+8C and hot – Can You Relate?

Every Canadian loves to talk weather. We are all experts about the weather we know2014 - 2 040Rszd.  West Coasters know about rain, Westerners from the Prairies know about Chinooks and floods, Northern areas know about short/long nights, long/short days and plenty of snow and bugs and the Maritimers know about it all in a way too painful way.  Its winters like this past one that has me wondering about my choices.  Of course some Canadians are still being bombarded with snow, wind and ice.  But I live in Toronto – not as warm as Vancouver but mostly the envy of other Canadians, weather wise.  It is a trade-off for the lack of beauty and fresh air.   Today I had my 1st lovely walks of the year with my Chihuahua.  Not since early December have we been out for more than 15 minutes.  Each occasion I had us both so wrapped up it was hardly worth the effort.  Most of the winter my dog would head for her bed when the coat and boots came out.

Usually I find myself commiserating with immigrants about our weather.  Toronto is full of immigrants and my area is so thick with them I often feel why bother to travel.  I’m serious – my son’s grade school offered 70 language translations and support.  I didn’t even know there were 70 languages spoken.  I grew up in Canada when our winters were often this harsh and since the ’80’s I have felt like I was telling fairy tales to the new immigrants.  We had less in common than our accents and clothes sense  indicated.

This winter I can’t connect to their looks of astonishment about all the Arctic Freezes or Polar Vortexes.  You get kind of racist about it – you look at certain people and you immediately judge how they are relating to the weather.  Being a white Anglo-Canadian I am programed to be sensitive;   to be respectful to other cultures who foolishly venture into our country.  2014 - 1 Dali in sockand Boots 001RszdI honestly have begun to judge all people from Indian, Africa, the Caribbean and the Philippians to be ill prepared or just don’t relate.  It pains me to see them walking around in the cold.  Today I was talking to another small dog owner and we both were on the same page.  She was a Russian immigrant.  If we have anything in common – it is the weather.  We both chose small dogs – we both didn’t brave the cold to take them for walks either.

Eavesdropping for Art

conversationEavesdropping for Art was a hobby of mine a few decades ago.  It was a guilty pleasure that gave me some very surreal moments.  It started out quite innocently.  I would go to the gym after work and on the walk home I’d stop at a restaurant for supper.  I was single and quite frankly after a long day it was rather nice to sit alone and read the local rag.  Sometimes I’d work on some sketches – thinking about a new project.  One day I overheard a conversation and that lead to my starting a small cartoon. The conversation was this – “So I went to South Africa for my holiday.  It was great.  No car bombs or anything’.   The next one I remember was – ” I seem to like violent men”.   All these small pieces of conversations were like a side-order to my meals.  I never was interested in the actual conversation – those small nuggets were too good on their own.

 

 

Daily Prompt: Talking in Your Sleep ~

Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us ACCIDENT.

Weight – The Obsession & The Resolve

Weight always seems to be an issue – whether you are thin or not.   When I was younger I was always too thin.  I do know it changes you to be one or the other.   When I reached my mid thirties I began to get heavy.  Perhaps it is the foods of today or the activities.  Maybe it is the nature of the animal.  How many slim animals turn heavy as they age?   Because I see slim and healthy older dogs and people I know we don’t have to be this way.

Pete & Me

Pete & Me

When I was thin no one could understand my big energy and appetite. They went together is how it worked.  I was burning those calories recklessly.  I rarely strolled anywhere.  I did however rest a lot because I’d wear myself out.  Unfortunately I wasn’t immune to the trends for women in the 60’s on to be as thin as possible.  I began to think I must be thinner.  I became critical of myself and worked to keep my adolescent thinness.  One thing that stood out from the beginning was my relationship with hunger.

I remember having food dreams.  They were fantastic dreams – colourful and mouth-watering.   They go back as far as I can remember.  I woke up every day hungry and eager to eat.   I seemed to be an anomaly.  No one I knew ever wanted to eat first thing in the morning, nor did they have food dreams.  As a teenager I experimented with hunger.  I would eat a big breakfast and then the smallest lunch possible.  I was hungry at lunch.  CG3EI explored that feeling – not as an adversary but as a researcher.  It was a pattern I kept for many years.  I would enjoy an apple or avocado until every thing was gone – this represented a lunch.  Supper was often a meal I hurried home to have but one that was late enough not to encourage snacks later on.

I don’t have those dreams any more.  I think I stopped having them when I was too busy at university and started to wolf lunches and dinners and even skip breakfast because I’d sleep late after partying or study.  We only had desert when I was growing up.  I say this as ‘snacks’ were unheard of.  Students use snacks as meals.   In the working world snacks are everywhere.  They were at the pub, the office, at parties and at friends homes.  In the past twenty years of trying to keep my weight stable I have had to look at my beloved snacks. CG26 They have ruled me.  Even when the snacks are ‘healthy’ ones.  I love watching TV at night and the commercials are mostly about snacks.

Like my dog I would gladly eat [almost] anything, any time.  I would love to wallow in my calories and enjoy the plumpness.  When I hear how big my ass is or someone says I’ve ruined my dog – I seethed.  It is one thing to let yourself go and another to be admonished for it.  The last time someone said my dog was fat I said. ‘I am so tired of people saying this”.  It stopped them and made them think.  Then we talked about perceptions.  Yes my Vet has said my dog should have a waist.  She has also said my dog is healthy.  I want health for my dog and myself.  My dog loves exercise and helps me.  She also is helping me with my snacks.  This is because I share.  I can’t share something that will hurt her so I must not eat those things either.

It has been over twenty-five years since I have been slim.  In that time I have struggled.   My metabolism is very different from my youth.   I notice the weight when I move my body and try to fit into my regular clothes.  Weight gain is unpleasant because your body no longer seems to be you and your clothes become a big disappointment.  Recently I have begun to look back at my reaction to hunger.   I’m not saying I have found a perfect way to address my weight.  I eat a bit less.  My walks are more frequent and brisker.  I try to resist snacks – even if I make 20 trips to the kitchen and visit the fridge too often.  If I fail I try not to beat myself up and resolve to do better tomorrow.  This goes for me when I eat too late in the day or overfed the dog the chicken scraps.  My weight seems to be stable and that just doesn’t cut it – not for me or my dog.

Hunger should be your body telling you its empty.  Many times I haven’t even felt when I am too full.  I indulge myself when I am even a little hungry.  Now I wonder at my ‘lazy’ attitude.   Yes we can’t be stressing out our bodies but who says a little hunger is a bad thing?  As a migraine sufferer I can’t miss meals.  I am allowing hunger back in.  My dog has shown the way.  She kicks her food bowl when she’s ‘hungry’ – even though I know she’s eaten well.  This made me question my actions.    Yesterday I had corn on the cob and a bagel for lunch and was still hungry at the end.  Today it was a salad and a bagel and I am satisfied.  Perhaps tomorrow it will be a salad and half a bagel.  I know bagels are not diet food but this is better than a burger or pasta for lunch.  Now both of us are experiencing hunger and at least in my dogs’ case I am seeing results.  Perhaps I am too, but being bigger it may take longer.

Corn on the Cob & a Chihuahua’s Attitude

2013 - 6 Dali-cob 017RszdWe had to listen to some crying at the dining room table today.  1st corn of the year – US product.  Very sweet and juicy.  She must use a place-mat or she can’t have it.  That goes for any food that can’t be cut and placed in her bowl.

We will be working on the crying part asap.

This is the look we get when she really wants us to do something – just before she goes into her bullying mode.

2013 - 6 Dali-wantingtogetgoing 002Rszd

Lamb Bone = Dog Bliss

Usually I won’t even think to give my dog a cooked bone.  We had a nice Lamb roast during the holidays and as usual I had a garbage thief.  The same thing happened when Dali discovered corn on the cob.  We see a very determined chihuahua racing for a hiding spot, with a large object clenched in her jaws.   I monitored the lamb bone.  After each sitting I put it into a sandwich bag and over the next 5 days she has had a wonderful time wearing it down and getting the marrow out.  I also gave her strips of dried sweet potato [purchased that way] and this seems to have kept her digestion just fine.  Unfortunately kibble isn’t the favourite for this diva these days.  We play dog bowl curling between the two of us – she kicks it to me and I kick it back, only to take it away for another time.

Lamb Bone

Lamb Bone

Lamb Bone Started

Lamb Bone Started

Note the place-mat – as the bone was greasy and odouriferous  I made her use it even when she wanted to chew while on the sofa.  After each one hour chew fest, I had to wash her face and paws, as she smelled strongly of roast lamb.

Where do You Look?

Do you look ahead or to the side or just watch where your feet are stepping?  Should you look directly at anyone and feel OK about a direct look?  Do you know when is it good or bad form?  Some of these questions hit me in the elevator last week.   I’ve debated this before.   Of course the variables change and so do the rules.  What interests me most are the checks we live with – personal rules and social protocol.

2012 - 10 037

family – no flash – lots of movement

Last week – There was this girl who stepped into the elevator and faced perpendicular to me.  I could see out of the corner of my eye, that she was short, 20 something with long, straight, dark blond hair held back with an Alice band.  Her face was long and pale.  The band wasn’t able to hold the hair well and the cotton shapeless outfit spelled youth, arts student and earth child.  She gazed up at me, to ask me something.  Normally people are not so direct.  I’m not too comfortable with gazing although I am very good at looking.  I noticed her eyes were open really wide and they looked directly at me as I talked.

I only managed a few seconds of returned gaze.  I wasn’t able to keep my thoughts together under this gaze.  The intensity was startling.   The 1st issue was because of this internal running commentary going on about looking at people and secondly it was about participating in her reality.  It was too personal.   I chose to look sideways.  Unfortunately I started to laugh at myself but she interpreted it more with what I was saying and the conversation was lightened.   I think I saw amusement being sent back at me, as she noted my off-center gaze.  Perhaps she too has the same internal conversation.

Through a certain amount of personal shyness I am sure I have rarely looked anyone in the eye, most of my days.  Contrarily,  I am also a starer.  As an artist I stare very intently.  My husband and friends, in our early acquaintance, found those stares a bit uncomfortable.  Our art class model used to comment on my stares.  I stare at all sorts of things when I’m listening or looking.

Some days I become very bold and just stare – however it isn’t without risk.  I once was shouted at – “What do you think you are looking at?!!” by a very large person.  I thought it was obvious and even though she was alarming in her reaction, I found the situation very funny.  Perhaps it was rude but in all truth I was having a great old time looking at her, watching her walk towards me.  I wasn’t critical, I was just looking.  When I was a young person I often walked along looking at the ground!  When I traveled to and lived for a bit  in California that all fell away – thankfully.  It was unexpected – nowhere else had that effect on me.

As an artist I look at everything.   Colour, shapes, movement, negative space – they are all food for thought.  One of my most common looking strategies is when I let the visual image come in uncensored.  This is a distancing strategy.  I manage to look without engaging in details.  My work is very detail oriented and critical in nature.  It can be that work  and the social looking are not always played  properly.   They can be misinterpreted in kind.

In the end I will continue to look and monitor my behavior.  Looking is fun and maybe a bit dangerous.  The alternative is too depressing.2012-6-1-BowlCrpdRszd