Tag Archives: Coffee

Being There

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay.

These small words elicit king-sized effects.

My first cranky thought, another songwriter has run out of originality, as in:

Being there (ooh, baby)
Being there (ooh, baby)
Being there is like … 
Being there (ooooh, BABY!)

Okay, I need a second cup of coffee today. With double cream.

Much better.

Now I recall that being there when airline personnel solicit volunteers to take a different flight, I might land a free future trip.

Image by Andy Leung from Pixabay.

Being in the right checkout line can mean the difference between three Tylenol® and only one.

Fifty years ago, my being there to observe this cute boy from a library’s balcony changed our lives.

Being there at a library during a 1970 Christmas break placed me near the railing of a second-story atrium, eyeing my future husband below. Thus, I ensured he wasn’t with a girl and could “accidentally” run into him. (He still calls this stalking, but that’s because he hasn’t yet drunk his morning tea.)

Being there at a gas station when someone, perched on a ladder, is changing prices can mean a savings of 11 whole cents per gallon. Although, if the price is upped 11 whole cents, you’ve picked the perfect time and place to ruin your morning.

Though that timing isn’t as bad as certain shoplifters’ when, according to Reader’s Digest, they attempted major heists on Shop-with-a-Cop Day.

Being there can get complicated. Still, we want others to be there for us.

My mother refined this into an art form. One joyful day, when I learned I was ranked 10th in my high school class, I arrived home to the fragrance of muffins fresh from the oven. She’d baked them either to celebrate or console. Whatever happened, they were there for me.

Image by Robert Owen-Wahl from Pixabay.

So was Mom.

However, she also was there to enslave me with chores, require church attendance, and stare through my dates and me with righteous black eyes.

Years later, I appreciated her when I, too, baked after-school treats, mini-vanned my kids everywhere, and wandered into the den to “get stamps” from my desk while they were entertaining dates.

Being there can be threatening, wonderful, scary, tedious, triumphant, smelly, or comforting, but rarely boring. And lots better than not being there.

The ice cream being there is good too.

Sometimes, it’s just plain cuddly.

Tonight, Hubby and I are watching a Cubs game. We don’t make brilliant conversation. We don’t have to make conversation at all.

We simply savor being there.

Ooooh, baby.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Who’s been there for you?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Waiting for That Coffee Date

O Lord, I miss those klatches You and I shared with Mom — spiritual, wise, funny, even crazy times. Someday, we’ll do it again, with no clocks to mess with our togetherness. (Knowing Mom, though, the coffee won’t be decaf.)      

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: A Good Breakfast?

Oh, Lord, on a chilly February morning, I really like a good breakfast. Sizzling bacon. Fluffy pancakes. Eggs, over easy, and a mixing-bowl-sized cup of coffee with double cream.

I know dietary experts would disagree. But, OMG, must every day begin with Fiber One?

Trends: Losers and Winners

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.
Image by Olya Lolé from Pixabay.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “trend” as “a general movement” or “a current style or preference.”

Sounds simple. Yet, anyone who’s studied human behavior for five minutes knows better.

Take, for example, the current fad of torn jeans, some composed of more air than cloth. Designer rip-offs boast price tags approaching a thousand dollars.

Others on my what-are-we-thinking list:

  • Bacon ice cream. Like pleasant people from different planets who should never marry, these two yummy foods should never share a carton.
Image by David Karich from Pixabay.
  • Cyclists wearing earbuds. Don’t these people want to live long enough to know how the song ends?
  • Man buns. Somebody, hide the bobby pins and hairspray. Please.
  • Sleep trackers. Rumpelstiltskin never wore a Fitbit, and he slept so well nobody could wake him for 20 years.
  • Shoes minus socks. During a Midwest winter? Though we could start a new, exciting trend of blue feet as chic accessories. …
  • Gambling TV ads. At least, the IRS is forthright about taking our money.
Image by Milesl from Pixabay.
  • Finally, antler chandeliers. Neither Bambi nor I like this trend. Especially when they cost up to $3,000.

By now, you assume this GOL (Grumpy Old Lady) disses current culture as a favorite hobby.

It’s fun. Below, however, I do list trends that hopefully will endure:

  • Mom jeans haven’t yet topped the torn-jeans fad. Still, I’ve informed my daughters their mother is a fashionista.
  • Excellence in women’s sports. No girls’ team was formed at my huge high school until I was a senior. Now, I watch young women compete with joy (and secret gladness I never worked that hard).
  • The coffee craze. May Mr. Coffee, Mr. Keurig and Mr. Starbucks continue forever.
  • Plentiful public restrooms. During shopping trips when my children were small, we raced madly to the library restroom, our only refuge. Thank God, some businesses got wise. Decades later, my races have resumed, and I can’t always make it to the library.
Image by Natalija Tschelej-Krebich from Pixabay.
  • A “my pleasure” response to a customer’s thank-you instead of “no problem.”
  • Delivery service and free shipping.
  • Church services streamed for those who can’t attend.
  • Tunic tops and ponchos. They cover a multitude of sins.
  • Excellent male fashion insight. Most men reject rompers as possible summer wear. Thanks, guys!

Now, don’t you feel better already?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What trends should go away? Which should stay?

Confessions of a Coffee Addict

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay.

I haven’t always been a coffee drinker. As a child, I stole a taste from a grown-up’s cup. Bleah! I vowed I would never, ever, consume such bitter stuff.

At age 13, though, I grew desperate. Every morning when I awakened, my stork-like legs had grown another inch. My feet had grown two.

Common wisdom declared that coffee stunted a person’s growth. Okay, I would choke it down.

Mom left numerous cups of cooled coffee — with five children, she didn’t finish one for 20 years — around the house. I sampled the cups, then held my nose and drained them.

Sure enough, I stopped growing at five feet, nine inches.

Image by kaboompics from Pixabay.

During midlife, I swallowed the idea that drinking coffee also would shrink my waistline. Like Mom, I chugged a couple of pots a day (one decaffeinated). The intake didn’t diminish my waistline a single inch. Maybe if I give up decaf, too?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: If a coffee addict, when and why did you begin your habit?

Things Have Changed, and I’m Glad

I finally stopped refusing senior discounts. (Who was I kidding?)

Now, I find it tempting to diss the present and reverence the “good old days.” One morning, a Grouchy Old Gal stared at me from the mirror. Did I really want her to stay?

Instead, I booted her out and listed things I like about 2021. Plus a few I do not miss from the past.

  • First, permanent press is a gift from God. My mother spent hours starching and ironing my puff-sleeved dresses, dresses I wore while emptying mud puddles. I iron now only when I can find mine. The best thing about a no-iron worldview? Though manufacturers lie that their clothes don’t require ironing, everyone pretends it’s true.
  • In this millennium, we enjoy a whole new excuse for playing hooky: the computers are down.
  • Email is cheaper, simpler and faster than snail mail. Unless the computers are down.
  • Microwaves, once a figment of sci-fi imaginations, have forever banished the sinking realization: “Ack! I forgot to defrost the meat!” Okay, so they sometimes produce meals the consistency of cement, with comparable nourishment. Still, speedy microwaves helped feed my skinny physician husband at all hours. They removed gunky warm-up pans from my kitchen’s décor. Nowadays, a microwave suits our lifestyle — that of college students without food service.
  • Few potlucks still feature 15 kinds of marshmallow-Jell-O salad.
  • I’ll take Susan Boyle’s singing, as opposed to Carol Channing’s, anytime. (See YouTube — another current convenience that can take us down Memory Lane, as well as make us glad we don’t live there anymore!)
  • Thanks to technology, we no longer miss favorite programs or movies. We need not suffer withdrawal symptoms when leaving before finding out whodunit.
  • Being a grandma is way more fun than being a mom.
  • In a related thought, little boys’ clothes today are much cuter than those in 1970. This grandma lauds that aspect of gender equality, as I have six grandsons.
  • In a somewhat related thought, I appreciate bicycle helmets. Seat belts. Even kids’ car seats that demand an engineering degree and an acrobat’s body to buckle.
  • Few people drive Pintos anymore.
  • Blow-dryers and curling irons have replaced the overnight torture of brush rollers and orange juice cans. Guys, if you don’t “get” the orange juice cans, ask your wives how they prettied up for Saturday night during the 1960s. Check online photos — if you dare.
  • Men rarely get permanents today. During the ’70s, much of the male population appeared to have been replaced by alien poodles. Wearing leisure suits. And platform shoes.
  • Cigarette commercials now feature cancer victims rather than cool cowboys. In restaurants, puffing and blowing occur only when your food’s too hot.
  • I applaud painless antiseptics that soothe cuts, as opposed to this-is-gonna-make-you-scream Mercurochrome.
  • Experts now assert that chocolate and coffee are good for us.
  • I hate to admit it, but cell phones do keep us safe on the road. Also, if not for cell phones, thousands of husbands might still be wandering Meijer’s aisles, seeking the correct brand of pickles.
  • No more waiting for photos to develop. No more paying for them, either.
  • We now realize God can say both “you” and “thee.”
  • Homemade, homegrown and handcrafted items — food, clothing, even coffins — have become special again.
  • Using an effortless stain stick beats scrubbing grass stains with an old toothbrush. Just ask my kids.
  • Finally, no one sings about yummy love in their tummies anymore.

That last extinction alone brightens the 2021 landscape.

My late father, who loved classical music, would have agreed.

Perhaps I inherited my outlook from Dad. He disliked many modern trends, but he also declared the “good old days” a myth. Dad plowed too many fields behind a mean mule to romanticize the past. Riding a John Deere mower was way better.

Recalling Jim Crow laws in the South — written and unwritten — he celebrated dining with both white and African-American friends without fear.

Occasionally, Dad allowed Grouchy Old Guy to stick around.

I sometimes hang out with Grouchy Old Gal.

But mostly, I celebrate life here and now.

And welcome all the senior discounts.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What don’t you miss from the “good old days,” and what are you thankful for now?

Breakfast with My Brother

Me at 16 with my brothers, circa 1969.

I measure the distance between extended family in states rather than miles. The lone exception, my brother Ned, lives in another part of Indiana.

A year apart, we played together like twins until I started school, where he acknowledged my existence only by a raised eyebrow.

Fortunately, he no longer regards sisters as threats to his manhood. We phone occasionally, but not often enough. I recall several years ago when we met halfway between our homes for breakfast.

We chose a mom-and-pop establishment, where we could indulge in illegal eggs over easy, crispy bacon and infinite cups of curl-your-hair coffee. Or the mortal sin of biscuits with gravy.

Entering, I saw no sign of Ned. As I walked toward a vinyl booth, I expected — and received — the who-are-you-stranger? once-over.

Homeland Security should catch onto this resource, one that could revolutionize national safety procedures. We don’t need metal detectors or X-rays. If the government would pay a tableful of these locals to drink coffee at security points, no terrorist in his right mind would try to get past their scrutiny.

Born and raised in rural Indiana, I knew I’d broken the rules. No woman eats breakfast alone in a strange town. As a sweet-faced waitress brought me blessed coffee, I pulled out my Bible and read while I waited. Eye-lasers clicked off one by one. Their owners swiveled back to their breakfasts. They gave Congress and the weather their morning cussing and analyzed high school basketball with an expertise that would put ESPN out of business.

Until my brother walked in. Immediately, the force field returned. As Ned headed toward my booth, question marks formed in the air, visible as if smokers had blown them.

“Good to see ya, Sis!” Ned trumpeted. He knew the rules, too.

The diners returned to their vivisection of basketball referees, as the waitress took our order. She brought us waffles, eggs and ham. Biscuits and gravy.

With bowed heads, we asked God to bless the cholesterol. Our words filled and warmed us as much as the steaming, delicious food. We solved our kids’ problems (if they would just listen!). We cheered the utter perfection of our grandchildren.

All too soon, our separate worlds called to us. We promised to connect sooner next time.

Before we separated, I demanded a hug, just to give the town conversation material for the next few weeks.

Ned’s eyebrow went up. But the hug happened.

It can’t happen today, in 2020.

But after this blasted COVID crisis ends, I’ll collect every one of those hugs that have piled up in the meantime.

Even if he raises the other eyebrow.

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Whom do you want to hug post-COVID?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Changed My Mind

O Lord, You know that as a tall middle-schooler, I sneaked Mom’s coffee, trying to stunt my growth. Gag! It tasted awful! Yet decades later, a steaming mug of coffee blesses my day. OMG, maybe Your gifts to us are often an acquired taste? 

   

     

Drinking It All In

We Americans treasure our beverages. We are born yelling for something to drink, and we spend our lives attached to Mommy, baby bottle, sippy cup, glass, coffee mug, teacup, wine goblet, and milk carton. During toddler years, we dump beverages rather than drink them. Still, we establish lifelong consumption patterns.

Case in point: upon marriage, I, whose family considered orange juice a semi-luxury, discovered my husband considered it nonnegotiable. This, despite a weekly grocery budget of $15. No apple, cranberry, grape, or — God forbid — grapefruit juice. No insidious combinations like orange-papaya. Hubby preferred freshly squeezed orange juice, but graciously agreed to drink bottled until conditions permitted the proper beverage. (He’s still waiting.)

I, on the other hand, absorbed Mom and Dad’s edict that chili demanded Pepsi. Sadly, I have strayed. I now drink diet Pepsi, or even diet Coke. But never, with chili, pizza or Mexican food, will I ascribe to my spouse’s unswerving devotion to milk.

Not that I dislike milk. During family visits, I purchase five kinds (whole milk, 2%, 1%, skim, and rice milk, depending on who’s allergic, growing, dieting, or protesting). Milk is a basic value Hubby and I share.

However, despite noble coffee-consuming roots, he drinks only tea. I, though a coffee aficionado since serving at a Denny’s overnight during college, occasionally drink tea to preserve our marriage.

That Denny’s experience at age 18 in Oregon, impacted my beverage history in other ways. Having smelled the aggregate breath of cowboys who donned menus and made marriage (and other) proposals, I nixed beer as an option. Ditto, when working as a janitor. I sniffed open whiskey bottles in a law firm’s board room. Whew — smelled like turpentine!

Later, when legal, Hubby and I surmised that wine recommended by a cork-sniffing steward really should taste better than that. And cost a lot less.

So, we’ve mostly stuck to orange juice-Pepsi-milk-coffee-tea dependence.

And water. However, I note the wordy truth observed by the late journalist Ambrose Bierce: “Upon nothing has so great and diligent an ingenuity been brought to bear in all ages, except for the most uncivilized, as upon the invention of substitutes for water.”

Many would rather die of thirst than drink H2O — unless poured from a plastic bottle. Recently, the FDA stated each American averaged 26 gallons of bottled water per year. We hadn’t sucked so many plastic bottles since infancy.

Not my thing, nor Hubby’s. But he remains hopelessly devoted to morning orange juice and tea. I don’t object because I want my coffee.

And because his ancestors came from Boston. In 1773, when England messed with their favorite beverage, those people got a little testy. …

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite beverage? Your least favorite?