I've never liked coffee. I've tried. I try every couple of years to see if I actually dislike it or if it's actually the taste. And every couple of years I push through the smell (which disgusts me) and take a sip. And each time I am reaffirmed a tea drinker.
Oh, the addiction started simply enough. In college I was introduced to Celestial Seasoning's Morning Thunder. This was their first heavily caffeinated blend (they'd pretty much sold non-caffiene teas). The box had a buffalo on it. I'd often make a cup of tea with two bags of MT.
When I came to work in San Diego, I started buying up boxes of C.S. teas. So much so, that I became the 'Tea Guy' People would give me a couple of quarters and I'd give them a tea bag or two from the collection. My problem was, the teas weren't quite dynamic as much as I wanted them to be.
So, I started ripping up C.S. bags and combining them. Which was good because it helped me find new and more creative tastes. It was bad, because C.S. teas tend to run $5-6 for a small number of bags. I was making my mixes for people and having more demand. Happily a friend introduced me to the joys of a tea shop.
In a tea shop, once can by simple teas and blended teas. But you buy them by weight and they are loose. Usually in pre-ground form. I was in heaven. (At the time, my wallet may have gone into arrest; but I was happy) From there it would only be a matter of time until I added an infuser, a mortar & pestle (sp?), and my favourite addition which I will mention later (two boxes worth)
Recently, to make life much easier... I added two kitchen organizer boxes to sort and store my teas. I may post a picture some day.
So, getting together was tricky. Like most people who are in contact with me on a social level, she'd been watching in horror with everyone else as my life got dragged into an insane situation. She was interested in getting together as was I... but neither of us really wanted to push the issue until my head somewhat got screwed back on.
Well, after last week there had to be detox. I was planning on working from home last Friday in the event that I needed to fly to Pennsylvania on a moment's notice. When the news hit on Thursday I was stunned. I mean really, stunned. I was walking around the office like a drug addict in rehab. No light in my eyes, nothing. I made it home... somehow. I just laid down on my couch and stared at the ceiling.
About 7:45 the worst thing that could happen did. My phone rang. It was thursday and Midsummer rehearsal had completely slipped my mind (as had most of reality) I let people in. We held rehearsal. People gave me hugs. I feel like I was a sack of potatoes. I really wasn't in 'hug-space.' Rehearsal went okay. I even got one of my drier actorsto hit a comedic moment solidly enough that it got a laugh out of me. Rehearsal was short. There wasn't really socializing at my place afterwards. I told people I wouldn't make Sunday's rehearsal but they know what to do.
I called our local priestess and explained that I was not going to be able to do mass on Sunday. My life was kinda messed up and I said I'd find someone to either be in my place or who was able to find someone to take my place. This is the first time I've cancelled a committed responsibility in a long time. It made me uneasy.
I wound up staying up until 4 a.m. or something after rehearsal.
Friday I was awakened at 8:45. It was my manager telling me to just take the day as a PTO. I still was in no place to argue. I tried making occasional posts to LJ. None of any real substance. They were fun for the most part. It helped lighten my mood. But still not really hungry or social or anything.
Saturday I pulled out of it. I watched some TV, screwed around on the computer, even stitched a little. My housemate asked if I wanted to go see some new flick. I don't remember which it was because we changed our minds when we got there and went to see Minority Report (I'll post a review on it some other time... maybe) Afterwards, we went over to a local occult shop which had had a Moon rite earlier and now it was just a social thing.
I saw a really cute girl there. However, a brother described her rather colourfully to me as, "A few fried chickens short of a church picnic." In his opinion she, "has more issues than National Geographic." He has a way with words.
Sunday I cleaned. I put together the uber computer Mark 3. (I will post more on that at a later time, too...) Which all in all led to being ready to socially have guests in the house again.
Well, we finally got together this evening. I'd been cleaning, she'd been out having not the greatest day. Bottom line... informal was the tone of the evening. Tea. My agenda was tea. (Nonetheless, my training from my last relationship kicked in and I changed into a nice shirt from the t-shirt I'd been cleaning in)
She buzzed up about 8:10. I invited her in, showed her the rack where guests are asked to leave shoes. She said something to the effect of "A barefoot house is a nice house." Well, if anything were going to lighten any tension in my life and give me a smile... that would.
I have an Arrowhead water cooler in the house now. My housemate and I split on this. It's great because we have a constant supply of water and at the same time, I can make tea by the cup on demand. She asked for a glass of water and then pushed on to the crux of the evening... The tea.
I showed off my collection of teas, allowing her to smell each one. It's fun, because it's nice to gauge each person's reaction. I made another attempt at my "Girl Scout thin mint" flavoured tea. A little of this... a little of that. Meanwhile, while showing off the collection I also showed off the cordials.
Now, I'm really not a drinker. I very rarely drink for the sake of getting drunk. Boys, there's a time and a place for everything; and it's called college I'll drink the occasional beer Eww, weasel p*#$ or drink a hard cider or liqueur. But the knock myself down is for things like camping/pagan retreats.
And as such, I am prepared for such events as I now... make my own. A cordial is more like a liqueur. It's makin' your own, the easy yet prolonged way. Basically, you take a mostly-flavourless alcohol (I prefer vodka) and pack a whole bunch of something into it (like fruit) until all the flavour leaks into the alcohol. Then take out the fruit and sweeten to taste.
My latest creation is actually a rehash of my first cordial done a little more carefully with my new secret ingredient. The recipe of the first cordial was:
one clove, one thumb of cinnamon stick, and all the pomegranate seed that would fit. This time I had 4 poms. instead of 1/2. A few days ago I removed the seeds after several months. Today I skimmed the sediment out with cheese cloth and sweetened it.
Ah yes, the secret. See the sweetener is usually a sugar syrup you cook up on the stove. A few years back some people I knew took to selling flavoured honeys at Pennsic War. About 2 yrs. back I put 2 and 2 together and bought two cases of honey. Well, two small boxes. And now, instead of syrup, I use honey. It adds to the taste and gives just an ounce more sugar kick to the creation :) Thus my favourite addition (from the tea segment)
Her views on alcohol seemed to fall greatly in line with mind. She asked if she could taste my latest creation. (It's actually a rehash of my first cordial redone more carefully). She really liked the taste of it.
So, I made up a batch of the tea and made two tea bags. (Note to self, second bag was weaker... needs more black base tea) Good flavour. So the two of us got talking. She'd been planning on swimming that day, but opted against it. I offered the facilities at my place. (What's living in L.A. if you can't offer your friends a late night dip in the pool or hot tub ;-) I showed her to the guest bathroom and went off into the starspawn chaos that is my bedroom to change. We meandered down to the hot tub and chatted for a while.
She asked me about how things with my recent trauma were going (my words not hers) I talked about letting go. I learned a little about her history and how she came to be in L.A. She explained some of her views on dating and how she evaluates people. It really made a lot of sense.
But then lots of philosophies make sense until you personally try to act on them.
I explain at some point that I am working on decadent arts. Tea, cordials, massage, etc. She explains that she mostly works on her feet. I of course must offer a foot rub. Which I'm pleased she is more than willing to accept.
It was nice... relaxing... no pressure. Just casual talk with an interesting person. After about 20-30 minutes another couple showed up. I think they were armenian or arabic. There was a lot of that guttural ch sound in the language and it sounded middle eastern in nature. The conversation having gotten into a lot of personal allegory in things that had happened in our lives of course trailed off when the couple arrived. Fortunately, she suggested we go back upstairs and dry out.
Back upstairs we changed back into dry clothing. (Ah the advantages of a 2 bedroom with 2 bath) We talked more. I refilled our tea cups and started the foot rub. More about her theories on relationships. She raises a really great concept on how to not get involved with people who are just too damned captivating. We chat movies. Ah... a movie buff. We give each other a list of movies that the other needs to watch. Cleverly, I remember to actually write some of them down. We chat philosophies. She asks about my beliefs. I'm able to talk Thelema without coming off like a brainwashed fundamentalist. (I think)
All in all, that was pretty much it. She'd promised to meet another friend later in the evening. I was about to offer a movie to watch. She called the friend to see if they were still on, otherwise she'd have accepted. As it is, we're planning on doing movies sometime this week before I head off to D*C in Atlanta.
I gave her a hug goodnight... She headed off. Again... a nice evening.