As those of you following my blog know, one of my resolutions for happiness has been to make more of an effort to keep in touch with friends – something that I found less and less time to do since having baby and if I am honest, since being in a committed relationship. Two people just have more to do than one person does. Add to that the complexity of organizing two lives (and now plus one more) and anything that isn’t a burning priority tends to fall to the wayside. I decided that making time to nurture these valuable relationships was very important for my happiness and well-being as they also define a part of who I am. I am more than a wife and a mother. I am also a daughter, a friend, a sister to many. So, that’s how our monthly Sunday Afternoon Teas were born.
After many days of anticipation, Sunday finally arrived. It was grey, soggy and slightly chilly -in other words, perfect for an indoor afternoon tea. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was excited. Last weekend, the Leslieville Stomp, a fantastic annual event in my neighbourhood consisting on multiple street sales and store sales, took place and one of the highlights for me was the set sale for Anna Olson’s “Fresh” TV show. While I couldn’t purchase the platters, bowls, plates, etc. (they just don’t go with my other crockery – though how I resisted, I still don’t know!), I did get a killer deal on some hot pink napkins, some white napkins, some pillar candle holders, a sugar pot and a hurricane – total damage: $6.35! I purchased a brand new, white double sheet, a creamer and a sugar pot from my local Value Village. I also splurged (though if they were under $15, does it still count as a TOTAL splurge?) on some beautiful aqua placemats with a sort of white trellis-like pattern. Happily, the peonies decided to bloom this very weekend so flowers – check! 3 blooms graced our table in my new-to-me creamer.
Friday night, the Christmas-y decorations (stop laughing… seriously!) finally went into the basement. Instead the hurricane is now on one side of our mantlepiece – filled a third of the way with white sand and sea shells laid on top – flanked to one side with a white taper in a crystal candlestick for some sparkle. On the other side, two pillar candles on the new stands with another crystal candle stick. This looks so much better than the out of season stuff but it still feels like it needs more. Most likely, this is due to the scale of the mirror attached to the top of the fireplace that T will not allow me to remove. It reflects a lot of light and does make the space seem more spacious but it’s just so 80’s without the frame and just way too huge for where it is!
On Saturday night, I baked some cranberry scones. The next afternoon, I laid out the table and decided to use the good stuff – nice china cups and plates, even a charger. Lemon was sliced, Earl Grey tea was set out in my new-to-me sugar pot from V-Squared and honey to accompany it. I laid out fig preserves, red pepper jelly with mango (graciously given to me by my uber-creative friend Andrea) and sweet butter cubes to complement the scones. And what is afternoon tea without tea sandwiches? We had cucumber cream cheese and salami pesto.
Karma couldn’t make it due to a last minute trip to New York City but Dolma and Tendon were right on time and came bearing goodies for little r (a sweet little toy tree frog) and for us. A pair of delicious spinach pies were popped into the oven to heat and the most decadent Chai flavoured ice-cream (how perfect was that for a tea party) was put into the freezer to be enjoyed with the movie they brought.
After a leisurely tea followed by a short stint on the deck (the sun peeked out at this point and it was perfect – cool but sunny), we spooned our ice-cream into little bowls and headed to the family room to watch “The September Issue”, a documentary about Vogue’s September Issue but really it was all about Anna Wintour. Talk about an alternate reality!
A wonderful afternoon was capped up by and interesting discussion of our jobs. It’s amazing to me that all my friends from the old days who are in Toronto have one way or the other found their way into the not-for-profit sector. Great minds think alike, I suppose. It occurs to me that I have known these women from the time we were all in diapers, literally. Dolma is a week younger than I am and Tendon a year. We are relatives (I was going to say cousins but that whole twice-removed vs. third-cousins thing always stumps me). Karma and I have known each other since we both showed up in 1983 to grade 1B. I cannot imagine a childhood where I didn’t know them. We drifted apart as we grew up but came together again and it was as if no time had passed at all. We are all independent women with a point of view and not afraid to voice them. We all have our own lives but there for each other. Dolma has been to the Phillipines and India to do development work, Tendon has been the editor-in-chief of a youth magazine in Nepal and Karma has managed an entire carpet factory before becoming a pretty darn indespensible part of her organization. And this just their professional lives. In addition to all of this, they are good, kind, compassionate, warm, funny women and I am so privledged to call these amazing women friends.