Nuts for Cola

Raise your hand if you’ve said or heard one of these three phrases.

“I don’t drink soda.”

“I haven’t had soda for 5/10/15 years.”

“I only drink water, tea, and coffee.”

These days, soda, in all its forms, is out, and healthy drinks are in (well, not all of them – PSL drinkers, looking at you). Soda is the devil, and any nutritionista (new word?) worth their salt would take that salt and throw it over their shoulder. Sugar, caffeine, carbonation, cancer, death, libido, losing your hair, giving birth to mutant children; any or all of these things are in your future should you choose to have that soda. It’s come so far that not drinking soda is almost becoming cliche.

Now, I do agree that soda should not be anyone’s main source of liquid. Children should not drink soda, because they haven’t developed that part of the brain and tongue that knows its limits when it comes to sugar. If you don’t have a soda for a week or two, the first one after that will taste weird, which is probably a signal that it is indeed an unnatural part of the human diet, to some extent. I, myself, do not buy soda to keep in the house; however, I have been known to indulge in a Diet Coke at a gas station, or with a meal at a restaurant. I restrict myself from having it often, but still, it gets such a bad rap from everyone else that it’s almost like we need to strangle all the sodas in the world and hang them from the gallows in the town square.

Today, I went to Marshalls, and on my way out, I grabbed a Diet Coke. I don’t know when the last time I had some was, but it had been a while and I was really jonesing for it, so I got it. My first sip was incredibly bitter and sour, but midway through the bottle that familiar cola taste came through. It was not strong enough that I wanted another, but it satisfied my thirst and my need for flavor for a while.

So here’s where my dilemma comes in.

You know how some people do not or cannot consume a certain thing (coffee, peaches, oranges) but enjoy things that give them the same flavor experience (coffee cake, peach tea, orange Life Savers)?

Yeah, that’s what cola is for me.

I love the taste of cola. You know what I’m talking about, the kind that you get from Mexican coke, or Passover coke, or the off-brand hippie cola that Trader Joe’s has. It’s smooth, sweet, and comforting. Unfortunately, unlike peach tea and coffee cake, which can come in moderately healthy versions, I have not been able to find any sort of food or drink that emulates that cola taste, yet isn’t insanely unhealthy or expensive.

In the meantime, I’ll finish this Diet Coke…but I know there’s something out there, somewhere.

Oh, and welcome to my first visitor for Belarus.


Hypnotized by the Bullseye

Every single day since I’ve been back, I’ve gone to Target.

And sometimes, more than once a day.

And to more than one Target; there are five in the Madison area and I’ve been to three of them at least once (Hilldale, Fitchburg, and Madison West).

In the past few days, I have bought limes, ketchup, mustard, active dry yeast, soda, eggs, Werther’s Originals butterscotch candies, carrots, frozen veggie burgers, bagel thins, fruit snacks, streusel, cookies, jam, almond butter, a wrench, a UW t-shirt, refrigerator magnets, chocolate chips, all-purpose flour, duct tape, a broiler pan, iced coffee packets, a toilet brush, toilet cleaner, and stain remover.

Today I bought a lampshade, light bulbs, poppy seeds, onion soup mix, and carpet cleaner.

This has been my life for the past week.

I am turning into a real life Target Lady.

Sweet Mary Hartman.


On Dealing Coke

Wow, a daytime post! Shocking, I know.

So, I just went to CVS to get some toothpaste and a snack. I go over to the frozen section to see if they have Lipton diet iced green tea, aka the feel good drink of dieting champions, and I noticed that instead of the usual logo, it says something like “Lisa” or “Rob” or “Brittany”.


Apparently, Coke and Diet Coke have this new campaign called #ShareACoke where they are putting people’s names on the labels. Just random names. No significance whatsoever. I guess the thing they’re trying to do is encourage you is buy more of their product and share it. Like, if my name was Alicia, I would go into a CVS and be like, “I’m not thirsty and I don’t drink soda because it’s cool to say that, but OMG that bottle of Diet Coke has my name on it, it must be sign from above that means I must buy it and drink it and cherish it forever and you know what? I wasn’t thirsty when I started this thought but I’m getting there. Screw society, I’m buying this.”

Or something like that.

It’s not necessarily a good idea or a bad idea, per se, but it makes my curious mind wonder. What do they really mean by share a coke? Are they promoting communicable diseases? Or could it evolve into a peer pressure thing, like, you’re waiting at the bus stop with your Coke and I can come up to you, show you my license and be like, “Hi, I’m Brooke, and your bottle there says that you should share your drink with me, and since it’s a written contract that you bought yourself onto, you are obligated to give me a sip from that bottle, bitch?” Or could it evolve into a pickup line thing, like “Hey, I noticed that your bottle says share a Coke with Mike, so how about dinner on Saturday night?”

Does it make the bottles like those racks of key chains at truck stops and gas stations, forever alienating those Americans who have names like Julio or Tabitha or North West, forever searching the racks in vain, knowing that there is no mini Wisconsin license plate nor Diet Coke out there for you? (Although if your name is Julio, you might want to stop at a gas station in Texas where they usually have a rack of stuff with Spanish names next to the normal rack).

And finally, how literally do I have to take it? If I buy a coke that says Lisa on the label and I am feeling generous or I don’t want to finish it, should I seek out one of my exactly two Facebook friends named Lisa to share it with? I actually have a friend named Lisa here in Madison, although she may be home for the summer. The other one lives in Boston, and it would probably not be the best idea to wait for her to show up here or mail a half empty Coke to Massachusetts. Or, maybe I could try to find former child actress from The Facts of Life and recent runner-up on Survivor Lisa Whelchel and see if she’s thirsty? She probably isn’t currently within driving distance of Madison and who knows, maybe she’s more of a Pepsi gal? Although for some reason I think she probably likes Tab or Snapple.


Just bought toothpaste and chocolate-covered pretzels, and then walked over to Electric Earth for some iced coffee.