Do you ever get that silly, slumpy, mid-afternoon “oh my” sorta feeling; where your legs feel like thick tree stumps and your eyelids feel like heavy little rocks…? Ya… Thought so. Now for many of us, caffeine is not an option that late in the day. As for me, one cup in the wee morning hours is PLENTY. Unless, of course, I want to get a little head start on my holiday shopping. It’s amazing the great infomercial deals you can snag at 3:00 AM…
Okay, so back to the problem; my slump! Or more to the point… the solution! So I was driving home today when suddenly my car turned into Trader Joe’s parking lot. It just does that sometimes. Weird. I parked my car and obediently went inside. So many goodies there. While perusing the aisles, I spotted something intriguing. “Harvest Blend Herbal Tea. CAFFEINE FREE!” Nummers!! Snatched it up, knowing that today might be a great day to try it out – a cool cloudy day, feeling kinda draggy, in need of a little afternoon “pick-me-up”… As predicted, by mid-afternoon, I found myself staring blankly at my “to do” list and feeling a bit overwhelmed. It was just starting to sprinkle a bit outside – Yep. Perfect conditions for a cup of hot tea!! So I selected a sweet little, yellow rimmed vintage teacup from my collection and got that tea a-brewin’. The aroma was absolutely divine… and that first sip?? Wow. Orange citrus combined with sweet apple, a touch of cinnamon and ginger dancing on my tongue… Heavenly! My spirit lifted a little higher with each tiny sip. Suddenly that neverending long list didn’t seem quite so overwhelming. Maybe I really could do it after all! Perhaps it’s really true. Maybe a cup of tea really can solve everything… ?? Okay; maybe not everything. But it can certainly do wonders for that silly, slumpy, mid-afternoon “oh my” sorta feeling… And today, that was enough.
(A repost from exactly two years ago… With love. To you, Alice. I miss you today xoxo)
Today would have been my lovely friend, Alice’s, birthday. April 2. My birthday falls on May 2. We celebrated our birthdays together in 1987 and 1988.
Unfortunately, that was all the time we were blessed with…
We moved to London in the fall of 1986 for a (short… way too short) two year adventure with my husband’s accounting firm. Knowing that I only had a very limited period of time, I decided that the best way to do things was to jump in feet first; and ask questions later. So that’s exactly what I did. “Getting cozy” with the Brits, however, was a rather daunting task. It was much easier to develop friendships with the New Zealanders, Aussies and the other Americans. The British are, overall, a bit more distant and hard to get to know. And I am the first to admit that my personality might be a bit “over the top” for them. Regardless, I decided to venture out of the old “comfort zone”. We had been attending mass in a massive English cathedral… cold and dark and full of gold and stained glass. “Cozy” is notexactly the word that I am going for here. I decided to pursue some volunteer work through the church. I made some contacts, and before I knew it, I had a slip of paper in my hand with two names, addresses and telephone numbers. They were “older women” who might welcome a visit or two. One of the names scribbled on that piece of paper….was Alice.
I phoned her “straightaway” and made arrangements to stop by for tea. Her flat was down a quiet little cobblestone street near “Marble Arch” in the heart of London. I knocked, the door opened… and, in that very moment,a friendship began. Yes; Really. Just like that. We started out setting specific times and dates for my visits. But as the friendship deepened, we started having “impromptu” visits between visits! I would phone her to see if perhaps I might stop by for a quick visit. “That would be lovely”, she would say. She loved the word “lovely”. Not once did she turn me away. And they were not usually quick visits, either – ha! We would just sit and talk for hours. Alice had lost her husband many years prior and had no children. Her closest relative was a niece (and her family) who lived outside of London, but she didn’t really get together with them very often. I knew that my visits meant the world to her. Truth is, they meant the world to me, as well.
Alice would leave the front door open when she knew that I was on the way. I would let myself in, and from the moment that I stepped inside that tiny, dimly lit, cozy little flat – it was like my heart coming home. If I close my eyes I can still remember everything like it was yesterday… the sound of the teacups and saucers clanking against the tray as she made her way
to the tiny little kitchen table… the scent of freshly brewed tea and something warm from the oven… sometimes the soft little purr of a kitty that also called Alice “home”. Alice had a frail little body, crooked fingers, soft golden white hair and a tiny little voice. Her eyes would sparkle when I entered the room with a love that was, indeed, mutual; and shared between the two of us. We were separated by many, many years; it’s true. But we were kindred spirits; friends of the heart. It was a gift, and I think that we both knew that we were blessed in the moment. We treasured those moments up until the very, very end. Leaving Alice felt like I was ripping out a piece of my heart and leaving it there in London… Indeed I was.
Upon returning to the states, we kept our promise to each other to write often. Those letters meant the world to me. Sometimes I would even call her just to say a quick “hi” and hear her voice. I still remember calling to tell her that I was pregnant with twins and she was going to be a “grandma”… xo! She was SO excited and just kept saying how “lovely” that was… her favorite word!! She started making plans to come to the United States after they were born. “Nothing would make me happier”, I told her.
I still remember the day the letter came.
It was from her niece. I sat down. I started crying before I even opened it. “Auntie Alice” had passed away peacefully in her sleep. She knew that I would want to know. She had found my letters, along with my address, there next to her bed. She thanked me for being such a special person in her “auntie’s” life. Wow. “Ever had a memory that sneaks out of your eye, and rolls down your cheek…?”
So today, Alice, I am thinking about you with my whole heart… I brewed a pot of tea, selected my favorite little floral teacup and saucer and put some quiet music on to help me write this post. So many memories are running through my mind. It truly feels like you are right here with me. I know you are. There were tears in my eyes as I wrote this entire blog post, but they flowed uncontrollably as I attempted to type that last paragraph… I still miss you so much. I always will. I realize, however, that I am so very, very lucky to have been blessed with such love. “Missing someone isn’t about how long it’s been since you’ve seen them or the amount of time since you’ve talked. It’s about that very moment when you’re doing something and wishing they were right there with you.” Oh, Alice; If only heaven weren’t so far away…. Happy Birthday, my dear friend.
I was working on my July newsletter, and decided to take a little break and make myself a cup of tea. One of the things that I love most about summer is my herb garden… including a big pot of mint. spearmint, peppermint, pineapple mint & Chocolate mint!! Oh, so yummy! Thought that i would take a minute and share this minty little blog with you as i sip my tea…
LEMON-MINT FACE TONER
Oh my goodness… It’s SO HOT outside!! This face toner will instantly refresh and revitalize your summer scorched skin.
1 peppermint tea bag – I love the Trader Joe Organic Mint Melange Tea (1 c. hot water-for steeping)
T. fresh lemon juice,
1/2 c. witch hazel.
Steep the peppermint tea in water for a few minutes. Allow the water to cool down and add the lemon juice and witch hazel to the mix. Store it in a glass jar or spray bottle and keep refrigerated. Just spritz your face whenever you need a cool,refreshing pick‐me-up.
Hmmm… OK, you have probably heard of, and/or tasted, the yummy, muddled, minty drink called a Mojito. Question is – Have you ever had a Mojito Cupcake??? I am guessing not; and neither have I. I’m just thinking that they sound mighty refreshing for a fun little summertime dessert. (Simply scrumptous with a cup of tea…?) Please note that I would certainly not turn down the opportunity to be on the “sampling committee”, if you are so inclined to give this recipe a whirl! I’m standing by…
OK, so here I am… my very first post on my brand new blog and I’m so excited that I don’t really know where to start! Some of you reading this are dear friends and loved ones that know me and my crazy ways and thoughts (Ha! Well…maybe not ALL of them!) To all of my new (and old) friends, this fresh new blog is a journey for all of us, myself included, into the very center of my heart, my thoughts, my passions. With each post I will be sharing a bit of myself with you; a favorite picture, a memory, a recipe… anything that reminds me to “live happy” today. We will share funny stories, deep thoughts, big belly laughs and maybe even some tears. After all, that’s what friends are for. In my mind, with each and every post, I will picture you, my friend, sitting right here next to me, with a cappucino or a cup of tea and a yummy chocolate covered biscuit. So pull up a chair and let’s have a chat.
I am so very happy that you are here… live happy~ laugh, love, dream, create