Monday, December 29, 2008

Year-End Questions

From Narya.

1. What was the most surprising pleasant thing that happened to you this year? What was the most surprising unpleasant thing?

The most surprising pleasant thing was actually quitting my publishing job of 7 years. It was like spending 7 years as a prisoner, no end in sight despite plenty of failed escape plots, when one day the warden enters with the big key ring and says, "This way out." My last day was Oct. 30.

The most surprising unpleasant thing was the economic downturn. I'm thankful that I myself have not been much effected.

UPDATE: Another unpleasant surprise was the wiry, super-curly, shiny white hair I pulled out of my scalp last week. Oy, being 30.

2. What food(s) did you start eating this year that you haven't eaten much before? Did you stop eating something, or dramatically reduce your intake? Why?

I started eating high-fiber bread because Trader Joe's makes a pretty tasty one, and I've been conscientious about upping my fiber intake. (Dull but true.) I got on a good weight-loss kick for most of the summer, including a lower-fat, lower-glycemic index diet, but work became super-chaotic around August and my new eating patterns crumbled. Between August and the present I regained all the weight I'd lost. On the other hand, I have retained some "thin person" ways of thinking, such as: "These soggy fries/this dry pastry/these mediocre candies aren't good enough to waste my calories and fat on."

Oh! I also tried Cambodian food for the first time. The amok royal at Elephant Walk was amazing, a coconut-milk-creamy dish of scallops, shrimp, and whitefish, delicately infused with Cambodian spices, wrapped in a banana leaf. I look forward to trying more Cambodian dishes, especially since many of the kids in one of my schools are from Cambodia.

Over the last few weeks, I've been making Vedic recipes from my current favorite cookbook. It's great to make my own Indian food at home. I can cut the ghee in half.

UPDATE: How could I forget my introduction to Polish chocolates over Labor Day weekend? My sister lives in a Polish neighborhood in Brooklyn. The rest is history.

3. What risks did you take? How did they work out?

Left my tedious, cutthroat job of 7 years for an irregularly-paying combo of substitute teaching and freelance proofreading, with a non-paying side of grad school. It's fucking fantastic. I am so much happier every single day.

4. What performance (music, dance, movie, theater, etc.) did you most enjoy this year? (If you were doing the performing, then which did you most enjoy doing, and which did you most enjoy experiencing?)

Oooh, this is bad...I don't think I got to any live performances. I went to the MFA a lot, though. I most enjoyed the Karsh 100 exhibit.

Movies....Mamma Mia! was not brilliant cinema, but it was tons of fun. TV: Alec Baldwin as Jack on 30 Rock. Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on SNL. New appreciation for Lenny Henry as Gareth Blackstock on Chef!

UPDATE: I just remembered that we caught the wonderful fall concert of the Concord Orchestra. They were excellent!

5. What habits are you trying to change? What's encouraging, motivating, and/or inhibiting you in your efforts? Did you add any new habits that feel like they're becoming part of you? Did you drop any that you'd like to resume?

Gotta start my weight loss efforts again. In fact, my new health insurance has given me 12 weeks' free Weight Watchers sessions, which I'll begin on Tuesday. My approach will be to focus on nutrient-rich foods--whole grains, veggies, fruits--and use the WW points system to track intake. I think it will be good for me to have the longer-term "nutrition" vision, instead of looking solely at calories, fat, "points." To me, there's greater motivation in making sure that I get cancer-preventing foods (for example) than in just counting calories and grams of fat. It helps that I'm reading Food & Mood and also proofreading a book on oncology nutrition. Since starting to read Food & Mood, I've been paying more attention to how I feel right after eating a meal. Oatmeal with wheat germ--I feel great! Broccoli and tofu--fantastic, alert but calm! Pizza--sluggish, heavy, and not quite full.

I've also been swimming sporadically ever since I discovered that the high school pool is open, sporadically, for public use. I may join a center with a pool I could use regularly.

G. and I took up coed recreational volleyball in the spring. He is still loving the vball, going every week, sad when a week in canceled. I quit in the fall: too many obnoxious, super-competitive people at the BEGINNER session. I realized I didn't like vball enough to put up with them! I'm glad that G. has an activity he loves, though. He's been trying to coax me to come back; I've been trying to coax him to try another community ed class with me.


Bill Stankus said...

Questions? There are questions? I don't got to answer you no stinkin' questions!

I'm fairly certain that's what he said in Treasure of The Sierra Madre.

Oh, alright, that's not exactly what he said.

Narya said...

Thanks for playing! Linkalicious goodness now posted.

You can plan if you wanna, Bill, but only if you wanna. BTW, thanks for the "White Heat" recommendation: I've never seen it, but realize I must.