Magic

How is everyone doing? I am on day 19, but by the time this arrives in your inbox, it will be day 24. (Spoiler Alert* I write ahead and autopost) I am on my second cup of coffee. That alone should tell you how its going for me. I limit myself to a single cup every day. Love and care go into making that cup from heating up milk to stellar quality beans to the perfect pour. Perfect for me. Everyone has their way of making coffee and we all are particular about it. But here I am on cup number two, equally as perfect as cup number one and served in today’s mug which is Mary Poppins and the chimney sweeps dancing on the rooftops of London. What is better than one perfect cup? Two, two is better.

Normally Mary is my tea mug. When I drink from it I get a little bit of magic touching my lips. I am slightly concerned there will be a coffee aftertaste in my tea mug but fingers crossed I can banish it. I am looking for magic everywhere and fingers crossed it will arrive when I clean my mug.

I have had a few requests to see what my office looks like now that I work from home. I tell everyone I am in the basement, which is true, but it isn’t your typical basement. When we were looking for this house 20 years ago, a walkout basement was on the wish list. When we saw this one, I liked it because it didn’t back onto a mosquito nursery or a community park. I want privacy. I want to walk out my back door and into my garden without having people watching what I am doing. Which is nothing, but I want my nothings done in private. I completed my degree in the basement. I wrote four novels in this basement and I am working on the one that I think is publishable. All of this done in private. Privacy is magical.

This is my workspace. It is the opposite of my workspace at my job. Here I am surrounded by things that inspire me. I have four photos of my children. A letter from Judy Blume she wrote to me (THIS IS MY MOST VALUABLE POSSESSION), I have a Club 33 pin and a box of flip art by Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men. I have a working T.A.R.D.I.S. and a Toy Story kaleidoscope. I have a Tiffany blue and silver bowl my sister gave me when I graduated the second time around. I keep it filled with toys, lip balm, wireless earbuds and really good pens. I have a tiny polaroid of me and my siblings on my 51st birthday. (I worry that will be our last photo together.) I have a street made of lego and a miniature bow tie quilt made from 1930’s replica prints. The entire room is inspired by Mickey Mouse. The colours are Black, White, Red and Gold. The art on the walls are Disney animation, mostly artist sketches and Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky prints. My office is made of magic. What is more magical than Disney, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Doctor Who? Shout out to my coffee!

Magic keeps me inspired to do things.

I find magic in coincidences. Those times when you are chatting about something and suddenly it shows up in your life. Or unexpected magic like when a friend you haven’t spoken to since grade 10 messages you and says remember me? That happened Thursday. We worked together at the local ski hill and that brought back a flood of fun memories! Or when you wake up and your kids are still sleeping and your dog has taken the hubs for a walk and you get the kitchen to yourself for a whole hour to eat breakfast in silence. Or when you are reading a book and Glennon says something smart and you think YES! A MILLION TIMES YES!!!!! Or when you say yes instead of no and attend a Zoom Class and the teacher VALIDATES YOUR IDEAS!!!!! Pure Magic!

I gave up waiting for magic to happen and having expectations for things to be a certain way. Giving up was the unexpected key. Tiny little magical things happen every day, you just have to recognize them when they appear. Then be grateful you have magic in your life because THEN, more comes. It truly is magical.

Stay healthy friends!

Edmonton Tourist: Ritchie Market

I first went to the Ritchie Market a few years ago for a private function. Beira had just opened and we went for breakfast and enjoyed a special cask to celebrate the end of a beer run. The food was beautiful and the beer was delicious. Tiny little flowers dotted the plate – I wish I still had the photo. When I was there, Transcend wasn’t open yet and Acme Meats just started. this place was cute and charming.

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Fast forward to today, Biera is still going strong, Acme Meats had people lined up, Transcend coffee roasters were packed and the new kid on the block was all white and shiny and pretty.

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Little Duchess has now opened on the south side.

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Little Duchess isn’t as large as the location on 124 street, but it had all the things I look for in a great patissier, croissants, macarons, cookies and scones. They don’t bake onsite – but neither does its larger sister. Everything is baked offsite at their kitchen in the garment district so everything is EXACTLY THE SAME. They even have a small Provisions section, just like the other location.

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The hubs ordered a pain au chocolat and I had a raspberry white chocolate scone. We walked over to Transcend and decided against their amazing coffee because I already had a pot that morning, and we both ordered hot chocolate.

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If you didn’t know, Transcend is some of the best coffee in the city – likely because they are roasters. Fresh roasted locally is the next level in coffee. It is so good, but so is their hot chocolate. It is not overly sweet and they mix it by hand.

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They even place their signature leaf on top.

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Paired with the scone, I was in heaven.

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The hubs had demolished his croissant before I could grab a pic.

Acme meats were thriving and one day I think I will stop and bring something marvellous home. We joked about them only selling Road Runner.

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After our treats, we walked around the neighbourhood to see what was around. Did you know that Doughnut Party just opened a second location here? Perfect for us south siders. We each picked up a doughnut for home. It was a decadent day.

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Raspberry Earl Grey for me and Double Chocolate Brownie for the hubs.

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Before we hopped back into the car, I noticed Kind Ice Cream – I wasn’t really sure where it was but now I know how close it is to home! I will be back for SURE.

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This is exactly what this neighbourhood needed. I wish I was so lucky to live here.

What interesting places are near you? Get out and explore your city!

Edmonton Tourist: Common Ground

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I have talked before about not-for-profit business. The first one that comes to mind is  Judy Blume’s book store Books & Books. I love the idea of providing goods and services for the community rather than to line the pockets of billionaires…but that’s not what this is about and I don’t want to get into capitalism with you. I heard about a coffee shop in Sherwood Park (east of Edmonton and about a 7-minute drive from my house) that was community-based AND a nonprofit!

Community is a big topic and is something I live daily at work, at home and in my city. I went to Common Ground’s web page to find out more about it because I wasn’t interested in supporting something that was contrary to my values. Values are a big thing for me and I am choosing to spend my money differently. This line stood out for me:

“In getting to know the community through a research project and many conversations, it became clear that what Sherwood Park is really looking for is community and connectedness.”

Aren’t we all? There is a trend happening that is taking place in people’s communities. Less social media and more face to face connections. People use social to connect with people far away who have common interests or for various other reasons but this is creating a disconnect. Humans are social beings and need face to face connections. At least I do. The premise of this coffee shop is connections. There is a community space for meetings or gatherings. It is run by volunteers. There is a kindness board to share a coffee for those who need one and there is a wall of games to help make lasting connections.

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The irony of this visit isn’t lost on me. I reconnected with a friend from my teaching days (it feels like a lifetime ago). She is a regular blog reader and reached out suggesting coffee. I loved that idea and while it took time to get a free spot in my busy summer, we finally settled on a date that worked for both of us. It was wonderful to reconnect, talk about our shared history but also discover new reasons to connect in the future.

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The tables are large, suitable for meeting new people or meeting up with large groups. The treats are delicious and the tea was good (oddly I didn’t have coffee). There are open mic night and music in the evenings. The windows let all the light in and help to create an inviting atmosphere. I only wish this place was walking distance from my home. It’s almost enough for me to consider moving back to Sherwood Park…Almost.

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I hope this place has a long and healthy effect on its community. You will probably see me sitting there visiting with people on occasion – come by and say hi if you do! Support local and support nonprofit! It goes a long way to strengthing healthy communities.

Common Ground: Community. Coffee. Cafe.

150, 161 Festival Way
Sherwood Park, AB

Monday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Stat Holidays: Closed

Edmonton Tourist: Under the Big Wheel

Winter is still going strong here in Edmonton. I am not going to lie, it is bringing me down. Six months of winter is more than enough. Thanks Old Man Winter, you can stop now. Happily I haven’t removed my winter tires.

As far as second winters goes, this one isn’t all that cold but I still find myself wanting hot coffee. Today I had a date with a great University chum who tells it like it is and asks the great questions that make me think about things from a different perspective. Today we chatted about friendship problems we both have, parallel to the point that loyalty is an issue for both of us. We are loyal and hope for a reciprocal arrangement. It didn’t happen for either of us and then she said, “What did you want to happen?”

That simple question knocked my socks off because I  have been looking at it from the perspective of ‘This happened and I need to do this because I am loyal and the friendship is important to me so I need to forgive.’

Her question made me pause and think. I love that quality in this friend, she makes me think.  Then the server came and asked what we wanted to order.

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Right…breakfast! We decided to go to Old Strathcona and have brunch at Under the Big Wheel. A farm fresh organic kind of place with a really large Penny Farthing bicycle hanging on the wall. I am assuming that was the big wheel, not the red plastic kind of my sister’s childhood.

The Big Wheel

We both ordered coffee, she had a mocha and I had a latte because I am on a quest for the best one in the city – side bar: It was good, really good but I place it third on my list.

It was served in a very unconventional way – as was the entire experience – Unconventional.

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It came in a tall highball glass or something you would have cold chocolate milk in. It was hot on the hands but felt nice on my cold fingers after walking here in the wet snow. Because it was in glass, the coffee didn’t stay hot for long. That would be the biggest reason it is only third on my list. I like coffee hot and to stay hot. But it was good enough to have two. I rarely do that.

So where was I? Right! What did I want to happen? I wanted my friend to stick up for me, not be neutral. She agreed. Her friend was neutral too. We both would have been okay with “What you did was really crappy and I don’t like it.” but still be their friend…because it isn’t high school. Or if you thought I was being crappy – say so! I respect that!  She also agreed that would have been a better solution for her as well. So meanwhile here we are sharing similar experiences and our Server comes back – can I just say, our server’s lipstick was on point? It was the perfect shade of red for her alabaster skin. I digress… Our Server comes back and asks if we had decided. Of course not, we were catching up! We quickly glance down at the menu and she says, ” have you been here before?” Nope, first time. “My personal favourite is the waffle, our Belgium waffles are amazing” There was a gal behind us at a different table shouting out, “OMG THE WAFFLES ARE AMAZING” I enjoy that kind of enthusiasm and recommendation, so I had the eggs benny on a waffle – it was called The Savoury Waffle. I had a choice of smoked salmon, sausage bacon or cooked spinach (who wants to eat that? Cooked greens just taste like Chlorophyll to me. Too green. I prefer my greens uncooked with the exception of Beet Leaf (not Cabbage) Rolls and baby bok choy in soup. I picked bacon because, well, bacon. My friend chose the Traditional Breakfast, it was very conventional.

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Both were tasty. The hollandaise sauce was not the usual and I couldn’t put my finger on it, what made it taste different? It was good, but different than the norm. The waffles were light and fluffy, the gal behind me did not lie.

Where were we? Right…. loyalty. I also disclosed that I was thinking about words that had been said to me and playing them over in my mind. She agreed that she does the too. Only I don’t think about where the person was coming from when they said them, it was more of a how those words affected me and caused me to behave in certain way or do things maybe I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t been so hurt and how could I have reacted better?. These were traumatic experiences I kept reliving and then looking at how I could have done things better/different. We agreed this wasn’t helpful to moving forward. But yet we still did it. I suspect most people do this.  Some people can just let it go easier than others.

We also talked about how awesome our dogs are. Hers are new to her family an mine is celebrating his 3rd adoption day with us on the 27th. I call it his birthday because he didn’t have to be a wild dog any more and hunt for his food. He found out very quickly he prefers being retired and living a spoiled life.

The best part of this breakfast was the server let us visit and chat as long as we needed. She kept coming back to see if we needed something more – just salt for the eggs and another latte, but it was really restful. I really did enjoy this spot for brunch, the food was great.

I have visited a few other spots around town to test out their coffee. I went to Anvil, a new spot in Ottwell. Decent but over priced. It tasted fine but didn’t wow me.

I also visited Wild Earth Bakery, cookies were good coffee was fine, also didn’t wow me.

If you decide to come to Edmonton for coffee and want to meet, let me know, I would love to experience coffee with you!

My list of favourites so far in order:

  1. Mandolin
  2. Cafe Bicyclette
  3. Under the Big Wheel
  4. Little Brick
  5. Anvil
  6. Wild Earth

Where do you like to go for your favourite coffee?

Edmonton Tourist: Mandolin Books and Coffee Company

The sun was out and spring felt like it was here. After being in a stadium for 5 days with 7000 kids, I was happy to get out in the fresh air and explore a little of my city. Plus, I wanted a coffee, a really great cup of coffee. To me great coffee comes in the form of a Café Latte. Hot, creamy with a strong coffee flavour. My favourites in the city are Café Bicyclette, Block 1912, Transcend, and now Mandolin.

I had heard about this place from some people at work. They knew I am a hard core book lover and was serious about my coffee so they thought the combination would be right up my ally. I headed to highlands on 112 Avenue. I used to live in this neighbourhood about 25 years ago and all that was here a a restaurant and wool shop. The 2 block street has undergone some heritage sprucing up, new lamp posts, some cool signage to let you know what used to be in that spot and a mural. This little trip had all the things a nice exploration includes:

  • Points of interest
  • nifty shops
  • pretty neighbourhood
  • coffee

It felt like an afternoon vacation.

My Companion and I walked along the south side of the street first, in search of the coffee, I was charmed by the signage.

I bet that was a great Hardware store! I love old timey hardware shops, Steveston BC and Entwistle AB have some of the best I have ever been to. Highland Hardware is now the Apple Box, a crafty paint shop that has milk paint, I need to remember to head back there when I pain my bench – I want it to be a rusty red.

Continuing along the street we found La Boheme. I always wanted to sign and dance on the tables there like in Rent, but have only eaten there and went to the wine cellar for a tour before I even knew anything about wine. Man, I wish I could go back in time and appreciate it more.

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Then came Mandolin Books and Coffee Company.

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The place had a great selection of used books and antiquarian. I found a Rudyard Kipling book of poems dated 1922. On the front cover was a swastika – pre-nazi Germany swastika meaning ‘lucky’ or ‘auspicious’. This was what it symbolized for 11,000 and now its an ugly symbol of hate. This book was in perfect condition as were so many of the books in this place. But first, COFFEE!.

The coffee here is Catfish Coffee, and I have to say, it is now my favourite coffee in the city. I really enjoy the flavour.

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We went to the counter and ordered 2 lattes, a lemon square and a blondie because this was a vacation and we needed sustenance.

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The baked goods tasted homemade (WIN!) but the coffee was smooth, creamy and strong – everything I look for in my favourite cup.

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It had been a long time since I enjoyed a coffee this much.

We poked around this shop and found some other great finds, like blind dates,

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we found a guy playing scrabble in the back and a mama reading to her offspring.

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There is also a patio out back.

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Once we found books we had to buy, it is a book store after all and I buy books because that is who I am, I ventured back outside and explored the other side of the street.

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We went into this great little candy shop and found vintage candy and poked around the antique store.

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It was the perfect afternoon in a great neighbourhood of Edmonton.

Edmonton Tourist: Woodrack Café

img_5994I have been driving by this café since they broke ground a couple of years ago. I figured with a name like Woodcock, it was a steak place. Today after a race package pickup in the neighbourhood, I decided to stop in and see if I could grab a nice lunch. It was a total score, there was awesome coffee AND amazing soup on the menu.  This is what caught my eye:

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Coconut Curry Soup with rice. That is one of my favourite flavour combinations so I decided I was staying for lunch.

First impressions was this was a charming café. Rustic and whimsical with a touch of grandma. I looked over in the corner and there was a sofa I remember from my childhood. My Grandma had bought a similar one at Campbell’s Furniture way back in the day. I loved that sofa! So seeing it here brought back great memories, already a win for me.

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I looked at the menu board to see if something else caught my eye.

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Nope, I still really wanted the Coconut Curry Soup and ordered it with a roll. I checked out the sweet counter and decided I wanted a kids cookie because who doesn’t love a great sugar cookie? I also took the last Chocolate Chip cookie to see how it compared to mine, while it was good, mine are still better. My lunch companion had the Whoopie Pie because as the sign says it is a specialty! I ordered a cafe latte because the point of this year is to visit new coffee places and delicious coffee that is created inside.

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The coffee was rich and creamy. While delicious, I found there was more foam than I prefer. Next time, and there will be lots of next times, I will order light foam.

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The cookies were good but not something I would order again. To eat cookie calories, the calories must taste better than my cookies and these did not. However, they were really delicious.(clearly mine are spectacular)

But the highlight of my culinary day had to be the soup. It is not often I make yummy noises while I eat. I am pretty sure people were staring but I was too engrossed in my soup. So flavourful and just the right amount of spice. I hope it is a regular menu item, but if their other soups are this good, then this is a must eat place for soup lovers!

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After we finished and licked the bowl clean, (I didn’t really but now wish I had…) We walked the perimeter of the café. I was pleasantly surprised to see an outdoor patio, it may not look like much to you, but for those of us who only get summer weather for about 3 months, outside time is a premium and we like to maximize it by dining outside.

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This place has been added to my list of great lunch stops or afternoon coffee breaks. I think you will be pleasantly surprise.

Edmonton Tourist: Café bicyclette

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I went out to breakfast Saturday. Breakfast has become my favourite meal of the day. If you knew me when….you must be laughing you head off. Why? Well, how many ways can you make eggs taste good? Seriously?  As I learned more about nutrition and understood how a really good breakfast made me feel in the morning and how it set the tone for the day ( yes I am a mom that is why I sound like one) I found a great breakfast to be so enjoyable!

I set out to Café bicyclette. I had only been once before and really enjoyed myself. I have a memory of their coffee being the best I have tasted so far. I decided to go back and see if my memory was correct or was it just the company that I was with.

This time, I went with the hubs. Last I went with a college pal. Different company, both charming.

Café Bicyclette is located in Edmonton’s French Quarter, small but charming, nestled next to the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean. I had been here previously for BYOV Fringe plays and had pals who talked about how much they liked it. So I went for breakfast.

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Breakfast is not table dining, that occurs for dinner. This was counter service. They have their regular menu – although it is written in chalk so I suspect it changes, and there is the special.

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I saw the pâtisserie counter and considered just sweets for breakfast.

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BUT I love Croque Monsieur ever since Madam told my daughter about it in French class. We made it, we ate it and now we love it. So I like to try different variations. This was was unexpected from my norm, but so tasty. I could eat it like a regular sandwich rather than with utensils, also unusual from the dish I had else where – like Be Our Guest Restaurant in Walk Disney World…that was also great.

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Le pain tasted like it was baked in-house. The sauce was tangy and of course dripped on my sweater having me smell fantastic all morning long. It was served with a side of cold dill potatoes. This was fine, but didn’t rock my taste buds. I am used to a cheese sauce poured over the sandwich, however, this was delicious. As I looked at the Hub’s breakfast I did experience a wee bit of regret. His Oeufs Benedictine had crispy potatoes. I had that last time and loved every bite.

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What I wished I had on my plate was that ruby red grapefruit grilled and sprinkled with brown sugar. He had bacon instead of ham and his hollandaise sauce was perfection.

But the star of the show? The café latté hands down my favourite coffee in Edmonton that I have tasted. Clearly I need to visit the best coffee houses so I can give an accurate judgement.

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The decor is charming with little bicycles scattered around and black and white bicycle prints along the back wall. There is a floor to ceiling wall of light that adds a sunny atmosphere to this café. They also have a winter patio complete with throws and fireplaces so you can enjoy your Chai or Latté snuggled up. Edmontonians are a hardy bunch. Patios are not just for summer anymore.

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The preperations for the Flying Canoe Festival have begun and this is one festival that I have not participated in yet. So I booked my calendar and I am ready to roll. It is a French Canadian/ Métis festival that happens in my favourite creek. I am really looking forward to that and will come back to you with a full report because after all, I am the Edmonton Tourist.

The sad reality, is I am coffee lazy.

*Warning to all you enviro-enthusiasts out there. You may wish to advert your eyes*

I just realized I am incredibly lazy.

This is a real lightbulb moment.  Self-awareness can be painful, yet it is an important step in growth.

I woke up this morning, reaching for a k-cup for my Keurig and I discovered the coffee drawer that holds REAL powerful triple x bold high test k-cups of awesomeness was empty. All I had left was decaf and Vanilla French Roast. In my world neither of those count as coffee. I gave the vanilla french a try once, but quite frankly I hate flavored coffee. To flavour coffee in the manner to which I prefer, it must be after the coffee is made. I really do not enjoy the beans being altered. The taste of coffee in it’s purest form is delicious. To add milk is divine. To add Vanilla flavour then becomes an exquisite addition.

So now I had a problem of epic proportions. How am I going to fill my giant Mary Poppin’s Mug?

In my pantry are no less than 3 pounds of coffee beans. I have Verona French Roast, Organic Fair Trade Artisan Nicaragua French Roast and Fair Trade Certified Italian Roast. Of the three, I prefer Verona. The coffee I enjoy most is in your face screaming I am Coffee . It is a well documented fact I prefer Starbucks Coffee to grocery store “coffee”. In my opinion those brands are acid in my mouth. I do not enjoy the acidic nature of those blends.

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keurig coffee filter (Photo credit: mondays child)

Now, I have no K-cups for my Keurig, but I do have a My K-Cup. It is a little basket that makes a cup of coffee using the freshly ground coffee I have in my pantry. This is how lazy I am:

  1. I actually thought twice about making coffee or DRIVING to Starbucks to have someone make one for me.
  2. I made coffee using My K-Cup yesterday and now the basket must be cleaned before I continue on to a fresh cup this morning.
  3. I need to pull out the coffee grinder, but that is ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK OF MY PANTRY!
  4. I need to grind the perfect amount of coffee or grind an entire bag and commit to using it every day. It’s messy and a process
  5. Once I grind the coffee I have to use My K-Cup daily and that means it must be cleaned everyday. EVERYDAY PEOPLE! I am on vacation!

The up side is, my Keurig makes a damn fine cup of coffee. Add steamed milk and its a party of divine in my cup.  Now I am sure there is an inventor out there who can assist me.

This is what I want. I want disposable filters for my Keurig. It would be less waste than an actual k-cup. It is bad enough that I need to take the housing apart to use a My K-Cup. Amazon sells an Ekobrew for $16.99. This filter doesn’t need me to disassemble the housing before brewing. I like that, but I still need to clean out wet and soggy coffee grounds.

I did google “paper filters for keurig” and I was led to this page.   Now I was a little bit excited for a moment until I watched the how-to video. It would require me to be an origami specialist. If i am too lazy to clean out My K-Cup, you can me damn sure i am too lazy to fold a filter before grinding and making a cup of coffee. Time is money people!! What gets me is, you need to purchase 50 reusable cups to hold the filter and then special lids. Really? Why can’t I just use my K-cup Basket? Because of coffee explosion. Seriously? Then there is a mess to clean up too? AND the possibility of grounds in my coffee. I am not camping – I have no desire to strain cowboy coffee through my teeth every morning. When did the perfect cup of coffee become so complicated?

Obviously the solution for me is to go to the store, BUY several boxes of K-Cups and be vigilant about restocking. OR as I often tell other princess’ who complain about things “Suck it up Buttercup” and get it out of your head that your time is too important to make yourself a cup of coffee with all the tools you have at your disposal and use up your 3lbs of coffee that is delicious and fabulous.

FINE I will, but crimany crickets it will be painful, or as I like to call it “Personal Growth”.

 

 

I am a cry baby

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OMG I love him…I don’t know him but just look at him!!!Photo credit: migasun)

I was out visiting last night and consumed 3 shots of espresso. Probably not the smartest thing I have ever done. I was wide awake until close to two. Up again at six thirty. Am I tired? YOU BETCHA! Am I emotional? I cried openly in class today…you tell me.

Caffeine gives me energy – false energy – but I feel pumped none the less. I washed floors, I got things in order for a trip I’m taking and I checked my class assignments. My head blew off. I did very well and suddenly felt like my impending holiday would be super relaxing and fun….then I couldn’t sleep and my act fell apart. I no longer felt in control of my situation…that sucks.

The nice thing about being awake all night is I could email with my friend Bokkie in South Africa. She is taking Early Childhood Courses and that is my field so I helped out a bit. I laid in the dark letting my mind go places it shouldn’t. I was doing so great with the emotional thing…this was just a bump in the road. I needed to let it wash over me.

In the morning I needed coffee like you wouldn’t believe…yes the irony was not lost on me. My niece and favorite barista was on duty this morning and she makes a damn fine latte. It helped tremendously. I did crave chocolate all day – but resisted. I am in control except for the crying part….

I need to clarify one thing. The group of students I have this year is likely the best group I have ever had. I mean EVER! I have been doing this since 1988. 24 years of this kookiness and THIS IS THE BEST CLASS EVER! I heart them! They are 4 and 5 and will be fantastic humans. Of course they are a work in progress and are not perfect. For example, the gal I consider to be the kindest with the most potential turns out to be a playdough hoarder with a mean streak. It wasn’t pretty. I caught her at it and declared my disappointment. To her credit she felt remorse – not a usual response from 4 and 5 year olds. Then….the sobs started. She cried like I ripped her heart out of her chest with my bare hands. I am a softy when it comes to broken hearts, so I wrapped my arms around her and let her cry it out. Wr eventually moved to the couch because she was so distraught. 45 minutes later, we were finally able to reach a point where we could calmly discuss the situation, make up and be friends. Her biggest worry was she let me down. I know that feeling. Disappointing my dad was the worst! It stuck with me forever, I can still see the look in his eyes…ug… Yes I cried a bit when she told me that. Only because I was sleep deprived…I am not a baby – you are. No, YOU ARE.

Anyways…

The afternoon brought another heart braking incident. I am getting too old for this.

The final event shattered me. My favorite – yes I have a favorite. All teachers do, they just won’t admit it. Fairness above all else. Anyway, we were doing pet shop yoga poses and my favorite was touching the girl’s hair who was next to him. He doesn’t speak – ever. He has a couple of words he can use when it’s require, but he can communicate with gestures, kindness and expression. Did I mention he was my favorite? He has a HUGE crush on this little girl. She is kind and sweet and always has a smile for him. It was her turn to pick a partner, he held up his hand and she walked right by him and picked a girl. I watched his heart break right before my eyes. I think I could hear it too. The deadness in his eyes was obvious. I cried and covered my face to shield me from the naked pain on his little face. I wanted to run up to him and say, “It’s okay – I love you!!!!” Of course I know from experience that when the one you love doesn’t love you back, there is nothing more painful in the whole world. You want to die right then and there. You can actually feel your heart ripping from the inside of your chest and feel it scrape around your chest cavity and end up in your digestive track where the bile eats away at it until you bleed internally and die. Then all that is left is a soulless life form wandering around until that magical day when all is better once again. Of course you think it will never happen and you beg and plead with the love of your life to take you back in that pathetic embarrassing way that makes you cringe every time you look back on it.

I could see it all in his face. He stood in line, tried not to cry and became emotionless. Four years old and suffered his first major heart break. His soulless life form drifted to the snack table where he could not eat. Food tasted like sawdust in his mouth. The agony of the situation was SHE sat at his snack table. She was across from his little body, not talking because she too is unable to speak much – only she speaks another language – English is not easy yet for her. She communicates by smiling and lighting up the world – but HE couldn’t look at her, the pain was too raw. I didn’t blame him. I understood. The best thing I could do for him was take him away to a place he had never played before. He was able to move on and smile once again.

Obviously this was a sad and painful day. I look forward to next year with the hope that this is my last year in the classroom. I love my kids but chances are I will never have a year like this one again. With my luck it will be like last years group and that is enough for me to work at Tim Horton’s and serve donuts. Clearly the caffeine has done damage to my heart and soul. I need a proper sleep and become cold hearted again and resist the sweetness that can envelop me.

It’s days like this one when I wonder how am I going to make it? The pain is too deep to let it go. I think of that little face with the broken heart visible in his eyes and I hurt like it just happened to me. Oh to be 3 again and be self centered an unaware of others. being 4 is too complicated. Being 44 isn’t much better.

Bring on the happy place, a full nights sleep and a dole whip…and maybe Tarzan walking around in his loin cloth…its all good.