Things you didn’t know about the nectar of the gods…

In case you are confused, I’m talking about coffee. That glorious, dark, rich liquid that wakes us in the morning, picks us up in the afternoon and seemingly kicks our brains into high gear at any time. At least, for writers…

Did you know that…

  • According the the USDA (from 2016-2017) worldwide demand for coffee is expected to be 156 million bags. Which is about 10 million tons of coffee beans. No shock but most of that coffee consumption will be in Europe and the US. Like, how many barristas does it take to make that much coffee?
  • Brazil is actually the coffee capital of the world, Viet Nam is #2, and Columbia is #3 – who’d a thunk? Sorry Juan Valdez but the truth hurts.
  • According to historians, coffee showed up in Ethiopia, circa 850 A.D. However, it took a little time to catch on – it wasn’t until 1100 that the black gold was popularized in Asia. However, it wasn’t until 1515, that Europe got a taste of this magical nectar.
  • Attention barristas – the first ever café opened in Constantinople in 1475. I wonder how you say latte in turkish? By 1675, England had over 3,000 cafes offering our beloved café au lait.
  • There are two types of coffee plants harvested for coffee production: Arabica and Robusta. The Arabica plant originated in the Middle East and the Robusta from the Congo. Arabica beans are known for their premium quality and 75% of the world’s commercially produced coffee comes from them. On the other hand, Robusta coffee beans are hardier than Arabicas AND contain 50% more caffeine.
  • Throughout history, coffee was officially banned three times. The first time in Mecca in the 16th century, though no one seems to know why. The second in England when Charles II banned the drink and coffee houses because he suspected coffeehouses offered a perfect opportunity for plotting sedition and treason among the population. The third time took place in Germany in 1677. Frederick the Great prohibited his people to drink coffee because he was worried about money leaving his country for imported goods rather than being spent on his own country’s goods, such as beer and ale. Ironically, despite his ban, he continued drinking coffee himself.
  • Coffee grinds are a fabulous and cheap fertilizer for your garden. Coffee grinds are rich in nitrogen, an element that all plants need to grow and especially seedlings and young plants. Many Starbucks still offer home gardeners bags of used coffee grounds free just for the asking.
  • Coffee grounds are also helpful in repelling snails and other hard-shell insects from your garden – they hate the taste.
  • World famous spas offer coffee grind wraps, facials, and skin treatments to reduce the look of cellulite, loss of skin elasticity, and under eye bags – and to promote improved skin firmness.
  • Coffee grounds can also be used as an all natural dye or stain for fabric or wood.
  • Coffee grounds also make an excellent drink that can be consumed hot or cold with milk or without – and even the beans can be covered in chocolate and eaten.

What’s your favorite use for coffee? Have any secret recipes or tips on coffee? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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A Dream Come True

So the other night…as we were falling asleep, I mumbled something about how nice it would be to have coffee wake me in the morning. You know, the aroma of fresh brewed coffee wafting through the early morning air and tickling your senses until your eyes simply must open? I thought it would also be some mighty good inspiration for getting out of bed in the morning, especially on the grey mornings when it’s cold and dismal outside.

So, the man went to this place and ordered one of those fancy Italian coffee makers with a programable timer on it. And it arrived yesterday. The box was huge and I worried the machine would be bigger than our tiny kichen but it was swathed in styro peanuts and a another big box. I took it out of it’s protective covering and oooh, was it purty. Black and shiny and sleek looking. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had such a pretty coffee maker.

I did the usual routine of running water through it a few times to get any weird junk or plastic-y smell out of it. Rinsed it out, shined it up and put it in its rightful place on the kitchen counter. The old coffee maker didn’t get the heave-ho, since I’m a big believer in always having a back up, but it’s up on the tippy top shelf and will likely remain there.

I was trembling with excitement when later in the evening I set up the new machine to brew coffee for the morning. I read the manual, followed the instructions and hoped for the best. I have to admit it was a little hard to sleep because I was really excited to see if the coffee maker would do its job and provide coffee for us first thing in the morning, but eventually I fell off and dreamed of shiny black kitchen appliances.

On the dot at 7 am I began to hear the gentle gurgling of coffee being brewed, followed by the warm, mellow aroma that only comes from morning coffee. My new coffee maker had come through. The man turned over and said, “I smell coffee.” I giggled and said, “It’s a dream come true, honey.” I got up and walked the seven steps to the kitchen and lo and behold a full pot of coffee awaited me. I greedily filled my cup, added some cream and took a sip. It was delicious. I’m still sipping on it as I write this and I have to say I will never go back to non-programable coffee makers. This is just too good and a little slice of heaven. Ain’t modern technology grand?

Why I Write This Blog

Not long ago, one of my fellow bloggers, Alex, offered to send me a list of questions to re-evaluate my blog – from the standpoint of what my goals were concerning it. I have to say that the questions were damn good and they covered a lot of ground – and frankly, I’m still grappling with the answers to many of those questions. However…

One thing I have realized or perhaps, re-realized is that there were a lot reasons I started it, a lot reasons I continued it, considered getting rid of it, went to self-hosting, and have kept at it – but beneath all those many reasons which are all valid in their right there is one over-riding reason that I write this blog. In a word – Communication.

I am very big on communication, I always have been and I always will be. I believe that it is not guns, wars, politicians, psychobabble, any kind of ‘ism’, social programs, tax dollars, medications, et.al. that is the universal solvent or solution – but rather it is communication. Not talks or summits or deals, or any of the crap that comes out of officials leaders’ mouths or people running to become official leaders, but real, live communication. Where people actually sit down and discuss an issue or topic, listening and then responding in a way that shows they have been listening and originating new thoughts, ideas, and solutions to the dialogue toward the end of reaching a real and true understanding. If people, no matter who they were, what they were or where they were did that, so many of the problems in the world would not exist. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there are a lot of great true communicators in the world or not enough of them to make the difference needed.

Sure there is a lot of talk, a lot of dialogue but not really much communication. Honest to goodness communication, where understanding is the ultimate goal. Anybody can talk. Not everyone can communicate. I don’t know why this is but I do know that it’s true. How many times have you experienced having a conversation with someone and then realizing that they really either weren’t listening or they weren’t understanding what you were saying? We all have. And it’s frustrating to feel like you have something to say that you want to be understood by another and know that it isn’t.

I talk about a lot things here – from the ridiculous to the profound. Big questions and little questions. Some of it is absolutely intended to make you laugh, brighten your day in some small way. Maybe make going to or sitting in that cubicle a little better. A small act, true, but one that can’t hurt. Some of it is to make you think – whether about current events, social issues, political actions, belief systems or just maybe even another point of view to consider. Some of it is to make you feel, Theme Fridays come to mind – I like the idea of enticing you into a different world where surprising and even happy things can happen, to enchant you, inspire you, or even make you cry – hey every woman knows that a good cry can be better than a bottle of Prozac any ol’ day. But ultimately, no matter what I write here my intention is to get you to talk – to exchange talk with me. To communicate.

The purpose of this blog is create dialogue of me with you, you with me, you with others – the whole nine yards. It is why I welcome each and every person who makes a comment, why I respond to each and every comment, why I link to you guys in my posts – and I kind of think, it’s why you come here. I am all about the communication, bringing people together to have communication and spreading the seeds of communication out there. I have often referred to this blog as my big kitchen table where there is always a place for anyone who comes by, where everyone is welcome and there is always a big pot of hot coffee brewing and usually cookies or something to nibble on. The more the merrier, as far as I’m concerned. I think of you all (no matter how well I do or don’t know you) as part of the gang, part of the family – we may not agree, we may even bicker from time to time but we’re still all for one and one for all to coin a terrible cliche.

So in the end, this blog is not about stats, or being a power blog, or selling crap, or writing pillar articles or forcing my views on anyone about anything. It is just about getting people talking to each other and reaching for that little bit of extra understanding while they are also reaching for that next doughnut.

As always, I thank you for reading, I thank you for visiting and I really really thank you for communicating and playing this game with me.

How Many You’s Are There?

HowManyOfMe.com
Logo There are:
73
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

There have been many stories involving dopplegangers. Which to me has always been kind of cool – the idea that there is another ‘you’ out there somewhere – evil or not – has a certain chill factor.

And I’ve often wondered if there were a couple of me’s running around as I’ve run into people who were sure I was really Debbie from Minnesota and Sue from Nevada. I even was flipping through a fashion magazine one day and there was a model who had my face on her tall, skinny model body. Talk about double take. It was strange and exhilerating at once.

I wonder though if I really met my doppleganger face to face what would happen? That is fodder for a possible story I think.

In the meantime, click on the pick above and find out how many you’s there are in the U.S. – you may be surprised.

Oh yeah – funny thing – when I input both my first and middle name I discovered in fact I was the only one. Without the middle name I have 73 other namesakes. I guess that makes me semi-unique? LOL – I dunno.

WC

PS: HT to Court Reporting Chick for the link and I have NO idea why this came out green. 😆

Christmas on the Boulevard – 12 days of xmas #5

 

Cooking is something I love and coincidentally one of the things I do best. For that reason (and many others) when time and space allow I can usually be counted on to cook up a storm on Christmas. This particular year though I opted out.

It was my first Christmas after Mike and I broke up and something about doing the big dinner just didn’t sit right with me. Instead I put together a co-op Christmas Brunch. Which really turned out to be great. I made the eggs, bacon, sausage and fresh-squeezed juice, Maxine brought breads and muffins, Libby brought fruit, somebody brought deserts, and yet another brought cheeses and other nibblies. We all lazed around in my tiny livingroom, after feeding heavily from the buffet I set up in the kitchen. It was a wonderful 80 degrees outside and it was more like a pool party than Christmas.

One by one my guests bid their goodbyes, having dinner plans elsewhere and I made sure that each took away some of the leftovers, lest they pass my lips and end up on my thighs. A brilliant plan I thought….at the time.

Libby, my somewhat eccentric friend had no plans so she stayed and we yakked and laughed and smoked for hours. We were having such a good time in our chat we decided to keep it going and thought what fun it would be to just go out for Christmas dinner. Nothing fancy mind you, especially since Libby was attired in her usual denim overalls and sneakers, but surely Denny’s would be open or someplace like that.

So, we decided to walk down to the boulevard. That’s Hollywood speak for Hollywood Boulevard. You know that famous little strip of land that you hear about and read about out there in the real world? Where every step you take lands you on the star and name of somebody famous. Where drag queens, hookers, tourists, wannabes and regular folk alike stroll and take in the sights.

A good plan, right? I mean how could something go wrong? Who woulda thunk that not one shop, store or restaurant would be open? Ah…us! Yep, that’s right. We walked and looked and walked and looked and walked some more. But, ah…no….didn’t we realize it was Christmas day? Didn’t we have family or friends who could feed us? I mean…didn’t we?

Of course we weren’t having any of it. We knew if we just kept walking that we were sure to find someplace. Just as we reached Grelman’s Chinese Theatre (you know the one with all the handprints and footprints of movie stars?) we spotted a lovely pink neon sign that said ‘open.’

“See,” Libby crowed, “I knew we’d find someplace.”

So we crossed the street and pulled open the door to Frank’s Diner. (Yep, that is really what it was called.)

Oh good, I thought – some good greasy spoon Christmas dinner was going to hit the spot.

The waitress who was a mere 150 years old shuffled over to us as we sat at the counter. “What’ll ya have?”

“Turkey dinner, of course,” we said.

She screwed up her face in a sour puss. “We don’t got no turkey dinner.”

“Really?” our eyes were wide and hearts very sad.

“What’ll ya have?” she asked again completely unphased by our charms.

“Menu?” Libby chirped.

Two xeroxed sheets of paper were plunked down in front of us. “Coffee?”

‘Ah, sure.”

We studied the menu and looked for anything that could possibly approximate Christmas dinner. We both decided on the hot turkey sandwich. It was almost like Christmas and we’d have pumpkin pie for desert. We ordered.

The coffee came and our spoons stood straight up in it. We went through two cream pictures in an effort to make it drinkable but the color never really changed from the muddy brown hue it came with.

At last the hot turkey samiches arrived and our eyes sparkled until Myra (we named all old waitress Myra) slapped them down in front of us. Okay, ready? Wonder bread with turkey loaf, instant mashed potatoes and BROWN gravy all over everything – even the peas and carrots. To say it was fucking awful is to pay it too high a compliment. But we were starved so down it went. And we laughed like a couple of giddy cokeheads. For some reason it was hilarious to us that this was our Christmas dinner.

When finally we gave up on the brown gooey mess we asked for pumpkin pie. “We’re out,” she said and gave us our check.

Of course they were.

We paid our check and walked arm in arm back down the boulevard toward home. On the way back we spotted a Falaphel stand and ordered a couple. Hey, at least it was edible and the big tanker of diet coke helped it go down nice and easy.

By the time we got back to my place it was late and Libby decided to go home. I plopped down on the couch and turned on the tv – what luck – White Christmas had just started and it was the perfect end to a perfect day.

WC

You Know You’re on the Date From Hell When…

I think most of us have had at least one really bad date. Some of us have probably even had more than one. But for those of you who don’t know how to tell if you are on a date from hell, here are a few clues:

You know you’re on the date from hell when:

1. You mustached dinner date has a booger resting between nostril and hairlip and despite frequent trips to the restroom has not noticed. So, you spend the evening waiting for it to fall.

2. Your date prefers to watch you eat rather than order a dinner for himself and even volunteers he hasn’t enough money for two dinners anyway.

3. Your date feels free to scoop up tips left by other patrons in order to pay for his beers.

4. Your date doesn’t tip the waitress (who he just ripped off) which causes you to wait til he isn’t looking to slip the waitress a five.

5. He arrives at your house to pick you up for a coffee date, with grocery store roses and a cheap bottle of wine (how lucky does he think he’s going to get?)

6. For said coffee date he passes on Starbuck’s and goes straight to Denny’s.

7. Your date suggests dessert then drives you to the Shell station convenience store (30 miles away) and tells you to pick anything you want.

8. Your date looks like Steve Buscemi’s ugly older brother. ( Have you seen Steve Buscemi?)

9. The good night kiss reminds you it’s time to clean the fish tank.

10. The picture your friend showed you to agree to the blind date is clearly a picture of a model in a magazine or taken so long ago that there is no trace of resemblance to the current person.

11. Your date reminds you of one of Santa’s elves (and makes you feel big and fat to boot)

12. Your date feels that eating off your plate and making creepy sounds is a sexy come on.

13. Two minutes after you order your date launches into a monologue of all the bad relationships in his life – which apparently is every one before you.

14. When your date suggests you might like to read his short stories and you agree he whips his laptop out of his trunk and asks where he can plug it in.

15. He gets sulky when you tell him you want to go home after the 5 hour coffee date.

16. Your stomach is growling so loud that it is setting off car alarms yet he doesn’t notice and asks if you’d like more coffee or to go for a drive.

17. When he asks if he can see you again and you decline he acts as if you are breaking up a 20 year marriage.

18. Your dog will not stop barking at the man.

19. Your cat barfs on his shoes.

20. You slink down in your seat when you see someone you know – lest they see you with him.

21. His idea of a nice drive is playing chicken with pedestrians pushing baby strollers.

22. He tells you his favorite movie is Dune.

23. His favorite sport is bitching.

24. He brings coupons to pay for dinner.

25. His car smells funny.

26. During the drive to the shell station his facial features turn into an evil mask and you wonder if he really is a serial killer and what you might have in your purse to fend him off.

27. He leaves his sunglasses at your house so you have to call him back – which he turns into an opportunity to discuss what went wrong with your relationship.

28. Being 20 lbs overweight, he wonders out loud if you should be eating such a fattening dessert.

29. He does not understand the words, ‘please go home.’

Feel free to share and add to the list. 😉

WC

Road Trip

(About 3 years ago, I got it in my head that I needed a change and decided to uproot my life in California and move to Florida. I know, what was I thinking? LOL. Anyway, here’s my manic account of the trip. Bear in mind that I avoid freeways, hate to drive and my only companions for this trip was my dog Maggie and cat Boodie. Neither of which are great conversationalists. WC)

Okay, first let me start off by saying, if I’d known what lie ahead of me, I’d never have made the drive. Luckily, I was protected by my total clueless-ness until I’d made the commitment and was halfway across the country. So, my advice is “don’t try this at home, kids.”

On Sunday morning, October 19th, I stumbled out of bed at 5:30 a.m. and began to assemble the piles of possessions I hoped would fit in the car. I had a quick cup of leftover coffee from the day before, took a shower, dressed and rousted my neighbor out of bed so he would move his car. The packing went amazingly well and quickly. Although, I found I had to leave behind dishes, lots of toiletries, towels and various other things I’d hoped would fit. I gave my neighbor a hug, put Maggie and Boodie in the back and made my final tour of Tujunga as I neared the 210 Freeway. It was only 7 am and Sunday so I anticipated little to no traffic. Surprisingly, there were many early birds on the road and the anxiety grew to a lump in my stomach and stayed there for my entire drive to Desert Hot Springs, my first stop.

Outside of nearly missing the off ramp to the 605 and bumpy roads, the trip was uneventful, except that my tolerance for freeway driving was so low that I feared I’d missed my exit ramp 20 times before I actually reached it. The sky was blue and the desert sun mean and relentless. The most remarkable thing was the windmills stationed by the hundreds on the desert floor that seemed to wave hello/goodbye to me as I approached. I found my exit and got off. Said a quick prayer to God, thanking him for keeping the car from exploding and me from having an anxiety attack.

I managed to get to Marli’s and we had a happy meeting, laughing and crying and so happy to finally meet. Although, within an hour my dog had decided to poop on Marli’s carpet which put a damper, I think on the rest of the visit. It was cruelly hot, and I felt compelled to constantly walk Maggie around the trailer park so she would do her business outside. Rather than further desecrate Marli’s pristine home.

I had reservations on accepting Marli’s invitation and I was tense at times because of my dog and the trip I was terrified to make and knew I was going to anyway. At the end of the evening, we had a good talk about my fears of trip, making the drive and God and some really profound thought provoking ideas were exchanged. For this I truly thank Marli. She is a lovely person and her kindness at letting me stay with her before I really started my trip I will never forget.

Not much sleep that night. It was hot. I was anxious. The cat was already traumatized and we hadn’t gotten more than 120 miles of a 2500 mile trip. I awoke, gulped a coffee, hugged Marli goodbye and we were off.

20 miles of access road to the freeway, a mile before the on ramp I saw a detour sign and was loathe to turn back so I followed the arrow and when I could stand it no more, asked the next car if they knew where the freeway was. “Over there” they pointed to my left. Okay, back comes the lump in my stomach and we’re on the freeway again. A stop at the Burger King in Blythe, some gas and cigs and back on the freeway. “Welcome to Arizona” the sign said. And I giggled and cried just a little – feeling I’d made some small bit of progress.

Though hideously hot, the drive was flat and straight away and by 1:30 I was pulling into the Motel 6 in Casa Grande, where I arranged to meet my buddy David, from my writer’s group. What a delight a Motel 6 can be to a weary, hot, tired traveler with two impatient pets. The air conditioning worked just fine and the tub filled up quickly. I called David and we agreed on a time and I took twenty minute nap. Across the street for smokes and a tee shirt a couple of calls to friends and then David and Stella were there.

David was just as I thought he’d be – big, happy, and enthusiastic. He insisted on taking pictures, though I knew they’d not be a pretty thing to view at a later date and ironically, though I’ve been sent the files twice I can’t open them. Again, God is listening. We had a nice dinner and a good talk and off they went to their home and off I went to my motel room. Some tv, a midnight snack from the diner and off to sleep.

Wake up call, 6 am and back in the car we go. I drive and drive and still seem to be in Arizona. Then I see a sign that says goodbye Arizona, hello New Mexico. Gas, cigs, water, check the tires, check the oil and off we go again.

The cat is not talking to me and has that vile vindictive look of a seasoned enemy – no doubt still remembering my prying her from under the bed that morning. My legs cramp and tremble – I sing along to Eric Clapton and BB King. Maggie finds a perch atop the cat carrier and watches out the back window as the scenery rushes by. “Welcome to Texas.” Again a prayer and giggle and tear. We’re in El Paso. Boy does it smell bad. There is stuff in my eyes and I’m wildly blinking so I can see. It smells like gasoline, oil and dirt. I want to go further but I don’t’ know what’s ahead of me, if anything and I can’t see and the smell is terrible. Okay, we stay in El Paso. Travel Lodge. Nice room, too expensive.

I settle the pets in, the dog is wound up, the cat is plotting revenge. I walk – again it’s vicious hot weather – to the Burger King and get more junk food. I bring it back and me and Maggie eat. A bath, some calls, some tv. Potty breaks for Maggie and into bed. 5:30 wake up call because I’m not sure if the traffic ever ends at this juncture, it seems in full force even at 3 am when I wake up and wonder where I am.

Back in the car, onto the freeway and drive, drive, drive. Does the sun ever come up in Texas? Bumpy roads, road work, driving through mist and roads cut into mountains. The stink never ends. Cow poop, gasoline and oil. Will I ever smell anything else? My legs are in permanent ache and agony and I can’t feel my feet and I know I’ve got 1700 miles to go. I drive, I stop, I drive some more. Finally, Sonora, Texas. Get a room – the most depressing of the drive. Twin Oaks motel. Makes Norman Bates’ place look like high hog digs. The air conditioner is conveniently located in the dressing room and keeps my clothes nice and cool. I have come to sweating permanently – food – is there any? Well, I had a tasty salad at the Dairy Queen. Fast food abounds, except there are no Burger Kings or McDonald’s. I need real food. I go to the convenience store and get canned peaches and milk for dinner. “Tomorrow I’ll have a decent meal,” I tell myself.

6:30 wake up call. Cold and damp, can’t see a thing. Bad coffee at reception. I pass on the honey buns and fruit loops. Back in the car after prying the cat loose from under the bed. I really want to get to Louisiana today but know I’m dreaming. More up and down mountains and canyons, more oil, cow poop and gasoline. I’m afraid to light a cigarette for fear of setting my hair on fire. I can’t feel my legs, much less my feet. I think my jeans could drive without the help of limbs they are so ‘broken in’ and smelly. I can’t make it to Louisiana but get to Beaumont, Texas. 50 miles from the border. I can live with that. Again, all the good restaurants are on the wrong side of the road and can’t bear to drive to them. So, Domino’s delivers. Sure do love those cinnastix, especially with that icing. Diet coke, starch and sugar- a fine dinner.

Calls to friends, a bath, tv. Can’t stay awake. 6 am wake up call. Back on the freeway. Yay! “you are now leaving the State of Texas.” “Welcome to Louisiana.” At least I think that’s what the sign says – does the fog ever lift in Louisiana? Nope. It sure don’t. Driving 35 mph, visibility about 20 feet – trying to keep the big trucks and red cars in sight. Need something to follow. Keep telling Maggie – “it’s okay, hon, we’re okay.” But really I’m talking to myself. I’m talking to God, I’m just talking – hoping it isn’t my day to die.

Then we STOP. Idle. Crawl. Stop. What’s going on? I know there must be an accident up ahead. Yep, about 10 cars and 4 big rigs. I thank the great spirit in the sky for not involving me. Now, I must get out of this state. Into clear weather. I stop for gas and a ‘meat pie’ – yikes! Don’t ever eat one of those things. I couldn’t’ even give it to the dog. It’s cool though, cuz I’ve got cigarettes and peanuts and warm diet coke. Life is good. More Clapton and BB King. Endless bridges. Just when I think I can turn off my brights, the fog comes back like a ghost with a grudge.

Well howdy doody, I’m in Mississippi! McDonald’s, Wendy’s, whatever. It’s food I recognize. The dog, happily gets most of it. I get to pee and back on the Freeway. I have to get to Florida today. I must!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More bridges, more water, more humidity, more bridges more road. I cant feel my arms, my legs, my feet, my back. I am one with the road. I am the road warrior. I will get to Florida or die. Maggie looks so trusting, I’m glad she doesn’t know the truth about me. Doesn’t know I’m scared shitless and am praying the whole time that the car doesn’t explode, the tires go flat, I fall asleep at the wheel, I get stopped by the lurking state troopers who’d love to take all my traveler’s checks from me. She happily sits on the cat’s carrier and watches the scenery go by.

Glory hallelujah, I have made it to Pensacola, Florida. I have arrived. I must pull off and find a motel and celebrate. The room is okay, the cat actually doesn’t dive for under the bed and peers out the window. Maybe she knows we are almost there?

It’s hot, it’s sticky – hell, it’s Florida what do you expect. Today I MUST have a decent meal. I decide to get in the car and drive to wherever they serve real food. IHOP at your service. I order two meals – believing myself to be that hungry and starved for something that actually resembles food and doesn’t come with a happy toy inside. With wild glee I drive back to the motel with my giant bag of food, open it up and guess what, no napkins or silverware. I call the restaurant, nope they won’t bring it to me, I just can’t go back out and get it. I go to the front desk, do they perhaps have an eating implement? I get a plastic knife. Ever eaten pot roast and sweet potatoes and corn with a plastic knife? It’s a lost art. Sort of like using one chopstick. Well, the food tastes good anyway. I’m in Florida for God’s sake and I’ll be in Clearwater tomorrow, so who cares. Phone lots of friends, no one home, leave messages. I sit on my bed and cry for a while. I think it’s relief but there’s probably a good dose of fear in there too. I suddenly realize just what I’ve done and can’t believe some awful thing hasn’t befallen me and pray that my last 500 miles will go as the previous 2000 – uneventful, even, steady as she goes.

7 am wake up (I thought I deserved to sleep in) – on the road, driving as non stop as I can stand. I make a pit stop in Tallahassee, ask about the alternate route my cousin suggested and decide it’s better to stay on the 10. One more stop at McDonald’s and then we just meld with the road. We are the road and the road is us. We will not stop til we get to Clearwater. Hurray, there is the Tampa sign, I’m in Tampa, I’m seeing the signs but where is the Clearwater sign? Wow, these guys drive like L.A’ers without the hatred. Scarey. Happy nut jobs… I get off the freeway sure I’ve missed the off ramp. A nice couple informs me if I’d stayed on the freeway 5 more minutes I’d have seen the Clearwater signs. Sigh…Maggie is anxious, I’m a mess, so hot, so tired, my legs don’t feel like they really want to support me any more. Back on the freeway. Oh there it is, off the freeway, on the causeway, yep, there’s the beach, ain’t it pretty? Driving, more and more, well it seems like a lot but probably a mile have to pull over, call Trina see how far I am from the house.

I ask directions from the Clerk at the convenience store but the customers behind me are ornery and tell me to read my map. I of course say if I could read it I wouldn’t be talking to the clerk… Okay, call Trina, she tells me where to go. Back in the car, Maggie is whining she knows we’re close and just doesn’t want to be in the darn car any more and who can blame her. Finally, there it is, I turn, drive into Trina’s driveway and stop the car. Trina comes out, gives me a standing ovation and a cup of tea.

I try to chat casually like a sane person should be able to do but of course I’m babbling and probably sound like a homeless woman with too much thread in her shopping cart, unable to find anyone who wants to trade it for anything. She takes me to the house, I get the tour. She leaves.

I put the pets in the house and they bolt for parts unknown. I drag my paltry belongings into the house and dump them on the floor. Take a bath. Go to the grocery store and buy the weirdest combination of non food items and a couple of things to eat.

By midnight, I’ve put away everything I can, determined there is no television reception and fall into bed. “Tomorrow I start my new life,” I tell myself as I drift off to sleep in my new time zone.

And that’s the story of how I got to Florida.

I Don’t Want To Hear It!

This may come as a shock to some of you, but I am not a morning person. Nope, not at all. If I had my way, I’d stay up til 3am and sleep until the morning was all but gone. I don’t begrudge others their joy of morning. Their utter delight at casting back the blankets and chirping, ‘Good morning, world!’ I simply don’t want to share it with them. (Please don’t involve me and no one will get hurt.)

Enter roomie (who has been an absolute pain of late) who lies in wait until I stumble out of my room to get my needed fix of coffee. Very strong, lots of cream. I want to get in, start the coffee and retreat to my room. I don’t want to engage my mind, any thought processes or even hear another voice. But can I get that little tiny bit of consideration in the agony of the morning light? NO!

The moment I emerge, he’s there – in the kitchen yammering about some stupid thing or another, following me from cabinet to cabinet. He is a computer engineer so his mind is filled with spreadsheets and equations – even during my most conscious moments I have not the slightest interest in such things. Who cares, as long as he has someone to sling his most recent ‘aha’ at that’s all that counts. He announces to me his latest discovery about this router or that. This headhunter or that interview (did I mention he has been out of a job for 3 fucking months?) and how clever he was with the guy. Or how he solved the weed problem in the front lawn. The spreadsheet he employed to determine the schedule for the drip irrigation system for the roses (which he refuses to prune, take care of or even admire).

Now make no mistake, this guy is my roomie – not my boyfriend. I pay my share of the rent – I derive no benefit from having to listen to this drek day in and day out. Unless you consider being intellectually accosted a benefit.

He also likes to ask me questions in the morning. Is your computer on? Why do you still show a connection on the router if you have turned off your system? Is it going to rain today? How’s your car running? Is the dishwasher full?

Or to brag – Thumper (his evil cat) has gained 3 ounces. The infection he had is gone now. The fat content in his food was too low so I’m adding Friskies to the mix. Yeah, I checked the ingredients and the percentage of crude protein to fat ratio was off….

Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

All I want to do is scream ‘Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!’ But do I?

No, I don’t. The fact that he is big enough to squash me like a bug, may have some bearing in this decision. Instead, I have learned to nod in just the right way to make him think I am listening to what he is jabbering about. I nod and mutter and inch my way down the hall, nod, mutter, inch some more until I get back to my room and safe ‘world’ as soon as possible. Although, even a closed door in his face doesn’t always discourage him. If he’s especially interested in hearing himself talk, he’ll keep going….

I’m telling you there is just no good reason to be awake in the morning. Especially at my house.

WC

Java

Oh how I love coffee. I love it hot, I love it iced, I love full-caf, half-caf, de-caf, with cinnamon, with whipped creme, with heavy cream. With toast, or coffee cake, or bacon and eggs. With friends, alone at the computer, reading a paper, staring into space, driving my car. I can’t imagine life without it.

Which is pretty funny because the first time I tasted coffee, I thought it came from the bowels of hell. My mouth was so assaulted it tried to curl up on itself. ‘Yuk!’ said I. Mom laughed and told me it was good that I didn’t like it because then it would not become a habit. Little did she know…

Somewhere along the line, I made the connection between coffee and brain fog. Between having cobwebs in my head til noon and feeling alert first thing. Yep, coffee made me a believer in the idea that one could actually live through the morning without anyone getting hurt. And there are countless souls still walking the earth thanks to coffee. (little do they know, but let’s leave it on a needs to know basis.)

Not to mention the fact that coffee can keep you awake when you should be sleeping. When you absolutely, positively must stay awake to finish that post, read that chapter, watch the end of that movie, wait in vane for the guy who most certainly stood you up. Coffee is there for you. It does not judge, does not desert and does not care if you have a fat ass. It doesn’t care if you are popular or smart, funny or an idiot, it just is. It is quite simply the zen of beverages. It is the oneness of the allness. The yin and the yang. The ba-da-bing. The reason to get out of bed in the morning.

And apparently the reason it made those folks in Seattle filthy-fricking rich.

You can have your water, your gator aid, your centrifically-pressed fresh juice, your red bull, pink bull or got milk – but don’t you dare take my coffee from me.

I’m thinking maybe I ought to switch back to that half-caf – this enthusiasm is giving me a headache. 😉

WC