Tag Archives: caffeine

Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte

Early-morning text message to Kyle:
If you’re going to stop for caffeine, could you get me something?  Whatever you get, with skim milk.

When he arrived in class he hands me a white cup with a green logo.  “This isn’t skim.  You need it.  All that running and stuff.”

Crap.  I never get anything other than non-fat.  Hold the whip cream.

It was delicious.  🙂



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living in the moment/the not quite yet

This street is full of people who had a passion and decided to do something about it.  It is full of small business started by people who love what they sell–shoes, their personally designed clothing, coffee, pizza, stylists, bulk tea, cooking classes, custom framing, art work, obscure books, wine, “designer” flowers, an Irish pint, and–best of all–high quality food.  With the exception a Starbucks, there are no chain-businesses–at least nothing that extends beyond an additional store or two.  This says to me that people are still out there opening up shops because they have great ideas and long to share their passion with like-minded individuals.  And towns like this one allow them to thrive.

On the weekends when I know I’m in for the long haul I like to put our dining room table up against the northernly window so I can look down to the street as I take mental breaks from studying.  I thrive upon the idea of doing something you love to do: open a business to help others, letting money be a secondary motivation.  With all the Walmarts and Starbucks and Olive Gardens in the country, it brings my heart such warmth to know that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Sometimes I think about my business being on this street.  I can picture myself, coffee in hand, scarf around my neck, opening up shop early in the morning.

No, wait, that is Kathleen Kelly.
But it might also be me.


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Happy Tuesday!


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Poland, place of rest

I’ve been asked to comment on my travels abroad. So here it is. Sorry for the delay Mr. Parkinson.

First of all, why Poland?
Well, my friend Elizabeth had been suggesting I come visit her in Paris for a number of months. But as the year went on time and money began to dwindle and I’d brushed it off. Unfortunately, after sitting around with my parents and a bottle of wine (a bottle? make that 2) sometime back in the spring I started to get the travel bug. Liz said, “pick the place. I’ll meet you there.” Poland: relatively inexpensive, holy, and wouldn’t be mobbed by beach-crazed Americans. Poland it was.

I arrived a few hours late and was met at the airport by my friend Jake, who I’d met a few months earlier in Pennsylvania at the Theology of the Body course. He was a bit confused as to where my luggage was–as was I. Amsterdam, supposedly. My layover there had been interesting, it was the one place in the world where my limited Dutch skillz came in handy. Everything was also in English as well, so really, Dutch continues to be a useless language. Lekker!

I met the travel-weary Elizabeth at the hostel and we spent the evening eating perogies in Old Town Warsaw.

After our visit with the very helpful reference librarian, we took a few moments to show our apreciation.

Day 2 we ventured to the library to attempt to find out where Liz would go to do family research. The reference librarian was VERY helpful, despite the old school computer catalogs and our lack of Polish.

Still not quite sure what this cake actually was...we dedcided coconut and goodness.

The afternoons (this one being no exception) were often spent going to mass and having a cappuccino. Jake drove us to Krakow via Częstochowa–in which lies the Black Madonna and Polish National Shrine. This place is a big deal, but I felt completely stupid as I 1) don’t speak Polish and 2) don’t really know anything about the Black Madonna. But, I was able to stand about 20 feet from her for mass–which I presume has some sort of special graces attached to it.

Day 3 was spent milling around the Old Town of Krakow. Eating the usual picnic lunch (large pretzel looking things, cheese, fruit), shopping and mass. On this particular day I made friends with the cute security guard at the Cathedral, who snuck me into the sanctuary for free to pray before mass. It is a good thing he didn’t ask for my number because my grandma made it very clear I was not to fall in love with a Polish boy and get married. Whew. Close call.

Day 5. Sunday. Papal Tour.
Jake had told us to catch a train to Wadowice, birth place of Karol Wojtyla, and on the route back we’d also be able to stop at the convent of St. Faustina. So Liz and I ventured to the train station about 40 minutes before the scheduled departure (the train station was across the street). Despite our best efforts at Polish and pointing at the printed email from Jake, the ticket ladies kept telling us to go “Hall” “down there” “left!” After about 5 tries to buy tickets we were eventually brought to a tiny office where we bought official PAPAL TRAIN tickets. And once on the platform this disneyworld ride pulled up:

more to come..


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Mary, I’m so glad I’m Thine.

Last Thursday Sandy and I (and all our faithful friends) managed to move our belongings into a new apartment.  We’re still getting used the the space (and continue to unpack…me more than her) and find the abode to be endlessly quirky but somehow quite wonderful.  This morning I studied and ate a scone on the back porch.  This evening I’m listening to a street that doesn’t sleep until about 3am (okay, so that part gets to me, but again, the place is quirky).

I was on hiatus all of last week in PA visiting Melanie and sitting in class learning out the importance of groaning in prayer, the eternal love bomb, The Truman Show, and that its ALL nuptials.  Want to know more?  Just ask…I’ll see if I can do the Word justice.  It is always interesting to me how small the Catholic world is.  A friend from the Rebuild by Church project was there, as were 2 women from Monsignor Uncle Dan’s parish, and the boyfriend of some beautiful woman named Therese Kinsley.

I returned to an empty apartment (aside from all the boxes that joyfully await(ed) being unpacked) and a bed that Sandy had made.  I had intended to sleep on the couch (again) but she’d put the frame together and put sheets on, knowing that I’d be more than exhausted when I got home.  She was right.

There is much to say, but sleep awaits me.  It would be nice to make it through tomorrow without coffee.

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Here’s to you

I knew he was coming. I’d never actually met him. Dan had told me he’d show up at my door while Dan was in Spain for the weekend. Sure enough, in the middle of the week Dave (LargeDave, actually. We call him this because he is quite tall) knocks on the giant doors to the huis on Justus Lipsuisstraat–only a few steps from the Ring Road. Actually, it was Stephanie who answered the door. She was visiting me–a few days away from Madrid had landed her in Belgium. Their meeting was unexpected because 1) LargeDave was just kind of showing up at an unmarked door half-way around the world and 2) LargeDave and Stephanie had actually taken a class together while at U of I some years back. And here they were, meeting only sort of by chance in a little Belgian town.

Dan and Dave were roommates back in Illinois, Dan had planned to share his space again for a few days while Dave was visiting. But as it turns out the room was too small (Dave is quite tall) and so he ended up spending most of the time in my room and sleeping on the couch in the basement. We became quite good friends.

Back at U of I Dave would come to my parties and I would randomly see him at coffee shops and weddings–wondering why we both felt so displaced yet spoke as if not a moment (or a mile) had passed.

Last summer we both lived in the same apartment complex. Funny how we never ran into each other there but randomly found ourselves face to face over caffeinated beverages even after I’d moved away.

A few weeks ago LargeDave moved to New York. It just so happens that he moved to 500 Riverside Drive–my exact old address–way up there on the Upper West Side, only a block or two from Columbia. And it makes me so happy to know that our paths have crossed again, even though we’re miles apart.

Cheers, friend.

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Sometimes when I drink coffee post-4pm I wake up in the middle of the night.  And by middle of the night I mean 4am…which makes no sense.  Tonight is one of those nights.  The experience was accompanied by a bloody nose, the reorganization of my AIM buddy list, the sound of rain, editing of my latest video, and Honey Nut Cheerios.  At this rate I might as well go to mass in an hour.  But mostly, I cannot get over the fact that on a normal day I’d be waking up right about now, if not earlier.

At least I don’t have to run today.  Not feel’n that.

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