IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE #weekendcoffeeshare

 If we were having coffee, I’d be gushing over poet Adam O’Riordan, reading his words aloud.  He opens In the Flesh with a page-long poem called, simply, “Manchester”.


Manchester (in recovery from a terror attack) is the city of his birth.



In the Flesh is his first collection of poems, a winner of a Somerset Maugham Award.  Adam O’Riordan ~ imaginative, emotive. The world being as it is, you will do well to seek him out. Can I pick up a copy for you?

His next book, A Herring Famine, will be published in 2017 along with his debut book of stories, The Burning Ground.

I wonder if he is sporting this tattoo.  Would you be, if you were a Mancunian?


Artists are offering tattoos of a bee for £50 with all profits going to aid victims of the attack.

O’Riordon happens to be a Manchester native son. And nearly as famous as the bee, the enduring symbol of Manchester’s hard workers.  I read that in the 1800s, the city was awash with textile mills that were commonly described as ‘hives of activity’ and the workers inside them compared to bees.



The bee is everywhere in Manchester – on the clock face of the Palace Hotel, the mosaic flooring at Manchester Town Hall, and even above the arches of Links of London.



The beehive has long been one of the main symbols of the Cooperative Movement, representing working together for the good of the whole. I love that concept, don’t you?


I discovered that the folks at Bombas are big fans of bees too. Their whole hive works together to pollinate the world. When you buy a pair of socks, they donate a pair.  Isn’t that just a honey of an idea?  BTW, My socks just arrived and they are epic.

What are you waiting for? You, too, can have a shpadoinkle day! 


“The word Bombas is derived from the Latin word for bumblebee. Bees work together to make the hive a better place.  We like that. When we say Bee Better, we mean it as a mantra, a way of approaching every day. It’s stitched into the inside of every pair of Bombas for a reason. It’s a reminder that these socks are engineered and designed with thought to bee better. A reminder that you helped someone in need with your purchase. And a reminder that we’re all connected and little improvements can add up to make a big difference.”



I’m so grateful for poetry that heals my soul and socks that cradle my soles.  And, of course, bees.

Real bees never send invoices, do they?



Toni 5/29/17

Even though it’s not quite Thanksgiving, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

For just one more day, my kitschy countertop squash and pinecone turkey can hog the limelight.


Spoiler alert:  The Christmas creep is real.  Twinkly stars, plastic Santas, canned carols, garlands and wreaths, sales, sales, sales. They’re everywhere, nudging, prodding, poking, elbowing their way in.



When, exactly, did Santa turn corporate? When did Christmas become the holiday shopping season?


Like fruitcake, the outcry ‘Christmas comes earlier every year’ is now tradition. As predictable as that is, it still surprises me.

I ‘m not ready for a million gazillion emails from retail giants that pester me to hurry! hurry! shop now! this deal ends today!


Except for the ones from the John Lewis Partnership. They sell, well, everything. And with smashing success.  JLP is the bees knees, likely because it’s employee-owned. All 88,900 permanent staff are Partners who own 48 John Lewis shops across the UK, 350 Waitrose supermarkets, an online and catalogue business, a production unit, and, yes, even a farm. The business has annual gross sales of over £11bn and all partners share in the benefits and profits.

Here’s last year’s ad from Britain’s favorite favourite retailer. So luvvly-jubbly.

This year? It’ll have you jumping for joy.

Yes, the Christmas season officially begins on Friday.  
But first…
Hope your Thanksgiving is absolutely scrummy!



Toni 11/23/16

Follow Buster the Boxer on Twitter here.

Want to see more JLP adverts? (You know you do.)  Click here.


Don’t look so sad. It’s not so bad, you know. It’s just another night. That’s all it is.

Recognize those lyrics?



Of course, it isn’t New Year’s Eve, but it is Valentine’s Eve. This evening, Barry Manilow isn’t speaking, singing, rapping, or partying. Complications from oral surgery put his life on hold.

It’s not the first
It’s not the worst you know
We’ve come through all the rest
We’ll get through this.

He’s had a series of health scares over the years. And he’ll get through this one. Prayers are coming from a fanbase that’s from here to the exosphere.

barry manilow 70s

I have a simmity for Barry.  Simmity, such an old word. It means a fondness for a person of the opposite sex.  Eons ago, Henri Misson used the word simmity in his memoir, Travels Over England. (Today, it doesn’t even come up in a Google search.)


He tells about how on the eve of the 14th of February, young people in England and Scotland, by a very ancient custom, celebrated in a unique way.

An equal number of ‘maids’ and ‘bachelors’ get together, each writes their name on separate billets which they roll up and draw by way of lots.

(I love old words.  Like billets, those private letters folks used to send, filled with secret words.)


The maids take the mens’ billets, and the men takes the maids’, so that each of the young men “lights upon a girl” that he calls his Valentine, and each of the girls upon a young man which she calls hers.


The Valentines give treats to their maids and wear their billets for several days upon their sleeves.

There’s another custom, too, where the first young man or woman that chance throws in your way in the street or elsewhere on Valentine’s Day will be your true love.


Has chance thrown true love your way?  

Stevie Ray Vaughn (RIP) wants to have a little talk with you.

Toni 2/13/16