I’m done.”

Shit! Life ain’t fair! I need a nap. Over and out, till next time.

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments. Thanks.)

107 thoughts on “Aaah, The Early Morning: Coffee, A Puzzle, And A Fine Song

  1. eden baylee October 10, 2018 / 12:06 am

    Thanks for introducing me to a new band. I’ll have to learn more about their music. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 10, 2018 / 11:13 am

      Hi Eden. I’m not Nostradamus but, like I mentioned in the story, I’m pretty sure they are going to become very popular.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. barrydjd October 10, 2018 / 12:28 am

    Thumbs up on the Sudoku – I do one a day. I don’t get smarter, I just use up time. By the way, since you began writing on the 4th and just published it on the 10th, does that mean you might have been imbibing something stronger than coffee and lost your concentration?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 10, 2018 / 11:17 am

      Yeah, I started it on the 4th. But I reworked it and tweaked it various times over the following days. That’s pretty much what I always do.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve Higgins October 10, 2018 / 12:53 am

    A puzzle, yes I’m with you all the way. A fine song, yes I love my music and subscribe to the if music be the food of love stuff etc, ok. Coffee? No can do my friend. Ever tried a nice cup of tea in a morning?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 10, 2018 / 11:19 am

      Hi Steve. I’m definitely into tea. I have iced tea in the afternoon during warmer days. And in the winter I usually have hot tea at night.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 10, 2018 / 11:21 am

      The world would be a sadder place without coffee. I might be wrong, but I think that I read that hot coffee first was drunk, centuries ago, in the Middle East.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. America On Coffee October 10, 2018 / 1:52 am

    This is a real invite to share coffee with you. A very warm, intimate hospitality!β˜•πŸ’•πŸ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alyson October 10, 2018 / 2:43 am

    Thanks for sharing your own particular morning routine with us. A fine song by the band you’ve just introduced us to as well – You are lucky to have that local radio station.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson October 10, 2018 / 11:44 am

        The link works! What a small world we live in. The radio station I usually tune in to is going through a few big changes at the moment (which I’m not happy with) so this could be an interesting alternative!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Paddy Tobin October 10, 2018 / 3:48 am

    The morning coffee is a permanent American concern, it seems, and from an across the Atlantic perspective it has become almost a cartoon comic icon of the States. With such interest it always puzzled me why, in the name of god, there seems to be such difficulty in making the “good cup of coffee”. In a country of tea drinkers we are firmly coffee drinkers – my wife’s grandaunt and her husband lived for many years in New York before retiring home to Ireland. They brought the love of coffee with them – and blue cheese…nobody would have dreamed of eating mouldy cheese here before they arrived! Bewleys is a coffee shop/cafe/restaurant in Dublin, our capital city, and they market their own brand of ground coffee. We have used it for years and, though we have tried other brands, have never found another to our enjoyment.

    I compare your morning routine to mine and am glad I have a few more strands than you. Rising so early strikes me as unnatural, certainly against my nature but we must ….. here comes two year old grandson to be minded for the day! That’s how my day is going!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 10, 2018 / 11:29 am

      Hey there, Paddy. Not sure if I’ve run across Bewley’s in any of the stores I go to, but I’ll keep my eyes open for it. Maybe they have distribution in the States. Have a good day —

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paddy Tobin October 10, 2018 / 3:00 pm

        It’s an Irish company and I doubt if they export to the States. You’ll have to visit!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 10, 2018 / 11:32 am

      You know, I’ve read that per capita coffee consumption is far higher in some countries that don’t grow coffee, as opposed to those countries where it’s grown (Ethiopia, Brazil, and others). I think I saw in an article that Finland has the highest per capita consumption in the world.


  7. Joanne Sisco October 10, 2018 / 6:29 am

    Morning coffee – yes. Manna from heaven. I have only one a day and it better be hot, fresh, and strong. For reasons I can’t explain, this morning’s coffee – the exact same brew as yesterday – is missing the mark. I think it may be one of ‘those’ days.

    After coffee, there is no routine. My days tend to be anything goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 10, 2018 / 11:34 am

      Hi Joanne. I’ve also noticed that on some days the coffee comes out a little stronger than on others. I think it has to do with the mood that my Mr. Coffee machine is in!


      • Joanne Sisco October 11, 2018 / 8:43 am

        Thankfully today’s coffee was on point and therefore all is good πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  8. joyce hamilton October 10, 2018 / 8:01 am

    Your coffee sounds delicious . …l can almost smell it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. tylerus October 10, 2018 / 8:16 am

    Six months ago I gave up coffee. The initial plan was to give up caffeine, but the headaches wouldn’t allow it. So-o, thought I’d “caffeine-down” to tea and then to nothing. Well, that didn’t work. Guess I’m a caffeine junkie . . . and guess who’s now an avid tea drinker? Yup, the gal who loathed the beverage all her life! Just goes to show. People can and do change. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 10, 2018 / 11:38 am

      Tea is a good way to greet the morning. There probably are more tea drinkers in the world than coffee drinkers.


  10. Deb October 10, 2018 / 9:14 am

    Now why have I never thought to blend coffees?? Brilliant Neil. I am going to attempt this, thanks πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. greenpete58 October 10, 2018 / 9:16 am

    The only reason I show up at work is for the coffee. It’s not very good (Folger’s), but it’s free.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. C C Cedras October 10, 2018 / 9:28 am

    I do NOT understand why WordPress will not allow me to β€œlike” posts on your blog, dammit. I’m logged in and everything. Dammit.

    Anyway, bless Sandy for paying homage to your gradually emerging pate. You, obviously, subscribe to the same coffee-making and drinking philosophy that my sister does (save she never ever ever adds decaf to hers). I am unable to drink her coffee, even with additives, and I normally drink my coffee black; however, it is the FIRST thing I must have in the morning before I can even contemplate anything else. Fergus has learned to wait patiently for his breakfast and trip to the outdoors.

    Thanks for the intro to Marcus King!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. andrewcferguson October 10, 2018 / 10:16 am

    What a positive, life-affirming fellow you are sir! I’ll check out your new band shortly. I normally try to limit myself to a single good belt of caffeine in the afternoon, when my energy levels at work start to flag, although in Spain, there’s nary a meal goes by without a cafe solo – their espresso. Keep that Joe flowing!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. andrewcferguson October 10, 2018 / 10:22 am

    PS a tight rhythm section, a saxophone, great keys, and a front man that can play a cherry red Gibson up to its design capabilities – what’s not to like? Thanks for the introduction!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 10, 2018 / 11:47 am

      I hope to be at the band’s show when they pass thru Philly next month. An awful lot of bands these days don’t use, or barely use, electric guitars. But this band is trying to keep the electric guitar alive. Marcus can really play that thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. JT Twissel October 10, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    I gave up coffee years ago but just couldn’t resist trying the coffee in Montreal and that was all she wrote. Now I’m hooked again. I like the band – very energetic.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ann Coleman October 10, 2018 / 4:34 pm

    Thanks for the videos! The Marcus King Band is very good. As for morning routines, they are wonderful…especially when we have the house all to ourselves and don’t have to face the demands of the day quite yet. I don’t drink coffee, but a morning glass of Diet Coke always makes me happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. annika October 11, 2018 / 12:27 am

    Your morning routine sounds wonderful, things are slightly more hectic here. And you’ve got me trying to figure out how I can have a cup of chai ready for me when I get into the kitchen each morning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 11, 2018 / 6:32 am

      Hello Annika. Yes, the timer on my coffee brewer has become a pal of mine. I never used the timer until a year ago. Glad I decided to give it a shot. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it.

      Neil S.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. cincinnatibabyhead October 11, 2018 / 12:52 am

    Just added Marcus to the playlist. Good stuff. I kissed a guy on the head once. ‘m not ashamed to admit it.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. As much cake as you want October 11, 2018 / 6:36 am

    I’m reading this with my early morning coffee and am having a good chuckle. Yes, this time of the day before everything gets going is nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 11, 2018 / 7:33 am

      Hi. Morning coffee in a peaceful atmosphere is hard to beat. Thanks for dropping by. Enjoy the rest of the day!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. sniderjerry October 11, 2018 / 8:55 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to me – I consider your essay a gift for the occasion. And here is a public service announcement for you and your readers next time you log on to play, try Lumosity Brain games – you can play several for free.Got keep those brain cells jumping. All the best. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Isabelle October 11, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    I watched both clips and I can see the appeal, Neil. And yes, Marcus King has really got a good grasp of the electric guitar. Combining different coffee brands are new to me, will definitely try it. Talk soon, Isabelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 11, 2018 / 7:41 pm

      Hello there, Isabelle. Yes, give the coffee-blending idea a try. I have a feeling that you will enjoy the results. Bye for now —

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Jacqui Murray October 12, 2018 / 10:36 am

    I have to say, I was gobsmacked when I realized that all coffee doesn’t taste like generic brew. I now drink only Arbuckles (brew of the old West, comes with a peppermint stick) because it is so darn smooth. I like the blending suggestion. When I get tired of the version I’m on now, I think I’ll try that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 12, 2018 / 12:59 pm

      Hi. I was at a throughway service plaza yesterday. It didn’t have a Starbucks, so I got coffee from Dunkin Donuts. It was dishwater!

      Have a great weekend, Jacqui.


  23. selizabryangmailcom October 12, 2018 / 2:08 pm

    Morning coffee while a great song is playing. What else is there? And after opening up this blog and seeing “64 responses” to it….there isn’t much more that can be said! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 12, 2018 / 2:46 pm

      Going off-topic, I just want to mention that I’m about to leave the house to see First Man. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Stacey. Take care —


  24. tanjabrittonwriter October 12, 2018 / 10:09 pm

    Hi Neil,
    Try as I might, I am unable to leave a like on your post, something is up either with your account, or with mine. I am trying these lines as a test, not sure I can submit them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 12, 2018 / 11:10 pm

      Hi there. Your comments arrived. WordPress can be glitchy. My stats page was acting all weird today, for instance. I hope it heals!

      Liked by 1 person

      • tanjabrittonwriter October 14, 2018 / 6:35 pm

        Thank you, Neil. So far, no luck. I sent an e-mail to WP to ask for help, I hope they can figure out what is wrong.
        I wish you a good week.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Cindy October 15, 2018 / 12:24 am

    Great tunes! Marcus and his band remind me a lot of the Allman Brothers–do you think so? It’s a good thing you don’t have as many strands of hair as Marcus does–you’d never get anything done, what with Sandy kissing your head all day. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  26. viewfromoverthehill October 15, 2018 / 1:04 am

    COFFEE! Where’s mine? I’m addicted to the stuff. Morning without coffee would be worse than being locked up in the slammer. Tea? Forget it. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 15, 2018 / 7:13 am

      I didn’t start drinking coffee till I was around 30. But for the last 40 or so years I’ve been hooked. See ya, Muriel.


  27. pjlazos October 15, 2018 / 11:59 pm

    You’re a lucky man. You’ve got your coffee… You’ve got Sandy…

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Cristina Crawford October 16, 2018 / 11:22 am

    How I admire ANYONE who does Sudoku. My hubby– the physicist– does them in ink! Showoff….and I right? Alas, for me, It hurts my brain too much to even spell the word. All the java in the world (and I drink espresso…black…first thing in the a.m.) doesn’t seem to help fire up those brain cells for logic-based puzzles. Thankfully I fare better with crossword puzzles so I don’t feel like a complete dolt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 16, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      Good to hear from you, Cristina. I like the idea of espresso first thing in the morning. Maybe I’ll start doing that now and then. By the way, you and your husband might like the puzzle website I mentioned in this story. It’s got all kinds of puzzles in varying degrees of difficulty. See ya —

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Fictionophile October 17, 2018 / 9:32 am

    Love your joy in ‘the little things’. They are truly what makes life sweet. As the saying goes “Enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize they are the ‘big’ things”.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Anonymous October 17, 2018 / 2:54 pm

    If you ever need stronger coffee, I saw this brand in a Vermont country store: Wake the F#$* Up! coffee (except really written out).


    Liked by 1 person

  31. alhenry October 17, 2018 / 11:38 pm

    Wow Neil, we must be on the same Northeast wavelength–the connoisseur coffee mix to start the day (though I start it two hours later–further north, you know), the brainteasing puzzle–Ed and I do the London Times cryptic crossword together every morning over breakfast. And music–who can even think of functioning without tunes? Great minds, you know, approach the morning alike, though I do have rather more than three hairs (knock wood!). Top of the morning to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 18, 2018 / 7:11 am

      You know, I like crossword puzzles. I attempt a few each week. But I became hooked on sudoku in 2011. There’s something about trying to figure out which number goes into each blank box. Anyway, we’re keeping our brain cells lubricated by doing puzzles of any sort. Have an excellent day, Amy. Bye till next time.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. johnlmalone October 18, 2018 / 5:00 pm

    an entertaining read; seems you’re a creature of routine just like me, and a coffee lover to boot. never tried Sudoku but me and my partner regularly play scrabble and other word games πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 18, 2018 / 8:46 pm

      Hi John. Scrabble is terrific. It’s a lot of fun, and sometimes very frustrating! Thanks for the visit. See ya.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. jeanleesworld October 19, 2018 / 6:20 am

    Thank you for your public service announcements! πŸ™‚ I’m one for morning coffee and peace, too. I love using pre-dawn time to drink coffee and catch up on other writers’ sites while setting up my own marketing posts for the day. If one of my kids–usually Bash–gets up early, my WHOLE rhythm gets knocked on its side, and I’m a crank all day. That morning solitude is precious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 19, 2018 / 7:49 am

      Hey there, Jean. I’m reading your comments while sipping my second cup of coffee this morning. And I finished a Sudoku puzzle a little while ago. This is a routine I don’t get tired of. See you —

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeanleesworld October 19, 2018 / 10:12 am

        Ditto. When I was a kid I didn’t understand why my mom got up so early just to eat cereal and watch the news. Toooootally get it now. I’d rather not have that extra hour of sleep if it means a bit of peaceful reading and a hot cup of good coffee. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  34. Marietta Rodgers October 19, 2018 / 1:51 pm

    Thank you ole mixologist of coffee! I’ve actually never thought of mixing my coffee. I’m not sure why, because I’ve mixed sodas, I guess it somehow seemed sacrilege. I shall try it and report my findings.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. M. A. Lossl October 20, 2018 / 4:30 am

    I enjoy your posts. I love Mr Coffee. Is that a brand name or your pet name for the machine? The Japanese, I believe, readily imbue inanimate objects, with personalities. It’s rather heartwarming. I had a chest of drawers, that we brought back from France in our soft top car. We call it Jean-Pierre! The chest of drawers that is, not the car. Of course being British my go to morning brew, is tea. 30 years ago, there was a gizmo, rather like Mr Coffee, that made tea called a Teasmaid (brand name). Now it’s fallen from grace. Long may Mr C reign πŸ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 20, 2018 / 7:13 am

      Hi M.A.
      I like the idea of giving pet names to objects, but I didn’t come up with Mr. Coffee. It’s a brand name. However, my wife and I have a kite that we fly a handful of times each year. We’ve named it Cosmo. Thanks for stopping by. See you —

      Liked by 1 person

  36. SpiritualJourney17 October 20, 2018 / 10:48 pm

    Depends on my mood I’ll either drink coffee or tea in the mornings. I’m impressed with the different coffee mixes. I’m gonna try it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Cathy Cade October 22, 2018 / 12:17 pm

    Not a coffee connoisseur, but with you on the Java – and the sudoku… in all its forms

    Liked by 1 person

  38. hiba9763 October 24, 2018 / 12:31 am

    I’m reading your post while drinking my morning cup of coffee !! I gotta say that those songs you shared gave me good vibes ! I like that kind of music so i’m glad i stopped by your blog this morning !! thank youu !!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. acomediansguidetoenlightenment October 24, 2018 / 11:06 pm

    1- The exchange between you, Sandy, and your three (questionably 4) strands of hair made me smile.
    2- To wake up at 6:30am has been a long term goal of mine. I admire you… from my bed fast asleep.
    3- Great recommendation about the band. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Dave Ply November 4, 2018 / 11:07 pm

    Coffee and my taste buds tend to have violent disagreements, ergo my drug of choice is good strong black tea. Sudoku also provides me with morning mental calisthenics, whether it prevents atrophy of the old grey matter is questionable, but I like to think it helps. I use an Android app called Sudoku 10,000 Plus, it has a wealth of whatever level of difficulty or help you could hope for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 5, 2018 / 7:10 am

      Many thanks for stopping by, Dave. I like the term “morning mental calisthenics.” Sudoku provides that, for sure. And I find sudoku to be relaxing too. Have a good week —

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Linda Thornton November 7, 2018 / 5:26 pm

    I’m a tea drinker, but I still enjoyed your morning ritual story. Oh, and I bet you have more than 3 hairs on your head. My husband is the same; has been asking me if he has a bald spot for 30 years. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 7, 2018 / 6:38 pm

      Hi Linda. I’m always glad to hear from you. Many thanks for adding your thoughts and observations. How many hairs are on my head? — it’s a secret!


  42. Anthony November 18, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    My coffee combining experiments have been rather disastrous. I was given some strong but not delicious coffee and it just blasts though everything I make. I have been mixing it mostly because I want it gone, but am, obviously, too cheap to through it out.
    I will persevere.

    Liked by 1 person

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