Thursday, December 22, 2011

Things I've Learned This Year: Part II

More things I learned this year:
  • Fermentation -- I have been reading Cooking for Geeks, which has taken me down a long road of learning about food.  One of the things that fascinates me is fermentation, which I was long aware of as a source of alcohol, of course, but which is also used in a number of other aspects of food preparation.
  • Fungi -- fermentation can be accomplished by bacteria or yeast, and I was amazed to learn that yeast are a type of fungi.  This led me into something I have long wanted to know more about, namely the various types of unicellular organisms.
  • Onychomycosis -- My other encounter with fungi was not so theoretical:  I learned that I have toe fungus, which sounds so much better when you use the scientific name.  It's one of those common ailments that medicine has somehow not devised a simple cure for, so I have been soaking my toes for 10 months now.
  • Fermentation also led me into learning about the many products that can be made from milk.  I think I have a little better grasp of them now, but this chart will give you an idea of how complicated it all is.  Even the simplest aspects of our lives involve incredible complexity, most of which is hidden from us.
  • Stretching works to relieve back pain, if you do the right kinds.  I have had terrible back pain for about 15 years now, and the kind of stretching that I had done until now -- lying flat and pulling my knees, one at a time, to my chest -- was not effective beyond a certain point.  There are so many back stretches that it is intimidating to consider them all, but I felt I needed to try something.  I found that sitting with my legs stretched out in front of me and reaching for my toes was the one stretch that I really needed to add.  I can't express how much better I feel now.
  • I have a wonderful family.  That isn't really something new, but I keep rediscovering it all the time.

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