By happenstance, author and activist, Charles A. Preston appeared on my Twitter timeline through the retweet of someone I follow, and I consider myself lucky to have found his amazing resource for Black History (this month and every month of the year). The multi-folder Google doc is chock full of information about many aspects of Black History from Afro-Futurism to Zora Neale Hurston and many others in between. I believe he is continuing to update it. When using his folders, remember to give him credit as well as linking to his Twitter or website.
January is National Tea Month. Sometimes it’s nice to get a random reminder of the wonderfulness of tea. After the holiday season, I’m ready to get rid of the sweets and sugar-filled drinks like hot chocolate and eggnog, and even hot apple cider. I’m not a coffee drinker, so tea is my real go-to for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is taste.
It’s getting better, but in the past, I have found it somewhat difficult to find the teas I like to drink. I went through a spate of only drinking chai masala or ginger tea. Unfortunately for me most ginger teas come in lemon flavor or green tea, and I prefer black tea as my base. With this first post, I want to share some of the places you can find teas nationally.
1. The Fresh Market has a wide variety of teas from your basic Lipton to imported from the United Kingdom, India, and China. They have nearly every flavor that you might want to try or add to your repertory of tea selections.
2. Adagio is a mail order tea company that has a fandom section. I’ve enjoyed teas from them in themes of Harry Potter, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and more. They also have the opportunity to blend your own although I haven’t made use of that yet. They also offer reasonably priced sample tins so you can try something new.
3. PGTips is quintessentially British tea. Best taken with milk added first in a hot cup. Find Douglas Adams’s guide for making the perfect cup of tea. It is worth the Google.
4. Twinings has a wide variety. My favorites are the British and Irish breakfast and afternoon teas: English breakfast, Irish breakfast, Scottish afternoon, Prince of Wales, Earl Grey, Lady Grey among others. Afternoon teas tend to have less caffeine so less chance to keep you up at night.
5. Stash is the only place that I was able to get my Ginger Black Breakfast Tea that I originally and randomly found one box of in an overstock store.
Check your local directories for small tea shops or tea blenders and sellers. They are more and more popping up in localities around my neighborhood, and also probably yours as well.
Tips for Writing and Other Answers
JK Rowling is one of my true inspirations to keep at my writing. Not only do I enjoy reading her work, she is truly an example and role model of how to share your success, and know yourself and your priorities. Enjoy her words of wisdom.
I requested and received these as a gift this past holiday season. I had seen them in a Target ad for half off on Black Friday. I think they retail at around $49.99 in most places. I wouldn’t normally spend that much or even half that on earbuds, but visually, they seemed to be what I was looking for.
I was happy to find out they are! And much more!
The earbuds themselves are very comfortable in my ears, either on their own or with my hearing aids. Other earbuds were practically useless with my hearing aids, and I don’t like taking them in and out during the day to listen to a podcast or music.
The part that worn around the neck is also very comfortable. So comfortable in fact, that I have forgotten that I’m wearing them, and will take off my jacket at a church or library function and realize then that I never took it off. I’ve fallen asleep with it around my neck and with the earbuds in my ears.
The website and the product box both extol its functionality: It connects to your tech with bluetooth wireless technology and the battery will run for about eight hours. It has a built-in microphone for calls, pause, track and volume control right at your fingertips.
The sound is the best sound I’ve ever had in an earbud, including other Skullcandy that I’ve used in the past. Both sides blend well to give a great stereo sound and I can hear some background vocals and commentary that I hadn’t heard in listening before. I really noticed this when listening to the Hamilton original Broadway soundtrack. In a couple of the songs there is a low side-talking that I had never noticed before.
I haven’t tested how far away I can go from my tablet, but I have left it in one room and gone to get dressed in another or went to the kitchen to cook or do dishes. I’m definitely not tied to my tablet in one place.
The bluetooth pairs seamlessly to my Kindle Fire as well as my Samsung Galaxy 9, although obviously not at the same time. I primarily use it with the Kindle Fire.
I would highly recommend these earbuds. I have used them constantly since getting them for Christmas, and I will update as the year goes on as to how they last for the long haul.
I have been subscribing to this magazine for decades. At the beginning of my writing career, I would get it along with others to get a feel for the profession and the practice of writing. It is now (and has been for many years) the only professional subscription that I get. It is the best resource for all writers of all experiences and for all genres writers, fiction and non-fiction. Stop by your local Barnes & Noble and pick up their most recent copy. You won’t regret it.
The Wilderness is a multi-part podcast documentary on the Democratic Party; its history – where we’ve been, and where we’re going. It is hosted and facilitated by former Obama speechwriter, Jon Favreau.
After graduating from the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, Jon went to work for the 2004 John Kerry Presidential campaign. From there he was recommended as Barack Obama’s speechwriter in 2005, where he remained through the Senator’s Congressional term through his Presidency until 2013.
In 2017, he, Tommy Vietor, and Jon Lovett formed and co-founded Crooked Media, which is self-described as “a no bullshit conversation about politics.” On this I would heartily agree.
Jon has written for The Daily Beast and co-hosts the political podcast, Pod Save America (another I would highly recommend) with Vietor, Lovett as well as another Obama alum, Dan Pfeiffer.
In the few episodes of The Wilderness I’ve listened to, he’s brought together a riveting narrative with historians, political bigwigs and not so big wigs as well as archival audio to create a whole, solid picture of what went wrong in 2016, and how Democrats can move forward through the twenty-first century.
It’s fifteen parts, released over months, and each part is about forty-five minutes long. The Wilderness is informative. It’s compelling; engaging. It’s emotional. Any student of politics and history is caught up in the predictive nature of our own memories of the political past. When Jon says the date April 4th 1968, we know that his next sentence is the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. Prior to that, when he talks about JFK’s slow but steady plans for civil rights and the future of African-Americans’ freedoms, we know that was cut short in a motorcade in Dallas. We are swept up now as much as the first time in what ifs and what could have beens. I recognize King’s voice, and President Obama’s, and Walter Cronkite’s as he announces for the world the assassination of Kennedy.
I will admit to a couple of times that I was forced by emotion to pause the podcast. In the introduction, we relive the night of November 4th, 2016 when we went from the glass ceiling to the dumpster fire. Nine-eleven and current Administration nonsense made me hit pause as well. It wasn’t simply the mentioning of the 2016 election outcome; it was the reliving through audio and background that triggered a deep sense of sadness and anxiety. I could feel the panic rising up through my chest. I remembered back to that night, tears and fighting back tears, the denial, and the immediate days that followed – the tightness of my chest, the weakness of my legs, the headaches, the always being on the edge of tears. It was 9/11 all over again. As someone personally affected by 9/11, I do not invoke its memory lightly. My mother-in-law died the summer before this election, and our house was very much back to that feeling of devastation during the period between November 4th and January 20th, 2017, like a doomsday clock counting down to the end of the world.
But after a few deep breaths, a glass of soda, a check of email (not Twitter, Lord, stay away from Twitter), I returned my ear buds and pushed play on the podcast.
I hope you will give this documentary a listen.
We continue to say that if we forget our history we are doomed to repeat it. This is a lesson in that history and how we can come out of the other side better for having lived it. Remember it and improve and move forward.
The Wilderness can be found on your favorite podcast app.
I listen on Player.FM on my Kindle, and I would absolutely recommend this app for Android. (That doesn’t preclude Apple or using it on Apple – I know nothing of Apple products unless you mean the delicious ones that grow on trees.)