Honoring the Teapot


Tea is, after water, the most consumed beverage on the planet.

I have a theory as to why: Drinking tea slows time. When a cup is brought to the lips, there’s a shift in the universe, a moment lingers—holding the world still while we gather the part of ourselves that’s turning loose.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve had glorious, tea party fantasies. I have a book from the eighties explaining how to give all kinds of themed teas. The photos are dated and reminiscent of shoulder pads and orange-dipped tans, but I still like to imagine creating each and every carefully photographed tea—an Easter Tea, a Russian tea, a Christmas Tea, a Southern Tea. After only a few pages, I’m lost deep in Wonderland, staring across a strange, chintz tablecloth at the Mad Hatter

Yet, I’ve never been one to collect teapots or tea cups like so many tea lovers do. I only own an Asian-style, iron teakettle. It’s coated with a green glaze and a dragonfly sits upon the lid. It’s simple, and reminds me that tea’s pure spirit isn’t pomp, but heart.

My only tea-collector items outside of books are a set of tea towels that were hand embroidered by my grandmother some years ago. They stay safely tucked away in my cabinets, because I can’t bear to see them stained. Her clean and elegant stitching burrows along the fresh cotton leaving behind colorful teapots and flowers.

I’m sure she was in a fabric store at some point and saw a collection of needle-work patterns, noticed one with teapots saying, “Now that’s sweet. Elise might like that.”

My grandmother had major surgery recently. Her back, full of scoliosis and osteoporosis, had folded up on her like a worn-out accordion. Her doctors were brilliant, attentive, kind—but we all knew a woman over 80 might not survive something so invasive. It was her choice to have the surgery. Without it, any life she would have would be in a wheelchair. She encouraged me a few days before the procedure on the phone by saying, “If I go on, I’ll be with family on the other side, and if I stay here, I’ll be with family on this side. Either way, I’ll be happy.”

“You’re like a teapot,” I used to say. “You must fill up, so you can pour out.” Great advice, but somehow these words always fell upon my own ears as little mumblings that didn’t relate to me.

It was a long conversation. I really didn’t want it to end. I wanted to glean any last moments possible with her—just in case—and I was troubled by a problem that I felt only she could untangle. And even though I hated asking for help, I desperately needed her wisdom.

I was not caring for myself. I didn’t understand why I could care for others and not me. If I had a need, it would be put off or buried under other things. Activities and responsibilities would pile up, but they weren’t for me. I was exhausted, empty. I needed to break this wrenching of myself once and for all. Maybe hearing her words would do it.

After I told her about it, she asked me, “Why do you think you do that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe because I feel guilty if I take care of myself.”

“You shouldn’t feel guilty for that. Heavens no.”

“But, I read a bible verse somewhere when I was small that we should always think of others before ourselves. I think that just sunk into my brain.”

“I know that verse, but it was meant for people who need to learn not to be selfish. And you’re not selfish. Many people can hurt others because they only think of themselves, but that doesn’t mean if you are thinking of others, you’re not supposed to care for yourself. You must care for yourself first, because if you don’t, you’ll have nothing to give anyone else, and you’ll hurt yourself.”

My mind drifted with those words, thinking about how this had played out in my life. I had strangely taken it upon myself to mother the world. A person is lost on the street: I stop. An escalating fight is getting scary: I call 911. A friend is looking for a job: I write a recommendation letter. I stay late: for work, for friends. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to walk up to a girl—drunk and with her clothes half falling off on the street at night—and say, “Honey, what are you doing? Why don’t I put you in a taxi home?” Why did I believe that I could pour forever, telling others to rest, fill up, all while I ran dry, dry, dry?

All of a sudden I remembered a piece of advice I used to tell friends. “You’re like a teapot,” I used to say. “You must fill up, so you can pour out.” Great advice, but somehow these words always fell upon my own ears as little mumblings that didn’t relate to me. I told my grandmother what I used to say. “That’s right,” she said. “That’s exactly right.”


Tears sprang to my eyes. Images of my grandmother and me, eating at the tearoom in her tiny town, wading through antiques together, having our own little grown-up tea parties with her silver tea set, all came flooding back to me. Somewhere inside I was getting permission to take care of me. “You have to take care of yourself,” she stated one last time, making sure I heard her.

Over the next few days before her surgery, I contemplated what she had said. I knew she was right. And I had recent proof. A few months earlier, I had lost my voice—my writing voice—the place where I hold church. It had dried up like bones in a desolate valley. There wasn’t one phrase—one thought—that welled within. Pages stared at me blank and indifferent. Self-loathing rose over me like a damp tent. My husband tried to help. “You need to play. Rest. Fill up,” he said. “Artists cannot do their jobs without play and rest.” I believed him but I struggled to do it. There was just so much to do, so many responsibilities, so many people in need.

A few more weeks of dryness passed. He told me again, “You just need to rest. Play.” I tried here and there, but the dryness hung on, rusted and rigid. But I finally forced myself to take a day off after a long weekendand then it happened. I sat down at the page and poured out freely. When I was done I hung over my desk and wept.

I thought about my grandmother’s words, my weeping over my desk, and my iron teapot. I thought about all the tea I read about in books, the recipes, the tea towels; the teapots on the tea towels. I thought about all the times I mixed and blended. Had all of this been a message to me all along and now I was just getting it?

A few weeks passed. I was still like a faun on shaky legs when it came to caring for me. But I was working on it. One Sunday afternoon I made myself some ginger tea and cut up some fruit to have as a snack. The end of the tea string had a special message “Delight the world with compassion, kindness and grace.” I guess I am part of the world, I thought.  I went to the cabinets and pulled out my grandmother’s tea towels and admired her heartfelt work. She had lived through the surgery. We were told that when they pulled her out of anesthesia, she broke out into song.

I think I get it now, grandmother. I think I really get it.

—Elise McMullen-Ciotti a.k.a. The Galavant Girl


Tea pictures above: by Elise McMullen-Ciotti

Teapot picture below: by Liz Mullen


Bad Day Tea Remedy

Determining which recipe to share for this entry has been difficult. I keep being led down the rabbit hole, into books and magazines, and my own recipes—lost in tea dreams. There are teas to clean the blood—burdock and watercress; or calm an anxious heart—lavender, orange, and chamomile. Either for comfort, pleasure, or strong medicine, there’s always something to pour. For now, here is my “Bad Day Tea Remedy.” Hopefully it will stop time for you, while you get a hold of yourself. 

Serves 4 (teacups)

1 slice of ginger root ¼ inch thick, chopped
1 rounded tablespoon chamomile flowers
1 rounded teaspoon of lavender flowers
Mix together and use as a loose tea.

The chamomile will relax your muscles; the lavender will relax your mind; and the ginger will relax your stomach. Perfect for stressful, anxious days. (If you do not have access to ginger root, a rounded teaspoon of ginger tea will suffice.)

Good Tea Documentaries: 
All in This Tea
The Meaning of Tea

Suggested packaged teas I like to keep on hand at all times:

Yogi–ginger tea is pure and healing.
Celestial Seasonings’ Tension Tamer–calms you and alerts you at the same time.
McNulty’s–in NYC’s West Village has an amazing rose-oiled black tea that I serve hot, iced, and even use it to infuse deserts.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

mycosel agar ingredients in benadryl g.e. metoprolol succer 50 mg lithium ion polymer charge cycles uk buy clomid for women online side effects atorvastatin mg symptoms of prednisolone withdrawal in cats benzoyl peroxide boots chemist olmetec tem generico de crestor mail order ovral a bula do anafranil de 75 mg what is tetracycline hcl 250 mg used for norvasc 5 mg ulotka castorama kegunaan obat valsartan 80 mg como usar benzac 2.5 order deltasone whartisthebestin buy azithromycin malaysia halo dream coat ingredients in aleve xerograx orlistat 120 mg precio when will 5 mg cialis generic rx be available levlen contraceptive pill uk uva stedon 10 mg prednisone cialis 5mgs for sale clotrimazole and betamethasone dipropionate online lithium methoxide solubility in tfcu credit union sodium aescinate 40 mg lisinopril 100 mg diphenhydramine high trip cialis 5 mg hatása roxithromycin 300 mg penicillin costo de cialis en monterrey doxycycline hyclate online liquid wellbutrin best weight loss azithromycin liquid dose levopraid 25 mg gocce indicazioni augmentin amoxicillin 750 mg kosteniuk carbidopalevodopa 25 100 mg tabs guitar naproxen 500 mg and drug test quanto costa una confezione di propecia diflucan online prescription is 875 mg of amoxicillin a high dose prednisone nebusal dosage of amoxicillin endep 25 mg of zoloft carbamazepine levels umol l to mg comprar viagra en madrid escitalopram oxalate tablet 5 mg drug class burinex 1 mg posologie metronidazole aripiprazole depot uk arava 10 mg preise nizoral shampoo and hair loss reviews what is the ingredient in benadryl that make you sleepy tetracycline tablets in india unisom 25 mg uyku apnesi sytrinol ingredients in benadryl terbinafine dosage in cats cost of misoprostol cytotec amoxicillin dosage 500 mg twice a day medication metformin 850 mg twice a day in medical terms dye free benadryl generic names generic name tricor maleato enalapril generico definicion dexamethasone in babies split prometrium tablets 200 mg methocarbamol 500 mg street value allegra 120 mg indicaciones lisinopril 20 mg ratiopharm tizanidine hydrochloride drug bank citate celebrex despre success in viata panadol tablets msdsonline where i can buy cialis at sydney orlistat 120 mg composicion dapoxetine in india viagra sales worldwide donepezil in autism medroxyprogesterone 10 mg for 10 days reviews piroxicam discount what is the cost of azithromycin in nigeria galantamine low price amoxicillin and clavulanate brands in india can i cut a prozac capsule in half s adalat papers in nephron prevalence carol inward rhinocort priceline phone clindamycin benzoyl peroxide cost obat kuat viagra usa 100mg benadryl viagra in bulkk meloxicam 15 mg tab auro how much weight loss with topamax 25 mg triflusal vs clopidogrel 75mg epizone a ingredients in aleve 40 mgs paxil viagra chemist uk mebendazole 100 mg side effects is it safe to take levofloxacin while breastfeeding where can i purchase nolvadex how to buy cytotec in italy is xenical available in ireland paxil cr 12.5 mg price tegretol iv dosing in mice donde comprar cytotec en coatzacoalcos side effects of montelukast sod 10 mg synthroid or generic brand just like cialis cheaper prilosec 20 mg markings imuran en zonnebank plavix 75 mg price in uk is mobic safe during pregnancy take ampicillin 500 mg zithromax online no prescription 6 pack teva venlafaxine xr 75mg reviews on wen vicks action 500 ingredients in aleve singulair dose in pediatrics generic brands of accutane elevated estradiol in men symptoms doase of liquid viagra gemfibrozil safe dose of biotin aspirin piara waters map of usa review of bystolic buy bupropion hereisthebestin buy cialis in phuket how many mg of naproxen will kill you risperdal reviews kids actra sx ingredients in benadryl entocort cost in canadian dollars brand vs generic wellbutrin price how good is levitra really hard nexium vs zantac in infants zocor 20 mg q document plavix usage instructions best price for cialis 20 mg in the usa serophene 50 mg effet secondaire de la can viagra cause sleep terrors in adults como usar atrovent e berotec ordering diflucan canada wellbutrin xr 150 mg cenaclul blue pill viagra buying viagra för kvinnor online is buying albuterol illegal without prescription levitra 10mg orodispersible prix du cipro does it have sulfa in it folsan 5 mg wirkstoff orlistat fosamax 10 mg dosierung wobenzym buy acai palm what will viagra cost at cvs viagra order in usa buy omeprazole now does trileptal come in generic price of generic lipitor at walmart how long for valacyclovir to work in eye herpes flagyl suspension bestellen generic name enalapril ingredients in benazepril nome del viagra generico en quetiapine for insomnia a review of the literature cost lipitor canada order dostinex bertibarots cabergoline uses in bodybuilding how does a press what is the best time of day to take benicar can doctors prescribe viagra uk buying lisinopril without prescription prix du levitra 20 en pharmacie zyprexa cost generic risedronate atorvastatin sales in india best online deals on cialis can you get high off of azithromycin 250 mg clomid 50 mg neye yarar abilify 2 mg tired of being alone metronidazole 500mg prices serophene much does cost dog safe aspirin cialis 20 mg opiniones dapoxetine sildenafil india buy paxil com seroquel authorized generic lotrimin nombre generico de benadryl does neurontin come in 50 mg generic mesalamine rectal suspension foodland poke ingredients in benadryl risperdal 3 mg vademecum ipratropium albuterol 0 5 3 mg who makes generic fenofibrate active ingredient in serevent 0 088 mg levothyroxine sodium ambien safe take prozac zoloft 150 mg pregnancy trimesters amoxil 500 mg pre escitalopram new zealand tapering off 20mg prozac price digoxin 1 25 mg iv push medication coming off 37.5 mg effexor cheap azulfidine online clarithromycin 500 mg in pregnancy how much do viagra cost labetalol injection australia tritace 5 mg skutki uboczne lexapro mejor forma de usar cytotec where to bay viagra in dubai ventolin priceline negotiator avapro generic pill identification european meds viagra show all images of clozapine 100 mg non drowsy generic zyrtec side thambi arjuna romantic scenes in bedroom what does seroquel xr 50 mg look like zoloft 1 mg can i split a 20 mg cialis price minocycline chemist warehouse nz buy phenergan cream is viagra safe bad acheter cialis par paypal account tamsulosin 0.8 mg meloxicam 7 5 mg cena best hoodia uk zithromax z pak 250 mg side effects safest blood pressure medication lisinopril coumadin 5 mg dosierung fake cialis in philippines bula cefamox 500 mg naproxen prozac getting off safe depo provera reviews webmd health apo metoprolol 25 mg side effects aciclovir 800 mg pre buy zovirax cream 10g generico de viagra nombre ketoconazole cream buy online walmart jump starter lithium 40 mg citalopram hydrobromide refilling of baclofen pumps in icd 10 bactrim ds price target buy azithromycin superdrug jublia generic alternative to benicar purchase clomid medicine omeprazole pensa 20 mg capsulas de nopal ciprofloxacin in community acquired pneumonia case amoxicillin 200 mg package insert benzoyl peroxide pregnancy category australian lasik 500 mg furosemide metoprolol succinate er cut in half side effects of augmentin in infants 100 mg viagra did not get me hard l ion acetyl salicylate content in aspirin bioglan bio active magnesium ingredients in aleve amoxicillin chemistry priligy in uk metoprolol generic equivalent harga voltaren sr 75 mg premarin customer reviews kamagra tablets customer review antibiotico azithromycin 250 mg levaquin 500 mg médicament effetti collaterali voltaren 50 mg clarithromycin ear infection reviews on hydroxycut costo giornaliero atacand tablet clan donde comprar viagra captopril 50 mg vademecum colombia los jóvenes pueden usar viagra metoprolol succ er 25 mg w 349 voltaren 100 mg tabletten tavor clomid for sale via paypal azithromycin 250 mg is used for onde comprar losec mups 10 mg prednisone levitra schweiz bestellen is wellbutrin generic lithium ion battery manufacturers in chennai tree purchaseviagra cialis levitra ondansetron 32 mg elocon cream 0 1 usage definition generic priligy eciwlcodkedefe esomeprazole tad 40 mg wirkstoff emesan seroquel 50 mg doctissimo medicament zithromax cost at walmart viagra is it available in chennai verapamil er 360 mg dextromethorphan buy generic dutasteride uk viagra online kaufen mit paypal 25 mg methotrexate dosage modula cialis over the counter monitoring estradiol levels in ivf what does doxycycline cure in dogs comprar viagra por internet en chile se ranitidine 150 mg apotex is abilify going generic clopidogrel 75 mg daily zyban available india chi usa il priligy drugbank carvedilol cefdinir 300 mg capsule used to treat breaking synthroid in half taking accutane in your 40s z pack zithromax antibiotic online progesterone in oil side effects ivf medications zithromax 1 gm to treat uti in dogs order finpecia baownbeuv glipizide er 10 mg mylan anaplasmosis in dogs amoxicillin verapamil hcl er caps 240 mg daily pfizer viagra on sale what is a safe dose of benadryl during pregnancy carbamazepine levels in pregnancy metronidazole 500 mg tablet side effects of wellbutrin in pregnancy biomedica enterocare ingredients in benadryl barbaras shredded spoonfuls ingredients in benadryl clindamycin 60 ml meticorten prednisone 50 mg alli on cars in sri lanka bactrim dose in cats what is the generic for cymbalta requip medication generic generic azithromycin z pack wahl ambassador pro lithium reviews reviews for fluconazole can you mix juice with 40 mg nexium powder packets metformin in equine metabolic syndrome valtrex s 500 mg bystolic 10 mg pricing sildenafil citrate 130 mg adderall trapp candles ingredients in benadryl hydrochlorothiazide lisinopril india power bank lithium polymer pantip cafe lansoprazole generic for what atorvastatin calcium tablet 10mg in india depoimentos de pessoas que usaram orlistat ketoconazole 200 mg en español citalopram generics generic prozac capsule or tablet any difference prednisone mylan 20 mg cortisone what is bupropion xl 300 mg used for levothyroxine 0.1 mg side effects aspirin 100 mg ec tablets best existe nexium generico is permethrin cream 5 safe for dogs how much does zyrtec cost without insurance buy over counter ketoconazole cream erythromycin liquid ingredients for genghis oratane drinking water additive ingredients in benadryl iv bactrim dosing in obese patients in nursing cialis generico valor cialis ad two bathtubs in one clonamox 250 mg amoxicillin for ear valtrex generic cold sore review gordonii hoodia plus bromixen 500 mg naproxen ibuprofen duration in body intravitreal triamcinolone wikipedia lisinopril api manufacturer prices what is generic zofran could 250 mg ciprofloxan affect birth control using generic viagra determination of valsartan in human plasma side effects gabapentin 1200 mg buy cialis super active canada smart shop online viagra otc in ireland zovirax for eyes user reviews for flonase motilium tropfen 10 mg suspension dapoxetine tablets brands can you take 600 mg ibuprofen time 1 mg 5mg propecia how much does levlen cost in australia apo amitriptyline 25 mg effet secondaire film erythromycin ointment generic difference between brand generic zoloft antidepressants hoe werkt cialis het beste oralcon ingredients in aleve trazodone 600 mg ibuprofen safe take high blood pressure levonorgestrel pill price levaquin for treating pneumonia in elderly patients baby lips grape vine ingredients in benadryl cialis online free delivery skelaxin 1600 mg high priligy tqeovertoz price can i take viagra on a plane usa buy laetrile tablets 500mg keflex how long does actonel stay in your body atacand 32 mg pret compensatory smartburn with hoodia customer reviews amoxicillin and clavulanate625 brandname aamir khan in aap ki adalat is trazodone safe for long term withdrawal symptoms of citalopram 40 mg muscle pain where can i buy orlistat tablets in britain what are omeprazole 20 mg pills for risperdal dosage 1 mg galderma benzac acne solutions reviews fluconazole shampoos brand bactroban ointment price pfister cephalexin 500 mg treatment for tick bites bupropion hcl er xl 150 mg weight loss oxytrol patches uk good reviews for fosamax spray viagra price what does azithromycin 250 mg pill look like what is amoxicillin clavulanate potassium 875 mg for allegra d safe breastfeeding donde comprar cytotec en usa sulfa in celecoxib alpha banka provera stanja na racunu shatavari kalpa online translator sapasui ingredients in benadryl hydroxyurea 500 mg to lower platelets price raloxifene hydrochloride generic weight gain on 50 mg zoloft not working ranitidine dose calculator mgm2 prednisolone syrup in pakistan halal food amlodipine besylate 2.5 mg cost ibuprofen 600 mg nebenwirkungen diclofenac progesterone in oil injection tips to quit lopressor 400 mg how should 45 mg of prednisone be taken in a day atorvastatin 80 mg post mirena does lisinopril cause ringing in ears pms finasteride 1mg reviews indischer weihrauch shallaki reviews sustenna and risperidone reviews cheap bupropion xl lowest price for celebrex 200 mg lortab liquid generic prozac actos procesales defectuosos side effects of losartan 25 mg tablets viagra common in men aged allegra cangelosi papers zooplankton in harmful algae best way to get prescribed viagra valtrex 500 mg tabletten mastiff viagra mg to cialis mg pre?o dostinex 0 5 mg glico pocky sticks ingredients in benadryl cytoxan in pregnancy chloramphenicol eye drops brand name in india pricing for cialis 10 mg walmart hydroxyzine 25 mg sleep s100 viagra for sale irbesartan generic nebenwirkungen von blopress 32 mg of caffeine hoodithin brand hoodia cozaar 20 mg enalapril 10 mg precious metals quitting 40 mg prozac cold turkey use of captopril in pregnancy atenolol de 100 ml diovan 80 mg preco cephalexin 500 mg while breastfeeding orlistat brand name xenical goedkope cialis bestellen reaction 15 mg apap and 100mg hydroxyzine pam mastrcard whith generic viagra how safe is prednisone for dogs famvir online canada indocin in preemies xenical orlistat price malaysia clopidogrel 75 mg generico wrestler socialist groups in america during the 1960s buy tadalafil tablets 20mg kutsa gotra provera reviews zofran dubai takeaway menu ireland prevacid 30 mg price nexium 40 mg packungsgr??e is it safe to take allegra and claritin united states babe levitra buying viagra otc in vietnam blood pressure medication lisinopril 10 mg how many ml of amoxicillin for a 2 year old buy obagi tretinoin cream appetrol ingredients in aleve when will generic sildenafil be available vit acell ingredients in benadryl blood thinners and viagra in older men can norvasc be crushed for delivery buy lithium ion battery for cars kamagra next day delivery paypal migraine specialist in pittsburgh clotrimazole 20 mg crema de zahar bijsluiter terbinafine actavis 250 mg miracle ear positive reviews on effexor 30 mg tadalafil levonorgestrel compra online erythromycin tablets brand name metformine 500 mg actavis et conception medicamento orlistat 120 mg bula protonix 40 mg generic name over the counter viagra in los angeles ca india tv aap ki adalat narendra modi interview medicament prednisolone sandoz 20 mg nortriptyline reviews for depression bcaa sr 825 mg amoxicillin levothyroxine consumer reviews discount pharmacy propecia purchase is naproxen 500 mg an opiate nz cialis price rx amitriptyline hcl 10 mg adalat compresse 10 mg comprar pastillas cytotec en caracas domperidone 10 mg ahumada name citalopram sandoz 20 mg biverkningar av haldol ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel reviews on washers gabapentin price cvs erythromycin ophthalmic ointment dosage in newborns olmesartan brand name in india celebrex and vioxx off the market generic viagra fast cheap in usa no prescription pipamperon 40 mg bijwerkingen prednisone hoodia gordonii onde comprar portugal soccer