Potpourri or tea?

My favorite youngest niece works at Teavana, Starbucks’ tea takeover company. I  love her to death, and her enthusiasm  for  her job, but the curmudgeon in me thinks they’ve  conned her into selling potpourri and calling it tea.



My “Lavender  Dreams” comes with specific instructions: Use 1.5 to 2 tsp., water heated to 175F (NOT boiling) seeped  for 2 min.


It’s so much more complicated than a cup of black tea with milk. However, her gusto for tea brings me  back  to  my job in the early 90s working at the first espresso / fancy  coffeeshop in Duluth, Lakeview  Coffee. I  was so excited about being a Barista  and going to “Coffee College” in the cities. And I was faced with many (much like me now)  who just wanted an uncomplicated cup of black coffee.

SO with a little honey, I  drank my lavender  potpourri. BUT also made a sachet  out of an old, clean worn sock with the used “tea leaves” ( um, their flowers) because  it probably  will make for a relaxing bath.



Toy and Joy: Pride and Poverty

I’m  sorry I have not blogged more this month, followers  and friends. Frankly, I began this month with a rebel,  “hiatus time!” attitude  after posting daily in November.

Today I  am  taking time to post something  I otherwise  would not post if I  did not have my blogger anonymity. I’m poor.

And I’m not talking “I cannot  buy a Starbucks latte” poor but poverty poor, as in “I get assistance  from Salvation  Army to buy used clothes” poor.

It’s a lifestyle  choice in that I put my addiction and mental  health  recovery  first, follow  the advice of my team of professionals, live in adult foster care, and therefore am limited by the county in terms of the amount of pay I can keep from my job.

So I sucked up my pride and am going to the Salvation  Army’s “Toy and Joy” program to get presents  for my 15 year-old. The rest of my family’s  presents I bought at Salvation  Army  with my clothing  card.

I’m really nervous. I  have no idea what to expect when I  go shop today at “Toy and Joy”. I  just want to thank my readers who give to Salvation  Army, drop off toys, adopt a family or in some way give to those who otherwise  would  go without  this holiday season.

Like addiction, there is not a cookie cutter mold for a person  in poverty. I  have  a M.A., used to work 60 or more hours a week, come from an educated family, and am highly  intelligent   (and good looking). And I  am  poor.

Christmas Sweater

Following is a fictional piece I wrote last evening at my “Write Now” group. We begin with a writing prompt, including bonus points for incorporating some random phrase. While coming up with the phrase, we usual have a rejected phrase which would be too easy to incorporate into the prompt. We are given 20 minutes to write. The works are always sloppy, but I like the intention of producing just for the sake of writing.

Writing Prompt: “Girl sells clothing on Pinterest.” Bonus Point: Yellow Rivers. Rejected Bonus:  Angora

Alicia needs money for Christmas presents. Even though she does not believe Jesus was the son of God, she finds solace in the traditional American festivities surrounding his birthday.  Thank God (of whose existence she is also skeptical)  she set-up that fashion sell page on Pinterest.

Looking through her closet, she’s torn about what she could do without. Many of her sweaters, which sell well in Minnesota winters, were knitted lovingly by her maternal grandmother. Her favorite gray Angora sweater was given to her the Christmas before her grandmother’s death. At the center of the sweater is an intricately embroidered Balsam Fir Tree, with knitted yellow rivers on either side, colors ranging from lemon to dark sunset yellow, converging at the roots of the Christmas tree.

Three main roots are at the bottom of the tree, which were embroidered with the names of her Grandmother, her mother and herself. Each root represented the maternal influences feeding into this tree of life.

Before today, Alicia had not thought much about the sweater’s tree. She assumed it was merely a Christmas tree, like others you find on Holiday sweaters. Taking the sweater off the shelf in her closet, she gently unfolded the fluffy sleeves to lay it flat upon her bed. Upon the beautiful Balsam, were stars composed of the same yellow threads within the two rivers. Made of various bright yellow shades, Alicia counted ten stars. She thought about the children her grandmother had, combined with her siblings.

Alicia’s grandmother produced six, five sons, two dying in childbirth. Her mother had five children, herself and her four brothers. Looking at the tree, Alicia realized there were branches bare of stars, and roots at the bottom without names. They sat awaiting the stars that may or may not be in her future, and roots to be fed by the yellow rivers of her mother’s Chinese heritage.