Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last Weekend

The last few weeks have been difficult. This whole parenting thing is harder than either of us ever imagined it would be, and now having two teenage bodies as the center of our world has caused some seismic reworking of what is our new normal.

It had been fragile eggshell walking, with last weekend finally shifting our mental status into just fragile, but a bit thicker than an ovum covering. Sunday we took one of the boys with us to the Northwest Tea Festival, a pretty tranquil event. We didn't stay long, but long enough to sample some good teas and learn a little more about how little we know about tea. I've never been a very good tea drinker - I'm a Coffee Dude all the way - but I'm dabbled a few times trying to increase my awareness of all the pleasures and traditions of the world. That's me - always trying to increase my awareness of all the pleasures and traditions of the world. Sounds better than "Glutton", but kind of the same thing going on. I'm not really a wine guy either. I like beer and I like rum. But, I've assigned myself some self-taught adult education courses for the next year or two or three, which includes Introduction to Tea, Wine 101, and Opera for Beginners. I'm both the student and the teacher, so I've got my work cut out for me.

Since I prefer green tea to the other varieties (and was glad to hear one of the speakers totally dismiss "herbal tea" as a tea, because that stuff makes me gag), I now know that like other real teas it is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis (a fact that was buried in my head, but not available for recall), and that it is the oxidation, or lack of it, that makes a tea green, or black, or something else. I already knew that my favorite of the green teas is genmaicha, and due to my years of studying Japanese (alas, almost entirely forgotten) I know that "ocha" is the Japanese word for tea. I'm going to need a review study session for the basics of brewing, sipping and history.

It was all supposed to be a bonding experience with Mancub. He likes tea (although with a cup of sugar in it) and is studying Japanese. A perfect event for us to go to and have fun and learn, except he didn't want to go because he wanted to hang out with friends. The women at work swear that this is normal, that the idea of a "family outing" is laughable at best in their homes, and that the sounds coming from behind the closed bedroom door are the only way of knowing that this person is in your life. This doesn't stop me from becoming the frustrated and sad 13 year old when my brilliant ideas are ignored, forgotten, or snubbed - usually for the excitement of "hanging out". I would have loved to be my Dad. I know all of the cool things to do and learn. Alas, we don't get to create little perfect humans made up of all of our values, interests, passions, skills and experience. What we get is the opportunity to try to keep someone safe enough to last to adulthood, and sometimes even doing that seems like a tremendous thankless job.

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