Spa Side Amore-tinis

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Spa Side Amore-tinis

By Dahnini or Dahnitini
©️2019, all rights reserved

Hot or cold, love is in the air. The Italians call it, amore (love). Heading to the spa or hot tub with your love? Why not a couple of Amore-tinis and watch Jupiter in the night skies or the poetry in motion, in each other’s eyes! 🙂

Spa Side Amore-tinis By Dahnini or Dahnitini

Amore-tini

By Dahnini or Dahnitini

Juice of 1 small fresh lime
2 jiggers Amaretto almond liqueur
1 jigger of vodka
1 jigger or apricot juice or nectar
Add ice
Pour into hand shaker and shake

“Shaken not stirred!” -007, Bond, James Bond” 🙂

Pour back into martini 🍸 glass

Garnish with a stick and a skewered piece of dried apricot, dipped in lime juice and sprinkled with mix of almond flour and raw sugar

ENJOY!  Drink your ‘Amore-tini responsibly! 🙂

 

Notes: Amore is Italian 🇮🇹 for “love” Amaretto (also Italian 🇮🇹), means “little bitter” and is often made with almonds and pulverized apricot shells which also taste like almonds.

By Dahni & I-Magine
©️ 2019, all rights reserved
From my Work in Progress: ‘
The Gathering Place Cook Book’
“How to Turn Your Home into a Four Star Restaurant’

under the category of beverages— ‘Sips with Susan’

Sing it Dean! Ruin it Jerry! 🙂

 

Lyrics to That’s Amore:

 

 

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Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Toast the Roast- Now What? Abbreviated

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Now What Do You Dowith the Coffee You’ve Roasted #4

“The Abbreviated Version” 🙂

(a series about roasting your own coffee) #4 of 4

By Dahni
©️ 2019, all rights reserved

Map of Coffee World-click for a larger view

One dancing goat, the other one is drinking coffee- click for larger view

From Kaldi and his dancing goats from Ethiopia, to Kenya and Yemen, coffee spread across the world where today—

• Coffee locations on the map all share similar characteristics: tropical and high elevation (among others). The climate must be perfect, for coffee to be grown and thrive!
• Coffee is exported from around 70 countries and imported by most countries in the world! The United States, is one of, if not the biggest importer of coffee in the world! WE the People of the USA, like our coffee!
• Mexico is likely the largest exporter of coffee to the United States! Think about that! Where did your coffee come from? Is it a blend of Mexican and some other(s)?!
• No coffee origins (varieties), are exactly like any other! Even the same origin will not always be the same, every time. Correctly roasted coffee reaches a peak then falls off in about 7-10 days! Coffee in those 7-10 days is always subtle, unique and their nuances different, each day! Some believe that the ONLY place to roast coffee is at the same location where the plants are grown, the cherries are harvested and the green beans (seeds), are processed! If this is true, then wouldn’t the best place to drink coffee be, at the same place where it is roasted? Personally, I am not financially independent, not that particular and not this patient!
• They are not really beans, they are seeds! They are called ‘cherries’, before they become ready for our coffee. They are very odd as, not every “cherry” will produce a seed! It takes around two thousand (2,000), cherries (the ones with seeds), to make our one cup of coffee!
• Because of all the above conditions and more, most cherries are still picked by hand, throughout the world! The terrain of most areas where coffee is grown, prevents most beasts of burden and modern equipment, from reaching the plants to extract the “cherries”!
• Arabica beans are the most desired, but they are also, the most fragile, compared to Robusta! Generally, Robusta beans have more caffeine and are larger beans! Robusta are often used in “blends” and to lower costs, while still charging us more for what they tell, are their, “signature blends”! Arabica beans account for sixty percent (60%), and Robusta, forty percent (40%), of all coffee beans!
• Coffee is the second (2nd), most traded commodity in the world!
• Coffee is the fourth (4th), most consumed beverage in the world, following in order: water, beer, wine and coffee!
• Kona Coffee from Hawaii (one of the most expensive and most popular in the world), is about the only place where commercial and mass quantities of coffee, are grown in the United States!
• One of the reasons (among many), Jamaican Blue Mountain (another expensive, popular and my favorite coffee), is so expensive is because, Japan (yes Japan), has had a trade agreement with Jamaica, to purchase ninety percent (90%), of their beans (roasted or green), for maybe well over a hundred (100), years!
• Political unrest and instability, could potentially halt the export of coffee, from that country, at anytime! Think about that and ask yourself what you would do, if tomorrow morning, your favorite coffee was no longer available??? This is another wonderful reason to order green beans at a current price and not at a higher price in the future and green beans can keep for years, in a cool dark place! Need I mention the importance of trying new coffees and educating your palette? ROAST YOUR OWN COFFEE!

Brewed Coffee and Beans

Brewed Coffee

The most obvious thing to do after roasting your beans is to grind them and brew, and have a cup or two or a few. If you have never had coffee this fresh and that it’s not over-roasted, you just might be tasting coffee as it was meant to be enjoyed, for the very first time??!! If you usually drink coffee with cream, sugar or both, you may be surprised how great your roasts taste, drinking it black??!! Enjoy the flashback ‘Percolator ‘ song, from the YouTube video to follow. 🙂

OK, what next?

What to do with those grounds? Do you have roses or hydrangeas? Share your grounds, they like coffee too. One of the reasons for this is due to the acidity in the coffee that plants like. OK, what next?

Decaf? There is no such thing! Most coffee marketed and sold as decaffeinated is around 97% caffeine free. Well, that still leaves around 3% caffeine doesn’t it? What I’m calling it is, Locaf (lower caffeinated) Coffee.

Locaf or Lower Caffeinated Coffee

Sometimes, you or your others, may or would like a cup of coffee before say, bedtime. Maybe you don’t need the energy or the buzz from caffeine and you don’t want to stay awake all night. 🙂

To remove caffeine, it begins with green beans ONLY! There are only 2 ways to remove up to about 97% of the caffeine from coffee:

1. Chemicals- Not for me!
2. Water- The most natural and organic! For anything and everything you may or may not want to know about so-called decaffeination (lowered caffeine, but never all), click here 

Want it? Need it? Well, you have three choices:

1. Buy whole beans or ground decaffeinated (Locaf), coffee. But if you are a home roaster or want to be, why would you?
2. Buy green beans that have most of the caffeine (never all), removed and roast yourself. NO PROCESS CAN REMOVE ALL OF THE CAFFEINE! But I would only choose green beans that use the water process, to remove caffeine (whatever amount is removed)! Where to get them? Click here
3. Do it yourself! How? Well, it will take some time!!! Place your green beans in a bowl. Pour hot water onto the beans and cover them with the hot water. Let them soak, for a few minutes. Drain and rinse. Repeat. Each time you do this, more of the caffeine is removed. When finished, roast the beans to your satisfaction.

Did you know, there are over 1,200 complex compounds in coffee, which contribute to their flavor profiles?? There are!!! Uhh, why then, would anyone want to over-roast and mess up any of these flavor compounds??? Just Don’t!!! Sugar is just one of the compounds. Caffeine is another. But it is odorless and colorless, though it does contribute acidity, which does affect, the overall taste of some coffees.

Note: There is more information available on this to class participants or online subscribers. See classes- click here

OK, what’s next?

Blends or Blending

Blends could be something you might like? Blends are for two real reasons, in the coffee industry:

  1. By using inferior beans and over roasting, costs can be cut and it can be marketed and sold as a signature blend and charge more for it.
  2. You really want to produce a signature blend with something unique. Or, maybe you had no choice? Look back to the South during the Civil War. The North was often blocking the southern waterways and prevented or disrupted the supply of coffee. They either had to make some dark beverage from roots and other stuff besides coffee or they stretched the coffee by adding other grains and etc. to it.

Chicory was once such grain and it is still popular in the south, particularly in Louisiana. Have you ever heard of Cafe du Monde? It is world famous and started in New Orleans in 1862. They are open seven days a week; year-round, except, for Christmas Day or if an occasional hurricane forces them to close. We still have a can of this in our freezer (not a good idea to store this way, but it’s done). My wife Susan, actually had this coffee in New Orleans. I first tasted it in Japan. Yes, it’s all over the world. But in a can? How fresh can [pun-ny], that be? What if you made your own? Yes, yes you can!

Coffee blended with pine nuts

Another blend I liked and tasted, is roasted in New Mexico, USA. It is coffee made with pinions (pine nuts). It is very unique, but how long can it stay fresh in a can or even a nitrogen packed can or foil bag? When was it roasted? How many months ago was that? How many months hence, from the date of roasting, does the package read, “Best is used by [some date way into the future]”. Why not roast this blend yourself? I will be, as soon as possible!

Blends and Dark Roast

Do you like or do your friends and family like espresso, latte, macchiato, capuchino and other dark roasted beverages? Then roast some! It is easy to do. Any coffee, if dark roasted, can be used for any of the beverages above. But here is where blending or blends come in. I wanted to try this and I mixed three (3), different coffees from different countries. One was from Ethiopia. By now you know that Ethiopia is likely, where coffee began. In our classes, we use Ethiopian coffee to roast. Class participants get to sample some fresh brewed, from fresh ground, and from fresh roasted coffee beans. And they each receive a 1/4 pound of fresh roasted beans, they can take home and enjoy the next morning. Now by “fresh” I mean, coffee beans that were roasted 24-48 hours before shared. Two of the class members will each receive 1/2 pound of the coffee, I roast at the actual class. Chosen by having the winning ticket selected, one receives from the popcorn popper roast and the other from the skillet roast. Obviously, I cannot make these available online and I do not have the means or the desire to be roasting around 7 pounds of coffee beans (what is needed for a class of 14), more than once or twice a week! But also, in class and by way of a special password required protected location and for a limited time ONLY, class members will receive the actual recipe I used, for making my dark blend, for espresso and etc.  For more info. on classes and etc. click here Again, Ethiopian is the coffee used for classes, for obvious reasons. It was probably the “FIRST COFFEE”, many people have never tried it, it is one of the most popular and it is great in a blend, for espresso and etc.

Various beverages from dark roasting-click for larger view

This could be your dark roasted beans- click for a larger view

Note on Blends/Blending: Technically, each coffee used in a blend, should be roasted separately and then blended. But I only made a 1/2 pound of dark roast and I roasted all three (3), different coffees together, at the same time. You are probably expecting this, but you will have to take my word for it (or take a class, learn the recipe and roast it yourself), but it made the freshest and best cup of espresso, latte, macchiato and cappuccino, my wife and I have ever had! Then I did another, not-supposed-to-do thing. I put it in a plastic sandwich bag, in a sealed black plastic container and stuck it in the freezer. Oh Noooo! 🙂

If needed or desired, I have my dark roast on hand, for anyone that comes to ‘The Gathering Place’ (what we call our home). I will be roasting this again, if/when needed, but especially for, the winter holidays! OK, what next?

Roasting for espresso? Have you ever had or do you like eating espresso beans? How about chocolate covered, espresso beans?! I have recipes for these too! Take a class and/or become a subscriber. Click here OK, what’s next?

Latte Art

Have you ever seen or had one of those extraordinary and barista artist created designs with cream, on top of your dark beverage?

Latte Art- click for a larger view

Latte Art You Could Make at Home

Do you think these might add to the cost of your cup? Why not make your own? They do not have to be complicated and so detailed and complex, that you regret destroying the art when you or someone drinks your cuppa! I’ve seen some that are so detailed, they look like famous people, animals and all kinds of stuff! Do you you think these might add to the time it takes to get a cup, and drink it and that your coffee may not be as hot as you may like it, depending on how long it takes to make and get it to you?? Please do not misunderstand me. I like, admire, respect and appreciate art and artists. But as a former chef, there is a line I just won’t cross. That line is in the middle of Impress and Bless. There is nothing wrong with presenting food and drink in a beautiful or visually pleasing manner. It actually aides in digestion, promotes good conversation and increases enjoyment or JOY! But If I want to, have to or feel the need to impress you, I have crossed the line over my desire to simply, Bless You! And, like anticipating and expecting and waiting on a good meal or beverage to come, I just don’t have the patience to wait for say, da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ to be made with cream, on top of my coffee. And as a former chef, I don’t have the patience to wait to see your reaction to what I’ve prepared especially for you! Still, latte art is cool. You can learn to do some really simple, gorgeous, beautiful (find your own adjectives), latte art which will bless your guests and not take forever and a day to make. The word bless means, “Highly Favored!” For more information, to take one of our classes and/or become a subscriber. Click here  Or wait until I finish my book (see below). OK, what’s next?

Cold Coffee (iced) or Cold Brew

Cold Coffee-click for larger view

Have you ever had or do you like, Cold Coffee or Cold Brewed Coffee? What’s the difference? Cold coffee is just like it is written. It is coffee that has been brewed and allowed to cool. It is served at room temperature, cool, cold, ice cold or with ice. It is served, with or without cream and or sugar. Cold Brew is just like brewing sun tea in a glass jar, in a filter (or a tea ball), and allowed to sit in the sun (or even on your counter-top). I call this, ‘Sun Coffee’ 🙂

Each (Cold Coffee or Cold Brew), have their own unique tastes, and depend on the origin of the coffee they are made from.

Sun Coffee- click for a larger view

One of a grandfathers (a proper man and a highly educated man), liked cold or cooled or chilled or room temperature coffee (whatever was his preferred temperature). He would make coffee in a glass-top metal percolator, on top of his stove. Then he would pour some out into a nice teacup, which sat on a matching saucer. He would let this cool, pour some into the saucer, set aside the cup and raise the saucer and drink form it. I never saw him do this in public. I do not know if it is civilized or acceptable in public or how Emily Post or Miss Manners (two culture, class and etiquette champions), would view this, but it was his home, his castle, his private time and it made him happy! To be honest, I was not a fan of coffee that has any other temperature than hot enough to burn my lips! Hosting others and serving others is a responsibility and should be a joy to all chefs. Seek to bless and not impress! But I concede these (Cold Coffee or Cold Brew), have a place and FYI (for your information), I am warming up (or cooling down), to the idea! 🙂

You can add some spices and (natural flavorings), to either of these, to really transform your summer-cool-off beverages or whenever you want your coffee to Chill Out! 🙂

I’ve recipes for these too, also either available from online, for class participants, subscribers only or when completed and published, in my book—

‘The Gathering Place Feast Book’
(“How anyone can turn their home into a 5 star restaurant!”)
By Dahni

Note: If you like Nitro (nitrogen treated), Coffee, I cannot help you. I don’t care for it and I certainly do not have the necessary equipment or nitrogen sitting around in my mad-scientist lab in the basement! And there will not be one in the future, either, EVER! 🙂

OK, what’s next?

Other Beverages with Coffee

Other beverages with coffee? Like what? How about Adult Beverages (alcohol or non-alcoholic), for your Libations and Happy Together Hours! Coffee Liqueur made by you? Absolutely! How about a home-made ‘Coffee-tini’ by your’s truly, Dahnitini, mixologist; drink meister extraordinaire! 🙂

Desserts With Coffee

Coffee ice cream, coffee cake, tiramisu, coffee pie, coffee cookies anyone? We’ve got em’ and a lot more. Make your own! Make up your own.

Coffee as a Spice

Ground coffee as a spice? Sure, why not? Use as a rub, or part of a meat sauce for hamburgers and etc. The possibilities are endless. Use it. Make up some great stuff!

Coffee in Art & Literature

Yes! I’ve used coffee as a water color background, for some of my photograph turned paintings. Remember, Thomas Jefferson loved coffee and said it was the most civilized drink in the world. He may have had coffee when he was working on the drafts, to the Declaration of Independence. Maybe our Founders of this wonderful Republic of Ours, consummated its signing, before, during or after, with coffee. Poets and authors wrote and write, while consuming coffee. I have a cup of coffee beside me, as I am writing this. Now maybe this is not literature, but I am writing and I am drinking coffee, while doing it!

‘Ever Notice’ By Dahni © 2006 Background is painted with coffee- click for larger view

Coffee Around Your Home

I’ve already mentioned using your used coffee grounds, on roses and hydrangeas. It’s great fertilizer. Coffee grounds contain several key minerals for plant growth — nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and chromium. Compost with 40% coffee produce less green-house gas and contributes greatly, to some of the best quality compost.  Coffee around your plants help create a barrier that slugs and snails do not like to crawl over. Coffee grounds contain compounds that are toxic to many insects. You can use your coffee grounds to repel mosquitoes, fruit flies, beetles and other pests. Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which helps eliminate odors. Try placing some roasted beans in your refrigerator or really, anywhere you want to neutralize odors. Place some grounds by your sink for scrubbing your hands, after handling onions or garlic.  Take some roasted coffee beans in a plastic bag with you, when you go shopping, especially for fragrances, perfume, cologne, scented candles or anything scented. and etc.  After sniffing a few fragrances, your ‘nose’ can become overwhelmed and you can hardly sense another scent’s attributes. Open your bag of roasted coffee beans and sniff them for a few seconds. Your ‘nose’ for new scents will come back to you! Do not worry about what others may think about you sniffing coffee beans at the store. I have found many places offer this technique (service with coffee beans), and I always recommend it to the stores I shop at, if they don’t already offer this. It really does work! Try it! There are seemingly endless and countless ways to use coffee!

Coffee for Your Health and Wellness

Do some research and you will find that coffee consumption has many health benefits. My sister makes a fabulous shower scrub with coffee! My wife, Susan, loves it! Not to get personal or anything, but coffee is a diuretic. It helps eliminate salt and well, it helps you go. Coffee is excellent for constipation, it keeps me regular! Some people use coffee as a laxative. Some use coffee for enemas, to clean-out their digestive tracts and rid it of a buildup of toxins and poisons. Many people who do this, report feeling healthier, happier and much more energetic. That being said, personally, I would rather drink and consume my fresh coffee! There are so many things coffee can do, for us and that we can do with coffee.

Coffee for Conversation

In my book, I will have a section on making your own home made ‘Beverages’. I call this section, ‘Sips with Susan’ (my wife). Whether it is during our Happy Together Times (Happy Hour), or our morning coffee, we sit and sip, enjoy one another’s company and converse about little things, no-things of great importance or great things, which truly matter. This is what conversations are for and I truly believe, coffee promotes good conversation. Even if you are a tea drinker, have you ever invited someone or have you ever been invited to, ‘Have a Cup of Coffee’? I’m sure that you have! Even if you are having tea, saying you are having a cup of coffee with someone is a good-feeling, friendly, civil and cultural thing to do!

Coffee as Gifts

Almost everyone loves and craves for, “A Taste of Home,” “Home Made”, “Home Cooking” or just going or being Home! You could help provide these wonderful and good feelings, by giving away as gifts, some of your roasted coffee beans. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and on and on, a gift of your coffee would be like any other special gift, but it’s made by you and it’s FRESH. What about coffee as a home warming gift? The new house owners may be living out of boxes, for awhile, but I bet they have found their coffee maker and it’s in their kitchen. Imagine them sitting around and sipping your coffee, while they decide where to put all their furniture, where to hang or put this and that. How about your coffee for a baby announcement? Think about the new mom and dad, sitting around and enjoying your fresh roasted beans that they ground and brewed, while they think about names for the baby. A coffee gift of thanks, appreciation, friendship and love? Yes! The possibilities are too numerous, to even try and list! The greatest gift that can ever be given is said to be, the gift you give of yourself! You are and your own fresh roasted beans are synonymous. You and your beans are one! Give the gift of yourself! 🙂

Where to Go from Here?

Coffee, it’s Not Just for Waking Up!

 

This concludes our series on roasting coffee, ‘Toast the Roast’. Remember this, it is really simple to roast your own coffee! I hope like me, you enjoy learning. I hope you have learned something!

Learning is, an Exciting adventure! 

I hope you are excited! I close with raising my cup to you, to…

‘Toast Your Roast!’ 

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Toast the Roast- Roast Away Abbreviated

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‘Roast Away’— Roasting Coffee at Home or Wherever & Whenever #3

“The Abbreviated Version” 🙂

(a series about roasting your own coffee) #3 of 4

By Dahni
©️2019, all rights reserved

Roasting with a Popcorn Popper- click for a larger view

Green Coffee Beans in the popcorn popper (roaster)- click for a larger view

Simple Coffee Roasting Directions Using a Popcorn Popper

The old-fashion hand-crank popcorn popper is one of the easiest and most economical ways of Roasting Coffee. With practice, anyone can obtain great results and enjoy, some of the best and freshest coffee you have ever had!

Supplies:

1. Propane grill with side-burner— about $250 and get (if you do not already have),one of those long-handled butane flame lighters or long wooden matches to start your grill, as in my experience, most grill’s push-button igniters wear out or fail, in about a year.
2. Popcorn popper— about $30 (clean, no oil or leftover chaff or popcorn). Get it here
3. Green Beans— about $6 per pound and up. 10 ounces of Green coffee beans = about 8 ounces or ½ lb. beans when roasted. This is a good amount to start with and it keeps the beans moving when stirred. Roasting 20 ounces of green beans will = about a pound roasted. Get them here Here is a suggestion, if you decide to get your green beans from them, call them first and ask for Keith (although anyone there can help you). Tell them you are just starting out and using a popcorn popper (or skillet). Tell them what your favorite(s) is/are. Or ask for their recommendations. Ask about samples or if they have some practice green beans (end of the barrel beans), you can start your journey with. It won’t take you long before you are roasting to your satisfaction!
4. Scale and measuring cup to weigh green beans about $20 for both
5. Pen and paper (log), to record your efforts.
6. Kitchen timer (with seconds) and stopwatch function— about $8
7. Wooden long handle spoon to stir with or pry loose beans if stuck under turning wire/bar of popper— about $1
8. Infrared Thermometer (able to read at least 500° F.) — about $25
9. Colander (stainless steel wire mesh), to toss and cool beans in— about $10
10. Flat pan to cool beans and to catch chaff— about $2
11. Small electric or battery operated fan to blow off chaff (particularly in summer) — about $12
12. Hot pad/pads/gloves for safety— about $2
13. Funnel (for pouring roasted beans into bags or container— about $1
14. Stand up foil pouch with one-way vacuum seal, to store roasted coffee beans or some other closed container. — about $1 (each)

Start up about $350-375 plus green beans $6 lb. and up. Then again, maybe you have most of the supplies needed, already? If that’s the case, you just need a popcorn popper and some green beans.

Instructions:

1. Record weight of coffee beans used, along with any details you may find useful later, including: temperature (outside), date, time. and etc.
2. Preheat your popper over medium heat, for a few minutes
3. Pour green coffee beans into popper over medium heat, and start timer. Begin turning the crank-handle at just about any pace that is comfortable, while regularly checking your beans, for color, sound; aroma, and if you like, temperature (of the roasting process). Record your observations, noting the time things occur, as you go. You can use this information as a reference guide, for the next time you roast.
4. As beans reach about 380 degrees F (4 to 6 minutes in), they begin to make a sound similar to pencils or toothpicks breaking. This is known as ‘FIRST CRACK’. From this point on, your coffee can be removed from the heat and later ground and brewed. The beans will continue to roast a bit while they are cooling however, they will not continue to roast if you return them to the heat source. FIRST CRACK should last a minute or two with beans going from light to medium brown, ending around 410° F. The pace of the roast and smoke (steam), will increase while the sounds slow, for a few seconds to a minute and the bean temperature rises. Around 410° F – 425° F SECOND CRACK begins. This sounds like milk being poured over crispy rice cereal. This is what I shoot for, a medium roast, around 20 seconds or so, after the beginning of SECOND CRACK.

Of late, I have started roasting, for around 60 seconds or so, of SECOND CRACK. The brown roasted beans appear shiny, but not oily. This is the sugars of the beans, beginning to caramelize. Much beyond this and you’re are heading towards the DARK SIDE of the ‘Force’. 🙂

On the Dark Side, beans begin to look really dark to almost black. Believe it or not, this is what many roasters try and sell as coffee. I call it a dark roast and suitable only, for espresso and other dark roasted beverages. If the beans are burnt, it tastes like burnt caramel. I am not a fan of burnt caramel! Much more beyond a dark roast and you run the risk of burning the beans. That’s not roasted coffee, but more like pouring water over charcoal briquets. I’m not a fan of charcoal or burnt coffee! But the chances are high that many people expect this is what coffee is supposed to taste like. If this is what you are used to, you will never know the nuances of flavors, correctly roasted beans will give and you probably will not like it! Correctly roasted coffee will never taste the same every time and it shouldn’t! But if one desires ‘same-O’ and consistency, blend, over roast and burn the beans.

When the beans internal temperature rise, you will see the color change from green to light tan and you will notice that they may smell like grass or tea as, the smoke (steam), also begins to rise.

Note: By the word “smoke” I mean steam. It may look like smoke, but it is the beans releasing water and some of the cafeine bound in the water, during the roasting process. The longer the beans roast, the more caffeine is removed! Now if you really do smell “smoke”, the beans have been over-roasted or burnt!

Simply watch, and listen, and record the relevant data, at the point you remove your beans from the roaster, into a colander or roasting pan for cooling. I am so convinced that anyone can do this that I honestly believe even the deaf and blind can learn to roast coffee, to their satisfaction! By using what senses are available, a good roast can be accomplished  by the color of the beans, by the sound of the ‘CRACKS’, by the smell of the finished roast. and any combination of one or more of our available senses!

Medium Roast- click for a larger view

5. Remove roasted beans from heat.
6. Gently pour the beans evenly, into a flat pan to cool and blow off the chaff. Or you can pour them into a colander and shake and blow the chaff away, while they cool. Or if it is really hot outside, you could place the colander of beans over a fan to cool the beans and blow away the chaff. Chaff is the skin of a coffee bean and is not needed and will contribute nothing to your coffee! Get rid of all or most of it!
7. Pour cooled beans into an airtight bag, an airtight container or one with a one-way vacuum seal. CO2 (off gassing), will escape, keeping oxygen out and helps to keep your roasted beans fresh, for as long as possible. As “fresh for as long as possible” means, 7-10 days. Roast away, grind down, brew over and drink up!
8. Allow your roasted beans to rest at least 4 hours before brewing. Some say 12 hours. Others say, 24 hrs. This resting is for the off gassing (CO2), to occur. Being excited and somewhat impatient, I have immediately ground, brewed and drank coffee, from freshly roasted beans. I’ve enjoyed it! 🙂

But now, If I roast during the morning, afternoon or evening of one day, it will rest until the following morning, when it is ground and brewed.

Note: At SECOND CRACK, the pace of the roast and smoke (steam), will increase while the sounds slow for a few seconds to a minute and the bean temperature rises to about 435° F. The beans continue roasting quickly to a darker and more robust brown. At this point, the bean temperatures rise rapidly and the beans become almost black and shiny (oil on surface – 450° F.). This is a dark or an espresso roast. Watch closely and stop before the beans are burnt. Remember, beans are for roasting, not baking, nuking, cooking, and burning etc. You stir the beans or move them in the process so as not to burn them. Let the beans transform themselves. When they reach certain temperatures internally, they do certain things (release water and caffeine, turn color, shed their skin (chaff), and their sugars begin to caramelize and come towards the top or the outside of the bean. All we are trying to do is to keep the roaster from burning them by stirring/turning the beans and allowing them to do their thing. 🙂

Simple Coffee Roasting Directions Using a Skillet

Roasting in a Skillet- click for a larger view

Roasted beans in a skillet- click for a larger view

Skillet roasting is a lot simpler than roasting with a popcorn popper. Its two biggest advantages are that you can see, hear and smell the whole process, from start to finish. You can watch the beans turn colors. You can smell the grass aroma and then what you would expect, the aroma of fresh coffee. You can hear the “CRACKS” and don’t worry, the beans are not going to pop out of the skillet or the popper like popcorn. You can see the chaff (the skin of the beans). The chaff does nothing, for the taste of your fresh ground and fresh brewed coffee, so remove as much as possible, by shaking the beans in a colander or flat pan for cooling, blowing off the chaff or blowing it away, as you roast in the skillet. Skillet roasting has another chief advantage— all you need is direct heat (from say a campfire), a skillet and a spoon or even just a stick. So, skillet roasting is ideal for camping and backpacking etc. I’m not about to take my roasting popper, my colander and cooling pan when I’m camping! 🙂

To cool the beans, just put the bottom of the skillet into water from a stream, lake, pond and etc. That’s water under the skillet, not over the beans! 🙂

The only three disadvantages I can think of when skillet roasting, compared to using the popcorn popper, is the popcorn popper is stainless steel and the skillet as pictured, is cast iron. Stainless steel is a great insulator of heat compared to iron. Since the skillet does not have a lid like the popcorn popper, it takes longer to roast with a skillet than with the popcorn popper. Chaff is more difficult to deal with in a skillet over the side-burner of your grill. It could blow or fall into your grill, making cleanup take longer. Chaff is flammable so, take care, when roasting with a skillet! This is a major reason not to roast inside on your stovetop. And most hood-vents are not actually vented through the roof. Most just have a metal mesh filter to catch the grease and the fan just basically recirculate the smoke back into your kitchen. Can you hear the smoke alarms going off?! I have actually watched a video, of an Ethiopian couple, roasting beans inside their kitchen with a skillet. My best advice is, JUST DON’T DO IT!!

Note: By the word “smoke” I mean steam. It may look like smoke, but it is the beans releasing water and some of the cafeine bound in the water, during the roasting process. The longer the beans roast, the more caffeine is removed! Now if you really do smell “smoke”, the beans have been over-roasted or burnt!

Instructions:

1. Record weight of the coffee beans used, along with any details you may find useful later, including temperature (outside), date, time and etc.
2. Preheat your skillet over medium heat or fire or some other direct heat source, for a few minutes.
3. Pour green coffee beans into the skillet over medium heat and start timer. Begin stirring at just about any pace that is comfortable, while regularly checking your beans for color, sound, and if you like, temperature (of the beans during roasting). Record your observations, noting the time these things occur, as you go.
4. As beans reach about 380 degrees F (4 to 6 minutes in), they begin to make a sound similar to pencils or toothpicks breaking. This is known as ‘FIRST CRACK’. From this point on, your coffee can be removed from the heat and later ground and brewed. The beans will continue to roast a bit while they are cooling however, they will not continue to roast if you return them to the heat source. FIRST CRACK should last a minute or two with beans going from light to medium brown, ending around 410° F. The pace of the roast and smoke (steam), will increase while the sounds slow, for a few seconds to a minute and the bean temperature rises. Around 410° F – 425° F SECOND CRACK begins. This sounds like milk being poured over crispy rice cereal. This is what I shoot for, a medium roast, around 20 seconds or so, after the beginning of SECOND CRACK.

Of late, I have started roasting, for around 60 seconds or so, of SECOND CRACK. The brown roasted beans appear shiny, but not oily. This is the sugars of the beans, beginning to caramelize. Much beyond this and you’re are heading towards the DARK SIDE of the ‘Force’. 🙂 Then, beans begin to look really dark to almost black. Believe it or not, this is what many roasters try and sell as coffee. I call it a dark roast and suitable only for espresso and other dark roast beverages. If the beans are burnt, it tastes like burnt caramel. I am not a fan of burnt caramel! Much more beyond a dark roast and you run the risk of burning the beans. That’s not roasted coffee, but more like pouring water over charcoal briquets. I’m not a fan of charcoal or burnt coffee! But the chances are high that many people expect this is what coffee is supposed to taste like. If this is what you are used to you will never know the nuances of flavors correctly roasted beans will give and you probably will not like it!

Simply watch, and listen, and record the relevant data, at the point you remove your beans from the roaster, into a colander or roasting pan for cooling. I am so convinced that anyone can do this that I honestly believe even the deaf and blind can learn to roast coffee, to their satisfaction! By using what senses are available, a good roast can be accomplished  by the color of the beans, by the sound of the ‘CRACKS’, by the smell of the finished roast. and any combination of one or more of our available senses!

Medium Roast- click for a larger view

5. Remove roasted beans from heat.
6. Place the bottom of your skillet into some water to cool the beans down, stirring occasionally with your spoon to help in the cool-down. Gently blow off the chaff. Chaff is the skin of a coffee bean and is not needed and will contribute nothing to your coffee! Get rid of all or most of it!
7. Pour cooled beans into an airtight bag, an airtight container or one with a one-way vacuum seal. CO2 (off gassing), will escape, keeping oxygen out and helps to keep your roasted beans fresh, for as long as possible.
8. Allow your roasted beans to rest at least 4 hours before brewing. Some say 12 hours. Others say, 24 hrs. This resting is for the off gassing (CO2), to occur. Being excited and somewhat impatient, I have immediately ground, brewed and drank coffee, from freshly roasted beans. I’ve enjoyed it! But now, If I roast during the morning, afternoon or evening of one day, it will rest until the following morning, when it is ground and brewed.
9. For camping or backpacking, you may want to invest in a manual portable grinder, with conical ceramic burrs. Ceramic burrs keep their sharp edge longer than stainless steel, produce leas heat (which some believe changes the taste of their coffee), and produce less static electricity. However you camp or backpack, you will most likely have utensils, for cooking, like a skillet (your home-away-from home roaster), and something to boil water in (a percolator, coffee brewer, or a pan), cups, spoons and etc.
10. For making coffee, you need a filter for the grounds. There is something to be said about the simplicity and multi-use of a cotton bandanna! Have you ever heard of ‘Hobo Coffee’? A bandanna was often seen as a kind of a backpack or all one’s earthly goods wrapped up in it and tied to a stick. Well, you could place about 1 tablespoon of fresh ground coffee (per 8 ounce cup of coffee), into a bandanna, tie up the corners and place into a boiling pot of water over your campfire. For every tablespoon of coffee in your bandanna filter, you will need 8 ounces of water. Let this boil for a few minutes and you have Hobo Coffee. for every cup (8 ounces of water). The bandanna rinses out well, by the way. Yes, why yes I have had and I’ve made, ‘Hobo Coffee’ myself, but never this fresh or that was roasted by me. I can’t wait to try it again! There’s nothing quite like being outdoors around a campfire and watching coffee boil in a bandanna and then having a fresh cup of coffee. It may not be as good as what we are used to in the civil-world, but it will taste good and if we roast it ourselves, it will never be fresher!

Summary

Bandana and a stick or a ‘Hobo Stick’

All anyone needs to enjoy the freshest cup of coffee you may have ever tasted is:

• a direct heat source
• a roaster (popcorn popper or a skillet)
• a spoon or a stick to stir
• some green coffee beans
• means to cool-down the beans (a pan, colander, or water under the skillet, not over the beans)
• something to store the roasted beans until you are ready to grind and brew
• a grinder
• some way to filter and brew your coffee
• a cup
• a spoon if you use cream and/or sugar
• your lips 🙂

It just does not get any simpler than this! Anyone can do this!

You could spend more on other supplies and equipment. You could use other roasting methods than I use and have shown above. I’ve heard of some people roasting coffee in an air popcorn popper. Beware of anything with plastic parts! I’ve heard of small roasters, for around $89-$139, but they will not be able to roast much more than, about 1/4-1/2 pound of coffee at a time.

If you are a DIY (do it yourself), type of person, I’ve seen some interesting home-made roasters. One took the bottom of a stainless steel popcorn popper and drilled holes all around the circumference, for vents. It was setup on an angle and on a stand, which allowed it to rotate freely. A motor was installed to churn the beans and an old hair dryer was used to heat the beans as they churned and turned, over and over inside the roaster. Well, I’m not that mechanically inclined or for that matter, not this creative.

You could spend $500 and up on small home roasters which will give you more automatic control of the roasting process.

For the gadget lovers, you could spend around $1600 for a USB, barrel roaster and software, for your computer, to roast about 10 ounces of coffee at a time. I can roast more than that in my popcorn popper roaster. And there is only about a year’s warranty on a pooter’ (computer), driven roaster with USB connection. I’m wondering what kind of life I will get out of our all-stainless-steel popcorn popper? 🙂

I’ve heard of larger barrel roasters, for several hundreds of dollars that are custom-designed to fit inside barbecue grills. They are used wih some grills that have automatic rotisserie attachments. These will roast a lot more beans at a time, but I can’t imagine the cleanup!!!

Then again, if you are really serious and want to become a master roaster, expect to spend 10’s of thousands of dollars (yep you read that right), even on used, professional roasters. I’m not a professional or a master roaster. I have no intention of becoming one. Yes, coffee can be roasted better than anything I’ve shown you or that I do, but, and it’s a big but to me, I am not a wealthy person. But if I could buy all this masterful and automatic stuff, where would be the fun in that??? 🙂

Yes, I enjoy my “roasty-toasty popcorn popper” (as our friend Janet calls it), roasting and my skillet roasting. In about an hour’s time (prep, roast, cool and cleanup), I can roast enough coffee for my wife and I (and any friends/family/guests that show up), to last us a week! And Oh, darn, if I run out, I get to go and roast some more! 🙂

If the outside is dropping stuff (rain, snow and etc.), and it’s windy, I’ve no problem opening up one side of our overhead garage door and roasting just inside, under cover. By the way, our garage is not insulated, heated or air-conditioned. But winter, spring, summer or fall, I’ve no issues, roating there at ALL! 🙂

The worst thing that has ever happened is that my garage and my clothes smell like coffee for a day or two. But clothes can be washed and the garage clears out. Well, quite frankly, the aroma of fresh roasted coffee, lingering in my garage or on my clothes, is not a problem to me!! 🙂

You could roast indoors, but I don’t and won’t and I certainly do not recommend it!

I’ve just a few final points to make before I close this post out. First, if you have a favorite type of coffee, change it up once in awhile and try some new ones. You may find that you like others better, than your favorites now. Our mother once said, “Son, you have champagne tastes, but only a beer wallet.” One of the most expensive coffees you can buy green or roasted is, Jamaican Blue Mountain. It is also my favorite, but I will only buy around 1/2 pound and a 1/2 pound of Hawaiian Kona, around the winter holidays. And I am confident in my roasting to my satisfaction and I am looking forward to it. I keep waiting, for specials and maybe I can order ahead of time, before their prices go up. Remember, green beans can be stored in a cool dark place for years! Anyway, if you try new coffees and when you return to roasting, grinding and brewing you “favorite(s)”, your taste buds will explode and will thank you— again, and again!

I am a former chef, retired. And I think it’s important for you to know this why? Using only the popcorn popper or a skillet, I am not interested in using any other methods to roast coffee. Having said that and as a chef, I would have no problem serving my fresh roasted, fresh ground and fresh brewed coffee to anyone, anywhere and at any time. I roast to my satisfaction and I would not serve it, if I did not believe you would be satisfied too! You should roast to your satisfaction as well!

“To have it very good, it should be roasted immediately before it is made, doing no more than the quantity you want at that time.”

Eliza Leslie, 1837, Directions for Cookery

Closing

This is much more information I am giving you, than when I first learned how to roast. I would have loved to have had a live demonstration or to have taken a class! I’m born and raised, from the ‘Show Me State’ (Missouri), and I am a visual learner. But all I had was a picture of a medium roast like you have seen here, the idea of roasting on a barbecue grill with a side-burner and two (2), online links, one for the popcorn popper I use and one for the green coffee beans, where I purchase mine. I taught myself how to roast with a skillet. If I can do these things (and I did and I do), ANYONE can! You can too! But there is more, much more that I can do and offer you— “Live” and online!

I am meeting soon with  someone that may be filming a “Live” Facebook presentation of my first class. And we will be discussing the possibility of filming a professional class, to potentially reach 10’s of thousands of people. They would not be drinking the coffee or taking any home, but there really is something special about, ‘Show and Tell’!! Very soon, I will be offering small classes of no more than 14 participants. For more information about them click here

Maybe I will neither be the best presenter nor maybe these will not be the best presentations you have ever experienced, but I promise you, the coffee will not be found much fresher and my enthusiasm for sharing is hopefully contagious and worth the price of admission. 🙂

I am not a wealthy man. I’m not going to sell coffee or products and services by others and I’m not planning on making a living at or getting rich from teaching these classes. But you would not fault me for trying to make a few extra dollars or claiming some tax deductions as business expenses, would you? I wouldn’t be upset if you were doing this! As a matter of fact, everyone should have some type of, home-based business! And isn’t everyone’s dream to be paid (at least a little), for what they love to do a lot!!! Thank you for your time. I hope that I’ve helped you! I raise now a cup and I—

I Toast Your Roast!!! 

Where to Go from Here

OK, you’ve roasted your own coffee, now what do you do with them? 🙂

 

Next Time:  ‘Toast the Roast’— What else can you do with coffee

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Toast the Roast- Coffee Talk with Dahni

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‘Toast the Roast’— Coffee Talk with Dahni #2

(a series about roasting your own coffee) #2 of 4

By Dahni
©️2019, all rights reserved

Talking Coffee

I’m not boasting, I’m just ‘roasting’.
I have ‘bean’ around.
‘Grounds’ for ‘espresso’-ing yourself!
Something’s ‘roasting’!
Something’s ‘grinding’!
Something’s ‘brewing’!

A live presentation, how anyone can roast their own coffee at home (or even while camping), to your satisfaction, simply, easily, fresh, inexpensively and, for a whole lot of fun!

Here are several benefits to you:

• Your favorite coffee(s) whenever you want!
• Coffee roasted to your satisfaction!
• Pennies per cup instead of dollars you probably pay now.
• Organic Fair Trade (FT) or Rain Forest Initiative (RFI) coffee – better, for you, better, for the environment, and better, for the workers involved that have grown it for you!
• The freshest coffee you may have ever tasted!

And last, but not least, coffee you are pleased to drink, share with your loved ones/guests, take it ‘on the road’ and it COULD, all be roasted by, YOU!
Great gift ideas too!

What you will receive:

Gathering Place Roasters – gold vacuum sealed foil bag

• A Little history about coffee.
• Information about your instructor (a retired chef)
• Information about coffee.
• About what your ancestors probably did, during the American Civil War.
• Demonstrations of two methods- popcorn popper and a skillet. Yes, you read that right. 😀
• Watch, listen and smell the beans change in color, to the desired roast.
• Live, written and visual instructions.
• Resources, for everything you would need to do this yourself (very, very inexpensively).
• See and smell fresh dark roasted and ground coffee, for espresso and etc.
• Receive a recipe of a blend of beans, to make your own dark roast, for espresso, cappuccino, latte, and etc.
Enjoy a nice cup of freshly brewed, fresh ground and fresh roasted cup of coffee, from ‘The Gathering Place Roasters’

Leave with a 1/4 pound of fresh roasted coffee you can grind and brew, for YOUR OWN next morning coffee talk! Two people with winning tickets, will each receive 1/2 pound from the two (2), roasts from class, one from the popcorn popper and one from the skillet.

Coffee roasted for class:

Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. It is a variety of coffee very much appreciated all over the world. It is produced in Ethiopia, in Central East Africa. These precious beans are grown in the homonymous region, sometimes transliterated as Yirgachefe or Irgachefe [pronounced eer-ga-chef-f]. These fine Yirgacheffe beans become a high-quality Arabica coffee with a dense fruity sweetness and are from Indigenous Heirloom Cultivars.

Not everyone knows that coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia and then exported all over the world. It looks like a young shepherd in Kaffa, the Ethiopian region where the first plants were discovered, could not believe how his goats, always slow and lazy, would get so excited after eating those unknown little fruits.

Class is Limited to 14
Cost: $30 per person

Disclaimer: There is nothing sold or to buy at this event and the instructor is neither an affiliate of any company or derives any income by promoting any product!

Approximate length of class: 1 1/2-2 hours

What is provided:

• Live instruction
• Grill, for roasting coffee
• All equipment, for roasting
• All class materials, handouts and etc.
• Ground coffee sufficient to brew enough, for each participant
•1/4 pound foil vacuumed sealed bags of fresh roasted coffee, sufficient enough, for all participants to take home plus (2) half-pound bags from class roasts to (2) participates with the winning numbers.
•Display table with other items/equipment you may find helpful/useful
• The Password to a protected page on this blog, for links to many of items I use and/or you might be interested in? This supply page is not open to the public, but is just, for participants of our classes, it’s password protected and, for a limited time only.
• Setup/take down of all equipment and etc. that The Gathering Place Roasters provide

50 Mile Radius of Macedon, NY 14568:

We will only provide classes within a 50 mile radius of—

• The Gathering Place • 2591 Wiedrick Road • Walworth, NY 14568

Click map for a larger size

About me:

My name is Dahni (pronounced Donnie or Donny). I am a retired chef and with the ‘Toast the Roast’ series, I have come full-circle. In all my years in the food industry, I never roasted coffee. I never even thought it was possible – too expensive, for the training and equipment and where would I be able to get just a small amount of green beans to roast? All this has changed now! I can do it myself very inexpensively, with just the amount of green beans that I need and I can start my day and finish off a fine meal with my own— fresh roasted, fresh ground and fresh brewed coffee anytime, anyplace and, for anyone. Many enjoy the the beginning of their morning or the finish of a fine meal, with a great cup of coffee. This is my coming “full-circle”. I am not a master roaster nor do I have any intention of becoming one. I do not roast coffee, for sale and have no future imagined, on ever selling it. I am not an affiliate or a promoter of any business service or product and I do not receive any compensation or benefits whatsoever, from any company, product or service to advertise or recommend them. What I am is, passionate about roasting my own coffee to my satisfaction and showing anyone how they can roast to their satisfaction— simply, inexpensively and with a great deal of enjoyment! But as a former chef, I would serve my coffee to anyone! So could you!

Contact:

If you are interested in hosting a class or know someone that may be, please email me— dahni1@gmail.com  Please include your name, information, location (address), and phone number, and I will contact you ASAP, as a rule, within 24 hours. By the way, I drink coffee winter, spring, summer and fall and therefore, I roast year-round outdoors and often inside our garage with the overhead door open (up), covered from the falling elements and protected from the wind.  So if you have an area that is well ventilated and covered, we can roast anywhere and anytime. So can you!

LinkedIN: Dahni Hayden
FaceBook: Dahni Hayden
Facebook Page: The Gathering Place
Twitter: Just I-Magine

The 4 M’s of the Italian Art of Coffee:

Macinazione [pronounced: mot-sea-not-sea-owney] “the grind” (medium grind for class)
Miscela [pronounced: me-say-la] “the blend” (single origin organic coffee)
Macchina [pronounced: mah-chee-na] “the machine” (roaster, grinder, brewer)
Mano– [pronounced: mah-no]the hand that serves”, from roast to toast) “Toast the Roast”—

Alla Vita

(Italian: “to life”)

We are tentatively scheduled locally, for a class either Saturday June 15, 2019 at 10:00 AM or as an alternative, Saturday July 6, 2019, also at 10:00 AM. Possibly, both! This may well be a ‘Live’ FaceBook podcast and maybe recorded later, for a larger audience. I will keep you posted.  🙂

Next Time:  ‘Toast the Roast’— Roast Away

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Toast the Roast- Some History of Coffee

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‘Toast the Roast’— Some History of Coffee #1

(a series about roasting your own coffee) #1 of 4

By Dahni
©️2019, all rights reserved

Now you know why the Mona Lisa was smiling 🙂

This begins today with some— History of Coffee.

Perhaps you have long wondered why the Mona Lisa was smiling in her portrait, by Leonardo da Vinci?  Well wonder no more, just look at the animated picture of her here. She was smiling because of, the lovely aroma of a fresh cup, of fresh brewed, fresh ground and fresh roasted coffee! 🙂

Not believing that? It doesn’t put the tiddly in your winks? Actually, coffee was probably neither familiar to da Vinci or Mona in their day, but the animated image makes me smile anyway! 🙂

Equally as important and perhaps more factual is, the story of the dancing goats?

Anyway, the story goes like this. There was a young Ethiopian goat-herder, named Kaldi. He had fat and lazy goats. One day, he noticed them dancing and prancing, lively and animated. He went to discover why this odd thing occurred. He saw his goats nibbling on the bright red berries and leaves of a certain plant and noticed the energizing effects it had on them. So. Kaldi tried it too. And he was pretty exhilarated as well and danced with his goats. Later, he brought some of these berries to a monk in a nearby monastery. But the monk disapproved of their use and threw them into the fire. Soon, a wonderful aroma filled the air. Other monks came to investigate. The roasted beans were quickly removed from the fire’s embers, ground up, and dissolved in hot water. This became the world’s first cup of coffee?

True or not, from Ethiopia, drinking coffee appears to have spread to Yemen. From these two locations, coffee beans and plants spread to mostly the Islamic world.

Kaldi’s Dancing Goats

“The word “coffee” entered the English language in 1582 via the Dutch word koffie borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, in turn borrowed from the Arabic qahwah.”

Coffee Cherries

“The Arabic word qahwah (pronounced, kah+wah), originally referred to a type of wine. It is supposed to have derived from the verb qahā (“to lack hunger”), in reference to the drink’s reputation as an appetite suppressant. The word qahwah is sometimes alternatively traced to the Arabic quwwa (“power, energy”), or to Kaffa, a medieval kingdom in Ethiopia whence the plant was exported to Arabia. The name qahwah is not used for the berry or plant (the products of the region), which are known in Arabic as bunn.

excepted and edited from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_coffee

Hmm, I wonder if the Bunn company that was founded in 1957 by George R. Bunn Jr., who invented the flat-bottom fluted coffee filter and the pour-over-drip-coffee brewer, ever knew his name Bunn, is the Arabic word for coffee berry or plant?

“In Somali and Oromo as būn. Semitic languages had the root qhh, “dark color”, which became a natural designation for the beverage. The feminine form qahwah (also meaning “dark in color, dull(ing), dry, sour”), was likely chosen to parallel the feminine khamr (“wine”), and originally meant “the dark one”.

excepted and edited from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_coffee

Coffee was considered a replacement, for wine that was prohibited in Islam. Later, coffee became associated with the birth of Mohammed. Coffee was known for its appetite suppressant effects and would aid Muslims in fasting by day and staying awake during the night, especially during Ramadan.

Coffea arabica (/əˈræbɪkə/), also known as the Arabian coffee, “coffee shrub of Arabia”, “mountain coffee”, or “arabica coffee”, is a species of Coffea. It is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated, and is the dominant cultivar, representing some 60% of global production. Coffee produced from the less acidic, more bitter, often cheaper and more highly caffeinated robusta bean (C. canephora), makes up the remaining 40%. Many blends contain both, to accomplish a signature blend, but no doubt to also, cut costs.

At first, Europe rejected coffee and believed it to be made by the devil and called this evil beverage, “Satan’s drink.”

Sometime in the 16th century, it made its way to the Vatican, in Rome, Italy. There, it was introduced to Pope Clement VIII. Against the will of many of his advisers, they wanted the Pope to ban this evil drink. But the Pope refused to do so, before trying it himself. He was brought a steaming mug of coffee, Java, or Joe and he took a taste. He was immediately enjoyed. Legend has it that he declared,

“This devil’s drink is delicious. We should cheat the devil by baptizing it.”

Popular tradition holds that the pope then “baptized” coffee beans in order to cleanse them from the devil’s influence. Historians are uncertain whether this was merely a metaphor or the Pope performed some actual ritual on the beans? But one thing is clear, once Roman Catholics knew they were allowed to drink coffee, it spread through Europe like wildfire.

Coffee was also brought in to England through the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today.

In Germany, coffeehouses were first established in North Sea ports, including Bremen (1673) and Hamburg (1677). Initially, this new beverage was written in the English form coffee, but during the 1700’s, the Germans gradually adopted the French word café, then slowly changed the spelling to Kaffee.

Hmmm, unless you are French, speak French or understand French, who knew that little favorite spot on the corner of our lives called and named cafe, is the French word café, meaning coffee? I didn’t until recently. And unless you are German, speak German or understand German, you may not have known the word Kaffee?

Composer Johann Sebastian Bach, who was cantor of St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, in 1723–50, conducted a musical ensemble at Café Zimmermann in that Saxon city. Sometime in 1732–35 he composed the secular “Coffee Cantata” Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (BWV 211), in which a young woman, Lieschen, pleads with her disapproving father, to accept her devotion to drinking coffee, then a newfangled fashion. The libretto includes such lines as:

“(Oh! How sweet coffee does taste,
Better than a thousand kisses,
Milder than muscat wine.
Coffee, coffee, I’ve got to have it,
And if someone wants to perk me up, *
Oh, just give me a cup of coffee!)”

Exceprt from: ‘Coffee Cantata’, by Johann Sebastian Bach

WOW, even the religious composer Bach, did secular stuff and even about coffee! Who knew? Not me until recently.

Eventually, coffee spread to the colonies in the Americas.

If all the previous events had occurred earlier, maybe there would have been instead of tea, ‘The Boston Coffee Party’, in 1773. In protest of “taxation without representation”, some 300 plus chests of tea belonging to the British East India Trading Company, were thrown overboard in the Boston Harbor. Facts are, many from this time forward, rejected tea and coffee became their choice during which our fledgling little O’ republic was being born. Who knows, maybe even Thomas Jefferson drank it while writing his first drafts of his most famous of all his written works? Perhaps the signers of our Declaration of Independence, had coffee before or after they signed it? It is possible.

But Jefferson did drink coffee, a lot of it, especially after he retired and invented a silver coffee pourer, still used in some manner today, in serving fresh brewed coffee. He drank it a lot and served it often.

“Coffee, the favorite drink of the civilized world.”

Thomas Jefferson 1824

Coffee Cherries

During the times of the American Civil War or the War Between the States, military personnel were each given around 34 pounds of coffee, by their government. It was required and part of every northern soldier’s allotment or provisions. There was to be no midnight march, without the soldiers first being allowed to drink coffee. In fact, marches were generally unheard of, without first, having coffee. The South had a similar custom, for their soldiers, but they had a serious problem. The Northern naval ships frequently blocked their waterways and the import of coffee was often prevented. This lead to the South having to rely on, “necessity, the mother of all invention.” They would stretch what coffee they had by adding other grains like chicory. With no coffee at all, they often had to roast dried beets or other things, for their dark beverage.

But there is another thing the north and the south had in common besides coffee. No matter what they had to go through by day, they each would return to their camps by night, to drink and roast coffee for the following day.

“Little campfires, rapidly increasing to hundreds in number, would shoot up along the hills and plains and, as if by magic, acres of territory would be luminous with them. Soon they would be surrounded by the soldiers, who made it an almost invariable rule to cook their coffee first, after which a large number, tired out with the toils of the day, would make their supper of hardtack and coffee, and roll up in their blankets for the night. If a march was ordered at midnight…it must be preceded by a pot of coffee…It was coffee at meals and between meals; and men going on guard or coming off guard drank it all hours of the night.”

John Billings, 1887, writing of the Civil War in Hardtack and Coffee

The odds are greatly in our favor that we are descendants of these. Our ancestors from the North or the South, roasted their own coffee. Why not us? And it really does not get any simpler, than a campfire, a skillet, a stick or a spoon, and some green coffee beans. Show them Snoopy!

Snoopy Roasting Coffee. It doesn’t get any simpler than this!

Sampling fresh roasted, fresh ground and fresh roasted coffee is referred to as ‘cupping’. This cup of coffee history is, but a sample, there is so much more. But whether its history is roasted in fiction, and ground into fact, it is brewed into our consciousness and our culture! ‘Toast the Roast’!

Next Time:  ‘Toast the Roast’— Coffee Talk with Dahni 

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

My Art of Manliness

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My Art of Manliness

By Dahni
©️2019, all rights reserved

This is not my book, just an image 🙂

I live in a country (the USA), of alternative lifestyles. I live in a country (the USA), full of flaming feminists and emasculated males. I’m not going to comment or condemn what may or may not, ‘trip your trigger’. But I did read recently that many young men don’t see marriage as a worthwhile pursuit anymore. Not only is this sad, but it does not speak highly of continuing our species, in the not so distant future. It is not only lacking the building of lifetime relationships and the marriage-drought, which troubles me, but also the decline of the birthrate. This is all I have to say about these things.

I am a man. I am glad that I am. What else could I be? It is what I was born as. I do not know how to be anything else. I might as well celebrate. I am also keenly, kindly and gratefully aware of women. I celebrate our differences and I am grateful, for women too!

I may not be anyone’s best man or the best man who I can be, but I sure do love the pursuit of what I call, the art of manliness, my own manliness.

In my 65 years, I have been some places, seen some things, met some people and learned some things. To each their own and in their own time, but along my way, I learned to cook and to love it, for many reasons. The learning came first before the love. An old world German Chef taught me.

As I learned and my Chef became confident in me and trusted me, those same things, I was able to transfer to myself, confidence and trust.

Chef tasked me with designing, preparing and readying the blue-plate specials, for serving to our customers each day. This taught me to save on food costs, by limiting waste. It taught me how to use what you have on hand. It appealed to my artistic sense to make something visually appealing, fragrant, full of the sounds of something to sizzle, textures and touch and how to make something tasty, basically out of nothing. I think I became pretty good at this because, we always sold out.

Presentation and garnish appealed to my inner romantic self. I soon learned that the ladies in, around, near or of my life, liked men that could cook (especially well). They seemed to value this above any good looks I may have lacked, intelligence deficiency, physical prowess that had perhaps passed me by and my thin bank account and little monetary success. And these ladies seemed to appreciate a beautiful plate of food as they did flowers. So, that became the beginning for me, in my pursuit of the art of my manliness.

I-Magine soldiers roasting their own coffee

I was not too much interested in participating in or observing sports. But in a crowded noisy world of push-and-pull, I have and still enjoy being outside in nature, breathing observing, listening to my own thought, walking and taking my adventures, by my own two feet, for transportation. It is another part, of my art of manliness.

Years after learning to cook, I overcame my fear of grilling. Overcoming any fear, is part of my art of manliness. And I learned, the Thrill of the Grill (barbecue grill).

Along my way, I met and married the love of my life, my soul mate and wife Susan. I started making new mixed drinks, for our happy-together hour. I call these happy hours, ‘Sips with Susan.’ It brings out the best in both of us I think? Or, I like to believe it does! As drinks are poured, the romantic game of conversation ensues. What is in it? How were they made? What do they taste like? How do they make you feel? What did you learn and experience today? What do you think about this and that? It is part of my art of manliness.

To Susan or to anyone, where the situation may be reversed, this all then, is part of the art, of womanliness.

Then I was Woke with the Smoke and this became part, of my art of manliness, learning to use a smoker.

And now currently, I am learning part of my art of manliness, by way of, what I refer to as, Toast of the Roast. I have embarked upon a new adventure of roasting my own coffee at home (outside of course), with an old-fashioned hand crank popcorn popper, on the side-burner of our barbecue grill.

Roasting

I have for years now, appreciated the freshness from grinding whole beans, from a master roaster and that no two type of beans or those that roast them or the manner in which they are roasted are the same. You like what you like and I like what I like, but until I learned how to roast coffee myself, my taste buds were subject to ONLY an occasional, happy roast. This was when the roasters knew what they were doing. Otherwise, I had to consume old stale coffee, mostly all over-roasted, or burnt, and just bad coffee that often upset my stomach. And this is saying a lot because, I drink pots of coffee per day, compared to others which might only have a 1 to few cups per day. This has been my way, for years, almost 24/7 (twenty-four hours a day; seven days a week), and 365 days a year, year after year. But there are some coffee roasters who over-roast and their blends and roasts, literally upset my stomach. And not just mine, but Susan’s too.

To think that I could roast coffee inexpensively, simply, to my satisfaction, fresh, whenever I wanted to and with not much effort and enjoy the whole process was beyond my imagination. Until, that is, until I seized the day (Carpe diem), and did it (and now, having done it for several months now. several times)! Learning to enjoy the subtle nuances of many different single origins appeals to my desire for variety. And even though I have a favorite, my taste buds could get bored and by trying different kinds then returning to my most beloved, my buds’ blast off into hyper drive and explode. It is now, a new part, of my art of manliness.

I can imagine being outdoors and taking a walk in the woods or maybe camping. Start a fire; put some green beans in a skillet and stir with some branch or stick found and roast to my desired done-ness. Cool the skillet and beans by placing just the bottom of the pan in a little mountain stream. Keep stirring and blow off the chaff. Voilà, fresh roasted coffee, probably just like people and soldiers did 100’s of years ago! Grind and brew in a percolator over your campfire. It does not get much cheaper, fresher, better and funner’ (much more fun), than this, in my art of manliness.

Green Coffee Beans

Just add a stick to stir and a campfire and roast away!

In my years, I have fed 100’s if not thousands of people (often many at the same meal), delicious and beautiful, full-course meals. There have been no complaints that I am aware of. Now unless you think I am bragging, I should explain – Not to Impress, But to Bless.

When I learned to cook all those years ago, part of my manliness was to see that preparing and presenting food comes by drawing upon all the five senses. Besides the final enjoyment of tasting the food, all the senses must be involved in anticipation experience and recall. All of this actually aids in digestion and promotes conversation, good conversation among people, all kinds of different people, men and women. And my “Not to Impress, But to Bless” motto was because, part of my art of manliness, was to serve others.

The evolution of my art of manliness began with food and presentation to serve and appeal to all the senses. I call this, “The Gathering Place.” It evolved to “Thrill of the Grill.” Then becoming, “Woke with the Smoke.” Then, “Sips with Susan.” Now, it has come full circle with, “Toast of the Roast.”

Roasted to your satisfaction

For many people, there is no better end to a satisfying full-course feast, the frivolity of adult libations in moderation, and good conversation, than a nice fresh roasted, fresh ground and fresh brewed cup of coffee while you slowly sip the memories! Ahh, but this is part, of my art of manliness.

Stay Manly

I have prepared with expensive and professional equipment and in several large commercial kitchens. I call myself a chef, but have no piece of paper from any culinary institute. It is not necessary, none of these things are! Remember when my Chef made me responsible for the Blue-Plate special? Part of my art of manliness that served me well in the beginning, serves me well today. I believe anyone can do what I have done and do! Anyone can learn to become what I often call myself, a refrigerator parts cook or chef, turning what you have on hand_ the ordinary, into something extraordinary! And to me, well, it is a part, of my art of manliness.

The sights, the colors, and the smoke. The sounds and sizzle, the fragrances, textures, the presentation, plating and cupping of nature outside or inside, cuz’ there’s no place like home. Cheap or expensive, quick or after much time, these are all parts, of my art of manliness!

Celebrate each moment of life with sense and all the senses, whenever possible. Celebrate with a few or many or alone. Overcome fear. Whatever you do, do it with all your heart and all your might to bless and not to impress. Whether long or hard, short or easy, cheap or expensive it’s all simple, simply to build good conversation and memories worth the living and the recall. The strongest man I have ever known, was the kindest man I’ve ever seen. These I try daily to paint, my art of manliness.

Note: This post, modified, first appeared on another of my blogs, ‘Dahni “Just-I-Magine’ see:

https://wp.me/pc3uC-1dC

Next Time: a series on: ‘Toast the Roast’- Some History of Coffee

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

The Windshield

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By Dahni
© 2018, all rights reserved

Not too much is free anymore nor is there a place to feel free much anymore, except from the windshield of life.

There was a time when where I’m going, I could probably get to Hometown Columbia, MO and back Home again in Macedon, NY, for about a $20 bill. I probably could have and would have driven straight through, for about 14 hours. And did the same on the way back. It would have even taken less time, when you could drive without being pulled over at 76 mph, on most highways, where the speed limit was 70 mph.

Tolls? I would have and will avoid them.

Even if I did stop due to poor weather or I was tired, to where they leave they “light on for you”, (Motel 6 or some other), it would have only cost around $20-25 dollars. Food, 🥘 maybe a couple of bucks and coffee ☕️ 15 cents?!

Turn your radio on or play a tape, a CD, 💿 a DVD, 📀 and now, some playlist from your media device. Play what you want, when you want and as loud as you want. That was and still is, freedom in the ears, from the windshield of life!

Weather then and now (soon), could be about the same as it ever was or ever will be? Take care, know how to drive in inclement weather; how not to tailgate. Don’t be rude and stay far enough away, from unknown others. Watch your own windshields of life; not theirs.

Prepared then and now with maps, emergency kits, cash, water and warmth; something to eat and be prepared to wait, for the traffic to move again or help to arrive.

All in all, you prepare for the worst, but why else leave, unless expecting the best?!

My expectation then and now remains the same, Freedom to think 🤔 and if the music 🎼 is not on or is not too loud, actually hear my own thoughts. It’s free-time magnified, when the imagination is fired up like the vehicle’s 🚗 engine, tuned like the radio; humming and purring on all cylinders. What shapes and things in motion like the clouds, ☁️ will I imagine, coming through, the windshield of life?!

Free Peace to turn off and tune-out the daily news and the daily do’s, in the windshield of life.

Free to speak my mind! Free to be silent, quiet and still! Free to hear and to listen and to take heed of common sense, my own inspiration, or that still small voice of God, which draws near to, the windshield of my life!

Free to Resolve and Move On, into the future that’s seen in, the windshield of life, before your eyes.

Free Adventure! What new or old things in new ways will find me, in the windshield of life?!

Free Expectation! To bond with those who really matter that you are with and to bond with those who really matter that you are traveling to see. Their faces and lives seem to be, all superimposed, on the windshield of life.

Free Control! Free to the things you can control and free to change with what you cannot, in the windshield of life.

Free in the USA! 🇺🇸 There are no border guards from state to state, checking papers, no ID required to show; no purpose of your travel to declare or how long you will stay. None of these are seen nor demanded, in the windshield of life.

Free to Be! None to care, or ask, criticize or condemn me, for what I believe or don’t, in the windshield of my life!

Free to change! Free to take an exit and get off my planned trip to, whatever attracts me; calls out to me, from the windshield of my life!

Free adventure! While the destination is purposed, planned and important, the journey Is equally important and it builds the excitement after every mile in getting closer, in the windshield of life.

The costs paid then or now, cannot even begin to compare with the graces of the journey and the joys at the destination!

Free New! Free new of those things and friends I have not yet met, and free new news, of those friends and family, I have not seen in a time or a long time or a very, very long time!

Free Thanks!🙏 How apropos, with Thanksgiving coming and towards Thanksgiving I am preparing to be going, through the windshield of life. There is always something(s) and someone(s) to be thankful for!

Not much may be free anymore and not much freedom perhaps? But there’s still Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, and we are still FREE to experience these, from the Windshields of Our Lives!!!

It is about time for some Steppenwolf, “Born to Be Wild”, some John Barry, “Born Free”, and some Willy Nelson, “On the Road Again”!!!

I’ll not be posting on FB (Facebook) or Twitter until perhaps, after 11/26/2018? But Until We Meet again, I would you each and all, a Very Happy Thanksgiving!🦃 I would for you each and all, a wonderful road trip from the windshield of your life, even if it is just, from the windshield of your mind and heart!

Live FREE at—

The Windshield!!!

I leave you now with a big and hearty; warm and friendly, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans—

“Happy Trails…Til’ We Meet Again!!!”  🙂

 

From the Windshield of My Life at— The Gathering Place,

-dahni-

“Born to be Wild!”

“Born Free!”

“On the Road Again!”

“Happy Trails!”

Categories: Autumn, Entertainment, FaceBook, Fall, Family & Friends, Freedom, Holidays, Home, Homeward Bound, Inspiration, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, Thanksgiving, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Tree of Heaven?

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By Dahni
©️2018, all rights reserved

Tree of Heaven in Summer

Ailanthus altissima /eɪˈlænθəs ælˈtɪsɪmə/, commonly known as tree of heaven. It is related to poplar and tulip trees. It is a deciduous tree in the Simaroubaceae family

It is native to both northeast and central China, as well as Taiwan. It prefers temperate climates. Grows well in sun or shade, moist conditions or dry, parched and drought-ridden areas. Sounds good yes? Tree of Heaven?

Tree of Hell 4/21/2018

It is so named the ‘Tree of Heaven’ as it grows faster than most trees and in a forest, they are prone to dominate the canopy, starving other trees of precious sunlight. Tree of Heaven? I think not!

The tree grows rapidly and can reach heights about 49 feet in about 25 years. Typical heights in the USA is about 15-30’. What? The USA? Yes, and one WAS (for years before today), was between the side of our home and our neighbor’s property.

Well how did they get from China to the United States?

Thanks to the Chinese gold miners that brought these to CA during the Gold Rush and some idiot gardener in the “City of Brotherly Love” (Philadelphia, PA,), these damn gifts of the Tree of Heaven spread across the USA literally like a plague or a virus!

By the way, the Standard Chinese word for this tree, ailanthus is chouchun (Chinese: 臭椿; pinyin: chòuchūn; literally: “foul-smelling tree”). It has been described as the smell of rancid peanut butter. YUCK!

But they are not likely to live more than 50 years. I don’t think I will live 50 more, but, maybe? 😀 But, but, through its remarkable suckering ability, makes it possible for this tree to clone itself indefinitely!!!!!! What? Tree from Heaven? Oh, NO IT’S NOT!

But, but, but since these suckers are linked to the mother tree and PARTLY fed by it, the suckers are less vulnerable than the seedlings and can grow faster. Tree from Heaven? Oh HELL NO!!!!!!!!!! But, but, but, but “seedlings”, let’s talk about those.

Seedlings Tree of Heaven

The Tree of Heaven’s seedlings are like maple tree seedlings like we used to call ‘helicopters’ when we were kids. Oh it was fun watching the wind spin them and carry them off. But, but, but, but as an adult (I am chronologically an adult anyway), NOT FUN AT ALL!

Behind our home is a much (a bunch), of rocks purposely put there so not having to mow the steep pitch. It was planned perfectly years ago and did its job nicely. The area is rectangular in shape, about 40’ long by 30’ foot wide; edged with flat concrete blocks.

Rock bed for seedlings from the Tree of Hell

After many years, stuff started to grow out from the spaces between the stones. Particularly what grew profusely, like weeds or multiplied like rabbits were those damn seedlings from the Tree of Heaven.

It seemed that if these grew above 1 inch tall, the roots would already have grown back to China, their mother country. 🙂

If I did not pluck them out at or below 1” or douse the whole area with about 575,000 gallons of ‘Round Up’® every freaking year, nothing was going to kill them!

Note: Round Up is a registered trademarked chemical or its technical name is, Glyphosate, a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant, from your friendly chemical and world’s largest distributor of seeds, Monsanto company! Yes that was sarcasm and factual.

After 1” I would have to try and chop them out, use a jackhammer, break chain saws or concrete blades or try dynamite because, the evil green-less dead looking crap was like diamonds or petrified stone in hardness!!! Tree of Heaven my ass! This is the Tree of Hell!!!

Old root from Tree of Hell – like petrified stone in hardness

We were GLAD to pay half to have this Tree of Hell cut down Yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today (Sunday 4/22/18 Earth Day), they will cut down the trunk and remove it all away!!!!! YAY!!!!!

Thanks China! NO, NOT REALLY; NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you have a Tree from Hell or if you really and truly care about someone you know that has EVEN ONE OF THEM, watch and/or share the following video!!!!!

The Gathering Place,

Dahni

Categories: China, Family & Friends, The Gathering Place, Tree of Heaven, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

The Gathering Place

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Note:

This was written sometime ago. I would come back to it every now and again to edit and add etc. Perhaps I should have published this at or near the beginning of this blog. But it was intended to show what is behind the title of this post and the actual wooden sign (as shown as the cover picture for this blog). It hangs over the mantle of the fireplace, in the great room of our home. This blog and that sign (a gift from family), represents our home which we also lovingly call– The Gathering Place. This post was written to explain why this place, called the The Gathering Place (our home), is so named, The Gathering Place. For one thing, I believe most people understand what a gathering place is and what it is for. That visual explanation works for this place, this blog and our home as well. But I want you to understand the depth of my meaning for it as well. I thought today, April 17, 2018, was as good as any time to publish it. Cheers! 🙂

-d-

(What’s in a Name)

by Dahni
©️ 2018, all rights reserved

When I was a child, I believed in many things. Then I found out I had been lied to. And I decided right there and then– there was no Santa Claus, no Tooth Fairy, no such thing as the Easter Bunny, that people cannot be trusted and there must be, no such person or thing as God. Then I came upon many beliefs about the meaning of life and I just started looking.

Then I found this and that and was told this and that– “Because”, ‘That’s what I was taught”, “Because, that’s just the way it is”,”Come here”, “Go there”, “Look here”, and “Look over there”, and I just kept looking!

I went to the mountains. I went to the desert. I went to the sea. I looked to the stars. I wondered and I wandered. Then I looked to the healing arts. Then I looked to the law. I looked towards anywhere and any place I could find. I turned to the so-called creative arts. I wrote and wrote in journal after journal and would read them from time to time. Then it was discovered I had encircled myself in my own words, trapping me inside them. I burnt them all! The Religion of obscurity and confusion was NOT for me, so I kept on looking.

I went to the valleys of the human kind. I searched the ancients and the currents, their dark arts and their light arts. The Religion of uncertainty, contradiction, hypocrisy and evil, was NOT for me, so I kept on looking.

I returned to the religion of my youth, for some solace and some comfort. I went back to something familiar and discovered the mystery of faith. But faith could not be explained, it was not understood and I could NOT apply it because, I had no faith, not enough faith or I had turned away from the faith. Then I thought, if it cannot be articulated in words it is because, it is not understood. If it cannot be understood, it cannot be applied and there can be no results or consequences. The Religion of faith was NOT for me and I must NOT have been adequate, for the Religion of faith. I found no comfort or solace, so I kept looking.

I thought I must be tried and purified. I must take the chance on luck that by chance I might be chosen. Born to stand upright, to seek and to excel, how could I rise if the fates were not calling me? I was NOT chosen. And the Religion of Fate and Predestination was NOT for me, so I kept looking.

At one time in my life, I considered living a life of self-sacrifice and use my all and everything to suppress my passions, to elevate only logic and reason, much like the ancient Stoics. But that did not seem like much fun to me. The Religion of endless works without ceasing and a joyless existence was NOT for me, so I kept looking.

I saw the dying and the dead. Some of the dying cried out in terror; in fear of the unknown. Some of the dead cried out in losing their lives to the void. They cried out in guilt, for what they had done amiss or had not done, vainly making deals with the unknown, for another chance, more days; more years. I saw them curse when the answers they wanted and needed, did not come and they all died. The Religion of helplessness and hopelessness, was NOT for me, so I kept looking.

I saw and heard the dead eulogized and memorialized. Some were great, near great, just common folk and some were despised. But all of them still had at least a few that sorrowed for them, pretended to cry or were happy at their departure saying, “Good riddance.” And I heard religious leaders proclaim that those embalmed, dead and lifeless before my eyes, were not dead, but alive with God. How cruel I thought and unfair to us that remain. We that are left must continue to bear the slings and arrows of humanity and inhumanity. Even if the dead were hated, they are better off than us poor, pathetic creatures, fragile and miserable. We the left-behind, continued to struggle and even with good intentions, were paving our own roads in hell, in the slim and unverified sliver of hope for, heaven’s door. How much rather better, to go nowhere at all! For to the dead with no coins laid on their eyes (or our eyes), for the ‘Boatman’, without consciousness or conscience, is this not the bliss of ignorance! The Religion of ignorance, favoritism, partiality, inequity was NOT for me and I, I kept looking right there.

Then I looked at the words from the same book these religious leaders read from. I heard them say that the dead which were before me were dead and I could see they were dead. I heard the tears of those left behind. Some were mournful, some pretended and some smiled happily.  And I heard and saw these preachers contradict that the dead were not dead, after they had just read and said they were. And they said they were not dead, but alive and living elsewhere, not needing their shells. And these preachers talked of resurrection and I thought, if these dead were alive, why would God need to return and pick up their dust and bones? Is this not what it means to be raised (resurrected), from the dead? And then I heard my own pastor say, “The whole duty of a minister is to be intellectually informed for their congregation.” I supposed none of this was NOT spoken from some callous hearts; not abject hypocrites, but attempts at empathy, to comfort the mourners? How were we, was I, comforted in knowing the dead were alive and we alive were born to die? And the dead were alive? And the words the leaders read were, the dead were dead and yet they said these were alive! The Religion of stupid and the illogical; false hope and false comfort was NOT for me, so I left, got out and kept looking somewhere, anywhere else!

Then I thought, “Eat, drink and be merry”, cuz’ some tomorrow, I’m gonna’ die anyway, like the ancient Epicureans. But then I thought, surely there is more to life than just feeling and sucking the marrow and all the juice out of life, as much and as fast as I could?! The Religion of burning my candle at both ends, depravity, debauchery, self Indulgence, self-contentedness; total wholly selfishness, was NOT for me, so so I kept looking, but with barely any strength left to continue. It amazes me how fat I can become and yet how weak it makes me so, yes, I kept looking.

Then I discovered people who don’t believe anything (atheists). How mindless, irresponsible, how blissfully ignorant. And I decided that the Religion of nothing, no purpose or reason for the reasons and passions for life or that non-religion was NOT for me, so I kept looking, then nearly crawling, for lack of strength. A mind spent on arguing is one starving, so yes, I kept looking.

Then I discovered the really insane people who can’t decide or even make up their minds as to what they believe or don’t believe (agnostics). And Religion, that Religion or the i-dunno’-religion, the I don’t want to say yes and be wrong and the I don’t want to say no and be wrong either. This without a mind Religion, insanity was NOT for me, so I stayed blind, deaf, and dumb, looking nowhere.

Then I grew really, really grew tired of looking, but more tired of not looking!!!

Then I was found! And my empty hard heart, soul, and mind were pierced and shattered by these words-

“Don’t you know that by his stripes you WERE HEALED?”

Then I came to discover that I already was a Christian; that Christ was already in me, and that the riches of this mystery was, Christ in me, The Hope of glory (future). I found the best of both lifestyles (reason and passion), and the balance of reason and passion for my past, present and future, plus hope for an everlasting life of joy, health and wholeness! I found when I so concentrated on these things- focused, without allowing any distraction in, I was calm and as pure as undiluted and undisturbed water, while the storms of life raged all about me. And my whole life was quickened– physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

I have been healed often to the absence of any possibility and without medical explanation. I am alive when I should have died several times that I know of and perhaps more than I know?!

I have been filled according to my appetite. My questions all answered to my satisfaction. I overflow my fullness. I know what and why I believe what I believe and can show the same to anyone that desires to know the hope that is in me. This I can show that they can be filled according to their appetite and their questions answered to their satisfaction and their filling full, can overflow from them too!

I no longer look anymore! Whew, if you only knew how much time, resources and life this saved and saves me!

Then I discovered I have the best possible life going, even if I’ve succumbed to something so foolish and explained away as rapture of the deep and unrealistic euphoria, going nowhere! 🙂

But daily there are proofs and sometimes I prove them to myself and others see them in me too!

Then one day I will discover that I’ve been gathered together– dead, alive; here or there. Then, I’ll one day meet Jesus Christ, in the air!

And now I hope, to see you there! To the some I KNOW. I’ll be gathered together with you!! To all the rest, I hope to see you there!!! Until then, The Gathering Place (our home), is purposed to be like a miniature or mini-gathering together, until the real one or the big one occurs. 🙂

What’s in a Name?

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:25 KJV

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

I Thessalonians 4:16,17 KJV

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”

II Thessalonians 2:1,2 KJV

Don’t stop looking, you’ll be found if you want to be!

Oh, and what and where is real comfort?

“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

I Thessalonians 4:18 KJV

The Gathering Place,

Dahni

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Mary Did You Know

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Mary, Did You Know?

This is one of my favorite songs. You decide, which is my favorite version of this song below and decide for yourself, which is yours.

Kent Rogers & Winnona Judd

Voctave

Original Music by Buddy Greene and lyrics and originally sung by Mark Lowry

Pentatonic

Clay Aiken

 

Mary Did You Know

(Lyrics)

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?

This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?

And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God

Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again

The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?

This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am

Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know

Music by Buddy Greene & Lyrics by Mark Lowry:

‘If Mary Knew’ by Dahni © 2012, all rights reserved

 

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Stuffed

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By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

Stuffed

Stuffed? Stuffed with stuffing? Why yes, but so much the more! 🙂

Stuffed with information about how we came to celebrate Thanksgiving, what the first one was really like hundreds of years ago or what is really wasn’t like.

Stuffed with customs and traditions.

Stuffed with a measure of tired to you and they, depending on how far the distance traveled, the manner of transport and how long it takes to arrive.

Stuffed with the excitement and anticipation of, “Can’t wait for this day to come,” “Can’t wait to get there,” or “Can’t wait, for them to get here!”

Stuffed with the real possibility that you, “Can’t wait to go home,” or “You can’t wait, for everyone to leave!” 🙂

Stuffed with ‘catch-up’ since the last time together.

Stuffed with so much to stuff in and so little time, celebrating ‘long time no see,’ fall, Thanksgiving, birthdays and even Christmas too, early.

Stuffed with joy and perhaps, some trepidation from meeting new folks or some concern over how they find you and will remember you from the first impression you make.

Stuffed with nasal blockage, upper respiratory breathing restraints, colds, headaches, pains, strains, prescriptions and the need for perhaps more.

Stuffed with care and concern, empathy and sorrow over those that cannot be with you.

Stuffed with care and concern with all the things left behind that need to be resolved.

Stuffed with stuffing and all manner of culinary delights.

Stuffed with so much work and hours to make such a feast and preparations and accommodations that are devoured and messed up in mere minutes, and forgotten in even less time.

Stuffed with wonder at conversations from: “Where’s the gravy,” “Pass the potatoes,” “What time is the game on,” to all but total disengagement, nap time (The tryptophan effect), and texting one another from device to device while sitting right next to each other.

Stuffed with wonder at, “Why do we do this,” (all this work and effort), when there is a Denny’s, open 24/7, somewhere down the street or close by, with no dishes to wash or mess to clean up.

Stuffed with Thanksgiving, ThanksLiving and thankfulness.

Stuffed with even more wonder at being thankful to any degree for all one has to midnight of the new Friday, where so many rush and pull and push and knock down each other for all they perceive they do not have and must have before it’s too late.

Stuffed with despite it all and because of it all, thanks, for my favorite holiday and with anticipation and hope, for, “Can’t wait to do it all again!”

Stuffed with long or short goodbye, farewell until next time!

Stuffed with so much stuff, I’m just stuffed!

Stuffed with tired and into some easy chair of comfort wrapped snug in a blanket of love and joy and thanks.

Stuffed with peace and reflection at the afterglow of hearth fire and heart fire of memories, awaiting all these calories of a full and grateful life, for when I can get stuffed again!

Happy ThanksLiving, One and All!

https://youtu.be/0fYL_qiDYf0?&autoplay=1

Afterglow. A nice fire for your Thanksgiving! Gather yall’  🙂

The Gathering Place,

Dahni

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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
 
 

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-

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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!

Today’s series begins with what the Italians call, machina, [pronounced: mah-chee-no] “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 was 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 have not served 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, thee 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, some of 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 [pronounced: mah-no] – “the hand.” 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 coffee 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)

Note: Previously, I was using Tito’s Vodka, but they have gotten “too big for the britches” in my opinion or for sure, they have priced themselves out of my pocketbook! I now use New Amsterdam Vodka. Just as good as Tito’s (that was compared to Absolute), if not better, is made and bottled in Modesto, CA USA, and is moderately priced.

  

1 Part New Amsterdam Vodka (made in California 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 New Amsterdam vodka (made in California, 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’

a href=”https://gatheringplaceblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/mano-tini7.png”> 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.newamsterdamspirits.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! 🙂

By Dahni & I-Magine

©️ 2018, all rights reserved

From my Work in Progress: ‘The Gathering Place Cook Book’, under the category of: beverages

Dahni at The Gathering Place

Categories: Beverages, Inspiration, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, Music, Recipes, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

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)

Categories: Family & Friends, Inspiration, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, Poetry, Simplicity, Social Media, Spiritual, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

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!

124anderson9

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.

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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

Scatter2

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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Turkey_title4WP

by Dahni

© 2015, all rights reserved

Turkey_pic4WP

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.

Turkey_Holly_but4WP

Turkey_but4WP

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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By Dahni & I-Magine

©️ 2018, all rights reserved

From my Work in Progress: ‘The Gathering Place Cook Book’, under the category of:
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.’

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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.

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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”

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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

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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.

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Toast the Roast- “Live”

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‘Toast the Roast’ “Live”

Good Morning! 🙂

I am pleased to announce:

‘Toast the Roast’ – “Coffee talk with Dahni”, July 6th, 2019 10:00 AM (rain or shine). Class size limited to 14. Sign up at https://longacrefarms.com

“Live”- Our first of hopefully, MORE to Come! 🙂

 

SIgn up at our friends website and hosts for this event Click on ‘Events’

https://longacrefarms.com

 

For additional information, see our other blog specific to coffee at The Gathering Place Coffee Roasters

https://tgpcoffeeroasters.home.blog/

I hope you are excited! I close with raising my cup to you, to…

‘Toast Your Roast!’ 

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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The Gathering Place

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Cherry tree in full blossomed glory

When you live in Western New York and on top of a hill as we do, Spring can be long in coming and short in duration. Trees and flowers at the bottom of the hill on either side, has perhaps already bloomed two weeks ago. Forty-five minutes or so from us, the famous Rochester, NY Lilac Festival ended last week and our lilacs are barely budding. The winds are strong and fierce here, across the 100’s of acres of farmland in back and in front of our home. Winter is long here and is so often, accompanied by snow drifts several feet high, all around us. Atop the the hill, it seems an ideal place for the wind and rain and snow to blow and fly. It is what it is and unless you take this as complaining, it is more, just my observations.

My wife Susan and I, frequently gather on our small and narrow front porch. It was originally built as a two-season room with screens and storms and a screen-storm door. We thought replacing these with thermal pane, dual-glass windows and the door, would extend our usable time here. But the floor has no insulation and is built over a crawl space. Having so much of a wall of glass, there is not really room for much insulation there. And there is probably not much if any, above the ceiling.

We added a little electric heater that looks like a wood burning stove and it warms the room nice and toasty, while adding to our electric bill, considerably. But we love this room! Children, friends, family, Bella our cat and Lady our dog, and our seven grandchildren, love this room. Notice the many toys and Bella on one of the chairs, in the picture below. 🙂

Other than changing the windows, the door, adding a heater and installing an oak-look floating laminate floor, it really has not changed much, since Susan’s Mother and Father lived here. They were the first occupants since the place was built, in 1973. When the porch was enclosed or added-on (I’m not sure which),  her father installed rough-sawn paneling and the ceiling fan we still use today. I can say for myself and think it true for Susan too, it is our favorite room, in all our home!

Our Favorite Room
Sunrise and bird good morning

Most of the furniture has been in the family, for many years. The couch and two chairs were refinished, repaired and re-covered with a blue-jean color, cotton jean-like material. The couch has at times and the floor next to it, has been covered with napping bodies of friends and family. Other furniture is also, family heirloom. Family pictures and military paraphernalia adorn the interesting wall of carefully designed and saw-cut paneling, and are a continual tribute to the man that built this porch, Susan’s Dad. The room is nothing fancy or expensive. It is comfortable, just wonderfully comfortable!

Susan and I often gather here in the morning with our coffee and look out and watch the birds. We also gather here for drinks at Happy Hour, around 5 PM. These are those special times we share together and converse about life and are still getting to learn something new about one another. I call these times, ‘Sips with Susan’! 🙂

Whenever I finish my book, ‘The Gathering Place Feast Book’ (How anyone can turn their home into a five-star culinary experience), under the category of beverages, it too will be called, ‘Sips with Susan’. 🙂

But, for the long wait of spring at the top of the hill, at ‘The Gathering Place’, I came up with not a bit solace, for a sorrowed soul, but anticipation, for whenever Spring in full arrives and for how little in time it may last? For myself, while waiting for anything, any little subtle changes, anything new, it causes me to get excited and my heart all twitter-patted, in anticipation and appreciation!

“They who wait for Spring the longest, appreciate it the most!”

-dahni-

Our lilacs just coming
Azalea just this morning
Susan’s birthday sculpture – hummingbird made with spoons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Susan, just this morning, during ‘Sips with Susan’, wrote the following. It captures it all perfectly, from our little comfy-cozy porch, atop the hill at The Gathering Place.

Our red-bud is almost ready

 

 

 

The Gathering Place

By Susan Meech Hayden
©️ 2019, all rights reserved

Our Gathering Place, on top the hill we wait at morn or eve
For sun to rise, burst forth and shine, then sink to take its leave.
Sometimes the sun plays hide and seek in clouds of grey or white
Or mist and fog might cover the fields and stretch beyond our sight.
Our little home, through nature’s powers,
We sit content, because it’s ours.
Oh, from our hill the stage is set for every kind of weather
The blustery winds, the snow and cold, but we stay warm together
We wait for spring’s array of colors beneath the sullen skies
It lags behind, but now and then, bursts forth before our eyes.

 

Categories: Beauty, DREAM, Family & Friends, Flowers, Home, Inspiration, Making Memories, Poetry, Simplicity, Spring, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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