Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What to Drink From in the Morning

My teaching life is about to step up into full gear again. I'm in teacher workdays this week. They are interesting days with a range of meetings (from rage-inducing and time-wasting to thoughtful and useful), intermixed with far too little time left unscheduled and usable for classroom organization and lesson planning. I miss the days when they just let teachers work on teacher work days.

On Monday, the kids are back.

Something I'm trying this year is getting up earlier and giving myself a positive, well-paced morning to lead into the hectic melee we call the school day. This is challenging. Even after twenty years of teaching, I am not a morning person. The husband and I are trying morning yoga practice and I am trying breakfast.

I'm not a breakfast eater, generally, though I know that it is generally considered a good thing to do for your health and wellbeing. Food is unappealing to me first thing when I wake. And traditional breakfast foods (cereal, milk, yogurt, toast, eggs, etc.) are even less so. It's a little better if I don't eat breakfast foods. Leftover supper warmed up is something I'm trying. Protein heavy. I'm giving it a go, but I'm not a fan.

I am a fan of the hot drink varieties of caffeine though: coffee and tea. Especially tea. And I know that the experience is enhanced when you have the right mug to drink it out of. So, I'm mug shopping--in my own cabinets because I'm a teacher in North Carolina (that means I'm chronically broke because they pay peanuts here).

There are a few different things that make a mug perfect.

First, there's the weight. The mug should have some heft, so that you don't tip it over by just because you flicked your hand awkwardly reaching for the blueberries. But it can't be too heavy, where you end up settling it too heavily on the table and sloshing the liquid heaven onto your hand and tablecloth. Tea is much better INSIDE mama than OUTSIDE.

Then there's the shape of rim and how it feel against your lips. I like one that's curved inward, so that when I lift the cup, the warm nirvana is guided down my gullet like it's riding a slide into wonderland. I don't like the ones that feel thin and plastic-y when they bump against my teeth. I really don't like the ones that curve outward, so that the liquid flows into the upper palate and ends up dribbling on my blouse.

Feel in the hand is also important. I have arthritis, so my hands are often stiff and sore in the morning. I like a taller mug with enough surface area to wrap my fingers around and warm the swollen joints. I like a nice retention of heat that comes with thicker sides. Again, not the thin and delicate sort for me. They're pretty, but I don't like to hold them. I always feel like I will break them with my clumsiness (and often have done exactly that).

Retention of heat in the drink itself is also vital. Mugs that are too large, especially the ones that widen towards the top, have too much surface area and the drink can become cold while you are still staring blankly at the sunlight dappling the tabletop and noticing the dust motes it reveals. By the time you remember to pick it up and sip--ew! cold tea. (Oddly, I love iced tea, but cannot countenance hot tea that has become cold).

And lastly, there's the art. Whether it's caffeine humor, a picture of your kids, or just a nice pattern you like, the mug should lift your spirits when you look at it.

So, I found my perfect one. It's my Elmo's mug. It's a traditional diner mug, hefty but not heavy in my hands, large enough to warm my hands and shaped to keep my drink warm, too. It has that curve in the side that keeps my drink pouring in the right direction. And Elmo's is special. It's the first place my now-husband and I had breakfast together. It's the one restaurant choice guaranteed to please all four Bryants. Seeing the mug lifts my heart thinking about Sweetman's face smiling in the lovely morning sunlight through their long windows or my youngest giving me a chocolate chip pancake grin, or my eldest stealing my warm cinnamon apples and giving me a teasing look that says, "What? I'm completely innocent here."

In short, it makes me feel love and loved, and that, my friends, is the right thing to drink from in the morning.


  1. I am also not a breakfast person and I usually start my day with iced coffee. I have an old-fashioned glass soda glass that I use. I have never been able to come up with a breakfast that I stick, too.

    1. Iced coffee sounds pretty good, especially on a hot morning.

  2. I'm not a coffee drinker (which I know is an oxymoron for writers), but I do love a glass of chocolate milk. Mmm.

    1. I loved chocolate milk as a child, but as an adult, I almost never drink it. I wonder what changed?

  3. Congrats on finding the right mug! I love tea too, but it's almost strictly a winter drink for me (ice tea excluded).

    I posted this story on our news site a while back, and it could help you with breakfast. Let me know if you like any of these ideas--I thought they were pretty cool. (Not an ad for me--I don't get anything if you click on the site.)

    1. Thanks for the link! Some of those ideas look really creative and tasty.