Thursday, March 31, 2011


3.Cum hi decem viri ex moenibus semel discessissent, alia occasio pacis numquam oblata est.

When these ten men has once departed out of the city walls, another opportunity for peace was never offered.

11. Nescio utrum tres coniurati maneant an in exsilium contenderint.

I do not know whether the three conspirators remain or whether they have struggled into exile.

12. Nos conferamus ad cenam, mei amici, bibamus multum vini, consumamus noctem, atque omnes curas nostras minuamus!

Let us go to dinner, my friends, drink much wine, use up the night, and diminish our cares!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I will convalesce

I am a mess. Stomachache, headache, flaky skin, chapped lips, cracked hands, tendonitis, fatigue, bloating, a sense of doom. Tomorrow I plan to stay home for regular meals, a spot of housecleaning, 50 pages of Latin, hand lotioning, vitamins, IBU profen, stretching, laundry, open windows, tea drinking, and silence.

There will be a green monster for breakfast, followed by roasted brussel sprouts, hummus soup, cucumber-tomato salad for lunch, yogurt and honey for dessert, oatmeal or fresh bread for supper.

(I ran last night. 2.5 km. On the way home, my feeling of strength and invincibility was shattered when two men followed us, throwing ice and using a bantering tone to threaten me with rape, to try to pick a fight with Tim. I did not think I had agreed to play a victim or a pawn. I am still exhausted.)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

an update

Well, I seem to have hit a plateau. My weight has refused to budge past 146. All the health-and-fitness blogs inform me that this is the time to concentrate on behaviors and habits rather than on numbers, and I am trying to follow their sound advice. Let's have a general slew of accomplishments and encouraging results, shall we?

1. 146. Compared to 164 (a nice flip), it's not so bad.

2. 90-second planks. I've done many of them over the past couple of weeks.

3. Cycling. Though I have yet to unveil my new horse, I have been riding Kate to school and work. The roads and sidewalks are finally clear enough to make mid-length trips a possibility. Riding again is luxurious after a winter of busing and walking.

4. Cues. With a couple of exceptions, I have been eating when hungry and stopping when satisfied (not "full"), and doing it automatically. Meals are more enjoyable. Hunger is the best cook.

5. Green Monsters. These have become a staple. These are the two recipes I use most often:

- 1/4 avocado
- 4 or 5 big handfuls raw spinach
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 or 6 ice cubes

- 1/4 avocado
- 3 tablespoons cacao nibs
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 cup milk
- 4 or 5 handfuls raw spinach
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon matcha powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 or 6 ice cubes

The past week, I've been adding dollops of 0% Greek yogurt, after buying a tub on a whim and finding it inedible in everything else.

6. Skin. Benzyl peroxide works pretty damn well.

7. Tea. I have been drinking much more unadulterated leaf tea than usual (also, more 5 ounce cappuccinos and not a single 10 ounce latte).

8. Running. This is a mixed bag. While running 3 km (in order to make a March goal), I developed horrible shin splints, from which I have yet to recover. On the other hand, I did run (with a few short walking breaks) all the way to and across the high-level bridge, which used to be a significant bike trip for me.

9. Brightly coloured (fruits and) vegetables? Check. March has seen broccoli, beets, tomatoes, strawberries, green peas, carrots, sweet potato, red grapes, mango, and spinach.

Goals for this week? First, to actually write an update next Sunday. Second, to lose two pounds. Third, to run again if my legs feel better.

UPDATE: I ran. It was good. It was my best run yet. Also, my motivation to lose weight has probably quadrupled, because tonight Tim promised to make nanaimo bars the second I get down to 144.

Friday, March 25, 2011

two yellows to show that my life is not in shambles

A difficult day.
A difficult week.
More snow.
Colossal assignments.

Longer hair.
Jadeite tea
Daffydown dillies.
Pride of accomplishment.

Countless times this week, Tim has told me that I'm doing well, that he's proud of me, that I have muscles, that I'm a good writer, that I'm lovely, that my food is delicious, that he's impressed. This alone is enough to keep me going.

(Have I replied adequately, that he is brilliant and reasonable and grounding and witty, that he sparks my intellect, that he is kind and considerate, that he is criminally handsome?)

And it is true. This spring is nothing sickly like last year.

Monday, March 21, 2011

a honey jar, a nest egg

* * * journal excerpts, March 20 * * *

As fast as I said I wasn't spending any money, I bought 5 skeins of petrol blue yarn and a sweater pattern from Quince and Co. (copying Emily). But I've also started a blender fund in an old honey jar with a white metal lid, and currently the game of saving odd cash, misering it away, is more engaging that the prospect of the blender itself. Soon I will have a cache. It's good for me to be earning money. I have already paid Tim back nearly all I owe him. On my next trip to the bank, I'll withdraw a last installment and never borrow money from him again, if I can help it.

* * *

Something of note today: I bought yarn when I was fully intending to buy clothes. Why? I want to DO things. To a certain extent, with certain kinds of items, the more I buy, the less I do. Clothes, jewelry, cosmetics and housewares all fit into this category at times. I feel the need to mold my life to fit the new luxury, rather than employing the luxury to enhance my life and my work. On the other hand, fresh vegetables of varieties I've never bought before, fresh flowers, materials for building things, books--these I know how to use, and they do not leave me with an ill-defined sense of guilt, pressure, and unease.

* * *

For a week now, though, I have been much more interested in reading novels and poems than doing anything else. (Today I stayed in pajamas.) I've also been working. I feel drunk on money, ready to lay a gin-fertilized nest egg. Despite my inclinations, a final plunge into schoolwork before freedom announces itself in less than a month . . .

Sunday, March 20, 2011

43 - Ted Hughes

A cry is coming closer

Like a child coming up the road
Leaves blood somewhere
Keeps its staggering bones together
Has lost all the jigsaw of words
Searches round cloud comes out at teeth
Will be revenged on the walls

Shrinks itself into dust
Hangs onto an angel that keeps crashing further up the road
Bores its head into the road

Grows enraged grows huge has swallowed the sun gags
Is amazed, tries to surface, recovers
Eats eats earth, earth cry gulps too much like salt water
Lifts eyes like little gutted animals
Lifts mouth broken with dirt
But has found itself, is tightly in its own hand

Will not be denied

Is coming home, is happy

Slowly opens its ocean

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A scene from my life which is very imperfect lately

full of things that can live and die like never before. This is the opposite of the deliberate life. The only thing deliberate about it is that I am letting it be. For some reason I think the tulips on my desk are just as beautiful dead. I have yet to remove them.

I cannot create what I plan to. I am indiscriminate. But I have no time for parties or doctor's appointments. There is a mess and an excess, the counter covered in sloppy cutting boards.

I have made a lurid orange hat. I have written a poem, and so failed to study, and so failed an exam. I have written a perfect essay for a perfect mark. I have run and injured myself. I have made innumerable cakes.

I am earning money I cannot decide how to spend. Though suddenly I want a pile of soft yarn for a project, an expensive blender, I don't buy anything. I've pulled out my old clothes.

We fight so much that it's quick to make up. We've been sparring over ethics and literature (is it as important as math?). We spend a lot of time in bed. A lot of time sleeping. One of our pillow cases that I embroidered is missing; we think it's been stolen from the laundry room.

I have dissected one giant seed or pit. I am sprouting another in a cloudy jar. Soaking beans and lentils in odd bowls. There is mold in the potted plants, and my shoes are wet.

I have been given something which I am taking randomly, without forethought, before the gift disappears. I am reading science one minute, detective novels the next. Along with abs and biceps have come four pounds. Along with midnight work has come noon sloth. And improper breakfasts and powdered hot chocolate. It is all--equally--true and romantic.

Monday, March 14, 2011

38 drafts

I am learning to ignore dirty hair, pile the laundry to one side, adore the tulips behind the dishes, alternate mugs of coffee and wine, close the door, ask advice,
finish books, keep to myself, famish at my desk, scatter paper snowballs, fill the trashcan, leave my homework, abandon ringing phones, devour packaged cookies, make excuses, put off showering, buckle down.

Monday, March 7, 2011

an update

A new plan: running fast in place, listening to fast music. Until I can get outside, this is far, far better than nothing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

on green monsters and peanut-butter oatmeal

. . . and beet borscht, banana macaroons, lamb curry, pita bread, pizza dough, coconut-milk pudding, chickpea soup, cucumber salad, wholegrain bread, salsa fresca, coleslaw, raw oatmeal cookies, pumpkin bread, black bean burritos, sweet-potato soup, hummus, guacamole, rice pudding, salad dressing, eggplant pie . . .

I have never cooked and concocted so much in my life. I have never taken my vitamins so faithfully, or drunk so much water. I have never had to buy fruit and vegetables twice a week in order to keep the fridge stocked. I have never had such a full freezer, or tackled so many fat and mysterious squashes.

I am loathe to say that adding spinach to my smoothies and learning to make cookies without eggs or butter in them has radically changed my life, or made me a more righteous person. I won't say so. What I will say is that my ongoing attempt to improve my eating habits, increase my fitness level, and lose some weight has born delightful and unexpected fruit in our basement kitchen. I have learned how to cook. I have discovered the pleasure of fresh, scratch food, and the untapped opportunities of ingredients. (most of) The meals we eat are delicious. The process of cooking them calms me. I feel sure that I am nourishing myself. I am suddenly, decidedly unafraid of food. I am smug, and call this progress.