a girl and her boy

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Tag Archives: tea

It’s a Snow Day. Who’da thunk it?

It’s been a few days since the last post. Those days were spent fighting with my Internet source, battling this cold that keeps hanging on (it’s turned into sore ears, a burning throat, and coughing, but it’s still just a cold according to the doc this morning), meeting with new professional contacts, house and pet sitting, and taking care of life stuff.

As I sit here clicking away at the keyboard, I check over my shoulder every now and then at the progress of the road crews cleaning up this latest storm to hit the Boston area. The snow began early morning and the storm warning stays in effect until Thursday morning. I believe at the last update we’re supposed to get 10-15 inches of snow in this storm, and another is coming in on Saturday. Considering the last few winters were mild, I really shouldn’t complain about the inches we’re getting this year. It goes in cycles.

The snow this winter has given me ample opportunity to think about some of the differences between living in rural Maine and living in urban Massachusetts. When I comment on the weather, people ask where I’m from. I respond that I’m from Maine to which they say, “so, shouldn’t you be used to this?” Well, yes, to some extent.

gabeinsnowbank

Gabe climbing out of the car and over the bank when we ate at the S&S in Cambridge last week.

 

There are quite a few differences in dealing with the snow and cold in Maine and dealing with it here on the coast in Boston. For one, most places I needed to go in Maine were too far away to make walking reasonable; so I drove everywhere. I never dealt much with slushy, snowy sidewalks in central Maine, nor did I have to try parallel parking on a narrow street lined with cars and snow banks taller than my car. As far as I know, there also are not many places that have the wind tunnel effect in Maine in the places I lived, other than when I was on campus at UMaine. That was tough. I’d have to say, though, that the Back Bay of Boston is colder and windier than I remember UMaine being. Anyone else have experience being on campus at UMaine in the winter to chime in on this?

snowbank

A few cars on a side street in Cambridge. I snapped the shot to illustrate how lucky I am to not have to try parking in an area like this!

 

In addition to the differences between Maine and Mass, this winter has given me a chance to contrast the living environments I’ve thought I wanted and the one I’m in now. When Gabe and I first started looking for a place in Boston, I wanted a nice apartment with charm and character in a well-established neighborhood. Instead, we’re on the frontier of the city surrounded by new construction and parking lots. If I had it my way, I probably would have been parking on a street like the one shown above. Instead, we’re living in a newer apartment building in the city and the car is in a parking garage two blocks down. Thank you, Gabe, for finding this place and talking me into it’s merits! After this winter, I’m so grateful to not have to shovel out my parking space, the walk, and clean off my car once a week! To those that do, I commend your efforts this challenging winter!

* * *

Gabe and I spent the majority of the weekend in Marblehead house and pet sitting. I used the distraction-free environment to chip away at filling out online job applications and updating my materials at various job databases, as well as make some progress on my novel. Gabe caught up on Modern Warfare:  Black Ops. We both have our priorities, you know. His avatar’s rapid footsteps and gunfire was competition with my typing. It’s hard to say who won.

From Marblehead, we went to Belmont for a gaming party with some friends. The gaming parties are always a blast. There were a variety of games in play, but I sat at the Small World table twice and then played all of the expansions of Playtest (We Didn’t Playtest This at All, We Didn’t Playtest This Either, Blue Cards, Dice, and Chaos)  and then Bang! The Bullet. Great games. I want to buy them all for my own collection. We also played Once Upon a Time with the Dark Tales expansion at the end of the night.

What was interesting about that night in particular is that for most of it, Gabe and I sat at different tables gaming (there were probably 20 or so people there). A few years ago, I don’t know that it would have happened. I used to be closed off and unable to interact with people without a shield. I was very proud to realize how much I’ve grown, and it’s good to know that past decisions in relationships are showing their value.

I just checked:  Yup, it’s still snowing. Thought it may have stopped by some miracle. I hope you have a good and safe day this snowy Tuesday. I’m off to make some ginger and thyme tea to chase away this cold!

Bits and Pieces

cozied up at home

I feel like writing today. It’s been a while.

It’s a chilly, grey, rainy day here on the north shore and my thoughts have turned to warmth and comfort. I pulled out a sweater from the tub I hauled down to the basement a month ago, slipped into some jeans, wrapped a scarf around my neck and settled into a book first thing this morning. It has been a while since the house has been quiet like this for quiet reflection and reading. I sipped on coffee made with lowfat milk and honey in my new Emerson mug. Perfect.

the house I rented in Maine

new transitions

My thoughts drifted back to autumns and winters past, the little comforts for chill days, and how different my present is, and how much greater the difference will be in five weeks. I went from renting a house in rural Maine were I chopped and split and hauled my own fire wood to soon living in an apartment building in the up-and-coming part of Boston with amenities I never dreamed of having at my finger tips. Worlds apart.

the roof deck of my new home

In Maine, I had organic farms and farm stands a few streets away, chickens in my back yard that ate bugs off my herbs and vegetables, and fruit trees. I was blessed with an abundance of food that could easily be traced to its roots. Boston has Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and farmers’ markets, too, but it’s different. I’m not sure which I preferred. Maine was wonderful, but living in Boston where I will be commuting to gather groceries by means of public transit will be a new and interesting experience. Maintaining my organic, green, healthy lifestyle in 750 square foot apartment in Boston has given me a new focus for blog writing.

I look forward to the new experience of getting on the silver line and having time to think and observe while going to gather food. I look forward to the bustling farmers’ market full of new and wonderful things. And I look forward to a new opportunity to start fresh and make more adjustments in my diet for a healthier life. This whole experience will be new. And I look forward to the challenges and opportunities it presents.

reading

I curled up with The Eyre Affair, a novel on loan from my friend Jose. I’m working on zipping through so I can return it to him at his farewell party in two weeks. I inadvertently slammed the book when I last saw him at a gaming event by saying something to the effect of I’m in the middle of a bunch of books right now and haven’t had a chance to finish it yet to which he replied something to the effect of so there are a bunch of books you like better than this one. So I’m trying to make up for it by actually finishing the book and coming up with an honest review of it.

I’ve been in a book gathering mood of late and have picked up the first four books of The Dark Tower, of which I’m in the middle of book two, an annotated complete works of Milton, the Divine Comedy, and the new instant classics of Little Women and Werewolves as well as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I’ll never have enough books. I’m doomed to living in a book-lined home.

hand and home crafts

Nothing much going on with needle crafts such as cross-stitching or knitting. Per usual, I have a ton of UFOs sitting around that need some attention. The hexacomb cardigan has been set aside until I have an opportunity to fix some errors using EZ’s “no tears” method. The hexacomb pattern became a spiral when I was under the influence of Vicodin. I haven’t had the spirit to fix it since I discovered the error.

gaming and geekery

I picked up copies of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII this weekend. I look forward to settling in and playing them through this summer. I also picked up the first volume of some comics:  Lenore, The Wizard of Oz, and The Dark Tower. I cannot wait to purchase the whole of each.

That’s what I’m up to and some of what I’ve been thinking about. I hope all is well with you!

Much love. Black Sheep.

Thanks and Thanksgiving

Thank you for all the support and well-wishes! I truly appreciate the warm thoughts and community your comments provided.

In theme with the season and my present mood, here is a list of things I am grateful for (both serious and silly):

    • my 27 years of life experience
    • having a reliable car that I don’t have to pour money into
    • chocolate
    • tea! tea! tea!
    • baskets full of wool
    • not having to worry about where my next meal will come from
    • having a stable full time position
    • colorful marker pens
    • having a loving and supportive husband
    • having the best running buds (both in real life and pen pal)
    • the ability to run 3 miles and more
    • books that challenge my brain and make it hurt
    • the ability to write to express my thoughts and feelings effectively
    • a plethora of interesting knitting patterns
    • Ravelry
    • Knitty
    • a warm house to live in
    • a wood stove to feed 🙂
    • living close to work so my commute is short
    • a loving and supportive group of friends (online and IRL)
    • being a teacher with all the vacations and benefits that come with the job
    • my wonderful, zany, energetic, silly, forgetful, thoughtful students
    • my supportive colleagues
    • all my woolens
    • allergy medication
    • my positive and negative experiences that make me the strong and caring person I am
    • my health
    • my life

      What are you thankful for?

      Teaberry Tea

      image courtesy of Stonewall Kitchens site

      image courtesy of Stonewall Kitchen's site

      I haven’t posted about tea in a while, mostly because I haven’t tried any new ones for quite some time. But, I’m glad to say, that I have a new tea to share! My inlaws found Stonewall Kitchen Maine Teaberry Tea in a local shop and bought a few tins and graciously gave one of them to me. This tea not only tastes refreshing and fruity, it also smells divine and is beautiful as dried potpourri when the leaves are done with steeping.

      Unfortunately, it’s a limited-edition seasonal tea. If you happen to spot it, grab it!

      The tea contains teaberry leaves, birch bark, rose hips, cranberries, blueberries, hibiscus, roasted chicory root, and wintergreen oil. Before I run out, I’m going to gather these ingredients and see what I can do about blending my own. When I get there, I’ll post my trial runs and results.

      Good Morning!

      I love mornings. I love breakfast. And, I love knitting. This post is dedicated to my love of the growing daylight coming in the windows with condensation and falling on my tea cup, knitting, and further in the room, my green friends. I love how all things seem possible in the morning. Grogginess obscures the worries of the previous day and grants us a reprieve from stress.

      The Gentleman’s Fancy Sock numero dos is about halfway done. I began the heel flap last night and should progress to the foot today. It’s unlikely that it’ll be done today, but definitely within the next few. Last night while working on it, my stash called out to me. The Knit Picks Simple Stripes in Dragonfly was calling out to me to be knit into a basic 3×1 ribbed sock. The Mission Falls wants to be a basic sock with chunky stripes. And the Knit Picks Palette wants to be boot socks for Allan. The fiber called to me, very politely, reminding me to not forget them when I’m done with the Fancy Sock. I assured each and every skein and bit of left over wool that they would soon find themselves happily knit up and put to service.

      Etsy of the Day: Rooibos Chai Herbal Tea

      A week or two ago I wrote a post about not being able to drink black tea anymore.  I reviewed some teas and then wrote a second post about another type of tea I tried. In the comments of that post, Sweet Leaves from the Sweet Leaves Tea House in Brunswick, Maine pointed me in the direction of Rooibos Chai. I’ve been poking around on Etsy for a nice blend of chai and I think the Rooiboos Chai Herbal Tea from Carmel Soaps is a winner!

      The blend used in this chai is exactly that of the recipe I previously used prior to cutting out black tea. I’m planning on ordering some soon and I’ll write a second review, that of the tea, then. In the meantime, go check out Carmel Soaps shop!

      Check out this wonderful lavender goat milk soap, too!

      Etsy of the Day: Green Mugs

      As a tea drinker, I love mugs and tea cups and I’ve developed a bit of a habit for what to drink what kinds of beverages out of. For instance, these lovely mugs would be my choice for medicinal herbal teas, such as Yogi or Traditional Medicines teas. I love these mugs for the thick wall, which would keep said beverages warmer longer, and I love the dots and coloring. I could see these mugs sitting on a breakfast nook table, with blueberry muffins on a plate nearby, with friends or family gathering for the morning meal. I could also see someone snuggled under blankets in the deep of winter sipping on a tea that will help ease their ailments. Either way, these mugs warm my soul and brighten my day. These mugs come from JD Wolfe Pottery on Etsy. All of her work is simply amazing and heart-warming. Check it out!

      Etsy of the Day: Warm Tidings Cards

      How can you not be cheered and warmed by these cards! These cards hail from the shop of ouou on Etsy. I love the crisp dark lines in this graphic. I love the dragon. And I love that they’re drinking some heart and body warming beverage. This is one of a set of images put together in a card pack. Each of the images is equally cheerful and magnificent. Check them out!

      Roastorama

      Yesterday I reviewed a handful of teas and mentioned one that I’m giving a try, namely, Celestial Seasonings Roastorama. I’ve made two small pots of it so far and it gets two thumbs up from me and by BIL. It has a robust and earthy flavor that is strikingly similar to that of coffee. It is delicious! If you try it, go into it with an open mind, not expecting it to be coffee or black tea. Give it a few sips. It’ll be wonderful for you!

      My brother-in-law and I both tried a sip yesterday, held it in our mouths testing it out, and realized that it was pretty good, but different. Second sip we liked better, and by the third sip we were drinking it as if we’d been drinking this tea for years. It was lovely. He likes his straight up or with a little CoffeeMate Hazelnut creamer. I like it straight up or with a touch of sugar and milk. Either way, it is delightful.

      An Ode to Caffeine

      A few months ago I made the life-altering decision to stop drinking caffeinated teas. This came after the decision a few months before to stop drinking coffee. These decisions are a result of discovering that I have IBS (irritable bowl syndrome) and that caffeine is one of the major triggers.

      Anyone who knows me well knows that this was quite a blow. I used to drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day. I could drink regular coffee before bedtime and still fall asleep and rest well. My tolerance for caffeine was pretty high. When I decided to cut out coffee, it wasn’t that bad, because I’d only been drinking coffee for a year or two at that point anyway. My real huckleberry was black tea. I’d been drinking black tea since early on on high school. When I realized I had to give that up, I nearly cried.

      A pot of black tea in the afternoon was a daily routine of mine for years. Even when drinking coffee, I’d still have my tea tray out by my desk, with matching creamer and sugar bowl in the afternoon when I was done with errands and classes for the day. It was a stanchion, a pivot point, a given aspect of my schedule. And now, it’s gone.

      I’ve since ventured out exploring caffeine free teas. I’ve always liked them, but now I have to find some that will fill that empty space. Luckily, green tea doesn’t bother me like black tea does so I can still drink that. But it’s not the same. There’s something soothing about putting a touch of raw sugar seeped with vanilla beans in the bottom of the tea cup, a splash of milk, and then watching it all blend and swirl as I pour the tea.

      Ah. Oh well.

      In the meantime, here are the teas I’m currently drinking:

      Celestial Seasonings Black Cherry Berry: This one is very flavorful and worth the purchase. It steeps to a very dark red color and fills the mouth with wonderful flavors. You don’t need honey for this tea.

      Celestial Seasonings Cranberry Apple Zinger: Another good one but not my favorite of their herbal fruit teas. Again, no need for honey.

      Celestial Seasonings Mandarin Orange Spice: Yum! This is by far one of my favorites. The flavor is wonderful and well balanced. No need for honey in this one, either.

      Celestial Seasonings Wild Berry Zinger: It’s a tie whether this or the Mandarin Orange Spice is the best of the herbals. I guess it depends on what I’m in the mood for. Definitely a keeper! Again, no honey needed.

      Celestial Seasonings Roastorama: I just picked this one up today and I have a pot steeping as I type. I went to the Natural Living Center in Bangor and the woman who tends the tea section recommended this one to me. She said a lot of people who can’t drink caffeine anymore try this and like it. I’ll let you know how it is soon!

      I’ll write more reviews later!