async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: New Year's Coffee Talk

Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year's Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Happy New Year! Happy NEW YEAR!!! Have any of us ever been so glad to welcome in a new year? I can only wish that with the flip of the calendar, we could flip a switch on life as it is right now. Sadly, no. The pandemic rages on, complete with new strains and continued discontent around us. But I'm not going to dwell on any of that. I'm hopeful for good things to come this year and that's how we should start a new year. Clean slate and all that, right?

It's time to catch up on our first coffee date of the year. What's in your cup? I've got a fresh pot of Dunkin' Donuts coffee brewing. Sipping on it as we speak, along with a scoop of GLG collagen, and that most important splash of half and half. 


If we were having coffee...I'd talk about eating all the cookies I made over the holidays. Then I'd tell you how I started to have an arthritis flare. If I ever needed proof that eating sugary foods makes my RA worse, I got it. Funny thing, though, in a moment of extreme overwhelmedness, I forgot to put the sugar in one batch of cookies. I didn't take a picture of my cookie fail, and they tasted as bad as they looked. They probably wouldn't have bothered my RA, though. By the way, the flare was short-lived and I'm feeling fine.

An oldie but a goodie

If we were having coffee...I'd tell you that I'm scheduled to have my second dose of the COVID vaccine next week. I received the first dose with minimal side effects--just a mild headache for a few days--and I'm hoping the second dose goes just as well. I cannot wait to lose some of this ever-present anxiety that I've lived with for the past 9 months. 

The circle of anxiety

If we were having coffee...I'd update you on my sister and her battle with breast cancer. She has completed 4 courses of chemo with 2 more to go. She saw her oncologist before the holidays, who told her that the tumor was 'undetectable'. We're very excited about this. Once she's done with the chemo, she will schedule her mastectomy and reconstruction. It's been a rough road for her, but we are all so grateful that things have gone so well.

If we were having coffee...I'd tell you about the recent invasion of large flies we had in our house. It was just awful. We cannot figure out where they were coming from. According to this article, though, 2020 was the year of scary bugs, so it makes sense, right? My oldest son brought an electric fly swatter for us to use, but by then we had killed most of them by then. The rest of the flies just disappeared. Just another gift that 2020 has given us. Although I do admit to being disappointed that I couldn't put the electric fly swatter to good use!


If we were having coffee...I'd share my mixed feelings about a Laura Ingalls Wilder American Masters special that I watched this week. As a child, I devoured Wilder's books. In fact, I still have the entire set. I've also added to my collection over the years. I watched the TV show back in the 70s with a critical eye as they strayed from Wilder's original stories. Anyway, the PBS show discussed the ghostwriting done by Wilder's daughter Rose as well as the racism present in the books. I knew about the ghostwriting, but exposing the racism in my beloved books was like finding out Santa Claus wasn't real. It made me realize how much more aware we've become of how words can influence children's thinking. Still, it was a tough pill to swallow. 

Am I right?

If we were having coffee...speaking of books, I'd share my month of reads! I only read 3 books this month but that's because they were big books. Heavy reads for sure and I'll be lightening things up in January.

  • Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart was 2020's Booker prize-winning and well-reviewed book that got very little publicity. None of the book blogs I read featured it and it wasn't available for loan at my local library. I was intrigued, so I purchased it from Amazon and I was not disappointed. This was a heartbreaking but compelling story about a young effeminate Scottish boy who is 'not right' according to all around him. Meanwhile, his mother is an alcoholic who does her best to keep up appearances. Shuggie is a hero for the ages. This book kept me up late at night--I couldn't put it down. But oh, was it heartbreaking! 
  • A Promised Land by Barack Obama was like a balm for my aching heart. Reading his words made me hear his soothing and sane voice in my head. This is the story of his childhood, leading up to and through his first term as president. I loved the stories of his life and his love for his mother, his grandmother Toots, his wife, and his daughters came through loud and clear. My only complaint is that it was too long. Obama likes to spin a good tale, but at times his voice gets bogged down in the details, especially when it comes to foreign policy. 
  • The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue takes place over 3 days in a Dublin hospital during the 1918 flu pandemic. Talk about timing! The narrator is a nurse on a maternity ward; her patients are pregnant women who have the flu. The writing is mostly in dialogue style; it made me feel as if I was in the room with the main characters. This book made me proud to be a medical professional; the portrayal of the nurse, her assistant, and the doctor they worked with was spot on.  Heartbreakingly beautiful. 


What would you tell me over coffee? Any cookie fails? Did you overindulge on holiday treats? Anxiety, anyone? Infestations of bugs? What are you watching right now? Read any good books?

I'm linking up with Coco and Deborah for the Ultimate Coffee Date.

30 comments :

  1. Let’s see if this goes through—the tablet can be quirky. Everything’s been quirky this week! I hope you don’t have much of a reaction, Wendy. From what I’ve heard the reaction to the second shot can be worse, but short lived.

    Sugar is so evil. And so darn addictive!

    I once put garlic salt by mistake in some cookies! Needless to say they went in the trash. Happy New Year!

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    1. As did my cookies, lol! I tried them, thinking they wouldn't be that bad but wow, they were awful. I think a goal for 2021 should be to be more mindful.

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  2. Those electric fly swatters are the best and I am sure come summer you will be using it again. I read 5 books over vacation and 2 audio books. I am more into psychological thrillers and legal thriller type books so if you wany any recs for those let me know. Watched Flight Attendant which was great. Currently watching Greenleaf on Netflix there are 5 seasons it's much better than expected. speaking of the Spanish Flu, my parents reminded me that shortly after was the roaring 20's :) Thanks for joining for coffee!

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    1. Loved the Flight Attendant and will check out Greenleaf!! Bring on the roaring 20s!

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  3. I’m still working my way through my one pound tin of peppermint bark, and I’ve had cookies too! I loved The Little House on the Prairie books and tv show as a kid. The racism is pretty bad, but if that’s how they were I think it’s more something that needs be talked about than avoided. LOL on that meme though!

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    1. It's good that we've become so much more aware, but I wonder if they will change the books?

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  4. I did not bake any cookies - it's just the hubby and I and I did want the temptation. That being said, I did buy ice cream.

    I LOVED Little House on the Prairie!!

    Currently watching Home for Christmas (it's Norwegian) and Broadchurch.

    So happy to hear about your sister. She is in my prayers!!

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  5. Glad to hear that the RA flare was short lived! I'm so happy to hear about the positive progress that your sister is making and will continue to keep her in my prayers!

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  6. Completely thrilled to hear your sister's breast cancer is responding so well to her chemo. That is great news!

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    1. It was an aggressive tumor, which was one of those good news/bad news things. Good news because they respond well to chemo!

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  7. I am so happy for you that all is going well with the vaccine! Your 2021 is off to a great start!

    My parents tried to get an appointment for a shot but the waiting list is full. There are not enough vaccines right now but I guess in a few weeks the bottleneck will be solved.

    That bookcase is genius!

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  8. Great to hear your sister is making progress. Hoping that continues for her! I was a big Laura Ingalls Wilder fan as a kid as well. In fact, there was a tiny town near my childhood home, where she'd lived for a short while (Burr Oak, in NE Iowa).

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  9. Undetectable sounds like a positive adjective when speaking about tumors. All the positive vibes continue to go your sister's way. I didn't do much baking but my daughters made up for it. There's still some cake that needs to get out of here.

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    1. There's one more cookie tormenting me on the counter...Matthew needs to eat it!

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  10. Ugh! That sugar!!! It's so bad for us but it tastes so good. Glad your flare was short-lived. So glad to read the good news about your sister. Sending good thoughts her way! I bought Obama's book for my daughter-in-law for Christmas. I'm secretly hoping she lets me read it when she is done! ;)

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  11. Wait, Santa isn't real? The hell!

    Wow, what a year it has been for all of us I, too, am filled with hope for better things ahead. I had zero side effects from my first Covid vaccine (not even a sore arm!), so I am hoping for the same when I get my second one next week.

    I am so very happy to hear such good news about your sister. Here's hoping to continued health and healing in the new year!

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    1. My second vaccine is next week too. Hoping for an uneventful dose!

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  12. So glad your flare was short-lived. Sugar is so evil and so addictive! And great news about your sister - continuing to send good thoughts her way.

    I recently added Obama's book to my Audible library - I'm looking forward to listening to him narrate it, but was surprised to see it's 29 hrs long :0

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    1. You may want to fast forward at times...just saying...and i love the guy, so there's that.

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  13. I haven't made any cookies yet but still want to (maybe tomorrow? I finally have a day off!!). I'm glad your flare-up was short-lived!

    I'm glad you were able to get the COVID vaccine! I'm getting mine in ~1.5 weeks -- I hope there are minimal side effects with the 2nd dose too!

    So, so glad to hear about your sister! <3!

    I need to add The Pull of the Stars to my to-read list!

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  14. Yay yay yay for your sister! That's even better news than your 2nd dose of the vaccine coming up.

    Have you read Rose Wilder Lane's books? Let The Hurricane Roar was written the year before the first little house book, and it's a condensed version of the story (definitely strong backup for the ghost writing theory). Diverging Roads is basically RWL's fictionalized memoir about a young woman who bootstraps herself from nothing into a telegraph operator to a journalist while dealing with a bad marriage along the way. I will check out the Little House documentary, and I get the feeling that you're right that it's not going to be an easy watch. Those books were so much a part of all of our childhoods, for good and for bad.

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    1. I haven't read her books--from what I've learned about RWL, she does not seem like my cup of tea. I hate that my image of her mother is now tarnished as well. I am normally such a cynic, but I sure am sad to have this bubble burst.

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  15. the only the Christmas brought with it was stress, food and a discovery that I probably have some kind of IBS-- not fun. It has never happened before and it was very tough five days. Feeling better but now going through an elimination diet and see what is going on. And SO HAPPY about your sister! Yes!!

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  16. Happy New Year! I made a bunch of cookies too - I just snacked on a few as they seem to never run out, lol. I am so happy to hear that your sister's treatment has been going so well.

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