Friday, August 29, 2014

Tea Luncheon by Linda

Awhile before my mom became ill, my friend, Linda, who I met through the world of tea, had scheduled a tea luncheon at her home for Barb Gulley [Detroit Tea Examiner columnist and fellow tea blogger] and myself.  It so happened the date fell in between my mom's passing and her viewing, so I opted not to cancel knowing it would be an emotional oasis.

Upon arrival Linda served refreshing glasses of sparkling white grape juice using her Victorian silver sippers.

Then we went to her cheerful sun porch for delicious appetizers.


Linda is a foodie, and fabulous cook.  She served luscious strawberries with cruets of Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette and Blueberry Balsamic Glaze [from Fustinis in Ann Arbor]. Both were delicious!  There was also a plate of assorted crackers to accompany a fabulous Salmon Mousse.   We could have gone home very fulfilled after pleasant conversation and delicious food around this table, but there was lots more to come.

From the sun porch we went into the dining room for the main course.  Linda is a tablescape artist as you can see in the photo below.  Both a crisp white vintage linen napkin, and a blue silk-like lapkin were layered together in napkin rings at each place setting.  

We began with a refreshing salad of mixed greens, blueberries, raspberries, chocolate chips and a succulent wedge of watermelon topped with a dollop of goat cheese.  We dressed our individual salads with the gourmet balsamic vinaigrettes served on the sun porch.  

The tea served throughout the meal was a delicious English Breakfast tea from An Afternoon to Remember Fine Tea and Gifts.  Typically an English Breakfast tea is a robust, full-bodied tea, but this one wasn't overly strong, and needed no milk or sweeteners.  It was the perfect accompaniment to our meal.

The coconut, white chocolate scone was served with a pina colada spread, pineapple rings sauteed in butter and brown sugar, and a Pirouette French rolled wafer.  Heavenly!

The main course was Chicken Wellington, with a delicious pasta salad, and baked spears of breaded squash.  I would have been hard pressed to pick a favorite.

The grand finale - dessert - was a scoop of butter pecan ice cream on a bed of coarsely chopped Pecan Sandie cookies, topped with caramel sauce and candied pecans. We ate this using Linda's beautiful Victorian ice cream forks.  The tea served with this course was a flavored black dessert tea, Butterscotch Caramel Toffee.

Needless to say, Linda had to provide take home containers for some of our food.  We whiled away five and a half hours, and it was just what I needed to fortify my spirit.

Mother Nature even added her touch by providing rain drops tapping on the metal roof of the sun porch.  

Thanks Linda, for providing such a wonderful, leisure afternoon of delicious food and fellowship.  Barb and I will be reflecting on it for many days to come!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hawaiian Tea and New Beginnings

It's good to be back on my blog again after a lengthy hiatus.  My mother's Memorial Service was yesterday, and I finally completed the task of emptying out her apartment and turning in the key earlier this week, so now I'm entering a phase of life referred to as "the new normal."

And what better way to begin that than with a cup of tea.  A lot has transpired since I've been away, so I'll try to bring you up-to-date on some happy events that have taken place.

My son, Steve, and his family left for a family vacation to Kauai, Hawaii on August 12th.  [He was there when my mom passed away so we waited for his return to have the Memorial Service since he was her Pastor.]

He said Hawaii was paradise on earth, and by far the best vacation he and his family ever experienced.  I've borrowed some of his photos to share with you today.  Below is a photo of the island from the airplane window as they were preparing to land.

They stayed on Kauai for their entire vacation.  Kauai is the 4th largest island known as the "Garden Isle" for its undeveloped land and forests.  It is less commercialized than the main island.

[L-R:  Brianna, Sharon, Brooke and Steve]

~ Steve and Sharon ~

They brought me back two boxes of tea from the Hanalei Tea Company.   Kauai is the home island of the company.  I'm drinking their tropical Mango Sunrise this morning.

While tea is grown in Hawaii, Hanalei Tea Company uses Ceylon black tea to add their tropical fruit flavors to.

When Steve and his family's return flight landed in Chicago, they drove directly to Nashville, Tennessee where my granddaughter, Brianna, began her freshman year of college a couple of days ago at Trevecca Nazarene University.  I'm still trying to figure out how the years have passed so swiftly!  

My hubby loaded his Chevy Traverse SUV with Brianna's belongings, and met them in Nashville.  Below is Brianna's half of the dorm room.  She's rooming with another "PK" [preacher's kid] from Georgia.  

I'm anxious to make the trip down to visit her after she gets settled in, and, of course, I'll be checking out the tea rooms in the Nashville area!  

Bri's "selfie" on her first day of college [Aug. 26th].  Sending big hugs to you across the miles, Bri!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mom's Viewing and Interment

Today was my mom's private viewing and interment at Great Lakes National Cemetery.  It still doesn't seem quite real that she's gone.

As I was sorting through her things I found a bundle of letters my dad had written to her when he was stationed overseas during World War II.  I invaded their privacy and read one letter [well...actually two!].  He told her how he couldn't wait for the war to end so he could hold her in his arms again...that he knew how difficult it was for her being alone with two small children...and that he was going to make it up to her when he got back home by getting them a new little house [which he did!].  

She saved the letters for 69 years, so it just seemed fitting that she should be buried with them, still bound with the blue satin, time-stained ribbon.

Her interment is in the same grave as my dad's. [He's on the bottom since he passed first, and she'll be on top.]

Later in the afternoon when I returned home, a beautiful teacup floral arrangement was delivered from my girlfriend and her family.  Thanks, Sandy!  My mother's middle name was Rose, so the arrangement of roses was very appropriate.

Some family members are out-of-town until next week, so a Memorial Service will be held for my mom on August 27th.  Below is a photo of three of my grandchildren who were present at today's viewing.  Their great-nana would have been so pleased they were there.

[L-R:  Brandon, Tiffany, and Marissa - my daughter's children]

Monday, August 18, 2014

In the Presence of Jesus

My mom went to be with Jesus last night at 11:50.

Alice Rose Sullivan Bowman
October 11, 1921 - August 17, 2014

"While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgement throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee."

Rest in peace, Mom!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Compassionate Granddaughter

I borrowed a photo my granddaughter, Tiffany, posted on her Facebook page yesterday when she completed her last day of clinicals, and finished another semester of nursing. I'm very proud of her.  Like her mother [my daughter, who also works in  health care], she has a very compassionate heart, and will make a wonderful nurse.  Tiff's been so sweet to her "Great Nana," especially during these last days of her life, and she's written a beautiful poem about my mother's hands to read at the memorial service when the time comes.  

As an update on my mom, the hospice nurse said she will likely make it through today, but there are signs she could go to be with Jesus tomorrow.

[Tiffany is the first one on the left.]

Below is a photo of Tiffany and my mom taken at the December 2013 Christmas tea at my church.  It's Tiffany's current Facebook profile picture.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sunflowers and Tea

I love sunflowers!  They're my favorite flower because of their cheerfulness.   Yesterday the florist delivered a beautiful bouquet containing six of them to brighten my day.   Thank you for your thoughtfulness Paul, Ruth and girls! 

About the only thing that could make sunflowers better, is a cup of soothing tea to accompany them.  Now I'm ready to face another day as the unknown begins to unfold.  My mother continues to cling to life.  It's a week today since she went into Hospice care.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tea Cards and an Update

A tea-themed card is always uplifting, and I've received two recently that I'm sharing while giving an update on my mother. 

The Hospice nurse said yesterday that she will be going to her eternal home very soon - maybe even today.  To those of you who have sent messages of comfort and concern, they have been greatly appreciated.  

When life returns to normal I will resume blogging on a regular basis, but until then I know you understand.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Reflection...

The poem below is one my mother's favorites, and it seemed appropriate to share it today. I found the stained tract when I was sorting through her things.  She has been in Hospice Care since Thursday, and we're just waiting for our Heavenly Father to take her to her eternal home.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28

May God bless your week!

Friday, August 8, 2014

75th Anniversary of Gone With the Wind

I love the classic, blockbuster movie, Gone With the Wind, and have written five posts about it [three are from the theme tea I hosted in 2013].  

I recently acquired two Gone With the Wind books, and one commemorative magazine.

When I was in Chattanooga, TN this past June, I saw a 1936 hardcover edition of the novel in an antique store for $15.  I almost bought it, but decided to wait until I got home and order a copy from instead.  The 1,037 page book arrived a couple of weeks ago.  I've been taking it to the hospital to read while I sit at my mother's bedside.  What a talented writer Margaret Mitchell was. She descriptively brings all the characters to life in one's imagination.

The second book is a Gone With the Wind cookbook inspired by the motion picture.  It includes recipes for Tara Pork Scramble; Gerald O'Hara's Ham Steak; Mammy's Shrimp Cakes and Creole Rice; Melanie's Shirred Eggs with Ham and Popovers;  Aunt Pittypat's Cream Scones, and so much more.  I can hardly wait to try some of the recipes.

The 75th Commemorative Magazine is chock full of interesting trivia.  I read it from cover to cover one afternoon at the hospital.  There's a full page advertisement for Scarlett Letters, a book scheduled to be released in October 2014.  It's a collection of Margaret Mitchell's letters pertaining to the 1939 movie.  Also recently published this year is The Complete Gone With the Wind Trivia Book.  I'll definitely be purchasing both books.

Margaret Mitchell began writing the novel while she was recovering from a broken ankle. Her husband bought her a typewriter and suggested she write her own book to keep occupied because he was tired of lugging armloads of books home from the library.  The book took 10 years to complete and she wrote the last chapter first.  It was her only published novel, although she wrote several articles for the Atlanta Journal.

She died at age 49 when she was hit by a speeding car as she crossed Peachtree Street at 13th Street in Atlanta.

Tea in Texas magazine advertised a celebration for the 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind at the Civil War Museum in Fort Worth this year. Scarlett's green velvet hat is on permanent display there.  I love the how they used the three beginning words of Rhett Butler's famous last line at the top of their invitation: "Frankly My Dear, You Won't Want to Miss It!" I've got to use that phrase on my invitations the next time I have a Gone With the Wind tea party.

[Photo courtesy of Tea in Texas Magazine]

The former J.L. Hudson department store in Detroit, MI had a circulating library on the Mezzanine floor which was very popular, even though a branch of the Detroit Public Library was located just across the street.  I found it interesting that Gone With the Wind held the record for the largest circulated book in the library's history.

In the book, Hudson's Hub of America's Heartland, author Jean Pitrone stated:  "By 1936 Detroiters looked forward to a continuing pattern of economic recovery.  At Hudson's women flocked back to the Beauty Shop to get $5.00 permanents, then stopped at the Books and Magazines Department to buy copies of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind.  They lingered at lunchtime in one or another of Hudson's five restaurants where they talked of "Scarlett and Rhett" and of King Edward VIII, the popular former Prince of Wales, and his well publicized love affair with an American woman - Wallis Simpson."

I don't own any Gone With the Wind tea accessories, but I found pictures of two Franklin Mint teapots on the Internet.

[1994 Franklin Mint]

[1998 Franklin Mint  - Scarlett in her BBQ dress]

A "Scarlett O'Hara Sweet as Sugar" Hamilton Collection teacup.  There are six in the collection.

Happy 75th Anniversary Gone With the Wind.  Long may you live!

Monday, August 4, 2014

O'Mara's July Boston Tea Party

I'm still going to the hospital everyday to visit my mother, so my blog posts may continue to be sporadic, but I will post as often as possible.

My girlfriend and I had prepaid to attend O'Mara's July tea before my mother was hospitalized, and I was happy it worked out for us to keep the reservation.   July's theme was "Boston Tea Party."

~ The Patriotic Tablescape ~ 

The July 29th tea [the last one in the July series], wasn't a sell-out, but attendance was good.

It's customary for O'Mara's to serve their scones as part of the dessert course, but they switched it around for July's tea, and began with Pecan Scones.  The tea selections were Tropical Green, English Breakfast, and Raspberry Iced Tea.  I chose Tropical Green, and it was excellent.

The soup course featured Boston Baked Bean Soup with Sausage, and it too was delicious.

The savory/sandwich coarse consisted of Tarragon Egg Salad on Sour Dough Bread, Turkey and Cranberry Walnut Mustard, with Greens on Corn Bread; and a Chive Biscuit with Ham and Molasses.

Baked Brie topped with Mince Meat and wrapped in Puff Pastry was served with Fresh Fruit and Crackers.  I never thought I liked Mince Meat, but it was very tasty with the Brie. 

Next came a yummy corn meal crust Chicken Pot Pie.  

The dessert course included an Apple Dumpling served with Vanilla Ice Cream and a piece of Chocolate Gingerbread dusted with cinnamon powdered sugar.  No one can ever complain about leaving O'Mara's hungry!  The Sons of Liberty would have been physically fortified to carry out the Boston Tea Party after a meal like this!

It was a delightful afternoon spent with my girlfriend, Sandy.

[L-R:  Sandy and Me]