One delicious outcome of our Italy trip ten months ago was my espresso intake went up–how could it not?–and I’d started having trouble limiting myself to one latte a day. There are all sorts of good reasons why one should be enough, but you know how it is: no amount of commonsense can always outweigh the desire for a treat.

So, for this and other reasons, Kelly and I bought the world’s most adorable milk-whipper a couple weeks ago. It makes hot foamy milk, cold foamy milk, and hot unfoamy milk. (Also hot unsweetened chocolate almond milk, which: mmmm!) And it’s damn near silent, which is deeply wonderful. I could whip milk at the crack of dawn pretty much right beside Kelly’s ear and she wouldn’t wake up.

But the real selling point, in the end, the reason we couldn’t leave it at the Bay, was the red fireplug cuteness of the thing. Sometimes you just have to give in to the OMG squee, how fantastic!!

Did I show you all our pretty new milk whizzer?

Last official @ClarionWest #Writeathon Word Count

I admit I was hoping to break 60K by the end of today, but to do that I’d have to be self-abusive and willing to write what–even by my lax first-draft standards–would be unsalvagable drivel. Pages upon pages of “And then McReporterpants did the thingie with the watchamacallit. Theodolite? Look this up later.”

So – today, words that are better than the above:

July 27 2,308 for a grand total of 58,378 words. Here’s what they looked like before I typed them:

Extremely rough draft, with chamomile tea.

(Sponsor me here! Win Naming Rights to an Island on Stormwrack!)

I had a look at the outline and I’m not as far from the end of the plot as I would have guessed. Maybe another 15,000 words until the thing’s Frankensteined together? I’ve never been good at making these kind of guesstimates.

What I did today to celebrate the end of the Write-A-Thon was go to the Urban Tea Merchant and spend two and a half hours imbibing Royal Darjeerling tea, little sandwiches and luxurious baked goodies while scribbling the above words. It was a very enjoyable wrap-up to the whole Write-A-Thon ritual; I commend it to you all.

I plan to keep up the current pace, of course, until I finish the draft. And then go back and rewrite, and rewrite some more, and then some more.

When Life Hands You Windows, Buy Tea

Being displaced by the window installers meant that last week was not a nutritionally adventurous one. I made a peanut-pumpkin Badger recommended, but otherwise dinner mostly consisted of things from the freezer and stand-by meals.
I did end up at a new not-coffee house though: the Urban Tea Merchant.
There’s this place on Alberni Street, Thierry, see, that I like very much. It’s not too far from Kelly’s office, and they make decent coffee and tea. They sell pricey macarons and very nice little pastries, and the two of us often go there for a quick cup early Friday mornings. After we discovered Thierry, I had thought it might make a good place to hole up and work now and then in a couple of other little windows in my week–times when it’d just be nice to pause and sit before lunging off to the next thing in my day.

Unfortunately, everyone else loves Thierry, too, such that the only time you can get a seat there appears to be at the crack of dawn Friday. They tend to be packed, packed, packed.

So Thursday before last, when I was displaced by construction, I peeked through their door, saw the throng, and walked on half a block to that pretty tea store I’d never gone into.

Urban Tea Merchant is basically a wine bar for tea snobs. They have a tea list, broken down by country and then again by blend, as well as a menu. A pot of tea can go for as ‘little’ as $6*, or you can splash out and spend, I kid you not, forty eight friggin’ dollars on a single pot. They have linen napkins and lovely bone china and an extremely unhurried atmosphere, and since they don’t serve coffee at all, it seems as though one can always find a seat in their tiny tea room, at least at the times of day when I’m looking for somewhere to park my butt.

They also do high tea in a number of forms, including a full-bore splashy morning tea service with baked treats, wee sandwiches, and champagne or tea-infused prosecco. Check out their menu. Marvel.

Having only just discovered the tea room, I haven’t had the opportunity to try a full range of the baked treats, but I will say their chocolate scone is godlike, and comes with a tablespoon of the freshest, most vividly-flavorful jam I’ve ever had.

I’ll be headed back there next time I need a little tea-flavored self-indulgence, and I’m seriously considering saving up some dosh so I can take my honey for one of the splashy tea cakes and sandwich events.

*That $6 pot of tea is quite huge, I should add. It’s pretty typical downtown to pay half that for a wee tiny pot o’ tea, and this is a huge portion of really good stuff. And they’re in no hurry to get you in and out, so if what you’re doing is paying rent on a table where you can scribble fiction for a couple hours while getting caffeinated, it’s not too bad.