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2006-01-26 - 9:14 a.m.

stress and the power of the vegetable.

Today is the first day of classes, and I am certain that the office will be a zoo. For now I am keeping my m-swaggering keyboard company here at home, trying to discern the role of sunspots in climate change for a lecture I'm preparing. Ultimately, I will have to go meet with another student.

I hate to admit it, but while I am working, I am also procrastinating. The first draft of this article is due in five days. But everytime I open it, I think about what I need to finish for my lectures. ARGHH! Paralysis of overcommitment. sigh.

My, this is rather boring and uninspired. So I think I'll start talking about food. Last semester I was running terribly short of time, and so I fell into the habit of eating frozen dinners and buying packaged sandwiches from the cafeteria instead of preparing fresh food. This past week, I've cut the habit short, and so far it is really working.

In Germany my workplace had a lovely, fully equipped kitchen in which I could prepare lunches, and so I regularly cooked myself a fresh lunch. I would roast pignoli, cook up chicken, toss up extravagant salads. One tragedy of my current situation is my enforced reliance on packaged foods. This week I have been trying to return to the healthier way of eating. I am having a limited success.

Another difficulty is that, instead of being in spacious building with large picture windows with a view of rolling hills, I sit at my desk and stare at my unpainted, pock-marked, dirty walls and floor. (The college requires that new faculty get a freshly painted office - somehow the work order was never put in for mine..) There is so much city dust that the hall has a constant odor of it. I can't see out my window because the dirt is so thick, and if I could I would be staring at a structure that vaguely resembles a prison...

Anyway, the consolations are that I increasingly have collegial neighbors with whom to share lunch, and my return to fresh foods has significantly increased my energy level. This surprises me a little bit because even the frozen dinners I ate were organic. I am wondering if something about the cooking process actually sates hunger..I'm not one to question any longer. I'll just enjoy the change.

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