a snippet from the past

Found this in my childhood journal while going through old papers… apparently I’ve always been meant to do science ๐Ÿ™‚

child-me wrote, “I love Daddy. I love Daddy because he is a fun Daddy. He does science and fun things.”

Posted in miscellaneous

tea is a happy little thing

When it comes to cooking, baking, drinking, writing, teaching, gardening – well, basically anything – I like to have a rhythm and structure within which I can imagine and create. Boundaries give me the freedom to explore without feeling overwhelmed by too many new things at once, I think, but avoiding strict rules and routines keeps me from burning out or losing interest altogether. So I have my four garden beds and their two trellises, and I rotate through some of the same crops each year, but I always add something new that I’ve never planted before. I write down favorite recipes, but I never make them the same way more than twice, and I drift through categories of favorites depending on season and mood.

And I drink tea every day (two teaspoons steeped in the huge mug Rondel got me for Christmas, and at least three brews throughout the day with the same leaves), but I mix and match the varieties I have with different fruits, spices, and herbs. I really enjoy this, to be honest – maybe it’s because the pandemic has rather limited my opportunity to have novel experiences, or maybe I’m just the kind of person who delights in simple pleasures, but trying out new flavor combinations in my tea is something I like forward to each morning.

This time of year, when the weather is cold, I drink most of my tea with cream, and lean on the strong teas whose nutty depths can support it. I also love Assam tea with or without cream, so I find that I prefer cut all of my flavored teas (which have a Ceylon base) 1:1 with the unflavored Assam. Some of my favorites?

  • Almond with a sprinkle of cinnamon – with cream, this is reminiscent of rice pudding
  • Almond with diced candied lemon peel is also good, and reminds me of Christmas cookies – both of these almond mixes have a very dessert-like feel
  • Vanilla with dried lavender (from my poor bush that perished in the record-breaking heat this summer) – this is the most calming of my teas, and particularly good for stressful days
  • Chestnut and caramel with a dusting of cardamom (this is good if you want something almost coffee-like; the chestnut on its own has an aftertaste I’m not especially fond of)
  • Rose, also with cardamom – I wasn’t sure if the rose tea could hold up to the cream, but I really enjoyed the light floral notes dancing over the earthy base.
  • Maple with candied orange peel, whole cloves, and cinnamon (this is so amazing. I have to make it at my mom’s house because the maple tea is one I gave her for Christmas, and while she doesn’t keep cream or Assam on hand, this is quite excellent without either.
  • Plain Assam with saffron and cardamom – this is like a mild chai, and really lets the saffron flavor shine, with a bit of sweetness from the cardamom.

Soon I’ll stop using the cream, as the weather gets warmer, and eventually I’ll tend towards iced tea instead of warm tea, and I’m looking forward to seeing what flavors will blend together well for those seasons – but for now, these are my favorites.

What areas of life do you enjoy experimenting and creating in? What are some of the small and simple things that bring you joy? And if any of you also love tea, what are some of your favorites?

Posted in book lists, miscellaneous

new year, new books!

For the first time ever, I’ve started a pen-and-paper reading journal!

It all began when I was looking for Christmas presents for my kids and found these delightful small-squared graph paper journals with transparent covers – so whatever you draw on the first page would show through and be the cover image. I got a pack for Limerick for his numerical drawings and then added one for myself… and when I found a new pack of my favorite rainbow Signo pens in my stocking from my dad, it was a perfect match.

Continue reading “new year, new books!”


So… does anyone else find themselves murmuring things like, โ€œThe broccoli is good. The broccoli is life-affirmingโ€ as they eat dinner at the end of a long day?

In my defense, it was exceptionally tasty broccoli ๐Ÿ˜›

Posted in miscellaneous


I purchased some loose leaf tea (from Adagio Tea), mostly because I was curious about how it would compare to the bagged tea I’ve been becoming addicted to, and realized very quickly that the quality is much superior ๐Ÿ™‚ The tea is much smoother, with more layers of flavor, and the leaves can be re-steeped more times before becoming weak (which is nice, because I like cream in my tea and you need strong tea to support the cream!).

I also realized that I’m fairly particular about my tea.

It’s not just that I prefer black tea to green, white, red, or matte; it’s not just that I prefer black tea over most flavored tea; no, I prefer assam black teas (and blends) over ceylon black teas. I had already suspected this, as I like Irish breakfast tea much more than English breakfast tea, but this order confirmed it. You see, along with the order they sent a week’s subscription to their communiTEA program – a daily cup of tea with a new flavor or blend – and the only one I really enjoyed and would want to drink again was an assam black tea blended with peach, marigold, and caramel. The oolong and raspberry teas I couldn’t even finish.

What’s kind of neat (since my favorite tea is Irish breakfast) is that the way I like to drink tea (strong, with plenty of milk or a dash of cream) is apparently the Irish way to drink tea! You know, if you can believe what you read on the Internet ๐Ÿ™‚

Are any of you tea drinkers? What are your favorite blends, or your tea idiosyncrasies? I’d love to hear from fellow tea-lovers online since I don’t know many in real life!