21 January 2008
It is a stereotype that all people from the Pacific Northwest are coffee addicts. I would say that it wasn't always the truth but it sure seems as such now. Even I, a long-time, adamant, non-coffee human, have developed a penchant for iced mochas. It hasn't reached the Britney level of consumption yet, but I could see where that could easily happen.
Here there is a coffee stand every few blocks. You can always find coffee, all hours of the day. In fact, living out in the sticks like I do, I have not one but two coffee stands less than two minutes from here. Amazing. And some of the stand’s names are amazingly clever: Brewed Awakening, I Wanna Mocha, Latte Dah, Cool Beans.
And Barista’s are always friendly and happy to see you. The Mad Genius likens them to strippers: they are nice to you in order to get good tips and they are always good looking. However, once you establish a relationship (yes, I said relationship) they become your friends. They know what you drink, they know which vehicle you drive, and they know your schedule. (Well, this makes them sound more like stalkers or dealers but roll with me here) They become your friends. Coffee stands have become the new “Cheers”, where everybody knows your name.
Anyone who would question such a habit, or behavior, should live here for a while. You endure 7 straight days of rain and gray. You endure having the sun beginning to go down at 3:00 pm and not rise again until nearly 8:00 am. Then you can judge me. Coffee can be compared to a simple ray of sunlight in a dreary world, a reason to get up in the morning.
Now, even high-schoolers and middle-schoolers have coffee. It’s become an issue in schools, teachers complaining that the kids can’t concentrate for the liquid crack that is coursing through their veins. This I agree with. I can feel the hit coffee gives me, I can’t imagine what it would do to a growing body. Often you see cars waiting in line and the kids are excited to get hot chocolate (I am assuming) and the dogs are happy to get treats.
Everyone is happy at a mocha stand.
When we were in Vegas Baby, there were no coffee stands. I would have thought that there would be one every ten feet, anything to keep gamblers awake and moving. But there wasn’t. There was, however, Starbucks in most casinos. (Make your own conclusions there) In fact, the Stratosphere has one in the lobby, God bless them. Starbucks was my salvation during our trip there. As I am not, not, not a morning person and I don’t drink alcohol, Starbucks became my lifeline. A little taste of home as well.
What I would say to anyone who thinks we’re being silly, I would suggest having an iced mocha the next time you’re having a rotten day. Just try it. I bet your mood improves.
It will be the best $3.50 you’ve ever spent.
19 January 2008
As luck would have it, the driver is a neighbor of my parents. A neighbor my dad hasn't met yet. As he has always lived on the Lake, he knows many people that live out there.
In a lull of conversation, after comparing neighbors, property taxes, etc, my dad decides to bring up the fireworks.
I just thought to myself. "Great, dad, can we talk about that? Remember when we blew up? Yeah, good times."
I know in his weird little way, he was bragging about his kids and by extension: himself but jeez.
I know! Let's talk about losing all of your kids in one fell swoop, shall we?
The driver was appropriately sympathetic and interested while I tried to think of anything else to say to steer the conversation out of the skid.
Tact and my dad. Not two things that often collide .
I just realized, I forgot to share this story with the brothers. I'll email it to them. They'll love this one. Just one more anecdote in the ongoing adventure of Aging Parents. Stay tuned. There will be more, I promise.
There is a station for every mood ever. Any generation of music that you can think of. NPR, Howard Stern (hey, how often do you see those two things in a sentence together?) There is a station called "Coffeehouse" that is practically narcotic. It has acoustic music and sometimes it has songs you would never imagine acoustically arranged. (Collective Soul! Police!)
C'mon, all the cool kids are doing it....
As mentioned before, I have no religious affiliation. The first church I went to was the Church of Nazarene. I went there with my brother because it was in the neighborhood, not because there was any religion allowed in the house. Any religious education I’ve received has been self sought and self taught.
As a child, I also attended summer bible school at a Presbyterian church. I went to church with catholic friends. I've faithfully attended both Lutheran and Christian Reformed churches as an adult. According to Beliefnet.com's Beliefometer, I might be Jewish. According to a game on Facebook, I am agnostic.
I guess one could say that I've cherry-picked my religious beliefs.
When I was small, I used to play with Fisher Price Little People. That is often how I imagined God when I was a child. Now, I can also picture him like Bruce Almighty, with a never-ending email list of prayers and requests.
I read bible passages every day in my email. Music is my church choir, be it Josh Turner singing about "Me and God" or U2 singing about anything. I talk to God when I'm angry, when I'm sad, and when I'm happy. He would probably appreciate me shutting up some days.
I believe in guidance but not in blind following. I don't need a building, or a book, or a person to tell me who or how to be. It's solely my decision and it's going to be solely my responsibility in the end.
I love Max Lucado and Robert Fulguhm but I also love Howard Stern and Lewis Black. They aren’t mutually exclusive. I can listen to Eminem and Christmas carols. I know the verses equally.
A few other random beliefs:
I believe in a pastor that will have us over for dinner and go for a ride in a racecar. I believe in a pastor that admits he'd rather be fishing too.
I think the church is the perfect place to blast "Come Together" by the Beatles.
I believe fellowship can be found anywhere. I am not a heathen because I don't enter four hallowed walls every Sunday.
I believe that you don't have to check in with God only on Sunday. He doesn't keep office hours.
I love that the Da Vinci Code freaked out the Vatican. Even if people didn't believe the premise, it made them think.
I believe in the God that deals in love and forgiveness, not in fear and hate.
I see God in the eyes of a child or an elderly person. I see God in the sunset. I see God when someone holds the door open for you at the store.
I think we do pass over to another place. Every thing in life is cyclical, why not death?
I believe in some form of the Devil. There is no other explanation for cancer, mental illness and addiction. Those things are hell on earth.
I believe in swearing, but not taking the Lord’s name in vain. You can’t use his name to damn the broken sink and then ask him to help fix it. But I do think he can appreciate a good curse when the pipe breaks.
I think the Catholic Church and Scientology are corporations, not religions. I believe Jehovah's Witnesses are just mean, angry people that use religion to make it a way of life. I am incredulous that anyone could practice any of those religions.
However, no matter what religion exists, there will always be extremists.
I am pro-choice, but don't believe in abortion as birth control.
I am pro-death penalty but only with DNA evidence.
I believe Pot should be legal but not glorified.
I am not anti-gun, I am anti-weapon. There is no reason to own an AK-47.
I believe in civil rights but stereotypes are there for a reason.
I believe sex offenders should be locked up forever. Period.
I believe if you go to a church that has to be held in an auditorium or stadium you are going to a performance, not a church service.
Why are there protests outside abortion clinics and not IVF Clinics? Isn’t each one acting as God in some way?
Why do they always say "The bible says Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve"? Why not Ada and Eve? Why is it whenever someone has issues with homosexuality, it is usually regarding men?
The 10 Commandments does not address homosexuality but it sure says "Do Not Judge" pretty clearly.
Who do atheists talk to in the middle of the night? Who do they ask for right before the car crash?
If the answer is No One, then that's really very sad. And difficult to believe.
I believe God has a sense of humor. I believe he does things sometimes just to f#$% with people. I believe God doesn't like arrogance and he will eventually step on your head for it.
I believe in spirits, angels or whatever you choose to call them. I’ve had too many cosmic gentle nudges to deny their existence.
I believe God puts people in our paths for specific reasons, good and bad. Everything happens for a reason, whether we like it or not.
Simply put: I believe.
05 January 2008
On Christmas, my nephew showed me a toy gun. " I got it for Christmas!" It was more of an acknowledgment than an exclamation. Without thinking, I replied "Oh, that's too bad."
I am not anti-gun, per se, but I am anti-weapon when it comes to children. This is where I part ways with the nephews parents.
MG and his brother heard me say what I said and kind of laughed. One of them asked "You know why he has that don't you?" I shook my head and steeled myself for the explanation.
His parent are worried that he is too girly. He plays with dolls too much. So they bought him a gun to play with. My head reeled.
In a non-too-quiet voice, I replied "Well, you know what? If he is gay and there's NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT, it will just become a Hair Dryer, so that doesn't quite work out does it?"
I think for his birthday, I am going to buy him a beauty shop playset. If only to counteract the idiocy and my own personal entertainment. Jeez, in the name of Cher and all that's Holy.
The only explanation I can find for her, other than she is Lucifer in a female body, is that she must be filled with self-hatred. Now to go all Dr Phil on you, how can a woman believe the things she purports to believe. Everything that she stands for is against women.
Perhaps she is transgender....now if you are a tranny, please don't think that I am equating the devil with transgender people. That is SO not my point. I think she must hate every single fiber of her own being. She is so filled with hatred, a person can feel it through a medium such as television. Thus the transgender idea. Did Lucifer punish her by putting her in female form? If so, good one Lucifer!
Why this rant today? I was in Barnes & Noble and on the end of the shelf was one of her "books" I write books in quotation marks because I cannot conceive to categorize her writings with anything remotely considered as literature.
It took everything in me to not go borrow a sharpie from the customer service desk and just black out the entire cover of the book. Instead, I eyerolled and huffed in disgust as I walked by. I realized as I was leaving the store, I could have just removed the book from the end of the shelf and hidden it , oh under the books shelves. Or at least, turned the cover in so that no one could see it.
Now I want to go back. Dammit Ann Coulter!
03 January 2008
I had to kind of bluff my way through the process as I hadn’t been trained on what to do in this situation. Little did I know I would be whisked into a Lifetime Movie special as this gentleman began to tell me his story.
He wanted to rent the ballroom for his 40th Wedding Anniversary. He wanted to schedule a catered party for him and his wife. “Well, catered by my sons” he says, with a sheepish giggle. When I questioned the need for such a large space for just one couple, he told me this story:
He was just stationed at Whidbey Island NAS. He’d gotten in that day, been processed, and only wanted to sleep. He crawled into his bunk and “The next thing I knew, I was on the floor.”
His newfound buddies woke him up by dumping him out of his bunk. They wanted to go party. As he was the only one with a car, he was unceremoniously elected to drive. He told them to go away (I am sure he cleaned up his actual response as he was talking to a lady) but they persisted. Finally, he decided to go.
They made the journey up to Bellingham, quite the drive back in the day.
He found out later that his wife also needed cajoling to come to the dance. She lived even further away than the Naval base and was reluctant to go to a dance where she didn’t know anyone. Her best friend, whom worked at the YW, was persistent and harassed her into going.
As the men (probably still boys, really) entered the ballroom, the dance was already well underway. He could obviously still picture it clearly as he described that there were tables lined with food along the wall, tables in the corner, a dance floor and small band.
He described the setting much like a junior high school dance: boys on one side of the room and girls on the other.
His friends immediately went to the food then sat down to eat. “You drug me all the way up here and you’re not going to dance with girls?” he reportedly said to them. They shrugged and continued to eat, ignoring his frustration.
He spun on his heel, surveyed the room, and spotted a girl. Walking across the ballroom, he approached a group of girls. He stuck his hand out to his future bride and asked her to dance. Surprised, she turned around to look if he was asking someone else. “I’m asking you” he said.
He took her hand and led her to the dance floor and they spent the remainder of the evening dancing and talking. They’ve been together ever since.
It just simply isn’t fair to make a girl cry on her first day of a job. But it’s a wonderful story and I love to be able to pass it along. He obviously loved telling the story as well, and I can picture kids and grandkids listening in rapture as he told it through the years.
Here is a picture of the ballroom, probably much like it was at the time:
Live Well, Laugh Often and Love Much. Dance as if there’s no one watching.