Monday, June 30, 2014

Meatless Monday: Fennel in the hole



It's been cold. And I've been getting all stodgy and British with my palate this week to try and stave of the winter-blues. So this is a pairing of a classic British dish - the Yorkshire pudding - with wintery, roasted veggies featuring instead of sausages... although if you know of a good vegetarian sausage, that'd work so well here. It's all really simple.
  • Roast your chosen vegetable(s). I used two fennel bulbs (saving the green, leafy tops), then added some capsicum, mushrooms and other bottom of the crisper vegetables later.
  • Sprinkle over herbs or spices. I went with the stripped back fennel fronds and a few bashed seeds, then added some salt and pepper.
  • Pour a little more oil in the tin with the veggies and whack it back in the oven, pumped up to 230 degrees (celcius). You want that oil really, really hot. That's the secret of awesome Yorkshire Pud. 
  • Meanwhile, mix up your Yorkie batter. Mine goes like this: 140g plain flour; 3 eggs; 200ml milk. Whisk that all together. Sometimes I add a smidge of English mustard - don't stone me for a heretic, though, it really gives it a good kick.
  • Pull the hot pan from the oven, try and clump all the veggies in the centre of the pan and then pour the batter all around it (a little over the top too, but if you want it all big and puffy and gorgeous, it needs a little room to breathe). 
  • Get it back in the oven as quick as possible and keep an eye on it. How long it cooks for really depends on the size of the tin. If it's a big'un like mine then it might need 25-30 minutes. If you're using several smaller tins, reduce the time. 
Fennel in the hole (vegetarian) // via Lilybett and Boy

I wish I had a lovely photo of the end result. But by the time it came out of the oven, we were starving and it got consumed before I even thought of the camera. Plus, my end-result pictures are awful in the night-time light of my winter kitchen. And you really, really can't cook a Yorkshire pudding or anything 'in the hole' in advance. This time around, I also can't tell you if this would work with vegan substitutes for egg or milk. Given the glory of it is the lightly golden, puffy batter... you'd need to make sure your substitutes would let it rise. 

Do you have a classic or 'stodgy' recipe for a winter meal? I'm on the look out for more veggie options.

Linking in to Little Wolff's Little Veggie Kitchen.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why I Write



Under a bed there is a box. And in the box there is a bag (and some dust bunnies). And in the bag there is a wad of exercise books. And in the wad of exercise books is a story I wrote across several years of high school. It is a high school story of the tripey-est variety, full of angsty teenage romance and set in American towns I'd never visited. There are long paragraphs describing clothes and accessories in scary amounts of detail (parrot earrings were a thing, apparently). There is a hidden club-house in a forest. There is making-out and fights and teary moving-away scenes. It's woeful.

And I don't think I'll ever be able to throw it away.

I don't keep all my writing. I've killed quite a few of those darlings over the years, but that one lingers in my mind, a massive act of therapy before I even knew I needed it, before I ever knew what therapy was. Back then I needed those books and that story, needed the little world I created.

I kept up the fiction writing through my undergrad degree and published here and there - $400 for my first ever printed story felt like a dream. And then the non-fiction slowly started to take over. I was writing essays, and then theses. I was writing news bulletins under hourly deadlines and long magazine articles under monthly ones. I was writing journal articles and marking essays.

And then I took up blogging.

And look where that leads me. Into a blog tour/meme *coughchainlettercough* on 'Why I Write'. Stacey from The Veggie Mama has passed the parcel on to me. She's way more succinct than I am. Sorry (not sorry).

What am I working on?
In the land of academia, I'm pulling together a conference paper with a lovely colleague who is being very patient with me while I get my parts together. After we've smiled to the audience and done our fifteen minute spiel on the comparative creative processes of fiction writers and journalists, we're going to turn that baby into a journal article that we'll send off into the wilds of peer-reviewing land. That's always a whole heap of fun with (most likely) months of back and forth on comments until the editors okay it and it gets sent out into the big wide world. In academic speak, that'll land me a C1 publication I can add to my list and land the university a little bit of cashola from the government. See how academia works?

In other work, I'm writing a proposal for funding for a neuroscience training course ('we're awesome and we've got lots of awesome people here, and so many great resources we don't really need your money, but please can we have some money?'). Then I'll be helping write the training course. And then help get that turned into a MOOC. O.M.G.

And here... well, here there's a little something in my draft folder about Tombliboo trousers.

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?
I suspect there's something about the mixture of writing I do that informs my writing style. My academic writing is less complex and full of jargon and academese than a lot of the things I read in my field. I've been told it tells stories, which is odd for academic writing but suits me and the things I write about (fiction writers; creativity, etc). My other work writing (proposals and various communication collateral) gets a lot of the old journalism treatment - pared back, active voice. I also use fewer words like angsty, tripey and academese.

I think my blog writing is some strange combination of the academic and journalistic style mixed in with my creative writing voice that I developed during a semester of intense writing classes with Helen Garner and after a short lifetime of reading Helene Hanff. If you're not familiar with either of their works, and are a fan of non-fiction stories, of small moments captured and little winding details, do check them out (for Garner read True Stories or The Feel of Steel; for Hanff read 84 Charing Cross Road, Letter from New York or Underfoot in Show Business - in that last one you discover how Oklahoma! the musical gained its exclamation mark). I'm not a huge non-fiction-for-pleasure reader (outside of blogs, that is), but these ladies taught me much of what I know and show me how far I have to go still.

In all honesty, though, I'm not sure there's much of a genre to compare myself to... in any of the work I do. I always tend to be at the fringes of academic disciplines and have a weird combination of themes here.

Why do I write?
Because, as I mentioned in a comment on Life, Love and Hiccups, "I like books and words and folks that write words. Except for folks who use words like weapons. They can suck it."

In the past, I kept the words to myself, I hid the exercise books in a bag under the bed. Now I've discovered the sharing of words, of the communities those words can form. That's part of the reason why the fiction side of my writing has fallen away to a great degree - I've found joy in a different way of writing, a new way of reading.

How does my process work?
I get an idea or a demand for an idea. I test the idea, letting it germinate over days or weeks or just hot-housing the shit out of that sucker and getting it on the page. On the blog, a post idea might sit in the draft folder getting bits added in the quiet moments between other jobs or it might get pounded out in a short period. Sometimes the need to share, to publish, to submit, to finish overrides the desire to polish, to perfect, to edit to death. Sometimes it doesn't.

Life with three jobs and a two year old doesn't leave much space for a single, defined creative process. Sometimes it doesn't leave me with many words left over to share here. Sometimes it does.

Others who write
The longer this blog meme continues, the fewer ideas I have for who to pass the parcel to next. Instead, I'll be that person who breaks the chain letter and runs the risk of invoking some hoodoo curse or seven years of bad finances (bahaha - seven years is all you got?). What I'm offering up instead is just a small selection of links back to those who've done their own literary navel-gazing. If you haven't been to their blogs, I'd suggest you try them out, see if you find something new to read.
  • Mrs Woog (Kayte) is in the house at Woogsworld (and writes a mean Hoopla article, although you need to pay to get some of that action now).
  • Sonia is one of the most generous bloggers, writing over at Life, Love and Hiccups, sharing not only so much of herself in her own posts, but also her time with new and established bloggers.
  • Bianca at Big Words is kicking arse and taking names at the Australian blog awards this year.
  • Lauren is over at I'm Better In Real Life (she's also an awesome retweeter on Twitter- I get sucked down the rabbit hole over there)
  • Bruce is the big daddy over at Big Family Little Income (he's also a keen Kiva donator - righteous! If you didn't say that in a turtle voice I don't know who you are).
  • Along with Sonia (and a few others), Bron hosts a great weekly link-up at Maxabella Loves that gives me lots of great new blogs to read. She's also just set up a linky for all of these 'Why I Write' posts so I might just be adding a few new blogs to my reading list shortly.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

He'll be graduating high school soon


He wants to wear his backpack 'to school', to traipse around the backyard and transport his cars from the lounge room to the picnic table. He wants to talk about the merits of The Little Red Caboose versus Thomas and the Ghost Engine ('but ghosts aren't real, are they Mummy, Thomas was just too scared to see it was just old chains, not ghost fingers').

I want to bury my face in that little space between hat and backpack and breathe him in. And tell him I'm not ready for that.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Would you like fries with that? In defence of a liberal education

Yes, yes. I've heard the jokes and nasty jibes:

"Arts students are just the people who are too dumb to get into a better degree."
"Arts? Don't you mean a Bachelor of Marriage?"
"I've got a Bachelor of Arts; would you like fries with that?"

I've been spared some of the nastier barbs thanks to the (Communication) I'm able to tack onto my Arts degree but the sentiment is the same: Arts students don't do real work and, even if they do, they certainly don't work hard at it. With disciplines such as film studies, gender studies, philosophy, and classics, how could you possibly take them seriously?

Please allow a former Arts student a seemingly random digression...

During the Middle Ages, humanity was suffering from the threefold blight of ignorance, neophobia and intellectual persecution (hey, that sounds a little familiar). Led by a few brave individuals that "prized free thought and the open pursuit of knowledge", humanity moved out of medieval times and into the Renaissance or, literally, a 'rebirth' (hey, look what I learned in French 101). A Renaissance man became synonymous with broadened horizons, an open mind and talent across a range of areas. In Shakespeare's terms the Renaissance man had "the courtier's, soldier's, scholar's eye, tongue, sword" (that there's English 101).

This idea of an 'all-rounder' was taken up by the United States where all undergraduates are encouraged to complete two years of 'liberal' studies in areas such as history, literature and social sciences before specialising in their chosen field. Why? Because, it turns out, the qualities of a Renaissance (wo)man, achieved through an Arts degree and liberal education, are highly sought after by employers. Openness to new ideas, innovation, an ability to accept positive criticism and the pursuit of general knowledge as intrinsically valuable are just some of the general qualities employers are seeking, especially for managerial positions. For that reason, Arts students generally have an advantage when applying for higher ranking positions over many other graduates.

Would you like fries with that?

In January, the Association of American Colleges and Universities in conjunction with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems released a report comparing the earnings and employment trajectories for liberal arts majors compared with those of science, engineering, mathematics and other professional and preprofessional majors. Based on Census Bureau surveys, the report's key findings include:

  • Liberal arts majors earn more than professional majors at peak earning ages (56-60);
  • Unemployment rates for liberal arts graduates are low and decrease over time, with the unemployment rate for mature workers with a liberal arts degree only 0.04% higher than those with a professional degree;
  • Liberal arts graduates disproportionately pursue social services professions such as social work and counselling;
  • Fewer liberal arts graduates pursue a graduate degree or further studies than science or maths majors;
  • Median salaries are highest for engineering graduates but ALL college/university degrees lead to increased earnings over time and offer increased protection against unemployment.

Liberal arts degrees do prepare graduates for successful careers - and sometimes do it better than the other degrees on offer. So let's not assume that we all end up working at McDonalds, okay?

Too dumb to get into a better degree?

Entrance to a degree is determined primarily by an ATAR of Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (except of course in Queensland, because they're special). In 2013, the ATAR for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne was 91.4, at Monash University 85.05, at University of Sydney 81.10 - although if you want to specialise in languages at USyd, you better work your butt off because the ATAR for a Bachelor of Arts (Languages) is 99.95. To study Arts at Macquarie or University of NSW you'll need an ATAR between 75 and 78. Almost all of these Arts degrees have a higher ATAR cut off than Bachelors of Business, Information Science, Commerce, Engineering, Nursing, Science, etc at universities across the country.

A bachelor of marriage?

Okay, so I met my future Lovely Husband while in my first year of a Bachelor of Arts degree. And we married later while I was doing my PhD. I'm not sure what that means or that it's a particularly awful outcome or a crushing blow for feminism, etc. A 2013 study in the UK found relationships that start in the office are more likely to end in marriage than relationships that start in any other way. Interpret that how you will, just lay off the old BA.

The old arts versus sciences dichotomy is still very much alive and well, certainly alive and well in our institutions, our funding bodies and the governments that administer them. Arts degrees have their value but those on the other side of the fence rarely see that. There is value in knowledge and learning, in the pursuit of knowledge and learning; there is value in well-rounded individuals and generalists as well as the specialists that other degrees produce.

Are you from an arts or science background? Did you meet your spouse at uni?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meatless Monday: Sweet potato crumble (two ways)

Sweet potato crumble, Meatless Monday, Vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free


Lovely Husband likes to tease me about my appreciation of the orange vegetables. They seem to show up with great regularity in our meals so I think he's got something there. Along with carrot and pumpkin, I am a big ol' fan of the sweet potato. 

I'm always just a little jealous when it gets rolled out across the US in November for all manner of Thanksgiving side dishes. So in the tradition of Christmas in July, I'm using today's Meatless Monday post as a sort of Thanksgiving in June, so I can roll out even more orange-coloured dishes for my family.

Here are two sweet potato crumbles, one sweet and one savoury, which crossed our table on the same day in a small festival of deliciousness. Both start with steamed sweet potato and are finished with a golden crunchy topping.

The Savoury

The filling:
  • Sweet potato (peeled, sliced and steamed until almost cooked through)
  • Carrot (grated)
  • Red kale (chopped finely)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger (grated finely)
Mix the veggies and put into a greased oven-proof dish. Mix the juice and ginger then pour over the veggies.

The crumble:
  • 1-1.5 cups breadcrumbs (I used a mixture of Panko and regular because that's what I had in the cupboard)
  • Parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup butter/margarine/non-dairy spread/coconut oil (I used butter)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans (roughly or finely chopped)
  • seasoning
Mix the breadcrumbs and parsley. Incorporate the spread/oil with your fingertips until all the clumps and lumps until it's more like course breadcrumbs. Stir through nuts. Top the veggies with crumble mixture (about a centimetre worth) and bake in a 180 degree oven for around 25 minutes or until golden brown. Try not to drop one of them when you take it out of the oven and break your dish like I did. 



The Sweet

The filling:
  • Sweet potato (peeled, sliced and steamed until almost cooked through)
  • 2 or 3 granny smith apples (peeled, sliced and steamed until almost cooked through)
  • sprinkle of sugar (optional)
Mix the sweet potato and apple and sprinkle with sugar if desired. I only do this if the apples are super sour.

The crumble:
  • 1/4 cup rice flour (use rice flour for a gluten-free option, plain flour works too)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (coconut sugar or alternatives work fine too)
  • 1/4 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/tsp spice (I used ground ginger and cinnamon)
  • 1/4 cup butter/margarine/non-dairy spread/coconut oil (I used coconut oil for the extra flavour)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Mix the dry ingredients (except the nuts). Incorporate the spread/oil with your fingertips until all the clumps and lumps until it's more like course breadcrumbs. Mix in the nuts. Top the sweet potato and apple mixture with the crumble (about a centimetre worth) and bake in a 180 degree oven for around 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Both can be easily adapted to suit various allergies or dietary requirements. My sweet version was gluten and dairy free up until I smothered it in custard. Delicious. It got eaten before I could take a picture. Sorry (not sorry). 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dear Boy 'reads' Dig, Dig Digging

video

Yeah, this is probably a four minute brag-fest but I am continually astounded by my boy's feats of memory and speech. He'll be two and a half years old in a few weeks and here he is reciting 11 four-line stanzas, almost word perfect.

He's had these books for quite a while and we've read them to him multiple times. I wasn't a huge fan of their weird rhyming and onamatopoetic scheme. It felt so clunky and odd the first few times round - so clunky I would skip the two middle lines of each stanza and zip through the book and on to something else. But gradually, slowly, slowly, they've wormed their way into my mind. And now the poetry rolls off all our tongues.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Meatless Monday: Sugar-free Coconut Macaroons

IQS, I Quit Sugar, Sugar-free, Macaroons

Last year I signed up for the I Quit Sugar challenge with a few friends. It was hard going giving up fructose for five weeks and quite a few other sugars for 8 weeks - not because I had sugar withdrawals (I didn't) but because the diet was so bland and joyless for me (here's my rundown of the pros and cons). I am not entirely convinced that coconut oil is the saviour Sarah Wilson proclaims it to be (there's a lot of it in the diet and it starts feeling like she's getting kickbacks from the coconut industry, much like Michelle Bridges and the obscene amount of ricotta in the 12WBT). But I did get a bit of a taste for coconut. And appreciate 'sweets' that aren't so sweet.

These coconut macaroons are a bastardisation of the traditional recipe which calls for a hefty amount of sugar. Instead, I replaced the sugar with Rice Bran Syrup (a fructose free and not-so-sweet syrup approved by the IQS gang) following Pastry Affair's lead for replacing the dry sugar with a liquid (she uses maple syrup).

In the traditional recipe you beat egg whites and the sugar together. Here's what I did:

  • Beat three egg whites until stiff peaks form
  • Gently warm or nuke 1/4 cup rice bran syrup until it's a little runny but not hot (if it's too warm it'll cook the egg whites)
  • Mix in 1 tsp of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to the syrup
  • Gently add the syrup mixture to the egg white and beat to mix in (you'll lose some of the stiffness from the eggs - it might even get a bit soupy - don't worry too much)
  • Gently stir in 1.5 cups of unsweetened dessicated coconut until all the coconut is coated in the eggy mixture (you could also use shredded coconut that you whiz up in a food processor yourself - this will be more damp than dessicated coconut, so you may need a little more). 
  • If it's still 'soupy' add more coconut. The final micture should be a little sticky but hold together when you shape into balls
  • Shape into balls (or use a piping bag and make cute little 'kisses' or besitos de coco) and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  • Pop in the oven at 170 degrees celcius for 10-20 minutes depending on if you want white macaroons or toasted coconut macaroons. I like mine toasted. 
  • Let cool on the tray for five minutes before cooling completely on a rack.
You can vary these in lots of ways. Traditional macaroons are made with almond meal instead of coconut, so you could substitute in nut meals and experiment with the texture. I added in powdered ginger to this bunch but you could add in any spices you think would go with coconut or nut meals - cinnamon, nutmeg, aniseed/anise, chinese five spice, etc.

Dear Boy approved of these only-slightly-sweet treats, and was covered in coconut after helping me make and eat them. He only held still long enough after-the-fact to let me get a picture. Macaroon demolished.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Left Behind: The pros and cons of having a partner who travels

FIFO, partner travel, academia, conference travel, single parenting


I got to fly away to NSW this past weekend. But that same day that I was having a long lunch with Csikszentmihalyi, Lovely Husband jetted off to Germany for two weeks of back to back conferences and workshops. Somewhere in sunny, downtown Hamburg, he is doodling in a notebook or playing games on his phone while listening to people talk about all manner of interesting (and some not so interesting) things; he's eating pastries for morning tea, exotic sandwiches for lunch and more pastries in the afternoon. Conferences tend to look the same the world over after all.

I could really use a pastry right about now.

While Lovely Husband is eating all manner of wurst and drinking long glasses of beer with his colleagues, I am, in effect, a single parent. It's a rough gig, even knowing there's an end in sight. I cannot imagine just how hard this is for full-time single parents who are the be-all and end-all for their children. The fact of the matter is, I am incredibly lucky that Lovely Husband is coming back. I'm incredibly lucky that Dear Boy is in care four days a week and I get to escape into work for a little while. I'm just incredibly lucky all round.

Pros
  • I get to do everything my way - the thing is with this one is that I generally get to do most things my own way because I do most things. And if I'm doing most of the things, then I'm effing well going to do them my effing way.
  • I get to do everything to my own timing - I don't have to wait for something to be done or for someone else to be ready before I can get shit done. 
  • I get to cook whatever I want - mushrooms, beans, lentils, breakfast for dinner, etc. Vegetarian every damn night if I want to.
  • Things stay where I put them - because Lovely Husband has a touch of the OCDs, sometimes things disappear into piles... lots and lots of piles. 
  • I'm in bed early every night, snuggling in to watch episodes of The West Wing.
  • It makes him happy to be off learning new things - this is his idea of holiday.
  • He's getting to do a lot of networking, which is great for his work and research and for future collaborations and travel.
  • I love that he is brave and bold and off exploring the world and having adventures - I love seeing his photos and hearing his stories.

 Cons
  • I have to do all the childcare - including wake-ups during the night, getting up with him in the morning, feeding him, dressing him changing him, bathing him and putting to sleep again. Repeat ad nauseum. We've gotten to a stage where we share most of these things when both of us are in the house.
  • There is no hope of a time out for me - one of the joys of having a co-parent is being able to walk into the bedroom when I'm able to lose my shit and shut the door, knowing there's a responsible adult left over to make sure Dear Boy doesn't put forks into electrical sockets. 
  • I have to do all the housework - we have a system worked out for the washing up and laundry but it's mine, all mine. Lovely Husband is also the resident bathroom cleaner.
  • I am jealous as all get out that he is a) travelling somewhere interesting and b) essentially having a two-week holiday without us - I'd really like to lay on a tropical beach someplace warm right about now. With a bit fat airport novel. 
  • I am also jealous as all get out that he gets funding to make these trips possible - that's a whole other post ranting about funding for the arts versus funding for science but yeah, he gets to do this a lot. I'm about to go begging for the funds to attend a three-day conference held here in Melbourne. 
  • Skype timing is a pain when he’s on the opposite side of the planet - we say goodnight to him every morning. Dear Boy's getting a bit confused. 
  • I miss the adult presence in the house, having a person with a grasp on logic and social norms and voice volume. A reasonable grasp, anyway.
  • I miss that immediate love and support, the help he offers me when I’m in all kinds of distress or frustration. 
  • I miss him and his smell and his voice and his conversation... and his downloading skills.
Single parents everywhere, past and present, I salute you. 

Are you a single parent or do you have a FIFO partner? Tell me what you love or hate about it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Before I go: Meeting Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


I left Dear Boy mid ice-cream treat on Saturday night and bolted to the airport for a late flight to Newcastle. "Be a good boy for Daddy and Uncle X and I'll see you tomorrow. Mummy's got to go on a plane for some work". I had to go on a plane, I really did, but not for work. I flew off to meet Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi ("call me Mike") who was in Australia briefly with his wife for a conference. Through the magic of family and colleagues I got to attend a special lunch with him in the Hunter Valley.

I spent many years reading his work on creativity: reading it, applying it, using it, talking about it. I added several extra letters after my name and a big fat 'Dr' before it because of him. And although I had 'meet Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi' on my Before I Go list, I was quaking in my boots at the thought of actually doing it. It felt like an audience with the pope. Or as one of the lunch guests put it, as if his supervisor had called and asked if he wanted to have lunch with Eric Clapton. A table full of academics, of doctors, and we were meeting our superstar, bursting to take photos and ask him to sign copies of his books, but too nervous to say so.

This is, of course, entirely geeky by nature. Academics generally are. But Csikszentmihalyi is one of those special individuals that probably translates well to the general public. His TED talk (above) on his concept of flow sketches some some of his early years that led him towards the work he does: Hungarian born and then interned in an Italian prison camp as a child during the war, watching the adults and how some survived and other buckled; a poor young man's holiday in Austria and stumbling upon a public lecture on flying saucers... by Carl Jung; flow and optimal experience; theories of creativity and now... happiness. He researches happiness.

Most psychologists focus their work on the mind that is dysfunctional, on the illnesses or issues that lead the mind from its normal path. Csikszentmihalyi investigates what it takes to experience a happy life.


His European accent muted by almost sixty years of life in the United States was captivating in person. He was quiet and calm and asked thoughtful questions. He remembered my beautiful friend's PhD thesis amongst dozens probably hundreds that he'd marked. He told us of his current work on happiness and some of the trips he's taken because of it: to South Korea where an electronics company increased their profits by several billion and to Sweden where a small family run company doing important work for the country became profiable for the first time in their history, all after applying his concept of flow and happiness to their management techniques (although it's not a management technique). Happy workers, workers who experience a sense of flow in their day to day lives, are productive workers, more innovative workers. It seems like such a common sense notion but one that's rarely considered by big business.

Now his research is focusing on older generations and their happiness. Where so much is done on developmental psychology with young people, older people are ignored. As a neglected portion of society, they are in essence a wasted resource. We ignore their experience, their knowledge, their potential for innovation, their happiness, to our detriment as a society. This is not research to support raising the retirement age further or to cut pensions, but research that aims to extend happiness across the full length and breadth of one's life.

I met Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. And although I now get to check this off my list, I hope I get to meet him again. And again.

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