I can’t believe it’s already March of this year. It’s been a really busy couple months so far, both professionally and personally. Lots of changes this year. Even my office will be moving later this year to a new facility that’s about 2.5 miles from my current building. The only bad thing will be that we’ll be far away from the rest of the campus and will probably spend a lot more time waiting for the shuttle service to take us to the main buildings. A lot of people are angry and feeling like my department is being singled out and banished to the middle of nowhere, but it’s really just a matter of rearranging the entire campus. A lot of other people also have to change offices into other buildings to take care of an influx of new employees who need desk space.
So be it.
As with most changes in my life, I’m trying to learn to just go with it. I used to get quite stressed about a lot of small things that really didn’t matter, but felt monumental at the time. Even Frannie’s noticed that I’ve become quite calm about almost everything (except, I still get scared in the car when someone else is driving). I’m cool as a cucumber. Even at work, when people are freaking out over everything, I’m the person who’s trying to calm everyone down and find a viable plan that will get us where we need to be.
Panicking seems to lead to negativity and possibly yelling when things aren’t going how you’d like them to go, but how productive is that, especially at the office? Yelling someone down never seems to help, and only puts people on the defensive, and once someone closes down their brain in a meeting they stop participating and there goes on more source of useful input.
Being calmer is also having a really positive effect on my personal relationships as well, which is great. I used to get worked up about a lot of stuff, but now I feel like I let the vast majority of it slide if I deem it not-that-important, which is great. At least things seems to be going a bit more smoothly when it comes to friends and Frannie, so I hope this trend continues.
Like the Ministry of Information said back in the 40s, keep calm and carry on. And don’t forget to keep a stiff upper lip.
Everyday at about 6:00 in the morning, I usually eat a bowl of cereal, and either a slice of bread with peanut butter or cheese, or a bowl of yoghurt with fresh fruit. It seems to be just the right amount of food to fill my stomach at breakfast without making me so full that riding my bike to work is uncomfortably sluggish. The only problem is that about an hour after I get to work, I’m already pretty hungry and my stomach starts grumbling around 9:30.
Seeing as I’d like to stick to the three meals + one afternoon snack eating plan, this doesn’t allow for a morning snack at all. Of course Fran attributes this to my not being able to eat more food in one sitting. That’s probably the case, because in fact I am not able to eat a lot of food all at once. Ha, maybe I should work on that.
In American culture where constant grazing is the norm, I’ve decided to stop grazing. I went back to eating three square meals a day and not constantly snacking in between them. During the week, when my eating schedule is most rigid, the three main meals usually happen at set times: breakfast at 6:00, lunch at 12:00, and supper at 19:00. To tide me over in between lunch and supper, I eat a small snack at 16:00 so that I’m not starving on the bike ride home.
I don’t know if this is a better way to eat. I’ve discussed it with some friends, and for the most part, people seem to prefer having 5 or 6 smaller meals evenly spread throughout the day instead of doing 3 larger meals and 1 snack. The reasoning for 5-6 smaller meals, is that it prevents drops in blood sugar level and keeps you from feeling too tired during the day. You often don’t need to feel hunger because you always have a snack on hand to put into your stomach as soon as it starts grumbling (and in some cases, before you ever feel it grumble). On the other hand, 3 larger meals a day means that you’ll probably get pretty hungry right before the next meal, and some people find this feeling unbearable.
To me, one of the reasons for doing 5-6 meals is so that you never have to feel hungry, but I found that I was out of touch with the feeling of being hungry when I was constantly feeding myself. At the first sign of hunger, I’d start to feel cranky and take it out on the people around me, even if I knew I’d be eating soon. My body and mind thought that feeling hunger meant I was immediately starving, even though that was clearly not the case!
When I switched to eating 3 meals a day, I felt quite hungry right before meals, but after a while, it gave me a bigger capacity to deal with it. Because I remembered how hunger felt, it was no longer a threat to me, and it became a bearable feeling. Oddly enough, I no longer freak out and feel like I’m starving when my stomach starts to grumble. I take a look at the clock and I assure myself that I will be eating soon, so there’s no need to panic. I don’t feel the need to quell the grumbling immediately.
Eating 3 meals a day even helped me control my crankiness that was related to food. In the past, as soon as my blood sugar dropped, I’d be testy and cranky. Now, I feel like I have a better handle on dealing with it. More patience for it, so to speak. I realise that it’s just hunger speaking and I can better control my responses to other people without having to snap at them. I can calmly tell someone that I’m really hungry and could we make a decision on what to eat sooner rather than later?
It’s not for everyone, but it seems to be working for me.
I recently got to try a Chinese pastry called 老婆饼, also known as sweetheart cake or wife cake. It’s a flaky baked pastry filled with a mixture of candied wintermelon, sesame seeds, coconut shreds, and almond paste. The texture is flaky on the outside, as expected, and slightly chewy on the inside. The coconut flavour is pretty distinct, and it’s pretty much all I could taste for the filling, but I’ll go ahead and believe that there is probably wintermelon in there too.
The whole thing kinda reminds me of hopia, a filipino pastry with the same flaky outside, but usually filled with sweetened bean pastes. My favourite fillings are mungo (mung bean) and ube (purple yam).
I don’t know how 2012 has been treating you, but so far it’s been a wonderful year. Some of my friends have started new adventures, some are planning for some big changes, and it seems that all around 2012 is going to be a good one.
At least I’m really hoping so!
I don’t make new year resolutions because I think they’re tacky and, let’s face it, everyone else does them, so why should I do it too? I know, I am such a lame little rebel. So even though, I prefer not to call them my resolutions, of course I’ve sat and thought what kinds of goals I’d like to accomplish this year in my life. I don’t think I’ll be successful at all of them, but it’s nice to dream, right?
My short list 2012 goals:
- Continue to ride my bike as much as I can
- Remember to get in touch with friends that I don’t see very often
- Spend time with Fran
- Re-learn Bach’s Italian Concerto in its entirety. Memorization possible, but optional.
- Meet and become moderate friends with at least two new people
I don’t think I’m asking for too much here, so it should be achievable. The only one I’d worry about is that last goal of making two new friends. Even though I’m quite sociable, I find it difficult to make friends past the acquaintance level. I could say that it’s just harder at my age, but that’s honestly just an excuse. It’s true that a lot of people I met already have full social schedules, but that’s not why I have trouble getting past acquaintances. It’s more of a personal problem of not giving myself over more fully to friends to let us become closer. There’s always that slight wall to climb, eh?
But anyway, I’m going to try my best to allow myself to get in situations where I can meet new people. Maybe the hardest part is simply getting out there and opening up. After that, things usually quite fall into place once you find common interests.
And wow do I take a lot of food photos. Way too many, really. I am somewhat disgusted by the sheer number of food photos I have in each month’s folders (I organise all digital camera photos by date). For some reason, I haven’t been posting the food photos to my Flickr account. I was trying to be a serious photographer, but I’ve recently given up on that and decided to start posting photos of food, myself, and my cat as I was doing a while ago before I tried taking myself more seriously.
My Foodspotting account is still too new for me to even tell if I’ll keep using it or not, but so far I like posting to it and seeing what everyone else is eating lately. Just another reason for me to get a smarter phone too, since I could use it to take photos and then upload them to the site right away and stop being such a disconnected Luddite. For now I’m content with uploading photos from my digital camera. I don’t need to tell people in real time where I am and what I’m eating. At least I don’t think there is, but maybe that will change after we both upgrade our phones.
In other news, I may be taking a trip for work soon. It’s been a while since I’ve had to travel for work, but I think they’re finally getting wise to the fact that I don’t have family obligations keeping me at home. Also, I’ve been here long enough that people actually trust me to know how the company works, and that I reliably get sh*t done. Yay!
Oh, and one more thing! I’ve been knitting again! I thought I was pretty over it, but as soon as the weather turned a bit cooler, I decided I was back for more. We were shopping at one of those outlet malls one weekend when I saw this marvellous knitted scarf/loop. It was a long thickly cabled scarf that was sewn into a loop so that you could twist it around your neck twice. I thought this was a great idea for a biking scarf instead of the regular cowls I’ve been making that are nicely sized, but don’t really cover all that much of my neck/chest. A long one that I could twist around twice would be perfect and cover everything, so I decided to make one. I’m using a pattern for the Cupido Cowl that I found on this wonderful Japanese knitter’s site (all of her knitted items are so bloody gorgeous!). I can’t wait for it to be done so I can block it.
Every morning, I take the long way to work. It takes me about 45 minutes going that way, compared to about 25 minutes going the most direct way. Along this longer path, I pass by a couple schools, which means that I pass by the same crossing guards every morning that school is in session.
This morning, I approached one such intersection, complete with traffic light, all-way walk signal, and crossing guard that always greets me with a very hearty, "Good morning miss!!" I usually wait for the light and then zip across with car traffic, but this morning I got to the light with 24 seconds still left on the countdown, so I dismounted and walked across the intersection.
I passed by the crossing guard and we greeted each other with the usual "good mornings," but then he said to me, as I was getting back on my bike, "I want to tell you something. You are really gorgeous!"
Oh my, it’s amazing how a random compliment really made my morning. I smiled the entire rest of the way to work.