Sunday, 27 February 2011

My perfect cup of tea

I sit on the sofa with a computer in my lap and a cup of my favourite tea in hand. Choco power is black tea with chocolate flavour and it’s perfect with a glimmer of milk. It smells wonderful and you can easily detect the chocolate scent which isn’t too strong despite the fact thatit is a chocolate tea.

But tea wasn’t always my favourite drink, not that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t drink it very often. As a child I usually only drank it when I was ill; my Mum would put a tea bag in the cup and pour boiling water over it. After a couple of minutes she would take out the tea bag and add four tea spoons of sugar; she knew that I wouldn’t drink it if it wasn’t sweet enough. Then she would put the cup on my night stand if I was in my room or on the coffee table in front of the sofa if I was in the living room. Usually I forgot about the fruit flavoured tea waiting for me and I would notice it when it was already cold.

When I was healthy I would drink cold cocoa; I drank hot cocoa only if I was visiting my late grandmother. She had a special recipe for my hot cocoa and she knew I wouldn’t drink it any other way; the way she made it for me was perfect. She removed the kettle from the stove just before the milk boiled and poured it in the cup with about five big spoons of cocoa already in it. Then she added three tea spoons of sugar and voila, there was my perfect hot cocoa.

In high school we would drink coffee. We weren’t children anymore so it was only appropriate for us to drink all sorts of coffee; usually it was cappuccino or caffè latte but on special occasions we went to a cafe where they served all sorts of flavoured coffees in huge glasses – you could have vanilla, coconut, chocolate, marzipan, you name it. Once a week I would go there with my girlfriends on our way from the train station; we would drink the delicious coffee, chat and laugh.  

I continued to drink coffee when I went to university but I realised that I drank way too much of the “black devil” when I had exams so I decided to stop drinking it. I started drinking black tea with milk and now I can’t imagine my day without it.

I enjoy going to the tea shop where they have a big wall covered with shelves, full of huge silver boxes that are filled with tea. I can choose between green tea, black tea, white tea and a lot of different flavours. I usually check out their website and decide on which flavours I want to try out. Then I smell the tea in the shop and each time I’m confronted with a hard decision - I would love to buy them all. Instead, I always buy my favourite Choco power and also choose a different tea with a new flavour which I haven’t had before. The last time I was there I chose hazelnut flavoured tea but when I came home I discovered that it smelled a bit too much like marzipan. I put on my brave face and prepared it; it wasn’t that bad but it was the only time I actually drank it.  

I enjoy preparing my tea; you have to follow a strict procedure for the tea to be perfect. I boil the water and put the bits of tea (I drink realtea) in a strainer. It usually takes me a couple of seconds to decide which cup I want to drink from and when I choose it I put the strainer in and pour the water over. After 7-8 minutes I take the strainer out, add two tea spoons of sugar and a little bit of milk. Then I sit down and enjoy drinking my perfect tea. 

Monday, 21 February 2011

Grandma Polly - Inspiration Monday guest post

Since I started blogging I came across some wonderful women who inspired me in one way or another... And because I want to share some pieces of this inspiration with all of you I've decided to ask those interesting and special women if they could write something about inspiration for my blog.

One of those incredible persons is Barbara whose blog, Notes from the second half, is really worth reading. She's a very sweet and nice person and so is her blog. I always enjoy reading every carefully chosen word, every line, short or long and every perfectly set paragraph she writes. Her stories are always full of inspiration, hope and love. 

When I told her that I'm planning to do a series of guest posts on my blog and asked her if she would give me the honour and be one of my guests she agreed right away. 
The only thing I told her was that the theme of the guest posts is inspiration and after just a day she sent me this wonderful piece. 

I'm very honoured to have her as the first guest on my blog and without further ado, I give you Barbara:

I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister, a Christian, a southerner by birth, a friend, a blogger, a steel magnolia. And when asked from time to time who do you take after most in your family I answer, my Grandma Polly. 

Grandma was among other things, a storyteller. Meaning that she was a person who instead of just telling you the bare facts that you need to know, would tell you the story of the facts. And then will tie the facts together with background information. A storyteller wants you to know the who, what, when, where and how of things, not just cold facts.  I am also a storyteller. I was first called this by an English teacher in 10th grade. Since then the term has been used to describe me often.  It is meant as a compliment. 

I was thinking one day that I wish I could remember all of the stories my Grandma told me about her Mother. Her name was Adalonia and they called her Loni. Grandma would start every story about her Mom with that sentence. I didn't know my great grandmother, but I sure know of her. The way I understand it, Loni was a rebel in her own way. A soft spoken rebel. A strong woman. A steel magnolia as it were. Well liked by most everyone according to her daughter, who is my Grandma. One thing I remember is how my Grandmother's face would light up when she spoke of her Mom. You could tell she had loved her so and still missed her. 

My Grandma; Pauline, aka Polly, died several years ago. She was in her 80's and died from complications of Alzhiemer's. It was a particularly cruel way for such a smart woman to die. A communicator who had trouble communicating.  A storyteller who more and more often found she couldn't remember the stories. 

As I thought of Grandma Polly, I wanted to find a way to make sure she wasn't  forgotten. It seemed vital to share the stories of my Grandmother and  my Mother. These are the women who helped me to become who I am. They nurtured, they taught, they loved. This led me to a beginning of writing down stories. The reasoning being that one day; hopefully in the far distant future, when I am gone the stories will live on. I have a grandson and want him to know about the women who came before him. His Dad, my younger son, suggested I blog. 

Okay, I will talk your ear off, I am a storyteller, I love to write, but a blog? Me? He told me to go for it and see. And I did. 

The inspiration for an actual blog, Notes From the Second Half, came from something my Grandma Polly said to me. I asked her why old people talk about the past so much. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, my grandma was a little younger than I am now when this conversation took place. But, I was little, she seemed old to me. Her answer was because you spend the first half of your life making memories and the second half remembering it all.

Apparently, according to her theory, there is a transition period between these two halves. This would be when you start talking about the past a lot and telling the stories more and more often. But, would still be before you actually become one of those old people who tell the same stories at every wedding, funeral and family dinner. When I asked her, how do you know when you are in the second half, she told me, “Why honey, when you spend more time remembering it all.” 

I want to remember things and have them safely written down. We never know what the future holds. Many things happen to people. You can, as one acquaintance of ours is fond of saying, walk out that door and get hit by bus. A little dramatic, but true. Things sometimes happen. And if we live to be a ripe old age, we aren't promised that our memories will hold up. And if we live to a ripe old age, and our memories do hold up, we may just be too busy making more memories to write about the old ones. 

The inspiration to blog came from my youngest son. The inspiration as to what in the world will the blog be about came from my Grandma Polly. And the courage to sit down and do it? Well, I like to think that was passed down in the gene pool from Adalonia, who they called Loni. 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Don't make him angry

The woman nervously looked at the clock. It was quarter past 6 p.m. and she knew her husband will be home any time. She went to the living room and picked up the toys her son had left on the floor and carefully put them in the drawer. She looked around and affirmatively nodded as she saw everything was where it should be. Then she went back to her tidy kitchen and looked at her 9 year old son who was sitting at the dinner table, finishing his dinner.

Be quick and then go to your room please she cautiously said to him, knowing that he doesn’t like to be told what to do.

You won’t tell me what to do. I’ll do whatever I want and I don’t want to go to my room. I'm going to watch TV the child answered, hissing, not even turning his face away from the plate.

Your father will be home soon. We don’t want to make him angry, do we? the mother answered quietly knowing that not only her husband will get mad but also her son will be furious because she was trying to command him.

You’re the one who’s making him angry because you’re stupid and you do everything wrong. I’ll tell him to beat you he said with a mean look in his eyes which scared the woman.

The woman asked herself what should she do. She knew her husband will come home drunk and mad at everything and everyone and he will probably beat her as he did every night. She was trying to protect her son even though he was becoming the same as his father. She saw how much rage there was in this little boy and it often frightened her.

She knew why her husband was angry. She knew he was angry and disappointed because he didn’t pass the psychological evaluation for a police officer years ago and he was forced to settle for a dead end job at the gas station. He was unhappy with their marriage although she tried hard to make him happy. She knew he didn’t want to marry her but he did because he wanted to do the right thing when she got pregnant after a couple of months of dating. He blamed her and their son for his misery.

And she knew her son was becoming like him because he loved his dad with all his heart and he was his hero. He was his role model even though he was beating his wife, yelling at her and humiliating her every day.

Suddenly the woman heard a car on their driveway and by the way the he stopped the car and closed the door she knew he wasn't in a good mood. She took dinner from the oven hoping that he would like what she cooked and her son looked at her smiling maliciously and ran to his room. He knew he'd better not be in his father’s way on an evening like this.

Where is my… dinner? The husband impatiently opened the front door and gracelessly took off his shoes. He walked to the kitchen and looked at his wife with disgust in his eyes. He almost fell to the floor because he missed the chair while sitting down which made him even angrier. The wife quickly put his plate on the table hoping that he won’t throw it at her like the day before.

What is this? Your cooking is garbage woman he said and threw a fork in her leg. She flinched grateful that it didn’t stab her and picked it up.

Are you stupid or what? he yelled at her. I’m not an animal, I eat with a fork, why isn’t there a stupid fork on the table? Stupid woman. She carefully gave him the fork afraid that he would stab her with it or a knife like he did a dozen times before. And give me a beer, I’m damn thirsty. She gave him a can of his favourite beer although he didn’t need it; he was already as drunk as he could get. He didn’t eat much; soon he stood up clumsily and went to the living room. He turned on the TV and watched sports while his wife was washing the dishes in the kitchen.

I want another beer he yelled after an hour or so. His wife didn’t bring him what he wanted immediately so he stood up and went searching for her. She wasn’t in the kitchen so he went to their bedroom. She wasn’t there either. Then he opened the door of his sons room. Where is your mother? he asked him.

I don’t know the boy replied quietly. He knew that his father won’t like the answer and he was scared.

Where is that bitch? I know you know where she is! the father yelled and grabbed his son by his hair and pulled him up from the chair. He slapped the boys face when his mother rushed in the room.

I’m here, I was in the bathroom she screamed scared for his son’s life. She grabbed her husbands hand and tried to push him away from the boy.

Don’t touch me bitch! Who do you think you are?! her husband shouted at her and pushed her in the hallway. She tried to run away from him towards the stairs where he caught her and grabbed her.

You won’t touch me ever again he said and pushed her. She fell down the stairs and lay motionless at the bottom, blood slowly spreading on the floor like a halo around her head.

This is a fictional story. If I have offended anyone I'm deeply sorry, it wasn't my intention to hurt anyone's feelings.

As always, constructive criticism is more than welcome.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The big decision

Another post from Jenny's point of view. 

I’m really happy Emma called me. I didn’t even realise how much I’ve missed her for the past month. I’ve been so busy with my work lately that I completely forgot about my problems and it felt so good not to think about Mark and his mistress.

Hey Emma, it’s really nice to see you, I’ve missed you. She looks very nervous and worried as I walk into her apartment. I hope something isn't wrong again, I really don’t have the strength do deal with anything right now.

Hey Jen. I’ve missed you too. She really means it, I can tell. When Tim called me and told me that she’s much better now I didn’t believe it but now I see it’s true.
Sit down, we have to talk. Would you like a glass of wine?

Yes please. Something’s wrong. But what? Is she having some other problems I don’t know about? Did someone die? She gives me a glass of wine and I drink it all. I take the bottle and pour myself another glass. She won’t mind and it seems I’ll need it.

I don’t know how to tell you this and I know it will hurt you, but I can’t hide it from you. I saw Mark today… with another woman. He’s gone so far that he’s parading around with her? Why doesn’t he just stab me in my back? And Emma doesn’t know that I already know it. Gosh, she probably went through hell today, deciding if she should tell me or not.

Honey… I know. I’ve known for at least a year. These words were much easier to say than I thought they would be. Why didn’t I talk to someone about this before? Why didn’t I admit to myself that he’s just a cheating bastard? Why was I pretending not to know and acted like everything was ok?
Emma’s obviously shocked about this. I don’t know what shocked her more – Mark cheating on me or that I have known about it?

Why didn’t you say anything? Why didn’t I say anything? Because she was a total mess and I didn’t want to make it worse.

Emma I couldn’t tell you. You have your own problems and I didn’t want you to worry about me. And you’ve been avoiding me. I can’t tell her this in a nicer way. She hasn’t been herself and I couldn’t talk to her about it.

I’m so sorry Jen. I really am. I couldn’t help myself… I know you don’t understand and I can’t explain it because neither do I. I just need you to know that I’m sorry. And that I’m here now and I want to help you and be by your side. It’s really nice to have her back. She hugs me and I hug her back. It’s nice to have a best friend I can rely on.


The doors are opening. Surprisingly I’m not nervous, I thought I would be. Obviously I really don’t care about anything as much as I should. Should I?

Jen, what’s going on? He obviously noticed the boxes on the floor. Or did he just see it on my face?

I know you’re cheating on me. I want you to move out and my lawyer will contact you soon. Or should he contact your lawyer directly? He seems very surprised. And scared. He didn’t expect it. And why should he? I didn’t say anything or do anything to indicate that I knew.

Jen, I’m sorry. I... I didn’t want to hurt you. I’ll end it with her and we can work it out. He’s shocked. And he seems devastated. I still love him, I love his dark blue eyes and the little holes in his cheeks when he smiles. When was the last time we laughed together. When have we stopped being happy? When did we fall out of love?

It’s too late Mark. Don’t make it any harder than it has to be. I don’t want an ugly divorce and I don't want to fight. I just want to go on with my life. No, I want to create a new life, I want to do things I love to do and enjoy my life.

We can save our marriage Jen, I’ll leave her, I promise. Does he really mean it? Would he really leave her? Well, it doesn’t matter now, it’s over.

There is nothing to save, Mark. It’s over. Don’t show him your feelings Jen, don’t show emotions. Be strong, you can do it, just stay calm and don’t let him convince you.

Give me another chance. I deserve it after so many years. We deserve it. He’s serious.

No Mark. You don’t deserve anything. I've given you so many chances. You got a chance every day. Every day for the past year I woke up, hoping that you would come home in the evening and told me that you were cheating on me but that you have ended it and that you’re sorry. I was hoping that you would realise that you love me and that it’s me who you want. But you didn’t. And now it’s too late. I packed your things in these boxes and you can come pick up the rest of the stuff another day. Please leave. Now.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The truth

In my previous post I wrote five facts about me. Four of them were false and only one was truth.

I tried to write down plausible lies and a weird truth. I managed to fool most of you which is quite a success, isn’t it?

I shall reveal the truth to those of you who are wondering which one wasn’t a lie…

Here we go… The truth is #2!

And now, let me explain the truth about these facts I wrote in previous post:

1.     I’m very afraid of snakes and I would never, ever touch one. I even panic if I see a picture of a snake.

2.     I really did break my big toe in the sand, but I have to explain… There was concrete under the sand and I kicked in the concrete while I was drawing a line. It makes more sense now, right? But I’m sure you would have all guessed it if I would tell you the whole story.

3.     I’m most certainly not afraid of hairdressers since my hair grows very (and by this I mean really very, very) fast. I’m always excided when I have an appointment at the hairdressers and I’m not afraid to experiment with my haircuts.

4.     I’m not allergic to peanuts.

5.     I’m (sadly) not fluent in French. But I wish I was because it is one of my favourite languages in the whole world.

Congrats to Baglady and Doria who guessed the truth! 

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Memetastic award

Today I got another award. Chief aka Dad honoured me with the Memetastic award. Thank you so much, I am really happy about it!

Chief’s blog is very funny and I love reading it, I’m just sorry that I didn’t discover it earlier. For those of you who aren’t familiar with his blog – go on and check it out, it’s worth your time!

This award is a bit different from the others I got in the past because I have to write 4 lies and one truth and you have to guess which one is true. How fun is that?

So here we go:

1.     I love snakes. A couple of times I got a chance to hold a snake in my arms and I really enjoyed it. I love how smooth the skin of these animals is and they’re very nice and friendly. I want to have one someday but Mr. Starlight says no way.

2.     A couple of years ago I was drawing in the sand with my leg and I broke my big toe.

3.     I’m afraid of hairdressers. My hair grows so slowly that I really don’t like to see scissors near my head and every time I have to go to the hairdresser I freak out.

4.     I’m allergic to peanuts. Once I had to see a doctor because I ate something containing peanuts and I didn’t know about it and I got a really severe reaction.

5.     I am fluent in French. I really enjoyed spending some time in France last summer because I got to use French which is one of my favourite languages in the whole world.

Which one do you think is true?

And now I have to give this award to a couple of people and it’s a hard decision as always. Last time I got an award I gave it to all of my readers (just a couple of you accepted it though) and I’m doing the same thing again.

I give this award to each and every one of you awesome guys and girls and I’m looking forward to reading your lies and guessing the truth.