“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”
– Melody Beattie
Profile – Connie SchultzStandard
I discovered Connie Schultz several years ago. I know that it was on the MSNBC program, Morning Joe, and I know that I intentionally turned the show on, wanting to see her specifically. What I don’t remember is if I watched it thinking, oh, that’s Sherrod Brown’s wife, she’s a writer, let’s hear what she has to say…or if I saw her, and said, oh my gosh, I love her, her husband is Sherrod Brown, I need to check him out. Either way, I’ve fallen head over heels in writerly and senatorily love with both of them, together or apart, it doesn’t matter.
One (two) of my heroes.
There’s some recent talk about a White House run, and if that happens, I will follow them, support them, campaign for them all the way to said White House. And if not, I will count Senator Brown and Ms. Schultz as firmly in my corner even though other than President, I can’t vote for him; I live in New York. However, he speaks for all of us progressive Democrats, and to be honest, what’s good for his state, is good for all of our states. They both speak their minds, and they both speak truth to power. They call it like they see it, and they both do it with a down-to-earth, neighborly, we’ve known you forever way that’s honest. I can only hope that we haven’t forgotten the importance of honesty in this country.
They are for working people what Babe Ruth is for baseball.
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize winning author (2005 for commentary), a commentator both in print and on television of politics, journalism, and life in general. She currently writes in syndication for Creator’s Syndicate after writing for the Cleveland Plains Dealer for eighteen years. She has published two non-fiction books and is currently writing her first novel.
She and Sherrod Brown have been married for almost fifteen years. She is a a mother of four and a grandmother of seven, and I think if she were actually reading this, and I left that last one out, she would be less than happy with me. They are a blended family, and when she shows pictures of their kids, I have no idea who belongs to who because they are all one family, which is just remarkable and somehow ordinary.
I recently read an article about her by Michael Kruse of Politico (2018) and I watcher her TEDx video from Cleveland State University (2016) that gave me two snippets that I relish as part of my own self and my own journey as a writer, a woman, and a mother, and ir was a clear reminder of why I respect and adore her so much.
“How could I not be a liberal?” [Politico, Dec. 21, 2018, when talking about her working class roots, her route to college and single parenthood, unions, grants, health insurance.]
“Every moment that I had lived before I got into that newsroom was job experience.” [TEDx, Dec. 14, 2016]
I love her style, her attitude, her kindness, but also her take no nonsense attitude. Say something incorrect or bullying and she will come after you, but not as a bully. She is a teacher (of journalism at Kent State University in her home state of Ohio) and of life and continues to inspire me and cause me to aspire to be her in all of the ways I can attempt (through her Facebook and Twitter). I also want to be able to wear a hat like she wears a hat. I love hats, but I can’t pull them off. She can.
She is everything.
She is also proud of her work (and her family’s) but modest of her accolades. This is but one article that I share with you, but there are others if you Google. However, for the real deal, follow her on either her Facebook or her Twitter. Or both.
National Tea MonthStandard
Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.
– Chinese Proverb
I don’t know who decides these things, but rules are rules. January is National Tea Month, not to be confused with National Hot Tea Day (this coming Saturday, January 12) or National Iced Tea Month (June) or the United Kingdom’s National Tea Day (April 21). I’m certain there are more if you choose to look for them. (I don’t.)
Tea has been around forever, longer in fact than Christianity, by about sixty years. Officially discovered in 59 B.C., but more than likely around prior to that, tea has developed into a cross-cultural, multi-faceted sensation, sometimes a curiosity that has its own rituals, not only ethnically but also individually.
It’s been used for medicinal purposes. Still is.
It is offered monthly by my therapist, something to do with my hands, I suppose, although I usually settle on cold water.
It is the morning beverage of choice by a plethora of people, writers at keyboards, spiritual directors at retreats, teachers awaiting their classroom full of eager faces, business people scarfing down toast or filling travel mugs to take with. Many cups of tea grow cold during the daily work of their drinkers. I have the dregs of tea leaves and sugar granules at the bottom of my morning cup right now.
There are formal tea ceremonies, welcoming honored guests or memorializing those who have gone.
There is High Tea and Cream Tea, hot and cold bubble tea, and tea as an afternoon meal.
There are teas that aren’t teas – herbals and infusions, also called tisane that are easier to offer as tea than explain the difference between tea plants and other plants. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch recently went on a rant about chamomile not being tea at all (see my reference to tisane above; chamomile is a flower). On a related note, my friend Tom never removes his tea bag letting it continue to steep as well as teaching me long ago not to squeeze my tea bag (it makes the tea acidic), a practice that I now cringe at when I see others do it.
Tea has been used as protest, albeit a waste of perfectly good tea from Boston to Washington DC to Manchester, England (April, 2018), although in Manchester, he didn’t get rid of it, but serve it in protest to war (make tea, not war).
From its initial popularity in the Chinese Tang Dynasty to the drinking of tea that spread across Asia through Portuguese priests into Europe during the 16th century and soon after becoming part of UK culture beginning in the 17th century continuing through the present day.
It is India’s most popular hot beverage, and Ireland drinks by far the most tea in Britain at four cups per person per day, some as much as six cups a day.
Many people have their own recipe for the perfect cup of tea. I prefer to follow Douglas Adams’ specifications. I did this for a few years and it really was better; perfect, in fact.
Since getting our electric kettle, I drink tea nearly on a daily, sometimes multi-daily basis, and like to try new teas depending on my mood, although overall I prefer black tea as the base. When we went to Ireland and Wales for a family function, my kids brought back bags and bags of British candy; I brought back tea and Welsh cakes, and it still wasn’t enough.
For Christmas gifts this year, I blended my own Masala chai, which was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed doing it, deciding how much of what to put in. I did have a base recipe (that I will share in a future week).
For the next three Wednesdays, I will share a different type of tea that I’ll have drunk during the week past. I’ll share something of a review, a photo perhaps, and links to find those teas plus at then end, possibly the first Wednesday in February, all the tea links I have. Even the grocery shelves have plenty to select from.
In addition to those four Wednesdays (including today), I will also share a few of my other tea posts from years past. If you can’t wait, just check the search box on the left and find some on your own schedule.
Onward to today’s tea:
Twinings Prince of Wales tea. Twinings has been manufacturing tea for over three hundred years, so I’m going to guess that they’ve gotten the hang of it.
The Prince of Wales tea is a bit less strong than the English breakfast tea from the same company that I often drink. It is also less strong (by a mile) than the Welsh tea I brought home from Wales. Part of the strength of the tea I brought home, which I should have read on the box is that it’s made specifically for the Welsh water. When I was there I didn’t notice a strength difference, but when I got home it was more than I’d expected. I’ve adjusted to it, but it took a few tries.
The Prince of Wales tea is a lovely black tea that is mild and a bit woody. It is blended from several provinces in China and was originally created in 1921 for THE Prince of Wales at the time who went on to be crowned King Edward VIII. I like it both with and without milk and always with a bit of sugar. It’s my primary choice for the mornings to go along with eggs and toast, a bagel, or the ever more common for me, healthier oatmeal with craisins and granola. I can drink several cups of this a day and it’s also my go-to for a late afternoon cup. It’s good during the autumn and winter, but I have no prejudice – I’m a hot tea drinker year round.
Budget Travel – TSA and the Government ShutdownStandard
I discovered this link in my email from Budget Travel. It has some useful tips on getting through security.
While the government is partially shutdown, several of those agencies that are deemed essential and working are not getting paid. This makes for a(n) (understandably) frustrating situation for those employees and their families. Some have been calling in sick. I can’t say I blame them.
Budget Travel has offered what it thinks you can expect, and some ways to make it easier on you and your family when you’re traveling during this time.
Please also don’t forget the TSA employees who are working to keep all of us safe and not getting paid for their important work. (Not everyone will be given their back pay; I don’t know the specifics of who will and who won’t, but I do believe it would need an order signed by the President.)
Mental Health Monday – Understanding Mental Illness – An Interview with Stranger Thing’s David HarbourStandard
One Look at Understanding Mental Illness.
I think it’s important to hear from people we like and respect and hear their stories. David Harbour says a lot of things in this short interview that I’ve heard before and that I try to promote in my own life. He is known recently from his role in Netflix’s Stranger Things and is starring in the upcoming Hellboy 2.
A few takeaways:
1. Stop the stigma.
2. Mental illness is not the completely negative thing it implies to many people. We can live with various forms of mental illness, or rather we all have mental health issues that we contend with and need to adapt to, regardless of level.
3. Medication is not a bad word. It is also not an end-all solution. It is so very helpful when used in conjunction with other therapies.
4. You are not stronger if you avoid taking medication for your mental illness/continued mental health.
5. If you and I both have depression, we may understand and empathize, but no one’s situation is exactly alike. Despite that, we can help each other and share ideas that work for us.