Cool Nights

My good BloggyWorld friend Paul Curran is moving his weekly Sunday Cuppa column here through September as our his regular host Willowdot21 takes a break over on the other side of the big pond.

Take it away, good sir.

If We Were Having Coffee

Cool Nights


Your Barista – Paul

Paul Curran

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here once again. For the next few weeks Willow will not be able to access her internet dependably so we’ll be meeting here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the back yard. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B, have prepared a nice, comfy place for us outside on the newly mown lawn of the Little Bitty, so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. The weather today is here is warm at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit with overcast skies. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our world-wide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. We can relax with a cuppa and calorie free electronic sweets while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. How has your week been?

Well, the students are returning for the university fall term. This weekend and next week will be very busy with rented trucks and vans and half-tons full of furniture and excited teens and worried parents and dreams. There may be a few who have unrealistic expectations. I was waiting for my ride to dialysis at about 5 pm Friday when a van pulled up with a pair of young men aboard. They opened up the back and proceeded to unload an 84 inch flat screen TV. Ha! They recruited two other young men who were walking by and the four of them carried this monster up the stairs to their new room. Those boys have some serious movie watching and gaming in mind. I can recall my first year of university and it was a shock to the system. The Profs all expected their material had priority and it was full speed ahead – with no regard to the time management of the students. I wish them luck.

Big TV

I Think She Comes Free with Each TV

Still on the topic of the 84 inch TV, this neighborhood is not exactly pristine. It has students, those on fixed incomes and some addicts and such. I get along well with all concerned and no one bothers me but it is not a good place to flaunt your possessions. Much like walking through the Bronx while counting your cash – any sort of display of wealth is an invitation to theft. The doors have sturdy deadbolts but who knows how many copies of keys have been made over the years and all the locks are of the same design so I would suspect that there are master keys out there as well. The windows are the old style push up variety and I block mine with boards cut to fit so that the window cannot be opened from the outside when I am not home. They have small plastic flip style locks on the top of each window that could be easily defeated. These students are moving in here from suburban homes equipped with alarms in neighborhoods that are class homogenized – all have similar possessions. I suppose that is a part of the learning experience in moving away from home – still I worry about them.

Would you like another cuppa? Perhaps a sweet? All our sweets are calorie free for your eating enjoyment. Each building has external locked doors as well and buzzer systems for admitting visitors. This tends to lull the inexperienced into being less than diligent in their security awareness. Every year there are news stories about how students have left their room doors unlocked during the night and intruders gain access. Thousands have had keys to these external doors – lord only knows how many copies are floating around. Besides anyone can get in by following delivery persons or other visitors. New tenants always seem surprised. So far no one has been seriously hurt but the learning curve is steep.


Simple Needs

When I came home from dialysis Friday night there was the cool smell of leaves and soil in the air – a smell I remember well as meaning school was soon starting for another year. It is odd that even after being out of school for 35 years, the 17 years of starting fresh each fall still remains strong. There are times that I envy the students with their excitement and wide-eyed enthusiasm. Then I remember cramming for exams and working all night on reports due the next day – and I’m glad that stage of my life has passed. I can still enjoy the enthusiasm and energy of the returning students while I sip coffee on my deck. Do you still remember returning to school when the weather gets cool? What memories does the fall air bring back for you? Are there students in your family and how are they taking their return to learning?

That’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and pat Ellie B. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you for tea and drinks here for the month of September.


Have a Fancy Coffee – Your Choice

48 thoughts on “Cool Nights

  1. Paul, great post, as always.
    Your reference to the television reminds me of getting my first very own tv ( a tiny portable black and white) for my 21st birthday in the October of my final year in College. Just two stations but it was the biggest purchase of my life up to that point (£99) and I remember being just thrilled when I finally lugged it up the stairs to my little room. It served me well for years and years and I still have it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jean! Thanks so much for dropping by. Yes I recall the old black and whites, they were the cutting edge of technology – pulling pictures out of the air. Amazing stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Two of my girls attended college within the city limits, and one refused to live at home, while the second one opted to commute. In both cases, I was a nervous wreck – these were beautiful young ladies from the suburbs. There were many nights I worried about getting a call from the City police advising of some harm to my kids or their possessions. Fortunately, that never happened and they both survived their college years. I’m just glad that I don’t have any more kids going off to college – I couldn’t handle it any more.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. I don’t even know any adults with TVs that large. If they did, I would think they had something to prove. How can students afford them? How did I make it through my year in the dorm with ONLY an 18″ screen and sharp knobs that fell off and terrible reception with the antennae poked nearly to my pillow? It does seem like an invitation to theft, as you say. Same reason I’d never buy a car over $40K; someone would immediately key the door out of envy.

    Paul, I would be nervous to live in an area where windows warranted boards. I want to live in a world of white picket fences. Although I do admit we lived in some pretty seedy areas in college, to keep costs down. I was thrilled to get a $69 blue velveteen paisley sort of couch at the Salvation Army. That was the bee’s knees. Killing roaches, eating Ramen, paying your dues. How does one go UP after a life of huge screens? The only way is down. Perhaps they will carry it to the roof and toss it, as in days of yore? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Ottawa University – just two blocks away – is the only French-English official bilingual university in Canada (there are 42,000 full time students). There are bigger and ,more prestigious unis but not bilingual. As a result, many rich French and English families send their kids here because if you want to go anywhere in politics or business here in Canada, you have to be bilingual. Besides it is the capital of the country so much back-room deals go on here. As a result there are kids here “roughing it” in the student housing who could buy the university if they chose. Mind you most are just scraping by as you and I did. Hard to tell them apart until they move in their 84 inch TV’s ha!

      And you had space in your room for a couch!?!? Whew, you were living the high life. Used upholstered furniture like couches, chairs or especially beds, are off limits these days because of the bedbug problem. The very last thing you want to do is give them an opening to get in. Believe it or not, the little spawn of Satan even get in by hiding in the bindings of library books. It is just another added worry that modern society has brought. They are beatable and I’ve whopped their asses a few times – I use a bleach solution in a sprayer – it makes them bubble and dissolves their flesh on the spot.

      The kids from the burbs are on a steep learning curve here. In all honesty Kerbey the people here are very real. I’ve lived in the white picket fence neighborhoods before and there are more secrets and lies there than I’ve found anywhere. You know my wife’s daughter had a friend whose lived with her younger sister and her Mom across the street from us. The Mom worked hard- bless her soul – so the kids often had babysitters. They had all the best of clothes and toys and such and then the little one got sick one day and had to be taken to the hospital. It turned out that she was suffering from malnutrition. A middle class kid in a white picket fence neighborhood wearing all the latest fashions and no one had the time or attention to make sure she had the right food to eat. Just sad.

      These kids moving in here are the grown up version of that little girl. It’s a different world now Kerbey than when we were young. 😀


      • Sorry–the couch was the year right out of college. You’re right. No couch in a dorm. And I lived in efficiency apts with just just room enough for a bed. So I did have to work up to the couch situation. But bedbugs? I did not realize that was a problem.

        And going to the University to be bilingual–that’s news to me. I took years of Spanish and French and never did become bilingual in either. Perhaps I should have studied in Ottawa?

        How awful about that malnourished child. Nutrition shouldn’t take a back door to the best toys. But back to the first part, if the student was rich enough to buy the university, it seems like he would have a hard time submitting to authority there. He would have a hard time feeling equal to everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re not wrong. There are issues. Some calm down in the new environment and make it – others just go a short while and drop out. This town is full of politicians – most of whom have money and many of whom have kids – and most of their kids go to Ottawa U. It is not bilingual because it teaches French -most universities teach most major languages – half the classes are taught in french, be it calculus, organic chemistry, poli sci, sociology, spanish or whatever.etc. It is quite a different view on the world when you learn political science (or any subject) in French. I believe that the language you think in and the words you have available to use, determine, to a great extent, the thought processes and ideas that you have. Those who can think in multiple languages have an advantage – in my opinion. I only speak English fluently, so I am only guessing at this.

        Bedbugs – major issue in Northeastern US and southern Canada. It is a huge battle as they transfer so easily. They are not associated with cleanliness or dirtiness and cannot transfer diseases but they live on human blood and they can live for about a year in a dormant stage without eating. So any clothes that are say put away for the season will still contain them when the next year rolls around. I did not have to deal with them before but they are common around here. They like wood and paper and can live for a long time just tucked away in a seam or crack. I have a sealed mattress with no seams and keep all bedclothes off the floor. And you have to keep the bed away from the walls as they will climb up the wall into the bed. I spray down the baseboards (they hide under them) and the bed-frame with a bleach solution on a regular basis. I don’t take out library books any more as the bedbugs will travel from house to house in the book bindings. I still find the odd one – no way to know where they come from but haven’t had any problem for over a year now. The bleach really destroys them – if you had a hate on for any creature and wanted to watch it suffer – you should see them dissolve in bleach – it is nasty. The heat from the clothes dryer also kills them. So you never use the same bag to take clothes to the laundromat as you do to bring them home – just in case. Anyway, major issue. If you ever travel to the northeast and stay in a motel, be sure to check the mattress and box spring on the bed. Even the high end hotels sometimes end up with them.

        You are lucky that they so not survive the heat well – so you are unlikely to see them. No worries.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, yes, we are still near 100 F week after week, so perhaps that is why we don’t see them. Of course, we all grew up saying, “Goodnight, don’t let the bedbugs bite,” but they were creatures off in a realm of pretend, like wookies or ewoks. They sound just awful, and they probably would drive me mad, and I’d wind up finding joy as they dissolved in bleach. However, that smell of bleach permeating my home–oh, that would be rough!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello…wish I could pop over and have some tee with calorie-free snackies. Sounds delightful. Why would anyone need an 84 inch TV, I can’t imagine these students are residing in cavernous abodes that could do an 84 inch TV any justice. We are still sweltering over here in California. It was a toasty 107 several days ago. Although this morning, as I sit at the patio table, it is almost chilly, must be in the 60s. Hopefully, Fall is on it’s way and with it will come the rains. Fingers crossed!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! Good day SD – pleasure to have you drop over for tea (tee-hee) and sweets. There’s plenty to go around so eat and drink to your heart’s desire. These rooms are about 12 feet by 15 feet so a 7 foot TV would be a squeeze to fit. There would only be one wall that would be long enough to even fit it without covering a window or door. Ha! I doubt you could get far enough away from it to focus your eyes unless you stepped out on the balcony and looked back into the room – Ha! I wish them luck.

        It’s been about 80-85 during the day here lately but, as you say, cooling off fast at night – down to the 50’s or 60’s. Very bracing.

        Thanks so much for dropping by for a cuppa and a chat SD – I am honored that you read and commented. Please drop in again. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Enjoyed the post, Paul! Though it’s been awhile, I do recall the excitement of a new school year in the fall. Where I live, it still feels like summer for another couple of months, for the most part – and the 1st fall cold front always makes me giddy!!
    Thanks Mark & Karen for having Paul as guest host – as usual, enjoyed it!! Hope you all have a great week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saaaaadie! So happy to see you here. Mark is an excellent host – and I am pleased to have the opportunity to write here. I find the cold air so bracing and invigorating after a long hot summer. Such memories. Thank you so much for the read and the compliment – I am honored. You haven’t written anything for a while – any plans to get back to it? Any luck using your new real estate licence? Have a great week Sadie and be well. 😀


  10. I love the coffee art Paul. Thank you VERY much for the calorie free sweets. MUCH appreciated. And like you, I feel that old calling to return to school in the fall. Even though I’ve been out of school many times over longer than I was in it. That young impressionable mind! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Robyn! Wonderful to see you here. Thanks so much for visiting and reading. Yes indeed I would not wish theft upon anyone, but the loss of such a monstrous possession would no doubt lead to some soul searching – or perhaps not. Ha! Likely not. Sigh. Oh well. It is a pleasure to have you comment here Robyn. Please drop by again. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey, Paul! What a wonderful post! You brought back so many good Fall memories for me from my own life! 🙂 Sigh. I love the Fall and everything that comes with it…smells, foods, drinks, temps, holidays, sporting events, harvest moon, and so much more! 🙂
    I wish I lived close so I could stop by for a cuppa and a chat! 🙂
    HUGS, Carolyn 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi doesit! Thanks so much for the read and compliment. It would be great fun to sit down with you for a cuppa (and a sweet – we have electronic cake and cookies [biscuits to our continental readers], pies, muffins, turn-overs, or whatever your heart desires) ans a chat. Fall is my favorite season as well. I am honored that you dropped by. Be well. HUGS

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s high praise Joey. Thank you very much, I am honored (**BOWS**). Thank you so much for dropping by for a read and a comment. Please come to visit again. 😀


  12. Hi Paul, so Autumn is upon you as well as over her in England! I don’t envy those students one bit they have yet to graduate from the school of hard knocks and the university of life ! Still like you I wish them safe and well on their journey!
    I am glad that you have settled in with Mark , Karen and Ellie and I wish all of you a great September, I shall be around when I can so love to you all and Keep your doors and windows locked!!!! ❤


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