Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Green Tea Pasta

I picked up this Green Tea Pasta at Trader Joe's a while back and finally got around to eating it. It was tasty, tho the green tea flavor was very, very mild. The DH (dear hubby) wasn't sure he could taste it at all. These Japanese-style noodles are made of organic wheat flour, organic buckwheat flour, green tea powder and water. I'll look for them the next time I'm at a Trader Joe's. (The closest one is about an hour away.)

I ate these warm with just a bit of butter (olive oil and parmesean would be nice, too). I also think they'd hold up well to various sauces.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The House Building Blog
Luciferous Terra is what we've named our little piece of land. It means "a place on earth providing light or mental insight."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Self Talk

OK, Steph - Get a hold of yourself/your thoughts. You'll be fine on this bike ride. Yes, you won't have ridden 70 miles prior. Yes, you haven't had as much training time as you'd like. But you've got all day and you're in good shape. Your aerobic base is strong and you're climbing really well. (Plus, you have lots of gears!) 74 miles will come and go. Just keep pedaling. You've got the longest days of the year to help you along.

This is not a race. You don't have to compete with anyone, not even yourself. The only thing you need to prove is that you can do this without being "perfectly" trained. You can have fun, eat an ice cream cone and enjoy the ride.

No hurry. No worry.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kim's Tea Party

Champagne as we greet
An elegant treat

To begin our spree
At Kim’s hospitali-tea

For those sandwiches we lust
Tasty morsels with no crust

Scones with jam and cream
Am I awake? Is this a dream?

Each homemade petit four
Leaves us longing for much more

We give thanks and good cheer
For this highlight of the year


The first strawberries from our garden. The berries taste so much better when they're local, rather than shipped half way around the country!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bike to Work Day

OK, I can hear some of you laughing. Yes, my "commute" to work is about 3 steps across the hallway, but I still participated in today's Bike to Work festivities in town. (Besides, we seldom drive our car around town. I regularly use my bike to run errands.) The DH (dear hubby) and I rode downtown this morning, supported the cause, and had a free bagel.

You can tell the age of my Intel jersey - it's advertising MMX technology and PIIs! ;-)

As I wrote once before, this is my favorite bike ever! I love the streamers and the bell. For those of you into bikes, it's a mixte design from the early 80s with a lugged steel frame. The lugs are highlighted with hand painting.

The bike has a rack on the back that lets me attach panniers to carry stuff. The leather seat is covered in plastic because it rains occasionally around here.

Thanks to anyone else out there who chose a non-car option today and on other days! People who are car-dependent miss out on the joy of cycling and walking!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Tea Samovar, San Francisco

Check out this promotional video from The Tea Samovar in San Francisco. Looks like a neat place to check out the next time you find yourself in San Fran!

Thanks to Denise, fellow tea lover and educator, for sharing!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pretty Picture

Just a pretty picture for today....8 different iris. I picked these this morning. (Actually, we have more than 8 varieties blooming right now, but I only had room for 8.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fairies in the Garden

My Mom and Sister came to visit last weekend! I was so happy to spend Mother's Day weekend with them! Here we are in the garden that the DH has made.

Sis (expecting a child), Mom and me

Friday, May 11, 2007

History of Tea in an Orange Poppy

This orange oriental poppy (grown by the DH) fills my day with color. It's rather gray here today, though perfect for capturing the poppy on digital "film" with its peak color. No bright sunlight to wash out the color.

This is an oriental poppy, considered a "low morphine" poppy and approved for general gardening. The seeds of the high morphine varieties of the opium poppy are controlled as they are used to make several narcotics - morphine, codeine, opium, etc.

Do you know the tea connection to poppies? In the late 1830s (time of Queen Victoria), Britain and China were engaged in trade. Britain wanted tea in a big way, but didn't have much that China needed or wanted. Britain started trading silver, but that wasn't efficient. Britain ended up trading opium to China, in exchange for tea. China was having a social crisis with the addiction of much of its population to Opium. In short, China attempted to ban the importation of Opium. The Opium Wars erupted. Britain ultimately prevailed and required an unfair treaty with China. Some historians believe this was the beginning of the downfall of the Qing dynasty in China. To read more, see the Opium Wars in wikipedia. Also see New Tea Lover's Treasury, by James Norwood Pratt (check the index for pages).

There you have it - a bit of tea history, all the way from my garden today to China in the 1830s.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tea in Charleston

This tour sounds magnificent! The tour organizer (Denise) is the same woman who created the Tea in London tour, so I know that this experience will be full of tea delights and luxury. In particular, the opportunities to see the Charleston Tea Plantation and meet James Norwood Pratt are quite enticing to me. The Charleston Tea Plantation is the only production-level plantation in the US. (There are a couple of test plots in the Northeast and in Hawaii.) Norwood Pratt has written what many consider the modern bible of tea, A Tea Lover's Treasury. I often refer to this handbook, particularly when I'm looking up a specific type of tea.

The other events sound incredible, as well! I've always wanted to visit South Carolina.

See the detailed itinerary here.

I regret that I can't make the date of this tour, but Denise plans another excursion in May, 2008. I am definitely planning on that one!

69 Years

My grandparents recently observed their 69th wedding anniversary. 69 years of living with the same person! That's such an incredible thing! It's tough to live with another human. I love the DH with all my heart, and it's still tough to live together sometimes!

Congratulations to Grandma and Grandpa!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Iris as Big as My Head!

The DH grew these beauties! They really are as big as my head.

Interestingly, I almost feel guilty about making a fuss over these big iris because the little flowers are just as pretty. In fact, I'm rather partial to the tiny little flowers that often get overlooked. It's my anti-mainstream mindset. It seems that to be important, everything has to be big. (Big house, big car, big money, big ring, big television, big vacation, big ego....).
I actually think smaller is better in so many aspects of life. So here's to the little flowers, too!

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Post I Deleted

I just deleted a post where I was ranting and raving about work. Why delete it? It was therapeutic to write, but not helpful in the big picture. I'll just take that frustrated energy and put more effort into not taking things personally.

On that topic, I recommend a great book - The Four Agreements. I'm re-reading it and working on Agreement #2 - Don't Take Things Personally. Maybe my work challenges are a chance to make this real.

Happy Friday! The iris are beginning to bloom and life is, when I look at the big picture, very good for me.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Day Five: A Cozy Pub and Mushy Peas

To wrap up day five of the Tea in London tour, we visited the Lass 'O Richmond Hill pub for dinner.

We had connections, as the chef is the son-in-law of our tour leader.

I had fish and chips and mushy peas. The dinner was delicious! The mushy peas tasted like thick split pea soup.

For dessert I had treacle pudding with custard. I'd first read of treacle in Harry Potter, and I was eager to give this a try! Treacle pudding is a steamed cake. Treacle is like molasses and forms a carmelized top, sort of like in a pineapple upside-down cake. The custard is a warm, sweet cream sauce. This was heavenly!