Tea Time

 

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I don’t know about you, but I love tea!  Hot tea, iced tea, Long Island Iced Tea!  I usually end my day with a nice hot cup of PG Tips.  Years ago when I was  in the Air Force stationed at RAF Lakenheath, England I took up the habit of drinking tea which is a national pastime.  I love it the English way, with sugar and cream… However, these days I use fat-free evaporated milk and Truvia sweetener.  PG Tips is a strong, full-bodied tea.  I have friends that drink it with lemon and sugar also.

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There are so many different types of tea.  I always thought there was a different tea for every mood you could have.  Here is a list of some of the more common teas courtesy of the Teavana website at http://www.teavana.com/tea-info/types-of-tea:  (Quote)

“White Teas

White tea is the purest and least processed of all teas.  This loose leaf tea brews a light color and flavor. Find out more about white tea or shop our White Teas.

Green Teas

Green tea is the most popular type of tea, mainly because it is the beverage of choice in Asia. Some loose green teas are scented with flowers or mixed with fruits to create scented or flavored teas.  Find out more about green tea or shop our Green Teas.

Oolong Teas

Oolong tea, also known as wu long tea, is full-bodied with a flavorful fragrance and sweet aroma.  Most people commonly recognize oolong tea as the Chinese tea served in Chinese restaurants. Find out more about oolong tea or shop our Oolong Teas.

Black Teas

Black tea is the tea most people know since you likely grew up dipping tea bags of black tea in your cup (or enjoyed this tea from an iced tea pitcher in the South). Find out more about black tea or shop our Black Teas.

Herbal Teas

Herbal tea does not contain any leaves from the Camellia plant family, so it is sometimes referred to as a tisane. Herbal teas can be broken into three categories: rooibos teas, mate teas, and herbal infusions. Herbal infusions consist of pure herbs, flowers, and fruits. They can be delicious hot or iced. Find out more about herbal teas or shop our Herbal Teas.

Rooibos Teas

Rooibos tea, or red tea, is made from a South African red bush. Rooibos teas can be delicious hot or iced. Find out more about rooibos teas or shop our Rooibos Teas.

Mate Teas

Mate tea is considered the coffee lover’s favorite tea. Made from the leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant, our My Morning Mate is a particular favorite of coffee drinkers because it tastes like coffee. Find out more about mate teas or shop our Mate Teas.

Blooming Teas

Also called artisan or flowering teas, these teas actually ‘bloom’ as they steep. They are hand tied by tea artists and often include some type of flavor or scent along with the beautiful design. These romantic teas make a great gift for your significant other! Shop our Blooming Teas.”  (Unquote)

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(7/12/14 Image from http://howbenefitstea.com/different-types-tea-explained/)

HAPPY Friday!

WON’T YOU JOIN ME IN A CUP TODAY?

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My first German-Polish-Russian Christmas

I was born the fourth child to a German father from Kansas, and a Russian mother, who I was told was born on a boat coming to America. Apparently I was the by-product of a fabulous 35th birthday celebration that my father must have greatly enjoyed. I did the math and the numbers add up!

When I was three years old my mother suddenly died. My sister was married with a baby of her own (my niece, only one year younger than myself), and my brother was bundled off to live with my mother’s brother.

My father suffered from bouts of alcoholism and depression. He probably had PTSD considering he had served in World War II in Pearl Harbor and then again when the Korean Conflict flared up. He was not capable of taking care of a three year old girl, let alone himself.

In view of these facts, I lived with my grandparents on my father’s side of the family until I was about eight years old. My father had been seeing a woman. My grandparents instantly disliked her, and I am sure I felt some of that myself. It was no surprise then, when my father re-married and I was to have a step-mother!

My father and step mother were about 45 years old when they married, and I came to live with them at my step mother’s house. My step mother had never had children and hated them. Her favorite pastime was reminding me of that fact every chance she got. I lived within the shadows of her house staying in my room and out of the way of both of them. Truth be told, I was afraid of her. She terrified me.

I tried to be the girl she wanted me to be but, at eight years old I did not know what to do with someone like her. My step mother had grown up during the depression, raised by her grandparents who were strict with her. She applied those same rules to me. I lived in a child’s hell for many years.

In no time that first Christmas was suddenly upon us all and I wondered what the holiday would have in store for me. Christmas dinner was a lavish affair with my step mother’s German grandmother, and her first father in law in attendance.

I spent hours polishing silver for the table. China was brought up from crates in the basement and I washed and dried everything to a nice sheen. Table settings were of paramount importance to my step mother and I was instructed in the art of setting a formal dinner table.

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(Image credit: “Nostrovia.”)

There were candles and flowers placed in the middle of the table. Crystal glasses sparkled on the table. Napkins were folded and neatly placed to the right of each plate with the proper silverware on top. Mistakes were not tolerated!

My step mother cooked Sauerbraten, which is a German pot roast. It was her grandmother’s favorite. The sweet and sour gravy filled the house with a strong, but pleasant aroma. I remember we had mashed potatoes and broccoli. I recited the prayer I was told to say and our wine glasses were filled to the brim – including mine!  My father said, “Nostrovia,” and toasted all of us.  It was the first time I had felt part of a family in a long time.

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(Image credit: Sauerbraten)

Grandma was in her late eighty’s and a total character. She spoke more German than English and I loved her sense of humor. Papa, my step mother’s first father in law was a sweet Polish man. He was younger than Grandma, but not by much. Where I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin everyone was of a German or Slavic descent back then. It was a normal thing to me.

Grandma started drinking her wine and the next thing I knew she was singing the song “Silent Night,” in German to everyone at the table:

“Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!”

We all clapped when she finished. Papa, not to be outdone by Grandma, started singing “Jingle Bells,” in Polish!

“Svankie Svania, Svankie Swania,

Svankie Sauie Chas!”

Grandma and Papa suddenly got up from their chairs and did a little waltz around my step-mother’s kitchen. It was sweet seeing the two of them swaying in each other’s arms to music only they heard in their heads. Just outside the kitchen window snow was falling lightly, glistening in the late afternoon light.

I remember feeling a peace and belonging that day. Little did I know that in the years to come my life would change drastically and those feelings would never be the same again.

Thanks for visiting and hearing my story.

This was part of our Writing 101 assignment where we were to tell  about our favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.  Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

Silver Threading

The Red Sweater

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

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The Man:

The morning sun is dappled as it flashes between the leaves of the trees lining the main pathway of the park.  I hold my wife’s hand easily inside my own, cradling it protectively.  We walk along slowly, savoring the time we have together.  We follow the curving path matching our footsteps in time.

Coming around the bend in the path, I see her.  An old woman, her grey hair blowing in the breeze, knitting a small red sweater, while seated at the bench.  I look at the woman and start to cry as the realization that I must leave tomorrow really sinks into my brain.  The thought of leaving now gouges at me.

I grip my wife’s hand tighter and say, “I know this overseas assignment is going to be hard on you, what with the baby coming and all.”  “Don’t worry about me,” she replies.  “Your folks will help.”

I look at her, wiping my eyes with my sleeve.  “I know,” I say to her gently.  I kiss her lips and hold her tightly to my chest, one hand on her protruding belly.  My baby is in there, I think to myself.

The morning breezes stir my wife’s hair, tickling my chin.  I smile down into her upturned face kissing her again.  At this moment and time, I do not want her to know what my mission in Syria will be.  It is better she never find out.

The Woman:

The park is cool this early in the morning as the mellow wind wafts through the trees.  “Our path,’’ I think to myself.  My husband firmly holds my hand inside his as we walk together enjoying the sounds of the birds flitting from branch to branch in the trees above us.  The sun is warm when it touches me in between the shade of the trees.  I feel like I am in a movie, like time is incomplete, or in slow motion.

We keep step with each other, in unison, walking and swaying.  I think about us walking like this and wonder if our life together has been just one long dance.  As we round the bend in the path I see an old woman sitting on our bench.  In her gnarled hands I see the flashing of red yarn as she knits a tiny sweater.

My husband sees the woman too and he cries out, tears in his eyes.  I know he saw that tiny baby sweater she is knitting, I thought.  I grab his hand tighter, holding on to him.  I feel the baby kick, tiny flutters pushing against his hand.  He kisses me deeply.

After a moment of blissful eternity, my husband says, “I know this overseas assignment is going to be hard on you, what with the baby coming and all.”  I squeeze his hand reassuringly, “Don’t worry about me.”  “Your folks will help.”  I choke back my own tears.  Plenty of time for crying after he is gone, I think to myself, gaining control of my emotions for the fifth time that day.

He leaves for Syria tomorrow.  An assignment we never thought he would get because the baby is due in only a few months.  He had worked it out with his commander.  He would be able to stay here with me until the baby was born.  That is life in the military.  If they wanted you to have a family, they would have issued you one, I thought bitterly.

He kisses me again, all the while looking at me with a wistful smile on his face.  I close my eyes and melt into his arms.

The Old Woman:

What a lovely morning this has been, thought the old woman.  I am glad I decided to get out of the house and enjoy the summer breezes here in the park.  The leaves rustled in the trees and flashed brightly in the pattered sunshine making her silver hair glow brightly in the sun.

She picked up her knitting, pulling the thick red yarn out of her basket.  The tiny red sweater was really taking shape.  She had been working on this gift for her new grandson for several months now. Her knitting needles clicked together, as if keeping time with the young couple walking down the path.

Red sweater

(Image credit: Cardigan Jumpers)

The old woman glanced up and noticed the couple hand in hand, in perfect rhythm, walking toward her.  What a handsome couple they are, she thought.  The wife is pregnant too!  How wonderful to see them so in love walking in the park, she thinks to her herself.

Curious now, and remembering her own past loves, the old woman peeks at them through her downturned lashes.  She watches as the man suddenly grabs the young woman tightly to him, and kisses her, their hands intertwined  over her large belly.

The old woman blushes as if she was witnessing something she should not.  How lovely together they are, she thinks.  This is a private time between them.  I should get up and leave them alone.

She gathers up her knitting and places the tiny red sweater in her basket. I just cannot wait until my grandson is born, she smiles to herself.   The old woman slowly walks past the couple who do not even see her leave the park.

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you enjoyed this story from three different perspectives,

Silver Threading

Be Inspired By the Community

Today’s assignment in Blogging 101: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!  Did you mention a personal connection to what was written? Tell that story, using the original discussion as a starting point for yours.

I stumbled upon another blogger yesterday that I had an instant connection with after reading her About page – she is another Wisconsinite!  Her blog is called, “ Johanna Is Thinking” – “Footprints of Thoughts.”  I know you all will find great inspiration from her blog.

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(Image credit: Map of Wisconsin counties)

I know that sometimes we meet each other in the blogging world and enjoy our company together through the reading of each other’s thoughts.  We make instant connections because we sense a likeness or sometimes even a uniqueness.  We feel comfortable with these other bloggers, almost as if we already know them.  Some people speak to your heart more than others.  Johanna is one of those people.

It could be because she was a Language Arts teacher – my favorite kind of teacher!  I also know because she is from Wisconsin, we share a bond that is forged from where we were born and where we came from.  She actually was familiar with my home town of Milwaukee.  That is a rare find.  In addition, she traveled the world and lived and worked in a different land, specifically Kenya, Africa.

I traveled extensively while I served in the Air Force and lived in the U.K. for three years.  There is something about living in a foreign country.  It makes you appreciate the land of your birth for many different reasons.  My travels continued even though I never went back to Wisconsin to live again.  In comparison, Johanna went back to Wisconsin and still resides there.

I also loved that Johanna had stretched her religious wings and embraced Buddhist meditation.  I am a Theravada Buddhist having left the teachings of the Lutheran Church when I was quite young.  I had a calling as a Buddhist and I have followed that path toward my own spirituality for over 35 years now.

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It is interesting the friendships you form in the blogging world.  The connections I have made with several bloggers this short five months have been some of the most fulfilling in my life.  Do not be afraid to comment on other blogs.  You never know the friendship that will blossom or who you will find.

Thanks for sharing this sweet story with me today.  I know I will see you all again,

Silver Threading

Dental Reverberations

Writing 101 instructions are: Go to a public location and make a detailed report of what you see. The twist of the day? Write the post without adverbs.

I walked into the dentist’s office this morning with a purpose in mind. I wanted to get my teeth cleaned and get out of there as fast as possible. Now, do not get me wrong. I like my dentist. I even like my hygienist. I just hate going to the dentist. It is the noises in a dental office that get me off balance.

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(Image credit: Image Arcade.com)

I sat in the chair in the waiting room after I had signed in for my appointment. The whole office had been redone after the flood we had the end of April. I remember my dentist telling me about all the damage they had sustained. All the drywall, floors, and even the windows had to be replaced. I bet my bill will go up, I thought.

The walls were painted a soothing chocolate brown color with cream and tan stone tiles accenting the walk way into the main office. The rest of the room had tan carpet on the floor. Carpet is a good way to muffle noises. I smiled at that idea.

Against the back wall, a television was playing a show about Houston, TX pet rescues. I could hear the screams of cats, and the wild barking of dogs, as they were scooped up from the horrors they lived in, and placed into pet carriers to transport them to safety. I was awed by the conditions the animals had survived in.  Their howls were memorable.

As I watched the animal rescues on the television with their primal screams in the background, I could hear the high-pitched whirring of the dental cleaning tool used on the patient before me coming from the back office. I shivered. My nerves were raw, and I was on edge from all the different sounds. Please let me be next, I thought.

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(Image credit: Daily Blog Tips.com)

At long last, the hygienist retrieved me, and I could abandon the animal rescue noises there in the waiting room where they belonged. I sat in the hygienist’s chair and endured the sound of the high-pitched cleaning tools I had come to despise.

At last it was over! I got my new toothbrush, floss, and fluoride treatment as I paid the bill. Sure enough, there was a $25.00 charge for fluoride. I knew the prices would go up!

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Today’s assignment in Blogging 101 is leave comments on at least four blogs that you’ve never commented on before.  If you’d like to take this a step further, add a post to your own blog today highlighting and linking to the four blogs. Let your readers know why they intrigued you.

I must say that I have met some fascinating new people through their creative blogs!  I would like to share a few that I just met today.  Please check out their blogs.  New friends are fun!

I also want to remind the new bloggers (Oh yeah, I guess I am one of those too Smile) anyway – please check out the awards listed on the header of my blog.  Go inside the awards and you will find links to other bloggers that will make you feel right at home and part of the community here at WordPress.  I have been grateful for all the help and assistance I have received from many of these fine folks!

horn-0001TADA!  Here are some new bloggers to welcome to WordPress!

James Keegan – His blog is about his journey into photography.  He has spectacular photos up today of the soy bean fields highlighted by morning sun near his home.  A must see!

Our Crazy Life – Her blog is about her family of six and two dogs!  I immediately liked the conversation about family and life in general.  Check her out.

Free 2 Just B – Tessa Ruth, who says she is, “Unraveling myself from conformity, self-limiting beliefs and sheeple people; I’m discovering my unique and distinctive voice.”  She has great thoughts and feelings to share!

Black Raven Creations – Has an Etsy Shop.  She says, “In my shop you will find my creations using a wide range of textiles all created and made by my hands lovingly taught by my Grandmothers hands. All items are 100% handmade!! There are paintings, hand-stitched items, knitted and crocheted items, sewn items and many more.”

Thanks for the visit.  I always enjoy seeing all of you!

Silver Threading

One Word Photo Challenge–Mustard

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More of BIG SKY Country – Montana – hills colored “mustard” by the setting sun.

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This week’s One Word Photo Challenge from Jennifer Nichole Wells is Mustard!

To participate:

  • Create a new post on your blog titled “One Word Photo Challenge: Mustard”
  • Include an image or images that you feel fit the theme
  • Tag your post with “One Word Photo Challenge” so that others can find your contribution
  • Have fun!

Thanks for the fun visit.  Stop by any time,

Silver Threading

A Study of Autumn

“Ron, you just would not believe all the neighbors I saw walking this morning,” I said to my husband this morning. “It is the first day of fall and people I had not seen for months were outside doing all kinds of chores.” He chuckled and poured us both a cup of coffee. “Happy Autumn,” he said.

We walked outside to the patio and sat down to watch the birds slinging seed from the bird feeder. It was shady at the back of our house and the patio was partly in shade and sun from the neighbor’s bordering tree line. It was a lovely place to enjoy the morning. The dogs sauntered out and plopped down to enjoy the warmth of the sun on the concrete.

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“The difference between summer and fall is strange here in Pensacola,” I said to him simply. “Remember when we lived in Montana?” “One day it was summer and warm, and the next day a storm would blow in from Canada and we would have snow on the ground?” “That was a difference you could tell immediately,” I reminded him.

“Oh I remember,” said Ron. “That was wood chopping season.” “Dustin and Jake would come over and we would rent a log splitter and chop wood and stack it for days,” he replied. “That wood sure helped us keep warm in those brutal Montana winters.” I smiled remembering good friends and happy times.

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“Florida seems to be the opposite of Montana,” I quipped. “In Montana, everyone hibernates in their homes from October through May because of the cold and snow.” “Here, in Florida we tend to hibernate from June through September because of the heat and humidity,” I told him laughing at the analogy.

“That is so true,” said Ron laughing at my little comparison. “One thing Montana never had even in the summer is the beach!” “How about we take the day off and head over to Perdido Key?” he asked. “Temperatures at the beach today are only going to be 82 degrees.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” I answered. The dogs were already at the back door ready to leap into the car.

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Writing 101 suggested we focus today’s post on the contrast between two things. The twist? Write the post in the form of a dialogue.  This is my contribution to that theory.

Thanks for visiting me on this first day of Autumn!  Get outside if you can Smile

Silver Threading