Sue Spitulnik

Writing, Sewing, Travel, and Thoughts



Make Mine Decaf

Coffee has been around a long time. The earliest evidence of it appears in the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi monasteries around Mokha in Yemen.  It was there coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed. Yemeni traders brought coffee back to their homeland from Ethiopia and began to cultivate the seed. Continue reading “Make Mine Decaf”

Let’s Party

If you look at the National Day of Calendar for today it will let you know you should not be at work, you should be at a party. It is National Chili Dog Day, National Scotch Day, National Refreshment Day, National Crème Brulee Day, and National New Jersey Day, hence the party should be on the Jersey shore.  Wouldn’t that be fun, to have the time and money to drop everything and head to the Atlantic Ocean because a calendar gives you the idea to do so. I’ve got the time, who has the money? Continue reading “Let’s Party”

Better When Shared

It’s National Have a Coke Day. If you haven’t had one in a while, or if you live in one of those cities that has added a huge tax to a sugary drink, I suggest you live a little today and have one for old times sake.

When I was a kid, my girlfriends and I would collect some change, or empty pop bottles and go to the corner store to buy some Cokes and a bag of M&M’s. At the time, a Coke, in a bottle, was 10 cents, plus 2 cents deposit. I think a bag of M&M’s was 5 cents. We had to go to the kitchen to open the Cokes with a bottle opener. Then we would go out and sit on the porch to split the M&M’s and drop them one by one in the pop bottle. You couldn’t do it quickly, because each one made the drink fizz. Then we would swish the bottle until all the color had come off the M&M’s. The drink was now a muddy color and not very cold but what a treat. We ate the chocolate last, tipping the bottles upside down into our mouths and thumping on the end to get the morsels to fall. No one ever chipped a tooth, but I think that was just luck.

I don’t think it would be near the fun today because Coke now comes in cans or plastic with screw-off tops. Back then it was a process, a labor of love almost. Sometimes my mother or sisters would see our concoction and with a sneer, ask what we were drinking. I miss the innocence of childhood when such little things made us giggle. I think I would do it even today if my grandson joined me. But he’s a thinker. I can hear him saying, “Grandma, why would you do that?” I guess I won’t ask him if he wants to.

Now days I have Coke in the fridge as a mixer for my adult beverages. I like my whiskey and bourbon mixed with Coke. I know, it’s fattening, but the beverage just doesn’t taste the same mixed with anything else and by itself it is too strong and doesn’t last near as long.

Whether a child putting chocolate in a Coke, or as an adult, adding some adult beverage, it always seems to taste better when shared with a friend.


It’s National Skip the Straw Day. My husband rarely uses a straw. When we first met, I was working part-time at a local restaurant. One of the other servers said to him, “I never date a guy that uses a straw. It’s so unmanly, and childish.” He has never forgotten that statement. To this day, when he picks up a straw to open, he says, “Sorry, Chrissy.”

This designation has some interesting history.  The Coral Keepers, students at Whitehall Middle School in Whitehall, MI, along with their advisor, Susan Tate, founded National Skip the Straw Day in 2017 to encourage Americans to give up the straw habit and help spread awareness about the damage caused by disposable plastics.

If Marvin Stone (the inventor of the first paper straw in 1888) were alive today, he might be shocked to know of the five large areas of the ocean, called gyres, where plastic garbage collects. The sea’s currents create vortexes trapping plastics, and in the collection are plastic drinking straws.

Straws and other plastics cause harm to marine life in many ways.  Birds, fish and other sea life consume plastics accidentally or when they mistake it for food. Plastics don’t biodegrade.  They break down into smaller and finer, microscopic pieces. When plastics break down, they produce bisphenol A (BPA) which interferes with reproductive systems in marine life. It also produces styrene monomer which is a suspected carcinogen.

According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million drinking straws daily! So, on National Skip the Straw Day that’s potentially 500 million fewer straws that don’t end up in landfills or the ocean.

I am spending the day with a quilting friend. We will be visiting four quilt shops, and having lunch some place new.  I’ll be sure to skip using the straw in my drink.


Tie One On

Any one that likes to imbibe,  enjoy a happy hour with co-workers or friends or celebrate the start of the long holiday season knows the day before Thanksgiving is the “best drinking day of the year.” Why? Because very few people get up to an alarm on Thanksgiving. Well, if you are driving to Grandma’s you might, but it’s generally only the person putting the turkey in the oven early in the morning (and fixing the rest of the meal, and cleaning the house, and bearing the weight of the day) that has any real responsibility. If you are lucky enough to not be the one in charge of cooking, then why not tie one on, just because you can. Let loose of the stress even before it happens!

Oh wait! Look at the picture! This day is actually about tying on an apron because you are the cook. Darn, I was ready to call my husband and tell him I would meet him out for a cocktail or two.

On any regular week-day, my husband says he can tell when something serious is going on in our kitchen because I have an apron on when he gets home. If I am making a big meal, or fancy desert and moving quickly, I like to wear an apron to preserve my clothing. As was my mother’s habit, I take it off before I sit down at the table, and then of course I dribble something down the front of me. But, a lady never wears an apron to the table.

I have four aprons that I made myself so I can wear the one that matches my outfit….usually blue jeans and a blouse. Like I really need to match….I guess I’m hoping one day my daughter or daughter-in-law will ask if they can wear one. That probably won’t happen either because I have taught them they don’t have to help. I usually do most of the cooking ahead if the family is going to be here, just so I can visit while they are here. My husband helps me clean up the mess when everyone goes home. Our system works well for us.

Whatever role you play in your holiday meals, enjoy yourself and Tie One On.

VFW or Coffee? Why Not Both?

September 29, is National VFW Day and National Coffee Day.  It was hard to choose which to write about, so I decided to do a little of both.

The VFW was established on September 29, 1899, by a group of veterans from the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection. It has since grown to be the nation’s largest group of combat veterans. They continue “to honor the dead by helping the living.” The VFW promote patriotism, good will and youth scholarships. They also provide military assistance and community service programs, promote youth activities and volunteer many hours in their local communities.

VFW membership since its inception has been instrumental in the establishment of the Veterans Administration, the creation of the national cemetery system and passage of the GI Bill. Through the VFW, veterans honor veterans and serve their communities.  On National VFW Day, take a moment to recognize all the VFW does in your community.

I borrowed those two paragraphs from the National Day of calendar because I wanted to share the background of the organization and what it does.  The one common statement I keep hearing in the Veteran’s Writing group I attend is that the military is a brotherhood, in combat you take care of the guy next to you because you have to and he does the same for you.  People that have never served will never understand that brotherhood and when a military person leaves service that is often what they miss most, someone they can talk to that “gets it.”  The VFW provides that unified group working together for the good of others.  The American Legion is another brotherhood of veterans.  They have my utmost respect and you can bet they all stand at attention when the National Anthem is played!

On to coffee…before someone doth protest….American’s are obsessed with coffee, why do you think we have a Starbuck’s, Dunkin Donut’s, and Tim Horton’s on  every other corner. And we all know about McDonald’s extra hot coffee.  Personally, I make mine at home and take it with me.  I’d rather spend five dollars on a single serving of ice cream.  We all have our priorities.

May I suggest, to celebrate VFW Day and Coffee Day, you share a cuppa with a vet and say, thank you.


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