Saturday, August 29, 2009

A perfect day for the perfect cup.....

As I sit here blogging @ 6:30 on a Saturday morning, it is about 44/46 degrees outside. In August. It is the perfect day for the perfect cup.

I have brewed myself the perfect 1st pot of the perfect 1st bag of perfectly & freshly ground coffee beans. It is Cameron's Vanilla Hazelnut..fully leaded.

I have to tell you about this coffee for which my heart has longed. About 2 years ago my husband and I decided that we would try drinking coffee. Tony would doctor his up with about 9 pkgs of sugar/sugar substitute and about 1/2 cup of milk. Not much coffee there. But, he was slowly beginning to like the taste. Little did I know that it had become an obsession for him. He was buying it at the gas station and drinking it at the shop with my mom *gasp*....till one day he came home with a travel mug. Where did this come from?? He liked coffee that much? My husband, who swore he would never drink the stuff?

Yes, he liked it that much. So along with his new obsession came everyone's cast-off bags of coffee. 'Oh, I didn't realize you guys drank coffee, here take this, use it up.'.....oh, ok, thank you.
In amongst all of these gems was a bag of Cameron's. It was just regular 'ol coffee. But, by this time we had tried Douwe Egberts and Gevalia and decided they were nasty. So what was one more brand we didn't recognize? I mean, all we saw in the stores were 8 O'clock and Folgers and other pre-ground coffees. We were looking for beans, people!

Cameron's was a head above the rest from the start, we just didn't know it. First of all it was almost a full bag of beans 'handed down' to us by my brother and sister in law. They don't drink coffee and they were pretty sure that it was a bag that was left at their house by a family friend who doesn't drink coffee. (Yes, this is how 'back alley' our procurement of coffee beans was back in the beginning.) And it is not as if we were jumping for joy at the thought of another bag of ultra left overs....but we didn't know how to say no. So we took the Cameron's home. It sat in the refrigerator while we finished off what we were currently drinking. (We were STOCKED at this point.) Eventually, we pulled the Cameron's out and ground up our first batch.

While we were grinding it we noticed that it looked almost woody with large flakes of white-ish coloring. I still don't know the technical terms for those flakes. I'm assuming it's just "coffee". So as I'm watching these beans grind I'm thinking, "Oh great, it's going to be gross." True first thoughts, scouts honor (which would mean more if I had actually made it to girl scouts..I never made it past Brownies). *Sigh* Ok, so I'll make it.

It smelled good brewing. And when I poured my first cup....

The planets aligned. What was this heavenly, nutty flavor on my tongue? A robust flavor with perfect acidity. It wasn't overwhelmed by my creamer. It stood up for itself and declared, "I will not be hidden with artificial flavors and colors!!" It was the perfect cup!

We buzzed through that bag with great joy. All the while thinking that "We'll just get another bag".

Apparently not. Apparently nobody carries Cameron's in stores. And the family friend couldn't remember where he had purchased it. (I didn't know there was such a thing as 'random' coffee purchasing) And at that point, we were not aware that we could just look it up online. (Which I did this morning and bing, bing, bing..there it was. Why didn't I do it before?) So we thought it was a Mnpls/St Paul only coffee (Which, it actually is, but we couldn't find it). Nope, not over there, either. We kept the bag and carried it with us everywhere. Cameron's was never to be found again. Finally we gave up and threw away the bag. We even forgot our first love's name.

So when I was walking through my local grocery store and turned the corner to the coffee aisle and saw the name "Cameron's", I had to pause. Cameron's. Cameron's? Wait....Cameron's!! No freakin' way!!!! So I sniffed and lovingly fondled bags of coffee. (Yes, I unabashedly draw attention to myself in the coffee aisle, to the complete embarrassment of my children) At this point in our coffee drinking we have settled on Hazelnut as our flavor. We don't vary from it. It's our flavor. Anyone who drinks coffee understands what I am saying. So I decided to purchase a bag of Vanilla Hazelnut. (But! Then I saw the baby bags of pre-ground samplers and bought a bag of Chocolate Almond Swiss, too. I know it's not our flavor, but it was cute and it sucked me in! I made a pot of that yesterday.)

Today's first sip of Vanilla Hazelnut inspired me to share with you my journey to the perfect cup.

**Ok, here's something completely random. As a homeschooling mom I'm always looking for validation that I am doing right by my kids. Validation that they are learning and not being left behind and are getting more than I feel they would with public education.

Here are my two validations for this week. #1- While traveling back from my 20th reunion last weekend, my daughter was telling us about something and right there in the middle of her sentence she used the word "scoff". She said it so completely natural that I just sort of burst out laughing. So, then, I had to explain to her that it was her wording, which was brilliant. How many kids use the word scoff, naturally? There may be alot of them, but not in my world. #2-Last night at the local football game the freshman football players were manning the concession stand. They could not do simple math....I kid you not. My SIL gave them a five for a 3-something bill and got $4.25 back.... They could not add $.75 and $.75 together for my and my husband's sodas. My son got popcorn and a soda which came to $1.75. He gave them $2...they gave him $.50 back. So as we are walking away my son sort of laughingly tells me that they gave him a quarter too much (as he's tucking it into his wallet). I stopped him and said "You take that quarter back. We don't keep money that isn't ours and you never take advantage of the stupid."

Ok, yes, I probably shouldn't have said that (and I told my son that I shouldn't have said that)but it was a good lesson for him and TOTALLY validated my position in life as homeschooling mom. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fall, already?

I was at my mom's for coffee and chatting this morning. As I was leaving, I took a deep breath and thought "Mmmm. I love that smell...."

Then my brain said, "Wait, what was that?"

So I took another deep breath.

Brain said, "Hmmm...Spicy undertones...Moist earth...Fog.....That smells!"

What?!?!? We didn't even get Summer, yet!

Where does Earth get off changing seasons already? Scuze me! I still live in a state that has technically ordered 4 seasons from the menu of choices....why am I only getting 3??

I swear I will slap the next person that utters the words "Global Warming".

**random note** To DragonFlyLady: I am submitting to a crochet magazine. But, because I haven't completed the process yet, I'm not saying which one. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

20 Year Class Reunion.

I totally forgot to tell you!

I went to my 20 year reunion in one of the three cities I went to high school in this weekend. It was my first high school. These were the kids I grew up with through grade school and middle school. I left October of my freshman year. And they invited me to come to the reunion. :)

It was so good to see them. Many people I couldn't recognize. I just didn't spend enough time with them when we were kids apparently. But, I readily recognized Michelle, Brenda, and Deb. They don't look any different. And I got the chance to sit and talk with Michelle for quite a while. Found out she lives only a few hours from me and we could actually get together for lunch or go shopping or something! Too cool. She was my closest friend at the time that we moved. Apparently she had been looking for me for years and finally found me on Facebook.

I never thought that they would remember me. They all did. It meant the world to me. I hadn't seen any of them for so many years that it was almost like Arcadia never happened. But, it did. This reunion meant alot to me. It completely validated my childhood.

Somebody remembered me. :) And quite a few of them had stories about me that I never even remembered!

We drove out to the valley I grew up in and drove all the way to the back of it and then turned around, so that they could see the whole thing. As we were driving along one of my kids (i think my son) said "Wow, this is a really pretty valley, Mom". And it is. It is still as beautiful as when I was a child. Maybe even more so. I love that side of the state. I miss living there. Someday, I want to own the place where I grew up. The old house is gone now and somebody else built there. But, I want that piece of land. So many of my memories are wrapped up in that valley.


Pattern Submissions and stuff like that.

Today I have to sit down and figure out how to write a pattern for submission. I have never followed anyone else's rules for writing a pattern before. I hope I don't have to change alot. I'm really quite nervous about the whole thing. I have to get it submitted before September 8th. Nothing like procrastination??

I have had to work so much lately I haven't had any time at the yarn store. I was there on Friday last week. By that time there is so much to do I don't get to really deal with the extra-curricular stuff. Did I mention that the store is on the market again? Well, it is. I just want to move on with my life. We have had so many people come in and say "Oh, it's so sad that you are closing." and then we say "But, we aren't closing." and we had one person say.."What's the difference?"

Well, here is the difference, we are selling the business..we are not having a "going out of business" sale, therefore closing the doors forever, never to be seen or heard from again. We are selling the business. Hopefully, to someone that has every intention of staying right where they are and continuing to serve the community as we have. It's a needed business in our little town.

Here's another small pet peeve. Why does everyone assume that when they buy a business all they are obligated to pay for is the inventory? Why is that the first thing that people ask?

Just for future reference for anyone out there looking to buy an established business. You will be buying more than the inventory. You will be paying for the blood, sweat, tears and time that the former owner spent on their knees seeking God's direction for that that one day you can come along and buy a well-established business with a very comfortable and faithful customer base. You will not have to put in the long hours making something out of nothing like they did. You will not have to put lots and lots and lots and LOTS of money into building a business that carries the product lines that customers want, built completely out of trial and error and losing your shirt more than once on an unsuccessful venture.... You will not have to work NEARLY as hard as that original owner did. So, when you ask what they want for their business and they say "X" amount of dollars...don't let the first question be..."Well, how much do you have in inventory?" and then try to short change them when you make an offer. Remember how much their hard work is worth.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Work, work, work.

Sometimes I feel like all I do is work.

I have decided to make myself a pair of socks with the handpainted yarn I bought myself in Bayfield last year. One is done. One is in the cuff stage. Other than that..I have no other time for myself.

Well, all except for my Facebook/Farm Town obsession.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Few Random Thoughts

I have my first 'unscheduled' Saturday in months today. It feels great. I slept till I wanted to get up. (Which, of course, just happened to be 20 minutes later than my usual time.)

I loaded the dishwasher. And then I sat in my living room with the laptop and played on Facebook for a good hour or more.

Now, I'm at the store cuz Stefani needed change for the register and she had a 'butt' customer to deal with so she needs moral support.

Next, I'm going to go back home and hopefully get up the motivation to clean and declutter my house. I've been so busy and I am so lazy that I just have not been able to keep up with the mess. It NEEDS to be dealt with. Today.

Tah for now and "Happy, Lazy Saturday" to all!

Monday, August 10, 2009

August Update

It's pretty bad when I am so inconsistent at blogging that I just have to start naming my posts by the month... I promise I will get better.

Life has been so hectic for us. Lots and lots of traveling in July. We went to Youth Invasion in Midland July 28-Aug 1. It was great and life changing and, well, completely awesome!

I'm still working 2 jobs. Although, the store is once again on the market. This time she's there till she sells. It is just absolutely time to move on with my life.

I've been a little crafty lately. I haven't had a lot of time to sit and work on things. I have a sock started...about 1/2 way done. I've rounded the heel and I'm in the foot at least. And I've been working on a few charity things, but nothing huge. Some baby hats and I've started another scrap afghan.

Finally, here is a picture of the completed Mitered Corners afghan from Mason-Dixon Knitting. This was made with Vanna's Choice Baby yarn. Now its a sample in my store.
Here we have "Toby's Hats" :) He is my newest cousin. He was born a few months premature and I found a pattern for baby hats (though for the life of me, I can't remember which one I used) through Knitting Pattern Central that gave me such a variety of sizes to choose from that I became quite confused and befuddled. But, I got through it and made these cute little hats in an evening. These, too, are made from Vanna's Choice Baby yarn (except for the white one).
We have had almost no heat this summer at all. My garden has suffered. It's been so cold and rainy that things haven't grown the way they should and some of it is just rotting where it sits because it's too wet. My potatoes and peppers are going great, though. My tomatoes are starting to perk up. I fear for my cabbages, zukes and cukes....