8 of 52

In which I freely admit to skipping a week because I was reorganizing my room pursuant to the removal of a huge corner cabinet and that was more important than letting you know there was minimal progress on my other goals.  I’ve been finishing that reorganization and cleaning this week, so there still hasn’t been much progress.

But I am getting back on track:  I knit yesterday and brought that third scarf to 1/5 done.  I still aim for a March finish.  I also unearthed the February books and will get back to them after I publish this post and make the chicken salad for this week’s lunches.  I read extra in January, so I am still good for the year, but I am sure Sarah is waiting on my March selection, which I cannot in good conscience give her until I finish her February book.  But heads up, it will be A Wrinkle in Time, so I can see the movie with the book fresh in my head.

Speaking of movies, I saw Black Panther last weekend. It was entertaining, but I was unimpressed with the sociological message behind it. Or maybe the lack of same. There were vibrant Black characters, which I was glad to see, but viewed through my social work lens the conflict between the “good and peaceful” king and his “violent and bad” challenger just didn’t work. It tasted like a rehashing of the argument about whether marginalized peoples should protest quietly/peacefully or angrily/forcefully. The crisp, grammatical English spoken by the king juxtaposed against the more sloppy enunciation of the challenger was also frustrating.  It may be my own white ignorance, but I think the movie played to stereotypes of some white folk’s ideas of acceptable Blackness versus unacceptable Blackness. UGH! You can do better, Hollywood.  You need to do better.  Show us more strong Black characters without the Uncle Tom’s Cabin overlay.  The little scene after the credits started did a bit to alleviate my concerns, but how many people saw that? Our family was almost alone in the theater when that happened, but we never leave until the lights come up–most people scurry as soon as the credits start.

Yeah, I know that’s a controversial thing I said up there. Hate if you gotta hate, but keep it civil.

The other thing I spent time mulling this week was Aristotle’s quote: It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. I was am troubled by how many people I know who cannot do this. Won’t do this. Whichever, effect is the same.

In other entertainment news, we have new soundbars, one in my room and one in the living room.  They improve the television and music experience 167%. As the CNET review for the Vizio SB3621n-E8 said, “Just buy this.”


Behold my tarnished teapot, and then scroll down for the rest of the story.


Those of you who follow my Facebook know that I woke up grumpy on Tuesday, but decided I would have an amazing day, and then was practically given this tea set:


I asked the guy if the 6.99 cup and the 6.99 saucer meant the 2 pieces together were 6.99 and he said yes. I told him I wanted one and he walked over to the “precious” cabinet to get it for me. He looked at the shelf and he looked at me. And he said, “This is a whole set. I can’t break it. It’s 49.99.” “For all of it?” I squeaked. “Yes.” “I’ll take it.” And then I might have jumped up and down a few times. It’s Johnson Brothers Strawberry Fair, and the server alone was marked 49.99. The charger 24.99, and each little piece 6.99. All told, that’s about 250 bucks worth of Salvation Army-priced merchandise. I’ll let you go to eBay like I did to determine the real market value. P.S. No, I am not going to pay 400+ dollars for the matching tea pot.

Oh, and I had looked at this set when I went with all the kids last Thursday, but did a rapid calculation and didn’t even ask about it. Clearly, this set was meant to be mine. Amazing, no?

Then, we went on the Goodwill as planned. We found a lovely china teapot and checked out. As I was paying, I looked across the store and saw some breakable things on a set of shelves hidden behind a rack of clothes. I told Jasmine to finish up and walked over to look. One of the things on that shelf was the set you see to the left in the picture above. No maker’s mark, just Made in Japan, but it’s fine enough that if you look through the cup from the inside, you can see the painting on the outside. Twelve cups, twelve saucers, marked 12 bucks for the lot.

So then, I have been thinking that I need a pot that vaguely matches these two tea sets. But then, I was thinking “but I haven’t paid full price for anything so far, why start now?” And then I decided to get off the internet and clean the living room. And as I was clearing the candy wrappers off the end table where Mother’s Silver Tea Service was sitting, I said, “Oh.” And then I took it into the kitchen to wash it up. This set belonged to my once-Mother-in-Law. When she and Dad downsized to an apartment, I was asked if there was anything I wanted from her house. I asked for a ceramic kewpie doll, and this tea service. I’ve had it for….many years. More than 15, maybe as long as 20.

And you know, I know it has a patina. It had one when it was given to me, and it is beautiful to me just like it is. I could polish it up and it would be shiny. But that verdigris has character. That oxidation has taken this teapot from something I have to take care of to something I can use to bring me, my children, and my guests joy. And it is worthy to be used with my best tea things.

Now, I need a china cabinet. They had those at Goodwill, too, and really cheap, but I currently lack the man-power to get one up the stairs. Currently.

Goodbye 365; Let’s Have Tea

I’m officially taking a break from Project 365. I’ve done it for several years, and I have enjoyed it. But. I think less is more can also apply to digital noise. And though I sometimes have great stories to tell, I don’t have great stories to tell every day. As you well know. This particularly applies to work days. I *cannot* take pictures at work. And no matter how great a story I have about what happened at work, it has to stay at work. So. Moving on.

I have a Facebook friend who frequently posts pictures of her afternoon tea. I found myself getting envious. I mean, to take time out of the day and prepare delectable edibles, steep an actual pot of tea, and reconnect with family? And serve it on pretty dishes? Who does that??? SHE does that. And I wanted to do it, too. So I did. Here we are having tea. At 6:30 pm. But we had tea yesterday.


And we will have tea again!

“Cass! You know tea is served in the afternoon, not in the evening! What ails you?” Well, it happened like this. Jasmine came out of her room yesterday and said, “Since we are all home can we do a thing?” Now, I had a list of errands to run and really did not feel like dragging the kids with me to do them. But she was right, we are rarely all home for an entire day. I decided to take them on the errands and go get some lunch. One of the errands was to drop off things at the thrift store. And I started thinking. About tea things.

Now, I decided many years ago that I didn’t want anything in our home that I would yell at a kid for accidentally damaging. I don’t mean willful destruction. I mean fair wear and tear, and that includes dropping dishes now and again. Hell, I dropped a plate myself last weekend and broke it into four pieces. Anyway, with the exception of Grandmother’s rocking chair, which I keep in my room, I’ve held to that. I wanted pretty tea things to have elegant tea, but I knew I couldn’t go buy a tea set because I’d be mad if a piece were damaged.

But there we were. At the thrift store. Where they sell things. So, I looked at the children and said, “okay, we’re going in. We are going straight to the back. Don’t get distracted. We’re only going in that one section.” So we did. We decided we weren’t going to go with sets, necessarily. It just had to be pretty, and actual china. That first store had quite a few things. And then we went to a second thrift store where we picked up a few more. And then a third.


Tea was served at 6:30 pm, because we got home at 4:30, and it took me a bit of time to get it all washed, dried, and put away, even with Jasmine helping. We ended up with 20 cups, and I didn’t count the saucers and such. I ended up putting about half of it in the cabinet instead of on the shelf as you see it above. I discovered when I went to get the pieces I wanted to use that it was packed too tightly to be accessible. So now I have pretty tea things, and if a piece gets broken it’s no big deal because it won’t mess up my “set.” I’ll just pull a replacement down from the cabinet. When I run out of replacements, I will just go back to the thrift store.

342/362/2015 My New Favorite Boyfriend


For steaming hot love… A whole pot at a time.

320/363/2015 Dear Stockings

Fall no more!


And yes,  I missed yesterday.

294/364/2015 Sushi Night


Get in my mouth!

274/364/2015 How To Be Insanely Warm


Find a duvet in the middle of summer at Goodwill for 13 bucks. Buy it,  because duvet and 13 bucks.  Months later,  order a microfiber duvet cover set.  Bake yourself all night.

243/364/2015 Sharing the Fu


So, my cousin and I had made tentative plans to go to the museum today. Yes, we went out yesterday. But with the job starting tomorrow, we know our time together will be more limited for the foreseeable future. She sent me a message early this morning saying she wanted to change our plans. She’d woken up with the strong impression we ought to go to the thrift stores today instead. So we did.

She’s already shared her score, but let me tell you about mine. Three skirts for work(one of which I am wearing tomorrow), one shirt for work, FIVE pairs of shoes, three of which are for work (one of which I am wearing tomorrow), and this organizer that I thought would be perfect on my desk, and behold, it it is! Her fu was strong today, and she shared!

How strong was the fu? Let me tell you a story about shoes. Many years ago, my then step-dad bought me a pair of Bass Weejun Katherine II penny loafers. I wore them a few times, and one of the shoes just disappeared. I looked and looked for that shoe. And I held on to the mate. Because I really loved those shoes. After a couple of years, I was rearranging the closet, and found the shoe behind the shoe/book-case. I was happy.

Fast forward to the move to Maryland, and the third time I wore the shoes here, the sole separated from the shoe. I repaired it twice. And then I gave up, because having my shoe break at work more than once is unacceptable. I’ve had those shoes in my room where I tripped over them, then in the hallway where I tripped over them, and then back in my room where I tripped over them, for months. I kept forgetting to take them to be professionally repaired.

Today, I remembered. We went to the first repair shop on the way to the first Goodwill. It was deserted, like closed never to be reopened. We went on the Goodwill, where I hit a four shoe/two skirt/one shirt bonanza. I mean, a pair of Hushpuppies, mistakenly placed in the men’s section. And some Skechers, in the kids section. And Naturalizer booties. Plus one cute pair of flats with a name I don’t even know, also in the kids section. The Shoe Gods were smiling, and so was I. We went to lunch and then to the second shoe repair shop, where the man told me my beloved Katherine IIs were….irreparable. I told him to just dispose of them. I had a sad. A big sad. I loved those shoes.

And then. Then, we went to the second Goodwill. And in that Goodwill, also in the men’s section, was a pair of Bass Weejun Katherine II penny loafers in my size. The soles were less worn than the pair that ended up in the trash 20 minutes earlier. They just needed a slap of leather conditioner. Have I mentioned that Sarah is a bootblack? I’ve left those with her for a little TLC and will pick them up over the weekend, and I have penny loafers again!

Here are the morals of the shoe story. Let irreparable shoes go to shoe heaven; and always, always go thrift store shopping with Sarah. She has the fu. And she shares.