This Country Gal in the Big City

Jan’s cell phone went a little wonky recently which necessitated a trip to the Apple Store in the mall.

He asked me along for company on the two hour ride to the big city, making it kind of a “date” since we had no children with us.

One look at the Apple Store though – and I started hyperventilating. What a geeky technological nightmare! I told Jan I would just wander around the mall while I waited for him.

And that’s when things got interesting. There I was. A country gal who hasn’t been in a mall since – hmm…let me think….umm…..still thinking….. okay…. I don’t remember the last time I was at a mall.

And I was alone.

As I stood outside the Apple Store deciding on which direction to head first, a charming Middle Eastern man at a nearby kiosk  offered me a free sample. I smiled, said thank you and took it. Then he asked to see my fingernails.

I almost laughed. My nails are broken, stubby and stained from weeks of gardening and canning. Ahh, but he was charming and quick! Before I could escape he started in on a lengthy sales pitch on this wonder buffer for my nails in his thick exotic foreign accent.

“And today – for you only – it is just $80!”

Seriously dude. Look at those nails? Do they look like the nails of someone who would spend $80 on them? Do they look like I ever spend any time or money on them?

I exited as politely and quickly as I could and headed back in the Apple Store to see how Jan was fairing. Not well – he had already seen 3 techs and was still waiting for someone to fix it.

So I left again, sneaking out when Creepy Nail Dude  wasn’t looking and headed in the opposite direction.

I browsed through William and Sonoma, trying out all the lotion samples. Then on to the Pottery Barn.  When salespeople asked if I needed help – I just told them my husband was in the Apple Store and they smiled knowingly.

I passed by several clothing stores – sorry folks – but even 50% off is more than I pay for clothes at Goodwill – a shoe store, a purse store, and was heading for the escalator when I saw it.

Free Tea Samples.

It was a siren call. I pushed past people in my effort to cross the mall and then stood in the doorway of Teavana, breathing deeply. Now here was a store.

I tried every sample they had brewed, learned the art and secrets of properly brewing tea from the “teaologist” and was just about to ask if I could smell every one of the 50 canisters of tea blends behind the counter when I remembered my poor husband, who had no idea where I was in the mall.

I regrettably left my little tea haven and sent a text to Jan telling him I would be upstairs at Barnes and Noble Books.

Now, while I prefer used bookstores with piles of books laying around and rough wooden shelves with cool ladders, in a pinch I can keep myself quite entertained in a big box book store where everything is new.

And I did. I was just perusing the cookbook section when Jan found me. Good news – they replaced his phone. Bad news – he needed to head to the Verizon store to get it reactivated. But there was one in the mall – was I done? Or did I want to stay awhile?

Done? In a book store? Even a big box one? Never. I stayed while he went to battle even more cell phone red tape.

I leisurely walked through history, biography, travel, gardening -picking up books of interest and reading snippets here and there. I lost all track of time and space.

Jan found me in the Christian life section reading a random biography. Poor guy looked frazzled. The folks at Verizon got him set up – but noticed his new phone didn’t sound right and sent him back to Apple to replace it. He spent an hour and half dealing with sales people before he finally got a working phone.

And there I was – in a very happy place – mellowed by the tea samples and time with books.

He was quite ready to leave the mall. The city. The traffic.

And I thought to myself – now here’s a guy who needs some tea samples. Maybe the Blueberry Bliss Rooibos or the Spiced Mandarin Oolong with the hint of citrus or even the Peach Tranquility with the soft peach and the sweet pineapple gently falling cross his palate while Roman chamomile and lemon myrtle shower over him creating a truly tranquil treat…

Oh yes. Definitely the Peach Tranquility.

My Tea Addiction

TeaI think it’s safe to say that I am slightly addicted to tea.

Every day I drink several super sized mugs. And I do mean super sized. My nieces called them “Aunt alinna’a BIG tea”.

The problem with a tea addiction is that one tends to buy a lot of tea.

And that tea soon takes over the cupboard.

I have Christmas teas from two years ago.

Three kinds of Chai teas from one of Dagmar’s past obsessions.

Green tea, black tea, white tea, and herbal tea.

A little bit of this.

Three bags left of that.

Enough already.

I have decided that from now till Christmas I will drink up the tea in my stash and clean it out. Even if they aren’t my favorites.

I will drink Chai tea.

I will drink sugar plum fairy tea.

I will drink the little bit of this and the little bit of that in my tea cupboard.

And I will like it.

Then – I will start restocking with all my favorites. 🙂

The kettle’s boiling – anyone want a cup of tea to help me out?

The Perfect Cuppa

the perfect cuppaI find it very interesting that I – a confirmed non-coffee drinker – should end up with so much coffee paraphernalia.

Would you believe there is – right at this very moment – a coffee maker, a French press, and a coffee grinder sitting on my counter?!

And two different kinds of coffee beans in the freezer, and an assortment of creamers and simple syrups in the fridge?

And I don’t even like the stuff! Honestly – how can something that smells so heavenly taste so nasty?!

I guess I better get used to it – with two highly-caffeinated, coffee-loving teens living in the house now.

I find it very humorous when they put coffee beans on the grocery list. What? You want me to aid in this addiction?

I stop laughing when I hit the coffee aisle.

Oh my! The choices! Whole bean or ground? Decaf or caffeinated? Flavored or plain? And how do want them roasted?  Light? Medium? Dark?  What’s the difference anyway? Then there’s all the brands to choose from!

So tell me – when did coffee drinking get so complicated? When I was growing up, coffee came in big tin cans and my mom brewed it in a peculator and would offer cream or sugar to guests.

Now you have the mocha, the latte, the frappe, the cappuccino, the macchiato, the expresso and even a half-breed frappuccino.

And they can come in almost any flavor you can imagine –  pumpkin, peppermint, gingerbread, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, almond, and the list goes on and on and on.

Do you want that hot or cold?

Steamed, pressed, brewed or dripped? Whatever that is.

How about some whipped cream on top? Sure. How about some sprinkles, too.

I’m sorry. It’s just all too confusing.

That’s why I drink tea.

A mug. Some leaves. Hot water. 6 minutes. Perfect.

Now – what kind of tea should I have? Black? Green? Herbal? Chai?  Earl Grey? Oolong? Darjeeling? Hot? Cold? Loose leaf or tea bag? With sugar or lemon or a touch of honey? Hot? Cold?

Photo courtesy of Julious Schorzman.