the smallest detail

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My favorite time of day is the first couple of hours before the sun comes up.  The quiet of morning makes me feel quite alone in the world, and I enjoy strolling the vacant streets with a cup of coffee.  The walk wakes up my legs and the coffee jolts my mind, and, ever so slowly, people trickle out of their homes and into the streets.  The poetic and incredibly beautiful thing about people in the morning is how determined they seem to begin the day just right.   

If you watch closely, everyone seems to understand their place in the world around 8am – business associates hop determinedly onto bosses, students crack open their books, and shopkeepers swiftly sweep the floors.  As the day progresses, people inevitably feel tired or angry or sad, but in the morning, it just seems like endless hope.

I woke at 7am the first time I slept at Jon’s apartment.  It was a Saturday morning, and I figured he wouldn’t stir for at least another 3 hours.  When I  rolled over, however, I found him watching CNN and sending emails on his laptop.   He kissed my forehead and hopped out of bed:  “You’re up — Let’s get coffee.”  I wiped the sleep from my eyes and thanked my lucky stars for finding me an early riser.  Two mugs today, please.

We crossed the street from our downtown apartment and entered the coffee house on the corner.  I just about keeled over when he grabbed The WSJ like a reflex.  The WSJ is my favorite paper.  

We ordered two black coffees, snuggled into a booth, and divided the paper.  We spent the next few hours reading out loud, swapping stories, asking for opinions, and laughing over the same events.  We occasionally turned away from the paper to indulge in some quality people watching.  
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This is a long story, Reader, but I’m trying to convey the magnitude of our first, seemingly ordinary, Saturday morning together.  Three years later, the Saturday morning routine has become a relationship habit — we wake, brush our teeth, and then we go searching for caffeine and news.  

We were in Chicago this past weekend, and even though we were on vacation, we woke Saturday morning and went searching for the local coffee shop, hand-in-hand.  The power of our relationship ritual was too great to be broken by something as simple as a vacation.  The consistency of our ritual, of the shared morning, coffee, and paper, is something that we look forward to and depend on.  We repeat this Saturday morning tradition, time and time again, because we both find it so fulfilling and happy — down to the smallest detail.   All of our Saturday mornings play out exactly the same way, in a sort of domestic haze, simply because we wouldn’t want them any other way.  We found a moment that we choose, time and time again, to recreate exactly.
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Do you have any relationship rituals?  Families, couples or friends?  Is there something that you look forward to doing, time and time again, with the people dear to you?

Here are some pictures from the weekend Chicago trip:
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existing on coffee and flowers

i have my coffee cup in hand and i’m watching the blooming flowers out the window. i’m feeling perfectly happy on this sunny saturday morning (what a fine trio of words — sunny saturday morning has such a nice ring, don’t you think?)  i’ve been reading poetry, and feeling inspired to share some of my favorite words of wisdom from different authors, artists and poets.  hope the listing gets your morning off to a pleasant start ❤

“There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.” – Emerson

“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.”— St. Catherine of Siena

“Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” – Camille Pissarro

“Don’t save something for a special occasion. Every day of your life is a special occasion.” — Thomas S. Monson

“It is a good and safe rule to sojourn to every place as if you meant to spend your life there, never omitting an opportunity of doing a kindness, or speaking a true word, or making a friend.” — John Ruskin

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” — Earl Nightingale

“I was raised with the idea of beauty in a different way. To me, it is something that really comes out of you and surrounds you.” —Marion Cotillard

“The challenge for those of us who care about a hurting world is to tell stories which will carry the words of grace and hope in their bones.” — Katherine Paterson

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences, good and bad.” — Brené Brown

“I’ll treasure every day that I have with you. For I’ve known what life was like before you and..and since you, and as far as I’m concerned, these are two different lives. And one makes me so very much happier that the other.” — John Shors

“I can get my head turned by a good-looking guy as much as the next girl. But sexy doesn’t impress me. Smart impresses me, strength of character impresses me. But most of all, I am impressed by kindness. Kindness, I think, comes from learning hard lessons well, from falling and picking yourself up. It comes from surviving failure and loss. It implies an understanding of the human condition, forgives its many flaws and quirks. When I see that in someone, it fills me with admiration.” — Lisa Unger

drinking from my saucer cause my cup has over flowed

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“You know I never did make my fortune and I guess it’s a little late now
But I never did worry about that much
No shoot I was happy anyhow cause you see
As I have journeyed down life’s road
I have reaped a lot more than I’ve sowed
And I’m drinking from my saucer cause my cup has over flowed” – Bill Anderson

i came home from a lunch date and found jon home from work early, laying on the couch with roses for our 2 month anniversary.  i grabbed my camera to capture the moment, gave him a kiss, and then thought of the lyric “i’m sipping from my saucer ’cause my cup has overflowed.”  my heart was full, and i wanted to share the poem with you all.

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accidental adventure

i might be up and walking around, but if i haven’t had my coffee up, i’m as good as asleep.  jon and i both believe that morning begins with the first cup of fresh coffee.  when we woke up today, we were out, and so we hit the streets thinking we’d grab something local and then relax in bed.

unfortunately, we woke up earlier than the rest of the city (6am), and so all the shops were still closed.  we kept walking on, thinking the next shop would surely have something, until we’d traveled nearly 2 miles (on foot).

while the excursion wasn’t planned, it ended up being a lot of fun to learn about the neighborhood.  highlights include this house with a mural garage:

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we were close to lake harriet within half an hour, so we decided to sip coffee while we walked the lake:

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by the time we finished, we were ready for lunch, and we made a picnic lakeside.  the accidental adventure turned into a somewhat perfect morning:

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urban bean

i’ve only lived in minneapolis about 2 weeks now, so i’m not an expert on the local weather, but i keep hearing people exclaim that we’ve had a more rainy spring than usual.  i surely hope their exclamations are warranted, because we’ve only had about 3 sunny days this season (luckily, one of them fell on my wedding day).

while most people dislike rainy days, i find that they are rather perfect for relaxing indoors with coffee and a book. which, fortunately, i can do for hours (or days, in this case).

to switch things up, i’ve taken to trying new coffee spots, and the exploration has paid off greatly: i discovered the urban bean.  now, i’m a bit of a coffee snob (who isn’t, really? don’t we all drink it at least once a day?) and i’m telling you this place is delicious.  but i’m not sure it’s really just about the coffee — it probably has just as much to do with the quaint space, the mellow tunes, the decorative blooms.

with coffee shops like this, the rain can just keep coming…

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hint, try the vegan hollybars — they are delicious.

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window view from my seat:

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me taking creepy photos of the people next to me:

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happy gnome

now that i’m settled into my new apartment, it’s time to get to the important details of city living: discover the best local coffee, find a secluded place to read, and find a populated spot to people watch.

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the coffee came first, as it usually does at 7am.  there were two contenders on my street corner:

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and

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i know dunn brothers is a popular minneapolis favorite, and since i’m actually a fan of  Caribou *and* Starbucks, i assumed this would become my new favorite.  i stopped here first, ordered a medium, and then waited, waited, waited, as the barista finished reading her magazine article before making my coffee.  i’m not the most impatient, but there wasn’t even a line.. so i waited. anyway, the place was kind of dark, the coffee was kind of weak, and i was not feeling optimistic when i headed across the street for my second cup of jo before 9am.

luckily, jackson’s gelato and coffee was about as opposite from dunn brothers as it could possibly be (maybe that is why they can happily co-exist on the same street corner): the barista was friendly, the  coffee was strong (actually called muddy water), and the crowd was just the type of people i would want to strike up a conversation with.

i knew i had found my spot, however, when i glanced out the window and saw this fellow across the street:

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what a happy gnome!

that’s all for today. tomorrow i find a spot to read, maybe check out the grocery stores? c’est la vie.