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If we were having coffee this weekend in Tucson I would invite you to relax with an iced tea. I am enjoying a white strawberry tea that refreshes me in this muggy weather. Please help yourself to apricots while we kiss this summer good bye. The stone fruits (peaches, plums, apricots, etc) are a symbol of summer. Along with berries they have the lively colors and flavors that remind us of outdoor dining in the warm season. At this time of year I buy the best looking stone fruits at the market and savor the last of the crop from this year. These apricots are luscious.
If we were relaxing with tea I would tell you my week went well. I fit in dermatology as well as dental appointments and continued trimming down and organizing my possessions. I excavated loads of paper files to destroy, and a few to save. I can’t believe how much useless paper I have stuffed into the spaces in my house. This is all changing, and making me very happy. I listed the real estate, so vacating the barn and dealing with anything stored over there is a signal I am really ready to sell. I found the appraisal on the land I had done when I inherited it in 2008. I have lost a huge amount of imaginary money on this property, and payed Pima County about $15,000 in taxes over the time I have owned it. I will be pleased to give up the tax burden and end the madness. It probably will not sell overnight, but I am ready if it does.
Again this week I trended more into poetry and fiction. I enjoy the more creative forms. I think all of my writing needs practice, in every form. As long as I continue to work on it I am satisfied. I have started to dream up fiction scenarios in my spare time, which is new for me. Usually I am all about finding more facts. I have been invited to a mermaid parade next week in downtown Tucson. I do have an outfit I could wear. It has made me think about getting some photos and covering it as a real news story, and then writing some poetry or fiction using the images. That could be fun. I have done little photography lately, and the event promises to be a visual delight.
Parent, student, teacher, or not, the whole world feels the back to school season. Here in my neighborhood we welcome back the U of A students and faculty along with many other locals who leave in the summer because the can. School and university traffic is noticeable on the roads, but then again so is the economic impact it represents. I don’t mind the students, but I saw my first set of ceramic pumpkins in a grocery store display this week. Hold on with the pumpkin spice and the Halloween gear until at least September. Let’s enjoy some Indian summer before you start playing Christmas music. How is back to school season for you, gentle reader? Do your local merchants jump the gun on holidays like ours do?
Join the digital beverage party every weekend at Diana’s parttimemoster blog. Catch up with news from writers around the world over your beverage of choice. Read, write, comment, or check #weekendcoffeeshare on twitter
Not so long ago I was very limited in the teas I consumed. I was a big fan of herbal, and fruit tea but had no love for green, white, or black teas. I had tried some but probably was brewing them incorrectly for maximum results. I probably became intrigued to expand my tea selection by tasting the samples that came with my regular Adagio orders. Reaching beyond my previous boundaries turned out to be a very good idea. Now I am into almost every variety and flavor. There is a place and time for each tea. They offer different benefits as well as flavors. If you want to expand your appreciation of tea, here are the kinds of tea made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant:
The herbal blends, rooibos, honey bush and fruit tisanes make up a group of caffeine free beverages I enjoy liberally. However, I am very pleased to have made the acquaintance of all of the teas on this list because it expands my possible choices. Life is discovery, and tea makes an excellent vehicle to learn more about the places tea is grown and the cultures created around this important beverage. Adagio offers sampler packs, which helped me find new excitement. I have also been very happy to buy some of the other customers’ signature blends. This is an option I have not used yet myself. It is yet another way to taste and share tea. If you like the way your custom blend tastes, you can ship it to your friends with your name and label on it as a gift. I hope you will explore the world of tea with me. It is a satisfying journey.
If we were having coffee this weekend I would invite you to drink iced tea while enjoying the last of my three blooming jasmine varieties. The yard is again scented with that sweet jasmine flavor that carries well in a breeze. You will want to observe it from the front window while we chat because the heat out there is harsh. Sit back and relax in the air conditioning while I pour your favorite iced tea. I also have two kinds of raw fermented borscht for you, which restores your electrolytes and adds probiotics to your diet. It is like a floating salad suspended in beet juice and kvass. It cools you and helps you keep balance in the heat. I also think it is yummy, but you can decide for yourself. The cucumber and dill will remind you of pickle juice.
If we were having iced tea this week I would tell you I decided to join Audible for a year because the subscription was discounted heavily. For $100 a year I have access to books and podcasts that make my new job a dream. I can do my job and listen to books without distraction. It is a wonderful two birds with one stone situation. I finished the book on biological biodiversity, then knocked off a book about writing by Jeff Goins, and have started The Power of Memoir, by Linda Joy Meyers. This book is inspirational to me because I have studied my family history for years, and written a few very short poems about the ancestors (who were poets themselves). I have wanted to write historical fiction, but never attempted it. Ms Meyers lays out all the steps needed to write a riveting memoir, some of which I have done, like the genealogy research. I was inspired by the book to use my grandmother as the subject this week of my short fiction in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday prompt. I think I can apply what I am leaning from this generous and well written instruction to my own writing. It can unlock many stories for my future. I recommend the book to all writers, even if you do not plan to write a memoir. She covers technique we all need to remember.
I began my weekly #WeedWednesday feature with a post in the lab at the grow where I work. The short, warm up, educational piece was well received by readers. It is fun and easy to do, and it informs me as well as the audience. There is so much advancement in the science of medical marijuana that I will have much material to cover on this subject. I plan to interview the experts about the plant varieties and all the ways we process the plant to create various therapies. There are new developments all the time, so I doubt that I will ever run out of material for that segment.
How did you spend the week? Have you made progress with your writing, or with your life? Have another glass of tea and fill me in on the details.
Thanks for joining me today for tea and borscht. Stay cool, and preserve what you still have of your political cool. It looks like it will be needed for a long time in the US. Wishing all the sentient beings everywhere independence and time to savor it. Please visit our hostess, Emily, from Nerd in the Brain for more coffee and news. Read, write, comment, or just drink lots of digital coffee with us every weekend.
I am drinking some iced rooibos tea lightly laced with natural jasmine flavor. Rooibos Jasmine tea is a floral tea for special occasions. I love it, but find it is a taste for which I have to be in the mood. The taste of jasmine is slightly lighter than the typical black jasmine tea. The caffeine free rooibos herb from South Africa has a toasty, nutty finish that also distinguishes it from the typical jasmine tea. I am enjoying it today because I am also enjoying the last of three jasmine varieties that bloom in my front yard over a period of about 2 months. This Asian Jasmine plant is close to the front door and the walkway, so visitors are wafted with the strong scent when they approach the entrance to our home. Come on in and try the jasmine tea.
The thirst quenching qualities of this delightful beverage are awesome. The lingering floral taste is refreshing and invigorating. I normally drink this tea hot because the aroma from the cup is a major part of the experience. The heat releases the smell for the drinker as well as anyone in the room at the time. It is never cloying or overbearing on the floral notes. The perfect amount of flavor picks up, but does not cover, the taste of the herb. Over ice the floral notes come across as much more muted, with less of an aroma. The jasmine hits you after you swallow the cold version of the drink.
I like almost every rooibos and honeybush tea blend based on the fact that the herbs themselves are healthy and delicious. This floral version is great for any time I feel particularly floral. It goes with sweets in my mind, but I suppose I could imagine it with savory foods like goat cheese. I drink it solo for the good feeling of the floral aromatherapy. Try it if you like a caffeine free flower shower in your tea time. It perks me up and makes me feel a little decadent when I taste it because the jasmine flavor is so rich and exotic.
The tea I am drinking today is iced honey bush mango tea from Adagio. This is an old favorite at our house. All the roiboos and honeybush teas deliver flavor punch without caffeine. They come in many flavors to please any palate. I brew it in the sun, and use a light touch on the measurement. I think it is important to suit your own taste and mood when brewing tea. Sometimes in summer I make the teas dark intentionally in order to add lots of ice. In spring I drink them without ice, so I use a lighter dose of tea.
This tropical delight pairs well with any fruit. This tea brings a high refreshing high note that combines with sweets, both natural and man-made. With the addition of a little passion fruit or pineapple flavored vodka or rum (and a cocktail umbrella) this tea will take you through happy hour in a delightful, tasty, cordial manner. These drinks will pair well with Joni Mitchell or other soprano voices in the background..something light and lilting.
The health benefits of drinking honeybush (Cyclopia) tea are impressive. Both long and short-term wellness benefits include reducing inflammation, and improving the immune system. Consuming this beverage is a delicious way to improve your body’s systems with no adverse side effects. Try it. You’ll like it.
I feel proud of my accomplishment to have finished #NaPoWriMo again this year by writing 30 poems in 30 days. I thought I would be very productive as a poet and in all other parts of life, but I was wrong all wrong. I did wrote the poems, but slacked on all kinds of other goals for no particular reason. I had planned to hand write poems to all my pen pals and send them on very artful paper, and I did that zero times. In fact I have not even written to the pen pals, which has caused quite a bit of guilt, since many have continued to write letters to me. My neighbor suggested I send them all a card saying “Roses are red. Violets are blue. I am so sorry I haven’t written to you.” I might do it. I have a stack of mail to answer. I look forward to getting into the swing of that again and seeking the forgiveness of the pen pals.
After my prose break I have considered new features I want to include. I plan to do a blog post each week about tea. I drink iced tea daily in great quantity. I had a limited knowledge and palate for tea, partly caused my my own ignorance of proper brewing. I had created bitter and undrinkable black and green teas by brewing them too long at a high temperature. I began to try new kinds of tea and learned more about making it taste good. I have come a long way in my own personal appreciation for the world of tea.
Almost all the tea I brew now is done in a jar buy the sun. In Arizona we have plenty of solar energy to brew tea on the sidewalk almost every day. This method never results in overly bitter or over brewed taste. It is the natural way to make sure I brew it properly. I do strain and refrigerate it as soon as I bring it in (usually after about 10 hours). We go through it quickly, so there is no need to cover the pitcher in the fridge. I collect big pitchers so we can break a few every year. Tea keeps us refreshed and healthy. It is a bargain in comparison to any bottled commercial beverage.
I plan to promote tea drinking for tea lovers, but I specifically want to interest those who normally drink beverages in cans and bottles which they purchase. These drinks are very expensive compared to the most exotic and pricey teas, and offer no benefits for health. Even bottled water has destructive effects on the environment. When one knows about the varieties and flavor combinations available in tea, a world of gourmet delights opens to reveal a plethora of new experiences. Tea pairs well with both foods and alcohol, offering new ways to serve old favorites. I hope to bring out some flavorful ideas the gentle readers will want to try.
Since Tuesday is the day of the week that alliterates with tea, I believe tomorrow will be the first installment of Tuesday Tea Party. I am brewing some mango honeybush right now which will probably be featured. I hope you will join me for a cup. Cheers!
If we were having coffee this weekend I would offer you your beverage on ice. The weather is warming up quickly, and the wind is blowing outside. The jasmine in the front yard is in full bloom so the breeze is heavily scented as it wafts in through the screen door. It is pleasant this morning, but later you will need your parasol and sunscreen. Relax for a while and tell me how your week has been.
We enjoyed our time away last weekend at the Deep Dirt Farm sleeping in a tiny adobe house. It was the perfect celebration of Earth Day for us. The town of Patagonia, AZ is darling. The humming bird center was very cool, but not so populated with hummers. There are more in my yard in Tucson at this point. There are many birds down there we do not have. Our encounter with nature and farming could not have been better. We plan to return in the future. It is an ideal retreat for us.
We picked vegetables from the farm’s greenhouse to bring home then ate a wonderful breakfast in town before leaving. The drive is beautiful because the elevation changes, and the vegetation along with it. The desert plant ocotillo is in bloom now, painting the landscape with brilliant red flowers on tall sticks. I wanted to stop to take a look at them, but there are few opportunities to turn out on the road. We stopped at a winery to take in the view. I tasted the wine, which was pretty good, and we noticed how strong the wind was. Then we looked across the valley to see the Sawmill Fire, just as it began. The dry grass is kindling for the wildfire, which has spread all across the area rapidly. I tried to find news on twitter, but it had not yet become news. We saw the smoke growing as we finished the drive home. It was a spooky and terrifying reminder of Mother Earth and her freaky powers. We had seen burned scorched land from a previous wildfire along the road and I had just remarked that a fire now would be fed loads of dry grass and be hard to contain…and that is exactly what happened. The cause seems to be target shooting by an off duty Border Patrol officer. He caused it and reported it right away, but the fire still raged out of control. It is early in the year for fires in Arizona. This does not bode well for the summer.
If we were having iced tea to take our minds of the fire, I would tell you that I am almost finished with #NaPoWriMo this year. I always say each year that I will continue to do a poem each day on my tumblr, but it hasn’t happened yet. I still need to crank out two more for this month, then we shall see where the poetic muse will reside in the month of May. No predictions. I plan to review teas, and may do it on Tuesdays on Tumblr. That could be poetic perhaps.
If we were having coffee today I would serve you some iced tea because most of you would find the weather hot here. I love this time of year. The pink jasmine has subsided but the major waves of jasmine are just now starting to bloom. The star and the Asian bloom one right after the other, and are much bigger than the pink one. I am about to be lifted to heaven on a cloud of jasmine scent each time I walk out my front door, or open it. You might catch a whiff this weekend, but by next week it will stun you. Sit back and relax while I pour your tea. I am enjoying a refreshing glass of passion fruit black tea.
Today we are also featuring tomato specialties at the tea party. I went to the produce pick up this morning and scored a box of perfect produce, including about 40 large tomatoes and three boxes of cherries. We just finished mozzarella, olive, basil and tomato grilled sandwiches. I would be happy to whip one up for you if you are hungry. Later I will make a minestrone soup, and juice some of the ripe tomatoes for cocktail hour. I like very spicy red snappers (Bloody Mary made with gin), and have all the fresh ingredients on hand to make them. We plan to stay home today to do some gardening and home maintenance chores. Our peaches are ripening and we need to start scaring the birds away from the tree. We try new shiny objects each year.
If we were having coffee I would like to hear how all your writing projects are going. Some of you are so prolific with your word count I can’t believe you have time to fit it all into 24 hours each day. I would tell you that I am still writing a poem every day, having been recently inspired by a group doing #veggiepoetry for National Poetry Writing Month. I took a stab at it yesterday writing an ode to my least favorite of all vegetables, the rutabaga. I think I will probably go with a tomato poem today, since they are on my mind. I would tell you my favorite tea company approached me about tweeting for gift certificates. I do want to start a system to review teas because it is a big interest of mine. I will probably do it on my tumblr, which is supposed to be my artsy blog. I thought about combining poems and tea, but nothing has popped into my brain for this poet-tea. I will probably attempt the tea reviews in May and see where that leads. I legitimately believe that my tea company has the best selection and prices, so it should be easy to find enthusiasm, if not poetry.
Thank you for stopping by today. This coffee share is hosted on the weekends by Nerd in the Brain. Visit this link to submit your own coffee share post, or read those from the diverse group participating.
The movable feast known as weekend coffee share is itself on the move. Our gracious hostess Diana has arranged to hand off the coffee party action to Nerd in the Brain next weekend. We will still be a band of writers bonding over digital beverages and stories on the weekend. I am sure the move will not disrupt anyone. Thank you Diana, for finding us a new address to continue the party. If we were having coffee today I would invite you to taste some of the bread I just brought home from Barrio Bread. It is still warm, made from local grains, and crusty like crazy fire . I just had a smoked mozzarella sandwich, grilled, with all the trimmings. I can whip one up for you while you relax and tell me how you have been and what you have planned. We are very proud of this bakery, and would love for you to try our local organic, totally groovy food products. Our city is a UNESCO culinary heritage city because of our deep agricultural traditions and knowledge. I love to show it off to tourists.
It is warm here, and the peach tree is budding out. The grapefruit is still very full of fruit, although I am juicing like crazy. I hope you will help yourself to a big glass of ruby red grapefruit juice, with or without whipped vodka, as you tell me about your writing this week. Mine is rolling along, with the weekly photo prompt working for me very well. This week I wrote a short poem, still on the depressing side, a thinly veiled reference to current politics. The prompt picture was a fire, which gave lots of leeway. I wrote about pants and vanities on fire, since I feel this is our current backdrop for news in the real world. I plan to continue the once a week fiction with Sue Vincent’s prompts because it is inspirational to read all the other takes on the same picture. I do want to write more fiction someday. This is a good warm up for that day. I like taking a break from just the facts.
I am enjoying my correspondence challenge #InCoWriMo more than I imagined I would. I have gotten mail from several people I do not know, and a couple I know in on-line relationships. It is a blast to both send and receive the snail mail. Most of my pen pals have great penmanship and sealing wax, etc. I admire it, but that is not what I have to offer. My correspondence has enclosures and a little bit of art. My biggest advantage is all the cards and specialty paper I have collected around the world. I have started to enclose extra postcards so my pen pals can send them forward, and I get rid of twice as much collected choice paper. I also send a temporary tattoo and my biz card. Today I mailed some hollyhock seeds to Kentucky to a perfect stranger…Perfect!!
I send or hand deliver more than one letter a day. I may get carried away with this and just keep mailing letters until all my paper is gone. It is so much fun, and I do have the supplies. I am meeting people and getting such a thrill out of checking my mailbox every day. I guess it is like riding a bike because I used to be a big letter writer, but not for many years. If anyone in coffee share wants to receive mail from me in February please send me your snail mail address on this secure form. I promise I have no reason to share it with anyone and will only use it to send you handwritten notes and surprise gifts from my exotic stash.
If we were having coffee today, I would recommend the grapefruit juice and invite you to stick around to go with us later to the local beer garden and metal arts village where there will be yoga with a DJ followed by live music, fire performers, stilts, acrobats on silk, and lots of hipsters. We will rock the full snow moon in our summer clothing. It is free and all in the hood. Stay and soak up Tucson before you go back home. For those of you who want to read, write, or post this week visit Diana here. See you next week at Nerd on the Brain. Cheers!
Welcome to a rainy cool afternoon in Tucson. Please take a seat by the wood stove and let me know if you want tea or coffee today. I have expanded my tea collection to fully enjoy and celebrate National Hot Tea Month (January) by rotating white, rioboos, green, oolong, herbal, and chai in various flavors to warm the winter mood. The chocolate chai is very stimulating for those in a spicy mood. Help yourself to some blue cornbread in the skillet, and spread one of the many jams and jellies I have set out for our tasting pleasure. Relax, take a breather with your feet up on the ottoman and your warm drink at hand. Tell me about your week and your adventures. I look forward to hearing about your news and your writing projects.
If we were having coffee today I would tell you I am pleased to have written another short piece of fiction this week. I used a photo prompt rather than one of my ancestors as the subject. I had a good time with it, and plan to continue to write at least one piece of fiction each week this year. I think eventually I might be good at either mystery stories or fantasy style fiction. To keep me going I started a bullet journal to log ideas and find new subjects for my factual posts. I enjoy this too, but have not been very prolific at posting in it. My first journal is general purpose and small enough to carry all the time. I think the size is not ideal for weekly and monthly goals and planning, so I have pulled out a new notebook to begin a larger version tomorrow to go with my portable idea notebook. The large format will help me track my writing goals and develop story lines for fictional work.
I guess our story this week is our birthday month. Both my partner and I have January birthdays. His is in Capricorn and mine at the end of the month in Aquarius. We are downsizing our possessions, so no gift giving is in order for either of us. We like to go out for fine dining when we have an occasion to fête. Bob chose Feast, one of our favorite restaurants, for his lunch party yesterday. It was perfect. I tried to coax him into trying a new place, but he is the Capricorn, and was not into change at this time (or any time, for that matter). He pointed out that I can choose a place new to us for my birthday dining experience. I have a couple of weeks to decide between a few trendy places I have wanted to try.
There is a small gremlin attacking various working parts of my life. The filtered water spout the kitchen sink broke off and needs to be replaced, as does the filter itself. My vacuum cleaner dumped all the dirt on the floor when I started to empty it. The latch is broken, so when I take the canister out I must now always hold the bottom so it will not leak all over the floor I just cleaned. My Triberr feed has lost its mind and forgot to tweet for a couple of days. This digital tragedy is now being averted by manual tweeting of my tribe members posts. I hope this will be resolved quickly because the manual stuff is taking a load of time. Last, but not at all least, my car started saying service engine soon on the dash when we drove to lunch yesterday. It may have an electronic glitch, or a real need to be serviced. Sadly, this is not something I can jerry rig or do myself. The car has not been to the mechanic since last February, so I just hope it is not suffering from some major (expensive) ailment. My mechanic is located very near my home, so I pack my bike and drive home when I drop it off for service. I have my pressing business and shopping done, so I can live without the car for a few days if I must. I consider myself lucky, but still have my fingers crossed that this will be a minor repair, and the little demon who breaks stuff will leave my life of his own accord.
I have reached several conclusions about our national politics and my mission in life. I can contribute to and support change and justice best by doing it in my immediate vicinity. The inauguration ceremony may offer the perfect time to go out to a restaurant to enjoy off peak dining. I don’t plan to watch it, but will probably live tweet it for the comedy involved. The future will be a mixed, highly unpredictable bag. My place as a citizen and tax payer is not to jump to any conclusions, but to pay close attention to what happens now. At the conclusion of Trump’s presidency we can analyze how history is altered. Now we can only guess. We need to tune in and not tune out. Discernment has never been so important.
Stop by Diana’s blog to take part in the coffee share this week. Share your thoughts, your personal stories, with writers from across the globe who enjoy a digital hot beverage. Thanks for visiting with us today, gentle reader.