There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, July 28, 2005

THE BEST OF INTENTIONS...

THURSDAY, July 28

Today I had the best of intentions but somehow, the sun must have affected my brain, and I have done nothing all day but laze around, completely unmotivated, though I did stop now and then to 'think' about what I had really intended to do. That was to WRITE!

Usually on Thursday I'm downtown with my Memoirs group. But we postponed it til tomorrow, which gave me a free day. So I decided to rise early and go to waterfit, my plan being to get groceries afterwards, then come home and write all day. (I did tons of notes on Wednesday and wanted to get started with the new chapter.)

I walked up the Drive. Had lunch at my fave coffee shop. Then went shopping. I thought I was only getting a 'few' things, however after I'd shopped (prices are outrageous these days!) and crammed everything into my pull-along back-pack (plus the extra bags I had to carry), I realized I had quite a load to walk all the way home with.

It was a hot day today and by the time I struggled down the hill and up the hill with everything, I was soaked through with sweat and totally pooped. I ended up having a nap
but that didn't help. I only felt more brain-frozen afterwards. So basically, I've just lazed away the entire day. Didn't do one line of writing (didn't even look at it!). The only thing 'literary' I did was read a few chapters of "The Hours" which I'm enjoying, which I sat on my balcony and ate my fruit salad for dinner, while sipping on a glass of iced wine.

Tomorrow I have to go downtown for the memoirs group (writing in a garden tomorrow). And then it's time to hit the beach again. (Gotta work on the tan while the sun is still shining!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

AS LONG AS I KEEP WRITING...

TUESDAY, July 26

Isn't it interesting the way certain thoughts can clog up your brain-waves? I mean, obsessive thoughts that bring you down to a negative space. For me, these seem to be mainly pertaining to relationships (or, a so-called 'friendship' with someone I once admired but now feel completely disillusioned by.) It's kind of like a brain-worm the same as the worms that get into your computer. I think I've found the perfect 'cure' though...KEEP ON WRITING!

The last couple of days I've dived right back into my writing routine. On Sunday I finished a new draft of a travel story and yesterday I spent four hours revising and editing the most recent chapters of my novel. As long as I am writing I am focused on those other worlds
and not dwelling on negative thoughts of missing persons. I even forget to eat, which is good, because, alas! in spite of the six day fast and being careful of what I am indulging in since then, I failed to lose a single ounce, and in fact gained .15 instead. How discouraging! However, I will continue to try, just as I am continuing to try to stop obsessing on persons who are distracting me from what I really should be focusing on: my writing and other great aspects of my life.

Obsession is a terrible thing and for some reason the last couple of years it seems to have caught hold of me. I was pretty well 'over' it by the time I got back from my trip to Greece, but then, just like a bad penny, the source of my obsession showed up again and set me off. Well, it's been a month now since I arrived back and a month since I got the message that this person wanted to see me, to talk, because I was 'different' from all the others. And I realize it is all pointless to carry on believing this when there are so many other more promising opportunities out there, and loads of friends who want to have my company. Besides, it is more important for me to concentrate on finishing my novel and stay in a positive head-space.

So for now, I am going to keep writing and having fun with my friends and making the best of my life which, generally speaking, is a very happy one!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

JAZZ ON A FULL MOON NIGHT

WEDNESDAY. This is the night I always go to the L.Q. to listen to Laura sing jazz. These days she has another excellent combo playing with her -- another young woman on keyboards who I 've been told is a solo star on her own; and the upright bass player who is one of the best.
I told her tonight they ought to be recording. I'm always entranced by the lyrics of those old jazz tunes, and tonight she sang a beautiful rendition of "The Surrey With the Fringe on the Top."

The dinner crowd pretty well occupied most of the bistro when I first arrived, and there weren't any friends there. I began to wish my Havana Buddy had come along as he's great company for jazz. Then I had this thought that perhaps a magical happening might occur -- the the arrival of The Frenchman.

In time, one by one, my guy friends arrived. First the Capitan, then the Pirate and then Tai Chi Bob. We were all gathered around the end of the bar having a lively time of it. I was outside briefly, then returned, and was joking around with my pals when I happened to notice that The Frenchman had arrived and was sitting right next to Tai Chi Bob. I was so surprised I was almost speechless. We greeted each other and he said he'd just arrived. So I kept thinking (as I was talking and laughing with my guy friends) that I ought to go talk to The Frenchman too, but didn't. And then he was getting up and leaving. Oh rats! We just said goodbye and that was that. Later I realized what a golden opportunity had slipped right by my, and even after I'd been 'wishing' he would show up.

Walking home, I realized it was a full moon and I remembered the last full moon when Dinaz and I watched it from her 5th floor balcony in Athens. It was a good night tonight. And more to come.

Oh well, there'll always be a 'next' time. And I will be better prepared for it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

HAVING FUN FOLKING AROUND

MONDAY. Last week one of my Havana Buddies gave me tickets to the Folk Festival.
I went on Friday night though the weather was iffy. I found a seat on a bench (sitting on the grass didn't appeal to me as it had been raining). Couldn't see the stage but the sound was excellent, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the music. Then the friend who'd given me the tickets came along and joined me. Pleasant evening.

I headed back there Saturday, arriving around noon. It had started out cloudy and threatening rain (the usual weather lately) but soon the sun came out and stayed! I wandered around the site, which is at a park by the beach with a spectacular view of the city skyline and mountains.
Enjoyed the various artists, and watching the folkies there: old hippies and new age hippies and all the others in between. Had I known the sun was going to shine I might have worn my gypsy clothes too. There were some pretty outrageous costumes there. Weird, in fact!

Later on I had a dinner engagement and had to leave. The entire last week was one lunch or dinner invite after another but I managed to keep the reins on the food I was eating and drinks etc. I'm finding spritzer is a good substitute for that awful house wine at the LQ. So I don't think I overdid it much. Even yesterday at our reunion/birthday party.

It was my friend C's birthday and we were having a reunion of several friends who we used to party with back in the late '70s. Some of them hadn't seen each other for years. There were five of us to begin with but I invited a surprise guest, Antonia, who was the Grand Dam of the Waterfront Corral (a.k.a. Greek Islands Taverna) where we often went on the weekend to party with the Greek sailors who were abundant in those days. Later on her husband came in too and that was another nice surprise. Needless to say it was a wild and crazy afternoon. Lots of good food (souvlaki, briani, Greek salads, and an angel-food cake with fruit and whipped cream for the Birthday Girl.) We laughed ourselves silly all afternoon and the party ended up going on into the evening. The last two left here at 11 pm. (it started at 1 pm.) But, a good time was had by all.

Now I am trying to get back into a semblence of a program to keep eating properly, not overdoing it, and cutting back on the things I just detoxed myself from. I'm feeling good about the fasting and have a decent start on trying to lose some weight. So why goof up?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

DINING OUT

WEDNESDAY. Today I had two invitations for meals. First was for lunch, a Greek buffet.
The couple who invited me are good friends and we had an enjoyable time together. The food was excellent, a good choice of salad bar, soups and main courses so it was easy to choose suitable foods that wouldn't upset me. I had a mixed salad, lamb/veg soup and some lemon chicken with rice and veggies. For dessert, a creme caramel, some fruit and a tiny Greek pastry.

At breakfast time today as I couldn't purchase my favorite yoghurt, I had some cottage cheese and melon. Consequences: By four p.m today I was beset by a stomach attack. This points to a definite problem with DAIRY PRODUCTS! (The creme caramel could have contributed.)

So when I went out to a friends for a gala birthday-party family/reunion dinner tonight I was really scared to eat. However, there was a good selection of various salads, fish and BBQ ribs.
Also BBQ chicken appetizers and some Indian appetizers which were spicey but delicious.
I took small portions and tried one piece of ribs that didn't have much meat on it. Results were okay. And a good time was had by all.

I got a ride later to meet my Havana Buddy at the LQ. There were quite a few other friends there too and the music tonight was particularly excellent (jazz). It rounded off a very good day, except for the problem with the dairy which I will try hard to eliminate tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

SOME THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT FASTING

TUESDAY. This was my second day off the fast. Yesterday I ate all vegetarian and felt fine. But last night after the Neruda poetry reading I went with my friend for a cup of tea (herbal) and treated myself to a sweet: a lovely pastry with almonds and honey. Consequences: I could not sleep all night, and unfortunately had to rise early to go to work today! What a sugar high just from one little pastry!

Secondly: today I decided to introduce some real protein so I boiled two eggs and had those for lunch along with celery, radishes, olives and some grapes and a pear later on for dessert.
Consequences: By mid afternoon I had serious stomach cramps -- and worse! I had a hard time getting home as I was in dire straights. It must have been the eggs, as I've been eating veggies and fruit all week with no side-affects. So tonight I had a nice big tuna salad for dinner and afterwards I felt just fine.

Conclusion: I must strike Eggs and Sugary things off my diet for now and stick to edibles that do not upset my system.

Now comes the supreme test: I have a luncheon invitation for tomorrow (Wed.) at a place that serves Greek buffet. That shouldn't be too much of a problem for choices. But for dinner I'm invited to a friend's and I am certain it's going to be a glutton's feast so I must be very careful not to overeat and choose the wrong things. And no desserts! Thursday is a picnic in the park with my memoir ladies. That won't be a problem either. Then lunch on Friday with a writer friend at my favorite coffee bar (I've been drinking juice or herbal tea instead of coffee).
Saturday I also have a dinner invitation. And Sunday there's both breakfast with my pal I. and a gala birthday party at my place for another friend. Aside from the wine-imbibbing I'm not to worried about the party as there will be salads, chicken souvlaki and briani which is mainly veggies. But will my pure cleansed body reject the wine? I better go easy! Why ruin the six days of disciplined fasting by getting a little carried away!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

MY TASTE BUDS ARE DANCING!

MONDAY. Today was my first day to experiment with food other than fruits and veggies. However, I decided to take it easy which may be difficult given that I've had a number of lunch and dinner invitations this week. Today my Greek friend S. invited me for lunch. She had prepared delicious Greek food: stuffed green peppers and Greek salad. Luckily it was all vegetarian and very enjoyable of course. Then I was invited for dinner to another friends. I passed on the chicken and stuck to bean salad and potatoe salad and stuffed vine leaves, also carrots dipped in houmus. But later tonight, after we'd attended a poetry reading in honour of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, we stopped for tea (herbal of course) and I treated myself to a small pastry with honey and almonds. My! after a week without any sweets, my taste buds were dancing! I really don't want to start with sugar again, but this was a special occasion and I really noticed how much the flavours of this were accentuated. My aim is introduce various foods bit by bit to see what agrees with me, what doesn't. Tomorrow I have to work, so I prepared a lunch of hard boiled egg, olives, celery and radishes with one small whole wheat bun and a pear for dessert. I'm planning on tuna salad for dinner.

My general over-all feeling is of great well-being, so why ruin this by going over-board. Besides, I really want to lose a bunch of weight and it's a good idea if I try and stick to mostly vegan meals for awhile and not get back into starchy things or too much meat.

The six days fast was a success. I feel good about that. It was discipline, but I proved I could do it!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

THE FINAL DAY OF FASTING!

SUNDAY. It's been a good day today. The sun was shining for most of it, then there were light showers. The weatherman predicts warmer weather coming. It's about time. We're all sun-starved!

Today is my final day of fasting and except for a couple of minor slips I've done really well. It was not only for my health and well-being, but an exercise in discipline which I needed (just to prove I can do it!). Today was the veggie/fruit day again. I didn't eat enough before I left home at noon though, so although I took an apple along to snack on, by mid afternoon I felt very starved. By the we were down at the beach and there wasn't anything appropriate to buy at the concession. I ended up getting a small bag of cheesies (junk food, oh no!) and some apple juice. It pays to go prepared and I really should have thought ahead about that.

I'd gone with my writer friends to see the screening of a docu-movie "Scribes" which was filmed at last year's writer's conference. Later we drove around the beach to see the Tall Ships.
At the one park you could only get a distant view of the Russian ship Pallada. So we drove around to another beach farther away to get a closeup of the Mexican Cuauhtemoc, an 82 metre white-hulled ship. There were many people on the beaches today having barbecues and picnics while they observed the ships. It was the annual Sea Festival, but it cost $10 to get into the festival area and board the ships. I think I had the best view of them last Thursday when I saw them sail into the Bay.

Given the temptations today of the popcorn (to which I'm addicted) at the theatre and the tantalizing aromas of hot-dogs and fish&chips at the beach concessions, I did very well resisting temptation, especially as I was famished. What will I eat tomorrow to 'break myself in'? I think I'm craving salmon. Or I may just settle for a tuna salad. It's wise to take it easy when going off the fast and I've become quite used to a vegan diet this past week. In particular I've noticed how I haven't wanted to eat bread or starchy carbs. So I'll try to avoid them for as long as I can.

A PLEASANT SATURDAY

SATURDAY: Day five of the fast and all's well. Today was back to veggies and fruit and for dinner I made a most delicious fruit/veggie salad. Surprised at the lack of hunger pangs or any other side-affects. One more day and I'll have achieved the goal. And except for last night and tonight I haven't strayed off course. Again tonight I indulged in a couple of spritzers but aside from that I was on my program 100%

Another surprising evening and I am hoping for positive outcomes. That very nice man I met the weekend before my trip, who was so kind and generous with me, came into the LQ tonight so we talked a bit and I really do hope we get lots more visits in. He is a most fascinating and interesting man and such pleasant warm vibes.

My outlook is much more postive now than it was a week ago when I was getting over jet-lag and culture shock. I seem to have cleansed a lot of negative thoughts out of my body along with the detox.

One more day to go. Then what will I eat?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

HUMPTY DUMPTY FELL OFF THE WALL!

FRIDAY. Well I didn't intentionally fall off the wall...it happened that my friend Rosie came in town and was invited to dinner. She brought a bottle of some very good white wine. How could I resist? I didn't! Had a couple with the Greek salad (without feta) that I made for dinner (Rosie got the feta and a small roll). It's been another day of mainly juice/broth and some fruit. I wasn't feeling hungry at all, and didn't all evening. But it was really testing my will-power to go the bar tonight after falling into temptation and having the two glasses of wine.
I had seriously intended to ask for pretend crantinis or pretened caesars but somehow after one zen cocktail (soda and lime) I could resist no longer and had a couple of spritzers along with glasses of water. Do I feel bad? No, actually I feel very good tonight. And there are still two days left in which to redeem myself. So far I'm feeling very healthy and haven't had one minute of stomach trouble since I began this fast last Tuesday.

Great to get some exercise tonight too, when my Greek friend showed up. I simply love dancing with him and so it made for an excellent evening. Along with my two good friends Rosie and the Babylonian. What an great way to spend a Friday night!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

DAY THREE: All's well...

WEDNESDAY: Today is day three of the cleansing fast and I feel really good. Days three and four are mainly juice or broth. A bit of fruit (watermelon) is allowed to stave off hunger. But I didn't really feel hungry today. I did have a little fruit (watermelon, strawberries and grapes - a few) for my lunch. Otherwise I have stuck to the juice/broth. I only started salivating at the beach when I smelled the fish and chips, but that soon passed.

Everything turned out well for me today. When I went downtown expecting my memoir group to be cancelled, instead six people showed up. So our "Writing in the Park' is a go for the month of July. Today we wrote out on the lawn of the Manor. Next week we'll meet at the Park by the beach and have a pot-luck picnic. So hopefully the warm sunny weather will make a return by this weekend.

It was actually sunny (more or less) today so after class I went to the Park and had a good long swim. The pool water is warm and pleasant and today there were few people in the pool.
Afterwards I walked along the sea-wall and watched the Tall Ships come sailing into the Bay. Quite a pretty sight. I thought of how the Bay must have looked a couple of centuries ago when the Spanish and British ships sailed into the harbour.

I walked along thinking to myself how Life is Beautiful for me right now, and I'm grateful for that and remembered to say some prayers of thanks. It isn't too beatuiful for our friends in England right now, after that wonderful celebration they had last night. Just to think that only a few weeks ago I was riding those tubes! I felt terrible seeing the photos my my beloved London Town and the devastation those bombs caused. It was a miracle though, that hundreds were not killed. Amazing that so far there are only a few deaths reported, though so many injuries and likely many of them serious.

What is this world coming to? And who excatly was it that set the bombs off? Was it really the A.Q. link or could it have been a ruse to sabotage the G8 summit? Whoever is responsible is evil and hopefully will be caught soon.

Too many innocents have been suffering since the Iraq war started. Yesterday I ran into my good friend the Babylonian and he told me his teen-age son, in Baghdad, had been shot again. This is the second time his boy has been caught in cross-fire. A year ago the boy was badly shot up as he came home from school, and had to be sent to Jordan for treatment. This time he was walking on the street with his friends and he was shot in the leg. My friend is a refugee from Iraq, a victim of Sadaam's regime (and his father was killed by Sadaam). But since this nasty, dirty war began far too many innocents have been the victims both there and in other places. Now we can add London to the list. When will it end?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

FASTING: DAY TWO

WEDNESDAY. This was my second day of the cleansing fast. Last night when I went to bed I felt achy all over and had to take a muscle relaxant. However this morning I woke after a good rest feeling fine. The sun was shining (at last!) and I decided to head for the beach once my writing was done. By noon, though, it had clouded over and was quite cold, so I stayed in until mid afternoon when I really felt a need to escape the computer and take a break. So I walked up Victoria Drive, looked in a this very fancy and expensive boutique, then somehow ended up over on the Drive and in the Calabria Coffee Shop. My only 'near-cheat' for the day was having a small bottle of apple juice which had some sugar (fruit sugar) in it. Didn't feel tempted to eat anything such as a biscotti or sandwich. Ran into a couple of friends and walked home again.

During the afternoon I'd made a delicious soup out of various vegetables: cabbage, kale, beets, carrot, zucchini, onion, beans, mushrooms and lentils. I had a couple of small bowls of this for supper. (At lunch I had a lettuce salad with tomato, avocado, cuke and onion). In between I've been snacking on fruit and juices. And now I have a container of vegetable broth to drink tomorrow. The next two days are fruit and veggie juices mainly, watermelon is suggested as solid food if necessary. I will probably supplement the juices with a bit of fruit if I get hungry.
My success so far has been because I made sure the fridge was well-stocked with necessary fruits, veggies and juices. I also made sure any temptations were removed from sight and surprisingly I'm not missing the starchy carbs and wheat products at all!

Tomorrow morning is supposed to be my first "Writing in the Park" group(memoirs) but I'm not sure enough women have registered although by tonight there was possibly four. (We need at least five). So it will be a surprise if it is okay to go ahead in the morning. Anyway, I want to visit with the ladies that do show up.

I didn't feel achy, dizzy or any other effects of fasting today. Hope the next two days go just as well! (How come my jeans feel so tight though? Shouldn't they be getting looser?)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

FASTING: Day One

Tuesday. I started a six day cleansing fast today so I'm going to keep track of the results here on my blog. I went to waterfit in the morning and was pleased to find they had a new instructor and different music (50's and 60's) which was a good change from before. So I had a good workout to begin my day. Then I dropped by the health food store and picked up some herbal capsules for cleansing liver, colon, lymph glands etc. And I've stocked up on fruit, vegetables and fruit/veggie juices.

I felt it was important to do this cleansing as I have felt some problems during the summer with my colon and digestion. And because I've had close friends/rels die of colon cancer I have no desire to let things get out of hand. Another of my good friends also had a scare with stomach troubles and has since quit drinking and is on a special detoxing regime. It certainly can't do me any harm and in fact I might even lose some weight.

So for lunch I had a delicious salad made with lettuce, cuke, avocado and various fruits. During the day I've snacked on fruits or celery and juices. For supper I made steamed veggies. I haven't felt hungry but I am feeling achey and on the verge of a headache. By tomorrow I'm sure I'll feel the effects of detoxing the sugar in my system as well as other toxic stuff accumulated over the past months. It's been ages since I've done a cleansing fast, so I am probably full of toxins and I'm sure I will feel 100% better when this is finished. So I am determined not to fall 'off the wagon' or cheat.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

BACK TO EARTH AGAIN

It's taken me a week to recover from my jet-lag and culture shock after returning from my excellent five week holiday in England/Greece. I took it easy this week, allowed myself time to sleep, moved slowly, didn't expect myself to do too much. One chore a day was all that I tried to achieve. So by this weekend my house was clean, I am rested, and I am ready for plunging into a full writing schedule next week.

One bonus has been the International Jazz Festival, which began last weekend. Starting on Wednesday, Suzaki and I took on a concert by our favorite Latino band, Sumalao, at the Performance Works. It was crowded and the dance floor was a mad-house, but it was great fun! Thursday night, a super bonus -- my Havana Buddy Paul took me to see the Arturo Sandoval concert, truly a phenomenal concert! Quite a thrill to see this multi-talented Cuban musician perform. The back-up band, Rumba Calzado, was als excellent. And as the show was at the fashionably Centre for Performing Arts, it was quite a treat.

Yesterday was Canada Day with many free events, so I went to the Granville Market. It started to spit rain when I went there late afternoon so as the one Brazilian group I wanted to hear were performing on an outdoor stage, it wasn't too pleasant to sit around. The rain stopped but it was so cold and I was not warmly dressed (still used to that lovely hot 30 C weather of Athens!). So I went indoors to the Performance Works and listened to some groups from Quebec, and then an excellent performance by a local singer, Karen Plato. My friend Paul was there so we sat together, then he had to leave. I love her voice but wished she'd sung more familiar jazz tunes as I found her own compositions, though adequate, were a little on the slow side. Anyway, it was all for free and quite enjoyable.

By then I was starving, as I hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was mid evening. So I hopped the bus and went straight to the L.Q. for some hot seafood chowder and cerveza. Several of my friends showed up and everyone was so glad to see me, welcoming and making a fuss over me. I got to dance at lot with my guy friends too, which was great fun. So by the end of the evening I was quite exhausted again and luckly my friend Viki gave me a ride home where I simply collapsed on my bed and slept the night away.

Now it's Saturday and still more free jazz to take in, then a visit to the bistro to hear my son play as I haven't seen him since returning. Then tonight perhaps another evening of dancing at the LQ. Tomorrow I am hoping for more sunshine as I plan a picnic to the park and possibly a swim in the Second Beach pool. My tan is fading fast! I need some sunshine and a day to relax. Next week I shall focus entirely on my writing. Holiday time is over. Time to get down to work!