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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