Liquid Gold

It’s no secret that I LOVE coffee.  When I was younger I tried it and thought it tasted awful, bitter and just not something I would ever have again.  One night, in my early 20’s , friends and I had spent the evening having dinner and visiting, when the host asked ” who would like some coffee”?  I guess my eye roll was evident that I was a non coffee drinker and the outcast of the evening.  Being the good host, my friend assured me that he made the best coffee and I should have some.  Reluctantly I agreed; he was right, and I was hooked.

After that night I found that a really good cup of coffee is an art. I proceeded to try new blends, grind my own beans, and experiment with different types of brewing styles.  I enjoyed my time learning all things coffee, and then life got busy. Getting married and having kids, the fancy coffee gave way to name brand, regular old run of the mill stuff. No longer having the luxury of time or money to fritter on lavish fanciness.

Over the years, I have consumed mass amounts of coffee.  The large cup as I headed out at 2 a.m. for a work related trouble. The first cup in the morning as I began the long day getting kids to school and me to work.  My favorite – the large gas station cup, too hot to drink at first, then after 5 miles down the road you take a sip and realize it’s the WORST coffee ever, but you have 300 miles to go and you drink it anyway.

Last summer, while on vacation, I was surprised by an old high school friend. We were spending time on the Oregon coast and he lives nearby. Not only did he take the time to come say hello, he brought coffee mugs that he made!  The most thoughtful gesture and so unexpected.

I use one of these mugs now every day. I love it. Funny thing is, it’s big!  The first time I poured coffee into it and returned the carafe to the coffee maker I thought I spilled it- it was about 1/3 empty.  I can read my paper, or a good book, and not worry about being interrupted because my cup is empty.

So, thank you Randy for one of the little things that bring a smile to me. The gift of your mug and the time to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. img_3345

A trade off

I love camping, always have. There is something about being outside, sitting next to a fire, the smoke filling the air, seemingly always blowing in the direction you are sitting. Marshmallows roasting, hot dogs cooking, all the traditional activities. When I was younger, camping meant a tent and sleeping bag, small camp stove and a chair. The lure was the outdoors. So many places to see, all with their own appeal. I’m old now.

Sleeping on the hard ground,and invariably a rock, has lost its lure for me. Camping has changed over the course of my life; it is now done with much more comfort. A real bed, bathroom, kitchen and air conditioning and satellite tv! Not really roughing it anymore.

Some may think that this isn’t real camping. As I walk around the campground I notice everyone is doing the same thing. When you pull in you set up your spot.  For some, that’s pitching the tent, others it’s plugging in and hooking up the sewer line.   It’s fun seeing all the different types of rv’s and tents; seeing where everyone is from is interesting. I notice, as people take walks around the campground, they give a sideways glance or point. Being from California and currently in Ontario Canada, we get our fair share of looks. Some will stop and ask if we are lost, or why are we here. Not lost and we are here because we can be.

So we set up our “summer home” and have all the comforts, but we still go out each day and explore something new. The wonders of the outdoors, the history of the area, the local flavor of the city. In the evening we may come back and sit by that fire, talk with the other campers, hear of their travels, share ours. It’s nice to know, if it rains, we wont be soaked and miserable.Yes, we have moved on past the tent on the ground and really roughing it. Our biggest issue seems to be trees.

I love a campground with shade and trees- but they block the satellite signal. Oh the horrors! We have spent time positioning our rv just right in the spot to get the signal, have even gone so far as to move spots. Not always with success. In the end, it comes down to a trade off- beautiful spot under the trees or satellite tv? Because it’s about the camping, the beautiful spot wins. Tv can wait, enjoying a campfire with new friends or family, well that always is my first choice.

Observations

I was filling out some forms the other day, and I had to chuckle at the various boxes one has to check for different things.  Think about it, we are categorized in various boxes, dependant on different criteria.  What’s equally amusing to me is when you have to check the next level box.

There are boxes to check for all kinds of things. Mr., Mrs., MS.   Male, Female.  Those are easy and, of course, obvious.   I usually pause to answer when it comes to the race box.  Is that really necessary information to have?    Don’t get me wrong, I know these questions are asked for a reason, however, In a society where we claim to want understanding and inclusion of all people, this constant labeling and boxing people up sure seems to separate us more than include us.

Filling out a survey, one of the questions was regarding age.  Normally I don’t mind, except when you have to check the next box. You know 20-29 30-39 40-49. Always a reflective pause when you have to move up a box.  That 50-59 box was a tough one to check.

It usually doesn’t take long before certain mail starts to show up after  those boxes have been checked.  Most seems to be junk mail.  After checking that 50-59  age box, it was only a matter of time before my mailbox had some interesting offerings.  First came the AARP information.  I get it- I am old, and I suppose that confirmed it.  Really though, two days later I received a letter from a local funeral home. I went from old to dead in a blink of an eye- or rather, a check of a box!

Honestly, it doesn’t bother me too much; I know it’s really only a marketing issue.  I don’t feel old, and try to make the most of each day.   It would be nice, however, if they didn’t have to remind me.