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Thread: The joy of small, important pleasures

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default The joy of small, important pleasures

    I doubt there are many people who haven't been touched by the oddness descended upon us in this year of 2020. So many things weighing hard...

    On a personal level, the weight of it all has steadily increased, and I've recently had a difficult time staying positive and enjoying life. I *do* hold fast to those better moments and items, but the darkness is always looming, it seems. The icing on the cake has been the last couple of weeks of hellish firestorms, unlike anything I (or anyone else) has experienced in their lives. We have been lucky in our area to only have one large fire, dangerous and with some damage but eventually contained. Everything north of me, for the entire length of the Western coast of the United States, has been virtually apocalyptic.

    But you knew all that. You've seen the news.

    I write only to recount the deep, private joy that I had today. I worked hard (outdoors) in the morning, not expecting today to be so hot, and this afternoon I cleaned up and took care of a few things at home. The mail arrived. Among today's mail were two letters from gentlemen I've known from this community. I set them aside for a while.

    Once I had finished required tasks, I opened the letters and went and lay down on the bed, one of the cats coming over and curling up on me. I took a very leisurely time and read both letters. It felt wonderful, in the quiet time, hearing them speak with ink on paper, remarking on the lives they are leading, feeling rewarded to have these people in my life in whatever measure may come. True joy was mine, for enough time to push back against that seemingly unremitting bleakness.

    How fortunate I've been today. I hope that for others.
    Last edited by Jon Szanto; September 16th, 2020 at 12:40 PM. Reason: grammar
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Nice sentiment, and good to acknowledge.

    On the weekend I sat on the floor with my back against the brick wall as the sun poured down, and I was instantly (and startingly clearly) transported all the way to 1976, when I remember doing the same, letting the rays massage my skin during that hottest UK summer in living memory. I remember filling the bathroom sink with cold water, then plunging my face into it and just drinking while submerged (I was a strange lad), and the tarmac of the streets was sticky and easily gouged out by overly curious hands. We woke to clear blue skies and the early calling of gulls. The air was often still, like it was waiting for something, but nothing ever came, and the days each lasted a small eternity.

    It always amazes me how a seemingly simple and small stimulus can open a treasurery of memory.

    In these times, I will remain grateful and delighted each morning to discover a whole new day is possible.
    Be a little more open into accepting other viewpoints, if you can, as it really deepens the experience. - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    We live rurally. Last weekend, after a heavy frost the sun came out and the sky was cloudless and a strikingly vibrant blue.

    I was doing some fencing and came indoors quite warm, went to the tap and drew a glass of cold water. The rainwater tanks are 25k litres, and full after a wet winter, so the tap water was still icy cold mid-morning, and, it struck me as I stood at the kitchen window and looked over at the row of poplars in the adjacent paddock just starting to show their new growth at the crown, absolutely delicious.

    More than enough to get me through another week!
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Jon,

    Keep in mind there's as much in the writing as there is in the reading. ;-)

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Having had a house fire in 2001 3 months after 9/11, I feel I can feel the pain of those who've lost much in the Western fires. You are there without your stuff, clothes, transportation, and you point of conncetion. One of the most wonderful and practical things others did was donate money and clothes. After house fire you don't need a fruit basket.

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Unknown why this makes me think of William Carlos Williams and his poem "The Red Wheelbarrow."

    so much depends...

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    All I have to do is look at Percy the Hotspur Scottie to know there are still many things right with the world!
    "Nolo esse salus sine vobis ...Ē óSt. Augustine

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    So many well written tributes to a small and important pleasure of others in a world that at times is a cauldron lately that is murky and filled with horrible stuff. I enjoyed reading this over a hot cup of coffee full of flavour thanks to International Delights Hazelnut Coffee Creamer. One more crazy day at work in a covid-19 state and I retire Friday morning. Freedom 53 has arrived and the finish line in a 31 year public service marathon is in sight. More time ...retirement is about more time to choose what a person does knowing that time is no longer totally on their side. I suppose we all need to pause and reflect on the small and important pleasures wherever we are and whatever tribulations and trials we face.
    Mags or Rob Maguire MB 149, 147, 146,144, Mozart, Boehme, Sailor Realo, Aurora Optima, Churchmen Prescriptor and Parson's Essential, Parker 51 1.3 mm stub, Parker Vacumatic 1939 OB Can, TWSBI's (540,580, Mini and Vac 700), Pelikan M 1000/800 Demonstrator 600/200 demoM/200 OBB, Visconti Rembrandts (2), Lamy, Cross, Watermans, Pilots, Sheaffer's, Omas 360 LE 84/360, GvFC, Esterbrooks J and SJ, Bexley Jitterbug, Taccia, Eversharp 1952 flex, Edison Herald, Franklin Christoph Piper.

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Quote Originally Posted by Mags View Post
    So many well written tributes to a small and important pleasure of others in a world that at times is a cauldron lately that is murky and filled with horrible stuff. I enjoyed reading this over a hot cup of coffee full of flavour thanks to International Delights Hazelnut Coffee Creamer. One more crazy day at work in a covid-19 state and I retire Friday morning. Freedom 53 has arrived and the finish line in a 31 year public service marathon is in sight. More time ...retirement is about more time to choose what a person does knowing that time is no longer totally on their side. I suppose we all need to pause and reflect on the small and important pleasures wherever we are and whatever tribulations and trials we face.
    Congratulations on your retirement. I truly hope you thoroughly enjoy yourself. Live in the present!!

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Jon, I'm sending you a small important pleasurable postcard. Don't get beside yourself in anticipation....

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Back in March, when everything started happening, I had to close my business and hope for the best. I had the savings for a few months, but didn't know if I was going to make it (I did and things are currently well). For the first two weeks, every day was a grim sort of silence around the house with the wife and I. Walking the dogs and cooking was the only things keeping our heads on.

    Then something switched.

    I had purchased a small espresso machine at the end of January as a birthday present to myself. I also, for purposes of wearing an N95 mask in public and the future (the thought at the time), I started shaving, something I hadn't done in 12 years.

    I got up every morning, let the dogs out, had some water, shaved and made my coffee.

    I'm now onto almost 6 straight months of this ritual and it gives me immeasurable joy. I'm up early and the world is still quiet. I make my little coffee and enjoy it silently before my wife gets up. I dont' open my computer or check my phone or deal with any singe thing I have to do in my life. I get up, shave, and drink my coffee. It has been my one little pleasure, my one retreat in the madness, every day and it has meant the world.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Jon, I'm sending you a small important pleasurable postcard. Don't get beside yourself in anticipation....
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Quote Originally Posted by AzJon View Post
    It has been my one little pleasure, my one retreat in the madness, every day and it has meant the world.
    Thanks, Jon. Rituals are severely underrated in most modern lives.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    My morning iced latte is a highly valued ritual as well. Finding small things that give us a sense of peace and stability, and a splash of joy seems like it shouldn't be a big deal but I kind of feel like it is.

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid View Post
    My morning iced latte is a highly valued ritual as well. Finding small things that give us a sense of peace and stability, and a splash of joy seems like it shouldn't be a big deal but I kind of feel like it is.
    The day does not go well when i donít have time for my due espressi, spaced an hour apart & before my wife gets up. I need that time to ease into the world.

    Weigh 17g, grind, tamp, flush, lift lever, push lever, ahhhh

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    ...Weigh 17g....
    Weigh? Goodness, I eyeball the bean volume.

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    Senior Member guyy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    I used to eyeball it too. I resisted getting a scale thinking it was entirely too control-freakish. I donít know what convinced me to get one, but you canít argue with success. All my shots are good ones these days.

    Besides, the scale is useful for all sorts of stuff from calculating postage (especially handy in this plague year) to weighing ingredients for recipes.

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    I weigh mine too, now: 15g of Mochabox Dark and Lovely, brewed at 203įF (we bought a machine with temp control to replace our very old Gaggia in April), with 3 seconds pre-infusion. Today's pull took about 30s to get to 2oz. It was slightly over-extracted but works very well in an iced latte. Enjoying it right now.

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    ...lift lever, push lever, ahhhh
    Oh you tease. Do tell, what machine do you have?

    I'm running a Gaggia Classic Pro. I want to upgrade a PID and new steam wand (I mostly do Americano, but a nice latte or flat white would be nice from time to time).

    18g in, 38g out in about 29 seconds. I've gotten pretty good at guessing my temps to temp-surf, but knowing for sure would be nice.

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    Default Re: The joy of small, important pleasures

    Nothing fancy, just a 1980s la Pavoni Europiccola. Iíve been working on this one for about 20 years, and when the previous owner decided to upgrade, she let me have it.

    Being such a small machine, it heats up quickly. Iíve been tempted to get a larger machine. Iím a manual diehard, though, so it would have to be something like an Elektra.

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