Put the kettle on…


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“Leonard: Howard’s gonna sleep here tonight. He had a fight with his mother.
Sheldon: Did you offer him a hot beverage?
Leonard: No.
Sheldon: Leonard, social protocol states when a friend is upset, you offer them a hot beverage, such as tea.
Howard: Tea does sound nice.
Sheldon: You heard the man, Leonard. And while you’re at it, I’m upset that we have an unannounced house guest, so make me cocoa.”
Big Bang Theory, Season 4, Episode 16

“I’ll put the kettle on.”  It’s become protocol, a cliché…to offer someone a cup of tea when they are upset or sad. And I cannot find any information on where it originated. Is it from the Victorian era, when tea was a socially acceptable beverage to offer guests, particularly a lady? Let’s be honest, there aren’t too many depictions of highborn ladies sucking back a brewsky.

I said there aren’t too many – I didn’t say they didn’t exist!

Was it during prohibition when tea was more accessible than hooch? Was it with the dawn of television? In the living room of I Love Lucy as a spunky redhead wailed to her beloved friend Ethel over the latest calamity?

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In a crisis, the “fight or flight” response kicks in, suddenly releasing adrenaline into the bloodstream. Oxygen to the brain ad muscles increase to allow our bodies to cope with the impending threat. But the result can leave a person jumpy and emotional, with a reduced ability to focus and make decisions. Taking the time to cool and sip a cup of tea gives the body time to settle, and the person time to process and decide on their next course of action.

According to goldenmoontea.com, tea also has an amino acid called theanine, that reduces stress. With the addition of caffeine, it boosts brain activity and mood, increasing a feeling of relaxation. Theonine also helps boost white blood cells, which helps prevent illness.

Whatever the reason, there is something soothing about the invitation to sit together and to talk through troubles, while savouring a hot beverage. It’s time to put the kettle on…

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea. – Bernard-Paul Heroux

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Do you have a theory? I’d love to  hear it!




WPC: Pedestrian – Swamp


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The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

On Thanksgiving weekend, my Aunt took me a place with a short walkway out into a swamp. We were the only people there, and I felt like I was standing inside a painting by the Group of Seven. Initially it was a place of silence and monotonous browns, until you started to listen to the stillness and see the colour.


If you truly love nature, you will see beauty everywhere. – Van Gogh

To see more Pedestrian photos, click here.

Pink Roses


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I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles. Audrey Hepburn
Pink Rose Teacup

3-footed Reticulated Rose Design Castle China, Made in Japan

Demitasse tea cups originated in France in the 1800’s. Demitasse means “half-cup”, and was meant for drinking stronger coffee like espresso or cappuccino, typically served after dinner.
In addition to the glaze inside the cup, which reflects a rainbow sheen in the right light, this tea cup and saucer has a gold, or gilt edging. This luxurious detail was often painted on the edges of plates, cups, bowls, and other pieces. Depending on the age and condition of the piece, the gilt edge may be worn or spotted.
At one time, in an effort to create unique designs for upper class tea drinkers, designers added pedestals or feet to their teacups. Little feet (3 or 4) were a delicate addition as they were pieces added by the potter, and more prone to breaking off. They certainly became a conversation pieces to impress “sophisticated” guests.
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My mother-in-law passed away suddenly this weekend, and we are all in shock. She was a sweet lady with a wonderful giggle. I shared many cups of tea with her over the past 20 years and she will be sorely missed by her family. It only seemed appropriate that today’s post would be pink roses, because of all the colours in the rainbow, her favourite was pink!

[Insert Rant Here]


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Fall’s a great time to take a hike. Especially if you’re annoying me. And with any luck (for me that is), you’ll get lost and I’ll never have to be nice to you again. I try to wear my angel wings every day. But sometimes I’d like to take them off and beat somebody  with them.

It’s been a long time since I ranted about stupid people where I work. Actually, that’s not true. It’s been less than 10 minutes. But publicly… I haven’t ranted publicly with other people who don’t have to love me because of marriage/blood ties.

I’ve been good.

I didn’t rant about the 6 phone technicians who visited me at work in September, which were preceded by the 3 service department lackeys who just. don’t. listen! Two of those visits were the result of construction crews down the road severing phone lines. I didn’t rant about them either.

I didn’t fulminate about the security company who summoned the Fire Dept. to come knockin’ on the doors in full gear, sirens wailing. Twice. In the same day. The first time was the because of the severed phone lines. The second time, the company had been notified we were testing the alarms. Three times.

I didn’t bluster about the Mom who emailed me about a kids’ program with questions. Actually, the same questions. That I had answered. Multiple times. Within the same “never-ending-story” of an email.

I didn’t pontificate when someone got herself added to the worship team. At the last minute.

Or spout off about the spelling-police who complained about stuff I didn’t even do. I was enjoying my first stay-cation in 8 months.

Or vociferate about an overly tanned committee member who enjoyed summer away, and came to a meeting filled with contradictory and negative feedback.

 Or the myriad of other unnecessary grievances and disruptions I’ve been privy to this September.

But September is over…and Christmas is still a long way off!

I have to stop asking “How stupid can they be?” Some people are starting to take it as a challenge.

On Wednesday afternoon, I finished the time-consuming, mind-numbing, soul-sucking task of compiling and publishing our annual church directory…4 months late. I started the process in February and it would have been done in June, but there were too many fingers in this pie. The process dragged horrendously.

I was elated to clear space on my desk.

Wednesday afternoon, I opened my front door after school just in time to hear a panicked voice leaving a voice message. This was not a voice I wanted invading the sanctity of my private hovel. The message was something about an email from me, major problems with the directory, have to reprint? Reluctantly I called back.

The email was very detailed, but it wasn’t from me, and the sender had not signed it. I hate puzzles. I suck at riddles. I don’t decipher codes. I’m also not any closer to perfecting the ability to read minds. Thank you for playing.

We chalked it up to clever spam and moved on. I recognized the email address the next day and a flurry of emails went back and forth…

To shorten the tale, the major problems were 1) one innocent oversight; 2) two extra pairs of hands in the pie; 3) three forms of notice to check the listing, which were ignored.; 4) four weeks that it was available for them to review but it wasn’t; and, 5) five months that have passed since I asked people to check their listing, and they didn’t.

becafd272a04b6e17098e185def29dd0-minion-sayings-funny-sayings* * *

I had scheduled this for posting and then…I got an email at work today from a bride. I may need another set of wings.

Happy Weekend!

WPC: Window


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We are each an unfinished work of art both waiting and striving to be completed. – Shams Tabrizi

This Summer, we toured a castle that is slowly and lovingly being completed and restored. It was meant to be a monument of love from a husband to his wife, but when she died suddenly, the project was abandoned. While the exterior of the castle, and the completed floors were stunning (especially the glass dome), we enjoyed wandering around the unfinished rooms and corridors.

You are an unfinished work in progress. One of the good things about life’s challenges: you get to find out that you’re capable of being far more than you ever thought possible – Karen Salmonson

To see more Windows, click here.

Queen Anne Yellow Roses


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Queen Anne Yellow Roses

Queen Anne bone china, footed tea cup and saucer – Yellow Roses pattern.

Anne (1665-1714) was Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (which changed to Queen of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union, when England and Scotland merged as a single state) from 1702 until her death in 1714. She married Prince George of Denmark in 1683, but despite being pregnant over 17 times (and giving birth 12 times), she died with no living heir.

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This tea cup belonged to my Grandmother, who always loved yellow roses. It was produced by Shore & Coggins Limited of Longton, England. The firm, Shore & Coggins Limited of Longton, England dates back to 1887. It was in the late 1940’s that the Queen Anne trade name was introduced and was used until the firm closed in 1966.

The rose is the flower and handmaiden of love – the lily, her fair associate, is the emblem of beauty and purity. – Dorothea Dix


WPC: Layered


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September Storm (800x306)

“It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury.
Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.”
― Charles M. SchulzIt Was a Dark and Stormy Night, Snoopy

To see more Layered Photos, click here.

Ice, Ice Baby


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Fall may officially be here, but it seems Summer isn’t ready to release it’s grip. For the last year, I dreamed of sitting by a pool in my new bikini, a good book in one hand, and an ice cold glass of tea in the other. Where was this glorious sunshine during my one week of holidays?

The temperature soared over 30C this past Saturday, and with no kids in the house to scar for life, it was my last opportunity to enjoy a taste of Summer. If any of the neighbours were looking, they only looked once…because I blinded them!


Nothing satisfies quite like a chilled glass of homemade iced tea on a hot day. You can control the flavour and the amount of sugar to suit your own tastebuds, using whatever tea bags you have tucked into your cupboards!

It’s important to use enough tea bags to get a strong flavour, and better an extra bag than a longer steeping time. Tea that has steeped a long time tends to be more bitter. A green tea or an herbal (like Tetley’s Pina Colada), will require more tea bags in order for the flavour to come through.  Canadian Living Magazine recommends 2 bags for every 3 cups of water.

Allow the water to cool naturally before chilling it in the fridge. Tea that is put into the fridge when it is hot tends to become murky.

Iced tea can be sweetened or flavoured with sugar or lemon. I don’t sweeten my iced tea but if you do, add the sugar to the water when it is still hot in order to dissolve it. Alternatively, make a sugar syrup and add it to cold tea.  Lemon wedges should be added once the water has become tepid or squeezed in just before serving. Fresh lemons are always preferable to artificial lemon juice from a plastic squeeze bottle!

I like my tea really strong, so I don’t add a lot of ice to my glass. As the ice melts, it dilutes the flavour. Chill the glass before adding the chilled tea, and it’s just as refreshing! Cheers!

Iced Tea

“Iced tea! Nothing is half so refreshing as a glass of black tea piled high with ice! More than a quencher of thirst, it is a tamer of tempers, a lifter of lethargy, and a brightener of smiles. It is a taste of Winter’s chill, magically trapped in
midsummer’s glass.”
― Paul F. KortepeterTea with Victoria Rose



To China or Not to China…tea cups



Growing up, tea at Nana J. was always served in a tea cup with a saucer. She told me (more than once) that tea should always be served in a china cup. I’m certain she wouldn’t be impressed with the paper cups and stainless steel travel mugs I carry with me every day. But before we answer today’s question, To China or Not to China, what is “china”?

“China” or “porcelain” is mostly fine kaolin clay, which lacks flexibility and can crack and deform when it is subjected to rounds of high heat for long periods of time. The end result is a strong, chip-resistant product that appears smooth and delicate. Bone china is even  thinner (and therefore more difficult to produce), and milky white because it has an extra ingredient, bone ash. Bone ash comes from incinerated animal bones. Yummy! But while bone china appears more delicate, the softer glaze on it makes it more resilient to chips and cracks.

Blue tea cup (800x590)

 China is non-porous, a very important detail in the “to china or not to china” debate.

Professor Andrea Sella from University College London studied the chemistry of tea. He found that the smooth surface of china “ keeps the natural tannins in the tea from sticking to the side”. Tannins are calming and balance the stimulating effects of caffeine. They are present in organic matter, including leaves and relate to the antioxidant benefits of black or dark teas.

When we eat or drink, we taste with all of our sense.  Porous materials absorb and retain flavour and aroma, which can alter the intrinsic bouquet of your tea.  A non-porous or smooth cup allows the undiluted and unadulterated essence of your tea to float freely.

China cups have thinner walls and a thinner rim, which lets the tea pour smoothly onto the whole tongue, exposing more taste buds to the warmth and flavour of the tea. And despite being a delicate material, china cups keep tea warm longer. And we know warm tea invites long, warm conversation.

China tea cups may not be practical when it comes to everyday use, but there is something special about sitting down (alone or with a friend) with a pretty cup and saucer. In our casual and increasingly busy world, we don’t take time to savour these beautiful things. Plus the sounds, such as a teaspoon clinking against its  surface are fun. 🙂

“The daintiness and yet elegance of a china teacup focuses one to be gentle, to think warmly, and to feel close.” – Carol and Malcolm Cohen

Regardless of how you choose to answer the question “To China or Not to China”, Dr. Tom Stafford, psychologist from Sheffield University, says, “It might be irrational or arbitrary but it’s absolutely true. Your daily brew tastes better from your favourite mug”.



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