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MUSING ON A LATTE
The other day I was thinking about a latte. Actually,
I was thinking about how much my fancy designer coffee has become a very important part of my life, my day, EVERY day!
I've always liked coffee but seldom drank more than a cup a day. I realized
that over the last 3 years I've developed quite a dependency on my daily latte or two.
I plan my errands so I will pass my favorite coffee place. I even drive out
of my way to hit the Starbucks drive-in, especially in bad weather so I don't have to leave my car.
Forgetting the sweetner is a disaster, especially if I've
driven off or left the shop before tasting my drink. This necessiates
pulling off the road, digging around in my glove compartment for a hidden little
pink packet of Sweet and Low and having to sprinkle it over my perfectly formed froth. My latte never tastes as
good as when the barista puts it in BEFORE spooning the foam on top. The sweetner clings to the foam making the
first half of my coffee too sweet and the second half, not sweet at all.
Splenda and the blue packet sweetner aren't quite right. Splenda
requires a packet and a half to make my coffee taste just right. I always hate to ask for 'a pack and a half'.
It doesn't sound quite right: "I'd like a non-fat, decaf, one and a half pack of Splenda latte, please". I'm sure
I'd get a puzzled, 'huh?' and have to repeat my order all over again; probably needing to give
some additional information, too, while the ever-growing line mumbles impatient-sounding words to one another behind
The blue packet of sweetner never tastes quite right to me. I don't think
it tastes quite right. I've always been a bit embarassed while at someone's home or office when asked what I take in
my coffee. I've always felt it was rather an imposition to say, 'I'd like some milk and a packet of artificial
sweetner please.' They usually don't have artificial sweetner anyway and I have to end up using sugar which I don't
like. I've always longed to say, 'Oh, nothing, thank you. Just black'.
With the craze of espresso shops serving lattes, capuccinos, mochas, steamers and
all the other designer drinks, I am free to order just what I want without the fear of 'putting out' the barista.Hummmmm . . . just writing about this has started me planning tomorrow morning's route.
Let's see...do I want to take the highway so I can stop at Starbuck's, or the country route past the little espresso stand
at the side of the road...
HERE ARE SOME THINGS
I'VE DONE OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS ...
As writers, the one
thing we always seem to need is more time. As individuals, we also need to nourish ourselves. Here are a few suggestions on
how to achieve both:
CARVING OUT TIME AND NOURISHING YOURSELF
CARVING OUT TIME:
1) Skip your second cup of coffee. 2) Don't stay on the phone. 3) Wake up a half hour earlier. 4) Don't take the whole
lunch hour for lunch. 5) Order in dinner instead of cooking it. 6) Let someone else in the house do the dishes. 7) Let someone
else in the house do the wash. 8) Skip the daily crossword puzzle. 9) Don't read the entire newspaper. 10) Take less luxurious
THINGS THAT ARE NOURISHING:
1) Deep Breathing. 2) Lots of solitude. 3) Lots of laughs. 4) Friends who
understand writing and deadlines. 5) Friends who understand you. 6) A good hairstylist. 7) Good books. 8) More solitude. 9)
More laughs. 10) Deeper Breathing. 11) The avoidance of people and activities that are toxic, draining or take you away from
yourself. 12) Lots of sleep. 13) Good food. 14) Lots of exercise.
Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace
of mind. To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel like there is something
in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only of the best, to work only
for the best, and expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at
all times and give every living person you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have
no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, and too strong for fear, and too happy to permit
the presence of trouble.
-The Optimist Creed-
SOME WORDS TO LIVE BY • • •
Mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.
Write a love letter.
Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep a promise.
Find the time.
Forego a grudge.
Forgive an enemy.
Apologize if you are wrong.
Try to understand.
Examine your demands on others.
Think of your neighbor first.
Be kind and gentle.
Laugh a little...
Laugh a little more.
Be deserving of the confidence of others.
Extend your hand to a stranger...and the warmth of your hand to a child.
Find beauty in all that surrounds you.
Speak your love...
Speak it again...
Speak it still once again...
HERE'S SOMETHING I IDENTIFY WITH -- HOW ABOUT YOU?
In the not too distant past-
I remember well-
Grandmas tended to their knitting,
and their cookies were just swell.
They were always at the ready,
when you needed some advice.
And their sewing (I can tell you)
Was available - and nice.
Well, Grandma's not deserted you.
She dearly loves you still.
You just won't find her cooking,
but she's right here at the till.
She thinks about you daily -
You haven't been forsook.
Your photos are quite handy,
In her Pentium notebook.
She scans your art work now though,
And combines it with cool sounds,
To make electronic greetings.
And prints pictures by the pounds.
She's right there when you need her,
You really aren't alone.
She's out now with her "puter" pals,
But she took her new cell phone.
You can also leave a message
On her answering machine;
Or page her at the fun meet.
She's been there since nine fifteen.
Yes, the world's a very different place,
There is no doubt of that.
So "E" her from her web page,
Or join her in a chat.
She's joined the electronic age,
And it really seems to suit her.
So don't expect the same old gal,
Cause Grandma's gone "Computer".
ALL WRITING ON THIS PAGE THAT WAS NOT WRITTEN BY DOREEN
BRADLEY SATTER IS STATED, AND THE AUTHOR, IF KNOWN, IS GIVEN CREDIT. ALL WRITING DONE BY DOREEN BRADLEY SATTER IS COPYRIGHTED
AND MAY NOT BE USED IN ANY WAY WITHOUT EXPLICIT PERMISSION!
THE WRITER IN ME •
The tools of our trade are simple: a pen, a pencil,
a sheet of paper...but most of the time I do my writing on my computer. If I am 'into' a piece, I'll sit for hours writing.
I work in spurts. One 'great' idea leads to another. Then, just as suddenly, I'll have a dry spell. I use that time to search
other writers' sites on the internet; perhaps read a story or two, and more often than not, a new idea will come to me. Perhaps
an idea for a new story comes while I am driving or out for a walk. Many times, it is just a phrase or even one word that
I build my piece around.
Some words that came to me
while I was walking one day were: "The warm air was pink and sticky with the smell of cotton candy..." A particular odor brought
this phrase to mind. A bird singing, a flower I spot along the way or a dream might also give me inspiration and ideas. Then,
I will work for hours and the time passes so quickly, it is hard to believe I was working for so long. I love when this happens.
I feel it is "real" writing.
Writing is one of my greatest passions. I have always
enjoyed various writing assignments I've done throughout the years, but in 1994, I decided to take a creative writing course.
A spark was ignited in me that I know can never be extinguished--it just keeps getting brighter and brighter. I haven't stopped
writing since! I know writing will continue to be a driving force in me for the rest of my life.
HAVE YOU FOUND THAT • • •
Once you're into a story, everything seems to apply--what
you overhear in a bus is exactly what your character would say on the page you're writing? Wherever you go, you meet part
of your story? You are just tuned in for it, and the right things are magnetized?
A FEW THOUGHTS . . .
Someone said reading my memoirs were like visiting with me on the veranda. I like
that idea! I no longer have a veranda, but there are two comfortable chairs outside overlooking the magnificient canyon view.
We could have a latte or a cup of tea and talk about our writing.
DO YOU DO
YOUR BEST WRITING WHEN THE SUN IS UP OR WHEN THE STARS AND MOON ARE OUT?
I love nature and its beauty. I think nature and writing go hand in hand. When
we are particularly moved by something we experience, we write about it. I especially love flowers and plant life.
One of my past homes had a lovely hidden garden. Although I lived in the city during
that time, the garden had a small, private get-a-way spot that no one would guess was there. My garden was surrounded by bushes
that keep it hidden inside the fence. There I could admire nature's beauty in its unspoiled splender. It always seemed to
inspire a story. I'm including one I did a few years ago when some simple summer sounds evoked a story about my childhood.
The same thing happened not long ago as I was sitting at my computer with the window
open. A breeze came in carrying a sweet spring fragrance and I wrote another story about one Saturday morning long ago.
If you'd like to read that one too, you can find it by going
back to " HOME" and selecting the link, "MORE STORIES".
SOUNDS OF SUMMER
I'm lying on the grass looking up at the blue sky. White fluffy clouds float
by, birds noisily swoop down to tease the dog or splash for a moment in the birdbath. A lawnmower whirrs in the distance and
an occasional airplane flies lazily overhead. The sounds of summer are all around me.
There are a few new sounds now, In 1997, such as the recorded track of a hurdy-gurdy
coming from an ice cream truck tempting children up one street and down another, or the BOOM, BOOM, BOOM of the bass beat
blasting from a car stereo, but the lazy airplane, the lawnmower a few houses down the block and birds chirping in the bushes
take me back to my childhood summers of the 1940's and '50's under the massive willow tree in our front yard.
I'd lie on our green, earthy-smelling lawn. My dad watered often in the summer
months, and the earth was always a little damp under the thick mossy grass. Tiny, light blue flowers with minuscule golden
stamens were blooming all over the lawn. Mother had let the ground-cover spread throughout the lawn because it looked so pretty.
I'd lie on the shady grass under the towering willow tree for hours, looking up at the sky. I remember it being a clearer,
more vivid blue then. I'd look for pictures in the fluffy white clouds floating across the deep blue canvas overhead. Sheep
were always up there to be spotted fairly easily, but at times I'd see faces--Abe Lincoln, George Washington or maybe Dagwood
or Blondie from the Sunday funny papers. Many times Goofy or Pluto or Mickey Mouse would appear along with Donald Duck or
Felix the cat. Some days my mother would take a few minutes out from her housework and join me on the lawn, and we'd look
for pictures together. She was so good that she could find whole scenes and faces of family members! After we watched the
clouds for awhile we'd roll on our stomachs and look for four leaf clover in the grass. She was good at that too, and usually
found at least one.
Sometimes I'd squint my eyes and see what I was convinced were germs that
only I could spot because of my unusually sharp vision. I was certain I could pick out round staphylococcus, spirals of spirilla,
wavy streptococci and little pairs of bacilli floating in the sky above me! I had memorized the types and shapes from the
old Dr. Chase medical book that I loved to look at. It wasn't until years later that I found out my 'germs' were really just
floaters in my eyes, and everyone had them!
Some days, double-winged airplanes flew overhead and I'd watch as they did
tricks in the sky. They'd roll over and over, then fly straight up and turn over backwards, turning off their engines as they
fell quickly towards the ground, starting up again just as I was sure they wouldn't have time to come out of their nose- dive.
They'd soar upward again and repeat their stunts. Occasionally, a configuration of military bombers roared overhead. These
noisy planes scared me. I thought they might drop bombs like I'd seen in the newsreels at the movies.
Many times when I was lying there watching the activity in the sky and listening
to the familiar summer sounds around me, I'd hear a siren off in the distance. The fire department was about a mile away and
when a fire call came, the warning siren blew. Two or three minutes later the fire trucks would take off, and I could hear
them coming up the hill closer and closer, their sirens getting louder with each block. I was scared to death of the fire
trucks and sirens, so I'd run in the house when I heard them coming. My mother told me a trick to do so I wouldn't be so afraid.
She said to put my fingers in my ears and sing loudly, 'The firemen are going to help someone, the firemen are going to help
someone...' over and over. I'd try this, but somehow I'd always be able to hear the trucks screaming around the corner a block
up the road. Fortunately, most of the time they'd turn there, and seldom came past our house.
On warm, sunny, summer days, my friend Luana, who lived across the street,
and I would ride our bicycles to the swimming pool. It was quite a long hot ride, but mostly downhill, going. As we neared
the pool, the loud voices of noisy, splashing swimmers greeted us and we could hardly wait to hit the water ourselves. We'd
have our suits on under our clothes so we could jump out of our things in the dressing room, cram them into the baskets, fasten
the safety pin with our basket number to our swimming suits and run down the path to the pool. The pool was always very crowded,
and we'd start looking for our friends right away, but all the girls looked alike in the water with their white swimming caps
and solid-colored one piece suits, so sometimes it took awhile to find everyone. After we all found each other we'd gather
in one corner of the pool and swim and play around for most of the afternoon. When it was time for Luana and I to get out,
we'd dress quickly and ride to the drugstore a couple of blocks away to get ice cream or a soda before we started home. We
dreaded the trip back because it was mostly all uphill, and it was the hottest part of the day.
During the hot days of summer, Mother would usually plan for us to eat dinner
outdoors. We had a wonderful large patio under a second huge willow tree in the back yard. The area was made of flagstone
and it included a massive stone fireplace and cooking area. There was a long, wooden picnic table with four benches, a round
metal table with matching chairs and several large wooden lawn chairs with high backs and very wide arms to hold dinner plates
and glasses, and the furniture was arranged on the patio in a very picturesque setting. My dad gave all the patio furniture
a new coat of paint each year, and each year my mother would pick a different color. I remember years of light green, dark
green, white or brown furniture. The patio was surrounded by flower beds with tall plantings and shrubs and little stone paths
leading in, making the area a private, outdoor living room. Sometimes my parents would entertain the camellia club, and the
yard would be overflowing with people. It was especially fun after dark with a crackling fire in the fireplace and the sounds
of laughter and voices floating through the air, mixed with an occasional hoot, croak or chirp from the night life hidden
in the bushes or around the pond.
My grandmother lived next door and she also had a wonderful outdoor living
area and fireplace. Sometimes the picnics would be over there with family or groups of her friends. There were never any children
for me to play with, but I enjoyed hiding in the shadows watching the grown-up activities around me.
The fourth of July was always an exceptionally exciting day for me. I could
hardly wait until it was dark enough for my dad to begin his wonderful fireworks display. Each year there were always a group
of friends and relatives gathered in our back field to watch the spectacular show. All kinds of fireworks were legal then,
and we had every kind of Roman candle, sky rocket, firecracker and sparkler that were available. Most of the things were shot
high into the sky on a wooden trough-like launcher that my dad had made years earlier. He was the only one allowed near the
fireworks, and there was always a running hose near the launcher. I learned many lessons about safety from him at an early
age. I remember the fireworks lasting far into the night each fourth of July. My dad must have bought a huge amount of fireworks
each year, he liked them as much as I did! Now, whenever I hear the 'WHOOSH' of fireworks being launched high into the sky,
I think of those exciting bright nights out in the field behind our greenhouse.
The sounds of summer days and nights haven't changed. I'm just in new surroundings
now, and there are a few new sounds of the times that have been added, sometimes drowning out the good old ones unless you
listen and pay close attention. Then, every so often, an old familiar sound can be heard, and when that happens, it never
fails to bring back the memories of the summers of my childhood.
HERE IS A MUSING I WROTE NOT LONG AGO • • •
MY MOTHER MY SELF
I wish my mother could know me now. I think she would be surprised, maybe
even pleased. In the past year, I’ve been seeing her face in my reflection as I walk past the mirror. Sometimes I stop
and look more closely, and I’m shocked! In subtle ways, and more overt ones too, I am becoming her. From my expressions,
down to the little wrinkle lines beginning to form channels on my face, I am turning into my mother.
She told me this would happen, but I really didn’t believe it. Physically,
the family resemblance was always strong. My grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins have all been told this over and over,
from friends and strangers alike, all our lives. Now that our mothers and fathers are gone, we cousins tell each other the
same thing each time we meet. There’s no mistaking we are all related.
Looking back, I guess I knew I’d resemble her as I grew older; the part
I didn’t expect to happen was how much I THINK like her! I always prided myself on being different in my thinking than
my mother. I thought my views were a little more modern and tolerant; although I must give her credit, she was quite liberal
for someone of her generation. Now I see there’s a new part of me beginning to emerge, and I think I appreciate my mother’s
words more now that they are coming out of my own mouth!
I began noticing this about the time I turned fifty--I became a grandmother
for the first time that year too. I’d hear words coming from my mouth that sounded just like hers. I wasn’t consciously
thinking of saying them, they just came naturally, surprising me, too! The thoughts were even more amazing than the words.
When I was a girl, I remember my mother talking about something, and I’d
think: She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. It’s not that way at all. I’m never going to be
that old-fashioned! Guess what, I’m saying the same things now! I’m sure they aren’t old-fashioned, though.
My children and grandchildren haven’t said anything--yet!
(FIRST PLACE WINNER IN A 1999 INTERNET MOTHER'S DAY POETRY CONTEST)
My mother's gone--
Some years it's been
But she's always near to me.
Lately, each time I pass a mirror
It is HER face I see.
She always said we looked alike--
Especially our eyes.
I'd tell her smartly, "No we don't!"
But she was very wise.
Now there's HER wrinkles around MY eyes
And my hair is silvery gray
My hands, my cheeks, my chin--oh my!
I'm becoming her more each day!
Now this is not necessarily bad--
Being older is just fine, you see--
Because as I grow older I also grow wiser,
My mother, I'm PROUD to be.
I am an old gray woman
Sit a moment and let me talk
Let me wander to other times
To other seasons
Or maybe it was only yesterday
I need someone to listen
Let me pretend that you care
About what I say
About who I was
About who I am
Now I am an old gray woman
But once I was part of a rainbow
(c) Doreen Bradley Satter
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BY DOREEN BRADLEY SATTER