Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Curio Cabinet

My mom recently gave me this beautiful (hand made) curio cabinet, which she purchased at a benefit auction. Thank you, Mom! I've filled it with tea things. I enjoyed displaying a variety of tea wares - Asian, whimsical, traditional and a special 1910 Wedgewood piece (bottom photo, second piece).

Current List of Teas

Thanks to the blog reader who pointed out I didn't have my current list of teas visible on the right column. It's there now. Cheers!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tea Storage from the Heart

Here's my Valentine's Day gift from the DH. I call it my Tea Temple. This makes me happier than you can imagine. Organization (control) makes me very, very happy! What does that say about me? Hee hee. >-) For those of you who know me, please don't laugh too hard.

The DH procured the jars and built the stair-step arrangement so that I could clearly see what was what.

He also put in the hooks (behind my collection of tea tins) so that I could hang my tea socks. Tea socks are my preferred filter. They're cotton and they fit very nicely down into a teapot.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Junque Revival

This is an early birthday gift from my Mom, tho she doesn't know it. (She gave me cash.) Thanks, Mom! :-) I bought the necklace at Junque Revival - found object art and jewelry. I'd been lusting after this for some time. The artist , Jessica Moreau-Berry, does incredible work. To find other necklaces like this one, click on the Jewelry link and then Look Closely necklaces. Each necklace has a unique saying on it. Mine says "heart and soul." This necklace attracted me for two reasons: 1 - The image of the three women reminded me how important my women friends are. 2 - The saying is how I prefer to live my life - fullness for my heart and soul.

I highly recommend a visit to Junque Revival! Simply looking through the site is like an online art tour. Jessica Moreau-Berry, the artist, also runs the Sweetpeas blog.

One of the coolest things is that I now have a personal connection with the artist. We traded a few e-mails about the piece, she visited my blog, and I got a handwritten note in the box with the necklace! I can't get something like that at Target!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Vagina Monologues

The DH and I went to see the Vagina Monologues tonight at Indiana University. Not to use these analogies lightly, but I feel like my soul has been pierced and my body is vibrating with a need to make a difference. It's that powerful. If you ever have the chance, go see the Vagina Monologues. Take every woman and man you know. I believe this evening is changing my life.

The Monologues bring forth topics that are often taboo. Far beyond sex, tho that topic is there. The Monologues are about the suppression of women, rape, violence, shame. They're also about orgasms, wonder, joy, discovery and love. Ultimately, the Monologues are about making a difference.

The Vagina Monologues are shown across the US each year near Valentine's Day to call attention to a cause affecting women around the globe. This year's focus is on Women in Conflict Zones. "...war exponentially increases the crimes of violence against women and girls. In equal strength and measure the strength and resilience of women in rebuilding their communities and leading governments to peaceful solutions needs to be celebrated." Read more.

What I took away is that a society that wages war on others implicitly condones violence against women (humanity) on its own soil. This is not acceptable.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Sexiest Thing Ever

The sexiest thing ever, to me, is a man who will dance. I'm a lucky woman!

Stephanie and the DH doing a triple-step (East Coast) swing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Collins Living-Learning Center

I gave a tea talk last night at the Collins Living-Learning Center on the campus of Indiana University. I had a great time and hope the students did, as well! Thanks for the invitation!

The students asked thoughtful and insightful questions - some that even stumped me! We talked about tea etiquette (like where to put the teaspoon on the saucer), the history of tea and the processing of tea. A few students came in cool hats, pearls and fun attire. (See bottom left of photo.)

I promised to post a couple of URLs for websites that list tea spots around the US. Here they are:

Great Tearooms of America


Tea Guide

Friday, February 16, 2007

Peter Rabbit and Friends

The Toad's Tea Party, by Beatrix Potter

I'm becoming reacquainted with the writings and illustrations of Beatrix Potter. She's brilliant! You might recognize her characters as Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, Benjamin Bunny, Tom Kitten and Samuel Whiskers.

I believe that writing for children is one of the hardest forms because it requires simplicity and vivid imagery together. The task of bringing alive vivid images in few words is a daunting one, and Potter does it so well. She also does her own illustrations!

I recommend these books for readers of all ages, especially if you enjoy animals and nature. Or tea - there are lots of tea images and imagery. I suggest this book, Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales. It compiles the Beatrix Potter stories in chronological order, along with a brief historical introduction.
Let the tales (and tails) take you back to a time of honest wonder.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

V-day Ice Storm and More Tea Poetry

We got hit by an ice and snow storm in the Midwest last night. Lots of people are without power. I'm lucky to still have power, which means I'm warm but I don't get a snow day, either. In the first two photos, notice the branches are completely surrounded by ice. It's pretty. The DH and I were out and about yesterday afternoon, and we could hear branches regularly popping and then falling. It was an awesome sound, truly.

Have a nice Valentine's Day. Here are a few love poems of tea. (Originally found on Cup of Tea and a Blog.) The imagery is fantastic and very evocative -- You can decide of what.

Love Poems of Tea

1 If I, the boiling water,
And you, the tea;
Then your fragrance
Has to depend solely upon my plainness.

2 Let your dryness inside me
Softly uncoil and stretch;
Let me dissolve
Imperceptibly, your tension.

3 I have to be hot, even boiled
Before we consume each other;
We have to hide, see and hold
each other in water
to decide
a tea color.

4 No matter how capriciously
you drift;
Gradually and slowly
(O' gently)
You will into me submerge--

5 By that moment
the most bitter tear of yours
will become a best sip
of my fragrance.

Cheung, Dominic. Drifting. Green Integer: Los Angelos. 2000. p. 18.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bigelow Blog Roll

Hey! I'm on Bigelow's Blog Roll. Check out the column on the right!


Valentine's Tea Stuff...

I have mixed feelings about Valentine's Day. I like the silly sweetness of it and celebrating with the DH. I like the chocolates. And I dislike the commercialism that's associated (aside from the chocolates!).

I've been saving a few items for V-day...here's the first to sing tea's praises:

A Poem Upon Tea

Hail, Drink of Life! How justly shou'd our Lyres
Resound the Praises which thy Pow'r inspires!
Thy Charms alone can equal Thoughts infuse:
Be though my Theme, my Nectar, and my Muse...

Tea, Heav'ns Delight, and Nature's truest Wealth,
That pleasing Physic, and sure Pledge of Health:
The Stateman's Councellor, the Virgin's Love,
The Muse's Nectar, and the Drink of Jove...

Immortals, hear, said Jove, and cease to jar!
Tea must succeed to Wine as Peace to War:
Nor by the Grape let Men be set at odds,
But share in Tea, the Nectar of the Gods...

-- Peter Antoine Motteux

Note: "Jove" is a reference to Roman mythology, the planet/god Jupiter.

What My Job Is Like...

At the core of my job, I develop software training. I do other things, too...like the strategic planning for all of this. Nonetheless, at the core, I develop training.

This YouTube video summarizes what my life often feels like, especially with the onset of Office 2007. I've watched it 3 times and laugh so hard each time! Especially the "Wait!" part at the very end.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Tea Poems for a Cold, Cold Day

It's about 12 degrees today, and with the wind if feels like 2 below. But the sun is shining and I found a south-facing window with an open chair at the library. I spent a lovely afternoon reading about England. I've become enamored with the writing of Susan Allen Toth. She writes about her travels to England with humor, detail, and perspective.

Here are a few tea poems I recently rediscovered. Enjoy!

Winter Afternoon Teas
Winter seems to me
Time for tea
When all in the garden
is at rest
to sip and sip is best
A time to dream
A time to plan
A time essential to every man
-- Adelma Simmons, from Winter at Capriland's

We had a kettle, we let it leak;
Our not replacing it made it worse,
We haven't had any tea for a week....
The bottom is out of the Universe!

-- Rudyard Kipling, Natrual Theology

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Really Beautiful and Unique Rosenthal Teapot

The generosity of my friends humbles me. I am the honored recipient of this really beautiful and unique Rosenthal teapot. It came from some friends who brought it home from their travels to Germany many years ago.

The creativity of this design is this:

1 - When you steep the tea, you turn the pot on its side.

2 - When the tea is done steeping, you turn it upright and the tea is out of the water.

I love the shape of the teapot. It works great, and is beautiful, as well. The fancy spout is one of my favorite parts. Here's the stamp on the bottom: