“Let’s Get Coffee”, Regrets, and Barb Harlan

“Let’s get coffee!” How many times have you said this? If you’re my age and living in the United States, chances are pretty high that number is greater than your digits by a long shot. I’m not sure what people said in 1813 or 1913, but getting coffee has certainly become a part of our cultural norm in 2013. And right along with it comes that other cultural norm: the opportunity for regret.

There are so many rituals in making and drinking coffee (tea is just the same). This is true especially when you make coffee at home. The filling of the device, the smell of the beans, the sounds of the coffee becoming real, the first taste. For coffee drinkers, making and drinking a cup of coffee includes all sorts of emotions and experiences that change it from the mundane into an almost revered thing. So asking someone to join you in that pursuit is both a casual thing and potentially a memory-making event.

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Context and Perspective: Not Just for John Hughes

I’ve written before about being mistaken as my kids’ grandmother instead of mother. When it’s a kid that does it, I don’t get mad. After all, I seem to recall as a high school sophomore thinking the college-aged kids must be really mature and have their life all planned out as I served them post-parting-hangover food. Obviously, one’s own age and experiences plays a role in such perceptions.

An older gentleman who had a “grandpa” like status in my childhood had two sayings he was fond of: “Hair and brains don’t mix” and “Age ain’t nothin’ but mind over matter; if you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” Yes, he was bald as a cue-ball and a very fun-loving young-at-heart kind of soul. He may have missed a few lessons on grammar and proper language, but he was spot-on about the role of context and perspective.

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Addictions. What Are Yours?

Parenting, for me, includes more situations resembling contract negotiations than I’d like to admit. Some days my head hurts too much to be all “my way or the highway” with my kids, so I attempt to negotiate rather than beg. Perhaps the key word is “attempt”. Yesterday was a negotiation day. Because I had to run to the grocery store with Littlest. I attempted to sweeten the deal.

Me: “All we need are four things. Just four. Carrots, cabbage, a birthday card, and half-and-half. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezey.”

Littlest: “You’re sure?”

Me: “Of course I’m sure. Just those four things! Come on, it’ll be fun. Like a scavenger hunt!”

Littlest: “Uhhuh.”

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The Glory of Firsts

Do you ever have one of those moments where you really, really (and I mean really) want to say something but you have just enough composure to listen to the little voice in your head to keep your mouth shut? Yeah, that’s me. There is a story I so want to get off my chest. To just unload the whole stinking mess right here–write my way to a better place about it. But I won’t. Perhaps I will in a few years. (Don’t worry, I’ll still be rolling it around in my consciousness like how you wiggle a loose tooth because it both pains you and torments you.) But for today, I won’t. I’ll resist the temptation and take the higher road and keep it to myself. Yeah, I know. A first for me.

Which got me thinking about some other “firsts” in my life. And one of which I feel pretty okay sharing, here. With you.

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Coffee Across Washington

This is the fourth post in a five-part guest post series.

Everett Maroon is a writer of speculative fiction, pop culture commentary, and memoir in Washington State. He has a B.A. in English from Syracuse University and went through an English literature master’s program there. A member of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association, he was a finalist in their 2010 literary contest for memoir. Everett writes about writing and his adjustment to living in the Northwest at transplantportation.com. He blogs at I Fry Mine in Butter.com, and at Bitch Magazine. Everett also has had short stories published in SPLIT Quarterly and in Twisted Dreams Magazine.

Photo taken by the authorI spend a lot of time in coffee shops—too much time, probably. As the youngest in a large, noisy family, I now need rambunctious places so I can filter out the distractions and focus on writing. Call it a counter intuitive working process. Continue reading

Downtime

This morning finds me drinking a rather weak cup of hotel coffee at the Oregon beach. In other words, awesome.  Mister Soandso and I snuck away for a few days to celebrate our upcoming anniversary and so here I am, typing on my netbook, drinking bad coffee, and hoping my spotty wifi holds on long enough to upload this. 

Driving out to the beach last night, Mister Soandso and I were talking about what a difference a year makes.  Think back to where you were last year.  How different 365 days makes, yes?  For some there have been births, deaths, good news, bad news.  And since it was snowing on us, the possibility of death was high on my list.

But we arrived just fine, although slightly frayed about the nerves.  And since I’m a stress eater, it seemed like a great idea to ice skate across the parking lot to a local hang-out and eat and drink and basically make a little too much merry.

So here I am, several hours, a little bit tired, a little bit rough about the edges, a little bit in need of some downtime.  Which I’m going to to take with a side of Advil.

But first, I’m going to surf through the posts I’ve been putting out here since December of 2008 and remind myself about just how wonderful these past days have been – filled with more good than bad, more happy than sad, more beginnings than endings.

I think I’m going to try to figure out my favorite post.  Chances are, it will be about something that made me laugh.  Those laughing moments remind me of what makes my years so precious.  Feel free to surf right along with me; downtime is better with a smile.

Chocolate, Coffee & Sexy Undies

There are many, many things that I just never fully appreciated as a child. Coffee, chocolate and sexy undies would all make the rather long list of things flying below my childhood radar.  No, I wasn’t running around commando as a wee one.  (Well, I actually did a few times, but that’s for another post.)  After all, it was the 1970s.  We were all sporting practical cotton briefs in neutral colors versus anything remotely attractive — unless you find the days of the week remarkably cute.   But the aging process is all about finding new perspective. And things in your closets and cupboards you never thought you would back when you thought 35 was “over the hill” and stretch marks would never happen to you.

As a kid, my mom would always get us a chocolate Easter bunny for our baskets.  And, as a kid, I would eat the ears off my bunny and then decide I would save it for later.  (I apparently have hoarder tendencies.)  This went on for years.  YEARS people.  To the extent that one fine day during my adolescence my mom agreed to keep me company while I reorganized my closet.  We stood there in front of a long line of long and short sleeves mixed together with wild abandonment and suddenly I hear something a bit like this:

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