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the weekly tea
la sombra
from white2tea
weekly tea: la sombra
This tea, purchased as a little one-serving mini, was described as a raw pu-erh with good depth of flavor and amazing bang for the buck.
I had it after about half an hour of pulling weeds in the dreadful heat, and I very much concur with the description. It's a raw pu-erh that's a little sweet, a little punchy, a little round, and with that inherent pu-erh feeling that I would describes just pure happiness. I sat inside with the windows open so I could feel the breeze but not the heat, and I slowly sipped this delicious tea, watching the grass wave.
My only criticism of this tea is that I think it needs some aging before the later steeps hold up to the quality of the first ones.

work hygiene
A few years ago, when I figured out that not sleeping more than five or six hours a night was probably really bad for me, I tried to relearn how to sleep. Along the way, I learned about the concept of sleep hygiene, which basically means is a concept that's designed to reinforce natural rhythms, by doing things like having habits before you sleep and going to bed at a particular time. it also includes concepts that unsurprisingly are like “no, you should not get on your iPad in bed at 4 AM,” because I apparently need to hear that you do not sleep well if you don't have good separation between sleep and non-sleep times.
Over the last few months, I've been thinking about the concept of work hygiene.
I used to do things to enforce a separation between work and non-work--things like going to a coffee shop, for instance. I stopped doing that during the pandemic for very obvious reasons, and I finally took some time to think about the impact it had on me to blur work and non-work.
Among other things, I hearkened back to the time in my life when I think I was most effective, and most efficient, at doing work. For me, that time was law school. I had excellent work and non-work habits. I went to the law library between my two morning classes and would do my class reading for the next day, and then make sure I understood what had happened in my last classes.
At the time, iPads weren't a thing and cell phones weren't a thing. I think best when I write by hand so I wouldn't even have my computer with me. I would just sit there with pen and paper and my books and my notes and I would do the thing.
And then I would be done. That would be it. Once I finished class, I would go read romance novels or take a walk or go to the gym or plan an elaborate dinner or (for several weeks in the process) sew elven cloaks so we could all go to the midnight showing of the Lord of the Rings.
When I worked, I worked, and when I didn't work, I didn't work, and the end result was that I was extremely efficient at getting things done and then I was extremely efficient at enjoying myself. In other words, I used to have good work hygiene.
(Then I went to work for someone who required me to be in the office from like 9:30 AM to 1:30 AM every day, and the concept of a division between work and non-work went out the window, and lo, I've been struggling with it ever since.)
The conclusion I've come to is that I need to have good work hygiene. When I work, no distractions, no checking email, no looking at Twitter. When I don't work, I put the work down and don't think about it until the next time I work. Right now, this is more an operational goal than a thing I'm actually doing, but I'm going to be trying some things to get a better division.
Wish me luck!

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
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My Terry Pratchett read-through is continuing apace.
I knew the first few Discworld books weren't his best work. The voice is not as fluid; there are choppy bits in the plot, and while you can see a certain amount of fundamental Terry Pratchett-ness coming through, it's not quite there yet.
So how long did it take Pratchett to produce a book that I would read and say, “Even though I know it will continue to get better after this, yes, this reads like a quintessential Pratchett.”
The answer was Book 3. Equal Rites was delightful. It's a book about a wizard (and in Discworld, up until this book starts, all wizards are men, a thing that has much more to do with wizards being who they are than women) who is dying, and so he finds a the eighth son of an eighth son, a child still in the womb but about to be born, to bequeath his wizardly power to. With his dying breath, he passes on his wizard staff.
The infant, of course, is a girl, and thus is born Discworld's first female wizard.
I'm not sure that “first female wizard” has exactly the ring it did in 1987. Back in 1987, we were still digesting the first female Prime Minister in Britain, and in the US, our first (at the time, only) female Supreme Court Justice. But Equal Rites also contains this still-relevant exchange.
   Esk sniffed again at the powder, which seemed to be pennyroyal with a base she couldn't identify…
   “I do not recognize any of these,” she said half to herself. “What do they give to people?”
   “Freedom,” said Hilta.
(For context, pennyroyal was often used as an abortifacient before we had safe chemical and surgical options.)
And so I have to say, some of this book still lands squarely in my feelings.
Buy Equal Rites on:

The Lady Always Wins
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I have a friend who has said that you may not always purposefully put yourself in your books, but you can still find that your books tell on you, even if you didn't intend it. One of the things that I've noticed about my early books is that people just don't get enough sleep. Way too many events happen late at night when people should be in bed.
This is a very short story (10,000 words) in which Simon Davenant has basically thrown his entire being into railroads, without any thought of an outside life, and in fact mortgages his entire future, down to the cufflinks, on a railroad line.
It's not presented as a good thing in the story, but I do wonder how much of myself was whispering to me as I wrote it.
Buy The Lady Always Wins on:

Until next week!
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