Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Coffee Affair

Can we, for a moment, think about that the cup of coffee you had this morning, or yesterday, or the one you'll have in the morning.  Think on how it has been lovingly cared for throughout it's entire life! The tender bean is carefully grown on coffee farms in tropical climates like: South American, Central American, India. The bean is then picked at just the right time, and roasted on site or shipped to a roaster, also very carefully. Beans from all over the world are grown and make their way to roaster here in the United States. Beans that will be roasted lightly for a soft taste with all the caffeine, or burnt to a crisp for Starbucks normal brews. Each batch of coffee is cared for, roasted and sent around the world, to be ground up and end up in your morning caffeine buzz.

Except for Instant Coffee....

If there is one thing that God had no choice over, it was allowing the devil to take this tender beverage, served hot or cold to millions around the world, and give it the kiss of death that only a dehydrated cup of coffee could offer.

I mean seriously, anytime you are given a spoonful of powder and a cup of boiling water, you should probably throw to the ground and run in the opposite direction (See: astronaut ice cream, dehydrated beef stroganoff). For the foul tasting liquid tar that awaits you is neither comforting or enjoyable for any participant.

Except my dad.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has had to morning routine of making a cup of Folgers Instant Coffee. He swears by it, and will probably have it til the day he dies. Now, I began drinking coffee at the tender age of 14 or so, to make the miserable experience of waking up as the crack of dawn... more pleasant. This became the daily ritual: awake from deep slumber, accept sacrifice of the day, boil some water, add Satan's whisper to the water, douse in Half/Half and copious amounts of sugar, drink with a bowl of sugar... err cereal, and go about my school day.

This went on for 4 or 5 years.... Or more... I have pretty much blocked out what I drank from 2008-2011. All I do know, was that it was awful Folgers instant coffee with an intermixing of "good" drip coffee, or some done with my parents old Moka Pot... that I burned on a regular basis. I was without good coffee, but had no idea of it. I was in my dreamland, my sheltered world of instant coffee and drip.

Until Panama.

I got hired to go down to Panama to assist on a natural history shoot for a museum down there, lots of work, gallons of sweat, but the coffee..... oh man, the coffee. We resided on a coffee farm for the first week we were there, and everyday was perfection from a coffee ground. I don't think you could get it any fresher. It was an eye-opening experience both in taste and caffeine intake. There was a good version of this brown liquid, one that doesn't even need cream, or sugar. Something that just was... good. I had the ultimate coffee epiphany that I think everyone has, that moment when coffee is more than just a caffeine buzz, when it becomes a tasty drink. Hot, cold, milk, or sugar. I could have it any way and it was still incredible.

Every now and then I get an order of that coffee from Panama, or through the cinematographer Tom, who's father-in-law coincidently owns the coffee farm.

What I was doing.

Who I was drinking coffee with.

Random Picture. The Best Steak I've ever had.

From that point on, good coffee, and making it well, was my obsession. Now, my morning ritual is: awake handsomely, rush out of bed, put water on to exactly 200 degrees, burr grind fresh coffee to coarse, put grounds in french press, pour water, steep, more water, time, depress fully, add dash of half/half, DRINK. Yeah, it may take more time, but at least it's not instant....

If you're going to spend 10 minutes a day on drinking something, don't let it be instant coffee... let your taste buds love you.

- Z

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Little Thing Called Love

I decided that it is probably time to introduce myself to the blog. I mean, my face is plastered on the side over there. Obviously that means I am somewhat important in this whole thing (even if I may have put that picture there myself). For my first post I am going to talk about something that has been on my mind a lot due to endless tears after seeing The Fault In Our Stars, and watching the newest season of Orange is the New Black. That's right, LOVE. Hold on to your seats humans, because it's about to get crazy up on here!

So yeah, lets talk about love for a second. Do you guys believe in soul mates? Do you think that there is one person for everyone out there, and that no matter what you will meet that person? Well I'll tell you what I believe... not that!

Like everyone, I have had my fair share of break ups, make ups, i love you's, and heart break. Heck, I've even had the occasional I HATE YOU SO MUCH YOU STUPID FACE I DON'T EVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN or something equivalent in nature. Each of us have had our own unique experience when it comes to relationships, but all of us have the same goal in mind when it comes down to it. The reason why we put ourselves through all the heart break, and let down. To find that one person that we completely connect with on so many different levels than we do with any other average human...

Now I don't mean to brag, but I just thought I would let you all know that I have found that one human. His name is Zachary, and he is in that loony picture on the side that I made you look at at the beginning of this post. He has changed my life for the better in so many ways. He has taught me to stand up for myself, and has challenged me to really think long and hard about what I believe in. He has given me so much confidence in the past year. I never knew that I could be this happy. To me, he is my one and only. He has taught me what REAL love is. A love I never knew existed. I am so grateful and blessed to have this silly human in my life, and I thank God for putting him in my life every single day.

So maybe there are soul mates, and maybe there aren't. All I know is that I found that one person that just clicks perfectly with me. We fit together like a puzzle, and I couldn't imagine any other person out there that would fit me so flawlessly. I personally don't believe in soul mates, but if I did I know Zachary would be mine.

And the cheese ends there my friends. Have a wonderful day.

- S

P.s- I bought a plant the other day, and I'm a little obsessed. Enough that I needed to share it with you all. Okay, bye.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Upsides of Lawn Care.

"A neglected lawn is ugly.."
-Shelby Richins

These ever so eloquent words spoken by my fair dear are true and unforgiving. Neglect a lawn for a growing season and it will never let you forget it. It will become weed and bug infested quicker than you could expect, and will take a few years to bring back to life. Leave it unmowed, velociraptors will begin to move into the tall grass and wreak havoc on your life until you switch your door handles to door knobs. Okay, not so much, but seriously, don't neglect a lawn if you happen to move into some place, or buy a home, that has even the semblance of a good lawn.

Luckily, where I moved too, had neither the velociraptor problem, or any semblance of a nice lawn. But what it did have, was a "yard" with "grass growing".

Lawn Care 101, 
for Dummies, 
like Zac.

So I haven't technically done anything terribly wrong, in fact, for a dude like myself, I've done a lot right.. I swear!

  1. Cool! You have a new apartment! It smells like cigarette smoke and the windows are painted shut! But hey, you have a good yard out back that soon will look like a beautiful manicured lawn. You know, that kind of lawn out in front of the Biltmore Estate, or those botanical gardens your mom brought you to on every family vacation. With just a quick mow and watering, it'll be as green as it can be.
  2. ALL LIES. Except for the sentences ending in an exclamation point. Those are terribly true, though Shelby claims I've just gotten the place smelling like a neutral zone, neither bad, nor terribly good. But the yard. Yeah, no secret fertilizer, no watering it once a week, mowing it down to a reasonable amount is going to be the secret code to a perfect lawn.
  3. Some times you just mow it for the first time in 5 years (or your girlfriend's dad does). Yes. apparently this lawn has been neglected for over 5 years. Maybe once or twice a summer someone would stop by, or a neighbor would get pissed and come over and mow it. But seriously. On a regular basis, it has been over 5 years since someone has cared about this lawn.
  4. My final step for Lawn Care 101 is PEOPLE. Do not neglect the fact that there are a lot of people just like you. They want to see a nice lawn when they look over the fence at their neighbors yard. I've been constantly bombarded with amazing help from my neighbors, offering hedge trimmers, tools, advice, labor, air conditioners, and one neighbor has even taken it as a mission himself to provide me with as many plants as possible to start my own herb and tomato garden. Seriously. And not just my neighbors. Shelby's family has made the first loving mistake of offering to help assist me in moving in to my new place. A tribe of Richins descended on my Bountiful apartment to haul a ton of my silly junk down to my new place. Huge mattresses and all. I am pretty much forever indebted to their help for saving me boatloads of cash on a U-Haul rental. But that's not even the best part. In their help, Garret (Shelby's dad) offered up his yard tools to get me rolling on the yard work, until my landlord could get me a mower. A few days after I got settled in, I thought it would be good to start on the lawn. So I asked on Memorial Day if I could go pick them up. Oh No... I was amazingly mistaken. They hauled a ton of tools over here, with Kim in tow, and preceded to help me make my yard look incredible. Lawn mowed, edges trimmed, hedges trimmed, weeds pulled, more weeds pulled, weeds killed, more weeds pulled. And holy crap. My yard looked great. All because Shelby's parents decided they wanted to help me do yard work, instead of having a BBQ. Never neglect people. Cause if you do, they'll come out of the woodwork to remind you that they want to help.

The First moral of the story about Lawn Care, which I guess applies to so much in life. Don't expect to make things perfect the first time around. I'm probably going to have to wait another year before I can get the lawn to get somewhere close to where my dream is, but I knew this from the get go, my lawn was going to look horrible this summer. 

The Second is don't underestimate people. No matter if you're introverted, lonely, or burned the bridge with everyone you've ever known. Someone will find you and offer some help of any kind, be it the kind of fertilizer for your grass, or a bunch of plants to start growing good healthy things. Don't forget. And don't forget to offer them something in return, or force them to accept something in return.


Some of the Neighbor's sacrifices to keep me pleased.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

So It Begins..

Why does one start a blog? 
To brag, confess, complain, and gain attention. 

That's so last decade, a time when the internet was still kinda young, and people just wanted everyone to know about their lives. Now we have the tweet perch or Faceplant to get all of your 600 closest friends the chance to hear what you're feeling at this moment, or eating. But how about two cool cats starting a blog, just to grow closer to one another. Two fine looking felines who can sometimes put things together better on paper than in words, especially when those words have to be strung together in tight fancy sentences vocalized by our oddly shaped mouths.

Writing is so much easier. I spent like 5 minutes writing that last paragraph. If I had to form those beautiful words in tandem out loud, I would have only been able to spend 30 seconds thinking that on the fly, 1 minute tops.

But here we are, I've given Shelby 20 names for the blog to choose from, she narrowed it down to 3. Her and I kept coming back to this name, mostly because it was so random, and included the word Rambling, which is exactly what we plan to do here. Ramble on questions we find online, in books, on paper. Questions that can delve deeper into our lives that we know it. Questions that might provoke some controversy, tickle fights, or settling our differences over coffee. Whatever the blogs might be, you'll be sickened by the amount of love we'll share for each other on this blog. So barf bags ready, cause this blog thing is going to take off, just like the prices for beanie babies in mint condition.