October 29th, 2012


VeganMofo 22: Tea

Deconstructed Irish Breakfast
I admit it, I am a tea snob. Once discovering the superior results of infusing tea leaves in water of the proper temperature for the proper amount of time, I could never happily go back to dunking a common tea bag in tepid water.

For the last several years I've been ordering loose-leaf tea from Adagio. My favorite blend is Irish Breakfast, which I enjoy every morning with a spoonful of turbinado sugar and a splash of soymilk, as illustrated above. boyziggy prefers Earl Grey, with a bit more sugar and vanilla soymilk. Neither of us likes the other's preferred morning choice, but we will often share a pot of other kinds of tea in the afternoon or evening.

We use an ingenious teapot for infusing and dispensing. An electric kettle heats water much more quickly than the stovetop, but ours is currently acting wonky and will be replaced shortly. I have also used Adagio's electric tea maker, which was a big hit amongst the tea drinkers at my office back when I still had a day job.

Chocolate chai at One World Café

I am always in search of the perfect nondairy chai latte, and try one at nearly every new cafe or restaurant I visit. I'm concerned I may have to curtail this practice somewhat as I'm sensitive to caffeine, even though I never drink coffee and black tea has considerably less of that stimulant. Fortunately, I can still enjoy rooibos and other herbal teas in unlimited amounts.

Getting organized

Wednesday will mark four full years since I left full-time employment. While I've accomplished some important things during that time - starting a photography business, attaining and maintaining a healthy weight, and learning to play the bass - I have not succeeded in structuring my days so I can Get Stuff Done.

Things I believe I should be doing on a daily basis include:

- Outdoor aerobic exercise
- Stretching and strengthening
- Volunteer work OR work on home businesses
- Cooking
- Housecleaning
- Music practice
- Language study
- Meditation

This might sound like a lot, but broken down into average amounts of time I believe I should spend per day yields:

- 1 hr aerobic exercise* (running, walking, or combo)
- 1 hr stretching and strengthening (yoga)
- 4 hrs volunteer work (Food Not Bombs, Free Farm, Free Farm Stand) or business (Funcrunch Photo**, SFLasertag)
- 1 hr cooking (should be able to cut this down significantly once I get more proficient at it)
- 1 hr housework (ditto above)
- 1 hr music practice (bass, piano, voice, or combo)
- 30 min language study (Spanish audio course currently)
- 30 min meditation (can be partly combined with yoga, above)

That's ten committed hours a day, average. Add in eight hours for sleep*** and two for bathing/dressing/eating, and that still leaves four hours of uncommitted time to do what I please. (Some of the volunteer work does involve commute time as well, but much of the time I can walk which can count as part of the aerobic exercise, as long as I do it briskly.)

I think the biggest obstacle to Getting Stuff Done is the amount of time I've been spending online, particularly on social networking. When I unplugged for nine full days during my retreat last summer, I accomplished the vast majority of my daily goals.

So I think after I post my last VeganMofo entry on Wednesday, I'm going to have to severely cut back on my online time in order to get more of my goals accomplished. I've tried to establish "Internet hours" in the past with little success, so I'll have to come up with a more effective method...

* I know I don't need a full hour a day of aerobic exercise to stay healthy, but I want to do this to help accomplish my goal of becoming faster at races.

** Though I am no longer taking on clients, I am still licensing images, and my catalogs and web sites are badly in need of maintenance and updating.

*** I'm no longer willing to sacrifice sleep. I need at least 7 hours plus a 15 minute nap daily to function well, even if it means going to bed before 10 p.m. (which I should have done tonight rather than staying up late web-surfing and typing this blog entry).