Friday, March 30, 2012

Your Caffeine Level & Coffee Tipping Tips

I have a CLM Coffee Chronicles Confession to make here today because I was a barista at another coffee company at the mall in the early 90s apparently before the days of tipping - I know I certainly don't remember..anyway (it was a long long time ago, I'm beating around the bush) confession is that I don't normally tip when I get coffee. When I was a walk in working downtown, I found a good barista, my guy who knew what extra caramel meant to me - then I tipped but now being a drive-thru drinker - not so much.  Sorry to disappoint with my coffee unetiquette, (hope I don't offend..) I never claimed to be PC; I'm usually a day late and a dollar short, always with the short.

LOOK - A button has been born!

Today the robot mommy shares tips and tricks on how tipping at your local coffee house really works:

So many of you have asked about tipping at your local coffee house. Well, let me give you some facts about tipping where I work and hopefully, how you feel about whether to tip or not and how much will be a little clearer. 

Ever have a barista at your regular shop be your all-time favorite? Now, ever have one be worthy of turning around and leaving when you see them at the bar making drinks? I've been both to many of my customers. You love me or hate me. 

I've "received" tips from people wanting to reward my service and only my service as a barista. Today, I burst the bubble that is individual tipping. It doesn't happen. Ever. 

Places like mine pool tips Mon-Sun for all baristas ( not managers, just to be clear). Then on a select day, they are divided amongst everyone based on hours worked. Not performance. Not by customer satisfaction. 

By hours worked. 

In a good store, or great one like mine, the average is decent. But my team always wishes its better. They strive for awesome customer service because they know it helps tips. When I work, I try to be at my best for the sake of my employees. ( Well, that and for my store to receive high marks from our customer surveys) 

So, by all means, tip according to service but know by not tipping, everyone is affected. If the service is really that awful, try another store.

Oh, and as for the amount... I can't tell you what to tip according to what you buy. You should tip based on service and quality of drink. As I've mentioned before tip AFTER you've received and drank some of your drink. If its up to your standards, tip then. ( Yes, cut into the line and put in a tip, no one cares) Believe me, we notice the gesture. 

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Who knew how it worked? Show of hands...



I certainly didn't! 

Please check out this nifty caffeine level checker which I am thinking about putting in my sidebar if only to keep myself in check. It will tell you where you are from a slight buzz to boinging off the walls.  Once you check your level, please share it in the comments.  The person with the highest level may receive a prize, or a button, or just props you never know around here.

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?

One last CC announcement - the robot mommy will be hosting our Friday shenanigans at her place for the month of April!  We will be sure and remind you next week so you won't miss out!  Just a change of scenery, not of snark - see you next week!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Throat Punch Thursday - Sour Smelling Soccer Edition

I couldn't believe when I heard of this sour soccer case that happened on Monday where high school soccer rivals played in a heated game that became unnecessarily violent after one of the girls fell, assuming she was tripped by one of the opposing team who was trying to stop her from scoring. 

This is Annette McCollough you see pulling the hair of her thus far unnamed victim forcing her to the ground, arm in mid swing ready to strike.  Strike she did indeed,  at least eleven times she pounded on this girl with no signs of stopping until an adult approached to make her stop. Authorities were called to the scene and it is now a criminal investigation along with charges.

I have been trying all day to get the video in here so you can see the whole scene - please go SEE RAW VIDEO (it all happens in less than a minute) as whoever made the code for the video missed something because it won't show up here.

I can wait...

Okay so after watching the video, which I have numerous times today, it would appear to me that it's possible Annette was not even tripped by the girl she took out.  You will have to let me know what you think in the comments. I naturally assumed she was tripped the first time I watched because of how she viciously took this other girl out - she was clearly pissed off. Either that or she suddenly thought she was in a game of hockey. After looking at it on several sites (only to find the same broken code that somehow everyone else can use but me), I am noticing that the girl behind did not stick a leg out to trip this girl. 

Whether it was simply broken pride or the girl from behind actually did trip her, the reaction was completely uncalled for. What is wrong with this girl? As a mother of children who are becoming involved in sports, the idea that there is such heated and vengeful competition among high school sports disturbs me to the point of not wanting my children in sports at all.  While I agree healthy competition should be implemented, the degree it's becoming is like a monster.  Proof being exactly this situation and others like it that are happening more and more on regular basis than ever before.

Let's fight violence with virtual violence today shall we?

ELEVEN THROAT PUNCHES to you Annette McCollough, I hope you are brought on charges so you have time think about how it's not about what happens to you but how you react that matters.  By the way, since you're 18, this will be going on your permanent record.  Congratulations for effing up the beginning of the rest of your life over a soccer mishap...dumbass

C'mon and link up with Debi this week - you know there's someone you want to punch right inna froat..

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Don't Miss this Mama's Monologue!

I'm super excited to have my friend Kim from Mama's Monologues here today as my Featured Guest this week!  I found Kim through a little meme called VLOG TALK..maybe you've heard of it, or done it a time or two yourself.  Kim is dedicated to her videos and showing us all her rapping skills, yo!  Seriously, she has put out some award winning vlogs, go check out her site and see - it's all there in video form.  Also?  Her posts often bring me to tears - in a good way..she just has a way about her writing that strikes me and I think she will stir something in you as well.  Kim is a mother of three gorgeous boys who will be welcoming another sibling soon - so exciting! She's a sweet girl (I call her a girl only because she's younger than me) and quite the social media butterfly - she's got numerous twitter accounts to prove it! 


  How long have you been blogging?
Since August 2010, so about a year and a half. It’s only been public for just about a year though.

 What piece of advice can you give to unseasoned bloggers?
Try not to focus on the numbers and stats. Instead, focus on building solid relationships with your readers and those that you read. You’ll find it much more enjoyable if you take the numbers game out of this.

 When is your favorite time of the day and why?
Bedtime. But not for the reason you think. It’s my favorite because it involves extra cuddles, hugs, kisses, and “I love you’s” that don’t come as frequently during the busy day. I like sitting in the stillness of the dark room, rocking with them, singing to them, and holding them.

Where were you last Tuesday?
I barely remember this morning. I have no idea!

 Who or what brings you the most inspiration?
My family. My kids and my husband. I want to be better for them. I want to be a better wife, a better mom, a more patient and loving person, all because of them.

 What is your favorite movie?
Oddly enough, I don’t have a particular favorite. It all depends on my mood. Two movies I could always watch though? Grease and Dirty Dancing. Don’t judge.

Why should people read your blog?
I’m honest. I’m real. I’m discovering myself on this journey through motherhood, adulthood, and marriage. I have something that (hopefully) you can connect with.

What blog post of yours is your favorite?
This one about an old rocker has always been a favorite of mine - 

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
Aruba. I fell in love with it and am planning on heading back there. Someday.

  This or that:
Gloves or mittens?
Neither. I hate the cold and admitting that it’s winter. But if I have to choose I’d go with gloves. I need to be able to use my fingers.
Air guitar or lip sync?
Lip sync.
Cape or mask?
Cape. I don’t like things on my face.
Heads or tails?
Heads. Always.
Pie in the face or slip on a banana peel?
Pie. At least then I could eat it. Stop judging.

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So there you have a glimpse into know you want to find out more - you can find and get to know her better here:

Follow Kim on Twitter.
Like her on Facebook.
Follow her pins on Pinterest.
Check out her award winning videos: YouTube
Thanks so much Kim for coming over!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Throat Punch Thursday - Random Drunks Edition

There are certain things in life that should just be considered in the code respect for another human being no matter what right?

I think being Irish bombed makes people disregard any respect for anything - I experienced a perfect example of this over the weekend.  We went downtown to see the Chicago River dyed green which was fine, the crowd was not too overwhelming and people were still being courteous at 10am.  It was the most gorgeous St. Patrick's Day and the warmest in 141 years. 

Photo credit: My son from Dad's shoulders

The parade went off without incident aside from not being able to see much even from Daddy's shoulders.  I wasn't expecting the scantily clad to be there in droves but I blame the weather for that being almost 80, there were no traditional Irish sweaters needed.

Photo Credit: My daughter from Dad's shoulders

My example of worthless came on the train ride home after the parade..

Crowded train, we had already changed seats due to a family with a stroller needing our space.  A staggering man walks into the car and stands in the isle with his back towards us, yammering to his equally inebriated friends on the top deck of the train about how he can't find his wife, throwing the eff words around.  I politely tap him to let him know I've got kids behind him, he apologized and went up to join his friends.  I heard one guy say "Happy Birthday, Man" to one of the others so obviously there was a party going on.

They had a bag of beers even though we saw signs clearly stating there were no alcoholic beverages allowed on the train that day due to the occasion.  I can't say how many were in the party, at least five because there was a missing wife - I'm guessing maybe she was the designated driver and she got pissed at the rest of the group.  This is only a guess.  For the next hour, my kids heard words come out of these people like diarrhea after a saline cleanse.  I'm not sure if they were doing it more on purpose because I said something or if they were just having their own party not taking into consideration the 50 plus other people contained with them in the car.

Among the swearing, we heard numerous times about how they were from Bourbonass and that they had (fucking) 16 pounds of (fucking) corned beef waiting for them once they reached their next destination.  The guy started talking about his missing wife again and someone told him he was "So totally Motherfucked" about three times.  Here's what ensued:
"Hey can you guys give it a rest up there?"
The response was a bunch of empty fuck yous.
"Can't you just shut the hell up?"
"It's my birthday too," I pleaded, trying to find a common ground to play to their human bone, "let's all use a little respect here alright?"

By this time, the whole posse was yelling down at me, telling me to take off the shawl I was wearing and the guy from the far corner told me to "BRING IT BITCH!"

I stood up. 

Natural reaction, he wasn't going to bully me, I was sticking up for my kids.  They greeted me with middle fingers and more swearing.  Other people on the train started getting involved. I'm not sure what all was said but my cousin who was in a deep sleep woke up ready to kick some ass and was standing before I even knew she was awake.

Time stood still while I was seeing red.

Then I saw my son start to cry.  I hoped they saw it too.

The innocent children who I was trying to protect, saw me at my worst.  I let them get me. My son was scared because I was so pissed, not because of what they were saying. I reacted when I could have been more pro-active.  I thought I was being that but it turned into something else entirely.

I sat back down consoling him only to hear them calling me a fatass bitch and talking about my shawl continuing to taunt me.  I mean really?  I would liked to have had a bigass club with spikes on it to take across their heads and back a couple times just to beat some sense into them. (In the alternate ending, that's what happens.)

"I don't want them to ruin your birthday, mom," he said through tears.
"There's nothing that could ruin this day for me, let's not let them. They don't deserve that power, let's not give it to them."

They do deserve more than a throat punch!  I'm not one to poo poo on anyone's party but have some respect not only for my kids, but the other kids and adults in that train car. To the Bourbonasses:

So I'm curious, what would you have done in this situation?
We did process it more at dinner that night, I only wish I wouldn't have let myself get sucked into the suckiness that was that group.
We would have only had to process them, not my own role in the chaos.  Parenting test #487 - be ready for it when it happens to you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

#AtoZChallenge and Green River

I am excited to share with you that I am challenging myself to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April.  It starts April first and goes through the entire month excluding Sundays.  I believe this challenge will enable me to go with a flow. I have always had a problem being consistent in posting - I'm consistently inconsistent so that's something right?  I really would like to get into scheduling posts and having them ready for the week to come and I think this challenge is just the thing to get me into that habit - or at least get myself into that frame of mind.  I have not ever been an every day blog poster so it will be interesting how I get this done.
If you are visiting and also doing the challenge, welcome! 
          I am number 499 on the list of over 1120!

I have my posts all ready and set up for this challenge (I came up with the last stragglers just today)..they are all titled anyway, and I've started adding some pictures.  Let's see if I can get the content in there just as fast as I came up with the titles..

I wanted to give you fair warning not only about doing this challenge (please don't unfollow me because of daily posts); also, I wanted to let you know what my content will be about during the month. Rather than having each post revolve around one bigger subject that looms over all of them, I have most of my posts set up to be about my European adventures and different walking tours we took while we were there.  You will find many of my posts being about specific cities we visited or places we stayed at or meandered through.  There are six out of 26 posts that are not about Europe. (That's a lot of Europe in case you were doing the math.) 

You won't have to worry about my posts being extremely long because I just don't have it in me to beat a 400 word count on a regular basis.  I would bet not one of my posts will even come close.

So, I hope you are ready to come along for the ride with me - I hope to see you on the other side.  If you are interested in joining the challenge, I do believe the sign ups are open up until the day the challenge starts.  You can go to the SIGN UP page for more information.  If you do decide to sign up, please let me know so we can egg each other on!  Blogging is better in numbers.

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In other CLM news:
  • I got my cortizone shot last week; so far so good. The PITA has been officially shot in the ass, hopefully never to return but you know how this usually goes...
  • We went to see the Chicago River dyed green and the St. Patrick's Day Parade over the weekend and it went well aside from the drunks on the train ride home who I will be throat punching tomorrow.  We didn't get much for money shots because most of the pictures were taken by my kids from daddy's shoulders.  There was really no other way to see.  I did find a cool time lapse video of the river being dyed:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Memories Captured Marches On

I'm happy to say Alison and Galit are back again this month with their genius Memories Captured linky which I look forward to every month.  You should really join us, it's so much fun to swoon over all the greats pictures entered.

Over the weekend, we went to the Chicago Children's museum at Navy Pier with my daughter's Brownie troop. There are so many ways for the kids to be creative and imaginative there, here's a good one:

How sweet are these girls?  I think according to this picture, Spring has officially sprung!  I hope the weather is acting accordingly where you are.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Official Leprechaun Status

Today I turn the big 4 - 0.  Yep, I'm a St. Patrick's Day baby, an official leprechaun if you will.  I used to have a button that made it official.  Today I can no longer live in the denial of being 29 forever like I have for the past 10 years.  I don't announce this for the sake of everyone wishing me a happy birthday but to reflect on the last decade because I feel like I've come a long way in the last decade or so.  

I started my 30s being a new mom to a 2 month old baby boy who totally changed my world. I started to work at home in my own business. Soon after, we were able to move next door into our own house to get out of renting and bought a new car. (Really, we rented a house and bought the house next door..big move.) I've been told that with a new house comes a new child. 
We started a family.

A foundation.  

Then my daughter came along and made a big brother. I lucked into a job that led me around the world on fabulous European trips to Germany, Luxembourg, France, Ireland and France again.  I worked on the sale of my own house through e-mail from a hotel in Dublin - and got the asking price, I was the agent! My identity was also stolen while in Ireland, someone used my debit card to the tune of $720 while that was our only means of cash.  I still thank my lucky stars I was able to catch that when I did. The things we do from out of town..

My son graduated from Kindergarten. We moved from Illinois to Indiana only to be able to call ourselves hoosiers and save on property taxes. I started a blog. My daughter graduated from pre-school. I cruised the canals of Southern Burgundy France, saw the Eiffel Tower and the town of Dijon where my husband kept wanting to ask if anyone had any Grey Poupon.  

Through all of this, life keeps moving in fast forward.

Maybe this would have been easier to understand on an infographic but I trust you get the picture.

My kids are now 10 and 7 - I can't believe how fast ten years comes and goes in such a flash.  My son still humors me about the whole 29 thing when he really knows how old I was when he was born.  My husband still has to do the math.

We are celebrating today by going to Chicago to see the river dyed green and the St. Patrick's Day parade.  I love that everyone celebrates my birthday along with me and green beer!  

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Do you have St. Patrick's Day traditions?
Are you an official leprechaun?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Throat Punch Thursday~Mother McConnell Edition

Today they continue the hearing that started Monday for Allyson McConnell, a 33 year old mother of two on trial for two counts of second degree murder of her 2 1/2yr and 10 month old boys. Reportedly in termoil trying to survive the divorce from her estranged husband, she drowned both of her little boys in the bathtub of her home on February first, literally leaving them for dead.  Allyson has entered a not guilty plea after admittedly committing this crime; proceeding to drive to Edmonton where she attempted suicide by driving off a bridge into traffic.  Apparently the question is whether she had the "intent required" to be convicted even though the evidence obviously points directly to her.  Let's take a look at some of these facts, shall we?

Photo credit: National Post

  • On the morning of Feb. 1, 2010, Allyson McConnell sat down at the computer set up on her dining room table and searched the question, “How long does it take to die from strangulation?” 
  • One search made on the afternoon of Jan. 13, 2010 was “How long does it take to drown?” 

Apparently these among other computer searches and items found in the house that would suggest various methods of suicide or death including a rope hanging in the basement as a noose and small appliances placed near the bathtub plugged in say nothing about intent or pre-meditation?  She left her wedding ring on the toilet for christsake - if that in itself doesn't say revenge, I don't know what does.

  • According to an agreed statement of facts entered during the first day of the trial on Monday, Allyson McConnell drowned the boys, drove to Edmonton, ordered lunch at a hotel then “became emotional” and threw herself off an overpass.

So consequently, leaving her children to drive to another town to a hotel and order lunch before becoming emotional enough to throw herself off an overpass means she was out of her head crazy and now she can enter a non-guilty plea? Who did it if it wasn't her? That's not even a question is it? I don't think so.

The father of the two boys Curtis McConnell who found the boys in the tub said this in court on Monday:

“They were so cold and stiff. I had to pull them out.
“She just left them there to rot.”

Allyson is currently on suicide watch and awaiting the verdict which to me is as plain as the nose on my face. I am disgusted to think that another mother has murdered her own flesh in cold blood and is now trying to get out of it.  My heart aches for the father who rushed to the house after hearing of the suicide attempt, probably thinking she just left them home..only to find them dead. 

I guess I don't understand the logistics of the intent of murder because I think this lady should get a huge punch in the throat and much more for this unspeakable crime. I'm glad that her cowardly attempts of suicide have been unsuccessful so she has to suffer through her reality and rot in jail just like she left her boys to rot.  

It sickens me to think that there's even a chance that she might get off because there's not enough evidence of intent for a conviction.  Just writing that last sentence pissed me off even more.  What kind of bullshit system are we running here? Seriously, if this bitch thinks for one minute that she has anybody fooled she must be incredibly deranged which is probably the only reason she can even enter a non-guilty plea. How do you live with yourself trying to justify your innocence? Accept your ignorance; take your consequences and this throat punch for good measure you selfish little... (insert the worst word you can think of here)

Also?  If she is for some twist of judgement found not guilty for whatever reason, I think the jury and judge should get in line for their throat punches as well.  

I mean, I gave you what - four facts..what's your take?  Can you explain to me how this is not a cut and dry case?

Today I joined @TruthfulMommy for her Thursday Throat Punch!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Irish Focaccia Bread Recipe

Yes you heard correctly.  I know the Irish bread served is traditionally not focaccia and you probably wouldn't even think of the Irish in the same sentence with focaccia being Italian and all.  This amazing bread was served at every dinner when we were cruising in Ireland and I definitely held it as the highlight of the meals so much that I forget the main courses.  I don't have to tell you the carbs killed me on that trip just with the lovely bread alone, not to mention the killer desserts.  The authentic Irish owners of the Shannon Princess share this recipe on their website so I wanted to make this part of my Irish series this month.  I gotta tell you, the Irish make a mean focaccia!  Enjoy!


  • 3Ib 5oz strong white bread flour
  • 6¼oz sachet dried yeast
  • 2fl oz olive oil, plus a little extra for oiling
  • pinch salt
  • 20fl oz/1 pint warm water

For the topping
  • sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • black olives-optional
  • cherry tomatoes-optional


  1. Combine the flour, yeast, olive oil and salt in a mixer with a dough hook.
  2. Add the water to make a soft dough, and knead in the mixer until smooth and shiny.
  3. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for about an hour until well risen.
  4. Tip the mix out onto a floured surface and knead to knock out any air pockets. Roll the dough into an oval-like shape about 2cm/¾in thick. Transfer to an oiled baking tray.
  5. Firmly press your fingers into the surface to 'pit' the surface. For the topping, drizzle with olive oil and lightly grind sea salt over the top.
  6. Put a small sprig of rosemary into each pit.
  7. Cover with a tea towel and set the loaf aside for another 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
  9. Transfer the loaf to the middle shelf of the oven and cook for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with balsamic vinegar & Olive oil for dipping.

Did you ever think the Irish could attempt Italian?  This bread really gives them a run for their money!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dublin Pubs

The following photos are brought to you courtesy of the trip my husband and I took to Ireland in April of 2008. We were able to stay a night in Dublin before taking a cruise on the Shannon River aboard the Shannon Princess.  There are so many things to do in Dublin alone, one day was definitely not enough time. I did want to make sure we went to the Temple Bar area which is well known for it's pubs - even though we never found the actual Temple Bar itself, I know we got real close. The whole area was great just to be able to walk around and take in the Old World charm complete with cobblestone sidewalks.

When in Ireland...what would you do?
Do as the Irish do and drink by the pint?  Is there one thing you would make sure you did while you were there?
I know we didn't drink enough Guinness that's for sure!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tranquility Redefined

Every once in a great while, usually on a Saturday when we have nothing going on - which doesn't happen very often, I get to have what I like to think of as my hour of tranquility. This "hour" starts with a bubble bath and can last upwards of 2 hours if I get really lucky.  I know, I'm spoiled..don't be too jealous.  This is what it looked like this week:

Well, maybe not quite like this...

About 20 minutes into it, about the time all the bubbles were in great form, (perfect timing) my mini-me comes in.
"How's it going mom?"
"Just great," I reply with a sigh but let her stay - who can resist the bubbles?  
So we play with bubbles. Blowing them at each other and putting them on our hair or making beards..

Within minutes, dad comes to the rescue and shews her out.  
Only for her to sneakily return less than 10 minutes later because she knows what kind of fun I'm really having in there and she just can't resist.
"I snuck right past dad and he didn't even notice!"

Soon I tell her we've had enough time together (that, and the bubbles are starting to go away) so she reluctantly leaves again.  Pretty soon, in comes the husband, who is folding laundry and absolutely must put towels away under the sink in the bathroom.

"How's it going in here?  You still alive?  Just gotta put some towels away and I will be out of your hair."
Famous last words...

In between the dog coming to check in on me by sniffing at the door, (I know he would have asked me how it was going if he could talk..) I did get some me time. I think I even got a little bit of a nap in there. Close to the end, my son comes and knocks on the door:

"Hey mom, how's it going?  Can I have a snack?"
"Tell me what time it is on my clock in there."
"It's 5:25."

Where did the time go?
Considering I went upstairs at 2:30, I guess my time is up.  Sure didn't feel like hours went by...

the robot mommy

Friday, March 9, 2012

Starbucks in UK Giving out an Extra Shot?

So we have taken a slight turn on Coffee Chronicles and have started asking YOU the coffee questions this month.  We are kind of like a box of chocolates that way - you never really know what you're going to get when you show up.  This week we decided to talk about some coffee news and see what your thoughts are on the subject:

Starbucks is to increase the strength of its coffee throughout Britain as part of a multi-million pound overhaul and expansion of its European operations.
The American retail giant is changing the recipe of its coffee amid a sharp spike in the number of customers ordering extra caffeine shots.
Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES

Starbucks on Thursday disclosed that customers will now get two shots of espresso rather than one in lattes, cappuccinos and other coffee drinks.
The company, which has 743 shops in the UK, said the move was to be introduced solely in Britain but would not lead to price increases.
A new technique will ensure the milk is more “velvety”, with all 10,000 British baristas being trained to ensure the amount is correct.
It comes into force later this month. Customers will still be able to opt to have their latte with one shot, if preferred.

Personally, I would love this - currently paying for the extra shots that should be included anyway, considering that a shot of espresso is only as caffeinated as a cup of regular coffee..a drink with one shot is hardly worth the buzz or the coin.
So what say you? Do you think that this is something that the US should adopt as well?

Let us know in the comments!  ~Java Joe Mamas

**Thanks to The Robot Mommy for keeping up on the news...