What brings you joy?

cups and pot. simplest things

cabindoorcoffee.wordpress.com

What brings you joy?  Boots here . . . thinking about what brings me joy.  I can tell you that my morning cup of Joe is a good way to kickstart my day’s sense of appreciation.  And if it’s the simplest things that bring me joy, I love the simplicity of these coffee mugs.  There is something about their rustic beauty that makes my morning feel like it is going to be a good day!  I especially love the oversized, cream-colored, enamel non-travel mug!  My fave!

Life is short. Drink your Joe out of a mug that you love!

Abbott Collection Yellow Enamel Look Cappuccino Cups

http://amzn.to/2brppQL

Hallmark Home Distressed Oversized Enamel Camp Mug, Cream House Non-Travel

http://amzn.to/2by3kl1

Hallmark Home Distressed Oversized Enamel Camp Mug, Aqua Happy Coffee Beans

http://amzn.to/2bBFp2U

Wild & Wolf Folklore Enamel Mug: Day

http://amzn.to/2bIs4Di

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An Unexpected Inheritance

Airedale_Terrier_1

cabindoorcoffee.wordpress.com

Greetings, good people!  Boots here.  I can’t seem to stay off the trail these days.  The good news?  I’m back in the office saddle again and ready to resume the 3 Rs: (w)riting, reading, and researching coffee hints and tips for you.

I used to work for an old-timer named Dinty at an isolated lake on some old homestead that had been pieced out of the surrounding government land — or guvment land, as Dinty used to say.  Dinty’s cabin was perched on a rocky outcropping high above the lake — a location which increased the view dramatically but which also made the chore of hauling water quite the Olympic-style feat for anyone over the age of old-timer status.   That’s where I came in: Dinty’s Personal Hired Girl.

Dinty was short for Dinsmore and, as you can guess with a name like Dinsmore, you just know that this gentleman was destined to be a character.  And he was.  Dinty lived a spartan life with his  Airedale — the only breed of dog that Dinty would entertain sharing his cabin with.  Dinty named every one of his Airedales Sandy “for that durned dog in the Little Orphan Annie cartoon.”

Dinty called all of the various Airedales Sandy to the dog’s face, back, or rear, but to the rest of us human folk, he would use the Roman numeral system, as if the dogs were the descendant kings and queens of some ill-fated, disinherited canine lineage.  It didn’t matter if the dogs were male or female, as the name Sandy was one of those non-gender names like Chris or Jessie or Terry.

I happened to be working for Dinty the summer that Sandy VI was reigning over the homestead.  For those of you who have long-forgotten the Roman numeral system, that would be #6.  Now I am an epic dog lover, but I would not say that I was Sandy VI’s number one fan.  The first time I met the dog, she bristled at me like a hedgehog and gave me that mean look that dogs give you when they want to mess with your mind.  And maybe take a chomp out of your leg.

You would be playing a mid-afternoon game of backgammon with Dinty and, if you moved your foot just-so under the table, Sandy VI would come at your foot like a terra-firma version of Jaws.  Because of Sandy’s threatening predilection to chomp on people and me being an exceedingly quick learner, I always made it a habit to don my steel-toed Wescos before engaging in any board games, partaking of meals, or drinking with Dinty.  You never knew when that crazy dog was going to wake up from some nutty dream and sink its teeth into your ankle.  It was kind of scary really.

Dinty was a coffee drinker like I was.  There was no messing around when it came to get the pot percolating.  Every morning I would build a fire, grab the water pail, and head down to the lake for water.  Sandy would watch me from the front porch of the cabin with her beady eyes hidden behind her curly mop, all the while eyeing my lower legs while I walked backward down the trail to the lake.  Can I just say it?  I did not harbor any love or affection for Sandy VI.

Returning with the water was a different matter.  I always felt like I had an advantage and that I was carrying protection.  It was evident that some hired girl from a previous year had baptized the dog at least once.

I am surprised to say that that dog actually grew on me in an admiring sort of way.  There was something about the tenacity and fierceness that she directed toward life.  That summer alone, Sandy VI was bitten by a rattle snake, kicked by a horse, and lost for a week on the other side of the ridge.  I watched as some nice person, who must have found her, boated her back to Dinty’s dock and dropped her off without a howdy doo to Dinty.  He probably was so glad to be rid of her that he didn’t wait around for any thanks.

During a thunder and lightning storm, Sandy VI jumped over three ricks of split firewood in the woodshed and then couldn’t jump back over to freedom.  It took an afternoon of taking apart the woodpile and then restacking it to liberate her.  My thanks?  She just went tearing off into the yard, barking at the sky and daring it to throw another lightning bolt her way.

After I figured out that she was just plain loco and not targeting just me, I relaxed a little bit.  After all, what harm did it do me to keep my knee-high, engineer-style Wescos on the for entire blistering summer heat . . . my feet never once having opportunity to receive a single ounce of vitamin D while wearing any of my beloved flip-flops?  And was it really that bad wondering if my hand was going to be snarfed off anytime I went to fill her food bowl?  Or how about those daily chess games when my legs would go to sleep for fear of moving them and having my boots gnawed at?  No, it was all good.  The best summer of my life.

My hired-girl gig was over in late September and I gave Dinty a hug on the front porch, the walk down to the dock to see me off being a bit of a chore for the old guy.  In spite of my relationship with his beloved Sandy VI, you couldn’t help but love Dinty.  His was a personality that you don’t see much of anymore.  A man who kept to himself, chose solitude over the madding crowd, and lived the life he had chosen for himself without complaint.  I felt some tears roll down my cheeks as I gave him one last hug.

As I was backing down the driveway, one eye on Sandy VI, with my gear, Dinty called out, “You know.  You’re the only one who made it through the whole season.”  I think I could have told him why, when I saw Sandy eyeing me with her beady eyes for that one last opportunity to sink her Kujo jaws into my calf.  But . .  through all of this . . . I learned one important lesson.  Never judge a man by the canine company he keeps.  There is disparity all over the world that we don’t understand, and this was one of those moments when I felt as if it all made sense.  Companionship sometimes trumps a little bit of unpleasantness.  We’ve all done it. And we’ll keep doing it.

At that compliment/confession, I dropped my pack and gave Dinty one more hug.  That was the one time that summer when I walked down the road to the dock facing forward. I couldn’t walk backward.  Had I done so, I would have had to witness Dinty standing there  . . . alone for the winter . . . with his Sandy pacing the porch in front of him.  I kept my eyes looking forward to the dock and the pick-up boat that was going to take me back to the land of roads, cars, and grocery stores.

Dinty and I exchanged the occasional letter after that season.  Two years later, I received an official-looking letter that I almost discarded as junk mail.  Turns out it was from a lawyer’s office, Dinty’s lawyer.  The letter instructed me to call the office, as I had been noted as an heir regarding some such item.  I called the office, wondering what the heck, only to learn that I had inherited none other than Sandy VI.  The lawyer read a brief note that Dinty had left saying that I was the one hired girl that Sandy had “loved the most.”

I couldn’t believe it.  So what would you do?  I gassed up my car and drove halfway across the state to the kennel where the poor dog was temporarily incarcerated.  When I took one look at that dejected mess of heart-heavy dog behind that wire cage, I almost started to cry.  All alone.  Missing her only master in the entire world.  Imprisoned.  It was really sad.  That is until the damned dog recognized me or my scent or something and she came out of her depressed state like a rattlesnake to lunge at the wire gate with her teeth showing.

Somehow, and I don’t know how, Sandy VI and I came to an understanding.  She came home with me.  I was living in a dinky cabin on some national forest land at the time and Sandy VI had acres where she could run and be a terror to the territory.  We eventually found an uneasy truce, but I was still pretty careful whenever she was under the kitchen table.  Some habits die hard.

In honor of Sandy and Dinty . . . and my love of boots, shoes, and sandals . . . check out this fabulous footwear.  I still have that same pair of Wescos in the back of my closet.  Yes, I could be considered to be a hoarder, but those boots speak to a time when I was young enough to have the world at my traveling fingertips and dumb enough to think that taking on an inherited dog would include a Hollywood moment or two.

Truth?  There were no Hollywood moments.  But I feel that I did the right thing by rescuing that dog.  There are those times in our lives when we do the right thing and it doesn’t feel like much of a reward at the time.  But I think that this is probably the reward within itself.  Maybe rewards have a way of sneaking up on you.  They hide in cupboards and closets like those Wesco boots.

I think I know why I have kept those boots.

Wesco Boss 11″ Engineer Boots 7700100

http://amzn.to/2bHD3fV

. . . and what would have been a good summer alternative!
Wesco Men’s Custom Jobmaster Boot BKBE106100F Black/Beige

http://amzn.to/2bcJN4e

. . . and the summer shoes I WANTED to be wearing that summer. . . the favorites that my Sissy always sends me for my birthday.
Teva Women’s Olowahu Flip-Flop

http://amzn.to/2bHDYNv

Sunday Morning Coffee

coffee. sunday morning. journal. coffee cup

Boots here to wish you a Happy Happy Sunday.  I don’t know about you but there is something special about the leisurely perspective that a Sunday morning has to offer.  Sunday is a day to sleep in, to go back to sleep to resolve a weird dream that has an awkward or disturbing ending, and to make time to stretch before getting into a vertical position.  Sunday is always a great day to join the human race.

It’s a day to get caught up on bills, make out a weekly to-do list, and organize the hodgey-podgey stack of random little notes to myself that have accumulated during the week.  A day to squiggle more notes on my white board on the wall and to micro-erase the things that I did manage to get done in the previous weekdays.  In short, I love Sundays.

And one of my favorite things to do is to grab my journal and doodle some drawings or scribble some words onto the page.

But one thing that is not a leisurely activity on Sunday morning is making my coffee.  I just can’t wait to get my Joe brewed and commence Operation Catch-up.  Sunday Morning Coffee is one of those week-long-awaited luxuries that I just don’t want to mess around with.  I’m not one of those people who starts a load of laundry or empties the dishwasher or sweeps the front porch before I brew my coffee.  No.  Sunday morning is about getting caffeinated and investing some focused attention into my one day of the week that says I can prioritize my preferences — which always feels like a brighter degree of great.

I just ordered one of these planners (click on the image or link below) and it is one heck of a goal organizer.  The best part is that it focuses on breaking down your goals into baby steps so that you can find your way more easily.  Do check it out.  I am really loving mine!

  • NEW & Improved Planner: JULY 2016 to JUNE 2017
  • ❶ Need to Transform Life With Yearly Goals ?
  • ❷ Want to Set Motivating Monthly Goals ?
  • ❸ Ready To Make Every Day Count ?

Tools4Wisdom Planner 2016 2017 Calendar July to June – 4-in-1: Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly Goals Organizer (8.5 x 11 / 200 Pages / Spiral / Academic Year)

http://amzn.to/2aTayQZ

and here’s another one of the covers . . .

http://amzn.to/2aRxnOU

Enjoy life and make some dreams happen by mapping out what you can do and then doing it!  Make each day count!

Seeking Higher Ground & Following Random and True Directions

IMG_3112. keep your heart pointing trueBoots here on this beautiful summer day . . . pointing my compass and seeking Higher Ground today . . . and keeping my heart pointed true.

It seems as if some days my compass gets swiveled around and I find myself turning around in circles.  I think we all experience this from time to time.  Not knowing which way our compass is pointing or from which direction the winds are blowing or how high the river is going to rise.   There are so many uncertainties in life.

It is when I am out in the wilderness and trying to figure out which way to go on a “gently-used” (read invisible) trail when I most have to rely on my compass.  And on my internal compass — my intuition — as well.  There is something about aligning my intuition with the jittering of the compass needle that makes me feel ultra-alive.  Add to this a tiny and disconcerting sliver of the great unknown that lies ahead . . . you have a pretty good recipe for being in the moment.

Well, I am here now clacking away on the keyboard, so that must mean that I chose the right and true directions out there in the woods.   Still, this is not to say that I haven’t arrived home or back in camp without some mean bruises, scrapes, blackberry scratches, and nettle stings to remind me that lucky as I am to feel “found” again, it wasn’t without some discomfort along the trail.

Like life, we don’t really ever know if we have chosen the perfect directions . . . those directions that lead us to a sense of home, unscathed and happy.  There are always going to be forks in the trail, creeks to be forded, blazes that are tricky to find.

I once asked an old-timer, this tough Bull of the Woods, why blazes were cut so high up on the trees?  He answered me with one word, “Snow.”  Blazes, the recognizable scars you see high up on trees, are marked to establish a true line.  This line is run by what is called a “random and true” line method, ensuring that the trail can be followed through the woods.  Blazes are cut high up on the tree to allow for them to read during the wintertime’s heavy snowfall.

If you have ever been on skis or snowshoes in the forest in the dead of winter, you know how amazingly well a trail can hide in the wintertime.  So, a resounding Yay! for those who have gone before us with the foresight of cutting those blazes high for us — no matter how high the snow gets, we are still able to follow that random and true line.  [And I sometimes wonder if this foresight was learned partially by some tough-love from Mother Nature.]

So, if you are going to be relying on blazes, you have to take your eyes off the ground and look up for that random and true line that will lead you back home.

All of this to say, the change-ability of life is inevitable.  But the compass, if I trust it, will point in the direction that will determine my new destiny. When I think on it, true directions aren’t always going to be the Easy Path in life.  Sometimes it means doing what I have to do, reminding myself on a daily basis that this current paradigm is temporary.  That sometimes life kind of sucks and I feel kind of lost . . . and it’s up to me to get out my compass, line up with true north, and head off on a new adventure that will lead me out of my current temporary into a whole new feeling of temporary.

I listen to this music and see all of the collaborative effort that went into its recording.  It takes a lot of energy to make stuff like this happen.  I respect it. And I also respect the effort that people put into reaching a higher level of consciousness.

Here is some great music for you to check out!  Click on the images/links below.  Have a fantastic day, listen to good music, follow the blazes, and head in your true directions.

Keep your heart pointed true.

Songs Around The World (CD + DVD)

http://amzn.to/2aPFLSX

PFC 2: Songs Around The World [CD/DVD Combo]

http://amzn.to/2aPFpvh

PFC3: Songs Around The World [CD/DVD Combo]

http://amzn.to/2aPFfUK

Playing For Change: Peace Through Music: DVD

http://amzn.to/2aSQf0E

Monday, Monday . . . coffee in bed, please.

quote. It's Monday. Coffee in bed, please. Val

cabindoorcoffee.wordpress.com

Boots here with some Monday morning cheer.  This little pup knows how to make snoozing look pretty darned luxurious.  Coffee in bed, indeed!

I don t know about you but come Monday morning, the thought of adding another morning to the weekend, reserved for sleeping in and a second cup of coffee sounds pretty good.

For this Monday morning, think about treating yourself to some caffeinated sunshine.  Go to your favorite coffee shop and order that fancy latte that you have been thinking of ordering.  Go in to work a few minutes later, should that be an option.   Linger over the newspaper for a few more minutes.  Order a doughnut at that crazy-good doughnut shop that everyone is always raving about . . . what a fun way to salute the week.  Sometimes you just gots to step out of the day-to-day routine of healthy-eating discipline and order a doughnut.

Today?  Make it extraordinary.  Me?  I am thinking about one or three things that I plan to do that will make my day even better.  I am going to take the wobble out of my favorite music stand, chase some sunshine, go on my Meditation Walk, and organize some writing.  One thing I know I am going to do is make a fantastic caramel mocha, put my feet up on my desk, watch some fun youtube videos, and just while away a few moments while I drink my coffee . . . all of this to be woven into my day of honest labor.  There are days that feel as if “work” has robbed the hours from my good intentions . . . but not today.  Today is reserved for Extraordinary.

And about the time that you think life is just one work day after another, take some sunshine into the workplace with you.  Do something nutty.  Dance like a long-armed, 3-toed sloth in front of a co-worker who won’t understand.  Wear your shirt backward.  Mismatch your socks.  Braid your hair into pigtails.  Wear only one earring.  Pick a bouquet of dandelions and give them to a co-worker.  Smile at every single person you see today.  Stand up and stretch, on the hour.  I don’t know . . . just do something to make the day memorable and good.  Drink good coffee — that always helps make the day a happy place for me.

And check out some of these fun Monday morning coffee treats and accessories. Life truly is but a breath.  Enjoy yourself and be kind one to another.   Click on the images (or the links) below and have fun doing some imagining on this Monday morning.

. . . AND scroll to the bottom to listen to an AWESOME Monday morning song!  Make today all you hope it will be .

Wild Republic Hanging 3 Toed Sloth


http://amzn.to/2aFxkc3

Torani Lavender Syrup, 750 ml Bottle. . . add to a white mocha.  Yummy!


http://amzn.to/2b6UTw7

Ghirardelli Chocolate Chocolate Flavored Sauce Squeeze Bottle, 16 fl. oz.


http://amzn.to/2aFvNTF

Retro Spoofs Workaholics Thank God It’s Monday


http://amzn.to/2aZII3D

Now Panic and Freak Out


http://amzn.to/2aFqTsi

Keep Calm and Drink Coffee


http://amzn.to/2b6Wj9U

Thermik Handle for Tumblers

http://amzn.to/2aFx3pA

kate spade new york Thermal Mug – Cold Hands Warm Heart


http://amzn.to/2aTnLGj

and just for the heck of it because I like old wool blankets . . .

Extra Heavy Duty Swiss Army Military Wool Blanket Cover


http://amzn.to/2aFqSF7

Enjoy the music!

The Mamas & The Papas – Monday Monday

It’s Coffee O’Clock!

coffee-1300031_960_720

Love this art!

I feel like I am lagging today.  It is mid-day for many of you and I am just sitting down with this Friday greeting.  And late as it is, according to Boots Time, it’s still Coffee O’Clock and I want to wish all of you good people a Happy Friday Feeling.

There is something about the Friday Feeling that give me a boost of joy — the same feeling that I get each morning when I look at my first cup of Joe.  Why is this?  I don’t know.  Coffee is a beverage that packs a powerful boost — which I thoroughly appreciate . . . but I am also thinking that there is also a great deal of the Sense of Tradition that coffee brings to my day.

Cup_of_turkish_coffeeTradition.  What is it?  Google’s “define: tradition” offers this: the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation.  Well, this hardly defines my relationship with my first cup of coffee in the morning.  I distinctly do not recall having a cuppa with my grandpap or sharing a latte with my mother in a swanky coffee shop.  Maybe the word tradition is a misuse . . . I am now thinking that it is more a sense of Ritual.  Back to Google’s “define: ritual” . . . a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.  

That works for me.  Ritual.  A ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.  Is my Coffee Ritual religious or solemn?  Well that kind of depends on how much sleep I got the night before or what kind of day I am heading into.  I can definitely see how making my first latte of the day could be considered religious and solemn.

coffee and burlapI remember this old-timer that used to come on one of the pack trips.  At the time, I thought he was sort of different concerning his morning coffee.  He wanted to drink it privately, away from the madding crowd surrounding the campfire.  He would go off on his own, yet within eye-shot of camp.  He would find a rock or a log to sit on, turn his back on the other guests, and sip on his coffee.  Looking back, I can now see that there was a Ritualistic endeavor that he was participating in while enjoying some relative solitude with his brew.   That or he was super grumpy in the mornings and couldn’t stand the circular B.S. that the campfire tended to generate.  Either way you look at it, I have to hand it to the guy as to knowing how he liked to start his day.

What about you?  What is one of your favorite coffee rituals in the morning?  For me, I grab my cup of Joe and head to my desk.  I get myself settled, look out the window at the glorious day and I start to collect my thoughts via the keyboard.  The days that allow for this luxury I call special.  The days that don’t allow for this luxury I call my Friday Feeling . . . knowing that the next day is going to be wide open for my sense of Ritual of drinking coffee and writing.  I know that life is all-encompassing and it’s all wonderful, but I have to confess to super-enjoying the mornings when I am able to prioritize and enjoy my Preferred Rituals.   Simply put, it’s fun to be living my preferences.

Check out these cool coffee mugs below that give a shout-out to your Friday Feeling:


http://amzn.to/29QFeRe


http://amzn.to/29TRaNw

And I know some of these added gizmos seem kind of over the top but check out this inexpensive mug warmer to keep your Joe hot:

http://amzn.to/2aevZs8

Life is a super lively event and ALL days are good.  Make them even better with the ritual of some morning Joe!

Hello again . . . Boots is back in the saddle! Oh, and tip your barista!

Greetings to all of you good people!  I, Boots the Badass Coffee Babe, have been away — out on a trail gig — and have missed our coffee connection!  The past weeks, I’ve been out in the woods, away from any form of Internet communication, and restoring my Inner Outdoors Girl.  It has felt great!  And now I am back, so we can catch up on coffee. Tell me . . . What have I missed?

While out on the trail, I ran into a hiker, Niccolo, who was a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur from Italy.   We got to chatting about travel, trails, and coffee, and Niccolo said that he was curious about a lot of things in America but, once on the topic of Coffee, he asked why American baristas are so under-paid and under-respected.   Now, I might not speak Italian, but Niccolo was certainly speaking my language when it came to this conversation!

I really didn’t know how to answer to this — this not being one of those common questions that comes up when you start Coffee Talk.   I got to thinking about all of the things that American baristas have to be good at and their many multi-tasking duties.  I mean, just look at them.  They pull shots, steam milk, make eye contact with customers, do foam art, remember to ask about someone’s job interview, call back the next drink order to the register barista, and hand off your drink with a smile.   Impressive!

Now that I am back in town, I went to a busy coffee shop and observed the baristas in action.  Let’s take a look at what they have to do to serve an amazing cup of Joe.   A good barista . . .

  1. grinds coffee beans correctly so that the shots aren’t too long or too short
  2. tamps the grind into the filter perfectly
  3. pulls good shots
  4. times shots for high standards
  5. pumps liquid sugar into cups
  6. steams milk to satisfy requests (absolutely no foam, light foam, shaving-cream foam, dry cappuccino foam, bone-dry cappuccino foam)
  7. connects with the customers
  8. rinses shot glasses
  9. fills the bean hoppers
  10. continually re-adjusts the burr grinder to maintain perfect shots
  11. keeps everything clean and shiny
  12. re-stocks the refrigerators
  13. keeps the queue of drinks marching forward
  14. calls back drink orders
  15. works both the hot bar and the cold bar
  16. draws a cute smiley-face on certain cups
  17. asks about the family to the customers they know well
  18. smiles at you when s/he hands off your drink
  19.  . . . and I know that there are many other things . . .

This is a heck of a lot plates to keep spinning — all while maintaining a pleasant demeanor.   Now that I, Boots the Badass Coffee Babe, am back in town, I want to give a big shout-out to all of you baristas who work so hard to perfect your craft and to serve us fabulous beverages that many of us could never dream of making at home.

Just saying!  It makes me think of when I was young, pretty impressionable, flat broke, and just starting to work for someone who was eking out an existence on a history-laden homestead that he had inherited from someone who was as old as dirt.  The history of the place was pretty amazing and this old guy certainly knew it.  He was cocky and demanding and expected me to be his personal barista.   Well, I tamed that idea right out of him.

Sure, I was willing to haul the water from the lake and start the fire in the cookstove.  And I was even willing to grab a mug from the cupboard and set it to warm on the warming trivet.  But make the coffee?  Nuh-uh.  I knew that once I got roped into that lasso, I was going to be on call every morning at oh-dark-thirty to meet this buckaroo’s caffeine demands.

It’s weird to think that I wasn’t a coffee drinker yet.  I opted for healthful options that involved herbs and botanicals that now don’t even smell that good if I now catch a whiff of them brewing.   And this old-timer used the strangest contraption for making coffee.  He said it operated on a vacuum system  that involved some elaborate siphoning.  He expected me to learn how to use it and produce damned-good coffee, but I feigned ignorance (which was genuine) and confounded his expectations by making the very worst coffee (which was a ruse — I was smart enough to figure it out) that he swore — and I mean swore [#@$&*$$@!] had ever had the first day on the job.  I’ll give it up for the guy for having a colorful vocabulary.

I would call this a Big Life Lesson: There are benefits to Being Inadequate . . . this becoming a carefully-executed skill set of feigned ignorance that I happily applied to other areas of my professional life such as how to un-clog the paper in the copier machine on campus, how to clean the yuck out of the microwave in the break room, and how to sharpen a chain saw.   Some things are simply better left to those who feel more inclined toward responsibility.  And to showing others their higher state of abilities.   Thank God for different personality types is all that I am saying.

You’ve got to check out this old timer’s crazy way to make coffee below.   This gentleman’s contraption looked more Frankenstein-ian than this modern and sleek version, but it is the very same concept.  Who would have thought that you could extract coffee via a siphon?  Weird, right?  Go to Amazon by clicking on the images/links below:


http://amzn.to/29ROXI7

and how about this lower-priced one . . .

http://amzn.to/29SjLCz

AND . . . tip your barista.  As Niccolo pointed out, they are under-paid and under-tipped.   Your barista is partly responsible for your morning happiness . . . why not reciprocate with at least a very nice smile and a “Good job!”

Oh, and one more thing.  I am so excited to be back, I can’t stop adding coffee stuff!

Check out this new organic, Arabica coffee I found on Amazon.  I am going to try it out!  The name alone sells me — Happy Belly — let alone that it is organic, sustainably sourced and Fairtrade!


http://amzn.to/2aro1e5

PREMIUM COFFEE BY HAPPY BELLY

spacerHappy Belly makes artisan, small batch roasted blends like those found at your favorite neighborhood coffee shop, conveniently delivered to your doorstep. From growing and harvesting to roasting and packaging, ensuring our coffee’s freshness and flavor is our main focus.

Life is a darn good event.  Have fun, drink coffee, and tip your barista!!

 

 

 

Everything About Your Sunny Personality

caffeine maintains my sunny personalityThis is fun!  I love this kind of thing, and I think you will enjoy it, too.  Watch the video below and “think” the answers to the prompts — whatever comes to your mind first.  Then listen to what your “thinks” reveal.  Do NOT overthink this.  If you do, it is not what the Cube Test is about.  And it is never fun when you overthink anything.

So, click on the video below and enjoy the process!

“This Cube Test Will Tell You Everything About Your Personality.”  This is a Japanese psychology game meant to reveal aspects of your personality you might not have known otherwise. Click on the video below:

If you feel like sharing, tell us what you learned about your personality in the comments section below.

Boots here, wishing you a Happy Hump Day.

how sweet coffee tastes

 

N.joy the Essentials Stainless Steel Milk Pitcher, Suitable for Coffee, Latte and Frothing Milk, Available in 12 Oz

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Electric Handheld Milk Frother mixer (19,000 RPM) – Stainless Steel Whisker- Ergonomic Wand- Easy to Use & Clean- Best Hand Held Foamer for Coffee, Latte, Cappuccino and More

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KitchenAid KCM0402ER Personal Coffee Maker – Empire Red

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Some Fierce Boots & A Dearth of Spirituality

putting on fierce bootsI remember the time when someone told me that I was buying way too many boots and heels . . . and that if I only spent the same amount of energy on my spiritual life as I did on buying new shoes, I would be a much happier person.  Yep.  Someone told me this as I was going through my urban coffee days — as a top-notch barista in a singularly-popular coffee shop, sporting a green apron and pushing beverages to the  Needy Uncaffeinated .

This good-advice person’s name was Ernest, and I took his advice as Ernest  being Earnest.  At the time, I appreciated Ernest’s insights.  After all, it isn’t often that someone tells you at the hand-off bar that you could use a whole lot more spirituality in your soul.   It’s the sort of thing that makes you stand up a little straighter and take notice of your foot apparel for that particular day.  And while Ernest certainly  hit one of the nails on the head, there were yet a whole lot more nails dotting the board a’waiting some serious banging.  It was a time of life when a whole lot of is were waiting to be dotted and a lot of ts were hoping to be crossed . . . in other words, I was experiencing Life just like everyone else — what with it being so uncertain and all.  The best word for that time of my life could be summed up as: Major Transition. and we all know that Periods of Transition can use a Goodly Dose of Imminent Spirituality.  

Transition.  Not a bad thing, transition.  I look back now, what with hindsight being so great and all,  and connect the Scattered Dots that have led me to today . . .  with Now being pretty darned great in comparison to Then.  Life has its moments and its cycles.  And I am the first to say that I am always glad when I am out of my Frail-Souled, Boot-Buying Paradigm.  However . . . please, let there be a however in this story’s moral.

Here’s the However: Ernest’s Sage Words aside, there is nothing wrong with feeling a moment of joy when buying and wearing a  super-cute pair of shoes or boots.  This little tale is in no way meant to serve as a warning to those of you who have a passion for buying Boots, Heels, or Sandals.  After all, the purchase of such items need not mean that your Soul is experiencing a Dearth of Integrity.  It just means that you have Fun wearing your boots.  Simple.  I have spent many a happy hour, fighting off the Challenges of Transition as I danced my boot heels into oblivion on the dance floor.

I think of Ernest on occasion — especially when I am looking in my Shoe Closet.  He was a kind soul who meant extremely well and who carried with him an Eye for Spirituality — and its Lack Therein.  He was a good person who could see Life Conflict written on me and who believed that putting those Boot Dollars into a 401K would have served me in a much better way.  Maybe Ernest was right.  I don’t know, but I do think that his heart was in the right place by speaking up and putting it out there.

Life is a lively event.  Wear your boots with fun in your heart, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?  xox Boots

As for the boots below . . . I want!

Ariat Women’s Unbridled Roper Western Cowboy Boot

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Ariat Women’s Showbaby Western Boot

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Ariat Women’s Fatbaby Heritage Vivid Western Cowboy Boot

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The Way of Toast & Snooze-Button Bill

Camp coffee . . . camp toast!  Camp toast is so much fun, I could write an ode to camp toast . . . although I don’t think I could write a more beautiful ode than OK Go’s “Last Leaf” video (below).  This is such a beautiful song and their creative and fanciful and artistic use of toast is nothing short of exquisite.  Please, do watch it.  The melody, like a good cup of Joe, will stay with you throughout the day in a good way.

Camp toast.  It’s like comfort food on the trail and so simple to make.  Add some almond butter and slice some fruit on top of it all, and you have yourself a very hearty breakfast that delivers good hearty nutrition with minimal time expenditure.

When I think of Camp Toast, I think of a buckaroo named Bill.  Bill was a Late Hire on our Whip-It Crew.  Being on a Whip-It Crew involved going into a post-logged slash area and cutting out all of the little saplings and shrubs that were sprouting up, prior to re-planting.  I am sure that there is someone out there who is going to say that there is no such thing as a Whip-It Crew . . . It doesn’t sound very woodsy-technical, I will agree — so I just want provide the caveat that this is what we called our crew for that and subsequent contracts involving the removal of adverse vegetation in a slash area.

Being on the Whip-It Crew was not what I would call Fun.  It played with your mind and the day did not move quickly.  The work involved tripping your way through acres of slash while being whipped about the face and body by lithesome sprouting trees.  In order to get an early start to beat the heat, we had to wake up very early in order to get a cool start on the day.  We would climb into the Crummy each morning to save gas and to afford the non-drivers some extra sleep.  Who knew that we were way ahead of the Rideshare curve?

Much to our ever-heightening annoyance, Bill used to arrive late to the Crummy every morning.  Every single morning.  He’d come roaring into the Meeting Lot, a wide spot on Highway 54, in his ’72 Chevy — spraying an arc of gravel while chewing on the end of wadded up cigar.  I am guessing that Bill’s overall effect was one of eccentricity and I’m sure funny as hell to anyone who didn’t have any alarm-clock association with him.  But funny to us on the crew?  Not so much.

aviator gogglesI remember the morning Bill came skidding into the parking lot wearing some old WWII aviator goggles.  The goggles being necessary as his windshield was blown out.  When we asked him about it — how could you not? — he grumbled something or other about a Late Night and Trees that Jumped in Front of His Rig.  Who knows what the real story was, but I am suspecting it had something to do with reading his fortune at the bottom of a gin bottle.  You would have thought seeing some old Bull of the Woods cruising down the highway wearing these vintage goggles, his longish gray-black hair blowing back in the 55-MPH-generated breezes, would have been hilarious.  Heck, he could have likely pulled over alongside the road and charged tourists good money for a ride in his plane-mobile.  But to us?  His chronic lateness stripped him of any comic relief.  I can laugh now, but not so much at the time.

cinnamon roll. cakespy

Check out cakespy.com’s blog for the recipe to make these jumbo cinnamon rolls! Link below . . .

Bill’s extra snooze time each morning cost us precious minutes at Carol’s Coffee Cup.  Carol’s was famous for its fresh pie straight out of the oven and its hot cinnamon rolls the size of small dinner plates.  You might think I am exaggerating, but it’s true.  One of those rolls could send you into a sugar coma for the rest of the Crummy ride up the mountain to the unit.  And it then took some serious suggesting to get us roused and ready to tackle the Whip-It work that lay ahead of us for the day.  We would still be in that big of a stupor from all of Carol’s sugary goodness.

We loved Carol’s Coffee Cup — there was no other way to put it.  We stopped there every morning before heading up the hill.  Carol’s was a Dream Way to start out the morning.  It made the morning tolerable, or as Bill would say: tol-uh-ble.  I have mentioned the memorable pie and the cinnamon rolls and, even better yet, Carol’s version of a refill-to-go- was having one of the cheerful be-calico-aproned waitresses fill each of our Stanleys to the brim with Carol’s Signature Yuban before we loaded our sorry asses back into the Crummy.

Carol’s Signature Yuban had an extra sort of something to it that I could never quite put my finger on.  One day I just up and asked one of the Aprons — what all of the regulars affectionately or otherwise called the be-aproned waitstaff — what it was about Carol’s coffee that made it taste the way it did.  Pink  Apron said that Carol sprinkled ground cinnamon on top of the grounds before it started to percolate.  Carol figured that the cinnamon made it kind of special that way.  I am guessing that it was Carol’s way of making Designer Coffee out of a sow’s ear, being that Yuban wasn’t what I would call the most premium hipster bean on the coffee house market.

I can’t really say that I was ever that fond of Carol’s coffee additive, but I had to hand it to her for pure ingenuity.   And those cork-booted boys loved Carol’s coffee, cooking, and service.  When they saw a piece of hot apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese melting on the top set before them, they felt like no less than King Solomon.

Snooze Button Bill was one of those annoying patrons who thought he owned the joint.  He would cluck about the downside of our cinnamon roll rush while he ordered himself his standard 2 eggs (sunny side up), 2 sausage links, and 2 slices of white toast.  Every single morning.

When Bill ordered, he would state his preference as to the runniness of his sunny side uppers, the brownness of his links, and the degree of toasting that should be accorded his toast.  His order wouldn’t have been so bad for the Aprons if he had simply stuck to the same script each morning.  But he didn’t.  It was all a Lesson of Degrees with Bill.  He wanted the eggs pretty firm or kind of runny or clucking back to the cook.  The sausages were pretty straight forward, but he would send back the toast if it wasn’t Pure Palamino Gold.

Suffice it to say, none of the Aprons liked taking Bill’s order.  Bill would extol his Varied Reasons for the Inadequacy of the Toast when he sent it back.  He would go off on some commentary, saying that there is just something about burnt toast that says someone didn’t care enough to check the setting before pushing the lever down.  Or someone simply was neglectful.  Or someone had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.  Silly stuff that only cemented the Aprons’ and our opinion of Bill’s backsidedness.

Of course, the cook could hear Bill’s Toast Soliloquy, and I swear she would send out at least one Burnt Trial Balloon — all designed to get Bill’s dander up — before Bill finally got the Palamino-Gold toast that he demanded.

Out on the trail was something different.  Cookie would pull out the campfire toaster and, after having had to listen to two consecutive mornings of Bill’s Palamino-Gold laments,  we were all left on our own when it came to toast.  We were wisely allotted two pieces of bread each morning for our toasting pleasure.  If we weren’t mindful and we ruined our Toast Prospects by burning it to smithereens, we were on our own.  Cookie’s philosophy was pretty much Eat the Toast or return it to the ashes from which it originally came.  You can’t argue with good sense like that.

I actually enjoyed the whole Mindful Process of Toasting Bread on a Campfire.  You would be keeping a steady eye on your bread and it would be just about perfect for consumption and then — whoosh! — an errant draft would kick the flame into high action and your toast might get a dandy scorch.  I have to admit that I liked the Uncertainty of the Endeavor.  And when it came to toast, I pretty much ate any degree of toasting — burnt or otherwise — that went with the benefits of butter and jelly.  And it is always true that food — as is life — is always pretty darned great when you are eating in the Fabulous Outdoors.

One morning in camp, Bill asked us to watch his toast for him.  He must have thought we were Better People than we were — otherwise he wouldn’t have given up his Toast Autonomy to the likes of us.  Maybe it was all of those mornings that we had to wait for Bill to show up at the Crummy.  Maybe it was in honor of the patient Aprons who had been putting up with all of Bill’s Toast Nonsense.  Maybe it was Juvenile Revenge — pure and simple.  We waited for Bill to vacate the campfire premises, and we proceeded to incinerate Bill’s toast to the color and texture of a charcoal briquette.

The mind has a tendency to wander back to the Glimmers of Unexplained Irrelevancy, and I am guessing that this is what has happened here.  Bill’s role in this post’s Ode to Toast is obtuse at best.  He merely serves as the MacGuffin that brings Toast to the Campfire in this story.  The real story here centers on how great Campfire Toast is when you are out in the woods . . . or when you are sitting around your own home firepit.

And I’d like to say that there is some kind of moral to share about Respect for Timeliness or Be Kind to Waitstaff, but there isn’t.  All the Great Incineration gained anyone was the way that we laughed our asses off until we snorted when Bill came back and saw his Beloved Toast nothing but a wafer of carbon.

Bottom line: You can’t expect generosity from others when you are always riding their butts or acting all inconsiderate.  We finished the contract but after the Carbon Toast Experience, Bill’s demanding ways grew to be more humorous than harmful.  He still arrived late to the Crummy and we still complained about it, but there you go.  There are times in life when you can’t change circumstances completely and this was one of them.

Simply put: There are times when you just go with the flow . . .and I am thinking that this is the Way of Toast.

Bill the MacGuffin aside, take a look these awesome camp toasters.  I know that some of them might look like Rube Goldberg mouse traps, but they are so warm and fuzzy and reminiscent of times gone by.  You can watch your toast brown or burn, depending on your tolerance for carbon.  Get on board and get one of these for camping.  They are reasonably priced and they are fun!

UST Blue Sky Gear Toaster, Silver

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Camp-A-Toaster CT1 Camp-A-Toaster

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Chinook Plateau Folding Toaster

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Jacob Bromwell Original Genuine Pyramid Toaster (Tin)

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And you don’t want to burn your fingers!

Heat Resistant Oven Mitts Set – Hot Gloves for Cooking BBQ Grilling – Flame Retardant Kevlar Provides 662F Protection – Bonus Ebook

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And what goes better with toast than a hot, steaming cup of Joe that is brewed to perfection.  Imagine it.  You are taking in the sunrise, the air smells so clean you could have sworn that it had been manufactured for this very moment, the birds are tweeting and twittering in the forest, and  . . . wait! . . . was that a marmot you just heard whistling?  Yep.  You’re in the high country, your fire is crackling just right, the smoke is blowing just-so toward your blowhard Uncle Phil that is always waxing eloqent, and all is right with the world.  Pour yourself another cup and get another piece of toast a’toasting.  It’s the biggest goal you have to meet today.   Life is pretty good, isn’t it?

And check out this functional and adorable coffee percolator. It is hearty, fun to use, stainless steel so it’s easy to clean and easy to pack!

Texsport Stainless Steel Coffee Pot Percolator for Outdoor Camping

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And did you know that there are entire cookbooks dedicated to toast?


http://amzn.to/1UVYx6Y

And on a side note . . . in case you indulged a little too heartily with the brandy flask last night around the campfire . . . did you know that burnt toast will help a hangover?  Yep.  It will settle your tummy-brain upset just like that.  Works every time!  Maybe Bill should have switched his order from Palamino Gold to Burnt Black!

And you must watch this . . . I love this video!  I guarantee that if you watch it once, you are going to watch it twice.  So lovely of a tune and so imaginative.  And that’s a heck of a lot of toast that went into the making of this very artistic video.  Kudos to OK Go!

Boots here, signing off.

Wishing you happy trails of perfectly-toasted toast and a satisfying tale to go with it.

Life is a lively event.  Watch your toast, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?  xox Boots the Badass Coffee Babe

[Here is Cakespy’s link to some ginormous, easy-to-make cinnamon rolls: http://www.cakespy.com/blog/2010/6/26/big-fun-an-enormous-and-delicious-cinnamon-roll.html]