Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why I wear orange on St Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is on March 17th.  It is a day when everyone dresses in green, drinks beer, eats boiled dinner, and celebrates...Saint Patrick...the patron saint of Ireland? And March 17th is the day  that Saint Patrick rid all the snakes out of Ireland, or something?

Why do we celebrate?

I find it fascinating how many people just blindly do things without knowing anything at all about why.  Maybe it is because I am a naturally curious person. I want to know the history of things.  I can't even learn to make a new dish without knowing the country of origin, traditions around it, etc. In the situation of the color green and St. Patrick's Day, Saint Patrick used the clover and its three leaves to explain the holy trinity to pagan Irishmen.

This is the first reason I wear orange.  Green is for the Catholics in Ireland, people who support the north, the protestants, wear orange.  Now I don't really support either side.  My family is descendant of Irish Catholic on both sides, but I was raised protestant.  But in general I am not from Ireland, I am not religious, I have no opinion on the the catholic protestant struggle in Ireland.  I wear orange to make that point that most people do not know why green. Green is the color for the Catholics. Orange is the color for the protestants, and some say the white on the flag between them is the hope of peace between them.

The second reason is that growing up my grandmother and her best friend would wear orange shirts to the Boston St. Patty's Day Parade to stir stuff up.  In South Boston, especially at that time, people knew the significance of the orange shirt.  The 'Sainted Sisters,' as they were known, like to stir things up.  My grandmother died two years ago, so I carry that tradition along.  

Monday, March 2, 2015


Good morning Fellow Dreamers,

American's drink more than 587 million cups of coffee everyday.  Most of us experience coffee in the following way;
Waiting in line at Starbucks or some coffee shop; using our phones to check email or Facebook; order up, and then we drink it down on our drive to work, or sitting our desk immersed in more emails and other work.

We don't really enjoy our coffee, we do not savor its taste and aroma.  It becomes a habit, a means to wake up.  More and more things are like this, we don't truly experience them, just wiz by not pausing to smell the coffee.

My wife and I have become quite the coffee connoisseurs, when we bought our fourth coffee device my therapist said we sound more than connoisseurs, more hobbyists.

I've learned some very important things making my own coffee; 1) fresh ground coffee is always better. 2) when you start drinking good coffee made slowly and carefully it is hard to go back to "factory coffee" from the shop.  3) Life moves pretty fast, if you don't slow down once in a while you could miss it.

Ok, that last one is from Ferris Bueller's Day Off but the sentiment still stands.

For me Coffee is a ritual.  When I arrive home from walking the dog, I select my beans, put on water to boil, take out my hand bur grinder, yes I grind by hand, and then I select my method of brewing.  As it stands today, we have a French Press, Vietnamese Coffee pot, and an Aeropress.  Each takes longer and is more involved than using the drip machine.  But each produces superior coffee.  I do still use my drip machine.  I will sometime be in the mood for Cafe Bustelo, and let's be real, sometimes we don't just have to have time.

When finally my coffee is brewed I smell it.  I always smell my coffee, I smell the beans as I grind them, and I smell my coffee as it cools enough to drink.  I sit while I do this, I sit while I drink it.  I put on music or the TV, read a book or just sit in silence.  Me and my coffee.  and the puppy.

While sitting in silence may seem a bit extreme and hard to do in a day with only 16 waking hours, it seems impracticable not to multitask, but you don't need to slow to a stop, just slow enough to truly experience your coffee.  Taste the complex flavors.  Coffee is expensive, and if you do any research into coffee production you will see why and agree it should be.  But you can only consume so much in a day better it be quality right?  So drink good coffee and enjoy it.

until next time, stop and smell the coffee and Dream Happy.