I sought refuge up the street on the final day of Christmas coffee

On the 18th day of Christmas coffee, my true love gave to me, a double cappuccino —

A friend took this picture on another visit.  I don't normally carry a camera with me on my runs.

A friend took this picture on another visit. I don't normally carry a camera with me on my runs.

Christmas was good.  My kids are old enough now that I don’t have to spend the entire time at my sister’s house on Christmas evening untwisting and liberating toys attached to cardboard like Hannibal Lecter was attached to that hand truck dolly.  What is up with that?  You’re finally done untwisting and discover microscopic threads securing Barbie’s hair.  Or worse, the talking puppy you just unleashed needs eight “C” batteries in order to bark and move its friggin’ head (isn’t the real puppy we have at home enough?!) and no one, NO ONE, keeps a supply of C batteries in the junk drawer.  Triple A, maybe, and a 9-volt if you’re lucky, but “C”, eight of them?  C’mon.  I love my family, but I had children long after my siblings did, so they weren’t thinking when purchasing Puppy Grows and Knows Your Name and taking into account the psyche of my then 4-year-old.  She opened it and wanted it and never processed the one to two hour lead time it takes to actually get that puppy growing.  I’m not sure we ever figured out how to program it to know her name.  Damn, it came with a computer disc.  By the end of that Christmas night a few years ago, I had untwisted so many toys and shoved so many batteries into the cavities of so many animals, I felt dirty and had not finished a single conversation I’d started with another adult.  I’m not sure I ever finished a sentence.  But, hey, I’m just being nostalgic.  Last Friday was nothing like that.  The girls got clothes and shoes from the aunts and uncles, and any electronics thrown into the mix, surely they knew more about than I.  I think my eight-year-old has been day-trading in her room.

So Christmas comes and goes and we’re left with the day after, which is fine unless one of your children got a set of drums from Santa and you’re babysitting two dogs that are not your own.  It’s like taking care of someone else’s children.  You don’t want to yell at them like you do your own kids dogs, lest they report back to their parents owners that you’re a bitch and I don’t mean that in a dog way.  I love Lucky and Milo as if they were my own but they’re not, so I can’t really train them in a few short days NOT to sleep under the covers right next to me in bed, NOT to lick my face as if they had OCD, NOT to love me as if I were the most important person in the world to them.  Sorry, I have to take a moment.  They left this afternoon and, oh geez, gimme a sec…  I didn’t expect to miss them this much.

All right, so we got the drums going, the dog derby continuing, the food in the kitchen and pantry has mysteriously doubled in size and needs to be eaten, the in-laws are still wandering around (again, I love ‘em, but you have to include the in-laws in the chaotic picture) and my husband has suspiciously disappeared to do his annual half-off Christmas decoration shopping.  It was time for a run.  Got the shoes laced up and tucked a few dollars into that tiny little pocket they include in running shorts so that I could finish my jog at one of my three local coffee houses and buy a cappuccino.

I live in one of maybe four neighborhoods in Los Angeles where you can actually walk to someplace worthwhile besides a 7-11.  Within two blocks of my house, I have no less than three great places to get a coffee, sit down and people watch (or write a screenplay).  I chose The Gelato Bar and Espresso Cafe because they care as much about their coffee drinks as they do about their Italian ice cream, the atmosphere is sweet and the line is never out the door.  The run was brief for someone training for a marathon but I got out of the house when it was necessary and ended up supporting a local merchant who made me a perfect double cappuccino (half-caff, of course) to close out my afternoon.  There is an art to steaming and frothing the milk to compliment the espresso.  Never take a barista for granted.  Mine created a heart in the foam (as I’m noticing they do a lot) which seemed like such an ideal way to end my Christmas coffee countdown.  For that, a perfect five and a thank-you.

I’m not going to go back through the song.  If you’ve joined me somewhere along the way, by all means spend the afternoon reviewing my 18 days of Christmas coffee (yes, eighteen) and then subscribe to my site so you never miss all that happens after.

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