Archive for January, 2012

Coffee: Friend or Foe?

January 18, 2012

I should warn you, this is not a balanced scientific evaluation of the pros and cons of coffee drinking.  If you want the chemistry lesson you can go ask my brother the chemist as I am sure he can draw the molecular structure for you, and he may or may not have a tattoo of it somewhere on his body (he has quite a few, so it’s hard to keep up.) If you are looking for cold hard facts on the matter, you will have to read several contradicting studies to get a grip on the issue because as far as I can tell, there is a new one every week.  One will say that caffeinated beverages are dehydrating while another will say it can prevent Parkinson’s and a variety of other diseases and so on, and so on . . .

Nope, this is just about my struggle with coffee.  I come from a long line of serious coffee drinkers.  My previously mentioned brother goes through at least a pot a day and if he doesn’t have a tattoo of the molecular structure of caffeine yet, he should.  He inherited his black coffee habit from my mother who’ after years of a pot of day, has weaned herself down to one cup a day (most days anyway) and follows it up with green and herbal tea for the rest of the day.  She has cut down due to an unfortunate heart palpitation situation, not at all by choice I can assure you. 

My father still drinks, to put it mildly, a hella lotta coffee.  As does my husband.  And my stepfather.  Not to mention the people at the chiropractor’s office I work out of.  And then my own history; about 15 years of coffee shop service.  Six of which were at a corporately owned and operated giant. 

I was late to the coffee game; I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was in college and even then it was the super sweet and (soy) milky variety.  Carmel Soy Latte was my middle name for a while, but I have never been fully comfortable with my coffee drinking ways.  I really like being in the tea drinker category.  I think it gives me an aura of health and a glow of saintly self contol. I also love all things British and therefore should choose tea over coffee anyday of the week.

Over the years I have given up the “joe” for months at a time.  During the last two years that I worked wearing a green be-siren-ed apron, I only really drank coffee for the last 6 months of it.  Once I gave up coffee because of the addiction factor and the first withdrawal headache was enough for me to go cold turkey.  And once I gave it up because I was “going raw’ and coffee is decidedly a cooked item.  Right now, I have a cup-a-day habit.  Part of me says, chill out, it’s just a cup a day and most wellness professionals will say a cup a day is fine.  But something in me, maybe the perfectionist part, says I shouldn’t have any of it at all.

I’m not in it for the caffeine, although it is sometimes a nice little boost in the a.m.  I think it’s the ritual.  But then, if that is the case, a cup of tea should work just fine.  Maybe I am harboring a baby addiction, because if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be rambling on like this.

When I started drinking coffee again, I justified it by reasoning it was just getting through finals, and then it was to get through the transition from barista to full time massage therapist, and now? Well right now I have about 3/4 of a pound of Christmas Blend left over and obviously I can’t let that go bad. . .

I will say I like being off coffee because it increases my sensitvity to it so if I am really tired I get a massive boost, and in most cases it can knock out a headache. And then there is that whole saintly British thing.

Obviously I have too much time on my hands if this is what I am worrying about, or maybe, I just have too much coffee in my system. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I start with a nice glass of green juice or perhaps a cup of Earl Grey, or perhaps I will just wait until I finish that bag of Christmas blend. . .

Any other coffee drinkers out there think the should get off the sauce? Or defend the habit?


A New Year an New. . .

January 9, 2012

So, I’m a little late with the whole New Year thing.  The truth is I like to do things in my own sweet time.  That doesn’t mean that I am a slow poke or that I am always mulling things over (although sometimes I do) or that I am constantly late (only sometimes!) or even that I miss deadlines (hardly ever!)  I just don’t like artificial starting points or finish lines. In fact, I don’t like anyone or anything telling me exactly how or when to do anything. It may be a delayed onset rebellious streak, but when an outside source says NOW is the time or THIS is the only way, my inner dialog says, “Oh, yeah??!! We’ll see about that!”  A result of this is that I hardly ever start anything on a Monday, and if I get an idea in my head, it may come to fruition a few weeks from now after lots of research and thinking, or it might happened RIGHT NOW.  It’s honestly hard to say.

On New Years Eve my mom went around the dinner table asking what everyone’s New Years Resolutions were, my husband decided to go vegan, my brother vowed to get a “real job,” his girlfriend is going to get grant money to finish her PhD project, and Mom said her list was to long to really get into, but included professional and personal goals.  When it came to my turn, I looked her dead in eye and said, ” You know full well I am NOT making any resolutions.” She laughed, but after nearly 30 years of my odd personality she knew enough not to push.

The next morning while walking the dog (I always make my calls while walking the dog), I was talking (um, ranting) about things I knew I needed to do in order to be successful in the future.  And she said, “Gee, Bo, those sound like resolutions to me.”

I snapped back, “They are not! It’s just crap I have to do!”

Token Regina picture

That conversation got me thinking. First of all, moms sure know how to push buttons even when you are nearly 30.  But also, what is the difference between a resolution and the “crap” that needs to get done?  And why do we let someone else decide when it’s time to take stock?

It’s true that it is nice to start a new year with a new calendar that is going to be filled with all of the fantastic things that are going to be accomplished, and noted in perfect penmanship and prose, but they sell calendars year round, in fact they are cheaper in the off-season.  I am just not interested in letting the “powers that be” lay down the time line for me, because it seems to me that in life there aren’t a whole lot of periods to mark the end of a complete sentence.  There are far more commas and semicolons and run ons.

Old cruddy beat up planner and nice new shiney planner.

So do I have goals for 2012? Of course – writing, business, yoga, running, being a better, more rounded person, etc, etc.  But did I set those goals because I knew that ball was going to drop? No. My goals arise out of being ready to grow personally and professionally, they are the next logical step in my growth, and they are, above all, the “crap” I am happily ready to do.  I have learned that letting the day of the week dictate when I should begin something can often lead to a false start.  I would much rather begin when I am good and ready so I have the energy and desire to see the project/change/whatever through.  I am so over starting on Monday and quitting by Tuesday.  Therefore I take stock and make goals on my own schedule.  So even if that process happens to coincide with the new year and no matter what my mother says, they are not New Years Resolutions. (So THERE!)