A New-Found Twin in Yonkers, N.Y.

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 2:09 p.m.
I have just discovered my twin and she’s an African American woman named Charlene who works in a post office in Yonkers, New York.  The reason that I bring up the fact that she’s African American is because I’m definitely not and this calls into question a whole bunch of stuff, yet Charlene was pretty convincing so I have to believe her.  If Charlene says that we’re twins, it’s good enough for me.

Two weeks ago, my family were down in New York visiting my father who is in a nursing home in the northern most tip of New York City, an area called Riverdale.  We’ve discovered a Marriott hotel that is a 15 minute drive north in the city of Yonkers that makes staying in New York and visiting my father much easier as the hotel has its own parking lot.  I can tell you some very unhappy stories about trying to find parking in lower Manhattan, but I’ll just put you off driving down to one of the most vibrant cities in the world.  Actually, if you must stay in Manhattan, a hotel called On the Avenue which is on 78th Street and Broadway, is a very nice hotel (although the rooms are small, but all Manhattan hotels have small rooms), and we’re usually able to find parking on the street within ten to fifteen minutes of getting near the hotel.  This hotel is a good option if you want to bring your car into the city.

I hope you find all this information useful, but what I really want to tell you about is my twin, Charlene.  I had to go to the post office in dealing with some family business and was pleased to find that the post office was open all day Saturday.  I walked in with a bunch of mail that I wanted to put into a package, so I needed to buy an envelope, stuff the mail into it, and send it on its merry way.  Every time poor Charlene started to suggest what I could do and how my task could be achieved, I repeatedly anticipated what she was going to say and as usual, I was incorrect every time.  This is an unfortunate habit that my family has dealt with for years.  Charlene had a different approach.

She said to me, “Do you know what the word foreshadowing means?”  I was taken aback by the question, but I reassured her that yes, I did know what foreshadowing means.  She continued, “I used to do the same thing to my English teacher in college and she used to say, ‘Charlene, you’re foreshadowing.’ ” I promised her that I would be quiet and let her talk.  She looked at my husband and said, “And I want you to be quiet too.” He complied.

Charlene weighed the package and gave us our options and we paid for it to be sent.  “You’re my twin because you do the same as me.  What’s your name?”  Well, that was it.  We started to chat, I wound up telling her that we were from Canada and the whole mailing experience was about as pleasant as it could have been made to be.  I found out a little bit about Charlene, her colleague Daisy re-weighed our package and found that we owed a few more cents…and then wouldn’t let us pay it.

I think that Charlene and I really are twins because it’s always been my own philosophy that if I’m going to work, I’m going to have fun with it which luckily is very easy when you’re working in a small high school.  I get to joke around with kids all day long; some kids get my jokes and some don’t.  Sometimes it’s the ones who don’t get what I’m on about that provide greater entertainment.  Trying to have fun with things as simple as buying stamps just makes life more liveable and that’s the attitude that makes Charlene and I twins even though Yonkers and Lennoxville are far apart.  Try it some time.

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Lennoxville's New Café

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 5:47 p.m.
The borough of Lennoxville is very much like most of the college towns that I’ve seen and we have the bars to show for it, but most college towns have a variety of daytime hangouts. Lenn, as kids affectionately call it, has McDonald’s and the drop-in centre forthe high school kids. Café Java has been a university hang out of sorts. Tim Horton’s gets a mix of folks, and now we have La Brulerie de Café.

As soon as I walked into the new café, it was like stepping into a more urban setting.
Brick walls, wood ceilings, and jazz pumping out of the sound system made it seem
like a Montreal café. One student was surfing the Internet on her laptop (I meant to ask
whether or not the Wi-Fi was free), and in the passage between the front and back rooms,
there were two computers with enormous screens being used by people also happily
surfing the ‘Net sipping on big mugs of coffee…and that’s what I was really there for.

While the ambiance was very welcome, I showed up for the caffeine. I’d heard that there
was a coffee roaster there, and that you could buy bags of Ethiopian fair trade coffee
that is a very wonderful blend of coffee. For years now, I beg my husband to go to Café
Myriade whenever he’s in Montreal to pick up a brand of coffee called 49th Parallel
which has flavourful coffee beans that are perfect for espresso or regular coffee which
we make in a contraption that we bought at Myriade called an Eva Solo. I’ve been very
excited about the fact that there is a coffee roaster within a ten-minute walk of my house,
but I’ve been too busy to get there till last weekend.

We went for lunch and coffee. Unfortunately, we showed up after 1:00. It’s important
to know that they close the kitchen at 1:00, but happily, there were some sandwiches left
which heated up were really delicious. I had a date square for dessert and my husband
had a cranberry raisin square. Both of these were really good too.

We ordered two cappuccinos. As some of my readers will remember, I was in Italy this
summer and that experience turned me into the worst kind of coffee snob. Don’t get me
wrong – I am very willing to drink bad coffee and mediocre coffee as long as there are no
pretensions involved. I was hoping for an excellent cappuccino at La Brulerie de Café,
but it wasn’t excellent. It just wasn’t strong enough and a cappuccino should be strong.
People get all caught up in the milk foam, and this is very wrong. In Italy, you get the
steamed milk and a little foam on top, because in that country, it’s all about the coffee.
The coffee is always rich and strong, and that’s the way it should be. The one that I had
at La Brulerie de Café was very drinkable but it really wasn’t strong enough.

I’m not a complete traditionalist; a true Italian would never drink a cappuccino in the
afternoon and I was happy to be able to go out for a cappuccino close to home so I’m
hoping that this will improve and that the folks at the Café will use a stronger blend. I’d
be willing to settle for a smaller cup and less milk.

My other suggestion is that the staff should walk around and clean tables. When I went
in the back to look for a cozy table, one had coffee cups still on it and just about all the
empty tables had crumbs. This doesn’t make a good impression. Apart from that I,
like all of my friends, are delighted that La Brulerie de Café has opened up a branch in
Lennoxville, and I’m hoping that it has a long run in our town.

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