Saturday, May 07, 2011

riffday: a break from writing papers

MadMax threw a discus 94 feet on Friday.  I still can't quite get over how far that thing goes.  He came in second among the seventh graders-- first place was over 100 feet.  On the downside, I almost froze my patootie off watching him.  The thermometer said 58, but it felt considerably colder since it was damp and breezy.  ugh.

But I should announce:  we have green grass now.  Just thought you'd want to know.  Progress is being made.  We've also had two or three more days of gorgeous weather, but today it is rainy and cool, although less windy.  There's still snow on the mountains and will be for another month or so.

Headaches are back, but only 1-2 a week.  Still a bummer, though, because I went over a month without one.  Whenever I go awhile without one, I always think I'm cured and I'll never have another one.  Every time.  But I'm always wrong, dammit.

And neatly segueing from headaches to caffeine.  I know at least a couple of you have also been trying to cut down on caffeine, so I will pass this on.  I've finally found some replacement drinks for coffee. If you're only newly-weaned from coffee, these won't cut it.  It took a year of being off coffee to be able to seriously consider other drinks.  I haven't really taken to decaf coffee or black tea, mainly because they still have caffeine in them, but also because they don't taste as good as the caffeinated versions, so I end up just being resentful that I can't have the real thing.

First of all, Twinings Pure Peppermint tea.  Bigelow's is good, too, but Twinings is the best.  It's one of the few hot drinks I've found that I can drink without added sweetener. (Also, it comes in K-cups for our Keurig.)  Secondly, Ginger Honey crystals.  I'm getting addicted to these.  I first discovered them in the little market at the student center at the school I attend.  I actually like them better than peppermint tea, but they do have a fair amount of honey in them so I try not to drink it all the time (a packet has 70 calories).  They have real ginger in them, so there's a bit of a burn, which almost makes them as interesting as coffee's bitterness, even though it's completely different.  And third, Pero.  It's not great, but with milk and a bit of honey, I can drink it.  If I just want something hot and bitter in the morning, Pero is my go-to.

The subject of whether or not to blog book reviews came up again last week on the blogs I read (Hi, Judy!), which made me realize that I never updated after my previous post on the topic.  I finally decided that I am OK with blogging my honest opinion about the books I read. First of all, it's one of the main reasons I started this blog seven years ago, so I would have someplace to talk about the books I read, since I bore everyone senseless at social occasions if I don't get it out somewhere.

Secondly, I have so few readers that I can't imagine that I'm really going to hurt anyone's feelings by posting my thoughts.  I occasionally get google search flags in the sources on my stats page, but I think that's only happened three times in the year or so since they've started providing statistics.  I figure a) I don't have enough readers for them to worry about me turning anyone off of their books, and b) if they're looking that hard, they must really want to know what people think, thus they should get my honest opinion.  Why would they want to read just another sycophantic review of how awesome their book is?  Well, OK that was a dumb question.  If it was me, I could never read enough reviews telling me how great my book is.  But maybe you get my point.

But having said that, I should also note that you never hear about-- well, I've never counted, but I'll guess that I never mention about a quarter of the books I read.  I only write up a book review if it's something I want to recommend, or if I think the negative review would be interesting to read.  I don't review a book that's just bad because it's not worth the time-- unless for some reason it is bad in a way that would be interesting to write about.  Or therapeutic, in the case of a book that really disappointed me.  And in that case, it's sort of a back-handed compliment-- either my previous experience with the author's writing has been good, or the book had so much promise that it was frustrating to have it not be as good as I wanted it to be.

OK, I think I've exhausted that topic now. Back to the papers.


  1. I've had to stop drinking coffee, and there's a good herbal alternative. It's caffeine free, and is very close to coffee. Not perfect, but close. :)

  2. Well yay for that boy! Yeah, can't really grasp the distance at all here. And really, how do those guys NOT get dizzy?
    Good post, thanks for thinking of us while you took your break.

  3. I think Delia said it best for me - paraphrasing - as a writer I don't want to trash other writers work because I know how much time it took them to do it.
    There are some writers, though, that you just know any damn thing you say will not touch their massive egos.

  4. @Sierra-- I tried teeccino not long after I got off coffee and didn't care for it, but it might have been too soon. I'll have to try it again.

    @Julie-- he's just learning to do the spin. He did two throws without and one with. Really, I'm just so amazed that he is my kid because I am so un-athletic. *walking* on the treadmill is the extent of athletic prowess.

    @Judy-- yeah, I suspect the one we were discussing on your blog last week is one of those. :-) I have toned down my snarkiness considerably now that I know so many people who are writing.