Haphazard Observations of the Everyday

And a little fiction by Miguela Holt y Roybal

Miguela Holt y Roybal

Miguela Holt y Roybal
New Mexico, USA
March 10
Monarch of All She Surveys
Miguela Holt y Roybal is my maiden name en Espanol. I am a retired schoolteacher and aspiring author looking for crumbs of beauty among the ruins. My novel has been a work in progress for longer than I care to admit. It is a postmodern pastiche of magical realism and about a young woman from New Mexico who goes to work in Washington, DC during the 1980s. She has been a longtime witness to the secret rituals of the Penitente culture in her home state and learns about herself and redemption as she sallies forth on her quest for novelty and adventure. I claim fair useage of images found on the internet that illustrate some of my posts. All contents copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.


DECEMBER 17, 2011 11:10PM

Explaining the Tea Party: A Photo Essay

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 tea and books 004
What a Tea Party is Not
          I am sick to death of my beverage of choice being maligned by politics.  This is NOT a tea party and I don't approve of Boston patriots assuming the identity of the native people to create mischief however noble their cause:
Neither is this:
tea party gramps
Nor is this although it appears to have the earmarks:
It's an ancient beverage befitting of ceremony.
          Tea is an ancient drink served with great ceremony and reverence in Asian cultures.  Below is an elegant demonstration of a young woman performing a Korean tea ceremony:
Not a proper cup of tea
          On Wednesdays, I lunch with some professor friends at a cafe close to the university and this is what is served to me as tea.  It is not.  While Cain's may be a fine product, I would not know because the tea is not served properly.  A metal pot filled with tepid water does not tea make.
Fall Ball and tea 001
The Perfect Cup of Tea
          I believe that in order to have a perfect cup of tea, one must begin with the perfect tea.  While some may like to use actual tea leaves in a metal ball called an infuser and place it into a prewarmed teapot wrapped in a crocheted tea cozy, that is just too precious for me. 
          To me the perfect tea product is made by the Red Rose Company purveyors of fine teas since 1890.
red rose tea 004
I just opened this box and the fragrance is like a fine perfume.
red rose tea 005
          One of my favorite things about Red Rose Tea is that like Cracker Jack, it comes with a prize in the box--a porcelain figurine from England called a Wade Whimsey.  I bet I have imbibed more tea than many English folks.  Here are a bunch of whimseys from the Calendar Collection.  Each represents 100 tea bags.  And I have just as many from the Endangered Species Collection.
red rose tea 009
          I have had this glass canister for over twenty five years and it is where I store the teabags once I have opened the box.  I like that it is decorated with red roses.
red rose tea 010
The Cups
          Large mugs are not right for making good tea.  One should use a smallish tea cup.  A saucer is not really necessary.  Put the teabags into the cup first, then pour in BOILING water otherwise the tea will not be fully infused.
tea and books 003
          The English serve what they call cream tea but I think milk with tea is gross.  Lemon also pollutes the tea's delicacy.  Honey is not a proper sweetener.  Only sugar brings out the real robust flavor.  Add one teaspoon.  That is why it is called a teaspoon. 
English Tea Parties
          Like Asian people, the English are also ceremonial about service.  Above is an example of a "cream tea" with scones and jam.  I used to think that the term "high tea" meant tea served with many fancy delicacies--sweets and savories--and it is that, but it is treated as dinner and not as a seperate meal.  Englishmen George Orwell, John Lennon, and Christopher Hitchens have also written about the making of perfect tea.
Tea at My Casa
          I collect vintage tableware and so sometimes I like to use a teapot when I have guests.  This one is made by the Hall Company and is from the 1960s as are the Fiestaware cups.  Tea is being served here with an old fashioned pineapple pie.
 red rose tea 013
          But you are more likely to have tea served in these old Fire King Kimberly stackable cups with a slice of apple pie such as I have ready to serve to my husband:
tea and books 004
          Here is a cute commercial that I remember from the 1960s advertising my favorite tea:

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Dammit, I've been using the big mugs!

Your cups and your pie look splendid.

Tea just never really caught on in America.I've wondered about that quite a bit.
Thanks, dear. Delicious!
My grandmother used Red Rose tea for years and collected all the little free ceramic animals.
In Canada they have a commercial saying if you do not use Red Rose..
well thats a pity..:)
I remember playing with the little porcelain animals.
How lovely! I grew up drinking Luzianne - iced. Hot tea came later for me, when I moved north. Now, like Captain Picard, I drink "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot." I've had Red Rose but apparently have never bought the 100 teabag box with the prize. Thanks for the information. Please know how much I enjoyed reading this!
my granddaughter asked to have a tea party with me today. this post made me grin.
I still have some of those porcelain figurines on my knick-knack shelf and seeing those old Fireking mugs brought back memories of my Aunt Dee Dee, also a tea drinker. Thanks for reminding us what a tea party should be.
Tea has surely come back with a big *splash* giving coffee a good *run* for popularity. ;) Great illustrations!!!
Thanks, Fernsy for reading and commenting. I don't know why tea has not caught on here in the states like coffee has, it is a superior drink, in my opinion. I wish you could come and join me for a cuppa and a slice of pie.

Sir Robert--You're welcome ;D.

Linda--I forgot about that catchphrase about the tea. Thanks for reminding me! Hugs back at you.

Chucky--The simple figurines held up pretty well to rough play by little hands.
Wonderful post. Have a sip with me!
Jennifer--Obviously you have excellent taste. I prefer Luzianne for iced tea, as well, and add fresh mint. The best summer drink on the planet. I am so glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for your comments.

Mimetalker--I hope you and your granddaughter have a delightful tea party. Will you wear hats?

rw0059--I think scones are a little dry and so they are not my favorite. Let's just say scone--skone--long o. Sconay just sounds so pretentious, doesn't it? Thanks for stopping by.
Simple Shutterbug--I am happy to carry on the tradition of your Aunt Dee Dee who was obviously a woman of discriminating taste. Thanks so much for your comment.

dwhite--You clever wordsmith, you. Thanks!

Victoria--I would love, to. Thanks for sending me the tea!

Thanks, Jon. Hope you have a fun day in Oz. ;D
Great post!
The tea ritual is such fun and holds a measure of class.
If you ever make your way to Toronto the King Edward and the Old Mill have an awesome afternoon tea.
Thank you kindly, M. C. Sears for the compliment and for advising me where to find an excellent tea in Toronto. Maybe someday. *sigh*
I'm not much of a tea type, Miguela, but those goodies look mighty good.
Matt--If you were to come by mi casa, I would serve you a big slice of pie with coffee. Hope you don't mind instant. ;D
As a veteran hot beverage drinker - I drink both tea and coffee - I can certainly applaud your taste in "black" (sometimes called "English") tea with Red Rose. Yet, we mustn't forget that there are other very excellent brands of tea available at prices the average person can well afford.

It is said that a cup of tea first thing in the morning (instead of our traditional coffee) has beneficial health effects; especially so if it is green tea.

My favourite is Earl Grey tea. Tetley or Twinnings will do nicely. I have discovered that it is worth becoming accustomed to drinking Earl grey, Green tea, and the Oriental teas, such as Oolong tea, completely unsweetened and un-creamed. You may find that learning to do so will also reward you well. You begin to detect nuances of flavour that cannot be distinguished when cream and/or sweetener is present.

Genuine Oolong tea is not usually readily available in North America. It can be ordered from a Chinese importer but most of what is sold as Oolong tea is actually peach tree leaf tea. If you are a purist and insist on getting genuine Oolong tea then you must be prepared for the cost. It is VERY expensive; costing an arm, both legs, and your firstborn.

Sip tea always. NEVER slurp or gulp it like you do coffee. Savour the aroma. Let the tea slide slowly over your tongue so it can work its magic on your taste buds. It should, as much as possible, be just this side of too hot to drink. Luke-warm tea is an abomination. Over steeping is also a quick way to spoil your tea. The ideal length of time from pouring the boiling water into the pot, is 3 minutes. I use an egg timer. Then get the tea bag or infuser out of the pot.

Ahhhh a wee bit of heaven!
Thank you Miguela for this excellent post!

Skypixi0--Thanks for taking the time to add to this post especially with regard to the timing. I forgot that and three minutes is it. Perfection. While black tea is my favorite, like you, for a change I believe Earl Grey is supreme. Now there is a tea with an amazing fragrance and it tastes as good as it smells. I also like a brand called Constant Comment which you may know is flavored with orange rinds and cloves. Sip tea always. I am evil and sometimes when I am running low on the good stuff, I will serve my husband plain old Lipton tea because he gulps and does not really savor it the way that we do. I doubt if he would even notice the switch were it not for the tag. Knowing of my love for tea, friends often give me flavored fruit teas and they just don't do it for me. I find green tea flavorless. Good old black/orange pekoe will always be my drink of choice. Thanks, again.
janesmithie--Oh my goodness. ebay bad. I could get in real trouble there because they have all the gorgeous vintage items I can dream of and I am a lady on a strict budget. I have only one of the peach lustreware Kimberly cups that you suggested to me. I buy my stuff at garage sales and you can be SURE I am looking for more of those exquisite cups. I have seen them on ebay also in white and aqua, but have yet to find them. Thanks so much for reading and sharing!
I love TEA, it is my beverage of choice. I am excited to see all the new TEA places popping up and people actually standing in line for TEA.
What a great post my EP of the day, even if it is a day late.
I did a poem about TEA once and how upset I was that people were using it for political purposes.
I love the commercial, I see the British have been doing great ones for a long time.
My favorite tea is called Shanghai Rose.
rated with love
I could write this post myself regarding my own choice of beverage, coffee. Most of it stands as written save for the exchange of coffee for tea. I do understand, tea aficionados are as fussy as coffee aficionados.
Miguela: My theory is that this is due to rampant careerism and thinking we need that extra caffeine buzz. It does sound like fun to share tea with you.
RomanticPoetess--I didn't realize that tea shops were becoming popular. That is great and as you know besides being so delicious there are many health benefits to be gained by drinking it. Thanks for stopping by, dear. Wish we could have a cup in person together.

Bobbot--I like coffee, too, but only if there isn't any tea. Coffee drinkers are fanatical about it and why not? These hot drinks add to the ambience of friendly gatherings and can be a source of comfort when we are alone. Thanks for reading and for your comment.

Fernsy--I think tea has as much if not more caffeine than coffee. If you are ever in New Mexcio, mi casa es su casa.
I was delighted to find a local store added Red Rose Tea. Though I still had a lot of tea, I bought a box, came home and when I opened it that wonderful smell drifted up to me. The water must be boiling and poured in with the tea rather than dunking and hoping for the best. I don't collect the figurines but do giggle when I examine them because they are cute.

This is a fun co-incidence, a friend gave me a retro brooch, a metal red rose. Yesterday I fastened it too my long wool coat to travel for good fortune. I think I'll have a cup of tea this evening to relax the night before my trip.
L'heure Bleue--What a delightful comment! I have never understood the whole dunking thing. It looks so impatient. I am glad that you have a place to buy Red Rose locally. In the past I have had to have stores special order it for me. Now I order it on the internet unless my husband, sister, or friends treat me which I am lucky they so often do. I will be thinking of you wearing your vintage rose broach and enjoying a cup of our favorite tea tonight. Bon voyage!
It's a big world, and many are the ways. For everyone, their way is the right way. In India, home of many teas, they combine the tea with sugar, milk and spices in a concoction called chai. It's not the same as the chai made in the "U.S.," and has to be experienced in its native context to be fully appreciated.

I wouldn't get too carried away about the way the British do things. We told them to take a hike a long time ago. I certainly wouldn't take instructions from Christopher Hitchens about anything.

There is a wide variety of quality teas one can buy at various venues. I shop almost exclusively at our local food coop. You can get Equal Exchange fair trade tea in a number of organic choices - Irish Breakfast, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and my new favorite, Darjeeling. They also offer a pre-spiced Chai. Celestial Seasonings offers Chai also. The nearby corporate grocery recently started offering English Breakfast by Taylors of Harrogate, a nice strong tea at a very reasonable price. When they introduced it they offered it at what must have been a loss to get people buying it, and I scarfed some up.

I don't bother with ceremony. Just making the tea is ceremony enough. Still, it's a bit of a meditation. I have a ceramic teapot, a Christmas gift from years ago that now seems like a regift. It's nice, but I never use it, same as the relative who gave it to me. I use a plastic Equal Exchange cup, likely anathema to tea purists, but we all triage our lives, and it's the easiest way for me.

As for the "Tea Party," I suspect we won't be hearing much about it after next year's election. It's a flash in the pan, and as someone in Salon wrote a while back, really just disgruntled "Republicans" in disguise. A bunch of them came to Madison last month to disrupt a recall rally. They started out pretty smirky, marching around the perimeter of the rally, but they weren't smirking by the time they left. There's one thing about bullies. When people stand up to them they wilt. It was great fun.

Now, for that cup of tea.
Ohmigosh! My mom has those same Fire King mugs! We kids used to fight over using the blue one. It was the prettiest! I've never heard of Red Rose tea but I like the tradition of the little figure placed in the box. Tradition and ceremony have an important place in our lives. Thanks for the photos and facts on tea!
And I loved the chimpanzee band too! Lots of shows used to have chimps dressed up as humans when I was a kid. Now I see it differently, but when I was a kid, I thought they were so funny!
JohnHamilton--I enjoyed your comment very much and had to chuckle at the line about the teapot and the relative who gave it to you. I know that there is wide world of teas but you will note at the heart of my post is a small cup of boiling water, a commercial teabag, and a spoonful of sugar. Ceremony is nice but like you I am not very fussy about the accoutrements used by so many when preparing tea. The making of the tea and enjoying it is quite enough.

I am glad to hear you extol the virtues of a real chai and may try it again. I do not drink coffee and once I ordered something that was called chai at a cafe in a bookstore called Hastings. I thought I was being very hip and kind of la-di-da when I ordered the drink that turned out to be one of the most God-awful concoctions that I have ever had the misfortune of imbibing.

I am eager for the so-called tea partiers to just go away. And now I will join you in that cup of tea.
ccdarling--I am glad to help you recall your mother's beautiful mugs and don't blame you and your sibs for fussing over who got the blue one. It has been elusive to me as I scour the garage sales in my neighborhood looking for treasures such as that. I am afraid of chimpanzees and prefer to see them from afar. Far, far away. Thanks for reading and for your comments.
Those mugs...I had forgotten them. Thank you. Delightful and informative post.
Loved this post! I'm a tea drinker, too. I've never heard of Red Rose tea, but I'm definitely going to check it out! My relationship with tea has been long and varied. I've botched great Irish tea given to me by handsome Irishmen (served tepid in plastic cups, but what did I know back then?) But, I'm proud to say that I learned how to make a proper pot of English tea from various English friends and folk over the years, and just adore the ceremony. Remember: Always bring the kettle to the pot, and don't forget to warm the pot!
Thank you kindly, Good Daughter, and the mugs are really cool. I find them at garage sales one at a time. I have about fourteen.

Deborah--I am glad to turn a real tea drinker on to Red Rose Tea. By your comments I discern that you are a purist. Be assured that if you came to mi casa, I would bring out the proper teapot and make our favorite drink as you prescribe. So very English! Thanks for your delightful comment.
:) Excellent. I am a tea drinker, and am disturbed by the malignment (is that a word?) of my favorite drink. It's interesting how each tea drinker has their own definition of the "perfect" cup of tea.
Thanks, sweetfeet, and I am happy to learn that I am not alone in feeling that tea is being given a bad name by bad politics. And I am smiling because it is true, everyone likes his tea a certain way and why not? Thanks again for reading and for your comment.
Last weekend I and my wife Andrea were in London wisiting with our son Giancarlo and his swedish wife Annelie; an afternoon tea was arranged at the May Fair (little savoury sandwiches, scones, and other sweets), black tea was suggested, all three of them had it (I am an espresso man) and all thought it was great.
A very civilized custom.....
This post is more than a teaspoonful of sweet! I'm not even a tea drinker but I want tea, and pie, and that vintage Florida tablecloth I spied...
Roberto--How wonderful to enjoy a real English high tea in London with your loved ones and espresso. Nothing wrong with that at all. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. :D

Bellwether--You are sweet to say those things and you have a good eye for tableware. You should see some of the other cloths I have found at various garage and estate sales. They are so much fun and I prefer them to placemats. I wish you could try some Red Rose tea with a slice of my pie. You would be most welcome and--Thanks!
If you ever go the Victoria, BC, you must have tea at the Empress Hotel. What a wonderful experience!
Chrissie--I would love to travel across Canada and try all the wonderful teahouses such as the one at the Empress Hotel. Thanks, dear, for reading and for your comment.
Clever, creative, and delicious. Attacking a problem with reason and cakes. And, as you may know, Red Rose tea is enormously popular in Canada. I have friends who also collect the little porcelain goodies. Lovely piece.
I learned so much from this post. Thank you!! Wonderful with scents and toys and everything.
I see that no one has mentioned any of the many tea-drinking rituals. I follow the English Parson's Ritual.

You may have noticed that a true English cup and saucer are quite different from American ones. The cup is very small in comparison and the saucer is very curved upward. This suits, and maybe even caused, the Parsons Ritual. One lifts that small cup to on'e lips slowly and appreciatively savouring the aroma of the hot brew. If the tea is a tad too hot for you, you may blow it gently to cool it - you NEVER SLURP IT!!! (English children will do that to annoy their nannies or parents).

Then you begin sipping. Short, distinct sips. Letting the wonderful brew slide over your tongue titillating your taste-buds. Sip after sip. Until the cup is empty. Then, and ONLY then, do you have a bite of cake, pie, scones, tea biscuits or whatever is offered.

One should not speak or eat while imbibing one's tea. That would let the tea cool to an unacceptable temperature. Only when the cup is returned to the saucer (the high curve on the saucer will have slid your spoon into the center of it - this is why one never puts the cup down with tea in it - unless it is empty, it will spill as you try to shove the spoon out of your way.)

W hen one finishes the snack offered, one is ready for the second cup of tea; the water for which was coming to a boil while one ate. A really experienced tea drinker can finish his snack at the exact moment the second cup has been poured.

One should not have more than two cups of tea at one time. Black tea is very high in caffeine (about 15% more than coffee) and is as much of a diuretic as is coffee.

Englishmen/women consider that after two cups of tea, it is time for the Parson to leave. Unless you are a close personal friend of your host(ess), you too should leave after two cups. You will be offered more but you'll know that the offer is mere politeness because the water was not put on again for more tea.

One last thing. If the munchies offered with your tea appear to have been home-made, it is considered a compliment to the hostess to take up a fresh napkin and ask if one may take one of those snacks with them (provided that some are left on the serving dish. This is never done if the snacks appear store bought.

What I have learned about these customs was taught to me by my first mother-in-law who attended "public" school in England where she was born and raised and then attended a Young Ladies Finishing School where, as she often said, she "majored in pouring tea for the bishop."
MaryK--If only our leaders would stop and drink tea. Perhaps we would have better diplomacy. Maybe coffee is making them so frenetic. Thanks, dear.

Zanelle--I am glad that you had such a full appreciation for this post and hope that you will read through the threads once more to catch Skypixie0's wonderful description of the English Parson's ritual that followed your dear compliment. Thanks!

Skypixi0--Not only do you have my respect as a meticulous carpenter, I know for a certainty that you are also a refined gentleman with a bit of naughtiness and I have an intense appreciation for all of the above. For most people, I am happy to have them linger for several cups of tea. However, there are some guests that I wish would drink their two cups and leave. Would that they knew this custom!

I nearly always send my friends home with a piece of my homemade treats mostly so I don't eat them and have to worry about my weight. Now I can send guests on their way with a sweet little bundle knowing it is the proper thing to do, too.

Many thanks teaching us about this ritual and for making this post much, much better. May your days be merry and bright, sir.

Thank you for your kind wishes.

It is a genuine pleasure to meet someone here in North America who appreciates the interesting rituals that accompany "Taking Tea" in other countries. If I may, I'll be so bold as to continue by mentioning, briefly, how one should serve tea, how one should add and offer the cream, sugar or lemon, and how one should accept a cup of tea from one's hostess.

You will have often heard of the hostess asking the guest, "One lump, or two?" This is because it is the duty of the hostess to add any extras to the tea. The procedure is this.

Tea is never to be poured while the cup is on a table. The hostess takes up the cup & saucer with one hand then pours the tea from a sufficient distance that any mishap will not result in hot tea being spilled on a guest yet close enough so that the hostess can easily hand the filled cup to the guest. The guest is expected to reach with BOTH hands for the tea. If he/she is right-handed they will place their left hand under the saucer, their right hand upon the handle of the cup which the hostess has made sure faces them - but is slightly angled for the right hand to easily grasp. (The opposite of course for those whom the hostess knows to be left-handed)

The really great hostess is expected to have noticed whether her guest is right or left handed by such things as which hand they use to unbutton their coat or to remove their hat, etc., and will proffer the cup of tea with the handle properly angled for each. (There is a lot more to "Pouring tea for the Bishop" than you thought, eh wot? (tee-hee!)

After serving the tea to each guest, the hostess asks each one, in turn, whether they will have cream and sugar. The hostess will have in her hand a tea spoon. Using it she will put the sugar in first so that it may dissolve more easily in the hot tea. Then the cream. Then the hostess, (who obviously has three hands), will stir the tea exactly four times and then leave that spoon in the guest's cup. The guest may then continue to stir or may just put the spoon on the edge of the saucer.

Some guests may ask for lemon instead of sugar and cream. The hostess will offer them a small bowl or a dish with lemon wedges on it. The guest is on his own as to squeezing the lemon wedge since it wouldn't do for a guest to be squirted with lemon juice accidentally by the hostess. Let him do his own accidental squirting.

Then the guest may put down the saucer on a table which the hostess has made sure is convenient to his reach or he may continue to hold it under the cup to catch any possible spillage. As mentioned before, the guest will finish with his tea and put his cup in his saucer before reaching for any snack which the hostess will offer him.

The hostess will then pour her own cup of tea and add her sugar and cream. She will keep up a "lively and informative" chatter to entertain her guests that DOES NOT require any answer from them while they are imbibing their tea. She will hardly get to even have a sip of her own tea before it is time for her to rise and offer around the munchies. She choses this time when all but one guest has returned his cup to his saucer. She will then return to her kitchen briefly to put on the kettle for the second cup of tea. (Or ring for the maid and give her such instructions) Should the hostess wish to have her guests stay longer she need only delay the serving of the second cup so that conversations might be carried on or music played.

The guests, if mannerly, will leave after the second cup. The hostess may then take up her, by now cold tea, dump it down the sink and make herself a fresh pot.

Time for a cuppa..........
I am by no means a purist ( my favorite this year is Bigelow Vanilla Chai) but I do drink my tea from Fiesta Ware mugs I collected over several years. Tea soothes my inner beast. :D

This was a wonderful post. Most of the time I may tea by pouring boiling water over my tea bag in a mug. But once in a while I like it brewed in a pot the way we taught in Canada(like the proper English do it), and using only china cups. -R-
Skypixie0--Perhaps the reason that no one mentioned the formal ritual for the taking of tea is that it's almost a lost art. I for one only have two hands and am not really known for lively chatter.

I have been considering a formal tea to host for a group of girlfriends and would love to surprise them by adhering to the rules that you so graciously described for us. This is by far my favorite post that I have had on the Open Salon and you made it that way. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
L in the Southeast--I love to think of your enjoying your tea from the Fiesta mugs. You would not believe the gorgeous Fiesta pieces that I have found for a song at the local garage sales. Mine is an odd pieces collection but as you know that works just fine with the brand known for its vibrant and assorted colors. Thanks for reading and for your comment.

Chrissie--Cheers, little ladykins. If you were to look at the heart of this post my tea is made in a little mug, with a teabag, boiling water, and a teaspoon of sugar. Simple just like your method. That is the essence of real tea, isn't it? Enjoy!
I am enormously pleased that you've enjoyed my contribution to your great post. The thanks that you have offered should rightly go to my first mother-in-law however. Her descriptions of such things - her "lively chaatter" - at tea time in her home, had me, very rudely - but helplessly - spluttering tea and crumpets with wild abandon!

It is, in many ways, sad that such arts are no longer fashionable. I've always thought that the young women who attended Finishing School and learned these genteel ways, had an enormous effect on the young men whom they influenced mightily! A civilizing influence that most young men of today could certainly use. (To say the least!)

I wish you well with your formal tea. Perhaps you will help to revive such wonderfully civilized manners.

I too throw a tea bag in a cup of water then 'nuke' it for 3-1/2 minutes on high. I can't find my third hand either and when alone.......
Skypixie0--Ever the gentleman to give credit where due--to your mother-in-law. You learned well from her to share with us. :D
Tea Time, a lost art. How true, yet it seems to be making a gentle surge in Montreal. Just when I think I read your best post, you delight me one as excellent as the previous. Thank you, Miguela, for all your wonderful contributions.

I'm also impressed by and grateful to my Canadian friend SkypixieO for his comments and the dialogue they induced.

Thanks for the cuppa, Love!
Fusun--Wasn't Skypixio just wonderful to add so much wisdom and wit to the post? His input as well as the other comments such as yours made it my most favorite. Thank you!

Algis--*raising my tea cup* Cheers to you!