Friday, December 29, 2006

Practicing Patience

The lot closing has been pushed out again (to January 17th). Apparently, the woman selling the lot inherited it along with her sisters. One sister recently died and the other has Alzheimer's. That sister's son needs to be power-of-attorney so he can sign off on selling the lot. We continue to wait for the paperwork to be finalized. Our realtor indicates we could walk away, but we do want the lot, so we'll wait.

I'm trying very hard to be patient about this. It's very easy for me to get frustrated and think this will never happen. That does nothing but get negative thoughts brewing in my mind, unhelpful chemicals chugging through my body, and frustrated energy flowing in the universe.

Today I'm choosing to be patient. I will be patient tomorrow, too. And so on. This is not an easy one for me, but it's what I'm doing. I'm also choosing to practice non-attachment and be OK if this lot deal doesn't go through. My happiness in the world is not tied to this lot.

Thank you for your continued good wishes! I do hope we end up with the lot, but if not it will be OK. I'm definitely learning about myself with wonderful chances to put into practice qualities I want to manifest. That's the biggest benefit.

Synchronicity...or Crawl Space Teapot

Check out this narrative from a guy who found a teapot in his crawl space. It's a pretty "mind blowing" story. Hang in there though the end, as he digresses, but eventually brings it all together.
(Thanks to MT, Teamailer, for the story reference!)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Cup of Christmas Tea

A Cup of Christmas Tea, by Tom Hegg

Listen to the touching poem read by the author, here.
My Mom gave me the book a few years ago. It's one of my absolute favorites.

Cookie Exchange

I attended a Christmas Cookie Exchange recently and it was very fun! Each person brought 1-2 types of cookies, and we left with a wide assortment. :-) The only problem has been not gobbling them down at one sitting.

We also had a kitchen gadget exchange. That was fun - and I came home with Bob the Builder cupcake toppers! Here are a few photos of the beautiful cookies.

The hostess's marvelous creation - gingerbread reindeer (an upside-down gingerbread man).

The lovely cookie table

My teapot shortbread cookies. Butter, sugar and flour - what could be better?

Monday, December 18, 2006

More Eco-Friendly and Socially Responsible Gift Ideas

From my last post on this topic, I had a few great suggestions from readers. Thank you!

Heifer projet
Provides animals that can support a sustainable food source (e.g., milk/eggs) to impoverished families.
  • Heifer envisions…A world of communities living together in peace and equitably sharing the resources of a healthy planet.
  • Heifer’s mission is…To work with communities to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth.
  • Heifer's strategy is…To “pass on the gift.” As people share their animals’ offspring with others – along with their knowledge, resources, and skills – an expanding network of hope, dignity, and self-reliance is created that reaches around the globe.

Ten Thousand Villages
  • Ten Thousand Villages provides vital, fair income to Third World people by marketing their handicrafts and telling their stories in North America.
  • Ten Thousand Villages works with artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed. This income artisans earn helps pay for food, education, health care and housing.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Keeping Tea Hot

I don't like cold tea (when it's supposed to be hot). Actually, I'm luke-warm toward iced tea, too.

Here's how I keep my tea hot. It works tremendously well! It's a teapot warmer and you can find them at various tea stores and with a simple search online. I'm using a beeswax candle below because I don't like to burn the petro (regular) kind - especially near food.

Another tip: Use a small cup and pour out only a little tea at a time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Auntie Ms Tearoom

I'm very fortunate to have made the acquaintance of a group of women that enjoy traveling to area tea rooms! Last Saturday, we visited Auntie M's Tearoom in Franklin, IN (just less than an hour away from my home). Eight of us carpooled through the serpentine and very scenic Indiana backroads to our destination.

It was a sunny and temperate day, and I was struck by the beauty of the barren corn fields in the afternoon sun. That winter image of fallow fields is one that so clearly whispers to me, "Midwest." It is one of my favorite views.

The conversation on the way was very connecting. We talked about life, its joys and sorrows. It's an honor to share the truth of another person's life....and in doing so, to learn more about my own truth.

Auntie M's serves lunch and afternoon tea, and is available for special engagements. There is a small shop in the front with tea-related items and the restaurant to side/rear of the building.

We enjoyed the high tea (afternoon tea)...tea, fresh fruit, assorted sandwiches, sweet potatoe chips, and scones with jam and cream. Two items are especially worthy of comment. 1 - The sweet potatoe chips are round slices of sweet potatoes, deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are incredibly yummy! 2- The scones were like none I've had before. They were cooked in muffin tins and were lighter than I'm used to having. They were also yummy.

It was a lovely afternoon and I look forward to the next one!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


A Dear Hubby's Dilemma.....

My life partner is the most environmentally-concerned person I know. I love that about him. And sometimes it makes me laugh. Take this's Tuesday Recycle Day. The recycling truck comes about 6 am. The recycling is supposed to be curbside by 5 am. Most people put out the recycling the night before. Not us.

The DH gets it ready the night before (nicely sorted into like groups) and gets up at 5 am to put out the recycling so that it doesn't blow away or get wet. (Wet cardboard is against the rules, according to the city recycling authorities.)

However, the plot thickens....we've noticed that it very often rains on Recycle Tuesdays. So, the DH doesn't put out the recycling because it would get wet. He waits, thinking there will be a break in the weather, hoping he will still be able to get it out before the truck comes. (This is now ~5:20 am.) He has been staking out the neighbor's recycle boxes -- with wet cardboard and unsorted other contents. As he waits, what does he see? The recycle truck pulls up and dumps in the neighbor's recycling. The DH has a dilemma!

To top it all off, they don't put the recycling in different bins. The DH notices they dump it all together and crush it in a plain old dump track. So, there's glass shards, wet cardboard, crushed plastic, newspaper and aluminum cans all together.

I joined the DH (commiserating on the floor of the living room) this morning. He greets me with these words, "I'm going to City Hall to find the truth. Do they really recycle, or do they take it to the landfill? And what's the deal with the wet cardboard?" It makes me laugh because this will become an adventure, I'm sure.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pecan-Stuffed Dates

I had a reader ask for the Pecan-Stuffed Date recipe that I referred to in a recent post about a tea party. This recipe is soooooo incredibly simple! It's also healthy, and I plan to include it in a recipe book that I'm preparing on healthy tea party foods.

Pecan-Stuffed Dates

Buy a bag of pecans and a bag of pitted dates (long, intact ones - not chopped).

Slice the pecans in half, lenth-wise (so that they resemble long slivers). Lightly toast over low heat.

Slice the dates in half (not-lengthwise, but like a grapefruit) so that you have two shorter segments, each with a hole through the center.

Stuff the pecan into the date. I like for the pecan to show on both ends. You can do this prep the day before serving.

About 10 minutes before serving, warm the pecan/dates over low heat. You want to soften the dates and get the sugars moving just a bit. It takes 10 minutes or less.

Serve warm. Enjoy!

I just read some not-so-great things about toasting nuts. I'm wondering if I toast them under 170-degrees, if the health benefits are retained? I also use them in cooking a lot. :-(

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tea Party Photos

I was blessed last night to be joined by six of my women friends for a tea party at my home. I was also blessed that my team covered for me the night before, so that I could prepare!

A special thanks to the DH for making the scones and all the other help.

Here are a few photos. The menu is at the bottom.

Luminarias, a carry-over from my NM days

Tea table

The centerpiece is floating cranberries and candles.


  • Savories: Pecan-stuffed dates, cucumber sandwiches with rosemary butter, dried fruit-cream cheese sandwiches, and Welsh rarebit
  • Scones: The DH's healthy scones (whole wheat, flaxseed meal, oatmeal, currants) with Devonshire cream and homemade jams
  • Sweets: Sweet stilton cheese with candied lemon peel, chocolate truffles from the Chocolate Emporium and blonde brownies

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Thief's Bounty

I'm a thief, and my team at Big Company are accomplices!

Last night, two of my sweet co-workers filled in for me! I was supposed to teach a class from 8 - 11 pm my time (to students in Asia), and two folks covered for me so that I could have the evening free. This was a very wonderful gift, as I'm preparing for a tea party at my house tonight.

I spent part of the time thieving! I took my trusty hand clippers and stole some holly branches from a bush in front of a building downtown. I am an ethical thief, if there can be such a thing. I chose carefully which branches I would remove. I only took holly branches from the back and side. No one will ever notice, I tell myself!

Here is the result of my work. If Big Company every decides to live without me, maybe I have a career with FTD Floral!

I'm calling this time last night my "Martha moment."
Here's how to create this.

1 - Go and steal some pretty branches from your neighbor's pine tree and a public holly bush. (The neighbor won't mind b/c she's coming to the tea party. The only people that might notice the missing holly are the smokers, and that's if they drop their cig and are crawling on the ground looking for it.)

2 - Dig out your cake plate and attach a Styrofoam floral ring (green) to it with florist clay.

3 - Stick the green branches around the floral ring, all facing the same direction. Think of making a crown. I found that using a blunt, rounded chopstick to poke a hole in the ring made it a lot easier to insert the branches.

4 - Add the holly berries to fill in and show color. (Did I mention that wearing gloves might be a good idea? Both the pine branches and holly are prickly!)

5 - Add more greenery to fill in the gaps.

6 - Cut a piece of green florist foam to the right height for the middle riser. (This will hold a candle.)

7 - Position a pretty candle on top of it, and stick it on the foam with double-sided tape. (So it's less likely to fall off and start a fire. This was the practical addition from the DH.)

8 - Stick pretty things in the riser block so that you don't see much of the Styrofoam.

9 - Place in an appropriate spot in your home and enjoy. Oh, and you may want to light the candle. I forgot that part for the photos!