Eat a Horse

No, no. He said. No. The lady will have the full sized entree. She will also have more bread and several glasses of water and if I am not careful, it is possible that she will also eat some of my lunch too. 

(This was not unreasonable. I ate his ice cream at the end of the meal. By keeping his steak knife between the two of us, he managed to keep his meal safe.)

I teared up when the restaurant accidentally threw away my left overs. That was my snack between 3 and 4:30 pm, and that snack matters.

All of this to say, when I say that I am eating a lot? Please believe me. I am eating a lot.

Posted in Running | Leave a comment


This week, from Sunday to Sunday I will run about 26 miles. Somewhere between 24 and 26 miles, depending on pace.

The net effect of this, if you are curious, is that I am always cold, always tired and always hungry. I always hurt. There is always a part of my legs and or feet that at least aches. I move and wince. Sometimes I actually groan.

On the bright side, for the first time in my entire life I literally do not care what I eat. I feel no guilt for the calories I consume. I eat whatever the heck I want to, when I want to.

And I am still losing weight.


Posted in Running | 1 Comment

Monday Miscellany

  • It is still November and there was no sunshine this weekend.
  • Blargh.
  • I have a bit of a head cold kicking around. It’s annoying and making me tired, but it’s not enough to really call myself sick.
  • My insulated gravy boat broke last night. I’d had it for at least 15 years, and it was my mother’s before that, so it really doesn’t owe me anything, but I have no idea where it came from and I really liked it.
Posted in Salmagundi: A collection of various things | Leave a comment

A Year and A Day

I saw my mother alive, awake, talking a year ago yesterday. That was the last time. When I saw her in December she was gone in mind, if not in body. I was around to watch the body go.

I miss her, you know. Time has smoothed over the horrors and the anger and the hurt and mostly what I remember are the good times now. I miss those times.

In these cold, grey and dreary days of November, I am  tired. Weary. Sad.

I think about the family I have built up around me and how it is starting to change as the nieces and nephews move on to other things. I think about everyone I’ve said goodbye to.

I’ve said a lot of goodbyes in the last year.

You would think I would be better at it. You would think that change should have become second nature. You would think I should easily and quickly bring all of my resilience to the table.

I say it’s the change of the seasons. The increasing dark, the wet and heavy days. I run a bit further for the energy, seek the sun where I can find it. I light candles and cook stew against the darkness.

It’s just November, I say. I tell myself this. I tell myself that I will get through the first anniversary of her death, of Gabe’s death and then will come Christmas.

It’s just November, after all.

Posted in Grief, The language of families | 2 Comments

Things You Can Do with Oatmeal

I make granola for people. I make it for nieces and nephews at sports camps. That’s how I know to weasel in all the extra calories in peanut butter and honey and corn syrup and butter. I’ve made it for kids studying for exams – that’s why I put in m&m’s. I’ve sent it across Canada in a canoe. Up the side of a mountain.

It’s gone to palliative care a few times. It’s the perfect food to leave in a hospital room. You can grab a handful and get a healthy dose of calories and sweet. It keeps forever. At 3 in the morning, when you feel alone, it solid proof that I care about you. Here’s love, three hundred calories at a time.

It’s maybe the one thing that I try and make intentionally. I try and hold you in my heart as I mix and measure. I try and send comfort and good wishes in the bag.

This will be the first time I have made it for someone who is dying.

I don’t know her, not really. I’ve met her a few times. She’s nice old lady.

What I know is her greatest achievement. I know her grandson.

I’m watching him navigate this. I’m watching him on the phone, taking notes. I’m watching him pivot and spin and he’s doing it with a lot of grace and composure. I stop every so often and put my hand on his shoulder and tell him how very proud of him I am. I wrap my arms around his neck and pull him into me. This is how we grow. I know that. He’s a bit like a younger brother and he’s growing in leaps and bounds and this is how we do it as adults, but holy hell, it’s hard to see this.

I asked what I could do. It’s going to be fast and hard and very, very ugly. It’s coming quickly.

He asked for granola.

For her.

Because food for a journey.

I can do that.

Posted in Interruption. | 2 Comments

Monday Miscellany

  • For those of you who don’t follow me on facebook and instagram, I ran 6 miles yesterday.
  • This has 2 implications for Monday – firstly that I want all the food and secondly, that I will take the elevator up one flight of stairs.
  • We got our first snow last night. I know, I know. Winter. Ugh. But I really love the first snow of the year.
  • I do need to buy a new pair of leather gloves.
Posted in Salmagundi: A collection of various things | 1 Comment

The Power of the Patriarchy

I have lots of thoughts on the patriarchy.  In the wake of the cabinet appointees here in Canada and a pregnant MLA in Alberta and all sorts of things.

I have lots of thoughts on being a woman in a public space.

I don’t have time to write them out right now, because my nylons have a run in them and I need to go and replace them before a meeting.

The irony is not lost on me.

Posted in Feminism | 2 Comments

The Mark of Adulthood

After a while
you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t always promises
and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and and your eyes ahead with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
And you learn that you really can endure, that you really are strong and you really do have worth and you learn and you learn
with every good-bye you learn.

Author: Veronica A. Shoffstall

I found this poem when I was maybe 19 years old, in a schmaltzy gift shop, located in a mall I worked in. There’s wisdom among glitter and ugly, at least sometimes.

It talked about not so much how to grow up, but the things you learn and who you become. I repeat some of those words to myself even now.

Yesterday was a kind of tough day. Not the end of the world, but a bit on the hard side.

Because after a while, somewhere in middle age, you learn how to spot oncoming drama. You spot it and you realize that you need to run from it, not gravitate toward it. You realize that a few days worth of sting and sadness is always going to be better than months of hurt and angst.

You learn that it’s ok to text your best friends and tell them that you need coffee and a cooky and a hug and that they will give you that and tell you that it will be ok.

You learn that even though you completely don’t want to, you will go and run on the treadmill and you will do it because you need to for the marathon and more than that you will feel better after.

And you go to sleep knowing that tomorrow is another day and it will bring it’s own share of joy and sorrow and just the stuff of every day life.

Posted in Learning Life | 2 Comments

Why I Can’t Have Nice Things

I was sitting at my desk at 8:30 this morning and I realize that it may have looked from a particular angle like I was picking my nose, but I really was just scratching it while I booked something into my personal calendar.

That was when my boss turned up with a director, to introduce me.

I’m prone to things like this. I once met an Executive VP by falling at his feet when my stiletto broke. I dumped an entire cup of coffee on a CIO. I am, still, the freaking queen of accidental sexual innuendo. (Go ahead, ask me about my T&A project.*)

So, I salvaged it, like  I always do. We had an enjoyable 10 minute conversation about shoes and difficult clients and wine. She was very nice. She should have been memorable.

At 11, I was standing in the lobby, meeting a group of women to walk to a charitable luncheon my employer was sponsoring. I’m still new so I still spend a lot of time introducing myself to people.

I can’t explain it.

It’s not like she looked familiar. I wish I could tell you that a voice in my head was shouting loudly at me to stop, but no. There was no voice.

There was nothing.

Maybe 2.5 hours after I met her the first time, I stuck my hand out and introduced myself to her. Again.

Jill. Her name is Jill.

I’ve got that now.

I’m pretty damn sure she’s never going to forget me either.

*Time and Attendance. It’s a module for an ERP solution that will allow my client to do scheduling and time keeping. It’s not the other kind of T&A.

Posted in And the Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth | 1 Comment

In a Darkened Room

My new massage therapist is so gentle.

The odd bit of pressure.

That’s all.

I grew up with the idea of pain for your own good. Pain was inflicted upon me until I was too old for it. Which was ok, because by then I had learned to beat myself. The idea that you could ease my hurts, that you could do anything for me without hurting me first is nothing short of miraculous to me.

Last night I laid on his table while he tried to sort out my neck.

I thought about hard things. About how bad I am at accepting care and concern. I thought about how badly I’ve been doing at taking care of myself. I’m not drinking enough water, I’m eating like crap, I forget to take my vitamins, I haven’t run in forever. I joke I do better being bossed around and it’s true, but that’s exactly what I don’t want.

If you have to boss me around, if you have to tell me to take care of myself, I’ve failed because I’ve forgotten to do it myself. Long before it’s your job to help me out, it’s my job to manage my own health. If you have to step in, it’s because I didn’t step up.

More than than that, it’s the age old balance issue.

I am – profoundly – out of balance these days. I know it. I feel it. It’s not just my lack of time in runners and a water bottle that isn’t filled.

It’s where I spend my mental time. It’s the constant apologies. The absent-mindedness. The lack of confidence.

I dropped my phone because my hand went numb. My hand went numb because I’m not sleeping well. I’m not sleeping well because I’m staying up too late. I’m staying up because I’m not winding down properly and I’m not managing my thoughts.

I don’t have the energy to manage my thoughts because I’m not eating and running and drinking water.

So my thoughts run riot through my head. I say things to myself that I would never allow you to say about yourself. That’s where it all starts. A plea.

Gently as Josh unkinked me, as I thought about my need for a minder, about my need for an external force to call for gentleness and care and concern.

I set things up to be self sufficient. I do everything I can to shove you away. There are five, I can number them on my fingers  – people that I let take care of me. I actively orchestrate self sufficiency. I shove you away.

Because I don’t do gentleness. Even though I recognize it’s just as effective.

Posted in Learning Life | 2 Comments