Sunday, January 30, 2011


“The blade of the paring knife broke off right in the handle,” I told the Saint* sadly. “Can we fix it?”

“We can afford to buy a new one,” he said.

“But Auntie Marg gave us that one when we got married,” I said, my eyes filling. “I think of her every time I use it.”

And never more often than since I began my super-healthy new lifestyle which, to be honest, requires a lot of peeling and chopping.

I thought about her again, gone to that big kitchen in heaven, as I looked at the two halves of the Henkel lying on the counter before turning my attention to quartering a Granny Smith apple with my Opinel pocket knife. I think of my cousin Tea every time I use that, because it was a gift from her after a backpacking trip that included a collapsing tent, excellent sausage, and more cougar scat than I ever want to see again.
When I finished dissecting the apple, I threw the core in the compost.
It’s the best compost bucket I’ve ever had, complete with flowers and gems and multifaceted beneficial insects. See the pink ladybugs?

I think of our niece Enn every time I add to its stash, because she’s the one who made it for us…

*This is not a completely sarcastic nickname

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The fortune of January

The snowdrops are out!
Right on schedule, the little white and green blossoms have popped up in my neighbour’s yard to cheer our grey Wet Coast winter. They bring a smile to my heart because they’re so pretty and low-key – they don’t demand attention like the brighter, splashier blooms later on, but their very quietness gives them a dignity I love.
Also, they’re just so pretty.
But according to the Oxford Dictionary of Plant-Lore, cutting the flowers and bringing them into the house will bring bad luck.
“When a former husband brought me some indoors,” writes one source as recently as 1993, “we split up within days and were divorced…”
Maybe the fact that she wrote a former husband (implying there is more than one) should be a clue that it might not be the flowers that are at fault. Perhaps she should examine her own perseverance, or her taste in men.
Or maybe, as the fruitarians would have it (see Down on the Farm, Aug 29, 2010) the plants are meant to live out their natural span and we should only harvest them when they tell us they are good and ready. Although I would miss the point of flower bouquets if I had to wait until they’ve gone to seed and fallen over.
I must admit that I feel lucky that my neighbour leaves hers outside – where I can enjoy them!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fits and Starts

A personal trainer once told me that gyms are as busy in September as they are in January.
Last September, my local recreation centre seemed to be much busier than it’s been during the first part of this month but suddenly, late this week, the place filled and serious sweat began to flow.
Part of the reason might be that a nearby travel agency is sponsoring a weights-and-measures challenge.
“Your buy-in gets you weighed, measured & photographed before and after [the program],” the flyer says. “Along the way get newsletters with tips and hints to keep you on track and motivated. The participant with the greatest overall results will be awarded a Flight Centre credit.”
If a six-pack (no, not the beer kind) isn’t enough motivation, the chance of winning $500 toward a vacation might do it!
At this time last year, my friend Lee McKenzie joined a walking clinic to prepare for her new fitness aim: completing a 10-km walk. But she’s been putting one foot in front of the other for a few decades, so why would she need a clinic?
“I was in no shape to do a 10-k walk,” she says, “so I thought the clinic would be a good way to achieve my goal. I don’t like exercise classes but this was different. It really was motivational, it was social.”
There was also more to it than simply putting one foot forward and then the other. Guest speakers talked about nutrition, staying hydrated, how to be properly fitted for walking shoes, and more.
“There was a lot of information,” Lee says, “and that suits me.”
Her payoff also included finishing a five-kilometre event in March, then two 10-ks later in the spring.
This January Lee has signed up again, with her sights set firmly on a triple finish line: a brisk 10-kilometre walk, a satisfying sense of accomplishment – and a lot of fun.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sea Lions and True Grit

A friend who lives in Powell River went in search of sea lions this week.
“We started looking along the shore,” she emailed to me. “What we thought were rocks along the breakwater were very well disguised sea lions – awesome!!! And then every time we looked a little closer there were huge sea lions that used to be part of the dock or a rock…at one location there was a mound of them sleeping, probably about a dozen.”

She’s so lucky to be able to wander along the beach and, just by looking a little harder, find what she was looking for.
And yet isn’t that often the way? Once we slow down and peer a little more closely, we spot the elusive sea lion we’ve been seeking…or maybe even some other treasure we weren’t expecting.

In the movie True Grit, Mattie Ross seeks out Rooster Cogburn to help her because he’s got a rep for being determined and tough. By the end of the movie, we see that the one with real sand is…well, I don’t want to give it away.

What have you found lately that surprised you?

(photos by the ever-so-observant Spence Partlo)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

An adventure!

I'm really stoked about this coming year – I'm celebrating my fresh, healthy new start with a new blog and I hope you'll share the excitement with me!

In Calorie Neutral, I'll tell you my stories about losing weight (and keeping it gone), gaining energy (and keeping it), and doing it all with more fun and no pain.

I won't tell you what to do – there won't be a single "should." It's all about me (and my dad, and that's another story :)).

What I hope is that my stories will make you laugh and encourage you to find (or share) your own path to a life bursting with pleasure and wellbeing.

Saturdays are story days and on Wednesdays I'll share a fun link, a fantastic recipe, or an informative interview.

Please visit early and often. I'm looking forward to seeing you at Calorie Neutral!