Folgers Made My Day Bright!

Today was one of those days that just rejuvenate the spirit. The snow stopped! Then sun was shinning! The sky was blue! It was warm out (for Edmonton standards). It’s no secret the past 7 days have been less than stellar. I left the week at the door yesterday, bought groceries on the way home from work, then just decompressed and enjoyed a mediocre nights sleep. Why is that? I was so tired I should have slept a full 12 hours. 6 is all I got and not consecutively. I did feel rested, although an afternoon nap does sound decadent!

The usual Saturday morning errands, coffee on the patio at Starbucks – snow and all – then off to the weekly round of extra curricular activities for the offspring, but this week something to shake up the routine! We stopped off at Aunty Kitty’s for coffee.

She isn’t my Aunt. She is Chatterbox’s Aunty. We call her Aunty Kitty because she doesn’t want the world to know her as the Cat Lady. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me!  Via text messages earlier in the day, she offered coffee. Aunty Kitty replied to Honey, “Tell ET it is Folgers!” Clearly she reads this blog and was kind enough to inform me. I would like it known to the masses, I am a gracious guest. I have manners, I always find something positive to say about your offerings and I don’t even lie about it! I graciously thank Aunty Kitty for the coffee, and commented on the temperature of it. One of my most favorite things about coffee is EXTREME HEAT. I always order my Starbucks beverages Extra Hot. At home I heat my milk before adding it to my coffee. I like my beverages and food piping hot. Warm is just nasty to me. But I digress…

It has been so long since I have had a face to face conversation over coffee. Lunch break at work doesn’t count. Sorry Polly, but it just doesn’t. Work topics always creep in. Todays conversation covered everything from, comfy shoes – she read the blog and asked where to buy Croc insoles – to her impending trip to Hawaii! In-between I learned about a new thing she was trying. Body Talk.

This fascinated me on many levels. She explained to me what the Body Talk Practitioner did and how it blew her away! Aunty Kitty was so open to the possibilities that Body Talk can provide it had me wanting to sign up immediately! I do think it is something Honey should try. When we came home I googled it. I read through the information I discovered and it brought me back to a time when I was more at peace with myself. I miss that feeling. I miss being that in-tune with my body and my mind. I was there once, but life got in the way. I can get there again.

In my 30’s I neglected my mind, body and soul. I have let myself get so rundown, everything has become a chore. I think I need to get back into focus. I need to awaken the spirit gain. I know exactly how to do that. I learned many years ago. It gave me focus, showed me answers I was seeking and it gave me true happiness. If I start today, by the time my Yoga class begins I will be in fine form.Thanks for the inspiration Cat Lady Aunty Kitty!

In the words of a great 80’s rock band Timbuck 3 “The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades”

It’s the Most Wonderful Cheg of the Year!

I changed up my routine today. Normally I am a creature of habit, but today was – lets just call it a DAY and move on, so I took myself to the local Starbucks and saw the wondrous sight for CHRISTMAS! I really do not appreciate Christmas before Remembrance Day, but in this case it was comforting.

A huge change for me happened today. There was some tears, hugs and playful knocks. I have carried around some stress about it for a week, it all let loose today and it’s a relief. On the way home, I decided to treat myself to a really GREAT coffee.

I pulled up to the doors and lo and behold, CHRISTMAS at Starbucks!  Forget the coffee! Cheg was on the menu! There is something so relaxing about a Cheg. It to the stress away. One sip and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Suddenly I was transported to Christmas on the Square. 🙂

Every year in Edmonton, Winston Churchill Square has a Winter Festival. It is lights, trees, sleigh rides, hot chocolate, roving entertainers, and fireworks. My family likes to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas Season by attending this festival. We wander around enjoying the entertainment. We participate in the light countdown and stand together as a family as the fireworks go off overhead. Cheg is my beverage of choice. The taste of the warm spicy chai mixed with the creamy taste of eggnog all heated to an extra hot temperature = divine family time.

My mom called earlier  this week to make plans to go to Christmas on the Square on Saturday. In all honesty, I forgot. My mind has been busy working ahead in my University class and thinking about work. It all came back to me as I walked through the door to Starbucks and greeted with the Red and White Christmas Signs.

Edmonton is often refered to as Festival City. This will be festival #11 for me this year. Hmm #11. That is a very special number for me. So this just might be the best festival yet!

My Family + Cheg = Perfection

Hi I’m Julie McCoy, and I’ll be your Ship’s Cruise Director!

The Love Boat
Image via Wikipedia

I have spent the better part of my Sunday engaged in homework for my University Course. I was at work long before the offspring decided to emerge from their warm cozy beds at the first sign of breakfast. By time Offspring #2 said good morning, I had completed 2 of 4 minor assignments,with research and reading still needing to be done for the day. The first thing out of her mouth was “So, what are we doing today?” I almost growled “homework” but the sound was much more civil than a growl. A large sigh emerged from her lips and she sat down to visit her friends via Facebook.

Flashes of my youth appeared before my eyes. The ages of One to Four of my life are remembered as “shhhh your dad is studying”. I remember Dad hiding away in the deep dungeon of a basement, surrounded by concrete walls, one insignificant window and the smell of damp basement. In the corner opposite the stairs, sat his desk, comfortable office chair and a desk lamp,with a view of the washer and dryer. Those were the days of typewriters, pens and paper. After dinner, I would sneak to the top of the stairs and peer through the railing to spy on my dad. Mostly to see if he was actually busy, but perfectly happy just to get a glimpse of him. On days that he was at the library, my brother and I would sneak down and sit in THE CHAIR. We would take turns spinning each other and giggling ourselves into dizzy oblivion. We could not imagine our Dad to be so lucky as to have this chair to sit in for hours on end.

In contrast, I am luckier I suppose. I am also located in the basement but my walls are dry-walled and painted White Chocolate. The light streaming in is from large windows in a “walk-out” basement. The floors are cork and possess in-floor heating. Over my work space is a rather large map of Disneyland that I look at from time to time to gain inspiration from all those creative spirits before me. I am thankful for the good fortunes that have afforded me these luxuries compared to my father’s study hall.

Friday Nights were designated as Family Night. Dad would emerge from the dungeon ready for a break. Our family would go in search of inexpensive and free things to do. I often remember going for drives through Millcreek with the final destination being Dairy Queen. My brother and I would be bathed and dressed in our pajamas. We would pile into the car either with my Grandparents or just are small family. Off to our destination we would go leaving the ‘burbs headed for the city. In those days, the Dairy Queen was just an ice cream stand. It was a seasonal shop where you waited in line outside. My brother and I would order a soft serve dipped cone, my mom would often get a small marshmallow sundae and my father, without fail, would order a butterscotch milkshake. We would take the scenic route home, driving around looking at people’s homes or beautiful gardens. Usually we were asleep before the car was parked for the night with mom and dad carrying us up to bed. Sleeping or not, we would fake it to get the lift to our rooms.

I loved the undivided attention of my parents. So does the Chatterbox. She often is seeking parental attention of some form. You can often hear her say “So, what are we doing today?” As if I am the Omnipotent Being responsible for her personal entertainment. She often makes me feel like I should have been born Julie McCoy, Love Boat’s Cruise Director.

Yesterday, the Chatterbox and I went in search of clothing specific to our impending trip to Europe. We spent the better part of the afternoon laughing and looking for items that would make our stay more comfortable. While walking through Edmonton’s historical district of Old Strathcona, we stumbled upon The Walterdale Playhouse Open House. Immediately she led me through the doors knowing I would follow. We were given a tour of the main-stage and back stage. Shown how they magically transform plain people into characters that fill your imagination. Shown how they use paint and light to create elaborate illusions of grandeur. The Walterdale Playhouse is located in the old fire hall and still maintains the bell tower. 10 minutes before each production the bell is rung, signaling the need for patrons to find their seats. Chatterbox was given the opportunity to ring the bell high above Old Strathcona, telling the community that she was indeed ready to be an actress. We left armed with information of upcoming auditions, tips and a sense that we really enjoyed our time spent there as well as with each other. Our day was far from over, but the Walterdale Playhouse did enhance the rest of our experience together. We found shoes, drank ice tea at Starbucks, took crazy self-portraits together. The moments that were memorable, were unplanned. Just like Friday nights to Dairy Queen when Dad would burst into song and sing the Tennessee Bird Walk, or my brother would tell a funny story about the trouble he got into that day.

I need to remember the importance of Julie McCoy. I need to keep scheduling family time together so we can create more memorable moments as a family. I can do that. I can take a night or a day off every week to have family time. Lesson learned Mom and Dad! Thank you again for being spectacular role models that taught me everything I needed to know about being a great mom.

You can always find time to do what matters most.

I’ll Have an Extra Hot Vanilla Latte or a Scotch please

Description: Coffee cortado (An latte art exam...
Image via Wikipedia

I must know a million people. Yes I understand that there is only one million people in the Greater Edmonton Area, but I am sure I know most of them. I went for groceries today and it took me better part of the day because I had to stop to catch up with friends and acquaintances. Before that I was on the phone visiting with an old friend whom I haven’t talked to in quite a while. It’s great catching up, but sometimes I miss the old way of long conversations with coffee.

Coffee, just the word sends tingles down my spine. There is nothing more decadent than a Venti Extra Hot Vanilla Latte to me. It is a guilty pleasure that I thank Starbucks for. I know lots of people who think of coffee as “just” a beverage. Those are the people who drink Nescafe or Folgers or heaven help me, Sanka. I feel like I should spit after saying that word. They prefer their coffee weak loaded with sugar and skim milk, because we must watch our fat intake. At this point, if you are one of those people who enjoy a bad cup of coffee, lets just agree to disagree and please feel free to tune in tomorrow, I understand. The deep, dark, rich full body taste of proper coffee is not your thing, I get it. I’ll see you here again tomorrow!  Thanks for stopping by!

Now that they are gone, and true coffee lovers are left can we just take a moment please as I sip my decadent indulgence for a minute? Ahhhh. Just the taste alone is enough to relax the tension in my shoulders and make the world go away. The warm feeling that envelops my hands as I hold my mug because I never use the handle. I’ll just say it. Damn I love a great cup of coffee! And when I say “cup” I mean giant mug.

I can hear my mom at this point saying “how can you drink that stuff?”.  Very true mom. I didn’t always love coffee. In fact, coffee was foul-tasting for a very long time. Then why did I persist? There is something very social about coffee. I started drinking it in high school when I was a ski lift operator. It was the only free beverage available to staff and after a full day shift outside, warm liquid was a necessity. It was burnt tasting and powder whitener was gross. Add more sugar maybe that will help. No it did not. I learned to drink my coffee while it was steaming hot. So that was step one. Not very social but it was hot and that was important.

Then I graduated from school, found career work and learned about “planning meetings”. These were sessions where we were invigorated by conversation and excited by ideas and new concepts. I remember feeling so urban and sophisticated. We would drink coffee. That was before the espresso machines were in every coffee shop. That was before Coffee House’s. Then I had my very first Latte. A dear friend I worked with, who now lives on the West Coast, introduced me to the wonders of a latte. We would sit at a table in the coffee  shop and talk for hours. Thus was born the luxury and favorite pastime of cafe latte conversation. As a treat on the side, a chocolate covered coffee bean. I am drooling just thinking about it! The aroma of the coffee being brewed, the smell of the bean grinder, all heady for my senses.

The sad thing is I have let it go by the wayside. How could I do that? Sure I still stop by Starbucks and order my beverage of choice, Vanilla Latte or Cafe Misto. Then I take it into my car and drive away. I am busy and keep moving so I don’t sink. But I miss my girl friends. I miss sitting in my best friends living room just talking. Coffee was the excuse, really it was the getting together and talking  that I loved. We still get together, but it is with our husbands too. As much as we love those guys, it is not the same as girl time. I think that is part of the missing piece I am feeling. So I am going to make an effort to call her and make a date. Starbucks on an evening after dinner sans the kids and husbands. Sitting in arm chairs and catching up. Sounds so perfect, I just might cry.

Those of you reading and think you would also enjoy this ritual, email me! I want to sit and visit with you too. We will talk about our tourism adventure and what we are doing to shake up our lives! I’ll order two cafe lattes extra hot so they last longer during delightful conversation. If it is going to be a meatier conversation, I’ll bring a flask along too.

Which leads me to wonder what your decadent indulgence is…