Coffee Achieving

Featured Image: Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed, February 13, 1984

A couple of weeks ago, Berkeley Breathed released the entire “Bloom County” catalogue in a digital bundle. Bloom County has been my favorite comic strip since junior high, so I squee’d, pounced, and started re-reading. When I got to the strip for February 13, 1984, I snorked. Loudly, because I remember those commercials. They were dorky at the time, and they are unforgivably dorky now. Follow this link and prepare to activate your Fringe Face. If you can’t watch the video, here’s a transcript:

You are the new American society! The movers, and the shakers!
You are the New Coffee Generation!
Because coffee lets you calm yourself down, and picks you up.
Coffee gives you the serenity to dream it, and the vitality to do it.
No other drink does that like coffee.
Join the Coffee Achievers!

Serenity, really? And get a load of this gem from another ad in the campaign: “Coffee is the calm moment that lets you think.” What. Were they serious? Who came up with this stuff? If I have more than two cups in the morning I’m orbiting Saturn before lunch. That is not a recipe for calm.

To be fair, my perspective could be skewed because I’ve only been drinking coffee for a year or so. I love it because it’s a vehicle for caffeine and dubiously healthy add-ins (half and half does contain protein, y’all). As far as I’m concerned, coffee is hot chocolate with benefits. It is lovely and makes mornings better, but serenity is pushing it.

From what I’ve read, this ad campaign wasn’t considered wildly successful, but I have to wonder if it was just a slow burn. Vance Marriner put it best: “But maybe, just maybe, the seed had been planted in those commercials back in the ’80s, and took a while to germinate. After all, one does not attain the lofty rank of Coffee Achiever overnight.”

I think he’s right. It took me a few decades to join the club, but here I am! Do we get jackets?

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Fun with Aging

Featured Image: Funny Birthday Card via thunderpeep

While chasing the elusive balance between cheap and good, I’ve split our supply shopping between two stores: grocery and The Great Blue Satan (GBS), aka Walmart. I hit the grocery every week and the GBS every two, depending on when we’re going to run out of things. This week was a two-fer, and experiences at both stores reminded me of a fact I’ve been happily ignoring for a few years now: I’m getting older.

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Harpy Unplugged

Photo Credit: Brian Landis

My cabin fever hit critical mass early last week. I told Brian I really needed to unplug, get out of town, and hear the wind through the trees for a couple of days. After recovering from his shock, he agreed wholeheartedly. Brian loves to camp. I do and I don’t. I do love laying in the tent, looking up at the sky through the screen and listening to the birds. I don’t love stinging insects that make me injure myself in my frantic attempts to run away from them. I’ve always had this intensely frustrating fear and it’s always screwed up my favorite outdoor activities, but the need to get out of my head outweighed the buzzing terror.

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Photo Credit: Brian Landis

Local News Blurb
Tonight at 6:00: Oklahoma’s obesity epidemic has expanded to the English sparrow population: how one small-town woman is responsible.

Okay, not really, but dang: my cheepers are fat. When we started focusing on our garden a few years ago, we put up bird feeders and a bath because I like to care for small creatures. (Brian calls me a Disney Princess, and it’s one of the nicest things he’s ever said to me.) Birds are pretty and I enjoy watching them do their thing. I didn’t think beforehand to read up on feeder types and seed types and which birds are considered “desirable.”

To me, they all are. Cardinals are my favorite, but I love the jays and mockingbirds and finches and chickadees and sparrows. We have doves, robins, starlings, and the occasional hawk. I love those too, along with the catbirds, ravens, scissortails, and woodpeckers. They brighten up the yard and my day with their birdly songs and activity.

They also make an infernal mess. Because I knew diddly-squat about providing for wild birds, most of our feeders consist of a roofed platform with perches that keep the squirrels out while letting the birds eat. These feeders have the unintended consequence of allowing the birds to be picky about their seed choices. When they’re picky, they fight over perches and fling the unwanted bits far and wide.

At first, finches spent the most time on the perches while sparrows acted as the Ground Crew and cleaned up below. Doves and cardinals helped, and all was lovely. Then the sparrows figured out they could eat from the feeders. They decided they were too good for the Ground Crew and left that duty to the doves and their loser friends who couldn’t hang with the seed-flinging crowd. Chaos ensued. Everyone got food!


The sparrow population in our neighborhood exploded. Recent reading has informed me that this is A Bad Thing because they’re an invasive species, but… they’re so cute and chirpy. I don’t want to run them off completely even though I’d like a bit more diversity in the garden, so we’re going to phase out the platform feeders when they break. The new feeders will reduce flinging and hopefully bring in more finches and chickadees as the sparrows disperse.

I have learned my lesson! Do your reading beforehand or you will end up like I did: with a legion of fat, mouthy, entitled little jerk-birds.

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On Writing Again

As I mentioned a while back I’ve started writing again, and not just inane blog posts. I have a story in progress right now. It’s so short it could be considered flash fiction, and it is the first creative thing I’ve finished since 1992. That’s kind of appalling. Thousands of people across dozens of worlds have been bouncing around in my head for 23 years and I haven’t told you about any of them. I thought about why those ideas were trapped for so long, and it boils down to two things: fear and time jealousy.

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Brr! It’s Cowd.

Plant sprout in snow

[My poor little garlic shoots are snowed under, except for this one hardy fellow.]

Our birds and plants have absolutely no idea what’s going on. In early January, we were bathed in 70 degree temperatures and covered by clear, sunny skies: a warm blanket of Solar Love. Late February has been a whirling dervish of ice, wind, and gray: an iron maiden of Frigid Hate. I’m ready for Spring.

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