How to make love when you're alone

That sounds like it's gonna be dirty, but it's not. As many of you know, it's very cold right now. In fact, it's been about 30 degrees for days now in Portland. VERY COLD. Thanks to my sheepskin carseat covers, lambskin/cashmere driving gloves, and down jacket, I am surviving.

What I really wanted to post about, though, is a warm drink. Oregon winters are remarkably grey and wet, and I've come to realize that one of the things that gets me through them is tea. A nice, hot cup of tea. It's like magic. A cup of tea is one of the most amazing things - it's terribly cheap to make, and so easy. Making a cup of tea is like suddenly building a tiny fire in one's heart. It doesn't just warm your hands and throat - it can actually make you feel love. And this is the most stunning, priceless aspect of a cup of tea.

Several years ago, I dated a handsome british man who drank only one kind of tea. At first, I thought it odd and boring. Until I tried it, and a whole new kind of tea magic was unleashed.

PG Tips, if you don't know, is the best tea ever (at least that I, a humble American tea drinker, have found). You can buy it in large boxes, filled with heaps of unwrapped teabags. This particular way of packaging seems much more logical and satisfying. Enough of the 15 individually wrapped bags with Ghandi quotes on them. Give me mountains of pure, strong black tea, and give it to me simply.

I also want to tell you about my "chocolate tea", a silly invention that I love. Well truthfully it's not that silly, and undoubtedly it was invented many worlds ago. But I am drinking it now, and the cold ache in my core has vanished. Here's what I do - it is a delightful substitute for hot chocolate (which is more often than not too milky and sweet):

In a mug, pour two heaping tablespoons of your favorite chocolate powder (unsweetened). Boil water in the kettle, and fill the cup (nearly) with boiling water. Stir the chocolate in, and sweeten with agave (or sugar, if you like). Top it off with a splash of half & half or heavy cream, just to soften and fuse all the ingredients.

And there you go. Chocolate tea.

And remember, even on the coldest, lonliest days, a cup of tea will truly warm your heart. There is much magic in warm water - baths, hot water bottles, tea, etc. To have such magic at our fingertips and faucets is a delightful blessing.

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