A Little Cup of Tea

One of Grandma Queenie’s favorite tea cups

When all is not well in my world all I really crave is a hot cup of tea with a whole lot of sugar to make my life a little sweeter.  I was reminded of this yesterday when I was trying to recover from being on my feet all day Sunday preparing and then enjoying Joey’s birthday party.  In all the work and fun my cast had rubbed my heel and the back of my calf in the wrong way and just the slightest movement made me feel like my whole leg was on fire so what did I do like any good woman would do, I took to my bed with a pot of hot, sweet chamomile tea and the book I was reading (Honeymoon with my Brother – an awesome read by the way for those of you who love travel and relationships) and immediately started to feel better, at least emotionally.

Every time I sit down to really enjoy a cup of tea it brings back all these wonderful childhood memories of my Grandma Queenie.  She was Australian and loved her tea and passed that passion along to me at a very young age.  Granted the initial tea I got was more milk than tea but she always served it to me and my friends in a china cup and saucer with a treat on the side.  While we were at school she’d be baking away in the kitchen making our house smell like a home and we never knew what delectable morsel we’d be enjoying when we got home but we knew we’d be enjoying something.  She baked everything with precision and love and from scratch.  To this day I don’t think I’ve ever had cream puffs as light and fluffy as hers topped off with just the right sprinkling of powdered sugar that would stick to your lips and make you look like the ladies in the magazines with their frosted lipstick.  And don’t even get me started on her homemade apple squares.  I have all her boxes of recipes and do you think I can find one for that – nope, just like her rice buddah recipe it was all kept up in her head.  Luckily I’ve managed to collect notes and copies from the parents of my childhood friends so I can at least try to attempt to recreate her tasty creations.

It seemed like no matter what was happening to me, a broken heart, a sprained ankle, or an argument with my best friend Dawn that all I needed to remedy it was a little cup of tea with my Grandma.  Or if there was something to celebrate like a 100% on a test or winning Best Sense of Humor in 8th grade we did it with a little cup of tea.  If it were my girlfriends birthdays we’d have tea and a special treat made with just them in mind.  As I got older I realized just how lucky I was to enjoy those mid-afternoon tea parties with my friends, with my Grandma, with my Mother.  A lot of who I am today was formed around our kitchen table and my long conversations with Grandma.  Upon reflection I also realize that the size of the cup she bestowed me with was a sign of how grown up she thought I had become.  Starting out with doll size tea cups and eventually working my way up to fine porcelain that was so thin you could practically read a newspaper through it.  Even on her passing tea was uppermost in my mind.  When I was asked what I would like as a keepsake of hers I requested the two child size cups that Dawn and I used to drink out of the most when we were in 2nd grade which I’ve now passed along to my niece Sarah, two of the porcelain ones that had colorful trees on them and her pressed glass amber beads that I’d like to wear when we were having a “proper” tea.

Nowadays I have all tea and no milk (though I still like to make it really sweet) and as the fragrance wafts up at me it automatically makes me smile no matter what is going on in the world around me.  To me a little cup of tea is a whole lot of love handed down through the generations.  Lucky for me I have my own little guy to pass that love along to and like his Momma he likes to have his great-grandma’s version of children’s tea too.

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New Home… Now the Fun Begins

Wow so much has gone on in the last couple months – Mom suffered a stroke and Crystal and I had to deal with the hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and board and care facilities before deciding the best place for Mom was back at home with Larry, Joey and I.  We purchased our first home, a three bedroom two bath single story in Mather on the same street as two of my very good friends and 8 of Joey’s little friends – to say he’s living in bliss is an understatement.  My hubby is so pleased with himself on purchasing his very first home.  Each evening I can find him surveying his land as he smokes his cigar – our house is on a 1/4 acre lot, has a small fruit orchard, 2 patios, 2 sheds, a large grassy area and an absolutely huge oak.  He has big plans floating around in that head of his – a bar, a pizza oven, a fire pit.  I keep having to remind him that the whole point of a big backyard was so that Joey can have a place to play with his friends safely.

While we technically live on a circle it feels more like a court.  There are only 8 houses on it and in the center of the circle is a huge grassy area that the HOA maintains and that the kids love to play on.  They can ride their bicycles safely, play superheroes, and run back and forth to one another’s houses without threat of being picked up by strangers.  With our situation with Mom and our limited time allowed away from our home, this makes for a perfect situation for Joey to still have fun with his playmates.

I’m finding myself feeling a little claustrophobic these days, and sad that Larry and I seem to be experiencing even less “date” nights than before.  On the positive side we’ve only been here three weekends and already we’ve managed to fit in three get togethers with family and friends, and it’s lovely when the going gets to tough that I can just walk across the street and get a fresh perspective from my good friend Jessica.  Seems like she’s become my voice of reason in all the medical issues that we are facing with Mom.

And I do get to put my creative juices into play with selecting paint, and window coverings, etc.  It’ll be so nice not to have to ask permission to do things around the home since we officially own the home.  Eventually we’d like to get a pool put in but that will be several years down the road.  In the interim we’ll probably end up with an above ground pool just so the kids will have a place to play and Joey can keep up with his swimming skills.  We do have a hot tub in the back but unfortunately the main circuit board is shot so we’re trying to find a replacement now via the internet.  Hopefully we’ll be able to find one soon and begin to experience the joys of hot tubbing.  I figure the kids can splash in it during the day without heat and then Larry and I can enjoy it in the evenings with the heat on.

We’re going to put in a veggie garden before the end of the month and begin to eat the fruits of our labor.  Joey is so excited about having his own garden just like “Caillou”.  I’m telling you that cartoon has gotten me into more adventures than any other because Joey always wants to do the things that Caillou is doing, from gardening to road trips to playing in the rain puddles.  It makes for some fairly interesting days.

Anyway now that we’re in the new home I say let the fun begin.  I plan on enjoying every moment of being a homeowner and watching our house blossom into the home that Larry and I envision for our family.

2012 Here We Come

I’m so excited to be starting a New Year with a full and open heart.  Larry and I set our resolutions together this year.  Our first one is to lose weight – serious weight as we are both aiming to lose 100 pounds.  The best part is we’re going to do it together.  The bonus you ask – we’ll fit in all the rides at Disneyland when we take Joey later this year.  We’re not going to go crazy and follow a specific plan, we’re just going to cook more nutritiously than we have been and begin eating in moderation.  We’re also going to get more active, mainly taking walks together in the evenings.

Our second resolution is to partake in more family adventures.  We’re going to aim to do something fun with Joey each week.  Could be as simple as going to the zoo or taking in a movie together for a couple of hours or something more adventurous such as camping on the beach one weekend, visiting a new city, etc.  I’m really looking forward to seeing where our adventures take us.  We’re hoping that some of our extended family will want to get in on the action and join us on some of our adventures.  If you have an suggestions on things we could do or places we could go please post them in a comment or better yet, give me a call.  I’d love to hear from you.

Our New Year started off a little differently than we’d planned.  We helped my brother and sister in law begin their move into their new home (isn’t that a great way to begin a new year – a fresh new home to create memories in… awesome).  Then Larry and I were supposed to go to a party at his good friends, Jackie and Paul, later that evening but with illness abounding of late we didn’t want to impose and have the grandparents babysit when they weren’t feeling a 100% so I decided to stay back and let Larry go get his party on.  The theme of the party was Hawaiian Luau and Larry was dressed to impress in a little flowered bikini top, lei’s galore, and a cowboy hat that he’d made beach appropriate and let’s not forget the LOUD shirt.  He looked darling… see for yourself (that is if I’m able to upload the picture).

Luau Larry

As for Joey and I, he was down by his normal 7:00 pm bedtime and I managed to last until 10:20 before I crashed out.  And since Larry was out partying, and planning to just crash at Jackie’s, I got the bed all to myself until Joey came in at 0′ dark 30 (6:30) and crawled in to bed with me to tell me that it was time to get up.  A perfect way to start my day and my New Year.

Here’s to wishing each and every one of you a year full of love, laughter, and fun while you pursue your own simple pleasures.

Happy Birthday Crystal

My sister turned another year older and another year wiser last week, the big 47.  She, Joey and I spent the day together at Folsom State Park at the Beale Point Beach.  It was the first time any of us had been there and it is such a lovely beach, nice and sandy with really clear water.  We had to fight the yellow jackets for our KFC lunch but once we moved some of the meat to an adjacent table for them to snack on we were able to eat ours in relative peace.

We stopped at Target en route and Crystal bought a new float to relax on in the water, like that was ever going to really happen, and we picked up some snacks and sunscreen so we could really linger at the beach.  Luckily I’d planned a little ahead so I had buckets, shovels and all kinds of vehicles for Joey to play with when he got tired of the water, and some books for when he got tired of the sun and sand so I had my bases pretty well covered.

We ate lunch first and then hit the water.  It was perfect temperature for me to be able to enjoy myself as well and we all swam, picked out rocks to skip (or throw), and just enjoyed being together.  They’d let out some of the water from the dam and so you could almost walk all the way out to the buoy line that designates the swimming area.  Joey was thrilled to be able to walk out so far and to chase down his Aunty Crystal for splash wars, and try to tip her off her

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float.  I love watching them play together especially when water is involved since they both love it so much.

When we’d had enough of the water Crystal really got to relax on her float while Joey and I took to the sand and built sand castles and played with his vehicles.  I even managed to get a little reading done before I got too overheated.  So Joey and I trucked up the beach to find a nice shady spot under a tree on the lawn and he played with his cars on our blanket and we read stories and loved on Hoss some.  He’d been patiently waiting up by our table since they have a “no dogs” policy on the beach itself.

All in all we spent about three and a half hours just enjoying ourselves before heading home for the day.  It was really nice to spend some one on one time with my sister and to share in her special day.

Happy Birthday Crystal.  We love you.

And for those of you with inquiring minds – yes, my sons toenails are purple, just as mine are, compliments of the talented little Miss Gracie R.