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Posts Tagged ‘chai tea’

Physics and Chai Tea

I was reading my own Facebook profile last night, and laughed when I saw my list of activities and interests.  Like this blog, it’s a bit eclectic.  I like etymology and prayer, baking and ecclesiology, physics and family.

 

Just now, mixing myself a cup of Vanilla Chai, I was thinking of reviewing the drink.  (Because I know all my readers would try and like something just because I said it was good.)  Since a friend introduced me to chai, I have tried various mixes.  King Soopers brand was the best for a while, but only comes in very small containers.  Other brand powders tended to have a grainy taste or that bitter mixture settling to the bottom that wouldn’t dissolve.  I can brew and mix my own from a tea bag, and then add first honey and then milk (and sometimes vanilla or mint extracts).  That tends to taste bitter.  But I feel very cozy and British making hot tea.  Oregon Chai makes single-serving packets, which are convenient but expensive.  There is the concentrate, to which you add milk.  The concentrate must be refrigerated after opening.  It’s basically just a lot of work.  Costco sells a big can of chai mix, which doesn’t taste all that great.  (I suppose I should mention that I like my chai a little weak, and usually reduce the mix to water ratio.)  Most recently I found a 32 ounce can, produced by Caffe D’Amore, of Vanilla Chai.  It has no hydrogenated oils, though it is not all natural.

 

I have purchased Chai lattes from several stores, including Starbucks, Caribou, some little tea shop in the Cherry Creek Shopping District, a shop run by Somalis near my work, and Panera.  Of those, I prefer the independent tea shop and Starbucks – though their prices are pretty outrageous!

 

I like the strong, spicy flavor of a good Chai.  The cinnamon and cloves and ginger and other spices keep me warm hours after I have enjoyed the last sip.  With milk in it, a Chai latte makes a satisfying snack or morning kick.  It pairs well with cookies or sandwiches or a lot of fruits.  My favorite is the gentling silkiness of vanilla mixed in.  There are all kinds of Chai, including vanilla and mint and mango and chocolate.  The first two, and plain Chai, are my favorites.

 

When I put the mix in my mug today, I poured the hot water over it and watched before stirring.  The water took over the clumps of floating powder in a way that made it look like a volcano.  As the grains of mix soaked and dissolved, those from underneath floated up and then they got soaked, causing this rolling surfacing that was fascinating to watch.

 

That’s physics.  Physics is way more than number-crunching or astronomical calculations.  You don’t have to study physics to appreciate it.  To me so much of my love of physics is awe at how things work.  That they work.  How beautiful they are while they’re working.  Look at clouds.  And ripples of water.  How trees bend in the wind.  The way powder dissolves into hot water.  Falling things.  Pushing things.  Flight.  Floating.  Sinking.  Magnets.  Aren’t they marvelous?

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

 

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One can read over the brim of one’s cup, just as Treebeard the Ent studied Merry and Pippin in his mountain home over his entdraught in Middle Earth long ago.  Such was I doing when I stopped thinking about the words and became more attentive to the taste in my cup.  I was drinking a vanilla chai tea latte, hot, and slightly watered down due to my lack of tablespoon at work.  The flavor is one of the new things introduced to my life in a year that is rapidly flowing to its end.  I like it. 

 

But I miss hot chocolate.  Not that I never drink chocolate anymore.  That I drink chai tea when I would have been sipping cocoa is undeniable.  Life has changed.  My tastes have dutifully broadened as an expected part of growing up.  If they are broadened, they are also dispersed.  Now the intensity of my appreciation for chocolate is tempered by my acceptance of vanilla chai tea. 

 

Would my life be better if I had refused to taste chai tea?  If through loyalty I remained zealous for chocolate alone, could I still be a grown up and still be happy?  Would I be happier? 

 

Life is a choice whether to try new things.  Once surrendered to a new pet topic, to the diminution of my former sole passion, my experience says there is no possibility of returning to a single-passion life.  A new opportunity arises, and if I am consistent, is tried.  Causes ebb and flow, wax and wane now, each replacing the last for its moment in the spotlight. 

 

I haven’t really written anything in a while.  Inspiration departed.  Whenever that happens I get borderline depressed, because life seems to have lost its flavor, and my passion for each moment has waned.  I don’t like drifting, shallow waves of life lapping around an unresponsive me.  Leaving the metaphor, though, I keep on doing things: going to work, talking to people, checking email.  Even genuine smiles come to my face. 

 

Now, slowly, I think I’m coming out of my doldrums.  A week ago Saturday night, I completely spontaneously saw a movie, August Rush.  There were so few people in the theater, and I was so tired.  Reclined in my seat, I tilted my head against the back of the cushion, and absorbed a beautiful movie.  The soundtrack was uniquely expressive, imposing its presence and importance.  Music spoke in the movie.  It communicated identity, feelings, direction, summons, friendship, longings, and fulfillment. 

 

Afterward I escaped the scent of popcorn into a fresh midnight wind.  The air was too cold to linger, but I breathed it deeply, and memorized its touch on my face.  I felt the cold and the current.  My brother and I talked of how we love things and moments with feeling, and flavor.  They say something, and mean something. 

 

In contrast, the chocolate cake I had just before the movie was bland.  The color boasted bursting flavor, when in actuality the taste was dull and muted.  Not like fudge, or cinnamon, or grape juice.  Those things are so bursting with flavor that they assert their identities. 

 

Then a few days later was a day full of feeling, and a sense of doing things important, though everyday.  I cried near the end, for a few friends came home.  Tears break the walls of the world without passion.  That’s the metaphor of George MacDonald’s Princess Lightness. 

 

Yet when the walls are down, and I care about what happens around me, when I’m advancing my might on causes and people, there’s the probability that I’ll see the world in reality, and see myself as I am.  Couple this to just turning 23, to holidays and old friends, and I am sad now – not depressed, but sad in a sentimental way, in a fightable way. 

 

Sunday I went to Red Robin alone.  They offered me a free burger for my birthday in exchange for receiving their emails, so I went to redeem my coupon.  The staff was nice.  I brought a book about grace.  And in between sips of a chocolate shake and bites of luscious burger, I observed.  The walls caught my attention, bearing an eclectic collection of posters, prints, and photographs.  One fantastic picture showed downtown Chicago along the Chicago River in 1929.  Already the concentration of sky-piercing towers was a marvel.  Chicago is my favorite city.  I can’t lay my finger on the reason, only that when I am there I feel alive.  Every place is a story; every sound has a flavor; and every person has a style. 

 

I love Christmas for the same reason.  Each song is a tale, each note a rush of emotion.  Every light twinkles mystery into my soul.  Altered from its original intent or not, in December the whole country is united in focus.  No one asks why the stores all play music about snow, bells, peace, and Jesus.  It is understood when you wear red that you’re being festive.  Even those who have dropped out of church make it back for the memories of candlelight at Christmas Eve services. 

 

So today, especially at Christmas, I want to challenge you to seize the day.  Breathe the moment.  Live to the hilt.  Pursue life.  Feed on truth.  Praise beauty.  Remember.  Cry.  Hope.  Laugh.  Sing.  Love. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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