Coffee and Crepes

If we were having coffee, I’d meet you at one of my favorite restaurants in St. Louis, the City Coffeehouse and Creperie.

The crepes remind me of France, and their coffee is great too. I usually like the crepes with fresh fruit, but it’s hard to get good strawberries this time of year.

Speaking of fresh strawberries, I finally got back on the co-op bandwagon again. We get produce from a co-op that buys in bulk, and in the summer it’s wonderful. But right now it’s February, and as good as they might sound, the tomatoes and strawberries have no flavor. I don’t get to choose what produce I get, but I don’t have to buy every week. I may wait a month before I purchase from them again, when warmer weather sets in.

Cassatt and I have been fighting colds all week. For me a cold is uncomfortable and annoying, but for Cassatt it is more dangerous. The beginning of a cold usually brings asthma symptoms to Cassatt, and a single dose of Albuterol is never enough. Fortunately he’s getting better at taking the nebulizer treatments. This was the first time, I think, that asthma didn’t bring us into the doctor–so maybe there is hope. I thought things were good–then he got a double ear infection. This is a doozy of a cold!

We’re supposed to get snow over the weekend. The calendar says it’s almost March; we should be enjoying spring-like weather right now. Instead, I’m still scraping my car. I woke up this morning to a prediction of six inches of snow this weekend! At least, if it sticks, it will make the boys happy.

I was upset this week over the death of Tom Schweich, the Missouri state auditor. When I read that he had shot himself, I gasped so loudly that I had to explain my reaction to Cassatt. He had a future in Missouri politics, and was doing good work. This is a great loss to Missouri, as well as to his family.

And for those who don’t follow Missouri politics, the Director of Public Safety (who was immediately responsible for some of the way Ferguson protests were handled) resigned suddenly the day before. I can’t help but wonder if the two are linked somehow.

Looking at the time, I see it’s time to go. I am off to get my weekend caffeine fix of reading other people’s coffee posts. If you participate, link up!Weekend Coffee


Icy February Coffee

Weekend CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d say I’m glad this is virtual today because I wouldn’t want you driving over the icy roads to get here. So enjoy your beverage of choice and stay safe and warm today. (Share in the comments what you’re drinking!) I made blueberry muffins this week, and if you had made it despite the ice I would give you one or two.

I have done a little more writing this week. I wrote about Cecilia looking at her grandmother’s cookbook. (This cookbook, by the way, was a wedding gift from her grandmother.) I participated in #1000Speak, where 1000+ bloggers wrote about compassion on 2/20. I wrote about listening compassionately. I also wrote a compassionate piece of flash fiction, The Same Fight Every Night.

Picasso has had some trouble in school this week. He hasn’t been doing his work sometimes, and he had a small tantrum at school yesterday. His behavior seems to be getting worse, and I’m at a loss for what to do. The work, of course, is getting harder, and I think it is more than a Kindergartener should be expected to do. But kids are expected to do more, earlier, and as much as I might be opposed to that, there’s not much I can do to fix it for him.

This was a short week because of the President’s Day holiday on Monday. Even so, it seemed to drag on and on. It’s been cold all week; the snow that fell last weekend didn’t get much chance to melt away. I’m signing up to be a parent mentor for the Protection and Advocacy organization, and am excited to start that. I have to do some training next month, but hopefully I can get started soon.

How has your week been going?

This post is part of a Weekend Coffee Linkup hosted by Part Time Monster.

Compassionate Listening

Everywhere you look, people are fighting over something. They fight over big things: religion, land ownership, taxes. They fight over little things: who gets the last Oreo, what time is bedtime, who will take the dog out in the middle of the night.

Yes, people can bicker and argue. They often do. But there is another way to solve problems: compassionate listening.

Compassion does not force its viewpoint on others. It does not try to argue the other side to the ground.

At the same time, compassion does not ignore disagreement.

Compassion, instead, seeks to understand. Compassion looks at the issue and asks where the other viewpoint comes from.

You may think that “compassion” is not the way to win a fight. And it may not be. But compassionate listening can be a way to resolve a problem.

By seeking to understand the opposing viewpoint, you may see a side to the problem that you didn’t see before. You will be able to persuade your opponent better because you can take their viewpoint into account in your arguments better.

In fact, one of the most widely-read books on negotiation, Getting to Yes by William Ury, advocates compassionate listening. Without using the word “compassion”, he recommends (among other things):

  • attack the problem that needs to be addressed without attacking the people with opposing viewpoints
  • Instead of sticking with your position, focus on what you really want

For example, two brothers both want the last Oreo but can’t both have it. (Purely hypothetical, really.) The brother using compassionate listening would:

  • argue that he wants the Oreo without bringing up his brother’s stinky breath
  • Focus on what he really wants (chocolate) rather than solely on getting the Oreo.

If the brothers are able to talk rather than fight, they may discover that while one wants chocolate, the other wants cream filling. (Great! Then they can share the cookie.) Or that Mom has brownies in the oven. Or a million other ways to resolve the problem.

At the very least, the brother who listens compassionately does not escalate the fight.

Over 1,000 people are writing today about “compassion.” If you look at the #1000Speak hashtag, you will see hundreds of blog posts, as well as videos, podcasts, vlogs, and other various media about compassion. 

Valentine’s Day Coffee

Photo by Ballistik_Coffee_Boy, courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo by Ballistik_Coffee_Boy, courtesy of Creative Commons

If we were having coffee …

First, I would apologize for the mess in my living room. My children have been having a great time taking toys out of their playroom to play with in the living room. For some reason, Cassatt is afraid of the playroom and won’t go in there. I have asked them to clean up, and when they did, they put everything in the doorway of the playroom. So now the entrance to that room is blocked.

Did you do anything for Valentines Day? Hubs and I went to a local brewery for dinner, then walked to an indie bookstore to browse. The bookstore was quite an experience. A customer, who the owner obviously knew well, walked in and asked if she had space for a piece of artwork. The owner went off on him about how she cannot accept gifts from him, he is a customer, not a friend, he takes advantage of her hospitality and she is going to be more firm with boundaries. Did I mention she couldn’t accept gifts from this customer? This exchange must have lasted 5-10 minutes, it was rather awkward for us as we tried to be inconspicuous in the bookshelves. I’m going to assume that we were there at an unusual time and will probably go back, as long as that doesn’t happen next time I go in there!

It is good to see you. I have been locked in the infirmary this week–first Cassatt was sick, then Hubs, then at the end of the week I got sick. Amazingly, my body held out long enough for me to go to my meeting on Thursday. Did I tell you I got some work? I did some education advocacy this week and really had a good time doing it. Enough so that I decided to sign up as a volunteer advocate for our state’s P&A. P&As are disability advocates (there’s one in every US state) that help parents advocate for their kids’ educational needs.

I might brainstorm with you about topics for my 1000 Voices for Compassion blog post. Have you heard about #1000Speak? It is 1,000 people (more, I believe) that have committed to posting about compassion on February 20. The goal is to flood the internet with compassion and to form a community of compassionate people. I signed up for it about a month ago, and I still haven’t written my post. And February 20 is this week! Are you participating? What is your topic?

I know you want to get to the store and home before it starts snowing. We’re supposed to get between 4 and 10 inches of snow tonight. That’s not a lot compared to many places in the country, but we haven’t had significant snowfall yet this winter in St. Louis so it’s a big deal here. I went to the grocery store yesterday and it was packed with people filling their refrigerators before the storm.

Have a great week!

This post is part of a link up hosted by Part Time Monster.

If We Were Having Coffee (racing through a busy week)

Weekend CoffeeIf we were having coffee, we’d be sitting outside at Starbucks today. It is too lovely a day to sit inside. There are too many germs floating around to invite you over to my house. And Hub has graciously offered to watch the kids so I can get some time to myself.


What’s on my menu?

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