National Coffee Day | 9 Facts You Don’t Know (This Is Awesome)

National Coffee Day | 9 Facts You Don’t Know (This Is Awesome)

Dear Kid,

It’s National Coffee Day.

By all rights, the banks should be closed, all offices and schools should be off, and tickertape parades should be held in celebration.

Wait. Cancel the tickertape and confetti. That might get in the coffee. Eww.

Birds are singing. Lattes are being poured. And all over the world, people are gradually becoming sufficiently caffeinated.

Happy sigh.

You already know my most important thoughts about coffee: Make good coffee. Drink it. Be human.

National Coffee Day DearKidLoveMom.comAnd you know that the Cincinnati Coffee Festival is coming to Cincinnati November 11 and 12, 2017 (shameless plug).

But did you know:

Coffee was the first food to be freeze dried. And yes, it’s a food.

The largest “cup” of coffee ever brewed was 3,700 gallons. That’s a lot of coffee.

You know the wonderful scent of a freshly opened bag of coffee? It might be fake scent. Some companies (include Dunkin and Stbx) use faux coffee smells to convince you to come in, stay longer, spend more. And that same technology is often injected into bags of coffee to, um, “enhance” your bag opening experience. (And I don’t care. I love the smell of a freshly opened bag of coffee.)

In England in the 17th century, women were forbidden to drink coffee in public. Who’s sipping now, huh?

A tall Starbucks coffee has about 7.6 times the caffeine of a can of Coke and more caffeine than a 12-ounce can of Red Bull. Go easy, young grasshopper.

Coffee grounds are environmentally friendly slug repellant.

A third of the tap water Americans drink is consumed after it makes a trip through the coffee pot and becomes liquid gold (by which I mean coffee). But the liquid gold euphemism works, because coffee is second only to oil in being the top traded commodity.

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a cantata inspired by coffee addiction. Ahhh, Bach. (Serious extra points if you get that one.)

The oldest cat ever was Creme Puff, who lived to be 38 years old and died in 2005. The owner fed her coffee, bacon, eggs, and broccoli every morning. This is not a recommended diet for cats. Or people. Or turtles. (Have you ever seen a turtle drink coffee?)

Happy National Coffee Day.

Love, Mom

For those extra-devout among us, Radar O’Reilly said, “Ahhh, Bach” on M*A*S*H. Great episode (weren’t they all).

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Thinking and Doing are NOT the Same

Dear Kid,

I saw a statistic recently that said 43% of college students consider dropping out of school.

Frankly, I don’t believe it.

Maybe I’m naïve, but I don’t believe it.

I think the number is probably closer to 90%. Maybe 98%.

I believe it’s human nature to consider options. I think that’s what college is all about—considering options. Changing majors. Meeting new people and having new experiences. Getting drunk on your 21st birthday.

The big issue in life isn’t what we think about. The important stuff isn’t what hops through our brains like a Mardi Gras dancer. The important part is what we do with those thoughts.

Taking my marbles and going home. DearKidLoveMom.comMost people who are alive and who have ever held a job have at some point or another wanted to march in to someone’s office and quit. (“I’ll show them!”) Most of us refrain from that knee-jerk reaction. It’s the refraining that’s the important part. Of course we think about it. If we didn’t think about it, all those movies where people kill their bosses wouldn’t exist.

Most people who are alive and have ever been in a relationship have considered ending it (or ending the person we’re in the relationship with). Of course we think about it. We’re human. It’s the refraining from murder that’s the important part.

There is nothing wrong with leaving college. There is nothing wrong with quitting a job. There is nothing wrong with ending a relationship. These can all (under the right circumstances) be healthy, positive things. But let’s admit that we all think about them even if we don’t act on those thoughts. Because it’s the “how” and the “why” we do those things that matters much more than the minute of frustration in which we think about taking our marbles and going home.

Love, Mom

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National Courtesy Month & Five Ways to Celebrate

Dear Kid,

September is National Courtesy Month.

Not that you’d know it from listening to the national discourse.

Seems to me we’ve reached a new low in the way we treat each other, and maybe we should pay a little more attention to etiquette.

We can’t change how our national leaders speak. We can’t change how people react to some of the current insanity stupidity events but we can choose to spread a little extra courtesy in our daily lives.

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. Epictetus DearKidLoveMom.comPlease and Thank You

Back when you were a tot, Barney sang about the magic words being please and thank you. He was right then and nothing has changed. Taking a minute to use the magic words can go a long way to making the world a better place.

Smile

Just smile. Grin. Like you mean it. Smiles are contagious.

Open the Door

Open a door for someone. Hold the door for someone else.

Offer

Ask how you can help. Try to make someone’s load easier.

Listen

Take a minute to listen to someone, really listen. Pay attention to what they’re saying rather than figuring out what you’re going to say next. Hear between the lines.

As we near the end of National Courtesy Month, take a moment to make your corner of the world a little nicer.

Love, Mom

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Spinach, Not Great Questions, and a Good Recovery

Dear Kid,

“None of these leaves are good?”

As far as helpful conversations went, that was right up there with “Hot enough for ya’?” and “Hey, you’re bleeding out of both ears! You OK?”

While Dad was out of town, I harvested and cooked some Malabar spinach. Note to burglars: He’s back and anyway I had the Vicious Attack Dog with me the entire time.

Yeah, it was a lot of spinach. DearKidLoveMom.comMalabar spinach harvesting is no easy matter.

First you have to convince this spinach. This involves a lengthy conversation with an uncooperative vine which has wrapped itself into the Gordian Knot (remember that one?) of complicated vine-ness. And it’s not just one vine—oh, no. It’s about a thousand on one plant.

Then you have work quickly because the leaves (the part you eat) get surly very quickly. You cut each and every leaf off the vine individually, inspecting for wear, tear, and wildlife as you go, and graciously cutting the remaining vine and unusable leaves into smallish pieces so they can be taken out to the compost pile.

After that, you wash and dry the remaining leaves and then, and only then, can you begin the process of cooking.

Since the ratio of compost to usable plant material is about 400 to 1, you can imagine the whole thing takes a while.

Spinach DearKidLoveMomAnd the last thing one wants at the end of the process is to have someone peer into the bag (did I mention how nicely cut up the compost was?) and insinuate that you might have overlooked some small portion of edible spinach.

Possible responses:

“Wait, I wasn’t supposed to keep the bad ones and toss the good ones?”

“I left them for you to go through.”

“Die now.”

…The Look…

Being in a nice mood (and by “nice” I mean not in the mood to be questioned about why I murdered my husband), I opted for The Look.

To his credit, Dad correctly interpreted The Look and immediately said, “How ‘bout I take out the compost? Right now.”

Good recovery, Dad.

Love, Mom

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Interpreting the Splat

Interpreting the Splat

Dear Kid,

There I was, happily working away. Calmly. (And by “calmly” I meant playing solitaire while I tried to figure out what to write next.) Minding my own business. (And by “minding my own business” I mean and watching NCIS.)

When I felt a small little brush on my finger.

This is a picture of what's left of the mosquito. DearKidLoveMom.comI looked down and there was nothing there.

So I resumed working. Diligently. (And by “diligently” I mean I was reading through my Facebook feed.)

And thought I saw a little black spot out of the corner of my eye.

I looked down. Nothing. I have a lot of floaters in my eyes, so I assumed that’s what I’d seen.

My thumb started to itch. I scratched and went back to work. (And by “work” I mean checking to see what was going on in the Twitterverse.)

And there was that little flirty brush again. I looked—nothing.

Frustrated, I looked back at the screen, and there it was. A mosquito. Not the super-huge variety, but a small, nasty bite-y kind.

With lightning-fast reflexes, I smooshed that little sucker. I feel quite victorious.

Did you know that when you get mosquito juice on your laptop screen you can wipe up with a tissue?

Love, Mom

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Labeling Fall, Not People

Labeling Fall, Not People

Dear Kid,

IT’S FALL!

You can tell because it’s 90 degrees and the air conditioning is running full blast.

Also, the calendar says so.

We expect labels to make sense and sometimes they do. Like when a bag says “Coffee” you expect there will be coffee inside and you’re right to be disappointed (highly disappointed) if there isn’t.

Occasionally things are mislabeled.

Often, we apply our own labels and (especially if we’re dealing with people) we get things wrong, wrong, wrong.

Am I the only one who hates sticky name tags? DearKidLoveMom.comAside from name tags, most people defy labeling.

She’s shy, he’s athletic, she’s brainy, he’s a lawyer. Any and all of these may be true—but rarely are they all-encompassing. We label people because it’s easy, it’s a short-cut that (we think) helps us understand the world and the people in it.

But when we just see the label we miss seeing so much more.

Companies spend g’zillions of dollars (that’s accurate—I counted) to convince us to buy their product. They spend hours and vast sums of money creating the label (both the literal one on the package and the marketing message) to persuade us that their product is the right one for us. Some of them hope that their label will convince us to look beyond the price, beyond the product itself even, to purchase whatever it is they’re hawking.

When we only look at the label, we do a disservice to ourselves. We don’t really think about the impact the product will have on our life, our bank account.

When we label people, we do a disservice to them and to ourselves. We settle for only a narrow piece of who the individual is (blonde, short, brown-eyed) rather than taking the time to learn more about who they are.

So aside from name tags, let’s let the labels go.

Love, Mom

P. S. Happy Fall.

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Countdown to Internship | Mom Advice

Dear Kid,

Countdown to Internship | Mom Advice DearKidLoveMom.comDid you set your alarm?

Do you have your keys?

What about your lunch? Did you take your lunch?

Don’t run with scissors.

Once it’s on the internet, it’s there for life.

Be sure to eat breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.

Did you turn off the stove?

Be careful! Someone could lose an eye.

Don’t talk to strangers (wait—I rescind that—everyone is a stranger until you meet them).

Be yourself. Unless you have amnesia.

Smile.

Be sure to say Please and Thank You.

Make sure you buckle your seatbelt.

Don’t sit too close to the TV. Or the laptop. Or your phone.

Put your phone down during dinner!

Don’t talk while I’m talking.

Don’t interrupt your new boss.

Remember to brush your teeth.

Eat your vegetables.

Don’t make me come up there!

You don’t have to cry over spilled milk, but you do need to clean it up.

Did you finish your homework? What do you mean you don’t have any homework? Finish it anyway.

And don’t forget to call your parents every now and then.

Love, Mom

P. S. Because I said so.

 

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