Monday, January 21, 2013

Gearing Up for Valentines

Happy belated new year to you! I often am a laggard and wait for the Chinese Lunar New Year to reform my ways and start anew. I've taken a brief hiatus as I can't seem to rub two cheerful sentiments together these days and have neglected much of my social obligations to hide under a blanket.  But having taken an hour long train ride to visit the indomitable Ira has given me some strength to write today. I am pathologically unable to review any teas at the present time so I turn to a temporary diversion.

There is but one holiday I actively take a lead- I am constantly prodding my male friends and acquaintances to engage in some advance planning to surprise and delight their partners. More than a few resent the commercial nature of Valentines but how can one be against celebrating the one emotion for which modern definitions of happiness relies?

As the movie version of Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park comments, "There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time."  Romantic love is but only one narrow sliver of our love lives as love can flow in so many directions.   But my tea life meanwhile has been a life-long romance gone awry. Tea drinking which has always brought sparkle, stimulation, solace and balance to my life is now reduced to quenching a minimum thirst. The few times I've tried to drink my favored teas I am left curiously unfeeling. I know it's me not the tea. Even with so many excellent teas before me, I've been indiscriminately drinking stale sencha and even bagged CTC teas. Where can a tea drinker turn to when tea no longer acts as the substance of existential relief? I think I've hit some sort of rock bottom as I find myself hiding under a blanket uncharacteristically immersed in Regency England with Jane Austen.

One of the chief frustrations with reading Jane Austen is that her characters are often having tea but she spares nary a word about the quality and taste of the tea.  Jane Austen is decidedly not a hedonist but she knows much about the workings of the human heart.  I fancy myself a keen observer of the human heart and I always wonder among acquaintances and even strangers the nature and level of the bonds existing between two humans.  I like Emma Woodhouse delight in finding hidden or unexpressed love that needs encouragement.  But alas it's me and my tea drinking which needs a reconciliation and a restoration.  


  1. :-) I've finally learned the secret - I tell my dear hubby, "this is what I want" or "here are three suggestions" - and we both win!

    1. Oh Steph- can you really forsake the element of surprise? Surely one shouldn't deprive a partner to know you better than you know yourself?


  2. Maybe a trip to tea producing regions would help. There is a pretty train waiting in Darjeeling...

  3. Maybe a trip to tea producing regions would help. There is a pretty train waiting in Darjeeling...

  4. "Where can a tea drinker turn to when tea no longer acts as the substance of existential relief?"

    A familiar lament. Where indeed? And what is it about Austen that lulls our sick souls?

    Here's something that made me glad once: Walk south along Limantour beach to "Coast Camp" on Point Reyes N.S. Drink a bottle of good red wine beneath the great eucalyptus there. (It's so huge I recall being able to find it easily on Google Earth) Jam a message in the bottle and walk back to the beach and throw it in the ocean. Maybe sleep out there with your valentine.

    Then you can go to the fungus fair:

    yours in tea-ennui,


    1. Dearest Israel,

      Point Reyes is one of my favorite escapes in California. I buy a bag of oysters if I can at Johnson's Oyster Farm and happily slurp them on North or South beach.

      I've been many years ago to the Oakland Museum Fungus Fair and harbor plans for a shroom shed. Thank you for reminding me that it's FF time and may contrive to get friends to take me!


  5. You can't beat Point Reyes. One of my favorite places on the planet.

    The fact that you can forage for fungi in January is envy-inducing. The ground is froze four feet down around here. Chomp down on a Russula Xerampelina for me!


  6. Anonymous12:28 AM

    I'll bet Wittgenstein would have had more to say about the quality of the tea.

  7. My guess is old Luki would have backhanded the lot of us.