Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Let's put the NOW in snow

I know I've only written lame crappy posts for months. Mostly quoting other sites, offering nothing to you, my legions of devoted readers.

I've been working long hours lately on a big project at the office that will take a lot of my time until mid-December - it's crazy but I'm loving it. (I'd so much rather have complications at work than complications in my personal life anyway, they are so much more clearly solved, and so much less dramatic.)

The demands of the project mean my free moments are few, and therefore spent attending to my animal needs: food, shelter, vacuuming, playing banjo, and my latest (drum roll please): WORKING OUT.

Yes, that's right, I am becoming a jock, a gym rat, a thick-necked steroidal EPO-doped maniac, like a 1970's East German Olympic female wrestler with a 'stache. (Though I think EPO doping is a more recent thing.)

I've always preferred to stay fit by doing stuff outside: running, walking, cycling, hiking, canoeing, skiing, swimming. All fine. But what does a gal do from October to December when it's dark, and wet, and cold, and the snow hasn't fallen yet? I'll tell you what this gal does, or at least what she did before this year: this gal lost all her summer conditioning and put on about five pounds of lard by sitting on her rump for three months with a cup of tea and a book, and then got Old Man Winter's big old crampon boot in her ass at the beginning of each ski season.

Until now, I've thought of gyms as the smelly haunts of large, probably a bit dumb, narcisisstic men who lift weights improperly (setting the amount way too high then heaving them and mostly using momentum to "lift"); and vain women who wear makeup and cute outfits to exercise, are there to "work on their asses", and shun any activity that might make them "big".

What I've found though, is that I am full of shit. Yeah, there are some of each of the morons, but mostly my gym is attended by really nice folks who share the machines, show you how to use things, and will occasionally joke around in a friendly, non-intrusive way.

So I'm going to the gym because my plan is to do the Keskinada Loppet 55km Classic ski - comfortably and at a decent pace - in February, and I don't want to lose my summer conditioning like I've done most other years. I've never skied 55km in one go, but I know I can do it, and I'll enjoy it more if I don't have an icy crampon hoofed into in my glutes.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

turquoise, gold, diamonds, and the world's biggest necklace

"I was thinkin' about turquoise, I was thinkin' about gold/I was thinkin' about diamonds and the WORLD'S BIGGEST NECKLACE/As we rode through the canyons, through the devilish cold/I was thinkin' about Isis, how she thought I was so RECKLESS."

Bob Dylan should be ashamed for rhyming "necklace" with "reckless". Or very proud. I'm not sure which.

I am going through a bit of a Bob Dylan revival. When I was 21 I had a huge crush on one of my five summer roommates who I lived with in a house painted robin's egg blue in Vancouver. He was mad about Bob Dylan. I felt it was horribly inappropriate, deeply embarrassing, (and inevitably doomed) to have a crush on my roommate, so I did my best to hide it -- but I did go out of my way to spend as much time with him as possible. He seemed amenable to that, since we got along beautifully as pals.

One day he told me that I was a lot like his little sister. I absorbed this news with as much casual aplomb as I could muster, but my heart broke a little and I had to try very hard not to blurt out a suddenly defensive (and too-revealing) "Am not!"

He got into a program at U of T starting in September and left; we stayed in touch a little for a few months, but I never shook the feeling that he didn't really get who I was, and eventually we both stopped writing.

Anyway, thanks to him, I have a deep appreciation for Bob, because during that summer of pining I listened to a LOT of Bob Dylan with one of his biggest fans. Even though Dylan is often a wretched singer, an average guitar player, and can be a total shambles on the harmonica, I do believe (as many do I suppose) that he is one of this century's great songwriters.

So lately I've hauled out "Blood on the Tracks" and "Desire", to revel in the searing poetics of such lines as "Little red wagon, little red bike/I ain't no monkey but I know what I like". (OK Bob.)