I wasn’t gonna post this but several people told me I should, sooooo… why the heck not? It’s not art, but that hasn’t stopped me before. Thanks to @happyleech and @heronfoot for helping me (and also listening to me ramble about tea for about 3 hours, hAHA). Also, I’m biased these are all based on my own tea experiences because it’s really hard to judge/understand a tea if you haven’t tried it yourself.
The team tea party had a gradual start, when Reinhardt decided to join Ana while she was having her usual afternoon tea in the communal kitchen. Later that same week, drawn by the laughter, Torbjörn joined the two with his fourth cup of coffee that day. Others soon trickled in after that, until it became a daily event where everyone joined together for afternoon tea at 4 PM sharp – as an attempt at a sense of consistency. In reality, it changes depending on everyone’s schedule; they’re never quite sure if it’ll be a quiet day with just two or three agents or a boisterous one with the entire group together. (It was also an opportunity to introduce everyone to different teas and drinks from around the world.) Winston made sure to keep the tradition of afternoon tea after he initiated the Recall.
Ana: She enjoys rose bud tea with its light, flowery flavor. It’s relaxing and pleasant to sip during downtime. She likes other teas made from flowers too, but this one is her favorite.
Bastion: Obviously, they don’t drink tea, but they do enjoy sitting with the team and listening to everyone talk.
D.va: She likes roasted almond (with bits added, like apple pieces, etc.) sweetened with honey or rock sugar. She usually likes any fruity teas with honey (she has a strong sweet tooth, after all).
Genji: He likes golden pu-erh. It’s earthy (down-to-earth like him, you could say), but not bitter like normal pu-erh. When he was younger, he hated tea and would gulp down the matcha his family drank every day - now he makes sure to savor it with small sips.
Hanzo: Green matcha, unsurprisingly. He grinds it himself and does the traditional Japanese tea ceremony as well, which he finds relaxing. Sometimes he’ll drink regular sencha tea when he’s in a bit of a rush.
Junkrat: Boba tea, half sweet, of course. Any fruit flavor is fine, but he’s partial to strawberry. If they can’t buy it for whatever reason, then Roadhog usually makes it for him because Junkrat can’t be trusted around stoves.
Lúcio: He drinks yerba mate, preferably using the traditional gourd ceremony. As a child in Brazil, he would often get mate leaves from a local farm, to make and pass it around with friends and family; and of course, he still loves to share it with new friends. Sometimes he likes it with a dash of milk. It always reminds him of home.
McCree: Lapsang souchong (smoked black tea) sweetened with sugar and cream when he’s not feeling like coffee. Apple chai rooibos with some woody pu-erh and cinnamon mixed in, when he wants something lighter or sweeter. Both make him think of life as a vaquero in the desert, on a little farm far away from civilization, something he thinks he’d like to do if he ever actually retires.
Mei: She enjoys jasmine green the most, which is strong and flowery, like her. She brews tea using the Gongfu tea ceremony and loves to share with her friends. It was a good bonding experience with her team in Antarctica, and it helped warm them all up – and it’s always a good ice breaker when meeting new people. She does it less after losing her friends.
Mercy: Chrysanthemum, chamomile, lavender, rose buds, hibiscus, echinacea, dandelion, nettle – anything flowery or herbal, which she loves to share with anyone who will drink it. She doesn’t particularly like black tea.
Pharah: She’ll drink whatever will give her the best pick-me-up, which used to be black coffee, but she grew partial to guayusa when Lúcio introduced it to the team. When she’s actually interested in flavor, she likes spicy chai with cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon topped with a little milk.
Reaper: He likes black tea with extra cream and sugar and a bunch of different mixings: caramel, almond, chocolate chip, vanilla, pumpkin spice, peppermint, candy cane – but separately, not all together. He’d rather drink Mexican hot chocolate, though. He stopped making them after joining Talon, and now Sombra does it for him.
Reinhardt: When he’s not chugging alcohol, likes rooibos or honeybush sweetened with honey or sugar cane, with some extra dried fruit or flowers added in (he likes his drinks very sweet, just like he is). He drinks it often in his downtime with Ana, and they like to share.
Roadhog: Anything sweet or flavorful; he’s not picky about flavors and doesn’t really care. It usually ends up being whatever Junkrat gets for him when they get boba tea.
Soldier 76: He drinks roasted barley tea when he needs a substitute for black coffee, with added things like carob and roasted chicory root. He doesn’t use cream or sugar – but he likes to use stevia leaves when he wants something sharply sweet. (Some people think he’s a weirdo for using sugar but not cream.) He drinks tea and coffee for the taste and out of habit, not the caffeine - he doesn’t need it, not after the Soldier Enhancement Program.
Sombra: She likes peppermint tea (she loves peppermint flavored anything) sweetened with honey, cane sugar, or stevia leaves, and maybe with a dash of chocolate or other flavors added in. She’s the one who makes the tea and Mexican hot chocolate for Widowmaker and Reaper because they won’t do it themselves (she makes it better than they do anyways).
Symmetra: She drinks tulsi (holy basil), which she grows herself whenever she can. She also likes light teas, particularly white teas like silver needle, or whatever Mercy is sharing at the time. On a good day, she might enjoy chai with cream but no added sugar. (An extra thing: It’s not a tea, but she won’t drink bhang.)
Torbjörn: He likes dandelion tea for the taste. He lets it seep until it gets cold, taking sips while he works – but he would rather drink strong black coffee. His wife sends him care packages with teas from all over the world, which he shares with the team.
Tracer: Unsurprisingly, before joining Overwatch, she liked regular black tea with cream, sugar, and a dash of lemon, and not much else. Once introduced to the world of teas by the team, she found she likes a whole variety of different kinds. She’s not picky, and she’ll gladly try anything.
Widowmaker: On good days, she drinks white teas, particularly Baihao Yinzhen (silver needle) and Bai Mudan (white peony). She used to drink black teas in the morning instead of coffee, before joining Talon. She only drinks it now because Sombra makes it for her.
Winston: He likes fruit teas sweetened with a lot of honey or sugar, and sometimes with hibiscus added. He drinks a lot of it; it helps curb his peanut butter cravings a little.
Zarya: She likes Russian Caravan tea best (a blend of oolong, keemun, and lapsang souchong), sweetened with a little cream. She always drinks it after training, as a little reward for all the hard work she put in.
Zenyatta: He obviously doesn’t drink it, but he learned how to make it for others who can. He was the one who taught Genji how to properly make tea (because it’s a bit more than pouring boiling-hot water over leaves). He makes the best tea in all of Overwatch and has memorized everyone’s favorite kinds. He uses the opportunity to talk with others while he brews and shares it. (He won’t say it aloud, but he does wish he could try it too.)
It was Sunday morning and I was in my favourite coffee shop, The Sidra. It was named after the mighty river that ran through the centre of town. It was said that when we were invaded, the river rose as if in answer and wiped out the forces of the invading army and saving the city. You could see the river from my view of the window seat, it was an image I was trying to capture desperately in my sketch pad.
I took a sip from my smoothie before grabbing my pencils and shading the jasmine flowers that bloomed along the riverbank. The whole atmosphere was pleasant, sitting in the rather rustic coffee shop, a faint moody dancing around the room, quite Sunday morning chatter in the background. I was quite content to spend the rest of the day sitting on the little wooden bench sketching.
I had just finished capturing the image of the cafe chairs that adorned the edge of the Sidra, imagining how it would have rose. It was something I wanted to paint, I could almost imagine wolves jumping out of the very river itself and taking soldiers to their watery graves as they fought to protect their city. When a shadow fell across my page causing me to jump.
Startled, I turned to face the most beautiful man I had ever seen. He had silky black hair and a muscled chest, from what I could see of how his shirt hugged his body, but it was the bright violet hue of his eyes that enticed me the most.
“Hey,” I started. “Can I help you?” I was a little confused at why this man was here beside me, I really did want to finish this drawing but he seemed to have other plans.
“Well, darling, as it is you certainly can. I was just admiring your drawing skills from that table over there,” he gestured behind him, “and felt that you should know that it’s almost as gorgeous as you.”
“Um… Thank you, I guess,” I was unsure of what to say so I took a sip out of my strawberry and dragon fruit smoothie.
“Feyre,” I interjected.
“Well then, Feyre darling I was wondering if you have wifi?”
Who the hell was this guy, asking if she had wifi. All I wanted was to finish my sketch in piece.
“No,” I said and I turned back to my drawing.
“Well,” he drawled from beside me. “That is disappointing because I thought I felt a connection. I’m Rhysand by the way.”
“No sorry, no wifi here. Though I’m positive your friends must be missing you,” I said as what I hoped was a subtle dismissal. Apparently I had no such luck.
“Your jumper is perfectly stunning, did you know that?” He comments.
“Thank you,” I simply stated before turning back to my drawing. After about five minutes he walks away. Muttering a short goodbye as he left. I turned back to my drawing an odd feeling surrounding me. I sort of did a double take, today was turning out rather odd.
It wasn’t ten minutes before I was disrupted again. What the hell was with everyone this morning? Why couldn’t I just be left in peace I thought.
“Well hello, gorgeous,” he whistles.
I made a point to ignore him, carrying on with my attempt to capture the rest of the perfect image before the rest of the public rose from their beds. He just sits down next to me. He’s wearing a black hoodie and jeans.
“Nice outfit by the way, you look absolutely delicious.”
“Thanks,” I reply. This was the oddest Sunday morning I had ever had. I took another sip out of my smoothie letting it wash around my mouth before trickling down my throat.
“Like you just walked off the runway,” he goes on.
“Thanks,” I reply curtly. “Again.”
He throws some more odd compliments my way before heading off in the same direction that that Rhysand bloke had gone in. I turned around catching the tail end of their conversation. There were five of them in total.
“…way, she didn’t even blush. I’ve never met anyone who has resisted my manly charm that easily before.” The hoody guy states.
“Well Cassian, it seems you own Amren ten bucks. I told you she wouldn’t give you her number,” Rhysand drawls.
“Cough up boys,” the small one says. Her quick silver eyes flash over and meet mine and she smirks.
“Nah ah ah,” Rhysand smirks like the cheshire cat. “I made no bargain or bet.”
“No but you did say you would get her number and it seems you failed,” the blonde one perks up.
“Look,” he growls. “I’m just interested in her okay, lets not make a big deal out of it.” He picks up his coffee and takes a gulp. It’s black, the worst kind of coffee in my opinion. When I drank it I felt like I was choking down tar. So those men were trying to flirt with me? God, I feel so stupid.
I finish with my drawing, the crowds now to thick to properly capture the original image and pack my stuff away. I walk over and pay the bill, I’m about to leave when a thought strikes me. I may as well have a little fun with this situation they have given me. I stalk over to Rhysand, grab a napkin scribble my number down as he stares at me, fold it up and shove it into his chest before pecking him on the cheek and sauntering towards the door.
Right before I set foot out of the cafe I turn around to see the whole bunch bent over double laughing all except Rhysand who is grinning from ear to ear and the small one, Amren, who catches my gaze and smirks at me knowingly. With that I walk out of the cafe and down the street, a small part of me hoping for a call from the gorgeous, violet eyed man I had just encountered.
I take no credit for the idea behind this piece, that should go to @greenfire2908art. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I’m sorry for the poor quality of writing I wrote this at midnight and now can’t be bothered to reread it and edit my mistakes. Yep, I’m lazy like that. I hope it’s somewhere near what you hoped for @greenfire2908art sorry if it’s not up to the right standard. I thought I’d give it a go though anyway.
Witch Thoughts: relict plants, the ghosts of a vanished age
So, as a woods wandering, botany loving witch, I have often thought about the magical and otherworldly significance of certain species of native plants that one finds here in the woods and hedges of the Midwestern U.S.
Paw Paw. Osage Orange. Honey Locust, to name a few.
The honey locust is a tree absolutely covered in branching, vicious thorns. The ones that cluster on the trunk can be over a foot long. What on earth does a North American forest tree need thorns that big for? Is it just a pointless quirk of evolution without purpose?
The thorns are there for the same reason that many other Acacia species (the family of which honey locust is a part) are thick with them: to keep elephants from breaking the branches or pushing the trees over when they are eating the leaves and fruit.
But that’s stupid, you say. There aren’t any elephants in North America!!!
Not now, no. But there were. Great tusked shaggy ones, so the locust trees would need gigantic thorns to prick through all that hair.
(They are ten thousand years dead of course, their race long vanished from the earth.
But the Honey Locust is still here).
What pollinates a Paw Paw, the northernmost member of the otherwise tropical Custard Apple family? Almost nothing. The flowers are black and smell faintly foul (so there is one witchly association to be put to good use) and bloom very, very early in the spring. Sexual reproduction by these trees is low. They have been mostly spread for the past several millenia by people, because the fruit is tasty and worthy of eating.
But I bet in the before-time, some now extinct carrion beetle would hibernate beneath the leaves of lowland woods through the long winters, emerging at first spring to feast on winter’s thawing victims, and perhaps sip from the rot-black flowers of the Paw Paw.
Nothing eats osage orange fruits either, though sometimes squirrels will pick at them. Before Europeans brought them east from their original Oklahoman range to be planted as hedge-trees (at which they are excellent, more witchly symbolism), the big alien-pod looking seed clusters were mostly carried to new sites by water.
Perhaps the ground sloths liked to eat them, or the camels did.
These trees remain in our natural and cultivated landscapes although they have long since been irrevocably cut from the web of their original ecology.
They remain - shades, curios, signposts, ghosts - half in this world, half in the next - perhaps emblematic of the strength of survival, or a reminder that trees move at a different pace in time from that of us, even in the evolving and the extinguishing of their kinds.
Are we seeing an afterimage on the verge of fading out forever? Or a survival across the gulf of aeons?
How could we know? We are only here for such a little while.
BrewDogHello My Name is Vladimir, 8.2% abv double IPA
With all the interest in Sochi for the Winter Olympics, attention has thankfully once again been drawn to Russia’s staggeringly backwards anti-gay propaganda law, a deliberately ambiguous piece of legislation routinely used to crush the freedom of speech and personal expression of Russia’s LGBT population. The recent protests against this law and the support of those victimised by it have been at times both heart warmingly moving and painfully funny. The Scottish beer punks at BrewDog reacted as only they could, with a new beer, some prize worthy piss taking, and the donation of fifty percent of the beers profits to charities that represent oppressed minorities.
Hello My Name is Vladimir is a double IPA brewed with limonnik berries and a good splurge of irreverence, that shocking pink label depicting an eyeshadow and lipstick wearing Vladimir Putin is a thing of wonder, and even better, they got Russia’s chief Dobby the House-Elf impersonator himself to write the bottle blurb! Honest. It’s absolutely not a parody, no siree…
So, am I hetero enough to tackle this bare chested brew? I shred my vest with a flex of my swoon inducing pecs, pop the bottle cap with naught but a glare, and get ready to find out.
The pour is a beautiful dark amber, the head as white as snow. I inhale and I’m met with an assault of full frontal aromas, mixed citrus, gummy bears, tropical fruit juice, peach cobbler, and plenty of floral notes (but from manly flowers, like GRRR-aniums!)
I take a sip. It’s sweet, juicy and fruity, a tropical fruit punch (but a manly tropical fruit punch, an uppercut to the taste buds) full of grapefruit, lemon zest, mango, peach, pineapple, and dew laden grass on a bright spring morning. There’s a big caramel malty backbone running through this that brings a great balance, and the finish is long and bitter. The silky smooth texture together with the soft carbonation and full body deliver a delightful mouthfeel, like an oil massage for your mouth.
Now I wouldn’t know a limonnik berry if one was dancing around on my laptop keyboard, but this beer seems to follow the trend of it’s fruit infused cousins in the “Hello My Name is… ” series in that the fruit isn’t meant to be the dominant flavour, but rather add an extra layer to the already complex profile of those gloriously aromatic hops. It’s a lovely beer, and very much a BrewDog style DIPA. If you like hopped up, malty, and bittersweet brews bursting with tropical fruit flavours give it a go if you can find it. And as long as you’re totally not gay or anythin’.
A beer may not change laws or attitudes, but it can help raise awareness of those living in a poisonous political climate. A place where homosexuality is something the state deems perverse and corrupting. A beer can also help fund organisations that aim to give hope and help to oppressed minorities, and to let them know that there are people out there who support them and wish them all the luck in the world in finding the happiness and acceptance they deserve. Cheers.
that occurred to me, about how Katniss and Peeta’s favourite colours related to the other. The more I thought about it, the more I found the idea intriguing. In particular, I got to wondering why they had chosen their favourite colours and what they symbolized for the two of them.
Katniss loved green. It is a colour of nature, of growing things - for food and healing, and for providing protection and camouflage when hunting in the woods. I’m sure that she found green to be a cool and soothing colour for her fiery disposition.
But I also like to think her affinity for the colour started because of Peeta. The greens of the dandelions provided the first food Katniss harvested to support her family. It led her to discovering self-reliance and the sustenance of the forest.
Simply put, green was the colour that connected Katniss to growth, survival and the beauty and freedom of the natural world outside the confines of D12′s fence. Green is the colour of peace, renewal and tranquility, things that were later so important to her and Peeta.
Peeta loved orange. It is the colour of fire, whether it is the warmth of the ovens that help feed and support his family, or the beauty of a sunset marking the end of a day, and the rest and reward after one’s work. It is the colour of energy, creativity, friendliness and joy.
Katniss was The Girl on Fire, not only for the rebellion but for her personality. Peeta was drawn to Katniss’s vibrancy and inner fire. It was more temperate and nurturing than the hot red of anger he saw in his mother, and I believe it inspired his ability to be brave and optimistic under dire circumstances. He was a ‘whiz with fire’, therefore, protecting the fire in the girl he loved, and providing the warmth when she needed it, was second nature.
Peeta favouring orange is logical. Even though it relates to fire and all the damage done to Peeta and Katniss’s bodies, life and the country, it’s the positive qualities associated with the colour that were so helpful to Peeta (and Katniss) as they healed and grew back together at the end of MJ.
A couple of parting thoughts: In art, green and orange are secondary colours, the blending of two primary colours. Between them, the primary colour they both share is yellow:
“The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction.” (MJ, Ch.27)
And finally, there’s this little gem about the hummingbird room in MJ that I’ll leave with you to ponder:
“Inside is the first beautiful thing I’ve seen in the District 13 compound: a replica of a meadow… watching a spring-green bird hover in midair as it sips nectar from a large orange flower.” (MJ, Ch.5)
Somewhere deep inside D13, we are given a reminder of the small, nimble bird of a girl, the boy with the bread who saved her life, and of the two colours in natural, harmonious combination.
in my apiology class today, we practiced doing “apiary checks” - opening up a hive and assessing its state. ideally this should be quick, but since we’re beginners, we were slow.
when bees visit flowers, they will sip nectar from multiple flowers, and store it in their ‘crop’ (a special stomach, in a way) until they get home. once back, their sisters can receive the collected nectar from them and store it in the honeycomb, where it will slowly become honey as it dries and ferments.
as foraging honeybees get to where nectar is stored in a flower, they brush up against the flower parts which hold pollen. it gets all over them, and then they use their legs to collect what’s on them into their ‘pollen baskets’ on their back legs. you can see those in these pictures as clusters of orange and yellow!
because we took so long, these lovely ladies who came home from foraging weren’t able to come in. they need their sisters’ help offloading the pollen, but since they can’t enter the hive right now, they’re waiting around on a classmate’s backpack. once we were done, they happily headed inside. :)
Sylvia Plath reads Leaving Early, written 25 September 1960
Lady, your room is lousy with flowers.
When you kick me out, that’s what
Me, sitting here bored as a leopard
In your jungle of wine-bottle lamps,
Velvet pillows the colour of blood
And the white china flying fish
I forget you, hearing the cut
Sipping their liquids from assorted
Pitchers and Coronation goblets
Like Monday drunkards. The milky
Bow down, a local constellation,
Toward their admirers in the
Mobs of eyeballs looking up.
Are those petals or leaves you’ve
paired them with—
Those green-striped ovals of silver
The red geraniums I know.
Friends, friends. They stink of
And the involved maladies of autumn,
Musky as a lovebed the morning
My nostrils prickle with nostalgia.
Henna hags: cloth of your cloth.
They toe old water thick as fog.
The roses in the toby jug
Gave up the ghost last night. High
Their yellow corsets were ready to
You snored, and I heard the petals
Tapping and ticking like nervous
You should have junked them before
Daybreak discovered the bureau lid
Littered with Chinese hands. Now
I’m stared at
By chrysanthemums the size
Of Holofernes’ head, dipped in the
Magenta as this fubsy sofa.
In the mirror their doubles back
Listen: your tenant mice
Are rattling the cracker packets.
Muffles their bird-feet: they
whistle for joy.
And you doze on, nose to the wall.
This mizzle fits me like a sad
How did we make it up to your attic?
You handed me gin in a glass bud
We slept like stones. Lady, what am
With a lung full of dust and a
tongue of wood,
Knee-deep in the cold and swamped
“You like butterflies?” he asked as he doe-liked eyes are looking at the butterflies as well. The melodious voice of him starts to make her feel butterfly flying in her tummy. It’s a really rare chance they both can talk to each other without being distracted.
“Hummm” she hummed as a reply. “Why?” he asked feeling interested over her special interest. “They are beautiful. Very beautiful I’ll say. They have freedom to fly around, sipping nectar from flowers and able to camouflage as something else. This raise my interest” she smiled as the two butterflies are flying around the garden randomly.
There’s a silence pause between them. It’s a peaceful one not awkward. He was looking at her, her eyes are twinkling at the butterflies. “You’re are beautiful” he muttered as he quickly cover his mouth with one hand as he realised his words. She looked at him as their eyes make contact. Both of their hearts are beating fiercely. Extremely fast as they can feel something in their tummies. One of each butterflies landed on each of their shoulder. Marking them as a pair.
Joohyun and him are looking at the butterflies. Their wings are now widely spread showing the design of it. The both butterflies are in sync and this make the both of them awed in the beauty. Soon, the butterflies flew off leaving the two human enjoying the sight of it. “I like butterflies too” he said as he looked at her. She was giving him a questioning look as he approached to leave a kiss at her cheek. Joohyun pinked at the action almost immediately.
In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap, the job’s a game
And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake
A lark, a spree, it’s very clear to see
That a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down, the medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way
A robin feathering his nest has very little time to rest
While gathering his bits of twine and twig
Though quite intent in his pursuit, he has a merry tune to toot
He knows a song, will move the job along
For a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down, the medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way
The honeybees that fetch the nectar from the flower to the comb
Never tire of ever buzzing to and fro
Because they take a little nip from every flower that they sip
And hence they find, their task is not a grind
A Spoonful of Sugar (From Disney’s Mary Poppins)
A little wood-satyr (Megisto cymela) resting during a cold rainy day. This field was full of them, all hanging motionless upside down in the grass. As caterpillars, little wood-satyrs feed only on certain grasses. As adults, they don’t often drink nectar from flowers; instead, they sip sap and a sugary liquid called honeydew that aphids secrete. Butterflies: cooler than 8-year-old-me could have guessed.
The handmade stoneware pieces from the Italian shop L’Officina are not your average home decor items. They are works of art. With the application of ornate florals and small dots, they are oh so pretty and feminine. I keep thinking how great it would be to sip your tea from one of these or place some of your favorite flowers in the vase to place on your bedside table. I’m definitely keeping these in mind for upcoming friends’ birthdays.