26 June 2008

What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?

I wasn't a minute into my Rehoboth house when something told me to flip on the TV and there it was - mid-afternoon, wall-to-wall coverage of the sudden passing of Tim Russert, my secret Sunday crush. My usual blue May/June bad mood went black and I practically unprecedentedly took to my bed, pinned by emotional G-forces beyond my comprehension and control.

And then, thankfully, as the sun sank, my mood rose. I'm not sure how or why I was suddenly aware that on that day, the thirteenth of June - 6.13 - I was the exact age - 35 days short of 49 years - my mother was on the day that she died. If there was any comfort in that realization, it's that 613 is a very significant number in Judaism - the number of commandments in the Torah.

Today, on what would have been my Daddy's 79th birthday, I remember that in 2003 - though I didn't realize it until a few months later - I had visited Amish country, a close-by, but nonetheless, never-explored place about which I had always been curious, on the day I was the exact age - 48 days short of 44 years - my father was on the day that he died. I spent a fabulous day antiquing, eating, and buggy-watching with a treasured friend, capped by a return trip in a thunderstorm so torrential that it brought all highway traffic to a halt. I smile and think of that day every time I (try to) use the long-sought and procured that day, over-priced, 1930s green-handled cherry pitter that refuses to stay clamped to the table.

On 6.14, I embarked on my customary 5:00 AM sharp, four mile bike ride to the boardwalk, having outlived both parents - a little scared, but ultimately joyful and grateful to be launched into unexplored territory.

16 June 2008

Not For All The Tea In China

As owner of Baltimore's favourite tea room, I harbored a pretty fantastic secret - I was, and still am, a total coffee maven. Even the prized Old Waverly tea, a secret blend concocted by me and the late Tom Thompson of the Coffee Mill, failed to hold my interest. The only tea I truly enjoy, even sometimes crave, is oolong. Twining's oolong. In the bag, if you must know. Been drinking it for decades.

So imagine my surprise when a search of Giant, Super Fresh, Eddie's Saint Paul, Eddie's Roland Park, and Whole Foods yielded none - and it was not merely out of stock, but eliminated from their product lines. Instead, their shelves are crowded with a jumble of black and green and (the newly sexy) red and white teas in pretty boxes, all pretty much tasting the same.

Black tea is fermented, green tea is not, and oolong is right in the middle. It's not accurate, however, to say the taste is an average of black and green. I liken it more to tea as liqueur. All three types have essentially the same health benefits, though I am amused at endless on-line stories reporting oolong tea as a weight-loss tool. If that were true, I would have looked like a super-model in college and grad school.

I never buy in the county what can be obtained in Baltimore City and I never buy on-line what can be had somewhat locally. So it was with an air of exasperation and resignation that I clicked the amazon.com checkout button to order this staple of life.