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April 25, 2013

Afternoon Tea: Dragonwell Green, T-Mobile, and Meetings

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

Sitting down in front of the computer at home for the first time since this morning … drinking a cup of Teavana’s version of Dragonwell green tea, hoping the little caffeine in the product will help spur me to stay awake not just to finish this post, but also for our church’s Elder’s Meeting at 7pm. I’ve been a kind of a bad boy over the past couple of months since I haven’t been keeping to my oncologist-ordered four cups of green tea per day. To be honest, I’ve been in a green tea rut. It is not that I don’t like the tea – I love it. But I have been in this “I don’t want to wait to boil water in the electric kettle, then pour it into the tea maker for a minute” stagnation. It is easier to make coffee, though it is not as good for the environment since those dopey K-Cups and Tassimo pods are not recyclable.

After getting home a short time ago, I made a late lunch (the rest of my vegetable soup in the fridge and a spinach-hummus-salsa-avocado in a brown rice wrap) and decided to make the tea while I waited for the soup to warm up. In fact, the tea was made before the soup finished warming. And as I raised the tea cup to sup, the gentle aroma of the tea eased my anxiety.

Now, I am downstairs in the basement in front of the computer (the Windows 8 one I have; if anyone wants it, make me an offer) with my third cup of this delicious green tea in my Wal-Mart-special mug (the mug cost me a buck about four years ago).

When I arrived home, I noticed an Amazon package waiting for me. Not remembering if I ordered anything recently (I haven’t), I rushed out of the car to take the package from the front stoop. Opening it up, and to my surprise, was a copy of The China Study Cookbook, a book that was not supposed to be published until early May. I pre-ordered it three months ago and forgot about it. This cookbook goes along with the others I have purchased over the past several months to help me fill out my low-fat vegan diet. Suffice to say, I was excited. Of course, after flipping through the cookbook, I realized I needed to do a little bit of shopping. But the recipes looked very healthy.

This past week, I talked with someone I hadn’t seen in a while who admitted to me that he was trying to do a more vegetable-based diet, but he said he found it a difficult diet to follow. I said that I stopped thinking of it as a diet and considered it a good and healthy way of eating. It has become second nature to me. Of course, there are times when I am tempted by cookies and cheese, but I fight the urge. Being a vegan, it is so much easier to eat.

But enough about my veganism now; time to get to work.

Elder’s Meeting

Our church Elders will meet tonight for our regularly scheduled monthly chat. We didn’t meet the past two months as vacations have wrecked havoc on our monthly meetings. But tonight, we will meet – though one of our Elders is away. Of course, there are some “issues” we need to discuss, but overall, the meeting should not be too hectic.


Several members have asked me about whether or not T-Mobile is going to erect the flagpole-style cell pole on our property, as they contracted with us to do. My answer is simple: I don’t know. We haven’t heard a word from them in well over a year.

However, T-Mobile has heard from me. Earlier this week, I walked into the T-Mobile store at the Bergen Town Center and switched my mobile service from AT&T to the magenta-colored company. Overall, I am going to save around $50 a month. Yes, you read that correctly – I am going  to save $50. As an individual plan holder with AT&T, my monthly bill for unlimited calling and texting and a 2GB cap for data came to $127 a month. When AT&T introduced their “Family Sharing” plans that made it simpler (ha!) and cheaper (ha! ha!) to use their network, I couldn’t take advantage of the “savings” since I only had one phone. Apparently, according to AT&T, if you only have one phone, you can’t “share” it with anyone, so I could not take part in their “sharing” plans. Thus, I was paying $127 for phone service.

Earlier this month, with T-Mobile radically changing how they run their company (they eliminated contracts and offer unlimited everything for $70, or $90 a month is you are purchasing a phone with them), I walked into the store and switched. I even picked up an iPhone 5 (paid full price). My monthly mobile bill: $75.

So far, their signal is pretty good – I’ve had no complaints.

Now only if they would come to the church and tell us whether or not they are going forward with the pole on our church property…


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