Sunday, May 23, 2010

Favorite songs and paths

A relaxed evening of cooking and a little writing. Windows open, firecrackers exploding far away in the background. George S. on the radio with guest Gord Downey, playing the man's favorite tunes. Out of nowhere, an Eagles song starts up, Take it to the Limit, Gord confessing that he heard that song in a liquor store once, and his knees buckled in response (although he managed to hang on to the bottle of rye he was carrying to the cash). I worry,he added, that one day, when I'm in my 70s, I'll hear that song and die as a result.

Ran about 65 minutes this evening. The goslings on my route are still yellowish but larger and less skittish than they seemed to me last weekend. The volume of traffic on this section of the path probably de-sensitized them by their second day. I passed by a large goose sitting regally in the middle of the path like it owned the place. Guess I wasn't intimidating enough to force it to move; it might have thought the same about me. The feeling that it was actually Saturday hung in the warmed air; pairs of rollerbladers everywhere; saw a man talking earnestly to an attentive duck, and a few large families crowded around picnic tables. When I got home, I saw that my face was a reasonable facsimilie of a rock salt-encrusted tomato, and I wanted a shower, a keg of water and something refreshing to eat and roll around in. Just kidding. Bean sprouts would feel weird.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Silence and noise

Last night, I replaced my workout with work. My night owl tendencies flared up, so I put them to use by staying late to complete some work commitments.

My office floor would score low on the “noisy office” scale because my colleagues and managers generally arrive in the morning and work alone in their cubicles. Socializing takes place beyond the work area, like in the kitchen or at a nearby coffee shop during a break, and people usually convene for meetings in boardrooms to avoid disturbing others. (Yes, people are very respectful here.) However, without speaking a word, it is possible to hear and be heard by others. I can hear my close neighbours on the other side of the grey-beige cloth-covered dividers munch snacks, shuffle papers, slurp coffee, tap keyboards, click mice, sniffle, clear throats and talk in low voices on the phone with their mothers. I know they can hear me; unfortunately for them, I'm a very loud typist and a slurper of hot drinks. I most often know that someone is at work because I hear, not see, them: a coughing neighbour is a present neighbour.. The cubicle farm functions like an auditory panopticon that maintains order through the auditory instead of the visual. It's less effective, though - we could all be writing blog entries all day….

When this office is empty and silent, and I am in the right mindframe, I can accomplish a lot more than usual. Brew a cup of mint tea, press play on the mp3 player and dive into writing until my stomach and back protest.

After skipping last night’s gym visit, I showed early up this morning and encountered a full room of exercising people, huffing and chatting and clanging weights. The sun was shining in through the wide windows, and in the background, the radio station played jingles and Taylor Swift. A living contrast to the introspective silence of the cubicle at night.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Been playing Frisbee with M, and it sounds silly to say that my flicking arm feels sore, but it is. Frisbee reminds me of campgrounds and sunny holidays, travelling and hanging out with new and old friends. It’s a sport, sort of, and the practice isn’t gruelling at all. You can’t really break it down into steps; you have to just do it in order to improve.

Take a sunny day and a grassy spot, or a beach, or a soccer field. Invite some friends and strangers and even little kids. There is no goal or objective except for those that smooth out the interpersonal connection; aiming helps, as does catching the disc when it floats toward you. There are showy throws and catches, and it’s exciting to watch the experienced, graceful player who jumps to catch, or catches it with an arm behind the back. M plays daily, and he’s really good. His throws are as smooth as fine silk.

Last night, I was so engrossed in the back-and-forth that the sky was practically in shadows before I realized it. I’d been playing in bare feet, and my soles were black and tenderized from running over the uneven ground. We were playing at a soccer field on the edges of a game in play, when another spectator joined us. He threw the disc so that it spun vertically, and M gasped profoundly, like an archaeologist unearthing a religious relic: “the hammer!”

“you unleash the disc
space ship wit’ a green sheen
way I sees it
it’s the ultimate time machine

whip off your watch
hit the grass in the hot sun
flick of your wrist
and that’s it
your day’s done”

Friday, May 14, 2010


A short list of random things spied during my run today:
  • tiny, fluffy goslings tugging savagely at blades of grass
  • gosling gawkers watching through their camera lens
  • hissing gosling parents/security guards
  • the sticker-heavy back end of a yellow Volkswagon bus towed slowly ahead of me
  • a pack of older women striding confidently, clutching ski poles in their hands
  • a large and very still turtle, which turned out to be a plastic bag peeping out from some long grass

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Fog

run away with me
tonight when they
least expect it

after dinner
we'll go for a walk
heading west

don't look behind
you they smell plans
cooking like garlic

we can hide
anywhere but I hear
there's fog on the coast

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I wanted a light supper so I threw one together in my glass:

1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1/2 cup organic peach yogurt
1 very ripe banana
1 scoop vanilla-flavoured protein powder
1 tsp Caflib, a coffee substitute (if desired)

Whip it up with enough H2O to reach desired consistency.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The fortunes of old shoes

I ran yesterday for 40 consecutive minutes, the longest distance since January. My knee was fine throughout; it felt stiff but there was no pain at all. Earlier in the day I bought new running shoes – New Balance shoes trimmed in fiery orange – and I think they probably helped my ITBS since my regular shoes were really old, like 4 years old or something. I returned to them after my knee started giving me problems, like a sad child looking to her favorite blanket for comfort. Long before the injury, I had been leaning on my beloved Mizunos, and as I've been slogging (as in, slowly jogging) and recovering, I've been avoiding their hot-pink temptation, reaching instead for the old trouble-free standbys (in the most dependable colour, blue). It's as though I connect the Mizunos with the injury and I'm not sure why, except that I was wearing them when the first twinge made itself known, but that might not be the fault of the shoes. Everyone claims a different source for this injury - insufficient stretching, worn out shoes, leg length discrepancies, overtraining - and who knows, any or all of these could be factors. Anyhow, I didn't train that much in the old shoes, and had demoted them to gym use for weight training and the odd turn on the elliptical machine. They haven't given me any trouble yet, but I secured a new pair just to be safe. Old shoes are better for the memory, not the feet. I read that in a fortune cookies once. It's true.