Our Home State of Happiness

coffee-france

cabindoorcoffee.com

Boots here, your Badass Coffee Babe, hoping that life is treating you in a kindly manner on this very lively Friday morning.

You know how it is with travel.  There’s something about any kind of travel that makes coffee even better.  It looks better, smells better, tastes better when I am away from home — be that out on the trail and listening to some early-morning loon song echoing out over the lake or sitting at some busy sidewalk cafe in France or simply parking it at my favorite coffee bar in my adopted hometown.  It’s all good.

Location is irrelevant.  What is relevant is how travel makes my senses take a second look at something.  And then another.  Do some comparisons.  Scribble down some notes in my Pay Attention Book.  Take the time to just think about what is happening all around me.  All while sipping my favorite beverage.

I sometimes think I don’t take this Better Sense of Newness into account when occupying my Home State.  You know the place . . . we all have a Home State.  It might be your front porch,  your desk that looks out at the bird bath, your office with the funky view of the brick wall of Nash Hall.  It’s your over-sized yellow kitchen table that is tucked into the too-tiny breakfast nook or your kind of messy desk in the loft or your easel with the broken leg that is balancing on an upside down apple crate.  It’s that deck chair that wobbles funny while you are parking your back side.  It’s the long bus ride to work or school.

The places that we call Home State are the comfort food for our senses.  We go to them each day without a lot of thought.  We sit and we think, write, paint, eat, take in the passing view from the car, train, or bus.

One thing all of these Home States have in common?  Our morning Joe.  That Cup of Reverence that gets us up and moving and feeling inspired.

Travel.  I sometimes think that I don’t travel enough.  I explore and I wander, but I don’t go a lot farther than my two feet can take me on any given day on the trail.   I think I have too strong of a predilection for grabbing a mug of Joe and putting my feet up on the porch rail and taking in the view of the dogs sleeping in the sunshine and the cat prowling the woodshed.  I guess I’m not the most sophisticated person in the world.  But I sure do know how to enjoy a moment for what it is.  I pour my second Cup of Reverence and think that life is pretty good in my happy Home State.

Here is some of my Home State reading while imbibing my Cup of Reverence.  These books are inspiring and motivating.

 My FAVORITE!
The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work Hardcover
by Shawn Achor

http://amzn.to/2chV0V6

And another FAVORITE!
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business Paperback
by Charles Duhigg

http://amzn.to/2cGPM3I

And another . . .
The Happiness Project (Revised Edition)
by Gretchen Rubin

http://amzn.to/2c2p7PQ

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The Geography of the Coffee Bean: The 3 Main Coffee-Growing Regions

the geography of coffee

Cabin Door Coffee

Coffee. It’s not just a simple plant in any old garden . . . coffee = landscape + climate + elevation.

Attention all Map-of-the-World Lovers!  Boots here, as promised, to talk more about the Geography of Coffee.   And to keep it interesting, I am going to keep it brief.  As our friend Bill Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”  Now I don’t know that my end goal today is Coffee Wit, but I am going to do my best to stir your interest in the geography of coffee.

Coffee is Geography . . . Geography is Coffee  

The 3 main coffee regions of the world:

  1. Latin America: well-balanced; crisp and bright acidity; more consistent quality
  2. Africa/Arabia: exotic; berry, citrusy/grapefruity, and spicy flavors; more unpredictable
  3. Asia/Pacific: full-bodied; spicy, herbally; depth; pairs well with savory
  4. These regions each have unique and distinct, geographically-inspired taste profiles.

All of this base-camp info will ultimately lead to me walking you through a coffee tasting at the end of all this fascinating Geography stuff.   Next?  We will look at how to “taste” coffee and identify the characteristics that help you to identify region.  But in the meantime, I am feeling some camp stories percolating to the surface.  I might have to explore some of those before looking at coffee tasting.

And if you are interested in this kind of stuff — I am! –then you will be surprised that you can not only taste but actually smell the geography of the bean before you even slurp.

So have some fun today just enjoying the flavor of your coffee.  Appreciate how very far those little beans in their burlap sacks had to travel to give you so much pleasure.

Who doesn’t want a map of the world on the wall? And it’s so inexpensive! I have two maps posted in my cabin: one in the kitchen and one in the little house with the crescent moon cut out of the door.

Rand McNally Signature Map of the World

http://amzn.to/2cu3Ih2

This paperback looks so awesome!  Who doesn’t want to know the secrets to happiness?  I am thinking: I must order this.

Happy: Secrets to Happiness from the Cultures of the World

http://amzn.to/2cu1UVw

Have you heard this music?  It is simply the best in collaboration, talent, creativity, and musicality . . . all from around the world.  

 Songs Around The World (CD + DVD)

http://amzn.to/2cyp4u3

5 Lively Factoids on The Geography of the Coffee Bean

the geography of coffee

Cabin Door Coffee

Coffee . . . it’s not just an attitudinal thing . . . it’s a latitudinal thing.

Attention all Geography Cognoscenti . . . aka Map Lovers!  Boots here, as promised, to talk about the Geography of Coffee.  For all of you who haven’t had their coffee yet or for those of you whose eyes glaze over when they anticipate a pedantic and unsolicited lesson on coffee  . . . well, have no fear.  The thing you don’t know about Boots, the Badass Coffee Babe, is that she wants nothing better than to get back to splitting some kindling for tomorrow’s fire, filling the kerosene lamps while there’s still light in the day, and maybe taking a skinny dip in the lake to feel refreshed after all of the chores.

So, here it is . . . delivered in bullet points so that you can isolate the facts from the minutiae.  This is all good stuff that you can toss out to that cute barista while you’re waiting for your beverage.  S/he will think you are a geographical wonder.  Try it.  You’ll see how attractive knowledge is.

Coffee is Geography . . . Geography is Coffee

  1. Coffee beans carry their own unique geography with them.
  2. Geography IS a coffee profile . . . a flavor.
  3. Coffee is more than an attitudinal thing . . . it’s also a latitudinal thing.  It’s grown in the equatorial band between the two tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
  4. There are three primary coffee regions in the world. (We’ll get into these soon.  Promise!)
  5. These regions each have unique and distinct geographical profiles. You can train your tongue to identify them . . . which is why when you first smell and then take a sip of black coffee, your palate can tell immediately where those beans were grown.

All of this will ultimately lead to me walking you through a coffee tasting at the end of all this fascinating Geography stuff.  If you are interested in this kind of stuff — I am! –then you will be surprised that you can actually smell the geography of the bean before you even slurp.

So have some fun today just enjoying the flavor of your coffee.  Appreciate how very far those little beans in their burlap sacks had to travel to give you so much pleasure.

Who doesn’t want a map of the world on the wall? And it’s so inexpensive! I have two maps posted in my cabin: one in the kitchen and one in the little house with the crescent moon cut out of the door.

Rand McNally Signature Map of the World

http://amzn.to/2cu3Ih2

This paperback looks so awesome!  Who doesn’t want to know the secrets to happiness?  I am thinking that I must order this.

Happy: Secrets to Happiness from the Cultures of the World

http://amzn.to/2cu1UVw

These mugs might not represent the coffee-growing latitudes . . . but you are going to look super smart when you bring up your newly-learned factoids when someone comments on your mug of the world.

3D Rose mug: Vintage European map of Western Europe Britain UK France Spain Italy etc retro geography travel Ceramic Mug, 15 oz, White

http://amzn.to/2bSv5Tn

3dRose mug_112942_4 Vintage map of the North Pole polar cap Russia Northern America Greenland geography travel theme Two Tone Black Mug, 11 oz, Black/White

http://amzn.to/2cu14YJ

Give a shout out for someone today. Be the difference.

golden lab. time to make a difference. Monday

Boots here and it’s time to grab that second cup of coffee, put your feet up for a while, and pontificate on how the rest of the day might be made better by you.

It never ceases to amaze me how the little things in life make a big difference.  A ginormous difference, actually.  Today?  What’s going on with you?   And what can you do to help out a workmate, a family member, a friend, your sweetheart, a stranger?  Love life and make a difference.  Like this little pup here, give a shout out to those who could use some encouragement today!

Life, like coffee, is best when it is brewed just right and enjoyed with a friend.  Add some Kick Ass Coffee to any of these cups and make today a good one!

Kicking Horse Coffee, Kick Ass, Whole Bean Coffee, 2.2 Pound
from Kicking Horse Coffee

http://amzn.to/2bMRvWq

Coffee Mug – Camera Lens Travel Thermos – Stainless Steel Insulated Cup with Easy Clean Lid – 13.5oz – Black – Go with Premium Stainless Steel Spoon Bonus_uHome

http://amzn.to/2bRpDzN

Sea Turtle Coffee Mug, Love the Little Things in Life

http://amzn.to/2c0ykaU

Quotable Life Begins Quotable Mug – Quotes Kitchen Home MUG-G226-QUOTE

http://amzn.to/2bxccXP

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!!

 

 

 

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

http://amzn.to/290EaIY

Ariat Women’s Showbaby Western Boot

http://amzn.to/292NZYV

Ariat Women’s Fatbaby Heritage Vivid Western Cowboy Boot

http://amzn.to/28WwNn8

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

http://amzn.to/1YsLBeF

Camp-A-Toaster CT1 Camp-A-Toaster

http://amzn.to/263UWLX

Chinook Plateau Folding Toaster

http://amzn.to/1sH3udm

Jacob Bromwell Original Genuine Pyramid Toaster (Tin)

http://amzn.to/1PuCIKb

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

http://amzn.to/1PuDeYu

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

http://amzn.to/1YsYjd9

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]

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

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