Announcing

The Gathering Place is pleased to announce…

Two toilets, no waiting only a wall separates! 🙂

Dahni & Susan, the WallKnocker Singers. Just two people, two toilets, an extensive musical repertoire and one wall between them. People that wallknock out tunes together, stay together! 🙂

All your familairs including:

  • ‘Shave & a Haircut’
  • ‘Do Re Me’ + more

And your classical holiday favorites too:

  • Happy Birthday
  • Jingle Bells
  • Dashing Through the Snow + many more

Stay Tuned

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Hydrophobic Pusillanimous Skin

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By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

Hydrophobic Pusillanimous Skin? As the Sesame Street Character the Swedish  Chef might have said, “Vert Der Ferk,” or just WDF?? 🙂

VDF????

Actually, the full wordage and one of my favorite lines of all time, was often said by our grandfather, ‘Papa.’ (pronounced, paw paw). He loved to laugh and make others laugh. He would often say the following with a twinkle in his eyes and a huge warm grin on his face:

“Gosh dern you hydrophobic pusillanimous skin!”

Papa [pronounced paw-paw], was a very smart man, but what on earth, was he talking about?

Fingers and toes!

Yep, fingers and toes, particularly that have been submerged in water. About five minutes should do the trick. At or around this 5-minute mark, fingers and toes do this curious and funny thing. They wrinkle! 🙂

Hydrophobic Pusillanimous Skin 🙂

Gosh dern you hydrophobic (scared of water, not liking water or water hating), pusillanimous (lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid), skin (fingers and toes)!”

Hydrophobic Pusillanimous Skin 🙂

Fingers and toes? Yep, some parts of human skin, better known as glabrous skin, have a unique response to water. “Glabrous?” Isn’t this just a nice fun word; another way of saying, “hairless, naked or bald!” Now, let me use this in a sentence. “When I was born, my baby butt was as glabrous and smooth, as a cue ball!  🙂

Glabrous and smooth as a cue ball 🙂

 

 

Unlike the rest of the body, the skin of our fingers, palms, and toes, and soles of our feet-ies wrinkle, after becoming sufficiently wet. As I said afore, about 5 minutes or so, will usually do the trick.

But why do these patches of skin wrinkle? Some believe it is just a biochemical reaction, an osmotic process in which water grabs a handful or a foot-ful of stuff out of the skin and leaves the prune effect or the prune-y like skin, in place? 🙂 I dunno’, but there are a couple of things known, that I do know. To follow here is one thang’ I knows’! 🙂

 

 

“Even though you can’t see it, your skin is covered with its own special oil called sebum (say: SEE-bum). Sebum is found on the outermost layer of skin. Sebum moistens, or lubricates (say: LOO-bruh-kates), and protects your skin. It also makes your skin a bit waterproof. That’s why water runs off your skin when you wash your hands, instead of soaking it in like a sponge would.” 

Excerpts from: ‘Why Does My Skin Get Wrinkly in Water’

http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/wrinkly-fingers.html

If the nerves in your feet-ies and toes-ies are cut or damaged, guess what? They won’t wrinkle anymore! So, the second thing I know about wrinkly or hydrophobic pusillanimous skin is, it’s a good sign of a healthy nervous system!

But why else could they possibly wrinkle?

“We have shown that wrinkled fingers give a better grip in wet conditions — it could be working like treads on your car tires, which allow more of the tire to be in contact with the road and gives you a better grip,” says Tom Smulders, an evolutionary biologist at Newcastle University, UK, and a co-author of the paper.

People often assume that wrinkling is the result of water passing into the outer layer of the skin and making it swell up. But researchers have known since the 1930s that the effect does not occur when there is nerve damage in the fingers. This points to the change being an involuntary reaction by the body’s autonomic nervous system — the system that also controls breathing, heart rate and perspiration. In fact, the distinctive wrinkling is caused by blood vessels constricting below the skin.

Better grip in wet conditions? I dunno’ what do you think? For me personally, wrinkled fingers and toes were invented by God and just so our Papa (pronounced paw paw) could say—

 

“Gosh dern you hydrophobic pusillanimous skin!” 

 

From The Gathering Place,

-Dahni-

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Any Road

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By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

“Any road is, an English colloquialism. You know, “English” as from England or British (Britain). Instead of how many of us use and say “anyway” (any way), “any road” (anyroad), takes on a similar meaning. example: Anyway as I was saying, I have to get to the dentist or anyroad (any road), traveled, I must get to the store. 🙂

There is an exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where the following line has been incorrectly attributed to, Lewis Carroll. It appears all over the Internet and all kinds of merchandise are being sold with the line, falsely quoting Lewis Carroll, as its author. The line reads as follows:

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

This MAY (?), have been someone’s paraphrase of the exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, but Louis Carroll never wrote those words!
BrainyQuotes inaccurately attributes this to Carroll.

Lewis Carroll NEVER said this!

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lewiscarro165865.html

 And you could even buy a vinyl decal from Amazon (and other places), with the line and supposed quote by Lewis Carroll. Note: Currently this item is not available from Amazon (but it was, just do a search). Maybe they figured out they were selling something falsely quoted?

The Cheshire Cat, NEVER said this!

Anyway or Anyroad, back to ‘Alice.’ 🙂 Below are the actual words of the conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, from Chapter 6, ‘Pig and Pepper’ of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

Alice
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

Cheshire Cat
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat.

Alice
I don’t much care where— said Alice.

Cheshire Cat
Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat.

Alice
So long as I get SOMEWHERE, Alice added as an explanation.

Cheshire Cat
Oh, you’re sure to do that, said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.

Excerpts: Chapter 6, ‘Pig and Pepper’ – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

Oh NO, he did NOT say or write this!

So, if neither Alice or the Cheshire Cat never said the line or the words “any road” (and they didn’t), and Lewis Carroll never wrote them (and he did NOT), who did?

It MAY(?), also, be found in the ancient Jewish Babylonian Talmud?

But if not Lewis Carroll, Alice, the Cheshire Cat, someone’s paraphrase of the three or the Jewish Babylonian Talmud, who else could have written these words?

‘Any Road’ is, a song written by the late, former Beatle, George Harrison, who passed in 2001. The song was released as a single and from his posthumous album ‘Brainwashed,’ in 2002. Notice in the lyrics to follow, the line is NOT “…any road will get you there,” but “…any road will take you there.”

CD Jacket of ‘Brainwashed’

Oh YES, He said it, sung it and wrote it!

Any Road

By George Harrison

Oh I’ve been traveling on a boat and a plane
In a car on a bike with a bus and a train
Traveling there and traveling here
Everywhere in every gear
But oh Lord we pay the price with a
Spin of a wheel with the roll of a dice

Ah yeah you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

And I’ve been traveling through the dirt and the grime
From the past to the future through the space and the time
Traveling deep beneath the waves
In watery grottoes and mountainous caves
But oh Lord we’ve got to fight
With the thoughts in the head with the dark and the light

No use to stop and stare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

You may not know where you came from
May not know who you are
You may not even wondered how
How You got this far
I’ve been traveling on a wing and a prayer
By the skin of my teeth by the breadth of a hair
Traveling where the four winds blow
With the sun on my face, in the ice and the snow
But ooee it’s a game
Sometimes you’re cool, sometimes you’re lame

Ah yea it’s somewhere
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

But oh Lord we pay the price
With the spin of a wheel, with the roll of a dice

Ah yea, you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

I keep traveling around the bend
There was no beginning, there is no end
It wasn’t born and never dies
There are no edges, there is no sides
Oh yea, you just don’t win
It’s so far out – the way out is in
Bow to God and call him Sir

But if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

♦  ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦  ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦

The only known public recording of this song by George Harrison was on VH1 in 1997. For your enrichment and enjoyment, the link to the YouTube video follows here.

The last song on the last album by all four Beatles (Abbey Road) was ‘The end.’ The last words are:

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

But all things considered, in the end, for me-
“All things must pass” [G. Harrison] “Let It Be” [the Beatles]
All the unknown and undone and what I’ve left this life, showing
I’d rather to have been on the road and known, where I am going!

-Dahni-

PS And at my end, I’m taking more love with me and in me, than it is possible, for me to have ever made, in 10,000 X 10,000 lives! I cannot equal, out-give, out-love and out-live God, but His Road will take me there!

-d-

Categories: Family & Friends, Inspiration, Music, Poetry, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized, You Tube | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Be the Bean

Good to the Last Drop of the Midday to you!


Taking a break from the series about Java Joe, I picked up something I believe Joe would approve of. Because, of course, it involves coffee! 

The following story is being picked up and is popularly seen all over the Internet and the media, but neither sourced nor credited as to its authorship, the original author. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and I do believe the credit is due to:

ABHISHEK KUMAR SINGH,. CEO
TAJ PHARMA INDIA (MUMBAI)

The Carrot,  The Egg,  and The Coffee Bean  
By Abhishek Kumar Singh

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her – her husband had cheated on her and she was devastated. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, grandmother?’

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

May we all be like the COFFEE.

Be Like Coffee!

Share this with your friends and family today.

Be the Bean! 

 

From The Gathering Place,

 

Dahni

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Family & Friends, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized, Vision | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Civil Discourse

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By Dahni

© 2017, all rights reserved

Good Morning!☀️

The Story of ‘Civil Discourse’

Summer is drawing to a close, but it is NOT over just yet! One of the great things about summer is real socializing when people get together and enjoy one another’s company. If together for any length of time, this usually leads to the engagement of conversation more than just the weather, sale day finds and the results of some sporting event. We are after all, social creatures. We like to get together and have a good time. And we like to converse with others especially if we agree with them, but even more importantly, if, they agree with us! 😂

It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere 🙂

There is both a science and an art to civility, to agree to even disagree, to discuss. I call this, ‘civil discourse.’ To discourse is much more than to just converse and discuss. It is an elevation of intellect or simply put, putting our best foot (our best selves), forward, out there, for the mutual benefit of all involved.

What more of an enhancement to this end than to frame it around food 🥘 and drink! 🍹We like to eat and drink 🍹 and to be together, to hang out together and talk about things of most importance to us, things and people who really and truly matter in this life, in this wonderful, but albeit, truly short lifespan. Moments are precious and we do try or should aspire to, getting the most out of it, “milking the moment,” deeply breathing in every breath available and sucking the marrow out of every piece of meat this life has to offer; second and every moment of life we have!

There is a reason for the phrase, “Happy Hour.” As many are familiar, Happy Hour is often thought of as, starting somewhere around 5 PM. Another saying that may be familiar to you is, “That it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!” 😂 I even have a photograph taken of an old clock that used to set inside a bar. All other numbers were removed and replaced with only 5’s so yes, it does show that no matter what time it is where you are, it is, 5 o’clock somewhere, meaning, it’s always time, for Happy Hour! 😊

Along with getting together, conversing, having food 🥘 and drink 🍹 and well, just having a good time, a Happy Time socially, there is also something “social” about, making and serving drinks! 🍹

I like mixing drinks 🍹and trying new things and yes, even making them up! My brother-in-law, Kevin, recently sent me a link to a website offering many different new foods 🥘 and drinks, to explore and try.

Now I am not a professional (I am neither employed or tipped as a),  bartender or mixologist, but I profess, I am certainly (if an amateur), highly enthusiastic!

In searching the aforementioned website that Kevin provided me with, there was one particular drink 🍹 which caught my attention. I knew I wanted to try it, but also, I did not have all the ingredients it called for. So, I improvised. Now, I figure that if not following their recipe, then I am making it up and I should be able to, can and I did make it up, make it my own?! So I did. In so doing, I should be allowed to name it and I did name it! I call it-— ‘Civil Discourse’ 😊

Now, before I share with you the recipe, I want to first share with you what’s in it (the ingredients), and WHY.

 

‘Civil Discourse’ (Why)

 

Bergamot 🍊- similar to combining lemon, 🍋 lime,🍋 orange, 🍊 and grapefruit, all in one fruit. It has calming and uplifting effects (it induces one to just “feel good” 😊)
Cucumber 🥒 – soothing and cooling, good for joints and the heart (a good heart ❤️)
Mint 🍃- refreshing (the herb of hospitality)
Earl Grey Tea ☕️ – considered as “posh” or upper class, but I like to think of its effects and affects, resulting in the art of civility. Black tea ☕️ a little caffeine to ‘keep you and your ‘Civil Discourse’ going’ 😂
Lime 🍋 – citrus 🍊 vitamin C refreshing and ‘sunny’ 🌞
Tito’s Vodka – smooth while not adding to or taking from the overall taste and it lessons the distinct flavor of Gin
Bombay’s Sapphire Gin – very smooth and distinct with botanical and aromatics, but it is mixed with vodka (Tito’s made in the USA 🇺🇸), to retain its characteristics and alcohol % while not overpowering the drink 🍹

It should be noted, the main ingredient to ‘Civil Discourse’ implied, recommended, and absolutely necessary is, You and I!! 🙂

‘Civil Discourse’

‘Civil Discourse’(How)

 

Ingredients:

Tito’s Vodka – 2 1/2 ounces
Bombay Sapphire Gin – 1 1/2 ounces
Fresh squeezed Lime juice – about a whole small lime or 1/2 of a large one
8-10 fresh rinsed mint leaves + 2 for garnish
3-4 slices of cucumber + 2 for garnish
3/4 ounce of fluid sugar (simple syrup)
3/4 fluid ounce of Earl Grey Tea

Preparation:

Note: It’s nice to have some simple syrup always on hand. 1 part sugar to 1 part water. Heat to dissolve. Store in refrigerator to have on hand when needed. Stores for a long time.

1. Boil about 1 ounce of water and pour into a heat-resistant container. Place 1 bag of Earl Grey tea into container and let seep for about 3 minutes. By the time it is ready, the boiling of the water, evaporation and the bag will have taken about 1/4 ounce of the water leaving, about 3/4 of an ounce of fluid tea. Remove tea bag
2. Muddle all but 2 leaves of mint and all but 2 cucumber slices with a mortar and pestle or some other means to get the most possible juice from these two items.
3. Juice from about 1 small lime or 1/2 of a large lime
4. Measure out 2 1/2 ounces of vodka
5. Measure out 1 1/2 ounces of gin
6. Pour vodka, gin, 3/4 ounce of fluid Earl Grey tea, 3/4 ounce of simple syrup, lime juice (=about 4 tablespoons), into muddled cucumber and mint
7. Add ice to a shaker
8. Pour drink mixture into shaker and shake
9. Strain mixture TWICE
10. Pour strained mixture into a highball glass, half filled with cubed ice
11. Add 1 slice of cucumber and one mint leaf to garnish

Note: This recipe yields 2 drinks. Multiply for more drinks 👍 bon appétit & Salute La Familia (salute my family) which includes: all those I get to choose as family 🙂 and strangers, folks I haven’t met yet! 🙂

And on this day, August 28, 2017, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, on August 28th, 1963, delivered from the steps of The Lincoln Memorial, in our nation’s capitol, in the presence of 200,000 + peaceful protesters and the world looking on, which led to- ‘The Civil Rights Act’, being signed into law…

…ENJOY YOUR—

‘Civil Discourse’! 😃

 

 

Cheers🍹 from: The Gathering Place,

 

Dahni

Amateur Bar Tender and Mixologist, but a Professional Enthusiast! 😂

 

Coming Soon: The Grilled Veggies’ we had with ‘Civil Discourse’

Categories: Beverages, Cooking, DREAM, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Pursuit of Happiness, Recipes, Tea, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Java Joe part 2

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Java Joe

Part 2

Machina  (It.) – “the machine”

by Dahni

© 2017, all rights reserved

Good Top of the Morning to you! Time for a cuppa!

Good Top of the Morning to you! Time for a cuppa!

Today’s series begins with what the Italians call, machina, “the machine.” It takes the best mano “hand”  of the best hand to bring out the best flavor of the best beans and Joe was and the best mano (“hand”), and the best machina (“machine”), to do it.  Beans begin when what they are called, “green.” Then temperature is used to roast them to perfection. Each bean and each batch can have many variables and nuances of flavor. It takes a master; an artesian, the mano (the “hand”), to do this.  This was Joe. But there was much more and there is much more to this.

“green” (un roasted), beans

under roasted – purrrfectly’ roasted 🙂 – and over roasted (“burnt”), beans

The Original ‘Java Joe’ loved his own coffee!

One has to know what the various coffees and blends of coffees are supposed to taste like. Joe knew. And he knew all the popular nomenclature of coffee like latte, cappuccino and espresso and etc. Joe knew what they are supposed to taste like and how each are supposed to be made. I will offer proof of this as this series continues.

But Joe mostly liked expertly roasted, rightly ground and with the right equipment (machines), like brew pot and espresso machines. Remember, when he came back to Rochester and having been in Hawaii and he tasted and favored Kona, when he got back here, no one had any decent coffee. So, he decided to roast his own. He liked his own work and coffee or espresso, he drank his coffee black. He found no need or reason to screw up a good cup of coffee or espresso, by adding sugar and cream and frothy milk poured out in some fancy-schmancy artsy fartys design, which is more for show than for just plane-O good coffee. But Joe accommodated different tastes. Again, more proof about this too, as this series continues.

All in the coffee business use some type of machine, but did you know, most of the familiar, store-bought and big name coffee companies, don’t actually roast their beans, they bake them. They would say it is part of their brand’s consistency in taste and quality control. Joe would say, they just “burn” the beans. He would be reluctant to use the word roast, when the beans are all mostly baked. I came to understand exactly what he was talking about. As he taught, I learned. As I learned, my sense of smell and my palette evolved—got trained, got educated. Since Joe started, coffee (micro-roasted coffee), took off in the Rochester area. There is an area around Henrietta that as you drive by, you can smell it being cooked. It is actually being baked and I learned from Joe, to tell by the smell in the air, just like Joe said, it is being over-roasted, or as Joe often said, “burnt.” Some people might think this is just strong coffee being produced. No, it’s just coffee being burnt, just like it tastes after it sits all day on a warming plate. You who know what that tastes like, know exactly what I’m talking about! More about that later, as this series continues.

But Joe decided from the beginning, to use some other machina (“machine’), like what, I dunno, like a COFFEE ROASTER?! 🙂

Joe found and developed a unique roasting method: turn-of-the-century style coffee roaster.  This is turn-of-the-century style roasting with the highest quality beans available, to micro-roast coffee in small batches. This unique roaster enables your coffee to be expertly roasted, using a direct flame process, instead of convection ovens.  Joe was, one of the only roasters in the United States who actually roasted– not baked – coffee.  This method of roasting takes much more skill to produce – but all coffee lovers, tasters and aficionados believe, it yields, unsurpassed flavor!

Choose your figure of speech (simile or metaphor), but Joe was, “like” a machine or he “was” a machine, when it came to roasting coffee! The Master Roaster and Grandfather of Fresh Micro-Roasted Coffee: Java Joe.  In 1975, long before anyone even thought about micro roasting, Joe was in Hawaii clearing an old abandoned coffee farm with machete in hand.  He literally learned and understood coffee from the ground up. OK, that was kind of pun-ny’, but it works. 🙂

When Joe returned to his home town of Rochester, NY years later, he was way ahead of anyone in this field and the present social phenomenon, surrounding coffee.  He was amazed at the attention to detail, the time and money spent by the finest restaurants.  He was even more shocked to realize that virtually no consideration were given by these same restaurants, to the last thing a customer has to remember their dining experience there by, a cup of coffee!  Well, my friends, the visionary Java Joe enlightened many of theses chefs and owners. Today, there are not a few of the finest restaurants in this area that did not serve his coffee. And there are others that due to him, do roast their coffee. Others do roast their own coffee in this area, but not as good as the One and Only, The Original, Java Joe! To my great delight, Joe taught many his craft and his namesake still offers Joe’s coffee at, Java’s Café and many other places locally.

 

Click the image to visit their site

16 Gibbs Street, Rochester, NY

For those that are local, you can still buy a cup or bags of beans, still roasted, literally, with Joe’s machina, Joe’s “machine”! And his mano (“his hand”), is still evident, in the hands that roast coffee, the hands of those he taught and taught well!

 

 

Dahni at The Gathering Place

Next time: ‘Macinato’  (It.) – “the grind”

Categories: Art, Being Good at What You Do, Coffee, Comfort Food, Cooking, Education, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Food, Home, Inspiration, Java, Java Joe, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, Saying Goodbye, The Gathering Place, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Java Joe part 1

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Java Joe

Part 1

Mano  (It.) – “the hand”

by Dahni

© 2017, all rights reserved

Good Top of the Morning to you! Time for a cuppa!

I have thought about writing this for months and it is because, I’ve thought about this man for months. Both his life and his passing has deeply affected me. I have much to say, much I want to tell you, much I want to share with you and yes, much I want to teach about much that he has taught me. So, it is my hope to pay my teacher, a master teacher, the respect and the credit he deserves. And it is my greatest hope as he has done for me that I can impart to you, the art and mastery of the world’s second most traded commodities, coffee!

So I begin with a series, simply called, Java Joe. And it and this series begins with, what the Italians call ‘Mano – “the hsnd.” In this sense, this hand, belonged to the man, affectionately known as, Java Joe.

Java Joe – Joseph J. Palozzi

Born February 1949

Died March 11, 2017

When you have a cup of coffee, you might think of it or call it a cup of Java or simply, a cup of Joe. Whether you realize it or not, you are paying respect, every time you have a cup, to the one and only, the original, Java Joe.

Java Joe, or a.ka. Joseph J. Palozzi and Joe Palozzi and just, Joe, was a legend. At least many of the stories surrounding his life were legendary. To be a legend in one’s time or in one’s mind, the story or stories are sometimes popularly regarded as historical, but unauthenticated. I don’t believe Joe thought of himself as legendary in his own mind, but he was to many, a legend in his own time. Even to write this, I found it very difficult to find many facts about his life, from public places. Even his obituary did not give his date and time of birth. All I could track down was the Month (February), and the year (1949), when he was born.

I had heard rumors of his passing for about 2 weeks, before I started writing this. Life being what it is, it took me awhile to track down and verify that he did indeed die, March 11th, 2017, after a long fight with lung cancer. Now you may not believe or understand this, but his death deeply saddens me because, beyond his ‘legend’ status, and all he accomplished, he was for my part, my friend.

You may not know me and Joe may never have even thought of me as his friend, but to me, for my part, he was my friend. To me, he was my teacher, a master teacher and I remain, a devoted student.

I first met Joe by way of his coffee, at a local coffe bar owned by two friends of mine, Nick and Connie Reda. They bought all their coffee from Joe. One time, I went with Nick on a trip to resupply his coffee stores. Nick introduced me to Joe.

I believe I understood who this man was, the first time I met him. His language was colored with expletives, his opinions set and to many, he may have come off as harsh and bristling. He certainly was set in his ways, but as the old adage says, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Underneath the covers of some of the most intense blue eyes I have ever seen, was the man, perhaps many never saw. I got Joe. I got him from the beginning. I might not approve of his salty language or his political opinions, but he was at least, if not a formally highly educated man, he was certainly, a highly self-educated man. You cannot separate the man from what he does. Joe did coffee. That’s who he was to me and what he did.

There have been many tributes to Joe about his legendary adventures. Some will talk of his love for music and even his once owned café, Java’s Café. Java’s Café was right in the center of downtown Rochester, NY, a mid-sized city and right next door to Eastman Theater. Eastman Theater was gifted by George Eastman of Eastman Kodak, then just Kodak. The theater was built-in quality and with culture outreach as any other larger city like, New York City. So, Rochester had something great bestowed upon it that rivaled cities many times its size. And Rochester, to this day, is home to so many incredible artists and musicians that the world have never heard of and may never will. Now it is just my opinion, but I think if you spread all of them out, all across the United States, city and town by city and town, each of them would have, could have and should have, been world renown. I could say the same thing about Joe. His name and his perfected coffee bean roasting prowess should be known all over the world. He got pretty close to that happening, but like the musicians of Rochester, for most and for Joe, it just didn’t work out. Put Joe and artists, and musicians all together in a small mid-sized city and the chances of success are reduced exponentially.  But to the locals and visitors, go to almost any pub, bar and grill that offer live music and you will be blown away at how good these artists are here! Go to many of the areas finest restaurants and you would have most likely ended your meal with a cup of the original Java Joe’s coffee. But very few, ever seem to make it out of here.

Rochester, once known as Image City had three of the top companies in the world — Kodak, Xerox and Bausch & Lomb.  So yes, there was a lot of talent here, which had offshoots of such things as the digital press (a football size printing press), that could print 10,000 + pieces, each custom designed and all in about an hour. Adobe spun out of here, the digital camera, and, why even the personal computer and many other things had their origins here. My thoughts are the area had great talent, but poor management. None of these big three are anything like they once were. Same for music here. Most musicians need good management. It seems to have been lacking here, for many things, for a long time. You could fault Joe as not being a good businessman or lacking good management skills, but like many artists and musicians here, these do not diminish, the quality of their art: of Joe’s art!

I will leave it to the legendaries to tell of how Joe came to Rochester to roast coffee, but I do know he had spent time in Italy and in Hawaii, areas known for their expertise in the art and science of roasting coffee and the other, rich in volcanic soil, where Kona grows. Now where do you suppose Joe learned about coffee? Italy and Hawaii would be my educated guess, but if it was just from books so be it. But I do know personally, that when he came back to Rochester, after he left Hawaii, he noticed a very peculiar thing. One of the last things you might recall, about a fine dining experience (in some 4 star restaurants here), would be the cup of coffee served at the end of the meal. Joe noticed it was all over roasted or burnt coffee. And we are now, talking about the birth of, micro-brewed coffee. Yes, Java Joe was its grandfather, its patron saint if you will. So, Joe finds and builds a roaster from a nineteenth century design.

A vacant spot opened up next to Eastman Theater in the heart of downtown Rochester, NY, and Joe moved in, roaster and all. He started roasting and selling whole beans in Java’s Café to the public and he roasted the coffee, for several fine dining establishments. He sold simple foods and deserts when so many patrons kept asking him to. The café had the look and feel of something like a blend of bohemia, hippies, beatniks and a more modern culture, slightly offbeat, but colorful emergence. 

Local art for sale or those pieces gifted, adorned the walls. There was a corner bay window with pillows spread about the floor. There was a piano, for any that would care to tune it and play it and there were many that did. The interior was a lot of rustic dark wood, old floors, old walls if not filled with art, were lined with advertising of some culture, art, music etc. thingy happening somewhere. And there was Joe, in the center of it all, OK-ing it all, drawing all these different people and roasting coffee.

My first visit to Java’s Café was one in which I will never forget. Musicians dressed in tuxedos carrying their instruments, business people, local dignitaries, young and old, rich and poor all stood in line and set together or near each other. Music is said to be a universal language which draw many together that may not ordinarily be together. Coffee does too. Where art, music and coffee may be subjective and uncertain, where so many make conclusions based on opinion, there is the technical side of art and music and coffee, which attest to their mastery. And behind every masterpiece, there is a master. Joe was a master!

Java’s Café was and still is a place where art and artists of the Rochester, NY area merged and converge, conversed and voice and were given and are given voice, but this tribute is for Joe’s passion and for all of that it is, coffee.

I met Joe in 2001 through another friend that used to buy coffee from Joe, for his small café, also in Rochester. I certainly have not known Joe the longest or even close to the detail and intimacy of others, but he was my friend. Me to Joe? I don’t know what Joe thought about me, but he did remember me and he always treated me with respect.

“There was a phrase heard again and again while interviewing those that knew Joe Palozzi, endearingly and enduringly known as Java Joe: “That was just Java.” Whether people were describing how he golfed barefoot — something he picked up when he lived in Hawaii — or how when he would deliver coffee to restaurants that he loved, he’d walk into the cooler, grab whatever he wanted cooked for him, be it lobster, steak, you name it, and still charge you for the coffee.”

By Katie Libby, March  29, 2017

To me, Joe summed himself up personally, in the following.

“When you taste our coffee I personally guarantee it will be the best coffee you ever tasted.”

 Java Joe

Now you would probably expect him to say this as would any other roaster about their coffee. You may think it is his opinion. And you may think that it is just my opinion,  if I agreed with him. I certainly do, agree with him and opinions are subjective and uncertain, but there is more to this statement and there is more to Java Joe than whether you or I agree with him or whether you like this coffee and I like that other coffee. 

As this series continues, despite its many variables, there is a formula for making great coffee and it is based on science, the mastery of the art and expertly executed; time-tested techniques. Joe was a master artisan! Grab a cup of Joe and I’ll see you next time.

 

Dahni at The Gathering Place

Next time: ‘Machina  (It.) – “the machine”

Categories: Art, Being Good at What You Do, Coffee, Comfort Food, Cooking, Education, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Food, Home, Inspiration, Java, Java Joe, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, Saying Goodbye, The Gathering Place, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Mano-tini

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Mano-tini

By Dahni

© 2017, all rights reserved

As the end word (a suffix actually), in the title suggests, this is all about a Martini.

I call it, The Mano a Mano Martini.or The Mano-tini for Short. I am a curios fellow in that when I become interested in something, I dig or dig into the details. Perhaps this in part due to my training in journalism in that the very first paragraph should contain— WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW. It is my intention to fulfill this by paragraph’s end. I am a gregarious fellow in that I like to share my discoveries with others (YOU)! I would like to think that even if you do not drink alcohol or like martinis, you might find the following interesting and maybe even humorous, for your time spent here. This perhaps ‘long in the tooth’ piece will conclude for you that do like martinis, would like to try one and try a new recipe for one IF, you keep reading until the end. You could, skip or scroll all the way to the bottom if you want to. 🙂

Like a bartender’s or mixologist’s list of ingredients and preparation, here, there are some parts of fact, parts of fiction and some history in our list of ingredients, for preparing this alcoholic libation.

Often ingredients are mixtures of other ingredients combined or infused in certain ways, like our word “libation,” for example. Libation has its roots in Greek and Latin and its simple definition was an offering, a liquid poured out. Well, this is certainly how we may think of it today and with this liquid being offered and it being most likely an alcoholic liquid or beverage with its effects, bringing up the ideas of ‘Happy Hour,” “getting a buzz” or “high,” it’s a drink most likely shared at least between two lovers, two friends, two people or two associates, for a good time, to celebrate or just for a happy time among people, even if the two are the bartender and the bar-sitter. 🙂

That’s great, but not so fast. Libation was originally a beverage offered to some deity (god or goddess), as a form of sacrifice, seeking favor of the gods?

OK, just suppose there were no gods or goddesses, but the root word of mythology is, myth. 🙂

Alright, maybe they were made up, but people did and may still believe in them (the gods). How easy would it be to pour out some liquid as an offering for some god or goddess and when others weren’t looking, get yourself a nice, free drink! “WOW,” so they might think, “Not only did the gods take the drinks, they must have accepted them (liked them),” especially if, the beverages constantly just seemed to disappear. 🙂

Cue the myth reel for our next word, ‘Ambrosia.’

“In the ancient Greek myths, ambrosia (pronounced am-bro-ze-yah Greek: ἀμβροσία, “immortality”) is sometimes the food or drink of the Greek gods, often depicted as conferring longevity or immortality upon whoever consumed it. It was brought to the gods in Olympus by doves. Ambrosia is sometimes depicted in ancient art as distributed by a nymph labeled with that name. In the myth of Lycurgus, an opponent to the wine god Dionysus, violence committed against Ambrosia turns her into a grapevine.”

Excerpt from Wikipedia ‘Ambrosia’

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrosia

Also, at the above link, there is an image of a plate (a majolica plate), thought to have been made in 1530 by Nicola da Urbino. It’s title is, ‘The Foods of the Gods on Mount Olympus’. Oh, that sounds familiar, like the 19th Century USA invention, most of us know as, ‘Ambrosia Salad.’ Well, if this fruit, whipped topping concoction was or is the modern-day equivalent of, “Food for the gods,” what about Mead, originally a fermented beverage of honey, water and yeast some called, ‘Ambrosia’ or, “nectar of the gods?”

Forget the fact that in an area where grapes were not grown too well, but they had to have something alcoholic to drink. And forget the idea that real mead does not taste much more than like just watered down honey water. But like a bartender’s or mixologist’s special add-ins, add some folklore and a little bit of well, whad-di-yah-know’ there is something to be said about all those B vitamins that do increase as the stuff ages. Could they actually help a hangover from too much drinking the night before with drinking some more of the ‘tail of the dog that bit you?’ Supposedly, the word ‘honeymoon’ (honey + moon), came from the celebratory wedding drinking of Mead. The couple was to wed when she was close to being able to conceive. They were to wed during a lunar cycle and drink Mead for a month. WOW, how about that, a month long honeymoon, for you that may have never had one? Mead was supposed to make him more virile and the lady more fertile. Hmmm, is there something more to those B Vitamins in Mead, the ‘Nectar of the gods?’ I don’t know, but people believed it. So what’s my point? Drinking is supposed to be associated with special times and happy and high’ times. Get some gods and goddesses involved and the traditions continue. 🙂

So what? So what does this have to do with Martinis? We’re going there next? 🙂

According to all the sources I checked, a martini may in fact, be a ‘Made in America thing, what it is, but not its name. You ‘re gonna’ love this!

In 1863, an Italian vermouth maker started marketing their product under the brand name of Martini, after its director, Alessandro Martini and the brand name may be the source of the cocktail’s name?

Then another theory is, ‘The Martini’ evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez, served sometime in the early 1860’s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, CA. People hung out there before taking an evening ferry ride to the nearby town of Martinez. And of course, the people of Martinez say, the drink was first created by a bartender in their town? But a, “Martinez Cocktail,” was first described in Jerry Thomas’ 1887 edition, of his “Bartender’s Guide, How to Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks”

Are you ready for the following? 🙂

“By 1922 the Martini (the vermouth), reached its most recognizable form in which London dry gin and dry vermouth are combined at a ratio of 2:1, stirred in a mixing glass with ice cubes, with the optional addition of orange or aromatic bitters, then strained into a chilled cocktail glass.[3] Over time the generally expected garnish became the drinker’s choice of a green olive or a twist of lemon peel.

A dry Martini is made with dry, white vermouth. By the Roaring Twenties, it became common to ask for them. Over the course of the century, the amount of vermouth steadily dropped. During the 1930s the ratio was 3:1, and during the 1940s the ratio was 4:1. During the latter part of the 20th century, 6:1, 8:1, 12:1, 15:1 (the “Montgomery”, after British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s supposed penchant for attacking only when in possession of great numerical superiority),[4] or even 50:1 or 100:1 Martinis became considered the norm.[5]

My father-in-law thought just passing the cork over the martini made it dry enough! 🙂

“A dirty Martini contains a splash of olive brine or olive juice and is typically garnished with an olive.[6]

A perfect Martini uses equal amounts of sweet and dry vermouth.[7]”

“Some Martinis were prepared by filling a cocktail glass with gin, then rubbing a finger of vermouth along the rim. There are those who advocated the elimination of vermouth altogether. According to Noël Coward, “A perfect Martini should be made by filling a glass with gin, then waving it in the general direction of Italy,” Italy being a major producer of vermouth.[8] Luis Buñuelused the dry Martini as part of his creative process, regularly using it to sustain “a reverie in a bar”. He offers his own recipe, involving Angostura bitters, in his memoir.[9]”

“In 1966, the American Standards Association (ASA) released K100.1-1966, “Safety Code and Requirements for Dry Martinis,” a tongue-in-cheek account of how to make a “standard” dry martini.[10] The latest revision of this document, K100.1-1974, was published by American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the successor to ASA, though it is no longer an active standard.[11]”

“There are a number of variations on the traditional Martini. The fictional spy James Bond sometimes asked for his vodka Martinis to be “shaken, not stirred,” following Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), which prescribes shaking for all its Martini recipes.[12] The proper name for a shaken Martini is a Bradford.[13] However, Somerset Maugham is often quoted as saying that “a Martini should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of one another.”[14]A Martini may also be served on the rocks, that is, with the ingredients poured over ice cubes and served in an Old-Fashioned glass.[15]”

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martini_(cocktail)

WOW, does all that not sound factious, factitious, facetious or something with a superfluity of facts?! 🙂 I suppose one could start a religion over a martini, not to mention heated arguments as to its authenticity and origin. But there is, still more.

I have long been fond of James Bond, 007, the fictional character created by Ian Fleming. There is no cocktail served up better to “Bond, James Bond,” than the ‘Vesper Martini. This was from Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale. Vesper Lynd was one of the few ‘Bond girls’ that he truly loved. She is the reason Bond’s drinks are always, “shaken not stirred.”

According to the author, the ‘Vesper’ is “strong and cold and very well made” —much like 007 himself. That’s all fine and dandy, but neither you nor I will ever get to try it!!! Its ingredients and preparation is specific with Gordon’s Gin, and vodka. The type of vodka was not specific, but the accepted gin was Gordon’s. Gordon’s Gin is thought to be the gin of gin with its strong start and finish of juniper.

But there was also, one unique ingredient that is no longer available, Kina Lillet, the aromatised wine that gives the Vesper its distinct, bitter edge. Kina Lillet was a proprietary blend of sweet wines and macerated fruits with the unique addition of quinine, its signature ingredient.

In the 1700’s, a French scientist named Charles Marie de la Condamine discovered that quinine, a compound found in cinchona bark, is an excellent treatment for malaria. Cinchona is a genus of flowering plants. It is native to the tropical Andean forests of western South America. Cinchona bark is used in powered or distilled from, of the bark of the shrub, to make quinine.

Having some remedy for mosquito-infested territories, where the British and the French Foreign Legion were expanding into, like India and Africa in the 1800’s, this was great news! But quinine is very, very bitter. What to do? Mix it with something else like today, in Tonic water or as in yester-years, Kina Lillet. These drinks were called qinquinas (kɛ̃kinas), or wines flavored with quinine. So, the idea worked successfully. The soldiers got the quinine they needed in a drink they enjoyed. It worked so well, the soldiers developed a taste for qinquinas and kept drinking them after they came home. France’s most popular one was, Kina Lillet. So popular in fact, it spread oversea to even post-prohibition America.

Oh, and if you sit at the bar too long or develop leg cramps, quinine just might help? 🙂

Gin has long been a favorite clear alcoholic drink in the United States. People even made ‘bathtub gin’ during prohibition. Vodka was not favored for a long time. It was thought to be mostly a drink of Russia and there was a time in this country where WE were on an anti-communist kick and WE the People, certainly were not about to drink vodka. A man by the name of Smirnoff (a Russian), sold his livelihood for cheap to an American and with some ‘creative’ marketing, some ginger beer, lime and special copper mugs, with Smirnoff vodka, the Moscow Mule was born in America, with Vodka made right here. 🙂

Now, some prefer their martinis to be solely based on vodka where others prefer gin. Adding vermouth or olive juice to make a dirty martini came later. But that Vesper, the Vesper used both gin and vodka and Kina Lillet.

About 1986, tastes changed and Kina Lillet fell out of favor and Lillet dropped the name Kina, along with the quinine. Today, they offer Lillet Blanc which is supposed to contain quinine, but it’s not the same. Calling this a Vesper today, is just not the same either. In Rochester, NY, there is a pub and grill named,‘The Vesper.’

http://rocthevesper.com/

The Vesper (pub and grill), have of course, what they call, The Vesper Martini. Just remember, Kina Lilliet has not been made since 1986. The Rochester pub relies on Lillet Blanc, which is labeled to contain quinine. But it’s not the same as Kina Lillet. If you scroll down the page of the website to their signature drink offerings, you will find what they call, ‘The Vesper’ and how it is made.

The Vesper

“A twist on the classic martini. James Bond made it famous, and if it’s good enough for 007, it’s good enough for you. You’ll feel classier immediately. Shaken, not stirred, with Zamir Vodka, Plymouth Gin, Lillet Blanc & lemon twist.”

The description according to their website at rocthevesper.com

There are two main problems with this. For one thing, missing is Gordon’s Gin. I’m not so concerned about their choice of vodka, but Lillet Blanc is NOT, the same thing as, Kina Lillet. So how could this be good enough for you, when it would NOT be good enough for 007?

The original drink was 3 parts Gordon’s gin, 1 part Vodka and ½ part of Kina Lillet, shaken (“not stirred”), with lemon peel. Despite that Lillet lists quinine on the label of its Lillet Blanc, it’s not the same and no mater what The Vesper of Rochester calls itself or its drink, it is not The Vesper Martini!

This entire post all began with my trying to discover and make for my brother-in-law Kevin, a Vesper Martini. Before continuing, this is a good spot for some back story.

I have painted a lot of houses inside and out in my past. I used a lot of oil-based or alkyd paint. To clean my brushes, I often used turpentine. Turpentine smelled like gin and gin like turpentine to me. I was danged if I was going to paint all day then drink anything that smelled like what I cleaned my brushes with! I did not like gin to put it mildly! Then in 2014, my wife and I were in Australia.

After a local fair one evening, son Jonathan and I stopped for a nightcap on the way home. He ordered a gin and tonic. I was in a curious mood and I asked if I could try it. I did and thereafter, it has become a favorite drink. Even it has certain ingredients I like. The gin is Bombay Sapphire. I like its blend of botanicals. Recently, I have once again confirmed my mother’s description of my personality which is, I have, “Champagne tastes with a beer pocketbook. “ 🙂

I have an acute sense of smell so what can I say, if I don’t like how something smells, I will not like how it tastes. I discovered Fever Tree brand of Tonic. A four pack of 12 ounce bottles can cost around $5.00. One can buy other tonics for a lot less, but to me, there is nothing better than Fever Tree tonic which has, real quinine in it!

I was never fond of vodka. To me, vodka was mostly a clear alcohol with little taste that blends well with other ingredients like fresh squeezed lime juice and simple syrup, for my beloved Vodka gimlet over ice. Believe it or not, I also use vodka in my pie dough to retard the gluten process when making pie. Maybe you can make pie? I could not. My recipe is about the same as any other, but I use half as much chilled water and replace it with chilled vodka. Science allows me to make a flaky, tasty crust every single time. The alcohol cooks out and there is no taste of vodka left behind, just delicious crust which really is, maybe 90% of what makes great pie! By the way, my taste buds have evolved. Not all vodkas are equal!!! I use and prefer Tito’s. And it’s made in the USA.

Martinis? Gin? Vodka? Some of both? Me? No way, until discovering…

…micro brewed beers (micro-breweries), are no longer a niche market. They have become the standard for excellence and quality, our tastes demand. Local wines? The same has become true. Local hard ciders are becoming hugely popular. Local distillers are producing gins and vodkas (and other spirits), which worry the big-name-brands. They should be worried! Often the locals are far superior in quality, purity and most importantly, taste, but also, they are often less expensive! Why? Put your money into the end product and less on marketing, transport overseas and hype!

These small independent breweries, wineries and distilleries may not have the volume of the big ones, but they certainly make up for it in quality and imagination and incredible innovations and taste explosions. Why in fact, the US government hold them to greater standards than the big established brands. Pretty much, you do get what you pay for from the little ones and a whole lot more!! And on the economic side, these small drink makers probably contribute greatly to the employment market. Small breweries, wineries and distilleries are everywhere nowadays, state by state. And all those that work in them that I have met, all seem to love their work where they see themselves as personally invested crafters of quality,  rather than mere unknown workers of volume, for BIG-corp’s profit and bottom line. Hey, I believe there is much to be said about putting love in what you do. I believe love can actually improve the quality and taste of what is made!

We recently returned from a trip and visited two small distilleries in Tennessee. One makes a true, 100%, excellent bourbon and a gin (more about the gin later),  and the other had excellent and to my surprise, both a clear whiskey not oaked (not aged in oak barrels for that distinct taste and color of traditional whiskey), and a clear Rye (also not oaked). We bought some of all mentioned. That good? Oh, YES, that good!!! Oh, and one more thing about that little distillery (maybe a few thousands of gallons made per year as opposed to the big boys that produce tens-of-thousands of gallons an hour, day after day. H Clark Distillery is the first distillery in 106 years that can accurately and legally call its product, bourbon. Not even Jack Daniels, Dickel or Pritchards can call their offerings Bourbon! To do so, certain ingredients must be used and in certain ways. They all do this. The big three mentioned have another step they use, which is an organic process, but it disqualifies them from calling their product, bourbon. H Clark Distillery in TN, only uses the standard practice and ages their bourbon in brand-new oak barrels, for the taste, smoothness and amber color of true Tennessee, 100%, pure American Made Bourbon! And they make an incredible gin to rival say, Gordon’s gin! Again, more about this later.

So, what have we seen and learned and where have we been up to this point? Taking all the best points, our libation should be poured liquids to share with one another; to celebrate life, toast each other to-the-day and share some moments together. Should these beverages include alcohol, they should be finely crafted to produce the best taste possible and should be consumed responsibly. Now to be true, to drink responsibly, would NOT include alcohol or any drug or substance which can diminish our ability to act in an emergency, in the best and fastest way possible. But if we do drink or will drink, let us do so as the old adage says, with—“All things in moderation!”

One last thing to do here before giving my recipe for the Mano a Mano-tini or in short, the Mano-tini. What is in a name or what’s in a name? For one thing, I for one, am not about to try to make a Vesper, when ALL of the exact ingredients are not used (Kina Lillet is NOT available)! And I am NOT going to try to replicate it, while using alternatives and call it a Vesper. I will not even use the words Vesper Martini. But I will do two things. First, I will make, name and claim my own drink. Secondly, I will shorten Martini to just ‘tini,’ which will still suggest the type of drink it may be listed under, in the world of bar guides and mixology.

Have you ever heard or seen the words “mano a mano?” For a long time, I thought they were Latin words. They are not, they are originally, Spanish. I and many people thought and many still do think that they mean, man to man. That’s an easy stretch when the first three letters of mano is man. Is that sexist? Could not “man” be an all-inclusive noun, to describe all men, women and children as in mankind or humanity? I think yes, yes it could. But what is its meaning?

The god of words since 1823, Meriam Webster, defines “mano a mano” as: “in direct competition or conflict especially between two people.” Please note the words “two people” as I have underscored them.

OK, I can sort of understand how these words have and are still being used today. Perhaps images of hand to hand combat come to mind? And the original meaning of these Spanish words are pretty close to that (minus the combat part). 🙂

“Mano a Mano” just means, “hand to hand.” I like that, especially when talking about making a drink by hand, making it by hand and hand-ing’ it off to another to enjoy! From the hand of the bartender to the hand of the bar-sitter, from one lover’s hand to another’s hand, from one hand of a friend or an associate (even a stranger), to another’s hand, let us celebrate life and each other!

So without further adieu, I give you, ‘The Mano a Mano- (from my hand to yours) tini! 🙂

Most of its ingredients are made in America, and fitting and proper since most likely the “tini,” began in the USA!

Mano a Mano-Tini or Mano-Tini

Ingredients:

3 Parts H Clark Distillery Tennessee Gin (prevalent juniper notes at the start and finish)

1 Part Tito’s Vodka (made in Texas and comparable to Absolute and less expensive)

 

½ part of Lillet Blanc (French)

3-4 drops Cinchona (quinine distillate from South America)

 

3 parts H Clark Distillery Gin (made in Tennessee, USA)
1 part Tito’s vodka (made in Texas, USA)
1/2 part Lillet Blanc (made in France)
3-4 Drops of Quinnine Distillate (made with cinchona bark from South America)
Lime peel twist

Instructions:

Add gin, vodka, Lillet, and the cinchona (quinine) drops to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with lime peel (I like lime better than lemon peel, but use either to your liking.

If you use lemon peel, maybe you can call it, ‘The American 007’ and when “Bond, James Bond,” is in the USA, he will like it. 🙂 But mine is made with lime peel. I am for short just calling it, ‘The Mano-tini’

The Mano a Mano-Tini or Mano-Tini

This recipe may be found (when Published) at:

The Gathering Place

Holidays & Special Occasions Entertaining

by Dahni

© 2013-2017 all rights reserved

For more information on my sources see the following websites, links provided below.

 

http://hclarkdistillery.com/

http://www.titosvodka.com/

https://www.lillet.com/intl-en/

https://nevadapharm.com/shop/cinchona-bark/

 

In closing, H. L. Mencken called the martini,

“the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet”

and E. B. White called it,

“the elixir of quietude”

 

P.S. Kevin loved it and asked for another. We both drank two! 🙂

 

 

Dahni at The Gathering Place

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Opus Unique

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in silenzio – In Silence

Opus Unique

“The Music of You”

By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

Tuning heartstrings
Summon it all up and project

Dramatic effect
Walk on a darkened life stage
Unannounced and unknown
You are a stand
You are a microphone in hand
A single focused spotlight is upon you
Silent crescendo
Silent expectation rises
Will you sing A cappella
Will you voice something written
Will you sing impromptu
The eyes and ears of hearts trill
Waiting loudly in the seats of silence

Music attracts

Variety attracting
Compelling
Adagio Allegro
Cadenza Canon
Resonance Dissonance
Dynamics Harmonics
Tremolo Vibrato

Capriccio Concerto
Cavatina Grandioso
Interlude Intermezzo
Fifths Finale

Pages of blank staffs
No trebles or bass clefs
No signatures
No keys
No Majors
No Minors
No sharps
No flats
Only you can write and play the notes

Between the notes silence

Music is what is not heard

Reprise Refrain
Encore

Take thy bow virtuoso maestro

But first-
The world awaiting, is silently seated

This music is to be composed

Music like angelic voices

To be perfectly played
Sung as if with angelic voice
Unique as if from heaven
Pure as if from the lips of God
Are not in the notes
But in the rests

A beautiful silence

Music is undulating silence

Music is everywhere

Every eye and every ear
Every heart and every soul
In anticipation
A beautiful silence
Awaiting the Opus Unique of…

You

It is your time
It is your moment
This the music of you 

Musik ist geliebte Muttermilch — German – Music is Beloved Mother’s Milk

From the collection: ‘Staffs of Life’ By the same author

Categories: Art, Inspiration, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, Music, Poetry, Simplicity, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized, Visual Poetry | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

On Being

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By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

onbeingOn being? On being what? On being a Christian.

This is not, as Shakespeare wrote, “To be or not to be…” I don’t believe that is either “the question,” or the only question. And neither is the point in time in anyone’s life that like their first birth, none has really much to do with their second birth either or as the Bible refers to it as, “being born again!”

The difference between these is, we had no choice in the first and merely a simple yes or an acceptance of the second. The work of the first was on our parents. The work of the second is, on God the Father by what he accomplished through his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. I did not deserve my first birth nor my second, but God, not me or my works, but His, made me worthy.

So, with that all being written and simply understood by anyone, what is it, ‘On Being,’ on being a Christian?

‘On Being’ a Christian Is the simplest thing, but it is not ever or rarely never easy. It is simple because, even a fool (like I once was) or a child (or child-like, like I still am) can understand. That is the beauty and simplicity in presentation, of the Word of God, rightly divided.

see: II Timothy 2:15

“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”

Isaiah 35:8 King James Version (KJV)

There have been and are, many, many people who were not or are not Christians, do not believe or in some cases, do not know or believe they are. And there are those that are not yet. If you have a child or some other member of your family or a dear friend, do you not want the best for them? Is it an easy thing for you to bear if, all is not right with them? It is the way I often feel and it is not easy. As a matter of fact, it hurts me with a hurt as any other hurt, if not real pain. I can put a band-aid and some ointment on my wounds, but I cannot always be there to do that, for others and that’s not easy. It hurts, it hurts like hell!

It’s not easy, when you have something which will take away the pain and replace it with joy, but it cannot or will not, be accepted.

Have you ever seen something so profound; so wonderful and yet, you have no knowledge, no words; no experience whatsoever to explain, what it truly is? How can you share something with anyone else, if you do not know what it is? How can you articulate something in words, if you do not understand it yourself? Let me give you an example.

Of all my favorite stories, passages and verses of scripture in the Bible, the story about two men on the road to Emmaus, when Jesus Christ draws near and walks with them is, one that to this day, stirs deeply within me. Let me set this up.

Jesus Christ had been crucified. Many in Jerusalem were fearful, depressed and confused. Even his own disciples (then apostles), were in hiding behind closed doors, afraid that they might be found, arrested and perhaps, subjected to same punishment? Two men were out walking on a road, from Jerusalem to Emmaus, which was, about seven to eight miles away. This would have been what we think of Sunday or what the Bible refers to as, “the first day of the week.”

“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

Luke 24:13-32 King James Version (KJV)

On the Road to Emmaus, by Peter Mathios

On the Road to Emmaus, by Peter Mathios

“…Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

I have repeated part of the verse above and highlighted it, enlarged it; emboldened it to emphasize it. This is how I heard it and read it, when I first was taught it. It seemed to leap off the page to my eyes. I tried to put myself into the shoes (sandals) of these two men. I tried to imagine what they saw and heard and felt. What must it have been like for this stranger to teach them, just two simple men (neither of them one of the original 12 disciples nor apostles)? What must it have been like, for all the Old Testament scriptures about their promised savior, messiah and king to have been taught to them?? My strong suit is my imagination, but I could not imagine, any of this!!

When I heard these verses taught to me, for the first time and when I saw these words, for the first time and they seemed to jump off the page, I know exactly when it was and where I was. In fact, I was what some think of as, within ‘spitting distance,’ of the man who taught me, along with hundreds of others in the same log chalet room in the Sierra Mountains, in California. All I knew is that I had just been taught, I had just heard; I was just shown something so profound and so incredible, but it seemed far beyond my limited ability, to comprehend it or understand it! To me, it was as if, everyone in that room and everyone else on earth, knew these things, but me, and I was the last person on earth to have heard them!

Now, many, many years later, I still cannot fully appreciate what it must have been like to have been one of those men on the road to Emmaus, but I DO understand my heart burning, when scriptures are opened to me!

Many people and even some Christians want to see signs, miracles and wonders, before they are going to believe squat about the Bible. If they don’t, they won’t. And there always seems to be some un-reasonable explanation to justify why, they don’t. Things like— he, she, they and I, am not a Christian or not spiritual enough. Another is, these were, for a different time; they were special and not needed today because, we have the Bible now. Well, this is NOT what the Bible says or how it is, supposed to work.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

Romans 10:13-15

“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”

Hebrews 2:3-4

This is still, the only way to do it! First, the rightly divided word must be taught, to those willing to receive it. The importance of it being rightly divided is that it is only the truth that “makes” one free, not just sets them free. See. the gospel of John, chapter 8, verses 31 and 32. And while seeing there, notice that that there nor anywhere in the Bible does it say, the truth will set you free. It says “make” you free. What’s the difference? You could be set free from prison. The door to your cell unlocked, you could walk out. But you could also stay there as in what some call being, “institutionalized.” It’s like all you know, having been in prison for say, a long time. You are not prepared to go out and live free. But to be made free, God would open the doors to that prison and take you out, having prepared you to live free. This is what the Word does. It opens the heart, your heart; my heart burns, we understand, we get it, just like the two on the road to Emmaus. Only the truth can do that! Only believing the truth can and will produce, the signs, miracles and wonders. And it all begins, by being taught, what the Word says!

My first exposure to the story of the two on the road to Emmaus was by a teacher, my teacher that many called, ‘The Teacher.’ He was a master teacher. How can I say that? Because when he taught me God’s Word, God caused my heart to burn within me, as he opened the scriptures to me. Whether I understood it or not is, not important. The spirit of God in me understood and leapt within me. It took my fleshy mind, quite some time to grasp. But it was still a miracle because, it was instantaneous and it followed the teaching of the Word, rightly divided, true and truthful, and it made me free!

One of my favorite quotes about teaching is, a line from a poem by, Henry Van Dyke.

Teachers—

“Who teach because they love the teacher’s task,
And find their richest prize
In eyes that open and in minds that ask;”

from the IV stanza, ‘Spirit Of The Everlasting Boy,’
(Ode for the hundredth anniversary of Lawrenceville School)
June 11, 1910, By Henry Van Dyke

There is a synergy and like a symbiotic relationship between teacher and student. Public speaking should never be pushed by fear to speak. That’s not fear you’re feeling, ‘thay be butterflies’! 🙂

The student has come, expecting to receive. The teacher is, expected to give. And in so doing, the teacher too, gets their eyes opened and their minds ask, as well. If you desire your own, ‘come to Jesus Christ moment’, study the Word – II Timothy 2:15; II Timothy 3:16,17! If you desire your own, ‘come to Jesus Christ moment’, be a student of someone, anyone that teaches God’s Word, rightly divided! If you desire your own, ‘come to Jesus Christ moment’, teach God’s Word, rightly divided! If you desire daily, signs, miracles and wonders, learn the rightly divided Word of God and teach the rightly divided word of God, every day! Want to have your heart burn within you, feel those butterflies, experience the spirit of God move in you, make your eyes seem to glow to others? Learn, Do and Teach the Word of God, rightly divided. Another often spoken and always remembered by myself, is another something, The Teacher often said while pounding his fist on a podium, a desk or etc., “It’s the Word, It’s the Word and nothing, but the Word!!”

It is not how I feel, how I think, how I, you or anyone else wants to interpret it, but—

“What does the Word say? God says what he means and He means what He says and God has a purpose for everything He says, When He says it, Where he says it, How He says it, and to Whom He says it!”

Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille, December 31, 1916 – May 20, 1985

If God said it, that settles it! It doesn’t even matter if I believe it or if anyone else does, it’s still the Truth and it’s only the Truth that can make anyone free!

Christians or not, we are people; we are human and subject to human frailty, error and corruption. Remember not men and women who impressed you, but who have blessed you or bless you still. My teacher failed and he has died. I remember him not for his faults and failures, but for what he taught rightly divided; how he stood for God Word. That is a memory worth keeping and worth sharing; not hiding it away for some wrong he did or some error, some bitterness, some shame. But stay thankful, remain playful and bitterness and shame, will not overtake and break you.

Often during or at the conclusion of his teachings, which I have sat through over the years, ‘The Teacher’ would pause, take a sip of coffee, smile and just simply say, “Lot’s of things kids.”

The Teacher— “Lot’s of things kids.” –VPW-

The Teacher— “Lot’s of things kids.” –VPW-

Everyone that were in his presence, no matter what their age (some even much older than he), felt like they were his kids. He made us feel this way. He once called my brother son (as he did all of his kids) and my brother thought of him as more a father, than our own. Then he would just talk with us and share things on his heart and mind about life and living. Often he would say, “You know, sometimes you get so high with God, you just want to ask Him to cool it.” I’d scratch my head and think, now why would I ever want to do that? Maybe it was like Moses’s hair turning white, after being in God’s presence up on Mt. Sinai, when he first received the 10 Commandments? Nah, that can’t be it, I’ve had white in my hair, since I was a young child. 🙂

Could be that you get so excited you can’t sleep, even though you need to? Now that I can relate to, but purposefully and willingly, cut off the flow of God to me? Not something I am inclined to do. Here I am Lord, let er’ rip! 🙂 And then, in my simple commonsensical wittle’ mind I figure:

A. God knows what He is doing and I know what it feels like to give someone something and they don’t want or won’t take it!
B. Since patience, paying attention and listening to God are not strong suits with me, I better take all I can get when the getting is good or maybe God will just move along to someone, anyone who WILL listen to Him!

Sometimes, tears would well up in The Teacher’s eyes and then, he would say the most peculiar thing, “I wish I was the man I know to be.”

O.M.G.! What was he talking about? How could he say such a thing? What kind of confession was that to make?

I grew up in the church. I went to Sunday school. I guess I was a Christian, for as long as I can remember? Most people then, would not believe me as I seemed to be, just as so-called normal, as everyone else. In one sense, how could I believe in this or much of anything, when I had been lied to about many things, by many people (including family and trusted confidants) and had been disappointed, deceived, disrespected, and disadvantaged (taken advantage of) by often, the most sincere people? But, but, but…

…what about the young man we took into our home that nearly tore our family apart? What about a young darker skinned man I picked up hitchhiking that only had the clothes on his back, a soccer ball and had been surviving on nothing but rain water and wild green onions? Yes, what about taking him home, feeding him? By the way, you know someone has not eaten in a while, if they have difficulty eating and eat very slowly. But, but, but, we gave him clothing, we fed him, allowed him to bathe, set up a tent for him and a sleeping bag in our back yard. (the outside temp was warm, not hot). We gave him work to do around our home so he would not feel like a charity case and well, that whole giving and receiving thing. We drove him around to find a job. He got a job. Little by little, we trusted him more and moved him into our home. Then, he robbed everyone in the house, but me. I guess I did not have anything of value to him? I felt bad that my friends were robbed, but not me and because, I was the one that brought him home. I was livid and mostly angry at myself, for I’m the one that picked him up and brought him home. Then, after, I went looking for him. Thank God I never saw him again because, if I had, I’m not sure what I would have done to him. One person said, if they would have found him and if they had a gun, they would have killed him. For quite some time, whenever I saw a person of darker skin, especially male, I would get angry all over again. Then, I came to understand, if I cannot forgive anyone, for anything, I did not understand what God forgave and forgives me of! I do now!! Holding onto un-forgiveness is toxic! Forgiveness is not an option, it is a commandment of the Lord! And forgiveness is one of the many things that are true, that makes one whole and makes them free!

How would you have liked to have been a man named Saul that actually cast his vote as a member of the ruling body of Israel (the Sanhedrin), that had voted to condemn and crucify Jesus Christ? This same man under his authority put many of those heretical Christians into prison, The same man, later was called the apostle Paul and under his ministry, the whole of Asia Minor heard the Word of God in about 2 years and 3 months! Do you think he forgave himself and could forgive anyone? How about another man I met, his name like mine, Donnie. He was probably responsible for distributing illegal drugs in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri and likely, the entire midwest, in the 1960’s. Through him, his distribution network, I probably bought, used and sold a lot of his stuff, myself. This same man, became the greatest evangelist I have ever known. He even taught a class called, Witnessing & Undershepherding (under the Shepherd, Jesus Christ). Do you believe he forgave himself or had problems forgiving others?

Many people today, may not think I could possibly believe such as I still do and I suppose, there are just as many that cannot believe I’m a Christian because, I guess, they just don’t think I act, like whatever one is supposed to act like? In my twenties, I spent a lot of time on my own, reading the Bible and studying it, trying desperately to understand it. Oh, I memorized a lot and could quote this and that, but understand it? NO. So, I decided a long time ago, I believed in God, but I sure didn’t believe God much, if at all. I had little if any results, no signs, miracles or wonders. Is there any wonder why? Well, if you are wondering, it is because, I was never taught. I had ideas, thoughts, opinions and theories about God and the Bible. But I believed little if anything and could certainly not, put it together. Can you show others why you believe what you believe? And remember, a witness is just a witness, not a prosecuting attorney, jury or judge. We are neither defense attorneys either. Truth needs no defense and cannot be defended, nor can error be. We are called to be, witnesses!

Then, a woman picked me up, while I was hitchhiking home. That never happened to me before! And it was twice in the same week and in two different cars, same lady. By the second time, I guess I thought we were friends, since I had seen her briefly just once before? 🙂 I started telling her about my allergies. It was at that moment, time seemed to stand still. She looked at me and almost demanding an answer and said, “Are you a Christian?” My standard church-taught response was, I guess so, I hope so, if it’s God’s will? After all, you had to be humble and God might have thought I was being cocky or prideful, if I answered in the affirmative. She stared at me and her radiant smile became a focused, serious and angry face, “Well don’t you know that by his stripes we were healed!!!!” Well, I guess not. In fact, I felt like I was the only one left on earth that didn’t know! And on top of that, I had no clue what she was talking about! But I certainly had never heard anyone, say anything, about the Bible with such conviction. It was one of those moments where I just knew, I was a part of something extraordinary, but I had no idea what it was.

Shortly after this, I met ‘The Teacher.’ Here was another person that had the energy of their conviction, love for God, love for His Word, love for God’s people and anyone that he came in contact with. He knew the Bible, he understood it and he taught so simply that even a fool and a child-like, like me, could understand it. There was just something about being in his presence! There was life in his eyes and it affected me greatly. So, when he said, “I wish I was the man I know to be,” I had a real problem with that! I thought, surely, if anyone on earth could understand those two and could empathize with what they felt, on the road to Emmaus, it would have been him! I mean, it’s like the little poem I came to really like—

“God has no hands but our hands with which to give them bread,
He has no feet but our feet with which to walk among the almost dead,
We say the we are his and that HE is ours,
Deeds (ACTION) are the proof of this, not words
and these are the proving hours.”

-anonymous-

As the Word says, first, someone has to be sent, then teach and then the signs, miracles and wonders, follow. Jesus Christ is not here. If we want to see him, then we have to be like him. This is the reason they were first called Christians and by those which were not Christians, I might add. It’s Christ in us the hope of glory! Imagine standing in front of a mirror. What you see is your own reflection. But as our minds are renewed to The Word of God, it allows the spirit of God within us to project and then reflect, Jesus Christ to our own eyes and to the eyes of the world that see us. Why? Because as he is, so are we in this world!

Now I, as an ignorant and unlearned man, may not be a Biblical scholar, the greatest believer to have ever walked the earth or the greatest witness, but ‘On Being’ a Christian, there is a thing or two I do know. I know of whom I have believed. And I know that study of the rightly divided Word of God will transform me or anyone to be like him. ‘On Being’ a Christian is neither a spiritual plateau to reach in this life nor an elusive dream to never obtain because of, the limitations of my flesh. It is a forward-looking journey, always reaching, always looking, always asking, always studying, always doing my best and always expecting, God to do the rest.

“On Being, in this life, it is neither a final destination, nor its often detours, it’s the journey!”

-me-

I would just like to believe that if He sends an email, sends me a text message, sends a tweet, posts something to me on Facebook or sends something by the messenger app, calls me on the phone or knocks on my door, I’m smart enough to have my smart phone with me or that I answer the freaking door!!!! 🙂

As far as I am concerned, music has two purposes in a worship service. It is to bless not impress, by opening the heart to receive the Word of God. Its second is, to sustain and stir that Word in a heart, after it has been opened by the Word of God. Sometimes, after he taught and the room grew quiet and still, with his eyes moistening, the Teacher would call out, “Where’s my Debra?” One of ‘The Teacher’s’ favorite songs and mine is, ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus’. It is an old song, written in 1918. This song has been performed by many including: Elvis Presley, Alan Jackson and Amy Grant, among many others in the past and currently. I looked for and listened to these on YouTube and other video sites. None are equal to how I first heard it from “Debra.” She sang it A cappella. A cappella is Italian for, “in the manner of the chapel”. It is music that is specifically sung by a group or a soloist, without instrumental accompaniment. I can still see and hear in my mind, the beautiful young woman and her soulful voice. Her name was, Debra Sleeper. I looked for information, audio and/or video of her singing this song to have shared it with you, but to no avail.  So, I will  share the lyrics to this beautiful song and information about the author.

Debra Sleeper

Debra Sleeper

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness to see
There’s a light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

His words shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness to see
There’s a light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Author and Composer, Helen H. Lemmel, 1864-1961
Published by Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics Provided By LyricFind Inc.

Let him project from within and reflect out

Let him project from within and reflect out

‘On Being’, on being Christian is, to continually and continuously, turn our eyes upon, Jesus Christ.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2

“The author and composer of this hymn [‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’], Helen H. Lemmel, relates that one day, in 1918, a missionary friend gave her a tract entitled, ‘Focused.’ The pamphlet contained these words: “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness.”

These words made a deep impression upon Helen Lemmel. She could not dismiss them from her mind. She recalls this experience, following the reading of that tract:

“Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.”

Excerpts from: The Old Time Gospel
http://www.theoldtimegospel.org/dev/hymn3.html

 

“Helen Howarth Lemmel was born on November 14, 1864, in Wardle, England. She was the daughter of a Wesleyan Methodist pastor, and she came to this country with her family at the age of twelve. Helen lived briefly in Mississippi before settling in Wisconsin. Soon, she developed a reputation as a brilliant singer, even studying private voice in Germany for four years. She traveled widely throughout the Midwest during the early 1900’s, giving concerts in many churches. Later, Mrs. Lemmel taught voice at the Moody Bible Institute and then at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. In 1961, Helen Lemmel settled in Seattle, Washington, where she remained active with Christian activities, as a member of the Ballard Baptist Church of that city, during the last days of her life.”

“In addition to being known as a brilliant singer and musician, Mrs. Lemmel was also widely recognized as a woman with remarkable literary ability. She wrote more than five hundred hymns and poems. Mrs. Lemmel also authored a very successful book for children entitled, ‘Story of the Bible’ and composed many children’s musical pieces. She remained active for God in her musical and literary pursuits, until her home-going at the age of ninety-seven.”

Excerpts from: The Old Time Gospel
http://www.theoldtimegospel.org/dev/hymn3.html

Author and Composer, Helen H. Lemmel, 1864-1961

‘On Being’, may this, The Gathering Place, here be (for all those which come here), be like a mini gathering together until we are gathered together with him—

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons [and daughters] of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons [and daughters] of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man [or woman] that hath this hope in him [or her] purifieth himself  [or herself], even as he is pure.”

I John 3:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

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Kingliness is Next to Kindness

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© by Dahni
2017, all rights reserved

 

Recently we had a long-awaited visit from a Dear friend. Janet has been here to where we are now, but not since we added the addition and remodeled The Gathering Place. She knows that she is welcome here anytime and we have been to see her and have wanted her to visit us for sometime. She works hard and even though it’s only about 7 hours away, it is a bit much to drive, visit and turn-around to go back home in say, a weekend. But Thank God for the 3-Day President’s Day Weekend, for she made it!

Excited and highly anticipating this long-awaited visit, one would think Chef me would have prepared the proverbial “fatted calf” and other culinary delights! Let’s see, what did I actually prepare to celebrate her visit? Oh yes, sandwich meats and cheeses from the deli, store-bought rolls, chips and guacamole dip, both from what the southerner’s call the Piggly Wiggley (yes it is a chain of grocery stores) or jokingly, the Hoggly Woggly. 🙂

Then, one relatively warm night, I took the grill out and grilled some Zweigel brand ‘Hots’ (white hot dogs made out of pork). For desert? I shared Susan’s leftover Valentine’s Day, ‘Death by Chocolate’ cake. I did put some gelato that Susan bought, on their plates. You betcha,’ nothing, but the best for our friends and guests at, The Gathering Place! 🙂

Janet even brought a steak roast (the same cut used for strip steaks) and made dinner for us??? Yes, Yes, she did!!!!

I did apologetic-ly, jokingly, but seriously — splain’ to Janet that the fare at The Gathering Place might be simple, and she may have had to work for her supper (that she provided) or at least, for her room, but the Love and Kindness at The Gathering Place is culinary-ly, an 8* (eight star) establishment! 🙂

When you think about it, after a brief show-off tour of your home, show your friends, family and guests their room, the bathroom and the things they need you provide for their stay, what is really, the most important thing? Isn’t just time spent together no matter what you do? Isn’t it to spend time together; share together the things which are true and that truly matter? And is it not to share, give-and-take kindness with one another? Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes!!!

Treat everyone like Princesses & Princes; Queens & Kings with kindness, for “there’s nothing more kingly than kindness and nothing more royal than truth!” True that! 🙂

Nothing Better than Love & Kindness

Nothing Better than Love & Kindness

True Measure

By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

It’s not the measure of your wealth, talent and skill,
hungered bellies and hearts that fill,
nor all that’s shiny and new,
but what is honest and what is true,
for far purer than even, a snow-white dove
is simple kindness and perfect love

Years ago, a dear friend of my beautiful young sister gave her a simple metal bracelet. Our sister is still beautiful and young, younger than both, my brother and I, pffft 🙂

Anyway, I loved the words on her bracelet, wrote them down and can still recall them today.

Our young and only sister. The bracelet is on her right arm.

Our young and only sister. The bracelet is on her right arm.

“There’s nothing so kingly as kindness,
And nothing so royal as truth.”

Excerpt from the poem ‘Nobility’
By Alice Cary, 1849

Categories: Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Kindness, Life, Love, Poetry, Pursuit of Happiness, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Light Writing Memories

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By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

lightwriting

From the Greek, photography is made up of two words. Phos=light and graphos=writing. This is what photography or photographs are, images or as with this writing, memories, captured with light. I like this original meaning, “light writing” memories.

The word “camera” comes to us from Latin. Camera obscura “camera”: (vaulted) chamber or room, and “obscura”: darkened. It is sometimes referred to as a pinhole image. It is the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene at the other side of a screen (or for instance a wall) is projected through a small hole in that screen as a reversed and inverted image (left to right and upside down) on a surface opposite to the opening. The surroundings of the projected image have to be relatively dark for the image to be clear, so many historical camera obscura experiments were performed in dark rooms. The amazing thing about this is, a camera works pretty much like our eyes do. And our eyes see things upside down and our brains then instantly right them so they make sense to us.

What could be more appropriate here, for our cameras or our eyes to capture; to write with light than memories of home! This is what these photographs are, our memories captured. These images and memories are captured and recorded in the past, but when we think on them or look upon them, our past is connected to our present. Deeply captured are our images and memories of home. I would like to make a caveat here before continuing.

Maybe your past is fondly remembered and the word “home” takes on enjoyable faces, places and fond memories of growing up. But maybe for others, this is not so and their memories are just of a house or houses. Everyone has lived in some type of dwelling or house, but when your memories are filled with joy, that’s a “home.” Either way, there is no reason why anyone cannot make their present house a home and make and capture in light and write a present, worth remembering and worth always striving for!

The word “home” is associated with many familiar phrases, which may be fondly recalled by you. Images and memories of “home,” with photography, photographs, photos, captured, stored and written in light may be as follows:

“It’s a Kodak Moment”
“Home is where the heart is”
Home is where you hang your hat”
“Home is where you hang your heart”
“A house is made of bricks and beams,
a home is made of hope and dreams”
Home is where your feet may leave,
but your heart will always be”
“Home is where our story begins”
“Family makes this house a home”
“When there is Love in the Home,
there is Joy in the Heart”
“Taste of Home”
“Home Sweet Home”
“There’s No Place Like Home”
“The (your last name) Home Established (year)”
“Home where you treat your Friends like Family
and Your Family Like Friends”
“Life takes You to Unexpected Places,
but Love Brings You Home”

The above is just a mere sampling of the many things great, which can be said about Home. Along with those, another phrase might be also familiar to you, in reference to growing up—

“You can’t go Home again”

Now I don’t know if that is true or not, but I do know that memories or photographs are the writings and images of our lives, recorded in light. When and where I grew up the times were pretty simple and our small town was pretty special.

There was five of us in our family, our mother and father, an older brother, myself and our younger sister. My brother and I lived in three of the homes, but I only remember the second and the third. Our sister can only recall the last house we all five lived together in as a family. For my part, in some manner, all three of these homes still exist and two of them I have visited, at least the outside, from time to time over the years. It is nice to visit our hometown and drive past our once-lived-in homes and even stop. But I would never move back there. So in a sense, I can’t go home again. But seeing especially our last home, looking at photographs or recalling those memories, my childhood recollections are kept near and dear to me.

I was texting my sister recently and she sent me a couple of pictures she found on Zillow. Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace Zillow operates the most popular suite of mobile real estate apps, with more than two dozen apps across all major platforms. Zillow launched in 2006 and is headquartered in Seattle.

So I went to their site and looked up our old home. Yep, there it is, 124 Anderson Ave. in Columbia, Missouri. We bought this house built in 1935, when I was five years old, my brother seven and our little sister was around one year old. We paid around $15,000.00 in 1958. At that time, a breakfast nook had been added and a study off of what was our parents room that my brother and I shared as our bedroom. The square foot listed in 1986 for the site was around 1,284. In 1986, the last time it was sold, it was listed at around $48,000.00 and I believe it is now a rental and still occupied for about 965 dollars per month.

124 Anderson Ave. On the corner of Anderson Ave. and Ash St.

124 Anderson Ave. On the corner of Anderson Ave. and Ash St.

We were all pretty excited to move here. Our former home, which also still exists was much smaller even with three bedrooms. We lived on the other side of town in a most likely, asbestos sided house near the Power Plant. It had no basement, just a crawl space. My brother and I shared a room which was very small and we had bunk beds. Our new digs would afford us more independence, more space and our very own single beds. Our sister had her own room and it had the largest closet in our entire home. Anderson Ave had a basement and a single car garage. So we were like the Jefferson’s from TV land, “We were Moving on Up!!” 🙂

My intention here is not to bore you with my light writings, pictures of my memories, but to inspire you to make you own and to trigger in yourselves either to find memories of ‘HOME’ or to build your own destiny and your own ‘HOME.’ And well, maybe I share these as a record of my life, records and memories and photographs and light writings, worth remembering.

So let the visuals begin. It starts with an old somewhat out of focus pic of our new home, shortly after we moved there around 1962, 63. It was pink for at least the first five years or so! For me, it was kind of tough to live in a pink house as a boy. And for quite some time, our house was a landmark for giving directions. For example, someone might say, “Go straight four blocks and turn left past the pink house…” I was Oh so glad, when we painted our house white!!! It is still white today. Notice the porch concrete and steps were a deep burgundy red. Our Dad is standing in front of the evergreen shrub (more about that later), which is no longer there. And there were vines growing up the red brick chimney.

Our Dad Standing in Front of 'The Pink House,' around 1958

Our Dad Standing in Front of ‘The Pink House,’ around Easter 1962, 63

Front View

Front View of our old home, around 1986

We had a lot and a half unfenced, so it was a nice size yard. When I was older, I often would mow the yard. Mom told me it always looked good when I cut the grass. Now I don’t know if that was true, but I still enjoy cutting the grass and I still think it “looks good” when I’m done. 🙂

Columbia, Missouri has been likened to the humid climate of the tropics. High humidity brings insects. I still think this should be the epicenter for world research on bugs because, there’s got to be so many and those not found anywhere else on earth. Summers were often hot. Even at 72° F. with our frequent and usual high humidity, one would be perspiring profusely! Except for years later when we had a used air conditioner put into one of the dining room windows, we never grew up with central air. Often in the summer’s evening, my brother and I would climb up onto the roof, lay down facing the sky and imagine all kinds of wonderful things floating by in those big, fluffy, cumulus clouds. It was cool and it was cool in the hot summer’s eves. I don’t climb up on roofs anymore, but I still imagine stuff in clouds.

We had a front porch where sat a glider along the back rail. Where you see in the picture shrubs in front, used to be filled with flowers, Lilly of the Valley. These were our Mom’s favorite, still my favorite, my wife’s birth flower and we have some in our front yard today.

The porch was supported by two brick pillars, the same color as the chimney. We had a real fireplace. Between the steps to the porch and the chimney, used to be, a large evergreen shrub (see: picture of ‘The Pink House’ above). Our Mom would often take some cuttings and use this to decorate the mantle of the fireplace, inside the living room. Just in front of the back pillar to the left of the dining room window, you can just make out a shutter to the window in the kitchen, over the sink. To this day, I don’t like to hand wash dishes unless, the sink has a window to look out from. Before we added onto the back of a home now, the sink had a window. We removed the window and made a pass-thru into our Gathering Room (great room or living room) but I can still see through this opening and through the windows on the other side. So, I’m still sometimes handwashing dishes, with a window over our sink.

And from that window near the Ash Street was, an elm tree. Our grandfather ‘Papa’ made for Mom, a bird feeder with a lid from an old metal can, some wood and dowel rod perches and all painted metallic silver. I suppose he believed it attracted the birds. Well, birds came and frequently. The tree is now long gone, but it was such a joy to watch the dirds from the kitchen window. I still feed birds to this day. And that elm tree was once where my brother and I set up our own business. We were selling lemonade or kool aid and candy. I don’t remember how much money we made, but I do recall eating up most of our profits. And I’m sure one or both of us fell out of that elm tree at least once, but no one ever broke any bones. 🙂

And the elm tree was often visited by at least a squirrel or two. One time, I was watching one digging, for something in our back yard. When curiosity drew me to find what it was, my approach scared him or her away. On the ground was a little acorn with a shoot, like a new little tree, just beginning to grow out of it. I saved that little treasure in my ‘treasure box’ and still have it today. Our grandfather ‘Papa’ once said, he had two squirrels (my brother and I) and one rabbit (my sister). My sister (affectionately known as ‘the Squirrel), tells it just the opposite. I always thought it was because, squirrels and boys have nuts and rabbits and girls have holes. 🙂  That’s the funny thing about memories, they may not be true, but they are yours. There is no written record or audio of what our grandfather said or meant, but my sister’s memories are the stronger, so she wins the argument and is probably right! And we don’t have squirrels around here, just chipmunks, and a rabbit now and again, so that’s something to consider too. 🙂

Side of house near the back

Side of house near the back

Two windows were on either side of the fireplace in our living room. The two sets of double pane windows were in our sister’s room. There was a small window over our only bathroom, but my brother and I had our own door to our room. This was originally built as a study and had a crawl space beneath where we used to store our storm windows and screens, when not used. In the back of the house used to be three or four rose bushes. Our Mom loved roses. I still do too. So did Susan’s Mom that I sometimes call her, ‘The Pink Rose.’ We have a pink rose now where we live. Not seen in the picture and to the far right used to be a very large pine tree. It is no longer there. The picture appears to have an updated air conditioner unit on a pad. We did not have air conditioning when we grew up here. I think I was in Jr. High School when our dad’s parents gave us their old room air conditioner. It was installed in one our our dining room windows. It would pretty much cool the front of the house. There was a door to the hallway we could close off from the bedrooms and bathroom in back. I remember my brother and I had to get shots for summer camp one year. It made our arms sore and wore us out. I remember us sleeping on cots in the dining room under air conditioning that night! YAY! 🙂

Rear of Home

Rear of Home

Unlike our former house, here we had a garage. Like most garages, I don’t recall our car ever being inside, just stuff. The rule of thumb is, for every vehicle you want to garage, you need another one, just for your ‘stuff.’ This garage at some point, somehow, caught on fire. It did not burn down. The roof and siding was replaced, but you could still see the blackened wood frame 2 X 4’s and detect the smell of burnt wood, when the humidity was up. Where you see the fence running from the side of the garage, the trees and bushes in front were not there, but a concord grapes was. Behind the garage was our pet cemetery and site of several funerals, a turtle and at least one family cat. Our grandfather, ‘Papa,’ installed the brick walkway and raised patio. Directly behind the pad was a playhouse he built for my sister when she was born. It was moved here from our former home on Stone St. and the green siding of the playhouse, matched the siding of our house on Stone St.

The Backdoor

The Backdoor

Our interior tour begins like many homes do and ours still does, at the back door. When you park in your own driveway and the driveway is close to a sidewalk that leads up to the back door, that’s probably the door you use most. Visitors and guests and the Mailman used the front door, but we mostly used the back. Our back door was solid with no window panes, so this was a great upgrade, adding light to a dark stairway, down to the basement and up a couple of stairs to the kitchen and another door. I see something that still looks familiar to me, a hole in the wall where the door knob busted through the drywall. It was common when we lived there too.

There are no pictures of the basement. This is probably because, it is still dark and damp down there as it was when we lived there. Mom had her washer and dryer there. She did her ironing down there. There was a floor drain where we often had water backing up and the plumber had to come over and snake the drain line that filled up with tree roots. Under the stairs, our dad put a door on hinges and a spring and made a little cubby hole. Both my brother and I probably claim that Dad made it for him or I for me. Again, this in the funny thing about memories. But maybe I claimed it as mine when he grew up and it fell out of his favor. But it was my office, my “cubby hole,” for a while and I loved it. I still have a home office today and shelves with little cubby holes.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Our kitchen was pretty small and narrow. The door took you down a couple of stairs and then out through the back door you came from or went. The backsplash or tile along the wall in front of the sink, the sink and counter top have all been updated since we lived there, but the cabinets freshly painted white are the same. Ours was just a single ceramic sink then. To the right of the door (not seen), just fit a small gas stove and a refrigerator. In the back of this room was the breakfast nook. This room was added on before we lived here. The picture does not do it justice, but five of us sat around a table in this room. Growing up it was somewhat difficult squeezing along the sides, then pull a chair out and sit down. We would all be hard pressed to fit in there today, but I loved this room with two windows on the side and that wonderful octagonal window in the back.

Breakfast Nook

Breakfast Nook

Not seen in this picture used to grow an apple tree with pretty good apples. It used to grow just outside of the octagonal window. In spring, those apple blossoms were beautiful!

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Dining Room

At the corner of our kitchen was an opening to our dining room. Near the floor of the kitchen is a cabinet with two black knobs for storage. Just to the right of that you can just make out the opening of another cabinet. It was smaller than the other and was painted black inside and used to store potatoes and other such things, needing a dark space. One early Christmas morning, I discovered all the stuff for our stocking from Santa, not yet filled. 🙂

This room as shown, has fresh paint and an updated light fixture. I’m not sure if most of our home had all wooden floors, some covered with carpeting or not, but the floors were all redone by some owner after us. The wall facing the kitchen was wallpaper when we lived there. Our dining table with six chairs sat in the middle and other chairs were squeezed in to accommodate two sets of grandparents for many holiday dinners. In the back to the left of the door to the hallway was our Mom’s matching China Hutch. In the front to the right of the opening to the living room was sometimes a wooden desk then later, just a small table where sat our only telephone. Oh the progression of telephone numbers. And back then there were real people running switchboards and real ‘live’ operators to connect. I believe our first number at 124 Anderson was, 7628. Then it was 27628. Finally it became (314) 442-7628. Please don’t call that number because, we don’t live there anymore. 🙂

Anyway, back to the dining room. When there was a storm we would all head to the basement for protection. Often our grandmother ‘Nanny,’ would call to see if we were in the basement. Maybe not me all the time, but I remember coming up from the basement during some storm, through the kitchen and into the dining room to answer the phone. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hello”
Nanny: “Donnie, are you all in the basement?”
Me: “We are and I was Nanny, but I came up to answer the phone!”
Nanny: “Well get in the basement!”
Me: “OK Nanny, stop calling us!” 🙂

The front window to the right is where we installed our only room air-conditioner. We got it from our Dad’s parents. It came from their house. It was large enough to cool almost the whole front of the house when we closed off the door to the hallway, which led from the back of the house to the dining room. But WOW, was this cool, figuratively and literally! 🙂

Living Room

Living Room

I don’t recall there ever being a centered light fixture in this room and never a ceiling fan as shown. Along the long wall sat our sofa and end tables on either side with lamps that lit the room. A previous owner after us had tried to update this room by painting the beautiful red brick of the fireplace and replaced the pebbles and cemented hearth on the floor in front, with in this picture, looks like a white rug. I don’t know if the fireplace still works or not and there is no fireplace screen in front. But we had a screen and fireplace tools on a stand and we often had a real fire burning, especially in winter and especially, especially at Christmas time. At each window sat chairs belonging to the dining room table. Later, to the right of the fireplace the chair was moved to make a space for our first TV. It was black and white. We loved it. It took a long time before we saw anything in color. Let me take a pause here to write about cartoons. In addition to Captain Kangaroo and a local show, Captain Bob, cartoons exposed me to classic music. I may not have known the song or the composer, but I sure recall where I heard this music, from the cartoons!

There were only 3-4 local channels which would broadcast the national network news from just ABC, NBC and CBS first for a half hour followed by local news and then they expanded to an hour. Journalism meant something back then and the University School of Journalism located in our home town, was one of the tops in the country. I think former CBS anchor Dan Rather went here. And by the way, Ernest Hemingway used to work for the Kansas City Star in Kansas City, MO and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is from Missouri. But we kidlits’ loved to go visit our Grandparents that lived near Kansas City at least in part because, they had cable TV which included the ‘Superman’ series among other programs we could not get at home.

The fireplace had a mantle from which our stockings would be hung at Christmas, even for a cat. I still hang a stocking for our cat. Mom would decorate with real evergreen clippings from the shrub outside the window between the fireplace and the front door. She would place little miniatures up there and make a scene that always made me feel big like a giant looking at a little miniature world. Not just at Christmas time, but Mom would decorate that mantle all year-long with unique things like real bittersweet our ‘Papa’ found and brought to her. Mom was a whizz at decorating that mantle!

At Christmas, often I would wake up after I went to bed and come into the living room. All the lights were off in the house except for the lights on the Christmas tree and from the fireplace. I would often find Mom lying on the floor (rug) just looking at the lights and the firelight glow and maybe with a couple of candles lit on the mantle, illuminating the ‘little world’ up there and the hanging stockings. We do not have a real fireplace now. It is a gas burning fireplace with what looks like real logs burning; complete with embers. It is controlled by a digital remote. But we have a fireplace, we have a mantle and we still decorate the mantle, and I still love to lie on the floor, turn off all the lights except for the Christmas tree and the fireplace glow. And sometimes there are candles lit on our mantle, I still have and love miniatures, but mostly I still like Mom, love all these thing still!

Kitchen, Diniing Room and Living Room

Kitchen, Dining Room and Living Room

On the other side in the living room was just enough for our Christmas present one year from Dad, a one piece stereo cabinet. Yay! Mom and Dad mostly listened to swing and big band music on those vinyl albums or LP’s. I used to be able to lay on the floor and look up underneath at all those lit tubes that made it work. It’s funny, I didn’t care too much for this music then, especially when 45’s became available and Rock-N-Roll was in. But today, I love that old music! The other window is actually two double pane windows. Perhaps not all the time, but mostly in front is where we set our real Scotch Pine Christmas tree. Our brother was often the one that strung the lights and all of us would decorate the tree. Our mom used to get some really unique ornaments (one for each of us kids) from many different countries, year after year. Our sister still has a few of these.

Dining Room to the Hallway and Only Bathroom

Dining Room to the Hallway and Only Bathroom

Back from the living room to the dining room was a door to the narrow hallway connecting the back of the house. the door ajar in front, was our only bathroom.

Bathroom Shower

Bathroom Shower

The bathroom was very small and still is. Another owner, after us, upgraded the window to glass block and an enclosed shower. We only had a bathtub and maybe one of those sprayers that fit over the tub faucet, but no shower. There was just a toilet and a small vanity with a medicine cabinet. But this was a scene of many a bathing. One time, we had a small fish aquarium. I had a job of cleaning out the tank. I put the fish into a separate bowl while I cleaned out the aquarium in this bathroom. I thought the fish were cold so, I added some warm water to warm them up. It took me quite sometime to realize that they were floating because, I killed them, with the warm water. 🙂

Shower & Tile

Shower & Tile

Like written in the afore picture, we did not have a shower. This looks nicely upgraded with a shower head and tile.

Our Sister's Room

Our Sister’s Room

Coming out of the bathroom and turning to your left would take you to the door to our sister’s room. Yes, she had her own room and being the only girl, rightfully so. She had two sets of double windows and it was a nicely lit room. Later, after she moved away, I lived here for a little while and I stayed in this room. I always loved this room. Still do.

124anderson16

Front of Our Sister’s Room

There was no ceiling fan when we lived here. But our sister had her own private door. Behind the wall between the two doors was her closet. It was the largest closet in our entire home. When I was young, I had asthma, a whole host of allergies, upper respiratory issues, frequent bronchitis, pneumonia and sinus infections, plagued me for years. Because of these many breathing issues, I was claustrophobic, for quite sometime. I grew out of asthma and my fears and panic attacks of not being able to breathe and being enclosed in small places subsided obviously because, my sister (my first best friend) and I used to play together in her closet! I like small places now, our sister is still our sister, she is still my friend and we both still love to play!

Relationships in families are all different and unique. Our brother is two years older than I and I am four years older than our sister (which makes him sis years older than her). He was and still is a role model to me, someone to look up to and even someone, sometimes I try to imitate, even if I didn’t understand the reasons, for why or how he did what he did or said what he said. Our brother had great taste in clothing and perhaps, was somewhat of a ‘clothes horse.’ He was an athlete and quite popular with the girls. Who wouldn’t want to be like him!!! I made him mad often by taking his clothes and wearing them without permission. Hey, I just wanted to be cool, like our brother. He was my protector too. I’m sure I did not receive often, even a well deserved beating up, because of him. He even tried to protect me from our father, even if I really deserved Dad’s wrath, which was most likely. Mom never seemed to worry about me when I was with our brother. I felt I got a lot of undeserved respect, just because he was my brother when I was with or without him.

We may be different, but there are just connections that span all space, place and time. We have lived apart in different cities/towns and different states, but some things are just beyond explanation, other than the words, “We’re Family!” After years living apart, we discovered that he and I both enjoyed smoking cigars, especially socially. I like this because, it takes about an hour to smoke a good cigar. After the sports stats and the weather and other such trivia, even guys will eventually engage in good and meaningful conversation! We also discovered that we both like not just single malt scotch, but the same brand. My brother and his wife (also named Susan, whom he married before I married mine) invited my Susan and I to share a cabin for a week. Our two Susans? Was I still trying to be like my brother? 🙂

Anyway, that cabin had a screened in porch and it had a creek running underneath and was surrounded by trees. He and I could have set out there day and night, smoking cigars, drinking scotch and having great conversation, all week long!!! Our girls had other ideas so, we left the porch on occasion, only if we had to, I guess. 🙂

We still live about 628 miles apart, but we are still connected. I don’t take his stuff anymore, but I confess, I get stuff often, just like him. I’m still trying to imitate him I guess, and I DO still respect him, he is still our big and older brother and I still look up to him! OMG he was and still is a tough guy, but WOW what patience just in dealing with the likes of me! He was and is strong enough to be tender, but tender enough to be strong!

HAllway into Our Parents Room

Hallway into Our Parents Room

In the above picture, you can see the door that opens or closes off the hallway from the front of the house. Our sister’s door is in front of this. The door to the bathroom is not seen, but is directly in front of the hallway door. The wall leading to our parents room had a full-length mirror when we lived here. The hallway is where I would often get sent to, to wait for punishment from our Dad from my doing something wrong, foolish, stupid or all of the above. With all the doors shut in this hallway, it was like a ‘time out’ room or a holding cell, for waiting my sentence. 🙂

I would often sit or stand in front of this mirror and rehearse some story I would make up to tell our Dad to try and avoid getting spanked. As imaginative as I was then and still am I believe, my stories were never effective in reversing my due! 🙂

Have you ever heard an adult say, just before you got spanked, “This is going to hurt me more than it is you?” I did.  One time, I was waiting in ‘The Hall’ to get spanked, but I wasn’t trying to make up a story. That time, before Mom sent me to ‘The Hall,’ to wait for Dad, I somehow got to the kitchen without her knowing. I found a small iron skillet and took it with me to ‘The Hall.’ Somehow, I was able to fit that pan under my pants in back, thinking, I would protect my little butt. Dad came in. I was ready. Then he said it, “This is going to hurt me more than you.” You know what is meant, Dad did not want to have to spank me, but he had to. He had to teach me that there are consequences, for wrong decisions. Well, I got spanked and when his hand hit what he thought was my butt, that pan in my britches hurt worse than any spanking because, I know, I got another one after he got over his own pain, from hitting that pan! I’m not sure if it hurt him worse, but like I said, when he figured out what I had done, I got another spanking for that. I never again tried that, ever! I went back to real FaceTime, looking into that mirror and working on my stories. These kept my mind occupied and off of thinking about what was soon gonna’ happen to me. I’m still writing stories today, but not to get out of trouble. 🙂

Mom and Dad had the only other closets in our home, except for our sister. These two closets in size all totaled, were very small, in comparison to hers. And I know my brother and I had to use one of them to hang up our clothes too. And The other one near the door to their room was mostly our Mom’s and it had a panel in the ceiling, for access to the attic. I was never supposed to go into this closet, but one Christmas I did and found a bunch of presents on the top shelf that were tagged: ‘From Santa.’ This was the same year I found our stocking stuffers in that little cabinet in the kitchen. I was devastated, but somehow, I learned to believe and trust again and to this day, I still love the Claus Man! 🙂

Moms & Dad's Bedroom and the French Doors to the Bedroom (study), My Brother and I Shared.

Moms & Dad’s Bedroom and the French Doors to the Bedroom (study), My Brother and I Shared.

Mom and Dad had a double window. To the right is one of the double french doors to the room my bother and I shared. It was originally built as an addition over crawl space as, a study, before we lived here. It is kind of tough living in a room next to your parents bedroom, but I think we might have had drapes put over the glass doors? I don’t recall all the panes of glass always being in. One or more was often getting broken. They were not always quickly replaced and just a piece of glass can make a big difference in what you may or may not hear, coming out of our room or from our parents room. 🙂

Dad would often either fall asleep watching TV or he would play music from a radio in their bedroom. I still can’t fall asleep unless the room is dark and quiet, but I can sure fall asleep watching TV. 🙂

Directly under this room was a crawl space with concrete blocks around the perimeter. We used to store our storm windows and screens here. I know because, in the basement, Dad would raise me up and I would crawl through the basement window opening. The glass and frame had been removed. Once inside the on the dirt floor, I would hand Dad the storms or screens one at a time and he would pull me out safely though that opening and back onto the basement floor. One year, I came to realize just how sneaky your good cat or cats can be. We had cats for years. When one would disappear or die, another one would just show up as if there was some invisible sign on our front and back doors that only cats could read, “VACANCY or NO VACANCY, depending on whether or not we were occupied!” 🙂

There was a table in the center of the basement room. Still it was quite a leap to get from that and through the opening underneath the study. One after another and for years, they all used this as a bathroom. Now all our cats were inside/outside cats. I just always thought they ‘went outside?’ Uhh, NO! We lived in a humid area. The crawl space is just a dirt floor with storm windows and screens stored there. I to this day, can’t believe my brother or I never smelled anything! I still have a cat. It is an indoor cat. She has a litter pan. Cat’s are still sneaky or at least have mental issues, if you get my meaning. 🙂

My Bother's and My Room

My Bother’s and My Room

This picture shows our parent’s bedroom, both our french doors, the area in front of the double window where my brother slept and you can just make out part of the built-in desk. My brother and I were used to sharing a room. In our other home before we moved here, we had bunk beds. At some point here on Anderson Ave. we each got our own brand new twin size bed with wood stained headboard with a center space and two sliding doors on either side. We were used to sharing a room so we had no problem continuing to do so. There were no closets in this room. No ceiling fans, just some lamps here and there. If memory serves me, we may have each had, a built-in light in the center of our headboard? My brother had his headboard up against the wall where the one french door is. We usually had to use the other one to get in or out of this room. My bed was on the other side of this door so the door could not be opened all the way as it hit the end of my bed. This arrangement is most likely, what led to many broken window panes in both doors. 🙂

My Side of the Room and Our Own Entrance

My Side of the Room and Our Own Entrance

As previously shared, we did not have either an overhead light or ceiling fan when we lived here. You can make out some of the built-in features of this room. There was a desk, shelves and a small little closet. All of these were originally stained wood, now painted over with white. My headboard was to the right of the door and the bed ran lengthwise along the wall. You could not open the french door on this side all the way because of the foot of my bed. My bed was up against the wall and it was my little world. I had pictures and stuff on my wall. One time, I must have been not yet 16. I was at several parties with several friends and we somehow were able to get alcohol. I mixed this with that, got drunk, taken home by someone with a license and tossed out onto the grass on the side of our house. I don’t remember anything after that. I have no idea how I got into our home. I assume Mom got me inside somehow, but I don’t recall her ever saying a word about it. Sometime in the night, my bed must have been pulled away from the wall a little bit by Mom. Well I threw up from alcohol poisoning and/or too much mixing of the wrong stuff. If my bed had not been pulled away from the wall when I threw up, I probably would have drowned in my own vomit. I’m still here and I still have an intense gag reflect and I don’t drink like this ever. My sister says I must have had two guardian angels and when I became a Christian, God retired them and the numbers on their angelic team jerseys. I probably should have died many times in my life, but I’m still here and grateful to God, because of it.

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All our Built-ins are Still Here, At least When this was Taken, in 1986

Our built-ins are still there and look great painted in white. We had curtains or blinds in our room, but since we did not have air conditioning. the curtains or blinds were left open at night in the summer. The windows were open and the screens were on.

Our brother was the first to grow up and move out on his own. I had this room all to myself. I think he took his bed with him? I moved mine to where his was and in the exact way, but I think I slept with my head on the pillow, near the window and the corner of the built-in desk. I liked looking out the window at night and I could see the street light. At another time, someone gave be a water-bed. I filled this up and it was pretty large. I did not have a frame to go around it so, it just sat mostly in the middle of the floor. It was navy blue. Without any covers or sheets, our cat loved to come in and try to catch the bubbles underneath. None of our cats were ever declawed and I was a little concerned of claws, ripping holes. But it never, thankfully, ever happened. It was ice-cold to lie on so I put some furniture pads from our Dad’s moving and storage business, on top. One time, I actually got our Nanny to try it out. She laid down and got right back up, “This make me seasick, she said. 🙂

I read a lot in the room. I read the Bible a lot here too. I may have become a Christian in this room? But this is neither the only place I lived in our home or where all my fond memories reside. I lived in my sister’s room, for a while after she left home. I even lived in our basement. There is probably not a single room or a single square foot of our home, our yard, garage, my sister’s play house, our neighborhood and our neighbors where there are not still fond memories recorded, by the light writing of my mind and heart or triggered by these and other photographs existing or lost.

I loved our home. I had a great childhood and growing up in Columbia, Missouri. I have the memories and some photographs to trigger them even more. The secret to light writing, photographs, and memories and what makes a house a home is love. Love in the past is what makes these so precious and the memories are secured by repeating much of this past into the present. That present or gift is hope, for the future.

I am thankful that this house of my past still stands. At one point, I wanted to buy it and maybe even live here again. But in one sense, I can drive by when I visit our hometown, but I am not interested in living there or in this home anymore. Maybe I can’t go home again. but I can keep home in my heart, write with light, take or keep my photographs to maybe not necessary to trigger the memories and records, but to keep them alive in my present and for my future and any and all I may touch, until my last breath. So can you! So can anyone! Be a light writer and be at home and be home for others!

No, maybe I nor anyone can go home again, but in sharing this, didn’t I sort of, do just that? This is what light writing, photographs, records and memories are stored for. But even if we have no such photographs or  light writings, we can always go to the archives of our minds and hearts and go ‘home,’ anytime we want to! And we can make up new light writings, new photographs, new records and new memories. Our minds pretty much don’t care if they are real or not, it just wants and needs to write with light!

Let your Gathering Place be where you gather home and the records, and the memories, and the photographs of writing of light!

Categories: Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Life, Love, Making Memories, Photography, Things that really matter | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

2017 Whatever

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By Dahni
©2017, all rights reserved

 

I read recently that some are suggesting less of or the removal of several overused words like, “whatever.” OK, if I use less whatever, then I perhaps I can have more room, for more whatever?

In light of putting off the old year and taking on the new year, I thought, whatever.

To put on more in the new year I must first put off the less. This is for, becoming resolute or whatever is an appropriate new year resolution or whatever.

There must be some simplicity, some balance, whatever.

whatever1

Whatever

I choose less whatever like less coffee, less false news, less Facebook, less Tweets, less talking, less words, less breastfeeding from TV and other devices or addictive dopamine producing centers, less complaining, less criticising, less eating, less other addictive behaviors, less fluff and pretension and formality, less ridiculous, less political correctness and less agitating and less aggravating or whatever.

Since I have less whatever, I’ll have more room for more, whatever.

 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, WHATEVER is true, WHATEVER noble, WHATEVER is right, WHATEVER is pure, WHATEVER is lovely,  WHATEVER is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

The Bible, Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)

 

So I simply thought, if I think on such things, maybe I will have more whatever, in 2017

Whatever

Whatever

 

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A New Twist On An Old Favorite

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By Dahni
© 2016, all rights reserved

3men_web

3 in a boat

Welcome to fall. The leaves are turning and the air is getting crisp and colder. It’s time for some warm-up food! Many people just think of it as ‘comfort food.’ I’m talking about, Macaroni & Cheese or just, Mac N Cheese. Kids love it and so do many adults! To be honest, I am newly converted to this culinary delight. Yes, It was not my favorite, if you can believe that? Not even as a child? NOPE! But that was then (for almost 61 years) and this is now (now I’m 62). 🙂

Yes, for just about a year now, I have learned to first like, then LUV’ it! Of course, for me, it was only a matter of time before I came up with a recipe. That time has come and as a matter of fact, just last night. I saw something on a friend’s Facebook page and was inspired. When it comes to food and for as long as I can remember, I’ve always had the ability to look a picture or a recipe and instantly know how to make it mine. I can usually tell what is in food by taste and smell. I’m not trying to brag, just stating a fact. So, when I saw my friend’s post, I instantly knew what I was going to do. I drove to the store and picked up some cheeses and with everything else we had on hand, I went to work.

Now you may or may not know that I have been working on a cookbook:  ‘The Gathering Place  – “Holidays & Special Occasions Entertaining,” but I am and even though some day or one day are not actual days of the week, sometime it will get published. 🙂

Until such time, I thought I would share the following with you, a twist on Mac N’ Cheese. I added some surprises, but the biggest WONDER is, BACON! Like butter, almost everyone loves bacon and they make everything taste more-better! 🙂

So, I made this last night and it actually tastes better today. According to my wife, even cold. I asked a few people and checked online and this seems unique. Whether anyone is doing this or you have heard of it or not, enough of this drooling and salivating and stuff, LET’S GO!!!

BacMac N Cheesey
(Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese)

bacmacncheese_web

BacMac N’ Cheesy

INGREDIENTS

1 package (8 ounces) elbow macaroni
2 cups small cottage cheese
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Extra sharp cheddar cheese (enough to cover top)
8 ounces sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 slices of fried crisp chopped bacon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
¼ to ½ teaspoon of garlic
½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
½ teaspoon crushed rosemary
Smoked Paprika, to garnish (before baking)

Servings: 4-6

 

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Cook macaroni “al dente” according to package directions. Drain with cold water.
  2. Cut-up small pieces of bacon from 6 slices thick bacon, fry until crisp, drain and blot with paper towel.
  3. In a bowl, combine cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, egg, bacon, garlic, paprika and rosemary. Fold in macaroni.
  4. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with coconut oil. Spoon mixture into casserole dish and sprinkle with extra cheddar cheese to cover top and sprinkle with smoked paprika.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
bacmacncheesey_web

BacMac N’ Cheesey with fresh grape tomatoes, raw baby carrots and a dish of applesauce

ENJOY! 🙂

gatherfall2016_web

From the hearth to the heart

Categories: Comfort Food, Fall, Food, Recipes, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

Caution: This is a Trashy Story

 


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By Dahni
© 2016, all rights reserved

Here in the country of The Gathering Place, we have 3 choices for trash removal:

1. Pay a service to p/u the gar-bahj. It’s garbage, but that’s how I say it. It sounds French, oui (yes) and quite educated, no? And they p/u your recyclables, for FREE. Why? They make money off of it! This leaves the returnable bottles/cans for a trip, to someplace else.

2. We could burn it and compost most, which we do a lot, but not all so, this still leaves #1 or #3 below.

3. Take it to a landfill. As it happens, we just happen to have one about 2 miles away, open 7 days a week. It ends up being cheaper than #1 and this is what we do.

Wasn’t that all sooooo interesting! 😃

Well, ALPCO landfill is, where we take our stuff (I mean me, it’s one of my official titles, Chief Trash Collector here at, The Gathering Place). 😃

image

ALPCO landfill, residential entrance

I collect and go, maybe around once every 2 weeks (We’re not really trashy people). 😃

Another reason I go to ALPCO, to distribute de debris is, I get to see and bother people! 😃

As you leave the road to enter the residential side of ALPCO, the entrance has a little booth between the coming in and the going out. A lady employee attends the booth and passes out clipboards with a form and collects it on the other side and any money owed when you exit, or pays you. Then, you drive around a large circle, with stops along the way.

First is, the recycle station for paper, some plastics and glass. An attendant gathers your stuff and checks off your sheet (no $’s earned or charged here). Why? Because they make money of my stuff from this stop.

Next is, the money stop, for all your cans and bottles, to get back your ‘bottle deposit’ money. They write your # of ‘returns’ on the form and you head to the next location.

And the last is, THEIR money stop, where you pay per pound, to dispose of your disposables or your household trash.

To leave ALPCO, you stop at the booth, at the front entrance and hand over your clipboard and form. The attendant adds and deducts, presents you with a bill, you pay it and then, you are on your way home or wherever. The trick is to get paid or at least, not have to pay them anything! This does NOT happen to me, too often. Apparently, y’all don’t come over enough and drink enough soda-pop and stuff.  😃

Well, the other day I made my regular run and stopped at the booth. When the lady opened the sliding window and while handing me the clipboard and form, I asked her for a skinny latte and a corn muffin. 😃

When I stopped at the first stop (recycle), a worker met me at the rear of my truck and I opened it. He asked what I was dropping off. “Nothing,” said I, “I want to p/u some cardboard, paper, plastic and glass!”  😃

Not having any ‘bottle deposit’ stuff, I drove to the last stop, garbage. I asked how much they would charge per pound, for me to buy about 50 lbs. of garbage? 😃

I am among ALPCO’s favorite customers, I’m pretty sure! 😃

It doesn’t cost anything to get a smile, but a limitless trash-bag of goofiness and your time. 😃

P.S. I really said these things, but I also dropped off and paid them for 30 lbs. of our trash 😃

Categories: Entertainment, Fun, Home, Laughter, Life, The Gathering Place, Trash | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Tequila is My Friend

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By Dahni
© 2016, all rights reserved

Tequila as a friend? Yes! A friend not only will say what you want to hear, but they will tell you what you NEED to hear.

Margaritas

Ahh Tequila, You are a Friend of Mine 🙂

Nothing quite says summer like margaritas, freestyle, flavored, frozen or on the rocks! Tequila is my friend because, a regular margarita requires it and is part of its unique taste.

You live your life with the love of your life and you find out things about her after many years that you never knew. Tequila is my friend because, I just found out that it is my wife’s favorite drink. She had been asking me to make these for a while and the other night I made us a couple and posted on my Facebook page that it was, “Margarita 30.”

“Margarita:30,” like “Beer:30, is just a hypothetical time of day uttered in response to the question of “what time is it.” when consumption of said beverage becomes an event that is either inevitable or required to proceed with life as we know it in modern society. 🙂

Well, anyway, as I was saying, it was indeed, “Margarita:30” the other night at, The Gathering Place. I made my wife and I a couple, just as usual. A regular Margarita is pretty simple to make. It has just three ingredients: Tequila (of course), some type of orange liquor as Triple Sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier. I have used all three and Triple Sec is the least expensive followed by Cointreau and then Grand Marnier. The last two are French in origin and I do personally, prefer Grand Marnier. The kind of Tequila is a personal choice and range in complexity and cost. Whatever works for you, works. I started making these with the once most popular and nearly the only tequila (good tequila) that was available around 40 years ago, Jose Cuervo. Although not the oldest or the best by many standards, it remains the best-selling tequila in the world.

Now the purists, the old-time tequila drinkers licked some salt, bit into a lime and swallowed the tequila. A version of this was the “body shot” and required preferably three attractive women and one male. One female placed the salt at her cleavage. Another lady would have the lime in her mouth. And the last woman had the tequila in hers. If you were the guy that was the recipient of this libation, well?  🙂

Some had tequila drinking parties and contests, most likely inspired by the male-manly-silly-ego of, ‘who can drink the most?’ I was a bouncer or a stabilizer-stand-em-up guy of such a contest where the floors were completely lined with thick painter’s drop cloths. Hmmmmm? The contest had obvious ‘ringers’ of Mexican descent. No, that is not a slur, just a probability that if you were born and raised in Mexico, you just might be able to drink more tequila, than someone that is not. But, ‘The Flying Burritos Brothers Tequila Drinking Team,’ each consumed, a fifth and a half of tequila and were still on their feet. 🙂

Many were intrigued by and dared to get to and swallow the preserved worm, at the bottom of the bottle of some tequila? It was and may well still be, as if there is something magical, spiritual or that the supposed pure tequila in that worm’s guts, would make you special or something. 🙂

Too much tequila has been known to cause temporary (hopefully) nut-ness’ and there was even a song written that was quite popular. Many may still hear it played today or recall it, all too realistically. 🙂

Jose Cuervo, Shelly West, 1983, Vinyl 45 RPM

But getting back to ‘Margaritaville,’ after the proper mixing of the 3 required ingredients, for ‘The Regular,’ usually the rim of the glass is rubbed with lime and the glass is then turned upside down and pressed into a bed of coarse salt. The lime oil holds the salt onto the glass, for the ‘salted rim,’ which many find to be absolutely, a requirement for a real, true, authentic margarita. Prior to serving, the beverage is mixed with ice and pulverized in a blender or ice crusher, to make frozen margaritas. Otherwise, you would place ice cubes (as much as you like) or crushed ice in the glass, then pour the fresh margarita over the ice and Walla — instant summertime (beach not included). 🙂

I had not been able to drink even a 1/3 of my drink, when I suddenly had a horrible headache. I thought maybe it was that the Triple Sec was old so, I left my happy wife to drink hers and the rest of mine, while I tried to make another with Grand Marnier. Ooops, ran out of lime so, I had to use Rose’s lime juice and some of that lime juice concentrate from you know, that lime-looking, plastic squeeze bottle. It did not taste the same as a regular margarita without the fresh lime juice and after a swallow, my headache continued to get worse. Pffft. It is one of my favorite drinks too. But my poor happy honey was soon wasted away, in Margaritaville. 🙂

Margaritaville

Just so it is perfectly clear, we only drink moderately and modestly. We don’t NOT wear clothes, don’t shoot out lights, dance on bar tops, start fights or wake up with partners we have no idea who they are and we’re NOT wearing their shirts. To be clear, clear, we just wake up with each other, NO other bodies next to us, known or unknown! 🙂

Back to tequila.

I remembered that this tequila was newly tried last year and last year, it did the same thing to me. Last year it gave me a horrible headache too. Hmmm, I wondered, perhaps I can just no longer tolerate tequila? OH HOW SAD THAT WOULD BE! 😦

But then again, maybe it’s this PARTICULAR brand of tequila? HOPING SO!

The next day, I went to the liquor store to buy another bottle of tequila, the same brand we had used, for several years previously. But before I made my purchase, I just happened to ask the owner if he had ever heard of anyone else having a reaction to tequila or from the brand I had last purchased from him a year ago that he had personally recommended? “No,” was his quick answer, but it was followed with a “But.” But before I get to that, let’s go back in time.

My first introduction to wine was red wine and it was from France, a Beaujolais. I am told, this is still an excellent ‘first wine’ to introduce people to red wine, due to it’s low tannins and its light body. I loved it and went on to drink many different red wines, which I prefer over white. But something happened to me years ago. Red wines I loved, did not seem to like me anymore. I never even spent much time on WHY, I just tried to find some white wines that we would each other get along with.  🙂

Oh, I could still drink my red, but only a glass if with food for dinner, just NOT sadly, for ‘Happy Hour.’ When I moved to NY, where we live now, near the Finger Lakes Region of Western NY, yes, there is much more to NY than just New York City, NY, I started to wonder again. I decided my lack of tolerating red wine was due to the added sulfites to the wines, for commercial sale. All wines have some sulfites by nature and reds have more, but there seems even more are added, when mass distribution exists? I was excited to test this out, on one of our wine tour trips to a winery in particular that was, small-batch and organic. To my chagrin, the wine was horrible, so I was not able to see if my theory could “hold water” or wine. 🙂

Around three years ago, we moved to the country. We can now almost roll down the hill to a winery, owned by folks that have become dear friends. They have a wine produced and bottled by them, which is not only wonderful and red, but the first red wine, I have been able to drink just for Happy Hour, in over 30 years I’m guessing! WOW, was I happy to be able to drink a red wine again! My only problem is, if they ever run out, which is the situation currently. I could be in trouble. They probably will not have this ready for several more months. I do still have a few left in our basement, so I am not concerned, at least not yet. But, for the most part, I have, for three years, just thought that their red does not have as many sulfites, so I am able to drink it. I think now, I may be wrong about this.

I have consumed scotch in some form for over 40 years. It is not an alcoholic beverage that seems to have a middle ground. People either like it or they don’t, both with perhaps equal passion for or against. I personally had to learn to like it. It started with a beverage that someone I greatly admired enjoyed, called, Drambuie. It is Scottish in its origin and is a sweet liquor with a Scotch base. The name means, “the drink that satisfies.” I liked it. From there, I started drinking, ‘Rusty Nails’ which was, Drambuie with some scotch added. Then I moved to Chivas Regal which is, a blended scotch and this was a particular drink of choice of mine, for many years. I wrote “particular” because, for me, I discovered that if I was going to be out all night drinking (in my youth), I could drink just scotch all night long and never get drunk/inebriated/intoxicated and NEVER have a hangover. My only side-effect if you will, seemed like my skin smelled like an oak barrel, for quite some time until, all the remnants were no longing coming out my pores. 🙂

It was only when I met my wife that she introduced me to single malt scotch. Yes, my wife is a scotch drinker and I have never met another woman in my life that likes scotch. So, this is pretty cool to me! My first single malt is, still her favorite, Glenlivet. Mine later became, Macallan. We keep both as well as, a pretty good assortment of scotches, at The Gathering Place. I used to drink scotch on the rocks. It was my wife’s brother Kevin that taught me the ways of drinking scotch more perfectly.  🙂

Most scotch is bottled and sold at around the four-year old mark. The longer the aging, the higher the demand and price, but less water is left. 8-year-old and older scotch is like drinking finely aged wine with its complex nose, bouquet, start, finish and its subtle tastes. Adding a drop or a few drops ONLY of water, completely transforms the experience and ice just totally waters this down and robs me of the experience. So, for several years now, this is the only way I would drink scotch.

Now if you think I’m a long way away from what the liquor store owner said to me about tequila, and even further from Margaritaville (margaritas) and tequila being my friend, hold on, I’m getting there, it’s all important!

For years, my wife and I would occasionally share a scotch together and the same scotch, her Glenlivet, UNTIL I discovered Macallan. We would still have our scotches together (she her’s and I mine), once in a while. After her bother Kevin, showed me how to properly drink it, I have learned to love drinking it this way. My wife still prefers hers on the rocks and I, with just a drop or a few drops of water. And this does NOT matter what time of the year it is either. Perhaps by this time, you may have discovered what I discovered is, a taste for more expensive single malt scotches. I have had 18-year-old which were from drinks purchased for me by a friend. But my cut-off is, 12-year-old. It’s expensive enough and I really don’t want to get use to anything that might be better and even more expensive. But I also discovered something else. Since I do not drink scotch, I SIP IT and slowly, to maximize the experience and to make it take as long as is possible, we could actually afford more expensive scotch, since we do not drink it like water or need to buy it as often.

Something else happened to me years ago. I learned to enjoy fine cigars. But something was missing— other people. Yes, I was a conversation only, social cigar smoker. I would really never smoke alone. In my mind, a good quality cigar was a social thing, for conversation. I even started having what I called, Cigar-tys. I would have people over and most of the time, I provided the cigars and the beverages. I loved these! And since they were not frequent, I could afford better cigars. It was a win-win for me. Then, I started associating sipping 12-year-old single malt scotch, with fine cigars and conversation. Then, religion interfered. It wasn’t disagreeable politics, but religion. Rather than just agree to disagree, one stormed off and did not speak with me again for a long time. Thankfully, it was not permanent, but this ended my beloved cigar-tys! I would still have a scotch now and then with my wife, but rarely smoked another cigar, for some time.

I knew my brother smoked cigars, but found out he too, not only liked scotch, but my favorite as well. Then he and I got together with our wives, for a week at a cabin in the Ozarks. As far as he and I were concerned, we could have just stayed on the screened-in porch, had conversation, listened to the creek that ran just underneath, watched nature, smoked cigars and drank scotch all week-long! But our ladies had other things in mind so, we did do other things.  🙂

But ever since that time, just a few years ago, I can no longer drink scotch without a cigar and someone to share good conversation with.

Thankfully, I made a new friend a few years ago, that stops by every-now-and-again and we share a scotch and a cigar and good conversation. But last year I noticed, I was not tolerating scotch too well when he was here. I didn’t think too much of it until a few weeks ago, when he was last here. I poured him a scotch, but not one for myself. I just did not want to take a chance. We shared a cigar and great conversation, but I noticed, I wasn’t handling the cigar too well. Then, I got a little angry about that and after he left and to soothe myself somewhat, I poured myself a scotch. Same as last year, I just didn’t feel right. What was going on was soon forgotten. I would not have to think about it again until my friend or someone came by that liked conversation, a good cigar and some great scotch.

So, now finally, we get back to the liquor store owner. This just happened yesterday or one day before I wrote this post. Remember, I went to buy some tequila, like we used to have on hand, before last year.

Tequila

Two different Tequila brands— amber and clear

The amber-colored tequila on the left in the picture above is the one I have reacted to, twice now. The silver or clear one on the right is the one we used to use, for several years previously and the one I purchased yesterday. Remember, before I made my purchase, I asked the owner if he ever heard of anyone reacting to one or both types of tequila? After he said, “No,” he went on to say, “…but what you are describing to me sounds like you might have celiac disease.” He informed me that the only reason he knew anything about this was because his wife was having some issues with cancer and was referred to a gastrointestinal specialist. After proper testing, his diagnosis was that she did indeed, have celiac disease.

I have never heard of this disease before. Now, before you or I freak out with that dreaded word “cancer,” let’s not jump to conclusions. Celiac disease can happen at a young age or at any age and can vary with symptoms per individual and/or be gradual over the years. There is a test, for this and rest assured, I will be bringing this up with my doctor at a regular scheduled visit, in the next couple of weeks. But most often the disease is usually associated with the body developing antigens, for things it believes do not belong in the body of the individual as, me perhaps? It is usually associated with not tolerating gluten from wheat, rye and barley.

To my knowledge, I don’t seem to have any issue with rye or barley. I often feel uncomfortable after eating granola and sandwiches etc from whole wheat or gluten rich foods. There is a nine grain bread we have been buying for some time, which I love and gives me no problems. Pizza does not. But too much of anything would bother anyone eventually, but I try not to do that. Ice cream does not (especially Ben & Jerry’s). Yes, some ice cream contains gluten.Pie crust does not bother me. So, over the years, I have become aware of these things and have limited or weaned myself from those things which do bother me.

OK, so what has this to do with wine, scotch, cigars and at least one brand of tequila? In a word, wood. To be more specific, oak. All of these things can be aged, cured or stored in oak and as cigars, in a humidor made with oak. So yes, celiac disease can be triggered by oak and even some plastics (not that I eat plastic). The skin can absorb plastic and it can be inhaled in sufficient amounts to irritate those with celiac disease. OK, do I have this? I don’t know and won’t, before I am tested and properly diagnosed by my physician, within the next couple of weeks. But do I have any possible proof?

The liquor store owner told me that both tequilas are fermented in stainless steel tanks. But the amber-colored one is then aged to produce what some believe is a smoother tequila with the characteristic amber color. Would you like to know how it gets that color and whatever else becomes a part of the finished product? Well, it’s OAK! OK, now what?

I bought the new silver tequila untouched by OAK. I made us another pitcher of margaritas with it and slowly tasted and waited. Nothing happened. I had no reaction at all. I drank two and still, nothing. Nothing but pure delight that I could drink one of my favorite drinks again! So, tequila is my friend!

A friend tells you what you want to hear. Yay, I can still drink tequila (un-oaked) and continue to enjoy margaritas.

A friend tells you what you may not like, but need to know. I may or may not have Celiac disease. But now, I know it’s a possibility and what to do about it – check with my Doctor and take the test for this and just avoid things that may cause me discomfort.

And you Dear reader, tequila may be your friend too? If you have similar experiences as I have, check with your doctor. But rest assured, if you’ve no issue with any of these things, we will keep the stuff you like, for whenever you stop by, The Gathering Place! 🙂

Categories: Beverages, Celiac Disease, Health, Inspiration, Tequila, The Gathering Place, Toast this Life, Uncategorized, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Make America Dream Again

Short url to this post: http://wp.me/p4jGvr-Fn

 

by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

Yesterday Was National Moon Day and for me, it began with a status on my sister’s Facebook page and an incredible picture.

Max Guliani (@maximusupinNYc) | Twitter

Max Guliani (@maximusupinNYc) | Twitter

Even though I live in New York, I do not live in New York City and I have never seen the Statue of Liberty in person. But she is an icon and a symbol of so much that evokes so much emotion and captures in her meaning and visage, the United States of America. She is on my ‘bucket list’ to one day or night, to experience with my own two eyes.

I was aware that the full moon of this month is called the Buck Moon, the Hay Moon or the Thunder Moon, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. I had recently heard that if the conditions were right, I just might be able to see it as a red moon this month. I am not too good at taking decent pictures at night with my cell phone, so it was time to take out my big-boy camera and tripod, to see what I could capture. As the following pictures show, my views went from red, to golden and then white as it was when I took it, high in the sky at approximately 1:30 AM, eastern standard time. Though the quality of my pictures are not the greatest, I marveled at their beauty in my own two eyes and the change of color, in such a short period of time.

Moon1

Red Moon – about 11:00 PM Wednesday 7/20/16 eastern standard time

 

Moon2

Golden Moon – around midnight Thursday, 7/20/16 eastern standard time

Moon3

Golden Moon (closeup with clouds covering) – 12:15 AM 7/21/16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moon4

White Moon – (closeup) 1:30 AM, Thursday 7/21/16 eastern standard time

Earlier on the Wednesday 7/20/16, I was watching the news on TV, around noon. On July 3, 1995, astronaut Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and she was scheduled to speak in Cleveland, OH, Wednesday evening, 7/20/16. She became the first female shuttle pilot and commander to speak at a Republican National Convention. And why not, this is, after all, America!

I put two and two together (or three)— National Moon Day, Collins speaking at the convention and on 7/20,  47 years ago in 1969, the United States Landed the first people EVER, on the Moon.  I knew I wanted to hear Collins speak, but I caught very little of it, as I was trying to get set up to take pictures of the moon. I am glad it was re-broadcast and I caught it later. I saw a lot more than I was expecting!

Some people were a little upset that a certain former candidate did not endorse the republican nominee for president and there was some booing. Someone (someone against all of this) was quick to call them, “howling lunatics.” I wonder if they knew there was a full moon out and howling refers to wolves that supposedly howl when the moon is full? “Lunatics” has as its root, “luna,” which refers to the moon. I only mention this as we seem so divided now, perhaps even more so or at least equal to, the times of the so-called Civil (which I call the UN-civil) War? This division among us seems especially true politically, anyway. It seems WE has all but been replaced with ME?

me-myself-and-i and you-yourself-and-yours seem along way away from US, WE the People

 

The sun rules the day and reveals so much. It is too intense of a light to look upon with the naked eye, so we look down and at what lies before us. The moon rules the night. It is a light in the darkness. We are drawn to this, especially when it’s full, like a moth is drawn to the flame. We look up at the moon and wonder and dream. How long as a nation, as a people, have we had vision, for the future or dreamed? Not howling our discontent at the moon like lunatics, but dreamed?

We are now a people who are concerned or worry over or fear our future. The world seems on fire and even our neighborhoods, don’t feel safe anymore. Who has time to dream if you’re just trying to survive from pay check to pay check or just to get through the day? Now, people can seize upon these doubts, worries and fears and provide vision and leadership or keep us blind and divided.

Dividers separate, manipulate and keep us in the dark
Leaders give vision to guide us together to the light of liberty

-dahni-

John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States (1961-1963), the youngest man elected to the office. He provided US with vision, vision to safely land people on the moon and return home. This he envisioned being possible, within the decade of when he first proposed such a thing. OUR dedication to this vision produced so much more than what we received! New technologies, businesses, methods, jobs and inventions were just some of the by-products, of all things necessary to land on the moon and safely return home. As incredible as this was, a vision is NOT, for a final destination, but a continual and continuous journey! WE stopped dreaming as a people, at least about space travel and discovery, in 1999. WE need to Dream and Dream BIG again! This was beautifully and succinctly stated by Neil Armstrong. On July 20, 1969, from the moon’s surface he said,

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!”

Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11

When should WE ever stop stepping or leaping? NEVER! Each night of the Republican Convention of 2016, there was a planned theme. On July 20, 2016, this theme was:

‘Make America First Again’

We used to be first at so many things. This is what made US, a ‘superpower’ in the world! WE had vision!

“Where there is no vision, the people wander aimlessly.”

Proverbs 29:18 Sanskrit Telugu

With vision, we have direction and can see clearly; our actions and our results bring more results, even far greater than what could be imagined. How apropos that on this National Moon Day and a day in history when the world was graced with the benefits of our landing on the moon! As this began with the image of the Statue of Liberty, with the moon at her back, so it will shortly end here, but hopefully NOT in your memory and your resolve. That image is, the purpose of unity among US, WE the People. WE need to look up as in the night sky towards the moon that rules the night. What I am trying to say here is more, so much more than sentimental hogwash or an emotional appeal; some feel-good! WE need to DREAM again! Only where there is Liberty do WE have the freedom to dream and dream big and lead others out of darkness! Ladies and gentlemen, this IS, the American Dream! Let’s dream again together and dream—

BIG!

This is what allowed US to become the greatest superpower, the world have ever known! WE were first because, WE were unified! WE had vision because, WE had the Liberty to DREAM! Let US, WE the People, with the American Dream, rise up together with this vision! Let US lead ourselves and our children; our families and friends and the strangers among us and the entire world! That’s what it means to be First, to have Vision, to draw out from the darkness to the Light of Liberty! Let US DREAM again, DREAM first and DREAM big !

At the end of this day, in trying to hear the speech by our country’s first female astronaut commander, I saw the following video. Enjoy it and share it with everyone, whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent! Just look up at that moon in the night sky and DREAM because, Liberty allows US to be, WE the People and do great things, for ourselves, each other and the entire planet!

 

 

 

MyAussieHatwBkg_sm

 

 

 

 

This post can also be viewed on another of my blogs, ‘Our Lady Liberty’ (How’s She Doing?) from the following link:

http://wp.me/pyrh7-5G

 

Categories: DREAM, Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Moon, Republic, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized, Vision, WE the People, You Tube | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

The Ha Ha Game

By Dahni
© 2016, all rights reserved

HaHaGame

ROTTALTOTAYBO Rolling on the tummy and laughing to tears your belly off

Good Morning. It has come to my attention (incredible as it seems) that there may be some that have never heard of, have never experienced and have never enjoyed the MANY benefits of, The HA HA Game!

Brief Description:

Each person places his or her head on another person’s tummy, so that everyone is connected. The 1st person says “Ha”, then the 2nd person “Ha-ha” and so on. The goal is to get all the way through the group without anyone laughing. Right, like that will ever happen! It’s infectious, contagious and hilarious! See how long it takes for everyone to roar and literally stream tears of joyous nearly uncontrollable (dare I write belly) laughter!!!

Now the best way is to form a circle. Obviously the first person would have to rest two heads on their belly, the second and the last person’s heads. I volunteer as I can easily accommodate 2 heads on my present belly! 🙂

BENNIES (Benefits):

As an icebreaker. What a Great way to meet people! Right, try this at a party or at work! Maybe a political rally? Sure, put the DEM’s, GOP’s and INDY’s together doing this and we just might become, the UNITED States of America again! Caution, people who laugh together might just not only get-along, get things done and etc., but they might actually learn to like each other!

For those that seem to have no sense of humor or have forgotten theirs, they just might discover or uncover what has been there all along!

As a stress reliever. “Do I need to explain how this would be possible,” said the person whose head is bouncing off another’s tummy and someone’s head is bouncing off of yours? It’s kind of hard to be depressed too, if you are LYAATO (laughing your ass and tummy off)! 🙂

Good medicine! OMG, YES! Laughter is good medicine. It increases “endorphin rushes,.” like exercising and other activities which produce euphoric highs!

Increase of dopamine. Dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine pathways, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. Increase of serotonin includes the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning. Increase of circulation. Increase of oxygen intake. Do this long enough and maybe it will become your new favorite weight-loss program! WHAT? All this from the HA HA Game? YEP and more! It’s Good medicine!

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…”

Proverbs 17:22a King James Version (KJV)

Well, what are you waiting for? Ha. Ha, Ha. Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha. HaHaHaHaHaHa!!! 🙂

Categories: Entertainment, Family & Friends, Freedom, Fun, God, Health, Ideas, Inspiration, Laughter, Life, Live Laugh Love, Politics, Pursuit of Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Un-unrequited Love

Un-unrequited Love

(quite requited or reciprocated love)

By Dahni

Un-unrequitedLove

Unrequited love like leaves blowing in the wind

Unrequited Love is almost an oxymoron. My dreams and desires centered around love coming and staying; returning if not greater than what I gave to it, at least equal to it! Yes, I was looking for— “the one!”

Most of us can relate to what many call “first love.” I am happy that some bravely or foolishly endured their choice to continue, despite, “unrequited love!” Going into it and staying to it, despite ‘no return,’ may be brave or foolish, but it certainly has defined who I am and marked me with scar-treasures, that do NOT fade in time nor has memory failed nor have the feelings ever been lost. But surely, there must be a better way??

For me, my situation, my understanding and my beliefs began, for ‘first love,’ when I was 16. I have carried those scar-treasures, for over forty years, through three marriages and who knows how many things and how many others have been affected, perhaps some positively and I’d venture to say, mostly negatively. How wrongfully has my subconscious driven me to trust or not to trust or to judge others, compare others because, they were not her? Forty plus years? That’s a long time to hold onto a fantasy and that’s really what it was!

Like ANY addiction, was I addicted to her or to unrequited love? Unrequited love is like plucking all the petals, hoping for a flower.

Un-unrequitedLove2

wordage’ by Dahni © 2016, all rights reserved

It was only around four years ago that I was finally able to get this resolved. OK, I’m NOT very smart, pretty dang slow, too sensitive, irresponsible, unrealistic or however you would like to define me. I do not regret my scar-treasures. They are mine and they have richly added to my life. But if there was one thing I would have changed is that someone, anyone, could have/would have taught me the relationship between emotions and chemistry (coursing hormones) and sensual stimuli (five senses) and HOW to handle my emotions!

Emotions make a horrible master to reason, but reason without emotions would just be a lifeless life. I might have a reason for something, but would I do it— IF, there was no passion? Can there not be some beautiful balance? Can we not teach our children what to expect and how to handle what will come or is life nothing, but trial and mostly error?

Perhaps this is too much to ask of those that were never taught, HOW to handle their emotions? Would our newly independent youth, fearless and reckless, ever seek advice from those aged mostly by fear and made weak from letting all turn to dust because, we no longer try to move or build? Is it time to do things differently, in pursuit of un-unrequited, requited, reciprocated love?

Oh fear to lose! Oh fear to let go! Oh fear that I will never feel again! Oh, fear to be so forever bound to thy chains and to the sweet poison paralysis of your lips! Oh fear to flee in haste so slowly! Oh fear, forlorn I, for so long to find you comfort in my misery or merely the company that I kept in my misery?

Come ye who love me! Come and teach me self-love, for by it can I love another! Come love and teach me it is no sin to self-neglect, but patience to be full that I may reciprocate! Come let me in self be replete, until love find me and complete! Come love, teach me!

Un-unrequitedLove3

wordage’ by Dahni © 2016, all rights reserved

But until if and when that time arises with dawn in its eyes, I thank God for my scar-treasures! Without Him, they’d just be scar-reminders of pain received and pain caused, for the perceived pleasures of the fleeting moment, that just might still hurt, and could thereby with all its repetition, repeat this through my future! Surely, surely, there is a better way?!

Un-unrequitedLove4

wordage’ by Dahni © 2016, all rights reserved

Oh, love of miracles, Oh, my lover miracle maker, love sought for I’ve never found, but found me— have you! Cannot I change the past and the present is, my gift. And to the future let this my gift be wellness to you maintained or as a wounded healer, to those that need a physician.

Oh, poem this, Oh ye poets! Oh, sing this, Oh ye singers! Oh, love this, Oh ye lovers!

“Train up a child in the way he [or she] should go: and when he [or she] is old, he [or she] will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 King James Version (KJV)

 

From the collection: ‘Sing in the Key of Me’
by the same author
© 2016, all rights reserved

Categories: Family & Friends, Flowers, Ideas, Inspiration, Life, Love, Making Memories, Poetry, unrequited love | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Not Yet

NotYet

Photography by Dahni & TheFlyPhotography.com © 2016, all rights reserved

 

Though clouds cover the setting sun
The Farmer’s work is not yet done
As they both so soon, seem to disappear
Over yonder in the sunrise, there to reappear

 

From the collection: ‘Re-collection’
(the collection of poems by Dahni that never had another name for the collection)
© 2016, all rights reserved

Categories: Inspiration, Life, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Ode to My Missing Socks

By Dahni

MissingSocks_picture

“Darn it, hurry the heel up, I can’t stand to hear “sock it to me one more time!””

I’m sure they went in the wash, but were missing in the dry
I’ve searched high and low, it made me want to cry
Some say the Sock Monster ate them, but I’ve never seen a one
Or evidence of sockfuzz poop, No there’s never, ever— been none
The ones remaining were lonely, lamenting inside their drawer
Some got mad and I could hear them, yell and scream and roar
What happened to them, could they just never cope?
Was it just the hard water or did they not like the soap?
Oh why, oh why, did they all just suddenly disappear?
Was it an Alien snatch, through the atmosphere?
Was it the Sock Gnome— That took them home?
Or was it tutu attired and hairy,
The twink of the Sock Fairy?
I ran an ad that they’d be found and quickly returned to me

“HELP, Missing Socks, Footloose and Fancy Free”

Well, that didn’t work— I felt like such a jerk
So, I tried to help and made a sign and tried to get them dates

“Single, Clean and Lonely Socks, Looking for New Sole Mates”

Well, not either nor neither did that work, Oh forlorn am I, alas
And every time I walked by their drawer, they tried to kick my ass
I tried to find something useful, for the singles all to do
But they all just stared at me, as if I had no clue
No, they did not take too kindly and they’d all moan and gripe
If ever I wrapped them around, some stupid leaking pipe
I’d turn them into friendly sock puppets and then to my surprise
The next time I saw them, they were missing all their eyes
I’ve tried decorating them, so they’d feel more cool
And every time I did, they just called me a fool
So I’ve learned to sleep with all their complaining and their noise
Stuck in the drawer the single socks— both girls and boys

MissingSocks_profile2

Sock Puppet? Heel No! I’ve got feelings!!

MissingSocks_profile

Sock Bird of Paradise

But long l kept inside my heart, what truly was their missing fates?
Yes, what has befallen, all those missing mates?
Then I noticed, my bank account was overdrawn,
Little by little and for a long time, this went on!
For food and drinks and beachy stuff, the charges read
Oh my conundrum and Oh— the grumbling of anger shed!
Just when I thought they were dead and buried in the sockyard,
Out of the blue and in the mail— a postcard
But adding insult to injury, it was NOT addressed to me
Oh no, it was to all the single socks,

“Footloose and Fancy Free”

It went on to say, “No Worries Be Happy, Will Send for You Soon,”
And now, all my single socks, dance and sing a different tune.
Well, at least now I know— Where the missing socks all go
Some tropical paradise, with cool ocean breeze
Warm sunny rays where nothing will freeze
Lakes and lush and green is the highland
Basking socks on— Missing Sock Island!

MissingSocks_cover

Posted: NO NUDE FEET ALLOWED!

These are the major, missing sock myths: The Sock Gnome, The Sock Alien and The Sock Fairy

from the collection: Sing in the Key of Me
by the same author © 2016, all rights reserved

Categories: Family & Friends, Life, Live Laugh Love, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Punk

by Dahni
© 2016 all rights reserved

Punk under blanket at our home 2016

Punk under box at home in Australia

Punk under box at home in Australia

There is a final revolution for all, in this circle of life. And the day comes when it seems that circle no longer turns. But not only does it continue to turn, it never stops turning!

It hurts, when we lose someone we love. It hurts when those we love, lose someone they love. And it hurts, when we meet loves of those we love and lose too, those we come to love as well.

To those that never have had nor may ever have a pet, you may never understand how a pet could ever become one of your family. And they may never understand how their loss could be, as one as any other member of your family. But I suspect, all can understand hurt and its opposite, wholeness and well being. We love in part because, in some measure and in some sense, someone gets under our skin, is absorbed into our bloodstream and goes directly to the heart.

I could have wanted to have written this yesterday 1/22/16. I could have grieved or shared something with those to whom this event first came to know and feel its sting, first. But it was difficult (if not impossible), for me to have done, when I was surrounded by three grandchildren, full of life and joy that were contributing to my wholeness and sense of well being, for most of that day. And now, I am mindful, not of the hurt so much as, remembering, wholeness and well-being!

Such for me was Punk, not my cat, not my care and concern, but a cat I met in Australia, just a few short years ago, that got under my skin.

He was unique in that he only had three legs and it took me an entire whole 24 hours to figure that out, that he only had three! He was unique in that he moved as well as, if not better than, most cats with four legs. He was unique in that he would just make himself at home on your lap or where you slept and right into your heart. He was unique in that I had never before or since, met a cat that loved so much to get underneath the covers! He was unique in that he loved most everyone. He was unique in that his curiosity usually always, resulted in some very imaginative and creative play. It is not always what we’ve not, but how we use what we’ve got that really matters the most!

Having Punk get under my skin the way that he did, surely could not linger because, my time with him at his home in Australia was just a month, How attached to someone could we become, in just a month? After all, he was not my cat; not my care and concern. He was there and I was here.

Then— Punk came to live with us. And he came to get under my skin, again, and into my heart for days and months. Almost daily, we’d talk about some things and often just about nothing that mattered at all. The conversation was mostly non-important, the ‘hanging out together’ was really all that mattered. While most cats love to crawl up and lay upon a blanket on your lap, Punk would crawl up and get underneath that blanket or under the covers of our bed and sleep this way through the night, under the covers, under my skin, into my bloodstream and into my heart.

Punk was a survivor! He survived the loss of one leg and thrived with three. He had a heart condition and he survived that anyway. When he came to live with us, he survived and thrived in a new country, with new people and in a new environment. He survived the many run-ins with our one and only cat, Bella. To her discredit, Bella is a scaredy cat and pretty darn anti-other-cat-social. To Punk’s credit, he usually won all arguments! 🙂

Punk even survived me! 🙂

Punk survived surgery here, for Hodgkin lymphoma. He never complained about all that was done to him, before and after his surgery.

Punk survived to be returned to his immediate family; his ‘first family,’ here, after they came home to NY.

When I first knew that Punk would be coming to live with us for awhile, his human father Jonathan, said to me, “Your’e never going to want to let him go!” My only edit to that statement is, I never will!

Cats are curios creatures, but Punk found such creative ways to enjoy his joy, from the simplest things as a ‘cat pillar,’ a box or a bag.

Punk 'sunny side up' at our home 2016

Punk’s ‘sunny side up’ disposition, at our home 2016. Notice, Punk uses the window for the full effect! 🙂

Yesterday, Punk’s heart gave out, but not before imparting it to many others. Yesterday, Punk left a hole in many hearts when he left this life. I would have loved to have seen him one more time, but he left me some things that I’ll never forget and they remain with me still!

Love is NOT a measurement of how much, how long; how much stronger or deeper one loves over any other. It is something that either gets under your skin or it doesn’t. It survives anything and everything! It enters as a contribution to one’s wholeness and sense of well being, which are opposite of the hurt we experience, throughout our lives. Yes, it comes and gets under our skin, enters the bloodstream and goes straight to the heart. And when we feel its loss and grieve and mourn, we should be mindful that what we got under our skin, that entered our bloodstream and that got into our hearts, still remains! Memories are the token reminders of wholeness and well-being. Thank you Punk, for so entering me and for your ever reminder to—

Be WHOLE – Be WELL!

Punk – Mr. Punkle Pants – January 22, 2016

A sense of wholeness and well-being is, in the bag! :)

A sense of wholeness and well-being is, in the bag! 🙂

Categories: Animals, Aussie, Australia, Home, Inspiration, Joy & Sorrow, Life, Life & Death, Live Laugh Love, Love, Missing You, Pets, Punk | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

How Was Your December

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How was your December? We just got home yesterday on December 30th. After unloading the car, and putting most everything away, some laundry, checking in with family that we safely made it home, catching up on the mail and news and some dinner and a great amount of joyful reflection, we realized that there are many whose lives living or lost, have not had the same joyful December as we have been blessed with. And I feel their woes and pains, truly I do. But isn’t this an apropos time to share some good news? I believe so!

This true life story began with just a bunch of notes.

Just a bunch of notes in a jar presented to the new Mommy 12/25/15

Just a bunch of notes in a jar presented to the new Mommy 12/25/15

Just a jar of nine months of notes in Joshua's room

Just a jar of nine months of notes in Joshua’s room

For us, December has been fraught with birthdays, announcements of coming births, a new born little bundle of miracles from eight years of trying, meeting new family, making new friends, celebrating Christmas with family with before mentioned new baby boy, enjoying culinary delights made possible by many participates, enjoyable and safe travel with conditions made perfect by the unusual warm December and even passing by the World Headquarters of Duct Tape! 🙂

Duct Tape World Headquarters, near Cleveland, OH

Duct Tape World Headquarters, near Cleveland, OH

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What is more cooler and useful than duct tape except, for one this large? LOL 🙂

For 40+ years, I have been cooking and particularly, holidays meals such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the very first time (this past Thanksgiving) was I able to not only enjoy the cooking, but to actually enjoy the service that I always seek to serve others. For years, I have forewarned and warned others, NOT to come into the kitchen or even speak to me while I am cooking, less I bite your freaking head off! At a meal prior to Thanksgiving, I tried something new. I played some low volume classical music in the background while I cooked, hoping it might take off the edge. It worked, but I didn’t know why at the time.

Having some success, I hoped this was no fluke and I wanted to repeat the classical music thing at Thanksgiving. By then I understood why. When we were growing up, us, three chil-ren, listened to what our parents liked, Big Band, Swing, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis and so, but certainly NOT classical music. However, coming home from school and after homework and chores of course, we were allowed to watch cartoons in the afternoon and on Saturday mornings. From Walt Disney, Hana Barbera, Walter Lantz (Woody Woodpecker), Warner Brothers and everything else, they all used classical music.

When I grew up, I knew nothing about this music or who wrote it, but when the music played, I sure recognized the tunes from the cartoons. So, in my adult mind, I equated happy times as a child and when the music played, my little old heart just thumped and fluttered happily while cooking! 🙂
Besides the music, there were two more things never done before, I started the actual cooking. I cooked the dressings or stuffing the day before and my wife had beautifully set the table, the night before, Thanksgiving. I was organized; everything was set. The results? Not only did everyone enjoy the food and the fellowship, so did I! I was determined that this would be my new normal and it would be repeated at Christmas! It was, but with another first.

Our Christmas dinner was actually on the 26th. I started out a little tense because, we had to open stockings and presents before the table could be set. The table would be in the living room. The dining room was used for delicious breakfast cinnamon rolls and scones and mimosas, all lovingly prepared by others. I had the low classical music playing in the kitchen as I prepared the turkey and got it in the oven, set and ready to check again in ninety minutes. I made coffee and eggnog lattes, before my cappuccino/espresso machine literally blew up. No one was hurt and no damage was done and no one other than myself and my wife knew. We heated the eggnog in the microwave and I made espresso in the brew coffeepot. No one knew and they still loved the results.

So, after breakfast, stockings and presents, the kitchen and dining room were mine. Our host and hostess reminded everyone that there was “a force field” around the kitchen and to not go in. The word was out, don’t come into the kitchen and talk to me. The first person I allowed in was my bother-in-law Lenny, the husband of my sister. I wrote “allowed,” but better words would be, ‘OK with,’ as I don’t think he would have accepted NO as a response from me. 🙂

But Lenny became the de facto kitchen manager, keeping everything clean and organized, even though I told him I clean as I go. He just smiled and kept doing his thing. I had only two choices, to freak out or just accept his help graciously. He later carved not the one turkey, but both, yes, two turkeys. I wanted everyone to have leftovers. The next day there were leftovers. Then our sister made incredible soup. Yesterday, she made Shepherds pie with all that was left. This all as she wrote was, the turkeys’, “delicious history.”

The first of 2 turkeys, the beginning of its "delicious history"

The first of 2 turkeys, the beginning of its “delicious history”

A couple of people came around the corner and asked if they could help me do anything. I kept my peace and politely said no. Then they proceeded to just have a conversation in the kitchen while I was cooking. I had to laugh because, I was totally OK with this. Then I discovered, I was not playing the music in the background. Still, I was OK. Later, I found out that one of the ladies that had asked me if she could help, has great difficulty in staying out of the kitchen because, she loves to cook too.

Say what? Tree people in my kitchen away from kitchen? :)

Say what? Three people in my kitchen away from kitchen? 🙂

I gathered everyone in the living room and made an announcement. It was something new to me and I was going to give it a try. I asked anyone that wanted to help, to help me!!! OMG was this a big deal to me, huge! It’s not so much that I was a control freak, but I suppose I was. Everything has to look good, be hot and served at the same time. It has to smell good, taste good, rekindle fond memories and promote good conversation before during and after. There is a reason for everything I try to do. It’s a lot of work and I take it seriously. So, instead of doing everything myself as I’ve done for years, now I was going to allows others in. How was I going to pull this off?

I have everything any chef in the world has, except for the paper, the certificate from a culinary institute. I am confident in my ability. I have cooked and prepared this menu countless times for countless people and have perfected my own recipes as much as a perfectly imperfect being can perfect anything. Still, I brought my own notebook of my recipes. I had previewed this not-my-kitchen and knew where everything was. I was set and nothing was left to chance. I was prepared, for any unforeseen thing.

I am not about praise! I am results oriented and happy to be in the background, to work behind the scenes and to SERVE and spatter joy! But others wanted to do the same thing. I just wasn’t until this moment sure, who would be found in the kitchen, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? Well, I opened the front door and kicked Mr. Hyde in the rear and out, never to return again! No matter how great the conductor, it’s all about the music. One can conduct all day long, but people want to see the musicians play and hear the music swell. Other people wanted to spatter joy too!

Our Table

Our Table – Japanese theme plates, Christmas Tree folded napkins, Chrisitmas Tree butter pats and even a nice warm crackling fire on TV in the background 🙂

Christmas tree napkin folding was done by my wife Susan and Quin, the mother of the husband of my niece. My sister peeled and mashed and made the potatoes. Others set out the pre-made Christmas Tree pats of butter I made and brought and they set and decorated the table.
Everything was being taken care of, lovingly, graciously and happily! As I watched, there was no classical music playing. I was watching a beautiful symphony played out on their faces and by their hands of service and all before my ears. And the finale?

Comments from those that did not like turkey was, “I loved it” and “it was good.” A comment from one that did not like dressing or stuffing was, “I loved it.” Other comments were, “the Best Christmas Ever!” For myself personally, this was the best meal I have ever HELPED to prepare and have so thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish! This is HOW to cook! Spatter Joy!

Though I have tried to source the following quote and I believe its origin was Ralph Waldo Emerson, I have not been able to corroborate it. But it fits here.

“A true man (or woman) is absolutely confident in their own inspiration (or ability).”

unknown

Now, I have not only permanently kicked out Mr. Hyde from my kitchen, and now understand, not only the science and art of cooking, but the heart. Now, I can honestly teach others not only how to cook 5 star culinary delights— anyplace and at anytime, but NOW, I can show HOW it can all be enjoyed from start to finish! I highly recommend a movie we watched in Ohio, ‘The 100 Foot Journey’

How was your December? Mine was just getting started! The draw of the figurative centerpiece of all the festivities was a brand new baby boy, born on December 19th, 2015. He could have been born on the 18th, but that date remains the birthday of one of our sons. And he could have been born on his due date of the 29th, but that date remains our brother’s birthday. So each have their day and were born precisely, right on time. But this brand new little baby boy, named Joshua, is the first and only Great Nephew to my brother and I. He is our sister’s first and only grandson and grandchild. Babies draw people together.

Proud papa and baby Joshua in his camo outfit

Proud papa and baby Joshua in his camo outfit

My sister and her husband came from Raleigh, NC. My wife and I came from NY. My brother and his wife came from IL. We three all, came to Ohio and at different times of arrival. That’s a big deal. There were long drive times, costs and other matters involved for all of us to get there and I for one, am deeply appreciative and will forever appreciate their efforts! For myself, I only could get in three hours of sleep before we made the (2nd) 7 hour trip to Ohio. One has to stay awake somehow! Well, I am a mischief magnet, TRE (a Target Rich Environment), a silly man, an Unky (uncle), a Gunky (great uncle) and probably only about, fo-yeer-ohd (four years old). 🙂

Chef Dah-nay from Paris/Macedon, NY in his Red silicone spill-stopper beret :)

Chef Donnie-nay from Paris 🙂 OK, Macedon, NY, in his Red silicone spill-stopper beret 🙂

Me and My Minion

Me and My Minion

My Minion from Joshua

My Minion from Joshua

My parking ticket in this life has been validated and acknowledged, revealing in a comment, “the secret to my success.” A single image and a quote confirms this—

Silliness

And just so you do not misunderstand, it is confirmed again by a single video—

Dancing with Dahni

If it’s still not clear, try this—

“Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Oh, but there’s more, much more. And if you think this is about me, or my family or December or the holidays, keep reading my friend, KEEP READING!

On December 29th, 2015, we took my brother and his wife out to dinner and our family treated them, to celebrate his birthday.

From left to right Baby Joshua, Daddy Larry, Mommy Sierra Lee, Nanny Grandmother Carol Lee, Popi Grandfather Lenny, Susan Great Aunt, Donnie Great Uncle, Susan Great Aunt and sitting on the floor, brother Richard Great Uncle and birthday boy

From left to right:
Baby Joshua, Daddy Larry, Mommy Sierra Lee, Nanny Grandmother Carol Lee, Popi Grandfather Lenny, Susan Great Aunt, Donnie Great Uncle, Susan Great Aunt and sitting on the floor, brother Richard, Great Uncle and birthday boy. 🙂

All these many events culminated with something that has not occurred in some thirty+ years around the holidays. Our brother, and sister and I were all together, TOGETHER!

Richard, Carol Lee and Donnie

Richard, Carol Lee and Donnie

The craziness, silliness and love and heart remains after all these years and though the time was short, it was FULL and it was as if, we never missed a single beat.

So, as this month and this year comes to a close, I will raise a glass to our grandparents, Lilian & Stanley, Papa & Nanny, all our ancestors before them and to our parents Calvin and Jean, from which all those we have been touched by and whose lives we touch, has been made possible!

And this is the purpose of the Gathering Place. Though it is our home, we were not here, we were in Ohio. The Gathering place is not just a place, it is a heartbeat, where ever and with whomever it may beat. Though many could not be there with us and many had not the same kind of December or year as we have and many suffer, this is how life is supposed to be, should be and for us, it was, it really, really was this way! So, much has spilled over, into so many, many lives.

So, to you for the new year and forever, SPATTER JOY!

Scatter12

 

Dahni

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Categories: Birthday, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Holidays, Inspiration, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, New Year's Day, New Year's Eve, Spatter Joy, The 100 Foot Journey, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Turkey

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by Dahni

© 2015, all rights reserved

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For me, turkey at both Thanksgiving and Christmas is just something that I do. It was our family tradition. Then, after I was grown and on my own, I realized one day, it was not about the turkey, it was everything else that went with it that made it special. Besides smoked turkey or fine deli sliced turkey like you get from the store or that is pre-packaged in the meat section, I cannot say that I was ever particularly fond of turkey! It is doubtful that I would ever roast a turkey at any other times than for these two holidays – until NOW!

I once wrapped a turkey with pastry dough and it was pretty good. I have stuffed one once and will not do that again. For one thing, I like dressing or stuffing and I have never seen a turkey cavity big enough, to make enough for my liking. For another, once you stuff a turkey, it is likely to spoil much more quickly than if not stuffed. So, after the meal, you really need to cut and remove all the meat from the bones as is possible and/or boil the carcass for soup stock etc. Leftovers are good too!

I have tried all manner of turkey – fresh, adult, wild turkey, smoked, deep fried and frozen. For consistency, I have mostly, always relied on frozen ‘young’ turkey from the Butterball® brand.

If you try the recipe to follow, I will venture to say that there will be those that do not usually like roast turkey that will like this!!! For me, it is mouth watering and flavorful throughout, even the dark meat and I generally do not eat dark meat. It is juicy and tender and so tender in fact, the meat nearly fell off the bone. Pulling the remaining meat from the bone after dinner was the easiest I have ever experienced. The secrets are the salt (which tenderizes the meat), lemon (adds moisture and flavor), rosemary (adds flavor) and the last secret to tender turkey is, slow-cooking.

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Dahni’s Roasted Turkey Dinner (cont.)

 

Rosemary Citrus Salt:

• 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves chopped (fresh is more expensive, but worth the extra expense)
• 2 tablespoons of lemon zest (remove zest from 1 lemon see: lemon under Turkey below)
• ½ cup of coarse salt (use coarse salt substitute if desired and if you can find it)
• ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Combine rosemary, lemon zest and salt in small bowl
2. pour olive oil into separate small bowl

Turkey
• 13-18 lb. whole young turkey (mine was around 13 pounds)
• 2 large carrots cut lengthwise
• 2 celery stalks cut lengthwise
• 1-4 springs of fresh rosemary (I used 1 sprig about 6” long)
• 1 lemon (zest has been removed = about 2 tablespoons for your salt rub above) cut lemon in half

Note: So your guests don’t have to fight over the drumsticks, you could vary this recipe with (2) smaller turkeys or even (2) 8-10 pound chickens, but add another ¼ cup of olive oil and more springs of Rosemary and another lemon cut in half (one for each turkey/chicken).

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 325° F.
2. Remove giblets and neck from both sides of turkey cavities and set aside in a large size pan on the stove
3. Thoroughly rinse and pat dry turkey inside and out.
4. Coat outside of turkey and inside with the olive oil (there will be some left in the bowl when you are done) Look for and use culinary disposable gloves to keep your hands from getting oily and prevent any transfer of plastic taste which can happen with ordinary disposable gloves.
5. Place the 2 halves of one lemon into the breast cavity of the turkey.
6. Place fresh rosemary sprigs into the breast cavity of the turkey
7. Season the outside of your turkey with the rosemary citrus salt, pressing it in to adhere.
8. Lightly spray cooking spray on the bottom of your roasting pan (I used Pam® brand olive oil spray
9. Arrange halved carrots and celery on the bottom of your roasting pan to set the turkey so that the bottom of the turkey does not touch the bottom of your pan.
10. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the outside of your turkey.
11. Lightly spray cooking spray (Pam® brand olive oil spray) on the interior side of enough foil to completely cover the turkey.
12. Completely cover turkey with foil and wrap the edges. Note this is not a ‘tent’ it is a cover.

Note: If using a foil roasting pan, you might want to place a pan underneath just in case it leaks to catch the drippings. Or, just put one disposable aluminum pan into another. Why? Because 9 out of 10 times, one of the pans will have a small hole in it. Use one pan and the juice could leak out into your oven and cause smoke. Use two pans and this won’t generally happen. I suppose both pans could have holes, but it’s not likely. It like the adage, if you don’t use two, you’ll need them. If you use two, you probably won’t!  🙂

13. Place covered turkey into pre-heated oven.
14. Set timer for 90 minutes. When timer goes off, uncover and remove as much of the drippings as possible and place in a bowl to add to dressing and/or gravy. (this is very salty so use sparingly)
15. Re-cover turkey and set timer for another 90 minutes.
16. Re-check turkey and remove as much of the juice as possible for your dressing/gravy. Test interior temperature of turkey with a meat thermometer. When it reads 165° F. it is done. Mine needed another ½ hour.
17. The last 15 minutes of your cooking time, raise your oven temperature to 425° F. and remove the foil covering so the top browns.
18. After 15 minutes, re-check the interior temp. with a meat thermometer. When it reads 165° F. it is done.
19. Remove turkey from oven and allow to ‘rest’ for about 15 minutes before carving. While turkey is resting you can finish making your gravy.
Cooking time is 3 – 3 ½ hours at 325° F. I used 3 ½ hours for a 13 pound turkey. (For the correct amount of cooking time based on the pounds of turkey, just follow the instructions included with every Butterball® brand turkey.) The last 15 minutes uncover the turkey and raise the temp. to 425° F. to brown top. Remove from oven and allow to ‘rest’ about 15 minutes before carving. You can vary this recipe by doubling the ingredients for say a 20-30 lb. turkey and so on. After you first place the oven into the oven to cook, you can work on the first part of your gravy and on the dressing or stuffing.

Gravy

• 2 small onions peeled and quartered
• 2 carrots cut in half
• 2 celery stalks cut in half (use the leaves as this makes the broth more flavorful)
• 2 quarts of chicken stock, broth or even bullion cubes/granules with a quart of water is fine (non salted stock is preferred)
• ¾ cup of unsalted butter
• ¾ cut of all purpose flour

Directions:

1. Into a large size pan on the stove, place turkey giblets and neck.
2. Add carrots, celery and onion.
3. Pour 1 quart of chicken stock or broth over this.
4. Bring to a boil over high heat.
5. Once it boils, reduce temp. and simmer until it cooks down to about 2 cups.
6. Turn off heat, strain and set aside. You will use this liquid later when your turkey has finished cooking and is ‘resting.’
7. While turkey is resting, place a small skillet on the stove.
8. Melt ¾ cup of unsalted butter (1 stick), in a pan on medium heat.
9. Slowly add ¾ cup of all-purpose flour.
10. Whisk over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until a smooth blond colored mixture (rue) is formed.
11. Add mixture to your reserved strained turkey mixture that you set aside on stove.
12. Add 1 quart of chicken stock or broth and pan juices.
13. Bring to a boil over high heat and let simmer until thickened and ready to serve. Season to taste. ENJOY NO LUMP DELICIOUS GRAVY!

Dressing or Stuffing:

• Chicken stock or broth as needed to moisten bread
• Turkey pan drippings as desired and needed for flavor and moisture
• ½ to 1 stick of unsalted butter melted.
• 1 large white onion diced.
• 3-4 celery stalks diced (use celery leaves if you like, but I prefer not to)
• 2 loaves of white bread – open the bag and leave the bread in the bag stacked over so that air can pass over the tops – 1-2 days before, to dry the bread.
• 1 loaf of wheat bread – open the bag and leave the bread in the bag stacked over so that air can pass over the tops – 1-2 days before to dry the bread.
• 1 box of Jiffy® brand corn bread mix.
• Seasonings to taste – I just remember the line from the Simon & Garfunkel song and use: “Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.”  🙂
• Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Remember, your turkey pan drippings will have salt from the Citrus Rosemary Salt mixture so take care when adding more salt. Some people add dried cranberries and/or chopped walnuts to their dressing and I have heard it is really good. Adding apple and mild sausage to your dressing is also, excellent. Some people like oyster dressing, but I do not. I have tried adding roasted chestnuts once, but did not like the texture of the chestnuts, so I do not recommend this. To each their own, but the mix of white bread, wheat and cornbread really makes this special!

Directions:

1. Prepare and cook corn bread as directed on the Jiffy® brand corn bread mix. Prepare this the day before you need it and leave it out to dry.
2. Gently tear bread into pieces. I remove most, but not all the crusts as I believe too much crust makes the dressing or stuffing too tough.
3. Crumble corn bread and add to bread crumbs
4. Mix bread crumbs and corn bread together in large bowl.
5. Sauté diced onions and celery with butter on stove, on medium heat until the most of the water cooks down from the vegetables.
6. Pour sautéed vegetables over your bread crumbs and cornbread.
7. Add some chicken broth and pan juices as needed.
8. Add your dry seasonings (“Parsley – Sage – Rosemary and Thyme”) and salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Remember, your turkey pan drippings will have salt from the Citrus Rosemary Salt mixture so take care when adding more salt.

9. Mix dressing/stuffing until well combined and taste. To your liking, add whatever you think it needs.
10. Transfer stuffing to a lightly pre-sprayed (cooking spray), long rectangular shaped Pyrex, glass or metal deep pan.
11. Cover with foil.
12. Place the dressing into a pre-heated oven.

Note cooking time will vary depending on how and when you cook your dressing. If space and ovens are minimal, you can always make this ahead of time without pan drippings and then just heat it up later to be served when everything else is ready. If you are fortunate to have two ovens or a double oven, cook at 350° F. for around 45 minutes to one hour. The last 15 minutes of your cooking time, raise the oven temp to 425° F. to just lightly brown the top. For mine, I placed the covered dressing/stuffing into the same oven next to the turkey in the oven at 325° F., 1 hour before the turkey was uncovered and the temp was raised to 425° F. for the last 15 minutes. It was perfect!

End Notes:

The recipes used have been tested with many people and even those that do NOT like turkey. All have wholeheartedly agreed that this is the best turkey they have ever eaten! This is not to be braggadocious, but so you may be confident, your guests will say the same thing about your turkey dinner!

These recipes have often been requested, for me to make them and for others to make them, themselves. It will warm your heart when people ask you, “Would you please make your turkey,” or “Could I PLEASE have your turkey dinner recipes!”

I do not mind sharing them with those that ask, but please remember, these are just some of the featured recipes of my not yet published book, ‘The Gathering Place’ (Holidays & Special Occasions Entertaining). Please do NOT share them with others without my permission. They are copyrighted and unless I have given you specific permission to use them and share them, would make anyone in violation of Copyright infringement.
Once ‘The Gathering Place’ is published, it is my heart’s desire that anyone will be able to prepare, cook, present and serve 5 star restaurant quality food and ambience, for all holidays and special occasions entertaining at home, for their family and guests!

Again, please honor my request and not share these recipes with anyone, without my permission. You do have my permission to use these for yourself! For additional permission, email me: dahni1@gmail.com

Here is a PDF file of these recipes you may freely download.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Dahni

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The Gathering Place –
Holidays & Special Occasions Entertaining, by Dahni © 2013-2015, all rights reserved

Categories: Cooking, Food, Holidays, Homeward Bound, Ideas, Inspiration, Pursuit of Happiness, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Real Facetime – Making Memories

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by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

As you recognize that you are becoming older, one of the first things often noticed is that the memory just might not be what it used to be? I’m not one that likes to take that lying down and along with my curious and inquisitive nature, I want to know why. Somewhere in my hoping heart, if the answer to WHY is known, then maybe, just maybe I can fix it or at least, do something, anything about it!

I do not have a photographic memory. I used to have a lousy memory, but still, there are some phone numbers and other vividly detailed things I recall. To my surprise, the more I became interested in something; the more time I put into it and then, all of a sudden, my memory got trained and I was able to recall a lot of things. It was just like building up a muscle. Instead of exercising muscle, I was exercising my gray matter (my brain). With the advent of and as it seems now, the pervasive technological wonders of the modern age, we mostly all use today, working our brains, apparently, has not become something we do or do much anymore. Why should we? If we want to know something, well, Yahoo, Bing, we can just Google it! 🙂

We don’t need to go see anything, we can YouTube it and stream it. Yep, we can travel the world without leaving home. And we certainly don’t need to dress or undress for the occasion. 🙂

We don’t need to read, speak or write. We can can do all that by just clicking on or speaking into our devices to ‘Siri’ or our digital assistant and AutoCorrect aside, these will do it all for us. Why develop a relationship when we can have tons of followers and friends on social media?

And we don’t need to actually go somewhere and talk to anyone, I mean, physically see them. We can Facetime, Skype or video chat. Besides, who wants to get dressed and if you are a man (or bearded woman) why shave? 🙂

Maybe this seems all a bit too much for you, but face it, we all have become more and more dependent on or at least we frequent, trust or rely on our technology. For myself, I came to the startling discovery that it seems like I, CRS (can’t remember s__t) anymore. 🙂

OK, I’m getting older, but I can’t handle C.R.S. and I don’t just accept that, that’s just the way it is. Then I had an epiphany or remembered something I heard all the time growing up and in context of Gym. Coach after coach said, “Use it or lose!” I’m sure they are referring to exercise and strength training for good muscle and tone. But, hmm, I wondered if this could apply to my decaying memory? Oh, I googled and did some research and the consensus is, YES, if we don’t exercise our brains, we will become more and more dependent on technology. It’s kind of like an old cartoon I watched as a kid, The Quick Draw McGraw Show – Hana Barbera (1959 – 1962).  Quick Draw McGraw was a talking horse and he had sidekick, Baba Looey, a little talking donkey. Quick Draw was actually kind of stupid and Baba Looey didn’t speak English too well. He would often question Quick Draw with something like, “Don’t you thin…”, (his pronunciation of the word “think”) about something to which Quick Draw would quite often say…

Quick Draw McGraw & Baba Looey – Hana Barbera

C.R.S. of late makes me feel pretty stupid. I have a smart phone and I’m starting to think that every time I use it, I actually am getting dumber. Use it or lose it right? RIGHT! Instead of asking myself why should I exercise my mind, the most important question is, can I or can I still? What if, as a society and maybe after many years of non-use of our brains, what if we were born with parts of our brains missing or underdeveloped, since they were not used and therefore, not needed anymore? That is a scary and a possible thought to me!

So, I have been thinking of late for ways to shutoff ‘techie world’ and try to ‘de-volve’ back into the former world of really. I was considering something like a day with technology followed by a day without ANY technology. OMG, would this be like weaning a pup from its mother, or an addict denied their daily ‘fix!’ Would I be able to handle it? How would I be able to live without my smart phone, email, the internet, our WiFi, TV, and how will I be able to remember anyone’s special day or appointments, or phone numbers!!!!! How will I know what’s going on in the world, my state or locality without technology! How can I do simple math without the calculator on my smart phone! How can I connect to anyone without Facetime, Skype or video chat! Oh, the conundrum, but I was willing to give it a try, for the sake of my brain, USE it or Lose it!

Well, to my surprise and delight, I really didn’t have to think about it, it just all kind of fell into place. Our weather recently, was more like summer than late fall, perfect temperature and humidity. My wife had a couple of boneless pork chops so WE, yes WE, decided that I would grill them. I had a recipe for pecan crusted pork chops that I had been almost salivating to try. The only problem was that it was for 12. I had to actually divide it into 12 in my head and on paper, to get the correct amount of ingredients per chop. While I grilled outside, Susan was doing her work in the kitchen.

When the chops were done, I came back into our home and there were candles lit everywhere and Baroque music was playing on the radio. Susan had set the table (decorated is more like it) and had prepared roasted Brussels sprouts and brown rice with cilantro, onion and lime juice and had made a nice salad with home-made ranch dressing. I poured us each a glass of some local Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, what’s the difference?

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are in fact the exact same grape variety. It is a white grape, with a grayish / brownish pink skin (hence the name gris, or gray, in French).

The grape originated in France (it’s from the Burgundian Pinot family), and is known as Pinot Gris in France, where it is most cultivated in Alsace. Across the border in Italy it is known as Pinot Grigio. While French in origin, it is really the Italians that we have to thank for bringing such huge global recognition and fame to the variety. The grape is the same, but the wines are different.

While they are the same grape, the two names have come to infer two different styles of wine.

  • Immensely popular, the Italian style Pinot Grigio wines are typically lighter-bodied, crisp, fresh, with vibrant stone fruit and floral aromas and a touch of spice.
  • In contrast, Alsace Pinot Gris wines are more full-bodied, richer, spicier, and more viscous in texture. They also tend to have greater cellaring and ageing potential.
FaceTime1

Pecan crusted boneless pork chops, roasted Brussels sprouts, cilantro/onion/lime brown rice, salad with homemade ranch dressing and wine of course 🙂

FaceTime2Oh, my, a FEAST as if dining in a five-star restaurant and only for us, just us two!

I only mention the wine, as we talked about it, comparing it to other wines we had shared together in the past. The food and the ambiance and the music were just a token or a taste of, what was to come!

No TV trays parked in front of the TV. No smart phones in our hands and our eyes focused upon them with fervent desire to not miss anything that might be going on in the world. At that very moment in time, neither time or the world seemed to exist. We were the moment in time and we were the whole world. Nothing or no one else mattered for the time.

Our only plan was to have some grilled pecan crusted pork chops. Everything else just came together, but we worked together, unbeknownst to what the other was doing, until it became time to share our individual contributions with one another, TOGETHER. We toasted and we ate and listened to music. And then, then we began a conversion about the music.

We both like many different kinds of music. Susan was professionally and classically trained in voice, piano and flute. She can read music. She taught music K-6 +,  for over 25 years. She has a gorgeous voice! All these things I knew, but in all the years we have been married, I never knew until this night that her favorite music is, Baroque!

A conversation ensued. Yes, we had a real conversation, in real-time and with real, face to face time. It was discovered that we did not share the same opinion or fondness or love for Baroque. Susan was able to articulate why she loves it so with its structure. She finds it relaxing, peaceful, ordered, safe and sure in the midst of a world full, of the oceans of uncertainty and the seas of speculation.

I conveyed my feelings about the music as what I tend towards is, more fluid, spontaneous, spur of the moment, inspirational and etc. This is the type of music I play and it affords me the same emotional release and reception as, Susan gets from her’s.

We discussed, we conversed and neither of us tried to defend our position, but rather just said how we feel about the music which was playing during dinner. Neither of us were right or wrong. We listened to one another. Now, I must confess that for the same reasons Susan loves Baroque are, (were) the self-same reasons it is (was) not my favorite. I was in for a big surprise! 🙂

Baroque was popular in the 1700’s and I had some mental reservations or images in my mind, whenever this type of music was played. Things like silk stockings, powered wigs, the minuet and etc. By age sixteen, George Washington, our first president, had copied out by hand and committed to memory, ‘110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.’ They are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595.

I had studied much about the American Revolution and thought all this so-called structure, civility, rules and orders were, unnecessarily fastidious, pompous and kind of arrogant. The music itself, made me think that none of these things had anything or little to do with us ever becoming the United States of America. George Washington and most everyone that fought in the American Revolution referred to England or Great Britain as their, “mother country.” It must have really been difficult to stand against your own country that you loved so much! But, WE the People of then KNEW, we had little to NO chance of even holding out and surviving against the then, most powerful; most trained and equipped military force on the face of the earth! WE had to hope France might help with ships and a navy and some money and some training. WE had to fire from behind trees, and threw rocks because, most of the guns we had were cobbled together from parts of others and often blew up in our faces. WE went to sniping officers at a distance. WE developed long-range rifles, mail and communication networks, relied on cunning and stealth, covert operations, invisible ink and a host of other innovative things to give us even a fighting chance of, little to nothing at all! In fact, ‘guerrilla warfare’ was started during these times and many of these procedures and methods are still used today by the military, all over the world! Structure? This was anything, but structure, order, civility and such. They had to be ‘fluid’! And the British? They despised those rebel colonists, for not knowing their place, not honoring ‘tea time’ or being cowards, for not facing them in the field of battle, and being so uncivil and so dishonorable! But, Oh NO, WE the People of then, were not about to participate in their rules of engagement where whomever is left standing wins and get our colonist butts beat, facing them man-to-man!

Then, after all those things and more and WE won our independence, what do you suppose WE did then? We went back to structure, order, rules of civility and politeness, powdered wigs, silk stockings, dancing the minuet and Baroque music!

So, all of this came out while my wife and I conversed. My wife, whom I say if there were such a thing as luck, I am a lucky man to have found my soul mate and the love of my life! And just when I thought it was not possible, for me to love her any more than I do, I found myself this night, loving her more! Not only did I discover, for the very first time that her favorite music is, Baroque, there was, I believe, some give and take between us. For my part, in listening to both my words aloud and hers, I was able to evolve my opinion about her favorite music. Isn’t this what a conversation is to do; to be for? It is more than agreeing to disagree, but a learning; an evolving where both come away from such a conversation better individually and together, than when it began!

So, more than just a fabulous meal and a couple of glasses of some nice wine, some great ambiance, some nice music, learning something new about my wife, learning from her, seeing myself change and evolve from my own opinions, shutting down technology for a time, making a new memory, popping neurons and actually exercising my brain, real face time with a real person (my wife), I actually grew as a person, along with another person, together! You just can’t get these kinds of benefits from technology! They only happen when we decide to make and let them happen!

Sure, there are many advantages and benefits of technology, but just remember that they all came about from real people, real conversations, real thoughts, real discussions and all in real-time, really — face to face!

In the digital world, it is good to get some real-time, every now and again! After all, that’s what The Gathering Place is for!

“The Art and Science of Building Strong Minds is, participating in Making Memories!”

Donnie

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Categories: Building Strong Minds, Fall, Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Making Memories, Things that really matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Sometimes

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by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

Sometimes, you just can’t capture it, email, message, text, post it, YouTube it or share it!

Sometimes, it is just too big and too far beyond technology or even your expertise to capture and to share. Sometimes, it’s not like if you miss it, you can watch re-runs or just see it again. Sometimes, it only lasts for such a short time and will not be experienced again, for many, many years. Sometimes, the brevity of your life is clearly understood and a very, very simple choice is set before you. Do I take a chance right now or do I take a chance that I’ll even be here tomorrow? Will I take the chance that I will be here after eighteen years, from the time the gift first became available?

Sometimes, if you love and care about others, you let them know in advance that they might have the same opportunity; the same choice as you.

Sometimes, you don’t mind being alone and neither are you lonely, but sometimes, you want to share something so much, you want to shout it from the rooftops! Sometimes, you might live on top of a hill in the middle of the country and there may be no one to hear you anyway or you do not want to disturb your neighbor’s peace.

Sometimes, like I did, you ask your wife to join you and to share it with you, just me and just she and I. So, I turned off the television and my Susan set aside another, new baby blanket she had started today. She opened a window on our front porch for Bella our cat and left a light on for her, so she could be close to us and hear us outside. Outside, I moved our outside patio cushioned wicker love seat and coffee table to our driveway and arranged it like our own personal living sète to view the heavenly movable feast. I turned off all the outside lights. I set a Bluetooth speaker on the coffee table and paired my phone to play some nice instrumental relaxation music. Susan poured us a couple of scotches and brought out a blanket. And there we sat, wrapped up warm in the cool breeze of the night. And we chatted, and cooed and snuggled and laughed and said such memorable things as, “WOW,” “awesome,” and “I love you,” for over two and half hours.

I only mention the time that we shared this movable feast together, in comparison to turning off the television or being so engrossed in a movie of this length because, time seemed to have had no meaning. We could hardly believe, we actually sat outside this long!

It was like we were at our own personal drive-in theater and our screen was the night sky. We watched the full moon, a super moon become as if so close we could touch it. And it was so bright, this super moon filled the whole night sky. As the moon rose higher it seemed to shrink and it danced in and out and through thin vaporous clouds. Sometimes, the clouds were lit with an almost rainbow of color. Sometimes, the clouds themselves seemed three-dimensional. Sometimes, we could see stars shining and twinkling through the clouds just below them. Sometimes, through the clouds, we could see a great depth of stars. Moon and clouds and stars and breeze and music and our awes and our hearts, each played an equal part in this heavenly ballet. Then the moon began to grow dimmer and a dark crescent appeared and moved across the moon until the center was completely dark. It was encircled by, as if it were, a ring of fire. And then, the moon turned blood-red. We watched and waited and could see the moon coming back to its brilliant white. And then, the clouds mightily moved in and the moon disappeared with no trace of its reflecting light.

Sometimes, the variables are too numerous to count. Sometimes, what we saw, others did not or not exactly the same. For these reasons, sometimes— Sometimes, you just can’t capture it, email, message, text, post it, YouTube it or share it!

Sometimes, it is just too big and too far beyond technology or even your expertise to capture and to share. Sometimes, it’s not like if you miss it, you can watch re-runs or just see it again. Sometimes, it only lasts for such a short time and will not be experienced again, for many, many years. Sometimes, the brevity of your life is clearly understood and a very, very simple choice is set before you. I am so thankful that I took the opportunity and was able to share it together, with my wife Susan!

Sometimes, you realize that you just might not be here tomorrow or eighteen years from the night, now that night, when those gifts were first available?

Sometimes, because of the many variables and the impossibility to capture and share with others, you think, maybe, just maybe, it was for my eyes only? Sometimes, your heart just races with all its inexplicable fullness, knowing that all you saw and felt and heard and experienced , and awed over, and laughed with joy over and shed some tears over and chatted about and will never forget was, exactly the same as the one sitting right next to you!

Sometimes, you realize, what really and truly matters is, right now and who you have the grace to be with, for sometimes, you realize that all any of us have is—

some time!

Mike Mezeul II Photography – composite image over Dallas, TX 9/27/15 Each image was shot 10 minutes apart. Image has been cropped by me to remove the Dallas skyline. Image is used by permission from the photographer.

 

Donnie

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Categories: Fall, Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Moon, Things that really matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

My Pillow

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Today marks Day 3 of my experience with ‘My Pillow.’

MyPillow_wBkg

My Pillow logo

For months now, I have not slept well. Sometimes I sleep in a recliner with straight wooden arms. I usually wake up and my arms are numb. Sometimes, I try to sleep in bed and cannot. If I do fall asleep, I wake up with my right arm extended over the side of the bed and it’s stiff and hurts like hell. And I have a horrible headache. I move to the couch, fall asleep and still wake up with a horrible headache, un-rested and certainly NOT refreshed. I was willing to try almost anything! I heard about ‘My Pillow,’ checked it out and saw great reviews and bad reviews. I delved deeper and found most of those complaining, had not followed simple instructions. I was convinced to give it try when I read the following, from the inventor of ‘My Pillow’:

“Years ago, like you, I found myself extremely frustrated, because every pillow I used went flat. Most pillows are designed to break down. I would wake up in the morning with a sore arm, my neck would hurt, my fingers would be numb, and I would toss and turn all night long not knowing why.”

Inventor, Michael J. Lindell

I mean, I could have written the above myself! Just add in horrible headaches! Well, I was convinced and decided to try it. After all, they promised a 60 day (night) trial or your money back. I thought they were expensive, but they did have a 10 year warranty. Ten year warranty on a pillow? That’s unheard of! As an extra incentive, it was a 2 for 1 deal. I ordered. When the FedEx guy brought to me the package, I thought it was so small that not even the pillow cases (that I also ordered), would fit? Where’s the rest of my order? Well, that was it.

I opened the package and inside was one package with the pillowcases and the other one had both of the ‘My Pillows’ ordered. Unbelievable! Now what? I opened them and pulled out the pillows. The instructions said to place these into the dryer on the Tumble setting HIGH heat, for 15 minutes. This removes most (if not all the off gases from the new foam material and fluffs the pillows to their normally intended size.

So, I placed the pillows and the pillow cases into our dryer. We have dryer balls that are made out of 100% wool that do a fantastic job of drying our clothes and without chemicals usually found in dryer sheets and fabric softeners etc. These woolen balls help dry, cut down on static cling and help make your clothing soft, naturally. Click on my wife’s name— Susan, on how to get these.

I added a drop of pure lavender oil to one of the wool balls. Lavender has a relaxing/calming effect. Right, I sure needed that!

Well, after 15 minutes of  drying, the two queen sized pillows were all nice and fluffy. They and the pillow cases had a nice calming/relaxing and subtle scent of lavender. But these pillows inside their pillow cases weighed like, nothing! How in the world could they ever provide enough support? Only sleep or another lack thereof, would tell right?

Night 1

I miss my bed and my poor wife misses me being beside her, so I decided to try out ‘My Pillow’ in our bed. “Yay,” said wife! There were two more instructions. I was to fluff the pillow then tuck it under my neck to where it seemed the most comfortable to me. I am a side sleeper so, this is how I started out on my first night.

The following morning, my right arm was still sore, but I slept through the night, my wife said I did NOT snore and I did not have a headache!!!!!!! YAY!!!

Night 2

After ‘fluff and tuck,’ I started out on my back and tried the couch. The next morning, no sore arm or headache, but I had a stiff neck. I believe this was due to the fact that the pillow was too close to the arm of the couch and was more elevated than it should have been for me. I had no dry scratchy throat so, I assume I did not snore.

Night 3

After ‘fluff and tuck,’ ‘Fluff and Tuck’? Are you getting the point that this is a new habit I need to make each night? Yep, ‘Fluff and Tuck.’ The other nice thing is that these pillows are completely washable. It is recommended that they are to be washed and dried and re-fluffed about every four months. Like mentioned before, they have an unbelievable 10 year warranty and it even includes laundering every four months!

I tried sleeping on my side again in our bed only this time, I put another pillow under my knees. I slept great. I awoke with no sore arms, headache or stiff neck and my honey said I did not snore. So far so good!

I have also tried taking a nap on my back after a ‘fluff and tuck’ of ‘My Pillow’ and this seems to work for me.

So far, ‘My Pillow’ is working for me. I just need to tweak it for me and get used to sleeping normally I guess. 🙂

Personally, if I did not have to EVER sleep, I probably WOULDN’T. I have a lot of energy and would prefer doing other things, instead of, sleeping. But I do need sleep, for me, about 4-6 hours. But it needs to be consistent, deep and rejuvenating sleep. With ‘My Pillow’ I have been getting more of it.

If this continues and I decide to somewhere between tonight (day 4) and anywhere from 4-56 more days (nights) to keep it, I will definitely look into more of their products and try them as well.

They have pillows— standard, queen, king, a body pillow (for you pregnant ladies), pillows for children 3-8, pillows for even our pets, pillow cases, round pillows for your knees and even travel pillows. I don’t know about you, but my wife and I always take our pillows when we travel, so we might try out their travel size.

I sleep hot. Before we bought a new bed that is much better in keeping me cooler, it was not uncommon for me to wake up drenched in sweat underneath my whole body and under my head from the pillow. I’ve not had this issue with, ‘My Pillow.’ Yay!!! I do believe their 100% high thread count cotton pillow cases is most of the reason along with the cover over the crushed foam. I still find myself kicking off the covers in the night due to the warmth our bed seems to absorb and hold. And maybe part of the reason that I am a side sleeper is because, I’m hot and my wife is like a heat seeking missile. 🙂 Maybe I sleep on the side on the edge of the bed to stay cooler, just in case she rolls towards me or draws towards my heat like a magnet? Also, I can stick out some appendage from under the covers to help ventilate. 🙂

But anyway, My Pillow’ also, makes a mattress topper that supposedly keeps one warmer or cooler as needed by the occupant. As soon as and IF I’ve decided to keep ‘My Pillow,’ I would sure be interested in trying their ‘topper.’

And rest assured, IF ‘My Pillow’ becomes my pillow, our pillows, we will be getting additional pillows for our guest room and etc. just for YOU, whenever you come for a visit at, The Gathering Place! Nothing but the best for the best (you) right!

Heres the link to their website, should you be interested in more information.

http://www.mypillow.com/

Well, sleep is to, sleep well. Sleep well! 🙂

Donnie

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P.S. This review has neither been solicited or compensated! 🙂

 

Categories: Family & Friends, Gift Ideas, Inspiration, My Pillow®, Sleep, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Good Morning USA

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by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

GoodMornUSA

Good Morning USA,

What’s offending, You today?

 

Is it that these three, barely exist

or that a remnant, still persist?

Is it that WE do NOT know each other

or WE are impatient, for it all to smother?

Is it that WE were ever united

or the fire has been ignited?

 

From 1776 and 1789, for 239 and 226 years respectively

Through hell and back, these three have stood collectively

Are all just separate relics of the past, WE’d just soon forget

Are all meaningless scraps of paper and cloth, We surely and sorely regret?

 

Good Morning USA,

What’s offending, You today?

 

Is it that WE’ve traded, for all our wants and security

or that we deserve NOT— Life, Happiness and Liberty?

 

Good Morning USA,

What’s offending, You today?

GoodMornUSA2

Categories: 4th of July, Declaration of Independence, Holidays, Liberty, Life, Poetry, Pursuit of Happiness, The Constitution, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized, WE the People | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

What to Do for your Guy

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Father’s Day is coming, June 21st, 2015. There’s plenty of time to shop, but I thought I would offer a suggestion. It’s about shaving.

Shaving1

If your guy is like me, shaving is not one of my favorite things to do, until now! Shaving was something I did look forward to as a treat, if it was done by a professional barber. Guys do like to be pampered, just like the ladies do. But shaving by the barber is not something all of them know how to do or do much anymore, but it is making a comeback. There’s nothing quite like the pampering I get and the feeling I get from the hot towel to soften your beard before the shaving begins with the result of my face becoming as smooth as a baby’s butt, until now!

Now, I can get the same results at home, doing it myself and anytime I need a shave or even just want one. Yes, I look forward to this experience now! This was not the case, not too very long ago.

The odds are great that perhaps a man’s father or his grandfather had a brush, a shaving mug, a circular shaped bar of shaving soap that fit into the bottom of the mug and a razor. These were the tools of shaving used for over a hundred years.

These tools too, are making a comeback as well. I have for a long time loved the idea of shaving like this, for many years. Partly it is because, these are what barbers of mine in the past have used and I suppose I wanted to get the same results myself, at home.

I’ve had several shaving sets over the years, but they all, always had something missing. I did not like the mugs (wrong color, too much advertising on them, they were the wrong shape, too big or I just dropped and broke them. The brushes seemed to fall apart a lot and quickly. But mostly, it was mostly, about the shaving soap. They were NOT very good!

My situation is, my skin is fair and my beard is pretty tough. Shaving irritates my skin and this is why shaving was NOT among my favorite things in life to do. I’ve tried all kinds of gels, shaving cream that comes out of the can warm and various shaving soaps and other creams, for shaving my mug. 🙂

Nothing has worked very well, for me, until now. I’ve tried various pre-shave oils, squeeze-tube shaving creams and after-shave skin bracers much like a barber would use. All of these have had drawbacks for me. Obviously, adding more oil to your skin might help in shaving at first, but contributes to a more overall oily skin, clogged pores and maybe, other skin problems down the road, from repeated use. If you or your guy is like me, I have to shave ever day as my beard grows fast. I don’t need more problems than just the irritation of shaving itself has, already given me over the years. Well, that was then and this is now. Now it is a joy, YES, a real JOY to shave! 🙂

If you or your man uses an electric shaver, then this post does not apply, unless you or he is wanting to switch? I’ve tried several electric razors over the years and have never found one that can shave my face as close as a razor and that did not also, irritate my skin. But if you or your guy uses a razor, the disposable is by far, the most used. Multiple blades are popular. I’ve seen twin blades, three and even four blades. I currently use three. These are NOT cheap price wise and quite frankly, I don’t think they are as good as they used to be. For one thing, creams and soaps especially those which use oils to soften the beard, have a tendency of clogging up the blades and wearing them out more quickly. This might be good for the maker’s pocketbooks, but not mine. Besides, if shaving was not (previously) unpleasant enough, trying to rinse out your blade while your shaving was another pain in the tuchus (tuchis, tuckus, butt) and it added more time to shaving. Single razors that use the single ‘safety blades’ are making a big comeback too. But find a razor that works best for you and preferably one that can universally accept different brands of blades. Mine does and it has its own stand.

The next thing is a brush to make lather. It should be the best quality natural badger bristle brush that you can find. Quality makes a difference because, you don’t want the experience of losing bristles on the face you are trying to scrape (my previous harsh word for the whole uncomfortable shaving thing). every time you shave. Don’t skimp, buy the best!

You need a shaving mug or something you can hold in your hand while the brush is working up the lather. Often you can purchase complete shaving sets. But I already had a brush, razor and stand. I was trying to use just a regular retired coffee mug that matched our bathroom, but I could not find a soap that would fit into the bottom. I have been looking for a round shaving soap and had hoped it would fit into my coffee cup. Then, I found a soap, brought it home and tried to put it into my cup, but sadly it would not fit. I went back to the store and was considering buying the set which included the shaving mug, but I did not like the color (black) for our bathroom, nor did I want to pay about $25 just for the mug/soap/stand and brush, when all I needed was the mug. So I looked around to see what else I could use.

I found a simple round white fruit bowl at Walmart. Being white, it matched the rest of my tools and fit perfectly with our decor.

OK, now for the soap. All of this post, yes all of it is more about the soap than anything else. I read the ingredients on the box and decided to give it a try. It is made by Van der Hagen. Van der Hagen shave soap is hypoallergenic. The shave soaps are produced one small batch at a time using a unique kettle process. Each shave soap contains over 10% Glycerin as well as emollient Shea, Mango & Cocoa Butters to help soften the beard and improve razor glide for a close, comfortable shave that leaves skin feeling soft and smooth with a soft fresh citrus fragrance. It can also be purchased unscented. And they make a product for the Ladies too!

About $3-5 depending on where you buy it

About $3-5 depending on where you buy it

creamy white

creamy white – a little bit larger than actual size and about 1″ thick

For more information, other products and where to buy, see:

http://www.vdhent.com/

 

So how does my set look in our bathroom? In a word, perfect!

Tools for Dream Time :)

Tools for Dream Time 🙂

My wife Susan, found this stand, brush and razor normally at $40, on sale for $4. I use my normal blades. And my $1 fruit bowl from Walmart works great! It fits comfortably in the palm of my hand, so I can use the brush to work up the lather with the other hand. Did I mention it was only a dollar? 🙂 So, If I ever drop it, it is less expensive than a shaving mug and I wouldn’t be as emotionally upset if I broke it, out much money and it could easily be replaced. I’m sure you can find one to match your decorating scheme and in several different colors of your choice.

So how does it work? For me, like a dream! It is a joy to shave, every time! My face is smooth like a baby’s butt, has a pleasant scent and perhaps the best of all, my Susan thinks it’s touchable soft! 🙂

If you go to the Van der Hagen website, there is a YouTube video on how to shave. You can watch it there or here below. Most guys might think or say, “I don’t need to watch this, I’m a man, I know how to shave!” I watched it, BUT it was only after, I used the soap. I did had NOT used it as suggested. I like my way better and trust me, I believe in the long run, I will not spend as much money on replacement costs. Why, because, I won’t go through it as quickly.

Like I wrote above, I just did what I thought was right and then I discovered the video and watched it. Again, I did not follow their recommendations. I wanted to shave my face, not ice a cake! 🙂

What I do is, first take a hot shower. The pores of my skin on my face are already open and the conditions are optimal for prep to shave. If you do not shower before you shave, just take a damp hand towel and stick it in the microwave for say, 30-60 seconds until it is as hot as you like it. Then place this over your face. This is like what the barber does and it does feel fantastic. But like I said, I usually shower and then shave, so the hot towel for me, is not necessary.

Next, I turn on the hot water at our sink until it is a hot as can be. I put my brush into the hot water, for just a few seconds, turn off the water and wring out the brush from excess water. Then, I gently place the heated brush into the shaving soap and swirl it around for just a few seconds (not the recommended 40-50 seconds). Then, I lightly lather my face. How does it feel? Using just three letters, OMG! 🙂

The heat from the light lather and brush is fantastic! By light I mean light and not the recommended thick like butter or cream. Shaving was a breeze. My method over what is recommended saves time; saves soap, the blades were easy to rinse clean and did not clog. Yep, OMG, shaving is now a JOY for me!

And this shaving soap, I would have absolutely no problem using for bathing or just washing my face either. Soft skin without the excess oil. Lasts all day. Smells great.

Ladies and gentlemen, do yourselves this wonderful and pleasurable favor, for yourselves or your men. Either get a shaving set or try it again, but purchase some Van der Hagen shaving soap, scented or unscented! Guys, you’ll love your face and so will your ladies!

P.S. This post is NOT a paid endorsement from Van der Hagen. It’s just my experience, that I am FREELY sharing with you. Don’t forget, Father’s Day is June 21st, hint, hint! 🙂

Don’t worry about me, I’ve already got my shaving tools! Sure, if you come for a visit at The Gathering Place, I’ll let you use mine, but bring your own razor! 🙂

 

Categories: Allergies, Family & Friends, Father's Day, Gift Ideas, Holidays, Inspiration, Men, Shaving, Shopping, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

“When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

short url to this post: http://wp.me/p4jGvr-Bk

by Donnie Hayden

© 2015, all rights reserved

 

“Taps in the trees”

In another post dated October 20, 2014, “Frost on the Punkin,” http://wp.me/p4jGvr-x5, I shared a favorite poem of mine with a video of a feller’ reading it aloud. The poem is, “When the Frost is on the Punkin.”  It was written by, James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916.

Recently, after going near stir-crazy from the long winter here in New York, it was a beautiful day, the sky blue, the temperature 41º F. and it was time to get out of the house and take a drive!

The temperature and warm sun upon my ageing (or aging) face made it possible, for me to drive with the window slightly ajar and feel the wind through my thinning hair, but the drive along the shore of Lake Ontario and my expectations, for what was in store, made me feel, forever young! Soon, I would meet my cousin and his grandmother, our dear sweet Aunt Anne Magar (Bab’s) [pronounced: Bob’s], for a pancake breakfast.

It was not just any ordinary pancake breakfast. Oh, NO, this was the last weekend and the last day, of the New York Maple Syrup Festivals, held all over the state. The breakfast was held by and cooked by, the folks that work or own, this maple tree farm. The breakfast with freshly made maple syrup was, at the facility which taps the sugar maples and boils the sap and makes the syrup.

There was a walking tour among the maple trees, to see the pump house where the collected sap is pumped uphill to the process and boiling center.

The center served as working areas, museum, educational center and a store to buy 100% certified, pure NY maple syrup and sugar products. Books and CD’s; DVD’s and other items were available. They even had a maple sugar, cotton candy machine, for the ‘kids’ of all ages. 🙂

The owners and staff were on hand to help and answer any questions, people might pose. I had many and they were more than happy, to answer each and every one, to my satisfaction. I must confess that I was tapped, just like a maple tree and my juices and imagination were flowing. I was intrigued by the whole day and process of making maple syrup and sugar! It made me, briefly, forget about missing my wife, who is out of the country, for another two months. 😦

But this short reprieve from winter and from missing my sweet maple tree girl, made me feel not quite as lonely. I was happy to leave winter’s chill, still clinging here and like a little kid and these trees, I was tapped in! 🙂

SugarN2

Intravenous FeedN’ 🙂

Our cousin was previously given about 11 gallons of sap from this very farm and for days and for the first time, he made some maple syrup himself, boiling the sap in pots outside, on his Bar-B-Q grill. He made several jars of syrup and today, he bought a book from the center called, ‘Backyard Sugarin” I liked the word ‘Sugarin’ and I shortened it to just “sugarN” But I could not get this word out of my head. Thought about it the rest of the day and night. This morning, I woke up with it, still on my mind. It reminded me of Riley’s poem and oft’ quoted line from it, “when the frost is on the punkin.” So, just today, it inspired me to write, “When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

Now, I’m not trying to compete with Riley. I make no pretense that it even comes close to being, even a little bit as good as his! But for me, tired of the long cold winter and missing my wife and can’t wait for Spring, it made me sort of, ‘tap’ into spring and it certainly tapped into me. I think Fall and Spring are my favorites of the four seasons. These two seasons fall between, Winter and Summer or Summer and Winter. Winter can be pretty, but I think it’s mostly here to remind me that Spring is coming and Summer is, just the season to enjoy, while waiting on the Fall. So, I wrote and edited and read it aloud to myself, to hear its flow. Then I called Aunt Bab’s and read it to her. She loved it and asked for a copy and promised to commit it to memory, just as she had, ‘When the Frost in on the Punkin.’ I was honored by her asking and am encouraged here, to share this with you, Oh ye’ gatherers together, gathering at the Gathering Place. 🙂

Years ago, a dear friend’s father gave me a gift of his personally worn, loved, washed and a little over-bleached (kind of tie-dye looking cool) pair of what he called his “Over-hauls.”  These are not just anyO’ pair of overalls. They are the crem dela crem of overalls! Thays’ isN’ ‘Big Smith’ overalls, the finest makers of “over-hauls,” since 1916! Promised made and promise kept. The You Tube video of me reading this poem appears, following the the text below. By the way, my excess winter sap (or sugar) did not allow me to fit into my “over-hauls,” I crammed myself into them! :0

I hope you enjoy, “SugarN’s in the Maples.”  I hope it gets you ‘flowing!’ 🙂

Thank You, James Whitcomb Riley and Thank You, Aunt Bab’s!

 

Donnie

 

 

 

 

 

It’s SugarN’ Time

“When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

Donnie Hayden, 1953presently still alive 🙂

 

When the sugarN’s in the maples and
the taps is in the trees
And you hear the cooN morN doves
a crying in the breeze
And the peeping of the sparrows and the honkN of the geese
And the warmN’s in the morN’
in her rising in the east
O, it’s them’s the times a feller is a—
putN’ on a smile,
And leaves his hibernated cave
and gits outside a while,
And grabs his hat and forgets his achy knees,
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
There’s something kinda’ hearty-like
tho wintern hangs on here—
When the nights still chill, but morN’s warm, surely Spring will be so dear—
Of course the grass aint yet green, and no flowers in the bloom
And the gentle rains not yet revealN 
what underground’s concealN’
and the robins not yet expected,
but the worms don’t feel neglected
But still, there’s that sweet fragrance in the air,
when sap pots a’boilN’, here and there
Sets my forget of my achy knees
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
The whole scene sets my heart a jumpN’
like the sap a runN and the roots, for water pumpN
Not time for plantN or growN’, but tahday—
Spring’s got no better preacher
than what the maples have to say
 
Cows still relyN on the farmer’s bales
and the tractor’s in the barn
and they’re dreaming over coffee
and they’re fitN another yarn
O, it sets spring’s clock—
to ease
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
Then you know the sap is gathered, 
and the syrup is all made
And the taste buds cry—  “keep it coming” 
and winter’s soon to fade
And your pancakes and sugarN delights 
and all the maple sweets
makes yor’ giddy face a familiar friend 
to all the strangers it meets
I know no betterN a way to tell it— 
but if such a thing could be
If anyone or spring or angels need boardin’, and if they were to call on me
I’d hand them all over my accommodations and my keys
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
 
Categories: Family & Friends, Inspiration, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Spring, The Gathering Place | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

A grown-up lay me down to sleep

by Dahni

© 2015, all rights reserved

(an anticipatory participatory prayer)

 

AdultLayMeDown2Sleep

Now I lay me down to sleep

I thank you Lord, for the sweet memories I keep

and if I should pass, before I wake

please give them to my loves –

for them to take

 

God Bless,

(your memory list goes here)

 

Amen

AdultLayMeDown2Sleep2

Categories: Family & Friends, Live Laugh Love, Love, Poetry, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

No Regrets

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Good Morning!

To live your life without regret, there are four things which are most important, for your every DO IT NOW –

NoRegrets2

Categories: Doing the Right Thing, Family & Friends, Inspiration, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, No Regrets, Simplicity, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

A Toast to Life

short url to this post: http://wp.me/p4jGvr-AV

 

By Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

 

A Toast to you on St. Patty’s Day:

May your every need, be ever met
And your heart, always full
And all the best that’s yet to come,
May it be your crowning jewel
May love and hope ever find you,
sharing these two, with all you meet
And this, ever circling
will never find complete!

The Gathering Place

Your Friends and family on the road of Life

Toast Life

 

 

Categories: Holidays, Inspiration, Irish, Irish Music, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, Music, Poetry, Spring, St. Patrick's Day, The Gathering Place, Toast this Life, videos, Visual Poetry, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

The Robin Report

Short url to this post: http://wp.me/p4jGvr-Aq
by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

 RobinReport1

The American Robin is, a more sure harbinger and prognosticator of spring, than Punxsutawney Phil the ground hog, could ever be, in his or her, wildest dreams.

Robins are actually, part of the family of thrushes. They received their familiar name from homesick European settlers in the United States, many years ago. They were reminded of their beloved and familiar little Robin Red-breast, which has a color pattern brighter, but somewhat similar to our robin, even though the two are, not closely related.

Years ago, there was a median strip between our home (then) and our neighbor’s property. In the middle of this strip of land was a Hawthorne tree with long and potentially hurtful thorns. Trust me they hurt, having been pricked by them, more than a few times. The berries are bright red orange and often stay on the tree throughout the winter. The reason for this is quite simple. Their berries are not considered to be, culinary fowl fare or bird yum yums. 🙂

Most wintering critters and birds don’t care for them, that is, until one snowy wintry, February morning. I happened to look outside our bedroom window and right below in this Hawthorne tree was, at least a hundred robins. In about a half an hour, they picked the tree clean. There was not a single berry left. I was astounded!

I had never seen so many robins before and I did not know they would group like this. So, I did some research.

I suppose, I never really thought about where robins go in the winter? I guess I never entertained the idea that they migrate, but they do. Curiously, first of all, some, for some unknown reason, will winter farther up north in Canada (We live in NY). But others, will migrate thousands of miles, from Vancouver Island to as far south as, Guatemala. Some will just hang around where they are.

Robins are of only, just a few type of birds that change their diet. They will eat nuts, seeds and berries (even those nasty Hawthorne berries), insects and grubs and their favorite delicacy, earthworms. Obviously in February, it was still a little cold for earthworms. But the interesting thing I have come to understand about the robins I saw in February is, they were all male. The males return before their females to begin building their nests, scoping out new or defending their territory. And how do they defend their turf – by singing, sometimes fighting, but a good song seems to be, what works best, most of the time.

After the male robins first appear, the spring rains begin soon thereafter. When the grounds become saturated, the earthworms come up for air. From the time the males show up and the rains fall is, around two weeks. Right on cue, about two weeks after the males, the females arrive hungry from the long flight and earth worms are easy to find. Contrary to what I thought and perhaps many others as well, robins do NOT hear the earthworms underground, they see them on the top of the waterlogged soil. I know, we’ve all seem them pecking on the ground when it looks like there’s nothing there, don’t they really hear the worms? Just remember, their eyesight is far superior to ours. They can see the smallest movement of leaves and earth and KNOW, something alive is moving!

So dear friends and family of, The Gathering Place, robins are, the sure sign that spring has sprung! 🙂

 Robin song mp3 on SoundCloud (may not work on Apple devices)

 

YouTubeIcon32X32Robin Song on YouTube

 

 

The following poem which inspired by these robins was, posted on another one of my blogs at: Dahni Daily, Februrary, 21, 2010. It was written right around the time the robins first appeared in the Hawthorne tree. They did come back the next year, but only around 30. That was the last time I saw them in such numbers or in that tree. We moved to where we live now at: The Gathering Place. But we still see robins here. I can’t wait to see them soon and report that spring here, has definitely arrived! I hope you enjoy the following poem.

A Sure Sign

By Dahni, © 2010, all rights reserved

The Hawthorne berry bright red

Seemingly an attractive fruit,

But most unsavory,

For they last the whole of winter,

Undisturbed and uneaten.

A robin one or two or few,

A sure sign of spring,

Though long after the snows melt,

And the rains come,

And the worms surface.

Two years ago, about a week,

Before the end of February,

Hundreds of robins picked the Hawthorne clean,

In minutes,

Their migratory mates followed two weeks later,

And brought spring with them.

Today, about a week,

Before the end of February,

Many robins sat in the Hawthorne;

My heart was lightened,

Though snow still upon the ground,

And in the air,

Surely their mates are on the way,

And bringing with them,

Spring.

From the collection: ‘As it Happened – Collections of Recollections, by the same author
Short url to this post: http://wp.me/pc5BC-39

 RobinReport2

 So, what is, your robin report? Are they where you are yet? Is it spring where you are yet?

Categories: Beauty, Birds, Family & Friends, Poetry, Robins, Spring, Uncategorized, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Auld Lang Syne

AulLangSyne1

 

Among the many traditions that come with ringing in the new year, the singing of “Auld Lange Syne” has become a custom of almost every gathering at midnight of New Year’s Eve. But what do these words mean?

“Auld Lange Syne” was originally a  poem written by Scotland’s favourite poet, Robert Burns in 1788. It was eventually set to the tune of a traditional folk song. The title of the Scottish tune translates to “times gone by” and is about remembering friends from the past and not letting them be forgotten.

Now, at the conclusion of almost every New Year’s celebration, partygoers join hands with the person next to them to form a great circle around the dance floor. At the beginning of the last verse, everyone crosses their arms across their breast, so that the right hand reaches out to the neighbor on the left and vice versa.

I chose the Youtube video (presented below) with Susan Boyle because, I just love her soothing voice, her love for singing, the emotion she projects; I love her heart and simplicity and she was, born in, Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland.

 

Susan Boyle, album ‘The Gift’ – Auld Lang Syne

 

Auld Lang Syne 

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp
And surely I’ll me mine
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

We twa hae run about the braes
An pou’d the gowans fine
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fitt
Sin’ auld lang syne

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

 

 

Auld Lang Syne

(modern English translation)

 

Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And days of long ago!

Chorus:

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

We two have run about the hillsides
And pulled the daisies fine,
But we have wandered many a weary foot
For times gone by.

Chorus:

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

We two have paddled (waded) in the stream
From noon until dinner time,
But seas between us broad have roared
Since times gone by.

Chorus:

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

And there is a hand, my trusty friend,
And give us a hand of yours,
And we will take a goodwill drink (of ale)
For times gone by!

Chorus:

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

And surely you will pay for your pint,
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by

Chorus:
For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

AuldLangSyne2

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  🙂

Categories: Holidays, Inspiration, New Year's Day, New Year's Eve, Poetry, Robert Burns, Scotland, Susan Boyle, The Gathering Place, You Tube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment
 
 

A Winter’s Tale

By Dahni

© 2014, all rights reserved

AWintersale

     A Winter’s Tale is an original poem set to music, by Dahni & I-Magine © 2014, all rights reserved. It is gifted FREE of charge and was produced for you and given to you, for your 2014 holiday. Merry Wintermas & Happy New Year! 

  Following the Youtube video, you may click on the PDF file below for a copy of the entire poem, if you so desire. We hope you enjoy this work and such as it is (sound quality and an out of tune piano), may it fill your heart with believing, hope and love!

Thank you,

MySig4WP

PDF_icon_WP_tiled

click above for the PDF file to download the poem

Categories: Family & Friends, God, Holidays, Home, Inspiration, Life, Love, Music, Poetry, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized, YouTube | Leave a comment
 
 

Latte Nogee

Press Play and enjoy the snow and the music while you read below! 🙂

Sorry, if you are viewing this on a smartphone as an Apple iPhone. They do not support the snow or the music, but here is the link to the music – Bing Crosby sining “White Christmas” – https://soundcloud.com/dahni-4/sets/holidays-1

by Dahni

© 2014, all rights reserved

Tis’ the season and eggnog a reason. How about starting your day with some Latte Nogee (eggnog + espresso coffee)! It is pronounced [nah+gee]

What you will need:

1. Good quality espresso beans and a grinder

LatteNogee3

LatteNogee2You may use ground espresso if you prefer, but I like them as fresh as is possible. Some people believe beans should never be frozen as it changes the flavor as the beans go back and forth from the freezer. It’s about moisture. But I take out from the freezer, exactly what I need from the bag and return the rest to the freezer. I have never had a problem. The espresso beans I used just this morning have been in the freezer for 2 years and NO PROBLEMO! 🙂

2. Some way to brew your espresso coffee. We rarely use our machine, but it is great to have around for special occasions and holidays. Our was a gift several years ago and it still works perfectly. Ours is a Melitta brand. The simple two-four cup espresso machines are not all that expensive (around $100) and well worth itI

3. The best eggnog you can find or make

4. The best nutmeg you can find. Grind your own from a fresh nutmeg. You’ll be glad you did.

LatteNogee4

5. Milk to foam or froth

6. (2) big tall holiday mugs

Let’s DO IT!

1. Measure enough espresso coffee (finely ground) to make (2) 3 ounces of coffee. see. the picute of the machine above. It shows the pot having about 3 ounces of coffee that has been brewed. For single serve, this is all you need. But to share with another (and this is all the fun), double the bre pot.

2. Heat enough of your cold eggnog on the stove to fill each mug to about two- 2 1/2 inches from the top of each mug.

3. Brew your coffee and pour half into each mug

4. Pour about 1/2 cub of milk (or skim milk) into a stainless steel frothing pot and foam the milk from the leftover water/steam from your espresso machine.

4. Pour half of the heated eggnog into each mug.

5. Pour half of the frothy (foamed) milk into each mug.

6. Garnish with as much fresh ground nutmeg as you like or as an option –

7. Put a dollop of whipped cream on top of each cup then garnish with fresh nutmeg. Then –

“Look out tastebuds, teeth and gums
Latte Nogee, here it comes!”  🙂

LatteNogee1

Categories: Family & Friends, Food, Holidays, Music, soundcloud | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

High School

by Dahni

© 2014, all rights reserved

Nostalgic3Hickman_logoWhen we gather, as friends and family do, we may talk about the good old days (as every generation does). These good old days often, center around high school. These were some of our most memorable, inspiring, confusing, exciting and probably every other adjective thrown in, for every emotion, we often faced NEW or with such great intensity, in about the three years it took us to graduate. We were discovering our voice and place in life, for perhaps, the very first time. We were preparing, for  adulthood, manhood, womanhood and hormone-hood!  🙂

Soon, we would be on our own and we could hardly wait to move out of the homes of our parents, our caregivers or the family units we grew up in, for most of our 17 or 18 years of life. Yes, we were preparing to be on our own, have our own place and make our own rules.

We learned new rules and were preparing to move off and on with our individual lives, independent of all others (so we thought or pretended). Choice and change in high school was both exhilarating and frightening, often at the same time. Many ‘firsts’ happened for many of us in high school like: a driver’s license, our first kiss, first love and more. Some of our experiences there were great, some good, some not so good and some, many of us have forgotten or would like to forget. High school was appropriately named. There was no higher school. We were as high as we could go. Some of us, also found, other ways to get high, in high school.  🙂

But, high school was, as high as we could go. After high school, a continued education institution was, generally called a college or a university. But most of us all had a high school. My high school was, simply referred to as, Hickman High School, Hickman High or just Hickman.

David H. Hickman High School, in Columbia, MO, was my high school. It was the high school of our younger sister and our older brother. His two daughters also, attended Hickman. But for our family, it began with our mother and father that most likely met at Hickman and well, the three of us, the children of Calvin and Laura Jean, know how this turned out!  🙂

But Hickman, was not always so named or at its current location.

Public secondary education began in Columbia during the 1880s with the founding of Columbia High School in 1889 at Eighth Street and Rogers. Columbia High School (CHS) began as a two-year course study. In 1895 it increased to three and then four, the following year. Later, it would go back to a three-year high school 10th-12th (sophomores, juniors and seniors) . In 2013, Hickman became a four-year high school again and remains so, still today.

“Overcrowding caused the demolition of the old school and the construction of a new three-story structure at the same site. The new building included the district’s first gymnasium, and the first athletics and music teacher were hired. 1912 saw the first edition of the school yearbook, the Cresset. The school mascot, the Kewpie, appeared for the first time in the Cresset associated with the basketball team “…whose loyalty to the school and to the Kewpie motto, Keep Smiling,’ has won the State Championship.” 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_H._Hickman_High_School

Continued growth made it necessary for a new high school. In 1927, Missouri Legislator and educator, David Henry Hickman, donated his country estate. His namesake high school would replace the former Columbia High School, but it carried with it, many of its traditions including, the ‘Kewpie‘ mascot, the colors, ‘purple and gold,’ and the yearbook, the ‘Crescent.’ The former downtown property became, Jefferson Junior High School (7th – 9th) until 2013, and then it became, Jefferson Middle School (6th-8th), as it is today.

Hickman continued to grow since 1927, in offerings, clubs, stage and musical productions, recognition, athletics, awards and it remains, to be one of the finest high schools in the United States. Far above the national average, many of its graduates go on to college.

In the 1950’s, Hickman saw the end of racial segregation and was integrated with Fredrick Douglas High School. The influx of more students, necessitated a building boom! More classrooms, special education, vocational work, laboratories, a gymnasium and a swimming pool were added in 1955. This would not be its last expansion!

 

Some former Notable Hickmans’

 
Gary Anderson, became a NFL running back with Tampa Bay Bandits (1983-1985), San Diego Chargers (1985-1988), TampaBay Buccaneers (1990-1993), and the Detroit Lions (1993).
Matt Bartle, Missouri state senator
Charley Blackmore, DJ, Creator, owner and webmaster of http://www.kewpie.net
John M. Dalton, Former Governor of Missouri
Gerry Ellis, Running-back for the Green Bay Packers
Jane Froman, singer/actress
Arlan Gaus, singer/musician blues started – the ‘Blue Slingers’ (my best friend in high school)
Scott Lincoln, After college, Scott moved to New York and worked as an actor in off-broadway. He met a man backstage, who congratulated him on his performance then proceeded to offer him a job on television. The man happened to be Alan Alda and the job would be for ‘Mash.’ Scott moved to California and though never the ‘leading man,’ he knows and has worked with almost every famous actor in the industry. Sometimes credited or not, he is one of the most respected and hardest working actors in the industry. Same age as myself.
Ken Griffin, keyboardist, composer
Kate Hanley, Virginian politician
Dahni Hayden, New York artist, composer, photographer, poet, writer and “The world’s most interested man.” Note: this may be shameless self-promotion, but someone has to do it.  🙂
Jeff Harris, Missouri state representative
Peter Hessler, award winning writer and journalist
Marni Jamie, local ceramic artist in the Columbia are. Same age as myself.
Kenneth Lay, CEO of Enron during the Enron scandal
Rob LaZebnik, writer and co-executive producer for The Simpsons
Claire McCaskill, U.S. Senator (She was one year ahead of me in school)
Scott Murphy, U.S. Congressman from New York
Blake Tekotte, Professional Baseball Player for the Chicago White Sox
Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart
Nostalgic2Walton

Who knew, this Sr. Class President, would one day become the world’s richest man!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
James “Bud” Walton, brother of Sam Walton and Co-founder of Wal-Mart
Markus Wiechel, Swedish member of parliament

 

It is interesting that Hickman once educated the future and for a time, the richest man in the world (Sam Walton), one of the most scandalous people (Kenneth Lay), and the “world’s most interested man,” yours truly!  🙂

Nostalgic3Dahni

Time Magazine’s 2014, Person of the Year CENTURY!

Nostalgic1Kewpie_trans

Kewpie – From the ‘Crescent’ 1914

 

🙂

 

Kewpie

The Kewpie doll has been the mascot of the school for the last 100 years.

Hickman is the only known school in the world with a Kewpie as its mascot.

The name dates back to the basketball season of 1913 -1914 at what was known then as, Columbia High School. Apparently, the school secretary owned a Kewpie doll, as they were popular figurines then, and she kept it on her desk.

At one of the first basketball games in December 1913 she placed her Kewpie doll in the center of the court, and the entire game was played around it without it being broken.

This was somewhat remarkable since the dolls were very fragile. Because it survived the game and brought a victory, it was thereafter considered the good luck mascot.

Whatever the true reason, for selecting this mascot might have been, one HAD to have or QUICKLY develop some tough athletes with a kewpie for your mascot. Hickman for many years, excelled in several sports.

Nostalgic4Purp&Gold

School Song

 

On, Sons of Hickman (a.k.a. Kewpies on the March)

On, sons of Hickman
Thru every year,
Praise her and honor her,
And greet her with a cheer,
We’ll shout it!
Kewpies are on the march,
Faithful we’ll always be,
Purple and Gold we’ll carry
To victory!

The school song was written by Mr. C. M. Stookey, a music instructor at Hickman High School in 1944. It was originally called ‘Kewpies on the March.’ The song is featured on the third page of the 1950 Cresset.

 

School Cheer

 

Strawberry Shortcake, Gooseberry Pie,
V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!
Are we it? Well, I guess yes!
We’re the Kewpies of H-H-S!

 

Legends and Strange Facts

 

As mischievous youth are wont to do, especially at graduation, odd things often occur. Our mother told us that when she graduated (in 1946), a goat was somehow placed on top of the Columbia water tower. No one is quite sure how they got it up there, kept it up there until it was recovered or WHY? Poor goat.

Steam/utility/waste water tunnels were connected together underneath the downtown section of Columbia and underneath the University of Missouri. I know this because I have been in them. From the University of Missouri, they connect with every single building and to their power plant. These tunnels are concrete and eventually, connect to older tunnels made of brick and have arches, downtown Columbia. Legends have it that underneath Hickman, a tunnel or tunnels connect to the old Columbia High School (Jefferson Junior High School/Jefferson Middle School). Many tales both confirmed and unconfirmed, exist concerning the famous ‘Hickman Tunnels.’ Many versions say that the tunnel(s) is or are, in a state of complete or partial disrepair. Others state that it/they is/are still intact. But there is a huge underground facility I can tell you that for certain. Or there was from  the fall of 1969-1972 when I was in school there. I am sure this area was below the maintenance area/boiler room was more than large enough to accommodate then, over 2,000+ students and staff. Perhaps it was part of the utility maintenance area (boiler room) and built and used for storage? Maybe it was constructed as a storm or fallout shelter? Whatever its purpose was and if or if not connecting any tunnel or tunnels, it was a great place to skip class as was above the ceiling overlooking the auditorium!  For reference to what I mean, think of Phantom of the Opera or watch ‘Home Alone II:)

 

Legacy

 

On March 26, 1987, President Ronald Reagan made a special trip to Columbia, Missouri to speak at the National Governors’ Association-Department of Education Conference as well as Fairview Elementary and David H. Hickman High Schools. Hickman had received the Department of Education’s Secondary School Recognition Award, and with six students having been named Presidential Scholars since 1964, Hickman ranked in the top five percent of the nation’s schools. In his address to the assembled students and faculty at Hickman, President Reagan praised the school’s academic quality, saying, in part, “If America is to be what it should be in the 21st century, then it’s going to need a lot of schools, good schools. And Hickman, I’m pleased and proud to tell you, is one of the best.” During the presentation, President Reagan was made an honorary Kewpie and given a school sweatshirt as a gift.

Nostalgic5Reagan

Categories: Education, Entertainment, Family & Friends, High School, Inspiration, Kewpie, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Jacky Frost

JackieFrost

Jacky Frost © 2014 by Dahni & I-Magine all rights reserved “She could be a girl you know!” 🙂

 

When I was a child, our grandmother that we her ‘kidlits’ (as she called us), called her Nanny. This name was probably due to the trouble my brother had with the ‘g’ and ‘r’ sounds as in grandmother, grandma and granny. So Nanny just stuck.

Well Nanny used to sing this little song called ‘Jacky Frost.’ I loved it and still sing it, especially when the weather gets colder and/or as the holidays approach.

I married a music teacher with a master’s in music. She taught K-6 for over 25 years. But she had never heard of this song before I sang it. So I taught a teacher at least this one thing.   🙂

To my wife Susan’s credit, she was recently able to find the words and the music for this little known, perhaps forgotten, but enjoyable little tune for children of all ages.  I will share it here for all, just in time for the holidays.

The lyrics to this song were adapted from the poem, “Jacky Frost”, by Laura E. Richards. You can find this poem in the collection “Tirra Lirra Rhymes Old and New” by Laura E. Richards.

The music was composed by Eleanor Smith, who included the song in her music textbooks designed for children. These textbooks are over 100 years old. You can find the song in “The Common School Book of Vocal Music” by Eleanor Smith. She adapted the poem just slightly to fit her melody. 

Jacky Frost

Jacky Frost, Jacky Frost,
Came in the night;
Left the meadows that he crossed,
All gleaming white.
Painted with his silver brush
Every window-pane.
Kissed the leaves and made them blush,
Blush and blush again.
 
 Jacky Frost, Jacky Frost,
Crept around the house,
Sly as a silver fox,
Still as a mouse.
Out our little Jenny came,
Blushing like a rose;
Up jumped Jacky Frost,
And pinched her little nose.

Click to download a copy of the music

 

Donnie

 

Categories: Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fun, Holidays, Jacky Frost, Music, You Tube | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

“Frost on the Punkin”

short url to this post: http://wp.me/p4jGvr-Bk

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

  Punkin2I grew up in the Midwest. We lived in town and had grandparents that lived in the country. City living gave us culture and the advantages which benefit, from higher education. We had the rural roots and common sense, fresh air and produce from the farm. We had the best of both worlds. I especially loved the fall, autumn, falling leaves and colors, crisp apple cider and crisp air, ripening, harvest, plenty and well, just that whole cornucopia idea of, abundance. A familiar phrase to me as a child growing up, just set the whole season into mind and motion. Just a few words gave me the visual promotion or concept of autumn – “when the frost is on the punkin.” Yes, I do know how to spell pumpkin, but “punkin,” is how the word was first pronounced to me. I am not sure where I first heard this. Perhaps it was our mother, from her mother or father, our grandparents? Both of our Mom’s parents were from large farming families so, you might expect the word “punkin” to be proper pronunciation for the farm, country, and the south. Pumpkin would be correct, for the formally educated, the city dwellers, the landlubbers or as a friend refers to me since I am a new transplant to the “country,” a “flatlander.” Well, I think it is pretty obvious as to what “frost on the punkin” means. Pumpkins turn their bright orange color in the fall and while still not winter, the nights and days can be quite cool. Elementary science taught us that something freezes at 32°F. Frost can occur on the ground, on leaves, and yes, even pumpkins at higher temperatures from 32-say-36 or 37°F. So, “frost on the punkin,” means, it’t chilly outside. It’s time for my favorite olympic sport of, raking leaves and jumping into the piles. Not to mention pumpkin eats and drinks, OMG it’s AUTUMN!!!   🙂 I’ve used this phrase for most of my life. Recently, I used it and some people had never heard of it. So, I thought, maybe it is a Midwest or a southern expression; not known to us northerners? Yes, I included myself as a northerner, since I live here in New York, even though I was born and raised in the Midwest. Well, again with the well, well, how deep is this well? Where did this expression come from? I consulted with the oldest trivia, where-did-that-come-from expression expert, our local home-spun-poetry committed to memory aficionado and my fellow poetry-lover kindred spirit, Aunt Anne Magar (Bab’s) [pronounced: Bob’s]. She’s 91 and sharp as a tack. So I put it to her, “Aunt Bab’s,” I said, “have you ever heard the expression, “frost on the punkin?” “Oh, sure,” she said grinning confidently, “It is from a poem. You should look it up!” So I did. It was written by James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916

“There is an interesting incident about how Riley’s job was once saved because he had written “When the Frost Is On the Punkin, and the Fodder’s In the Shock.”  It is in a book written by Riley’s friend John A. Howland entitled, “James Whitcomb Riley: Prose and Pictures.””

“Riley, as a young Greenfield man, had had a hard time finding a niche in the world since he did not care to follow his father in the practice of law.  He sold Bibles, painted signs, entertained in a medicine show, always coming to a dead end.  His mother died in 1870 and he felt he could not bear to stay in Greenfield so he went here and there seeking newspaper employment.  He ran into E.B. Martindale of “The Indianapolis Journal” whom he later called, “my first literary patron,” who added him to the staff of the paper to write poetry.  Some of these poems appeared on the first page of the Journal under the nom de plume “Benjamin F. Johnson of Boone,” supposedly an old farmer.  As they were well received, Riley emerged from under his disguise, writing poems such as “When the Frost is on the Punkin.””

 “In a short while after Riley joined the paper, a gentleman named Halford was appointed manager of the Journal.  One of his first ideas was to cut down on expenses of the paper, and he was considering Riley as his first victim to get the ax.  It so happened that a political convention was held in Indianapolis at this very time.  One of the candidates nominated for office was a big burly fellow who had never made a speech in his life.”

“When he got up to accept his nomination, his mind went blank and he could not utter a word.  The pounding and cheering went on until in desperation he blurted out, “The ticket you have nominated here is going to win “when the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.”  This Riley poem had just been published a few days before. in the newspaper.”

“The applause that greeted these words showed that most of these prominent men had read Riley’s work and approved of it.  Halford kept him on, and he became an established poet.” 

“Riley saved his job by a landscape!”

excerpts from: http://www.jameswhitcombriley.com/frost_on_punkin_saved_job.htm

  I share the lines with you below and a wonderful oral reading by a man from a You Tube video. I believe you will understand every word below, when you hear him recite it; understand why his father wanted him to share it with strangers each year and you, will understand, “frost on the punkin,” as I now do! Thank You Aunt Bab’s!   🙂   Donnie          

Punkin1

“When the Frost is on the Punkin”

James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
 
They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
 
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!
 
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! …
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock! 

If you like to read another poem I wrote for spring, see: “When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

Categories: Autumn, Fall, Inspiration, Poetry, Seasons, The Gathering Place, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

On: The Caged Bird Released, Sings and Flies Free

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Dr. Maya Angelou

April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

Maya

Maya

Dear Maya,

You have sung in your cage, sung in Your release and now You sing, flying free! I cannot offer up Your praise and give words of your many accomplishments. There are many others that knew You, knew You well and that can do the far better telling. I can only shed my own tears of the sad and of the joy. I can only say here, what You mean to me. I call You Maya because, it’s deeply personal and You are this to me, as if I have always known You, though I have never met You, though as if I have! We are not related. Our skins and sins are not the same. We came here to life at different times. All that I may leave here pales, to what, You have left. But I love You and I know You loved me because, You lived!

Your first book, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,’ set You not upon your path, but it brought many to you and my seeking heart to your path and with your smile, You bid any and all, welcome!

Maya's 1st book

Maya’s 1st book

I always thought of You as my dear and trusted aunt, though I never had the privilege of meeting You. You were born in my home state of Missouri. You lived in Arkansas and I first met of You, when I lived there. I will never forget Your performance in the 1995 movie, ‘How to Make an American Quilt!’ You had only a small part. You did neither write it nor directed it. You were not its narrator. Your character was Anna. You told the story of, “the story quilt.” You are the “story quilt.” You were the master quilter and brought every person into this story. And it is brilliant and so deep and has so many meanings on so many levels. It was more than about a quilt for one woman. It was more than just about women or a movie for women. It was about people, all people. Ignorance makes us all slaves to something or to someone. But together are we freed, WE the many different and beautiful “shreds,” make up ‘An American Quilt!’  ‘An American Quilt,’ is by far, my favorite movie of all time. To me, You were the whole movie! I cannot imagine it being written, directed, acted or presented without You. All the great acting, music and sets were the background. You are its subject. You are the quilting needle; WE are the quilt!

 

“It’s a story quilt.  It’s meant to be read.” 

“That summer the Grasse quilting bee did something they’ve never done before. Anna called everyone back and wouldn’t let them go home until they finished the quilt. They all worked [straight through the night] sustained by Anna’s will and gallons of ice tea.”

 

Young lovers seek perfection. 

Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together

 and of seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches  

 

“As Anna says about making a quilt, you have to choose your combination carefully. The right choices will enhance your quilt. The wrong choices will dull the colors, hide their original beauty. There are no rules you can follow. You have to go by your instinct. And you have to be brave.”

 excerpts from the transcript: ‘An American Quilt’

 

I hear You and see You and feel You in every frame of the whole movie and in the following video clip.

 

 

Your  last Tweet on Twitter:

Maya5

 

Your last personal Facebook post was typical of, your concern for others

 

Maya4

Maya’s FB Profile

Maya Angelou
May 26, 2014

 

“And now we come to the day [Memorial Day] where we can honor the brave men and women who have risked their lives to honor our country and our principles. Our history is rife with citizens who care and who are courageous enough to say we care for those who went before us.”

 

You earned three Grammys, spoke six languages, and were the second poet in history to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration. You received two Presidential Medals of Honor from two separate presidents, one for Art and the most important, for Freedom.

 

On Thursday, May 28, 2014, you took your last breath and I was breathless when I knew.

On your Facebook page:

Your FB  profile

Your FB profile

Statement from Dr. Maya Angelou’s Family:

Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.
Guy B. Johnson

 

https://www.facebook.com/MayaAngelou

You were a beautiful young girl, a beautiful young woman, a beautiful woman, and a beautiful lady in Your glorious sunset! There is no place for a beautiful mind to be shone, than shining out and upon, from within!

My favorite poem of Yours, I will share here to follow. You meant a lot to me personally, and I will greatly miss Your presence on this earth and in the life that I have left!

Still I Rise

by Maya Angelou, 1928 – 2014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

 

Cradle

by Dahni

How does one summarize the impact of a single life? Indeed, there have been countless books penned, poems and paintings that have tried to capture this deep enigma. Perhaps the smallest sentence to have ever seized all the emotion of loss comes from the Bible,

 

“Jesus Wept!”

 

William Shakespeare from ‘King Lear,’ concluded a single life simply and plainly with the words,

 

“He died!”

 

But the things penned, the poems, the paeans, and paintings all try to show the eons of time, events and unique forming that brought forth the birth of a single life. And then they try to show the waves and connections and spheres of influence from all the moments and all the years of a single life. And thus a summing up of all that are touched by this single life may simply and plainly conclude –

 

They Lived!

 

No one can escape tears sometimes. Sometimes these droplets of one’s measured life are of great joy. Sometimes these droplets of one’s measured life are of great sorrow. The push of sorrow and the pull of joy is this not like a crib and are we not cradled of love? A life enters and exits, but leaves a cradle rocking. The push and pull continues. Turn the page, keep reading. Pen, poem and paint. Rock the cradle, for the point is

 

We live!

 

Note: a “paean” – any song of joy, praise or triumph

© 2011

From the collection: ‘Full Measure’ © 2008-2014 by the same author, all rights reserved

Even more than my ‘Cradle’ poem, You taught me to always trust love –

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time

and always one more time.”

Maya Angelou

Even more than my ‘Cradle’ poem, You taught me that all of us are shackled or we bear the scars of something that enslaves. But my favorite words from You are, only two.

“Love Liberates”

Maya Angelou

 

You sang in Your cage. You sang when Your caged was opened. You sing now in freedom’s flight. Many will fly because, of You.

I will rise

I will sing

 

 

 

Your loving liberated nephew,

 

Donnie

Categories: Beauty, Birds, Family & Friends, Freedom, Inspiration, Joy & Sorrow, Life, Life & Death, Literature, Live Laugh Love, Love, Maya Angelou, Poetry, Saying Goodbye, Spiritual, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized, Visual Poetry, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

On: Memorial Day

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Today marks the official, 43rd year of observing Memorial Day, as a federal holiday beginning in 1971. It could be the 149th, 148th, 147th or 146th, depending on who you are, what you believe and where you are from. There are no less than a dozen cities, organizations and persons that it has been attributed to or claim it and that they, he or she was the first to come up with the name and or to celebrate the event for the first time. Indeed, a study or personal research undertaken, as to the histories and origins of Memorial Day, will reveal very much, interesting information. That last sentence was highly understated!

The stories range from it began in the south to no, it was the north from after the American Civil War. Some say no, it began earlier than that. Some say it started in Columbus, Georgia, but Columbus, Mississippi, highly disagrees with that, because they say they were first.

Francis Miles Finch (June 9, 1827 – July 31, 1907) was an American judge, poet, and academic associated with the early years of Cornell University. Finch wrote poetry throughout his life. Perhaps his best known poem, “The Blue and the Gray”, written in remembrance of the dead of the American Civil War, was inspired by a women’s memorial association in Columbus, Mississippi, who on April 25, 1866 tended the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers, treating the dead as equals despite the lingering rancor of the war.

 

The Blue and the Gray

By Francis Miles Finch

By the flow of the inland river,
  Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
  Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Under the one, the Blue,
      Under the other, the Gray.
 
These in the robings of glory,
  Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
  In the dusk of eternity meet:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Under the laurel, the Blue,
      Under the willow, the Gray.
 
From the silence of sorrowful hours
  The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
  Alike for the friend and the foe:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Under the roses, the Blue,
      Under the lilies, the Gray.
 
So with an equal splendor,
  The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
  On the blossoms blooming for all:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Broidered with gold, the Blue,
      Mellowed with gold, the Gray.
 
So, when the summer calleth,
  On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
  The cooling drip of the rain:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Wet with the rain, the Blue,
      Wet with the rain, the Gray.
 
Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
  The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading
  No braver battle was won:
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Under the blossoms, the Blue,
      Under the garlands, the Gray.
 
No more shall the war cry sever,
  Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever
  When they laurel the graves of our dead!
    Under the sod and the dew,
      Waiting the judgment-day;
    Love and tears for the Blue,
      Tears and love for the Gray.

 

 

Though this is a beautiful poem and memory, some believe Memorial Day was inspired by a southern woman and others say it was a northern military officer. Then there is a town in my state, Waterloo, NY that have honored the day since May 5th, 1866. To this, president Lyndon Johnson directed the federal government to recognize Waterloo, NY in 1971, as the birthplace of Memorial Day? You cannot say that the president, a southerner, was biased, being Waterloo, NY, is, in the north. But hold on, wait just a minute.

Some believe and would like the rest of us to believe that the ceremonies in April of 1865, might have begun what has come to be known as Memorial Day? Remember Fort Sumter? It was a fort off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, long used in defense of the city. For all practical reasons, Fort Sumter is where the American Civil War began. It seemed kind of fitting to include it in the memory, after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, which unofficially ended the war between the states. Indeed, the same year, the flag of the United States would fly over Fort Sumter. All kinds of ceremonies were planned and implemented on the island, to honor the dead, the end of hostilities and the long reconciliatory process which was beginning, between the north and the south. This all happened on April 15, 1865. Later the same day and this same year, in Washington, D.C., president Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theater.

But hold on again, wait just another minute. What about the story of prisoners of war that had died in captivity in Charleston, South Carolina and were honored on May 1, 1865? Was this the beginning of Memorial Day?

“During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Charleston Race Course and were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony, covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building, an enclosure and an arch labeled, “Martyrs of the Race Course.” Nearly ten thousand people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children newly enrolled in freedmen’s schools, mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers, and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field.”

 

Excerpts from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day

 

Professor David W. Blight of the Yale University Department of History, described the day during part of his lecture, ‘The Beginning of Memorial Day,’

“This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.”

http://oyc.yale.edu/history/hist-119/lecture-19#ch5

 

However, Blight stated he “has no evidence” that this event in Charleston inspired the establishment of Memorial Day across the country.

Source of quote: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/us/many-claim-to-be-memorial-day-birthplace.html?pagewanted=2

 

Of course, there remain many that want to dispute professor Blight’s claim, but if it were not for his discovery of this information, nearly lost and possibly suppressed, we would not even have it to consider. Did you know this former racetrack-turned open air field cemetery, still exists or efforts are being made to include this hallowed place as, an historic landmark? I did not until very recently.

On and on the stories and claims go, perhaps without ending and without number. But it seems the importance or meaning of the day, is lost on who said what first, made it first, and inspired it first.

At this point, what exactly do we know? We know that somewhere, sometime, someone merged Decoration Day with Memorial Day. It was merged because, after the change, people would still ‘decorate’  the graves of the fallen, but the word ‘memorial’ was more appropriate, for the reason they they did this. So it seems the connection was to honor the dead that fell during the American Civil War by decorating their graves. But we know that today, Memorial Day has expanded.

Many believe the name change from “Decoration Day” to “Memorial Day,” was first used in 1882. But it still was not a Federal Law until 1967.  On June 28, 1968, the Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday, in order to create a convenient, three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30th date to the last Monday in May.

Law smaw, many states rejected this change until years later, when all 50 states were finally in compliance. Then there are those that still don’t like the date of the last Monday of the month of May. They would prefer the date being set on a more traditional date of  May 30th, no matter what day of the week it may fall on. Congress has been repeatedly petitioned to make this change, even among its own members, but to no avail. Besides, if this were to happen, it would disrupt Memorial Day business, observed by most businesses because, this is the unofficial beginning of summer. Hmmm, what was really important, the day itself or another day off and part of another long weekend off and the opportunity for businesses to sell us their stuff from out of their stock and off their shelves?

Memorial Day expanded to include fallen soldiers, for all wars and conflicts since the American Civil War. Some did not like that because, living soldiers were not included. So Veterans Day was added for all veterans, living and deceased, for all wars. Veteran’s Day is  on Tuesday, November 11 (this year 2014). But I bet more than many turn this into a four-day weekend, to do more stuff, get more stuff and to sell more stuff.

Memorial Day weekend has expanded to associate with the Labor Day weekend beginning, Monday September 1st (this year 2014). What is the association? Most people, businesses and organizations, with private or public swimming pools, open their pools around Memorial Day and close them down, after Labor Day.

Memorial Day weekend has expanded to associate with, the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 6oo races. These car racing events have for some time, been run on Memorial  Day.

Somehow, Memorial Day was expanded to include all deceased members of families and friends and associates. People everywhere started decorating other graves besides those of soldiers. Then Memorial Day expanded to include picnics, gatherings of friends and families, businesses, other groups and of course, including barbecues!

Around the 16th century in England, the word potluck is said to have first been used. In the writings of Thomas Nashe, he defined this as, “food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest, the luck of the pot.” In the 19th or 20th century, this potluck or sometimes called potlatch, was considered a communal or community meal, where people brought their own food. To the native Irish, this “luck of the pot,” had no particular menu, but was shared with many people and with many types of food, from whatever you had on hand because, quite often, this was the only pot people had to cook with. So many got together to use it and share the food together. This could have been neighbors, friends, families or all of them. This could have taken on the character of an extended family or a family reunion. Some people would often travel hundreds of miles to reconnect or with friends and families. They would gather on a certain day (like Memorial Day), decorate the graves of loved ones and renew their relationships or meet other new friends and family members. Sometimes, there could have been a religious service at the site and often this would follow with a “dinner on the ground.” Yes, at the cemetery, they would spread sheets or tablecloths on the grass or set up tables and “pass the pot,” sharing together what each brought to share. Now many believe this practice started way before the American Civil War so therefore, it predates any other origin of Memorial Day. But there are plenty of people around to dispute that claim or idea!

So what do we know for sure? We know that Memorial Day has expanded to include a lot of people and stuff. But what actually is Memorial Day? What is its purpose? I dunno, so I looked up the word “memorial,” in the dictionary.

 

The word memorial is a noun. It’s first definition, found in most dictionaries is, something similar to that which follows:

 

“something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc., as a monument or a holiday.’

Origin:

1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin memoriāle, noun of neuter of Latin memoriālis for or containing memoranda. belonging to remembrance

Old French memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor mindful”

 

excerpts from: http://dictionary.reference.com/

 

In the least common denominator, memorial comes from the word memory and is connected to ‘being mindful.’ What should we be memorializing? For what purpose should we remember. keep in our memory and be mindful of?

In a previous post on this blog  ‘ON: ANZAC DAY, I wrote about my recent experiences in Australia. You can can read it for the first time or again if you so choose, but it began for me, an evolution if you will, for what Memorial Day means to me now.

Here at The Gathering Place, me and the Mrs., which is pretty poor, improper or just bad English (but the 2 m’s may make it easier to recall) or properly, the Mrs. and I, are spending the day much like many others. We started by attending our first Memorial Day Parade, in our new home-based area of, Macedon, NY. As relatively new members of this community, we wanted to become more involved. We waited at the cemetery, as the parade approached.

 

 

We connected with new friends and reconnected with old friends. We walked into the cemetery and were part of the short service that was followed by free hotdogs, chips and drinks up at the Macedon Center.

But the service began with a moment of silence, honoring those soldiers that were buried in this field. Next, there was an oral reading of a poem I had not heard before. The poem was written by Archibald MacLeish, a poet who served in the U.S. Army in World War I:

 

The Young Dead Soldiers

by Archibald MacLeish

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock
counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
Remember us.
They say: We have done what we could
but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can
know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours, they will mean what
you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope
or for nothing we cannot say, it is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died; remember us

 

 

This was followed by a short prayer in thanks for the freedom that we there and we everywhere, are charged with as overseers and preservers of this freedom. The service concluded with a 21 gun salute to those fallen.

Both my wife Susan and I have had members of our individual families and mutual friends that served in the military. We have friends and family that are presently, serving in the military. We are quite used to and understand, “extended families.” These friends and families and soldiers became, ours and my friends and families and soldiers!

My manner for quite sometime has been, to remove my hat and extend my right hand to any soldier I meet, to say thank you, for their service to our country. All of theses men and women either paid the ultimate sacrifice or were or are willing, to give their lives, for what they believed and believe is in defense of this nation. But what does that mean? What is this nation? How are we any different than any other person upon the face of the earth, living or dead? Isn’t it that we have placed into writing that “all…are equal,” and all have, “certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?” Is this not the cry of every heart; of every man, woman and child – past, present and future for, the freedom to exercise these rights?

For Susan and I like many people, we will put something on the grill later and do some yard work, visit with and talk to friends and family. I will personally reflect upon what Memorial Day has now come to mean to me.

I will change my greeting to any known solidier I may meet. I will thank them for their part is keeping us all free to enjoy Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And I will extend this greeting to you, wherever you may be or whenever we may meet. For you too are, a defender, protector and an overseer of this freedom we all here, are here by rights to enjoy.

To truly honor our dead, we may continue to decorate their graves, get together, barbecue, open or go to a pool, and all the things we do, do on Memorial Day, but How SHALL WE HONOR THEM the BEST!

Let us go forth this Memorial Day, for all time, in the memory of and mindful of that each of us contribute or take part in the attempts to destroy freedom. If we cannot all, always agree, let us agree to disagree and part as friends and family, but let us each continue to preserve the path in peace, and decorate, and remember that we each are preservers of the freedom to enjoy, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!

So to you, anyone that reads this or that I meet today or that I may meet one day, I say THANK YOU! Thank you for taking care of all our freedom to all our rights for, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!!! Thank You!

 

In gratitude for your life,

 

Donnie

Memorial Day, May 26th, 2014

Categories: ANZAC Day, Family & Friends, Freedom, Holidays, Inspiration, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness, Memorial Day, Poetry, The Gathering Place | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

On: A Mockingbird

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Mockingbird

Mockingbird

I was outside on Tuesday afternoon on May 20th, just sitting, when a little mockingbird showed up. She was maybe three feet away from me. When she saw me she flew away. Later, around 12:30 am eastern daylight time (EDT), the following morning, I was still awake and I went outside to see the night sky and if there were any stars visible. As I came out of the side door, I could hear her singing in a nearby tree. So I recorded her songs. Later I played it back and she imitated herself. It was quite amusing. 🙂

I’m not sure why she was up so late or why she was singing? I counted at least 7 or 8 different sounds she made and one sounded like a hawk. Maybe this was a defense thing, just in case there was a real hawk closeby? Maybe it was to discourage a real hawk, from thinking they had first ‘dibs’ on sounds like many birds, a varietal early morning breakfast in the tree, because another hawk, had gotten there first? 🙂

I mentioned food. What do mockingbirds eat? Mockingbirds eat mostly insects during the summer and switch to fruits in the fall and winter.

Mockingbird

Mockingbird

Mockingbirds are best known for the habit of some species, mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians They often sing loudly and in rapid succession. Our little bird’s scientific name is,  (Mimus polyglottos) and means, “many tongued mimic.” The Northern Mockingbird is known for its intelligence. A 2009, study showed that the bird was able to recognize individual humans. Maybe she knows me? Maybe she likes me? Maybe she will stay here and raise a family?

Some mockingbirds may learn as much as 200 songs, throughout their lives.  Some have been known to imitate car alarms and animals and frogs. 

I call my Mockingbird a “she” because, OK, I like guys, but I love girls, alright? 🙂

But my mockingbird is most likely a he. It is usually unmated males that sing at night and particularly, during a full moon, which by the way, happened recently and is still a pretty good size. Maybe this is part of the reason, for it’s late-night/early-morning singing?

The oldest (Northern Mockingbird), on record was, 14 years and 10 months.  source: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/northern_mockingbird/lifehistory

Mockingbirds are the the ‘state birds,’ for five (5) states in the United States: Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. It used to be the state bird for South Carolina from 1939-1948, when it was changed to the Carolina Wren until 1976, when it was changed again, to the present state bird which is, the Wild Turkey.

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, had a pet mockingbird named, ‘Dick.”

Mockingbirds are found quite often in works of American culture. I’m sure most of you recall one in a title of a book that was made into a movie – ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ by Harper Lee. In the book, mockingbirds are portrayed as innocent and generous. Two of the major characters, Atticus Finch (played in the movie by Gregory Peck) and Miss Maudie, say it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because,

“They don’t do one thing for us but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing, but sing their hearts out for us”.

Source: Lee, Harper. (1960). To Kill a Mockingbird (50th Anniversary (2010) ed.). HarperCollins. p. 148. ISBN 0-06-174352-6.

Scene from the movie

“Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. Your father’s right, she said. Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

 

The previous lines are from from Chapter 10 of the book and are the source of the novel’s title and introduce one of the key metaphors of the book: the idea of mockingbirds as good, innocent people who are destroyed by evil.

Well, I don’t know if it is a “sin” to kill a mockingbird or if they are so “innocent,” but there may be some truth to their singing  being, just for us or mostly, for us because, apparently their songs don’t fool other birds. Their singing and songs seem to warn their own kind to stay away from their territory. The males also sing,  to tell other males to stay away from their ‘girl’ or that, “all’s fair in love and war,” and  as if to say: “I’m moving in on your girl to make her mine!” Right, the males sing to get “chicks.” Oh, that was literal, not figurative. 🙂 But to get “chicks,” (baby birds), you first, have to attract the ‘Lady Bird’ to become the ‘Mama Bird.’ I can attest to the fact that singing does work in attracting females! Yep, singing does work for sure! It is after all, how I attracted my Susan. OK, actually it was with poetry, but Susan said it was purty’. 🙂

Male or female mockingbird recorded below? Enjoy the singing. 🙂

[audio http://i-imagine.biz/mockbird.mp3 | loop=yes]

recorded live, May 21, 2014 about 12:30 am, eastern daylight time (EDT) outside The Gathering Place

Categories: Birds, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fun, Harper Lee, Literature, Music, The Gathering Place, To Kill a Mocking Bird | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

On: Silo-wering

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all right reserved

 

 

Well, I know about house warming and barn raising. I even know “Hi Ho” from ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but I never heard of a silo-wering, until today! 🙂

Our neighbor across the road that owns all the farm land around here, as far as eye can see, has three silos. This morning, I received a phone call from his wife. “Don’t get excited,” she said, “If you see car-gawkers along the road or people standing in the top of one of our silos by the barn, we’re having it taken down.”

Sure enough, I looked across the road and could see men, “standing in the top,” of one of their silos, just like she said. I had to go for a closer look and snap some pictures.

 

Silo-wering

Silo-wering

This silo being taken down was about the same size as the one you see to the left, in the next picture. It had not been used for some time and it did not have a roof, long lost to some wind storm in the past.

The people were a group of Amish, contracted to de-construct the silo.

You can tell they are Amish by their familiar clothing of blue trousers, lighter blue shirts, suspenders and straw hats. I could see the beards on the men and hear their speech, which sounded German or perhaps, Pennsylvania Dutch.

The picture to the left was shot around 10:00 am and already, they had removed almost a 1/3 of the structure. They probably started around seven this morning.

There were three groups with each having a certain job to do.

The men standing inside the structure (somehow), would remove any metal and throw it down. Then they would go around the circumference and remove the concrete panels about 3′ X 1′ X 2″ thick.

The concrete panels probably weighed at least 100 pounds.

Then the leader on top would call out to the men standing on the ground to stand clear and then the would toss down the panels. They would yell clear and stop dropping materials.

The men on the ground would go pick up the pieces and take them to the truck and lay them on the bed. Then the leader on the ground would call out to the men on the silo, that they were clear.

There was one man on the truck bed that seemed to be the team leader or supervisor. The rest were young men around 12-15 I guess. They would stack the concrete panels on the truck bed. I asked one of the young men what they were going to do with the material and I was told they were going to use it to re-construct this silo, somewhere else.

They are amazing to watch how the work together and just keep moving!

Teamwork

Teamwork

This went on all day until they finished the job. Each group rested between their specific jobs. This was very interesting and very efficient. I am amazed at their work ethics, how they kept moving, worked together, resting only they were not directly involved. I can imagine that other groups or companies might take days to do this job and probably with a lot of broken materials. But the Amish completed this job in one day. The flat bed truck was fully loaded. The only thing left was some concrete panels stacked up and the concrete pad the silo stood on.

All in a Day's Work

All in a Day’s Work

 

Categories: DailyMotion, Entertainment, Home, Inspiration, The Amish, The Gathering Place, Work, Work ethics | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

On: Thrill of the First Grill

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

 

Well, today at The Gathering Place, we’re cooking. Yes, this post is abut the ‘thrill of the first grill,’ of the season.

Fresh from sleep ( I think the jet lag is over) and fresh with inspiration from our recent travels to Japan and Australia, we’re cooking up a storm!

Let me first explain the word ‘”storm.” It has been literally “storming” here recently. We have had quite a bit of rain and the temperature dropped dramatically. I’m not complaining, just explaining, for up here on the hill, we have fared better than some that have gone through a lot of flooding and damage. “Storm,” “Stormy” and “bad weather,” can be used and are used here, figuratively.

About a week before we left Australia (OZ-tralia), my wife Susan, was suffering from pain in her right leg. We thought it was just muscular or something like that from the much walking we have done these last couple of months. The day after we got home, I drove her to the doctor. A ultrasound revealed that she has a blood clot in her leg. Rather than go into details, let me just say that she is doing better, but has to take it easy. Now “easy” to you might be easy to you, but not to Susan. She has plenty to do that she both wants to do and needs to do. So, it’s not “easy,” it is scary, different, frustrating and kind of stormy here, at the Gathering Place.

There were things, important things we missed while gone. For one, our only granddaughter has a mouthful of teeth, is walking and is keeping up with and will be soon the boss of her two older, fraternal twin brothers. There’s graduations, birthdays and even a wedding coming up. I’ve painting to do, grass to grow, a yard sale to plan and implement so, we can get rid of this huge pod in our driveway and have a full driveway again. And there has been the loss of a dear family member and the daughter of two of our other dear friends.

We’ve gone through all the mail and junk mail. We’ve a lot of catch-up to catch-up on, about many things. You leave for a couple of months and when you get back, everything you left is still here and more and less. Susan is retired. Me? I only know that we were tired while traveling; tired from traveling and when we got home as we still are, we’re re-tired! 🙂

Sometimes, we just don’t realize how good people are at what they do until, we have to step in and try to do, what they do. Susan is the shopper, the meal planner, daily cook and specialty cook too. I could go on and on about what she does, but the point is, for the present and for an indeterminate period of time, I have to step in and step up. Not complaining just explaining.

Me? Oh, I am a trained gourmet chef. I know how to shop for the best and how to prepare the best. Blah, blah, blah, you want to know what I really am, I ‘m just a show-off chef. I’m the guy you want to have prepare feasts, special occasions, holiday meals and fancy dinners for 100’s of guests! I’m not boasting, that’s a fact Jack (or Jill or whatever pray tell, your name is. 🙂

But there is a whole bunch of differences between what I do and what a daily good cook, like my wife Susan, has done for years. Like what, like feeding a family on a budget, coupon collecting, best-deal detective-ing, and with grace under pressure, adding variety and all, with delicious and nutritious food, day in and day out, 450 days a year (extra days for extra people that often show up extra-ordinarily).

Oh sure, I used to know grams and milliliters. I’ve had a lot of experience with healthy food and shopping on a budget. But that was then and this is now. Like the saying goes, “use it or lose it.”

Well, if I am such an experienced chef with all this training, why have you never heard of me? Why am I not a successful chef and restaurateur with a whole bunch of the famed culinary and prestigious, Michelin Stars, associated with my work? The short answer is, I can’t handle the pressure! But also, I cannot stand to cook the same stuff over and over again, day in and day out! Food is either just something I HAVE to eat, when I’m doing something else that I deem more important, but my stomach won’t shut up until I cram something down my throat. Thank God I married Susan because, at least her food is delicious, balanced, and nutritious! If I just had to feed me, I’d either sort-of-starve, which really means, I gain weight or just eat junk which means, I gain weight. PROVE THIS TO YOURSELVES FOLKS! If you, would just eat three balanced meals a day at the same times and you do NOTHING else, I guarantee you will lose weight! You can even eat my food, BUT NOT A LOT OF IT, ALL THE TIME; EVERY DAY!

I love to cook. I love to cook for others. But in the kitchen, I AM INTENSE! I would NOT want to work for me or with me in the kitchen! I don’t know many chefs that I would want to be like. Many of them are just jerks, bossy-expletive-flinging dictators. And this is another reason I do not cook professionally. Not cooking professionally just means, I am not paid. I am a professional in all other senses of the word. I clean as I go. I cannot stand a messy kitchen!!! Besides, in a restaurant, the person that cleans the dishes is called a dishwasher, not the kitchen-washer or the kitchen cleaner. That’s my job and especially here recently. We have a mechanical/digital dishwasher and we have me, the hand dishwasher, while Susan rests, takes it easy and keeps her feet elevated.

My new roles are: nurse, caregiver, cooking, cleaning, shopping and many other things of which Susan, used to do a lot of these and much, much more.

Me shopping? By myself? Even with a list? Whew, what else do I bring home? How much more do I spend? To be fair to me, from my recent shopping trip, I did think in terms of extra stuff to prepare ahead of time, meals were planned and I purchased extra stuff to have on hand (in the refrigerator and freezer, on the shelves and in the pantry), just for you, when you stop by say on a moment’s notice or just to have extra if you stop by unannounced and we were just sitting down to eat. You are always welcome here though, by the way!

But OMG (Oh my God), we are going to eat well, I’m just not sure how well we will be eating or how well we’ll stay. 🙂  Here’s some clues – French, Italian, cream, butter, sugar, and salt and etc.. Am I communicating? Well, have you ever noticed that many of the people from France and Italy are not overweight, seem fit, firm, frisky, and fabulously, full of fun from food? They eat this way and probably, most of the time. Their secrets are balance, variety, the contrasts, lots of food, but smaller portions. As the saying goes, “a little bit goes a long way.” And there are three other secrets. A little wine with your meal is good for the digestion. I do apologize to those that do not partake of alcohol, but this is a proven fact. Wine aide in digestion, has antioxidants and some stuff in it (red wine has more) that has been shown to prolong life at healthier levels.

Many of the French and Italians take their time to prepare and to enjoy their food. This also aides in digestions and if you are really and truly satisfied, you will actually eat less. The last secret is the quality of the food, the fresher the better. In Japan and in Australia, many people shop, every day. In the USA, we often just buy stuff on sale and cram it all in our huge refrigerators, freezers and if we have them, the extra fridges and freezers. In the USA, we have a lot of OVER-processed, over-sugared, fat-stuff that has a lot of empty calories, chemicals and stuff our bodies can’t use much of, get rid of and promote cravings and get stored as fat.  If you think about it, it is very simple to understand. Every calorie gets used, it’s burnt up through exercise or it gets stored as fat. And this is still true, no matter how old I’m getting or how slow my metabolism is becoming. Eat what you love and love what you eat, just so long as what you love to eat does NOT, end up eating up, your life!

I do not like sleeping and I don’t like eating. But when I have to sleep and it’s needed and restful, I sometimes love it and I love eating exciting food! I love to cook. It’s fun! I love to cook for people. But I’m not real good at hosting, or keeping good conversation going, if I’m cooking. Oh, I’m OK if there is just one, two or a few people present. But more than a few, I can be really shy. I’d rather be behind the scenes watching you have a good time, watching and listening to what you have to say. I keep busy in the kitchen and even though I really do want you here, this is the only way I can handle crowds. It’s OK, go see Susan, she’ll talk to you and make you always feel, right at home!

Hey, wait a minute. I thought this post was supposed to be about the, ‘Thrill of the First Grill?’ It is, I’m getting to it!  I have written all of this in the hope that you can relate and or find it helpful, if not now, perhaps sometime in the future. And it is all in keeping with the vision of, The Gathering Place, our home, this post, and this blog, YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME! We gather together to share. I’m about to share some more and it’s about food; about the ‘Thrill of the First Grill,’ of the season.

Food is like art to me and well, I am a food artist. Food has to smell incredible, taste fantastic and be presented beautifully. Besides the joy this gives to our palette and how it excites our taste buds, all of this actually, aides in digestion. Why settle for something ordinary when just a little extra, can make it extra-ordinary!

Today, I made some heart shaped ginger sugar cubes, for what I call, Gingepagne (Ginger + Champagne). About three little mini heart sugar cubes into each glass of champagne. Made these to have on hand. Tasted delicious, but no champagne on hand to try, but I’ve had something similar (a taste) while we were in Australia (OZ-tralia) and it is wonderful. While making this, I also made fresh ginger syrup or ginger beer. Stored it in the refrigerator to have on hand for my ginger drinks. I have been working on my recipes for ‘Dark & Stormy’ (with rum), Moscow Mule (with vodka), Gin Gin Mule (with gin), Kentucky Mule (with Bourbon) and Scotch Mule (with Scotch). These all use pretty much the same ingredients (ginger syrup, ginger beer, and lime. The only thing different is pretty much the type of alcohol (spirits), the type of glass they are served in and the way they are garnished. Today, I made Gin Gin Mules for the Mrs. and me. They were incredible, especially since I used the fresh ginger syrup. Tomorrow, I’ll try the Scotch Mule.

Got everything together to make fresh, raw beets and horseradish mix. This is great on kielbasa, sandwiches and salads. You can’t get this any better or fresher than making it yourself. Just remember to peel the root and beets, use a food processor, but especially don’t forget to wear rubber gloves (no purple fingers from the beet juice) and a face mask so you don’t fall over and cry like a baby from the horseradish fumes! Hmm, could I possibly know what I’m talking about?! 🙂

Got everything to make my smoked fish dip. Will finish this tomorrow.

Well, you certainly can’t live off of sugar cubes, ginger juice and drinks! No you can’t, but you can LIVE with them when they are a part of your whole Gathering Together! I’m getting to the meal. Actually, I’ll be closing this out with four pictures. As we’ve heard many times, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Surely I must be over halfway of that in words? So maybe my pictures are only worth around 500 words. Sorry, but I won’t try harder, just to try your patience more. 🙂

With the pictures, I will give you some idea how to make what they show. But for more information, details, ingredients and recipes, you will just have to wait until I finish the cookbook I have been working on for some time. It’s title is:

t

The Gathering Place

Holidays & Special Occasions Entertaining

 

When finished, this will be loaded with pictures, recipes cards for handy reference and everything necessary to plan, prepare and present incredible and exciting food for all your special occasions. This will include breakfast, lunch, dinner, deserts, beverages, entrees, soups, sauces, salads, bread, rolls and a fool-proof flaky-tasty every time, yummy pie crust.

it also will include plating, garnish and decorating and anything else I may not have thought of yet. All of the food and everything in it has been tried and trued, tested and proved by many, to be all and more I say it is. Why settle for or take your family, friends and guests to a five star restaurant, when they can experience the intimacy and the personal touch of a ten star restaurant at your home, where the food is all made by you! You know, “there’s no place like home!” Well why not add to this, the best feast that can be had anywhere!!

OK, along with everything else done today, we had to eat. Today it was fish. The name of the fish is simply, Cobia. It was farm raised in Panama. Around $12 dollar for two fresh and more than ample size fillets.

Cobia is also called – black kingfish, black salmon, ling, lemonfish, crabeater, prodigal son and aruan tasek. I like the ‘prodigal son.’ The bible story, from where this comes from in part is, about a man that leaves home with all his inheritance and blows it all. He has no choice, but to come home and even beg to be a servant, just so he can survive. But his father sees him approaching from a distance and prepare a huge feast because, he is so happy that his son has come home. The corbia fish I prepared was so delicious, I have decided to call this meal, ‘The Prodigal Son.’ Why you might ask, because, if you prepare this for those that love fish, they will “return.”

“Cobia is a relatively high priced fish and is sought after,  for its firm texture and excellent flavor. The flesh is usually sold fresh. It is typically served in the form of grilled or poached fillets. Chefs Jamie Oliver and Mario Batali each cooked several dishes made with cobia in the “Battle Cobia” episode of the Food Network program Iron Chef America, which first aired in January, 2008. Thomas Keller’s restaurant, The French Laundry, has offered cobia on its tasting menu.”

 excerpts from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobia

 

‘Thrill of the First Grill,’ of the season.

 

‘The Prodigal Son’

Grilled Cobia

 

I cleaned our propane gas grill and set the temperature to around medium to low. Garlic and herb basting oil was brushed on top, bottom and all sides of both fillets. Lay fish horizontally on the grill. Cook around 2 minutes, then flip over with a spatula, for another 2 minutes. Recoat fish with the basting oil, each time you turn it over. After both sides have cooked each for two minutes, flip again only this time, turn the fillets vertically so grill marks will show up as a square or diamond pattern when finished. It looks nice! Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, the last two times you grill the fillets. Remember to keep basting. Total cook time is around 8 minutes. We were having rice and if you have a rice cooker, it takes about 15 minutes to cook, so plan accordingly so everything is done at the same time. And while you are waiting…

Thrill of the First Grill

Thrill of the First Grill

…hey, what’s in that glass to the left of the grill by the spatula? By the way, the plate to the right with a fork and the yellow basting brush, started with around 3-4 tablespoons of garlic & herb basting oil. Get from any store or make your own! Anyway, what’s in that glass?

Gin Gin Mule

Gin Gin Mule

Gin, fresh made ginger syrup, ginger beer, lime, and crushed ice in a pretty glass with a lime garnish. It was supposed to have a little muddled fresh mint, garnish of a sprig of fresh mint and a chip of crystallized ginger. OK, I like ginger, alright? Well. I forgot to get the mint at the store and I almost forgot the piece of crystallized ginger for garnish, but it got in there! 🙂

Close up of grill marked fish fillets turned once. Repeat second time, turning fillets, the opposite direction.

Close up of grill marked fish fillets turned once. Repeat second time, turning fillets, the opposite direction.

Prepared a fresh salad with veggies and fresh ripe avocado. Sprinkled with feta cheese. I used light sesame seed and ginger salad dressing because, OK I like ginger. I’m not sure what Susan used?

Rice was just plain white rice. Just Plain white rice can be quite boring. I sprinkled ours with a little Japanese rice seasoning, to really make it pop or as chef Emeril Lagasse says, to make it, “BAM!” Find some seasoning you really like and with even just plain O’ white rice, it will NEVER be, “plain O,” again!

Arrange a couple of fresh raspberries for tartness and color, along with a nice piece of honeydew melon. I cut off about 1/4 of a ripe banana and removed it’s peel. I stuck a chopstick up into the center of the banana (side that was cut from the rest of the banana). I used the chopstick to hold the banana piece in one hand. With my other hand and with a butane, long fire starter, I torched (lightly blackened) the banana to add smokiness and a nice color. By the way, you can grill a whole banana in its peel and these are wonderful. I Removed the chopstick and cut the banana piece lengthwise and put one per plate by the honeydew melon. I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon on all of the fruit. Next, I squeezed some fresh lime over the fruit. By the way, just honeydew melon with lime juice alone, is like a marriage made in heaven! If you have not tried this, do your ‘buds’ (taste buds) a favor and try it! Last, I squeezed lime over the fish and twisted the peel and laid it over each fillet. Dinner was DELICIOUS!!!

We had some leftover rice so for desert, I made some fresh rice pudding. I added a little bit of coconut milk to the rice, a little cinnamon and maple syrup to taste. I whisked about 3 table spoons of heavy cream with a pinch of Xanthan gum to thicken. Using two small ceramic custard dishes, I spooned the pudding into them and placed two red raspberries for contrast, tartness and color. Last, I added a little dollop of  whipped cream, and we added our lips and gums and then delicious, here it comes! 🙂

Leftover pudding was placed into a covered plastic container in the refrigerator to have again and again until we run out or I make more. Try this meal.You and all that like fish will say, WOW!

CobiaDinner2_med

Completed Meal – The Prodigal Son (or Daughter) 🙂

Tomorrow (Today), we’re doing: grass seed, taxes, steak au poivre, spaghetti carbonara, grilling ‘white hots’ and corn on the BBQ, making more sugar cubes, making fresh beets and horseradish mix, Scotch Mules, smoked fish dip or whatever my boss Susan, tells me! 🙂

Categories: Beverages, Cooking, Entertainment, Food, Live Laugh Love, Shopping, The Gathering Place | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

On: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to YOU

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Bouquet for YOU!

Bouquet for YOU!

Bouquet for YOU!

I realize that Mother’s Day is nearly over as I am writing this post and by the time it is finished, published and read by anyone, it will be. But I have been busy today, doing my part to make the day as special as I could for my wife Susan that is a mother and others that we shared the day with. I have also had the unique situation in that Mother’s Day was also, my wife Susan’s birthday.

Like many people, I too spent time sending emails, Facebook comments and sent messages to friends and family that are mothers as well.

I saw that many people changed their profile cover pictures on Facebook using one of their own mothers. I think this was really nice. Besides celebrating the day with great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, and cousins (sorry if I left out anyone) all themselves mothers, for which we honor them on this day, there remains some things perhaps not yet said? I will try to address them here.

There are the wonderful step-mothers and mothers-in-law that stepped in, not to replace any mother, but to fill the void in the life of a family, where for whatever reason, the mother is missing. It is hard enough to be a mother as it is, but I give extra special kudos to the step mothers and mothers-in-law that must need to work extra hard.

For myself, being busy today, I hardly had time to think of my own mother who, like many that changed their profile pictures, has passed some time ago. Yes, on this Mother’s Day 2014, there are many mothers missing. And to those of us still here, we are still here because, we all had a mother.

I miss my mother like many do. This is all I have to say about this, but I’m sure that anyone that reads this and share with me in similar circumstances, there is not enough time and then, there are all the words we cannot speak  which linger like a cloud of butterflies, flitting around, inside our hearts. Here, I will post a couple of pictures like many have, but there is something more I want to share.

I am most blessed in this life and on this day because, I had a mother, a mother-in-law and my mother-wife. My mother-in-law that I always just called Mom, was just as much a mother to me as mine was. I never saw any difference. And she certainly stepped in and filled the great void, when my own mother had passed. On this day, I remember her as well, for she too, has passed. And I remember Susan my wife, for without her I cannot imagine life, but with her I can.

Mom I

My Mom I

 

My Mom II (or too)

My Mom II (or too)

My Suezzzzq

My Suezzzzq

As I mentioned earlier, today was unique because, May 11, 2014, Mother’s Day, happened to fall on my wife’s Susan’s birthday. I don’t know how often this occurs, but it happens and it happened today.

Without my Mom, I would not have been around to have ever met Susan or her mother that became my mother too. I love Susan with all my heart! If soul mates are a real thing, she is certainly this to me!

My mother loved me, fed me, clothed me, held me, comforted me, inspired me and made me want more out of this life. She encouraged my curiosity and interests. She lived, laughed and cried, gave to others of her own joy and often out of her own need. She sacrificed much for me and for others. My mother(s) influenced me to be the person that I am as does my wife Susan. Though both my Moms are gone, Susan is still here. I carry them inside myself, in all that I say and do in this life. Sure, they screwed up; made mistakes; were not perfect and neither am I. But when you see me or meet me, you’ll meet my Moms and Susan. I hope you like me, because they surely would have loved or will love you!

And I often think about my first mother, how much I would have wanted her to meet my Susan and her mother (my other Mom) because, I know absolutely that she would have loved them both as much as I do and probably, even more. And why not, I love them both still because, she first taught me how to love.

There is a curious thing about love, a mother’s love or any kind of love. No matter how great a person’s capacity to love is, it requires a recipient to receive it. Love is something active, it gives often and always. It does not distinguish, meter itself out nor is a respecter of persons. It gives of itself completely and always. It just is, but it needs recipients. It is what it is and it does what it does, it loves. It is always in motion. When it comes back (as it always does), it is always more; always bigger; always stronger than when it went out. But it needs recipients. To get love, we give love, not because we want it back, but because we just have to give it like we have to breathe. But we still get it back and it comes back to us making us fuller, richer, deeper and stronger, whether we like it or not! 🙂 We really do like it though! Need love, want love? Give love and make yourself LOVABLE! Be a recipient of love. Be one huge, EMPTY VESSEL, without a top, sides or a bottom, to receive love and you’ll always have plenty to give.

It grieves me greatly to think of those that are born without a mother’s love or are raised without a mother’s love. But we recipients can step in and fill the void, just like it has been done for us and so often, for each of us. We all carry our mothers with us, wherever we go in this life. Our mothers loved and love us! What do you think or believe our Moms expect us to do with their love, LOVE OTHERS!!

I love life. I love that I am alive. I love my two Moms. I love my wife, Susan. I love our kids, grandkids, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, (any one else I may have left out) and our friends. This incredible joy, I carry around in my soul, every moment that I live. But it is only possible because, I had the blessing of having a mother and the double blessing of another. Each of you, every child, had at least one!

And I am thankful that you love me. And I am thankful that I allow myself to be loved by you. And I am thankful to all of you that you let me love you.  Isn’t this what our mothers wanted, when they wanted us? When you meet me, meet my Moms! When I meet you, I’ll meet yours!!

So to you, all of you, every child, the bouquet above is, for YOU!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO YOU, today and every day! 

Categories: Birthday, Family & Friends, Flowers, Holidays, Inspiration, Love, Mother's Day | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

On: The World’s Most Interested Man

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Perpetually - 'Jus 4 Year Old Tahday!' :)

Perpetually – ‘Jus a 4 Yeer Ode Tahday!’ 🙂

He has read, written and spoken.
He has hugged and kissed babies, children, women, men and animals.
He has lagged behind jets (jet lagged).
He has raced through parking lots and stores on shopping carts and trolleys
   on several continents and in several countries.
He is on a first name basis with dirt, but somehow remains, a perpetual –
   ‘ fo yeer ode wittle kid tahday.’ 🙂
He has whistled.
He eats and drinks, spits and chews.
He lives, laughs and loves.
He cries, dances, and whittles whistles from weeds.
He has been often diagnosed with excessive happiness.
He has been acquainted with sickness, sorrow and death.
He has been to many schools, colleges and universities and has enjoyed their snack bars.
He is musically inclined (when playing an instrument he frequently is horizontal).
He has been to several Boone County, Missouri, county fairs.
He has been happily ever after, once in a while.
He is a legend in his own time mind.
He is curiously curios.
He is…
The World's Most Interested Man

…The World’s Most Interested Man

 “I may never be interesting, but if  I am, that would be interesting.

Stay curious my friends!”

 

 

 Telling someone that needs drink to “stay thirsty,” is like telling someone that needs food to stay hungry. Stay Hungry-less and Thirst-less. Live, Laugh, Love, Get Your Needs Met and “Stay Curious My Friends!” 🙂

Donnie Hayden
aka The world’s most interested man
Categories: Being Good at What You Do, Curiosity, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fun, The World's Most Interested Man, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

On: The Land of Oz

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Today to you in the west is the 30th of April, 2014. Our last full day in Australia was on the 29th. The day before (4/28/14), we finally made it to the ocean. So for today’s post, even though we are already in Japan, spending the night and leaving for home on May 1st, I wanted to share some last minute OZ’ stuff with you. Most native Aussies pronounce Australia as, OZ- tralia.We have in many ways, felt like we have been in the land of OZ! 🙂

It's a BIG country

It’s a BIG country

But Australia is not only a country comprised of six states and two territories, it is also, a continent. We have never left the huge state of New South Wales. Not only have we not seen the rest of this beautiful and interesting country, we have not even scratched the surface of New South Wales!

We spent most of our time with family at their home in Camden, NSW, Australia. I personally, fell in love with this wonderful community! We went to Sydney, NSW, a couple of times, went to the Sydney Opera House, the Harbor area, downtown Sydney, the Chinese Friendship Garden, took a ferry boat ride to Toronga Zoo, and went to Sea World. Still, all of this is located in New South Wales. We rented a cottage for the weekend in Katoomba, New South Wales, in the Blue Mountains. On and on and so forth and even though we saw and experienced a lot in just over a month’s time, what do we really know about this wonderful country, not very much! And even though I took probably 1,000’s of pictures, if they all turn out and I shared them all with you, Australia has SO MUCH MORE to offer! And the same can be said of Japan as well!

But we made it to the ocean in Australia. And do you remember a few posts back while in Katoomba, NSW, I said we saw 100 or more sulfur crested cockatoos fly overhead? Perhaps you found that hard to believe, especially since there were no photos or videos to back up that claim.

I'm so pretty! Thanks for looking! HAVE A NICE DAY! :)

I’m so pretty! Thanks for looking! HAVE A NICE DAY! 🙂

 

Well, at the bottom of this post are two videos. 100 or so cockatoos flew over the home where we have been staying in, Camden, NSW, Australia. It was an early foggy morning with a little light rain. It was on our last full day here on 4/29/14. The videos show these same birds, perched in a couple of gum trees, in front of the house. Incredible, beautiful and NOISY! 🙂

The day before 4/28/14, we set out to see the ocean. The following unexpected road sign was seen while in route.

Koala Crossing

Koala Crossing

Road sign to the Ocean

Road sign on the way to the Ocean

We got to the ocean to Susan’s pure joy and delight! If I told you Susan loves the ocean, that would be an understatement, GREATLY UNDER-STATED!! 🙂

It was a nice drive there through some ‘bush’ of eucalyptus forests, past the koala crossing and with a gorgeous view of mountains until, we descended toward the beach. And there, was, a little sand path walk to the shore. It was a lovely cool day and a bit cloudy. It was definitely a remove-your-sandals-and-walk-barefoot-in-the-sand kind of day. There were huge barges and boats in the distance. Several surfers were out trying to, “catch some waves.” Jonathan and baby Felix, Susan and I walked and explored the beautiful beach and walked along the shoreline. But of course we rolled up our pant legs and dipped our feet in the water! It was wonderful! Susan and I collected a few shells to bring home and spied all kinds of washed-ashore plant life and a couple of little live creatures. One was a tiny hermit crab, walking with its shell still attached. There were large black rocks covered with barnacles. But after all is said and done, it’s all about the ocean!

Ocean I

Ocean I – our path to the beach

Ocean II

Ocean II

Ocean III

Ocean III

Ocean IV

Ocean IV

There was some driftwood and a huge chuck of timber that I pretended to be part of some shipreck that really did occur in this area in the late 1800’s. I found a little stick and, but of course, I had to write something in the sand!

With Love from Susan & Dahni on the beach in OZ-tralia :)

With Love from Susan & Dahni on the beach in OZ-tralia , 4/28/14 🙂

As our outing ended, I came back another way, up some stairs to a play area for kids, picnic area and public restrooms. They even had showers that I took advantage of and washed the sand from my feet, before putting my Keen sandals back on (And yes, brother Richard, my Keen’s stood up to sand, shore and salt-ocean-water. Our outing at the beach was short-lived, but WE LIVED! It was an appropriate one ending to our stay in Australia. Why did I use the words, “one ending?” Why, because, the very next morning, those 100 or so cockatoos from the Blue Mountains seemed to show up in Camden, (as if they followed us) and right in front of our house, JUST FOR YOU!!!! 🙂

But before this post ends and you see the little videos, we would like to take this time to thank all the wonderful Aussies, family and all our new friends that made this such a wonderful and memorable experience! Thank you one and all! We will never forget you! Missing you already! Guhday Mates and Maties or Sheilas! 🙂

Dahni in Susan

A Cockatoo Good Morning to You – Youutube video 1

If possible, watch this full screen and crank up the volume! 🙂

A Cockatoo Good Morning to You II – Youutube video 2

If possible, watch this full screen and crank up the volume! 🙂

Categories: Aussie, Australia, Australian Life, Beauty, Birds of Australia, cockatoos, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Japan, Missing You, Ocean, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Visual Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HellBreak

By Dahni

© 2017, all rights reserved

Well, when all hell breaks out, within and without and it looks like this is your sign to just stay home or it’s just hell trying to keep you home WHAT, wadeeah yah do?

Cold, hot, foggy, snowy, blowy, sick and tired? Either stay and let all hell continue to beat the hell out of you or let all hell beat the hell out of itself and let it stay.

Don’t even bother sweeping the dirt under the rug, or clean and organize nuttN. Don’t make the bed 🛏 just throw the bedspread on and call it good. Shut the door to the office crapola. Turn off the lights, stuff your stuff, grab your two Ladies (your wife and your dog), don your sunglasses 🕶, flip up or down the sun visor, and/or turn on the windshield wipers and just git goN! Don’t stop 🛑 on Go to even collect your Monopoly parking money and just Gooo!!!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 🦃 Enjoy the ride! Man what a trip!! 😂

https://youtu.be/eyU3bRy2x44

Love is comforting, healing, restful, peaceful, and a warm and toasty fire 🔥 of family and Friends, waiting on you to arrive! 😃

Categories: Family & Friends, Holidays, Inspiration, Love, Making Memories, Thanksgiving, Toast this Life, Uncategorized, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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