Sunday, January 21, 2018

Food, beach, puppy, and books - what more could you want?

We're three weeks into the New Year and things are going well so far. I'm finally over the flu that laid me low over the holidays, work is busy in a good way, my weight is more or less where I want it, I've been doing yoga more regularly, and finally started running regularly again a couple of weeks ago (albeit only short distances). I haven't made it to the swimming pool yet but am hoping that will happen in the next week or two.

Yesterday morning first thing, I whipped up a batch of biscuits, which we ate warm from the oven with homemade strawberry jam and blackberry jelly. They weren't as good as mom's but my skills are improving. The trick is to avoid overworking the dough, and pray for the right barometric conditions so that the biscuits rise properly. Yesterday's were the best I've made in awhile so I was pleased with them.

After breakfast, Jackie Blue and I headed out for our first real run together. Now that she's nearly a year old, and runs several kilometres at a time on the beach, I figured it was safe to take her for an easy 5 km run into town and back. The challenge was to keep her from stopping too often or dashing into the road. She did well all in all - though she seemed anxious about going so far from home without "poppa". She kept stopping to look back with a worried expression on her face until we turned to retrace our steps - after which she ran along happily, grinning from ear to ear. I took this portrait when we stopped for a moment at the waterfront park in town.

With breakfast and a run out of the way, Husband and I got busy prepping to host a birthday party for my mom last night. She'd mentioned she was hungry for lobster and we missed having any over the holidays because I was sick, so we picked up some good sized bugs (nearly 2 pounds each!) from a local fisher in the afternoon and Husband boiled them in time for the party. I have to say there's not much that tastes better than fresh, perfectly cooked lobster dipped in melted butter. Everyone enjoyed them thoroughly. And the best part was there were leftovers!

Today was more low-key. I was pooped after a busy week so slept in for a few hours, then spent an hour or two helping Husband with post-party cleanup before calling my best friend for a lovely long chat. This afternoon, we trimmed Jackie' front claws - a chore we'd been postponing because she hates it - then headed to Risser's Beach for a good walk. The wind was offshore so the beach was relatively warm and none of us was in a hurry to get home.

As I write this, Jackie's crashed in front of the fireplace, exhausted by all the activity yesterday and today, Husband's in the kitchen putting leftovers together for supper for tonight, and I should be upstairs prepping for the week ahead - but I'm finding it hard to get motivated. I love being in the country so weekends never feel long enough. What I really want to do is curl up by the fire with a good book.

Speaking of books, I've got seven or eight on the go at the moment. I've nearly finished a couple on street and travel photography that I picked up at the library last week, and I'm more than half way through a book I gave Husband for Christmas, Sputnik's Children by Terri Favro, which is great fun. I'm also a few chapters into Joan Clark's An Audience of Chairs, which I started over the holidays, John Demont's The Long Way Home, which I purchased when we attended his reading the week before last, and Under the Tuscan Sun, which I'm rereading for the fourth or fifth time. The only book I've gotten all the way through since the new year is Jann Arden's Feeding My Mother, which I read in one sitting over the holidays and plan to reread soon. It was wonderful! There are two or three other half-read books beside our bed in town - including Virginia Woolf's Orlando - which I still hope to finish eventually. I think maybe one of my goals for January and February should be to get through as many of them as possible.

I didn't used to read this way - in fits and starts, hopping from one book to the next. It's partly a function of never having more than a few hours at a time, but it has as much to do with my smartphone-addiction as anything. When I was younger, I fell into books, losing myself entirely in the worlds they created. That still happens from time to time, when I'm not too tired and there's nothing to interrupt my reading but, more often than not, I struggle to focus for more than an hour or two, so it takes me forever to finish a book.

I've been reflecting on how I use my smartphone since I read this article in the Globe and Mail a few weeks ago. It infuriates me to think about how often we're manipulated by the apps and devices we use, and makes me more determined than ever to regain control. I deactivated most app notifications ages ago, and am now working on minimizing my time on social media and setting aside smartphone-free hours every morning and evening. I don't have my addiction entirely under control yet but I'm making progress and enjoy having more time for other things.

That's it for now. I'll be back soon with my 2018 running goals and an update on my wee surgery, which is scheduled for the day after tomorrow.  If you're looking for good stuff to read in the meantime, I'd encourage you to check our my friend Keith's blog. He writes much more regularly than I do and always seems to have interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking things to say. He shares lots of lovely photos too.

Until next time, happy running and writing!

1 comment:

  1. Office aside, you are leading the life. THE life. On the reading front I used to read several books at a time, depending on which chair I was in or what I felt like reading. Now I can barely track the events in my own books, let alone someone else's. I'm currently working on a book of short stories by China Mieville. At least one a day.