I'm having a late lunch at Fiddleheads in Cedarburg. I'd been thinking of going to Panera, but am glad I decided to go here instead. I'm enjoying what was allegedly a half sandwich and soup and a latte. At about twelve and a half bucks, it's one of the larger meals I've had lately.
This evening, I took advantage of a rare-ish weekday evening opportunity to take a leisurely drive around Northwest Milwaukee. I was amazed at how development seems to come to a screeching halt west of Cedarburg, especially as you travel towards Mequon. I wonder if there is a specific reason for this phenomenon.
I finally made it to Fiddleheads Bakery in Thiensville. I hadn't been here since the bakery portion was opened, other than once to grab a quick cup of coffee to go. Conveniently, you're able to order coffee also while placing your bakery order. Your drink is then prepared while you walk across the room to the coffee bar. Ingeniously, the baked goods lineup features many of the same items as City Market, only done much better. I'm enjoying a Fiddlefuel scone (pictured here), which is a vast improvement on City Market's rightfully renowned but rather hockey puck-like Power Scone.
UPDATE: I brought a loaf of whole wheat bread back to the office with me. It's fantastic! And it, like the scone, were marked half off towards the end of their business day.
I note that some kind of (IMHO) ridiculous "Princess Tea Party" has been held in Cedarburg today. If I am blessed with children, I hope that my hopefully princess-free daughter(s) will learn that her desire to explore and experiment with various aspects of reality is a wonderful gift--and that I only ask and advocate that she use it wisely. "83% of CHS students choose NOT to use marijuana" reads a poster at Fiddleheads in Cedarburg. I'm going to play devil's advocate (and risk disinherit-age) by stating that I'm skeptical--both of the statistic and the principle behind it. Basically, I believe that life presents us with a wide variety of mind-altering substances and situations. Ultimately, we can only "choose" whether or not to be robust enough to withstand them.
If my daughter's appetite for the mind-altering ends up as a strong desire to go to the tea party--or, heck, to join the Tea Party--I hope that I'll suck it up and bite my tongue, or at most state my opinion in a matter-of-fact fashion while affirming that my love is unconditional. In that light, their inevitable acting out in an inappropriate way can be just a stepping stone towards a deeper relationship with my child. As an older Dad, I'll need plenty of reminders that some aspects of my view of the world may have passed their sell-by date. I'll have the ability to adapt and adjust, though at times with a grimace. That way, not only does my daughter not need to fit into some ridiculous pidgeonhole--neither do I.
Much more damaging, in my view, is the impulse to turn way-preteen girls into objects to be paraded around and segregated. (Mind you, I mean girls under 12 or 13--I was a precocious kid and know that the game can change quickly and drastically at around that age.) With all of our tea parties, girls' nights out and girls' nights in--not to mention our man caves--we learn that to be truly unthreatened, we have to be in our treehouse, keeping the other sex out. Accordingly, it is only natural that divorce should be the peak experience in adult life in our society. Only by systematically declaring war on our spouse's flaws and annihilating our engagement with them can we truly develop ourselves as individuals, this philosophy holds.
I think that psychologically wholesome life comes only when we learn, pardon my French, that other people will do all kinds of crazy shit. And that we ourselves will do all kinds of crazy shit. Our choice is whether we can find opportunity for connection in the good and the bad--not in the kind of physical and psychological segregation that our boy-in-a-bubble society insists upon, but in the dirt and dust of interaction with others who are vigorously championing their own wants and needs.
I'm at the new Starbucks in Mequon. I'd love to be able to provide photos, but Starbucks communicated to me their policy that interior photos not be taken without the advance permission of the store manager, and I am respecting those wishes. I'm going to take this opportunity to include some general reflections that I have had about Starbucks lately.
Adding to a series of reflections that no doubt will extend through Tuesday's Blonde rollout, I think it's noteworthy that this fundamental shift for Starbucks represents a movement from emphasizing product distinctiveness to emphasizing systems and standardization. How so, you may ask? I sincerely wonder whether the cafe aspect of specialty coffee is a flash in the pan. If people are soon able to set up reasonably fast wi-fi hotspots on their cell phones, I wonder how many independent coffee shops will manage to survive. The architecture of the new Mequon store includes a drive-thru (see my post of several days ago) and reflects an apparent anticipation of less for-here business, which I find regrettable.
As I grow older and hopefully wiser, I find systems and standardization comforting. For one thing, Starbucks does not have customer service quirks that sometimes seem arbitrary. For example, many independents and even large chain Caribou don't have all drink sizes in both for-here and to-go. Starbucks does. I don't recall ever being told at a Starbucks that my drink order was somehow a mismatch with the cup lineup. In a successful business, the customer's order is never wrong, nor is he or she ever standing in the wrong place (I note that this store's two registers are within two or three feet of each other, so that the customer likely would never have to be told to move to the correct register). At most, the business might tell the customer that it cannot accomodate the customer's wishes as stated, but offer workable alternatives.
Today, I'm observing the German-style weather by exploring three of Southeastern Wisconsin's most German places: Thiensville, Germantown and St. Augustine. We begin with this latte, which is hitting the spot.
I'm making a quick stop at Fiddleheads in Mequon before hitting the hiking trail. I'm trying the new Fiddleheads Blend coffee, and a whole wheat bagel called my name, as they always do. I have to shift my usual MO this time of year and stay out of the midday sun, so walking gets shifted to the evening. I find that I'm more sensitive to the sun as I age. I have my Coolibar dorkweae on and sunscreen slathered. I need a makeup mirror app for my iPhone so that I can check for sunblock streaks!