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If we were having coffee

coffee2Coffee beans are at their peak flavor for fourteen days from the roaster.  Beyond that, they should be stored consistently below 0C/32F, ideally near the temperature where Walt Disney is kept.

~ Keven Sinnott, The Art and Craft of Coffee: An Enthusiast’s Guide To Selecting, Roasting, and Brewing Exquisite Coffee

On the kitchen counter.  (Loose leaf teas in canisters.)
On the kitchen counter. (Loose leaf teas in canisters.)

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it has been a good week.  I’ve added exercise back into my daily routine, and I’m finally beginning to feel like my normal self again.  I knew for sure that things were going well when I went out to play in the snow on Thursday.  During our previous snowfall, I tired easily while I was out walking around through the snow.  On Thursday I walked for at least an hour, built a snowman (with M’s help, of course, because he didn’t want to be left out of the fun), and threw a few snowballs.  All of that without much dwindling of personal energy.

If we were having coffee, we'd probably be sitting at the kitchen table.
If we were having coffee, we’d probably be sitting at the kitchen table.  (Photo taken in the early morning in January 2014, and as you can see, I was having tea.)

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we finally made a decision regarding the backsplash in the kitchen.  We picked out tiles way back when we were working on the renovation and design of the kitchen, but the estimates for the tile and the installation were so high that we decided we would do it ourselves.  The estimates ranged from a high of $1200 to a low of $600.  The area we want to tile is so small (I think it’s something like 18 x 24 inches) that the prices seemed outrageous to us.  That was the case with many of the estimates we received while we were working on the kitchen.  In the event you weren’t around during the kitchen renovations, this is what we started with:

Before
Before

There were no cabinets.  Just the pantry you see next to the fridge.  The counter top was nothing more than some varnished wood planks (terribly dirty, greasy varnished wood planks).  There were mouse droppings and insects and holes in the floor.  It was pretty bad.

This is what we changed it to:

After.
After.

See the white microwave with the black stove underneath it?  That small area of wall between them is where we want to put a backsplash.  Because cooking can get messy, especially in such a small space.  In case you’re wondering, we have both black and white appliances because we kept some of the appliances that were already here (to save some money and because they were working), including the white refrigerator and the black stove/range.

Since we were working with black and white appliances, and since it seemed to work out much better than I thought when we started the kitchen project, I eventually decided we would use black and white subway tiles for the backsplash.  We looked at the tiles a few times, and then a week or two ago we went to one of those big box hardware stores with our measurements and laid out the tile to see what it would look like.  It didn’t take long for me to realize the tiles were, to my eye, too big for the small space.  We brought home samples of smaller tiles, including those sheets of tiles with glass and ceramic (“peel and stick mosaic tiles”).  Well.  I didn’t like any of them.  One of the problems I have with the big box stores is that it doesn’t matter where you go in the country, they all have the same stuff.  That means that eventually homes will all look pretty much alike, the way certain sections of towns do now.  You probably know which sections I mean.  The areas you drive through that are a long strip of fast food joints, big box stores, and chain restaurants.  Anywhere, U.S.A.

Tin tile samples.
Tin tile samples.

After much searching on the internet, I came across tin tiles used for backsplashes, ordered some samples, and we finally found something that suits us.  See the tile on the far right?  That’s the color we decided on.  The third tile from the left is the pattern (which, it happens, matches some of the architectural elements in the house).  If you come back in a couple of weeks, we should have the tiles installed.  Hopefully it will work out the way I picture it.  The best part is that the cost is only $84 plus shipping (since we can’t find anyone selling it out here in the Middle of Nowhere).  About $100 when all is said and done.

A little something to eat.
A little something to eat.

If we were having coffee, I’d apologize for hogging the conversation with kitchen renovation talk.  How are YOU?  What you have you been up to this week?  Read any good books lately?  Seen any good movies?  I’m currently reading a John Grisham novel that someone gave me.  I haven’t read one his books in a very long time.  It’s a fast read, and I should be finished with it soon.  As for movies, M and I recently watched Boyhood, and today we’re going to see Interstellar In an IMAX theater.  (As you might recall, seeing at least one film in a theater was on my list of 15 Things to do this year.)

Morsel.
On the tip of his beak.

If we were having coffee, I would thank you for stopping by and visiting with me.  Let’s go look at the 10,000 blackbirds before you leave.  They’re still here, and I think you’ll enjoy watching and listening to them.  They’re out front, in the meadows, where they have obviously found something good to eat.

His close-up.
His close-up.

Be careful going out the driveway.  It’s snow covered again, but you should be fine as it isn’t slippery.  We had a slight thaw on Friday.  You might have noticed that when you saw the snowman outside the kitchen window.  He lost his eyes.  I’ll walk you out so I can go put them back on for him.  Did you see that bluebird sitting on top of his head earlier?  The birds like him.

Up in the air.
Up in the air.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Shades of red.
Shades of red.

This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare.  Grab a cup of coffee and join us.  I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.

Sunset at the Point yesterday.
Sunset at the Point yesterday.
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

37 thoughts on “If we were having coffee

  1. I miss good coffee so much! You have me drooling for some whenever you do this series of posts, but I’d be ricocheting off the rafters and my heart would race like mad if I had a sip. But it’s nice to imagine that taste and smell.

    Your kitchen update is magnificent. I inherited black appliances here and tend to hope they’ll give up the ghost (they’re still quite newish)… Wishing you great good luck with the tiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Gunta. 🙂 Can you drink decaff coffee? I’m still not fond of the taste of coffee, but I could sniff it all day long. It has such a wonderful aroma.

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      1. Yes, I can still drink decaf, but it’s usually not great coffee then and sometimes I feel bad when we eat out, having them make a pot just for me. Then again, Eric commented that it’s one way to get fresh brewed. I don’t bother with it at home, preferring a good Jasmine Green tea, or some such. I remember working with someone who said he’d drink coffee if it tasted as good as it smells. Must share your feelings it would seem! 🙂

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        1. I love Jasmine Green tea! I just got a batch of magnolia tea that was supposed to be a magnolia oolong tea, but I swear it looks like green tea. The taste and color and aroma are wonderful so I didn’t send it back. Interesting that you don’t think decaf is as good as regular. They taste the same to me. Coffee makes my heart race and has me bouncing off the walls, too, but it’s always done that (which is why I don’t drink more than a half cup).

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  2. Which Grisham book are you reading? I used to go out and buy his book on the release day and read them within 24 hours. Somewhere along the way I lost interest in his writing but not totally. I’m currently reading David Baldacci’s The Escape, which I think is the most recent of his many books. Baldacci is, like Grisham, a lawyer turned author. His books are spy/political thrillers.

    Well, I’m being summoned to go babysit the boys while their dad goes out to buy a storm door so I will see you next time.

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    1. I’ve read a couple of Baldacci’s books, Corina. I used to read Robert Ludlum’s spy novels and have been looking for another good spy/political/thriller type author since he died. The Grisham book was “The Broker.” My opinion is more or less: Eh. Could take it or leave it. But I’ve felt that way about his books for quite a while which is why it has been so long since I’ve read one.

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  3. The kitchen and bird shots are all awesome, albeit for different reasons.

    I’ve been reading some good books lately. Being unemployed has really helped my brain to concentrate on more complex books. I finished “The Best Yes” by Lysa TerKeurst, “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown, and “The Artisan Soul” by Erwin McManus. All were good. I’m also reading a light romance by Marie Force called “All You Need Is Love”. I think I got it for 99 cents from Kindle and it was a good read.

    Nancy

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    1. Sounds like you’ve been busy with books, Nancy! I don’t have a Kindle or any kind of e-reader yet. I’m still old fashioned enough to want to hold the actual book. I know there are good reasons to switch, and I’ll probably do that eventually, but I still have a stack of what I’ve heard some Kindle readers refer to as “dead tree books” on my bookshelf so it might be a while before I need to switch.

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  4. I used glass tiles from a big box store for my back splash. Coincidentally, my friend in New York picked the same tiles for hers – every house looking the same. Now I’d like to do something on my bathtub surround.
    Thank you for the coffee. I enjoyed hearing your renovation talk. I recently finished the Olivia series of books by Yael Politis; am anxiously awaiting the next one from Lisa Genova. I streamed the movies Theory of Everything (which I loved) and Birdman, which I thought a bit odd. Happy Redmayne won the Oscar.

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    1. I haven’t heard of those books before, Carol. They sound fascinating. Birdman was a bit odd, but I did enjoy it (maybe because I’m a bit odd). I kept thinking about Michael Keaton as Batman in the 1989 film, and every time I heard his Birdman ego talk, I thought of Michael Keaton saying, “I am Batman” in that movie. It’s hard to explain, but I find it humorous. Not sure if that was intended or not.

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  5. If we had had a coffee date earlier today I would have missed it – instead I was at A&E after an iron fell on my head! Blog post to follow 🙂 I have seen both your movies, Boyhood and Interstellar and I shall wait to tell you what I thought til you have seen them – perhaps our next coffee date? Perhaps suffice to say I loved them both.

    I do like the colour tile you have chosen for your kitchen, can’t quite make out the pattern – could be due to the anaesthetic that has been administered to my eye area making things slightly fuzzy…. I know what you mean about everything looking the same and ‘Anywhere USA’ – make that Anywhere World – so glad you have chosen something different! Hope to hear the fitting goes easily and smoothly.

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    1. Oh no, Pauline! I’ll be over to your blog soon to find out what happened. I know I haven’t been around lately. I’m having a tough time keeping up with everything. I do hope you’re okay, and that you’re healing nicely.

      Feel free to tell me what you thought of both movies. I’m not particularly good at reviewing things, especially books or movies. I do the occasional book reviews because, well, I don’t know. Because they send me a book and ask me to do it, I suppose. The first time I was asked, I almost declined. Then I decided it would be a good thing for me to learn how to do (mostly because my husband, in a wise way, questioned my decision not to do it). I recently received something in the mail about how to do a “proper” book review and ended up throwing it in the trash because it suggested doing all the things I dislike most in book reviews. Not sure why I’m babbling about that…lol!

      At any rate, I liked both Boyhood and Interstellar. Boyhood, in particular, was fascinating in that they used the same actors over a period of 12 years. Interstellar had some hokey dialogue, but I liked the basic premise so I was willing to overlook that, especially since it gave me a good movie line to use at some future date. Sometimes we use movie quotes around here the way others might use sarcasm. I loved:

      “It’s not possible.”
      “No, it’s necessary.”

      Can’t wait until the next time I’m told it’s not possible. 😀

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      1. How intriguing that you get asked to review books – how does that happen? I liked those two movies for the same reason – you always have to get past what we refer to as ‘Hollywoodisms’, but the premise was exciting I thought! I also thought it was a great step forward to make a movie over a twelve year period, ad I guess it meant the script had to be flexible, or willing to alter course according to how real life treated the actors. It was a wonderful thing to watch the real growing up and real maturing that occurred, especially in the boy. I would like to think they are now filming the next twenty years 🙂 We also adopt lines from movies and the one you quoted was duly noted and recorded and a facsimile of it may even have been used on me the other day when I said I didn’t want to go to the ER ……………

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        1. When I don’t want to go somewhere or do something, I go with a line from The Matrix: “There is no spoon” (because maybe they need to be focusing on changing something else), but for an ER visit, that’s probably not appropriate given that there was an injury and you needed to go. 😀

          As for how I got asked to do book reviews… I don’t know. Honestly. Someone emailed me and Bob’s your uncle, I was reviewing books. Maybe it’s because of my 50 Books project (over in the sidebar I keep track of what I’m reading and what I’ve read, and then there’s a page on the blog with the list of what I read in previous years). It doesn’t happen often, which is fine because that means I’m left to my own devices for long periods of time.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. My youngest daughter is very fond of ‘there is no spoon’ Had I been more compos-mentos I probably would have said ‘there is no injury’ Part of my healing process is to say constantly ‘It is already healed’. But sometimes you do just need a stitch or two to help you along! Thanks for sharing about your reviewing – I was just curious!

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  6. There’s something endearing about the downiness of birds, isn’t there? You capture that softness in what isn’t a soft life. I’m getting ready to plunge into a kitchen remodel and the thought leaves me cowering. Seeing yours, though, and your beautiful tiles, gives me some strength!

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    1. Thank you, Arlingwoman. I’m so glad you caught that. I marvel that such softness manages to exist in the harsh environment of winter. As for kitchen remodels, this was our third time (we tend to buy houses that need TLC), and I think our kitchen design gal was intimidated by us because we’d been through this before and seemed to know what we were doing. We’ve learned so much along the way, and although it’s helpful to go through a kitchen design company (we had to do it because it was the only way to get the cabinets we wanted), you have to keep an eye on every little detail so sometimes I wonder what the point is of hiring people that are supposed to do just that for you!

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  7. Love your kitchen renovation (boy, what a before!) and your choice of tile will go well. I should have you advise me on mine. We’ve already done it once since we moved here nearly 25 years ago, but it is time again, the counters are wearing out.
    What a hot-colored sunset last night – beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 The counters were a bone of contention here because I wanted something that suited my cooking style and that wouldn’t be wearing out like some of our previous counters. I decided on quartz. It’s not the cheapest option (but no more expensive than granite, butcher block, or solid surface counters) so I had to give up other things I would have liked in the kitchen for the sake of the counters. I love it, and it was well worth giving up the other stuff. Plus I’m one of those birds attracted to shiny objects and the quartz suits that part of me really well since it has little mirrors embedded in it that reflect and bounce light. I sometimes feel like there are fairies in the kitchen, spreading fairy dust to make things sparkle.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Neither of those things. That’s another beauty of it. It cleans easily, doesn’t require any kind of sealing (like granite does), and doesn’t stain. I first read about it in This Old House magazine and then in Consumer Reports. Both recommended it. Here’s an update on the This Old House article:

          http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20716579,00.html

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      1. I made coffee for my parents as a child. For years. Loved the smell of it, hated the taste of it. So when I began “keeping house” for myself I never drank or made coffee again. Until I was 42 I started drinking it. But I always “bought” it. Like at Tim Horton’s. And by then, I couldn’t make it either. Still can’t. Thank heaven’s for the Keurig! 🙂 And your husband! 🙂

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  8. Great progress on the kitchen … and the tile will help even more. Picking it out is quite the challenge! Love the straight one shot of the cardinal. Reminds me of artist’s Charlie Harper.

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    1. I am unfamiliar with Charlie Harper, Frank. Thank you for introducing me to him. I see what you mean. That straight-on cardinal was the first thing I saw when I googled him. I’ve been sitting here browsing through what I could find online, and love his simplistic approach.

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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