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

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but Autumn has definitely arrived in Canada, and something about this time of year always seems to bring out the tea lover in me. I love tea year round but there’s something about the oncoming cold weather, the smell of wood smoke in the air, and the morning chill that makes me enjoy the warmth of a cup of tea a lot more than I normally would. I am truly passionate about few things and tea is one of those things.

 

 

 

My mother would call this obsessive compulsive tea drinking, although she shouldn’t talk since she has her own ‘Tim Horton’s coffee drinking issues’.

This is my brilliant, handmade Tea Basket. The basket was a gift from my best friend in support of my tea addiction obsession habit and it is somehow big enough to hold all of my loose tea.

 

 

Lets take a look inside. None of you are allowed to judge my tea obsession, because tea is my comfort drink. This is also unashamed Davids Tea promotion.

 Look at all the glorious loose tea, and before you ask – yes I drink ALL of them on a semi-regular basis. For the record: I drink, on average, five to seven cups of tea a day and some of those envelopes don’t have more than a few teaspoons worth of tea left in them, because sometimes a tea gets discontinued before I can stock up on it, so I save what’s left for special occasions or really bad days.

This is my Tea Shelf and YES those ARE rubber ducky tea infusers that make me irrationally happy every time I use them. Also – the wooden box is FULL of prepackaged tea and those boxes of Lipton tea are the only ones I could actually fit on the shelf. Some people think I have a problem. I think I am keen on keeping myself sane and happy through sheer force of will and lots of tea.

Here are some of my absolute favorite teas to drink during Autumn.

Pumpkin Chai is my ALL TIME FAVORITE Autumn tea and makes me feel like a fuzzy ball of warmth. How can you resist the delicious pumpkin taste and tiny adorable pumpkin sprinkles? This tea is seasonal and I have a feeling that if David’s Tea DID discontinue it, there would be a rebellion.

 

 

Mulberry Magic comes as a close second. There’s something about the macadamia nuts and the overall sweet taste of the mulberry leaves that I really like.

 

 

Buttered Rum also makes the list because of the coconut and the fact that if I’m having a super bad day I can have the good taste of rum without somehow becoming a raging alcoholic.

 

 

Everyone should try each of those tea’s at least once. I understand that there are a lot of people who are NOT tea drinkers, but I like to think that’s because they haven’t found the right tea yet. (If someone offers you a cup of King Cole tea – you should RUN AWAY.) Tea makes me happy and I want to share my happiness with everyone. I really should be a Tea Dealer; not to be confused with a drug dealer. Drugs are bad.

There’s never a dull moment here in my heart.

I promise that I’m still alive and kicking, although ‘twitching’ might be marginally more accurate. Life has succeeded in chasing me up a tree (again), but it won’t keep me there. No sir. Not while there’s awesome music happening!

I’ve been a busy bee lately and this brilliant week is no exception. If you have no idea what I’m talking about please click the above picture and educate your-fantastic-selves.

I’ll be giving a full, and proper, update sometime after the weekend. Actually, it might just end up being a post full of pictures because I’ll be partially dead due to exhaustion and lack of actual food (strawberry flavored vodka counts as fruit right?).

And on that note – have some amazing music:

Let’s talk about libraries.

I have always loved books. My earliest memory is of my father reading me Dr. Seuss before bedtime and I distinctly remember begging him to read me ‘just one more’. I also remember my first time in a library. My hometown has a wonderful public library and I spent the majority of my summer holidays curled up in there with all the books. During my first visit, I was with my babysitter Aunty Barb, a kindly old woman, with arms the size of tree trunks, whom I drove partially mad and quite frankly she had a very strong heart for the amount of times I almost gave her a heart attack. I was an awful kid, but I always behaved myself in a library.

I was enchanted. There was a lot of people, but everyone was quiet; talking in whispers, and it was as if the whole building was sacred. I remember being amazed at all of the books; I’d previously had no idea that so many books could exist in one place before. Aunty Barb was holding her breath and watching me like a hawk, waiting for the trouble to start but none did. I just stood there and stared with my jaw somewhere near the floor. Aunty Barb returned her books and picked up some new ones, all the while staring at me like I had grown a second head. For the first time in the four years of my short existence I was behaving myself.

The atmosphere of a library is singularly unique and I’ve never encountered anything quite like it. I’ve seen a library turn the most rowdiest kids into well-behaved darlings the minute they walk through the door; I was one of them. In my childhood it was the ‘magical book place’ and now it’s a safe haven, a quiet place to think and write and research. It’s a place of right answers and facts. It’s a place of sanctuary. My best friend became my best friend in a library. My grandfather met my grandmother in a library and they fell in love there. Libraries are capable of bringing communities together and contain more knowledge than most people will read about in their lifetime. Libraries can open doorways to different worlds and places; they can help you expand your imagination and they will always welcome you with open arms – much like the books they house.

Disney ruined relationship prospects for me, or rather, they raised the bar of my expectations with ‘Beauty and the Beast’. In the middle of the movie The Beast gives Belle a library. HE GIVES HER A LIBRARY. My seven-year old self couldn’t understand why she didn’t propose to him on the spot. If a person gives you a library, you marry them. I still stand by that ridiculous piece of logic today and if I had been Belle the situation would have gone differently:

“Marry me?”

“But I’m a monstrous beast!”

“Honey, you just gave me a library, your excuse is invalid. Now go see if the candelabra knows someone who will marry us.”

Clearly I should just go to rural France and find myself a cursed prince to love so I can get my own library.

I’m sure you could tell but this still needs saying: I love libraries. It’s an unwavering and fierce love, the kind that never truly fades away. I hope that everyone reading this visits their library today because they deserve more love than they are getting. If you’re open-hearted and love your library it will love you back a thousand times stronger.

Hello Winter.

Mother Nature got her winter on, big time, over the last few days. It’s starting to feel like a normal winter instead of a messed up spring. So, I thought I would clarify some Canadian weather terminology.This is the temperature I woke up to this morning. Luckily there’s no wind chill. I recently learned that when the weather people say “wind chill warning” it means that wind chill temperatures are hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure. That’s basically fancy terminology for “go the heck back inside or you’ll get frostbite everywhere”. Welcome to Canada; home of mounted police, hockey and temperatures that can eventually kill you. Despite this, winter is still awesome.

This happened on Wednesday and made me glee and make snow angels and pelt the neighbour kids with snowballs because they’re the only ones who can appreciate it like I do (despite the fact that there was five of them and one of me, and I lost horribly). That’s what makes me love winter so much. That childish feeling you get when snow starts to fall and it makes you think of hot chocolate and warmth and stuffing snow down your friends pants. Winter makes me remember that it’s perfectly okay to be a big kid sometimes. Even if it makes my mother roll her eyes.

I’m going outside now to make another snow angel simply because I can. Have fun, where ever your winter is.

You give me butterflies.

I made a wonderful discovery on my way home from work today. I decided to take a round-about way home, because walking is healthy, and passed under the overpass on the Main Street of my city. I found a bunch of butterflies.

I did a little research about these butterflies, and by ‘research’ I mean I asked my local friends on Facebook about them; as it turns out, they’ve been there for quite a while. Possibly a year or longer.

Personally, I’m not all that knowledgeable about graffiti (unless drawing Ninja Turtles on my bedroom wall, in crayon, when I was five and getting yelled at by my parents counts?) but don’t most places try to cover up the graffiti as soon as they can? Granted, my city is tiny in comparison to some, and I rarely ever encounter any graffiti – which I find slightly saddening – so I’m fairly certain that my city usually covers the stuff up quite quickly.

Maybe they left this one alone because it’s tasteful and positive? Or perhaps the people in charge of painting over the graffiti in my city really like butterflies and decided not to cover them? Either way, the butterflies are still there and will, most likely, stay there for a good long while yet. I feel kind of proud that my city decided to keep them.

That was totally today’s warm fuzzy.

Book babbling.

As a budding novelist and an avid reader I usually find myself picking out phrases that really speak to me in someone else’s writing. I’ve taken to tabbing those phrases within the book so I can go back to them again and again. Trying to work out how the author made me feel that way, what words strike me and I try to learn through their writing how to better myself, in my own style. I enjoy it – it’s quite fun and the books I own are more colourful for it.

When I started reading The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, I had to stop tabbing because there ended up being two to three tabs per page. I decided not to tab-attack TFIOS because the whole book was simply amazing. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me borderline hysterical and I frightened my cats with my laughing/crying madness.

It was wonderful and brilliant and I was an emotional wreck for two solid hours after I was finished reading it. I am recommending this book, with great love, to everyone reading this humble little blog. As an adult who reads Young Adult literature, I can absolutely say that this book will be greatly enjoyed by anyone who picks it up.

Reading is one of life’s great adventures and goodness knows I wish I had the time to read as much as I did in Middle School. If I spent that much time reading now, I’d have no job, money or food. Darn those necessities of life.

And it goes on, and on, my friend.

I’ve managed to get the winter blues this year and it’s a first for me. I think Joline’s death is (obviously) the main reason for that and the fact that we’ve barely had any snow this year. I love winter and I love snow. My parents used to joke that I was the only true Canadian in the family. This year I’m having a lot of trouble keeping my optimistic personality in place without it cracking.

I dislike negativity and people who always focus on the bad things that happen to them. There’s a woman I work with who can’t stand to see other people happier than she is, and she’ll go out of her way to drag them back down to her level. I’ve never let her get to me before, but recently she’s just been driving me up the wall. I’m more than sure that I’ll be fine, but I don’t like the idea of someone else thinking they can control how I feel. She’s so negative it’s incredible. She enjoys seeing other people’s pain and it’s slightly disturbing.

There are a lot of things that help me focus on keeping my positive nature, and I’ve decided to share a few of them.

MUSIC. Loud music. Anything from happy show tunes to kick ass battle sequence instrumentals. If it increases your joy by even a tiny bit – listen to it. Frequently. I walk to and from work everyday so I have twenty minutes to get myself into a positive and motivated mood. If you drive to work, crank that shit up in your car and drum along on your dashboard.

READING. Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction; whatever your favorite genre – read it into the ground. During the days following Joline’s death I’ve managed to finish reading three books and I’m halfway through a fourth. I shouldn’t really promote escapism when trying to deal with the unpleasantness of life, but I’m pretty sure there are worse coping methods out there. An example would be alcoholism or shooting heroin or both. So if you escape into books to get away from life, that’s a-okay in my book. I do it too. (John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood and Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards!, would be good places to start.)

MY CATS. They are ridiculous and funny and they will make me laugh until I, almost, pee three times out of five. If you have pets, let them love you, or watch them do stupid things because they don’t know any better, or let them fight each other for space in your lap because, being needed makes you feel better even though they’re using you as furniture. Having a constant companion (or three in my case) can bring you joy just by scratching an adorable set of ears.

So there you have it. Some tricks for surviving the winter blues, and negative coworkers. Deep breaths probably help too, but I’ve found humming “This Is The Song That Never Ends” under your breath works better.

I’m sane. Well, sort of?

For the record, I’m a relatively normal cat-lady I promise; it’s just that my cats are so darn entertaining. This is the obligatory cat introduction post. All three of my darlings were adopted. My two monster boys from a shelter and my little girl from a friend.

The hulking, dark furred tabby in the above picture is Lord Byron. I named him after one of my favorite poets and because he thinks he’s the Lord of my castle. He’s very distinguished and has a love for all places high. It also adds to his character that when he looks down on you, you feel like a minion. Byron has his aloof moments, although he is capable of great affection, usually at three in the morning, after he’s awoken me from a dead sleep by kneading my breasts. It probably doesn’t help that I named him after a playboy.

The tiny mostly white furred one in the above picture is Bandersnatch. I named her after the frumious Bandersnatch from the works of Lewis Carroll. She was abandoned on my friend’s farm and I took her in. I was only supposed to keep her until my friend found someone else to adopt her, but that, obviously, didn’t work out. Bander got her name after her first bath. She was covered in cow dung, so a bath was necessary, but she’s so tiny and quick that she climbed up my face to get out of the water. She’s also very bossy, not all that affectionate, and is a complete bitch. I love her despite that though.

The handsome ginger fellow in the above photo is Michelangelo. Most people assume that I named him after the Renaissance artist, but the truth is – I’m not that classy. I named him after my favorite Ninja Turtle. It certainly helps that he’s orange. Mikey is a huge mama’s boy and great big sook. When you pick him up he’ll go completely limp  in your arms. I have yet to figure out if it’s because he’s so trusting or if it’s a defence mechanism ingrained in him from living with children before I adopted him. He is ridiculously affectionate (he’s in my lap as I’m typing this) and a complete baby. Mikey would spend every single moment in my arms if he could.

There you have it. My three stooges. You’ll most likely hear about their adventures in driving me mad, at some point in the future.