Do You Have a Favorite Coffee Mug?

All of my friends know that I must have a cup of coffee in the morning before I can function. I like to tell people that it takes a least 1 cup of coffee and half a Poptart for me to even be human.

I make a pot of coffee in the kitchen each morning with a little 4 cup coffee pot. I used to have expensive coffee makers, but they never lasted more than a year or so. When I switched to the cheaper Mr. Coffee brand coffee maker, it has lasted for almost 4 years now. *knock on wood*

I have a favorite coffee mug at home. There is a short story behind how I got it. I was dating a guy who worked at the Clear Channel studios downtown as a radio producer. That is a fancy title for a boring, tedious job of working on a computer in a tiny soundproof room. And if anything goes wrong, it is up to the producer to fix it – fast.

Besides getting free tickets to just about every show in town, this guy had access to a whole closet full of radio station swag. There were tee shirts, nerf footballs, pens with radio station call letters and logos, bobble heads, baseball caps and……coffee mugs in all colors, shapes and sizes. There were a few coffee mugs from an older radio format that had been switched by management, so those mugs were obsolete and about to be thrown out. My boyfriend grabbed 4 of them and asked me if I wanted them – I said, yes.

As it turns out, those four mugs are my favorite coffee mugs. Not because they came from the radio station or because my boyfriend – at the time – gave them to me. I love them because they are made from ironstone, have a comfortable handle, and they are a cone shape, so that the top of the beverage cools quickly and the bottom stay warm longer. The ironstone is a good natural insulation and they are dishwasher safe. These mugs are perfect, and it would break my heart if any of the ever got broken, as there is no way they could ever be replaced.

What is the Story Behind This Dilapidated House on the Beach?

photo of dilapidated house on the beach

We spent many summer days at various beaches along the Atlantic Ocean during my childhood. My parents took us out of town for vacations every chance they got. Sometimes we drove a couple of hours to get to an ocean beach or a lakeside cabin. Other times we took the train or flew to someplace exotic, like the Bahamas or Puerto Rico. Usually our vacations were centered around access to water – lakes, rivers, bays or oceans. Worst case, a nice swimming pool at the hotel.

We almost never got a hotel room for the beach – my parents would rent a large house right on the beach or maybe a 1 block walk from the beach in high season. My mom liked having a kitchen when we traveled, although we did eat out a lot, too. Dad always said that a vacation should mean no cooking for my mom, but many times it was more practical to have breakfast and lunch right there, then a nice dinner out together as the sun went down.

If you have seen the beach houses along the New Jersey shore, you know they are a mixture of sizes, styles and materials. Some are even like this photo of a dilapidated house that one of my friends shared.

When I see an old house that has been abandoned to the elements, I always wonder what happened to the people who built this house? Why is someone letting the house fall apart? Is it up for sale or is it a part of an inheritance dispute? Is the person too busy with an important job or large family to worry about taking care of the house?

I have no idea where this old house might be, but the fact that someone installed boards across the lower level door is puzzling. There are two windows with no glass in them on the same level. Putting a handful of boards across the door is not going to stop anyone from getting inside if they want to. I wonder if the locals tell children that it is haunted? Do teenage lovers sneak in through the windows and have some privacy that is so hard to find when you are young and in love?

Amy Irene White’s Book on Amazon

My friend, Amy, has her first book for sale on Amazon. It’s available as a paperback or as a download for Kindle. Her next book is coming out later this year – I can’t wait to read it!

Amy is a very strong, brave, rowdy woman who rides her Harley Davidson without a helmet and thinks nothing of dropping the hat and taking off somewhere across the country. Her last big trip was to the Washington DC “2 Million Bikers for America” biker gathering on September 11 2013. She rode was a growing envoy of friends, starting in Arkansas, riding through Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, then heading north to DC through South Carolina and North Carolina. They rode all over the DC area and participated in a march/ride down Constitution Avenue in DC with thousands of bikers.

This year she plans on participating in a ride to Detroit in March, and then she heads to Los Angeles for a couple of weeks visiting friends up and down the west Coast. She writes blog posts and sends Facebook messages with photos from the road. Most of the times she travels with a good friend, Libby, who tries her best to keep Amy out of trouble. She is a real hoot!

This is the paperback link:

This is the Kindle download link:

Busy Weekend Planned

This weekend is the start of my Christmas make-ready. I will be going through the garage and pulling out all the Christmas decorations, gift wrap and the tree. I don’t really want to put the tree up yet, but there’s no point in rooting through the garage twice. When I find the tree i will pull it out and set it in the corner until I can deal with decorating it.

The kids are a little antsy about why there are no decorations up yet. But last weekend was just too hectic and I want to be able to enjoy the decorating with my kids. When I am too tired I tend to get cranky and careless, and there is no way I would have enjoyed myself getting ready for Christmas while still dealing with Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

The kids want to have more color in our decorations this year. Two years ago I tried to keep the decor to a blue theme. I used light blue, dark blue, white and silver on everything from the Christmas tree lights and balls to the gift wrap. Last year I went with white and gold. The tree lights were white and all the balls were gold and white, with just a couple of flourishes of dark red. But this year the kids want to be multicolored, so that will be very different for me. I don’t really like the visual over stimulation of all the colors, but I can appreciate that a children’s world is seen differently than mine.

I have some cute white polyresin snowflakes that I want to hang outside to look like it is snowing huge flakes. I can probably use dental floss to hand the snowflakes from low hanging tree branches all over the yard. That will be something fun that the kids can help me with. And then we will string some outdoor lights over and around the shrubs. I just hope it stops raining for a few hours so we can get this done on Saturday or Sunday, then we can start working on the inside of the house and putting up the tree in front of the window of out living room.

Getting Tough About Education

If I was in charge, there would be no school suspensions or expulsions. There would be alternative education sites for children who must be removed from the general population, but they would still be required to attend school and actually for a longer day – an additional 3 hours. Sending kids home to a toxic parent with a substandard home life does not benefit the child nor the school when that child returns at the end of the disciplinary period. And many of them just play videos games or run the streets during the suspension period – they learn nothing from it other than misbehaving at school gets them more time to play and get in even more trouble.

With my plan, the children with behavior issues would learn something, get counseling and be fed 3 meals without distracting the regular classroom. The parent would be required to take a parenting and anger management class during the same “disciplinary period.” And if the child needs more help than just a week or two, keep them overnight, on site, in barracks and require the parents to participate in more extensive counseling, a thorough home inspection and DNA level drug testing before the child is returned home. If the parent fails the drug test, arrest them and take the other children away until the parent completes rehab.

And although I support home schooling, there are a whole lot of parents who are not qualified to do that – they would not even be able to read and write beyond today’s third grade level themselves, much less teach it. The whole point is that we have to educate this generation of children and prepare them for getting real jobs and keep them off of welfare. The current system is not working and we are losing an entire generation of children in this institutional failure and lack of effective parenting.