Friday Five - Version 14.2

In spite of the Siberian temperatures, this has been a pretty good week.  Some of the best things: 1.  Heat, electricity, and the ability to be comfortable.  Weather like this reminds me how blessed I am to be able to safely survive such weather.  And I truly feel for those who aren't.  When it's cold enough that the drinks in the fridge in the garage freeze (and explode), you know it's cold.  It pains me to imagine how horrible it must be for people who don't have access to a warm, safe place, be it through circumstance or choice.

2.  Family mini-reunions.  My cousin and his girlfriend made a quick over-night visit on their way from Vermont to Minnesota.  Given the weather, it has been one of the worst weeks to move half-way across the country.  They finally arrived three days late, having battled snow, ice, and Chicago traffic.  It was great to catch up since we haven't seen each other in years.

3.  New recipes.  I tried two, with varying success, this week.  Aroostook Potato & Broccoli Soup and English Muffin Bread, both from Lost and Vintage Recipes by Amy Traverso and Yankee Magazine.  The soup was fantastic (and gave me an opportunity to play with my Christmas Cuisinart food processor).  The bread...not so much.  Two dense loafs that refused to rise.  I never seem to have any luck when it comes to mixing all the dry ingredients, yeast included, before mixing in the wet ones.  I'm a big fan of proofing the yeast first.  I'll try again, proofing the yeast this time, and see if it works out any better.

4.  Writing when the words are flowing.  It's been a fruitful week, in that respect.  I reached 40k words for my latest work in progress, and *knock on wood*, it's been smooth sailing.  I'm going for a writing marathon today, hoping to finish up a couple of chapters to send out to my beta readers/critique team.

5.  Using a traditional Chinese tea set for afternoon tea.  The last time my husband was in China, he picked it out for me.


I love that he got it in a local grocery store.  It wasn't made for tourists; it was made to be used.  And I do use it.  A lot.  Almost daily.  I've been enjoying some jasmine tea he brought back to go with it, but I'm looking forward to some other loose leaf varieties.  Any suggestions?