Archive for May, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Coffee

Coffee and Beans

Have you ever been drifting along in life and all of a sudden you can’t do/eat/drink something you’ve enjoyed for years?  That happened to me recently with my old friend, coffee.  We had the pleasure of each other’s company for years, pretty much every morning and sometimes later in the day as well.  And then he turned on me.  My pal, Joe, was making me sick…literally.

I was in some serious denial at first.  I couldn’t really figure out what was causing me such gastric distress.  I started eliminating different things from my diet, one by one, and making assessments of any changes.  Lo and behold, it was not caffeine as initially suspected, just coffee.  Could this be?  How can I all of a sudden have a sensitivity to coffee?

I did what any inquisitive person would do; Googled it.  What a can of worms I opened!  There are whole blogs and websites devoted to this very topic.  I am not alone in my new-found issue.  I confirmed my suspicion that it made your body more acidic, caused/elevated heartburn and ulcers, dehydrates you, and can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb certain minerals.  And after reading some of the comments on a certain website, many folks suffer a…um…how can I put this politely…a laxative effect.  Beware if you click through.  The comments, albeit quite entertaining, can be graphic!

I have tried to have just one cup.  Nope.  I guess this is just my cross to bear.  But I’m okay with it.  I love tea, so switching to a cup of chai or orange spice in the morning isn’t a huge deal for me.  Apparently some people nearly lost their minds weaning off.  As a former smoker, I sympathize with them as they go through the withdrawal process.  Hey, it gets easier, really.  Stay strong, my java-double-crossed friends.

Now, I’m not a doctor or medical professional by any means.  But, if you find yourself with stomach discomfort, bloating, nausea, or worse, I encourage you to skip your coffee for just one day.  Be mindful of how you feel during that day.  Replace it with tea or water and maybe even a couple of ibuprofen if you tend to get lack-of-caffeine headaches.  As you go through the morning, focus on how your stomach feels.  If you notice an improvement, you may have a coffee sensitivity, too.  And if you don’t, well, then I’d say have a grande cappuccino for me!


7 Tips to Personalize Your Wedding

Aria, MPLS Warehouse District

We attended a wedding last weekend for our friends’ son.  It was at Aria in the Minneapolis warehouse district and it was beautiful.  The venue was a great historic building with a brick façade that was complemented by a host of sparkling chandeliers hanging from stories-high ceilings.  The bride, Alyssa, had her brother officiate and I’ll admit, I pretty much bawled through the whole thing.  Yes, I am one of those people.

This summer The Hub and I will celebrate the seventh anniversary of our 07/07/07 wedding.  I have to say, it really was a hoot!  It was unbearably hot (over a hundred degrees), so we were barefoot on a beach in Breezy Point, Minnesota. We rode off in a “Just Married” golf cart and had a golf scramble with our guests.  Then we barbecued and danced the night away with an Elvis impersonator at the clubhouse.  That’s right, Elvis.  Clearly we’re not hung-up on tradition.

So in the spirit of love and the lucky number seven, here are seven ideas to help personalize your big day:

  1. Put a line for a song request on your RSVP. Make them promise to dance if you play it.
  2. Instead of unpredictable small children, use your grandmas as flower girls!
  3. Have a display of wedding day photos from your parents and grandparents on a board or in matching frames.
  4. Before the big day, have the bride and groom write letters to each other. Privately before the ceremony, have them stand side by side (separated by a divider or curtain to hide the bride) as they read them simultaneously—what an amazing photo op!
  5. Make a coloring book and put crayons on the tables for kids and grown-ups to complete a keepsake book for the happy couple. Great way to keep kids busy.
  6. Instead of just signing a guestbook, have people leave a memory or piece of advice for the future.
  7. By all means, keep the food coming! Whether it’s a food truck, pizzas, or a snack bar, if guests are hanging around and having a good time, there’s probably a need for some extra calories! Bring out the goodies a couple of hours before you end the party. (My friend, Christine, gets huge bonus points for last weekend!)

There you have it.  I’m kind of a sap when it comes to love and weddings, but I just want everyone to be as happy as we are.  Thanks to the creativity of Matt and Alyssa, it was a lot of fun last weekend.  Aria is beautiful and so was the bride.  And remember, sometimes it takes a while to find the right person.  But when you do, hold on tight and celebrate your own way.  Or with Elvis.  Either way, welcome to wedding season!


Refocusing and Stuff

Arlene (Janzig) Smith and Stuff Smith

Arlene (Janzig) Smith and Stuff Smith

Have you ever been zipping along on a project, somewhat interested in the topic, only to have something new come along?  All of a sudden you’re swept up in this new thing, like a fresh shiny romance you’re carried away by the novelty of it all.  No?  Really?  Never happens to you?  Sometimes I think that happens every day to me.

Okay, truth be told, maybe not every day, but it does happen fairly frequently.  Yes, I suffer from something-shiny-syndrome.  Just ask my sister-in-law.  I once got distracted by a wrapper on the ground when we were out golfing.  Probably will never live that down.  It didn’t help that I yelled, “Oh look, something shiny!” as I rushed to it.  I know, it’s sad; but that’s how I roll.  I prefer to think of it as my cockeyed-optimist approach to life.

Anyway, I was working on a project that I found quite exciting.  Right up until the facts nearly bit me.  Completing the project would come with definite legal consequences.  That does not excite me.  I had to tap out.  But it brought me back to a project I was working on before.  It’s an equally exhilarating book project about jazz violinist Stuff Smith and his widow.

Yesterday I went to the local library to research the website through their membership.  Not only am I easily distracted, I’m also kind of a library dork.  Love ‘em.  Could spend hours there and not even realize it!  The problem is you only get ONE HOUR on the computer.  Hello?  You expect me to stay that focused to limit myself to one hour?  Who are you kidding?  I can see this is going to be a challenge requiring numerous trips to the library.

The upside to being easily distracted is that I don’t mind the mental meandering involved in doing research.  I found some really cool websites.  Stuff’s ancestry goes back to times of slavery and Native Americans from multiple tribes.  One website had old microfiche loaded so you can actually click around slave records from the 1800’s.  I didn’t find the names I was looking for, but the lessons learned were equally as valuable.

If you are in the Atlanta area, or have any historical info on Peachtree Street or Barbers of color in the 19th century, feel free to reach out to me.  It may take a little bit, but I’ll definitely get back to you!  And if you’ve never heard of Stuff Smith or listened to his music, do yourself a favor and check it out.  As they said in nearly every review of him, that cat can swing!



To My Children on Mother’s Day

Boys Will Be Boys

I think there comes a time in most people’s lives where they start to reflect back.  This past week was the anniversary of a horrible car vs. dump truck accident that almost took my life.  On that anniversary I paused for a while to look back at both the years before the accident, and the 21 years since.   I came up with some parenting things I’d like to pass on to my kids, my gift to them as we celebrate Mother’s Day.

  • Treasure the day-to-day. I know when they were small I sometimes found myself wishing they would hurry up and grow up. It gets stressful being a parent. But take the time to enjoy the daily routines like chatty little ones at breakfast or evening baths and stories at bedtime. They really are only little for so long.
  • No matter how stressful things are, it gets better. It is hard to maintain your composure when dealing with someone who is naked and incapable of reason, but that will change…hopefully! Someday you will look back and wonder what the big deal really was.
  • Read, read, read. Make a point of reading to them every day. And when they are old enough, have them read to you. Discuss what you’re reading and encourage them to create their own stories. They can be quite elaborate, and how can you beat free entertainment?!
  • Keep a journal. Even if you only write in it occasionally, jot down the funny things they say and do. Or little tidbits about their personalities. You’d be amazed how quickly you forget which one was the nudist, or who blurted out something at a wedding/funeral/grocery store and caused you extreme embarrassment.
  • Cook with your children and eat at the table. My kids’ friends are always surprised when we are eating at home around the table. I know I know it gets busy and people have their own schedules, yada yada yada. But do this as often as you can. It usually leads to conversations about their day, who did what with whom, etc. It’s the best way to stay in touch with your kids. And if you start it young, it will continue on as they grow up.
  • And most of all, don’t try to be perfect! When you’re a parent there’s a lot of stuff going on. I don’t expect your house to be immaculate when I visit. There’s a difference between messy and dirty, and houses with little people get messy. Books and toys that are out tell me you have been busy and are having fun. And that is great.

So to my beautiful daughters, wonderful bonus sons, and the most adorable grandchildren ever, I thank you on this Mother’s Day.  I love being there for you, and I am so thankful that I am still here after that near miss.  And just so you know, I’ll keep cooking as long as you’ll keep eating.

Reach Out For Help, Please


It has been a terrible week in the Musings household; we suffered the loss of a young and promising life. So this week, instead of a pithy column packed with witticism and opinion, I am making a plea to you, dear readers. If you or someone you know are suffering with depression, please, please, please seek help.

Whether or not you believe it, there are so many people out there who care. They will help you. Please, don’t take a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And understand, no matter what is going on, it is a temporary problem. Whatever difficulty you are travelling through, you can get through it. You just need to get to someone, talk it out, and let them help you. There is always someone to help. In the U.S., you can call 1-800-suicide or online at

Suicide is always a tragedy. No matter what you think people will say or feel about you, no one will be better off if you’re gone. No one. There will be only devastation. Please, if you are depressed or having difficulty coping, reach out for help.