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  • Dickens, Whiskey and friends

    An old proverbial saying admonishes “do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly”.   I’m guessing ole King Solomon with all his wisdom, did not intend for that to apply to an evening out with Dennis.  Dennis is a rare gem of a man whose townhouse is a veritable reliquary of theatrical and literary lore.  Included among his bookshelves are first editions of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, and original correspondence between members of the Pickwick Club.  A Dickens aficionado, Dennis brought A Christmas Carol to theatres across the country and was thereby invited to an audience at Buckingham Palace to meet Her Majesty the Queen of England.  Additionally, he is a close, personal friend to Cedric Charles Dickens, the great, grandson to the great, literary giant.  Crazy, the people you acquaint with over curry and conversation in an inconsequential cove in the middle of pretty much nowhere.  Pressing into hour three of a four-hour dinner, Dennis pulled our Anna Kendrick look a like waitress aside and whispered in her ear.  Moments later, she appeared with four tumblers of 18 and 20 year old McClellan Scotch Whiskey and a glass of room temperature water.  Distributing the tumblers amongst the table, he broke into the following narrative:

    Several years ago, while savoring a post-production nightcap with Cedric Dickens, who had availed himself for a personal appearance to the audience of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Cedric broke out in critique.  “When it comes to drinking whiskey, you yanks have it all wrong, pouring it over ice or dumping cold water into it, allow me to show you how it is properly done.”

    I’m typing in a refined British accent now, so follow along…

    First, you hold glass to the light, observe the amber and caramel tones, swirl the scotch gently in your glass and relish the beauty of color and hue.  

    Next, raise the glass to your nose and allow the heady bouquet to infiltrate your nostrils, prepping your palate for the fete of taste upon which you are about to embark.

    Now, allow yourself one small sip, a mere aperitif, to acquaint yourself with the character of the blend.  While this spot resonates amongst your taste buds, we shall drop 2-3 drops of room temperature water into the glass and give it a brief whorl. Now, it is time to savor.

    Not being a scotch drinker myself, I was a bit dubitable to the process at first.  However, the artisan in me fully appreciated lingering over the complexity of the ritual.  Whiskeys have an amazing array of colors, textures and bouquets that I’d never paused to appreciate.  With that first sip, I was nonplussed; yes this is what scotch tastes like and why I don’t gravitate towards it as a beverage of choice.  However, my mind was veritably blown away upon the second sip as layer upon layer of flavor and character unfolded in my mouth; this from one room-temperature drop of water?  I came to understand a new concept in spirits that evening.  Dare I say, the spirit of whisky past: a suitable mixer for Coke.  The spirit of whiskey present: a beverage Mr. PQ enjoys with a fine cigar by the fire.  The spirit of whiskey future:  when placed in the proper context, when presented in the manner which centuries old tradition demands, when seen through the eyes of the craftsman, Whiskey can be a wholly beautiful thing.

    I look forward to many more meals with Dennis and his lovely wife Anne, and attending the plays he is currently producing:  the outrageously funny Triple Espresso, the wonderfully quirky That Wonder Boy and the debut of To Begin With based on Charles Dickens, “The Life of Our Lord”

    I trust you will be tempted to imbibe in one of the many whiskey leather offerings available in the Pad and Quill online holiday store.

    Kari

     

  • He's a Lumbersexual

    I found myself out of town essentially every weekend in September and October largely due to travel with the high school coed mountain bike team and travel to Superior Hiking Trail Association trail clearing weekends.  I'd return Sunday evenings, worn but refreshed from days spent in the fall sunshine, trampling through the woods to cheer or chop, Sherpa or shovel, replete with stories of new acquaintances made and old friendships rekindled.

    At first, Mr PQ held down the home front with the usual grace he affords my little weekend outings, generally teachings the boys to be manly men with hot wing challenges and late night video game duals. But, by about the third week of September, I noticed a subtle change. At first it was things, like a shipment of pine scented beard oil landing on our front door step from CanYouHandleBar. What? He said it was a market research product from a company with which we are loosely affiliated. Then, a parcel from Duluth Trading Company arrived holding a snuggle worthy flannel shirt. No complaints here, but Mr PQ is generally more a Banana Republic guy. Weekend after weekend passed and a subtle suspicion began to creep into the back of my mind. More parcels from Duluth Trading, more beard-care products. Mr PQ whistling off to work, his Red Wing leather boots tromping off into the frost covered world, most assuredly up to something. Twenty five years of faithfulness and respect toward our marriage had me assured that it wasn't another woman, but clearly something was going on in the recesses of that man's brain.

    Whoever said "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" forgot to mention that it also makes the "id" go crazy. I was beginning to fear that with no Mrs PQ around during the non-work weekend hours Mr PQ was slipping into a plaid shirt induced psychosis. It was time for a confrontation. I awoke Sunday morning, a fire crackling in the stove, Mr PQ pipe in hand, reading on the sofa, ultimately confirming my worse fears. It was the matching plaid shirt on top of another plaid shirt that gave him away.

    What screamed through my mind came out as a mere whisper of accusation.

    You...Your're a, a LUMBERSEXUAL??!?!

    IMG_0042

    (I wrote that in all caps and exclamation points for the benefit of my FB and texting friends who presume that this is the only method for conveying emotional angst and vigor)

    But back to Mr PQ. Yes, the man has turned into a complete Lumbersexual. Including his own Instagram account he just started.  If you don't believe me, read some of the rules he's devised, and try to dispute the facts. Here are a few of his new 'Rules of a Lumbersexual'.

    1. You oil the beard, never moisturize the face.

    2. Flannel is not merely acceptable, it's expected

    3. The only time plaid is not worn is when wearing a suit, tie and cafe racer motorcycle #gentlemansride

    4. Metrosexuals build clothing collections, Lumbersexuals build wood dressers...for their ladies.

    5. Wearing flannel is great, but flannel on flannel is exceptional.

     

    Personally, I don't mind, I've always liked a man who could swing a big axe.

    Mrs PQ

    Kari

  • ACT like case making

    “Mom, you know that psych test I told you I failed?  Well guess what, I actually got an “A-“ on it.   Apparently her ADD can also have an effect on her perceived outcomes on tests.   This is the same kid who thinks she is “bad” at running track, but won a varsity letter in track and field her sophomore year, on a team that has won back to back “big” school state championships.  There is a position of being your own worse critic, and then there is the perception of a kid going to school in a wealthy, white suburb where she is surrounded by a student body that averages 26.3 on the ACT, with the top 400 students achieving a 29.  A respectable 21 on same exam can make a person feel “stupid”.  She doesn’t even factor in that her ADD is a 50 pound anchor around her neck when trying to perform on four hour tests that are comprised of filling in little ovals with a number 2 pencil.  In a competitive world it’s always good to accurately assess whom you are competing against.

    Design can feel the same way.   First, Apple presents to the public a mind blowing design that takes function integration to an art form.  Then 100’s of case producers hit the market with their version of a product in which you will encase your iPhone.

    10's of millions of iPhone 6 and 6 plus have been sold and I guarantee the percentage of those buyers who purchase a Pad and Quill case would be demoralizing on the face of it.  But at Pad & Quill we aren’t interested in grabbing market share by producing a cheap piece of silicon.  Our primary focus is to celebrate the craftsmen we employ by bringing to market a case that makes the ACT 29er’s pause, look, then try to replicate.  We mean to delight our customers with design and function that is rarely paralleled.  We strive to make our cases, sleeves and bags an organic extension of the paradigm shift usually associated with an Apple release.

    We believe our cases for iPhone 6 and 6 plus, in addition to our new line for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will do just that.

    Kari

    Mrs PQ

  • The wait is worth it.

    There are days when writing a blog post are easy, and then there are days you wake up wanting to spend the day in baggy sweats listening to John Denver on Spotify and crying because all your children are leaving home and Mr. PQ told you last night’s roast was a little dry.  You’d be dry too if you’d spent two days cooking in a crockpot.  Whoever is squelching the patent on the cure for PMS should really spend eternity in Dante’s fourth ring of hell.  Seriously, if we can engineer a smart phone that slides the screen content up and down with a subtle tap on the home button, (Yea iPhone 6, my fun size fingers thank you!) I’d think we could come up with a countermeasure aimed at reducing the monthly pseudo psychosis and histrionics of half the world’s population.

    I’m not holding my breath, because while the aforementioned iPhone doesn’t bend, it does consistently send out random voice texts to people on my contact list.  Mr. PQ would suggest this might be due to the fact that I’ve stuffed 17 credit cards and ID’s into my Luxury Pocketbook, so it bulges like an African hippopotamus, and I seemingly forget to reengage the auto-lock after streaming a favorite radio program, so my iPhone is always “on”, ready to text. I disagree, and today, since I am working from the home office, wearing baggy sweats and listening to John Denver music, Mr. PQ knows I am right.

    I don’t mean to incite fits of jealousy in all of you awaiting delivery of your new Bella Fino, Luxury Pocket Book or Little Pocket Book (which is a serious misnomer, there is nothing little about iPhone 6 plus) but as a product tester, I am now on my third PQ iPhone 6 case.    Let me assure you, I’ve stuffed them, dropped them,sat on them and shoved them into the strap of my sports bra while I worked out; these beautiful works of  art are impervious to the rigors of an active life.  Our craftsmen and women are working tenaciously; so let the two-week countdown begin!

    Kari

  • A Wallet Free Life

    The Superior Hiking Trail is about 300 miles of glorious north woods trail, which meanders from hamlet to hamlet, campsite to campsite.  The College Quill and I have plans to complete a thru hike next summer.  (For the uninitiated and Mr. PQ a thru hike traverses the entire trail in one outing).  Due to my rigorous effort alongside 18 of my new best friends, we will need to hike 2 extra miles next summer.  I spent the glorious bulk of last Saturday wielding a McCleod spade and exposing 2 foot wide stretches of path.  As we labored, a fellow trailblazer and I conversed about various hikes and the ideal gear for locations and seasons. Humorously, we had both experienced hikes we approached looking for the world like REI models, only to encounter a pair of tourists clad only in pedal pushers and sneakers.  My first summit of a 14’er taught me that a Sherpa is redundant when there is a conga line of girl scouts and grandmas making their way to the peak.  By contrast, we had also ventured into the wild and encountered folks who had no business being there and ultimately were trekked out by wilderness emergency personnel.

    If you are an iPhone 6 or Apple fan of any stripe, you know where this is going.  Apple has released a new iPhone that reduces our need for a wallet.  Apple Pay’s tap, pick and tick renders the need to carry a plethora of credit cards obsolete.  With Touch ID, iPhone 6 assures the merchant that you are who you say you are.  Minimalists of the world rejoice!  Consumers weary from a biweekly replacement of debit cards because yet another merchant you frequent has been hacked will join me in a little Apple happy dance.  (I love you Eddie Cue!)

    All I need to carry now is my license for the benefit of the TSA, liquor store clerks, night club bouncers (who seem to mistake me for a 19 year old, seriously? Did you not see the gray in Mr. PQs beard?  Do I need to show you my maze of childbearing stretch marks?) and the little old lady who swipes my card down at the local petrol station.  Speaking of, I need a credit card for her and the handful of locations that will remain in the pre Tim Cook era.

    So a wallet free life, yes. A wallet independent life, not quite. This is where our NEW iPhone 6 cases and iPhone 6 Plus cases fit in perfectly. Crafted by hand with the gorgeous baltic birch, the best American cowhides and craftsman who's fathers, fathers have worked the craft.

    Mrs PQ

    Kari

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