Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tea and Sympathy

Well, I am writing this at 5 a.m. It is concert week for me, which means I have a hard time sleeping. Which means I was very awake at 4 a.m. I tried to go back to sleep, but no such luck. And it's WAAAYYY too cold to get up. Like temperatures in the teens cold. Right now it is about 11 degrees outside. Yeah. So I am snuggled up in bed with my very warm laptop.

Last Saturday was the Holiday High Tea at the Hawthorn Tea Room. I was still in a pretty grumpy mood after my little melt down from my last post, so not as many pictures as there could have been. But it was very nice and Laurie tried hard to cheer up my downer self. Plus, I went with my wonderful friend Jill, so that made it even better. When we walked in, we were greeted by this:

Such a pretty little composed plate! Besides the fruit there was a tiny jam tartlet with pomegranate seeds and some pecans and walnuts that I think were spiced. I just love this Christmas tree plate, too. So cute! It was nice that they had the plates ready for us. They serve their "special day" teas all in one sitting, so even if people arrive at different times you have some little nibbles to tide you over until they are ready to serve everyone.

Next came a champagne flute of Sparkling White Jasmine Tea, which was very light and refreshing. Definitely reminiscent of champagne, but no bite and a very light flavor. I enjoyed it and it was nice to have something unique like this. Good choice, Hawthorn!

On to the main courses! This is where I got lazy and should have taken more individual photos, but as I said, not feeling it that day. Anyway, on the bottom were some savories; pesto cheese pastry and chicken-apple-brie crostini. Very fancy! The sandwiches were yummy. I think the turkey with cranberry cream was my favorite, but I also really liked the cucumber with feta and mint. The feta added a lot of flavor and was somewhat unexpected, but in a good way.

One of my favorite things for this tea was the scone. Usually I am a plain scone girl because I like to put lemon curd and devonshire cream on it so it will taste like lemon meringue pie. Mmmm, pie. But the Ginger Pumpkin scone was really good! Neither flavor was overpowering and they complemented each other well. The scones were also baked perfectly. Definitely a highlight!

The dessert course was lovely. Jill was most excited about the chai-infused shortbread. I, on the other hand, could have eaten about ten of the Chocolate Cherry Christmas bars, which are the ones with the pink filling. For those of you that don't know me, I generally dislike fruit with chocolate. Because the chocolate is so sweet, it makes the fruit taste sour. Icky. But these were SO GOOD! The bar part was super moist and delicious, while the filling wasn't overly sweet or fruity. The cherry flavor was subtle enough to taste fabulous with the chocolate. I would love to see those on the menu again. Hint, hint Laurie!

For our tea we had three choices, and Jill and I both chose the French Breakfast, which is a black tea. It was excellent. It had the flavor of an English Breakfast, but wasn't quite as bracing. Much more gentle. I will probably buy some the next time I'm there. I really enjoyed it.

Thank you, Laurie and Cathy, for all you do to make us feel comfortable and happy at the Hawthorn!

Now, on to the sympathy part. Thanks to everyone who reached out after my last post. I just have the single girl blues sometimes and throw a little pity part for myself. I will try really hard to stop throwing them on my blog. I'm sure you all are sick of hearing me whine. So I am making an effort to reach out and build my relationships a little more, as well as widen my circle of friends. Soon I will have lots of exciting adventures to post as I do lots of fun things with my wonderful friends. See how I'm being positive there? And not whining? Go me!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Odd Man Out

So I'm having an emotional melt down right now, and I'm pretty sure no one wants me to call them at midnight, so it's all you, internetland.

Without going into specifics, sometimes I just feel like leftovers. What do we do with this single girl? Where do we put her? I'm the proverbial spinster aunt that someone has to take in. Do people have conversations about this? "What are we going to do with Christine?" "I don't know." "Well, we took her last time. It's your turn."

I know I'm just being melodramatic, but this is coming on top of my severe lack of social time. I'm tired of inviting people to spend time with me and getting turned down. I'm tired of not being able to have an equal phone conversation. Somehow, I am friends with many, many people who like to talk and not listen. No, I am not talking about the six of you, so chill. I guess I am drawn to extroverts, since I am one, too. But I know how to ask questions, listen to an answer, paraphrase...I'm even pretty good at it. How come I can't find other people who are?

I spend all day surrounded by children, then come home to an empty house. I have no one to talk to. It is killing me!!!! My hairdresser knows more about my life right now than almost anyone else. Because she asks. I had a hair appointment yesterday, and as I was starting to steer the conversation back toward her, she asked me another question about me. Because she was concerned since I cried all over her last time. We still talked about her half the time, but I felt listened to. And I could tell she cares about me. I didn't want to leave. How crazy is that?

I know I can be a lot to handle sometimes. I am loud (always) and obnoxious (on occasion). But it makes me wonder if I need to be different than I am...maybe my personality is keeping me from finding the friendships I lack. But how do you change who you are on the inside? Should I even have to? If I just say less of what I'm thinking would it be better? But, except around my immediate family who HAVE to put up with me (it's the law), I am already filtering something fierce. If I say much less I won't be talking at all. And that's half the problem. I process my thoughts by saying them out loud. If I think of something, it keeps spinning around my head until I can tell someone about it. If I keep it all inside I feel bottled up and more and more alone. Which is why I'm writing this. If I don't get it out I won't get any sleep tonight.

Oh my gosh, I don't know what's happened to my blog. I started this whole thing trying to be cute and funny, but it sure has gotten boring lately. All I do is whine. Welcome to my personal sob story.

Whatever. I know I should be a big girl and just suck it up.

But I'm sad. I'm tired of being sad.

Anyway. Thanks for listening.

p.s. Sorry, but I've disabled comments for this post. I just wanted to be listened to and not talked at for once. Thanks for understanding.

p.p.s. Don't worry, Mom, I'll be fine.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mmm...Hot Butter!

When I think about the holiday season, I realize that yes, I love the family time, the weather and the spirit of giving. But the thing that I think of most during the holiday season is THE FOOD! There are treats we get to enjoy at this time of year that are the true essence of the holidays for me. I associate many smells and tastes with the magic of the season. And some of them just aren't available at any other time of year, so I take advantage of them while I can. One example is this:

This special product comes to area stores and I get so excited when I see the little yellow tub. This so reminds me of the stuff my mom made when we were kids that I would drink by the gallon if allowed. The only problem is, I don't like rum. So I just drink the batter on its own, hence I drink Hot Butter instead of Hot Buttered Rum. I wanted to find out how many calories were in this stuff (bad idea since it's mostly sugar and butter) so I went to their website. No nutritional info, but a very interesting story about Harvey, the man who invented this stuff back in the 50's and now runs a small factory in Bremerton (a town about 30 minutes away) making only this batter. The man is in his 90's and still going strong. Which goes to show, that drinking this stuff will help you live a very long time. Plus it is SO GOOD! Of course, the container says to use a teaspoon of mix per cup. Bwahahahahaha! That's a good one! I'll just stick with my 3 heaping tablespoons, thanks. So, if you are in the Northwest and you see this nectar of the gods in your local dairy case, do yourself a favor and pick some up. You'll thank me.

But, wait, what if you don't live in the Northwest? What if you are doomed to live in some other boring, Not Northwest, Butter-Rum-Batter free zone? Well, guess what I have for you? My mom used to make an equally deadly version of this every year and because I'm so kind I will share the recipe with you. Mom's is technically better than Harvey's but with the premade stuff I don't have to work so hard. Always a plus. Anyway, go whip up some of this batter to keep in your freezer. And I won't count how many tablespoons you put in your cup if you don't count mine!

Hot Buttered Rum Batter

1 lb. powdered sugar
1 lb. brown sugar
1 lb. butter
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
1 Tbl. vanilla extract

Beat together all ingredients. Place in an airtight container and store in freezer.

To make, combine 1 1/2 Tbl. batter, 1 cup hot water, 1/2 jigger rum. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

I told you it was bad for you. What's not to love? Enjoy!

By the way, anybody know what a jigger is?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Look! Snow!

The view from my window last December.

I made it snow on my blog! Cool, huh?

Hopefully this time it won't mess up anyone's computer. Last year poor Laurie couldn't access my page because the snow made her computer freeze. I used a different program this year, so hopefully things will be fine for everyone. See how nice I am to you, even though this snow doesn't collect in little piles on the bottom of the browser like before, which was so completely adorable...oh well.

Also, hopefully my computer generated snow will not result in any real live snow. The computer kind is JUST FINE! We had enough snow last year to get us through three or four winters. So no praying for snow days or singing "Let it Snow" from this girl. Instead, how about, "I'm dreaming of a green Christmas...."