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I'm a Busy Bee

My life has changed pretty dramatically in the last month or so. My new job is good, but challenging and very, very different. I go to meetings, and we talk about things. Actual things. No posturing, no circular conversations about something completely different than what is being discussed. Actual problem-solving. This is a good thing, but it also calls into sharp relief how comfortable I was with my rapidly atrophying brain in my last work situation.

Add to that the first class at school that has thoroughly kicked my ass. Not that the other classes weren’t challenging, they were. But I’ve recently been reminded of the difference between a challenge and a struggle. This is no fault of my own or anyone else, the class is good, the material is good, the teacher is good. When it comes to most academic learning, I tend to work hard, but hit kind of a groove where I know I’m working with most of my mental capacity. When it comes to finance, it’s an incredibly uphill battle.

This is great stuff to know, but I feel completely illiterate, and as if I have no talent for understanding it at all. Which I probably don’t. Doesn’t mean I can’t learn some of it, but this is definitely not a “follow your bliss” type of topic for me. It’s more like a “trudge unwillingly after your degree requirements” type of topic. I feel like I’ve worked harder and actually learned less than in any class so far. In reality, I have probably learned a great deal, but it’s kind of like someone telling me I don’t know how to read English at age 35. A wee bit disheartening. In 3-6 months I will have a much better idea of what I learned and will feel the beginnings of comfort with the topic, but seven weeks is never enough, even when I have an affinity for the subject.

Winter in Austin (all two months of it) seemed really cold, mostly because I’m a wimp. But it’s in the low 80s this week, so it should be full-on spring by March 1.

In other news, two of my long-time girlfriends gave birth to baby girls halfway across the world from each other at approximately the same time. I get to meet one of them in a few weeks.

I hope all my millions of readers are having a prosperous and happy year so far. I’ll write more when I find where I stashed my clever.

Desk Food, Part the First

I’m going to start reviewing portable food for those of us who often eat at our desks and want tasty, reasonably healthy food. These items will fall into three categories: meals, snacks, and sweets. I’m not going to focus on price since it’s almost always going to be less than going out, and probably healthier too.

I’ve become a big fan of Amy’s frozen meals. You have to take a good look at the nutrition information, as some of the more traditional selections can be pretty high-fat. But they offer a large selection of meals that come in around 10 grams of fat and 400 calories or less. Here are a few that I’ve tried:

Indian Mater Tofu – This dish includes a variation on mater paneer, a curry with peas and soft, mild cheese chunks. In this version, tofu is substituted for the paneer, and it’s quite tasty. It also comes with a nicely flavored rice and a yellow dahl. It’s filling and tasty, and at 8 grams of fat and 280 calories, makes quite a nice, healthful lunch option. Most of Amy’s other Indian meals are quite good, I also like the Palak (spinach) paneer. The Vegetable Korma is a bit bland.

I’m not a big fan of brown rice, but Amy’s Teriyaki Bowl is quite nice. Perfectly cooked vegetables, tofu and a flavorful sauce balances the heaviness of the rice flavor, and this is also one of the healthiest options at 4.5 grams of fat and 290 calories. Other bowls I enjoy include the Santa Fe Enchilada Bowl and the Ravioli Bowl.