Now, where did I leave that?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vive Le Cafe!

Happy National Coffee Day! Who knew? But I'm totally okay with a day that celebrates this historical beverage. I love coffee, always have. It's punctuated my life since I was a teenager. My father and I always had an awkward relationship. We shared very little other than a love of Tolkien,  M*A*S*H, and the ocean, but I remember waking early--we were both very early risers--when the family went camping. We'd sit close to the campfire, mugs of steaming coffee in hand, listening to the woods and the campground stir awake. We rarely spoke, just shared the warmth, the cocoon of wood smoke and rich aroma of coffee. They were the rare moments in which I felt connected to him.

  I remember my years in high school as co-editor of the school newspaper (The Gleam....pretty odd name, that); we had a newspaper office tucked away in a former dorm room on the third floor, and kept an 'illegal' coffeemaker going all day. We'd sneak up there between classes to discuss ideas and sip the strong, dark liquid, feeling like quite the renegades (what can I say? It was a Catholic school, and we were newspaper geeks...).

  In college I made a friend who became the brother of my heart; my older son's middle name came from this gentleman, and we're still friends today. We went dancing at night (those who know me well are re-reading that last sentence in shock), shared a love of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (which he introduced me to), and a bizarre paranormal experience, and relied on coffee to, shall we say, clear the cobwebs in the morning. I was still an early riser, so would make coffee in my dorm room, then bring two mugs down to his room, wake him, and we'd share the first cup of the day (okay, it was occasionally spiked, I admit it) in companionable silence.

  Fast forward many hundreds of gallons of coffee later, and I would knock on Linda's door during the festival that brought us together, offering her a freshly brewed mug (yes, I brought a coffeemaker with me to a womyn's festival in the woods). Only later did she confess that, not wishing to have a full growth of hair sprout on her chest, she diluted it by half! I eventually won her over (talking about the coffee, folks); after we'd been together awhile, she visited her brother, and after making coffee for everyone the first morning, she was forbidden to go near the coffeemaker again for the duration of her visit. I do acknowledge though that in terms of coffee, her standards are pretty low...on many occasions she's been caught drinking day-old coffee from a mug she left on her desk overnight. I shudder every time!

  I'm devoted to our Cuisinart DC 1200 Brew Station (in fact, we have one in the kitchen and one upstairs in our 'dressing room'). 

It makes great coffee (and looks way cool as well, with a fun, retro feel), and my brew of choice is Dean's Beans Ring of Fire. I like it strong, dark, unsweetened with nothing in it. I don't get the idea of flavored coffees, and we won't even discuss decaf, which never tastes quite as good. Coffee is ritual....and the quickest way to start my day off wrong is to wake up before the pot has finished brewing. The scent of it rising up the stairs, the sound as it flows into my mug (and not just any mug; I'm very picky about the 'right' mug), the curling heat, that first burning bite on my lips, are as necessary to me as the sun rising. What happens next can vary...a check of the weather & news on the computer, with Elf on my lap, watching hummingbirds and the dew glistening from the porch, or (one of my favorites) sipping it in bed on a cold Winter morning with Linda, seed catalogs and post-its scattered across the cranberry bedspread. 

  I may sound obsessed, but when something has been part of your life for some 35 years or so, you can get pretty passionate about it. So tell me about your coffee passion: what do you drink and where is your favorite place to drink it?

Bottom's up!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Autumn Rest

lost in overheated, dreamless sleep,
I missed the rustling breeze
As you entered the room.
I didn't see the golden glow of your smile,
didn't feel the dip of the mattress
as you slipped cool and gentle
into my wrinkled bed.
Your breath whispered
with mine,
A rhythm older than Earth
quieting my soul,
And the fever left me.
I calmed,
curling into the curve of your body,
at peace,
at rest,
Until the sun returns.

(c) Ashling Kelly, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

We Have Winners!

Many thanks to all who contributed their ideas and names.  The winners are:

Twink, courtesy of Robin Larkspur

And Oliver Wendell, thanks to PatsyAnne!

But we'll hang onto these other names since I'm guessing come Spring, Linda will have more babies!

Thank you, everyone!

Where Did It Go????

So imagine my shock to log on just now and discover the buzzards meant it when they threatened to change my blogger interface! This is going to delay any real posting until I navigate my way through the muck, but--HELP!  Where do I find that fabulous feature that showed me--behind the scenes--the most recent postings of my favorite blogs? It used to be in 'dashboard' but now that's gone, and it was a great way to quickly check who had posted recently. Anyone know ehere to find it in this new blogger interface?

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Name Game

As I mentioned, Linda sort of bypassed the No Vacancy sign hanging outside our door and brought home a mama and four babies to foster. Mama is too young, under the weather, has had too many changes in a short time, and has stopped caring for them, so the crew is being bottle fed. At two 1/2 weeks, they're a far more robust group than this Spring's litter(Pip & siblings), but just as adorable!

This is Bob (short for Bobcat):

And these two cuties are nameless for the moment:
That's where you all come in! We need names for these bottom two babies; although they may end up with name changes when they find their forever families, we need to keep records, have names entered in the shelter's database and hold conversations with them without calling 'em 'hey you'. No prizes, alas, just fun...Post your comment below, tell us which name is for which of the two, and on Thursday we'll put all the names in a bowl and announce the winners. Thanks so much!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Almost There....

What an exhausting bear of a week. This one should be slightly less intense (a '7 1/2'vs '11' on the 1-10 scale), and then the worst is over. Until January, anyway. Thanks to all who posted words of encouragement; it was much appreciated. My job isn't one I would have chosen had I known then what I know now (a serious lesson in 'be careful what you wish for'). I'm grateful for a decent-paying job with health benefits and generous vacation/comp time, but weeks like these are a challenge physically, mentally & emotionally. Do you ever multi-task to the point you think your brain might break?! Anyway, I'm on the downhill part of the terrain, and that's a good thing.

On the home front, we helped our neighbors relocate all their chickens (some of which were originally ours from last year). We kept two of them & brought them home Friday night. Yeah, that went pretty badly. Not one of the group was happy with the arrangement, and yesterday one of the newbies kept winging it over the 7 ft fencing to go back 'home'. The people buying the neighbors' house wouldn't be too happy about that since they'd been adamant they didn't want the chickens. Our three hens haven't figured out that flying-the-coop thing and we don't want them to learn, so we had to make a quick decision. Called the guy who took the others, and he was delighted to add two more. So we are officially at three chickens, and will be keeping it that way for the Winter. Come Spring, I'd really like to find a couple of Australorps to complete our flock; our current trio is comprised of Red Stars.

 I confess we've only named one of them (Tutu; can you pick her out of the crowd?); hoping Fall will allow us time to get to know them a bit. No eggs yet, which is frustrating! The overnight guests each laid one, so we are leaving them in the nest box a few days as inspiration.

Linda's at it again, this time fostering a mama and four tiny babies. Her owners moved out of their apartment and just left this beautiful creature behind. The kittens are about a week old, and well, mama may be sweet but she got around...definitely more than one daddy here! 
And before anyone asks, no...we will not be keeping any of this crew! Really. I mean it. Pip is a handful, and a delight. This morning we had coffee in bed (with the windows open, letting in the fresh, cool full-of-Fall-promise air), laughing out loud as the Pipster raced around the bedroom chasing & bringing back crumpled post-its and playing with toes under the blanket. She's thinks the dogs exist for her. Yeti just sighs and Lola is bemused, as you can see:

We also have a rescue caterpillar, because...why not? Meet Spicey, the Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly-to-be, who came with the spicebush we acquired a couple of weeks ago...

It's an exquisite day, with dramatic clouds casting mood shadows on the mountains.  The chickens have the best view on the property (although they're too short to actually see it):

Have a magical week!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wee Hour Wanderings

My job is often stressful, but there are several periods through the year when the stress ratchets up. About three weeks' worth of those stressful times are made up of 13+ hour days; today I need to be at work at 6:30 a.m., and if it's a really, really good day, I'll walk in the door at 8:00 tonight. So waking up from nerves and whatever else at 2 a.m. is charming, just the gooey butter cream frosting on the cake. Did one of the tasks I'd brought home for the weekend, then decided I'd do a quick post. I suspect it'll be at least a week before the next one because of time constraints (and utter exhaustion; by day's end I'm lucky to be able to string three words together coherently). I've done this enough times it shouldn't stress me out, but it always does...and I'm one of those people who gets teary when exhausted, so I'm praying today is smooth as silk.

Fall is creeping closer. Everything has that blowsy look I often refer to as 'stayed a little too late at the party'. Mama Nature looks a little tired; her mascara is smudged, eyes bloodshot, hair a tad tangled. She needs a good long nap (mmm....sleep sounds delicious right now!), a shower, a strong cup of coffee (I'll share a cup of my Dean's Beans Ring of Fire), a gentle walk on a cool, crisp day. But she parties on, storing up those good times like a squirrel with a new-found hickory tree. Meanwhile I'm looking for the door, ready to blow this popsicle stand, daydreaming about crackling fires, burnt oranges and maroons, pulling out the wool for knitting, spinning & felting again, making soups, lounging about in fleece, cozy group snuggles on the couch with Linda and both dogs & Pip.

Pip is just a couple ounces shy of 4 lbs!!! She's five months old now, and much smaller than she should be, but growing steadily. She's fearless, assumes the world is her catnip toy (this includes our ponytails, Yeti's paws, Lola's tail....) and an incredibly loving kitten. When she sleeps, she positions herself so she's touching both Linda and me. She purrs on contact, and is never happier than when getting into mischief or falling asleep between us on the couch. We love her to pieces, so much so that Linda just acquired cat tv (aka, an aquarium). Yes folks, we now have 'rescue fish'. The neighbors are moving and downsizing in preparation for doing some world travel in another year. Daughter couldn't bring her tropical fish to the new home/new life, so she waylaid us in the driveway yesterday afternoon, and 24 hours later, we became fish owners. Linda had tropical fish while living in Thailand as a teenager, and is tickled pink to take the hobby back up. That brings the count to 2 dogs, 5 cats, 3 chickens (soon to be 5 as we're taking a couple of the neighbors' chickens in the next couple of weeks), and about a dozen fish. Please note: the inn is full!  No vacancy. Really.

So....wishing you all a gentle week with happy surprises and the promise of good things to come.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rock & Roll, and Build a Shelter!

Please pass this on! It's okay to post this on your blogs (and wow, would that be awesome!) and/or your facebook pages.