Tuesday, June 30, 2009

BetterU Tuesday Report

I feel like overcooked spaghetti (not like I want to eat overcooked spaghetti - like I AM overcooked spaghetti).

This morning, I went to the gym and weighed in. I have lost 1.8 lbs. in the last six days. That's .3 lb. per day.

To date:

Late May: X plus 6.0 lbs.
June 1: X
June 15: X minus 3.4 lbs.
June 24: X minus 6.2 lbs.
June 30: X minus 8 lbs.

My weight loss since the program started officially is 8 lbs., and my total weight loss since I jumped the gun and started the program is 14 lbs.

After I weighed in, I drove to the Northfield Road parking lot, parked the car, and walked to Mostar Road and back. The signs tell me that was 6.8 kilometers. Whatever it was, it took an hour and twenty minutes to walk.

I took a break from all this exercise to eat lunch and do some laundry, then went to London Drugs, where I took my BP - 119/63. Heart rate 81. Still okay.

As long as I was there, I bought a new bathroom scale - one with a lithium battery. When I weighed myself on that, I had gained 2.2 lbs., so I'm going to weigh myself tomorrow at the same time that I was at the gym this morning (10 o'clock), wearing the same clothes, to establish a baseline. Then I won't have to pay an entrance fee to the gym every time I want to weigh myself. The good thing about this new scale is that I weighed myself several times, and I got the same reading each time - no more eight-pound variation.

My friend Jane and I were going to get together this afternoon, but we are equally exhausted, so we've both decided to stay at home. I'm about to dive into an episode of Judging Amy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Very Bloggy Movie

I just watched a trailer for a new movie - Julie and Julia - which seems to be made for me - and maybe for you, too. It's about food and blogging and the writing of books, from what I can see. I think I'm going to like this.

This morning I didn't have my camera with me, so of course I had to stop my car to let a doe and her two tiny fawns cross the road in front of me.

Tonight I went walking in my new Saucony running shoes and with my new walking pole feet (so I didn't go Clank Clank Clank down the trail). It was great. The pain I was feeling in my left foot is gone. I think I really had worn my old shoes out. Tomorrow is weigh-in day - back on schedule now, I think.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

R.I.P. Gale Storm - another childhood memory

I heard today that Gale Storm died on the weekend. Do you remember her? She starred in a show called "My Little Margie" in the fifties, then in "The Gale Storm Show."

This is the obituary Yahoo provided.

My mother used to see Gale Storm and say "Look at that woman. She has five kids - and look at the figure on her!"

According to the obituary, she had only four children, so my mother was exaggerating just a bit (or she got confused, because Gale Storm's mother had five kids). Regardless, her little wasp waist was pretty impressive, as witness this video, in which she sings "Dark Moon" and "I Hear You Knockin'".

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Original Poetry Sunday, Vol. 1, No. 7

It's been a rough week* in the Land of Blog, and OPS has not been immune. Having exchanged e-mails with John Hayes over the last couple of days, I think I need to make an announcement:

As I told John, "...poems should be joyful (or miserable, I suppose) expressions of our interior lives, not drudgery, so we should post them only when we damn well feel like it, and not be constrained by the schedule."

There. Please, anybody who would like to post a poem on any Sunday - do that. I would love to read your poems, and I'm sure lots of other people would, as well. But if the muse is on holiday, (or you are!) so be it. We are bloggers, after all. We spend our days wearing little computers on our laps to keep warm, staring unblinking into the screen, waiting for the next star to appear in the bloggy firmament. When you do decide to post a poem, we'll be here to read it. Even if it's on a Thursday.

*Actually, it's getting perilously close to being a rough month in the Land of Blog. Do we need an exorcist? Ghostbusters?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Photo Shoot-Out - Colours of the Rainbow

First, I'll tell you what my original idea was. I thought I would take lots of flower photos, make a collage of them, and post them along with the photo of a rainbow on a wall. I knew that somewhere in Nanaimo there was a blue wall with a rainbow mural on it. Ah, but where? I drove all over Nanaimo today, trying to remember where I'd seen that wall. At one point, I had what felt like an Aha! moment. I know, I thought.It's the Montessori School. So I made a detour to the Montessori School, only to find that it is housed in a very conservative blue shingled building, with no rainbow in sight.

Ah, well. Perhaps I wouldn't take part in the Photo Shoot Out today. Sigh.

I went up to Country Club Mall, where I bought new shoes for me and new shoes for my walking sticks. Tomorrow, I will take all my new shoes for a walk after work.

Then I came back downtown to meet Jane and Franco for dinner at Acme Foods. It's Frugal Friday, and all the food is half-price, so I had eaten a really low-calorie lunch, to allow for this little calorie splurge. As I drove around downtown, looking for a place to park, I noticed the banners. How could I have forgotten about the banners? Colour, colour everywhere. All summer, the streets downtown are decorated with these lovely splashes of colour, and I love them.

So after dinner, while my dinner companions made their way home, I walked around downtown, snapping photos of the banners, rediscovering downtown in the process. Our town is really getting to be a pretty place.

So I have a camera full of flower photos, which will come in handy later, I'm sure - and I've gone out looking for one thing, but found something better along the way. A life lesson, it was. Now I'd better post this, while it's still Friday somewhere.

For more Friday Shootout links, click here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Theme Thursday: Summer

Write about it? It's all around me. Or it was, until today, when winter came back for a little visit. That only made me appreciate the glorious weather of the last few weeks - and gave the landscape a much-needed soaking.

While I was out walking last night, I thought about Theme Thursday. What could I tell you? Summer is summer, right? Wrong. "Summer", the generic term, may bring the same picture to all our minds - heat, sunshine, bugs, school's out...but as I look back over my life, I see that there are two summers that left a bigger impression than the others, because each one featured an event, whether large or small, that no other summer offered.

There was the summer of 1963, when I lay on the beach with my cousin and listened to Nat King Cole sing Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer (oh, and that's me on the cover) -

To this day, when I hear that song, I smell suntan lotion, and I see sunlight reflecting off sand and water.

Then there was the summer in the early seventies when I was living on a farm. There were several children on the farm, and we had pretty strict rules about what they could do - for their own safety. One of the rules was "NO SWINGING FROM THE ROPES IN THE BARN!"

Then came haying time. The bunch of us adult(ish) types spent the day out in the fields, throwing 50-pound bales of hay up onto the wagon. It was hot out, and humid, and buggy, (and hot). By the end of the day, we had passed beyond fatigue to a kind of giddiness bordering on insanity. Hay safely stacked in the barn, we sat around on the lower bales and wondered whether we would live until morning. Then somebody (not I) idly grabbed one of the ropes that hung from the ceiling of the 100-year old barn. He swung back and forth on it. I watched him, thinking, gee that looks like fun. My turn! When he landed, I grabbed the rope and swung. I looked up...

I must interrupt my narrative to explain something. In the old days, a farmer would strip the branches off small trees and hoist those trees up to the rafters of the barn, producing a rustic shelf on which to stack things. I'm not sure what things they stacked up there, and fortunately there were no things stacked on the trees that lay on the rafters of this particular barn. So, to continue...

...and as I looked up, there was a little clunk as, far over my head, the rope caught a knot on one of the trees. As the rope continued to swing, the tree went with it. One end of the tree swept past the rafter on which it had been resting, and as the rope swung back, the tree came along for the ride. It all happened so fast, all I had time to do was get to the ground somehow and raise my left arm so that when the tree landed, it didn't land directly on my head. It hit my arm near the elbow, then rolled down my forearm and caught my head a glancing blow.

This is what happened next. I fell down. I got up. I got up very quickly and neatly. It was almost as if I bounced off the floor.

That's what I thought, anyway. I'm told I was actually unconscious for a couple of minutes before I bounced back up.

I was pretty crunchy in those days. I didn't go to the hospital. I didn't even go to see a doctor. I pierced some Vitamin E capsules and smeared the contents on my various abrasions, and I took extra brewer's yeast - for the B vitamins. Two days later, when I returned to work, someone asked whether I had been hit by a car. I must have been a sight.

Not long after my adventure, I talked on the phone to my older sister, who lives in Wyoming. I told her what had happened. She got it wrong. Maybe I was mumbling, what with the head injury and all. I told her that I had gotten hurt while I was swinging from a rope in a barn.

This is what my sister told everyone she knew:

"Would you believe, my prissy little sister hurt herself swinging from a rope in a bar?"

It was years before we got that little misunderstanding straightened out. It's a wonder I ever had the courage to show my face in Wyoming again, but I did. And I'm going to do it again in a few weeks, drive over the mountains and into Wyoming to visit my big sister. I can't think of any better way to spend the summer than visiting people I love, and who love me back - even if they think I'm prissy.

I wanted to leave you with one more summer song - and I was going to post Gershwin's Summertime - but then I remembered that there was one more truly memorable summer, one which speaks for itself:

For more Theme Thursday posts, click here.

Joshilyn Jackson Rocks, and So Do I.

I don't rock as hard as Joshilyn does, of course. She's so awesome, her book The Girl Who Stopped Swimming just hit the New York Times Bestsellers List. That is such wonderful news - and her latest post is so joyful - that I must send you over to Faster Than Kudzu to read about it. Do click here. You won't regret it.

My rocking is of a much more subtle sort. My plans for the day got a little amended. I was called in to work, but I did manage to sneak away a bit early and go to the gym, where I discovered that I have lost 2.8 pounds in the nine days since my last weigh-in. That makes my weight now X minus 6.2 pounds. My BP today was 117/77, heart rate 79. Okay, so it's not the NYT Bestsellers List, but I feel quite accomplished.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This is Tuesday, and as such, I should be reporting on my BetterU progress - but I worked all day and couldn't get to the gym. I have tomorrow off, so I'll post my results tomorrow. Unfortunately, we're expecting rain, so I probably won't be able to do an outdoor walk (not without getting wet, anyway). If it does rain heavily, I'll sigh a big sigh and go walk on the treadmill after I've weighed in.

Who mentioned reading a book called When I Was A Boy, Neruda Called Me Policarpo? Whoever it was, thank you. I went right to the library and borrowed the book, which turned out to be delightful. The author, Poli Délano, writes about not only Neruda, but the other larger-than-life people who surrounded him in his childhood. He apparently knew Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera - who told him that he had eaten human flesh and quite enjoyed it.

Délano charmed me on the first page when he wrote about a house he lived in as a child:

"They said it had once belonged to a famous poet because of the words someone had written in letters the size of wine glasses on one of the dining-room walls.

My loyal heart lies down in the shade.

I didn't understand what the words meant, but I thought they were beautiful."

I know just how he felt. That still happens to me.

(The book is listed as Juvenile Literature, but I quite enjoyed it, and I'm hardly a kid anymore).

Under the heading "Interesting things I heard today":

This was on CBC radio. I love it. We're such a folksy people. Heh. ;>)

The announcer was talking about the fact that music is not so much a job as a calling. He said that being a musician is like running away and joining the circus - which leads to this, a little night music from The Band. Meanwhile, I'd better go find a poem for today, before it's tomorrow. Good night, all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nordic Walking

Before I talk about my walking poles, I must say thank you to everyone who followed me over to The Raisin Chronicles yesterday and cheered me on. I was touched by your comments, and very grateful for the encouragement.

Weeks ago, someone - but now I've forgotten who it was - asked me to post pictures of my Nordic walking poles, the deceptively simple pieces of equipment that have transformed my fitness routine. Instead of posting pictures of my own poles, I'll embed this video I found not long ago. I've watched it to figure out how I can improve my form. I still have trouble with the downhill posture, but the rest is coming along nicely. This video not only demonstrates the various techniques, but also features diagrams showing what muscle groups are in use when you're walking with the poles.

If you get a chance to try Nordic walking, I recommend that you do so. It provides a lot of exercise for a minimal investment*, and it's great fun.

*This saving is somewhat offset by the fact that you walk a lot more when it's fun, so your shoes wear out faster. I'm now shopping for new walking shoes. Every silver lining has a cloud. ;>)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

One Single Impression


The sound of two bells,
Meeting in the space between,
Creates a new song.

For more One Single Impression contributions, click here.
Original Poetry Sunday, Vol. 1, No. 6

But first, I am proud to announce that I won last Friday's Friday Fiction contest over at The Raisin Chronicles. Jeanne not only does a wonderful job of critiquing all the entries to her weekly flash fiction contest, she offers great advice on technique.
Click here to check it out.

On The Dearth of Magic in the World

If I could hold the world still,
just for a moment, long enough to
think of violins that pirouette
like skaters making light of gravity,
tossing shards of light that shatter air
with their sharp gleams,
the cold intensity of high C -

I might deflect the penetrating wound,
the measured voice intoning grim finality,
the impossibility of return,
the inevitability of remorse,
the way your eyes looked
in that forever moment,
the inadequacy of any beauty

to soften that blow,
and the blow that I will feel
again, freshly,
in my life's last moment,
as I try to hear
the sound of violins.

Happy Fathers Day and Happy Summer Solstice!

You'll find more Original Poetry Sunday contributions at:

Yes Is Red
Robert Frost's Banjo
Secret Poems from the Times Literary Supplement
Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes
Apogee Poet
Premium T.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Great Gabriola Getaway

I don't know why we did it, but we went to Gabriola Island the other day. Starved for adventures, I guess. Gabriola is only a 20-minute ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo, but somehow this is - if I'm remembering correctly - only the third time I've ever been there.

This photo shows the southern(ish) end of Protection Island, its lighthouse, and the northern end of Gabriola. (One of these days, I'll take the ferry - a different ferry - to Protection and take some pictures there. I love that island.)

Perhaps the reason I haven't visited Gabriola more often is that as soon as you arrive on the island, you're faced with a hill that I would find pretty well unclimbable (is that a word?) without a motor vehicle, and I prefer to visit places that are either foot- or bike-friendly. I may have to drive to get there, but once I'm there, I like to be able to park the car and forget it until it's time to go home.

This time, we drove all around the island, visiting several of the parks, harbours and beaches that dot it. We enjoyed the tour, but most of the time, we were in the car.

I did pop into a little shop on a dock, where a young lady was selling incense, cards, candles, and beautiful Tibetan singing bowls. Even though I made it clear that I wasn't buying, she invited me to play with the bowls. If I were ever to collect something, I suspect that Tibetan singing bowls would be my choice. There was one in particular, in this shop, whose tone drew me in so deeply, I could have stood there all day, just playing.

We particularly enjoyed visiting Sandwell Park on Lock Bay. (For an intexed map of Gabriola Island, click here.)

At the bottom of this post, I've embedded a video I made at Sandwell Park. It's not exactly Oscar material, but I think it will give you a pretty good idea of the atmosphere. I'm glad we went. Some other time, we'll go back and pay a visit to the alpaca farm. If I'm feeling wealthier on that trip, maybe I'll go buy that singing bowl, bring it home, and let it sing to me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Shoot-Out - Metal: I'm Back (Sort of)

I've missed Theme Thursday altogether, but if I'm really fast, I can post a little something for the Friday Shoot-Out. This week's theme is metal, and we've got lots of that in Nanaimo. Unfortunately, a lot of the metal we have is the same metal that everybody else has, so I've tried to find a few Nanaimo-specific - or at least unusual - examples. I will start, however, with some metal that every town has or should have:

Our fire hydrant seems to need a paint job.

Made of the same heavy iron as the fire hydrant, I think, is this pole that blocks the entrance to a pedestrian tunnel. It is there so that people won't drive their motorcycles into the tunnel, and I'm glad of that. It would be quite a shock to encounter that amount of metal in such a narrow corridor.

Next, there is a great deal of metal along the path that I've been walking lately. It serves to keep deer from wandering out onto the highway. It also keeps us pedestrians from wandering off the path and into the neighbourhoods, orchards, etc. that line the path.

Some of the property along the path must be particularly valuable, because somebody has seen fit to top the chain link fence with barbed wire.

Knowing that I would be posting about metal, I found myself focusing on things I wouldn't ordinarily even notice, like this:

In fact, I find that I've taken a huge number of pictures this week - many of them being shots of little pieces of metal lying about on the ground. I trust that my reputation as 'that weird woman wandering about the town with a camera affixed to her nose' is firmly established.

We went to Gabriola Island yesterday, and I amused the folks in the ferry lineup by taking pictures like these - One is a huge floating structure against which I believe big yachts sidle when they come into port. The other is the grate I was standing on while I took the first picture.

and I even managed to find some metal as I walked along the beach. I think these nails served to hold ropes in place when the logs were being towed down the channel.

For more Friday Shoot-Outs, please click here, which is what I'm going to do several times over the next few days, while I try to get caught up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Road Trip to Mt. Washington AND BetterU weekly report

We went for a drive up island this afternoon, hoping to find a beautiful view and some photo opportunities up on Mt. Washington. Along the way, Robin said "Look what's in front of us." It was the Google Earth car, heading north on Hwy. 19, filling in the blanks.

It turned out to be only 130 kilometers to Mt. Washington - we both thought it was farther - so even though it was after 1:30 p.m. when we left home, we arrived at the mountain with plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine and the view of everywhere. There was only one problem.

We were halfway up the mountain when we started talking about turning around because we could hardly see the road, much less anything else. There wasn't really any place where we could safely do that, so we kept going all the way to the Alpine Lodge, where I took these photos.

Oh,well. The best laid plans, and all that. We did enjoy our drive.

And then - and then - Oh, I wish you had been there with us. That way you could have seen something really cool.

This is what happened. I had one of my unusual and inexplicable moments of tidiness as we left the resort. I put my camera in its pouch and ZIPPED IT. Oy. Just over halfway down the mountain, as we came out of the fog, and while I struggled to unzip the camera pack, a black bear ambled across the road in front of our car and disappeared into a very deep ditch before, presumably, continuing into the woods. I did not follow him (her?), because I just don't need any picture that badly. Sorry.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, at least in that there were no more wildlife moments, and the sun shone all the way home. We stopped to pick up fish for supper, and I had my blood pressure checked - which brings us to Part II of this post - the BetterU report.

This morning's weigh-in was a happy event. My weight is now X minus 3.4 lbs. Hooray! Blood pressure is up to 125/76, but that is still normal, and my pulse rate has dropped from 79 to 69.

Meanwhile, I found this wonderful video, which I'm posting as a reminder to myself during this season of single-minded concern over the state of my body.

I found the video posted on Twitter by Virginia DeBolt. Thank you, Virginia, for a great inspiration.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Another BetterU milestone passed

The little brown fellow in the photo stood patiently alongside the Parkway Walkway while I photographed him yesterday morning. There was a perfectly lovely quail a little farther up the path, but he wasn't as co-operative, so all I got was a shot of a retreating quail tail. There were several black and white butterflies, too, but they were even more skittish than the quail, so I didn't give chase. I just left my camera in its case.

Hmmm. I figured I'd reach the 8 kilometer mark by next week, but yesterday I walked from East Wellington Road to Mostar Road and back - for a total of 10.2 kilometers (just over six miles). My next goal is to walk 10 kilometers and be able to climb into my car afterward without moaning.

As I walked, I did give some more thought to the reward I can look forward to at the end of the BetterU programme. I decided that a new bathing suit would be great - as would a Lomi Lomi massage. Maybe if I've been really, really diligent, I'll treat myself to both.

This morning, I plan to stop in at the gym just long enough to weigh myself, then retreat to the swimming pool, where I will lie on my back in the water with a purple noodle tucked under my neck and a turquoise noodle tucked under my knees, so that I don't have to exert myself to stay afloat. Then I will drift around in the pool for half an hour or so, gazing up at the faux tree that overhangs the pool, thinking my thoughts, after which I will finish off my exercise experience with a dip in the hot tub. This is part of the plan, by the way - a rest and recovery day.

After my swim, Robin and I are planning to drive up island to Mount Washington, just to have a look around. I think it's about a two-hour drive (each way).

If the muses visit me during my extended float, or when I'm standing on the mountain, I'll be back later today with a poem for One Single Impression.

Oh, and one more thing. I actually wrote this post last night - (I am actually writing this post on Sunday night) to be published at 1:00 AM on Monday - today. I find this almost as difficult as driving on the left-hand side of the road. It makes my mind reel. Therefore - my apologies if I've taken leave of my tenses.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Original Poetry Sunday, Vol. 1, No. 5

Inasmuch as my life - or at any rate, my mind - has been out of my control this week, I am presenting another of my Mexican poems.


I gave you what I could, a tithe,
a careful measure of truth. My lies,
my sins were gifts of omission yet
Your heartless offering to laughing friends
cut me smiling down you let it slip

She's not good at long-term relationships.

Guttered by despair, dogs with dead eyes
starve, beg oblivion or meat, and choking trucks
spew ephemeral midnight revelers drinking shame,
while atop Palenque's ruined stone breathless
and reeking of regret I am old beyond measure

If I had told you then my stale tale of passion
loosed like a dove for one last sacrificial flight,
broken, spent at morning's harsh window,
if I had offered you that dessicated crumb,
would you have dried my tears and loved me more?

Casitas, February 20, 2009

You'll find more Original Poetry Sunday contributions at:

Yes Is Red
Robert Frost's Banjo
Secret Poems from the Times Literary Supplement
Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes
Apogee Poet
Premium T.

I see that Poetikat has just celebrated her second Blogiversary with a podcast of one of her poems. Happy Blogiversary, Kat, and thank you for the poem.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

P.S. - The Friday 56 Post

I came across a meme at Life Is Now, and I found it intriguing, so here is my response.

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST

So. The closest book to me is Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories.

"Blixie Blimber liked him because he was a steeplejack, a little, but more because he was a whistler."
I Rule!

I went for a walk this morning. First I drove to the parking lot at Northfield and the Parkway. Robin met me there and drove me up to Jinglepot Road, about 1/2 a kilometer from the Mostar entrance to the Parkway Walkway. Then he went off to work.

As I started walking, it occurred to me that I should add a goal to my BetterU programme - an 8 kilometer (5 mile) walk by the end of the 12 weeks. I walked down to Northfield (3.4 k on the Walkway), but I wasn't ready to stop, so I ended up walking all the way to East Wellington Road - another 1.7 k - and back to Northfield to pick up my car. By the time I finished, I had walked: .5 k + 3.4 k + 1.7 k + 1.7 k = 7.3 k. (That's more than 4.5 miles.) Wow. It looks as if I'll have met my goal by next week, so I'll have to set another one - maybe a 10 k (6 mile) walk.

Along the way I saw a snake, a caterpillar, a robin, and two ants carrying a blade of grass between them.

That was all several hours ago. So far, I'm tired, and my shoulders are feeling the effects of all that poling - but all in all, I feel a lot better than I would have expected.

I'm beginning to like this fitness programme.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Photo Shoot-Out - M

My graffiti finds include this M, which is located in the underpass near McKeown Road. When I was out on my walk the other day, I made note of some Ms - first of all, I saw a Meadow - and then the graffiti.

Later, I went to Subway to buy my low-fat sandwich, and what did I see but these little tempters, a case full of Muffins. M-m-m-m good.

We took our sandwiches down to the Marina,
where I took a photo of two very co-operative Men.

One of the Men had a Moustache just above his Mouth.

Nearby, there was a lily pond with some Mud in the bottom. Can you see the Mud in this photo?

We needed something for dinner, so we popped in to Thrifty Foods. I imagine there was a security person in there, watching me, wondering why I was taking photos of the Meat

and the Milk

and the Margarine.

I did intend to photograph the Melons and Marmalade, but I got a little nervous about the Security Situation, so I left it at this.

I do hope you enjoyed your ride on the M-train. For more Friday Photo Shoot-Outs, click here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Theme Thursday - Swing

The first thing that came to mind was, of course, "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing). I performed this song with the little group I formed a few years ago. We called ourselves Deja Vu, and we did the old folks' home circuit, along with a few appearances at parties, restaurants, and the like.

I went hunting on YouTube, found Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, all those wonderful names, then happened on what I think is a hidden gem. According to the notes, "Incoming class of the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz at Loyola University New Orleans perform with Jazz Masters Herbie Hancock, Thelonius Monk Jr., Terence Blanchard, and Wayne Shorter."

Then I remembered - when I was a little girl, I lived near a park where I used to go every day (as I recall) to swing on the swings. There was a song I loved to sing while I swung. It was called "Dear Hearts and Gentle People." I thought I remembered Bing Crosby performing it, but when I went to YouTube, I played Bing Crosby's version, and it wasn't quite right. I listened to Bob Crosby and the Bobcats, but that wasn't right, either. Finally, I found a Perry Como version. The words were closer to what I remembered - "There's a place I'd like to be, and it's back in Tennessee" than Bing Crosby's "There's a place I'd like to go, and it's down in Ohio" (stressed OH - hi - OH), and the rhythm was perfect. Like Goldilocks, I sighed. It was just right.

Listening, I felt slightly queasy, as I always did when I was swinging. I would sing at the top of my lungs, and I'd time my singing so that when I got to the phrase "I feel so welcome" I would be right at the top of my arc, and as I sang "each time that I return..." I would be returning toward the ground. It was magical.

I sang other songs while I swung, like Teresa Brewer's "Put Another Nickel In" -

and Gogi Grant's "The Wayward Wind".

Nothing else, though, was quite as good as "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" for swinging.

Many thanks to Reyjr for this week's theme. It has brought back some lovely, sunny memories.

For more Theme Thursday posts, click here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Stolen Moment in Blogland

Again, today, I did not go to the gym - but it was a conscious decision based on the fact that it was just too gorgeous outside to be spending time inside, trudging along on a treadmill. I did 45 minutes on the Parkway trail instead. At the bottom of the walk, Robin met me and we waited for Clarence's train to go by, then drove downtown to meet him.

The three of us have spent the afternoon chatting and playing on the computer (Clarence is showing me the ropes wrt Gimp), and now we are about to barbecue. The men are having steak, but I've opted for a chicken breast, which I've had marinating all afternoon in soy sauce, orange juice, and garlic. There will be fresh asparagus and a big salad, all safely within the constraints of my Healthy Eating Regimen.

I noted on my walk that the cottonwoods have been "snowing", which probably explains a lot of my tiredness. Vancouver may not have been as culpable as I thought.

I also noted that among the graffiti in the underpass was this image of the artist who puts the hearts everywhere - or maybe it's just somebody's idea of her - but I think it's rather neat if one artist is referencing another here. Maybe, though, she of the hearts and she of the underpass graffiti are one and the same.

As a result of not going to the gym, I don't know how my weight is coming along, but I've decided that that's okay. I had lost a pound as of the last time I worked out, and if I don't check my weight until next week, I'll just get a nice little shock. I've actually been enjoying my programme. I get a little hungry sometimes, but not hungry enough to go raid the refrigerator.

My presence is required in the kitchen now, so off I go. I shall return as soon as I can sneak away.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Best Laid Plans

Today is Tuesday, the day when I go to the gym and weigh in, then blog about my BetterU progress. That's the plan, right? Right.

Not today. I ended up working, much to my surprise, so I didn't get to the gym and I didn't blog about it. I came home and fell asleep for a while, then got up and taught myself to make a 'movie', aka slide show and upload it to YouTube. Somehow, I had forgotten how, in the week or two since I did it before.

So not only am I running behind on my own posting schedule, but I haven't had a chance to visit anybody else. I'm bummed. I think I've caught whatever Reya had. The full moon cured her - maybe whatever it was bounced off the moon and hit me.

As I type, YouTube is still processing the movie, but I do believe I can post it now.

My trip to the gym and report thereon will just have to wait until tomorrow morning. I shall try not to answer my phone until I've gotten some exercise.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Another Bon Voyage

Yesterday, I boarded the Queen of Oak Bay and sailed to Horseshoe Bay (1 1/2 hours). Then I got on the Express bus to downtown Vancouver (1/2 hour), where I boarded yet another bus to get to my son's place in Burnaby (1/2 hour). We had a great visit that included lunch in a Mexican restaurant. That was a poetic touch, as we hadn't seen each other since before Robin and I left for Mexico in December. I was relieved to see that Bumble is living in a pleasant neighbourhood (he moved while we were away). We spent some time at his apartment, which has a great view of Vancouver,
then went for a walk down Hastings Street. I found a great mural, and Bumble says there are a lot of them farther along Hastings. Next time I'm over, I'll go mural hunting. Unfortunately, there was a pole in front of this mural, with an electrical box on it, so I couldn't photograph the whole mural - just a taste of it, along with its credit.

We strolled around the neighbourhood, seeing the sights, getting me my exercise. I had been feeling guilty because I'd got straight onto the ferry without going for a walk or to the gym, and then I'd had the delicious but fattening lunch. I needn't have worried. When I got home last night, I took off my pedometer. It had registered 15,305 steps. I felt, as I told my friend Jane this morning, as if I'd been hit by a brick. I am recovering, but slowly.

We were sitting at a picnic table, talking, watching kids kick a soccer ball around, when I panicked. I looked at my watch, read it wrong, thought I had to catch a bus right that minute in order to be in time for the 7 pm ferry home - so we ran for the bus stop, and I caught the bus right away. I was about ten minutes down the road when I realized I had read the clock wrong, and it was an hour earlier than I thought. Never mind, I said. This way I won't be rushing for the boat. When the boat was twenty minutes late leaving the dock - because there were stalled cars on the car deck - I rolled my eyes. That was another hour I could have had with Bumble. Again, never mind. I'll go back next month. We plan to stop for the night in Vancouver on the way to Wyoming in the Turtle.

After the first bus ride, I had half an hour to wait at Granville and Georgia in downtown Vancouver, so I entertained myself by taking a few photos. The

bus stop is right in front of the Hudson's Bay Company, whose windows were fun to photograph.

A block away is the art gallery. We considered visiting it yesterday, but we're both rather broke right now, so we decided to put that off for a while. It is a beautiful building, though, and there's an exhibition on that I would love to see before it goes.

I realize as I work here that I did take rather a lot of pictures yesterday, and if I keep posting them, I'll be here all day - and this post will be three blocks long. What I think I'll do is - some time in the next couple of days - I'll post a slideshow on YouTube and link it to another post. Not Theme Thursday, because that's Swing, and I can't figure out how to make that fit. Friday Photo Shoot-Out's theme is M - anything that begins with M. I suppose it would be cheating to post My Trip to Vancouver . I'll figure something out.

Meanwhile, though, this is the teaser. I enjoyed my visit, and I could feel the big city excitement, but I don't think I could live there. It was good to get off the boat in Nanaimo and be driven down our quiet streets. Vancouver is way too noisy - and it's just so shiny.

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