Updated Appearances

There is something about those first scents of spring.  Those hopeful signs that it will return one more time.  I have to change things up to match the new growth coming outside.  So—-I changed my blog site a bit.  A few tweaks, and voila! A slightly new appearance.

I am still continuing my Coffee, Coffee, Coffee series.  It is great fun to write.  I have to decide which place to explore next.

Happy Monday!   A hope of spring, design changes all deserve a riot of colors…

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee-the Liquid Planet

I met my friend at the Liquid Planet today.  The Liquid Planet is the home base store.  This store opened in the late 90’s or early 2000’s.  It had a unique idea-beverages of all kinds from all over the world.  They sell coffees, teas, beers, wines, juices, bottled waters from all over the world-a liquid planet.  They sell their own coffee mugs and other accessories.  It is worth exploring.

They are a great coffee shop.  People chat, read, study.  It is downtown and gets people stopping in from work, shopping or the Farmer’s Markets on summer Saturdays.  My daughter and I were there on a now infamous Monday night in 2016 when we had a major storm with category 1 hurricane force winds.  It was one of these events that forever after you remember it by where you were.  My daughter and I were at Liquid Planet.

I mention frequently that we are lucky to have many local coffee shops, bistros, cafes and other gathering places.  The employees must be friendly.  The baristas today were great.  There is music playing, but the music doesn’t overwhelm. The coffee is tasty.  They sell baked goods and sandwiches, also.

Lorelai Gilmore didn’t know what she was missing. She had Luke’s Diner, and occasionally one other shop.  We have many wonderful shops, each one fits a mood, a need.  I enjoy sharing them with you.

Local is always interesting. I regret that so many chains have done so much to choke out the great local places.  We live in a world where sameness is prized and uniqueness is scorned.

I have settled into a rut.  When I decided to do  this blog series, I realized it would start to force me out of my rut.  It would give me something to share, and unexpectedly has made me think beyond a cup of coffee.

Happy Sunday!  Enjoy your beverage of choice.


Coffee, Coffee, Coffee-Cafe Dolce

I started this series with a reference to Lorelai Gilmore in the Gilmore Girls TV series.  She loved her coffee.  She was a staple at Luke’s Diner, in part for the coffee and in part for her daily sustenance.  I live in a university town that has quite a few great coffee places.  That was the original premise of this series. My local coffee places.  As I have continued writing I have realized that I needed to expand to include local bistros, cafes and bakeries, as well as the coffee shops.  They all serve good coffee.  That will be the thread that links them.  No Folgers, Maxwell House or Farmers for these places.

This morning my son and I went to Cafe Dolce for food and coffee.  The cafe is a local restaurant.  It was full, and people were chatting, studying, enjoying a meal.  It is close enough to campus that it draws its students.  It is also a good destination place for friends to visit.  Our local mall also had a Cafe Dolce. They were started by local business owners.

Once upon a time there was a gas station on the site.  When the cafe owners bought the gas station they tore it down and built the Cafe.  It has an Italian feel to the decor.  The ceiling is high and the stone floor makes for an echo.  They have a wonderful patio, but in February the patio is closed.  They patio is surrounded by my favorite plant-lavender.  It lies dormant, but if I were to rub the leaves, they would still release their wonderful lavender odor.  I plan to enjoy a meal on their patio when the lavender is blooming.

I eat there several times a year.  It is a very popular Sunday spot.  They like to use local products as much as possible. The coffee is roasted locally, the beer is brewed locally.  I am old enough to realize how important local is.

In the early years of my marriage we would go back to western New York to visit my in laws.  I loved to drive around the countryside, it was SO different from home.  We sometimes took Amtrak.  You could watch the countryside whiz by from the train car windows.  As you passed through towns, you could get glimpses of their uniqueness.  Sadly, more and more national chains began to dot the countryside.  You see fewer  and fewer local sites.

So this series has also stretched into a celebration of local uniqueness!  I won’t be blogging about the local Starbucks.  We do have them, but they are on the outskirts. A place for people to duck off of I-90 for their Starbucks fix.  We once had a Starbucks on the main street of town.  It closed.  There were too many locally owned places, and they claimed the business.   There has been a Starbucks in Barnes & Noble since Barnes & Noble opened. Again, I would bet most of their clientele are there for the books, and just add a coffee, so they can sit and read.  That Starbucks is also becoming surrounded by local places.

By celebrating our local uniqueness, we celebrate our own individuality.  Individuality can make life more disorderly.  Madeleine L’Engle wrote a Newberry award winning book in the early 60’s titled A Wrinkle in Time.  I have read that book through the years, and recently re-read it in anticipation of the movie’s release.  There is a universe in that book, Camazotz, where sameness, order, syncopation are celebrated.  It a world that one needs rescuing from.  It is referred to as a dark world.

I try to celebrate the unique.  I have another blog about my knitting.  In my knitting, I try to never knit the same thing twice.  If I use a pattern multiple times, there are changes to the pattern, different colors, different fibers.

Back to coffee.  I will be visiting and reporting on another location soon.  Enjoy your daily coffee or tea!  Raising my cup to you….



If something bounces around in my brain long enough sooner or later it will come out.  Today’s blog is about one of those ‘somethings’.     We humans are a fascinating lot.  One of our biggest faults lies in failing to celebrate ourselves as unique individuals.  We continuously compare ourselves to others around us.  We always come up short in those comparisons.

Many Cervantes, Christopher Marlowe and John Donne have all echoed a quote attributed to John Lydgate circa 1440,  That quote is…’Comparisons are odious.’  Shakespeare had Dogberry say, ‘Comparisons are odorous.’ in Much Ado About Nothing.

I don’t know why we endlessly compare ourselves.  Each of us is unique and individual.  Many things go into forming each of us.  I tend to think that we compare apples and oranges.   Think about it.  When you compare yourself to someone else, you are comparing a snapshot of the outside of their house to the inside of your house.  You see their ‘outside’ for intervals.  You see yourself 24/7-365.  You know all that has happened to you, you know where all of your ‘holes’ and dirty corners are.  You see their cleaned up outside.  You don’t see inside their memories, their heads, their hearts like you see yourself.  You see yourself based on what you think others think.  Yes, I am well aware that I am using ‘you’  and ‘we’ is a much better fit.

Our parents do so much in helping us form a picture of ourselves.  We oldest children have a special challenge.  The only ones in our family are adults, and we most definitely are not.  The expectations we set for ourselves are based on adult behaviors.  I would also say that I never saw my parents as anyone but ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ until I was an adult.  I could then see them with a more balanced perspective.  Growing up, they never told me they knew everything.  I was convinced they did.  They knew so much more than I did, and that had to mean they knew everything.  All of the other adults in my child life knew everything, too.  My friends’ parents, my teachers…they knew it all.

I think that high school and the teen years starts cluing us into the fact that our child’s perception of adulthood is not necessarily accurate.  Teens rebel against that perception and fight to prove it wrong.  Once we reach adulthood we know we are not perfect.  Most days, I am not sure I am even an adult.  (I am 63 years old)  Obviously, I entertain perceptions about others that I don’t see in myself.  This proves what I was trying to say.  I see other adults in my world.  I see them in brief encounters or even a long chat or two.  I do not see everything that is going on in their mind at that moment.  I do not see all of the events in their past that has brought them to this point.  I do not hear all the taunts of others, the scoldings adults gave them-all of the incidents that formed their picture of who they are.

They don’t see me that way, either.  I also don’t see myself the same way they see me.  The view from the inside is always different from the view from the outside.  We can step outside of our physical dwelling and see what everyone driving down our street, walking past our house or down our alley sees.  We cannot set outside of ourselves to get that same perception.

I have no answers to this.  I needed to think about it some more, and so I fired up the blog, hit the keyboard and started thinking.

I remind myself constantly that each of us is a wonderful, dynamic individual.  Rae, who is very dear to me, has just done a series of paintings.  Rae paints individuals who are important to Rae.  They are painted with many beautiful, dynamic rainbow colors.  It never ceases to amaze me how much those colors bring those people to life, they make me want to know them.  Each of us is an individual full of many beautiful, dynamic colors that make us who we are.  Blend those colors, put them together again and again and again and you will never get the same result twice.  We are each a unique combination.  THAT is what makes comparing ourselves to others odious, or odorous.  We need to celebrate our individuality.  We should NEVER judge another for their individuality.

Years ago, I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline  L’Engle.  The kids visited a planet where everything was the same.  Picture yourself on a planet where everyone and everything was the same.   I tried that and my answer was that is a picture of Hell.

We share ‘colors’ with others, but each of us still has our own unique blend.  Celebrate who and what you are!

These photos are meant to celebrate the colors, the uniqueness of each of us.  Nature gives us wonderful examples.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee-Burns St. Bistro

Burns St. Bistro is not a coffee shop, it is a bistro.  I included it because it is a great place to gather.  They do serve excellent coffee-exceeded only by their excellent food.  I met a friend there today for brunch.  The bistro was once a warehouse, so ceilings are high and so are the windows.  The light is excellent.  I did not have my knitting with me, but I have taken it with me and seen others knitting there.  The plants and the light make is a very pleasant place to share a meal with friends, or sit and read.

Their cooks are imaginative.  It is a great neighborhood hang out, but many of us in town extend the neighborhood, so we can hang out there, too.  The bistro is bordered by town houses with a great grassy court.  They have tables on the outside and in the spring or summer it is great fun to watch the kids play in the grass.

I love to show up there, enjoy good coffee, a sandwich or breakfast and good company.  One of the local coffee roasters supplies them with coffee.  I will be visiting and reporting on that roaster.  Many other local gardeners, cattle ranchers, bakeries supply goods.  They emphasize local.  Local is good.  Local makes for unique.

Many years ago we took a train to Buffalo, New York.  Montana to New York is a long ride.  One of the things I noticed, and it saddened me, is that as we rode through many small towns the housing developments all looked a like, the country was being overcome by ‘sameness’.  The unique qualities that defined one location over another were disappearing.  The many years later, that is even more true than ever.

That is one of the reasons I am celebrating our local coffee shops.  I celebrate their uniqueness.  Each one has a specific personality.  Even though some have more than one locations, most of them celebrate their individuality.  We do have Starbucks here, but I won’t be writing about them, I have been in all three locations, as well as in other cities-I still feel like they rubber stamp each other.

In a time when so much is the same, I celebrate the unique.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee-the Liquid Planet Grille

Coffee shops and craft breweries fuel this town.  We are a university town, and that may contribute to that fact.

Earlier this week I re-visited the Liquid Planet Grille.   There are six locations that offer sit down seating.  Each location is unique.  I will visit most of those locations.  The original location is downtown.  They are unique.  They sell coffee beans, teas, beers, wines, sodas, juices-if you can drink it-they sell it.  They bring things in from all over.  When I report on that location I will give you more details.

The Grille is across the street from the University campus.  You can guess who most of their customers are.  I usually stop in for breakfast. I always see students, but morning seems to be more social hour than study hour.  The baristas/servers are great fun, and they usually have two tip bowls.  You can ‘vote’ with your tips.  This week’s choice was ‘Winter’ or ‘Spring’.

I have places where I go ‘by myself’ and places where I meet my kids or other friends.  This is great for both.  I have not brought my knitting, but I have spent pleasant time with a cup of coffee and my Kindle.  Spring, Summer and Fall offer a really pleasant patio for those who like to eat outdoors.  They are not only across the street from campus, they are also on the edge of the neighborhood.

A good cup of coffee or tea, a good book, my knitting, a pleasant place to relax….I have many options here. Does life get any better?