I was planning on starting earlier, but I was waiting to get my old camera back from my sister because I wanted to use this opportunity to get back into photography and learn how to use a real camera again, as opposed to Instagram. But when I finally got it back, she couldn’t find the cord, so … yea.
Today’s subject wasn’t really what I had in mind; I had other ideas planned, but they all involved taking artsy pictures with fancy bokeh, so those will have to be put on hold.
I drink tea religiously. I swear by my tea, and if I hear Max or any of my friends cough or even sniffle I immediately whip out a bag (I always carry bags with me) and force it upon him or her. As for myself, I drink about six steaming cups throughout the day, even if I’m sweating and fanning myself off with a piece of cardboard at the same time.
My old, beat-up tea kettle: I’m pretty sure I got this thing for $20 at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I don’t even know why we got it in the first place, since we didn’t start drinking tea until we moved to Oakland. I probably just got carried away when we were shopping for our first house in Santa Cruz.
I was actually browsing Amazon for a new tea kettle this morning, because I just don’t like mine. The handle gets too hot, I don’t like that I have to touch the spout to open it, it’s greasy, yada yada yada. There were a lot of nice, colorful kettles online, and I even picked out a bright, yellow one that cost more than I’d ever admit to paying for a kettle. But as I read more and more reviews of all of these kettles, I kept hearing about more problems: rust or enamel chips getting in the water, black grime coating the bottoms, whistles not working. Or of bizarre requirements, like “only use low heat” or “never fill it over half way” or “never let it sit with water.” All mildly inconvenient things. Eventually I just gave up and decided to stick with what I’ve got, and now I look at my dingy old kettle with a newfound sense of respect. It makes me think of those memes with old couples talking about how they fixed all of the problems in their relationship, unlike the kids these days who simply throw out anything that’s broken. I also just think about what my mother would say if I threw out a perfectly decent kettle, and that changes my mind quickly enough.
The mug in the picture is my guilt mug. For Christmas a few years ago, my aunt gave me and Katie some Ugg boots. They were so far outside our tastes that we couldn’t even fake enthusiasm, but luckily her shopping efforts have always been kind of half-hearted rather than personal, and she always gives us the receipts and tells us to exchange them for whatever we like.
That same night I commented on how pretty one of her mugs was, a mug my uncle had gotten for her from Belize. She immediately offered to take back the Uggs and give me the mug instead, and of course I said no. But when we left a few days later, she pushed it into my hands and insisted I take it. I did, and now it’s my favorite mug, though every time I look at it I feel a little guilty for not being more grateful for her Christmas present.
It reminds me of a story a professor once told us, about a trip in a far off, Middle Eastern country. She was visiting a friend of hers, and when she came into his house for dinner she complimented him on a beautiful rug that was hanging on the wall. Her friend’s wife suddenly looked anguish; apparently it was the custom in that culture to give your guest anything in your home that they complimented, and that particular rug was a family heirloom.
Looking back, the story seems a little far-fetched to me now. What would keep a greedy guest from complimenting and taking everything? Would you really have to give away something that important?
At least my mug is no heirloom; my aunt almost seemed enthusiastic to give it to me. Maybe it didn’t go well with the rest of the cups and plates?