Saturday, July 31, 2010

No Amount of Coffee

My niece, Makayla, upon graduating from high school in Utah County, spent a couple months working in one of the southern states. I think it was the one whose state flower is the tobacco leaf and the state bird is KFC.  No no, not Kentucky.  It's the one whose state quarter shows Foghorn Leghorn eating a bowl of grits.  

Anyway, while she was there Makayla posted her Facebook status as, "Caramel Crème Frappuccinos."  Now, some of you might have picked up on the fact that I am a Latter-day Saint or Mormon, as well as most of my extended family.  Even if you don't know much about Mormons, you probably know that we don't drink coffee.

So naturally I began to fear for my niece's soul.  Those pagan Southerners have corrupted her!  I figured that Makayla was innocently drinking this carnal beverage, completely unaware of the presence of Beelzebub's roasted beans of degradation.  So I commented on her status and said, "You do realize that's coffee, right?"  She confidently explained, "No it isn't," and I countered with, "Yes it is."  She said, "No, it's made with whole milk."  I was beginning to see that Makayla was more than a match for my debate skills, so I appealed to my good friend, Google, to provide the evidence of Juan Valdez's sinful allurement.  Aha!  Um... it turns out that Starbucks has a line of coffee free "Crème" Frappuccinos.  Makayla's soul was safe after all and I, her favorite uncle, had wrongfully accused her of being a doofus.

So I decided that I'd better try one of these Caramel Crème Frappuccinos and see for myself what all the fuss is about.  It pretty much tasted like someone blended ice with milk and put some caramel in there.  I guess it was okay, but I didn't get excited enough about it to make it my Facebook status.

While I was at Starbucks sitting in a comfy chair, sipping my coffeeless frap-based beverage and listening to the frap-based music, I looked around me and began to feel oddly out of place.  No one told me that you were supposed to wear hemp jewelry and at least one article of tie-dyed clothing when you go to Starbucks.  But the hippies were mostly pleasant and only one of them tried to educate me on the virtues of marijuana. 

So while I may not share Makayla's enthusiasm for caramel flavored ice milk, at least she's not committing a grievous sin while she drinks it.  She wouldn't have been the first Mormon I know to inadvertently drink coffee, though.  Before we were married, my dear wife Lois's favorite drink was Ghiradelli Chocolate Mocha hot cocoa.  If you clicked that link you noticed that coffee beans are pictured clearly on the label.  Lois defended herself by explaining that the one she had was part of a holiday sampler and it didn't have coffee beans pictured.  The fact that the name of the drink contains the word mocha didn't clue her in, apparently.  But it's okay, she's been on the wagon for more than 10 years now. 

I'd like to tell you more things about Lois that would embarrass her, but I'm almost out of Dr. Pepper and if I don't go get some now I don't know how I'm going to stay awake during church tomorrow.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Living In a Quaker State

My sister, Carmela, is participating in something her neighborhood has organized called "No Media July."  It is pretty much as horrific as it sounds.  Willing members of the area actually signed a contract stating that during the month of July they will refrain from any "recreational" electronic media.  This includes TV, internet, email, texting, and music.  With regard to internet use, they made a special point of clarifying "especially Facebook."  They have made allowances for email and internet if needed for work or school, and "uplifting" music is okay.  So Bon Jovi is in, but Midnight Oil is definitely out.  

The great thing about this is that Carmela shouldn't see my blog for at least a month, so I can't get in trouble for making fun of her.  Here's the thing.  I can see how it's all noble and great to cut back on the electronic media that we as a society have developed an unhealthy dependency on, yadda yadda yadda.  But what will abstaining for a month really do?  My brother, Sir Pumpkin Longshanks (I feel compelled to remind you that names have been changed), once gave up desserts for a month.  Then at the conclusion he pigged out on chocodiles, Oreo shakes and moon pies.  As the clock strikes midnight on August 1st, I think there is no question that we will find Carmela and her media-abstaining conspirators plugging in for the most epic bender of Twittering, Facebooking, and Lolcatting ever seen. 

Carmela and the Amish are also having non-media activities throughout the month to help stave off the withdrawal effects.  She invited us to tonight's activity which involves a "bike rodeo" for the kids.  Unfortunately, it starts after Buzz and Rocky's bedtime, so we can't go.  The fact that I will be sitting in front of my TV watching Jack Bauer be awesome has nothing whatsoever to do with us not going. 

I was curious how Carmela would handle her text messages.  Does she have the strength not to read them when they come in?  So I sent her a text that said, "If you are reading this, you are BUSTED."  A few minutes later my phone buzzed and I was all excited to shame her for not being able to last even one day.  Her response said, "Hi! This is an auto reply to let you know i am media free for july.  If you want to talk call me!"  A very clever cover up.  

The media fast was originally scheduled a month earlier until the moms and teenage girls freaked out.  They stormed the activities committee meeting and demanded that it be delayed by a month.  Further investigation showed that the opening of "Eclipse" was scheduled for June 29th. 

So while Carmela is Etch-A-Sketching while driving her horse drawn carriage and somehow perfecting Crack's Theorem to the fourteenth decimal, I will be... well, doing normal stuff. 

Also, "Carmela and the Amish" is going to be the name of my band.  It remains to be seen whether or not the music will be "uplifting."