Books. Tea. Cats. Scribbling.

Tag: cats

My tea collection in January 2020.

State of the Tea Cabinet (and My Life) 2020

What the Hell Happened in 2019?

Hey, happy 2020! Things have been pretty quiet around here. I had plans for reading and writing and blogging in 2019, but they fell off a cliff. For a good reason, though! In fact, for possibly one of the most exciting reasons imaginable — Mr. BooksandTea and I bought our first home last year, after living with my mother for the past decade and slowly saving money for a down payment!

Our New Home

We closed on a condo in the GTA in June, and have been living there for the past 6 months. It turns out moving was a big cognitive drain on me; while I was reading books in 2019, I read fewer than I planned to and just couldn’t muster the energy to write about them. On top of that, my day job was truly hectic last year, especially when we were moving. Hell, unpacking stuff in our new place and washing old dishes was actually how I relaxed over the summer. Moving stuff around meant I could turn my brain off!

On the plus side, the cats we adopted in 2018, Ash and Sabrina, like our new digs very much:

Ash and Sabrina, lazily enjoying the sunshine on the couch. It’s their couch, we just sit on it.

Books I Read in 2019, and Blogging Plans

My goal was to read 40 books in 2019. I ended up reading 33. My most significant reading project was finishing the entire The Dagger and the Coin series by Daniel Abraham. I’m pretty proud of this, as I normally take a much longer time to plow through a series of books – finishing one in a span of less than 5 months is quite the feat. (Dear Vorkosigan Saga, I haven’t forgotten about you, don’t worry!)

Plus, the Dagger and Coin books are thick. I even read the final 2 books back-to-back. That’s a testament to how fluid they are, I guess. I respect Abraham’s work ethic in putting out huge tomes like these like clockwork every year, and also his decision to not insert any hint of sexual violence towards his female point-of-view characters. GRRM could learn a lot from him, I think!

I also read The Outskirter’s Secret and The Lost Steersman by Rosemary Kirstein, both of which are sequels to The Steerswoman. I hope to read The Language of Power later this year, at which point I will have caught up on the series. Kirstein has indicated that the fifth volume should be out later this year, and that she’s also made significant progress on book 6. I look forward to reading both whenever they come out, as they will be worth the wait.

I don’t know if I’ll go for longer-form book reviews this year like the ones I wrote in years past. One author whose blogging style I really like is Carrie Vaughn; she writes lots of posts, but they’re short and somewhat impressionistic. I’m hoping to adopt a similar posting schedule to hers —frequent updates, short but in-depth thoughts about what I’m reading/watching, and occasional digressions into non-book aspects of life.

Tea Shelf Shenanigans

Things are significantly more under control in my tea cabinet now than they were 2 years ago. My lucky break was that, soon after my last tea post, my workplace moved into a brand-new open-space office. I restocked the empty kitchen cabinets with teas that I no longer wanted. I also gave teas I no longer wanted to friends, and tossed a few that I didn’t think were worth keeping around any longer.

Tea I Currently Have

So what’s the damage? Right now, my tea cabinet looks like this:

Top shelf: Pots, cups, pitchers, and other accessories. Second shelf: Green and white tea. Third shelf: Black, herbal, and rooibos tea. Bottom shelf: Gaiwans, pu’erh, and thermoses.

Total number of teas in my cabinet: 68 (This is down from 166 teas in 2018 and 156 in 2016)

Total weight of all teas: 2297.3 grams (and 129 individual bags). That’s just over 5 pounds — still a staggering amount, but I had more than twice as much in 2018!

Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

Tea TypeNo. of VarietiesWeight in Grams
Herbal11340.2 (plus 45 bags)
Green — Unflavoured6358.3
Green — Flavoured10588
Black — Unflavoured372.4
Black — Flavoured561.9
Yerba Mate175

How My Tea Habits Have Changed

The big difference between my tea cabinet now versus how it was in 2018 or 2016 is that I’ve cut down on black tea. I’ve also cut out oolongs altogether. As good as they taste, I don’t want to risk my digestive health, since both of those types can be triggers for my IBS.

In other words, I’ve gone back to my basic-ass-bitch ways from when I first started on my tea journey, and am sticking mostly with fruity greens. They’re tasty, abundant, and don’t mess my stomach up.

My goal in 2020 is to cut my collection down to 50 teas total, either through finishing off what I’ve got or giving it away to others. In particular, I need to get more diligent about drinking down my pu’erh: I bought a huuuuuge amount of it back in late 2015, and I’ve been slowly picking away at it ever since.

Happy Pi Day!

Venn pie-agram by Suzanne Wallace of Quirk Books.

It’s March the 14th, which means it’s Pi Day!

Tomorrow you may have to watch out for conspirators stabbing you in broad daylight, but today is for the communal enjoyment of round pastries filled with yummy, fruity, jammy goodness.

To celebrate, here’s a random assortment of pie-themed ways to add enjoyment to your day.

First, take some time to check out last year’s review of How to Bake Pi by Eugenia Cheng.

Next, read this highly scientific article full of OBJECTIVE FACTS proving that pie is superior to cake.

After that, regale yourselves with this jaunty tune about pi, sung to the melody of American Pie.

Finally, take some time to marvel in the glory of this handmade Venn pie-agram. There’s even a recipe you can follow!

However, my favourite type of pie is the cutie-pie, and just like regular pies, these two cutie-pies are somewhat round:

And, if after all of this you still need additional pie-themed goodness in your life, here’s the world’s most accurate pie chart:

Merry Christmas!

No tea review today, folks. But I *do* have cat photos.

Here’s Marco showing off his holiday spirit by investigating an inviting-looking box.


What part of “If I fits, I sits” do you not understand, human?


Here’s another of him trying to sneak into the suitcase we’re using for visiting my in-laws.


Gracie, incensed at Marco’s shameless cuteness, challenges him to a duel.

In case you're wondering, we're watching "Die Hard" — essential Christmas viewing.

In case you’re wondering, we’re watching “Die Hard” — essential Christmas viewing.

Finally, here’s a bunch of tea I ordered during Amoda Tea’s Black Friday sale  — I’m looking forward to reviewing them all next year.


Here’s hoping that over the next few days, we’ll all get a chance to drink some tea, pet a kitty, and read a book.

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