As I watch portions of my childhood home burn, I cannot think of words to describe my sorrow. It is sad, unfair, unthinkable. It is happening whether I want to believe it or not.

I am watching from a short distance – close enough to see it on the news, too far away to be of any real help. Every news update is a knife to the heart: over 70 homes burned, 80, 92. There is nothing I can do or say now, while the fire rages. But when flames finally, finally die, I will find a way to help, and I will act.

Dear friends in Black Forest, you are in my thoughts. Structures may burn, but our memories are precious and present.

20 feet from the church I grew up in.

20 feet from the church I grew up in.

What makes someone a “good mother?”


What makes someone a “good mother?”

I have found motherhood to be immensely harder than I ever imagined. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I look like a decent mother on the outside – my child is clothed, fed, and sheltered – but I feel myself falling short in every other area. Sometimes friends or family will make comments like, ” Oh. your are a good mother because you do x.” or “You’re a good mother because you don’t do y.” But they only see a tiny sliver of my life as a mom. I sometimes think that if they saw me as I really was, or if they saw me at my worst – no sleep, stressed out, and on the verge of emotional collapse – they would not be so quick to hand out the title of “good mother.”

Some days I just want to quit. I just want to run away and never look back. I wonder if other mothers feel this way, or if I’m just uniquely unequipped to take care of a baby. Either way, it’s a terrible feeling.

Today, the only definition of “good mother” I can live up to is, “One who doesn’t leave when it gets hard.” It’s a pathetic, but it’s all I have the energy to strive for at the moment.

NPR’s Coffee Week – Day 4

Thursday of last week, NPR published three coffee-related articles. I’m featuring Step Aside, Gents. Witness the Rise of Women in Coffee. The article discusses the correlation coffee_and_coffee_beans_closeup_boutique_picture_167075between coffee and poverty, focusing primarily on the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA).

I couldn’t find much on the web in the way of charity ratings for IWCA, but their website has some good info, including their annual report.

Though completely unrelated to coffee, this story reminded me of Bead For Life, and organization I have supported in the past. They are not strictly a charity. They teach women to make beautiful jewelry BeadForLifeNecklace_Thumbnail_2out of homemade beads, which they create out of paper. The jewelry is beautiful – you won’t believe it’s handmade. The women get a fair price for their product, which is sold primarily via “Bead Parties.” Think of it like a tupperware party, but for jewelry. It is a fun way to help women out of poverty without just writing a check and hoping for the best. If you can’t tell already, I’m a fan.

Random thoughts for the day: I just realized I mentioned tupperware and fair trade in the same post, two days in a row. I’m sure Freud would have something to say about that … Also, Miguelina again!

NPR’s Coffee Week – Day 3

For Wednesday, NPR again has two coffee articles. I’m featuring Coffee For A Cause: What Do Those Feel-Good Labels Deliver?

This story made me think of my mom, who is a big proponent of Fair Trade coffee. It causes something of a divide in the parental household. My mom has always been socially conscious and environmentally friendly. I think of her sometimes as an unintentional hippie. She’s an Evangelical Christian, never lived in a commune or worn anything made out of hemp, but she will reuse every plastic Cool Whip container until it no longer retains its shape and will (lovingly) place a guilt trip on anyone who does not recycle. My brother and I did not realize this was not normal until we went to college, where our friends made fun of us for washing our Ziploc bags.

My dad, on the other hand, does not see the sense in reusing every single plastic tub that graces the kitchen. As far as he is concerned, global warming is great big question mark, and anyway, why not just recycle the plastic yogurt cups and just buy some tupperware? And if a plastic bag “accidentally” ends up in the trash can, well, that’s what landfills are for, right? As for fair trade coffee, my dad’s opinion is that you pay twice the money for half the taste, so it’s basically a big scam.

The Cup Winter Coffee

This pic is from The Cup’s Facebook page. Caffeinated Winter Wonderland!

My parents have a great marriage, but they embody in every way the phrase “Opposites attract.” I take most after my Mom – which is probably how I ended up in The People’s Republic of Boulder, drinking coffee from The Cup, the hippie-est of Boulder’s hippie coffee shops. They serve fifteen different types of coffee from twelve different countries, all organic. It’s one of the coffee shops the article mentions, where you can pick which coffee you want to drink based on the inspirational stories of the coffee’s origins, complete with pictures of the farms where the coffee was grown. Which is probably why it’s so expensive!

So, as you can see, this story gave me a lot to think about: my family, my city, the environment, lattes. Mmmm, lattes. I may have to visit The Cup tomorrow – assuming I can decide which type to get!

NPR’s Coffee Week – Day 2

Coffee Image From All-Free-Downloads.comNPR actually posted two coffee-related articles last Tuesday, I’m featuring Journey Of A Speciality Coffee Bean, From Cherry To Cup. If you’re going to overpay for a cup of coffee, at least it’s nice to know you’re helping someone, somewhere besides corporate America.

P.S. If I ever have a daughter, I want to name her Miguelina.

NPR’s Coffee Series – Monday


National Public Radio (NPR) did a great news series last week on coffee. I’ll be posting a link to one story per day.

The Monday’s article, How Coffee Brings The World Together, talks briefly about a shift in the global supply-demand dynamic of coffee.

You can click the link above to read or listen to the story. I highly recommend listening, because there’s a fun pop-culture quiz at the end that’s not in the article text. I got 6 out of 8. How’d you do?