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Squirrel Wars

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The red and grey and black squirrels in our back yard are irresistibly cute. We have a veritable squirrel paradise: walnut and chestnut trees, pine and spruce cones, wild grape and raspberry . . . and plenty of "leftunders" courtesy of the bird feeders. Plus the suet block we hang all winter for the chickadees and woodpeckers and nuthatches : several athletic grey squirrels have learned how to leap on the suet block holder and (even though we had thought squirrels were not carnivorous) can chomp their way through a whole block in about a day and a half.

So: wouldn't you think they'd be grateful? Not so much.

The grey and black squirrels are hardy types who live outside all year round, with huge dreys in a number of trees. ("Drey" = the traditional leafy squirrel house -- one of the first words my kids taught me).

Red squirrels consider our house to be their house. Actually, we are graciously permitted to occupy the lower levels of the house, but the attic is theirs.

Squirrels are "protected wildlife" which means by law we're not permitted to poison (no no no , we wouldn't want to do that) or trap (no no no again: not even live trap for removal elsewhere). We're only permitted to have squirrel guy install one way "exit doors" and then (after a suitable interval for the squirrels to pack their bags and depart) come back and close in the entrance altogether.

So: squirrel guy is a too-frequent visitor.

Last week, he installed yet another one-way door.

I came home from work to find a totally indignant red squirrel on the back deck. Glowering. Pouncing. Posturing. Flexing his little biceps. Glowering more, fixing me with one bright eye and then the other, head tossing.

He KNEW I was responsible. He wanted me to know he knew. Chchchchchchchch. And that he wasn't going to forget it.

Had he weighed 80 pounds more, that red squirrel would have been truly menacing.

We've heard him trying to re-enter that one-way exit. We know that there will be another assault on the fortress. It's just a matter of time before the squirrels create a new hole. Necessitating another visit from squirrel guy.

Cute? Yeah, they are. I keep telling myself that. Cute. Cute. Cute.

But: annoying also. Very very very annoying!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Thank goodness the packrats we get here in the desert are not protected and I can catch them in a humane trap and relocate them. I had squirrels in the attic of an apartment I lived in for a time in Colorado. Noisy little critters!

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NANCY- 6/1/2011 7:40AM

Squirrels are "protected wildlife" !?!
When did rodents become protected?
I loved reading your blog... and I am empathic to your plight. Creating entrance holes?
Usually I think of them as being cute, but when they dig up my bulbs, I am reminded that they are rodents. Having the law on their side too! What is this world coming to...

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IRONGRANNIE 6/1/2011 4:01AM

    Oh dear! makes my battle with possums and rabbits seem very insignificant!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 6/1/2011 12:02AM

    I wonder if you can hear them scampering around and partying upstairs? That would be annoying. I appreciate that you are a live and let live kinda gal. Those one way doors are a great idea. From the human point of view!

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CARRAND 5/31/2011 9:33PM

    Squirrels are just rodents with bushy tails, I've heard.

But I love your description of your squirrel visitors.

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_LINDA 5/31/2011 12:52PM

    Wow! Who knew? We have some cute little chipmunks that race across the yard every now and then, but they don't bother us. Squirrels are rare to see, although I have seen the flying kind. Had no idea they could get in a house and cause trouble. The only thing getting in here is an endless supply of bugs. Mom has to sweep and vacuum them up every day.
Hope your one way doors work! Maybe you could get an animal around the squirrels don't like -a natural control.
Have a terrific Tuesday!

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KALIGIRL 5/31/2011 12:31PM

    Amazingly tenacious...

Here's to their ingenuity and your stick-to-itiveness!

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PHEBESS 5/31/2011 11:17AM

    I love your description of the little menacing squirrel threatening you!!!!

I hope they didn't leave you a nest of babies?

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IMAGINE_IT 5/31/2011 8:13AM

    I can imagine that it is annoying. I feel for you especially since not much can be done about this...i didn't realize that squirrels are protected. It is not like that here in Texas.
Now i have this image of the red little pest..ummm...sorry...squirrel standing up and flexing his little tiny biceps ...and every time i see a squirrel now i will be thinking of you Ellen! emoticon
Hope you and the squirrels will come to a happy living arrangement soon. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/31/2011 7:44AM

    We have the same problems with possums, and they are cute too.

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MANDARYANE 5/31/2011 7:34AM

    Haha what a wonderfully vivid tale, I am sorry about your squirrel problem! I am happy that it isn't a bat - but hopefully soon they will learn their lesson about not living in your attic!

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PUDLECRAZY 5/31/2011 7:34AM

    I never know with things like Japanese beetle traps (wait I have a point here) which attracts them to their doom, but some people say it attracts more of the little stinkers to your yard.

In the same light, I wonder about those squirrel feeding toys where you put corn on things that spin around. Would it help or hinder to place a couple of those on the far side of the yard to get them interested in something farther away from your house.

I feel very fortunate to have a couple of hickory trees. The nuts at least keep them enough satisfied that they leave my bird feeders alone.

In sympathy,

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Domestic Diva?? So Out of Character!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I'm not sure what came over me, but today I spent quite a bit more time in "housewifey" tasks than usual -- I'm generally quite non-domestic!

Did laundry (carefully hanging up my husband's favourite golf shirts after 5 minutes in the dryer, as requested!!). And then a little ironing for next week's work outfits . . .

Made soup -- variation on a Lime Cilantro Black Bean SP recipe recommended by FLOWINGWATER. It smelled great while it was simmering away: the basic concept is to puree one can of black beans with a cup of salsa in the food processor, then add a second can, well rinsed and whole, with lots of cumin. I turned my version into more of a hearty stew with diced tomatoes, brown rice, shredded carrot, chopped red and green peppers, corn, onion, roasted garlic . . . this will be my supper soup for the coming week!!

(Went to the gym for a great cardio workout on the elliptical and then a full strenuous upper body weight routine: but that's pretty routine for a Saturday, and doesn't fit my more-domestic-than-usual theme).

Got to the nursery and picked up some hanging bright red geraniums for the front verandah and back deck: I've got a new Canadian flag flying as well. Walked around my garden, admired my iris, pulled a few weeds, picked some lilac and lily-of-the-valley for a bouquet on the kitchen table. (That's the one domestic thing I always do: flowers. Always.)

Did the groceries by myself: a task I hate, especially when I go alone: but DH was at the office, working on urgent stuff for next week, so he was definitely entitled to a free pass. However, on my way to the grocery store, found a new pair of white flat sandals, the kind with the little zippers up the back and lots of straps: very very cute, and comfortable (and not at all expensive . . . ). Figured that I deserved 'em.

After I got the groceries all put away, I made dinner for myself and DH (with leftovers for DS when he gets home from work any minute now . . . ): roasted chicken, baked potato, steamed local asparagus, and a marvellous low cal rhubarb cake recommended by BLUESKY called Oma's Rhubarb Cake . . . thick Greek yogourt and egg whisked together and mixed into the chopped rhubarb, then folded into the dry ingredients -- whole wheat flour. I tried a little variation on the crumb topping, with large flake oatmeal and brown sugar and cardamom and butter . . . very very delicious warm with a tiny scoop of low fat vanilla ice cream!!.

(Yes, I did finish off my day within calorie range. And weighed in this morning at 139 on the Y's scales . . . )

But: laundry and ironing and cooking and gardening and grocery shopping and dinner prep including baking, all in one day??? This is waaaaaay more Martha Stewart than I usually manage!!

And of course, if I were reliably domestic, do you suppose that anyone would appreciate it? No, no, no: all that effort would just be taken for granted, right??

So I'm thinking I'd better revert to my usual patterns right away. Have to manage expectations carefully . . . Tomorrow it's back to the golf course, yeah!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUESKY_321 5/31/2011 11:49AM

    So glad you enjoyed the rhubarb cake ... I think I may need to make another batch! Even the kiddos will eat it if I top it with ice cream!

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IMAGINE_IT 5/31/2011 8:25AM

    Hurray for all Domestic Diva's...and you are included now Ellen!! emoticon
I am not much of a domestic diva myself..i do what has to be done...you know...i mean who else would do it..since i live alone..lol...but lately i have found a new Interest in cooking..which i never...ever..ever had..i used to cook because the kids..and i were hungry...but nowadays i experience with 'clean' food. Your Soup sounds delicious...and when you described the Oma's Rhubarb Cake..all these memories of long gone days in Germany came back to me..where we ate Rhubarb cake in the summer..made with 'Schmand' a type of heavy cream...it was the BEST!!
I will have to try the recipe by Bluesky..and look out for rhubarb..because it is not available very often or for too long here in Texas.
ummmm....Ellen?? Where are you?? I thought you was listening to me...sitting right there in your kitchen...with your pretty apron on emoticon

.....Oooooh wait..there is a note from you...it says: "you off to the Golf Course"!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 5/30/2011 7:39PM

    Wow!! First, Congrats on that weight. You must be tiny at 5'9" and 139!! Congrats on the yummy, healthy soup and dessert. That's a great habit to always have flowers. Just love that!! Take care, Marsha

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BARBIETEC 5/30/2011 3:59AM

    wow... you have energy hehehe :)

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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/29/2011 7:10PM

    Chuckling at reading your delightful blog emoticon This is definitely more domestic than I usually am in one day, too. But it sounds like you really enjoyed most of it -- except the grocery shopping. And I have to say, my hubs is usually really appreciative of the effort I make -- when it happens. As you say, we have to manage expectations! LOL!

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PHEBESS 5/29/2011 3:38PM

    LOL - way to go on being a one-day domestic diva!

PS - I'm currently poaching pears in red wine. Way too many cals, but worth a try!

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KALIGIRL 5/29/2011 10:40AM

    A new you?

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NANCY- 5/29/2011 10:27AM

    I really loved the part about deserving the sandals. :)
You made all that sound like fun. Taking care of that stuff frees you up for other things.

Now I'm off to find those recipes you mentioned...

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CARRAND 5/29/2011 7:35AM

    It sounds like a great day to me. Sometimes I really get into that domestic diva thing, but not every day. I am off work every other Friday (I work 9 hours days the rest of the time)and those Fridays off are my time to be domestic. I change bed sheets, do laundry, clean bathrooms, vacuum, etc. I do go to the gym on my day off, too - got to do my weights and yoga!

Your soup sounds wonderful.

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MOMAAGAINX2 5/29/2011 6:26AM

    Wow I am tired now!!

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/29/2011 2:43AM

    Well done but when the weather is good, don't waste it.

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PUDLECRAZY 5/29/2011 1:33AM

    LOL! Yup, the golf course sound like MUCH more fun. It does feel good to get so much accomplished but sustained Martha Stewart is hard to do. And remember, Martha has servants so she can spend time doing cutesy. Yay, golf!

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FLOWINGWATER 5/28/2011 10:00PM

    I'm exhausted just reading your post! emoticon I think a day at the golf course is definitely in order!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/28/2011 9:55PM

    Now you've gone and cursed yourself with domestic burnout? You won't do anything for a week after such a domestic diva binge, huh?

emoticon Anyway that would be me... Congrats on your clean house & hopefully grateful spouse!

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Former Smoker? Stronger Will Power!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A recent article in the Toronto Globe and Mail offers some encouragement to those of us who used to smoke: current brain imaging research demonstrates that quitting smoking apparently strengthens your will power for application in other areas of our lives, such as weight reduction!

Here's the link: www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/

OK, I'll admit that I used to smoke -- more than 30 years ago. I came from a family of smokers. My husband of 32 years has never known me as a smoker. But I'll also admit -- I've never stopped wanting to smoke. I know I'm one cigarette away from a pack a day. Every day. Working in a cancer hospital for terminal patients as a ward clerk was highly persuasive: watching people in the very last weeks and days of life who still wanted to smoke -- who needed someone to hold a cigarette up to their tracheotomies -- that was an image which stuck in my mind. And I stopped smoking. Cold turkey. Over night.

Don't like smoking: the smell in hair and clothing, the mess of butts on the ground. Yup, I avoid smokers. Long before it was commonplace to restrict others' smoking socially, I made it clear that I would not want anyone to smoke in my home or in my car -- which was a huge problem with both my mother-in-law and my father, no matter how I tried to be "nice" about it and explain that I had a child with severe asthma.

But despite all of that, if I'm honest there's never a week which goes by when I don't experience the craving for a cigarette -- after a meal with a cup of coffee, or passing by someone on the street enjoying a smoke. It's a craving that I sometimes experience daily, even multiple times a day. So I try hard not to be self-righteous about being a non-smoker: I don't have anything to be self-righteous about. I know that nicotine is a powerful powerful addiction and that I haven't "licked" it.

So: you can imagine how chuffed I was about this Globe article which says that developing self-control by giving up smoking can actually result in measurable changes in the brain. And that the increase in self-control learned from quitting smoking is highly transferable to other challenging areas of activity! But also that sustained self-control over a period of time can lead to a "snapping point", and for that reason it's best to ensure (through frequent small meals, exercise, regular breaks) that we maintain stable levels of glucose for optimal functioning of the "self-control" centres in the brain.

Beck talks about the importance of not eating standing up, regardless of the trivial amount of calories you might be consuming, because it's important to strengthen the "resistance" muscle and not to strengthen the "giving in" muscle. That "resistance "muscle" is apparently located in the dorsal-lateral prefrontal cortex which is notably more active in brain scans when we're exercising self-control. That part of the brain is measurably thicker in people who do sustain self-control

So: if you've developed the self-control to give up smoking, does that mean you're likely to be more successful in controlling your weight too? What do you think?

I don't know, but I do see some similarities, some differences. I haven't smoked for over thirty years: I've sustained an 80 pound (now 90 pound) weight loss pretty consistently for almost a decade.

However, I don't really expect ever to stop wanting to smoke, AND I don't expect ever to stop wanting to eat potato chips. But I know that even though I can risk eating a few potato chips or French fries from time to time without triggering a binge, since I quit smoking I've never ever taken the chance of risking even one cigarette.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1HAPPYWOMAN 6/14/2011 10:12PM

    Thanks for the great info! In his book "Changing for Good," James Prochanska wrote, "good habits travel in packs," and I have found that to be very true. Just since starting on my weight loss journey, I've tackled some long-neglected tasks and adopted some new and positive mental habits.

I find it interesting that I have not craved a cigarette in years. I quit 16 years ago, and of course it was very difficult in the beginning! But after a few years I completely stopped wanting them.

Maybe it has to do with the cognitive reframing technique that I used compulsively for years. Every time I saw or smelled a cigarette, I would say to myself: "I'm so glad I'm a non-smoker." And then I would begin to list off all the reasons I was happy to have quit the habit, and by the end of the long list, I would feel calm and happy!

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FROSTIERACES 6/6/2011 1:39PM

    My husband is the same...he quit smoking (thankfully)just like that oneday 7 years ago. Now he hates the smell of smoke, it makes him feel ill, yet the idea of holding a cigarette after a meal or whatever is exactly what he describes as the urge still lingering. Quitting smoking is a huge deal...I'm surprised it doesn't have it's own recovery program and diagnosis code...recovering nicotine lover or something... :)Thanks for sharing!

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BABYFACE26 5/28/2011 2:19PM

    This blog just blew my Mind. the dorsal-prelateral cortex?? that is an amazing concept! thanks for the info. and congratulations for giving up Smoking. Thank God I've never smoked, but I certainly had a drug problem for a good part of my Life...so the "giving in" part of my Brain certainly has some muscle tone to it!!! Very inspiring!

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PHEBESS 5/27/2011 10:44AM

    I'm married to a smoker [and I have asthma] - so I know what you mean - he often quits, for my health, but starts up again. All I hear about is how he wants a cigarette with this trigger, or that trigger - I understand the craving, but at some point one needs to, as you say, build the resistance muscles! (On the other hand, he also needs to build the resistance muscles for chocolate, too!)

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KALIGIRL 5/27/2011 9:34AM

    It makes sense that giving up any habit builds a set of tools and a feeling of success; giving up an addictive substance seems like it would 'strengthen' both.

As someone who forgets the 'bad', wonder if the 'cravings' are more for the 'good' parts of the experience - the cup of coffee shared with your thoughts or friends?

emoticonon your decade of health!

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TOOKES519 5/27/2011 8:45AM

    I am a former smoker myself. I just quit on May 6, 2009.

I knew I had to quit smoking first before I could focus on the weight. One step at a time I had to take. Once I knew I had mastered the art of not smoking, about 6 months after quitting I knew that I would be able to concentrate much more effectively on losing weight. I do truly believe that I have totally and completely been able to focus on this weight loss even more because of quitting. i have so much to prove to myself because I have put huge expectations on myself.

Don't get me wrong I crave cigarettes daily also, its almost so hard to resist because my Mom still is a smoker, but I seriously hate the smell of it and I know that I feel so much better without them. I was a huge social smoker, so when someone else lit up, so did I. I didn't smoke in my home or my car. Is till can't believe that nicotine had such a huge grip over me even though I had the control to not smoke in certain places.

Interesting read thanks for sharing.



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NANCY- 5/27/2011 7:02AM

    Being smoke free for just over two years, It is important to remain vigilant.
Everyday we are faced with choices, it still boils down to what do we choose no matter what the driving force is. Those "measures of willpower" just might be acquired skills.
I could not quit cold turkey, I needed tools. The tools I learned were from Dr. Aaron Beck's CBT and yes for me those skills are transferable.
Waiting for the craving to pass, be it food or smoking.
As you, over time my reaction to smoking and certain foods has changed.
As for the snapping point theory, of course it is easier to snap when stressed, so taking care of ourselves in the first place is the best course of action.
At least for me, when food, rest, exercise and spirit needs are addressed stress levels are reduced and I can make better decisions.

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KRISTI2661 5/26/2011 10:51PM

    Wow - love this! I quit smoking about 4 years ago. I still think about smoking a lot and have said that when I'm 80 years old I'm gonna go ahead and start again - and I've said I'm gonna eat potato chips, too! I'm just glad those thoughts (cravings) don't consume me anymore like they used to. Now I crave and consume health!

Thanks for another awesome blog Ellen!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/26/2011 10:39PM

    I'm so proud of you, Ellen, for taking this healthy step for yourself and your loved ones: quitting smoking. And you have clearly built your will power muscles for use in many areas of your life. emoticon

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CARRAND 5/26/2011 8:44PM

    I never smoked, but I know what you mean about still wanting to smoke even after decades. I lost 70 pounds, but I'm sure if I stop tracking my food, and paying attention to what I eat, I would easily gain it right back just because I love food, and love eating.

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Victoria Day

Sunday, May 22, 2011

In Canada it's Victoria Day long weekend . . . an historic celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday set for the Monday closest to May 24th (and often referred to beerily as "the May 2-4": Queen Victoria is unlikely to have been amused about that).

It's the first long weekend of the summer. People plant their gardens if they really believe there won't be any more frosty nights: I'm waiting a bit to put out some annuals in among my late tulips and irises, which are providing lots of colour right now. People who have cottages traditionally head north to open them up for the season, battling traffic and black flies and mosquitoes, putting out the dock in the still freezing-cold lake, getting the water pump running . . . I'm not a cottage person (although we sometimes rent one for a week or so in August). It's time for summer foods, too: I had an amazing burst of domesticity and prepared Atlantic salmon with quinoa and cumin-sauteed veggies plus fiddleheads for last night's dinner shared with DH and DS. It was delicious, if I do say so myself! I permitted myself a small serving of vanilla and dark chocolate icecream (yup, tracked and within calorie range . . . ). I'm experiencing a rhubarb craving . . . will have to indulge that soon!!

And -- there persists the somewhat antiquated tradition that only AFTER May 24th is it appropriate to wear the most "summery" clothing: seersucker, linens, and in particular white cottons and white shoes. Lots of people do of course ignore that old-fashioned "rule", but we've had a coolish spring such that really summery stuff hasn't felt right up until now anyhow.

So this weekend I've been busily laundering up my summer whites and linens, and cleaning my white sandals and white loafers. It's interesting for me to realize how many clothes I've had that weren't fitting me last summer (even at 158 or so) and are fitting me now very easily (hanging in at 141 for the last 10 days . . . . . . . very little fluctuation). Loose waistbands help keep me motivated to stick with the Beck programme!!

Our lilac hedge is in full bloom across the front of the house and smells glorious. We've got the patio furniture out on the back deck (I say "we", but in fact DH and DS took on that task after dinner last night): all the flowers on the deep rosy crabapple have opened overnight, and there are late trilliums and Mayapples and lily-of-the-valley in the wildflower gardens. Any day the chestnut trees will flower too.

May. Thanks, Queen V, for giving us an extra day to enjoy it . . . I'll be heading for the golf course soon! Although it may be that we'll be playing in a light drizzle!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOHAL52 5/24/2011 1:25AM

    Oooooh, thanks for the Victoria Day blog! I remember going to visit my parents' friends in the Eastern Townships in the days when the roads were bad and the trip took FOREVER in a 7 year old's mind (probably about two hours.) Then, when I lived in Hamilton, I would occasionally go up to Pointe au Baril with a friend of mine who owned a tiny island out in Georgian Bay. I enjoyed it but I am no cottager either. Three days without running water and a proper loo was and is quite enough for me.
Lilacs, lily-of-the-valley, sigh. As I look at the smoke in the mountains from the fires burning the grasslands ... but the roses and hibiscus ARE very beautiful.

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TEENY_BIKINI 5/23/2011 10:51PM

    Wow. You explained the first days of summer perfectly. I love the word "seersucker." Have fun planting your garden. My garden is growing like crazy.



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DSHONEYC 5/23/2011 6:20PM

    Gee, a few thousand miles apart and doing the very same ritual of getting out the summer clothes and packing up the winter things...here in San Diego I am sure we have a different "standard".... sandals are year-round attire, if the item of clothing is "dark" its winter, and dresses tend to be Hawaiian prints after Memorial weekend.

My long weekend is coming, but if I'd have known it was Queen V's birthday, I'd have taken a vacation day. emoticon Any excuse for cake.

Fiddleheads...from your very own boggy spot? I want to move to Canada,
so long emoticon

As always, thanks for sharing.

Comment edited on: 5/23/2011 6:21:19 PM

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BARBIETEC 5/23/2011 3:04PM

    hey! Are you in Victoria ? How did I miss that... One of my best friend live there, she is learning something in a University over there... :)

How cool is that :)

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BLUESKY_321 5/23/2011 7:38AM

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend! Enjoy the course today ... even if it's drizzly - a holiday is a holiday and should be enjoyed - so I'll think of you as I am working away! I just baked up a new rhubarb recipe to share with the coworkers today. Loads of sugar and sour cream, but I won't have much so it will be in range. If it turns out to be a good recipe (yes! I'm experimenting on friends!) I might try and tweak it as it's a nice change from pies and crisps.

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/23/2011 4:45AM

    A gorgeous way to spend your weekend, Queen Vic would have been pleased, that is if she deigned to notice anything after Albert departed.

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LEGALLYBLONDE81 5/22/2011 10:24PM

    Thank you so much for your reply to my blog. I will absolutely check out that books. Sounds like just what I need to read right now.

Many congrats on reaching and maintaining your goal!

On a long weekend note, enjoy the smell of the lilacs. Nothing better!

Comment edited on: 5/22/2011 10:26:21 PM

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CARRAND 5/22/2011 6:57PM

    When we lived in Bermuda, Victoria Day was the official start of the summer swimming season for the locals. Us Americans swam all year there, but the Bermudians thought we were crazy to get into the water before it reached 75 degrees or so. Where we came from, in Illinois, Lake Michigan almost never got as warm as 75. If it did, we thought it was really warm. In the U.S. you aren't supposed to where white shoes except between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I'm not sure why.

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PHEBESS 5/22/2011 6:48PM

    Have a wonderful holiday! Do you eat anything special for Victoria Day? Crumpets? Fairy cakes at tea?

And lilacs - lilacs are the flower I miss most down here, the scent of lilacs!

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DONNACFIT 5/22/2011 3:29PM

    Happy May long to you,too. We're having a cool rainy weekend which for us ranchers just means more grass to grow. Most of my garden is in but no bedding plants out til after June 1 ...
love all your yard flowers :) so far I have finally tulips open and johnny jump ups and dandelions of course....plan to add some of those leaves to my salads this summer :) Free greens. I love rhubarb ..do you have any fav recipes?

I bought my first watermelon of the season and thought of you :)


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ERIKO1908 5/22/2011 1:50PM

    I'm curious...what are fiddleheads? I'm liking your discussion on the clothes fitting!! Isn't that a wonderful feeling?? Enjoy your long holiday weekend...it sounds like a great, enjoyable bit of time...I'm craving rhubarb, too...which is a new one for me!!

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TBANMAN 5/22/2011 1:09PM

    City shorts and sandals - that's what comes out of hibernation for me after Victoria Day. I'll break that rule too, but not this year - brrrr!

Have a wonderful day on the golf course!

And thanks for all of your kind words on my status updates. You're my sober second thought.


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SLENDERELLA61 5/22/2011 12:44PM

    Happy, happy Victoria Day!! What a great holiday! Your culinary efforts sound marvelous and your gardening impressive. You just might be in line for a Martha Stewart (or someone better) award.

Congrats on all the clothes that fit so well! You are doing great!! At 5'9" and 141, you are quite slender now. Enjoy it! Doesn't it just feel great?!! How about some new pictures?

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NANCY- 5/22/2011 11:34AM

    Celebrating a birthday ... now that is the way to start summer. I have always thought that Memorial Day (in the States) was too somber of a way to start summer. What a pleasant task pulling out the summer clothing and finding out it is roomier. You are doing awesome.

I have been interested in trying fiddleheads, but am not sure the best route for trying them.
Keep Sparking!

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"Want the Change" (Rilke)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Many of us are at SparkPeople because we want the change or we think we do -- changes of better health through weight loss and increased fitness. And other kinds of changes too: a greater sense of community, a greater engagement with people and our own selves within our individual lives.

But change is also frightening and sometimes we don't commit fully to change because -- even though the status quo may not feel optimal -- the way we are living our lives is at least familiar. Those size 20 pants fit, literally and figuratively!! And also, of course, change is darned difficult and a lot of work. That's because change is never fully achieved, and change is always slipping away as the new condition becomes status quo in turn.

Rilke has always been a favourite poet of mine. But I hadn't found this Rilke piece about the importance of wanting change until quite recently, when I read an article in O Magazine which makes reference to it:

Want the Change

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRAVENEWGRL 5/24/2011 7:26AM

    Oooooh I love that Rilke! He was a smart guy. Excellent choice!

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TEENY_BIKINI 5/23/2011 10:52PM


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PUDLECRAZY 5/21/2011 8:45PM


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FLOWINGWATER 5/21/2011 11:39AM

    Love this! What a great reminder! emoticon

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FRACTALMYTH 5/21/2011 12:29AM


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    Love this. Yes - afraid of change either way. Happy where I am (25 lb lighter) - wanting to achieve more but afraid of committing to change...

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KALIGIRL 5/20/2011 1:13PM

    Here's to becoming...

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BARBIETEC 5/20/2011 5:06AM


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NANCY- 5/19/2011 7:38PM

    Love the first line.
That is why most of us are here.

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/19/2011 5:41PM

    For me, this reminds me of my Grandma trying to come to grips with the new fangled telephone. Today there is so much technological change in our lives it is hard to keep up, especially the older one gets, but we must try to keep our minds up-to-date. And it all starts in the mind, right?

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KRISTI2661 5/19/2011 12:53PM

    Change can be so exciting AND frightening. But if we don't change what does that say about us? I would truly hate to have not made the changes in my life that over these many years - I want to like who I am and what that is, for me, is always in flux - change is required.

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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/18/2011 11:09PM

    Change is a constant. You've probably heard that one. :-)

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SLENDERELLA61 5/18/2011 10:12PM

    Change may be challenging, but sameness is stiffling. If you don't reach for more, you'll settle into shrinking constraints.

Great poem. Big ideas. Thanks.

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PHEBESS 5/18/2011 8:22PM

    Yes! It is comfortable to stay the same, no matter how much we may want the change.

And of course, my mind wanders off to Bernini's "Apollo and Daphne" and then on to the fabulous "Pluto and Proserpina" which I prefer, despite the misogynistic violencee portrayed...........

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CARRAND 5/18/2011 7:55PM

    Wonderful poem, and so true what you say about change.

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