A cuppa

For me, a cuppa (most often coffee, but tea or cocoa work just as well) represents warmth, comfort, energy, optimism. It might help me start my day. Or, it might be part of an afternoon pause. It’s sometimes even a nice way to wind down before bed.

I’ve long had the habit of choosing my cuppa cup to match my mood. Recently, I started documenting the connection between these cuppas and my experiences and emotions. I’ve added some of those past posts here and will continue to add new posts daily. Perhaps, through this ritual, I can bring a laugh, or offer some helpful perspective, or just brighten somebody’s day.

Please join me with your own cuppa. Let’s share some moments.

Family Holidays Life


In my dresser drawer, there’s a small cardboard box. It contains holiday jewelry; cute and festive earrings, pins, etc. Most of the collection came from my mom.

Mom hasn’t worn jewelry on a regular basis for several years. Unfortunately, her fingers are no longer capable of managing the hooks and pins, and she has trouble remembering the details of putting things on and taking things off. Sometimes, we’ll help her pin a broach on her shirt or put a bracelet around her wrist, but we must be careful to remove it before our visit ends so that it doesn’t get lost or broken. Jewelry just can’t be a regular part of her life these days.

Years ago, however, she wore jewelry all the time. The holiday season always included at least one celebratory piece that she wore for fun. Sometimes, she’d get matching pieces for my sister and me, and we’d all wear them at parties and other special events.

None of the items were expensive, only decorative little baubles that caught her eye. Regrettably, most of them didn’t last very long. But a few remain today, tucked away for safekeeping.

This year, I took her little Christmas bell earrings, the dangly ones with the tiny red bows, out of the box. I’ve been wearing them here and there during the past few weeks. They make a soft jingly sound that reminds me of my mother’s happiest days, decorating and cooking and filling the house with holiday spirit. She took delight in creating Christmas magic, and we, her family, were the focus of her warmth and love. How fortunate we were.

Here’s to the things that help us bring meaning to our holidays. And here’s to the people we love, who are the most important part of our celebrations.

Entertainment Life


Apparently, there’s a generation gap in emoji usage. That’s what I learned after recently taking an emoji quiz.

Gen Z interprets some of the more popular emojis differently than do Millenials, Gen X, and Boomers. They’ve also developed something of a code – an emoji language – that references pop culture in ways that other generations might not understand.

I suppose that makes sense when you consider the history of generational language transformations. 23 skiddoo, bee’s knees, swell, groovy, cool, far out, as if, the Valley Girl and vocal fry trends, etc. It happens with every generation, the evolution of unique and defining communication patterns and terms. Then, along with the adaptations, comes the red-faced embarrassment or confusion of the older generations as they try to keep up.

The significant difference now is that emojis are images. Their use opens up brand-new opportunities to separate the lines of communication, delineate the ages. Unfortunately, it also makes it possible to visually capture the incorrect usage forever. Instead of funny verbal tales about how your mom or your grandfather or your boss bungled a term, you can share with the world via screenshots and social media.

Regardless, I’ll still use emojis. I like using pictures to express experiences and ideas. And if somebody from Gen Z mentions that my use of the thumbs up emoji indicates a passive-aggressive position, rather than a “good to go” perspective, I’ll take the opportunity to educate them on the best way to use the word whatever.

Family Good


My son gave me a pair of slippers as an early Christmas gift. This morning, as I walked through the house, the sound they made brought memories of my grandmother.

When my sister and I were very young, we’d sometimes have sleepovers at Grandma’s and Grandaddy’s house. Their house had a wooden floor in the hallway and a linoleum floor in the kitchen, and Grandma was an early riser.

Tucked in, warm and cozy underneath the blankets, I’d wake up to the sound of Grandma’s slippers. They made a soft little shuffly pit-pat, first from from her bedroom to the kitchen, and then back and forth, across and all around the kitchen while she made breakfast.

When everything was ready, I’d hear the shuffly pit-pat come down the hallway. She’d open the door and softly tell us it was time to get out of bed; she’d made soft-boiled eggs and toast boats, come and get it. And so, our day would begin.

It’s funny how memories work, how they sometimes come out of nowhere, triggered by the littlest things. My memories this morning were brief but so clear, so specific. I felt the warmth of the blankets. I smelled the toast and butter. I heard my Grandma’s voice. For an instant, I was there, in my childhood, enveloped in happiness.

Here’s to Grandma, the sound of her slippers, and sweet mornings full of love.

Entertainment Fun


By the time Baby Shark was a thing, my sons were too old to be interested. The Baby Shark obsession skipped our family.

So, I was surprised when I woke up this morning with an earworm of the Baby Shark theme song.

I must’ve heard it somewhere in the past few days, and it settled into my brain, waiting. Lurking. Watching for the right moment to strike.

Good morning. Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo.

Animals Good Nature People


Lately, I’ve been noticing stories about animals and insects and fish and the things they do that are just like humans.

Bumblebees enjoy playing with wooden balls. Goldfish become depressed if they are alone in a small, uninteresting fishbowl. Elephants use their trunks for tickling. Octopi dream when they sleep.

Yesterday, I saw a video of a mother chimpanzee reuniting with her newborn baby. The baby was born via c-section, and the mother hadn’t yet seen or touched it. It’s possible she believed it was dead and gone.

When the mother realized her baby was alive and within arm’s reach, she responded in a way that human mothers (and fathers) will understand. Watch here (you might want to have a few tissues handy):

Here’s to having fun, building relationships, learning new things, giving and receiving love, and all the many delightful similarities we humans share with other creatures.

Family Pets


Mollie, the oldest of my three dogs, is a bit of a big sister.

Sometimes, when Charlie and Maggie play, she joins in. She especially likes to play toy tug-o-war, pulling with her teeth, fiercely insisting that Mr. Pig or Monkey or Blue Dog stay on her side. Most often, however, she sits nearby, watching carefully. If she notices that things are getting too rowdy, or that one of the pups has an unfair advantage over the other, she barks and moves in to break things up. If she’s not in the room but hears me or another family member telling Charlie and Maggie to settle down, she comes running. Sometimes, it’s to support us as we try to bring order. Sometimes, however, she barks at us as if to say, “Why are you giving them a hard time?”

When snacks are given, Mollie waits to be sure Charlie and Maggie have theirs before starting in on her own treat. It’s the same with mealtimes; she wants to be sure everybody’s been served before she begins eating.

Mollie’s generally willing to share her space and her toys, but ear scratches and belly rubs…those are not to be disturbed. Charlie understands that he will have his turn and waits patiently, but Maggie is still learning and often crowds in. Mollie isn’t shy about letting Maggie know to back off, this is her time to be the center of attention. Don’t interfere, Maggie. If Maggie doesn’t respect the first warning, Mollie takes it up a notch, baring her teeth, leaving no doubt that her message is serious. Once all the pups have gotten some love, however, the happy pack is restored. All is well.

I realize that I may be engaging in a bit of projection. Mollie’s a dog, after all, guided primarily by instinct and routine. Nevertheless, I believe (and evidence supports) that dogs are capable of emotional action. Mollie behaves in ways that I, as the eldest sibling in my family, recognize. Protective and responsible (the good), sometimes bossy and controlling (the bad), with notes of jealousy and frustration (the ugly) – it’s a balance of feelings, expectations, and outcomes influenced by family position.

Here’s to the ups and downs of being the oldest, the first, the leader of the pack. And here’s to Mollie, who understands the assignment.

Good People


Recently, I learned about a nonprofit organization called More Than Words.

The goal of More Than Words is to help system-involved youth (16 – 24-year-olds who are in foster care, homeless, or in the court system) with job training and empowerment. These young people run the More Than Words online book and merchandise sites and supporting warehouse and store operations. Additionally, they participate in workshops and receive case management and individual support to help them navigate their current life challenges and set and achieve their educational and other life goals.

Based on the numbers available on the More Than Words website (, it’s a successful endeavor. 95% of the participants have earned or are on track to earn a high school diploma. 88% of the program graduates have held a job for at least six months. Half of the youth eligible to attend post-secondary education programs are doing so. Testimonials from some of the program participants describe hope, help, understanding, skills, and personal growth.

Sadly, we live in world where words are frequently used to make empty promises and irresponsible claims, distract and threaten and discourage. It can be hard to trust what we’re told. Actions, however, rarely lie.

Here’s to the people who are making More Than Words a believable message.

Fun Pets


The most recent addition to our pet family, Maggie, has taken a liking to one of our pillows. She’s been chewing on it, creating a hole in the corner.

I discovered this situation when I moved the pillow, launching a small shower of feathers. They floated upwards, hovered for a few seconds, and then gracefully made their way back down, landing on the bed and the floor and on me.

Maggie’s generally a very good girl. This is really the only destructive thing she’s done. It turns out that she’s younger than we thought when we adopted her; she has most of her adult teeth, but she’s still inclined to chew on things. Her toys are usually the target, but for some reason, this pillow was also attractive to her.

I could be angry, but mostly I’m amused. Sure, I had to clean things up, and the pillow will have to be thrown out. But I found it funny, these feathers floating around me like snow.

Here’s to life with dogs – the good, the bad, and the fluffy in-between.

Animals Life Nature


Yesterday, I watched a video of a polar bear making its way across thin ice.

The bear lay down on its belly and used its front paws and forearms to calmly propel itself forward. There was no kicking or clawing or flailing. Instead, it held its head high while moving, using belly heat and fur to create a slick path for gliding.

The bear didn’t hesitate upon encountering the thin ice. It simply moved into position and kept going. Once across, it resumed its four-legged stride without missing a beat. Just another day, out in the wild, dealing with reality.

Here’s to the instinctive wisdom of polar bears.

Good Life


We have a set of wind chimes in our backyard.

Most of the time, especially this past summer, I forget about them. There’s little to no wind, and the chimes are silent.

Sometimes, however, a breeze will blow, and I’ll hear them. Yesterday, for example. We’ve had a change in the weather, the wind bringing cooler temperatures and perfectly clear blue skies.

Our chimes sound a bit like church bells, certainly not as loud but with the same deep, clear notes. I can’t help but listen, breathing in the calming melody, feeling it in my bones.

Not everyone likes wind chimes. I get it; the sound can be distracting, sometimes harsh, especially if the chimes aren’t designed well.

The right ones, in the right moment, however – well, they can be magical.

Here’s to nature’s music.