Thursday, July 18, 2013

Forced Down Time

I am not one who does particularly well with taking it easy.  I end up feeling useless and bored if not constantly on the go.  But sometimes the universe steps in and smacks you upside the head and forces a little down time.  I've been having some health problems for the last month and a half and it's started to take its toll.  No need to dig into the details, but essentially I'm dizzy every time I move and often fully pass out, and thought it's something I've always had, it's become progressively worse in the last few weeks.  I come from a long line of people with heart defects, and I'm headed in to our local hospital for cardiology tests soon.  I'm not excited about the whole experience, to say the least.  It's something I'm sure can be corrected, partly because I am not emotionally equipped to even begin to think about this being permanent.

I've been housebound for the last few days because, honestly, it's not that safe for me to drive myself around what with the dizziness and all (you're welcome, Burlington drivers and pedestrians) and my wonderful and loving partner has to work (hooray for someone who can handle stable employment and has health insurance!!) so I've been relatively stuck in my own little world.  At first I was, shall we say, not pleasant to be around.  I can't garden because leaning over for more than a few seconds equals passing out cold upon standing.  And, you know, the neighbors worry when they see that kind of thing.  I can't go out and drive around looking for discarded objects on the side of the road or go thrift store hopping since I need to be driven around.  I can't even pop over to the grocery store 10 blocks away because it's 90 degrees outside and heat makes me faint big time.

I'm scared.  Every day I'm able to do less and less.  I know that my doctors care, but they're busy and I'm just one of several patients, and I have to keep bugging them to get what I need done.  I have to rely on others for every day tasks I was able to do just two months ago and that's extremely difficult.  I don't like to ask for help, and I like getting it even less.  I hate feeling weak.  But this is a lesson in humility and gratitude.  I'm surrounded by people who are willing to help and that is a beautiful thing. 

I'm trying to embrace this experience for everyone's sake.  Forgive me if I fail every once and awhile. I can still make and create, and as long as I can do that, I'm going to be just fine. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Vacuum Brewing Rules the Coffee World

I have a personal blog that I've kept for many years, and as I was going through old posts this morning, I found all of my "ode to coffee" posts I've made while experimenting with various brewing methods.  I thought I'd repost a couple here:

Ok, fine. I admit it. I'm a coffee junky. One of my driving passions in life is to collect every odd method of roasting and brewing coffee in existence. One of my more recent acquisitions was a Silex vacuum brewing pot from the mid 1950's. Sure, they make modern versions, but what's the fun in brewing without wondering if shoddy wiring will burn your house down?

Here's how I spent my Sunday morning. Please forgive the shaky photography - this was pre-caffeination after all...

The silex in all its glory:

Coffee goes on top, water goes on the bottom. Antiquarian plug goes out the side into my wall...

One of my favorite bits is how the heating element can be seen through the bottom of the pot. It comes up looking like a warm orange glow of happiness that will soon bring life giving coffee:

And just when your head is screaming in agony from coffee withdrawal and you can barely muster up the energy to revel in this most marvelous of experiences, the water finally reaches the ideal temperature and is sucked via vacuum to the top chamber where the grounds are waiting...waiting...

At this point I tossed the camera aside in favor of a large mug. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that the resulting dark elixir was full bodied, lacking bitterness, and much smoother than brew from a french press. It is indeed a spectacular cup of coffee. I highly recommend it.