No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

My, what a lovely tea party

Posted by Ben on Wednesday, April 15, 2009

By the time I post this, nearly all of you will have completed and submitted your tax returns, and some of you may be chugging Mylanta or Pepto after seeing your final numbers from last year, or at least after having spent countless hours logging receipts, matching up bank and credit card statements, and otherwise finding every loophole you could. I belong to the latter group (in activity, not chugging), though I finished all my stuff a month ago—after one year awhile back when I was part of the conga line of cars in the makeshift drive-thru at a nearby post office only minutes to midnight, I swore to never again cut it so close, and since then, I’ve consistently knocked out my taxes by mid-March. The (extra) stress of the April 15 deadline just isn’t worth the procrastination, and you’re talking to a master procrastinator.

In celebration of this day spawned by a wholly unconstitutional Constitutional amendment, and in light of all the recent and current protests against skyrocketing government spending, let’s talk tea. To be honest, I’m not all that well-read on the pros and cons of various teas, and it remains one of few beverages for which I haven’t really developed a discerning palette, unlike most beers, many coffees, a few wines, and even fewer liquors/liquers (I do just fine by Jack and the Captain, thank you very much). I’ve experimented on occasion with a few different types of tea over the years, but most likely, I’ve been doing the tea equivalent of comparing Folgers to Maxwell House; in fact, I have an acquaintance who regularly attends what seems to me like old-lady tea parties, complete with linens, hats, and so on, and she occasionally likes to inform me of just how uneducated my taste for tea is. Guilty; however, that’s not to say I don’t like a bourgeois cup or three every now and then. I keep some mass-market bags of green and black chai teas in my cabinet, and aside from a little honey, lemon, and/or milk, that’s about as fancy as I get with tea.

When it comes to health benefits, however, the debates and studies for pro- and anti-tea are as varied and passionate as those regarding coffee, recommended minimum amounts of water, and even carbs, to a degree (though I don’t think there are any more fervent fanatics as those at the far ends of the carb spectrum). I tend to fall into the same opinion about tea as I do about most things: moderation, a little research, and some experimentation. Tea is purported to ease stress, calm hunger pangs, and (temporarily) enhance mental functions. Several fitness/nutrition folks around the Interwebz frequently offer suggestions (Rob Cooper seems to be a regular, especially on Twitter) as to which teas to buy and try, and since my taste is apparently so un(der)developed, who am I to offer my own? In fact, if you’re a tea fanatic, please feel free to leave you suggestions in the comments below—I do want to expand my taste and knowledge of easily-procured teas (I’m not ready to get into presses and loose leaves and such just yet, though sun tea has been on the to-do list for a long time).


The hard-surface sleep experiment continues. I’m still in my sleeping bag on a hardwood floor, and though some nights my sleep doesn’t seem fully contiguous, I do feel like I’m getting deeper and more refreshing sleep. I also feel like I’m getting into a more natural sleep pattern—two or three different segments of deep sleep interspersed with some semi-consciousness, plus a strong urge to nap mid-afternoon. Obviously, the afternoon nap doesn’t happen with the work schedule, but I’m going to try it on days off if I’m not taking care of errands, chores, or dogs. I’ve been poking around for different bedding options that will allow for better ventilation and temperature regulation without costing, ya know, a lot (a raised-platform Japanese futon is still in the future, just the over-the-horizon future right now), but I’ll be experimenting with things I have on-hand in the meantime, starting with a REALLY thin “exercise” mat and maybe a light blanket. Stay tuned.


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