Thursday, April 25, 2013

Baby Steps

It's been a banner week for health: On Sunday I ran ten kilometres with my brother and sister-in-law in the Vancouver Sun Run! I managed to do it in an hour and four minutes- not bad for someone who literally hasn't run in months (I can't actually even remember the last time I ran before the Sun Run, so I was amazed that I not only ran it, but didn't have to walk once.)
Here's a picture of me running the race.
I'm on the left in the grey. I look fierce.
I actually beat my family, although to be fair, I only beat my brother because he is chivalrous, and ran the whole way with his wife. They crossed the finish line holding hands. Me, I'm pretty competitive when I run. So I steamed away as we crossed the start line, and met up with them after the race. I know, I'm klassy that way.
I also did my weekly workout with Leslie and walked part of the seawall with a girlfriend. But today.
Today was a new exercise in crazy personal best. 
My buddy Ari convinced me to walk from his house in Kits all the way to New Westminster. I knew it would be a long walk, but even I quailed a bit when he told me "it'll take about 8 hours." That's a full day's commitment. But it's my habit this time of year to enjoy my city as much as possible before I leave it for the summer. Plus I wanted to see if I was capable of an 8-hour walk. So I agreed, and at just after 9am this morning, we set off. There were train tracks:


River vistas...

...and at the end, there was Barbeque:

Nothing has ever tasted so good. Sitting down has never felt so incredible. MapMyRun clocks our trek at about 28 kilometres. I am very proud. And sore.
All this has been great because there have been some difficult things in my life lately and I haven't been handling them as well as I could have. But getting outside or working out has made a huge difference not only in how I feel about myself but also in how I react to negative situations or people. Just like performing, exercise throws you a whole bunch of endorphins, so the this winter's blues and bad moods haven't made a comeback because I am active. The sunshine helps a lot too. I find self-help books and trite daily 'meditations' incredibly patronizing and annoying, but a daily "sweat meditation" can bring new clarity and peace of mind to even the most fraught situation. Every mile run, every sunny-day walk, every weight I lift brings me a little bit closer to inner peace.
Not to mention that they can help you squeeze into a tight costume. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Some stream-of-conciousness for your Friday afternoon.

My new roommate says goodbye on his way out the door. It may or may not be worth mentioning that he is wearing stilts made to look like goat legs, horns, a wolf-pelt cape, and carrying a set of bagpipes. With the stilts on he is seven-and-a-half feet tall. Watching people react as he walks across the road and wait for the bus is always fun.  The other night we watched "Django" together in the living room. This is worth mentioning because until I launched a full-on cleaning assault on the living room, it was only barely a room, and didn't fit the definition of "livable".

One roommate is still in the hospital; the new one moves in and now the living room is clean and sports a workstation where the new guy builds MIDI bagpipes, outrageous costumes, flame-shooting metal flowers to mount on his bagpipe drones. If this was a story, you'd accuse me of inventing a household that was too quirky to be believable: the stilt-walking piper, the eternally perky actress, the depressive who lives in his own garbage. And me. Oh, and the mice.

Yeah, the mice. I was watching "Community" in the sitting room the other night when a shadow scuttled by the chair opposite me. No part of me wanted to investigate further. I closed my laptop, turned off the lights and retreated to my bedroom. My mattress lies right on the floor; you can guess how well I slept that night. Hence the cleaning assault. Also the shameful part of me that wishes that the dirty roommate stays in hospital longer. Because when he gets out we have to have A Talk. And I hate confrontation.

"Do you want to go and have a drink?"
The words out of my mouth before I can check myself, made bold by wine and a relaxing evening playing music with friends. He agrees, and we walk towards my place, end up at a hotel bar where we talk and drink until closing times kicks us out a few hours later.
Waiting for the bus in the rain I say hesitantly "I'm glad we can hang out together like this. I know I can never undo what I did to you but I'm so glad we can be friends." He agrees. We begin to talk, for the first time, about how it was to leave each other, how it was good and bad and pain and freedom all mixed together for both of us, how the years have been since it happened. We wave one late-night bus by, then another. Finally we decide to get in out of the rain and continue talking at my place until almost three in the morning. Some serious stuff but a lot of just catching up, too. Two friends, filling each other in on their jobs and their hopes and their lives.

Today I went downtown to the stadium to pick up my running kit for the Sun Run. I signed up before I heard the news from Boston, but it did make me extra-glad to be running this year. I've been working out weekly but not running, so it could be an epic fail on my part, but I shelled out sixty bucks on a sports bra that will keep the girls locked in place and get rid of the dreaded Uniboob, so I'm psyched. If I can still walk afterwards, I'll find my brother and sister-in-law somewhere in the throngs of runners and we'll celebrate by going somewhere where we can pack on all the calories we just burned.

This is Limbo right now: I still have exams but my head's not at school anymore. I have to leave town soon but it hasn't really hit me yet. I have nothing much happening in town before I leave and yet the future is cloudy...

Oh, I got headshots the other day. With all the back-and-forth on the Dove Real Beauty Sketches it was cool to see what the camera made of me. Of course, I see all the usual flaws, but overall I liked what I saw. And I'm eternally grateful to my friend Taylor, who took these shots for free.
I don't know if this is what beauty looks like, but it's what I look like. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring Cleaning

April's still-cold breath is clearing away the clouds these days and allowing brief glimpses of loveliness before The Grey makes a comeback. I finished school really early, had an evening rehearsal, and saw from my Facebook browsing that my summer workplace is now promoting our new lineup of cast and crew. (So strange, that I'm hearing details about my future job on social media. The world at large knew- before I did- who is new, who is returning, what we're doing... I had a strange conversation with a musician I just met tonight; as she gave me a lift home we were chatting and it transpired that her boyfriend was a drummer I knew. She mentioned that he had been attacked last year by neighbourhood thugs and I realized that I had heard about it months ago on- you guessed it- Facebook.)

But I digress. Reading the news about my summer job prompted me to go buy some stage makeup, so that I can pack up the vintage makeup case I bought last year and start getting ready to leave my nest once again.

Now I think I'm set for the summer: new makeup, new hairpiece... what else sneaked (snuck?) into my shopping bag, you ask?
I swear, I only bought it for the retro wrapper.

One of my roommates is in the hospital right now. His health issues are not public business, so I won't go into them here, but his absence has lit a fire under the rest of us (he's the really messy one), and we are Spring Cleaning! I came home to find the other old roomie and the new one actually getting rid of junk in the living room. After I picked my jaw up off the floor I joined in. Now the new roomie has a workspace for his electronic bagpipe-building (remind me to tell you about that sometime), and tonight after I finish writing this, I'm going to clean up my sitting room. When I leave next month, the bagpipe-player and his wife are subletting my room. Since I like them and I'll save money, I couldn't be happier.

Spring cleaning in the wind, in my apartment, and in my mind. 

I finish school tomorrow, barring the exams, which stretch out over the next 2 weeks. I'll be tidying, doing taxes, packing, taking a short trip, and doing the odd gig before I leave next month. Not to mention trying to squeeze in a few meetings with friends and family before I go. 

I never want to go. Not 'til I'm on the bus, watching now-familiar landmarks whisk by as I get closer and closer to my summer home. My city is always at its best just before I leave. New possibilities are all around me and then... But there are old friends to see up north, and new friends to be made every year, and amazing stories to be told, and ridiculous personal dramas the ups and downs of a life lived in 2 homes. 

April's cold breath is a new beginning, with all that entails. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Salad Rolls and Backsliding

Fortune showered us with balmy, sunshiney weather all the long weekend. It was sheer heaven. Then the grey skies came back, just in time for school. Know what else came back? Some very bad habits. Yes, the holiday weekend was just the lame excuse I needed to drink too much, eat bread, and start in with the sugar again. Sigh. Forgive me Lord, for I have been backsliding. Today I took control again. Sort of. I ate fruit, salads and nuts (good). I also ate some Red Velvet Loaf and a homemade icecream sundae (very, very bad).
Let us draw a veil over the whole sugary week and concentrate on the fact that I made salad rolls for dinner! From scratch!

Start with rice paper, which you can find in the Asian Foods aisle at any grocery store in Vancouver. Wet it in warmish water. Lay it on a flat surface and fill with veggies. (I chose beets, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, mint and cilantro.) You can add a protein, such as tofu, chicken or shrimp, but I kept it simple tonight. 
Roll up the wraps, then add another moistened sheet of rice paper and wrap that around the outside of your roll, to add strength. I am not too tidy at it yet, so my end results looked a bit like the Camberwell Carrot:
Vietnamese people would totally laugh at these.

So they didn't look perfect. So what? I dipped them in The Ginger People's Sweet Chili Sauce and declared them a TMP- Total Mouth Party. 

This cancels out ice cream- right?
Today I also had a really great workout (with my personal trainer! Haha!) and had coffee with some really lovely people. That, and the fact that school is so interesting and fun these days, has kept my spirits high on these grey days.
Now for the fortitude to get myself back on track in the eating department...