To Steep

Thumbnail: Bacon grease

Thumbnail: Breakfast

Thumbnail: Dolly's milk treat

All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes.

—George Orwell

On Saturday mornings I wake up a little past seven, no matter how late I was up on Friday. Get dressed, check the mail, read the news, go upstairs to cook breakfast in a pan of grease. Everything is timed perfectly. The toast is started two minutes before the eggs are broken into the pan, but only after the bacon is done. The tea starts steeping two minutes before that. Everything is ready and warm within 25 minutes.

Dolly gets a treat on the weekend mornings: a bit of Fancy Feast, or half-and-half mixed with water. Cats are lactose intolerant, so they can’t drink straight milk, but they’re drawn the fat that their noses can smell.

Bacon, bread, egg, bacon, bread, egg. I eat my breakfast in order, going clockwise around the plate, but I always save a few sips of tea for the end. Even though I’ve given up the Hong Kong style milk tea, Orange Pekeoe is an appropriate black leaf substitute, rounding out the meal.

It’s a little ritual that keeps me sane. At the end of breakfast, satisfied and full, I can reflect and recharge, down to the dregs.

Every year, as I grow older, I find that I let my tea steep a little longer. Maybe life has gotten a little too complicated, and I need the tea as a distraction, or perhaps life has become too simple, and I need the companionship of a rich mug to stimulate me.

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.

And I’ve never needed this more than I do now.


  1. well,
    if you’re used to getting up early, even if it’s a weekend,
    then having kids would fit into that part of your life…geting up at the crack of dawn

    nothing anyone says can really prepare you for parenthood and the sacrifices you make
    When u have kids, it is SOOOOOoo true, that your ‘life as u knew it’ gets put on HOLD for a few years
    the years go by fast
    and kids are amazing creatures, and there is just this unconditional love…going both ways
    the love for a pet is similar to the unconditional; love u have for your child, only MUCH more intinsified, as this child is YOU, flesh, blood, characteristics, personality traits…its soo watching yourself grow up.
    as a child that was abused, it is theraputic to be able to give my child what I lacked….safety, for one..

    so, having kids is a HUGE sacrifice in your lifestyle, and it changes your list of priorities, but there are countless rewards…

    I was upset the other day, my daughter noticed, she’s 2.5 now
    she said: mommy why u sad?
    I tried to explain..
    then she said, Mommy I make you happy, and put her little arms around me and hugged me…
    now, no matter how shitty anyone is feeling, when your innocent little child says that to you,
    well, first of all, it melts your heart
    and second of all, it helps put things into perspective
    and it made me happy

    noone is EVER READY to have kids..there is NEVER a GOOD time
    but you need to be willing to take on the challenge/adventures, remembering it lasts a lifetime….. if the desire is there, then the changes in lifestyle become acceptable…for the short term

    but, if you’re not willing to give up lots of little freedoms…
    then just wait
    otherwise everyone suffers

    the little rituals
    puts some art into our lives
    i love ’em


  2. Mmm.. I am a big tea drinker. Nothing starts my day quite like a steaming pot of jasmine tea. Right now I’m sipping a hot cup of a spiced black tea that somehow seemed appropriate for this rainy grey day.

    Ritual is my way of reconnecting with myself. Thr rituals may come and go as my life and circumstances change, but my need to create them is a constant.

    I used to keep a litre of lactose-free milk in the fridge for my cat. ;o) I don’t drink milk due to the lactose and have lost my taste for it, but I’d buy it just for him.

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