Monday, February 28, 2011

an update

Well, Glynis's March goals post shamed me into composing an update of my own. I haven't been keeping this space up to date on my progress lately, mainly because lately, there hasn't been much to report. For the past month or so, I've weighed about 145 pounds, most mornings. I'm quite proud that I've managed to lose 4 pounds since Christmas, on hardly any cardio.(At the hospital, they asked me my weight constantly. And I felt tiny.) I've exercised very little - it's been -20 C, and I've been sick. I'm worried about the race in April. There have been so few days suitable for running outside, and I feel more out of practice than I have in a long time. Going back on The Pill for two weeks helped nothing. My mood plummeted and I gained four pounds (three of which I've lost again). To be honest, over the month of February, I've probably spent more time and concern on the state of my skin than on any other aspect of physical health. Having been (up until last summer) blessed with a near-perfect complexion, it is infuriating to discover new and painful eruptions almost every day. Learning to resist the temptation to pick and squeeze has been embarrassingly difficult. I've felt ugly.

The past few days have seen an upswing. On Saturday I had access to a treadmill, and for the first time in my life, I ran on a machine. It was brilliant. I know that many people dislike treadmills, but in my opinion, being able to run unseen, in an artificial and temperate climate, in front of a stereo, with your speed kept steady for you, beats running outside any (Winter) day. I couldn't believe that I was able to keep running at a solid 5mph for 15 minutes straight, hardly breaking a sweat.

Since Friday, I've been taking in an impressive number of fruits and vegetables once again, and drinking green monsters every day. The dumbbells have made several appearances, my waist has been reunited with my hula hoop, and my feet with our one flight of stairs (again, and again). I feel better than I have in weeks, and am desperately trying to find ways to keep up my activity while it continues to blizzard around me.

Some goals for the month of March:

- lose 4 pounds (to reach a weight of 141)

- increase stair-climbing to 75 flights

- run 3km straight, either outside, or on a treadmill

- do 10 full push-ups (I've scaled my repetitions down lately, trying to concentrate on lowering my chest all the way to the ground, but it's time to get back up to 10 in my new and improved form)

- increase planks to 90 seconds

- drink more tea, and more water

- eat more brightly-coloured vegetables

- journal my activity

- buy some proper moisturizer

Saturday, February 26, 2011

a recipe for Glynis

Soup Disclaimer: I do realize that my recipes are not really recipes, but possibly unhelpful vague directions for dishes my readers might like to eat, but can't quite imagine. On the other hand, I realize that my penchant for strong flavors and granola-girl ingredients might make any precise recipe I put together equally unhelpful, since the resulting soup would not be to the cook's taste at all.

To Make Hummus-Leek Soup:

- finely chop the white and light-green portions of three large thoroughly-cleaned leeks (discard dark green, or use in another recipe)

- chop three scrubbed red potatoes, one into very small chunks, and the other two into larger chunks

- heat several tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot

- add leeks and cook until golden and somewhat translucent

- add several cups of water (enough to generously cover the vegetables), the finely-chopped potato, and about a tablespoon of salt to the pot

- simmer uncovered for 30 - 45 minutes, stirring occasionally

- puree a large can of chickpeas (including the liquid)

- add chickpeas to the pot, along with the more coarsely-chopped potatoes

- if the soup seems too thick, add more water at this point

- add 2/3 cup peanuts-only peanut butter

- simmer another 15 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally

- mince 2 - 6 cloves of garlic

- chop a few ounces of aged cheddar cheese (about the same amount you'd use on a couple of sandwiches)

- add the garlic and cheese to the pot

- get out salt, lemon juice, and black or white pepper (if you have tahini, you could add it too)

- add and adjust to taste (I go heavy on the lemon juice)

- simmer further as needed, adding water as needed, until the potatoes are cooked, and the desired consistency is reached

- freeze what you can't eat, and serve with a handful of chopped parsley

Friday, February 25, 2011

Reading Week

Unbelievably, this is the last day of my last week of sanity until the end of finals. I won't lie. Not everything about the last five days has been fantastic. There have been fights, sickness, horrible weather, homework, stress, meltdowns, poor eating, failed bread dough, etc.. But yesterday was mostly fantastic. Tim and I took a leisurely tour of the used bookstores on Whyte Ave, then bought beets, avocadoes, a smooth and tiny green cabbage, red grapes, lettuce, and three kinds of hot pepper to supplement the shopping trip on which Tim, left with a list and no explanations, bought a litre of sour cream (but no beets to make borscht with), a large bunch of spinach (but no avocados to use in green monsters), and everything for salad (except lettuce). It wasn't really his fault. The term for Superstore's produce section at night is 'ravaged'.

We also went to Chapters - no used bookstore charm there, but an impressive selection of literary periodicals, and me with a notepad and a pen, jotting down addresses.

I have big plans for this last day. They include
a slow pot of soup,
a shirt, altered to fit my new smallness,
an ensconcement on the red couch with my new-used books (Cavafy, Sexton, William Carlos Williams, Graham Swift) and The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker,
the Symphony tonight with Tim (Beethoven's 3rd), wearing red boots,
20th birthday plans becoming concrete,
a redemptive batch of bread,
a pile of drafts,
a load of laundry,
a date with my dumbbells and our apartment's one flight of stairs,
several letters.

I hope your Friday is also full of plans for everything good.

P.S. And yes, yes, you're right. That at the top, my friends, is a new spurt of growth on Matilda the vine. Plant luck is improving around here.

P.P.S. There is no way I can continue my Return to the Pill experiment any longer. I want to eat all the white flour and sugar in sight. So long, calendar-package.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011


I am back. Three days in the hospital, and now the challenge of recovering at home. I never thought I would say such a thing, but

I am terribly glad I just spent hours on end lying absolutely still, drifting in and out of a morphine-induced stupor, being polite to a queue of new nurses, unable to eat or drink, removed from the world of time, news, and the interwebs, missing Tim every minute, receiving bewildering visits from people who must care very much.

Here at home, bombarded suddenly with the dishes, emails, schedules, essays, exams, and groceries of real life, things have been thrown into sharp relief. Some of the revelations of the past few hours:

- Tim is a man I dearly want to come home to, who takes better care of me than anyone else possibly could

- I need to rest

- resting does not come as naturally to me as guilt, anxiety, hair-brained quick fixes and running around with my head chopped off do

- studying for Linguistics exams is, sadly, not as necessary as I thought

- victuals (even dry toast and especially tea) should be prepared carefully and savored slowly

- I will run as soon as I can, because I can

- waking up pain-free is not to be taken for granted

- the untidyness of living needn't kill my soul

- I am surrounded by good people

- I like reading science

- blood is very red, very precious, very smart

- I will take a month to monitor a return to The Pill

- I think I am strong enough/cheerful enough, have good enough habits in place (and in return? healthy ovaries, clear skin, reduced risk of cancer)

- yes, I do love quiet, pretty things, books, poems, fresh air, people, food, bicycles, little else

- reading and writing come naturally again, and how I need both

- water is very liquid, very impressive, just as life-giving as they say

- I will buy a new pair of TOMS and a new pair of pea-green rain boots

- I will take walks to look at the world out-of-doors

- it is a lovely thing to sleep and not worry

- I will ride my bicycle to buy Tim a loaf of french bread, the minute the streets are clear

- honey cornmeal cookies in the shape of bees will always be a part of my diet

- I will make the new zines beautiful (they are finally coming together)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


is so glamorous in the red shirt
I wear almost every day
and there is so much coffee
and so many words

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Saturday at my desk

I would clear away every slovenly obscurity I could and labour to make myself as clear as my plain meaning could be carried

"Yes, indeed. A very big element of that obscurity which is one of the mysteries and one of the glories of poetry, because labour as we may and labour as we must we can't tell really from whence it comes, and this is why I have always honoured the noble obscurity of poetry and deprecated the slovenly obscurity: I would clear away every slovenly obscurity I could and labour to make myself as clear as my plain meaning could be carried in order that the noble obscurities, if they come, may have their full weight and value. Because even in scraps and crumbs of poetry, in bits of old ballads, bits of ballads that Shakespeare embeds for instance--they make one's flesh creep with this mystery which is as much of the flesh as the spirit I think: 'Childe Rowland to the dark tower came"--he felt it too or he wouldn't have so embedded them into his text. And such phrases as 'How should I your true love know?' beyond their content, their plain meaning, there are depths of mystery, of obscurity if you like, and this is one of the major characteristics of poetry, one of its great raison d'etres and something we should be thankful for when it comes, and which we should labour to make clear and not to let anything slovenly through, so the thing itself, when it suddenly appears, may be seen to appear."

- Ruth Pitter

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

an update

Well, I haven't lost an ounce. The sheets of ice on the roads, and the windchill, and the dark are all continuing to get to me. I need some excitement. Some motivation. Some distraction. Some push.

I've registered to run a race.

To run.

A race.

Now I'll have to brave the cold.

I am nervous. I am excited. I am convinced that I am entirely not myself (or, not who I was), and I am thrilled. Running a 5k is on my list of New Year goals, but I had doubted I would actually have the guts to register. To my own surprise, I am really going to do it. I start training tomorrow.