Russian roasted coffee becomes the American Dream

Dazbog Coffee. I first discovered them in a little neighborhood when I lived in Denver, but didn’t begin to appreciate it until I was spending time in Fort Collins last fall. The one near the Poudre River Trail in north Fort Collins is still my favorite Dazbog.

Today my ‘snowstorm day off from work wanderabout’ took me to the Dazbog at 556 Lincoln in Loveland, Colorado. Unlike the one located on Eisenhower in Loveland, this one has plenty of windows on the west, south, and even east side of their space. I love the light and openness that windows provide. I’ve been here almost three hours, writing, listening to music, playing on Facebook, and watching the snow fall….it’s a beautiful thing.

This coffee roaster/franchise coffee shop is the manifestation of an American Dream by Leonid and Anatoly Yuffa, and is based in Denver, Colorado.  According to the website –, the Yuffa family fled Russia to pursue a better life of freedom, democracy, and opportunity.

I don’t know if they have the best coffee, but what I am fond of is the customer service at the few Dazbog locations that I’ve been to. I don’t know if it is the corporation or the franchisees that create the service standards here, but I’ve found the coffee shops to be warm, inviting, and full of color and cultural flavor. For me, a good coffee shop is one that I can sit in for three hours and it feels like only a few minutes.  This visit is fast approaching the four hour mark.

The Merchant Voyage…words are flowing out across the universe.

“words are flowing out across the universe” & “the long and winding road”

The shop owner, Mary, told me that she found some old flashcards and decided to make her own and use phrases from Beatles’ songs. An entire tree was decorated with these phrases and elegantly draped ribbons. I would love to have a room decorated like this, where I could retreat to when I need inspiration, affirmations, or just a dose of whimsy.

Merchant Voyage is a little gift store located on Fourth Street in downtown Loveland, Colorado. Taking up two storefront spaces, you can find books, cards, jewelry, embroidered ribbons, candles, ornaments – whatever you imagine or don’t imagine! It’s a great place to find unique gifts for yourself or others.

Located in downtown Loveland, this is a great place to spend time wandering through coffee shops, restaurants, theatre, galleries, boutiques, and gift shops. During the summer there are many weekend activities from art walks to BBQ events in the streets. It’s a hoppin’ little town just north of Denver and east of the Rocky Mountains.

I feel like I am on my own little voyage, on the long and winding road through life.

Cucuru Art Gallery and Cafe

My first visit to this eclectic cafe in Colorado Springs was two years ago. What I remembered about it I liked enough to stop by when I was wandering through Old Colorado City. An art gallery and coffee shop – perfect!

A few changes since I was there last, but nothing that disappointed me. The patio in the back has more seating, they’ve added more music, more tapas to the menu, and it’s still an art gallery. Tango lessons are still available, but unfortunately, I did not have the time to check it out.

While housesitting in Woodland Park, I made two visits to Cucuru Art Gallery and Cafe and both were enjoyable. I met a friend on the second visit and we were able to spend a couple hours catching up without noisy interruptions. Before leaving the cafe, we were able to get a taste of the Bossa Nova band playing.

The owner supports international artists, with a particular love for Cuban art. While I was there, I had just a few moments to check out the paintings, but I was sidetracked by the beautiful display of colorful, beaded necklaces and the molas in a display case. I was in my own little multicultural art cafe heaven – colors, textiles, paintings, tapas, and coffee!

Cucuru Art Gallery and Cafe
Old Colorado City
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Keep your face to the sunshine…

“Keep your face to the sunshine then you cannot see the shadows….that’s what sunflowers do!” – Helen Keller

Sunflowers are satellite dishes that follow the sun! Always looking up, always following the light…always beautiful! They embrace the sun, absorb the warmth and radiate it all around them in glorious colour…they are sublime! They remind me of our lives…all the choices we make…we can choose to be like the sunflower and and look for the warmth and the light in our friendships, in our work, in what we do. We can choose to be upbeat and positive regardless of the changes happening in our lives.

For me, moving to New Zealand took me out of my comfort zone. You don’t expect to hit 50, have 3 teenage children, and be moving halfway across the world from everything you’ve been accustomed to! It’s a new adventure though, and like the sunflower, I’m embracing it with my whole being. I am the eternal optimist, there is something positive to find in every new adventure…just depends if you choose to look for it or not. The friends I’ve left behind in South Africa will always be my friends. In some ways, being this far away from them forces us to look at our friendships even more. It’s no longer so easy to pop in and visit or pick up the phone and call them. I, and them, have to make a concerted effort to stay in touch…and we do!

I’m making new friends here, too. I have a 6 month old, furry, 4-legged coffee companion called Chocolat who comes on long walks along the sea with me and loves coffee-to-go on the beach. Together, we are making new friends who share our passion for the sea, nature, and all things beautiful!

I am my very own sunflower!

Carol Jardine, New Zealand
coffee shop cruiser

The Bamboo Raft…..Indonesia

 One day I see boys looking unhappy, as they were going home from school on a Saturday.  When they walked by a lake, they saw bamboo raft and thought about borrowing it.
When a quarter past the lake, they decided to use it.  They couldn’t resist and were suprised at the cheerful activities they had on it.  The boys hurriedly opened their shirts, and carefully carried the bamboo raft.
One boy sat too close to the water and the bamboo raft began to swing.  This surprised the other boys, and spontanaeity arose to jump into water to save himself.

They are filled with the sensation to jump into the water, and so they did this repeatedly…
They are very funny, and not thinking about the dangers and worry of the dirty water.  They were only thinking about how to make today great and better than yesterday, knowing that tomorrow will be even greater than today.

Dody Ido D, photographer –


Music as a Global Golden Thread

I was going to write more about my coffee shop cruising in Colorado Springs yesterday, but my mind kept coming back to music.

Last night, while I was making chicken tacos and playing on Facebook, I noticed that a FB friend from Saudia Arabia was posting classic rock videos on his wall. It started with Ram Jam’s Black Betty and AC/DC with TNT, and I started to send requests for The Who, The Beatles, and The Doors. He was coming through with American Woman, Help!, LA Woman, Led Zeppelin, Elvis, and others.

As I listened, I re-posted them to my wall, clicked Like, and moved to the next video while in the kitchen dancing and making the chicken for my tacos. I started to watch the response of my videos…friends from Colorado, Wisconsin, Florida, and Italy started to click Like, comment, and share on their own walls. Monday Night Rocks! on Facebook started around 4 a.m. Saudi Arabia time, which is 7 p.m. Mountain Time.

I’m not sure which I enjoyed more – the classic rock or watching what a simple music video can do around the world. This morning I was delighted to see that another Facebook friend from Saudi Arabia picked up a couple videos. Abdulaziz’s Monday night (Tuesday morning for him) Video Jockey-ing went around the world and back to his home. How amazing is that?

I began to dig a little more into the archives of some of my Facebook friends for more videos. Piter posted Be Happy and this morning, Alaa sent me a Backstreet Boys music video to me with a note about how it was one of her videos as a child. I think it’s called “I Want It That Way,” but I’m not sure. One thing I love about the lyrics is “…we are two worlds apart…” I realize it’s a love song, but it made me think about how these friends are halfway around the world from me, yet we are all one, in one world.

Music….a global golden thread sewing us back together. It’s not “the” golden thread because literature, art, philosophy, etc….it brings us all together. I was using to decipher some posts and found some beautiful conversations about Shakespeare’s work, love, and of course, politics.

My hat’s off to Abdulaziz for doing his part in helping to “sew” us back together, one music video at a time!