When I’m back in Wisconsin, my mom often passes her Real Simple to me after she’s done with it — sometimes she’s really generous and sends them here. So as an adjunct Christmas present, I received several back issues of RS and other magazines [thanks, mom!].

Taking advantage of a free moment [somewhere over Indiana at 30,000 feet], I flipped through the November ’09 issue, and was immediately pulled into “The Most Meaningful Moment of My Day” — a personal take on twelve authors’ most treasured times. A quote from Roxanna Robinson stuck out as something I could easily have said of myself; a morning tradition I never miss:

I like to take my coffee and go outside, first thing, to see what has happened during the night… Everything is poised. The day is about to begin.

I couldn’t have said it better!

My sister and I finally were able to get together the day before flying home. [Isn’t that always how it works out?!] What better activity than to head outside and have our coffee. Well, it was darn cold, so actually we did it backwards.

We drove out to Pier Wisconsin where I hopped out with my camera; big woolly mittens off just long enough to snap a few photos of our incredible shoreline. I didn’t linger but standing out in the frigid lake wind was all it took to chill me straight to the bone. Thankfully my favorite Milwaukee coffee shop, Alterra On the Lake, is a 30-second drive from that spot. We whisked ourselves over and inside to order coffee and pull up to a table in the sun — warm and happy just to chat and laugh with each other.

Milwaukee Breakwater Lighthouse off in the distance

caught framing the Lighthouse shot*

MAM’s brise soleil in front of Milwaukee’s high rises

the north skyline visible from across the water

our ‘mountains’ — dense, low clouds that hover just beyond the breaker

funky Alterra On the Lake

honey latte and white chocolate hazelnut soy latte

*Thanks for the photo, Rach!