17 April 2009

Libations Friday! 17 April 2009

Featured today is a new coffee recipe, two amusing short poems, some wonderful quotes we know well today in our time period and a few highlights of this famous writer's life: Robert Louis Stevenson.


A wonderful coffee recipe from BetterRecipes.com:

Mochacinno Diablo

Coffee, chocolate, cinnamon and a little kick of cayenne make this tall, frosty drink a great mid-day pick me up!


2 cups cold espresso or double strength coffee

1 cup dry powdered milk

1/4 cup turbinado (raw) sugar

1/4 teaspoon cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dash cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups ice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional Topping:

Diablo Whipped Cream

1/2 cup whipped cream + dash cayenne

Directions: Place all Mochacinno Diablo ingredients in a blender and mix on high until smooth & frosty. Pour into glasses and top with Diablo whipped cream, if desired.

Notes: If you've never tried raw turbinado sugar in your coffee, you are missing a real treat.

Number of Servings: 2

Submitted by: bevjmo10

Photo by Ballistick Coffee Boy @ flickr


Here’s are two short poems I should have included on Cheeky Quote Day that will make you grin! From an historical poet, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), come the 19th century equivalent of their idea of Haiku.

Whole Duty of Children

A child should always say what's true
And speak when he is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at table;
At least as far as he is able.

Looking Forward

When I am grown to man's estate
I shall be very proud and great,
And tell the other girls and boys
Not to meddle with my toys.


Portrait of Robert Louis StevensonImage via Wikipedia

Robert Louis Stevenson: Biography Highlights

Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in November 1850, an only child. During childhood he spent a lot of time with his maternal grandfather who was a minister and a grand storyteller, instilling in young Robert a love of it as well.

Robert spent most of his childhood winters in bed as he had a delicate constitution. He loved to read Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott, John Bunyan and The Arabian Nights. A love of reading and his imagination kept him company during those long winters.

Though his family had several generations of lighthouse engineers by 1867 he attended the University of Edinburgh and soon realized he preferred literature. He also acquired a law degree, much to his father’s delight, and was admitted to the bar at the age of twenty-five.

For the next four years Robert went traveling around Europe, mostly Paris. He published essays and articles about his travels, becoming known as a gifted travel writer. By 1876, he met his future wife, Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne. She was not only ten years older than him but also still married.

Soon after they met she decided to return to San Francisco and Robert followed her like any young man in love. Stevenson thought it a brilliant idea to add authenticity to his writing that he travel in steerage. It was almost the death of him as he was close to death when he arrived in Monterey, California by 1879. Nursed back to health he married Fanny the following May once she was divorced.

Photo of Fanny Osbourne shortly before she met Stevenson.

After a few months in America, Stevenson and Fanny returned to Britain with her young son. It was amazing how much writing he was able to produce though he was frequently sick. It was during this difficult time that he wrote his best-loved work. Treasure Island was published in 1884. A Child’s Garden of Verses followed that in 1885. By 1886, he had published The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

During his lifetime Stevenson was immensely popular and a successful writer. He was admired by his writing peers like Ernest Hemingway (born after Stevenson's death), Rudyard Kipling and J. M. Barrie (who wrote Peter Pan). Even popular author Henry James was a vocal supporter of his.

Photo via last.fm

When Stevenson’s father died in 1887, he was off again on his travels back to America. Quite the ambitious sailor he sailed in the Pacific on a chartered yacht with extended stays in the Hawaiian Islands.

By 1890, Stevenson purchased a 400 acre estate on Upolu in the Samoan Islands. It didn’t take him long to get involved in local politics. He even adopted the local native name of Tusitala which means “Story Writer.”

Unfortunately, by 1894, Stevenson had become depressed. He seemed to think his best work was behind not ahead of him, apparently not satisfied to rest on his laurels. He was so depressed that he spoke of how he wished his illnesses would kill him. By December 3rd of that year he got his wish.

When the modernistic aesthetic came along he was set aside and his work fell out of favor. Eventually, he was relegated to the level of only contributing to children’s literature.

As often happens to good writers of a different age, he was ignored during the 20th century and excluded from the Norton and Oxford anthologies of literature. Guess what? Upon retrospection - or embarrassment from sheer pettiness - they now include him.

Talk about the importance level. Who is ranked among the 25 most translated authors of all time? He’s ahead of the beloved Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens and even Edgar Allen Poe. You guessed right: Robert Louis Stevenson. The readers rest their case.


Photo of portrait painted by famous artist John Singer Sargeant. Stevenson paces in his dining room with his wife Fanny seated in Indian dress off to the side.

Some quotes Stevenson:

"A friend is a present you give yourself.

An aspiration is a joy forever, a possession as solid as a landed estate.

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.

So long as we love we serve;
So long as we are loved by others,
I would almost say that we are indispensable;
And no one is useless while they have a friend.

The mark of a good action is that it appears inevitable in retrospect.

The saints are the sinners who keep going.

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

Our business in life is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits.

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming is the only end of life."

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