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The Gathering Place

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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! 🙂


(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,


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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’

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]”


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.’

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

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


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


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=””> 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.

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

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.



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




Categories: New Year, Whatever | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

My Pillow

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


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.

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







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


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

On: Cutting Loose the Cable

by Donnie Hayden © 2014, all rights reserved

Cut It Loose!

Cut It Loose!

Coaxial Cable Connector

Coaxial Cable Connector

I’m sure by now, most of you have heard that Comcast Cable has put in an offer to buy Time Warner Cable for the paltry sum of, $45 billion dollars. This comes after Comcast is already the largest cable company in the United States and after it completed its purchase of television network and movie studio NBC Universal, just a few months ago. Geeze, I wonder if the courts will think it already a monopoly? I wonder if this is allowed to go through, what it will mean to all their perspective customers, but first, what will the new company be called?

CastWarn Cable?

CastWarn Cable?

Combining the NBC familiar peacock rainbow colors and the Time Warner logo and part of the name from the present two companies, will the merger make for the new name being, CastWarn Cable? 🙂

I don’t know what cable TV/Internet service provider you presently use, but ours is Time Warner. Our experience has for the most part, been great service.

Each time we have had a service technician come to our home, each have always gone beyond our expectations. Our Internet through Time Warner has been, Road Runner and the speed is lightening fast and rarely has there ever been an interruption of service (down-time) and when this has occurred, it has never been for long.

Just a quick glance at reviews online indicate that we may be only a few with little complaints about Time Warner service? Others say it is terrible and many more believe that Comcast is even worse. But we have severe issues with Time Warner and certainly wonder how much worse it will be, IF this merger between Comcast & Time Warner goes through?

Our issues with Time Warner are three-fold:

1. I believe their equipment – cable modem, DVR (digital video recorder) their tuner box and their remote control are all crap!
2. Their programming sucks (but still better than Dish satellite. Premium channels? Whoopeee, I could care less how many months they give it away for FREE, I don’t like them even at the price of FREE. Why? I don’t like their premium channels primarily because, they keep repeating the same programs and movies over and over and over and over AGAIN & AGAIN!!!
3. Price! Despite the fact that there are no contracts, the prices keep going UP and UP and UP and UP! And they don’t bother to tell you your FREE stuff is up, they just start charging you for it. Now if you collect your equipment and take it back to them, watch how fast they drop the price. Quite frankly, I resent that. Why don’t they give a good deal in the first place?

Yes, it’s time to cut the cable!

Cut the Cable!

Cut the Cable!

Oh NO! Nothing on the screen! What shall we do? How will we live? 🙂

Not to worry! But, YES, the bottom line is, we are looking to cut the cable loose and find some other options. We may have to keep Road Runner for Internet  or whatever it is called if Comcast acquires Time Warner. Maybe they will call it’ Road Eater’ because, Comcast already seems to gobble up everything in its path. But I am looking into other options for our Internet service. Well, that leaves TV. What are we going to do about TV?

This is all kind of exciting. I consider myself a New-O. I like a lot of the New technology and ‘stuff’,’ but I also like a lot of the O (old) ‘stuff’ that is tried and trued. Television was commercially available in the 1920’s, but it really took hold in the 1950’s. WOW, it really has not been around all that long when you think about it! It started out just black and white with round screens and the stations did not broadcast 24 hours a day; 7 days a week. Then, TV evolved to rectangular shapes and added color. Just a few short years ago it evolved again, with the introduction of HD (high definition). Broadcasters started to replace the old analog signals with the new digital signals. This whole explosion to me has been like the change from black and white TV to color AGAIN, in comparison! Now, we are pressing onward with HD 3D TV.

But again, after WWII, TV took hold in this country. It was a common sight to see family and friends gathering together around the television in the evening. TV trays were invented so we could eat and not miss our favorite show. Also common were antennas mounted on our rooftops and even the set-top familiar Rabbit-Ears appeared, to tune in our distant broadcast programs. Well, today, there is the exciting combination of the new technology with the old.



Like in the picture above, it combines black and white (the old) with the new, by way of the colored, flat-screen, HDTV.  But what you do not see in the picture is how the TV gets its signal. Most TV’s now are made with either an internal HD antenna or the ability to receive these signals along with the ‘old’ UHF and VHF signals. More and more stations are broadcasting in digital signals. Soon, analog signals will disappear, new cameras will be used and more and more programs will begin to be broadcast in 3D. So, we return to the past for an old solution, sort of.

If your new wide screen, flat panel, HD or HD 3D TV does not have an internal antenna, the following are just some examples of other options.



The first one might look familiar? It should because, it is like the common-sighted antenna, roof mounted, just like in the past. The second one shown does nearly the same thing, only it is designed for the interior or the inside of your home or business. The third one looks like a modem or a router. It is about the same size as one of those devices, but it is an antenna for the TV. And some even come in several colors. There are a whole bunch of choices, styles, sizes and etc. for HD antennas. There is a downside and an upside to these, however.

On the down-side, these antennas are designed to pickup signals on average, from around 25-70 miles away from the source at the broadcast towers. This means, you will only be able to pick up your local channels. If this is all you want, then this is not a problem. But which device is the best for you will depend on several variables.

a. What channels will you receive? Of those, will that be OK for you?
b. How far are you from the broadcast towers
c. What is the strength of those signals
d. Your TV
e. Your location – do you live on a hill, are there trees all around you, are you in a hollow and perhaps, there are many other factors which could affect the quality of the signal.

The best advice for solving the problems above is, find a professional installer of the equipment in YOUR AREA! Their experience of similar situations of local installations, may prove out to recommend the best antenna for you and your location. The other piece of advice is simply, just trial and error. You keep trying until you get the best outcome for your particular needs and situation.

Obviously, the upside to HD antennas is the cost. Instead of paying monthly bills which amount to 100’s if not thousands of dollar each year, what you see with an HD antenna is, what you get. And what you get is FREE. Yes, FREE TV! No fees and there is nothing to fear as it is all perfectly legal! The broadcasters own the equipment and the towers it is connected to, but they DON’T OWN the air (airwaves) those signals are sent through to you! Cable TV own the cable lines that come to your house and perhaps the equipment in your house that gets it to your TV, but they are charging us for programming and the equipment, because they don’t own the air (airwaves) either! And the the same goes for Dish Network or Direct TV. They may have paid for the satellite orbiting in space (but chances are that WE the People, ALREADY PAID for that. After you have paid for your antenna and perhaps for the installation, all the channels that you receive are all FREE!

If you want anything more than just local channels, there is the possibility of accessing movies and other content through your TV and/or your computer. To do this, you still need to have Internet service and as fast as is available, a cable modem and a router to network your devices and fast processing speeds among all your devices. Cable modem? But I thought this was about cutting the cable?

Technically, we are not actually endeavoring to cut the actual cable (coaxial cable), but sever the out-go of our money to the cable TV service provider. For example, we WERE paying Time Warner $5 per month to RENT their combination modem/router in addition to their high fees monthly for programming. Now five bucks a month may not seem like much, but it adds up. And remember I said previously that in our opinion, Time Warner’s equipment is “crap?” Well their modem/router had a lousy signal, even though we had the fastest Internet speed available from them and in our area. The signal comes into the house through the modem/router and then it goes out to our TV and other devices. It was slow! The TV picture (screen) often seemed to jumped or freeze momentarily, many, many times. So we replaced their modem/router with our own separate modem and router and when their equipment is returned, we will no longer have to rent it for $5 per month for as long as we stay with them. And until we settle on a more permanent solution for a HD antenna and an alternative for internet service this is what we are going to do –

I’m taking back Time Warner’s modem/router, down-grading to basic cable light (just local channels) for around $13 per month and getting rid of their DVR and save another $15 per month or so. All in all, these changes will save us 100’s if not thousands of dollars per year!

Not to worry! When you are here at The Gathering Place, we will have plenty of content, signal and speed for you to enjoy, however it works out!

Unplug or cut the connection between your bank account and Cable or Satellite TV today! It’s your money!

If you need a new TV, HD antenna or other home entertainment ‘stuff,’ click or scan the QR code in the far right lower corner of this page or see:


Categories: Cable TV, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Get Paid to Shop, HD antenna, Ideas, Internet, Saving Money, Shopping, Television, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: Cell Phones

Most of us have a cell phone and many of us have smart phones. If we have had these for awhile, we understand 2 year contracts and upgrades. For example, the approximate cost of a new iPhone 5s is approximately $649.00 for 16GB (gigabyte) of storage for an unlocked phone. So a new contract or an upgrade is about $199.00. The full price of the phone is absorbed over the two years under contract.

I have an iPhone 4s and my wife Susan, HAD another smartphone. She had problems with it shutting down all the time, so she called customer service and they sent her a new phone with a return box for the old phone, which she promptly shipped back. Then she received confirmation that the old phone was received, BUT they said it had water damage, so she would be charged for the new phone. After days and weeks and representative after representative, they would allow her to return the new phone. She then had to purchase an older model ‘dumb’ phone on Ebay and we downgraded her data plan. This was inconvenient, but Susan decided to just deal with it for awhile because, we were eligible for upgrades the 28th of the Month of February, 2014. Then she was notified that they did not receive the new phone back ON TIME. They had the phone, but according to them, it was not sent on time. So, we were billed for the new phone that she no longer had.

After days and weeks and representative after representative, Susan had done everything she was told to do. This person said this, that person said that, this was wrong and that person was not authorised to say/do that or no one ever followed through with what Susan was told. You get the idea, this was a huge mess! FINALLY, the new phone was taken off our bill.

We were told that we could upgrade early (about a week before our contract ended). We are leaving the country on 2-26-14, would not be in this country on our upgrade date and we wanted to take and use our new phones while on our trip.

On 2/13/14, I called a corporate store of our carrier to give them the details of our situation and to set up an appointment so we could upgrade early. As it happened, the person I spoke with on the phone, was the store manager. If anyone was knowledgeable of company policies, surely it would be him! He was, BUT what he told us was not what we were told by corporate customer service. Our only choices were:

1. to get some other phone we did not want, pay $27.00 per month and trade them in later, for what we wanted when we return to the ‘states.’ 
2. keep our existing phones and plan until we return to the ‘states’
3. Pay an early termination fee, for both our phones and switch carriers

By the way, Susan’s early termination fee would not be based on the ‘dumb’ phone she owns and has right now, but on the smart phone she no longer has, because it was returned to the carrier, months ago. Why? Because that is the contract we signed. 

Needless to say, Susan had HAD IT! She was livid! She was so angry when she left the house to go and babysit 3 of the grand kids, I was concerned for others on the road that might cross her path! 😦


Do you ever feel like this?

Susan was definitely ready to go to another carrier! I called one and explained our situation, wants and needs. They would be able to help us with everything we wanted and needed and would even pay us back for any early termination fees, charged to us by our current carrier. First, to change carriers, I needed to find out what our early terminations fees would be.

So I called our carrier and reached an automatic messaging system. I was given several choices to choose from including, ‘other.’ I chose ‘other.’ After to being asked to state my question, I responded with, “Early termination.” I was so quickly connected to a live person, it almost made me dizzy! 🙂

I was connected to a ‘real person’ in the ‘Customer Retention Department.’ And she really spoke my language very clearly. The lady was extremely nice and professional. She pulled up all our files and could see every single note and name of person, the dates and every call made by us or from them to us, about our situation. She apologised profusely, for all the confusion. I will give the carrier this, they certainly did document everything! The problems lie in different policies from the corporate office, from a corporate store and from failure to follow-up by anyone that we had spoken to in customer service previously. Based on perhaps 100’s to 1,000’s of calls each person might make in a given day, it is quite easily to become overwhelmed or to easily forget one call as you move to the next one. And I suppose it is easy to overlook the notes on your screen too.

But, as this all turned out, we were able to upgrade early, get the phones we wanted and needed and are happily signed on, for another 2 year contract with the same carrier we have been loyal to, for years. We had never really had a problem before this. So, we are all happy now and waiting on our new phones to arrive by FedEx around Tuesday next, with a promise call the same day, from the same lady that helped us. Once the phones are in , we will just need to call and activate them and all our data, pictures, apps, contacts and etc. will be instantly transferred to the new devices. We are now, just waiting on fulfillment of these promises, but at this moment, I have no doubt that they will be.

So what is the point of this long post? What could it mean to you? First, I’m not sure how many devices you may or may not own? But for us, we have three. I’m not sure what you pay monthly, for just your one phone, but again, we have 2 smart phones, and a MIFI . A MIFI is a portable WIFI hotspot device so we can use our laptop and un-tethered 1st generation iPad, for Internet access if we are traveling and/or not able to connect to a FREE WIFI hot spot. So, just remember that no matter what you may pay for one device each month, multiply that amount X three for comparison. This amounts to 1,000’s of dollars per year to the carrier.

If you find yourself in a similar situation as we were or if you are having problems with your carrier, call them up and if asked or prompted, tell them you are considering changing carriers and you want to know what your early termination fees would be. If you have not already called ‘Customer Retention,’ I am quite confident that you will quickly be connected!!! They really don’t want to loose your business. Well maybe they might not care if all you mean to them is a few hundred dollars, but our 1,000’s certainly got their attention! I’ll go back to the last statement – “They really don’t want to lose your business!” If not from a monetary value, then at least from a public relations point of view. Sad, but true, complaints sometimes are louder than praise!

Please understand, our motivation was NOT to ‘guilt’ our carrier into giving us what  we wanted/needed. Our motivation was NOT to intimidate our carrier that if they didn’t do what we wanted/needed, we were going to another carrier. Our motivation was NOT to get something for nothing or anything special! All we wanted/needed was, what we want and need. Thankfully, it looks like what we want and need will come from our existing carrier. I just received a text confirmation (while writing this post) on my existing phone, that our new phones have been shipped and are scheduled for delivery on Tuesday, as promised!

The numbers to customer retention may not be published, known to you or readily available from your carrier, BUT THEY HAVE ONE or MORE!!! Just call customer service and tell them you are interested in cancelling your service or you are just wanting to know what your early termination fees would be. Make sure you use or say the words in red, bold italicised text as above. I can almost guarantee you will be, almost instantly connected to a live person in your language, at the corporate office and customer retention.


“Hello, Customer Retention, Where Happy Customers Stay Happy Customers! How May I help you?”

Wouldn't you always rather feel like this?

Wouldn’t you always rather feel like this?

If you need new phones, devices, new plans, or a new carrier, click or scan the QR code in the far right lower corner of this page or see:


Categories: Cell Phones, Family & Friends, Ideas, Inspiration, Saving Money, Shopping, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



Social Media icons

Google +, YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumbler, all my other social media peeps and my blogs,

Ordinarily, you are my first go-to to check with, for everything relevant and important to my life. Yes, you are often first on my list when I wake (even while waiting for my first cup of coffee). And you are many times the last on my mind when I go to bed.  But I have decided to do something NEW, IMPROVED and DIFFERENT!

Instead of finding out from you first or telling you first, I’m going to concentrate on the old-school methods of communication. I’m going to pick up the phone and call my family and friends that live too far to visit. Instead of calling people too close to call, I’ll actually go see them. And instead of sending an email, text message or some social media message to my wife Susan that is in the room right next door to me, I’m going to actually walk over there and tell her I love her first, before everyone else finds out about it. We can like social media, our gadgets and technology, but they are all really just things. Things are made to be used, but people are made to be loved.

Luv Yah,


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On: The Far Reach of Being Good At What You Do

The obvious thing here of being good at what you do, probably means that you are gainfully employed or you enjoy some degree of success if, you are working for yourself. I am sorry if you are able to work and choose not to, but rather suck off the breast of others. That is neither gainful employment nor any measure of success! And WE the People are NOT the UN-willing’s personal wet-nurse!

I am of course NOT, referring to those that for whatever reasons are unable to help themselves and need the help of others. But with very few exceptions, this should ONLY be temporary. I have a friend that is quadriplegic (cannot use her legs or her arms), but she has supported herself financially for many years and quite comfortably, I might add. You might wonder how this is possible? She is a systems analyst (is very smart) and she uses a stick gripped in her mouth to key in data to a computer. Believe it or not, not only is she good at what she does, but she is fast too!

For the rest of us so-called able-bodied folk, what are we good at? What are you good at? What am I good at? Are you employed doing these things or do you have your own business? If not, why not? Perhaps your very best skills are NOT, the ones that are presently producing paychecks or profits for you? The main difference between paychecks and profits is that a paycheck is primarily coming from the work that you did in the past and profits are from work that you and other people, perhaps your money and maybe other people’s money, have produced in the past. But there is one thing missing from both the paychecks and the profits. This is called residual income. Residual income is based on past actions, but it pays in the present and in the future. Paying into the future is, ‘The Far Reach of Being Good At What You do!’

Insurance agents receive residual income, even after they have retired. Every time someone renews the policy that the agent sold them, the agent gets paid again and again. This is, residual income. If you wrote a book, you most likely received a lump sum for your work. And some percentage in the form of a royalty pays you in the future, every time someone purchases your book. An artist may make prints from their original work. Every time someone purchases a print, this is another, example of residual income. It is my understanding that the popular song ‘Happy Birthday to You’ is, copyrighted (at least until 2030). Every time it is performed in public for profit, those performing it are, legally required to pay a royalty. This is yet another example of, residual income. Well, perhaps we are not good at or interested in insure-ing, writing, art-ing or music-ing, but we all should be interested in residual income! Like most of us, even doctors and lawyers (for the most part), do not receive residual income. Well then, the question that remains is, how then would you or I go about getting in on the receiving end of, residual income? I’ll leave this discussion for another time. But for right now, I just want us to consider the possibility of getting paid in the present and in the future, over and over again, for what we have done in the past. This too, is being good at, VERY GOOD AT what we do. And this is, The Far Reach of Being Good At What We Do!

I’ll close this with a simple illustration. We have a next door neighbor that works for the Parks and Recreation Department. He uses power tools and mowers and other landscaping equipment to perform his work. The fact that he goes to work day in and day out (except during the winter) and year after year, proves that he is good at what he does. Besides operating the equipment, he also has to maintain it; keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Years and years of experience have made him good at doing these things too. Well, what is the far reach of him being good at what he does?

Last summer, our neighbor came over while I was mowing our lawn. I turned off the mower to be polite and so I could hear whatever it was that he came over to say.

“Your mower’s not running right. I can fix it if you like?”


Just a couple of weeks ago, I was outside in the cold, running our gas powered snow blower. My neighbor came over. I turned off the snow blower to be polite and so that I could hear whatever he came to say.

“Your snow blower’s not running right. I can fix it if you like?”

You have got to be kidding me? In both of the above situations, our neighbor could tell by just the sound of the engines that they were not running correctly. Now that’s an example of being good at what you do! But more importantly, it also perfectly illustrates, ‘The Far Reach of Being Good At What You Do! His work in the past not only helped him in the past and helps him in the present, it helped us and perhaps my sharing it here will help you? Do you see how this can just keep going on and on? Our neighbor did not ask to be paid (but we paid him). He just loves what he does!

What are you good at? How can this become-

The Far Reach of Being Good At What You Do?

And Everything You Need Will Just BE THERE!

And Everything You Need
Will Just BE THERE, in the present, in the Future and it will benefit others as well!

Selah (Hebrew): “Consider these Words”

Categories: Being Good at What You Do, Ideas, Inspiration, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized, Wealth Building/ | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

On Doing the Right Thing

by Donnie Hayden © 2014, all rights reserved

What exactly is the “thing” on doing the right thing? To be naked-honest and glass-clear truthful, we should NEVER need any other reason to do the right thing, other than it’s just the right thing to do! But alas and alak and yak, yak, yak, we all are, after all, emotional creatures. All of us are faced with having to do things we don’t want to do. And how do we handle it? What do we do? Do we ‘put if off’ until whenever/never (my apparently most favorite and most common practice?) and take a page out of the script from ‘Gone With the Wind?’ Do you remember Scarlet O’Hara? She was a character in ‘Gone with the Wind,’ a 1936 epic historical romance, set during the American Civil War. It was a Pulitzer-winning novel by Margaret Mitchell that was adapted to film in 1939. Scarlett O’Hara (played by Viven Leigh), was a manipulative Southern belle that carried on a turbulent affair with a blockade runner named Rhett Butler (played by Clark Gable). How did Scarlet handle doing things she did not want to do?

“I’ll think about it tomorrow…”

Well, experience has shown me that putting off until tomorrow hardly NEVER, if EVER, works out for me. Oh, there’s some stuff I loathe to do (like taxes) that  I would put off forever if possible. But I will put off and put off until, usually the last moment. And then the ‘dreads’ overtake me, lack of sleep leaves me drained, caffeine turns me into a freaking fiend, I get cranky and quite frankly, like Rhett said to Scarlet, “…I don’t give a damn!” When I get this way, I don’t even want to be around myself! Why in the name of dumb-ass’ do I, DO this to myself, over and over again? Oh surely I expect some different result like Scarlet did for “tomorrow?” Well, isn’t doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result, a definition of insanity? I’m not insane! I may be ‘nutty’ and do crazy things sometimes, but I’m pretty well-grounded in reality, I think? I am at least, acting like a child. And I am aware that some believe I never grew up anyway. 🙂

But maybe if I can remember being a child, MAYBE I can get a clue as to how a kid does the things that they don’t want to do? So, I went and played some mental videos made when I was a little kid that are now stored in my head. Our parents and care keepers knew that we would not long survive if all we ever ate was mac-N-cheese and ice cream (not necessarily in that order). They tried their best to give us a balanced diet. Most of us kids might think that the only thing in common between the words delicious and nutritious is, they just rhyme. But colors and textures are a BIG deal to children. Some, we like and some, not so much. Still, we were given food for colors and textures because, we need vitamins, minerals, etc., variety, fiber and good-wholesome-healthy food. So, I’m sitting there at the dinner table, after having been plucked up and away (rudely I might add), from my personal play. And what did I see? There was no mac-N-cheese and no ice cream. Are you kidding me? What is this stuff, I wondered? And what did I hear?


But I Don’t Want it!

“Now you sit there and eat your dinner young man or you can’t get up until you do!”

Well, I have sat at the dinner table for a long time, many times. And sometimes, I did not eat my dinner. So, I went to bed hungry. It was my choice, but the worst part was that my stubbornness cost me my play time. It did not take my mom or I very long to figure out that this was not an effective way, to get me to eat what was good for me or to do what I didn’t want to do. It was all a waste of time and energy. Oh, and by the way, the ‘push-away’ and the, “That’s ucky,” look, didn’t work for me either.


Geez Mom, Stop Watching Me!

Like this little guy, I tried to eat the stuff set before me. I didn’t like it. I watched mom watching me. OK, it’s in my mouth and crammed into my cheeks like a chipmunk’s cheeks full of nuts, now what? I’m not about to swallow it. But do I spit it out when mom’s not looking and where do I spit? Do I hide some in my other hand, put it into my pockets, throw it on the floor or kick it under the rug when she’s not looking? When if ever, will she ever stop looking at me? What else can be done? Strategy is required, especially when Brussels sprouts were on the menu. Let’s try ‘The Face,’ perhaps it will work?



Just saying “No,” didn’t work for me.

Neither of the following worked for me either: “I don’t wana,” or “But I don’t like it!”


“This is Freaking Me Out!”

The look of horror or this really creeps me out look, did not work for me. The sad, ‘Puppy Dog Face,’ didn’t work for me and maybe it was because, I never learned how to effectively make this face, since we didn’t have a dog?

Boo Hoo!  "Pleeze don't make me!"

Boo Hoo!
“Pleeze don’t make me!”

My Mom was not too impressed with my, ‘If Looks Could Kill,’ look either.’

You Can't Make Me!

You Can’t Make Me!

             What else could be done?


Like I said before, this couldn’t work for me because, we didn’t have a dog. And it does not appear to have worked out for this kid either, IF he thought his dog was going to get rid of all the evidence! How about, “Geeze Mom, the dog won’t even eat it, why should I?” I never tried this technique, but maybe it could work?

And the empty plate is a happy plate did not work for me. I could have cared less if the stupid plate was happy or not because, I was NOT happy!


I Don’t Care if the Plate is Happy!

“Oh, alright, if I have to, I guess?” This MAY get me to eat my dinner, but I still wouldn’t like it. The little boy below looks all happy about eating his food, yes or no? At least he and I would be moving in the right direction, but still not there yet!


OK, But I’m Not Happy About it!

But our mom was brilliant when she came up with the following concept!

“As soon as you finish eating, you can go play!”


The Original ‘Plug N’ Play
(or Eat to Play)!


Over the Teeth & Gums
Play Time Here Ize’ Comes!

“Well Mom, why didn’t you say that before?!! Now we’re on to something! So I tore into that food so fast and ate every bite. I was a blinding-blur as if I had somehow discovered a way to speed up time! I don’t recall the food even hitting my stomach, before I was out the door! It didn’t make the food taste any better then and it still doesn’t now! But it sure got me to eat it then and it still can today!

I could not recall, each and every bite
I was focused upon my next delight
This trip down memory lane is a public service announcement and has been brought to you by – Doing the Right Thing
Do the right thing, even eating a Brussels sprout
Don’t waste your energy and shout
Don’t waste your time and pout
Kid’s Have Got It figured Out-

Do the things you have to do, so you can do the things you Love!!!  

P.S. This post was written before the date it was first posted online. I am currently involved in, endeavoring to, to do the right thing and in trying to take my own advice here in doing the things I have to do, in order to do the things I love. 🙂

Categories: Doing the Right Thing, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fun, Health, Ideas, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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Categories: Family & Friends, Fun, Get Paid to Shop, Health, Ideas, Inspiration, Saving Money, Shopping, The Gathering Place, Wealth Building/ | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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