Putting Myself in the Corner

The place where it all happens.

Last week, I took Friday off work with the express purpose of rearranging my (our) home office/library. I’ve been having trouble writing lately – due to several different factors, but one in particular has been driving me nutty. Drastic steps were needed, so last Friday, I took them. And I think it’s going to help, though time will tell.

I have a hard time focusing when I try to write on the computer, like many writers do. Some power through and use internet-blocking apps, some set up a completely separate writing computer with no connectivity, and others (like me) use old-style word processors to get the words down and a first draft written. My current device of choice is the Alphasmart Neo, which I got for somewhere around thirty bucks on ebay. It’s a great little machine that consists of a small screen with no backlighting whatsoever and a nice, big, comfy keyboard that clicks rather satisfyingly when I’m typing along.

The Neo is pretty light, but it does have one downfall in that it’s hard to use at a table due to the thickness and no wrist-rest. The “desk” I have is actually an old restaurant booth from our local Red Robin after it was remodeled, so the seats are somewhat lower than a normal chair/desk setup. My laptop is thin with a wide wrist rest area, which allows me to use it somewhat comfortably at the desk, but the Neo just works better sitting on my lap in my writing chair.

The problem, then, wasn’t a lack of furniture (the green chair is my writing chair). It was that my writing chair was situated with a view straight out the office door, which meant sound traveled directly down the hall from the living room. My husband likes to watch videos on his laptop before bed, and my dogs wander in and out, so closing the door really isn’t an option (I wouldn’t want to lock them out – I like having them close).

Hubby has earbuds and headphones, and never remembers to use them. He tells me to remind him, but I’m not the sort of person who wants to nag on anyone for anything – I’m his wife, not his mother. The sound was driving me crazy though and fracturing my focus while I tried to write, so something had to be done.

We have an entire wall of books thanks to the beautiful floor-to-ceiling bookshelves he built, and books are incredibly insulating. I decided that the best place for my writing chair was in the back corner away from the door and in front of the bookshelves. Out of the line of sight for the door, and back where our books could double as sound dampeners.

I decided the desk/booth would turn and sit in the other far back corner for when I’m writing blog posts (*ahem*), editing, or whatever. While I was at it, I decided to move the secretary out from behind Murphy’s dog bed so I could use that as well when I wanted to. I have a lot of stamp stuff in there, plus some comic books that need to be cataloged and it’s a nice desk to work at when I’m working on things like that.

Murphy sez: Moving stuff around is hard work!I’m working on those two things.

I have to say, I like the new arrangement a lot. I went through a period where I wanted to be out of the flow of things, but still connected, so with the old arrangement, all of my seating faced the door and had at least a partial view out into the hall. Now, all of my seating is on the back wall of the office, and the view into the hall is obstructed by bookshelves and…well…walls. Even tonight (Monday), just writing this post, it was easier to stay focused and not get distracted (yes, I write posts on the laptop, so in my booth). Tomorrow night I’ll be in my writing chair, with my Neo on my lap, working on one of my drafts-in-progress. I suspect that this arrangement is going to work swimmingly for the “isolationist” period I’m in now. With any luck, I’ll actually start finishing some stories again. It’s been far too long since I did that.


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Jumpin’ on (and off) the Bed

About three weeks ago, we bought a new mattress. We did that last year too, and it sucked all year long. That firm mattress never softened up, and caused us both some serious physical pain, which I suppose is what happens when you cheap out on such things. I honestly thought it would “break in” and get softer, but…no. We weren’t sleeping well, and as everyone knows, not sleeping well affects your entire day-to-day life.

So this year, we decided to get a *good* mattress. One that would be supportive but cozy for our side-sleeping ways. One that wouldn’t leave us with sore shoulders, hips, ribs, and twisted backs. We went to Denver Mattress, tried out a few, and took home the most expensive, coziest one we tried. We also ordered a new, medieval-looking bed frame just ’cause the hubby liked it better than the sleigh bed frame I picked out last year. It’s a good thing, too. Read on…

The new mattress was/is insanely heavy, and that along with the box spring is so thick I had to literally climb up onto it. The first two weeks on it were okay, because we had the old heated mattress pad on top, which is somewhat padded. But then the new bed frame came in, and I replaced the heated mattress pad with a new one (the old one was shot). A new one without actual padding. And then the pain set in.

The new mattress was still better than the old one, but once again, we weren’t sleeping well, and rather disillusioned with the whole thing (but also determined to get something cozy like the one we *thought* we’d gotten, we went back to the store and asked about an exchange. Because when you spend the kind of money we did on a mattress, you want something comfortable.

The sales guy/manager was very nice and sympathetic, but he did point out that we’d only had the mattress for two weeks, and that it takes at least a month to break them in. He said we could start the exchange process after 30 days if we still wanted to, but encouraged us to lay on the floor model of the mattress we’d purchased again, and pointed out that ours would feel like that too once it was broken in. It was still cozy, and the guy suggested we walk on our mattress to soften it up, and maybe think about a mattress pad. We had a thick mattress pad we’d used with the old mattress, so we agreed to try that. No one wants to move the mattress we bought again…

On the way home, we stopped to see about a thinner mattress pad, but of course the one we liked was sold out. So, new quilt set in hand, we headed home, walked on the mattress, and slept on it one more night before adding the old thick memory foam topper.

Which made the bed two inches higher yet. I literally have to step on the siderail to get into bed now. LOL

The good news is, unlike the last mattress, this new one feels seriously cushy with the topper on it, so I feel like that’s a good sign. We’ve slept great since putting that on, and as an added bonus, the bed is so high that any monsters underneath it will give up long before they can reach us. So there’s that.

And that’s why it’s good we got the new frame. It has a much taller headboard than the old frame, so it still looks fine with the monster bed. I think maybe it’s time the mirror that’s been over the bed since we moved in was replaced with a couple of nice foam battle axes. And we bought drinking horns to hang off each corner of the headboard. Because we’re creative like that.

I think in a couple weeks, after our thirty days are up, I may go see if we can get one of the thinner mattress pads and maybe we can lose an inch or two of height that way. It’s either that, or put up a bonefide chain mail canopy and embrace the rather amusing and somewhat ridiculous height of the bed we’ve got going on. Maybe get a nice wooden step stool too.

But for now, I’m just happy to have a soft, cozy bed finally. Now if my weekends would just settle down so I could have a proper sleep-in, for once (not until next Sunday, dammit). *sigh*


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Not Right Now

I talk (whine, whatever) a lot here about things I want and can’t have. The list is actually a pretty short one – fewer than five items, really. But what keeps me from those things is a pretty short list too, and my own name is at the top of that list.

I hate it when people say things like:

  • You are your own worst enemy
  • If you want it bad enough, you’ll make it happen
  • If you’re not getting what you want, your priorities need to change

I hate it mostly because it’s all true. The reasons I don’t have the things on my “short list” are mainly self-imposed restrictions and rules that I’m hell-bent on following mainly because I feel that’s the “right thing to do”. Priorities that I could change, but won’t. And obviously I don’t want any of those short-listed items enough to “make them happen”. The personal cost is too high, or so I perceive it to be.

Some days, I really wish I were that person. That I could just change my priorities, drop everything holding me back or slowing me down, and run get the things I want with wild abandon. But I’m not, and I can’t. So I struggle with things daily, trying to make room in an already full life for just one or three more things that will not fit, no matter how badly I want them to.

This mostly ends up with me feeling defeated and beat-down, resigned to leaving those things on the short list unresolved. I’m tired of trying to shoehorn things in where they don’t fit, fighting all the external things that seem to be actively fighting against my best efforts, and the only thing that keeps me going is one minuscule sliver of hope:

What if these things are meant to happen in the future, instead of “right now”?

Looking back, there are a lot of things in my life I’ve had to wait a lot longer for than I’d have liked. Some of them I even gave up on while I was waiting, resigning myself to the fact that they were never going to happen, and learning to be okay with that. When they finally did, I could see why I needed to wait, how the base was being established during that time period, and how things fell into place how, and more importantly, when, they were supposed to. Like fate, or karma, or magic, or whatever you want to call it. They couldn’t be forced. They had to happen organically, in their time, not mine.

There are a lot of things I’ve wanted and never gotten too, of course. And that’s just life – often for the better (though not always). But maybe I just need to stop trying to force my short list to happen, and resign myself to the fact that if an when those things are supposed to do something, they will. Until then, I need to be patient, and work at building the foundations that need to be in place first. Having a good foundation never hurts, even if nothing is ever built on top.

It’s so annoyingly slow though. Decades, in some cases. *sigh*

I guess only time will tell. Patience is, indeed, a virtue, I suppose.


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On Fragrance & Pheromones

Man, the last couple of weeks have been *busy*! Crazy at work, and a bit chaotic at home too. I’ve been trying to figure out new routines for my weekends, easier mornings, and my late-night writing time with little success. And I switched up my vitamins in the middle of all that, which was an incredibly stupid thing to do (although in my defense, I didn’t know all that was going to happen just then).

One new thing I did try that seems to be having a positive effect is to plug in a diffuser with feel-good doggie pheromones for the Murph. These have been around for a long, long time, and several studies have shown them to be moderately to highly effective in a decent percentage of test subjects, so I thought I’d take a chance. The pheromones emitted are like the ones a mother dog would give off around her puppies – calming and comforting. And it does really seem to make him less anxious and less prone to licking his legs…for a surprisingly long period of time. Combined with the CBD oil and flower essences, we might have stumbled on a winning combination for getting his legs to heal. Fingers crossed!

I’ll admit to using pheromones to my own advantage occasionally as well. We all know at least a few people who can make us feel good just by being in the same room with them (closer is better, obviously, but a few feet works fine), without any interaction whatsoever. That would be a pheromone-driven oxytocin “hit” to the brain, and it’s good stuff. When I need a hit, I’ll intentionally seek one of those people out, just for a few seconds of semi-nearness. I have no idea how my own pheromones affects them, but I figure as long as they’re not running away screaming, it’s probably not all bad for them either. LOL

Pheromones are odd things in that we sense and process them through smell, but they’re so subtle that we can’t really label them with a specific fragrance. But man, I tell you what. It’s springtime, and the flowering trees are in full bloom around here, and I have such a bittersweet relationship with them it’s not even funny.

I love the smell of tree blossoms of all types. Our Sand Cherries don’t smell at all during the day, but at night? Oh man. So sweet and thick in the backyard…it’s beautiful wafting through the darkness.

And the ornamental trees that are in more and more places throughout the city, including right in front of my parking spot at work? *sigh* The fragrance walking the two blocks to and from my office is intoxicating. I could sit out there under one of those trees, breathe in that perfume and probably get high if you left me there long enough.

I’m not a fan of flowers indoors, perfumes on people, or fragrances in room sprays and such. All that just plugs me up and makes me sneeze. But I do so love the flowering trees and the delightfully sweet scent they put out. It’s even worth a few sneezes just for the happiness and peace it brings me.

They’re almost, but not quite, as good as a good pheromone hit. 😉


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The Hair Metric

I’ve been coloring my hair for…well, quite a few years now. It’s not a fast process because I use chemical-free ground herbs – henna and indigo being the main ingredients. So the process includes mixing the herbs with water, black tea and a little vinegar (to help it soak into my whites), letting that sit for an hour or so to let the indigo “bloom” (so it’s less red, more brown), and then working the thick, dark green goop into my hair. I cover that with a reusable shower cap (leopard print, of course), and let it sit for 2-3 hours. I always think I’m going to make three, but more often than not, I end up rinsing it out at 2.5 hours because I get sick of trying to catch all the occasional drips from the shower cap with the towel draped around my neck.

I don’t touch up my roots, because I’m lazy, and because these dyes are very permanent, so dying over the top of a previous dye job results in a darker color, and that would leave the crown of my head lighter and the rest darker and I’m pretty sure it would be a really bad rendition of the “ombre” color fades kids are going for these days. I just wait until I need to get my hair cut again and then dye it the night after my appointment, when it’s short and a lot of the dye has been cut off.

That works okay if I stay on top of cuts. Which I often don’t. My stylist is super-busy, and I can’t wash my hair the day after I dye it which leaves only Saturday for appointments. So I often end up with gray/white roots and hair nearly to my shoulders in the span of ten weeks (my hair grows fast – always has, just like my nails).

So lately whenever I get my hair cut, I come home, take my hat off (it looks horrible just after a cut, because roots, dye, no dye, lighter dye…it’s a wreck), and look in the mirror. What I’m mostly looking for is whether there’s more white than gray. Enough white to just finally say, “Okay, it’s finally socially acceptable again, so no dye job needed.”

Why? Because to me, it seems like the only hair color that really isn’t acceptable and generally tends to make a person “invisible” is salt & pepper. That in-between stage that makes one look older than they are, but still too young to be “going gray”. It’s an uncomfortable stage, in my opinion (and in my experience, the one people are most likely to comment on). That’s the stage I’m covering (mostly). When it’s done, and my hair is all white, I feel like it will be “socially acceptable” again, and then I’ll be able to do away with the whole six-eight week dye routine.

I realize this is my own hang-up, and that plenty of women go gray/white naturally and gracefully, and kudos to them for that. But in my experience, people respond to the dyed hair better than the “transitional” stage, especially at work. So for now, I dye.

Do you have a hair metric? If you dye your hair, is there a point at which you know you’ll stop dying it?


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On Household Admin

A couple weeks ago, we had an unusually heavy “household admin” week in our household. Mainly because I bought my husband a shiny new smartphone to use for some tracking he can do to save some money on insurance. Sucks, but every little bit helps, especially given how much insurance costs.

That triggered a slew of organizational updates on my part. He offered to do the grocery shopping Saturday since my day was *jam-packed*, and asked if we could share the grocery list on my cell to his so he’d have it to shop with. The app I was using isn’t all that easy to share, so I went out and found one that is, installed it on both of our phones, and started re-populating my normal lists (enough that he could shop easily). The new app even has the option of item photos, so I’m pretty happy with the upgrade, and now we can both add/cross items off the lists. If you want to check it out, the app I settled on is aptly named Our Groceries. I did pay the $5 to unlock my side of it, which gets rid of ads and allows photo-adding. The unlocker isn’t required to view photos on the list, just to add them.

I also re-subscribed to the Cozi calendar we’d tried sharing awhile back, and I’d gotten lax on using (I’ve been using ToDoist instead and will keep using for my general daily “to-do” lists). Transferred all my calendar items over there, and made sure the birthday reminders were still working, so now we can put that on his new phone as well, and he can have a copy of the household calendar and use it to schedule his own appointments. He already gets reminders via email, but now he can get them as phone notifications if he wants (that’s how I get mine). I know, this is old hat to most people, but some of us just have to take a little more time and ease into such things.

In any case, while I was revamping things and getting everything all moved and set up, I was thinking about how much time it takes to do just basic household admin tasks…like making a grocery list, updating a calendar, balancing the budget.

Technology like the apps we’re using makes it far more efficient, for sure – once I have a master grocery list set, it takes 10 minutes or so to go through and add what I need to that week’s store lists (as opposed to writing one long-hand from scratch every week…which never works for me because I *always* forget things – having a master list jogs my memory). The calendar app will set up automatic reminders so we don’t actually have to check the calendar once we schedule appointments, but we do still have to enter the appointments and set reminders.

I don’t really know of any budgeting software that balances itself properly. Even the ones I’ve used that will import from your bank need to be checked/confirmed, because they’re not always spot-on, in my experience. It takes me about twenty minutes to balance the budget weekly, which isn’t too bad, but add to that actually paying the bills, shopping list maintenance and calendar/appointment maintenance, and it’s a good solid hour per week I spend doing “admin” tasks for the household. And I only do the minimum – there’s a lot more I could be doing if I felt like spending the time.

Then there’s the mail. Five minutes or less to toss junk mail in the recycling bin, but what about all the other stuff? Shredding, filing, action items…I could probably spend another hour (or more) every week just dealing with mail items. And I don’t, generally speaking, which means it piles up in our mail center until it hits critical mass and we absolutely have to do something about it.

Needless to say, I was thinking about how older well-to-do families used to employ a secretary/household manager to take care of such things in earlier times. Maybe they still do (anyone out there?). But I wonder if someone could make a job out of that. Offering their administrative services in hour-long chunks to people who just need someone to update the calendar, make appointments, pay bills and balance the budget, shred/file mail, and make a shopping list based on a master list and what is/isn’t in the pantry/fridge. It’s not a huge time savings, but when you work all day and have other things to do…every little bit is more time to do what you want to, rather than what you have to.

Control freak that I am, I’m not sure I could hand those things over even though I don’t particularly want to do them myself (I can’t even bring myself to hire a house-cleaner for deep cleaning every other week, which would be a really smart thing to do and probably good for our allergies). But it’s kind of fun to dream about doing so.

Would you ever hire a household manager to take care of admin tasks? Or are you the kind of person who keeps up with them well enough on your own?


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On Reading, Time, & Creativity

It’s been a long, very busy couple of weeks, and things are just starting to get back to normal (though I hesitate to say that, because you know what happens next…). Hence the no blogging thing. I don’t really know how to describe it, and I haven’t really been in a “funk”, so to speak, just…treading water and trying to get my routines back to where they should be. Only every time I think it’s gonna happen, something else happens, and I get waylaid, and then my routines get all screwy and I don’t get anything done at all.

It’s annoying.

The other thing that’s annoying is picking up a box of books free from a former co-worker who was cleaning out her shelves, and staring at the box in my living room wondering when I’ll ever have time to read them all.

I used to be a voracious reader. A typical paperback would take me two, maybe three nights to finish…maybe four if it was incredibly thick. Now the same size books take me weeks to finish, and it’s generally because I short-change my very limited reading time with writing or just getting ready for bed (after staying up too late writing or whatever). Fifteen minutes a night is okay for short stories and such, but it really stretches a novel out to turn-around times bordering on the ridiculous.

Needless to say, I’ve been having trouble sitting down and writing, too. There are some writers out there who insist they just don’t have time to read, but I firmly believe that reading is important for writing – they go hand in hand. You have to fill the well, so to speak. Creativity in, creativity out. And I’ve definitely been neglecting my “well”.

What to do, what to do? The obvious answer is to read more. But when?

Well, I’m not sure. I have a few ideas, but need to see if they’ll work with existing routines, which is not always as easy as it sounds. But I have a feeling that if I get back to reading more, writing more will come naturally as well. Or I hope it will, anyways.

Books I have currently in progress are: a short story/poem collection by Neil Gaiman, and “About that Kiss” by Jill Shalvis.

What are you reading? And if you’re a writer, do you think how much (or little) you read affects how much or little you write?


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Alternate Reality: Preview Mode

Tomorrow, it’s back to work after 5 days and a weekend off. No major catastrophes, no major outlay of “vacation” time for work issues…I think we might be on to something with this whole “taking partial weeks off” thing. Or it could just be the time of year, too. Whatever works, I say.

I was mostly productive, though not as much as I thought I’d be. But that’s to be expected, so I guess that makes it a wash between expectations and reality. I got some extra cleaning done, I learned how to create my own print book templates properly and reformatted the book I’ve been wanting to for months now. I still need to create another template and reformat the cover again for a mass market version to distribute, but that will be much easier now that I’m not fumbling around with the formatting in general, and know how to set and use styles in Open Office. Sometimes all it takes is the proper tools.

I caught four shiny Treeckos for Pokemon Go community day, and evolved one plus a couple “normal” into Sceptiles who are supposedly the best grass-type fighters for raids (we’ll see). At the same time, I didn’t play much Pokemon Go on account of the whole “go” thing, which I didn’t do much of aside from daily dog walks and the normal weekend errands. I am, at heart, a homebody. I’m perfectly content to stay home for days on end without seeing anyone but the dogs and my husband.

I did get back to Batman: Arkham Asylum for a night. One of the battles I had to fight was *intense*, and I was actually a little sore the next morning from tensing up during the five or six (maybe more?) times I had to try before I finally got through it.

I also subscribed to Starz for awhile so we could watch American Gods and Gnomeo and Juliet. The initial episode of the former is trippy, the latter is hilarious. I never did make it through the American Gods novel…gave up – it’s a doorstopper. But the show has me intrigued enough to watch a few more episodes, at least.

Gnomeo and Juliet is just adorably cute, and now that we’ve seen that (and agree we need an army of garden gnomes to make our yard look better), Sherlock Gnomes is up next on our movie “to-watch” list.

It’s interesting how quickly I settled into a routine of sorts this time. Most of my vacations are unorganized because I have so much to do, and I plan my time so tightly that it’s overwhelming. Either that, or I have a vague idea of things I want to do, and then plan nothing, so I do nothing. This time, I had a few concrete goals/priorities, but kept them limited by design, and the rest was just “if I get to it, great, if not, great”. I settled into a nice routine of working in the mornings (on my book stuff and then cleaning when I needed a break from sitting), walking the dogs after lunch, and then errands or more work/cleaning trade-offs in the afternoon. A loose, comfortable routine that I could maintain indefinitely if I had the chance.

Someday (20 yrs down the road, *sigh*), this will be my life. And it will be good.

Alas, tomorrow it’s back to the hustle and bustle of the day job/work-week routine.


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The Excess Vacation Hours Vacation

As of tomorrow, I’m on vacation until next Wednesday to burn the excess vacation hours that I’m not allowed to carry over into the new year. Why Weds to Weds, you might ask? Psychology, my dear Watson.

It seems like every time I take a traditional week off (Monday- Friday), I spend the better part of at least one day troubleshooting something for work via email or phone. When I only take a few days off in one week, I rarely get called on to help fix something (or if I do, it’s quick). So, I’m trying something new, and taking Weds – Fri off this week, and Mon – Tues off next week. That still gives me a full week off, but no full “work” weeks, so we’ll see if I end up troubleshooting or not (there is network maintenance going on this weekend, so the potential is there, but…). Call it an experiment.

What’s the plan for this vacation? Catch-up, mostly. I need to make dog food for the week, since I spent this past Sunday not feeling well (my own fault – too many days in a row last week of poor dietary choices…though I’ll admit, I enjoyed every last “choice” at the time). I need to take the Subaru in for some recall work if I can get it scheduled – wiper motors and airbag replacement. Murphy-dog is due for his rabies shot, which normally I wouldn’t redo in a dog his age (he’s around 9-10 now, best guess), but he’s a pitbull, and people are people, so…better law-abiding in his case (I can’t re-license him unless he gets the shot, even though they’ve been proven to be effective far past 3 yrs). Hopefully he won’t suffer any averse affects (I’ve seen more issues of the tumor-causing kind with vaccines in older dogs, unfortunately).

Aside from those things, I hope to do a lot of writing-related tasks I never seem to get to. Formatting, cover art, editing…and some new words too. My horror alter-ego has a short story in progress to add to the “Death by Veggies” line, and I’d like to get that finished, and I’d really like to make some good headway on a couple of other novels I have going. So, definitely writing, after I get the dogs walked so they’ll sleep and let me be.

The only other thing I really want to do (aside from some gaming, hopefully) is “spring cleaning”. I suck at cleaning. I find it incredibly boring, so I do the absolute minimum. Most adult women and a fair amount of adult men would run the other way at the state I keep my house in. I can’t tell you the last time my blinds have been dusted. Definitely not this year. Probably not last year either. Maybe not even the year before that…

That said, I do occasionally get the desire to “clean all the things”. It passes quickly, but I did buy a dust-mop for the kitchen floor (it’s laminate, and I hate it, and have ruined more of the finish every time I try to clean it), a new scrub brush for the bathroom, and I have plenty of microfiber cloths and rags on hand. The plan is to do one major thing in each room every day of my vacation…like cleaning all wide wooden blinds in the living/dining room. Or washing down all the kitchen cabinets/walls. And wiping down the bathroom walls/ceiling (don’t ask). And then I want to add hard floor cleaning to a monthly maintenance schedule.

Yes, I know people clean their floors more often. I vacuum once a week, even the hard floors. Baby steps. We don’t eat off my floors. Obviously.

So…that’s the plan for my “vacation”. Be all adult-like and do the stuff I keep putting off because I just don’t wanna (or in the case of writing, just want some focused time for). Seems like as good a use for the time as any, especially since they’re vacation hours I didn’t plan on using until later.

Next year, a trip, but for now…spring cleaning. Errands. Maybe a little Pokemon. Good times!


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Tea Drinker in a Coffee Shop

Yes, two days late. Or approximately seven (4 large) cups of tea…

Confession: I always feel guilty going into a coffee shop and asking them what they have to drink that’s not coffee. I mean, it’s a coffee shop. Their whole reason for existing is to sell coffee, presumably to people who…well, like coffee.

I am not even in the vicinity of their target audience, having disliked even the smell of coffee since the day my mom let me try it in high school. Needless to say, it’s pretty rare I actually go into a coffee shop (because hello – the whole shop smells like coffee and they never have what I’d consider “good” tea), but in our society, it’s nearly impossible to have a family or friends or other various groups who don’t want to occasionally meet for…coffee. In a coffee shop.

Writers like to meet in coffee shops too, but I don’t meet up with other writers often, so that’s not really much of a concern for me – at least not at this point in my life.

Alas, there are occasions when I find myself at the counter of a coffee shop, trying to find the tiny part of the menu with the non-coffee drinks and trying to decide whether it’s worth the calories to just go with the sugar-laden pre-mixed chai (or whatever the non-coffee latte flavor happens to be), or brave the extremely limited sure-to-be bitter/oversteeped tea selection, hoping whatever flavor they’ve mixed in will make it somewhat drinkable. The only other options are generally bottled water, juice, or energy drinks, none of which are any more appealing in that situation.

Sometimes, the sugar-laden drinks win out, and while I enjoy them immensely, I end up regretting the “fuzzy” feel in my mouth for hours afterward. They do remind me to brush my teeth though, so there’s that.

And if I’m going to subject my body to that kind of serious sugar-shock, I may as well go ahead and get one of those lovely scones for a small bit of balance. Blueberry is my favorite, or a plain scone, though that’s not normally an option. Cranberry is good, or something lemony. Heated, always, because cold scones are dry, and even the sweetest liquid confection can’t fix that kind of dry once it hits the back of your throat. Trust me on this one.

The last time I was in a coffee shop was a couple months ago, while I was out playing Pokemon Go and running errands one Saturday. There was a magikarp in a gym I wanted, and the only way to reach the gym was to go inside the coffee shop. I had a hot cup of mediocre yerba mate and a cold blueberry scone for the privilege of sitting by the window and raiding the gym to get the magikarp.

Next time I feel the need to capture a pocket monster from that particular gym, I’m definitely going for something sweeter and a warmed-up scone…


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