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Posts Tagged ‘warmth’

We’re entering the dark time of the year: when the sun starts to sink in mid-afternoon, and even some of the mornings are grey and dreary. My apartment gets much more natural light than my cubicle at work ever did, but it can get lonely, here by myself most days.

To stave off the loneliness and help kick-start my creativity, I’ve been taking my friend Nina Badzin’s writing class through ModernWell, on Tuesday mornings. Some of us are doing NaNoWriMo, and we’re cheering each other on through this crazy month of trying to write 50,000 words.

“I think ideas beget ideas,” Nina declared in class the other week. “So don’t ‘save’ them – just write them down.” It made me think of a similar sentiment I’d read recently on Anne Bogel’s blog: she shared her habit of lighting candles in the winter months. She said – and I agree – that it takes a bit of effort, but that having a candle burning while she brews a hot beverage is so much more satisfying than hoarding the “good” candles. (I rummaged in a drawer immediately after reading that blog post and came up with a couple of scented candles I’d been hoarding for a year. Why?)

I’m working on a secret project for NaNoWriMo, doing my usual book reviews for Shelf Awareness and some other freelance work, journaling most mornings and trying to post here sometimes, too. Sometimes all that writing feels like a lot. But I’m trying to follow Nina’s advice and just chase the ideas, when I have them. More often than not – as with my #run31 posts – coming up with a few ideas gets the wheels turning.

Candles do not beget candles, unfortunately, but I often light one while I do the writing anyway. It’s an affordable indulgence, and that bit of flame is a cheery way to help beat back the dark.

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As the days continue cold and often wet, I’ve been drinking my morning tea with the usual regularity, sometimes brewing up a second cup mid-morning if I’m especially cold or needing a pick-me-up. But after lunch, usually around two or three p.m., I’ve been coming back to the kettle for afternoon tea.

I don’t usually celebrate afternoon tea as the English do, or even as I often did in Oxford. A proper tea there includes scones, you know, with clotted cream and/or jam (and at Queen’s Lane Coffee House, my favorite Oxford cafe, they always serve their scones warm). But my afternoon tea is a little simpler – just a cuppa, usually Earl Grey or another flavored black tea, sometimes with a cookie or a bright clementine or a couple of peanut butter crackers. As the afternoon sun slips behind the western wall of our house, and as the time to turn on the twinkle lights approaches, my afternoon tea provides a pick-me-up, a warm-me-up, and a nice break in the routine of the day.

As I transition back to the workplace, this is one ritual I hope to carry over into my new job. (I certainly brewed my fair share of afternoon cups of tea at ACU – in all my offices there!) The view may be a bit different, but I have a feeling I’ll need my afternoon cuppa as much as – or more than – ever as I adjust to a new workplace rhythm.

(Tea at Queen’s Lane, May 2008…still one of my favorite photos
from my entire time in Oxford.)

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