12 May 2010

Mercredi pour les animaux

Somehow we are feeling totally FRENCH today, despite being born-&-bred 'Merikins... go figure. Alors! Aujourd'hui c'est Animal Wednesday, so here's a pic of an old friend for you to see:

She has been flying around *up there* somewhere for a few years now, has our beloved Miss Toes (she of the vingt-et-un digits). Weeding out Stuff-in-Boxes the other day we stumbled upon pix of our dear girl so we thought, OK, it's her turn to shine on the 'blog. A bit hard to see her there, perched as she so often was on the back-garden stairs (blame the photographer); but when we lived in our (to quote Trixie's Mom) "hovel" near the sea, Miss Toes came by to meet us one day and none of us ever looked back. She came with us to the East Bay, then up here to the farmlet, and we all had our share of adventures together until "Wiggle" (the unique shape of her paws caused her to sway as she strode along) had to keep another appointment... and golly if we don't still get teary-eyed just thinking about her. Will try to scope out some better pictures of her, as she was very, very pretty, with swirly long stripes down her back... and those amazing feet...

Beautiful weather makes us incredibly thirsty for Ceylon tea -- may sound odd to you, but there it is. Today's particular version of beautiful weather calls for the very yummiest of Ceylon teas (which you have read about here before, even if you subsequently forgot, which is OK, because we forget things too), from the New Vithanakande Estate, in the Ratnapura district of south-central Sri Lanka... fondly referred to around the farmlet as V-Tea:

The image above shows you the Extra-Special Silvertip Spider Leg grade (FBOPF-EX)... and the image below shows you the Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP) grade...

If you are in the Southern Hemisphere when reading this post, we recommend the Spider Leg, served nice and hot with a side of chocolate-dipped Digestive biscuits; if you are, as we are, in the Northern Hem., please think about taking a few good pinches of the FOP grade, putting them in a Mason jar, adding cold, clear water to the rim, sealing said jar, and depositing it in the 'fridge for at least four hours, after which time you can open the apparatus, take out the jar of now-golden elixir, pour some into a glass with ice, and hey-ho there's your soothing bevvie for the afternoon. Best thing to round out a day of weed-clearing... accompanied by ginger cookies, perhaps? Or whatever you fancy.

It just so happens that the incomparable Trixie is running ANOTHER discount coupon on the website -- as a special favor to the lovely folks who turned out last Saturday for the Hearts & Flowers Tea at the Luther Burbank Cottage, Gold Ridge, Sebastopol (a benefit for the Western Sonoma County Historical Society). The tea was a gorgeous event, rather a scrumptious feast (homemade!! not by us, except for Trixie making the teas), and hopefully some spiffy patrons will want more tea and come asking 'round for it. Even if you weren't at the Tea, you can still use the LUTHER20 coupon... in fact, we heartily encourage you to.

Speaking of coupons, THANK YOU THANK YOU to the many wonderful tea drinkers who came by clutching their MayDay coupons firmly in (virtual) hands... we enjoyed packing all of those tea boxes for you. Please visit us again! Merçi.
avec beaucoup d'amour,

05 May 2010

Animal Wednesday ahoy!

Oh goody Oh goody! Look who we saw in the garden -- almost bumped into this beautiful critter, but caught ourselves in time...

"Spidie" is about the size of a dime, only much more plump, with light reddish markings on the back of that astoundingly yellow body. Too magnificent!

This calls for yellow tea (huang cha)... but at the moment I don't have any! What a pity. Instead I shall content myself with a puddle of Edwards Premium Tea Pinnacle Blend, which is altogether very nice and after one or two sips I won't miss the yellow tea at all (by the way, Pinnacle Blend is still in stock, despite the mad rush of MayDay coupon orders). The race, as the saying goes, is to the swift...

Back to the garden for another glimpse of the glorious spider,
sending you tea-stained love,
xo, Dustin

01 May 2010

Jake Heggie's "Whale of a Hit" (Laudate!)

Grand and glorious kudos to Jake Heggie, master-composer of operas in our time! By all accounts a tremendous triumph, Jake's opera Moby-Dick -- which had its premiere last evening in Dallas TX -- was well worth waiting for. Bravissimo Jake and the entire performance and production teams on their collaborative success!!

How can I, a mere tea maven, claim such first-name familiarity with this fellow? Have a seat and I'll tell you... Trixie and I had the unmatched pleasure of attending not just the first, but the first THREE, performances on the whole planet of a gorgeous piece he wrote for a pal of ours, cellist Emil Miland, called "Holy the Firm" (which required much travel and jockeying for seats, and it was worth it every time)... we bumped into the maestro -- gently, of course! -- backstage after performances of Dead Man Walking in San Francisco... and we attend private parties in his honor from time to time... so forgive me if I take liberties, but it's TOO exciting to see the whole world agreeing with what we have known for years: he's wonderful.

The news of Maestro Heggie et al.'s success spurs us to prepare a big pot of Yunnan Superb* and to raise filled-to-sloshing cups of tea in their honor. Well done, everyone.

Thrilled to the marrow today,
xo, Dustin
* while supplies last -- this is a popular choice among MayDay discount coupon users!

p.s. Watch for an eloquent installment from dear Opera Tattler about Moby-Dick... she has followed the progress of this opera since its early days.
p.p.s. A special acknowledgment for young tenor Matthew O'Neill, who stepped into the role of Flask, and whom we have admired since his days at the San Francisco Opera Center (other notable SFO-connected people in this opera include Maestro Patrick Summers and baritone Robert Orth, superb artists all).