Today, my favorite over priced coffee emporium had a scribbled sign posted on the door stating that they only offered one type of brewed coffee. The near empty parking lot should have been my first clue. The barista who wrote the sign spelled inconvenience incorrectly, yet another example of the text crazed-”who needs to know how to spell when you have spellcheck?” culture. Unfortunately, the brew that was posted does not agree with my mid life intermission and has me up at two am practicing yoga while doing laundry, reorganizing the attic and listening to Sting’s “Dream of the Blue Turtles” on constant repeat. So I clicked my heels and shuffled back to my vehicle to head to my second favorite watering hole.
My coffee mug is often described as “I see you take coffee with your cream” so I’m clearly not “addicted” to coffee, but I do look forward to my thrice weekly “five steps involved” complicated coffee treats. I was indulging daily (including weekends) until I realized that I was becoming addicted. Fearing that I might have to attend meetings, I decided that I would regulate this experience and train myself to write at home where I can enjoy warm brewed beverages without forking over the cash equivalent of a gallon and a half of premium petroleum just for the privilege of cradling a warm beverage between my fingers. The coffee is good, but my favorite watering hole is my favorite watering hole because it holds the memories of where the books in my series were conceived.
To my younger readers, as you mature and begin to mark life milestones, you will remember certain events and venues. Your parents will always remember your first steps, your first tooth, and the first time you took the car for a spin with your new driver’s license. You will probably always remember the first clown that kisses you, whether the kiss generated fireworks or the experience had you wondering if the jester brushed his teeth with butter. You will probably remember the first boy who calls you with a crush, what you were wearing on your first date and whether or not he asked you to pony up for your part of the movie.
The coffee hole that I reference was not the actual scene that birthed the crime better known as the Black Diamond Series, but it’s its long distance cousin. It’s where I learned to nurse a tepid cup of coffee for hours while savoring a daily slice of lemon frosted pound cake. Sip the coffee, bite the pound cake. Sometimes I would switch it up and bite the pound cake and then sip the coffee. As I sat for hours developing the characters and creating interlocking story lines, the coffee pound cake routine became my muse. If my coffee watering hole didn’t have the lemon pound cake, I would allow an understudy to perform in its place. It took several weeks of the pound cake waltz before I realized that my daily lemon pound cake indulgence was hampering my attempts to shed the last vestiges of my third heir inspired baby weight. The baristas were surprised when I modified my daily order and excluded the pound cake treat, but they still let me sit for hours undisturbed nursing the same cup of coffee, sometimes smiling as I typed furiously on my dated laptop computer.
My second favorite watering hole also has a decadent treat that I only allow myself to enjoy every now and then. My motto is “all things in moderation.” I’ve blogged about this a few times. If I eat the occasional bag of Cheetos, I intensify the next day’s workout to restore my equilibrium. My fridge is filled with organic produce, carrot juice and a green machine concoction that my children actually enjoy drinking. But like any “mostly” healthy eater will attest, every now and then even the healthiest eater wants the adrenaline rush that only comes from the magical concoctions that are created when you mix pure cane sugar, butter and chocolate. But now that I’ve acquired a taste for carrot juice (and it definitely is an acquired taste-let me tell you) my body reacts oddly to processed foods so I try to steer clear of foods that might make my downward dog bark during yoga. My metabolism has decided that if an empty calorie crosses my lips, it’s like the Friday afternoon dismissal bell to high school seniors; all bets are off, and the metabolism goes into strict chill mode until carrots and other live foods slip down my esophagus to reverse the spell. The metabolism really only awakens from its food coma after intense super charged cardio sessions and chugging enough water to make an elephant pee its pants. Through exercise trial and error, I’ve found that my metabolism likes to dance.
I’ve blogged about my limited dance ability before. I love music, but even the winningest “Dancing with The Stars” pro would be challenged morphing me into anything that resembles a dancer. Not deterred, in my attempt to “go with the flow” and vary my exercise routine, I participate in my gym’s hip hop dance classes where I work up a sweat following the intricate choreography and dancing to the top twenty tunes that I recognize belting through the ear plugs of my teen’s Ipod. During class, I “embrace my inner Beyonce” and pretend that I’m training to be one of her back up dancers. While writing at my coffee house and resisting the urge to chow empty calories, I tell myself that Beyonce’s back up dancers don’t eat processed pastries. And if they do, their age is almost the square root of mine, so their metabolisms don’t go into the witness protection program after eating a single donut. When Beyonce announced her pregnancy, I told myself that Beyonce would be indulging in some of her favorite treats while expecting her first baby so I indulged in the occasional pastry myself in solidarity with Beyonce. It’s a rite of passage excuse that moms get to use. “I’m growing a life in my body and sometimes I should be allowed to eat anything that I want!” Been there done that-three times. But unlike most mere mortals, Beyonce is a mega-superstar, so she’ll have a team of people paid to coach her back to her physical prime. She’ll be back to “dropping it like it’s hot” in four inch Christian Loboutin heels as soon as her doctor gives her the medical clearance to dance again.
In the final book in the Black Diamond Series (Love, Secrets & Pearls) featuring Tanisha Carlson and her crew, a couple of the main characters are married and starting their families. For one character, the baby wagon comes much earlier than expected and throws a wrench into a carefully crafted life plan forcing the character to drop ten yards, punt and go with the flow, while for another character, the stork can’t find her address.
As the world celebrates the arrival of Blue Ivy, I hope that Beyonce and Jay-Z are given plenty of space to enjoy their newest and most important blessing without the constant glare of the paparazzi hounding their every move. Beyonce, you’re going to get lots of parenting advice, some good and some not so good. Here’s my good advice: Instill a love of reading in Blue Ivy, read to her often and when she’s old enough, let her explore the magic of the public library, surrounded by armed bodyguards of course. Even though you can afford to buy a library, take her on outings to the public library. Teach her how to spell and allow her to eat an occasional slice of lemon pound cake or a chocolate glazed donut and then teach her how to dance it off in baby Loboutins! Welcome to the land of oohs and aahs! This donut is for you!