Sunday Coffee Love

sunday coffee love

Nothing says Sunday like a cup of coffee with some love added.

3dRose A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges-Pierre Seurat – Two Tone Black Mug, 11oz (mug_127363_4), , Black/White

http://amzn.to/28ThB7e

Happy Sunday!

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I can’t feel my face!

. . . before coffee . . . after coffee . . .

Happy Whatever-it-is Day!

Check out these really sweet dog-coffee mugs below.  I think Dean Russo’s art is beautiful and his sweet sentiments about people’s best friend say it all.

Tree-Free Greetings Extra Large 20-Ounce Ceramic Coffee Mug, Sweet Boy Themed Dean Russo Dog Art


http://amzn.to/28SyDoV

Tree-Free Greetings Extra Large 20-Ounce Ceramic Coffee Mug, Wag Heart Themed Dean Russo Dog Art

http://amzn.to/28S5ANc

Tree-Free Greetings Extra Large 20-Ounce Ceramic Coffee Mug, Perfect World Themed Dean Russo Dog Art

http://amzn.to/28Tc0gn

Tree-Free Greetings Extra Large 20-Ounce Ceramic Coffee Mug, Beware Heart Stealer Themed Dean Russo Dog Art

http://amzn.to/28WPesy

Life is a lively event.  Pet your dogs and tell them that you love them, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

xox Boots the Badass Coffee Babe

 

[image of dogs on beach:  http://barefootcolo.com/%5D

Happy Whatever Day It Is of the Week . . . the Relativity of Friday

Boots the Badass Coffee Babe here.  And aiming from the hip like a shooting star to the center of life’s love and happiness on this Friday morning.

As determined by the calendar, today is Friday.  Or is it?  Do we assign a Day-Feeling to Time?  For some of us, it’s our real-time Friday.  For some of us, it’s our Tuesday.  Or Thursday.  Or Sunday.  We measure the days based on our perception of Relativity & Fun . . . Availability & Freedom . . . Choice & Priority . . . all relative to the Grand Scheme of How Life Flows.

That’s the thing about living a Lifestyle.  It’s different from Work.  And whether or not it’s my Friday or whether or not I am Lifestyling or Working, it’s always a great day to be part of the Human Race.

Enjoy today’s moments.  If you even take 3 minutes and 22 seconds to pause and just partake in some relaxation, isn’t that a rewarding way to extend some appreciating into your Day?  This video by OK Go is just plain fun. [OK Go makes the best videos!]  Enjoy the fancy of it all and Happy Friday-Feeling to you!

This band deserves a huge shout out for their ingenuity and commitment to spreading FUN with their music!  Click on their album below:

http://amzn.to/1V2cjF7

And . . . because the Weekend for Writing is ahead and because I can’t resist adding awesome things that strike my brand of Fanciful, check out this handmade saddle-bag style purse and journaling items.  This next week, we are going to be digging into the 4 Fundamentals of Coffee along with some journaling fun.  Me?  I love journaling!!!!!  And it’s always nice to have a stylish way to transport my ideas from one inspiring place to the next.

I l-o-v-e this bag!

Firu-Handmade Women Vintage Style Genuine Brown Leather Cross Body Shoulder Bag Handmade Purse

It’s under $50!

http://amzn.to/1OuJIvQ

Small 1842 Poetry Leather Blank Book

And this poetry book is only $8.59!


http://amzn.to/2684VA8

Antique Feather Copper Pen Stem Metal Nibbed Pen Writing Quill LL-14

And this ultra-cool quill set is only $29.99 . . . isn’t it super-inspiring to get you writing those sacred thoughts of yours down in your new journal?


http://amzn.to/1V2cTmb

Life is a lively event.

Do some carpe-ing diem-ing & free writing, drink some coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

xox Boots

Open Your Eyes to a Good Day

anytime is coffee timeAnytime is coffee time.  And anytime is a good time to open your eyes.  To look around.  To feel grateful and appreciative. To be inspired by the beauty that is all around.

Today is Thursday and it’s a day to kick up your heels and have some fun.  It’s a day to explore and to laugh out loud and to smile at every single person whom you encounter on your walk in the park.  A day to mention to someone something that they do well — something that might otherwise go unnoticed.  You answer the phone with a very pleasant tone.  You are always so good about replacing the ink cartridges.  I like the way you open the door for people to pass ahead of you.  Thank you for always emptying the dishwasher.  Little things that speak to the bigger Inside Things.  Anytime is a good time to express your appreciation to someone, anyone, everyone.

Have a GREAT & FANTASTIC day today!  Savor the moment.  Please, take 9:39 today to watch this amazing, unfolding TED talk by Louie Schwartzberg on Nature, Beauty, and Gratitude.  It is a life changer.  Truly.  Enjoy.  So beautiful.

Life is such a lively event.  Savor and appreciate, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?  xox Boots

These coffee mugs make me happy.  The art, the colors, the message . . .  all combined give me happiness.  What a message to start the morning with . . . and to carry with you on your way out the door to your next adventure of the day.   Enjoy the journey!

Karma, by Stephen Joseph KA140957 Happy Trails Fox Travel Mug, Multicolor

http://amzn.to/28RNLBI

Karma, by Stephen Joseph KA140929 Happy Trails Sugar Skull Travel Mug

http://amzn.to/28OEwUb

Karma, by Stephen Joseph KA140976 Happy Trails Owl Travel Mug, Multicolor

http://amzn.to/28TdhGY

Spoontiques Positive Affirmations Travel Mug, White

http://amzn.to/28TcWnK

Question: How does roasting affect the coffee bean?

Just the facts, Ma’am . . . and pour me another cup while you’re at it.

How does roasting affect the coffee bean?

Roasting brings out the essence . . . the aroma, body, and flavor that is locked inside the green coffee beans.  The roasting process transforms the chemical and physical properties of the beans . . . and the different degrees of roasting produce characteristic taste profiles and different amounts of caffeine.

City Roast, Full City Roast, Vienna, Espresso, Italian, New Orleans, French . . . so many different roasts!  At the risk of over-generalizing . . . lighter roasts make for a brighter, more lively taste profile while darker roasts make for a sweeter, lower acidity coffee.  Drinkers who prefer a low level of acidity in their brew are steered toward a darker roast . . .  French roast being one of the more common choices for a low-acidity coffee. This comes with a caveat though, as many people do not like what they describe as the “burnt” or “oily” taste of a dark French roast.  Perhaps French roast is an acquired taste.  Or maybe people have just gotten used to buying it as they equate dark roast with a more-refined coffee choice.

You may come across those people who are misled by the misguided notion that Dark Roast is “better.”  If you like dark roast, enjoy.  If you don’t like a dark roast, don’t feel like a wimp.  You will not be judged by the Secret Society of Coffee Snobs — not on my watch.  Feel safe with this knowledge.  If some French Roaster looks over his or her coffee cup at you drinking your light and lively cup of city roast, share with him or her that you prefer a brighter, higher acidity level in your coffee.  You can also add that your lighter roast contains more caffeine than their French roast.  This should stop any Snob from further judgment.

Of course, there are all manner and degree of roasts in between on the spectrum of light, medium, and dark.  Coffee beans contain oils that include some 600 chemical substances.  When the beans are roasted, the beans expand and, as a result, lose moisture.  The beans’ aroma comes alive and the oils give the beans a shiny appearance – especially in the darker roasts.

A light roast (Light City, Half City, Cinnamon Roast) have a light body with a detectable acidity.  This roast is often described as being “bright” or “lively.”  Drinking light-roast coffee is a personal choice and should not be an invitation to judgment.  All of you snobs, be nice.  Coffee should be fun and others should be allowed to drink cinnamon roast without being called wimps.

Medium roasts (commonly called Breakfast Blends) are generally considered to The Middle of the Road when it comes to drinking coffee.  This roast has more body than light roast beans and are more balanced in the areas of flavor, aroma, and acidity.  If you don’t know what roast of coffee bean to bring to your future in-laws for the weekend, bring a medium roast.  There is nothing wrong with going down the middle of the road on this topic.

A dark roast (Italian, espresso, French, continental, New Orleans) is dark brown in color and has a sheen of oil on the surface of the bean.  It is believed that the bean’s point of origin is disguised as a result of darker roasting.  With some dark roasts, you may taste a smoky, or even burnt, flavor.  And remember that the amount of caffeine is decreased as a result of added roasting.   While not being a French-roast drinker, I do like a darker roast myself and do not mind giving up some of the caffeine for this taste profile.

In the early days, the green coffee beans were roasted in a heavy pan over the fire.  Nowadays, coffee is roasted in a roasting factory– some small and some ginormous – generally in the country in which the coffee is going to be consumed.

It takes so little equipment and time to roast your own coffee.  I am wondering why no one has shared this information with me before.  After watching the videos below, I am ready to arm myself with this simple equipment and roast my own beans.  I love this kind of thing.

There are so many cool facts about this humble and elegant drink.  One little bit of information leads to another interesting tidbit.  I am thinking about taste profiles, aged beans, acidity, food pairings . . . you name it!  So much to know.  So much fun to learn.

Here is a super informative video that takes you on a Color Journey of Coffee Roasting.  It’s only 4:23 long and worth watching.  It also will help you understand why you prefer the roast that you do, as it discusses taste profile with different stages of roasting.  Cool!

And how about this idea of roasting coffee beans in a popcorn popper?  Fun!  It is a recommended method for getting started with home roasting.  If you’re like me and like to experiment with new ideas and learn about how things work, I am thinking it would be a fun taste treat to try this.  It literally takes minutes to have your coffee fresh-roasted each morning.  Wow!  What a fun thing to do on the weekend for your Monday morning coffee!  [P.S.  According to other research I did, shoot for a popper with a minimum of 1250 watts.]

Here is the Popcorn Pumper that he talks about lasting a long time in the video.  It has the recommended 1250 watts.

Proctor-silex Hot Air Popcorn Pumper 5 Quart

http://amzn.to/28TUWZe

. . . and here is a real-deal coffee roaster if you don’t want to mess with the popcorn popper:

FreshRoast SR500 Automatic Coffee Bean Roaster

http://amzn.to/28MgkSh

Papua New Guinea Organic Wild-grown Unroasted Green Coffee Beans (1 LB)

http://amzn.to/28PkmIX

Home Coffee Roasting, Revised, Updated Edition: Romance and Revival

http://amzn.to/28MiAsU

Bellemain Micro-perforated Stainless Steel 5-quart Colander-Dishwasher Safe

http://amzn.to/28OaluO

And this?  I want!
Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet L10SK3ASHH41B, 12-Inch

http://amzn.to/28Nb8yy

Whew!  What started out as a simple question has my mind spinning.  There is no short answer as coffee roasting is a complex and fun science that brings to us such a miraculous beverage.  Experiment with some green beans and leave a comment, reporting to us your roasting results!  Fun, fun, fun!

Life is a lively event.  Roast up some beans, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

[Just the facts, Ma’am is inspired by and extracted from personal experience and research, informative youtube videos, and “All About Coffee Knowledge Cards” – published by Pomegranate Communications, Inc.]

Retro Percolator Coffee, Grandma Cussing in Polish, & All’s Well That Ends Well

old percolatorBoots the Badass Coffee Babe here to talk Percolator Coffee . . . Are you thinking that this brewing method is just too old-timey or outdated or un-hipster-esque?  Does the image of a percolator bring back your mother’s or grandmother’s Wednesday morning kaffee klatch?  Or a church supper?  Or a rousing Saturday night of Polish polka on a waxed dance floor? Or Uncle Dean’s summer mountain cabin?  Or old-timey conversating between the old folk sitting around a kitchen table?

I can’t think about percolators without hearkening back to my very early childhood and my morning-grumpy, bootlegging, Polish grandmother.  It was at this tender age that I learned the life lesson that caffeine serves as an Adult Lifeline and Morning Saviour.  And another thing that I learned: Don’t mess with Grandma’s coffee and no one will get hurt.

percolator topIgnorance is bliss, or so they say.  What I considered to be an innocent Borrowing turned out to be an act of Brazen Temerity: I borrowed (translate: nearly lost) the glass plug that fits into the percolator lid for my playtime pleasure.  I was setting up an opulent mud-pie party for my dollies and, after scavenging the kitchen cupboards and drawers for Items of Elegance, I came across the glass perking plug — which was to become the most perfect and elegant crystal teacup.  I didn’t give it another thought until the next morning . . .

. . . when my caffeine deprived grandmother went on a cussing rampage while she looked for the necessary glass plug.  Looking back, she probably dropped the equivalent of a few muttered F-bombs, but as for me being the Guilty Party who had absconded with such an Integral Element of her Morning Ritual?  Well, I was quaking in my Buster Browns, I am telling you.

If you have never heard someone cussing enthusiastically in Polish, you will not understand how terrifying and mesmerizing this was to my innocent, yet guilty, little soul.  To put it plainly, Grandma wanted her coffee and she wanted it bad.  And I knew that my intrepid borrowing had led to this moment of extremely-motivating personal terror.

Grandma searched the dish drainer, the kitchen junk drawer, and garden bucket of peelings.  It didn’t take long for me to realize the error in my judgment, the epiphany of which sent me on a reconnaissance mission to Recover the Crystal Grail.  I found said Grail out in the sand box and, surreptitiously so, replaced it in the dish drainer that my grandmother had already checked 3 or 4 times.  It was gritty and dirty and it bore all the signs of having been abused by someone who was not yet of an age that could fully appreciate the Sanctity of the Crystal Grail.

Sigh.  I get it now.  Mr. Shakespeare had it right: “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”  My anguish could have been greatly minimized had I simply fessed up to Grandma and asked her to help me find it. I don’t know.  I still feel mildly twitchy when I think back on this event.  William Shakespeare wrote: “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good an ill together.”  In other words, All’s Well That Ends Well — as his play is so aptly entitled.

Mr. Shakespeare knew his stuff.  Being a sensitive kid and a quick learner of Human Nature in the Morning, I was never to borrow The Crystal Grail again.  All I can say is thank God for Saint Rita, the Patron Saint of Desperate Causes, for I was able to recover the Precious Plug.  My grandmother received her morning dose of caffeine, and all was, once again, right with the world.  Like Helen, in Mr. Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, life sometimes does end with a nice, neat ribbon tied ’round the Event. And like Bill tries to tell us: Don’t worry.  Be happy.  It’s all good.  You’re gonna be fine.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Things are going to turn out fine in the end.  And don’t mess with an Uncaffeinated Grandma.

So, if you are like me and you like happy endings and you like to have more than one gizmo for making coffee in your kitchen, why not add one more?  A percolator is fun, retro, and old school.  It has all of these cool parts that fit together kind of like Tinker Toys, and you will experience the beauty of making coffee with Essential Parts of a Greater Whole.

And people who perk say that perk coffee is the best.  After seeing my grandmother’s Tizzy Fit unfold, I am a believer.  So why not try it?  The percolator pot isn’t expensive to buy, and you will always be ready for whatever coffee emergency that may occur.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING A PERCOLATOR?

Why use a percolator . . . when you already have a French press or an automatic drip machine or a pour-over cone or an espresso machine?   Here are some reasons why it might be a good idea to have a coffee percolator in your coffee arsenal:

  • You live in an area where you have frequent power outages.
  • You live off the grid.
  • You’ve run out of fine-grind coffee for your espresso machine and your grinder only does a coarse-grind.
  • You feel like doing something to honor Throwback Thursday.
  • Your grandparents are coming to visit and this is the only coffee they like to drink.
  • You like to try new things.
  • You are going camping and you want something that is super simple and unbreakable to bring along for your coffee brewing.
  • You like the look of a percolator on the campfire grate.
  • You feel inspired to belt out cowboy songs when you hear the percolator bubbling.
  • You feel a sense of magic when you see the coffee perking into the glass top plug.
  • You think of your grandmother and wish that you had learned how to cuss in Polish from her when you had the chance.

IS PERCOLATION A DINOSAUR BREW METHOD?

Is it a generational thing?  Are percolators going the way of cursive handwriting and mental math?  I don’t think so.  There are many people who still use this method of brewing.  And I know a few people who are pretty proud to make coffee with such a cool, retro looking pot.

HOW THE HECK DO YOU USE A PERCOLATOR?

This is a great question.  And I’m not going to lie.  It was TOUGH to find a decent video about percolating coffee to share with you.  I came across this particular one with Quaker Anne and said Eureka!  She walks you through the steps and convinces you that percolating is the way to go.  I especially like the way she talks about her special coffee treat of adding pure maple syrup and cream to her coffee as she is relaxing at the end of the video.  It looks like this gal knows how to savor and enjoy life’s little pleasures. Check it out.  It goes for almost ten minutes, but it is kind of restful and meditative to watch.

Quaker Kitchen: Stovetop Percolator Coffee (9:56)

As Quaker Anne so wisely says: “That which is worth having is worth waiting for.   I am thinking that QA is one smart cookie.

And here is a recipe/summary of QA’s How-To video:

  1. Use excellent coffee of a coarse grind . . . Grind is Essential
  2. Use good water . . . Good Water is Essential
  3. Use the right proportions of water to grounds . . . Proportion is Essential: (I don’t agree with Quaker Ann . . . As a rule, I use 2 T. per 8 oz water for brewing any coffee with any method.)
  4. Spread coffee evenly around basket and place lid on basket put in coffee pot and put all of the Percolator Guts into the pot..
  5. Assemble all of the pieces . . . oh, and make sure that the glass bubble is secure.  You don’t want it to go percolating off the top of your pot.  Messy clean-up.
  6. Put pot on stove and turn heat up to a medium heat and wait for the coffee to start percolating.  People who perk love this sound.  And who wouldn’t?  Coffee is on the way!
  7. When coffee begins to perk . . . turn temp down so coffee gently perks.  You don’t want a raging inferno perking into the glass bubble.  Think Gentle.
  8. Set a timer for approximately 8 minutes.
  9. Do not over perk.  Turn heat off right away.
  10. Let the percolator sit for about one minute to let all water drain through the basket.
  11. IMPORTANT: Pour the percolated coffee into a thermos or an insulated carafe.  There will be no microwaving coffee on Boots’ watch!  Keep it properly hot and you won’t have to reheat it!

And I like QA’s idea to use real maple syrup as a sweetener.  Have you tried it yet?  It is as special a treat as she describes.

Shopping tips: Buy a stainless steel or a granite ware percolator.  Stay away from aluminum.

Have fun with this!  I love trying new ways to make coffee, don’t you?  Plus, it’s nice to have a dependable way to make coffee the next time a lofty windstorm pushes some giant Douglas firs down across the power lines.  At least you’ll have your percolator to fortify your day with some Joe!

Life is a lively event.  Percolate some coffee, pull up a chair, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

Happy Shopping for Cups, Percolators, & Carafes below!

For starters, how about these Retro cups for your freshly-percolated coffee?  I love these cups!  Makes me think of all of those Kaffee Klatches that my grandma shared with her other Polish-speaking friends.  I couldn’t understand a word, but I enjoyed their stories, nonetheless.
Momugs Unique Retro Hit Color Ceramic Coffee Cup with Spoon and Saucer Set, 10 oz mug, Orange

http://amzn.to/1Qee3iB

Or these?  Fun!
Diner Coffee Mugs Red Set of 6

http://amzn.to/1UJpLhl

Copco Brushed 4 to 8-Cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Percolator

http://amzn.to/1tE2MOM

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator

http://amzn.to/1UJokzj

And for those times when the percolator glass knobs go missing!
2 pack Fitz-All Replacement Percolator Top, Small (2)

http://amzn.to/1SdkNYk

And every kitchen should have at least one carafe:
304 Stainless Steel Double Walled Vacuum Insulated Carafe with Press Button Top, Quality Thermal Carafe, Water Pitcher with Lid, coffee Pots, Serving Pitchers Coffee Thermos, 2-liter,Silver

http://amzn.to/1UJol6y

Panesor 2 Liter(68 Ounce) Coffee Carafe Thermal, Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Carafe, Hot and Cold 24 hours

http://amzn.to/1YC0cV7

Happy Perking!

xox  Boots

Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Father’s Day 2016

Happy Father’s Day.  Happy Children’s Day.  It takes a father to make a child to make a father . . .  And on the legacy grows.  Together, we create a circumference of love and trust, laughter and life.

This song is dedicated to the fathers who have gone before us.   And to the fathers who are still here on Planet Earth.  The Circle is strong and it is fragile.  Move beyond yourself and tell the people in your family and in your life that you love them.

Love.  It’s what keeps the circle whole and what makes it go ’round.

 

16 Tons of Saturday

Happy happy Saturday.  For some of you, Saturday morning conjures images of sleeping in, reading the paper while sipping your coffee, generating your to-do list for the weekend, starting a pot of soup or setting bread to rise, hitting the trail for a loop around the lake, deadheading the rhododendrons, or maybe thinking about throwing in a load or two of laundry . . . all of these quiet, pleasant activities that set a week of hard work behind you.  It’s a day of restoration, a day of catching your breath.  Yay for Saturday.

o brother chain gang

thistooismeaningless.com

Others of you see Saturday as another work day that might even be a bit busier or a touch more demanding than the other days of the week.  You might be waiting tables on a Saturday night or checking groceries in a tourist town food market or catching up on that work project when the office is finally quiet or lesson planning classes and grading papers for the following week or making up hours to fill your paycheck to your weekly max or working customer service at a large store where everyone takes care of their returns on Saturday.  It is a day of watching your friends be friends: going to Farmers’ Market, lunching at the brew pub, engaging in Book Group, shopping for groceries or shoes . . . this sort of thing.  It all looks to be pretty idyllic when you are the one working away while your friends are off playing and engaging in leisure activities.  (Enter theme music): My Life on the Chain Gang.

Well, if you are part of this Saturday group, like so many of us are, this post is for you.  And if you sometimes feel like you’ve sold your soul to the company store, you are going to love this version of “16 Tons” sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Enjoy the music below.  I know that Saturday can feel harried, but try to take some time to enjoy some music.  It is truly balm for the soul.

And while you are enjoying this music, snap your fingers, tap your toes, and dance.  Yes, dance.  When was the last time you just stood up and started dancing at home?  Truly.  When was the last time?  And who cares if someone is watching.  In fact, if someone is . . . even better.  He or she might join in with you.  Be a trend setter.  Dance!

If you dance to these tunes below, please, please, please, share a comment as to how it made you feel.  We’ll all enjoy reading about your dancing!

Happy working, happy Saturday, happy dancing, happy life.

Live is a lively event.  Dance like someone is watching you, drink coffee, and get to it.  What’s stopping you?

xox Boots

 

 

And when was the last time you watched O Brother, Where Art Thou?  Or listened to the soundtrack?  Fun!  Maybe tonight would be the perfect night for it.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

http://amzn.to/1tB0aRV

O Brother, Where Art Thou? by Various Artists (2000) Audio CD

http://amzn.to/262EVJK

Milky Way Love of the Galaxies . . . Happy Father’s Day

firewood-pileBoots here.  Your Badass Coffee Babe shooting like a star from the hip today and telling it like it is.  With the advent of Father’s Day, I am reminded of many things . . . memories of life-in-general this past year concerning my own father . . . times that now feel to be long ago and quite far away.  I was thinking back to the summer when my father came to visit me up at my cabin and how, bored out of his gourd with no television for a week, he split enough firewood to last me nearly a month.  I can still see that stack of split wood and that look of satisfaction of a job-well-done on his face, happy he was leaving me, his daughter, with the gift of time away from the woodshed splitting block.

These memories of life, love, firewood, and family have an odd way of percolating to the surface.  During my time of living in that cabin, located on that effortful and toilsome trail, I met my share of fathers who wanted to share their love of the great outdoors with their sons and daughters.   You can tell a lot about human nature by the way a parent introduces adversity and misery to their children regarding clouds of mosquitoes, leaking tents, smoky fires, forgotten necessities, and squirrel-pillaged rations.  One father who stands tall in my memory is a man I  call Caroline-y, a father who came huffing and puffing up the trail with his son Bud on one Especially-Rainy Day.

I was holed up in the cabin and feeling pretty darned certain that no one – and I mean no one – was going to be coming up the trail in all of that rain to ask about fishing, boats, horses, directions, or firewood.  No, it was Flat Out Raining — a classic Pouring-Down-Your-Tin-Pants-Straight-Into-Your-Boots kind of rain.  The kind of rain that says to you that you might as well just forget about the woolly sweater, the slicker, and the rubber poncho and just stay inside.

Anyone who has spent any time working out in the woods knows that, at a certain point, trying to “stay dry” under a steaming, streaming rubber poncho actually feels wetter than just going with the Literal Flow from the Heavens Above and accepting the fact that you are going to be soaked to the skin anyway.  It might as well be God’s good replenishing water, rather than your own poncho-created condensation.  There is some Measure of Liberation in just going with the way Nature is funneling life’s elements your way.  Sometimes life is best if you don’t fight it and you just go with the Flow.

monarch wood stoveSo, there I was.  Rain drumming on the metal roof of the cabin.  My feet propped up on the oven door and sitting just an easy arm’s length from my cup of Joe that was staying nice and hot on the stove-side warming tray.  It was a day for getting caught up on my reading and for thinking about getting started on some chores that were on the list for Needing Doing that day.

I was dreaming my way through a supply catalog when the dogs came barreling out from behind the cookstove.  They went tearing out the woodbox door– setting up a violent ruckus.  I wondered, Who the hell would be out on the trail on a day like today? 

Now the back door of my cabin didn’t set much more than 10 or so yards from the trail – the close proximity of which didn’t bother me much.  I lived on a lake in the middle of a wilderness area surrounded by Absolute Nowhere that was only accessible by float plane or by trail.  The trail to the lake was steep and had a way of winnowing out those who weren’t interested in mastering some serious elevation gain and the general hiking population, at best, was quite sparse.

The back door of the cabin was also my front door, as I never quite finished building the necessary deck and steps that would connect the Hanging Front Door to Terra Firma.  You can bet that I kept the “front door” barricaded and locked from the inside, not wanting Anybody’s Fool to go through it and then ass over teakettle onto the dirt below, mistakenly thinking it was the nearest exit to the Bank.  (The Bank being the Outhouse, thusly named by my illustrious predecessor.)

I suspected that the dogs might be barking at the arrival of the horses.  Now these horses were a wily lot.  They ran loose on the Rarity of Open Pasture – meaning that their only “fences” were purely topographical features – and it was a rip-roaring, two-dog-alarm  when they tried to sneak in to the homestead through the criss-crossing game trails that led to the salt lick from the Bird Meadow.  These horses were smart — smart enough to resort to covert actions, knowing that the odds were good to pretty-damned-great that they would be caught and captured and then put to work packing supplies up the hill from down below.

The sneaky devils generally came stealing in at nighttime for salt – or at least as stealthily as a one-ton animal can manage.   The dogs barked with the same amount of gusto in the wee hours of the night upon their unannounced arrival, but I never felt obligated to go chasing horses at night – beings as their eyes pick up light much better in darker conditions than we humans can.  The odds were certainly with them escaping against me capturing, what with me giving chase and tripping through the understory with a flashlight in one hand and a halter and oat bucket in the other.  It was quite the scene to be certain, me stumbling and cussing and them flicking their tails and horse-laughing their rumps off.

Well, the dogs were barking beyond their usual call of Advance, dear woman!  The evasive equines are noshing up at the salt lick!  (In case you hadn’t surmised, I had some seriously eloquent canines.)  I had no choice but to remove my backside from my place of comfort by the fire and check out the barking brouhaha.

I looked out the window and saw no sign of the Sneaky Devils up at the barn trying to get a nip of salt before bolting back into the forest.  What I did see were two people, one adult and one kid who must have been about 10 years old, standing in the middle of trail looking puzzled by the anomalous sight of the cabin.  They looked more soaked than two otters who just came in off the river for a spot of dry refreshment.  The father was hacking and wheezing like a dedicated smoker and the kid just looked like a miserable human being who was not rightly into this whole idea of male bonding on this particular day of inclement weather.

I grabbed my slicker from the hook on the back of the door and went outside to ask them if they were lost.  They explained that they were camped down below and saw this trail and wanted to see where it led.  I think that their use of the collective pronoun we was a stretch, as the kid just kept his head down – trying to keep the stream of rain that was coming off his yellow-blonde forelock from getting in his eyes.  I knew that feeling of Rain Misery and I felt for the kid.

I heard myself asking them if they wanted to come get warm in the cabin.  The dad started to say Nah so I added, “I have water on to boil.  I can make some cocoa for your wet friend here.”  They came in and crowded around my table-for-one – a slab of wood hinged to the wall of the cabin that I pulled up and set on those rare occasions when I wanted to eat on a flat surface – generally preferring a chair leaned up next to the warmth of the stove.

They took off their wet gear — super-soaked cotton hoodies — and I went outside to give their gear a good shake and a wring before hanging it to dry on the pegs behind the stove.  Having resumed their Station behind the cookstove, the dogs gave me forlorn looks each time one of them got pinged by a drop of water from the soaked hoodies.  Truth: You just have to respect the look that a wronged and faithful dog can give you, so I moved the hoodies down the peg rail to a spot that did not promise future misery for the pups.

I made cocoa-for-two and managed to find a bag of wrinkly-looking marshmallows in the pantry that some long-ago camper had left with me in trade for the use of my ax.  The kid didn’t mind that the marshmallows were old and seasoned.  It was evident that he was simply grateful to be somewhere warm and dry.

The dad did all of the talking – giving up a string of bullshit stories from when he lived in the woods in the good state of North Caroline-y.  That’s how he pronounced it: Caroline-y.  He talked about the wood smoker that his Pap (Yes, he even said Pap) used to cure the venison and how they used to chop wood the same way I did.

It was midway through his yarn spinning that Caroline-y pulled a Milky Way candy bar out of his shirt pocket and started to eat it.  Right there in front of the kid.  The kid spoke aloud — which surprised me — as he hadn’t said a word up until then, and he asked his pap if he could have some.  Caroline-y just gave him an appraising look and kept chawing away on his Milky Way while saying, “Sorry, Bud.  Ate yours, Bud.”

The cabin grew a clumsy feeling – like a low-pressure Cloud of Awkward blowing through.  It could have been the way I froze when I looked at Bud, who was looking mighty embarrassed for taking the chance to ask aloud.  I walked over to Bud and plopped an extra handful of marshmallows into his still-steaming cocoa and said, “You’ve got to help me eat these, Bud.  I’m allergic to marshmallows.”

The story really doesn’t go anywhere beyond this point, other than the rain stopping and me handing their more-dry-than-when-they-arrived hoodies back to them and pointing them back down the trail to their camp.  For some reason that line of Caroline-y’s stayed with me though: Sorry, Bud.  You ate yours, Bud.

In the years since, I have worked my thoughts all the way around that Sorry Bud line.  I understand the concept of Real Life Tough Love and teaching young ones the value of not always being handed every darned thing that they might want or demand.  Truth: the kid had eaten his own Milky Way on the trail.  And just because you opt to consume your portion first, doesn’t mean that you deserve a share of someone else’s Delayed Gratification Efforts.  Justice has a way of prevailing in Life when it comes to this.  And it should.

But still . . .

Life does offer us a whole lot of Extenuating Circumstances as well.  Take a Soaking Rain for example.  Or Going Along with someone else’s Genius Plan to hike up to God-Knows-Where in a Drenching Downpour.  Or not being dressed right for the weather.  Or the thought that floats a little higher than Caroline-y’s brand of Sorry-Bud Justice is the one that says Why not say I love you without saying it out loud?  Just hand over half of the Milky Way and everyone wins.

As you can probably tell, my feelings tip to the side of Extenuating Circumstances and saying I love you without using words.  I think that there are always going to be other ways and times to teach the Real Life stuff to our loved ones.  Why not extend the Magic of the Completely Unexpected . . . the warmth and the dry and the hot cocoa in a stranger’s cabin in the middle of a crazy  downpour . . . just for that extra second longer and cut the damned candy bar in half and hand it over . . . all with a smile that says Ain’t life great?

I don’t know.  Lest you think that I am judging here . . . I’m not.  And I am.  I think of that day and I hope that Bud knows that there are people in the world that will have his back, even if it’s only with past-their-prime desiccated marshmallows.  Life has taught me that there’s a whole heck of a lot of grace to offer.  And to be universally fair, I am hoping that Caroline-y gets his share of grace, too.

51302134So that’s it from me, Boots the Badass Coffee Babe, on the brink of Father’s Day 2016.  This is the first year when I do not have the need to send a greeting card or make a phone call to my father, as he passed away this past December.  I think about the years when my Father’s Day cards were late and when I didn’t call on Sunday.  It makes a part of my heart droop to the sad side, and I hope that my father understands.

That’s the thing about my dad.  Even now in these Days of Loss, he lets me know.  There are days when I can feel him extending me the bigger half of a Milky Way candy bar that isn’t rightly mine to have, and I accept it with a hungry gratitude and a thankfulness in my heart.  If there is anything I have learned this past year it is this: Life turns on a dime.  And it spins on an axis that is provided by our parents who bring us into the world so we can learn about the dizzying gift of extended grace.

ardoch main streetIt feels odd and strangely marvelous to think that I have stood on the same planet all of these years past with my father, streaking through the Milky Way together . . . and I wonder.  Like looking up at a cloudless sky at all of its nightly glory, it’s hard not to wonder.  I stand out under the starlight and I see the faint remnants of our galaxy and I send Milky Way love to my father, a man whom I didn’t always understand yet I loved all the same.  And I know he loved me.

For all of those Milky Way moments of grace and love and forgiveness that you extended to me, I thank you, Dad.  From the bottom my heart and to the ends of the Universe.  Truly.  I wish you a Happy Father’s Day.

This song is the BEST.   Please, take a moment of quiet to listen.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers out there.

Remember . . . life is a lively event that will spin on a dime.

Share your candy bar, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

xoxox from your Badass Coffee Babe, Boots


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Dad, I raise a mug to you.


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A Cup of Coffee, Freebird Boots, & Lynyrd Skynyrd

Good morning, People!  Yay for Thursday!

Grab a cup of coffee, scroll to the bottom of this post, click on the music link courtesy of the good Lynyrd Skynyrd, and check out these Thursday boots.  The Sadie boots and Mabel boots are especially cute!

Life is a lively event.  Pull on some boots, drink some coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

good morning coffee cup

These boots need no special occasion . . . they are for everyday fun.  Happy shopping!

Freebird Women’s Sabra Boot

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Freebird Women’s Sadie Boot

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Freebird Women’s Mabel Boot

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Freebird Women’s Phoenix Low Boot

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Freebird Women’s Belle Boot

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Freebird Women’s Chief Boot

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Freebird Women’s Sammi Boot

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