Friday, November 6, 2009

Random Artifacts Of Autumn

Here is a yummy autumn snack to enjoy anytime. I made this up myself: Gut a pumpkin. Roast the pumpkin seeds, and toss with a generous amount of candy corn. It's a sweet and salty combo. A party for your mouth. A great source of quick energy for all those impromptu moonlit walks. After all, the moon has been so big and bright and bulging lately, who can resist its nightly call? I know I can't. I also can't resist our dog's nightly call of nature, which is the real reason I'm taking moonlit walks.

Autumn is thrift store season. When the leaves start falling, it’s time to hit those musty racks. Summer is not a good time to go, because when it’s hot and humid, it’s hard to face a bunch of ugly old clothes, hanging all limp and smelly. But when the weather cools off, that peculiar thrift store scent isn’t so noticeable and the sweaters seem worth digging through. When I was a freshman at KU my friend Rick and I hit the thrift stores and vintage clothing stores looking for Halloween costumes. Since then I've come to associate the crunching of dried leaves underfoot and chilly wind with the act of combing through used clothes in search of THE FIND. I learned that second-hand stores held all kinds of possibilities that went far beyond Halloween. Like vintage cardigans that were either cashmere or 100% lambswool. They always had quaint little tags sewn inside that dated them to the 50’s or 60’s.

When Roger and I cruised area thrift stores a few weeks ago for our pepperpot attire, I happened upon two delightful little cardigans that qualified as FINDS. One looks vintage, even though it’s not. It is light pink and soft to the touch, with pearly white buttons, and embellishments bordering the buttons and buttonholes that give it a retro look. I’m wearing it right now. It was $2.00. The other cardigan is not my color at all, a goldish greenish greenish gold, but I don’t care, because it has a nice nubby texture and thousands of little golden threads woven throughout the cloth. It is cozy as hell. Price tag: $2.00.

Well, lately my black boots have developed a gimpy heel, and so today I went back to the thrift store. I am squeamish about used shoes, but sometimes you get lucky. Today I got lucky. Found a pair of brown M. Patrick boots in really great shape, and they weren’t all gross inside, where your foot goes. I also found a pair of brown loafers that were in commendable form. The thrift store was having a 30% off sale (do thrift stores even NEED to have sales???) and so I picked up both pairs for $5.60! Left there feeling like high society, let me tell you.

I have done an amazing thing this fall. I've converted from coffee to drinking tea. Sure enough, giving up the bean has done the trick, and the effects of the acid are gone. And in the meantime, I have been learning how to become a tea drinker. There are things I didn't know. Like, you can't steep a tea bag in a huge coffee mug full of hot water. Unless you want your tea to taste like hot water. You have to watch the water level. I have sampled a wide variety of teas, and have learned that I like Earl Gray tea when I'm feeling delicate, and Lady Gray Tea when I'm feeling downright ethereal. Prince Wales tea is a good solid tea that is nice and grounded and yet very smooth, and not at all bitter. I haven't been able to get into Chinese Oolong tea, and though you're supposed to drink it with milk and sweetener, I prefer my tea "black." That way it stays piping hot. Once you start adding milk or cream, you have about 10 seconds to drink it before it's a watery, tepid mess. The key would be to heat the milk first, but who has time for that? The one time I do heat milk is when I attempt to make an economical version of the chai latte they serve in coffee shops, which I love so much. You heat up soy milk in the microwave, and wait until you see it bubbling up to the rim like it's about to spill over, and you stop it just in the nick of time. That way you get the milk good and frothy. Then you add not one, but two chai tea bags and let them steep. I use Celestial Seasonings' India Spice. Throw in some brown sugar for good measure, and you have a poor fascimile but at least you tried and you get some pleasure out of that. One really bizarre tea I've tried is called Lapsang Souchong. This is one weird tea. The tea leaves are smoked, and so the tea has a smoked flavor that is puzzling, and not really pleasant. I keep wondering if this tea will grow on me, but as of yet it's just strange and maybe even a little disturbing. I have found I really like African Rooibos Red tea. I didn't think I would --I thought it would have some earthy aftertaste, but instead it just has this nice depth that sort of reminds me of coffee! Snif. So when I'm missing coffee, I drink that. I like Darjeeling tea, but I have to be in the right mood. It's got a unique kind of grapey flavor and is good when eating something with a fruity filling.

1 comment:

  1. Great Post. I love Earl Grey and Lady Grey. I like Irish Breakfast too. Also, I agree--the Red Tea has a heartiness to it--like an ale or yeah, coffee. *chicory root reminder* I agree, thrift stores and autumn go together. Oh, and I love your drawings always and forever! Peace!