Category Archives: Coffee


I am happy to report that I have a strong, healthy heart.

Which is good, because my Kryptonian blood wants to make it beat really fast, all the time now, so I’m glad I’m built to handle the extra work.

My increased pulse is a symptom of myelofibrosis, and it frustrates me, as I have faithfully banked 4-6 cardio workouts per week for the past 15 years. My resting heart rate in recent months has been an acceptable (though rapid) 100 – 115 beats per minute, but at my appointment last week it was 130. My doctor sent me to a cardiologist, just to ensure that we don’t have anything new to worry about. He set me up for some tests, all the while reassuring me that it was all precautionary; not to worry, blah blah blah (“You haven’t satisfied your 2011 deductible yet, so that will be $1,078.41, please. Will you be writing a check?”)

This morning, I went in for an EKO (see price tag, above) without really knowing what to expect, until I saw the ultrasound machine. I smiled, remembering several screens similar to this one, that, back in the late ’90’s, revealed first glimpses of babies sucking their thumbs and kicking tiny feet back at the ultrasound waves. Back then, my only medical visits were related to my chronic status as a baby factory. When Richard, my tech, turned up the sound of my own heartbeat this morning, I fought back tears as I tried to process the stark contrast between my current medical situation and the visceral memory of burgeoning maternal joy that came along with that same audio track, first heard clearly at Week 11 of Pregnancy #1. That moment, 16 years ago, was surreal and overwhelming. That tiny, steady gallop provided the first undeniable evidence that Sam was really in there.

Today, my heartbeat made virtually the same “woosh, gallop, woosh,” that I remember from prenatal ultrasounds. I realized that over three pregnancies I must have developed a kind of Pavlovian response to that sound; one of gratitude for life, health and unlimited potential. I was unprepared for how much the same pattern, heard in such a different context, would jar me emotionally. What a difference a diagnosis makes.

Richard was kind, but didn’t say much as he moved the transducer around, assessing and measuring chambers and valves and ventricles. While I don’t know the specifics of which structure is what, I couldn’t help but wonder how it is that we depend so completely on the proper function of something that delicate, with its impossibly thin walls and fluttery valves. I thought about how hard I have pushed my heart in the gym over the years, never once worrying about its ability to rise to the challenge. But there it was in front of me, revealing itself for the mortal structure that it is, capable of so much despite its impossibly fragile appearance.

The line between health and illness is fuzzy and tenuous, far more so than I ever realized. I’m grateful for the fitness I had going into this disease, because I’m sure that all of those years of sweat and effort will make the difference in my ability to come out healthy on the other side.

My heart is fine, but I’m going caffeine-free to help bring my pulse down, a prescription that would have left me whimpering in a closet a few months back. But it seems a small price to pay to help keep things running at full strength.




I believe I will treat myself to a trip to Starbucks today, to celebrate the fact that this is my 100th post. Yay me!

I might even make it a venti.

I Wonder About This Every Single Time I’m In Starbucks

I have a question, and I promise, I’m really not irritated. I just don’t get it.

Why oh WHY is there not a separate line for Starbucks customers who wish to purchase nothing more than the beverage known as “coffee,” so that they can pay, get their drink — which is already ready — and get on with their lives in a timely fashion? Shouldn’t there be an express checkout separate from the people ordering grande half-caf triple two-pump non-fat toffee nut lattes with a toasted turkey sandwich and molasses cookie on the side?

I confess — I’m usually a member of Group II. (Those molasses cookies are downright addictive.) But really, wouldn’t an express lane make sense? Fewer people crowding the store when it’s busy, less crankiness amongst the customer base?

Or do the Starbucks people want the drip coffee customers to be in the store longer, just in case the extra time standing there may entice them to buy Starbucks tchotchkes and bags o’ beans?


Never mind.

Sunday Morning First Aid and Cinnamon Muffins

The kids are being unusually sweet and cooperative this morning, as I bribed them with homemade (Betty Crocker made them, anyway, in her factory home in Minneapolis) cloyingly sweet and fluffy cinnamon muffins. There are no health benefits; in fact, no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever, but my kids are grateful, and “mmmmm!!!”-ing, and not fighting at the moment.

Abby called me over to the rocking chair to perform emergency surgery on the cat, whose eyebrow area is evidently irresistible to microscopic, springtime, New England area-based ticks. Abby held the cat on her lap while I hunted down the tweezers.


Abby: Poor kitty! Do you want a cinnamon muffin?

Hannah: DON’T, Abby, that will make him throw up.

Abby: He needs a distraction so Mom doesn’t poke his eye out.

Hannah: I remember once when I was a baby, I had two ticks in my ear. I pulled them out myself, and saved my life.

Abby: That was earwax, stupid.

UPDATE: Surgery successful. Tick flushed. Kids fighting, as the memory of cinnamony deliciousness wears off and the sugar kicks in.

Detailed Review of the Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte, Which Is

… currently featured prominently on their website and in stores, boasts flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter (butter?) and taunts me, TAUNTS me …


I have tried it, so now I can move on with my life.

Let’s Give It Up for the Baristas

I love venti, all-ice, half-caf Americanos with skim milk. Translation: four shots of espresso over ice. I go the half-caf route, because I love the huge 24-ounce cups (go figure, because “venti” means 20, not 24) but really don’t need to subject the world to the horror that is me on four shots of espresso.

It’s the socially acceptable, liquid equivalent of eating a fistful of coffee grounds. Yum.

I apologize for the Starbuck’s commercial. I can’t help it if I love them.

Ever So Briefly, Hannah Considers Vegetarianism

Every kid has a favorite food. You know the stuff I’m talking about: Cheetos, cotton candy, Cocoa Puffs. Hannah would trade them all in, every time, for an egg and cheese sandwich on a toasted bagel. Preferably with bacon. Occasionally, I’ll treat her to a run through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru, which always results in repeated, grateful exclamations of “Yummy!” and “THANK YOU, Mommy!” from the backseat. Hannah didn’t even know what bacon was before she had one of these babies, because the stuff I cook at home is usually of the turkey variety.

Today we went on a mission to find soccer cleats. Since a) it was lunchtime, and b) I was really jonesing for an iced coffee, Hannah got her Sunday wish for her favorite sammich.

She snarfed down the first few bites, then abruptly stopped, and looked at her lunch.

Hannah: Mom?

Me: What’s up, Hannah?

Hannah: Did this bacon come from a pig?

Uh oh.

Me: Yep. Meat comes from animals, Hannah. Why, does that bother you?

At this point there was a long, long pause from the back of the car, so I started planning for the impending food strike. I began making a mental list of alternate protein sources, in case the conversation went in that direction.

Dead air. Then:

Hannah (to her lunch): Sorry, Piggy, but you’re just too delicious.

She ate every crumb.

My carnivorous seven year-old poses with her new cleats and official team jersey.