“I Feel Like Ass” Tea

September 5, 2011

A few days after a chemo infusion, when the steroid wears off, Mama starts to feel like ass.

This comes as a surprise to nobody except Mama.

I’ll call her in the morning and she’ll answer the phone, bewildered. “I don’t feel so good.”

“Geez, Mom. Ya think?”

“I didn’t expect to feel this bad.”

“Mom. Hello! They just injected your body with toxins. Toxins = poisonous nasty shit. Toxins kill the bad stuff and some of the good stuff, too.  Thus, you are going to feel like ass.”

“I didn’t think it would be this gross.”

“Gross? Okay, Ma. Listen. Let’s think about this. Remember how when that first bag of chemo is over, they hand it to that lady in the Darth Vader suit, with the gloves and the mask and everything, and she takes it into the ‘soiled hold’?”

“Yeah. They should get her a better looking suit.”

“She has to get dressed up like an evil Jedi just to throw your chemo bag in the trash. That bag of stuff that just got injected into your entire person. You are going. To feel. Like ass.”

“Well, they didn’t tell me I was going to feel like ass!”

“Mom. I think they kind of just figured that you knew that.”

“Hmph. Well, I didn’t.”

I love so many things about Mama but her sunny optimism is truly one of her finest traits.  She just navigates her way through this world believing that everything is going to be smooth sailing.

Truly, she should know better, because she’s had some choppy water in her life–boatfuls of it–but she seems to forget the rough patches. It’s charming.

It’s especially charming to me, the pessimist who has the life jacket on, the flares in hand, and the extra oars in the boat before it even hits water.  She’s like a lungful of clean air, my Mama.

Now if Mama will admit that she feels bad, it means she feels bad. This is a woman who deems a gall bladder attack and subsequent emergency removal, “inconvenient.”  Bunion surgery? “A wee setback.” You get the idea.

Mama says she’s a tough old bird. And she is tough.  Which is a pretty awesome thing to be, in my opinion. She’s quickly back on her feet in a few days, cracking jokes and making mischief just like always.

One of the challenges during the “feel-like-ass-phase”  is staying hydrated, and Mama doesn’t do a good job of hydrating on a normal day. Like me, Mama doesn’t enjoy water. We are kind of anti-water. We want to like water, but let’s face it: water tastes like what you last ate.

She’s been adding a wedge of lime to her glass, and that makes things a little better, but still.  It’s boring.

I wanted to come up with something that, when Mama cannot abide another glass of water, might tempt her to keep drinking. I spent a recent afternoon in the kitchen, mucking about with various concoctions and odd ingredients, feeling a bit like a mad scientist. It was good fun.

The following recipe is one of the results, and I was pleased with it.  It’s clean and herb-infused and bubbly, and bubbles make things fun, no matter the occasion.

It’s kind of surprising to me that cucumbers, which are mostly water, become quite flavorful when juiced. I can eat a slice of cucumber and not taste much, but when pureed, that flavor shines through.  In a good, refreshing way.

This is a barely, barely, sweetened drink. Mama doesn’t like sweet drinks, and I don’t either, but feel free to increase the amount of agave nectar to taste.

Luckily, you don’t have to feel like ass to try this recipe. It’s a welcome tonic to a steamy afternoon, and if your herb garden is flourishing, a nice way to use up those herbs hanging about.

Mama and Daddy came up for Sunday lunch recently, and I sent them home with a big jug of this “tea.”  I think Daddy may have called it “bug juice,” but that’s his opinion. The man voluntarily drinks sauerkraut juice, so I don’t think he can talk any smack. He’s forgiven though, because he (along with my generous husband) is sending Mama and me on a little spa adventure for a few days next week!

Readers, we are so excited. Mama and I have always wanted to vacation together, just us chickens, and look what fell in our laps!  My husband couldn’t have given me a nicer early-anniversary present.  Best of all, we get to dip our toes in the ocean, which is always good medicine for the soul. I’ll be giving you details in a bit, when I’ve nailed down some nuts and bolts.

For now, all I can give you is love and bug juice.



“I Feel Like Ass”  Tea *

serves about 4

1 lemon or lime, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup fresh mint

24 ounces cold Pellegrino or club soda

3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup pineapple juice

2 teaspoons agave nectar or to taste (we didn’t like ours sweet, but others may disagree)

Cracked ice

mint sprigs, cucumber slices or lemon slices, for garnish (optional)

In a large pitcher, combine lemon, basil and mint. With a wooden spoon, crush the mixture together (use some muscle!).  Add the agave nectar and let sit on a sunny windowsill for about an hour.

Meanwhile, place the cucumber and 1/4 cup water in a food processor and blend well.  Place the cucumber mixture in a strainer set over a bowl, pressing down on solids with the back of a spoon.  Discard mixture left in strainer. Chill the cucumber puree.

Strain lemon/herb mixture into another pitcher; discard lemon and herbs. Add cucumber puree and stir well.   Pour the chilled sparkling water into the pitcher and stir well.

Serve over lots of cracked ice, garnished with lemon and mint, if desired.

*Just to let you know, you can spike this puppy if you wish. I did (naturally), and it’s good with any citrus vodka or, if you have pear vodka on hand, that’s yummy too.

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

unicorn September 5, 2011 at 8:37 am

I’m sooo taking your life-jacket-wearing ass canoeing with me someday!

You two ladies have a lovely relaxing trip. Wave to the fishies for me. And you won’t be needing the life vest. Pack the suitcase with chocolate instead.


TKW September 5, 2011 at 10:25 am

And champagne! Which I’ll bring in the canoe, too. Emergency provisions, you know.


elizabeth September 5, 2011 at 9:07 am

What’s really great about this drink is that you could totally make it in the wintertime or early spring to trick your mind into thinking it’s not awful out, because those ingredients are pretty decent year-round.

We’re making your ginger-peach-gin cocktail tonight! Thinking of you lady–enjoy that spa minibreak!


TKW September 5, 2011 at 10:26 am


That cocktail is good stuff! Enjoy!


bryan September 5, 2011 at 9:28 am

You made me smile, I like your mom’s optimism. The hydration cocktail sounds great! it is amazing the amount of flavor the unassuming cucumber holds.


BigLittleWolf September 5, 2011 at 9:59 am

Boy does your mother sound like courage under fire.

I’d be adding a few ingredients to that feels-like-ass tea. But it does sound pretty incredible. And so do you, and so does she.


Erica@PLRH September 5, 2011 at 11:11 am

You and your mama are two remarkable ladies! Enjoy your mini-break!

I wonder if I could get my mom to drink your tea. She can’t stand the taste of water either and has hydration issues.


Katybeth September 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm

The ‘ass tea’ sounds wonderful and so does your Mama. We have been drinking a lot of Lime Raspberry Rickies this summer and they have been very refreshing killing some of the snotty allergy taste that has lived in my mouth this summer. It can also be spiked.

A mother/daughter adventure! Yes!! May I suggest you sing, “You Are My Sunshine” as you adventure along…I bet your mama likes that song!


TKW September 6, 2011 at 6:47 am


I’d love the recipe! And yes, she does like that song, although I always associate it with French’s mustard. Gah!


Mary Lee September 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I am so with you on the pessimism, except that the life jacket would be too small, I couldn’t get the oars in the holders, and I’m burn myself on the flares. Oh… and by your analogy, I’m married to your mother.

I don’t suppose that you and your sweet mama are heading southeast…?!


TKW September 6, 2011 at 6:48 am

Your comment about the too-small life jacket made me laugh!

We’re headed to California, as it’s a short flight. But someday, Mary Lee, I’m coming your way.


Barbara September 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Your mom sounds like a gem of the first degree. Good for her. It’s tough. I went through it with my best friend. She felt like an ass too.
Hope she likes your tea….and a vacation for the two of you sounds divine!


Nobody September 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm

your mama sounds like a really great kind of woman to know. i hope that it helps her hydrate and feel better! i hate water too. i always joke that “i have a drinking problem”.

when i was in girl scouts, they used to call the fruit punch “bug juice” to give it a more interesting name. ;) you couldn’t pay me to drink sauerkraut juice.


TKW September 6, 2011 at 6:49 am


Sauerkraut juice is nasty stuff. Not that I’ve tried it. Just the smell of it is enough for me. LOL at “I have a drinking problem.”


Contemporary Troubadour September 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm

That drink sounds like a breath of clean air, the perfect match for your incredible mama. Happy spa adventure to you both!

P.S.: I totally get the life jackets and flares and extra oars. Do you see my extra boat here too? ;)


Velva September 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm

This drink would definitely make feeling like “ass” more bearable.

Cheers to your mom.



Stephane September 5, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I’ve got a friend who’s also getting an ass-kicking right now; I’m going to share this with her. Thank you for providing the answer to the question of what to do when an appetite has left the building. You beverage boffin, you! : ) You may not have exactly adopted your mother’s formula for disregarding life’s crapfests but your response sounds like the opposite side of the same coin and every bit as feisty.


ayala September 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I love that you will get to spend a few days with your mom. You are a sweet daughter to an amazing woman. Enjoy every moment !


Heather September 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm

You are amazing. And your mama??? Well, I just don’t have the words for what a beautiful soul she is. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to you and her. Enjoy your get away. Learn from her optimism – laugh and smile until your face hurts. Life is too short to feel like ass! Glad you could come up with a way that will hopefully bring back her happy :)


Shelley September 5, 2011 at 11:49 pm

I really admire tough women. I’m mostly wimp myself – until things get really desperate, when I manage to pull it together. I’m afraid I’m a whinger, though. I hope you enjoy your trip with your Mom and that she is able to enjoy it, too. Your writing, as ever, is cracking!


TKW September 6, 2011 at 6:51 am

I’m a whinger, too. An A-plus whinger. :)


Tinne from T and T September 6, 2011 at 5:47 am

I would never have thought of adding cucumber to a drink, but I’m sooo going to give that a try.
Enjoy your vacation with mama!


Stacia September 6, 2011 at 7:33 am

I’m sorry your mom has reason to feel like ass, but I’m glad your bug juice is helping her through it. Hope you get pampered up, down, and sideways at the spa!


Arianne May September 6, 2011 at 8:24 am

I really have a great time reading your post. And I am touched with the bond you and your mama had. Your both lovely and amazing. Hope your mom feels better now.


Jennifer September 6, 2011 at 8:41 am

If I liked cucumber I would totally give this a try. It sounds very refreshing. But how in the world do you seed a cucumber?


TKW September 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Jennifer, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop the seeds out with a small spoon. :)


pamela September 6, 2011 at 9:43 am

You are an incredible person. This drink looks awesome too.


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri September 6, 2011 at 10:16 am

Enjoy your Mama’s smile on your joint vaca. And hey, I would trade some bug juice for a tall margarita by the beach. Cheers to Mama and you. xoxo


Amber September 6, 2011 at 11:51 am

Your momma is my hero.

While I haven’t been through chemo, I do understand the nausea, fatigue, and general ickiness. Having been EXTREMELY sick during my two healthy pregnancies, the doctors prescribed me with the same anti-nausea medication your mother might use. Alas, it didn’t work. But keeping myself hydrated? It didn’t make the ickiness go away, but it did make things more bearable. I am sure she really appreciates you making her this delicious concoction.


Jenna September 6, 2011 at 11:54 am

This concoction sounds rejuvenating and delightful. And I love your mama–this world needs more sunny optimists. (Okay, and life-jacket pessimists like you too–that’s just as refreshing in a different way =).


Samantha @ Bikini Birthday September 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I watched my mom go through chemo treatments. They are not fun. I remember my mom would get so sick from them it was almost worse than the cancer itself. I’m glad to see that your mom is so strong and able to get through it. You two deserve an awesome vacation.


Biz September 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Hopefully the bug juice helps your Momma get hydrated – I know when my Dad was on chemo it was hard to keep him hydrated.

Hooray for spa days with your Momma – I just went on a trip with my Momma – first time my daughter didn’t go with and we enjoyed traveling together.

Hugs to you and your Momma!


The Curious Cat September 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Your poor mum and what she must be going through- she’s lucky to have a daughter like you to be there for her and it is good you guys are getting a chance to get away! Take care xxx


Jane September 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm

As you already know, I had to give up my beloved caffeine a few months ago. I never realized how much coffee, coke and sweet tea I drank until recently. (Way too much!) I’m so over water and St. Croix sparkling water and Mama’s Gatorade (lots of water with a splash of OJ). This recipe is printing out as I type!


SuziCate September 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm

You are a wonderful daughter and your mom, a breath of fresh air. I am so excited that you two get to take a spa vacation together, and dip your feet in the ocean, yay!


Dawn September 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Glad you and your Mom get to spend some fun time together. Your bug juice sounds yummy. Never thought I’d ever say that.


Maria September 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm


Reading about your Mama’s reaction to chemo made me smile. My dearest MIL had the same reaction. Like getting breast cancer is like getting makeup smeared on a white shirt. Bothersome, but fixable. Your bug juice sounds divine! With the vicious heat we’ve had in these parts lately, I think I am going to fix up a batch, pronto.

I am thrilled you girls are going on your own special trip. Mom (MIL) and I just went up for my sister in law’s baby shower a few weeks ago. She is expecting her first baby, Mom’s fourth grandson, my first nephew! What an experience to be able to fly with her, chat about the last 20 years and what the future holds for that precious baby!

Wishing you easy travels and wonderful memories on your trip! And have a margarita for me, sister!


TKW September 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm


A margarita for you is definitely in order.


Mary Poppins in Heels September 6, 2011 at 7:03 pm

It’s amazing. You write about feeling like ass and, even thoug feeling like ass is, truly, not a good thing and, in reality, a very crappy thing, I smile. You, dear Kitchen Witch, make me smile. Every single time. Thanks for that…


TKW September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm


So glad to see you here! I hope you are well. I’ve missed you.


Mary Poppins in Heels September 8, 2011 at 8:24 am

Thanks! It’s nice to be here. I’ve missed you, too, and promised myself a good dose of TKW, just because.


Sherri September 7, 2011 at 5:10 am

Your mama is lucky; all your “feel like ass” recipes and cure-alls are good :-). Hope she feels better in a bit. Chemo is a terrible thing to handle – terrible. Breaks my heart to hear how she tells you she doesn’t feel so good – trying to brush it off a bit. I’m sure she’s hanging tough with it all, and I’m definitely sending all of you good thoughts.

I have little ones reluctantly starting preschool and kindergarten this week, so… anticipate feeling like ass fairly soon. Will give this yumminess a try.


Tiffany September 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I am in a very weepy phase today and this didn’t help!! ;) Seriously, I love you and your family…which is weird b/c we’ve never met, but still. I am so happy for you and your Mom to go away together. Enjoy every second!


TKW September 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm


Between us both, we could probably keep Texas hydrated right now. Have faith, sister. Friends will see you through. Although if you come to this state again and don’t visit, I may just have to get my fighting mittens on.


Nancy C September 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm

“water tastes like what you last ate.” Amen, sister.

Chemo just fucking sucks, doesn’t it? I hate the stuff, but love it too.

And I’m sorry we’re both in Cancerland at the moment.

Go MOM! She sounds great, and the tea does too.


TKW September 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm

“Just fucking sucks” is really quite accurate. You are right. Thinking of you and yours.


GEW September 8, 2011 at 11:12 am

This looks lovely, refreshing, and cleansing! Just what one needs when one feels like ass. I love this post, Kitch, especially the image of you with life jacket and flares. :)


TKW September 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm


I think I might even have goggles and flippers on.


Lanita September 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Between this and your “Sick As Shit” soup, sounds like you have cold and flu season covered!


TKW September 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm


You’d think, but I got a stomach bug Friday and Miss M. woke with a cold this morning. Ah, the start of the school season and germs.


Salad in a Jar September 8, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I wish I was more like your mom in regards to optimism. Have a great time on your vacation.


camilla September 9, 2011 at 12:36 am

A spa trips sounds awesome! I know you’ll be having a wonderful time together..you know when you need to stop smiling just for a minute because your face hurts, Oh and I love your tea, I’ll be adding a bit of gin to mine xx


Kate September 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm

The tea sounds delicious, your spa plans sounds amazing, and your mom sounds like a great lady. I’ll try the tea! My best to your mom!


Kate September 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Oh! …and I linked this post in my “Friday Five” at Kate’s Library!


TKW September 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm


Again, you flatter me. Thank you. It’s an honor.


Cathy September 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Oh I like yummy drinks that work well when spiked, and definitely nothing too sweet. Hugs to you and your mom.


grace September 11, 2011 at 1:31 am

when i feel like i’ve been steamrolled, my go-to drink is dr pepper. is that odd? at least your beverage has a few healthful benefits. :)


Dana September 11, 2011 at 11:46 am

This looks so fresh and refreshing. There is no way this wouldn’t make a person feel at least a little better. I hope Mama doesn’t feel like ass for too long.


faemom September 11, 2011 at 11:46 pm

1. Lists remember.
2. My mom was always surprised when the chemo kicked her ass. She was always expecting it to get better each time. Guess that proves she really is an optimist.
3. Pessimists unite! (Fist in air)
4. That sounds yummy.


ck September 12, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I hope you and Mama are having a fantastic time together. Can’t wait to hear all about it. (And I’m with you both on being anti-water. I mean to drink it. I try to remember to drink it. But I don’t.)


lanalavigne@rushcardpro September 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

You and your Mama are both fantastic ladies… Hope you enjoy your precious time together… Anyway, I would love to prepare this “Ass” Tea for my Mama too… Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe.


Averyl September 16, 2011 at 8:09 am

lol!..I have been sick with that blasted dreaded winter flu. And not only me, so has hubby and bubba!


Absence of Alternatives September 16, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Now we know where you got your smarts, your sassiness and your resilience.

I hope your mom feel better quickly. Tell her that she needs to kick the ass of this feeling of feeling like ass!


Kate May 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Hey there – I’ve been meaning to let you know that during my first trimester back in January this tea really hit the spot! When it was hard to keep from gagging I found this such a cool and refreshing treat! Thanks!!!!


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