Sunday, October 30, 2011

it was gone before i noticed

Many will roll their eyes at me for complaining about this, but all the mutt walking has left my jeans unattractively baggy. It seems to have happened kind of suddenly, or maybe in my 'emotional distraction' mode, I didn't notice it happening. But anyway, my shipment is set to arrive within the next week or two so hopefully amongst the bulk of my clothing are some pants that will better compliment what I've got left back there.

And how happy I will be to have a fall coat or three to choose from, instead of wearing the one sweater (I purchased from a yard sale) or 5 layers of summer clothing I've been swaddling myself in. Not to mention gloves, more socks, my bathrobe, hiking boots, rain boots, other running shoes, sofa cushions, my comforter, floor lamps, some things to hang on the tiresomely white walls, etc., etc., etc.

Another category of my things I'm so ready to receive is my cook/bakeware and large spice collection. Because another reason I think I'm slimmer than ever is that I've taken the habit of eating more macrobiotic than ever. I only eat out once or twice a week nowadays. No more regular doses of heavy tapas, and not even any take-out or delivery. Since there's no one to compromise with, I pretty much subsist on veggies and whole grains and yummy but nutritious things like the dessert below I whipped up to take along after an invite to my sister's friend's place last week.

Now I'm off to make some peanut butter pumpkin bars and dog cookies.

Caramel pumpkin pudding tarts

adpted from healthfulpursuit
  • 1/4 cup raw (or toasted) buckwheat groats
  • 6 medjool dates (soaked +/-15 minutes)
  • 3 tbsp almonds
  • 6 tbsp raisins, soaked (or 3 tbsp raisins and 3 of candied ginger)
  • 1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract
Pulse nuts and buckwheat until finely chopped but not powdery. Set aside in a bowl. Pulse dates, raisins, ginger. Combine well and press into tart shapes (makes 4, but pudding makes double that so double base if you wish). You can bake them briefly at 250F to dry them out a bit (20-30 min) but they get very crunchy if you do, which is nice if you have good teeth!

adapted from loveveggiesandyoga
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds, boiled in 3/4 cup water until thickening (then set aside and let cool)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (to taste; can also omit or use maple syrup, stevia, agave, etc.)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, optional
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract, optional
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • a pinch of maca root powder, if you've got some

Prepare the flax gel. When it's cooled somewhat but not totally, add brown sugar and stir well until sugar is dissolving. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla, maca. Mix well and then stir in yogurt. Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you've baked the shells you might want to scoop the pudding in an hour or two before serving to soften the crunch a bit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

closeness lost

Overshare warning: more confessions today. So yes, I'm lonely and struggling with big questions about myself. While it is super-extra great to be near all four of my sisters (and nephew as a bonus) for the first time in 23 years, I have no friends here. The one potential, who was also a newcomer and with whom I had an eerie number of things in common, decided to return to her native San Francisco. Not that I've given up. I have begun forcing myself to do things I don't love doing, since I am a bit introverted, like joining activity groups.

But the whole experience has made me face the fact that it's a long while since i made a new true friend, and I continue (oh damn the overseas living) to lament the distance, literal & figurative, between me and most of those few I used to have. And i seem to have forgotten how to forge new friendships. Or maybe I've lost the true desire to do so. I guess I'm having trouble seeing the point as I don't seem to be able to develop the closeness I used to enjoy with various friends.

Have I changed? I think I trust people less than I used to. And frankly, I also find myself finding a lot of people vacuous, unable to converse about important things, or open-up about their emotions. Maybe it's my "high emotional sensitivity" (I've discovered I might be a HSP) that gets in the way? Or has the world changed? Are people too busy, too lazy, or too cyber-connected to feel the need for real intimacy? Intimacy with not just with me, but with real issues, reality, humanity.

Wow, lucky the sun is shining again today or this would seem an even bigger downer. If that's even possible...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

way to move

so, with the pleasantly switched forecast today, G-dog was very anxious to take our afternoon walk and wouldn't stop bugging me as i puttered around doing chores. when we finally hit the seawall (where else would one choose to walk on a sunny late Sunday afternoon?) the only one going faster than us (not counting the runners, rollerbladers & gazillion cyclists) was one super-modelly looking speed-walker, clad in black spandexy outfit & barefoot shoes, the latest trend in sporty Vancouver.

And even she didn't leave us in the dust or anything, she just got ahead of us somehow but then ended up at a very similar pace and therefore never took a long lead.

I was in a groove partly because I had, for a change, decided to grab my iPod (I don't usually wear it walking G as it's harder to communicate with /command her) but also because I was buzzing on the fall sunshine, etc. And the G was being such an angel, it finally confirmed my suspicion that her behaviour when we walk is directly correlated to how close we are from going at her natural pace.

Which apparently would be a touch faster than a supermodel's, if she weren't tied to a leash held by my hand.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday night confessions

So, yes, I've been imbibing. At the moment it's just rose petal nectar water that my sister M bought because she liked the bottle (I'm working on it M, you'll have your damn bottle soon). A strange and virgin cocktail I know but I'm listening to The Heavy so that makes me at least half cool, doesn't it? (Does anyone even say "cool" anymore?)

But I digress. The fact is that I had an urge to blog tonight but it popped into my head that I felt like finally just letting myself go and posting whatever I felt like it without censoring myself as I've always done here and on pinchmi before.

Then I thought of my dark blog and how neglected it is and what's the point of posting there anymore. (So yes, confession number two: I have a secret sad full-of-bad-poetry blog.) And then I realized, hey, I think my dark blog was my first blog! See it wasn't always dark. I started it to chronicle our 'Foreign Life', when we first left Montreal. But then I despaired on unemployment in Ottawa for many winter months and my darkness started to emerge and the few readers I had dropped off. I think two people may still have the URL and, unfortunately for them, I still do occasionally post a poem.

Oh but now I'm remembering that I can't quite call it my first blog as I had a websitey thing with Tripod (anybody remember Tripod? well then maybe you remember Archie and gopher)  before moving to Blogger. But it was more of a writing portfolio thing I think, and technology back then was so much less sophisticated (that's about, what 15, years ago) and man, I think I remember that it had jpgs of photos I shot of clippings from my University newspaper writing career!

Hey but wait, the dark one was not my only "secret" one. I also had another, slightly more widely read, clandestine blog (anybody remember The Poop?) before the nameless one, aka The Ex, got all paranoid and made me delete it because a colleague of mine found out about it and his wife worked at the embassy I was "telling all" on... That one could've been good. As a disgusted taxpayer, I had harboured a secret hope that it would get discovered and popular.

Anyway, there, I've done it, I've let myself rant about whatever popped into my head. Now I'm going to do another thing I had the urge to do and that is to reveal to her adoring fans that Little Ms. Adorable Mutt, is my own special burden sometimes.

Bad things the dog has done (so far) this week
(Well since Tuesday because I can't remember past then, but I'm sure there was plenty of stuff.)

Tuesday: Lucky dog that she is, during the 2+ hours that I walk her daily, I occasionally let her off the leash to play fetch on the beach (her new favourite game). Well on Tuesday, despite the fact that I had been treating her with CHEESE, she ran off, waaaaaaaayyy far down the beach, and even swam out, quite far, further than she's yet swum (she's just learning!), chasing after a seagull or a duck or something. She refused to come back for like 5 minutes and I sort of thought she never would. "Dog, you're still a dog," I told her. "Yes, wet you sort of do look like a polar bear cub, but you're NOT."

Wednesday: With her undeserved luck holding, the next day, she found a really big (drumstick) chicken bone, and promptly snarfed it even though I've told her a zillion times not to eat random bones, especially poultry. Okay so none of the hundreds she's eaten to date have splintered in her throat or impaled her intestines but that doesn't mean that one someday won't.

Thursday: I gave her dinner (Marine Stewardship Council certified Alaskan pollock, toasted millet, and simmered kale) and left her a kong with bread and peanut butter in it and another with a chicken heart in it. And then I left to go eat dinner with my nephew. I was gone about two hours! Got home to find she had, of course, silly me, gotten her big nose (supported by her dirty front paws) onto the kitchen counter and knocked down a plastic glass with a few tablespoons of brazil nut flour in it and a few sheets of leftover flat bread (I forget what it's called and what country it's from, and I can't find it here which is weird because there are so many on this really great list. Wish it had recipes!) Anyway, aside from the fact that a) she didn't need that extra food and b) she broke the plastic glass, I've also told her a zillion times that she is not allowed to take things off the counter!

Okay well, the week is totally not over yet so this list doesn't seem that impressive now but it'll grow for sure. After proofreading this one last time, I'm thinking my dog might be a bit spoiled, what do you think?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

the people that you meet

The secret life guy: Somehow a middle-aged technical writer neighbour of mine ended up confessing that he blog-squerades (has someone invented that word already?) as a 20-something German prison guard living (or was it working?) in London. Curious but too chicken to ask him, since I suspect he had one drink too many the day he told me, I have searched for his blog but am unable to find it.

Mr. '67: Walking a dog can occasionally lead you into conversation with strangers (though, sadly not as many as I'd like, as I am always on the lookout for friend-material). Usually the chit-chat is quite light, "Oh, what kind of dog is that?" kind of thing. But one fellow dog owner who opened up to me straight away was a youthful 72-year-old hippy who confessed that he is pleasantly surprised to be alive. I had mentioned having just moved here and he told me he moved here in 1967 and loved it so much he stayed. He spent his youth "doing very bad things" he said and is now determined to enjoy the life he is shocked to still be rocking (he looked nowhere near 72, hence my choice of "rocking").

Happy hardware man: Several weeks back I popped into a small hardware shop for some necessaries and the very jovial owner kept calling me young girl though he himself looked to be in his early sixties. Needless to say, I loved him and plan to make him my regular hardware stop. 

Silver Benz: (Well, I didn't actually meet this guy I saw yesterday morning but he truly made an impression!) A regularly dressed older guy turned my head around when I realized it was his shiny new Mercedes idling next to the garbage bin he was picking softdrink cans out of with one of those garbage pick-up stick/arm things. I crossed the street and watched as he drove from one bin to the next in a parking lot next to the beach.

Welcome to Vancouver's West End.