Friday, October 14, 2011
"Weren't you a model?"
I'd just stepped into a convenience store. Coming down with a terrible cold (yup, it's caught me). Nose streaming. Eyes streaming, too: with my specs on, not my contacts. Not a lot of makeup. Wearing a B-list suit: not expensive when new, now kinda baggy. And on my way to a pretty sad event: open house to honour a long time colleague, now in palliative care.
Not feeling my best, that's for sure. And not thinking I was looking my best, either.
So: no way that clerk could be speaking to me. And I kept looking through the gum rack for my fave, Dentyne Fire. Really cinnamony.
"You look so familiar. Magazine work?"
I looked around. Nobody else in the store. And the clerk was smiling at me.
So I smiled back, just a little. "Uh. No. Never a model. But thanks anyhow. Not something people ask too often, when you're sixty years old."
"Sixty??" She really did look surprised. And then she added, "It's the way you carry yourself. You move like a model. I was sure I'd seen you before. Modelling. "
Now I beamed at her.
"You've made my day, actually. Thank you!"
"Well," she told me. "I really did think I recognized you as a model. And I always tell myself, if you've got something nice to say, you might as well say it."
Yeah!! I'll remember that!!
Friday, October 07, 2011
This will be our first Thanksgiving in over 27 years without kids at home! Just the two of us . . .and the weather is gorgeous here, warm and sunny with bright bright leaves.
There will be a very simple "pre-fab less flab" Thanksgiving dinner.
I've already made roasted root vegetable soup: parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, butternut squash all roasted earlier in the week and zapped through the food processor with some broth, onion, curry powder . . . it's a lovely orange red colour, super texture.
And I'll hurl a frozen prestuffed prebasted turkey into the oven while we head off to the golf course. In my view, one of the most amazing technological developments of the 21st century!
With a few simple sides: peas, carrots, corn, wild rice (thanks, Uncle Ben), cranberry sauce (ditto Ocean Spray).
Dessert? probably low fat vanilla ice cream and berries. It will all be ready in a flash.
I've never forgotten my US Thanksgiving dinner in Austin in 2009. Corn bread stuffing with pecans, green bean casserole with French fried onion rings and sour cream, a huge range of salads jellied and chopped, a very special cranberry sauce with pineapple and mini marshmallows and walnuts, home made breads and dips and then a luscious array of elaborate desserts too: at least a week's worth of planning and preparation, each individual dish laboured over and utterly delicious but so high calorie! and waaaaay too much food . . . really!! Much much appreciated but . . . . too much. Yeah!!
Sure there are lots and lots of people in Canada who will be putting on a serious spread . . . but I'm domestically challenged, not planning to change any time soon either! The more time I spend thinking about food and working with food, the more I tend to eat.
So: pre-fab, less flab.
It works for me.
And gives me more time to get out in the glorious crisp air, shuffling through the leaves, looking for golf balls and woolly bears!
Saturday, October 01, 2011
October is a wonderful month. (My favourite, probably -- second only to May and its fuzzy green euphoria!).
The leaves are beginning to turn bright golden yellow, with a few flashes of red. There is a real fall snap in the air: I had my red leather motorcycle jacket on for the first time this season.
After the laundry and the soup making (red cabbage and lots of other veggies) and the grocery shopping (fresh dill for the soup) and the gym, Charlie and I went for a walk in the woods. No question it's got that distinct autumn fragrance now. The sky was blue and the last of the fringed bottle gentians are still blooming blue, in among the goldenrod and the dark purple asters. There was a sign up warning of bear sightings but I am happy to report that I did not see any. I am, however, on the look-out for woolly bear caterpillars! None just yet . . . .
My house is 122 this year and it's on an ancient Canada goose flyway. From the third floor, I can hear them honking directly overhead as they practice their southbound Vees: in fact, they are close enough that I can even hear the wind in their wing feathers. I have to wonder how many previous residents looked up at this time of year to wave the geese on their way.
October. It's golden!
PS: provided by VALERIEMAHA, the most perfect Mary Oliver poem below . . .
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Quite a few of us on SP "suffer" from insomnia. And that's why I was so interested in an article about University of Toronto researcher Jessa Gamble describing some of her work in the area of circadian rhythms. It was published in the fall issue of the University of Toronto magazine. Here's the link if you want to read the whole thing.
Essentially, it's Gamble's finding that each person needs to become aware of his and her own natural patterns of wakefulness and sleep on an hourly, daily and even on a broader seasonal basis, as they vary in response to naturally occurring cycles of light and darkness.
When it comes to insomnia, Gamble suggests that waking up after a couple of hours may be normal for lots of people. It's comforting to know this was the typical pattern for a few "famous and accomplished" people such as Winston Churchill and Buckminster Fuller! Previous generations were apparently less clock-driven and more accepting of this interrupted sleep pattern. Individuals experiencing it just used the wakeful "small hours" time for meditating or praying or (ahem) "communing with one's spouse" before then returning to sleep. (Here's hoping the spouse was in the mood for communing!) They caught up with naps as needed during the day. So it may help to recharacterize sleep/wakefulness/return to sleep as "polyphasic sleep" which is normal and natural for a particular individual. (And of course it may also help for polyphasic sleepers to find those nap opportunities later in the day: easier said than done depending upon work situations and other responsibilities).
Gamble looks to the problems created for children who are diagnosed with ADHD because their circadian rhythms don't fit the norm. As a result, they may not be ready to learn at the same time as other children.
She suggests that increased incidence of obesity and even mental health issues among Inuit peoples may be related to disruption of seasonal historic sleep patterns. Traditionally such peoples experienced much more frenetic activities of hunting and gathering during long summer days under the midnight sun, followed by much more sleeping during the lengthy dark winter nights. And now Inuit children are expected to be up and ready to learn at 9 a.m., just the same as children who live much further south . . . under very different light conditions for much of the year. "Circadian imperialism" is the term she uses.
As biological entities, humans experience many aspects of health to be circadian-linked. Digestive cycles, nutrition, optimal lung efficiency in the early evening indicating that running is easier then . . . even the effectiveness of cancer treatments may be related to their timing, with early morning radiation less toxic than such treatments later in the day.
The research is fairly new, and there is still lots more to explore. However, for now I do know that one of my own worst side-effects of insomnia is fretting about not sleeping. So next time I'm lying awake at night, I'll be telling myself: this is just "polyphasic sleep". No worries!
And as a back-up? As the days get shorter, by December if not earlier I'll be back to using my 10,000 lux light box every morning. Not for "seasonal affective disorder" but just to get myself thoroughly woken up. Optimizing "cognition" in the morning, when I need it most . . . yeah!!
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