Catch Up – Red Tie and Rangers

Our nation is on week two of the 45th Presidency. It has been interesting … I still feel like we’re all stuck in an alternate universe. Three years ago watching a few episodes of The Apprentice, no way would I have imagined Donald Trump to be president here in 2017. But it happened. And I gotta say, it’s a little stressful.  I’ve been craving yoga and chamomile tea.

At his inauguration our new president wore a very large red tie. I guess that’s one of his signature looks except that I hadn’t watched enough television before that to know. So I saw it and thought, “wow, that is one ginormous tie.” And I wondered if I was the only person on the planet to notice the tie. I Googled it. Then I wondered if I was the only person on the planet not privy to the fact that this was his “signature tie.” Then I wondered about some other things  because …

The president talked about how the people were taking control of their government again — a very populist sounding speech. But it would be more accurate to say that about half the people were “taking control.” No wait, maybe about 35-40% of the people. Because while he has some very loyal supporters (whom you may have missed if you live in a big city like L.A., Chicago, or New York), there are also people who voted for him who simply didn’t want to vote for Hillary or any third-party candidates. And, really, it’s not like any of them are really in control either.

A few spotty protests took place during his inauguration.

There was dispute about how many people attended Trump’s inauguration. I don’t know why this is a thing. It shouldn’t be a thing. I would absolutely expect Obama’s inauguration to draw more crowds. He was the first African-American president, it was a very historic moment.

A huge Women’s March took place the day after. Women and men around the world marched for women’s rights. The streets of D.C. were positively flooded. Many expressed their anger over some of the president’s past comments about women and worried how they may be treated as a whole by the upcoming administration and its policies.

The throngs were speckled with pink hats. I hadn’t read much about the march ahead of time. But that day I saw all kinds of reports on costumes, signs, and on what the hats were. The hats were usually a bright pink and had two protrusions — one on each side. Were the hats supposed to be lady parts? Ovaries? Uteruses? Some folks dressed up as those things. I thought, “those hats don’t really look like lady parts; they look more like kitty ears.” “Ah ha!,” I thought. They’re pussy hats!

Some folks who marched or spoke were loud, in your face, and used a lot of language probably not suitable for children. Some people were offended, some thought it was a great expression of the hurt. Basically, the marches remained peaceful and non-violent. So that’s good.

The president announced a hiring freeze on government employees, and later I saw reports that the National Park Service, NASA, and other federal organizations weren’t allowed to Tweet or send out press releases without first having the information reviewed by the administration. Basically, the reports said these science agencies had been given a gag order.

Then I saw Press Secretary Sean Spicer at a press conference saying that the order did not come from the White House. That there were already rules about what could be sent out, so that reports of a gag order from the White House were wrong.

So whom do we believe? As usual, I’m sure there are lies and misunderstandings on both sizes of the political spectrum. It is always that way. Though neither side usually admits it.

Regardless of whether there was really a gag order or not, these are the days of the Internet and Twitter and instant everything. So the National Park Service went “rogue.” They set up an Alt National Park Service Twitter account and started Tweeting about the environment and how a wall between the U.S. and Mexico will affect the wildlife that lives in that area (and I don’t mean the people). NASA and several other departments of government also set up rogue accounts on Twitter and Facebook.

Officially, these accounts are not set up by the Park Service or government agencies. But unofficially the accounts are probably set up by park service and other similar employees on their own time.

nps

I generally like parks and go camping in them, so this was an interesting turn of events. I would love to see this as a movie. There’s something reassuring about park rangers.

Then I saw the president on the news saying he was going to ban “catch and release.”

Now here’s where my brain does what my brain does and uses past experience to make meaning of the present, and I think, “he’s going to ban catch and release? Does that mean we’re going to have to eat all the fish we catch?”

But no, immigration is what he was talking about. He wants to change current policy.

He signed papers to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. And lots of people thought, “But there’s a hiring freeze. Who’s gonna build the wall?” Days later he signed executive orders banning folks from 7 mostly muslim countries from entering the U.S. for a period of 30 to 90 days depending on stuff. People who had already been vetted to enter the country were stopped mid-travel at airports. I mean, I would have been pissed. Tickets paid for, flights flown …

This made quite a few people furious because it stranded a lot of good people including women and children and people with paperwork saying that they could be here and live here.

There was a lot of confusion. (Which may be the understatement-of-the-day.)

But other people were like, “hell yeah!” Because they don’t want terrorists to enter our country and they see this as a move to prevent that.

One side sees Trump as evil incarnate —a budding fuhrer. Forbidding specific ethnic groups along with a gag order on scientists only fueled that fire. But did the president even issue a gag order? Maybe yes, maybe no. Some reports said that everything that happened with the park service was nothing more than standard internal procedure during a change of administration — happens every four years, give or take four years. They were just doing their thing.

But once these ideas spread, it’s hard not to have them stuck in people’s heads. And I mean, ROGUE PARK RANGERS! That’s like rogue Bambi or superhero cottontail bunny rabbits. How cool is that?

But rogue scientists or not, there are a lot of people who are thrilled that they have a president who actually follows through on his campaign promises.

I’ll give them that. Good or bad, there aren’t many politicians who’ve attempted to do so much of what they said they would do in so short a period of time.

But plenty of people didn’t like what this man said he would do in the first place, and he could really use some lessons in diplomacy (oh look, another understatement). He issues his own brand of rogue, ego-fueled Tweets.

We tend to hear more from people who are mad — happy people don’t usually complain so much. But there are a lot of mad people right now.

With some people loving what he’s doing and some hating it, straddling between is a challenge. There’s hardly a middle-of-the-road anymore, it’s more of a suspension bridge.

Cabinet members have been nominated and mostly confirmed. Some love them, some hate them.

There are enough protests going on that I’m pretty sure there must be clandestine operations taking place that we may or may not hear about later. (All these protests are the perfect cover and distraction.)

At least a few things probably aren’t even the way people think they are because that is how it works. Rarely do we ever get the whole, real truth, and rarely is one side all right or all wrong. Though sometimes things can run 60% – 40% or even closer to 90% – 10%.

I would love to have a good, reliable source for news and analysis, but I’m not feeling that right now.

The best I can hope for is to read and listen to what both sides have to say and hope some of the truth is filtering through.

It is so very early in this presidency. What will happen today? Tomorrow?

 

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It Would Be Mythical

The WordPress Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is Mythical.

A few months ago I could have gazed to the future and fancied that one day, one glorious day, the Daily Prompt would be mythical. 

I knew today was different when I awoke. My head felt …. 

And so this sunny November day — it is the day of the mythical prompt. 

And it is a Friday which makes it even better. 

I have a sniffle and I ate too much yesterday, but I won’t let that stop me from making use of this mythical opportunity. This won’t be the last. 

Zote Soap in English

The Zote Soap website has, at least temporarily, removed the English portion of it’s website. It’s website is here at: http://www.zote.com.mx/

Since I think it’s super helpful to have some of this information in English. I’m posting the translated version of a few pages to this page.

Note that the text here is as-translated by my browser (for now), so there are mistakes — lots of ’em. Some of them are even pretty funny. Helpful tip, the word zote in Spanish can be translated to English to mean dim, stupid, or dunce. So when you see “dunce” in the translation, below, assume it means Zote. I’m leaving all the dunces there for now just because. Where ZOTE was typed in all-caps, the translation left the word ZOTE in tact. I doubt anybody actually named Zote “stupid” so I’m going to assume they meant “simple.” It is a simple, basic, true soap. But who knows. I’ll try to do some research.

Hopefully you get the gist of the translations. If you have any questions just ask. I’ll do my best to answer. I still like Zote soap and find it in stores here in the Washington DC area. In fact, I find it in even more stores than when I wrote my original Bar Fight: Laundry Bar Soap post.

The partent company of Zote is here: https://www.lacorona.com.mx/jabon_lavanderia.html

IMG_8035-1


WELCOME

http://www.zote.com.mx/index.html

BE A SOAP FOR HIGH QUALITY MAY BE USED WITH CONFIDENCE IN THE WHOLE FAMILY CLOTHING.
It is recommended to wash clothes people sensitive skin being of natural origin .


ABOUT ZOTE

http://www.zote.com.mx/acerca_zote.html

ZOTE is a soap pure Laundry, unburdened made based on coconut oil and beef tallow, containing optical brighteners, whose shape and size are ideal for hand washing.

In the past, in rural areas of Mexico, it was common to see women washing their clothes with dunce in rivers, on special boards or rocks, or in bowls in their homes;because since Crown it launched in 1970, it became a favorite of Mexican housewives to remove stubborn stains and wash delicates products.

In the beginning, soap ZOTE was manufactured with an almost manual process. Today, we have the most modern equipment and the latest technology for the manufacture of this and all our products; but we retain the original formula that led to ZOTE to be the market leader in Mexico.

HOW IS THAT TODAY ZOTE STILL ENJOYING THE PREFERENCE OF HOUSEWIVES,
WHEN EVERY TIME IT IS LESS COMMON PEOPLE Handwash?

The basic ingredients of natural origin used in the manufacture of dunce are the same used for toilet soaps; therefore, it is not abrasive ingredients that make ZOTEideal for washing delicate items that may be damaged in the washing machine (as sweaters, woven clothing and underwear), preserving them in good condition product and extending the life of the same. For this feature, many used to wash the clothes of people with sensitive skin or baby clothes.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, has great cleansing properties, making it ideal for prewash collars and cuffs of shirts and to remove stubborn stains.

Another of the distinctive features of ZOTE is her perfume: the essential oil of citronella plant has a pleasant smell like lemon; Thanks to this ingredient, clothes washed with ZOTE retains a fresh and pleasant smell for several days.


TECHNICAL INFORMATION

http://www.zote.com.mx/informacion_zote.html

INGREDIENTS

The main raw materials are tallow and coconut oil, they are neutralized with caustic soda to the saponification process, contains salt (sodium chloride), glycerol, bleach fragrance optical and dye, in the case of ZOTE pink and ZOTE blue. optical brightener soap ZOTE contains an optical whitening bleach discolor clothes without clothes. Optical brighteners are compounds that provide brilliance to clothing, giving a visible blue color to the garment washed; his work is seen in white clothes. WHAT TO DO IF SWALLOWED If swallowed (which is very difficult to be solid) can cause nausea or vomiting. It has no toxicity problems. WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF EYE CONTACT In case of contact with eyes should be rinsed with plenty of water. 


INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE

HAND WASH

http://www.zote.com.mx/lavado_mano.html

You can wash your clothes in the sink or laundry to adjust. Thoroughly wet the garment and scrub it with soap dunce until foaming.

Rinse with plenty of water until the soap is gone. If desired, you can add softener Carisma .
Hang up and let dry as it does regularly. In case of woven garments it is recommended to dry on a flat surface on a towel.

MACHINE WASHING or WASHER WASHING

http://www.zote.com.mx/lavado_lavadora.html

Carve your laundry with dunce before putting it in the washing machine, for prewash collars, cuffs and stubborn stains, ensuring superior cleaning.


RECIPES AND TIPS

LIQUID SOAP

http://www.zote.com.mx/zote_liquido.html

PREPARATION ZOTE LIQUID

To prepare soap liquid ZOTE there are two simple ways:

• In a bowl with hot water of more than 2 liters, let soak a bar of soap ZOTE 200 g overnight.
In the morning you can use the solution water with soap for hand washing or washing machine.

• in a bowl add a soap ZOTE 200 g of any color and cover with about 2 liters of water,
bring to boil on the stove, stir occasionally until a thick solution. REMOVING TOUGH STAINS without chlorine Apply the soap mixture ZOTE boiled still hot and dry directly on the stain of the garment. Put the garment in the sun until the soap hardens and pull it off; the stain will be attached to it. The remaining solution may be used at other times, following the same procedure.

WHITER CLOTHES

http://www.zote.com.mx/mas_blancura.html

MORE WHITENESS YOUR CLOTHES

Add the grated soap like dunce of any presentation to the washer from the start of the wash cycle with detergent. Upon normal wash cycles, you will realize that there will be more control foam and your clothes are whiter. To peel, you use a common knife or a cheese grater.

SOFT TOWELS

http://www.zote.com.mx/toallas_suaves.html

Add a piece of soap ZOTE inside a sock or cloth bag sealed, put it in the washing machine in the last wash cycle and rinse.
YOUR TOWELS WILL BE GENTLE.

OTHER USES

http://www.zote.com.mx/otros_usos.html

SURPRISING IS THE AMOUNT OF APPLICATIONS THAT GIVE THE SOAP dunce .

Often our customers write to us and tell their stories, and among the most common are: • WASH HAIR AND BODY For its high content of fatty acids, its low level of free soda and being a pure soap can be used for washing the hair and body. • as fishing bait it is known that the dunce pink works well for fishing for catfish. The scent of citronella seems to attract the fish. • REPAIR tube or pipe If you make a mixture of soap dunce with sugar, you can make temporary repairs to cracks or leaks in pipes. • REPELLENT MOSQUITOS the aroma of citronella is known to drive away mosquitoes. • Insecticide for pests of plants disappear, should boil water and soap ZOTE white, let it cool and empty in a sprinkler with sprinkler. • sCULPTURES with instruments to sculpt, you can make a sculpture with a pill soap dunce . If you try, we recommend you do when soap is cool, because once hardened it will be harder to handle. • perfuming DRAWER If you want to perfume your drawers, you can put a piece of dunce in a small cloth bag in his drawer. his coffin will be perfumed and if it comes to a drawer where he keeps clothes, notice how your clothes give off a scent of freshly laundered. > Back to our website lacorona.com.mx

FREQUENT QUESTIONS

http://www.zote.com.mx/preguntas_zote.html

Can I bathe with dunce?

Many people in Mexico bathe dunce . Soap ZOTE is made on the same basis a soap and free alkalinity of both is very low, so they fulfill similar functions. However, unlike a soap, ZOTE contains additives that make it ideal for clothes care. Can I wash BABY CLOTHES? Because the formulation ZOTE has very low alkalinity, it contains salts they could massively deposited on clothing and has no toxicity problems, so it can be used to wash the baby ‘s clothes. If you have any questions, ask your doctor. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WHITE dunce, PINK AND BLUE? Compounds ZOTE white, pink and blue are the same, the only difference is the dye containing the latter. In northern Mexico, the pink soaps dominate the market; while the southern population prefers white soap. So it is a matter of personal taste. DOES THE DYE ZOTE PINK AND dunce BLUE can stain clothing? The dye containing ZOTE pink and ZOTE AZUL not stain clothes under normal washing conditions. To wash MY CLOTHES WITH ZOTE CAN DESPINTARLA? the ingredient ZOTE to launder clothing is known as optical brightener , its function is to reflect light so that white look brighter. As it is a non – chlorine bleach not discolor clothing. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TOILET SOAP NORMAL AND A dunce? The only difference is that ZOTE contains more moisture, and toilet soap may contain an additive that highlight some quality . (Antibacterial for example)

jump, Jump, JUMP!

Today’s prompt from WordPress Daily Prompts is, Jump!

Just jump right in.

I think I will.

Jump for joy.

Dance a jig.

Avoid the bridge.

Take a leap of faith.

And jump. Jump. Jump!

10 Pounds

I got on the scale this morning because I do that from time to time. The scale said that I’d lost 10 pounds. I did a double take. I little spark of joy popped up from somewhere in my middle.

I mean, I’ve been trying to watch what I eat and get more exercise. But recently I’d been holding steady except for a pound here and there. I swear just last week, I weighed 10 pounds more. My stomach was a little touchy yesterday, so maybe it made a difference. And I haven’t been keeping as well hydrated! So maybe I only lost some water weight.

That’s when I noticed my pants on the floor next to the scale. Only not just next-to but also partly under one corner of the scale. The scale was a tiny bit crooked and cushioned by my pants. I’d accidentally overlapped a bit when I slid the scale out to use it.

I moved my pants. I gained nine pounds back. So I lost a total of one pound. Yay? Dave heard me complain from the bathroom and said, “towel rack, Dad.” Recalling an episode of the Simpsons where Homer is weighing himself and part of his belly was propped on the towel rack giving him a false reading on his bathroom scale. 

Towel rack. Pants. Sigh. 

One pound. Um. Woohoo! 

Tea for Tuesday – Ice Ice Baby

I know it’s not Tuesday. I almost finished this on Thursday. I thought maybe I could call it Tea for Thirstday. (Get it?) But now it’s Sunday. So … I’m just leaving it Tea for Tuesday. 

A class reunion in August and trip to visit friends near Nashville, Tenneessee, and later my dad in the Carolinas, reinforced my love for southern cooking and beverages. I visited a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store one too many times. 

I drank a lot of iced tea all summer long. Iced tea is almost as favorite a beverage as its hot counterpart. 

In the south, iced tea is almost always served sweetened. I’ve said before that in the south if it isn’t sweet then it’s just a hot beverage gone cold. I’ve been to restaurants that didn’t even carry unsweetened tea. Those that carry both varieties sometimes call sweet tea “Iced Tea” while the plain version is called “Unsweet Tea.”

I may not like sweet tea as syrupy as some (blame my Northern / Midwestern origins), but I love a good iced tea with the right balance of astringency, flavor, and sweetness. This Labor Day weekend is a good time to drink even more! 

Iced tea is natural and real brewed tea even has health benefits. It can be very economical. Plus you can control the sweetness when you make it yourself!

Not all tea is created equal — true for hot and iced. The tea matters! There’s a specific flavor I want. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Lipton and Luzianne both give a lot of the flavor I’m looking for. I’m sure I could make excellent iced tea using expensive, loose-leaf tea. But for me, nostalgia rules where iced tea is concerned. Why spend the extra money?

That said, I like several variations on iced tea — peach tea, strawberry tea, hibiscus tea, and half & half tea aka an “Arnold Palmer” (1/2 tea, 1/2 lemonade). All can be yummy. I’ll save those for another post.

For classic iced tea I use Family Size tea bags. It takes a lot of tea to make really good iced tea. One puny, single-serving tea bag will tint your water brown, but not much else (unless you want a really small glass of iced tea). 

As a busy mom, I find it easiest to make the tea in a 4-cup glass (Pyrex type) measuring cup with a pour spout. I usually heat the water in the microwave. (Be careful if you add tea to super-heated microwaved water. It can boil over. Use a container that is larger than you need.)

Directions on both Lipton and Luzianne are similar. I don’t change much at the beginning. 

1.) Heat 2 cups of water to a rolling boil (Again, be careful if microwaving. The boil may not actually roll until you add the tea, but still be hot enough.)

2.) Add 1 Family Size tea bag.

3.) Steep 3-5 minutes. (I leave it for about 7-10 minutes. Any longer can make the tea bitter.)

4.) Remove tea bag (squeeze gently) and sweeten to taste. (More on this, below.)

So here’s where I mix things up.

Luzianne’s instructions say to add an additional 2 cups of cold water and then chill (ya know, just relax a little). Lipton’s iced tea instructions start with 4 cups of water and 2 Family Size tea bags, but the ratio of water to tea bags is the same as Luzianne’s. Then Lipton says you should stir in 6 cups of ice cubes (or 4 cups cold water) and refrigerate. 

What? Water down my tea on purpose?

I personally don’t add extra water or ice to the tea until I’m ready to drink it. I let the tea concentrate cool some on the counter before refrigerating, or I just pour the concentrate over ice in my glass (some ice will melt). Even better than a glass, I often use an insulated stainless steel bottle with ice. It will stay cold for many hours and not “sweat” (no condensation on the outside). (I have too many stainless steel bottles. That’s another story.) Most of my stainless steel water bottles hold about 17 ounces, so I get a full bottle plus extra with 2 cups of tea concentrate plus ice.

It’s easy to add water later if you find the tea to be too strong. Adjust as needed. It’s not easy to make tea stronger if it gets too watered down. Plus if you keep the tea in the refrigerator, adding more water just takes up more space in the fridge. 

So just make the tea concentrate and be happy! And chill.

I usually like iced tea with a little squirt of lemon. Sometimes I add it, sometimes I don’t. I also like it sweetened. Individual sweeteners may vary.

It’s practically impossible to dissolve sugar in ice-cold tea (it takes a very long time). So add any sugar while the tea is still very hot.  About 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar for each cup of tea seems to be standard for sweet tea. But use more or less to taste. Stir well. Or make a simple syrup to add to the tea later. Simple syrup is just a lot of sugar dissolved in boiling water. Make sure it’s still a liquid when it cools (not hard candy). 

I don’t always want real sugar in my tea. I know. In the south, I’m probably considered a heathen. But sugar is bad for my teeth and not great for my waistline either. I already eat too much of it.

So what do I like? I like a mixture of sweeteners.

The following amounts are based on about a 14 ounce serving of tea concentrate served over ice (ice that will partly dissolve). Some of the water comes out with the tea bags, so it’s not a full 16 ounces any more.

If I’m going sugar free, then I like 2 packets of Stevia in the Raw plus 1 packet of sucralose (like Splenda). Stevia on its own tastes a little too weird to me. The sucralose seems to even out the taste nicely without adding too much weirdness of its own. Plus this way it’s mostly natural. Just 1/3 mystery ingredient! Both dissolve fairly easily even in cold tea. 

If I’m going to go a little wild (I know how to live it up, don’t I?), then I like Truvia Baking blend. It’s a mixture of sugar and Stevia. Since it has sugar, it’s best to add this while the tea is still hot. The flavor is close to real sugar, thanks to the, you know, real sugar. I’ve also mixed this combo with sucralose for a good sweet tea flavor that has very little sugar. That would be 1 teaspoon of Truvia Baking blend plus 1 packet of sucralose. Using Truvia alone, I’d go with 2 teaspoons. Adjust to taste.

Try some variations yourself and see what you like best. Enjoy and have a cool Labor Day weekend!

  

Happy 4th of July!

It’s full of stars … Somewhere. Near us it was fairly full of raindrops and unusually cool. The temperature was actually really pleasant. Could have used a little less rain, but the plants are happy! We celebrated with hot dogs, corn on the cob, yummy pimento cheese spread, and lots & lots of flags as the neighborhood was dotted with them. We heard a bit about Juno and Jupiter and generally relaxed. Have a happy 5th of July, folks!
(Breaking the adverb rule with gusto! And added pimento cheese! That makes everything better I think.)

My Feet are Happy

I am currently waiting in Hall D of the Convention Center in Washington DC. Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman were scheduled to start a Q&A here at Awesome Con over an hour ago. Their photo ops are running late, so Peter and Jenna are still op-ing while most of us non-photo-opers are trying to be patient.

I haven’t been to a con in years. So far, most of my day here at Awesome Con has been spent waiting. I’m not sure how normal that is. First we waited in line for our badges. It moved quickly. Then we waited for StarTalk Live seats. We enjoyed StarTalk but left a little early so we could get in line to get seats to see the Peter Calaldi & Jenna Coleman Q&A.  I left my daughter and her friend in that line while I went on a mission to get us food. Then I waited in the food line. We ate the food in the P&J Q&A line. Lots of lines. Lots of waiting.

I hear the waiting wasn’t so bad the other two days of Awesome Con. That’s good.

Our early-line-waiting paid off as far as seats. We have sweet seats for general admission to the Peter & Jenna Q&A. I’m talking non-VIP seats that are almost as good as many of the pay-extra-for-em VIP seats and even better than some of them.

But we’re still waiting for Peter & Jenna at the Q&A — it’s going on an hour and a half late now. The audience has all new questions at this point.

My daughter and her friend have run off to the Exhibition Hall. They got wristbands to get them back in to the Q&A hall. It’s full. I’m holding seats. While I really wanted to go to the Exhibition Hall, at least I’m not down there spending money and tiring out my feet. That’s something, right?

They announced that Peter and Jenna would be here soon. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. My daughter and her friend are back with a hat, a bow tie, and a needlework Minecraft chest in tow. Pretty cool.

Still sitting here. I managed a whole blog post! We’ve been promised the Q&A will start soon. Really. Probably really. Hopefully really. Maybe really.

My bottom is planted in my sweet seat. I might eventually have a good view. My feet are happy too.

Yay, it’s starting!

Tra for Tuesday: Bananas

One of these days I’m gonna post exactly what what goes down the first time around without fixing the many typos that proliferate from typing in WordPress on my phone’s tiny keypad. 

As it is now, each time I type I feel I have a one-in-three chance of hitting the letter I wanted. 

I’ll bet you’d never guess but this is actually supposed to be a post about tea (and on Tuesday) — Tea for Tuesday. But I made one typo then another and another and, combined with autocorrect, pretty soon the topic completely changed. 

It’s like 100 monkeys in a room with 100 typewriters. Something’s bound to happen but not what I planned. My fingers are the money’s, wait, see … My fingers are the m-o-n-k-e-y-s, monkeys.

Somebody needs to give my them a bandana, no a banana. No, that wouldn’t help either. 

Wait, I know what I want.

Perhaps you’ve seen spikes or horns? Some people have objects surgically implanted under their skin. (Do they find tattoos and piercings too blasé or mainstream?) Either way, useless fluff!

I want a stylus tip implanted in my finger! If that goes well, maybe I’ll do all ten. (Actually, maybe three or four would be good — thumbs and index finger. See, I’ve put some thought into this.)

Release the monkeys!

(I’ll drink more tea and write about it again soon, maybe even on a Tuesday.)

Tea for Tuesday: Numi Emperor’s Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh is not everybody’s cup of tea. I’m not even sure it’s MY cup of tea. It can be strange stuff — neither black, green, white, nor oolong. It’s an earthy fermented brew unique in both creation and flavor.​

Today, I’m reviewing Numi’s Emperor’s Pu-erh. Of all the pu-erh I’ve tasted this one comes out as a good, basic, organic starting place that is pretty easy to find (though you may want to shop for the best price or look for a sale) and gives a baseline for what to expect from other pu-erh.

At it’s best, pu-erh is earthy and woodsy. It can be almost pleasantly musty. Or it can smell and taste like moldy socks on a hot day. An old fish pond. Potting soil. Mushrooms. A hint of smoke. Chocolate. Malt. Sweet. And oily if that’s even possible. Sometimes there are hints of all of those flavors from the very same leaves. What the heck? Weird stuff.

Numi Emperor’s Choice Pu-erh has just a hint of fishy smell or essence of seaweed aroma and a hint of smokiness. After steeping for a few minutes it tastes woodsy and earthy with a hint of resinous-ness (is that a flavor or even a word?). I don’t find much of a mushroom flavor in it, but it can have a bit of chocolate and malt. Overall the woodsy taste is pleasant. The fishy smell seems to dissipate fairly quickly, but it can be off-putting if you’re not expecting it. The brew is dark and slightly reddish. I can steep a couple of cups from one tea bag, but not as many cups as some of the loose leaf pu-erh that I’ve tried.

Why in the world would anybody drink fishy dirt tea?

Not all Pu-erh tastes like fish or dirt. Pu-erh is supposed to be chock-full-o health benefits, as is most tea. But pu-erh is supposed to be extra good for digestion, cholesterol, and weight loss. That sounds good to me. Plus I just plain like trying lots of kinds of tea. I first tried pu-erh several years ago, and I’ve been trying it again recently. I’m still not sure that I like a lot of it. And I feel like the more I know, the less I know.

I learned recently that there are two kinds of pu-erh — raw (or Sheng Cha) and ripe (or Shu Cha). The raw variety is the kind that ages over many many years and develops a unique flavor. Sometimes it’s called green pu-erh. Or “aged raw pu-erh.” It can be pressed into bricks, cakes, disks, or tuo cha (little cup-or-bowl-shaped disks). Properly aged, it can become a coveted delicacy and quite expensive. If properly stored it will continue to age and change over time.

The ripened version is also aged, but with a lot less time involved. The fermentation process is speeded up to mimic what can happen to the raw green version over many years. So the ripe kind is usually aged for a few months. (It can also be weeks or years depending on the tea.) Moisture is controlled. Microbes are added. It can be loose (and later bagged) or pressed into the same shapes as Sheng Cha.Then it becomes “ripe,” is dried, and is packaged.

In the end, both Sheng Cha and Shu Cha end up a dark and almost reddish color with a mellow, complex flavor.

Ripe pu-erh is the tea you’re probably going to find most easily in grocery stores or American tea shops. This is what Numi’s Emperor’s Pu-erh is. There probably aren’t many microbes still living on this tea further maturing it, but it may change some with age and it has a very long shelf life.

Once you get used to Emperor’s Pu-erh try other pu-erh teas and judge from there if you like them better or not. Your tea really shouldn’t taste like actual moldy socks on a hot day or a dried fish pond, but just a hint of that is not uncommon. Enjoy! 🙂

  

 

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