Boots here. Taking a nice little breather from all of life’s various forms of coffee goodness and cabin door delights. I came across this picture tonight and was trying to remember what possessed me to take such an un-artful picture and whether the clues in this image scream happiness or stress, celebrating or re-grouping. The moment must have meant something to me, one way or another — otherwise I wouldn’t have felt inclined to capture it on film. The clues: a bottle of wine, a corkscrew, two wine glasses, some junk mail, a phone that has been turned off, some ripe bananas, a clean stovetop . . . Hmmmmm.
This past year has been full of change. Lots of moving from place to place and lots of moving pieces. For those of you move frequently, you can understand how life sometimes presents many choices — choices that beckon and ask to be your dance partner for the next tune. For those of you who haven’t moved for 15, 20, or more years, you might not be able to comprehend the impact of all the chaotic transition that moving creates. And I feel a goodly bit of envy for you. You know where you want to be and you have found it. This is a rare thing in life and you should feel proud that you have found a place to hang your hat and scrape your boots.
I’ve moved from unrefined one-room cabins to primitive wall tents to fixer-uppers to fancy beach houses . . . and back to rustic cabins. Cabins with rotting floors to houses with the finest hardwood flooring. No running water to three (count ’em!) full baths. Kerosene lamps to the latest and greatest in recessed lighting.
With so much moving, details get muted, memories get slopped together like a North Dakota funeral hotdish, and stuff remains unpacked. Boy, does it ever. Items that felt to be so important to you when you were carefully packing them into boxes become forgotten. Unnecessary. You learn to make do with what you have. You realize that one wooden spoon is enough. Three bath towels are plenty. You’ve moved so many times that when you are heading home from town you forget to turn left to your new abode and turn right instead toward your old home. Habits generate your direction. You realize that you have been operating on autopilot. A thought takes hold: Maybe that’s why I keep moving so often.
You start to associate seasons, sunsets, conditions, and wildlife with certain residences. The house with the Canada geese. The house with the beautiful birdies. The house with the deer. The house with the glorious sunsets. The house with the stinky water. The house with the ultra-quiet nights. The house with the flickering lights. The house with the orbs. The house with the scary bat. The house with the wet firewood. The house with all of the glorious sunlight. The house with the smoking stove. The house with the cranky water pump. The house with the insane squirrel that kept chewing through the screens.
I am going to make the assumption that this photo op was cause for celebration because I can’t fathom why I would want to visually record a time of stress and duress . . . unless, of course, I was celebrating that I had survived some such mishap . . . which I guess makes stress, ultimately and in the end, a cause for celebration.
Maybe there is some mysterious circuitousness in this image . . . reminding me that even the survival of mishaps deserves some homage. At the very least a celebration that calls for a bottle of wine and a toast for two. From where I (temporarily) sit now looking out over the Sound . . . with memories of past dwellings mingling and steeping in this little pot of Now . . . there is this message, sometimes extraordinarily subliminal, that pops into every image: Life Is Good.
And what would life be without a Stetson to hang on the back of the door and a good pair of boots to slip into each morning? Everyone loves a Stetson and I, in particular, love Ariat boots. Something about the fit and the cut that make my feet happy.
Stetson Men’s Powder River 4X Buffalo Felt Cowboy Hat
Ariat Women’s Legend Western Cowboy Boot
Achla Designs BS-03 Boot Scraper
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.
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.
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.
Rand McNally Signature Map of the World
Happy: Secrets to Happiness from the Cultures of the World
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.
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.
Rand McNally Signature Map of the World
Happy: Secrets to Happiness from the Cultures 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
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
Greetings, good people. Boots, your friendly Badass Coffee Babe here. I am happy to say that there has been a shift in the weather in the high country, and I am just starting to get settled into my late summer routine. As you, too, have noticed: the days are growing shorter here in the northern hemisphere. I am beginning to think that it’s time to start some serious wood splitting for the rainy days that are soon to arrive.
And there’s nothing like Saturday morning for getting some pre-fall chores done. Saturday. Even if it is a day of some heavy-duty chores, there is always the sense that the previous week has been cleared and it is time to take a deep breath. Today, think about the joys that that first (and second!) cup of Joe brings to your morning. Rejoice in the invigorating luxury that this “bean juice” brings to your daily routine.
Isn’t it weird how language can create a whole culture around what isn’t exactly so? In other words, why don’t we go to that cute little coffee shop on the corner and order one pound of coffee seeds, please? Or one pound of coffee cherry pits ground for an espresso machine, please? This just sounds wrong. We have developed and established a culture of bean-ology.
I hope that you all have a fantastic weekend. I am guessing that we all could use the time to relax and count a few blessings. Bon weekend! A little Hoops and Yoyo for you . . .
Click on the images and links below for some #1 Best Seller coffee cherry seeds!
Death Wish Ground Coffee, The World’s Strongest Coffee, Fair Trade and USDA Certified Organic, 16 Ounce
Lavazza Super Crema Espresso – Whole Bean Coffee, 2.2-Pound Bag
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
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
Sea Turtle Coffee Mug, Love the Little Things in Life
Quotable Life Begins Quotable Mug – Quotes Kitchen Home MUG-G226-QUOTE
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
. . . and what would have been a good summer alternative!
Wesco Men’s Custom Jobmaster Boot BKBE106100F Black/Beige
. . . 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
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!
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)
and here’s another one of the covers . . .
Enjoy life and make some dreams happen by mapping out what you can do and then doing it! Make each day count!
Boots 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.
Songs Around The World (CD + DVD)
PFC 2: Songs Around The World [CD/DVD Combo]
PFC3: Songs Around The World [CD/DVD Combo]
Playing For Change: Peace Through Music: DVD