Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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The Art of Making Tea

My gaiwan

I am on a new kick: taking a tea set in a travel bag and having a slow quiet tea (or tea party with others) outside the house.

Here are the essentials implements for travel tea:

• Thermos of hot water
Gaiwan under 200 ml (bowl with lid)
• Decanter or pitcher
• Tea cups less than 100 ml
• Cloths
• Waste water container (perforated water tray or a bowl)
• Strainer
• Tongs (spoon for dry tea, tongs for moving hot cups)
• Tin for loose tea
• Paper towels
• Insulated carrying bag

Here is the process. This is not a ceremony like a formal Japanese Tea Ceremony where each item and each movement are infused with spiritual meaning. No, this is just a very practical way of conducting a tea service to maximize the enjoyment of sipping tea.

• Set implements on tray
• Heat cups, gaiwan, and decanter with hot water.
• Pour out waste water
• Use scoop to add leaves to gaiwan
• Pour a little hot water over leaves to rinse.
• Pour out waste water. Use strainer.
• Add more water to gaiwan and let brew for about a minutes.
• Pour into decanter. Use strainer.
• Pour into cups.
• Use tongs to move around hot cups
• Dry out the implements with paper towels.
• Wash everything when home.

Here is a visual demonstration of the process at home (not traveling) but it is the same process and she is using a water tray to collect the waste water:

ljgloyd 2022


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Taking a Breather

I haven’t written for a few days because I’ve been reading. Actually I’ve been juggling a couple of books – – all right more than a couple-– but the one that’s got me engrossed right now and keeping me from writing is a novel by Isabel Cañas, The Hacienda I have not even finished it, but I have to say that I know it’s going to be fabulous. It is one of those books that once you start reading, you get drawn in and you can’t stop reading until it’s done. I won’t tell you what it’s about right now except to say imagine Stephen King and Isabel Allende collaborating to rewrite Jane Eyre. I don’t mind ditching my daily writing for this book.  To write, the writer needs to read.

Yeah, that’s what I’m telling myself as a take this little breather.


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Armpits and Other Points of Contention

My usual habit upon waking up is to scroll my social media feeds.   Whether this is a good or bad habit is better discussed another day.

This morning as I was looking through FB, I came upon a post with a vintage photo of Sofia Loren showing her armpits– which were, how shall I say, unshorn.    Following this photo were no less than 88 comments about her armpits.   Eighty-eight.   People were arguing over this.  Over Sofia Loren’s fuzzy armpits.

I am not going to summarize the arguments for or against.   My point is that I was just amazed that all these commenters had nothing better to argue about.   Seriously.  The comments got pretty ugly and personal.

We have war, climate change, racism, gender-equity issues, world health issues, corrupt politicians, and many other important and relevant topics.  But people fight over stupid stuff like this.   And it is not just armpits.   Look at your social media feeds.   People argue over many other silly things.  Another common area of conflict is what happens on your favorite binge-shows.   I want to jump in and say “People, it’s just a TV show!  It’s not real!”   But I know better.

I think some people just like being contentious.   Why is that? Personally, I think it is because folks feel like they can’t change the big things so they get anxious and start fussing about the little things.

People, just chill, will ya?

But look at me now:   I’m being contentious.    (SMH).

ljgloyd (c) 2022


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If I Were a Color

This is just a free-roaming response to a prompt “If I were a color…” from Susan Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy and the selection of a color from The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair.    I just started with that sentence and the color, took five minutes, and let my words scamper where they may.

If I were a color, I would be absinthe, pale, the color of wormwood and anise, fennel and other secret botanicals.  Absinthe, if you don’t know, was a popular aperatif in the nineteenth century. Everyone seemed to love it until it became an obsession, until la fée verte, the green fairy, whisked them away to a fantasy realm.   Absinthe was the spirit of the bohemian, the artist, the disenfranchised, the lunatic.  Then they became afraid and banned it.   Except….Absinthe is not what it was perceived to be. It is just  an ordinary beverage with a powerful punch. I am like absinthe. I am not what everyone perceives me to be. I am just a sweet ordinary green…that packs a powerful punch too.

ljgloyd 2022


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General Musing

I want to keep my “hand moving” with my writing and not let the momentum drag.   So here I am this morning in front of my computer tapping away.   Fortunately, the Deck gave up its next card with the topic about writing anything that comes to mind.  This is good.  I don’t have to scramble to write on a particular prescribed topic.

So what IS on my mind? Lately, I have been musing about why I write.  Is it because I think I am any good? No, I will not be a [insert name of your favorite brilliant writer here].  Nor do I want to make a living at it.  That ship put to sea a long time ago after a few rejection letters.   Is writing therapeutic for me? Sometimes.  Thank goodness I write mostly on a computer because I wouldn’t be able to read some of my tear-soaked handwritten journal entries.    Is it fun? Not always. Mostly it is a lot of work and I am kind of lazy.

Why then?   I guess it is because I am a bit of a narcissist.  I admit it.  Even though my stats tell me that not a lot of people read my stuff, still there are enough of you with kind supportive comments to inflate my ego and keep me coming back.  Thank you.

In all seriousness, I am the type of person that mostly goes unnoticed in life.   I have not done great things, I have a quite ordinary day-job and a pretty boring personal life.  So this little form of self-expression on this obscure blog is my way of waving at the world and saying “I’m here! Notice me”.

In the movie Practical Magic, Sally writes a letter to her sister where she wonders if she will ever be loved again.   For me that is not the line that stands out in this scene.  It is rather her next statement:  “I want to be seen.”      Yes, that’s me.   I want to be seen and I want to be heard.

ljgloyd 2022

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2022/05/04/rdp-wednesday-gracious/


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Wandering

Today I found myself with a very rare Saturday where I did not have any particular chores or errands to run. I had a total unstructured day ahead of me. My plan was to have no plan. The only thing I decided was to go to a place, enjoy it, and then let that place or activity suggest where to go and what to do next. My plan was to be a wanderer today. I will not go into great detail, but I eventually ended up on a train headed towards downtown.  I ended up at the county’s natural  history museum.    It was weird to be out and about with other people. I felt like I was coming out of a hibernation and greeting a strange new world.



LJGloyd 2022


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Input vs Output

It may seem that I have fallen off the 60-day writing program I put myself on.  I have not. It has just been that the day job with its incessant output of email writing required of me has left me so mentally exhausted that I am incapable of putting together coherent sentences of personal “creative” writing.   It occurs that one’s expressive output cannot happen every day without a rest.   Furthermore, there needs to be a certain amount of input to fuel the output.  

I suppose that such a refueling could be binge-watching old I Love Lucy episodes (well, actually lately for me it’s been The Big Bang Theory) or watching endless hours of cat videos on Youtube (actually for me it is cooking videos).   But instead the best way I have chosen to refuel is re-reading (or rather re-listening to) Anne Lamott’s book on writing, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.   I consider this one of the best books on writing ever written.

Here’s a little something to uplift you.


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Driving with Grandpa

Misha was surprised that she could remember when she first learned to drive. Typically, she could never remember details of any events that were traumatic. And in her mind learning to drive had always been traumatic.

Her mother never got a drivers license after she drove her parent’s Ford off the road into a muddy field when she was learning to drive. Misha’s sister never learn to drive either because she was afraid she would do the something similar and crash the car.   Misha’s dad loudly announced that he was tired of being the only person in the house to chauffeur everyone around and that Misha WOULD get a drivers license whether she liked it or not.

Misha’s initial training began in her drivers ed course which met at the hideous hour of 6:30 in the morning during the spring semester of her junior year in high school. To augment the training she spent Sundays mornings practicing her driving with her dad. That lasted until a severe breakdown of communication occurred when they were waiting at a red light.  Her intention was to drive through the intersection when the light turned green. Her dad, though, thought she was going to make a right turn.

“Why are you waiting? Go,” he urged.

“No, I can’t. It’s red.

“Yes you can. There’s no one coming.”

“No, I can’t,” Misha said with a little more emphasis

“Just drive, would you?!”

There was nothing Misha hated more than to get hollered at by her dad, so she floored it and plowed through the intersection on the red light. Her dad grip the dashboard and swore, “What the hell are you doing?!“

That was the last time she went practice driving with her dad. This task now fell upon her grandfather, another family chauffeur, who also wanted another driver to rely on.    Misha and her grandpa would go out on Saturday mornings. They avoided the highway and took roads through the countryside. Her grandpa would point out places that held memories for him and lamented those things that had changed. He would tell her stories of their family coming to the area. He told her funny stories of his days working for the movie studios. He even told her some ghost stories that he swore were true.

Misha eventually got her license and indeed became the chauffeur for her mom, sister, grandfather and dad (who got over his initial fright and consternation when he realized that he could sit back and relax on a Sunday drive).   She had many more excursions with her grandpa.

Misha, in retrospect, concluded that learning to drive was not as traumatic as she once thought.  In fact, it was downright enjoyable.


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The Light of Santa Fe

San Francisco de Asis Church in nearby Taos, NM.

Decades ago I took a road trip across the Southwest and ended up in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I was only there a day, but I fell under the magic of the light and color, the history, the intermix of cultures, the landscape.

I was only there one day, but I want to return to it. I want to see again the purple of the wisteria against rose-colored adobe walls, white clouds against cerulean skies, red rock and green pines,  the sparkle of silver and turquoise on the vendors’ displays, red and green chiles.   I want to enter again the sacred spaces of its ancient churches.   It all has to do with the light, both physical and spiritual.

It has been said by many artists and photographers, writers and creatives alike,  that there is a light unique to New Mexico. Whether it is the altitude or the particulate matter in the air diffusing the sunlight that causes this specialness, or the fiery glow of angels and saints flitting through the skies from beyond the veil, I just can’t say.

My photos from this trip are put away and mostly unscanned, but I don’t need them.   The light and colors are seared into my soul.


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A List of Favorite Stories

I followed the directives in the video of my previous post and started creating a list of favorite stories.  Some of these are books, but most are films or television shows.   This was a quick, off-the-top-of-my-head list with a few words to describe what I found appealing about them in terms of genre, theme, character development, and plot.  I know I will think of more.   Eventually, I will pop these in my internal story making blender and hopefully come up with a good story idea.   Here goes:

Dead Poets Society (A version of the gospel– teacher offers enlightenment to students, then betrayed, yet students continue to follow him)
Standing on the desks in honor of Prof. Keating (allegiance, enlightenment)
Prof. Keating Helping Todd to write a poem (enlightenment)

Casablanca
Scene: Singing of French National Anthem in the Bar (defiance, patriotism)
Scene: When they say good bye at the airport (drama, love, tension, oh my!)

Lord of the Rings
Return of the King scene “I can’t carry the ring, but I can carry you” (loyalty)
Two Towers: Sam’s speech about great stories being the ones that you remember (hope, good triumphs over evil)

Harry Potter Series (friendship, another gospel tale– Harry as savior that comes back to life at the end and banishes evil)

Star Wars original (The classic Hero’s Quest)

The Fugitive (driving complex plot)

Downton Abbey (setting/locale– the abbey is almost a character)

Star Trek Voyager (strong female protagonist)

Star Trek DSN (exploration of spirituality)

King Arthur legends (mythological components)

Shakespeare in Love (tragic love story in comedic form)

James Michener’s Hawaii (setting/locale told in vivid detail)

Sherlock Holmes (character development: is Sherlock a genius or is he just insane or both)

Big Bang Theory (It is basically a story of family)

Signs
Scenes: “Swing Away Merrill”
“The Poison Never Got In” (both scenes deal with “everything happens for a reason” or predestination

Practical Magic: (Urban fantasy, finding joy in the moment particularly in the Midnight Margarita scene of the movie version)