Embracing Life

Central Park, New York City, Winter: The Skati...

Ice Skating in Central Park

I just finished reading an interview with a college student who turned off all of his social media outlets (including e-mail and YouTube) and his phone for 90 days in favor of enjoying the simple realities around him. 

He re-learned how to write a letter (and that he should mail it right away so he doesn’t lose it), go ice-skating, re-introduce himself to the people nearest to him, enjoy a bike ride or a day in the park, have breakfast with friends, and have an enviably solid work session without the distractions of social networking.  I loved that he discovered who his true friends were, versus the acquaintances who wanted him to be always available in case they got bored. 

I hope you take a few minutes to read about this student’s adventure.  Maybe it will inspire you to check out of the online world for a little while and plug back into the simple joys of your life.  I think it’s something I will plan for.  Want to join me?

Give it a try.  Let me know what you think.

What About You?

I live in a tiny town that doesn’t have a whole lot to offer, aside from a library, park, dollar store, and three gas stations.  A few nearby towns have more to do and see, but they are a bit of a drive and I only get to see them if I have a doctor appointment or have to go grocery shopping.

Today’s question is going to be all about you, since I like to know what other people are up to.  :)

What are some of your favorite hangouts where you live?  Is it a cafe?  A mall?  A bookstore?  The gas station?  (Maybe only in small towns…)  I think your favorite place to be (outside of your home) says a lot about your personality and where you and your friends feel comfortable spending time together. 

What is it about your fav. place that you love?  Is it the people, the atmosphere, the food, or the location?  Or is it several of those together?


Dreaming in Colors of Independence

In the wee morning hours of today, my brain was extra talkative–so chatty that I couldn’t sleep.  So I turned to dreaming my favorite dream: taking up housekeeping for myself.  I know it’s still a ways off, but I can hardly wait to get a place of my own and manage it the way I want!  I’m grateful my parents have let me stay at home after college, especially since I have had a chance to build up my bank account, but I really need to get out on my own.  I feel like I should have been out years ago.

Since sleep wasn’t working for me, I whipped out my journal and made a list of the basics I would need to set up housekeeping–from forks and laundry soap to beds and lounge chairs–and I was so excited about it, I stayed up for an hour or two just making sure I hadn’t missed anything.  I’m just so eager to have a space all to myself and make it mine.  A space I can invite people to, learn to cook in (yes, I will learn!), and in which I can finally grow up and make a clean separation from my parents, though I love them very much.

The frustrating thing is that I have to get a new job first, which may take awhile.  Welcome to the real world!  But I’m certainly not going to give up trying; I’m going to use the excitement for getting my own place as a motivator.  Every time I get discouraged or tired and want to give up, I’ll think about how much I need to move on and how much fun it will be to do that.  I feel like maybe once I get out of my parents’ house, I will finally be an adult.  It’s funny how the things we do or don’t do make society think of us in certain ways.  Who determined all those standards in the first place?

What is one dream you are working toward? 

If you haven’t begun, what is one dream you want to work toward?

Sugar and Teapots

Tea Time

I am on a mission.  To satisfy my wintry necessity, tea, I need a teapot.  Not because I make so much tea but because it’s personal, decorative, inviting, and makes it really feel like you’re having a tea break.  It even makes you feel like someone might drop by and then you would of course have to offer her a cup of tea, so you should probably at least have a teapot on hand somewhere in your home.  (Even if you have to dump out the geraniums first.)

I normally create a little one cup serving of tea in a small mug and heat it, so there’s no need for a kettle or teapot.  It’s really a thrifty way to have my tea, especially since I’m cutting down the sugar in it from 2 tsp/cup to 1.5 tsp/cup and so on by quarters until I can handle it straight.  Maybe. 

Allow me to illustrate my reservations:

Last weekend I visited a friend whose mother is English and has passed the tradition of tea making and tea drinking to  her daughter.  My friend enjoys her duty as hostess, happily offering to put the kettle on for her guests and passing around her tin of (tea) biscuits, though she usually just uses cookies.  When I recently accepted and received a steaming mug of pure lemon zest tea, it was so bitter I could hardly drink it.  I felt a little embarrassed to ask for sugar, partly since I believed the English used milk and not sugar as their only additive, and I always want to do “English” things as they should be done.  However, I don’t much like milk in tea and in this case, the lemon might have curdled it, so sugar it was.  I took a sip every little bit, using conversation as an excuse not to down my tea more enthusiastically, but I thought my friend could still tell I wasn’t all that excited about my drink.  I hated to waste all that tea, so toward the end of the conversation (we were all going out for lunch), I finally gathered up the nerve and made my request.  My hostess flurried to the cupboards, apologizing for forgetting to offer me sugar.  I happily stirred in 2 teaspoons of that tea-saver and quickly drank it down. 

As you can tell, I have a ways to go yet.  My normal tea:sugar ratio is 1:4 and having worked it down to 1:3, I recently tried 1:2, which is tolerable, but just barely.  I’ve always wanted to use sugar cubes in my tea (hey, you can even build with them!) and I learned today that 1 sugar cube = about 1 tsp of sugar.  Now I can hold my 1:2 ratio and make it more interesting with the cubes (and the coveted sugar tongs)!  Now I just have to find tea that doesn’t have a lot of caffeine; I don’t want to start a habit I can’t get off of.

Anyway, below are the teapots–with two tea kettles at the very bottom–I found today.  I wanted something a little whimsical, which I think I found, but I still haven’t found my teapot.  The search continues.








Playful, pretty, and reminiscent of childhood.  Perfect for tea parties.










I love that the giraffe’s neck is the handle!  The spout is in an awkward place, though.









I really wanted a frog teapot, though more like the body is the pot and the mouth is the spout.  Still, this one is sort of feminine and sweet.  It reminds me of a children’s story, like The Wind in the Willows.










This is more what I was hoping for with the frog, but the duck is cute, too.  Not sold on pouring the water out its throat, though; it seems like his bill could have been better used for that purpose.


This one made me think of the passage about the caged starling in Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey.  I love the library scene in Mansfield Park when Henry reads that part to Fanny!








This offers a more traditional look with the copper tea kettle/teapot.  It makes me think of an older period with a housemaid pouring tea for the master and mistress of the house at breakfast or tea time.










This kettle ushers me into a newer time period with the same but older housemaid pouring tea for her master and mistress, who have also aged since we saw them last.


What is your favorite hot drink in chilly weather?

Have you ever tried tea?  If so, what were your experiences with it?

Thankful Thursday

1. an afternoon nap with my fuzzy cat

2. cell phone alarms (so I don’t oversleep)

3. windshield wipers

4. doctors who explain why things are the way they are

5. rain

6. Clickety-Clack (it always brightens my day!)

7. tater tots and homemade icing (not together)

8. my friends at college

9. a car that goes

10. my day off tomorrow! 


What are some things you are grateful for today?  Please share!  :)

Burns Night

Robert Burns inspired many vernacular writers ...

Robert Burns: Based on the 1787 painting by Alexander Naysmith, in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

This is the night Scotland celebrates one of its great literary heroes, the poet Robert Burns.  Today marks the 253rd anniversary of his birth and apparently it’s a bigger deal than I thought.  Click here or here for a description of the unique festivities associated with Burns Night.  You might also look here for a translation of the menu for the main event, the Burns Supper.

A few of the poet’s most famous pieces include Auld Lang SyneMy Luve is Like a Red, Red RoseTam O’ Shanter, and Sweet Afton, a song brought to modern audiences by the band Nickel Creek.  Burns’s poetry can be difficult to understand because he “spoke” his poems in his native tongue.  For this reason, it would be a good idea to read a few of his poems aloud in a Scottish accent or listen to an audio version of one of his pieces, read by a Scotsman of course.  There are countless websites devoted to Robert Burns and his poetry, but if all should fail you, give YouTube a whirl.

The works read aloud or sung during the Burns Supper each year may include:

The Selkirk Grace (or Burns’s Grace at Kircudbright), Address to a Haggis, My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose, Rantin’ Rovin’ Robin, John Anderson, My Jo, Ae Fond Kiss, and Then We Sever, Tam O’ Shanter, Holy Willie’s Prayer, To a Louse, Address to the Unco Guid, For A’ That, and Auld Lang Syne.  Although the source of these links, the BBC, offers readings of these pieces, they are unavailable to those of us in the U.S.  I know.  It makes me sad, too. 

Additional resources on the life and works of Robert Burns include:



Do you know anyone who is celebrating Burns Night? 

Is it something you might think of doing in the future?