Tag Archives: tea

Sick Day

My entire household has been under the weather this week.  All of us have used sick time, and it appears to be my turn now. I intended to update this site on Wednesday, but never got that far. It was supposed to be a cute post about partying too much with the old under-the-bed monster. Halloween is a distant memory tonight, so that ship has kind of sailed. By the time my commute ended, the game was already on, and I wasn’t up for blogging.

I managed to update the wallpaper for November. I snapped a photo of Old What’s Her Face’s maple tree in the front yard. The image is so big it kind of blurs along the edges of my site, but it looks artsy. Boise is ablaze with colors right now, and her tree is awesome.

Today is a good day for the fireplace, a cup of good tea, and complaining. Let’s complain.


The radio ads on Sirius radio are worse than ever these days. There is one about getting help paying off credit card debt. It annoys me when they say you don’t have to pay it all back. The fact is you borrowed the money, you spent it, and you agreed to the terms of the loan. You get to keep the big-screen television, and they make it sound like a good thing that you don’t have to pay for it. What really chaps me is they say, “Don’t let the credit card companies trick you into thinking you have to pay it all back.” They even emphasize the word taaRICK to make the point. Nobody’s being tricked here. What they don’t tell you is that you are supposed to give them money to help you avoid paying a bill you owe. Bet they don’t take credit.

The other one is a mortgage lender who talks about a “yourgage.” Oh-my-God! That’s soooo cool, I’ll take out a loan against my house because yourgage sounds so much better than a mortgage. Getting a mortgage is a big deal, and it’s complicated. It should not be reduced to a click type app based upon snap decisions, and I don’t think they need some fake buzzword to make it sound better than what their competitors offer. Consumers really should shop around and even work up a budget themselves to see if they’re ready for this massive step.

Just throw the damned ball.

I’m excited for the Houston Astros. Last night they won their first ever World Series. It was a good series too, taking all seven games to decide the victor. It will never match 2001 in my mind, playing in New York the same year as the 911 attacks, oh and my Diamondbacks won. It doesn’t match the series from last year, or the bloody sock series, but it was pretty darned exciting. So where’s the gripe?

The gripe is in the length of the games. These guys start playing at seven or eight years old. They’ve played all their lives, including  the minors and major leagues. They’ve had access to the best coaching. They know this game. A batter steps out of the box to mess with the pitcher’s timing. Do you really think that’s going to do anything to Kershaw or Verlander? What it does is adds time to the game.

The pitcher then comes off the mound to talk to the catcher, but wait,  the entire infield has to come in too. Presumably, they’re talking about what to throw and the expected outcome. When he’s ready, they all go back to their positions, the catcher delivers his signs, the pitcher nods… and the batter steps out of the box again. This brings the pitching coach out of the dugout to talk to the entire infield once more, and the process starts all over again.

The guy delivers his pitch and then they replace the pitcher. Add fifteen minutes for the next guy to get ready, then repeat the whole process.

Just throw the friggin ball! This isn’t your first time on the mound. This isn’t the first situation you’ve ever seen. All of the position players have trained their entire lives for this.

When I was young, games used to last about two and a half hours. These games have been lasting six hours or more. I’m in the mountain time zone and one of them didn’t get over until midnight. Heaven forbid you’re an East Coast fan. “Sorry, son, you can’t watch the World Series, because your school bus will probably leave before the game ends.”

The regular season isn’t like this, but the playoffs always are. I understand there’s more on the line, but if you aren’t ready for it, maybe you shouldn’t be playing at this level. It isn’t going to get better until MLB does something about it. When it comes to baseball, I hate changes, but it’s time to act.

I probably have more, but my kettle is boiling and I need to get back to blowing my nose and figuring out what moved into my throat. 


Filed under Uncategorized

Trying out a new tea

We stopped at the Boise Co-op over the weekend. This is one of the best places in town for new beers, and tea. It's about the only place I can buy my Russian Caravan tea, and I picked up a box. I also bought a cool beer I want to try, but haven't opened it yet. I spotted something interesting, and grabbed a new tea, and it's the subject of this post.

It comes in these strange, pressed, half-balls. Each is individually wrapped in paper. They look like this.

The instructions say each pellet will steep three times, so that was my test. It also has to pass the “grandfather” test. This is where I make it directly in the cup. They said one pellet per eight ounces of water.

I grabbed my 11 ounce Lisa Burton Mug and tried it out.

This one is a little bit strange. It passes the grandfather test, and does not go acrid if it's left in the water. It's that first cup I'm having a hard time getting over. It has a funky after-taste that I can only describe as fishy. It's very slight, but it isn't what I expect from tea.

The surprise is in the second steeping. It qualifies as one of the best teas I've ever had. It has a natural sweetness, and the odd taste is completely gone. The third steeping is equally good. Every cup is very black, and no light passes through it. It's more like coffee in that regard.

I have a theory that it might come across better in a tea pot using more water on the first round. I'll drink all of it, but don't know if I'll buy it again. The strange taste could even be an additive of some kind. Just because it says organic on the tin, doesn't mean they didn't add a preservative to the wrapper.

I'm going to open one before bed and let it air out. That might make a difference too. It's very good – on the second and third steeping. Maybe after I go through half of it, I'll feel differently.


In other news, tomorrow is my flex day. I want to do a bunch of reading, and cleared some projects tonight to make it easier. I got one Lisa Burton Radio post exchanged with the guest author, and worked through critiques of The Yak Guy Project. I also added a half dozen index cards to an outline I'm dabbling with.

I may wake up Tituba, the sourdough starter tomorrow. I haven't felt much like baking, but it's good to freshen her up and not leave her refrigerated for too long.

Aside from that, I may work on one of my short stories. That project is winding down too, and after I've accomplished my reading I may have an hour.


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Grandfather style tea, and some promo

I drink tea all year long. This is all I make at work, and that involves an Irish Breakfast tea I like. It comes in teabags, and that makes it easier at the office.

With the changing seasons, I make tea at home more often. When I'm home, I prefer some of the quality loose leaf teas. Now I know about a teapot and all the paraphernalia that goes along with it. I even own some of this stuff, but these days I prefer Grandfather style tea.

To make tea this way, you need to pay attention to which kind you buy. Many great teas go acrid if you leave them in the water too long. I love a good Darjeeling, but it won't work here. I have one called Golden Monkey that works great. This time I chose Dragon Pearl Oolong, because it also works great and lends itself to more photos.

First you need a cup. I like a big mug when I make tea this way. I just happened to get a new one yesterday.

This is a BIG mug. First thing you do is add your loose leaf tea directly to the mug. For Golden Monkey it's like a big three fingered pinch. In this case I'm using five pearls.

See why they call it Dragon Pearl Oolong.

Boil your water and pour it right in the cup. The pearls will unravel and coat the bottom of the cup with leaves. These leaves remain in the cup the entire time.

When it looks like a decent cup of tea, enjoy.

Loose leaf teas can be expensive, but I really like them. By making it Grandfather style, I can get three quality cups from one pinch of tea. After that, I chuck the leaves in the flower bed. I could probably add one pearl and keep it going, but I don't

I ordered ten of these mugs for promotional purposes. I chose an image where I also make an appearance, even though Lisa will get all the attention. My plan is to give them away over time.

I learned that most promotions involve a giveaway of some kind these days. I'm an ebook guy, and winning an ebook doesn't exactly fire anyone up. I've seen a lot of Amazon gift cards too. We gave away a gift card during the book blast, and we're still giving away a card on the extended Paranormal Bar & Grille tour. We're still doing our scavenger hunts and there are ten gift cards plus five ebooks at stake. Since I'm mentioning it again, you can get in on the scavenger hunts here.

I'm trying to figure out something different, and these are good mugs. Lisa always makes a great graphic, but I added the link to my Amazon author page on the back. Lesson learned, I would use a link shorter the next time. A QR code might work too, but didn't want to work on the site I used to build these.

Questions for you guys: Would you ever try Grandfather style tea? If you have, do you like it? Would you be more inclined to enter a giveaway if one of these mugs took the place of an Amazon card or an ebook? Would you ever type in the link on the back, or am I expecting too much? Either way, I have nine more of these and I'm going to try it on my next promotion. I'm keeping this mug for myself.


Filed under Writing

Meanwhile, back at the writing cabin

I tried to sleep in this morning, but I was pretty uptight about the formatting on Arson. I fed the old pit bull, made the coffee and logged in. The book looks awesome. The promo pages in back don’t look like what I uploaded. They’re serviceable, but not how I wanted.

I started on a task list when Old What’s Her Face* said, “Oh no you don’t. We’re going to the farmer’s market today. I want to find some fresh green beans”

I didn’t panic, I always enjoyed the farmer’s market. I may have to chock it up to a fond memory though. See, some of the vendors stared fighting with the establishment, and with other vendors. They branched off and opened a different farmer’s market. This is about the third time this has happened.

The old farmer’s market just isn’t as good as it used to be. I don’t care to spend forty bucks driving all over the valley to check out all the other options. I’m willing to visit one good location in hundred degree heat, and that’s it. One of the others might even be better now, but I like everything in one place. We never found any green beans either. No problem, the Boise Co-Op had plenty. Sorry farmers.

I didn’t get to the cabin until about 11:30 today. Lisa** and Lindsay*** were outside having tea on the porch. They both wore billowy summer dresses and huge straw hats. The tiny insects were reflected the sunlight across the meadow like a scene from a beautiful old movie. Awesome background for the tea party.

“What are you two doing?” I asked.

“We stayed up all night gabbing,” Lindsay said. “I never realized Lisa is a robot. The fact that she can drink tea is amazing. All the robots in my world a just data servers or vacuumes.”

“She was set up to pass for human. The tea goes–

“Stop.” Lindsay held up her hand. “I don’t want to know. She’s cool, and that’s enough for me.”

“And Lindsay hasn’t tried to burn down the cabin, or to burn anything really,” Lisa said.

I went inside and brought back a coffee mug. “Hit me with a snort of that, then I’ve got to get to work.”

Lisa poured the rest of their tea in my cup. Lindsay’s face sank.

“It’s okay, I’ll make us a fresh pot,” Lisa said.

“Maybe later. I still want to go for a ride in your motorcycle,” Lindsay said.

I left them to their fun and got down to business. There are plenty of things to address after a new book publishes.

I spent an hour trying to remember how I loaded a cover image on my blog that allows folks to download the book. It’s all set up and works now. Go ahead, you know you want to try it. Maybe I screwed up, you’ll never know if you don’t click on the cover image. (Subliminal message, click on the cover art. It will make you happy. It will make me happy)

I updated my Gravatar, but I’m not real happy with it. I added links to the bio section and posted cover images as art only. You still can’t shove a rectangular image in a square hole. I’m not too happy with the results, but I’m thinking about what to try to improve it. I’m open to suggestions.

The Harley rumbled down the road and I went to work on my “about me” page. I changed the fact that Arson was coming soon to “available now”.

Then I checked my Amazon author page and made sure Arson was listed. That went well, but it can take up to five days to display my author link on the Arson book page. I don’t understand such things and deserve instant gratification at all times. Guess I’ll have to be patient.

I also sent an update to the Rave Reviews Book Club. I’m allowed three books in their catalog, but only two with cover art. Seems odd, but Them’s the rules. I told them to strip the cover off Wild Concept, leave Panama alone, and add Arson in all it’s glory. (Don’t tell Lisa, she’s stronger than I am.)

I didn’t get everything finished. Now that I have an Amazon link, I need to add a page to the back of Panama and Wild Concept to tell future readers about Arson. I’ll work on it, but I think I’m done for today.

I filled up the old kettle and put it on to boil. The girls would appreciate more tea when they returned. I sat outside with my iPad and watched them wander across the meadow. They made floral decorations for their hats. It really was a soothing and beautiful scene. Good clean fun, not a fire in sight.

* Not my wife’s actual name.

** Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and helps me at the cabin these days.

***  Lindsay Pennington is a supporting character in Arson, available via that awesome cover art on the right. There is more to her than meets the eye.

I’m thinking of deleting some of the widgets in my sidebar. I’d like some comments from my blog friends. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a regular to offer an opinion. Does anyone think the monthly posting roster adds anything? Does anyone think the most popular posts is worth keeping? I’ll leave them if they’re uber awesome for some reason. I suspect new people may click on the most popular posts.

In my mind, the categories have to stay. Most of you like the Muse category, but some people are more interested in finding morels or cooking with sourdough. This lets them find what they prefer in a hurry.

I’m thinking about a bit of a redesign and would like to hear from you. I’ll give myself a day to bask in the glory of my accomplishment, then I have to start on my epic fantasy, The Cock of the South.


Filed under Blogging, Muse, Writing

What’s in the Tea Leaves

It’s early here in Idaho, 5:00 AM. I just want to remind everyone that D. S. Nelson is going to read my tea leaves and post the results on her blog today. Check out her blog at this link to see the results.

I may try posting my own blog update later today. I will check in with D. S. Nelson too, maybe there will be comments directed toward me.


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A Little Bit of Magic

I was invited to do something really fun by fellow writer and blogger D. S. Nelson. She’s a mystery writer, and her current project is a series called the Blake Hetherington Mysteries. You can check them out right here: link.

She does this fun bit called That Just Leaves Friday. It’s a play on the word leaves, referring to tea leaves. She reads her tea leaves and interprets them for everyone. Her word is tasseography, but I prefer tasseomancy. It sounds more mysterious. She honestly uses both words, but doesn’t tasseomancy sound so much cooler. Maybe it’s just fitting for the kind of stories I write.

I had just written a bit in Will ‘O the Wisp that’s similar to tasseomancy when I discovered her blog. I’ve been a follower ever since.

My assignment was pretty simple. First, have a cup of tea. I swirled the leaves three times and asked myself what I saw. I provided her with pictures and sent them to her, along with a description of what I saw.

My results will be posted on her blog this Friday. You should go visit her and follow her. Actually, follow her because she’s cool, but that way you won’t miss my reading either.


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Just Hanging Out

I’m stalling about writing my next story. I have all this work to do getting the old stuff on Amazon. I promised myself I would do it this year. If I’m writing, I can find an easy excuse to avoid my other work.

I’m still waiting for cover art, but the preliminary stuff looks pretty cool. I already blogged about what I need to do once Panama is ready to go.

The copyright holder needs about six weeks to decide if I can quote their song lyrics in Will ‘O the Wisp. Since this is my most recent work, I have time available.

I’m leaving my two other stories alone, for now. I’ll tackle them one at a time when it’s their turn.

I’ve written down a bunch of character outlines for my next story. Hey, I’m concentrating on the old stories – I’m not dead. I also wrote notes about situations I’d like to see. I refuse to start outlining just yet. That would be enough to push me into writing.

Lately, I’ve been watching over my shoulder for Lorelei*. She likes me writing, and I’m afraid she’s going to abduct me, or hit me with a car. She’s never been subtle.

I recently blogged about starting stories, and related them to some television shows. I had to record things this week and have only watched Salem. That’s it for me. I’m not watching Salem again. Dull snarling characters don’t do it for me. There are some cool concepts, but I’m just not entertained.

So right now, I’m just hanging out. I chose a pretty mayfly for my May wallpaper. It looks bad on my iPad, but great on the Mac. Would one of you PC folks let me know how it looks on your screen, please? I might be able to adjust it if it’s bad.

Old What’s Her Face** is watching American Idol tonight. It’s not my deal, so I’m making a cup of Golden Monkey tea, and I’m off to read your blogs.

* Lorelei is my Muse

** Not my wife’s actual name.


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Friday Goings On

I skipped my normal Wednesday post. I’m still ahead of my master plan, but I just wasn’t feeling it on Wednesday. I told everyone I write in fits and starts. Well, there you have it. Work was the shits this week, and I’ve been tired. Something had to give, and it was the Wednesday post.

I went to the Boise Co-op last night looking for some new tea. I never found exactly what I wanted, but still wound up with three. I wanted a loose leaf green, because I’ve never found a green I really like. I figured a quality tea might make a difference. It did.

I wanted a gunpowder tea, but all they had was in tea bags. I wound up with a jasmine pearl tea. I don’t like perfumed stuff, but it’s really good. I like the way the pearls unfurl in the cup. I also like the idea that I can get three cups by just adding fresh water to the leaves.

I couldn’t find a loose Russian Caravan, so I got a lapsang souchong. It will be a little more potent, but I’ve had it before. It’s the smoky component in Russian Caravan in un blended form. I also took a flyer on an Indian black tea, but haven’t opened it yet.

This morning I read for a couple hours. I’m still working on the paranormal six pack I downloaded. This one’s about a haunted hotel. I’m enjoying it, and I’m interested in the writing style. It isn’t quite omniscient point of view, but close. There are lots of characters, and each chapter is a different group. This is as it should be, separating people is standard in a horror/paranormal story.

Each chapter begins with a bunch of telling. Sometimes it’s two or more pages. I’m told what someone feels, why they feel that way, and updated as to what happened while I was reading about a different group. By the end of each chapter I’m involved in conversations and events. I like it, and I’m not overwhelmed by too much telling.

It’s interesting that one of the earlier books involved too much telling for my taste. This book has even more telling, and I like it. I’m afraid it all comes down to the writer’s talent. I just don’t know what I can do with my new revelation. I’m in deep thought about it.

I just printed all the stuff for critique group. I need to work it all up by Wednesday, but I’m about to have company for the weekend. I can probably do it all Sunday afternoon.

I also started a new living document for paranormal stories. I see all this cool stuff in archeology news, or something on DeviantArt inspires me, and I lose track of it eventually. I titled my document Paranormal Cheats, and used headers like ghosts, the fae, witches, etc. Now when I see something, I have a place to drop a quick note. I also learned that my knowledge of Chinese magic is sorely lacking. At least I have a header for it now.

I’m in talks with a cover artist, and watching my email like a hawk for the next step. I hope to get Panama loaded on Amazon in a couple of weeks.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writing