Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teeny, Tiny Espresso Party

Espresso cups are small to begin with. This Bone China tea set was even smaller. But, as we pulled the crisp espresso maker from the box, we knew the decadent tea set would work perfectly.
We were not only about to have some of the best espresso around, we were about to drink it in the smallest slurps possible.
True, true. If we were truly espresso snobs, we would not have dolloped the tops with frothy milk, for now it is actually a macchiato. The point was not the name of the drink, it was the fun we had holding it with whichever finger would fit in the tiny handle and sipping. And although we made enough for four cups of espresso altogether, we got to have four cups each instead! 
I suppose we need to back-up a little and make sure that you know where these gems originated. They came from my Nana. My mom's mom. She was a classy, decadent woman. And, well, they have stayed in the family as prized possessions. From tea parties with stuffed animals and grandchildren, to Green Tea Ceremonies, to display pieces, to espresso clinking, this tea set has seen it all. 
Cheers to my mother and as she hurriedly insisted we use the tea set to drink espresso!
Cheers to my step-father for trusting me to experiment with his brand new espresso machine and frother.
And cheers to my partner who reminded me to laugh at these precious moments rather than over think how bizarre they are!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Laughing at the Small Things

Take a moment to look Around and Around. In your cupboards, dressers, bookshelves.  Find the small things and take a moment to laugh.  
This week we are going to focus on the small things in life, and how to get a good cramp in your side from them. This is a glimpse of a tea set, true Bone China, that we dusted off and put to use during Thanksgiving. What kind of ridiculously small items do you have in you house?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Coffees, Teas and Cafe's

We will end the week of celebrating Stick Season by hiding ourselves indoors and staring at the bright box we call a computer. Come on, let's make it a little more romantic than that!
If you haven't been to a coffee shop lately, Stick Season is the time to do it. Order something different. Sit all day with a good book or bring a friend and talk the afternoon away. Then go outside and take a walk, cause if you don't enjoy the fresh air of Stick Season, then the frigid air of winter will bite you in the bum! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Candles are Back

Candles. Unless it's cold and dark outside, candles don't glow their full vigor. As Stick Season shows it's grey face, I excitedly pull out the candles, finger the dust off the wax, and find the matches. 
If you haven't pulled the candles out, it's time. Past time. I have to admit that every morning as I get dressed in the semi-dark, I light a candle and head down stairs. It might not be light outside yet, but that warm glow does amazing things to my psyche...it's as if I am simulating a fake sunrise in my own living room. Oh, candles! 
Let their glow shed the way for the lightness and coziness of winter snow to come. Hurray for Candle Season! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Car Prep for Snow Season

Prepping the car for Snow Season. Now, some of you might get frustrated or annoyed or bothered by the cumbersome transformation of your summer car to your winter car...putting on your snow tires, winter windshield wipers, antifreeze, checking the fluids, making sure the heat is up to par and the adequate scrapers are at the ready. Well, find a sunny day, and I have to admit I love the process. 
This year, I turned my '95 Subaru into a Subarari. That's right, the buffer came out and I gave new life to those yellow, pathetic lights that barely spewed any light on the road.  

Stick Season. It's perfect for tinkering, home and car improvement projects outside, and yard work (aka raking leaves or putting your garden to bed). Go ahead and enjoy it! Why not? 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Play in the Leaves

It's Stick Season. Go play in the leaves! 
Whether you are jumping into piles of them, or playing in the brown hued shadows, take a moment to listen as they flutter down the street or rustle in a yard.
And remember to spy some tough little leaves that have withstood the first round of hard frosts, freezing rain and snow. Stick Season holds color in mysterious places. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holding Space for Rituals: Tea and Friends

Tea Time. Tea Ceremonies. Tea Sipping. Tea Sharing. Tea Caring. 

Hot liquids in the summer are not enticing. But come Stick Season when the days are cold and darkness takes over earlier and earlier, Tea Time comes back in full style. I LOVE Tea Time. 
My mom was kind enough to include me in an abbreviated Tea Time, or Green Tea Ceremony that the Chinese still use today when drinking Green Tea. Sacred Green Tea! 
To get the detailed steps of the Green Tea Ceremony, please click the link above. 
The Green Tea Ceremony does include preheating the little tea cups with hot water, soaking the Green Tea leaves in hot, but not boiling water in an unglazed clay pot, sniffing the Green Tea after it has been poured into your little tea cup three times (which is said to help improve and promote respiratory health), and then finally, sipping the tea in three gulps. 
It is a lovely, albeit time consuming way to drink tea. Make time for it. Sharing experiences like these are the lines inbetween...
Try it with friends. Try it with partners. Make a ritual of sharing warmth and healthy, hot liquids.  We are lucky enough to have a tea house in Burlington, VT that carries a variety of Green Teas. Have a Tea Ceremony with a friend at Dobra Tea. Celebrate Stick Season!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hot and Cold

Wood stove sauna's are perfect for Stick Season! Or any sauna for that matter!

Thanks to Jaime and Kraig's Wedding at Sleepy Hallow, we had a women's celebration the night before "the big day, which included a wood stove sauna, a jump in a frigid pond, and a champagne toast to the soon to be bride.

The ingenious design of this sauna is that the opening of the wood stove was outside...so you could get it nice and hot without going in and out every time you added wood during the "prep" time.
The lack of electricity created warm, soft candle-light hues on the event...which was good if you were feeling a little bashful in your birthday suit! 
And finally after a near hypothermic dip in the pond, we made a Champagne toast to one of the most amazing females I know. Keep on keeping on, Jaime Sunshine! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Celebrating Stick Season

Although I am a "duely" - duel citizen of Canada and the United States, moving to Virginia at age 5 left me clueless about the "far north."

Growing up I kept the family tradition of playing hockey...just field hockey instead of ice-hockey since southeastern Virginia isn't exactly known for snow or ice.

So, here I am, in northwestern Vermont, in the midst of my 5st Stick Season. The leaves are gone. Shades of gray and brown are the dominant colors on  the ground and horizon. It is cold, generally windy, and often "blah."

This week, my theme is Celebrating Stick Season. It's a time to focus on the small changes on the inside and out.

Hiking during Stick Season allows for awesome changes in a short elevation change. On this specific day, it was warm and sunny at the base of Camel's Hump, while the ghost frost and wind swept the Northern side of the last half mile to the summit. It was a breathtaking hike.

Hurray for the nuances and magic of seasons. Hurray for celebrating with friends.