Words & Banter

Black’s Coffee … Analogy

Stock photo on iStock

It all started with a visit to Dunkin' (Donuts), which isn't an unusual event for me as I come from New York, and it has always been a part of my life (and explains why I struggle to call it by its "new" name). Even before I was old enough to drink coffee, I loved their donuts, and one of my favorite childhood memories is my dad coming home with a box of a dozen Dunkin' donuts (his favorite was the chocolate glaze and mine the Boston cream).

Now, fast forward to my recent visit to Dunkin', which didn't go as expected – on several fronts. But it had nothing to do with donuts. Rather, with coffee, which I drink all day long, although I'm very particular about how it's prepared. (I admit, that's an understatement.)


I like my coffee very milky. So much so that Black has been known to tell waiters and baristas that I like a little coffee with my hot milk and sugar. Or, technically, Splenda (or Splenda Stevia, if available), not that it really matters, as I'm one of "those people" who carry a stash in my handbag.

Well, this time, my usually wonderful Dunkin' coffee was, well, there's no getting around this, bitter. Not strong. Bitter. It was a rare event, but so disappointing, as it was one of those days when I had brought it home, wanting to savor it while working. I like to pride myself on being able to play "mad scientist" when coffee's too strong, knowing how to add enough extra milk (or if necessary, cream) and sugar to get it "just right".

I explained to Black (she might say, "whining") how this particular cup of coffee was beyond redemption as I can work with strong, but there's nothing much I can do with bitter. I figured she'd tell me to get over it and make a fresh pot at home but instead,

Coffee is like people. You can work with strong-minded, even opinionated, people, although you might have to try harder, be more patient, or be more creative. But, someone bitter is very different, and often difficult (maybe even impossible) to change. Without naming names, we both know people who fit that category. And, much like your cup of coffee, your only options may be to take it or leave it.
Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock


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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK, started Dry January, where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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Popcorn! Quite simply, it’s one of my absolute favorite things. Starting when I was a child, whenever I went to the movies, I’d get (and finish!) the largest bucket of popcorn available. And I always thought movie popcorn was far superior to what you could make at home … until a recent trip to visit a close friend in Tennessee, and she introduced me to Great Northern Popcorn (I promise this isn’t a paid ad). Now I’m addicted to it as I can make it on my cooktop. I know Black would be more interested in the science of what makes popcorn pop, but I prefer to just be obsessive about my popcorn …

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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You’re going to roll your eyes, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about myself.


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That is totally out of character, unless you are thinking of New Year’s resolutions.


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Actually, no. For decades, my priorities, and therefore my life, have always been focused on the girls and Mom. But that’s all changing. And I’m not sure how to “change” with it.
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