Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Saturday, January 10, 2015

January tea

 Second Saturday of the month - it's time for another tea party.  This is such a joy for me.  I love using my nice china, and linens.  I love baking ladylike dainties.  Setting a pretty table and keeping the cups filled, listening to the music of all these happy, intelligent, talented, warm-hearted women enjoying one another fills me with such joy. Cleaning up afterwards, sending leftovers home to the kids and husbands, washing and drying cups and saucers, matching them up and putting them away - it's a kind of a prayer for me.  It's thanks and worship and praise all in one.
I love matching eccentric cups, plates napkins and glasses together.  And tea-cozies?  I have two baskets full of tea-cozies.   And more planned. Sewn and knitted tea-cozies are wonderful!

And oh how I love my hand-painted china!

 Linda and Linda wound up sitting together, both wearing purple tops with green collars.

The theme for today's tea was citrus.  A lemon-yellow tablecloth with lime,lemon, and tangerine napkins.  Lemon blossom cupcakes, coconut macaroons with lime glaze, chocolate thumbprint cookies with orange marmalade, and roast chicken wings with pineapple glaze.  Beth brought orange soda bread with clove/honey/butter.  We drank English Breakfast tea, and coffee; limeade and cranberry/apple juice.

There were 13 of us, and I could still get around the table with the teapot!  I love having the table in the big room and the tv in the smaller room.  With the second table set up at the end, I can seat as many as 16.  Woo hoo!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Chinese Garden

Right now, the Chinese Garden is asking a donation of non-perishable food for the local food bank, in lieu of admission.  So Maggie came by and swept me away.

We walked in just as a tour was starting, so we trailed along behind the docent who was fascinating.  Every docent has his or her own particular focus on the garden.  This one kept pointing out the yin and yang: underfoot were designs set with smooth stones and rough stones, straight lines and curves, light stones and dark stones.  The garden juxtaposes live plants with smooth walls; trees with stones, still water with a waterfall; low grasses and tall bamboos; natural with manmade.

One of the joys of the garden is the fact that, although it is in the middle of downtown, it is a serene, enclosed place of peace.  You can see office buildings looming around above the walls.  You can hear the police sirens, and the the rumble of busses, but centered peace just oozes from the very walls and brings your focus to a zen-like tranquility.
In spite of the wintery weather, there were plants in bloom.  Wintersweet and edgeworthia perfumed the air as did winter jasmine.  And the early-blooming camellias  brought in luscious touches of color and velvety texture.     

The docent was fascinating, but after a while, it got too cold to just stand around listening, so we ditched the tour and went to the tea house for a warm-up.  Maggie had Jasmine pearls, and I had strong fire tea. (Yum.  Rich, dark,oolong with almost a nutty flavor.) and we shared a moon cake.  There was a gentleman playing a stringed instrument with a bow downstairs.  It was lovely.  Either I am developing an ear for Chinese music, or it was music particularly suited to Westerners, because I enjoyed every note and interval.  We made our way upstairs and managed to score a seat by a south window.  The clouds thinned as we sat there, sipping, nibbling, enjoying the peace, and some weak January sunshine filtered through to kiss our cheeks.    One of those transcendent still spots in life when the wonder of reality parts the veils and kicks your butt with awareness.  My mind is too tiny to hold it all, or even a part of it all, for long, but I do appreciate it when it hits.

Monday, January 05, 2015

And for the new year . . .

First Monday of the new year I was called to jury duty, and I was actually looking forward to it.  On the first Monday of the month. our county court selects grand jury members, which means you serve five days a week for the month, up to 8 hours a day.  I was looking forward to the pay($25 a day) and the experience.  However, just like 90% of the people called, I was not selected.  So I have completed my civic duty for the next two years, just by showing up and being willing.  And they will pay me $10 to cover my expenses. ($5 for a day's parking.)

It was interesting to hear the reasons people had for being excused.  One woman was self-employed, running a nursery.  If she was unable to work for 40 hours of every week in January, she would ". . . be unable to put food on the table or pay the mortgage."  Another woman said she would be unable to deal with domestic violence cases.  She was nearly in tears.  And a guy was scheduled to fly to Japan tomorrow to manage his company's branch office.  Yep, I would say those are valid reasons for excusing people.  I would have been glad to take their places, but I was not chosen.  Sigh.

So I am free to nap, knit, play with knives, or spend hours at the sewing machine.  But first, I MUST write my Christmas thank you notes.  I'm such a bad rude person!!

The photo, by the way, is of my hand-spun, jello-dyed, original design poncho and hat.  It's oh so cozy, but may have had something to do with why I wasn't selected.