Dog food doesn't belong there

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

We had just picked up a "new puppy pack" from our veterinarian. Included was a chew toy, some flea medication, dog treats and a tiny sample bag of dog food.

Anytime I am presented with a container - the contents of which cannot be seen - I must open it. 

And so, I did.

Inside the little foil bag was a handful of teeny dog food pieces, just the right size for a little puppy mouth. I grabbed a scoop to gave Max (the Westie/Papillon cross) a taste. He sniffed and then laid his head back down on my lap.

We were in the car - Jan was driving and Max and I were passengers, as was the toddler  who sat, cheerfully singing, in the backseat.

Heading home, I swallowed another mouthful of my ever present coffee. Several kilometers later, I was tilting my head back, sucking back the last of my drink when something hit my lip. My stomach did a flip as my brain began working overtime. 

What was in that cup? Did someone from the coffee shop place something intentionally or did something "fall off" of an employee and find a resting place in my beverage?

You hear about this stuff on the news. Appendages, bandages, you name it - they sometimes (often?) appear in food and drink served to the public.

I cautiously peeled back the lid, ready to lose my breakfast, lunch and previous night's supper. Then I saw it. A teeny piece of dog food, just the right size for a puppy mouth had fallen into my coffee cup.

I knew the French Roast had a differently flavor that day.

No, really.

I'm such a (coffee) charmer

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love coffee.

In fact, I love it so much I once ended up with a holter monitor strapped to my body for several days to find out the source of my "heart problems."

My symptoms were frightening -  and entirely preventable. I had palpitations, a buzzy vibrating feeling in my arms, full body jitters and an impending sense of doom.

"You really should cut down on the coffee," was the medical advice I received.

My doctor was right.

Fortunately, I became pregnant not much later and my coffee addiction was brought under control as I made a pact with myself not to imbibe any caffeine while with child.

That's when my coffee painting really gained momentum.

I had already been painting with coffee, literally, for a number of years but as I weaned myself off the stuff, I started not only painting with coffee, but also painting images of coffee. I also painted pictures of sweet, gooey cupcakes - but that's another story...

I'm much better now. My daughter is 2-1/2 and I still haven't fallen off the coffee wagon, much. I only drink one caffeinated coffee a day - sometimes less. But I do still paint with coffee and, I've come up with something that I think will appeal to other coffee connoisseurs like me. I figure there must be at least a few of us out there.

These new little paintings are what I like to call, "Coffee Charms". They are original works of art, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" in size. They come in an magnetic acrylic frame and are packaged in a real, honest-to-goodness coffee bag. I have six currently available and will be making more as the days go by.

No, really.