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Sunday, November 30, 2014


Russian Imperial lottery ticket circa 1900.


“The Lottery Ticket”
By Anton Chekhov

Ivan Dmitritch, a middle-class man who lived with his family on an income of twelve hundred a year and was very well satisfied with his lot, sat down on the sofa after supper and began reading the newspaper.

"I forgot to look at the newspaper today," his wife said to him as she cleared the table. "Look and see whether the list of drawings is there."

"Yes, it is," said Ivan Dmitritch; "but hasn't your ticket lapsed?"

"No; I took the interest on Tuesday."

"What is the number?"

"Series 9,499, number 26."

"All right . . . we will look . . . 9,499 and 26."

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov [1860- 1904) was a Russian physician, dramaturge and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. He died from TB.

Ivan Dmitritch had no faith in lottery luck, and would not, as a rule, have consented to look at the lists of winning numbers, but now, as he had nothing else to do and as the newspaper was before his eyes, he passed his finger downwards along the column of numbers. And immediately, as though in mockery of his scepticism, no further than the second line from the top, his eye was caught by the figure 9,499! Unable to believe his eyes, he hurriedly dropped the paper on his knees without looking to see the number of the ticket, and, just as though some one had given him a douche of cold water, he felt an agreeable chill in the pit of the stomach; tingling and terrible and sweet!

"Masha, 9,499 is there!" he said in a hollow voice.

His wife looked at his astonished and panic-stricken face, and realized that he was not joking.

"9,499?" she asked, turning pale and dropping the folded tablecloth on the table.

"Yes, yes . . . it really is there!"

"And the number of the ticket?"

"Oh, yes! There's the number of the ticket too. But stay . . . wait! No, I say! Anyway, the number of our series is there! Anyway, you understand. . . ."

Looking at his wife, Ivan Dmitritch gave a broad, senseless smile, like a baby when a bright object is shown it. His wife smiled too; it was as pleasant to her as to him that he only mentioned the series, and did not try to find out the number of the winning ticket. To torment and tantalize oneself with hopes of possible fortune is so sweet, so thrilling!

"It is our series," said Ivan Dmitritch, after a long silence. "So there is a probability that we have won. It's only a probability, but there it is!"

"Well, now look!"

A.P. Chekhov, left, with his
artist brother Nicolai in 1882
"Wait a little. We have plenty of time to be disappointed. It's on the second line from the top, so the prize is seventy-five thousand. That's not money, but power, capital! And in a minute I shall look at the list, and there -- 26! Eh? I say, what if we really have won?"

The husband and wife began laughing and staring at one another in silence. The possibility of winning bewildered them; they could not have said, could not have dreamed, what they both needed that seventy-five thousand for, what they would buy, where they would go. They thought only of the figures 9,499 and 75,000 and pictured them in their imagination, while somehow they could not think of the happiness itself which was so possible.

Ivan Dmitritch, holding the paper in his hand, walked several times from corner to corner, and only when he had recovered from the first impression began dreaming a little.

"And if we have won," he said -- "why, it will be a new life, it will be a transformation! The ticket is yours, but if it were mine I should, first of all, of course, spend twenty-five thousand on real property in the shape of an estate; ten thousand on immediate expenses, new furnishing . . . travelling . . . paying debts, and so on. . . . The other forty thousand I would put in the bank and get interest on it."

"Yes, an estate, that would be nice," said his wife, sitting down and dropping her hands in her lap.

"Somewhere in the Tula or Oryol provinces. . . . In the first place we shouldn't need a summer villa, and besides, it would always bring in an income."

And pictures came crowding on his imagination, each more gracious and poetical than the last. And in all these pictures he saw himself well-fed, serene, healthy, felt warm, even hot! Here, after eating a summer soup, cold as ice, he lay on his back on the burning sand close to a stream or in the garden under a lime-tree. . . . It is hot. . . . His little boy and girl are crawling about near him, digging in the sand or catching ladybirds in the grass. He dozes sweetly, thinking of nothing, and feeling all over that he need not go to the office today, tomorrow, or the day after. Or, tired of lying still, he goes to the hayfield, or to the forest for mushrooms, or watches the peasants catching fish with a net. When the sun sets he takes a towel and soap and saunters to the bathing-shed, where he undresses at his leisure, slowly rubs his bare chest with his hands, and goes into the water. And in the water, near the opaque soapy circles, little fish flit to and fro and green water-weeds nod their heads. After bathing there is tea with cream and milk rolls. . . . In the evening a walk or vint with the neighbours.

"Yes, it would be nice to buy an estate," said his wife, also dreaming, and from her face it was evident that she was enchanted by her thoughts.

Ivan Dmitritch pictured to himself autumn with its rains, its cold evenings, and its St. Martin's summer. At that season he would have to take longer walks about the garden and beside the river, so as to get thoroughly chilled, and then drink a big glass of vodka and eat a salted mushroom or a soused cucumber, and then -- drink another. . . . The children would come running from the kitchen-garden, bringing a carrot and a radish smelling of fresh earth. . . . And then, he would lie stretched full length on the sofa, and in leisurely fashion turn over the pages of some illustrated magazine, or, covering his face with it and unbuttoning his waistcoat, give himself up to slumber.

The St. Martin's summer is followed by cloudy, gloomy weather. It rains day and night, the bare trees weep, the wind is damp and cold. The dogs, the horses, the fowls -- all are wet, depressed, downcast. There is nowhere to walk; one can't go out for days together; one has to pace up and down the room, looking despondently at the grey window. It is dreary!

Ivan Dmitritch stopped and looked at his wife.

"I should go abroad, you know, Masha," he said.

And he began thinking how nice it would be in late autumn to go abroad somewhere to the South of France . . . to Italy . . . . to India!

"I should certainly go abroad too," his wife said. "But look at the number of the ticket!"

"Wait, wait! . . ."

He walked about the room and went on thinking. It occurred to him: what if his wife really did go abroad? It is pleasant to travel alone, or in the society of light, careless women who live in the present, and not such as think and talk all the journey about nothing but their children, sigh, and tremble with dismay over every farthing. Ivan Dmitritch imagined his wife in the train with a multitude of parcels, baskets, and bags; she would be sighing over something, complaining that the train made her head ache, that she had spent so much money. . . . At the stations he would continually be having to run for boiling water, bread and butter. . . She wouldn't have dinner because of its being too dear. . . .

Portrait of A.P. Chekhov by Nicolai Chekhov
"She would begrudge me every farthing," he thought, with a glance at his wife. "The lottery ticket is hers, not mine! Besides, what is the use of her going abroad? What does she want there? She would shut herself up in the hotel, and not let me out of her sight. . . . I know!"

And for the first time in his life his mind dwelt on the fact that his wife had grown elderly and plain, and that she was saturated through and through with the smell of cooking, while he was still young, fresh, and healthy, and might well have got married again.

"Of course, all that is silly nonsense," he thought; "but . . . why should she go abroad? What would she make of it? And yet she would go, of course. . . . I can fancy . . . In reality it is all one to her, whether it is Naples or Klin. She would only be in my way. I should be dependent upon her. I can fancy how, like a regular woman, she will lock the money up as soon as she gets it. . . . She will hide it from me. . . . She will look after her relations and grudge me every farthing."

Ivan Dmitritch thought of her relations. All those wretched brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles would come crawling about as soon as they heard of the winning ticket, would begin whining like beggars, and fawning upon them with oily, hypocritical smiles. Wretched, detestable people! If they were given anything, they would ask for more; while if they were refused, they would swear at them, slander them, and wish them every kind of misfortune.

Ivan Dmitritch remembered his own relations, and their faces, at which he had looked impartially in the past, struck him now as repulsive and hateful.

"They are such reptiles!" he thought.

And his wife's face, too, struck him as repulsive and hateful. Anger surged up in his heart against her, and he thought malignantly:

"She knows nothing about money, and so she is stingy. If she won it she would give me a hundred roubles, and put the rest away under lock and key."

And he looked at his wife, not with a smile now, but with hatred. She glanced at him too, and also with hatred and anger. She had her own daydreams, her own plans, her own reflections; she understood perfectly well what her husband's dreams were. She knew who would be the first to try and grab her winnings.

"It's very nice making daydreams at other people's expense!" is what her eyes expressed. "No, don't you dare!"

Her husband understood her look; hatred began stirring again in his breast, and in order to annoy his wife he glanced quickly, to spite her at the fourth page on the newspaper and read out triumphantly:

"Series 9,499, number 46! Not 26!"

Hatred and hope both disappeared at once, and it began immediately to seem to Ivan Dmitritch and his wife that their rooms were dark and small and low-pitched, that the supper they had been eating was not doing them good, but lying heavy on their stomachs, that the evenings were long and wearisome. . . .

"What the devil's the meaning of it?" said Ivan Dmitritch, beginning to be ill-humoured. "Wherever one steps there are bits of paper under one's feet, crumbs, husks. The rooms are never swept! One is simply forced to go out. Damnation take my soul entirely! I shall go and hang myself on the first aspen-tree!"

Anton Chekhov with Leo Tolstoy in Yalta, 1900.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Death Wish Coffee can be ground to an espresso grind and used in an espresso machine. This brings out many wonderful dark cherry, mocha, and almond flavors that you may not taste when brewing with conventional methods. Here is a freshly pulled shot of Death Wish Coffee espresso. Notice how nice the crema has formed.

GUEST BLOG—By Michael Brown, Death Wish Coffee Co.-- What is Espresso?  Espresso is coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans.

Espresso is generally thicker than coffee brewed by other methods, has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids, and has crema on top (a foam with a creamy consistency). As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals in a typical cup of espresso are very concentrated.

Espresso is the base for other drinks, such as a caffe latte, cappuccino, caffe macchiato, caffe mocha, or caffe americano. Espresso has more caffeine per unit volume than most coffee beverages, but because the usual serving size is much smaller, the total caffeine content is less.

Although the actual caffeine content of any coffee drink varies by size, bean origin, roast method and other factors, the caffeine content of "typical" servings of espresso vs. drip brew are 53 mg vs. 95 to 200 mg.

Bio on Michael Brown:
Every day Mike Brown would drag himself out of bed to open his small coffee shop, Saratoga Coffee Traders, in Saratoga Springs, NY. His customers would demand the strongest coffee he had to help them through their days. Mike would always offer them the darkest roast he had, but knew that this may not be the most caffeinated coffee because dark roast coffee contains less caffeine then their lighter roasted counterparts.

“What is the strongest coffee in the world?” Michael thought.

After some searching, nothing presented itself.

“Time to create the world’s strongest coffee.”

After countless weeks of late nights, early mornings, cupping, testing and tasting he finally discovered the perfect blend of beans. DEATH WISH COFFEE “The World’s Strongest Coffee”.

Knowing he had something special. Mike assembled a small team of dedicated workers to help him bring this blend to the world. We have been working tirelessly to get the word out.

Some people have called us irresponsible for making coffee this strong. We think that it is revolutionary. We love our jobs, we love our customers and we love this coffee!

Friday, November 28, 2014


Ms. Stephanie Trick
Editor’s note: Stephanie Trick had the chance to play with great boogie woogie pianist, Carl Sonny Leyland, at the 35th edition of the San Diego Jazz Fest. The video link posted on this blog was recorded on November 30, 2013. 

Catch it on YouTube at the following link:


Stephanie Trick will be performing solo at the San Diego Jazz Fest, Friday, Nov. 28 at 1 pm in the Terrace Salon, Town & Country Hotel, Mission Valley.

The Trick-Alderighi Combo performs twice Friday, Nov. 28 at 3 pm and 9:15 pm in the Town & Country’s San Diego Ballroom.

Stephanie Trick will be performing solo, Saturday, Nov. 29 at 11 am in the Terrace Salon, Town & Country Hotel, Mission Valley.

Trick-Alderighi Combo w/Chloe plays Saturday, Nov. 29 at 1 pm in the Pacific Ballroom.  The Combo plays again at 5 pm in the Town & Country Ballroom.

For more on Ms. Trick see her website:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Rosemary 'Roman Beauty'

GUEST BLOGBy San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles eClub contributor, Christiane Holmquist--With the cooler nights and fresh breezes announcing fall, I'm impatient to get into the garden and try some of the exciting plants I have noticed in recent months. Here are four xerophytes (plants that have adapted to survive in an environment with little water) that are easy to maintain and provide year-round interest.

--'Rio Braco' Texas Ranger: Landscape designer Marilyn Guidroz of Marilyn's Garden Design says this is a fast-growing, dense, screen shrub that needs no pruning after the initial shaping. At maturity, it reaches 5 feet by 5 feet. This is a drought-tolerant shrub that only requires a once-a-month deep watering in the summer until it is established. Lovely lavender flowers cover the shrub in intermittent waves during hot, humid months of summer and fall. In dry summers, the flowers are sparser. The foliage is mint green all year long.

--Vitex californica 'Rogers Red' Grape: This is a great plant for fall color on fencing. It takes regular to moderate water. It is best in full sun, but can take partial shade. A deciduous native plant that has edible fruit and climbs by tendrils, this autumn beauty has gray-green leaf color all summer and then turns brilliant red in fall.

--Rosemary 'Roman Beauty' (shown abo e): Owner/landscape contractor Mark Sterk of Columbine Landscape Inc. recommends this compact plant that is slow growing — reaching 1 to 2 feet tall and wide. This Mediterranean shrub grows in an upright, roundish form that is consistent and easy to keep in place. It has a graceful appearance, with slightly arching stems and violet-blue blooms in late winter and spring. As with other rosemary, it is deer and rabbit resistant and tolerant to salt spray, alkaline soils and drought. Plant in full sun. I'd use it as an important connector and "glue" that, frequently repeated, can hold all your other plants together.

--Abelia 'Kaleidoscope': Mark also recommends this dwarf plant with its white flowers and gold, variegated foliage that provide "good pop" in the garden. The foliage color is best when planted in full sun. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall by 4 to 5 feet wide. Water requirements are low; and, once established, this plant is quite drought tolerant, except in extended periods of heat.

Editor’s note:
This article first appeared Wednesday, October 8, 2014 in the Garden Tip section of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyle magazine’s E-Club blog.  Content was submitted to SDHGL by:

Christiane Holmquist
Christiane Holmquist Landscape Designs
2523 San Vicente Road
Ramona, CA 92065


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