The Tea List

I’m working on another book list, but as it’s not finished yet, what better thing to preface it with than a tea list?

1. Ceylon

Regal Ceylon Tea is a black tea that tastes like morning sunshine.

I found a box at TJMaxx which made me think I’d probably never see another one. So glad I was wrong!

I have a feeling it’s swiftly making its way to the top of my every day tea list with every cup I have. (I bought it two days ago and I’m on my fourth bag, which means probably my 7th or 8th cup)

2. Peppermint

This is a wonderful, herbal, non-caffeinated tea. It’s good for every time of day. Take a Trader Joe’s chocolate bar and take a small bite with each sip. You will thank me, and in turn I’ll thank my sister (noirbettie) who introduced this practice to me.

It’s also perfect for when I am nervous or upset, or simply do not feel well. It has a calming effect and is very good for the stomach.

3. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Since I started drinking earl grey eight or nine years ago it has been hard to go back to my old favourites of English Breakfast and Darjeeling. In fact, neither tastes very good to me at all anymore (unless there is no other option, because: Tea!)

There are many different kinds of earl grey. Plain old e.g. is great. So are the flavoured and specialty ones I will get to in a moment.

If you live in the south, or have, you probably love sweet tea as much as I do. Once when my (southern*) ex-bf’s mother ran out of regular black tea, she stole his box of earl grey and made a pitcher of sweet tea with it. THERE IS NOTHING BETTER IN THE SWEET TEA WORLD.

4. Winter White Earl Grey

Back when I worked at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Cafe in South Carolina, we served several Harney & Sons teas (I believe this is still their brand of choice) including a white earl grey that became my favourite. For the past several years, whether it is time or distance, I have not been able to find this tea in B&N cafes up north. Once I asked at the BN in Erie, PA, and the barista told me she remembered it but hadn’t seen it for some time. Enter: the Woodstock Tea Shop in Woodstock, NY. They carry many Harney & Sons teas as well as many of their own. And there on the shelf behind the counter was a huge black canister marked “Winter White Earl Grey.” I bought a pound of it.

5. Cream Earl Grey

Because the Woodstock Tea Shop was filled with all sorts of teas, I took the opportunity and sniffed a number of different teas, including jasmine pearls (of which I bought a tiny bag) and a bizarre earl grey with pretty purple flowers in it. The woman behind the counter claimed that this type of tea tasted, once steeped, as though you had already added cream to it. The thought repulsed me as I add nothing to my tea unless I am sick – and Never cream! However, the gentle coxing scent of this tea prompted me to buy a teensy bag to try, anyway. About two weeks later, when I ran out, I begged my mother to bring me a pound bag when she visited for our wedding shower that following month.

This is by far my very favourite tea. You can order it from WTS or go there yourself! It’s a nice little shop with loose leaf teas and tea accoutrements. When I was running out of it a second time, my little brother (who had been equally taken with it), brought me a canister of another version from Teavana – Earl Grey Creme. I have to admit, after trying it, I won’t drink cream earl grey that is not from the Woodstock tea shop, as it all smells somewhat of candy and artifice.

6. Duchess Grey

I don’t know if this exists anywhere anymore. It was a TJ’s specialty that they no longer carry. It was a citrus black tea that made AWESOME sun tea as well as hot.

(Similar to Lady Grey, which I have in decaf which makes this tea less interesting)

7. The Tea of Inquiry

First off – What a brilliant name for a tea! I discovered my love for it in 2000 when I worked as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble in Syracuse, NY. At the time, the cafe there served Republic of Tea products. These came in lovely tall cylindrical canisters containing round tea bags or loose leaf. The Tea of Inquiry is a Genmaicha. It contains only two ingredients: Fine Japanese Green Tea and Toasted Rice.

The earthy flavor is very grounding. It is tasty and calming.

I have found no other version of this tea that I enjoy. Other sellers combine these two fine ingredients with popped corn. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS PRACTICE. I mean, seriously, unless you want to drink Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Why would you do this???

*I accidentally typed ‘souther’ which I also think is kind of appropriate. I may take to using this term in future.

More than the Sum

Today was my “If you are not pregnant in six months come see me again” visit with my new ob/gyn.

I went straight from her incredibly promising session to the lab down the hall to get four different blood tests done.

I have two more tests to be done over the next three weeks.

My new doctor is so supportive and so positive. It’s hard to face this without that attitude and caring attentiveness. I am thankful for her.

All the same . . .

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. . . This is my life right now.

And now, for some inspiration for those like me feeling a little less:

Janruary

It’s snowing again. I was quite liking the rain. Rain is easier to deal with (unless it freezes). Yesterday’s wind was a different story.

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Our neighbors’ yard.

The new year has started, as all new things do, from the ashes of the old version. It’s the same material. Ordered in a slightly different way. New experiences altered out of old ingredients. With increasingly better results.

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At home, with the dog curled up on the other couch, and I have a cup of coffee with about 7 creamers and three teaspoons of sugar, because I really only like coffee as a splash in the sweet creaminess of the condiments.

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I made bread dough on Saturday, so I’m waiting for my morning roll to bake. Apricot marmalade (the only version sold in stores here) and a room temperature stick of butter await. My new pink piggy timer buzzes loudly and keeps ticking when it’s time to check the oven. Almost done.

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It’s hard to feel accomplished when the kitchen is a mess. I’d hire house-elves, but the accomplishment also comes from having done it myself.

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(You are welcome to clean the bathroom yourself, however, because that’s one area I loath to approach.)

I found my knitting project in the guest room. I don’t know how long it’s been since I last picked it up, but last night while we watched Bones, I carried on a few rows, only forgetting which side needed the k2tog twice.

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I’m trying to keep reading. I’m slow at it, so I give up often. But This Book is Full of Spiders is entertaining and keeps my brain and eyes from getting lazy. If you want a fun set, start with John Dies at the End. These are my husband’s favourite books and I’m glad I’m finally getting to them.

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This week is for baking, reading, knitting, and wearing red nail polish. Also, for eating at Panera. Because we finally have one. Fuck yeah. Next up, Five Guys at the mall. If only B+N, Target, and World Market would move in.

As one who suffers depression I know this is a ridiculous idea, a tall order, an impossibility to predict or even capture . . . but my only New Year’s Resolution for 2015 is this:

Be Happy.

LEGO: Lord of the Brains

I’ve definitely been playing too many video games lately. Well, the same two video games, perhaps a bit too much.

Last year Nic gave me both LEGO Harry Potter games and lately I’ve been playing them hours on end, for days in a row, often falling asleep controller in hand. To the point where when I dream, all the people are LEGO figures, and everything around them explodes in a spray of lego studs.

As I woke this morning I had a vision:

Two LEGO mini figures on an upper deck of a cruise ship. It reminded me of a recently watched episode of an old tv show. And it hit me in that moment – the realization of what this world needs.

LEGO: Murder She Wrote

(Preferably without dialogue. The Tolkien ones really lost something when real words got added.)

Some other important video games that our cultures needs to happen:

LEGO: Bones (Heroes of the Jeffersonian)

and

Banjo Hero: Mumford & Sons Edition

What video game do YOU need to happen Right Now?

UPDATE: ideas from friends and readers!

The Classics in LEGO: Zelda, Mario Bros, etc

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