Saturday, December 21, 2013

a very busy december.

In the midst of the holiday chaos ... I got my driver's license! I was 10 years late to the driving game, and the instructor had a good chuckle at my self-admitted embarrassment at not driving sooner. I passed the test on my first try, and my spare time was dedicated to trying to find a car. We went to numerous dealerships, had the Blue Angels fly over us during one car-hunting excursion in an ice storm, but we repeatedly turned up empty handed. Every car I looked at was either keyed or driven to death. Mostly keyed, though. Some were even scratched down to the METAL.

My dad managed to find blue Civic pictured above at a local dealership... and it was within our price range! I got the call at work that my parents were arranging things but that the car was held for me!

Driving alone for the first time was exciting and also terrifying. The terrifying factor was increased tenfold when, two days later, I was stuck in such a TIGHT parking spot that I scuffed some man's bumper while backing out. I mean, we were so close that I had to crawl in through the passenger side door. Thankfully the gentleman was understanding, and the insurance adjustor said reassuringly that, "We don't call accidents 'on purposes' for a reason ... we all know you didn't mean for that to happen." I am now terrified of backing out, but I managed to get out of the apartment lot the next day.

It figures that I finally find a car that has all it's paint intact, and then I took it upon myself to scrape off some upon acquiring ownership of it. Glad it was only cosmetic damage. Sheesh. :(

Still working on getting my computer situated. I'm guessing my SSD was having issues, so I reinstalled Windows onto my big HDD used for photos and music, and am working on getting programs reinstalled so I can resume editing my photos. I am feeling super guilty about not touching my camera for as long as I have ... but not being able to edit photos the same day I take them would drive me utterly crazy!!

Tackling one thing at a time this month ... license, car, and now computer. It's a wonder I've even been able to worry about presents or keep gatherings marked on my calendar! Can't wait to start the new year with wheels and the ability to visit the dance studio and take classes like I used to!

Friday, December 6, 2013

kuma green 1228 from mellow monk.

[mobile] kuma green 1228.

The folks over at Mellow Monk were excited to inform me of a new tea being added to their fine selection. Mr. Watanabe is an award-winning artisan who is dedicated to the quality of his tea, and Kuma Green 1228 refers to the location of his tea estate. This new tea is a guricha-style sencha. It should be brewed at 167°F for two minutes. The dry leaves are tiny and emerald green with some lighter tips scattered throughout. The aroma before brewing is a slightly bitter vegetal scent, and reminds me of cut grass in the summer. Use a wide strainer in order to give the small dry leaves room to unfurl. You'll be amazed at how they expand while steeping!

[mobile] sencha.

The bitter aroma softens once brewed, and takes on a whole new identity once you take your initial sip. The first flavor on the tongue is surprisingly sweet. Like sugar has been added! Fortunately for us the tea carries that refreshing sweetness naturally! I marveled over that for some time, as I've never had a tea tasting start out like that. A light citrus note comes into play afterward that lingers on the palate and reminds me of a sugared lemon candy -- followed by that I get a taste of jasmine on the back of the tongue. It is a very gentle and light cup. It makes me think of a springtime afternoon just as winter lets go ...timid greens and flowers springing up once the snow melts.

The cup brews an incredible peridot color, and is marvelous to look at in a glass teacup.

[mobile] jade cup.

Thank you again to Mellow Monk, for finding such incredible Japanese artisans and sharing their tea with the world. I am never let down by their offerings and their dedication to quality. Did you know they offer gift certificates on their website? I recommend picking one up as a holiday gift for the tea-lover in your life! ♥