Friday, 8 December 2017

Low-Carb Diet

I lost 25 pounds last year just by cutting out sugar and most pasta and rice. (I can't cut it out entirely...What would be the point of life without pasta, after all?) The doctor would like to see me lose another 30, so I'm back on the diet again this year, along with my supportive hubby. I know it can be done, because I've done well with it before, but I suspect Christmas is not the right time to begin such an endeavour. I can't walk past a colleague's desk at work without being confronted with raspberry dark chocolate, caramels, fudge, doughnuts... It's a failure waiting to happen. I've told myself I will allow some occasional eggnog, which is my favourite thing on the planet, and this is the only time of year you can get it. But I think I'll be able to resist most everything else.

My wonderful husband has been making intriguing meals with spaghetti squash and bean sprouts and coconut milk and a host of other things that sound unlikely but that turn out magical in his hands. They're healthy and delicious and give me hope and determination. And if I'm good and stick to this, I'll double my wardrobe, because there's a lot in that closet that I almost fit into and can wear once again in the near future. That's incentive, too. I'm always motivated if I can save a dollar.

The other key to the diet is to keep my hands busy. We like to watch movies in the evenings, and it's a dangerous time with regard to snacking. But if I'm tangled up in knitting or crocheting, I'm less likely to reach for something sticky. I'll try to focus on other projects instead of lying about on the couch reading, too, because that's a dangerous snack time. And I'll keep up the yoga and -- gulp -- dog walking (in spite of the arctic weather). I'll pace myself reasonably and realistically, but hopefully by this time next year I'll be a lesser woman.

Sunday, 3 December 2017


They're having a bake sale at work to raise money for a charity, and I was voluntold to bring cookies for it. This weekend was fairly busy with baby shower, weaving guild meeting, etc. and I wondered if maybe I could cheat and get store-bought cookies to take to the bake sale instead. After all, I hadn't offered to do this, it was being put upon me. And the first thing I ever had published was an article called "You Won't Go to Hell for Using a Cake Mix." And my naturopath gave me strong instructions to say no more often. So who would know? Could I pull it off?

So I confess I went out Saturday and bought some decent-looking chocolate chip cookies, with the vague idea of not saying anything to anyone at work and letting them assume I'd made them without coming right out and saying I did. Yes, I'm that evil.

And then I remembered that our donations to the bake sale were supposed to have a full ingredient list with them, in case of allergies, etc. So I looked at the ingredient list of the chocolate chip cookies. Modified palm oil, soy lecithin, cocoa butter, inverted sugar, natural flavour... Who was I kidding? No one would believe I had soy lecithin in my kitchen cupboard.

So I sent hubby out at 10:00 last night to buy sugar (which I generally try not to keep in the house), and at 6:00 this morning I made 5 dozen peanut butter cookies. Now I can take an honest tray to the bake sale and my conscience is clear again. Except now I have a tub of chocolate chip cookies on top of the fridge which, after reading the ingredients, no one will really feel like eating.

Serves me right.

Maybe I can put them on a tray and give them as homemade Christmas cookies to the neighbours...

Wednesday, 29 November 2017


At work they have a machine that dispenses steaming hot water, and they stock various herbal teas for the staff. I make myself a peppermint tea, put my nose in the mug, cup my hands around it, and am transported back to Grandpa's mint farm. A bit of heaven in the cubicle.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The only reason I'd ever get a cell phone...

I am one of the last remaining people on the planet without a mobile phone. I am of that vanishing breed who carries two quarters with me to use the pay phone in emergencies (and yes, they do still exist). I don't want the bother and expense and annoyance of a phone, I don't want to have to figure out apps and plans, and I don't want to have others be able to track me or my preferences at every moment. Most of all, I don't want my boss to be able to reach me at three in the morning (and she would, too!). So up until now I've avoided the whole thing.

There's only one good thing about mobile phones that might make me change my mind someday. They have incredible cameras on them. There have been many times I've wished I had a camera to hand, and the ability to capture intricate details. Today, coming home, the sky was awash in the most amazing clouds, thin and furrowed like a plowed field, with the bright glow of the sunset just starting, and I wished I could snap a picture of it before it faded. So lovely! My regular digital camera wouldn't have captured it, I know, and it's too bulky to carry around with me. So, yeah, maybe one day I concede I may get a phone. But I'd turn off all the apps and bleeps and connections and just use the camera part.

At some point I won't be able to buy movie tickets or get into the subway station without a phone. The world is just trending that way. That's okay with me. The day I can no longer function without it is the day I resign from everything and retire to a cottage by a lake somewhere, and if advertisers and government officials can't find me, oh well.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Shoes vs Bare Feet

So there's an argument going on on Facebook right now about the science behind why going barefoot is good for you. I don't follow all the "positive ions and engaging all the bones" talk, but I do have an opinion. I don't know the science behind it, if there is any. I just know that I feel better when I'm barefoot. Whether indoors or outdoors, I feel free and younger and healthier when I don't have shoes on. And if I have to wear them, I prefer sandals every time.

I remember in high school taking my shoes and socks off to walk home from school. I remember walking around the neighbourhood as a kid in my bare feet. I still run out to the garbage cans or to get the mail in bare feet in the dead of winter. I wander my garden barefoot (watching for thistles. My weeding isn't up to snuff). I love the feel of connection with the ground, the scent of earth, the touch of skin to soil.

I've heard that soil has organisms in it that contribute anti-depression qualities somehow, and this transfers to you through your skin. Whether that's true or not, I know I feel better when my hands are in dirt and my feet are directly on the ground. When winter drags on, I crave getting my hands back in the garden. I've been known to stick my head in a bag of damp potting soil just to breathe in the smell of it when winter has lasted too long. I just close the curtains first to the neighbours don't think I've lost it all together...

I have pots of green beans growing in my dining room right now, along with rosemary and a lemon tree. I harvest a mere trickle of beans, but the food isn't the point. It's the smell of wet soil, of green growing things, in the winter that I glean from them. It's a tonic and a promise, a bit of bright hope that spring will come again.

Monday, 20 November 2017

An interesting immigration story

We're doing some work to the house, and my husband hired a local handyman named Frank to do the high-on-a-rickety-ladder part. As Frank worked, he and my husband chatted, and he told my husband the story of how his family ended up in Canada. I found it so interesting, I thought I'd write it down here.

Frank's family was British, and moved to the American colonies just around the time of the Revolutionary War. In 1780, the town was collecting gunpowder from all the citizens with the idea of shooting off fireworks and cannons, etc. to celebrate the 4th of July. But Frank's family remained loyal to the crown and refused to donate any powder. The townspeople aimed all the cannons at Frank's family's house, but still they refused. And decided that Canada might be a safer place for Loyalists. And that's how they ended up coming to Canada.

Isn't that a fun bit of history? It's neat to me that the family has passed this story down through the generations.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

And Lo, it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished

Thank you to Thoreau for the title...

I can't believe it has been a week since my last post, and a week since the Royal Fair. I feel as if time has slipped by me when I wasn't looking. I haven't done much of anything in the seven days since. Hemmed some towels. Went to work. Watched TV. How did the days get past me?

One of my bosses explained it to me this way: when you are six years old, summer seems endless because it's, like, 16% of your life. So in relation to how long you've lived, it's really quite a chunk of time. But when you're 50, summer is only 2% of your life, so in relation it feels like it zips by. Or something like that, anyway. I have never been good at math.

The concept rings true, however accurate it is. Summer has fled and here we are, digging out the boots I swear I just put away last week. Frost has killed the nasturtiums, I can smell someone's wood stove when I'm out walking the dogs, and we had our first dusting of snow the other day. Thoughts turn to hardy stews and egg nog. Mmm, egg nog. God's way of apologizing for winter. For that season where you struggle into five layers to walk to the bus stop, struggle out of them once you get into the overheated bus, struggle back into them when you reach the subway system and walk through those cold tile halls, struggle out of them once you reach the overheated train, struggle into them to walk from train to office, then struggle out of them again when you reach your airless cubicle... Just to repeat the process in reverse at the end of the day. I wish someone would invent an inflatable suit that you just dial up or down without having to put on or remove anything.

But before you know it, it will be spring again, the layers will be cast aside, and I'll be sketching garden plans and trying to find my secaturs and knee pads. And as I emerge back into sunlight, blinking dazedly and feeling like a displaced mushroom, I'll be wondering how I managed to reach this age already without knowing how to sharpen a lawnmower.

I saw an ad for a t-shirt today; it said "Irony: the opposite of wrinkly." I'm thinking I might buy one. Goodness knows I'm wrinkly already. I could use some irony in my life.