Auctions and Tea Parties
by Nicole Freire
And how was your week?
I was reading a book the other day and one of the characters was making an observation about another character's manners and I realized that I was not brought up properly. When someone asks you how you are, as in "Hey, Nicole, how are you?" you are not supposed to say, "Oh, ok I guess." You are supposed to say "Good. And you?" See? It's the little bit there -- "...and you?" that I was not doing. It won't happen again.
Today is all about school auctions and tea because I'm still on my personal journey of green tea discovery. Yes, please listen to my tea feelings.
School auctions! Usually when the words "school auction" are uttered -- even in polite company -- the response is often less than enthusiastic. In fact, like poor Alice up there at her crazy tea party, school auctions can leave one feeling grumpy at the table. Just try it. Ask someone about their child's school auction and they'll act as if you offered them a rusty fork to poke into their eye. Oh, auctions. People will complain about having to get donations or are nervous about asking their hairdresser to donate a free haircut or get the dog groomer to throw in a gift certificate, you know, for the AUCTION. People will complain about the theme or the dress code or the time they spent arranging orchids and organizing place cards. And then they have to get a babysitter! And put on makeup or wear a suit.
But. School auctions. First of all, the word auction is fun to say and to think about, because I always think about fancy art auctions taking place at Christie's and politely raising a paddle while a well-dressed woman whispers into a telephone to the bidder on the other line and the tension is so exciting and then bam! You've just purchased an armoire or a Monet or a Ming Dynasty vase. I think I watch a lot of movies where that happens.
Or, it could also be a cattle auction where the auctioneer speaks super fast and men in dusty cowboy hats just tilt their heads to make a bid, no fancy paddles here, no sir, just us and the animals. Ok, I think I saw that at a county fair.
School auctions however, are for school. As in the school that your children go to. Or the one your grandchildren attend.
The one where your child's teacher never complains about the fact that your child just will not brush her teeth in the mornings, despite repeated pleas from her mother. Or maybe you are the hairdresser, and your tax person gently suggests that maybe you could make some tax-deductible donations this next tax year? Like a few gift certificates?
So, school auctions are actually good things. First, they benefit the school. Or help a family in need of tuition assistance and maybe spring for a new laptop for the school library. And second, who doesn't enjoy eating food and watching other people drink wine and wildly bid on classroom art projects, or my personal favorite item, a homemade pie for each summer month. Think of it! A pie made of fresh berries for you to eat. June, July, and August. If I had any bit of disposable income here at Chez Freire I would totally drink wine and try to outbid someone at the next table for some summertime pie.
And now back to the tea.
I'm using this fancy contraption for my tea experiments, which seems a little extravagant, no? But it's a miniature French press just for tea which,
I know, is just crazy and I get totally excited about pushing the plunger down and squeezing the tea bag into the bottom of the container. If you think I am easily amused, you would be right, I am easily amused -- squishing tea bags and cackling quietly to myself.
Fancy tea contraption had so far only been used for this yummy tea I raved about last week and then I started to freak out about only having one cup a day because the tea bags were a dollar each and so I felt that limited how many times a day I could use the plunger function on my fancy new tea mug thing.
And then I discovered this tea that is really good. In fact, it's almost too good. It's got pomegranate and raspberry in it and so it doesn't quite feel like I'm drinking green tea or grass clippings.
It's like drinking fruity ice tea (except that it's not iced, it's hot? but onwards) that just also happens to have green tea in it, like a side dish or dessert. I don't even have to add honey to it to try and mask the green tea part of the tea. A secret ingredient. Maybe it's the adult version of cherry-flavored children's Tylenol.
You know, sometimes when I think about those difficult years when my girls were little I remember how crucial it was to always have some infant or children's Tylenol in the house at all times. Always. Because sometimes at 3am, really, who remembers where the only 24 hour drugstore is because, lord help you, you have run out of Tylenol for small people and they are screaming in pain from an earache. Also, that stuff is really hard to get out of a white t-shirt. No amount of pre-washing or Oxyclean will help you with a cherry-flavored stain.
But this tea is so yummy. And tea bag cost wise? Much lower than $1 per bag. I can't figure it out right now, because, ugh, math. It wasn't on anybody's recommend list (which I carry in my purse, that's how much I like it when people recommend stuff to me) but I was at Albertson's or Vons and those big grocery stores give me this horrible feeling of universal despair when I'm in them and so I bought this tea and some really toxic stuff to clean the dishwasher with and may I just say again, two thumbs up from me on this tea.
I still have two other teas to try and believe you me, if you think I can't write one more line about me trying to successfully integrate green tea into my life, well then, think again. I can and I will.
Just you wait.
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Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.