Sunny Mountain


Tea of the Day: Sunny Mountain by Summit Spice and Tea

Description: A house blend of green rooibos with currant and berries.

Dry tea smells like warm, ripe berries.

Steeped tea smells like a berry crumble, sweet with oats and sugar

Liquor is a reddish gold in the cup.

The tea tastes like berries with a kind of flat undertone, almost like a chapstick. Adding sugar gives the tea more body.

Tea Rating: 3/5

Yesterday, as I’m sure you all know, was the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that occurred on 9/11/2001.

I have some thoughts, and I did mean to write yesterday, but I was too frustrated and sad.

Some of it was for obvious reasons; it was a sad day that changed our nation and a good chunk of the world, forever. It spawned action and tighter security and some questionable policies in the name of safety. Because of that event, there is fear and hate towards people who are actually innocent just because of the lack of understanding about the motives of the people  responsible for the event. Plus, there has been and continues to be plenty of talk about how it was caused by our own government and so there is more distrust and disillusionment with our government than there once was.

But the thing that makes me the most sad about it isn’t obvious.

After 9/11, the nation came together. People cared, they came together to help each other out, not just within New York, but across the country. This is something we see a lot: when disasters happen, people are generous and kind and go further for strangers than you’d ever imagine.

It’s a great thing, but it makes me sad because it doesn’t last. A day, a week, a month later we’re back to being hateful and mistrustful, with our heads down only looking out for ourselves.

It shouldn’t take a disaster to be good to each other.

I firmly believe that if we treated each other more like we do after a disaster every day that there wouldn’t be so many people in dire need, or people living in fear of hate because that kind of love washes everything else out.

It’s a beautiful dream.



Pu Erh Chorange


Tea of the day: Pu Erh Chorange by Adagio Tea

Description:Rich chocolate and sweet orange bring a confectionary note to the gentle earthiness of pu erh. Lively citrus lifts the blend while the warm chocolate and easygoing pu erh are grounding and smooth. Reminiscent of a favorite treat.

Dry tea smells like those chocolate oranges you get at Christmas, but with an almost sour bite and an undertone of earthiness that makes it clear it’s not a candy. It has bits of orange and chocolate in the blend that are easy to pick out

Liquor is a dark, rich brown in the cup

Steeped tea smells similar to the dry, but with less bite and more smooth earthiness, as I have come to expect from a Pu Erh. In flavor the tea is like Mexican drinking chocolate without chilies: rich and smooth and a nice balance of bitter and sweet. Adding a little sugar helps further blend the flavors, making it something that I’m disappointed to finish

Tea Rating: 4.5/5

I have now been writing in this blog for 2 years.

I have posted 278 times (279 counting this one)

I have had 2200 views over the span, and just over 1500 unique visitors.

I have 193 wonderful regular readers.

As I mentioned last year, I don’t post as much as I’d hoped, and admittedly less often than I did a year ago but I’m still here.

A lot has changed since last year, some of it brand spanking new, some of it the natural extensions of what happens when you get to a good spot in life.

I’m still drinking tea, and writing, even if it’s just in my journal.

Even though I’ve graduated, I’m still learning and moving forward with my life.

I’m still working on being a better me, for my own sake and for that of those I love.

It’s nice to be able to say that life is moving in a direction that I’m pleased with.

As I write this, I’m wondering what the next year will bring, and I’m excited to see it.

“May you live all the days of your life”~  Jonathan Swift


The Naughty Vicar


Tea of the Day: The Naughty Vicar by The London Tea Room

Description: Our best selling blend of black teas with blackcurrants and vanilla. Many have asked us why it’s called Naughty Vicar, our standard response is “no comment.”

Dry tea smells dark, rich and fruity with a hint of earthy tones and maybe chocolate

Liquor is a rich milk chocolate brown in the cup

Steeped tea smells a bit more earthy than the dry. The tea has an earthiness to it at first taste, followed by fruit flavors and finishing with something that is almost like wine. Adding sugar makes the fruity wine-like flavors all the stronger and makes it a drink to savor

Tea Rating: 5/5

Last week was quite the eventful time.

I graduated with my bachelor’s degree (finally), got to see my sister graduate from high school, picked up my wedding dress, spent time with family that I haven’t seen since I graduated from high school myself 9 years ago, and had a housewarming party because we’re pretty much all settled in.

This all feels surreal.

It’s almost like I never expected to make it to this point so this seems like a fluke and I would not be surprised if someone were to come up to me and say “psych! you actually don’t get that degree/house/etc!”

I don’t think I’m alone in this, insecure and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But I heard a song today that made me smile, and pointed out to me a little that my problems are not so bad: Champagne Problems by Meghan Trainor

An excerpt from the song:

My new Wi-Fi doesn’t seem to work
No, no internet, that’s the worst
And my iPhone always seems to die
Right before I hit reply

But I can’t complain at all
No no, life’s too short for that, life’s too short for that
No, I can’t complain at all
Life’s too short for that

I got champagne problems, champagne problems
So pour a glass and let’s drink up all my champagne problems
I got champagne problems, champagne problems
So pour a glass and let’s drink up all my champagne problems

So I’ll sit up a little straighter, and keep moving on.

Maybe I’ll have a drink tonight, maybe I’ll just relax, because really, my life is good and all is well or will be well

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful, look again in your hear, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight”  ~Khalil Gibran

Apricot Black Tea


Tea of the Day: Apricot Black Tea by Adagio Teas

Description: Imagine being whisked away to a perfumy, fresh apricot orchard… That’s the sensation you’ll get with your first sip of our delectable Apricot Black tea. Combining the sweet flavor of ripe summer apricots with the tangy bright taste of Ceylon black tea, you can experience it year-round. Soft, mellow mouthfeel, succulent flavor and balanced astringency.

Dry tea smells like warm apricots, sweet and tangy, the tea scent adding a bit of a bite to it

Liquor is a dark almost chocolaty brown in the cup

Tea has an apricot smell once steeped as well, more so than the dry tea. Tea tastes like a flavored coffee, before sugar

Sweet-tart apricot flavor with sugar, although I feel like the tea would do better with a cooler temperature water, even though it is a black tea, because the tea tends toward the bitey side

Tea Rating: 3/5

The world is full of art.


Full of it.

There’s music in the conversations that happen all around us, in laughter, in the rhythm of walking, the sounds your house makes in the night, everywhere.

There’s a painting in the way sunlight filters through trees, and shadows move across walls because of a breeze passing through what makes the shadows, in the pop of color of a flower poking through the dirt.

Dance is art in motion, even the slightly spastic dancing of children…

I often wish I had more talent at drawing, or could paint what I see and feel, but most days I settle for writing.

I also enjoy photography, but have never really thought of myself as an artist. In my mind I’m more like a reporter with a camera, showing people what I see.

This is not to say that I think that photographers are not artists. I have seen some truly stunning images that could not be anything but art.

I just don’t tend to see myself as being at that calibre

But.. my perspective is starting to change.

I feel weird about it, but looking over my work and listening a little more carefully to the feedback I get from it, I have decided to call myself an artist.

As I put it “a photographer with a day job”

I’m going to do a showing of my art for the first First Friday my local tea place does after they move to their new location.

I feel..I think stunned is the right word

And very, very excited.

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Orange Black Tea


Tea of the Day: Orange by Adagio Teas

Description: Lemons and black tea make such a natural pair, so why not try oranges? Our Orange Black tea combines fresh and brisk Ceylon black tea with the flavor of juicy, ripe Florida oranges, playfully accented with orange peel. Zesty orange rind dryness, with hints of soft, sweet orange juice (makes a great balance). Crisp and refreshing cup.

Dry tea smells like a fistfull of oranges, uplifting and cheery

Liquor is red-orange brown in the cup

Still smells very orangey, but the flavor does not come out at first, you just get the full body of the black tea. Adding sugar brings out the orange flavor and creates a peppy and smooth brew. Only downside: a slightly chalky feel in the mouth after the tea has gone down.

Tea Rating:4.5/5

Today I’ve been working at my current job for 6 months. Not a hugely long time, but it’s important because it means that I have completed my probationary time period and will now be able to stay here (barring drastic drops in funding) for as long as I’d like.

It’s really something fantastic to be doing a job I actually like, more days than not.

I’ve been thinking about my grandmother a lot as of late, both while I’m awake and in my dreams.

There’s so much I’d tell her if we could talk, much that I think she’d be proud of.

So, here follows a letter to my grandmother, albeit with some editing because there are some things that I’d share with her that are too personal for this format, even for the open person that I am.


It’s been a while since I last wrote to you, though I think of you often.

Actually, thinking about it, it’s been almost exactly a year since the last letter, when I wrote to you because my heart was crying out for a conversation that’s a lot harder to have, now.

A lot has happened since then, some of it bad, some of it that I’m not proud of, but a lot more that’s good and that I smile about…so I’ll go in chronological order, which just so happens to coincide with the unhappy stuff first, as well.

About a year ago I was seeing someone who seemed like he understood me, enjoyed my company, would be willing and able to treat me well, for once in my dating life (referred to forward of this as T).

Turns out he only really wanted one thing, and the rest was just a way to get that one thing. You probably would have told me that, told me to watch out for silver tongues and empty words. I’m not sure I would have listened.

In my disappointment and small heartbreak, I turned primarily to two people: my closest female friend (L) in Fairbanks and a guy friend of mine who had expressed concern when I’d started seeing (we’ll call him M, for clarity)T…when he wasn’t too busy with his life..

L was (and is) the friend I’ve always tried to be, always there for me but good at calling me on my bullshit when I’m trying to hide from something. It’s a balance, but she does it well.

I got to go see Cirque du Soleil, courtesy of T who was not longer talking to me at that point, and it was fantastic.

In February I lost the job I’d gotten with the state, leading up to the scariest two weeks of my life where I wondered what on earth I was going to do. I ended up back at Walmart, working on overnights. I was stable again, but still wanting to leave retail since I’d managed to do it once already.

During that time, I was able to spend more time with M, which was good, and leading up to something I’d never considered possible for me before.

I also met my Mate. Actually, it was the second time meeting him, but the previous time I’d not been in a place to see him as more than a potential friend. I’d don’t know how you’d feel about my calling him that so soon, but I don’t know how else to describe how I feel. He’s my Mate, the same soul in two bodies. We fell together, hand in hand, deep and strong, and I wish you could see how happy we are. It’s good to have balance and we keep each other on an even keel in a way that I’ve only ever read about. We’ve been together 7 months now and we’re planning on many more.

After that, I was able to get a job working for the University, and I haven’t looked back. Sometimes I miss the people I used to work with, but I’m finally not a retail associate and it feels good.

Because of the atmosphere and support of this job, I am on track to really finish my degree and graduate in May. I’ll go through the ceremony, because I feel pretty good about finally getting there when letting it go would have been much easier to do.

I’m finally no longer sharing a phone plan or insurance with anyone else, snipped that last lingering tie with the past that held me back

I miss you. I hope you’re out there guiding someone else the way you’ve guided me in my life, because it’s a gift that should not be limited to just one person, one lifetime.

I love you, Gran

Strawberry Lychee


Tea of The Day: Strawberry Lychee by Hawaiian Islands Tea Company

Description: Strawberry is widely appreciated for its appetizing bright red color, special flavor and appealing aroma. Combine this with the mellow sweetness of Lychee fruit, considered a supreme delicacy by China’s Emperors for more than 2000 years, and you get one of our more popular tropical teas.

Smells very sweet and strongly of strawberry, like a strawberry candy, when dry

Steeped tea smells fruity but less candy-like

Liquor is a clear light brown in the cup

Tea is light and fruity. Easy to drink and refreshing, does not need to be sweetened

Tea Rating: 3.5/5

This past weekend, I took the 6 hour drive from my home to where my family and one of my best friends live.

It was an uneventful and very pretty drive both ways, much like when I went in July, but with one important difference.

I traveled alone.

This doesn’t usually make a difference. I like to drive, it can help me clear my head, and 12 + hours in a car by myself gives me lots of time to think about things that normally get pushed aside.

As an example, at one point during the trip I heard a song that brought forth a gut-punch realization and the depth of it just had me crying. Believe it or not, sometimes it’s nice to let out that kind of emotion without having to explain myself or reassure anyone that I am actually just fine. Plus it allowed me to communicate something important to my other half that I had previously been unable to find the words for.

So, I still enjoyed the drive.

But now that I’ve actually traveled with my significant other, I find that travelling without him just feels…off. I was a lot more drained from the driving, and significantly more impatient to be done with it. Plus, while I was away I woke up tangled in the sheets of my borrowed bed and sore in a way that I’d never been before, like I spent the whole night looking for something (or someone).

I’ve always tended to like to be physically close to the person I’m dating, but I’ve needed my own space and time to myself too.

Now it seems that I don’t need the space, or at least not in the same way. At this point, I’m quite content to do my own thing while he’s there, whereas in the past just having another person in the room while I was doing something just irritated me beyond all reason.

I have to say, all these changes blow my mind, but I really enjoy being a part of them

“[Tea] is a beverage which not only quenches thirst, but dissipates sorrow.” ~Chang loo, c.828

Dong Ding Oolong


Today, a special and rare tea from my local tea place:

Tea of the Day:  High ferment Dong Ding Oolong by Sipping Streams

Description: Classic Taiwanese oolong tea, grown high above Lugu valley this frozen summit tea leads with soaring floral gardenia notes and finishes rich in the throat. Dong Ding oolong is in the middle of oolong’s green tea to black tea continuum which gives a robust flavor that can be infused repeatedly.

Dry leaves first smell like a hearty, slightly peppery vegetable stew, with a hint of sweetness

Smells much sweeter once steeped

Liquor is the palest gold in the cup, more of  a tint than a color

Has a sweet-savory flavor that is somehow both light and robust, really needs no sweetening. Flavor gets more savory as it cools

Second infusion gives a darker golden liquor, and a more vegetable-like flavor, with the sweetness coming in as an aftertaste

Tea Rating: 5/5

Today, August 17th, is the anniversary of when I started writing this blog.

It has now been one year!

I only posted about half as many posts as I had planned but the fact that I am still happily and consistently posting to it makes me feel pretty good. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that I’m proud of myself. This project was always meant to be long-term, but I’ll admit that I didn’t expect that I’d have the wherewithal to continue with the way life can be so crazy at times

In truth, though, I find this consistent writing has helped me a lot when things were hard or sad. It seems having this outlet and knowing that I have people who read what I have to say is just what the doctor ordered, so to speak.

So, with that in mind, and in the interest of keeping on putting out positive vibes, some goals for the next year:

  • Continue to post in this blog, as often as I am able
  • Finish my degree…I am down to my last semester, so as long as I stay focused, this should not be a problem
  • Flesh out my book. I’ve posted a little about the story that’s in my head here, and written some descriptions of people and places involved in it, but I’d like to actually have written is, or at least made some progress towards it, by this time next year

This year has been full of changes, some that seemed bad at first, but turned out great, and some that started out shiny and have just continued to get better

That said, I can honestly say that I had no idea a year ago where I’d be now.

I had hopes, of course

But, honestly, where I am now is far better than anything I had dared to hope

The heartbreak of finding an empty teacup when you thought there was one gulp to go“. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)