Letters have always drawn me. Not only do I enjoy receiving personal letters, but I like reading the mail of others. From the Apostle Paul to Wodehouse, I have read the letters of such outstanding writers as Dorothy Osbourne, John Calvin, Lord Chesterfield, John Keats, Barrett and Browning, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Helene Hanff and E. B. White. I have even read and enjoyed Ted Nancy’s Letters From a Nut.
Reading erudite letters has inspired me to write better ones. And so I resolved to cultivate the habit of writing personal letters in 2017. I hope to improve my handwriting through practice, but until my scratches become legible, I have decided to return to a twentieth-century manual typewriter. I found a beautiful used Adler Tippa 4 machine at the last repair shop in Kansas City. Although fifty years old, the “Eagle” works like, well, a well-oiled machine. It even has a distinctive cursive font.
I have already sent out a stack of typed letters to friends and family. The initial response has suggested that I have introduced a sense of rare delight by mailing them a hand-typed missive. It seems others have missed these hand-crafted works of art as much as I have.
Here is a beautiful compilation of inspiring winter scenes and custom music composition from the Pacific Northwest. My daughter, Hope is the videographer and her husband, Jake is the musician and arranger of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. I know this departs from my traditional black and white reading format, but I thought it was in keeping with the spirit of the blogsite. I hope you enjoy it.
Mediterranean cookery expert and coffee aficionada Claudia Roden once related the story of a Viennese man who loved java and conversation. Early in the day he found a seat and ordered his cup, which inevitably led to a convivial discussion for most of the morning. Suddenly he looked at the clock and asked his friends, “Would you mind saving my seat while I nip home for a cup of coffee.”
Honest evaluation brings one to the realization that only the best restaurants can cook a dinner better than one can fix for oneself. So also I have suspected for some time that I can make a better cup of coffee at home than I can find at popular coffee houses.
Last weekend I discovered an out of the way spot in the warehouse district nor far from the state line and Southwest Trafficway in Kansas City. A friend called it a “toy shop for coffee lovers,” and I found this aphorism to be as accurate as it had been intriguing. About the Coffee is the name of the place, and I believe it is now one of my go-to places for adventure. I saw coffee making devices previously unknown, interesting conversation with fellow coffee snobs and emerged with a Sowden Softbrew Oskar coffee maker/server that is wonderful.
I have been using the Sowden for a week and have not been disappointed (except by human error in grinding beans too finely). It is the easiest good method of brewing coffee that I have found. Now I can easily nip home for a cup of coffee! All I need to add is the good conversation!