WANDERING FOR GOOD COFFEE

Find out how I find the best coffeehouses locally, and when traveling, on Kristin Sharp’s blog Travel Artist Hub!

You can also listen to an audio recording of my poem “The Drift” from my Coffee Coma book. The poem is dedicated to my two dog children who passed away recently – Bordeaux and Sabrina.

Please click on the link Wandering for Good Coffee to read the complete story.

National Coffee Day and my Caffeine Addiction – Coffee Coma

Did you know tomorrow is National Coffee Day?  

It was first celebrated in Japan in 1983, and is now known globally. Its original purpose was to raise awareness for coffee farmers and promote fair trade, but it also celebrates the yummy bean that prompts our day.

With National Coffee Day coming up, I can’t help but think of my beautiful relationship with coffee.

I love coffee so much, I penned a book, Coffee Coma – poems and photos about our love affair and life with coffee. This book will take you on a journey through life with coffee.

You see, I might be considered a caffeine addict. I seem to plan events, activities, and vacations around preferred coffee house locations. I celebrate my addiction in Coffee Coma.

I suppose my love of coffee began at seventeen. On a camping trip, I rummaged through the RV’s kitchen cabinets, searching for tea bags. Unable to see them, I just about lost my mind.

“Where’s the tea?” I yelled.

“All we have is coffee,” my friend replied.

In the company of kindred spirits, we gathered around a blazing fire. I sipped coffee from an indigo blue enamelware mug…and it tasted good.

Fast forward to my second husband who could easily consume four to five cups of coffee within a couple hours. He even taught me how to make yummy Cappucinnos with our espresso machine.

At this minute, I’m sipping a decaf vanilla latte from my favorite mug – a cat playing a guitar. The back of the mug reads, ‘I’m with the band’.

Yes, I’m so addicted to coffee, I’ll drive at least fifteen to twenty minutes out of the way for a velvety latte when traveling, or at our vacation destination. And at home….chuckle.

I love sipping a latte while enjoying a cool breeze on our deck, with friends at a café, on a rainy day relaxing on the porch, huddled around a fire, or at a favorite breakfast spot.

It’s not that I drink a lot of coffee. I just try to figure out how to include at least one specialty coffee a day.

Coffee is unlike pizza in the respect that if the pizza is bad, it’s still good. If you drink a bad coffee, you have this bitter taste in your mouth. Yuk!

That’s why I try to drink great coffee. Why not treat yourself every day to a great coffee? Life is too short.

So on National Coffee Day, treat yourself. Go have coffee with a friend, get your French press out that’s hidden away in the closet, or stop by a local café and grab a hot one to go.

In the meantime, here’s a poem that just happens to be the title of the book – Coffee Coma

Coffee Coma

(life after coronavirus)

After this social distancing

‘thing’

is over –

an unavoidable journey

of wanderlust

to best-loved cafes,

with kindred spirits

and coffee afficionados.

Friend,

we’ll sip

frothy lattes,

iced cappuccinos,

pretentious Americanos,

savor sumptuous espresso

martini’s

and indulge in creamy

Affogatos,

until night falls

an autumnal cornucopia

of Mocha,

Café Au Lait,

and

Caramel Macchiatos.

We’ll be as high

as a harvest moon

rising.

**********

Also, stop by one of my many favorite coffeehouses I’ve listed in the index. Here are a few:

California

Caffee Luxxe, 22333 CA-1, Suite 160, Malibu, CA

Missouri

Course Coffee Roasters, 1218 N 2nd Street, St. Charles, MO

Picasso’s, 101 N. Main St., St. Charles, MO

Maypop Coffee and Garden Shop, 803 Marshall Avenue, Webster Groves, MO  63119

North Carolina

Drift, 20 E. Second Street, Ocean Isle Beach, NC  28469

Tennessee

Black Press Coffee, 115 Walton Ferry Rd #20, Hendersonville, TN 37075

________________

Coffee Coma – poems and photographs about our love affair, and life with coffee

– 2019 Royal Dragonfly First Place for Poetry, First Place for Fine Art/Photography, Honorable Mention for Coffee Table Books Mondays in October

– Chanticleer semifinalist Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits

– 2019 Chanticleer Little Peeps First Place Winner for Early Readers, Montaigne Medal Finalist, and Foreword Indies Finalist Midnight the One-Eyed Cat

– 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner Folly Beach Dances

Any of these can be purchased from Sheree directly so she can autograph for you!!! Visit her facebook page at Sheree K Nielsen, Author.

Nature at Its Finest – The Little Things

As I reflect on the past month, I’m happy to say that I loved seeing glimpses of nature at their finest.

Seated under the Emerson lights by the fire pit and gazebo with friends, Nancy and Kim, and hubster, Russell, we watched, mesmerized, as a lime green inchworm slunk along a trail of thread overhead nearly four feet straight up leading to a weathered tree branch.

One morning, a bee, head deep in the center of a Morning Glory vine, showed his fuzzy butt to me just long enough to snap a photo.

Standing on the deck, a hummingbird sipped nectar from the lavender and red-violet Cleomes, unaware I was in his presence.

Tree frogs alighted on windows and doors waiting for the next bug that could be their dinner.

A huge spider spun its web at night using the Bradford pear tree and the Rose of Sharon bush as his boundaries to entice insects into his silky lair.

Baby bunnies munched on blades of grass in the yard.

A tiny house wren became disoriented, landing on our porch. I love animals and birds so much, I quickly drove her to a bird rescue.

All these images come flooding back over the last few days.

How powerful these tiny creatures are in their own way. Their detail and beauty, the luminescence of nature surrounds us right in front of our eyes…if we just open them to see.

Just wanted to share this with you on this 21st day of September, eve of the autumnal equinox.

I wish you nature!

Peace, Love and Coffee!

(Tree frog photo by Russell Nielsen) All other photos by me.

__________

Coffee Coma – poems and photographs about our love affair, and life with coffee

– 2019 Royal Dragonfly First Place for Poetry, First Place for Fine Art/Photography, Honorable Mention for Coffee Table Books Mondays in October

– Chanticleer semifinalist Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits

– 2019 Chanticleer Little Peeps First Place Winner for Early Readers, Montaigne Medal Finalist, and Foreword Indies Finalist Midnight the One-Eyed Cat

– 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner Folly Beach Dances

Any of these can be purchased from Sheree directly so she can autograph for you!!! Visit her facebook page at Sheree K Nielsen, Author.

Thankful for this beautiful press release for Coffee Coma

I want to thank my publisher Christine Cote for this beautiful press release for my new book Coffee Coma. She did a wonderful job on the book and I’m grateful it’s out in the world.

Peace, Love and Coffee

Me and my friend Lisa enjoying a latte

Coffee Recipe – Grinding orange peels to make an orange latte

In visiting coffee houses around the country for inspiration for my new book, Coffee Coma – poems & photos about our love affair & life with coffee, I discovered that the baristas experiment with many flavors whether spicy, nutty, sweet or citrusy.

Brown sugar vanilla is one of my favorites, but channel orange is running a close second. As a matter of fact, I’m drinking an iced brown sugar orange latte right now.

The baristas use powdered orange peels that are dried and ground in a process, to add flavor to the lattes and cappuccino.

The recipe for powdered orange peels, and an orange latte is listed below —

Peel two oranges with a potato peeler trying not to include the pith (the stringy white part of the peel).

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Lay peels on a baking sheet lined with two layers of parchment paper.

Place peels on baking tray.

Place tray in oven for 15 minutes. Remove tray and check to see if the peel cracks when you bend it in half with your hand. If it doesn’t, place the tray back in over for another 15 minutes.

It took me three tries or 45 minutes for my peels to crack.

Let cool for an hour or longer.

Place a small amount of peel in a pestle and grind to a powder consistency.

Store in a glass container.

I like to add about ½ teaspoon powdered peel to my hot or cold espresso drinks.

You can add the peel to the portafilter with the ground coffee if you have an espresso machine. This way the orange flavor mixes with the coffee.

Another option – add peel to the bottom of the shot glass so the orange powder mixes the espresso as it pulls and drips into the glass.

I add about 1 teaspoon brown sugar to sweeten.

Pour over foamed milk for a hot drink, or pour over foamed milk and add ice for a cold drink.

Next project – candied orange peels. This will eliminate having to add sugar.

Peace, Love and Coffee,

Sheree

P.S. Coffee Coma releases August 3. More information here

When life gives you too much flour, make more cookies

One evening as I sit observing the rain coming down, bored by the lack of intelligent programs on TV, I posed a question to hubby.

“What should I do?”

“Make some oatmeal cookies.”

“Okay,” I said as I shrugged my shoulders.

As I gathered the necessary ingredients to create the cookies, I soon realized after mixing in the wet ingredients with the dry, I added too much flour to the batter. The recipe called for 3 cups of oatmeal. Instead, I sifted out 3 cups of flour when the recipe called for 1 ½ cups of flour.

I added more butter, another egg, ¼ cup sour cream and 1/3 cup peanut butter. I should have added more sugar, but I didn’t think the recipe needed more.

I attempted to move and mix the batter with a spatula, now nearly at the top of the white ceramic bowl, with little success. My husband came up with a solution. He slipped on blue surgical gloves in order to mix and knead the batter.

“Don’t knead it too much, it will turn out like bread,” I laughed.

I was in tears from the sight of him mixing the oatmeal cookie batter with surgical gloves. He chuckled, too. What started as a boring evening, became a funny one watching Russell twisting and pushing on the thick matter.

The cookies actually turned out really good…one of the best batches I’ve made.

When you think you mucked something up, it’s best to improvise, and usually you can fix it.

That’s kind of how life is, don’t you think?

Thoughts…

Peace, Love, Coffee

And Oatmeal Cookies

Sheree

Old Hag Still Has Spunk – or…trying to outrun your dog

Sunday, on the way to church, hubby had a talk with me about how the dogs are getting older and there might come a day when we need to make a decision. Sabrina, our 12 year old Aussie, has dementia and arthritis. Sometimes she doesn’t know what she’s doing – like pooping on the floor, pacing around the house, or making three or four attempts to jump on the sofa. Bordeaux, or ‘Red Dog’ has a tumor in his heart, is on three medications and is starting to breathe heavy. His tumor recently increased 15 percent over the last three months. He goes back next week for a checkup. We call him our miracle dog because originally he was diagnosed with three months to live, two years ago. He’s almost 11 years old.

Sunday afternoon we decided to take the dogs for a walk at Rotary Park, a couple miles from home. Sabrina decided that jumping in the car and heading to the park was not in her plans today. She decided to sprint around the cul de sac, then run in the open area past the neighbor’s house.

Russell advised me, “Get the car down the road and head her off.”

You should have seen him chase Sabrina. It was unbelievable. Her hips and legs were moving just fine as she sprinted an arm’s length out of his reach for several minutes. She headed toward me, and I couldn’t catch her with the shoes I was wearing. She turned off in his direction again. This time, he got close enough to nab her.

“Bring the lead, and hook her up,” as he yelled across the road.

I walked quickly, out of breath, and attached the lead to her collar. She put up some resistance heading to the car, but finally jumped in the back seat.

“Where’s Bordeaux?” asked Russell.

Just seconds later, Red Dog sauntered up the road as to say, “Sorry, Dad, I’m slow, but at least I didn’t run off.”

Bordeaux jumped in the back seat, and we were on our way to Rotary Park. By this time, we were both spent from chasing the Olympic sprinter.

We decided to take a break from running, and sit on the park bench, admiring the sunset over the lake. The dogs rested on either side of the bench, Sabrina panting heavily.

I turned to Russell, just as the Dreamsicle sphere dipped below the trees and said, “I guess she proved you wrong.”

It’s always hard to have that talk about your fur babies. Eventually, there will come a day. But for now, I think we’ll just enjoy days like these.

Peace, Love, Sand dollars and Coffee!

Sheree K. Nielsen

Sheree is the author of four books…soon to be five

– 2019 Royal Dragonfly First Place for Poetry, First Place for Fine Art/Photography, Honorable Mention for Coffee Table Books Mondays in October

– Chanticleer semifinalist Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits

– 2019 Chanticleer Little Peeps First Place Winner for Early Readers, Montaigne Medal Finalist, and Foreword Indies Finalist Midnight the One-Eyed Cat

– 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner Folly Beach Dances

Her newest book, Coffee Coma – poems and photographs about our love affair, and life with coffee is due out by Shanti Arts Publishing!

Any of these can be purchased from Sheree directly so she can autograph for you!!! Visit her facebook page at Sheree K Nielsen, Author.

Searching for long-lost relatives

Aunt Mary in 1961

About a week ago, an ad from ancestry.com popped up on my phone. I started thinking about my long-lost Aunt Mary for whom I’ve been searching. I sent a letter a few years back to what I thought was a possible address. The letter came back ‘return to sender’.

When my father passed, it got me thinking about his sisters…all spread out across the United States. Aunt Anne in California, Aunt Jewel in Indiana, and Aunt Mary in Florida. Contacting them was difficult. After Mom sold the house, it seems the address book she so cherished, got lost in the fray.

I remember long road trips to visit Aunt Mary, Uncle Buddy, and my cousin Buddy in Jacksonville, Florida.

Dad, Aunt Mary, Uncle Buddy

They owned a pet parakeet, that loved to perch on my right wrist when I brushed my teeth. This silly bird enjoyed moving side to side and up and down as I brushed. If you wore sunglasses, be prepared for her to perch on the top rim and stare into your eyes. She was a bit of a voyeur…peering down at you from the shower rod.

The sun room became my sleeping room. Since there were no curtains on the windows, I awoke to the radiance of the warm Florida sun embracing my young skin. I woke up early.

Most days, we’d head down to Jacksonville Beach where Dad, cousin buddy and I built sandcastles or dug holes in the sand.

The guys often went crabbing in the evening, returning a few hours later with their bounty. A crab boil ensued in an enormous outdoor pot over a roaring fire. The way those poor crabs would cry…

cousin Buddy and Dad

Anyway, I wrote Aunt Mary a letter this week to an address I found on white pages. I sure hope I find her soon…she’s about 102 years long.

Wish me luck.

Have you ever thought about long lost relatives?

Peace, Love, and Sand dollars,

Sheree K. Nielsen

____________________

Sheree is the author of four books…soon to be five

– 2019 Royal Dragonfly First Place for Poetry, First Place for Fine Art/Photography, Honorable Mention for Coffee Table Books Mondays in October

– Chanticleer semifinalist Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits

– 2019 Chanticleer Little Peeps First Place Winner for Early Readers, Montaigne Medal Finalist, and Foreword Indies Finalist Midnight the One-Eyed Cat

– 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner Folly Beach Dances

Her newest book, Coffee Coma – poems and photographs about our love affair, and life with coffee is due out by Shanti Arts Publishing!

Any of these can be purchased from Sheree directly so she can autograph for you!!! Visit her facebook page at Sheree K Nielsen, Author.

I’m looking over a five-leaf clover!!

Yesterday, when I was pulling weeds in the garden, I came across a patch of three-leaf clovers. Among those was a lone five-leaf clover.

I carefully plucked the rare beauty and hurried inside, I snapped a few photos on a paper towel, then placed it in the smallest glass I could find to to hydrate the treasure — a colorful undersea hued shot glass from the Cayman Islands.

I began to research a five-leaf clover and finding one is rare – about one in 20,000. There was a young girl in Savannah who even had a bit written about the five-leaf clover she found.

According to Wikipedia, fiveleaf clovers are less commonly found naturally than four-leaf clovers; however, they, too, have been successfully cultivated. Some four-leaf clover collectors, particularly in Ireland, regard the fiveleaf clover, known as a rose clover, as a prize.

According to an Irish legend, if you find a fiveleaf clover, luck and financial success will come to you even more than those who find a four-leaf clover. If you’re relying on a clover to bring you luck and success, though, good luck with that!! (chuckle)

In any event, I’m just lucky I found it. I’m looking for ways to preserve it, and I’ve found a few good ideas from friends on social media.

Here are some tips I’ve been given from some friends:

  • Dry it pressed between pages of a book, then laminate it.

OR

  • Dry it, then cold laminate it.

OR

  • Use silicone to keep the green in the clover to preserve.

OR

  • Dry it in between white paper, then laminate it.

I’m thankful for these tips, and I suppose I need to get some laminating sheets. I feel like I want to frame it…..maybe the luck will start pouring in our house.

I have a boomerang from my Dad he purchased In Australia in WWII over our doorway to catch all the luck coming through the door.

I know luck is usually best paired with trust in God. (smile)

But just for fun, do you have a lucky charm in your possession?

Peace, Love, and Five Leaf Clovers

Sheree K. Nielsen

____________________

Sheree is the author of four books –

– 2019 Royal Dragonfly First Place for Poetry, First Place for Fine Art/Photography, Honorable Mention for Coffee Table Books Mondays in October

– Chanticleer semifinalist Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits

– 2019 Chanticleer Little Peeps First Place Winner for Early Readers, Montaigne Medal Finalist, and Foreword Indies Finalist Midnight the One-Eyed Cat

– 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner Folly Beach Dances

Her newest book, Coffee Coma – poems and photographs about our love affair, and life with coffee is due out by Shanti Arts Publishing!

Any of these can be purchased from Sheree directly so she can autograph for you!!! Visit her facebook page at Sheree K Nielsen, Author.

Feeling grateful even when things seem difficult…

I read something given to me by an outpatient therapist after I was hospitalized for depression this winter that developed after eye surgery. (Needless to say, I felt down and sorry for myself, and wondered if I’d ever get out of this dark hole…wondered if my eye would heal properly.)

It was a document published by The Tapping Solution written by Nick Ortner. The document told a story about a blind boy sitting on the steps of a building with a hat on the ground near his feet.  A sign read, “I am blind, please help.”

Only a few coins were in the hat – spare change from folks who hurried past the man. A man walking by dropped some coins in the hat, then took the boy’s sign, turned it around, and penned some words. He placed the sign back in the boy’s hand so all those strolling by could see what was written.

The hat began to fill up. The man left and stopped by later that afternoon to see how the boy was doing. His hat was full of coins.

“Were you the one that changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”

“I only wrote the truth.”  “Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it. “

Both signs spoke the truth, but the second sign conveyed to everyone walking buy how grateful they should be.

What is gratitude:

Gratitude is a habit. It’s a way of looking at the world and all the good things in it with a feeling of appreciation, regardless whether your current situation is great or bleak.  It’s a heart-centered approach to being at peace with yourself and all you have. I think Nick Ortner’s words really got through to me.

I decided instead of being depressed, I was going to start looking at things in a different light. The right medicines helped as well. I got my joy back. I’m happy about that.

Last week I breathed in, and breathed out, fresh salty sea air at my favorite beach – Sunset Beach, North Carolina. I shared this experience with the doggos and my hubby. It was a magnificent week of relaxation.

I have ‘tons’ to be grateful for – nature, the birds, the trees, a roof over my head, financial security, great friends and family, a church family that cares beyond belief, remission from lymphoma, and my partner in life – my husband, Russell.

Like Nick Ortner says, “When you practice gratitude, you attract more things in life for which to be grateful.”

What do you have in your life to be thankful for?

Peace, love, and sand dollars,

Sheree K. Nielsen

Sheree is the author of four books –

– 2019 Royal Dragonfly First Place for Poetry, First Place for Fine Art/Photography, Honorable Mention for Coffee Table Books Mondays in October

– Chanticleer semifinalist Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits

– 2019 Chanticleer Little Peeps First Place Winner for Early Readers, Montaigne Medal Finalist, and Foreword Indies Finalist Midnight the One-Eyed Cat

– 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner Folly Beach Dances

Her newest book, Coffee Coma – poems and photographs about our love affair, and life with coffee is due out by Shanti Arts Publishing!

Any of these can be purchased from Sheree directly so she can autograph for you!!! Visit her facebook page at Sheree K Nielsen, Author.

Why are people nicer to you when you have dogs?

Sabrina and Bordeaux loving their car ride

Have you ever noticed when you’re motoring around with dogs in your car, other drivers seem to be more respectful – allowing you to go first at 4 way way stop signs, or not getting too close to the rear end of your automobile, or even pulling alongside you in traffic giving you and the dogs a big smile?

I think it’s because you’re carrying precious cargo.

I know my dog babies love to feel the fresh air on their fur as they poke their heads out the car window. My blue-eyed mini-Aussie loves to look back at other drivers…the corners of her flew upturned in a grin. She even studies the traffic lanes inquisitively.

Red Dog’s caramel-lemon eyes soak in and memorize the route from home, to the park, to the nearest coffeehouse drive-through, and back again.

The fur kids even know which drive-throughs supply treats – whip cream at the local Starbucks, and dog biscuits at the bank.

Back to being respectful when dogs are in the car…

A few months ago, lovely people in separate SUV’s, going in the opposite direction in the parking lot by the local Starbucks, waited for me to back out of a parking spot when they saw the pups in the car.

I gave the kind spirits a hand wave, showing them I appreciated their gesture.

Such simple random acts of kindness from strangers are a gift and a positive start to your day.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.”

~Aesop

Peace, love, and sand dollars,

Sheree

****************************

Sheree is the author of four books –

– 2019 Royal Dragonfly First Place for Poetry, First Place for Fine Art/Photography, Honorable Mention for Coffee Table Books Mondays in October

– Chanticleer semifinalist Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits

– 2019 Chanticleer Little Peeps First Place Winner for Early Readers, Montaigne Medal Finalist, and Foreword Indies Finalist Midnight the One-Eyed Cat

– 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner Folly Beach Dances

Her newest book, Coffee Coma – poems and photographs about our love affair, and life with coffee is due out by Shanti Arts Publishing – tba

Water is Life

Just wanted to share some of my favorite images from my trip to Door County, Wisconsin in September.

Hope you enjoy the bay, the reflections, the boats, and the serenity.

Peace. love, and sand dollars,

Sheree

________________________

Sheree is the author of four books –

– 2019 Royal Dragonfly First Place for Poetry, First Place for Fine Art/Photography, Honorable Mention for Coffee Table Books Mondays in October

– Chanticleer semifinalist Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits

– 2019 Chanticleer Little Peeps First Place Winner for Early Readers, Montaigne Medal Finalist, and Foreword Indies Finalist Midnight the One-Eyed Cat

– 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner Folly Beach Dances

Her newest book, Coffee Coma – poems and photographs about our love affair, and life with coffee is due out by Shanti Arts Publishing – tba