Periodic Updates (08/27/15)

Life, Our Universe, and Pets:

I’ve been rediscovering things lately.  Some good, some irritating (but still good.)

A few days ago body forced a break on me, and I was aggravated by it.  Wanting to do something useful while watching things on Netflix, I decided to pick up my needles again.  It has been months since I’ve done any knitting, and as I started working the yarn again, I was a bit surprised by how much I had apparently missed it.  Mentally relaxing, and something productive I can do when legs and spine are being too ornery for more mobile productivity.

I had fun sorting through my shelf of patterns to find a nice stitch order for a scarf.  I’ve had some lovely bulky charcoal grey wool sitting around for a bit.  We found it at a thrift store, so it is a random amount, and not something I would have wanted to use for a standard project.  However, I was certain there was enough for a scarf, and it seemed a good choice for reminding myself how to knit.

The needle set was a slow-the-needle-takeover-of-space present from Mister Tea.

The needle set was a slow-the-needle-takeover-of-space present from Mister Tea.

Actually finished the scarf with some yarn left over, so I’m starting one of my “odds and ends blankets” – to have in process and on hand if I end up with any other wool scraps.

The other rediscovery has been one that may sound a bit funny.

My stomach has finally come out of the seeming coma it has been in for most of my life.  Not only has it started occasionally growling, it is also starting to insist on fairly regular input of things to turn into energy.

This is a very strange experience for me.  I hardly remember ever knowing when or if  I was hungry until my blood sugar crashed into light-headed loopiness, and for well over a decade I’ve been just fine remembering food once or twice a day.  (Usually when feeding other people.)  There was a particular Top Gear episode that sparked a running joke in our household – that I was a biological construct that ran on air alone.  (With maintenance liquids containing caffeine required from time to time.)

Suddenly I have this (probably beneficial) parasite demanding food in more quantity than I can manage.  I’ve found a vague balance utilizing protein powders and emergency juice – but I see some smoothie experimentation in my future.  Quite open to suggestions, if anyone has any.  This is new territory for me.

Social Media and the Internet:  From SHINY! to the RNG hates me

Not much in news of the net this week.

Twitter continues to fascinate me, and gives me things to read near constantly.  My TBR list keeps expanding, and I’ve discovered more blogs to read.  I’m also still working on understanding Pinterest.

I’ve reorganized our links, and added a few new things to the lists.  There will be more coming.

Mister Tea says this is because I keep a stack in every room.

Mister Tea says this is entirely accurate, since there is a stack in every room.

Teas, Cocoas, and Coffees (Oh My!)

Our printer experienced a terminal failure, which caused a bit of initial panic.  We did manage to replace it quickly, with almost no impact on our capacity to deal with orders.  It was nice, but I sometimes hate how dependent we are on our little bits and pieces of technology.

In that same vein, I am finally attempting to build a proper database – to better track All The Things.  With luck, once I get it properly put together, it will save much time on the paperwork side, and allow me to spend more time creating and blending our wares.  It has been far too long since I’ve worked with relational databases, and the rust that has gathered is formidable.  Despite that, I’m having fun playing with the program, and learning or relearning a skillset is always interesting.

I’d mentioned last week that I’d discovered an herb that I will be able to use to create purple/blue/pink teas without having to resort to any nasty dyes.  I looked into it, to be sure of both safety and efficacy, and am happy to report that it satisfies, on both fronts.  I’ve even found an organic supplier.  With luck, I will be able to add this plant to our toolbox soon, and start experimenting.  The potential is endless, especially for Geek Teas.

Lastly, a long time friend and customer tried an experiment this week that I must share.  She decided to put a bit of our ‘*Dark City Mint’ in with the coffee in her french-press one morning….  She reported it as:  “DE. LI. SHUSSSSSSS!!!”  (She added two teaspoons of the tea to her general amount of coffee, and suggests that everyone try it.)

'Dark City Mint' is one of our chocolate tisanes. Coffee beans and Tea leaves were not combined in any heretical fashion.

‘Dark City Mint’ is one of our chocolate tisanes. Coffee beans and Tea leaves were not combined in any sort of heretical fashion.

Entertainment:  The Final Frontier

Sadly, I’ve been working too hard to read much this week.  I’ve been giving myself a few moments here and there to read one of Mister Tea’s books from school, but not finished anything.  For his part, he continues to work through Weber’s ‘Safehold,’ and as he progresses we are actually able to talk about some of the things I’ve kept bottled up in my head because Spoilers.

We’ve spent a little more time with ‘Eternal Sonata,’ though he’s done most of the running around.  I’ve quite enjoyed working on my knitting and watching the cutscenes.  The music, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, is nice all on its own.


There was an area that we discovered that made me panic a little at first.  It is called the “Hanon Hills.” We’d just come out of a particularly aggravating circular puzzle of room movement, and I could not understand what we had done to deserve Hanon in a video game.  I wasn’t sure how Hanon would translate into playing a game, but I thought about scenarios involving synchronized buttons in sequence and rhythm….  or something.

The background on this is that I’ve played piano for most of my life.  C.L. Hanon created a series of exercises for increasing strength, agility, and endurance – with a particular emphasis on making all of your fingers equally proficient.  (Most people have stronger and weaker fingers.)  They are incredibly useful exercises.  Great for when you’ve been away from the keys for a bit, and working them has a positive effect on guitar playing and typing speed as well.  However, they are hellishly boring and you get to the point where you practically catch yourself playing them in your sleep on the covers…  or your partner’s head.


Given the musical theme of the game overall, I had expected something that gave a glimmer of those exercises.  The area ended up being a bit anti-climactic, but it was still funny that both of us twitched at the name.

Last Cutscene

My last thought this time around is going to come in the form of a suggestion.

Find someone you care about and let them know.  Whether it be a hug for a family member or dear friend, or a few words to someone you only know through the net, just take a minute or two and express it.

Between my friend losing his father last week and a few hours of worry for a friend and inspiration this week after a tweet that reminded me that even when you aren’t allergic to most of the medications on the planet – major surgery is still major surgery….  the tenuousness of life was brought forward again.

Thankfully, my friend made it through just fine.

I think that, as a species, we sometimes take having more time as a given, rather than as a gift.

Until next time….



Series Navigation<< Periodic Ramblings (August 17, 2015)Periodic Updates (09/04/15) >>

8 Replies to “Periodic Updates (08/27/15)”

  1. Love the rambling and glad to hear you are feeling better, hungry (and eating 🙂 and perhaps you’ll knit a tea pot warmer to help keep your tasty blends warmer….longer. Hugs from NC and hope you have a great weekend reading, knitting, blending, filling orders and letting someone you know share in your beauty.

    • Glad you’ve been enjoying them. A teapot warmer is definitely on the list, but Mister Tea has gotten a wee bit obsessed with the idea of this most recent scrap and forgotten yarn blanket. I’m planning on it being large enough for both of us to curl up under on the couch, even if the gigantic dog joins us. So, for the moment, finishing off what I can with that… and then we shall see.
      I’m guessing you are likely crazy busy, but I hope it is the good sort.
      Find some time to breathe? (I know, pot, kettle, etc….)

      • LOL You are so funny 🙂 **breathing** You know the saying “If daddy isn’t happy….noooo body is happy 🙂 So tend to his curling blanket and perhaps Santa will bring you some soft new yarn for your teapot warmer creations. **couple more breaths** I am crazy busy in a good way….cloning is illegal so I’m burning the candle at both ends and trying to create the website in WordPress before using/learning FTP to put it up on HostGator.

        Even at this 60’s is the new 40’s I’m learning (warding off Alzheimer’s??) Harvesting lots of Parsley, Sage and Thyme right now….Rosemary is doing okay for new plants, but wish I could harvest just a little bit more for making some hydrosol…..Mountain Rose Herbs here I come for some Rosemary as the local farmers market does not sell any, oh well, I’d rather grow it myself 🙂

        Kinda like you and your database. Many tables with lots of info. Hint, create forms that you enter the data into once and then feed as necessary to the tables. Primary keys will guide you. I’m more familiar with Access and SQL but still use Excel and export as needed. Big help is to name columns in Excel just like the fields in your database. That way you know what data is in them and don’t have to guess.
        No spaces in columns/fields please just Upper lower case usage. Bigger help is to grab a large piece of construction paper and draw the tables on it with the field names on it and Primary/secondary keys noted. Draw lines if needed from table/fields. Kind of helps serve as a traffic cop. The more tables you have open at one time the slower things will work, so it’s okay to have one table to holds your most used data. I called my the “Go_To” Table. Saved my bacon more than once 🙂
        Okay, that’s all the secrets you’re gonna get from me today 🙂

        The Red Monster compost pile drum turning thing is in full production & hoping to get a good haul for a little fall pick me up for the perennials. I like to sprinkle just a little around them so they have something to munch on during the fall. Just a little bit will do ya! What else….Oh congratulations on the fantastic new pics and I’m loving your new tea descriptions. Geeking outta here….kiss to you, a BIG hug, and go eat a snack and keep on blending 🙂

        Oh crap, I have an over abundance of Peppermint….want some ?

        • Main issue at the moment is that I’m going to run out of the type of yarn I’m using for it long before I finish the blanket, even with my ridiculous stash yarn pile. (13-15 needle size wool.) So… once I run out of what is in the house, going to have to start looking for sales on some of the yarn sites I used to frequent.

          I figured you would be. Just try to keep it to burning at both ends – my experimentation with burning the candle in the middle as well has never worked out particularly well.

          There are definitely days I wish we had enough space to grow more or enough time to figure out some vertical rigs. At least for our personal use, I’d rather grow. The amount I would need to grow the things for the medicinal teas…. we’d need acres. And help.

          I definitely appreciate the information on databasing. I may have some specific queries, if that’s okay, at some point. Once I get all the data in I need to figure out how to build specific sorts of queries…. This is going to be a long project, but it is already helping.

          Compost is an excellent thing. I need to remember to feed our trees and shrubs a bit later on this year for that last space before things are supposed to get cold. I am really hoping they do this year. The summer has been so draining.

          Keep an eye out for more pictures soonish. We’re hoping to get them taken for four new teas today. As well as our expanded gift and sampler sets. Hopefully we’ll come up with some neat beyond-the-basic-pictures, too.

          And yes. If you actually have an over abundance, we go through peppermint like crazy here.

          *hugs* Enjoy your Sunday.

          • Over the past year I’ve been bugging my husband to bring home discarded usable wood that’s untreated from his companies “garbage bin area”. In particular, some 1X10X4’s that are connected into a box using metal ends. Perfect for a small raised bed, especially when stacked 2 or 3 high 🙂 So he’s been keeping his eye out for them, as they don’t get shipments from this vendor often.
            We’ve managed to collect 12 of them, and I’ve got 3 in place now. Using one for my Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme bed (with a Cherry Tomato plant that started growing) Don’t know how it got there, but my Rosemary doesn’t seem to mind the “up close and personal” aspect, and the tomatoes are soooo delicious.

            The 2nd one is half filled with plant ready dirt and I’ll be adding to it towards the end of September and transplanting some of my containers of Oregano, Lavender and yet more Sage 🙂 The 3rd one right now is holding 2 large containers of Blue Lake Green Beans and California Wonder Peppers. These were started in June (late to the party again) but starting to bear 🙂 This fall I’ll seed bed 2 and 3 with some Echinacea, Calendula, Tagetes and Arnica seeds, and perhaps a Comfrey.

            There’s a happy medium to my candle burning now. It’s called make a list of most important things to do/get one, but allow one to be flexible and “orders get blended and filled first” 🙂 I tend to do daytime/outside stuff during the morning and things like stripping herbs in the evening, and have decided that my obsession to “start and then go to the finish” of a single task is not always possible. So I bounce as necessary and break up my daily chores. I’m calling it “Covered Multitasking” 🙂 Thank goodness for a large dining room table and an even larger bar area in the kitchen and a loving husband who puts up with my herbal clutter.

            I have peppermint, spearmint and lemon balm and will send you a care package soon. Same address I presume as last fall? We working on the last ounce or so of your wonderful Big Easy Mocha, and my obsession with The Mintalist for a afternoon pick me up or a late night awakening is also calling for a refill 🙂 I’ll be visiting you soon for a order, and was wondering which site you’d prefer I order through.

            I’ll see what other herbal goodies I have a little of this and that of and send you a culinary mix from the garden. While we’re on the subject of care packages 🙂 what tincture(s) would you like a taste of? And I can send you some Arnica EVOO 🙂 That ought to help those pesky finger joints that don’t like moving early in the morning.

            Off to strain the Lavender Lotion decoction….it’s smelling really earthy in the kitchen 🙂

          • If I remember right, Rosemary is a good companion plant for tomatos, too. Some of their predators do not like the rosemary.

            I love hearing about your plant efforts, both in the growing and the making.

            I’m working towards a similar balance, and have a similarly patient partner. *chuckles* We’re both lucky in that aspect. I’m working hard on the task and work focus issue, and weirdly, the blood sugar roller coaster problem has been helping with that, as I have to break up the time with food from tiem to time.

            *cheers for herbs* It is the same address. Likely to be, actually, until we manage to get out of this state. I’m not honestly sure which one I would prefer. I like the cafecommerce site for a number of reasons, but with the Christmas season coming up, orders and feedback on Etsy will help to feed into more business. Until I can take the time to properly tag things in our personal shop, we are not going to see much traffic there. I’ve considered closing it down, but for the mild Etsy paranoia, and for the amount of work that has already gone into it.

            I need to look at the list you messaged me again, I’ll check that soonish. (As far as tinctures.) I know the nerve lag and pain issues have been worse this year, and until I get the blood sugar issues sorted I can’t drink Achievement. I would love some of the arnica loveliness. (Just no chamomile in anything for me.)

            I can imagine the smell of your kitchen. Ours smells like chili at the moment. Been in the slow cooker for 18 hours or so now. Almost enough to make me hungry again.

          • Ohhhh chili…..and cornbread? My two favorite dishes, especially in the fall and winter. Rosemary, Oregano & Thyme are rich in analgesics and anti-inflammatory benefits. Sprinkle some of each on everything you eat. I’ll send you some dry herbs also. I also have Meadowsweet which is great for topical pain, and Comfrey that is wonderful for topical application to help with cell regeneration and pain.

            Eleuthro (siberian ginseng) can help reduce blood sugar as can just a little bit of cinnamon, cloves, oregano, sage, and garlic. Turmeric, ginger, devil’s claw, willow, cayenne and nettles all help arthritis. As does peppermint and eucalyptus. again eating a little every day or taking a tincture helps. Also you can take a little of all the dried herbs that will help and added them (1 tsp) to a tea bag and sip your way into better health 🙂

            Will send some Arnica EVOO. If you’d like any essential oils added to it such as Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme (to help pain and reduce inflammation) with a little bit of peppermint (to help improve circulation), Birch (again for pain) Lavender (again anti inflammatory) to help scent it, and a drop or two of Rose Absolute so you won’t smell like a jearactic ward, I’ll be happy to accommodate 🙂

            I’m building you a care package now, so please take a look at the list of tinctures from last whenever it was I sent it to you 🙂 and let me know if there’s any you’d like to try. Medications can interact with herbs as you well know, so Dr. advice or pharmacist help is warranted.

            Don’t worry about the cost, as a USPS Regional Rate box can hold lots of goodies….I’ll get my karma back 🙂

          • I love the two together, as well.
            Good to have some of those reminders. Sometimes I forget to treat myself like a client. Granted, my doc thought there was a good chance I was medicating myself enough with food and spices that I was getting false negatives on some of the tests.
            Reminds me, there’s a turmeric drink I used to make that I loved. Powder base, with honey and almond oil and…. I’ll need to check my notes. Was lovely in milk in the evening.
            As far as the arnica EVOO-I am figuring that given how long it took me to respond to this you have already made some decisions, and I trust your instincts. (I know how to make things for drinking/eating and helping from the inside.)
            I am giddy with happy waiting.
            I’ve some ideas for a return package.

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