Saturday, November 21, 2009

roll on Thanksgiving

This is the year of the roll debate. At Thanksgiving don't you love soft white yeast rolls rising on the radiators, later popped in the oven, and served hot with lots of butter?

That's what I thought. (Unless you eat gluten free of course.)

Consider: this year we will have at least 17 family members for our meal. Everyone will pitch in to cook turkey, roast, green beans, mashed potatoes (with butter), baked stuffing, sweet potato casserole, roasted vegetables, creamed onions, cranberry orange relish, and lots of pie!

Getting all of this and 17 people to the table is quite a chore. To time it just right so the rolls roll out of the oven hot is an art. Everyone is carrying hot dishes through to the dining room while someone is trying to check the rolls' progress. Wait. They're not quite done. Wait. What's that burning smell?

Grandma says, "you have to serve rolls at Thanksgiving."

Sister says, "it doesn't matter because, if they have rolls, the boys will eat them instead of other healthier foods."

I say, "I don't need the stress. I don't have the talent to make it all happen. We can make rolls the next day to eat with our leftovers."

Coffee, however, is not up for debate. Andy went to the coffee bean store today and splurged (yeah!) on Costa Rican and Kenya AA. It will be a good Thanksgiving no matter what. Just pour me a cup of hot richness. I'll breathe deeply and drink deeply. I'll be alright!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Recently I've felt like a fugitive from the 8-5 life.

My neck pain has increased the past few days, so I am reminded that I left that tract for good reason.

Still, I feel like I'm a fugitive from some perdition I should be serving.

The dogs woke me up this morning quite early, seeking passage outside and then some food. Then we all laid back down.

Soon, the phone rang. In the dim light I couldn't make out the caller, but, given the time of day, answered it.

A message informed me that two men had broken out of the Peoria County Jail. One was a particularly bad dude, a rapist and home invader who had taken the police two years to corral. The thought of him on the loose set me on edge. I made sure all the doors were locked.

In the early afternoon, I learned the minor criminal had been apprehended at a residence. Later, in the dark, I had to go outside. I thought of the brazen, desperate rapist. My dogs would put down their lives for me. They would never be fugitives from their duty. I think such dedication and commitment are difficult for humans to understand.

Intellectually, I have given up such dedication. Yet, I still feel like a fugitive. The dogs lack the intellectual ability to abandon their responsibility. Such an act isn't in their nature, which is hard wired for commitment.

The real fugitive in this story, once having decided to flee, has no freedom to choose another course. He is on the run. The dogs can't choose to be different - being by my side is their whole life. The fugitive has chosen his course and can't turn back.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dancing on air

Since leaving my basement cubicle at Bradley, I've struggled with what to call this blog. First I tried Coffee… Outside the Cubicle. But that was awkward. Today I renamed it Coffee and a Miracle. My husband asked me what the miracle was. I said I don't know. I'm still waiting to find out.

When I was in junior high I loved doing the broad jump in track. I'd run as fast I could down the asphalt and then take flight over the sand pit. I was told to kick my feet to keep going further. That worked very well. I made it to the conference tourney, where I think I earned second place.

Later, when I fell in love with music, I would imagine myself a dancer, although I had no training. I would spin and twirl across my living rooms as if I was on a New York stage. I felt absolutely graceful and marvelous.

In my dreams, I think, these two memories merge into something beautiful. I find myself dancing and taking flight. I dance but also kick so I can go even higher. People are amazed that I don't fall to the floor. I float above it all. I feel wonderful.

In my dream, at least, that's a miracle!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Indian Summer

This weekend we experienced a classic Indian Summer.

The leaves have turned, many plants have been hurt by an earlier frost, and the air is warm.

Working on the leaves today, I sunburned my face in the beautiful warmth of 70 degrees.

While the origins of the term "Indian Summer" are unclear, we know for sure that it is a time we all enjoy. We've experienced cold days and we know winter is coming, so this physical remembrance of summer is most welcome.

Indian Summer often occurs just before a killing frost, so I expect that will be coming next week. Then, I will have to go out and lift the black, slimy nasturtiums from the ground and dump them into Landscape Waste tubs.

But, today, they are blooming in vivid orange and yellow, just as if it were July.