Saturday, December 22, 2007

Olé! Maté!

When Mr. Thel and I lived in Ballard I ended up doing a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping at La Tienda one year. I bought these lovely squishy, soft socks for my mom and my sister, plus a pair for me so I could fit in. They adored them so much that I did it again the next couple of years. Having established something of a tradition of the Christmas socks, now I need to make a bus run up to Ballard today so as not to drop the ball. I may be able to find good socks elsewhere, but I also need to get a $10 odd gift for our Christmas Eve "White Elephant Exchange," and if I go to Ballard I can plunder Archie McPhee.

This is how I plan things now that I don't usually have access to a car: where can I accomplish a set of errands in the same small area, with the least number of transfers? It hasn't really been a burden so far, even in the rain. I missed one friend's party on Queen Anne because I'd have had to transfer at least twice in order to get there, but most of the time I am more clever than that. And so far this winter I've only been soaked through once while waiting for the bus; since that was during the deluge on December 3rd, the 3rd-wettest day in Seattle history, I'm willing to accept a bit of damp as my worst hardship from that storm.

I must admit, however, that I'm having a bit of trouble motivating myself to leave my cozy upstairs room to go out into today's downpour. The rain is rattling like a thousand tiny tapdancers on the metal roof above me, and I'm drinking my first cup of yerba maté. My friend bought me a little kit for drinking yerba maté, and although I'd never tried it I was delighted. I'd never have bought it for myself, but as a gift, sure, I'll sip that.

The gentleman she bought it from was apparently quite a fan of yerba maté himself. She told me that when she was looking at it in the store, the guy came up behind her, put his hand on the box, and looked at her gravely. "This," he said reverently, "may quite possibly be the most nutritious beverage in the world."

When I asked another friend if she liked it she said with great certainty, "I do not. It tastes like dirt."

A dirt-flavored nutritional beverage? Sounds like a winner! I brewed up a cup of it this morning to try it out. I stirred in a small bit of honey and milk, and I am pleased to admit that I am enjoying it. I can see how it tastes earthy--but it's more grassy than dirty, to my tongue. I have recently begun to admit that I prefer the taste of tea to coffee anyway, so this is perfect.

Now, to drain enough of this superbeverage to motivate myself to trudge out into the wet day.