Assorted Blessings: The #Blessed Project; #SoCS; and #weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m running late. Quite a lot later than I planned to, actually – especially for a post that was intended to address three separate blog hops in one tidy, and hopefully pretty package…

But I guess you don’t need to know that, and it is the way it is, so the point is moot. I’ll do what I can, and be later than I like, but that doesn’t mean I should just rush you in and out. Coffee is good for fueling creative surges, that’s true, but it’s meant to be shared at leisure, while the conversation unwinds.

If I seem jittery, it’s possibly because of this little local nugget of blessedness. Death Wish Coffee suits its name – strong, but flavorful. My Accomplice and I had both been wanting it, and I was surprised when I found this lovely pound in our grocery bags after his shopping trip – it’s not cheap, and, with employment being on-again, off-again, I wasn’t expecting to see it for a while. But we were blessed with a small tax reimbursement – the school district we don’t use because we are blessed to be able to homeschool stayed beneath its tax cap, so all school tax payers got a bit back.

It’s always a nice surprise when government works that way.

What else am I feeling blessed by? Well, as I’ve said in other places, I’m glad my Accomplice was fired from a position that didn’t end up being as advertised, and was becoming increasingly stressful for considerably less than the pay rate he’d been promised. While we really could have used the money, such as it was, the weather this week made me feel blessed several times that he didn’t need to go out in it, Subaru or not. He’s an Oregon boy from the Willamette Valley, this mate of mine, and he’s not as accustomed to upstate New York winters as I am. I worry…but not this week. There’s a blessing in that.

The First Church in Albany, New York.
The First Church in Albany, New York.

Last Saturday, I was blessed with the opportunity to go, all by myself, on a tour of the First Church in Albany. It’s a Dutch Reformed church built in the mid-1600s, and Eliza Schuyler and her family were members of the congregation. On July 29, 1804, exactly 165 years before I would be born, Alexander Hamilton’s eulogy was read there, and effectively ushered in the end of dueling in the Northern states.

The church’s soaring arches had the effect arches always seem to have on me – they made me feel exultant, elevated – blessed. I stared and stared…and then there were old papers written in the script of long-dead hands. For a writer with a history bug, any chance to explore something like that is a magical little blessing from the past…

I’m very blessed to be able to explore my fascination with Hamilton, which lay dormant and almost unnoticed in me until my friend and NaNoWriMo ML Shannon Kauderer introduced me to the Hamilton: An American Musical soundtrack during car- pool trips to our weekly write-ins. I’m blessed to have grown up in this area, steeped in New York’s Dutch and Revolutionary heritage (I grew up with Saratoga Battlefield almost literally in my backyard, and my grandfather kept old cannonballs in his workbench for the grandkids to play with – I’m also blessed that the lead in them doesn’t seem to have caused me any long-term ill affects).

A chef's daughter explores eighteenth-century kitchen technology-  an outdoor beehive oven at the Schuyler House.
A chef’s daughter explores eighteenth-century kitchen technology-  an outdoor beehive oven at the Schuyler House.

And I’m blessed that, after traveling the country, and living close to all four corners of the continent (Oregon, Grand Canyon, the Everglades), I’m back here where I began, and where I can indulge my quest to follow, to some degree, in Alexander’s footsteps.

I’m blessed that my daughter, now almost twelve-and-a-half, and my son, fifteen, are sometimes willing to accompany me on these explorations. I’m blessed that it was Lise who got me started, when she asked me to write her a “shipfic” where Aaron Burr’s daughter and Alexander Hamilton’s eldest son end up together.  

With  Lise on the staircase of Schuyler Mansion. Her twelveness is a blessing.
With  Lise on the staircase of Schuyler Mansion. Her twelveness is a blessing.

She put me on a path of exploration – to the General Philip Schuyler House in what was once Old Saratoga, but is now Schuylerville; to the Schuyler Mansion and the First Church, both in Albany; and, on a long day trip with my son, to Fort Ticonderoga, once under the command of General Schuyler. Both kids went with me to Saratoga National Historical Park, and we spent the day taking the audio tour via a smartphone (we live in blessed times!) and hiked all the trails. These were days of deep connection.

Saratoga Battlefield in late September.
Saratoga Battlefield in late September.

Oh, what’s that? You smell something delicious? That would be the doing of my Accomplice (I’d rather play with words than food). The wonderful blessing in having a chef at home is that he loves to cook. He’s made his first batch of hot sauce; we still need labels before he can sell it, but it’s shelf stable and now he’s free to build inventory.

Maybe we’ll be blessed enough that he can focus on this passion project, and not need to take another outside job.

Oh. I see that you’re getting antsy – yup, that coffee has a kick, doesn’t it? It’s warmed up since you got here, but, if you’re inclined, please take a bottle of hot sauce for those cold winter nights to come!

What do you feel blessed by, this year?

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