Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Oriental Beauty Tea, unfurling in its own sweet time

I'm struggling with control right now.  Well, that I don't have it.  And this is messing up my JOY big time.  Well, I'm allowing it to.  Uugh.  I'm 15 work days before sabbatical and it feels like things in the office are falling apart, and I can't control them.  OH - how I want control!  I want to leave with everything tied up in a perfect bow, coordinating wrapping paper, and everyone thinking how nice and smart I am.

Not being in control is SO hard for me.  I get very squirmy.  My coping mechanisms are either to barge in, steam roll over people, and just do it MYSELF or to bail and run far,far away.  I can't do either of those here.  I have to just live through it.  I'm going for hour by hour, sometimes breath by breath.

Like the leaves of this oriental beauty tea, I can't hurry its unfurling.  I have to breathe, and find the joy in watching life unfurl.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Perfect Day in Portland

In front of Mt. Hood, from the Japanese Garden

Sunshine, 75 degrees, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, tea picnic, shopping, dinner out....all shared with my friend Sweetcakes.  A perfect day in Portland!

A picnic tea party
Strawberries, sugar snap peas and rosemary (in the sandwich) from my garden

Can't get enough of that view!

Light playing in the trees, Japanese Garden

Champagne cake dessert, Papa Haydn (THE place in town for desserts)

Monday, June 20, 2011

More Roses

Just because they're pretty and I live in the city of the rose...

These two shots came from a rose the DH brought me last week.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I visited the International Rose Test Garden yesterday, and it was heaven!  The roses are coming into the first flush (bloom), and the colors were exquisite.  The temps were warm and it was sunny.  (Unfortunately, most of my photos were over-exposed b/c I got caught up in the real-time experience.  Not such a bad thing.)

If you can get there, it's a beautiful thing to see (and it's free!).  My tour guide said the peak would be between now and early July, but the roses will keep blooming and be special through September.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Waiting for Good Things

I've been waiting for this strawberry, the first from our garden, for several weeks.  The blossoms came, then the little green baby fruit, and then I had to wait.  Wait.              Wait.                                                    Wait.                Waiting for good things.  It's hard to wait, even for the good things in life.

I'm doing a lot of waiting for good things right now.  I'm trying nobly at being patient.  I know the good things are just a few weeks away!  I try to stay grounded in the present moment and not get ahead of myself, but that's an easy temptation.

Are you, too, waiting for good things?  How do you wait eagerly without overdoing it?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Update your info: Caffeine in Tea

Matcha - High in caffeine because you ingest the entire leaf

I'd like to share with you this informative post on  Factors influencing caffeine levels in tea.  Thanks to Lindsey, my friend and tea professional, for summarizing a tricky topic.

In the past few years, more thorough and sensitive testing has shown that the old idea of pouring off the first brew of your tea to decaffeinate it doesn't work like we once thought.  It has to do with caffeine's "desire" to be in a state of equilibrium. The caffeine keeps on giving, so to speak, in addition to a host of other factors, like tea varietal, growing method, maturity when picked, processing style, brewing technique and even water temperature.  If you and I brew the same tea side by side, chances are each cup would differ in caffeine levels.  Yours might brew a bit longer, I might use cooler water, etc.

I've been learning more about this over the past few years, and I think Lindsey has done an  excellent job of summarizing the findings. 

* Photo from Microsoft images

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekends Simplified

Eat.  Ride the bike (Up, up, up the mountain). Eat. Put my feet up. Eat. Do the dishes. Sleep.
Eat. Ride the bike (Long). Eat.  Do laundry and prep for the week.  Eat. Sleep.
That sums up my weekends right now.

Only 6 weeks until I'm on sabbatical, and that means several things!
1 - A BIG BREAK from work, and I really need it.
2 - My mom, sister and niece come for a visit!
3 - The DH and I do a week-long cycle/camping ride (thus the training above).
4 - A long-awaited tea trip to Asia.  More on that later.

For now, I thought I'd show you a few of the seasonal things we're eating.  Since our weekends are pretty streamlined right now, and I'm burning some serious calories, eating is a focus.  ;-)

These individual rhubab pudding cakes were excellent!

And pizza!  It's actually a great recovery food when topped with lots of fresh veggies.  In this version, we've got green onion (from the garden), lots of greens (from the garden), mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, walnuts and cheese.  Our grocer carries dough in a plastic bag that we used in this pic.  Tonight, the DH is making his own whole wheat version.

I'm liking these streamlined weekends.  Keeps life simple.  What's a simple weekend look like for you?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A new Teavana in Town

There's a new Teavana in town. I had the chance to visit it last night.  These stores are fun for me because they do a great job with their retail displays.  And I was sorely, sorely tempted by some cast iron saucers for small Asian cups.  I resisted.

However, I did not resist one of these filters for the office.  It's stainless, has plenty of room for the tea to move around, yet holes small enough that the leaves won't escape. And the silicone cap keeps the heat in while steeping, along with acting as a saucer.

While none of the camellia sinensis blends tempted me, I did come home with a very citrusy herbal blend. 

One suggestion I have for Teavana:  The blends they were serving at the front door clearly had sweetener in them. (I asked - it was sugar.)  Yet that info was not presented clearly.  Someone new to tea or herbal blends might assume that it was "naturally sweet" when in fact it wouldn't be.

Do you have a Teavana (or other mall-based tea retailer) near you?

*Photos and logo from

Friday, June 03, 2011

Tweed Ride

Tweed Ride, San Luis Obispo

I was walking down the street in San Luis Obispo, CA a few weeks ago.  I looked behind me for a moment, and caught these dapper folks coming towards me.  It was the "Tweed Ride" and was great fun to watch!

Happy Belated Bicycle Month (May)!  I'll be spending large parts of my weekends over the summer on my bike, in prep for a week-long touring ride in August.  These photos capture the spirit of how I feel when I'm on a ride.  Freedom

If you like to cycle, how does it make you feel?