Monday, January 30, 2023

Word Magic

The word this week is SYMBOLS

Symbols surround us everywhere we go. Even in our own cupboards and closets there are symbols that tell us something. What do the signs tell us as we drive down the street?
When I was out driving and see a sign with circle and arrow with a X through it tells me to not drive that direction.  The red STOP sign indicates I must stop. And then there is an arrow showing me which way to turn. The "P" tells me I can park there.

Looking on products we find the square with squiggly lines that can give us all kinds of information. The straight bar lines also have a job to do.
Just looking in my cupboard and seeing a large cat on a bag tells me what is in the bag is  for my cat. So even a picture tells us a story and becomes a symbol.

 Colors tell a story too. I remember as a young girl people telling me that black stood for sin and white was purity and clean. Red was for love.

Doves stand for peace.

A logo or trade mark such as Nike swoosh on my very dirty walking shoes. Just seeing that swoosh I know it is Nike.

A picture of Mary and Baby Jesus has religious significance and often called an Icon. So again a picture becomes a symbol and a story, it is telling us something.

Happy Monday!

What other symbols can you think of?


Saturday, January 28, 2023

Book Reviews

I don't often mention or review books I have read, but my blogger friend, Jeanie, at The Marmalade Gypsy, writes great reviews. She has even inspired me to read and stretch a bit in some of my own reading. So I thought I would share a few books I have recently read.

I follow a much younger, sort of hipster, tea drinker on Instagram and recently he mentioned a book he read. Plus a couple of my tea friends had also mentioned this book; so out of curiosity I decided to read the book. A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers.

There is definitely tea in it, but also a robot.

"Everybody knew what a tea monk did, so Dex wasn't too worried about getting started. Tea service wasn't anything arcane. People came to the wagon with their problems and left with a fresh-brewed cup."

"Everybody thinks they're the exception to the rule, and that's exactly where the trouble starts. One person can do a lot of damage." 

"Deciding on your purpose is one of the most valuable things there is."

There were so many little glimpses/words that were so profound in this little book. The conversations between the main character, Dex, and the robot, Mosscap. I really enjoyed it. I understand there is a second book, which I plan to read soon. I love that I can learn new things even at a "certain age".

State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny

Most often I read historic fiction, especially from the early part of the 1900's and taking place in Europe; so the State of Terror was stepping out of my favorite reading comfort. It was historic fiction for sure, but a more recent time period. This book indeed had intrigue and I was particularly impressed with what each author brought to the story. Louise Penny is an impressive mystery writer and Hillary Rodham Clinton added all the basic truths of being Secretary of State to the story. It felt so real, it was a little scary to think what could happen in government intrigue and real life.

After reading this book I will be planning to read more written by Louise Penny.

The Stolen Lady by Laura Morelli

Having stood in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France and view the Mona Lisa this story really brought home to me all that took place during World War II and the saving of art in France. As I have said before this is my favorite genre to read. Having traveled several times in France and being intrigued by YouTube shows on French chateaus, I could really picture the adventure and intrigue in this story. Since it was based on what really happened, I was thankful once again for the brave souls that risked their lives to save historic pieces of art.

 Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I was sure I was not going to like this one, but after I got into it I loved how the author brought two lost souls together in this magical friendship of an older woman and a young girl. They certainly captured my heart. And in the end life went on in a different way for each of them.

Daughter of Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

My cousins wife and I often exchange books we have read and this book was in a recent pile of books she shared with me. Strange in my case because I mostly like to read female authors, in a way I feel like I am supporting them. So I told myself I probably would not have picked this book up to consider, but here it was in the pile. 

The book was in three parts. The first part was the story of a young girl in an orphanage in Hawaii that was adopted by a Japanese family before World War II. Then in the second part the story continues with the family at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the encampment of the Japanese people living in the US, and finally after the war it was a time of healing and recovering. There were a few moments of tears for me in this book. The descriptions of survival in camps here in the US saddened me and made it more real. Sometimes it is easy to forget and a book such as this, though fiction, is a lesson to learn in human survival. 

There have been other books read, but each of the books here have been surprises I hadn't planned on enjoying. All five were a bit out of my normal reading, but I am so glad I read everyone of them.

Happy reading, dear friends!

I hope maybe I have inspired you to pick up something that surprises you too.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Word Magic


 This week the word is HOPE

'Praedyth, there's always room in the back of the mind for hope. It's the crack that let's the light in.

 A friend sent this poem to me just this week and I thought it was fitting to share with the word of HOPE.


It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills,
it explodes in the starry heads
of dandelions turned sages,
it sticks to the wings of green angels
that sail from the tops of maples.

It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
it lives in each earthworm segment
surviving cruelty,
it is the motion that runs
from the eyes to the tail of a dog,
it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.

It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.

It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.

“Hope” by Lisel Mueller from Alive Together. © Louisiana State University Press, 1996.


Yesterday my tea group celebrated the Chinese New Year over zoom. What you see here is my tea table for the celebration. Of course, there was a rabbit in attendance. Do you see her? She will be my guiding force this year reminding me to have hope, gentleness and creativity.


As it is the beginning of a new lunar year the following came in my inbox this morning from one of my favorite tea companies, Grass People Tree.

"The rabbit symbolizes longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese Culture; thus, 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope.⁠
Furthermore, the Rabbit of 2023 falls under the wood element, with water as the complementary element. Since water helps wood (trees) to grow, 2023 will be a strong wood year."

Wishing you all a hope-filled 2023! ⁠


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Related by Love


This is Myrtle. She was my grandfather's second wife and never had any children. I loved Myrtle. She was like a grandmother to me. My grandfather met her at an American Legion dance. He loved dancing. He fell in love with Myrtle and married her when I was going into the 4th grade.

Myrtle would have me come over for tea and a visit where she attempted to teach me how to knit. I have to say attempted because I just never quite got it. My knitting was always so tight I would need to rip it out and keep trying to relax and re-do. It just wasn't my thing; so I smile when I see my daughter knitting away.

When my mother fell and broke her knee Myrtle took my sister and I in for awhile so my mother had some time for recuperation. Myrtle didn't quite know how to get two young girls ready for school, but she did her best. We both had long hair; so though we had never worn braids, Myrtle would braid our hair and wrap it around our heads with ribbons. I am sure it was beautiful, but by the time I got to school I had taken the braids down and just told Myrtle they undid themselves. She would try harder the next day. Oh my, I guess I was a bit of a stinker; but Myrtle loved us. 

Here is Myrtle with a couple of her sisters and then again standing among the flowers.

I always said I was her favorite because I would go visit her and talk to her. The summer before I left for college my grandfather helped me get a job in the apple cannery for the summer and I stayed with Myrtle and my grandpa. When it was time to leave for college Myrtle opened a bank account in her name and mine and would put her dividends from an egg ranch into the account for me to use for college. Wondering what those dividends would be worth today? Hummm? They did help me pay for college for the two years I attended and then I got married.

When I was getting married she asked what I would like for a wedding present. I said I would love my grandfather's china. Her response was that if no one else voiced a desire for the china she would give it to me when she was finished using it. About 6 months before she passed she gave me the china, which I cherish still today. The picture just shows part of the china. It is Haviland and somehow my grandfather acquired it from the Burlington Railroad, as it was their china pattern of Daisies and Violets.

Reminiscing today, thinking of Myrtle. The fur coat inspired me to reminisce, as Myrtle offered to give me her mink coat and I declined it. Later I thought, now why did I decline a beautiful gift of that coat. I was sharing that story with my friend Emily, who sells the vintage clothes, and that was when she said she was giving me a fur coat in memory of Myrtle. So I am sharing this story with you. For one, accept graciously and always acknowledge the love of another even if not related by blood, but by love.

Have a blessed weekend, dear friends!

Monday, January 16, 2023

Word Magic

The word this week is ADVENTURE

One of my favorite quotes: “Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first? ” -James M. Barrie.

I think this is one of my most favorite words for conjuring dreams. 

One of my friends recently asked me what adventure's I have planned for 2023. Where will I travel? I am addicted to travel and adventures, I love them. I started thinking more about that word adventure. I realized life is an adventure. There are small and large memories of adventures taken. Even just to hop in the car and drive to the market, the post office, or the beach nearby can be an adventure. My "live-in gardener" struggled this past year with turning 80 years old; so when I was again asked by this same friend how I felt about turning 80 this year I started thinking about it. My response was it is just another day in my adventure of life. Each step of the way I want to savor and enjoy for what possibilities there are for me.

 Each picture shared was an adventure from the Columbia River, San Francisco Bay, to the Atlantic coast. 

Where will your next adventure be?

Do you love an adventure?

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Tea, Dahling!

Just for fun I wanted to play a bit. After all, what else would you do with a fur coat hanging in the closet. So I donned  "the coat" and my sunglasses and off I went to tea. This year I am celebrating all year long turning 80 years old. And what a fun way to begin.

Doja Tea Lounge opened about a year ago and I hadn't visited yet.

It was delicious and I wished I had visited sooner.

In my cup was a very nice Darjeeling black tea.

This is my "live-in gardener" playing along with me.

Here we have cucumber herbed cream cheese slice, Char Siu Pork Garlic confit in a fillo cup, Green curry kabocha pinwheel, Japanese egg salad sandwich and Black garlic roast beef sandwich.
And then there were scones. I asked about the scone because it seemed different. It was a Scottish scone recipe, which was a bit crunchy but oh so good. The marmalade was delicious. There was also an earl grey madeleine and cranberry orange cookie.

And to top tea time off there were sweets. A Meyer lemon bar with elderflower meringue, Kumquat pink peppercorn eclair, and blood orange mango tartlet.
It was a special afternoon tea time with my "live-in gardener" and I celebrating the day.
If you ever are in the Portland area I can highly recommend Doja Tea Lounge. 
Now even if you are not in the area, pick up a good cup of tea and celebrate the day.
Happy Weekend, dear friends!

Monday, January 9, 2023

Word Magic



The word for this week is GIFT.

Gift, for me, comes with a lot of different emotions, baggage. Most often I don't feel worthy and have a lot of trouble acknowledging the gift and showing appreciation. Now this might not be you, but I can guess there might be some things that a gift stirs in you. I always feel bad that I haven't shown my thrill of the gift when I receive it. It is also hard for my family because they never know if their gift has been received with appreciation.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love giving gifts. The gifts in the above picture were purchased and wrapped by me for different family members. It is the receiving that is hard for me.

Yesterday a friend gave me a gift I would have never imagined receiving. She sells vintage clothes (EBK Vintage) and recently acquired a pile of fur coats. When she started showing them on Instagram I told her my step-grandmother once offered to give me her mink coat, which I declined. My friend said come over and pick out a coat, I want to give you a fur coat. What???!!! It is the most cozy, warm coat I have ever put on my body. Yes, it was hard for me to receive, but it is in my closet now. I told my friend that no one had ever given me such a beautiful gift. She told me "you deserve all the beautiful gifts". I am still astounded. Will I wear it? On a very cold day when I go to the market you might find it on me.        This gift touched me. It sang to my heart. I deserve beautiful gifts!

Looking at this picture I see other gifts. The tea cup from a dear friend and the bird picture from my cousin.

A tiny gift of a simple handmade Christmas ornament, made with love, also touches me. Even a kind word is a gift that touches me.

There is so much wrapped up in a kind word or a ribbon.

How does receiving a gift make you feel. What emotions does it create?

Friday, January 6, 2023

Things I Want to Be

Joey saying hello. He is often just being (napping more like it) in this basket in my office/studio. He is tucked away in this cozy basket near the heat vent. He is also always vigilant to make sure if I go to the kitchen there is food in his dish.

When I began 2022 I wrote this list and still it remains true:

 Be Happy

Be Healthy

Be Kind

Be Full of Laughter and JOY

Be Loving

Be a friend to others

Be Present

My gardenhouse is waiting for warmer days to sit over a cup of tea with a friend once more. Tea with friends on zoom is very special, but there is nothing like sitting face to face for an in depth conversation. Brrrrrrrr! Doesn't it look cold? Beginning to look for growth in the garden. Sometimes I dig under the leaves and say are you there yet? Is spring far behind?

The picture below is sharing tea with friends on zoom. I set up a little table and pour 4 cups of tea sending prayers out to each one in the world for peace and joy. I gaze out the window and watch the squirrels dance about. The candlelight dances for me.

Sharing with you a few snippets of my world right now.

May you be blessed with the little things that bring JOY into our lives. Happy weekend, dear friends!!!


Sunday, January 1, 2023

Word Magic

 Yes, words are magical. This will be my Monday blog post theme for 2023, Word Magic.

Happy New Year!

As I have been thinking about the magic of words, I have realized how magical they are. They create pictures and stories in our mind. They dance before us. We see them everywhere from books, signs, even on ornaments for our Christmas tree or wall in our house, on tee shirts, and even tattooed on bodies. We hear them spoken in many different languages. Many we don't understand; but if it is the languages you understand, they create images in our minds.

I remember as my own mother aged and no longer could connect or remember a word or it's meaning, it was frustrating for her and those around her. I can only imagine how frustrating it was for her. Disconnecting with words would be so sad.

As a young girl I realized the magic of words. I loved reading the dictionary and trying to learn new words to add to my vocabulary. Though most of the words I may share we will know already, what will be fascinating is to notice what that word creates in our minds eye.

 For this week, the word is PEACE.

What do you first think of when seeing or hear the word PEACE?

On Friday I joined a tea and meditation gathering on zoom with others from around the world. By the end of the two hours I felt quite at PEACE. Then this weekend I watched a David Letterman interview with President Zelensky, the president of Ukraine and the song came to me of Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me. I pray for PEACE. It sets heavy on my heart often. So for this day, this time, this new year, I will continue praying for PEACE in me and PEACE in the world.