Lose leaf tea brewing

Amazon Black Tea

Ceylon Orange Pekoe from Amazon.com

Tonight is the eve of the big dinner tomorrow. We’re going to cook our first Sunday meal in the new place tomorrow, if you haven’t been following. I’m excited to see Feiya, our daughter, cook in the new kitchen. Really looking forward to it. I’ll take pics and write about it.

Tonight was kind of a dry run for tomorrow. I wanted to see how well our new kitchen performed in front of the camera. It did outstanding. So, I thought why not do a write-up on some tea. I haven’t posted about tea in a long time. I’ll make this short and sweet and of course there’s photos below.

Over last couple of months I calculated how long my supply of tea from Sri Lanka via teakruthie knowing I was moving in 2 months. I finished the supply about 2 weeks ago, and instead of ordering a new batch from teakruthie I dug into my cabinet. I found what I had always knew was there, a pouch of loose leaf English Breakfast tea I bought off of Amazon.com. I remembered finding it a bit to bold and turned to the internet to finds a new strain.

More Than Just a Backup

Always knew that pouch was right there on the shelf just above the bread shelf. I’ll use it in case of an emergency. The first couple of times I brewed it I was pleasantly surprised. It was bold, but smoother than I remembered. In fact, the more I brewed it I noticed it was consistently smooth. I could achieve that with the Ceylon Orange I bought from teakruthie. I finally got it down to about 4th or 5th brew it would be bitter. About ten or so brews after I returned to the Amazon tea I realized how consistent it was. I even increased the time I steeped the tea from 4:30 mins to 5:00 mins. A little bolder, but never bitter.

I’m starting to think this tea is bullet proof. Except for tonight, of all nights. I must have steeped it a little too long. I must have not got the timer set fast of enough. Tonight’s brew is a little strong and just this side of being on the tangy side. So, this tea isn’t as destructible as I thought it was. Good to know!

On my 2nd cup I poured a little half and half in with it and that really knocked it down a notch, but you could still taste the tea. This is a very good tea with milk. However, I like the golden smooth taste of a well brewed Orange Pekoe so, I’ll still continue to fight the good fight. I like my odds with this tea and I think I’ll buy another pouch. You purchase it off of Amazon here: English Breakfast Tea. Oops, I see it’s not available anymore. Looks like I’ll have to search for a new black tea as well. Let the tea chaos begin!

It’s a good tea if you’re into the strong stuff. I’m also going to look into Oolong teas as well. I haven’t had an Oolong tea since I was in China in 2018. I had a lot of different teas there that time as there were a lot of gatherings and celebrations. Some of the teas were pretty good, some not so much. So, I think that will be my next tea adventure, finding a good Oolong. So, while keeping with the consistency of the English Breakfast on hand, I’ll search the world for my favorite Oolong. I’ll try to post all about it.

If you want to see other tea posts you can do so by clicking here.

Tonights music- Black Market Karma- Animal Jive. Good stuff!

Sunset in Summerlin

May 2020 Update | Summerlin

It’s May 7th and they just announced today that Vegas will start reopening this weekend. It’s a slow reopen, as expected, but its a step getting past this pandemic. Good news to start a new month. Last month was a tough one. I’m sure everyone shares my sentiments.

We finally moved. We’ve been in our new place for a week now. We love it! We’re planning our first Sunday meal this coming weekend. We’re going to cook Mexican food- enchiladas, chile rellenos, and roasted corn. We pretty well much have everything on hand, just hope we’ll be able to get some chicken. Rumor has it there’s a meat shortage. We’ll see when we go shopping.

I’m hoping to take some photos and I’ll try to write about it. I know it sounds like any of our other Sunday meals, but it’s not. Although, the kitchen still needs to be better equipped, this will be the first real kitchen Feiya will cook in. Since arriving in 2013, Feiya has shown a passion for food. I hope this is where she learns to cook and takes that skill through her entire life. So, stay tuned…

It took us longer than we thought to get the new place ready, but we did it. We’re very happy here. We repainted the cabinets in the kitchen and the bath. We did that ourselves. We had vinyl flooring installed in the kitchen and bath. We had carpeting installed in the rest of the house and we had it painted throughout. We also updated the appliances in the kitchen. Can’t wait to see what Feiya does in there.

The best thing about our new place is the view. We’re on the very back side of the condo complex. There’s a Mormon church just off the South East corner of our unit. In front of us we have a drainage ditch and the very nicely landscaped parking lot of the church. From my couch I see mostly sky through the patio doors. There’s no buildings or trees just the sky. It’s been since before I moved to California that I had any kind of a view outside my home. This is a real treat for me. Last night I stepped out onto the balcony and smoked some wowy gazowy weed from the dispensary and took a deep breath. It was a nice moment.

Work slowed down a bit this week. So, to fill in the spaces on my schedule I worked a little bit with a new app our creative director wants us to start using. It’s called Lumineer and it’s one of photo editing apps that you can use with filters and create “looks” for your photos. Pretty elementary stuff for photo editing. However, it does have a pretty damn impressive sky swap feature on it. I’ve been building a library of skies (from my moments on the balcony) to use with it this past week. We’ve had some amazing skies here in Summerlin. I posted some below.

I hope everyone is weathering this time well. There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. At least we won’t know until we start moving forward. But sooner we start moving forward, the sooner we will know.

Beijing China

7th Wedding Anniversary- Part I | Las Vegas

It all started on a lark. Not something you want to say that led to a life changing decision. In June 2013 (correction was 2014) I boarded a Korean Air flight from San Francisco to Beijing. There, at the Beijing Capitol Airport I met for the first time in person, Dana. My wife to be. Dana. She was standing there smiling and waving. A little shy. Stunningly beautiful.

As soon as we started walking she frantically told me the story of her missing her train and having to catch a plane out of Wuhan at the last minute. She was scared to death that she may have missed me. I was last off the airplane and through baggage and was thinking almost the same thing.

We spent 2 days in Beijing. I had to get a single status document from the US Embassy. We stayed at a hotel in the central part of Beijing. This was my first visit to China. I learned quickly that with Dana being my guide we ate and slept in China. What that means is that the restaurants and hotels we stay in you rarely see a foreigner. One morning we ate donkey soup. Not bad.

Beijing China
Our first morning together in our room in Beijing.

Our first day we went to the embassy and were turned away on the account I didn’t have an appointment. We had a train ticket leaving for Wuhan the following night, time was an issue. We found an internet cafe not far from the embassy. The embassy gave me instructions on how to make an appointment online so, we popped online and made an appointment for the next day at 10am. Easy peesey. We spent the rest of the day going to art museums in Beijing. I got to see an exhibit by one of China’s most famous artists, Wai Wai.

The next day we made our appointment at the embassy. I was able to obtain my documents and off we went. We spent the day sight seeing around Beijing. We went to Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden Palace, some the Olympic venues, and other sights of Beijing. I loved being guided around by Dana. She was beautiful, composed, and was able to communicate with the locals to get us anywhere we needed to go.

China is awesome and the real adventure is just getting around. I’ve traveled by all modes of transportation in China over the years visiting there. But, 90% of the methods I experienced on that first trip to Beijing and Wuhan. We rode bicycle rickshaws, taxis, subways, ferries, domestic flights, a sleeping train and my personal favoriteāšŠ high speed trains. One train we rode from the Shanghai airport to downtown Shanghai was a maglev train. The train was suspended by magnetic levitation. Smoothest ride I’ve ever had at 193kph or 120mph.

We took an overnight train to Wuhan 2 days after I arrived in Beijing. The car we slept in had 4 bunks. Dana and I slept on the bottom 2 and 2 strangers slept in the top bunks. I slept like a baby because I was exhausted from all the running around we did in Beijing the prior 2 days. Dana said she didn’t sleep well because some Chines soldiers were in the next compartment and they talked all night long. We left around 10pm from Beijing and arrived in Wuhan sometime around 7am. I woke up around 5am and had a couple of hours to watch the China countryside pass us by.

Wuhan is a big city and just getting bigger. There were sky cranes everywhere. When we arrived we ate at the train station and caught a taxi to Dana’s home. She lived with Feiya and her parents on the top floor of a 30 story high rise. You had to drive down a small alley to get to it from the main street. There was one elevator that served the whole building. When it breaks you use the stairs.

Dana’s apartment was cool. It had 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. The living room was spacious and the view was to die for. Her parents prepared a large meal for us. I met Feiya for the first time. I gave her a stuffed cookie monster and a stuffed Elmo. She had a lukewarm reception to the red and blue monsters I brought from America. The next day at Starbuck’s she asked me if she could call me Daddy. I didn’t hesitate and said “of course you can!”

While staying in Wuhan, Dana and I stayed at a very nice hotel not far from her apartment. It was a 1 bedroom suite and overlooked one of Wuhan’s landmarks (I can’t remember what it was). I spent my morning drinking oolong tea watching Wuhan come alive from the balcony. I don’t think I could ever tire of watching a city in China from a balcony above.

The day after we arrived in Wuhan Dana and I were married. I’d been in China for 4 days and married a single mom which of whom I met for the first time 4 days ago. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Dana and I corresponded online for almost 2 years leading up to this. When I moved to California I was talking to Dana via Skype twice a day. We were pretty familiar with each others lives.

Chinese wedding photos.
Very corny indeed. It was kinda fun. I made a lot of friends that worked there. They were all fascinated by me.
Chinese wedding photos.
These are our actual wedding clothes. This is what we wore to the party Dana’s family gave us that night.

Getting married was nothing more than visiting several government offices, presenting our paperwork we received from the previous office, and signing more documents. Our last stop, the office was closed for lunch and wouldn’t be back until 3pm. It was noon. All of us, Dana, her parents, Feiya, and myself sat for 3 hours in a restaurant.

Wedding day, Wuhan, China.
We sat there for 3 hours and Feiya demanded her attention most of the time. I think her grandma put that shirt on her to show her appreciation for my gifts the day before.

The following day we went to a wedding photo studio and had the wedding photos that you see in the gallery below. The studio was actually a large storefront with several floors with countless staged rooms within the floors. You could sit in a ballroom, a library, cafe, or any of the many other options they offered you.

When you first arrive at the studio you are put in a waiting room with 4-5 other couples. Of course, I was the only gringo. Once the time comes for our appointment all of us are herded into the dressing rooms. Here we’re assigned a personal assistant who helps us pick out our costumes. This where the fun starts. They had a really hard time finding clothes that would fit me. Before the day was over all the assistants stood in a group and had their picture taken with me. Some even took individual selfies with me.

Dana had her hair and makeup done and off we went to the many galleries. We were assigned a photographer and Dana had to interpret his instructions to me. It was a weird experience, but an experience I’ll never forget. The photos speak for themselves.

That night we had a big celebration at the hotel Dana and I were staying at. Dana’s family rented a banquet room and had the hotel cater the soiree. There was tons of food and wine and alcohol. 50 people must have been there from the families of both Dana’s mom and dad. One of the dishes was made of fish from the Yangtze River which ran through Wuhan. I just took a bite or 2 of it, remembering seeing that river earlier in the day. Yikes!

I spent a few more days in Wuhan before heading back to Beijing and then home. Talk about a whirlwind trip. I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s a memory I treasure. It was an adventure, roller coaster, mystery, and thriller all rolled into one crazy trip. Flying home I felt empty inside. I felt lost and really wasn’t looking forward to returning to my life in San Mateo.

Wuhan, China
This was in Dana’s apartment. I think this was taken the night before we left to head back to Beijing.

There was another family sitting next to me on the flight home. It was a Caucasian American who married a woman from Vietnam and their 2 kids, aged 1 and 3. The 3 year old slept in the seat next to me and occasional kicked me throughout the flight. No worries, I never sleep on airplanes and little kick in the thigh now and then kept me alert. He told me that they lived in Santa Cruz and were coming back from Vietnam where her parents met their grandchildren for the 1st time. I really wanted to that to be Dana, Feiya, and myself. Well, here are 7 years later and that wish has come true many times over.

Here we are 7 years later living in Las Vegas. The three of us are flourishing in a desert. Sure, the coronavirus pandemic is still in full swing as I write this, but I’m pretty optimistic about the future. I am, as always, very grateful that I took that leap of fate 7 years ago and married the love of my life and took her daughter as my own. No matter what happens in the uncertain future, I will have the best 2 things to ever come out of Wuhan, Dan and Feiya.