It doesn’t last long enough. The longest I can get it to last (and remain hot) is 20 minutes while Dusty T. Dog drools beside me and looks up with longing in eyes. All he gets is whatever coffee and cream have clung to the edges of my cup, but it seems to matter to him a LOT. 

Maybe it’s that he’s the ONLY dog who EVER gets to “drink” from my mug. My “mug” isn’t really a mug. It’s more like a small soup bowl or those things French people drink from when they have their cafe au lait in movies and maybe in real life. I have yet to spend a morning with a French person.

I buy my coffee in five pound bags from Solar Roast in Pueblo, Colorado. It’s the world’s FIRST (and maybe only?) solar roasting operation.

My order arrives in a big box, carefully and personally packed. Last time the package contained a whole burlap coffee sack from Guatemala and the words “You’re awesome!” written in magic marker on the inside flap of the box. 

Solar Roast has somewhat lower acid, which is a nice, and it’s very flavorful. The coffee is amazing. I never imagined giving up on Lavazza, but I did.

“Grandma, you WHAT???”

I look at old ladies a lot differently now and, yes, because I am one. It pretty much never occurred to me when I was a whippersnapper that behind the visual static of their wrinkled faces and lumpy bodies might lurk some very interesting love stories. I could be wrong, I think they just weren’t saying.

I’m thinking about this because this morning I’m drinking a marvelous cup of Guatemalan coffee. I ordered two pounds from the Solar Roast people as a birthday present to me and now I’m savoring it.

A long, long time ago in a faraway place known as Denver, Colorado, my then boss introduced me to his college friend. Let’s call him Ed. That wasn’t his name, but it’s a fine name. Ed was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen. He walked into our office with the kind of grace you never see anywhere, but maybe particularly not in a man wearing clogs. He was long-legged, had black hair, green eyes, and a beautiful, wide smile.

He noticed (who wouldn’t?) the 2″ x 3″ photo of T. E. Lawrence and Lowell Thomas that was on the top shelf of the credenza behind me, leaning against the wall.


“I’m reading Seven Pillars,” he said. “Monster book.”

I was stunned. The first love of MY life was T. E. Lawrence. I got a huge crush on him (thanks to David Lean) back when I was 10 and really NEVER got over it.

“Yeah, it is,” I said. “I read it a long time ago.” I was 12 when I read it, but why show off?

It turned out he was as attracted to me as I was to him and an epistolary and telephone love story ensued. He was, at that time, taking courses at a university in Texas so he could apply to med school. He was already 30. He’d been inspired to this decision by his recent expedition (yes) to Annapurna II. Passing through India (passing through India, got that?) he’d been touched deeply by the poverty and illness of the people. And he’d picked up TB.

It coulda’, shoulda’ worked, but as time unfolded it was clear that though we were attracted to each other and had many commonalities, we were not at the same places in life. I was recently divorced and wanted to “see the world.” He’d seen the world and was ready to settle down and start a family. But in the meantime, his career goals (climbing and treating diseases of impoverished Spanish speaking people) took him to Guatemala to study Spanish and climb. He brought back a yard of Guatemalan weaving and two pounds of unroasted coffee beans as gifts for me.

The night before my one-woman painting show in 1981, I roasted them in my oven. They lent their fragrance and flavor to that moment of my life. There’s more to the story, but as an old lady, I’m not saying.


Nothing’s Quite as Yummy as Rawhide and Coffee in the Morning

Bear and I have our treats first thing in the morning. Who knows what the day will bring, right?

After years and years of indulging my coffee tastes (for both flavor and nostalgic reasons) with Lavazza (which I love) and the ridiculously expensive Illy, I picked up a bag of this at the local IGA grocery (where, by the way, you can by immense bags of dried red chiles).


This incredibly good coffee. It’s roasted in Pueblo, Colorado, by two young guys, brothers, inventors of the world’s first solar coffee roaster. Yeah, really. It’s richly flavored (as intense as any Lavazza dark roast), very smooth, low in acid (it seems) and just generally delicious.

The rawhide has now been chewed, the coffee has been drunk. It’s time to move on to the adventures of the Schneebelis in the semi-friendly land of the Palatine dukes. Right.

Acid, Man

Once a friend said to me, “I love coffee but I can’t drink it. It plays hell with my stomach.”

I thought, “Snowflake.”

Coffee, of course, is WHY we exist. I know it. You know it. Even people who haven’t tried it suspect. Even those who dispute this fact have thought about it. I have a friend who doesn’t drink it, and sometimes I think she’s apologizing for the cold, Stevia driven, caffeinated beverage in her hand in the morning. She KNOWS.

In her soul she senses the existence of a vast network of morning-happy people whose hearts beat a little faster (literally, figuratively) after the first two sips of coffee. “I’m missing out.” She feels this on an instinctual level, “But I can’t stand the taste! Surely this aversion is temporary. I’ll grow up and WANT coffee, I know it will happen, but WHEN.” Her longing is like that of a 12 year old girl yearning for a bra, excluded from the mysterious world of mammary glands to which her friends belong.

As Dusty and I finish up our morning coffee, I have a little story to share. For years I’ve had to deal with excruciating gut pain. I’ll leave it at that. But truly, years. After visiting my cola drinking friend and her husband, who was raving and ranting about a coffee brand he’d found that DIDN’T upset his stomach, and dealing, once more, with wrenching gut pain, I thought, “Hmmmm,” and I got some low acid coffee.

I brew my coffee in a Moka Express, a stove-top espresso “machine” like most people I know in Italy use. I drink the equivalent of six tiny espresso cups every morning but in one big cup with cream. That’s it for the day, but it’s intense.



The grind isn’t right for my Bialetti (too coarse) so the brew was on the weak side, but you don’t grind beans twice. The roast was tasty. Dusty liked it and I had no wrenching gut pain.

I guess I’m a snowflake…

Cranky Prevention Elixir

I’m not a cranky person. That is partly the result of my Magic Cranky Prevention Elixir which I take every morning. I’m pretty picky about it.

For most of my young life, I couldn’t understand why anyone drank coffee and I couldn’t understand adults’ fascination with the stuff. It was gross. Never mind that my first sentence ever was, “Cuppa cuppa coffee?”

As I matured, this opinion remained until, one day, my boyfriend at the time, Peter, bought some Medaglio d’Oro Italian Roast coffee. You need to understand that in the 70s there was not this boutique coffee stuff there is today. Drip coffeemakers were state of the art.

“I’m sick of the shit they call coffee here. This costs more, but I’m worth it.” He echoed an ad for hair color and we laughed.


I bought some. This was the beginning of my Famous Writer Period and Saturdays I spent with MY Medaglio d’Oro and my typewriter.


Since those days I’ve had the chance to enjoy many kinds of coffee. In the early 80s, a friend went to Guatemala and brought me a pound of raw Guatemalan beans that I roasted in my oven. Everything about that was great — the coffee that came from them, the smell in my apartment when I roasted them, and that he (<3) thought of me when he was wandering around the jungles and mountains of Guatemala. In China, if I was lucky, I had the dark bitter coffee of Hainan Island to drink. I have drunk the green coffee brewed by Arab students and poured from a Dallah (Arab coffee pot) — a brew I liked so much that as a goodbye gift, one of my students gave me a tiny golden Dallah to wear on a chain around my neck.

I take my coffee pot and my coffee with me wherever I go — and I have two electric versions for staying in hotels. Why? All because of my worst coffee experience. I was  visiting my aunt and uncle in Montana and they didn’t tell me they’d switched to decaf. Their coffee was already awful — they were the old-school American coffee drinkers, brewing some watery brown substance that they drank all day — but decaf? I was disoriented and had horrible headaches for the first three days of my visit and didn’t know why…

I have now finished my Magic Cranky Prevention Elixir and shared the dregs with Dusty T. Dog. My blog post is finished (and an inspiring bit of prose it is, too!). That means (according to Bear who is acutely aware of the time and the proper sequence of events in this house) I must do morning chores.

Morning Coffee

Life brings many great moments that don’t last long enough, but every day I experience one. Morning coffee. I drink one cup. OK, it’s a large cup, but that’s it. I’d drink more but the second cup doesn’t taste as good as the first (and only).

Dusty T. Dog also likes this moment and he waits semi-patiently for me to finish my coffee.


“Are you done yet? How about now? And now?”

I give him my cup when I’m finished so he can have the dregs. The word “dreg” is awfully negative for Dusty’s perception of the contents of that nearly empty cup. I’m sure in Dusty’s language it’s something like “ambrosia.”



Dealing with a Stupid, Recycled Prompt…

Daily Prompt Five a Day You’ve being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?

“Espresso (made with Lavazza Crema di Gusto or Starbucks Verona), heavy cream, honeycrisp apples, good Italian bread and cheese.”

“Lamont, that isn’t even a complete sentence,”

“What’s the point, Dude? This is not only a stupid prompt, it’s a recycled prompt. I am sure WordPress has thousands of prompts to choose from. They could choose something interesting. If I were back in my paranoid state, I’d think they’re doing this on purpose to alienate the people who want to write the Daily Prompt, but that’s illogical. They have nothing to gain by alienating us. I’ve given up hoping for something better. If I complain, they’ll just say that prompts of this banal stupidity are good for new writers bloggers.”

“So is this finished?”

“I guess so. I guess now I have to go back to line edits in the Schneebelis.”

“How’s that going?”

“I don’t know. I’m not sure it’s really ready to send out to people, though.”


“Yeah. It’s about 40 pages too short.”

“How do you KNOW that? That seems so arbitrary!”

“No, it isn’t. Readers of historical fiction have expectations; publishers have a bottom line, and I think there are parts of the book that are extremely tedious to read — lots of discussion about what’s going on in the world, maybe not enough about the world in which the people live.”

“You can fix that, right, Lamont?”

“Oh yeah. There are other places where I’ve done that so I just have to match them up, so to speak. It’s difficult to write about this period, to get the facts right and I think that’s important, but that doesn’t make a novel. A couple of characters need to be more three-dimensional and that will help them come out as humans.”

“There’s really no rush, is there, Lamont?”

“Not a rush. But I’d like a good clean draft by the end of June.”

“Is that possible?”

“I don’t honestly know. Possibly. It’s still just February and, anyway, it’s not like there’s a gun at my head.”

“I’ll try to keep you supplied with honeycrisp apples, coffee, cream, bread and cheese.”

“Thanks, Dude.”

Space Waves from the Dog Star

Daily Prompt Final Trio For our final trio prompt of the year, write about any topic you wish, but make sure your post features a bookcase, something cracked, and a song you love.

The sun barely up but bright red behind the black branches of the bare trees, Augusta resigned herself to another no-sleep night. Dressing — the house was cold — she walked out to the kitchen, pressing the stereo’s “on” button as she passed by. Crack, crack, wop, zing, crack, quietly, in the background of the usual coffee making. Wooooo, crack, buzz, buzz, the tuner searched.

“You guys hungry?”

Mindy T. Dog, the big (and formerly VERY overweight) Australian shepherd began dancing around and jumping into the air, amazing feats even given her new, relatively svelte fluffy form.

“Hmm, guess so.” Augusta grinned at the dogs. No way in the world could she imagine living without a houseful of them. “OK. Me first, though, right? You guys are D-O-G-S.” She put her smoothie together, took her supplements and then, far, far away, as if broadcasting through time, radio waves from long ago, lost in space…

“I saw mommy kissing SANTA Claus…”

“Oh God, please no. What? HOW????”

The big Aussie jumped around some more, seeing the cup of dried kibble in Augusta’s hand. “…underneath the Christmas treeeeee…”

“That can’t be happening,” thought Augusta.

“Here baby,” she poured the food into the dog dish. “OK, you guys, your turn.” She fed the big black dog, Dusty, who had once been described as, “Eight different breeds in there.” Then the fractious yet sweet, blind, deaf and arthritic old Siberian husky, Lily T. Wolf. Behind everything, ever more insistently, “…SANTA CLAUS underneath the Christmas TREEEEE!” coming from the speakers on the bookcase.

She went out to the living room. Ahhh. So some dog had hit the buttons. The stereo was on “FM.” Augusta corrected her ambient electronics and breathed a sigh of relief. Dogs fed, coffee ready, smoothie prepared, she sat down to write the Daily Prompt while her stereo played one of her favorite songs.

“That’s more like it,” she said to Dusty. “You want some coffee?” She’d finished. It was always a race to drink it before it cooled off in the morning . “Here, sweet boy.” She set the all-but-empty cup on the floor.

(No Pingbacks, so far…)

Getting a Cuppa-Joe at the Cop Shop

Daily Prompt Trio no. 4 Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must include a speeding car, a phone call, and a crisp, bright morning. (Wildcard: you can swap any of the above for a good joke.)

“Stop! Stop! What are you doing? Have you lost it completely? This is a 25 mph zone and it’s RAINING hard! Can you even see anything?!”
He put is foot down even harder on the gas pedal. “Why do you do this to me? You make me do these things. If you want out, get out.” He reached around her, fumbling for the door handle. She was sure he’d push her out. She slammed down the lock and blocked the handle with her arm.
“What did I do?” she sobbed.
“Looking at that guy the way you did. I saw you. You think I didn’t see you.”
“You’re completely crazy. There’s a red light! Rico!!!!! OH MY GOD!” she closed her eyes, tight together. If they were doomed, they were doomed. Rico slammed his foot on the brake just in time to avoid colliding with a red pickup.
This is it,” she thought, and opened her door. Before he could reach across the seat to grab her arm she was out and running across the street to the fast-food noodle joint that had opened a week before where the taco shop had been. The light turned green. Horns honked at Rico. He had to go. Megan knew it was five blocks before Rico would have a chance to turn around. “Good,” she thought. “I’m going to do what I should’ve done a long time ago.” She went to the payphone in front of the noodle shop and called the police, gave them Rico’s license plate number and told them he was harassing her, threatening her with physical harm.
“Not much we can do, lady, unless we’re there when it happens. Do you have somewhere to go? Do you live with this guy?”
“No, no, I have a place of my own, but I’m afraid to go there.”
“Any friends you can stay with? A motel?”
She looked around. All there was in the area was La Petit Rouge and everyone knew what THAT was. “I don’t want to stay around here. He’ll be back. He’ll be back any minute and I’m scared.”
“Tell you what, I’m sending a squad car over to your location. They’ll take you somewhere. Will that work?”
“Oh thank you, thank you.”
“They should be there now.”
“I see them.”
“Stay safe. If you’re afraid of that guy, stay away from him. Don’t go back to him like most women do. Make tomorrow a new day, OK?”
“OK,” she had started to cry. Kindness at this moment was so sweet it hurt.
“Ma’am?” said the young, Hispanic policeman. “Are you all right?”
“I am. I’m OK.”
“Get in. He’ll be back, you said?”
“If I know him. Any minute.” She looked up and saw his black Honda coming slowly down the street. He was looking for her. “That’s him,” she said, pointing up the street, half a block away.
“All right. Hurry.”
She got in back of the squad car. The policeman drove a circuitous route ending up behind the Honda. He was checking to see if the driver had seen the girl. “He didn’t see you,” said the cop. “Good. C’mon. I’m taking you to the station. You can spend the night there. You’ll be safe, but it isn’t plush.”
“That’s OK. I don’t know where to go and I only have $3.00.”
“Tomorrow you go to family court — it’s in the same building — and you get a restraining order, OK? Then someone will drive you home.”
All the things she had known she should do but had not wanted to do she was on the verge of. “All he had to do was trust me,” she said, under her breath.
“Some guys can’t do that, miss.”
“I guess not.”

Megan spent the night on a bench in the police station. The sun was just up when she was awakened by a female police officer saying, “You want some coffee, honey?” Megan shook sleep from her mind and nodded.
“It’s a beautiful day,” said the police officer. “The rain is gone. It’s a little chilly, one of those crisp bright mornings that makes you glad to be alive. You want sugar in that?”