Posted in about me, motivation, physical health, know better do better

I love a good cup of tea

(Just a heads up: this post contains affiliate links, as well as the background behind how I came to use them. Because I’ve historically not been an affiliate kind of gal.)

When I was in seventh grade, my basketball coach told the team that drinking soda during the season was bad for our game.

I stopped drinking soda and never started again.

When I went to Germany for a month in the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, all I drank was water and the occasional milkshake (though I preferred them too thick to drink through a straw).

In Germany, like many places overseas, when you ask for a glass of water, they serve carbonated water. Unfortunately, carbonated water is disgusting. And so, on that trip, I learned to drink tea.

In the decades since then, I’ve come to enjoy both hot and iced tea. I’ve learned a bit about the different varieties (black, green, white, oolong, rooibos and other herbals, etc.) and at what temperatures to steep them.

A friend in grad school made the best (unsweetened) hot chai I’ve ever had. I watched her at least a dozen times and was not able to recreate it to the same standard.

Also in those decades, I became more aware of plastics and their profound negative effects on both our bodies and the environment.

I was frustrated the day I learned that many (most?) tea bags contain plastic or are made entirely from plastic.

While many changes I’ve made to my habits were fairly immediate, my switch to loose leaf was slow and non-linear. I finally reached the point where I only drink bagged tea when I’m not home.

Three or four years ago, a friend gifted me a little canister of Moroccan Green Mint tea. I drank it as part of my winter tea rotation. When the weather warmed up, I drank plain black iced tea and forgot about this little canister.

Fast forward to 2020 and I rediscovered the last cups of the Moroccan Green Mint, and I was so glad I did! I ordered a larger quantity and it quickly became my go-to tea in the mornings.

Added bonus: the tea is organic.

Added bonus: the place it was from is local.

Since then, I’ve ordered several tea samplers from them, keeping the envelopes from the flavors I like best so I remember what to order when it’s time to buy more tea.

There haven’t been many that I didn’t like.

I’ve also started experimenting with which of my not-plain-black teas taste good iced so I have options over the summer when I don’t want a hot drink.

The combination of the retailer being a local mom-and-pop place, combined with their teas being organic and delicious, led me to decide to become an affiliate.

I’ve never done that before and sometimes find affiliate-ing to be a little … slimy?

But I’ve come to buying my tea from them exclusively, and I feel good about sharing my enthusiasm for their products while getting a small reward for doing so.

The link to the Moroccan Green Mint is an affiliate link. And it’s some tasty tea.

Please remember, if you’d like to try it or any other tea from their site: it’s loose-leaf tea, which means you’ll need something to strain the leaves. I have a variety of teapots and steepers, but most mornings, I steep it in a measuring cup, then pour it through a small strainer like this one (not an affiliate link—just for reference) into my travel mug. It gets the job done and is easy to clean up.

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 18Apr21

The mornings here lately have been cool and lovely. Anyone who has lived here for a year or more knows to appreciate these mornings, as they will quickly be a distant memory.

I went out on the back patio and took the Nikon. The birds chatter endlessly out there—not complaining!—and I figured if I sat out there a while, they’d fly in and fly out and maybe I could catch a few.

I know very little about birds, so I don’t know what most of these are.

The first one to show up was on the neighbor’s roof. There had been two, but even with camera already in hand, I wasn’t fast enough to catch both.

The neighbor on the other side has an enormous dead tree in the yard. I’m not excited about its damage potential, especially if we have a proper monsoon season this year, but the birds love it. And when I’m out there in the morning, the sun is behind them and I get silhouette shots which I enjoy.

A tree in the front yard of a back yard neighbor—a hummingbird! Still, one day I will catch one in action. Today’s not the day.

The lead photo and this one are of the most common sightings of stationary birds—on the wall. (We have walls here in lieu of fences. It’s depressing.)

And, at the times when there were no birds … our tomato plants from last spring are still going strong (which is amazing!).

And the Climbing Daddy has taken to rooting plants—most often cactus—from clippings. At some point, we’re going to do our front yard and put them out there. For now, they’re in pots.

Have a great week!

Posted in audience participation, connections, differences, know better do better, mindset, motivation, parenting, vulnerability

LISTEN—it’s about all of us

It doesn’t feel right to prattle on about the usual things today.

The problem of gun violence is overwhelming.

The problem of black people murdered by police is overwhelming.

The problem of racism is overwhelming.

There are solutions or partial solutions to these, and we rationalize our way around them.

How do we connect when there’s little to no willingness for vulnerability? If you show up for the conversation with your army and I show up with mine, the best possible outcome is a stalemate.

“You go first” “No you go first” has the same result.

We—white people—have so much fear of losing.

Community isn’t a zero-sum game. When the “least” among us does better, everyone does better. (I hate the word “least” because of the value judgment. What if our gold standard was compassion? The “least” among us would be some very different people…and it would be better for everyone.)

We’re all people. We all have some similarities in emotions and wants and needs. But not everyone’s life and experience and motivation is the same as yours. (And it’s often not what you judge it to be, either.)


Especially when you’re triggered or feel dismissive.


It’s not about you.

To my friends of color, to other people of color who I’m not acquainted with… to the mamas…

It’s easy to say “I can’t imagine what you’re going through” and to offer a platitude that way.

I don’t want to offer platitudes. So I took some time, and I sat, and I imagined it, the best that I can.

And I wept.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry that this is part of your parenthood. I’m sorry that this is what we offer you. I’m sorry I can’t fix it. I feel like my voice doesn’t matter—because it’s small, because it’s white, because the people who need the lessons aren’t listening—but for whatever audience I have, in a variety of contexts, my voice is all I have.