A Coffee Love Story

by postmormongirl

I was raised to believe that drinking coffee was a sin.  No one in my family touched the black liquid; to bring coffee into my home would have been sufficient to spark a small war.  Having never been exposed to coffee, the very smell was enough to make me feel queasy.  Even after leaving the church, I stayed away from drinking coffee.  Sometimes, when I was cramming for exams and needed the caffeine, I would drink large cups of badly brewed coffee, which was sufficient to convince me that coffee wasn’t anything to get excited about.  If I needed the caffeine, I stuck with my standard Diet Coke.

And then I met a boy.  I was at a party when I struck up a conversation with a grad student in engineering.  He was funny and smart and we talked for hours as the party slowly died down around us.  He gave me his number and I resolved to call him again.  Which I did.  I called him, we talked, and we decided to meet for a coffee.  He picked me up after work and took me to his favorite coffee-shop.

This was not just any coffee shop.  This was a special coffee shop, with some of the highest standards in the industry.  The beans are ethically sourced and roasted locally by a master with years of experience.  The coffee is then prepared by baristas that have gone through months of rigorous training in order to pull a single shot.  The result is an espresso that is rich and earthy, with a beautiful caramel crema.

We talked for hours as I savored my coffee.  My horizons opened up, both by this new realization of the art of coffee as well as my conversation with a man who was raised by a single mother in India.  He told me about the trials of growing up in a highly orthodox Brahmin family while I told him about the trials of growing up in a highly conservative Mormon family.  We discovered a commonality in our experience that transcended cultural barriers.  Here was another person who had challenged his up-bringing and in so doing, had become more open-minded, more tolerant, more aware of humanity in all its glorious diversity.  I sensed I was on the verge of something spectacular.

Six years later and I find myself married to the same man that introduced me to good coffee.  There have been challenges of the sort that are inherent when two stubborn, strong-willed people from two very different cultures choose to get married.  But in-between these struggles have been a lot of good times.  We have shared a lot of laughter and had a lot of conversations that have challenged my view of the world around me.  I have a partner that makes me laugh, that reminds me to stop taking life so seriously, whose smile lights up the room.  More than that, I have a partner who understands the trials of walking a different path in life.

This article was originally published on the excellent blog,  A Post-Mormon Life. Do you wish to appear on The Menacing Kitten? Email us at submissions@themenacingkitten.com

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Building Off a Dream

[Note: If you don’t want to read all of this and you have an RSS feed, please skip down to the 4th paragraph that starts with the word “Finally”]

Over the past few nights, I’ve been having recurring dreams about packing.  After consulting with one of my favorite sites on the interwebs, packing suggests moving on and getting ready for a change of scenery.  I don’t plan on changing jobs any time soon – I actually really like my current employer, but maybe I am dreaming about this because of the simultaneous insanity going on in my life.  My employer has changed hands more often than a student loan, and all the while I’m enjoying this side thing as a blogger.  As I was packing away my things in the most recent dream, I knew more than anything else I had to keep my music stuff and my flash drive.  What does that mean? Well, all creative things are kept on my flash drive – all music files and writings that I have done.  I’ve interpreted this dream as meaning whatever changes occur in my life, my creations are closest to my heart and need to travel with me no matter what journey I take.  They are the piece of me that will never change hands.  This dream made me wonder if my creations are the key to a future bigger than I have ever imagined.

With this in mind, I’ve felt particularly ambitious in getting my writing out there.  I want to build my online portfolio and more actively grow my audience.  On Tuesday, I signed up for Salon’s online community, Open Salon.  It looks like a pretty cool service, and might get my name out there a little more.  Plus, you can make money – yay! I suspect I won’t make anything, but it doesn’t cost anything to try.  If I like the format and the viewership, I will likely post my politically-themed writings over there and keep them separate from this blog.  In the meantime, I will be cross-posting.  So, please check it out: they have a rating system and a number of ways to promote my writings through social media – far more options than I have over here.  If you like my writing and want to support what I do, please like, Digg, recommend, rate, or whatever Salon offers that you are capable of doing.  You all have been great, and I appreciate all the support I’ve received so far!

Speaking of support and help – I need your recommendations.  I want to find sites that are open to contributions and guest posts.  You all know my style – I’m not exactly New York Times material! Do you know of a site or blog that is open to guest posting that would be a good fit with my writing style? If so, comment below, on Facebook, or email me via my contact link.

Finally, I have some exciting news for everyone.  I am going to be moving the blog into a much, much more friendly and familiar format and will be converting to a WordPress front end very soon.  Assuming I or the Menacing Kitten Tech Support Team don’t run into any real-life work responsibilities this weekend, we will begin migrating data to a brand new, sexilicious format.   If we are able to begin moving are archives over this weekend, there may be a delay with my next post.  This scares me a little, as I don’t want to lose you, my beloved ninjas, so I’ll do my best to not have a significant delay.  If you subscribe to my RSS, there are two things that could happen and I apologize for both up front: 

  1. When we are moving the archives over, my archives may show up as new posts to you.  If this happens, I am really, really sorry.  There are 76 posts on The Menacing Kitten, so, yeah.  On the plus side, we can call this a Menacing Kitten Marathon?? Maybe?
  2. The RSS subscription is lost.  If this is the case, I kindly ask that you check in to the web page by Tuesday evening if you haven’t received a new post from me.  Menacing Tech Support did some crazy work in the back end to make the multiple themes work via RSS, and I’m not sure how well that will convert over.  I apologize in advance if you have to re-subscribe.

I hope neither of these things happen, but again, if they do, I’m sorry!  I’m pretty sure you’ll like the new design.  If we don’t migrate the data over this weekend, I’ll put out another warning post when we are ready to go.

Once again, thank you for reading this blog.  I appreciate the support, and all the warm comments I have received over the past several months motivate me to make this blog better and better.  Hopefully, I will see you soon on the other side of this conversion.  Cross your fingers for me, because, while Menacing Tech Support knows what he is doing, I have no f-ing clue.

 

Love you all,

-A-M

HB2036: When Republican isn’t Conservative and Pro-Life Isn’t Pro-Life

As part of evangelical politics’ extinction burst,  we are witnessing a bizarre war on women in this country.  My home state of Arizona, in an attempt to retain its Heavyweight Champion Belt in Yosemite Sam-ism, recently took the lead in this war by introducing overreaching, extremist legislation that would make Barry Goldwater turn in his grave.  I’m assuming that a few of the elected cockroaches in the state capitol building realized that their lives were still incredibly shitty after driving out all the “illegal Mexicans”, and decided to make women number two on their Shit List.  It couldn’t possibly be because they are horrible people who make horrible decisions, could it? Never! It’s got to be the Mexicans and the bitches.

While I gave Governor Jan Brewer a polite golf-clap for suggesting Debbie Lesko’s anti-birth control bill appeared to be a gross invasion of privacy, I take back any and all praise when she signed the other oppressive, anti-woman bill, HB 2036 into law.  While sites like Mother Jones have done a decent job of covering the part of the bill making abortions after 20 weeks illegal, there are a number of disturbing points within the law’s 27 pages of requirements that aren’t getting a whole lot of attention.  For example:

- A provider must provide the patient with the gestational age of the fetus and list the risks associated with abortions. Sounds simple enough if not a bit redundant, right?  The state takes it 900 steps too far by overriding actual medical science and requiring a doctor to use their definition of gestational age and disregard the true age of the fetus when it can be more accurately determined.  A provider cannot list the risks of the procedure based off of fact-based science.  No, the state tells the provider specifically what to tell the patient, because some representative read a couple of articles, and surely that gives them more knowledge than the person who spent years and years of schooling and continuing education on the matter.

- The provider must tell the patient in person that “medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, child birth and neonatal care,” the father of the child is liable to assist in child support, and there are public and private agencies to help the woman if she chooses to not have an abortion.  Because discussing what the state might do for you is the responsibility of a doctor.  Oh, and these state “benefits” aren’t exactly “available.”  More on that later.

- The state requires the provider must offer to describe the state-mandated ultrasound in detail to the patient, and mandates what physical features the provider is required to describe to the patient on the ultrasound.

- The patient must have a 24-hour “reflection period” between seeing the abortion provider and going back for the abortion, because the state is assuming you horrible ladies are incapable of considering the ramifications of this procedure and need to be put in a time out. Since many abortion providers were driven out of the state on prior laws, this 24 hour period is also designed to create another hurdle for disadvantaged women in rural areas, since they’ll have to travel quite a distance for the procedure, pay for a hotel room they can’t afford, and take time off from a job they can’t lose. 

- Non-pregnant taxpayer/voter? You think you’re off the hook? No, the state is using your taxpayer dollars to maintain a website that “describes the unborn child” to the woman.  This description must show and describe fetal development, and must include all of the same items the doctor is required to tell the patient.  Despite the fact that this information is already one easy Google click or library visit away, we are putting a few people on our cash-strapped government payroll to do this.  Oh, and the web site must be “objective, nonjudgmental and designed to convey only accurate information about the unborn child at the various gestational ages.” Remember,  the doctor has to use a state-defined version of “gestational age,” not the objective, non-judgmental accurate version. Because you’re using two different definitions, doesn’t that cause a misrepresentation of fetal development by 2-3 weeks? I see what you did there, Arizona. Clever, clever…

If the provider doesn’t do everything as strictly defined in this law, he or she can lose their license and be sued by a host of people.  So let me get this straight, Arizona Republican Legislature:

- Your party’s platform is supposed to be for tort and malpractice reform, but you just wrote a law making it easier for an OB-GYN to get sued.  This causes malpractice insurance to go up in our state, and will drive specialized care out of Arizona – a state that is already desperate for specialized care in rural areas.  Good job.

- Another aspect of your party’s “limited government” platform is to not create redundant laws.  While many of the provisions of this law are being touted as protecting a women’s health, every aspect that protects the woman’s health in this bill (the quality of the clinic, informing the patient of medical risks, etc.) is already covered in other laws as well as in medical licensing standards.

- You strip taxpayer dollars from services that can actually help Arizonans (again, more on that later), but you just mandated that the state pay for some stupid web site that provides information that can be found elsewhere without costing taxpayers a dime.

- Your party claims they don’t want to legislate people’s lives, and well…here we are, yet again.

Way to be a conservative.  So let’s talk about the word “Pro-Life.”  What does that word mean to you? Because I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

As I mentioned above, the new law wants healthcare providers to talk about the services the state “may offer” to moms.  The key word in there is “may,” because here’s the colossal fail that that resides in “may”:

- In 2011 Arizona cut services for children with developmental delays and froze health insurance for the poor.  Because of these cuts, 85,000 children were on the waiting list for KidsCare.

- Thanks to our poorly funded health programs, Arizona is currently ranked 47th out of 51 in the country for children who are insured, 44th for parents who are insured, 40th for children who have had a preventative medical visit in the past year, 45th for children with preventative dental visits, dead last for children with special health care needs in need of referrals, and 40th for children who are at a moderate to high risk for developmental or behavioral delays.

So we’ve established that Arizona pretty much sucks at providing adequate health care to these babies they want to save.  How else does Arizona protect its children? Haha, good one.  Yet again, needed services were cut from the state’s budget because we’re so goshdurn conservative, and yet again, CPS remained grossly underfunded.  We expect master’s level counselors with a mountain of student loan debt to accept a nearly unlivable wage, be responsible for more kids in one month than most people will know in their lifetime, fight the red tape war every day, only to get persecuted by state politicians when a kid dies.  Sign me up! Representatives actually have the gall to go on our local news and state that they “don’t want to throw money at the problem.” You say throwing money at a problem;  I call it FUNDING A NEEDED SERVICE. To-may-to, To-mah-to, I guess? A recent report showed the fruits of our non-labor, non-money-throwing actions and the results were damning:

- CPS currently has a backlog of 8400 cases, with cases dating back to last summer that still have not been investigated

- We have 11,535 children in state custody

- There is a 20% increase in neglect reports

- There is a 10% increase in the number of kids entering foster care, yet the number of foster homes continue to decline, meaning there are children waiting longer in group homes and crisis shelters.

We’ve got kids suffering and dying thanks to the state’s lack of funding and care, yet these same people are claiming they want to save a few fetuses…for what, exactly?  So you can let these fetuses become babies and give them the chance to experience the joys of behavioral and developmental problems, or for you to kill them slowly through your profound apathy and class warfare against the poor? So you can stand behind their mother in the supermarket line – the mother you coerced into having a child – and judge her when she uses her food stamp card? So you can then cut food stamps funding to put your shaming on paper? So you can feel better about yourself in your Paradise Valley McMansion, because you showed that woman – God blessed you and damned her.  How dare she expect the state to help her after the state promised there’d be services available? How dare she take a penny from you to try and feed that child or take her baby to the doctor for a checkup.  Doesn’t she know you have valets to tip?

She should have been abstinent.  Oh that’s right, we’ve learned that doesn’t really work.  She should have just practiced safe sex.  That’s what someone said in sex ed.  Oh, that’s right, you made Arizona’s abstinence-focused sex ed optional.  You also have laws pending preventing her right to receive birth control.  She should put her child up for adoption…and let those kids in foster care, group homes and crisis shelters wait even longer for a place to go?  And for you to slut-shame her when you find out she’s *gasp* an unmarried woman?  Or *confused gasp* is married and doesn’t want to keep her child?  Well, she could just go and get an abor…

Oh.  Oops…

Four Books to Challenge Your Views

There are certain books you come across in life that make you so angry, you want to throw the book across the room by the end of it. It is as if the book ropes you in on a certain premise then pulls the rug out from under you, opening your eyes to a dirty, awful truth.  It is a truth that cannot be unseen, and is a truth that cannot be contained within pages or a collection of 1s and 0s on a Kindle.   The four books below made me angry, they made me want to learn and do more, and they all challenged my thinking in a profound way.  As a reminder, I’m not an Amazon affiliate or anything; this is just me sharing a few favorite books with you. [Full disclosure: update as of 5/7 - I joined Amazon, and yes, I am linking these books, but it is still about things I love - if I wanted to really sell out, I'd do a list like, "Four Big Screen TVs to Blow Your Mind."]


Circumstantial Evidence by Pete Earley

Whenever I hear about a case where a person seemed to be wrongly convicted, I think of this book.  It is a non-fiction account of how in 1986, an African-American man with no criminal history was found guilty of murdering a white woman in Alabama and had his sentence changed from life in prison to the death penalty by the presiding judge.  The book tells the story of how a corrupt prosecutor and a culture of racism almost killed an innocent man.  In the defendant’s case, he was lucky to have the Innocence Project and a 60 Minutes exposé on his side.  After reading this book, I couldn’t help but wonder how many people were on death row under similar circumstances who weren’t able to grab the national attention this case received.

 

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

This may come as a surprise to you, but I really enjoyed reading this book.  To Ayn Rand’s credit, this book was unlike any other of its time – it featured a “strong” woman (in quotes because Dominique was way too much of a Roarke fangirl), the heroes of the book openly had affairs, and the bad guys were into charity.  What? She does a good job of making the “bad guys” unlikeable, and it is page-turning fiction.  On one level, the book is nothing short of absurd – the trial scene in particular laughable and ridiculous.  Yet…it’s like sci-fi/fantasy, using an alternate reality of our world.  Rand didn’t see it as an alternate reality, nor do her legions of followers.  Until rich people actually make like a Rand character and petulantly hold their breath until the world lets them be the racecar in Monopoly or whatever the fuck spoiled brat thing Rand characters always do, I’m calling it fantasy.

After reading The Fountainhead, I went on a crazy Ayn Rand kick – I read Atlas Shrugged and a lot of Objectivist literature.  I’ll be honest with you, when the economy tanked in 2007, I was shocked at how many people pulled out their Cliff’s Notes of Atlas Shrugged and started quoting it.  For me, when 2007 happened, I took one look at my mongo-sized copy of Atlas Shrugged and thought, “well, there goes that theory…”

To each his own, I guess.


Animal Farm by George Orwell

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”  Even though Orwell wrote this book as a satire of Stalinism, time and time again, we see our world mirror that of Animal Farm.  Orwell had said he came up with the idea for the book after seeing a boy on a farm whipping a farm animal, stating “men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.”  As we see various movements rise and fall in today’s world, one can’t help but wonder who in these movements is the Snowball or the Napoleon. We see certain individuals state they are for the people, yet are in bed with the rich and powerful.  We see people following these individuals without bothering to educate themselves on the facts.  This happens now, and it’s happened many times before.  Animal Farm shows the consequences for blindly following a movement, and placing an unwavering trust in a select few.  The United States may be one of the only countries in history to successfully overthrow a government and turn it over to the people, but at times we dance dangerously close to handing our rights away to the pigs.

 

Where Men Win Glory by John Krakauer

The general public may think they know the story of Pat Tillman – football star turns away from millions of dollars to join the military, dies valiantly fighting the enemy… if you’ve followed the story beyond that, you’ll know that he actually died from friendly fire and oops! those initial reports were incorrect and were in no way deliberately misleading. No, not at all.  Tillman was a man who defied every stereotype – he was considered to be too short to play football on an elite level yet managed to be a starter in the NFL.  He was a scholar, graduating with a 3.85 GPA in under four years.  He was an atheist, read the Book of Mormon and the Quran, and joined the military not out of patriotism or religious reasons, but because he wanted to push himself to reach his full potential as a human being.  He became an elite Army ranger yet questioned military groupthink and protocol often.  As is the case with many of Krakauer’s books, the main subject is only a part of a much larger story Krakauer wants to tell.  This is not only a biography of a fascinating person, but is also a history of U.S. relations in the middle east, a commentary on the Bush Doctrine, and a story of a military so desperate for good PR, they disgraced the memory of a man who died for their cause.  While I felt Krakauer spent far too much time on the 2000 election, the story is told with unrelenting passion and left me wanting to honor Tillman’s memory by being a better person.

Looking to purchase any of these books or anything else on Amazon? Support The Menacing Kitten by purchasing Amazon products through this web site. Like this sexy, sexy Kindle Touch (which I own and love):

 

The Sky Mall Catalog Index

[Note: My MacbookPro died a violent death when I tried to view a Skrillex video on YouTube.  Those two things may or may not be related, I'll leave that up to you to decide.  Long story short, I wrote this entry on a different word processing app and now my paragraph spacing is wonky.  I apologize for it looking weird and inconsistent from the other entries.  Once I am a little less lazy and on my own computer again, I'll fix it.]

Some people use the Consumer Price Index to determine how the economy is doing; I use the Sky Mall catalog.  You see, the more high-end crap there is in Sky Mall, the better our economy is doing.  As of the “Early Spring 2012” catalog, there are a number of offerings to give us hope.  I decided to go ahead and give a +/- number to a few of the products offered so we can gauge our economy.  If the number is a +, it’s a positive sign for our economy, where negative numbers are a bad sign.


The Zombie of Montclaire Moors Statue from designToscano: +20
The very existence of designToscano indicates that we are doing okay.  The next time your Uncle Ray claims that Obama has sent us into the next Great Depression, ask “oh, did they sell Bigfoot Garden Yeti Statues in the Great Depression at a price inflated to $125 in today’s dollars?”  Because I’m pretty sure they did not.  Or, did people order 16th-Century Italian Knight Statues for $995 from 35,000 feet in the sky in the Depression? No? Okay then, we’ve still got more than enough money to wipe our butts with in this country.  It’s not just that you can buy these things from Sky Mall, it’s that people do. Garden Zombie has been saying hello to me for like, 4 years.  Remember when I said I didn’t deserve to win Powerball because I’d blow it on useless junk? Well, I’m adding another point to that – I want to buy a house in an Old Money neighborhood and fill it with nothing but Sky Mall stuff, starting with designToscano.   It would be the most gleefully tacky house in the world.  I also want to point out that I know at least 10 of you out there just clicked on the statue link above with the intention of purchasing it.  I’m not going to mention any names, but let’s just say a few people from my international dinner party went into a little too much detail about their plans for the Zombie Apocalypse…


The Queen Essential EZ Bed from Frontgate: -5
Frontgate is the saddest part of the Sky Mall catalog, because their products are designed for executive transients who don’t remember how home is supposed to be.  They have an entire line of “resort-style” products, like towels, bathmats and sheet sets (complete with a picture of someone’s wife, sleeping alone yet again).  And nothing says “Executive Transient” like the Queen Essential EZ Bed.  Many of us have inflatable mattresses, but how many of us have fancy-schmancy-looking Queen air mattresses?  Why is this a -5? Because it indicates that you’re working so damn hard to make ends meet, you haven’t been home enough to help your spouse pick out a bed for the guest room.  Now, you’re mother-in-law is coming to visit your lonely spouse, and you’re forced to get something – anything – from this sad little catalog on your millionth flight.


Protein Gunk from protica: -5
This is a recent development in Sky Mall that I am not a fan of.  Similar to the Frontgate offerings, this is for people who travel too damn much.  On the road all the time? Can’t get enough protein, because your only airport options are Sbarro’s and Cinnabon?  Well, here you go – get your protein fix from these artificial products.  If someone from the 40s saw the packaging for these, they’d assume it was radium and plutonium and shit.  I guarantee, if the words were covered, the last thing they’d guess these products to be is “nutrition.” This is scary.  Stay away from this.  If this is the only way you can fit protein or “fruit” into your day, I am so, so sorry.  God did not intend for you to live this way, man.
The 24k-dipped Roses from the “Sky Mall Collection”: -10
Maybe these look nice in person, but judging by the picture, these are the ugliest, tackiest looking things I’ve ever seen in my life.  It’s like it’s marketed to Lillian Vernon/Miles Kimball shoppers who just hit a windfall. Like, maybe they just sold their Gone With the Wind plate collection on eBay.  $800 for 12 ugly gold-dipped roses in an ugly overly-ornate vase? Blech! I know it’s just as frivilous and wasteful as a Garden Zombie, but this is a bad omen for our country.  Trust me on this.


Products for Pooping Pets: +3
Be it the Spaceballs kitty litter box, the “train your cat to shit in the toilet” DVD set, or the mini-yard for your pooch, one thing is clear: we have become lazy and spoiled when it comes to animal crap – I know I have. Can you imagine growing up in the Little House on the Prairie days, and having to clean up giant mounds of smelly cow and horse poop? Today, we see 3 kibbles of cat shit and we lose our minds.  Between the epic poop-scooping and the mandatory baby-making back then, I so would have been the lady in the gothic books who is banished to the attic to spend her days peeling yellow wallpaper and biting the help. These products are completely unnecessary, and I would buy every single one of them.


The Strollercycle from Hammacher Schlemmer: +10
So, as you can tell, I don’t have children, but there are but a few things I know about the li’l munchkins. One of those things? Those suckers are heavy! If I did have a kid, before I was banished to the Attic of Crazed Biters Baby-Makers, I’d get one of these things.  I mean, it’s a stroller, but you can make the kid do the majority of the work!  The kid looks really happy in the picture, too. Surely, if the baby in the picture is happy, that means they love the product they were stuffed in, right?


Ads for stuff that isn’t executive paranoid yuppie crap: -10
It’s always a bad sign when Sky Mall can’t get enough advertisers in their catalog and they have to resort to “Visit Las Vegas!” ads or selling inflatable air dancer stick guys.  Sky Mall isn’t about Las Vegas desperation or bad storefront eyecatchers circa 1996; it’s about travel oxygen masks, do-it-yourself liposuction kits and last-minute gifts for the boss who has everything.  And of course, Garden Zombies.

 

Total Sky Mall Index rating for Early Spring 2012: +3
We’re looking slightly up, people.  Granted, it’s not at the legendary Perpetual Motion Desk Toy Era of Reagan, or the Sharper Image Era of Clinton, but we’ve still got Hammacher Schlemmer and a Garden Yeti.  We’re all right.

Portrait of a Whore Pill-Popping Godless Harlot

First of all, I am a human.

Second, I am a woman.

I love, I sympathize, and I like helping people.  I believe in the American Dream.  I really do like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, although I do not care for that song.  At all.  I cry when I read a sad story about someone I don’t even know.  I have a feeling if you and I sat down for tea and didn’t talk a peep of politics, I’d like you.  I’d even make you some of my famous banana bread.

I am imperfect.  I occasionally act like a know-it-all, but I know I have a lot to learn.

I was a registered Republican for many years, believe it or not.  I dated and lived with a man for nearly eight years before marrying him.  Our nine year anniversary is at the end of May.  We make an odd pair, he and I, but every day is interesting.  I love him, I respect him, and I am proud of him.

I am not a Whore Pill-Popping Godless Harlot, I am you.

Okay, I’m not exactly like you: I did take the whore pills for about 15 years, so I guess that would qualify as whore pill-popping.  Allow me to give a little background on this one:

See, when I was a teenager, I got the worst kind of cramps imaginable.  It felt like someone scraped the insides of my uterus with a box cutter.  It would hurt so bad, it would somehow impact the nerves in my legs, and my thighs would throb with pain.  My skin would go ashen, and I would throw up.  By the time I hit college, it generally got better, but there were days I felt so much pain, I couldn’t leave my bed let alone my room.  It would be easy for me to say this was the sole reason I went on the Pill, and you’d probably agree that is reasonable.  If I said that, I wouldn’t be entirely truthful.

I also went on the pill because I made a choice.  I did not want to have children, and I was well aware of the statistics for children born to young mothers.  Did you know that sons of teen mothers are more likely to go to prison, and daughters are more likely to become teen mothers themselves?  Nearly 80% of teen mothers wind up on welfare.  If I did want children, I’d want them to have the best chance possible.  There are so many unavoidable obstacles in raising a child – don’t you agree we should do our best to avoid those we can?  That’s why a lot of women take the Pill for contraceptive purposes.  These aren’t just teens, or even unmarried women.  Many women on the pill are wives and already loving mothers.  They take the Pill because they understand the financial and emotional realities of being a parent, and want to provide their existing children the best opportunities possible.  The Pill helps a husband and wife plan their family for success.

When I made my decision, I realized I had to take my health, my life, and my well-being into my own hands, rather than in the hands of another person.  I made a responsible choice to take the Pill – the most effective form of birth control this side of sterilization.  When I went on it, I had been with my future husband for a while, and we had a long-term monogamous relationship.  It made sense to take this next step.  I also liked the idea of not being bedridden from pain every month.

See, what worries me about your anti-birth control agenda is you’re shaming a young woman when you should be applauding her.  She is making sensible choices and putting her needs and the needs of her potential future children first.  She knows she’s not in a position or condition to have children and as a result, she’s setting up a better life for her future children down the line, if she chooses to have any.

Here in Arizona, there is a proposed bill that explicitly singles out birth control as an acceptable thing to discriminate against on health plans.  Not only does the bill single out birth control from an unending list of things health plans provide that an employer can have a “religious or moral objection” to (such as the non-procreation-sex-promoting Viagra, or you know, blood transfusions), it exhibits remarkable ignorance on how benefit plans are designed and on the Pill itself.  It is also designed to shame the woman: she would have to not only provide her employer with proof she was taking the Pill for non-contraceptive purposes, the bill allows the employer to charge the employee for all fees incurred by her employer while they confirmed she wasn’t a Whore-Pill Popping Godless Harlot.  Oh, dads aren’t off the hook either – they can look forward to explaining to their employer that their 16 year-old dependant has crippling cramps and is not in fact, a Godless Harlot.  They can also enjoy paying the fees for the interrogation into their family life and determination of moral character.

Is this what we’ve come to?  Shaming women for being responsible about their bodies and their future? Arizona, a state with the 5th highest poverty rates in the country, 2nd highest teen pregnancy rates, and low high school completion rates, thinks it’s a good idea to create thinly veiled social legislation shaming a family for determining what is best for them?  How is this limited government again?

I really want to believe you are someone who means well but are so removed from the every day reality of hard-working young American women and their families, you are simply making ill-informed statements and decisions.  We can work together on that one, because I’d like to think you want to be educated on the reality of your constituents.  My fear is that despite your touting first amendment rights, you actually want to marry church and state as long as it is your religion that marries the two.  If that is the case, I am afraid we cannot come to an agreement.  I just request that you explicitly tell your constituents the truth behind your actions rather than cherry-pick justifications for forcing your religious beliefs on others via public office.

Now that we have come to this, I recognize you would still probably see me as a Whore Pill-Popping Godless Harlot.

But I know I’m still you, I’m just lucky to be on this side of your bubble.

Favorite Debut Albums in My Lifetime

Note: I had hoped to put YouTube videos on here for each song, but I got the WMG No-Embed Cockblock. I hate that. So instead, I created links to take you to YouTube’s page in a separate window.  How does that prevent piracy again?? Anyhoo…

I love debut albums because there is a certain “force to be reckoned with” feeling about them.  They feel young, fresh and relentless.  They are a snapshot of an artist’s potential before the world gets its grubby little hands on them and ruins them.  Certainly, some artists still put out great stuff after their debut, but for many, the first album is the best in the collection.  The five albums below are debuts that were released in my lifetime that I particularly love.  A strong argument can be made that each of the albums are the best in that artist’s catalog.

What are your favorite debut albums?  Post them in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!

The Cars: The Cars (1978)
I’ve always seen The Cars as a band who never quite fit the mold of new wave the way other bands did; they weren’t overly top 40 like Blondie (at least not until Shake it Up), and they weren’t overly esoteric like early Talking Heads or Devo.  Sure, their debut album has at least six out of 9 tracks still in regular radio rotation, but when those songs come on they sound like nothing else.  They are a little Roxy Music, a little Velvet Underground, a pinch of stadium anthem.

The Cars was recorded in a mere 12 days with the legendary Roy Thomas Baker at the helm as producer.  When listening to the demos and rejected tracks for the album, the listener realizes how perilously close this debut came to being “just another 70s rock album.” Instead, we get this great mixture of songs that created a classic.

I chose “Bye Bye Love” for the “representative” song off the album, because I see it as the quintessential Cars song.  Although it was never released as a single, it’s both poppy and rock, intelligent and poetic, combining the perfect mixture of guitar and synth.  “Bye Bye Love” gives the listener a sneak peak into the future greatness of their second album, Candy-O.

 

Van Halen: Van Halen (1978)
When I listen to this album, I wonder how people reacted to it when it came out.  It opens with “Running With the Devil,” which is mainstream enough, but then you have “Eruption.”  When people heard it the first time, did they feel like they were listening to a person who was about to become a legend? Was it the kind of thing where they’d play it for their friends and say, “you have got to listen to this!”  See, my music memories began when all of the Eddie wannabes started to come out of the woodwork.  Van Halen is my 2nd-favorite band (next to The Cars), yet I take Eddie’s style for granted, because his imitators almost drown him out.

After “Eruption,” they bring us “You Really Got Me.”  The party begins, and doesn’t let up until many albums later.  I love the “live” sound on this album, and it’s one of Michael Anthony’s better albums for the bass. As in, you can actually hear the bass on this one.  What I love about Van Halen and the Roth-era stuff, is they give you the loud, fun crowd-pleasers, but they always include something a little playful and Vaudevillian.  On their debut, they have the double-entendre “Ice Cream Man,” and the doo wop section of “I’m the One.”  I know a lot of people who hate Van Halen, and I get it – they are at their worst, a bunch of misogynist, slovenly, juvenile, drunken cavemen.  That’s normally something I’d get really mad about, but I’m too busy dancing and banging my head to care.  

Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978)
1978 was a good year for music. I actually didn’t discover this album until recently – I came across “Uncontrollable Urge” and was surprised that this fun, mosh-worthy song came from the guys who did “Whip It.”   The entire album is high-energy, weird and kinda ballsy.  Let’s face it, who would take a rock classic like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and completely deconstruct it?

Are We Not Men is not some organic, natural act of God.  It is dissonant, detatched, quirky, high-tech punk that came to us via transmogrifier.

When selecting a song from YouTube to go with this link, it came down to “Satisfaction” or “Uncontrollable Urge.” If you have to choose one, go with “Satisfaction,” because if you haven’t heard it before, you should.  You’ll probably hate it, but I love it.  If you can listen to both, check out “Uncontrollable Urge” – I’m linking it to a great live performance of it.  I think he had to play the rest of the concert in his tight whities, judging by other clips I’ve watched…

Guns N Roses: Appetite for Destruction (1987)
Guns N Roses reminds me of Junior High – it seemed like one or two people knew of them around the start of 7th grade, and then overnight everyone had a GNR concert shirt.  Their success somehow ushered in the hair metal heyday, even though they weren’t a “hair” band themselves, and their music was miles above their contemporaries.

When I bought Appetite for Destruction and put it in my tape player, I felt like I was doing something bad.  The album was raw, angry and celebrated all the things Nancy Reagan told me to say no to.  My eyes widened listening to “It’s So Easy.”  When the album closed with “Rocket Queen,” I turned my radio down just below “1” so my parents wouldn’t hear the dirty, audio pornography I was listening to. Up to that point they were pretty cool with not intervening with my choice in music, but if any song could change that, it was “Rocket Queen.”

When selecting a song from this album, I chose “Welcome to the Jungle”.  It was their first single, although it didn’t really take off until after “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”  I feel it best represents the craziness that is Appetite.  Plus? We get to see Axl’s short-lived Aqua Net days in the video.

Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes (1992)
In my senior year of high school, I remember flipping through the channels and landing on VH1.  A red-headed female piano was singing an unusual song.  Her mannerisms were very feminine and very sexual.  I felt captivated – I remember thinking it was cool in a world of Billy Joel and Elton John, there was this woman kicking ass on the piano on my TV.  I’d never seen that before.  Yet, she was so…odd.

I didn’t think about Tori Amos much again until my Freshman year of college.  Little Earthquakes became the soundtrack to a year of my life, a life that became very difficult due to severe depression and a lack of self-esteem.  There were moments I hated myself, and Little Earthquakes was a dose of brutal honesty and compassion with every listen.  Songs like “Leather” and “Winter” spoke to a part of me I was afraid to acknowledge. Tori sang about the things ladies weren’t supposed to sing about, and in doing so, she made it all a little less shameful.

When I was selecting songs for this blog, I came across this performance of “Silent All These Years.”  I have listened to this song a hundred times easily, yet this time it made me tear up a little.

 

So, those are my five – what are your favorites?

A 2012 Bucket List Update: Thank You

[Note: While looking for possible images to post with this, coming across "gondola accidents" and "ski lift fall" did not reduce my gondola-anxiety in the slightest.  Thank you Google, for making scaring the shit out of myself one easy click away...]

After my 2012 bucket list post, I had an epiphany that started with an imaginary gondola.  Chris and I booked a trip to Colorado in January because we wanted to learn how to snowboard and/or ski.  By the time we arrived, I put a lot of obstacles in my way – I didn’t book or reserve anything that week.  I didn’t look into pricing.  I didn’t do any cardio, balance or flexibility exercises leading up to the trip to prepare myself.  When we got there, I had a nice array of valid excuses to select from.  Even though all those excuses were waiting for me, I kept thinking about the damn gondola.  I pictured myself having a hard time hopping off and getting out of the way, and all the imaginary angry ski bunnies in my mind were mad and inconvenienced.  The imaginary gorgeous athletic ski instructor (who looks remarkably like James Marsden) grumbled and sighed, as he did some crazy maneuver to get me out of the way before the next gondola smacked me in the back of the head, or before I caused someone else to have an accident.  Some people have anxiety over the very real fear of breaking bones while skiing; my anxiety is about inconveniencing people.  The cast of characters in my little imaginary world consists of every asshole I have ever come across in my life, when reality shows me that there are at least 100 amazing people to each asshole.  Why is that?

Needless to say, we backed out.  Sure, lift tickets were $110 a piece, and a private lesson was a whopping $500, and sure, I still had fun and the poor husband came down with Mongolian Death Worm anyway, but it ate away at me.  I knew this was my “do something you’re afraid of” moment, and I let it pass by.  I made a promise to myself years ago that I would not let my life be dictated by fear, and yet here I was, avoiding things.

Since then, every hesitation I’ve had nagged at me.  It never occurred to me that so many little things have been avoided because of some level of fear.  I had to confront each of them to make up for my not-a-ski trip.  In the time since, I attended a great webinar despite having a mini-panic attack when it was suggested there would be audience participation, I finally got desperately-needed braces, and the biggest of all, I decided to express my opinion on something and submitted it to one of my favorite web sites for publishing.  It got published, and I was blown away by the positive response to it – in 24 hours, it was read by over 40,000 people on Jezebel, and my own web site saw visitors from 35 countries and 47 states (evidently Idaho isn’t big on Whitney Houston).  Most of the comments were positive, and almost all of the comments against it were more constructive and thoughtful than truly negative.  As a result of this particular confrontation with fear, I’ve met one of my other goals for the year and hit a lifetime bucket list goal – I definitely averaged over 100 visitors a day for a week on my site, and I got something published that had mass-reach.

I definitely need to thank all of you for helping me reach these goals – not only from the support and encouragement I received when I first brought this web site online, but by the recent number of tweets, emails, and facebook shares.  As I write this, I realize how much I have to learn as a writer, because I cannot find the right words to express my gratitude or how much I’ve appreciated the comments and kind words.  I really want to do good by you, the reader, and I’m going to bring my best to you every damn week.

As I suggested in my previous bucket list post, with each accomplishment or failure on my list, I have something to take away from the experience.  My takeaway feels a bit unexpected – I learned this week if I really want to succeed as a writer, I need to write fearlessly.  I can live with chickening out on skiing (for now – I AM going to learn to ski or snowboard), but I will not accept chickening out on my writing.  The truth is, no matter how much I people-please in my life, I will never be good at this if I people-please as a writer.

I’ll continue telling stories and being an overall goof, but there’s even more I can do here.  I’m not going to ever force it or become something akin to an internet ambulance-chaser to gain views, but if I’ve got something of value to say, I’m not going to be afraid to say it.

And I’ve got ideas.  Stay tuned…

The Golden Rule of Geek Culture

For those of you who are newly engaged in a geek relationship, you need to know what I call the Golden Rule as it is the single most important thing to understand in your relationship: a true geek stands at the intersection of nerd and artsy.  They love whimsy and creation like an artist, but that creation must strictly follow specific rules and algorithms (nerd).  Knowing this will not only help you understand their frustration when a movie misrepresents mythology or technology, it will help you avoid being placed in a magical coma within five minutes of a D&D game with his/her friends.

Here are a few common applications of The Golden Rule:

1.  Strict adherence to fantasy folklore.

Geeks love Dungeons & Dragons, because it is the epitome of the Golden Rule.  Their love of this game has given them a passion and sense of duty to fiercely protect the folklore associated with the game.

Here are a few examples of folklore fails that have upset my geek husband over the years:

-       Mispronouncing chimera.  It’s Kih-MARE-uh, not CHIM-uruh.  I deliberately mispronounce it, but we’ve been together for over 16 years.  Mocking is allowed, and actually encouraged in geek culture – just be sure the other person knows you’re mocking them and not being an idiot.

-       Willy-nilly unicorn rides.  We watched “The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe” in the theaters.  When they began the big battle scene, the older boy hopped up on a unicorn.  Beside me, I hear a low but pronounced, “grrrrrrr…”  I lean over to Chris and whisper, “what??” He grumbled back, “only female virgins can ride unicorns.”

Amusing side note: I read somewhere that Tolkein and Lewis were friends.  Despite their friendship, Tolkein would get royally pissed at Lewis for not following folklore rules.  Paraphrased, Tolkein would grumble at him, “Gah! You can’t do that! Fauns don’t do those things!” to which Lewis would respond, “Dude.  It’s fiction.  They do whatever I write.” Tolkein? Geek.  Lewis? Free-flowing hippie artist.

Also along the unicorn line of thinking…
-       Pegacorns.  As best I can tell, there is no folklore violation more egregious than the presence of a Pegacorn.  What is a Pegacorn, you ask? It is a unicorn with wings.  Because you see, unicorns didn’t have wings.  Yeah, yeah, I know – unicorns didn’t exist, why get picky over adding wings? Just go with it.  For fun, draw a Pegacorn and hand it to your geek while stating cheerfully, “look! I drew you a unicorn!” Watch his face.  That look? That look right there? That’s the tennis match in his mind – on one side, his newfound concern over your incompatibility with him; the other side? The fact that you could/have/will continue to get naked in front of him.  Don’t be alarmed, because naked always wins (a different rule in Geek Relationship, but I’m getting ahead of myself here).

2.  Strict adherence to technology rules

When with your geek, avoid shows like CSI, where a tech can take a grainy, low-resolution image and turn it into a high-definition image.  They hate that.  An old show that has a Mac laptop and a Windows OS?  Oh, hell no.  A DOS prompt on top of Mac OS, running on an Amiga?!?  Their head will explode.  Soooo egregious.  They also really hate shows and movies that don’t truly “get” Geek Culture.  Conversely, if a show or movie gets the technology wrong, but gets the culture right, geeks tend to be very forgiving.  As an example, see “Sneakers” or “Real Genius.”

3.  Adherence to time travel rules

Quick lesson on everything you need to know about time travel: paradox.  Per dictionary.com, the third definition of paradox is actually definition #1 for geeks: “any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature.” See, paradox, when in the context of time travel, is the contradiction that is caused when one goes back in time, fucks up some shit, and it makes their present impossible.  Think of Terminator 2.  They changed the future, and by changing the future, it made history different for MacGuyvery Mullet-Man, therefore making his present false.  By making his present false, the knowledge he gave to Sara Connor was false.  If his present was false, how could he know the things he knows and go back in time to make a baby with Sarah Connor? Without that baby there’d be no John Connor, and with no John Connor, there’s no resistance and no picture of Sarah Connor for MacGuyvery Guy to perv on while he’s fighting terminators.  Paradox.  So why do geeks love T2? Two things – one? Special effects.  Two?  There’s a way around this paradox thing.  See, time is not linear.  The theory is when one goes back in time, they are jumping to a different “line” if you will, so from that moment where they jumped back to and going forward there are two separate realities existing at the same time.  So there could in theory be two of you, and this is just one reality.  Mind blown?  Bored?  Ok, if you want an entertaining read that explains this well, read Michael Crichton’s “Timeline.” Crichton? Total Geek.  Except for that racist book about how the Japanese were going to take down America in a Sony-built spaceship.  Or something like that.  Moving on…

4.  Dislike of Fibonacci numbers.

Now, on the surface, you would think a geek would appreciate the Fibonacci sequence – it is a number sequence that follows a specific rule and it makes beautiful things in nature as well as art.  Early in our relationship, I casually asked Chris, “name something that really bothers you.”

He paused for a moment to think.  In this pause, I thought of his possible answers to this question – ignorance, hypocrisy, manipulation, Pegacorns…  he finally responded.  “Fibonacci numbers.”

I laughed a little. “Why?”

“Each number depends upon the previous two numbers in the sequence – there is no reason for their existence beyond that.”

Okay, I think Chris can lean a bit strong on the “nerd” side.

So there you have it; The Golden Rule of Geek Culture.  If you’re thinking, “TL;DR,” well, you’re kind of a geek yourself, aren’t you?  And stop with that shit.  Spell things out once in a while – you’re not a 14 year-old girl texting her BFF.  If you’re thinking, “this is a lot of information to absorb,” well, just remember that no matter the gaffe, no matter the misunderstanding: naked always wins.

Coffee Talk: Ranking Your Away-From-Home Options

I drink coffee.  No; I live to drink coffee.  With the exception of a few breaks where I tried to wean myself off of the loving grip of caffeine, I have had at least two cups a day since I was fourteen years old.  I tried quitting because caffeine can be pretty bad for you – there was a point in college where I had headaches every day, and my therapist recommended I lay off the java.  There was another point as an adult where I tried quitting because I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  Let me tell you something – going off coffee is like living in Oz your whole life and suddenly waking up in Kansas; it’s awful.  Needless to say, I am still on it, and you will have to pry my morning cup of coffee from my cold, twitching hands.

While I will never turn down a cup of coffee, not all coffee is created equal.  You become especially aware of this when you travel.  Below I have rated, best to worst, the types of coffee you can get when you are away from home.

1.    French press coffee at the in-hotel restaurant

I love the coffee at nice hotels.  It tastes like they picked coffee beans from the nicest plantation in Heaven, filtered the water through the golden hair of a mermaid virgin princess, and gently pressed the grounds through the water with the Hope Diamond.  Even though I am a coffee freak, no matter what I do, I can not replicate the flavor of coffee at my favorite hotels – I have bought the actual coffee they used, used filtered water, used a French press and I just can’t perform the magic they have performed on my cup.  My favorite cup of coffee was at the St. Regis in Kauai.  I suspect location may have had something to do with it…

2.    Starbucks

The only reason this is ranked higher than number 3 is because you know exactly what you are getting with Starbucks.  I pretty much know that wherever I am in the country, I can count on my Skinny Cinnamon Dolce to taste good.  There are people who despise the flavor of Starbucks’ coffee – silly people: you don’t order just a plain old coffee at Starbucks; if you’re not getting something that ends in latte, macchiato or frothgasm, you’re doing it wrong.

3.    Local Coffee House

Some local coffee houses are really cool – they have that “let’s hang out and play some weird version of chess” vibe.  Sometimes their coffee is really good, too.  If you have comfy chairs or couches to sit in, I will like you. If you have a bookshelf filled with books, I will love you.  However, when grading as a whole, I rate them slightly below Starbucks simply because you really don’t know what you’re going to get.  Sometimes you feel like an outsider.  It’s like when the out-of-towner walks into the saloon, and everyone stops and stares. Except in this situation, they are all hipsters instead of cowboys or saloon whores, and they’re drinking cappuccinos instead of tequila.

4.    Gas Station Coffee

Gas station coffee is basically the Malt-O-Meal version of Starbucks; you know the brand name is way, way better, but you are either in a place where you can’t easily get to a Starbucks, or you are kind of cheap.  That’s okay – we’ve all been there; it’s hard to justify paying $5 for 14 ounces when you can get your 32 ounces of sugar-blasted  Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Cappuccino for $2.

Here’s my trick: unless you enjoy drinking sugar water, fill up one quarter of your cup with the sugar-blast cappuccino of choice, and the rest of your cup with regular coffee. You’ll actually have a chance of experiencing the joys of a caffeine high that way.

5.    Diner Coffee

When I was in high school, I wasn’t allowed to work until late in my Senior year, so I saved my school lunch money to hang out with friends on the weekends.  One of the things my friends loved to do is go to one of the 5 million diners available in Connecticut (all of which became part of some random Greek cartel in the early 90s).  Because I had limited funds, I would only order coffee.  I judged the quality of the diner by how cheap their coffee was – if I could get a coffee for 30 cents or less, the food was destined to be inexpensive and delicious.  If the coffee was closer to the dollar mark, the food was more for the New Yorker set, and not what I would classify as true diner food. Bottom line – that cheap coffee is in fact, really cheap and not very tasty.  On the other hand, it works if you are poor, and it washes down well with the $4 trio of pancakes that are the size of a lion’s head.

6.    Sad Packet in the Hotel Room

I am more than just a caffeine addict – I am a ritual coffee drinker.  When I wake up in the morning, I look at that time as a slow, critical process to reintroduce the world to my tired brain.  While I am not a habitual person by nature, my morning ritual is essential.  I have to have my coffee and read the news (preferably by newspaper, realistically via computer).  When I am in a hotel, there are few things sadder than reintroducing the world to my brain via a sad, old, dusty Starbucks Disappointment Pod accompanied by off-brand Sweet-N-Low and a dry creamer from 1962.  Oh wait, there is something sadder…

7.    Single Serve sad packet in a hotel room

Note to Starwood Hotels: your Starbucks paper cups aren’t fooling anyone.  That little single serve thing in the room is impossible.  The pod doesn’t fit right, and a sad packet still tastes like a sad packet, even if you have to crumple it into a tiny little hi-tech-looking basin.  At the very least, put pods in the room that actually fit the basin appropriately.  I am a die-hard Starwood person, but I now travel with my own coffee because I don’t want to kill my vacation buzz.

8.    Coffee at Grandma’s

Part of your travels will include a trip to grandma’s, so I have to include this one and I have to place it dead last.  I’m not going to bash grandmas; they are wonderful people.  Their house has that old-person, sweet mothball smell, and they are usually pretty good cooks. However, there are two weaknesses with grandmas, and that is in the soda department and the coffee department.  I will explain the soda issue with a common dialogue I had when I went to my grandparents’ place as a child:

“Can I get you a soda?”

“Sure.  What do you have?”

“Everything.”

“Do you have root beer?”

“No, but I have cream soda.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s like root beer.”

“Ok, I’ll have that!”

Then grandma or grandpa would sweetly hand me a can of Shasta Cream Soda, and I would sip it down with a smile, knowing full well that cream soda is nothing like root beer, and my sweet grandma would murder me in my sleep if I threw away a half-full 5 cent can of soda.

The problem with soda and coffee comes down to the same root problem: a lot of grandparents grew up in the Depression, and they don’t want to waste money.   Their philosophy is to buy the cheapest thing in the store and not waste it.  I can appreciate this philosophy – I come from an excessive, wasteful generation.  We should appreciate that we have the means to drink any kind of soda, even Shasta; but grandmas around the world? I draw the line at bad coffee.  I’m telling you right now, you don’t need to do this to yourselves – good coffee is not expensive.  Live a little!

My husband’s grandmother was the worst offender – she was a die-hard coffee addict, which made me feel a kinship to her, but she would make a pot and reheat it over and over until it was gone – even if it were overnight.  By the time you got to the last cup or two, it would have the taste and consistency of Penzoil that hasn’t been changed out for 300,000 miles.  You could pour a gallon of heavy cream into your final cup, and it would change the color from black to Chocolate Laborador.  Bless her heart, it was awful.

So grandmas of the world, I am going to introduce you to one word: Yuban.  Cheap, but reasonable-tasting.  And kids? Help granny with the groceries once in a while if you are going to drink all of her coffee and Shasta soda when you visit.