Mind, Motion & Matter

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Challenges to Young Poets, (Bloggers and Runners)

“Challenges To Young Poets, (Bloggers and Runners)” With apologies to Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Ideas, inspirations, and starting points for poets, as proposed by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet laureate of San Francisco with my additions and very slight changes in italics.

Climb or run up the Statue of Liberty.

Reach for the unattainable.

Dance or run with wolves and count the stars, including the unseen.

Be naive, innocent, non-cynical, as if you had just landed on earth (as indeed you have, as indeed we all have), astonished by what you have fallen upon.

Write living newspapers.  Be a reporter from outer space, filing dispatches to some supreme managing editor who believes in full disclosure and has a low tolerance level for hot air.

Read between the lines of human discourse.

Avoid the provincial, go for the universal.

Think subjectively, write objectively.

Think long thoughts in short sentences.

Don’t attend poetry or running workshops, but if you do, don’t go to learn ‘how to” but to learn “what” (What’s important to write about).

Don’t bow down to critics who have not themselves written great masterpieces or have run masterfully.

Resist much, obey less.

Secretly liberate any being you see in a cage.

Write short poems in the voice of birds. Make your lyrics truly lyrical. Birdsong is not made by machines. Give your poems wings to fly to the treetops.

The much-quoted dictum from William Carlos Williams, “No ideas but in things,” is OK for prose, but it lays a dead hand on lyricism, since “things” are dead.

Don’t contemplate your navel in poetry and while running and think the rest of the world is going to think it’s important.

Remember everything, forget nothing.

Work on a frontier, if you can find one.

Go to sea, or work near water, and paddle your own boat.

Associate with thinking poets and runners. They’re hard to find.

Cultivate dissidence and critical thinking. “First thought, best thought” may not make for the greatest poetry. First thought may be worst thought.

What’s on your mind? What do you have in mind? Open your mouth and stop mumbling.

Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.

Question everything and everyone. Be subversive, constantly questioning reality and the status quo.

Be a poet, not a huckster. Don’t cater, don’t pander, especially not to possible audiences, readers, editors, or publishers.

Come out of your closet. It’s dark in there.

Raise the blinds, throw open your shuttered windows, raise the roof, unscrew the locks from the doors, but don’t throw away the screws.

Be committed to something outside yourself. Be militant about it. Or ecstatic.

To be a poet at sixteen is to be sixteen, to be a poet at 40 is to be a poet. Be both.

To be strong at sixteen is to be sixteen, to be healthy at 50 is a to have good genes, good luck and good habits.

Wake up and pee, the world’s on fire.

Have a nice day.

First read at the 17th Annual San Francisco High School Poetry Festival, February 3, 2001

My first exposure to Ferlinghetti was in a grade nine art class where we read from Coney Island of the Mind and did drawings inspired by these poems.  I also recall creating a giant papier mache pizza a la Claus Oldenberg.

City Lights, a must see when in San Francisco

During our short 1 1/2 day stay in San Francisco earlier this month we visited City Lights Bookstore which was co-founded by Ferlinghetti.

Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with poetry, running and blogging or whatever you like to do for FUN!

Purchasing Nox, by Canadian poet Anne Carson

Extensive Beat literature and poetry section


Carrots, the breakfast of champions

If you started your day with a chocolate, raise your hand please.  And carrots?

Today is the day that I try and remember how bad it feels to overeat with the inevitable sluggishness, torpor and lethargy that follows. I did well in the early part of yesterday with a mandarin orange, banana, YOP yogurt drink, grapefruit juice but after my late-morning run I had a large turkey dinner and finished off with more than half of a fair sized chocolate bar. The fatigue of overeating ensued and I had to take a little nap. Bonking on a blood sugar high is not the way I really want to spend my time.

Heading out for a run in High Park


For the third time in the past seven days I ran with my Saturday pals. This may be a record for us. I appreciated their availability as I find it far more difficult to get out the door when I have all day to run.  Too much choice seems to  lead to much procrastination. I resisted a momentary urge to have chocolate before my run and returned from my 7 miles with thoughts of a healthy breakfast.

Carrots for breakfast, yum!

Earlier this month I learned of a Carrot Cake Oatmeal recipe from a friend’s blog Frugal ‘n’ Fit, who learned of it from another food blog called Oh She Glows. I have always been an oatmeal lover and my early days of marathoning involved double bowls of oatmeal for breakfast. Here is my adapted version of the recipe with a holiday twist.

Holiday Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Holiday Carrot Cake Oatmeal (adapted from Carrot Cake Oatmeal)

* 1 cup regular oats
* 2 cup almond milk (or any other type of milk)
* 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
* 2 large carrot, finely grated (1 heaping cup)
* 2 tbsp whipping cream or coffee cream
* 1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon, to taste
* 1/4 tsp ground ginger
* 1/8th tsp ground nutmeg
* Pinch of kosher salt
* 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
* 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
* 2 tbsp crushed walnuts, divided
* 1/4 C. coffee cream or whipped cream + 2 tablespoons maple syrup (to drizzle on top)
* Shredded coconut, for garnish
* Cinnamon, for garnish
* Raisins and coarsely chopped pecans, for garnish

Lynn’s Cranberry Sauce
Add one bag cranberries, zest of one orange and juice of two oranges to a microwavable dish. Microwave at high for 10 minutes and then at medium for 5 minutes. Add sugar to taste (1 cup or more).

Directions: Finely grate the large carrot to yield 1 heaping cup of grated carrots, using the fine grate, so carrot shreds are very small.

In a medium sized pot over medium heat, add almond milk, lemon juice, and cream. Stir well. Add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) and salt. Stir until mixed.

Stir in grated carrots and oats. Adjust heat if necessary or reduce heat to low if mixture boils. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. When mixture has thickened, stir in vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of maple syrup. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.

Top with pecans, raisins, coconut and a dollop of cranberry sauce. Mix cream + maple syrup mixture and drizzle over top. If desired, sprinkle with cinnamon to garnish.  3 servings

Homemade cranberry sauce goes with everything

The original version of this recipe calls for coconut cream instead of cream but we only had coconut milk in the house.  When my friend posted the recipe I commented that the original recipe is quite high in calories.  A whopping 1200 calories for one large serving.  I’ve doubled the recipe and consider it enough for 3 medium servings.  I would estimate that each serving has 700-800 calories which is still quite high but at least you get your carrots and ingredients that will metabolize more slowly than chocolate.

Happy breakfast!

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A marathoner’s holiday season diet

I stepped on the scale today and was pleased to see that my weight is in the right zone to ensure that my clothes fit comfortably. As someone who suffers from eczema, tight waistbands can trigger a round-the-waist rash. I have the good fortune to suffer the most minor of bodily insults due to running such as eczema triggered by my heartrate monitor strap and very dry and cracked skin on the heels. Others like my husband are not so lucky.

Crescent cookies, a favourite of family and friends

I ran 7 miles today with Saturday Run regulars. Thanks to holiday excess I woke late and felt fairly sluggish upon rising and throughout the morning. A sluggishness caused in part, no doubt by a diet that seems to be at least 50% percent sweets and chocolates. My breakfast was a few pieces of my mother’s stained glass torte, which is bits of green and red jello set in creamy mousse atop a crust of graham crackers. I indulged in several of the three types of cookies I’ve baked, a selection of chocolates from Chocolate Arts and a slice of chocolate ice cream cake. We have been living off the remains of the family Christmas dinner we hosted. I had turkey for lunch but thanks to all the sweet treats and much pate, I did not feel the need to have dinner.

My famous candy cane cookies

I hope to eat more healthily tomorrow, or at least for half of the day. Good luck to all in the quest for a balanced diet through the holidays. It is never too early or too late to become more active.

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Marathon recovery weeks & weight training

After the marathon on December 5th, I took five days off with 6 miles on the following Saturday and a couple of miles on the Sunday.  The next week I very comfortably ran 36 miles and today, completed a 40.5 mile week.  Feels like business as usual and I look forward to running at least 45 miles over the next seven days.

Tomorrow, I’ll start my off-season weight training routine beginning with the muscular adaptation phase of very easy upper and lower body weights in sets of 2 X 20-30 repetitions.  The starting point is about 40-50% of the maximum weight lifted during the maximum strength phase.  I would have started a couple of weeks ago however the weight room at the YMCA has been under renovation and is set to open tomorrow.

My favourite part of weight training is doing squats on the Smith Machine. Here is a good YouTube “how to” on how to use this piece of equipment. The best thing to do when you start up is to use no weight at all, just the bar, in order to get used to how the machine works and the proper motion. Done properly, squats should not hurt your back. My maximum lift when doing 3 X 4-5 reps is 135 pounds which is close to 130% of my body weight. This is about what is recommended for open-age women. I’ll have to double-check my reference book, Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel to see what the percentage is for men.

The order of lifts should go from the larger muscles to smaller. This is simple to figure out as the more weight you can lift, the larger the muscle.

I figure I’ll be lifting weights for the rest of my life as like running, I’ve grown used to the well-being that comes with sticking to this regime. Highly recommended!

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Merry Christmas all!

Busy day.  Ran one mile to  buy the missing ingredient for punch.  Family dinner, turkey, children, an infant and a birthday cake for Steven.  Purchased from ITunes a beautiful Christmas tune performed by Steve Winwood, who has been around forever. Check it out below on YouTube.

Two grandmas and their four month old grandchild, baby Zack


Good times! Belated birthday cake for a 23 year old


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Christmas eve greeting

Cradle Song

Sweet dreams, form a shade
O’er my lovely infant’s head!
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams!
Sweet Sleep, with soft down
Weave thy brows an infant crown!
Sweet Sleep, angel mild,
Hover o’er my happy child!

Sweet smiles, in the night
Hover over my delight!
Sweet smiles, mother’s smiles,
All the livelong night beguiles.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes!
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dovelike moans beguiles.

Sleep, sleep, happy child!
All creation slept and smiled.
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,
While o’er thee thy mother weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Holy image I can trace;
Sweet babe, once like thee
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me:

Wept for me, for thee, for all,
When He was an infant small.
Thou His image ever see,
Heavenly face that smiles on thee!

Smiles on thee, on me, on all,
Who became an infant small;
Infant smiles are His own smiles;
Heaven and earth to peace beguiles.

William Blake

I dedicate this favourite poem for a Christmas Eve to newest nephew Zack, little Henry and nine year old Tigist Dallesa who lives in Ethiopia. You can read more about Henry on his mom’s blog Fit ‘n’Frugal and check out the recipe for carrot cake oatmeal.

Sweet dreams all!

Henry's first Christmas!


More shopping on the run

I decided to do a four mile run today to rest up for a longer run tomorrow of 10-12 miles with the Saturday group, a.k.a. smart men as described in an earlier post for which they agreed to allow a photograph of their legs to appear while seeking counsel from their publishers and lawyers about blog privacy. Joining us will be a visiting “wise guy” from Waterloo who has known my husband for longer than I have, 30 years or more.  Sadly husband “P” has a cold and his knee is still troubling him so he will be unable to join us.

As for my short run, the first stop was U-Deal Restaurant and Hotel Supplies on College near Clinton where I bought a lemon zester and gingerbread cookie cutter to replace one that has gone missing.

U of T Bookstore in Koeffler Student Centre

Another mile and I popped into the U of T Bookstore at College and St. George/Beverley where I found the book I was looking for but in hardcover not the paperback I had hoped for. I debated the merits of the additional cost of the hardcover version, about $15 extra versus saving myself a trip to Yonge-Bloor or the Eaton Centre. I decided that yes, avoiding a trip to the heart of holiday shopping melee was worth the price. And, I rationalized to myself that perhaps this particular first edition, might one day be a collector’s item as social criticism and analysis of the digital age comes of age.

Life Science area, U of T bookstore

I enjoy shopping at this bookstore.  Where else can you find anatomical key chains and cute, plush microbes and germs. Earlier in the week I was here to purchase So You Want to Be a Lawyer for a nephew who, hopefully, he is not reading my blog.

Educational plush microbes and germs

Then I ran over to the Annex location of Book City where I found the book I was seeking, along with another. The first book is only available at Book City, not at Chapters or Indigo.

I popped into PAT grocery store to price butter which was a disappointing $6.99! Butter seems to have skyrocketed in price lately. PAT grocery store is a large Asian food grocery store in Little Korea where we sometimes buy 50 pound bags of Japanese style rice like Nishiki or Kokoho Rose, grown in California.

My final stop was Shopper’s Drugmart near Dovercourt and Bloor. I’ve noticed that this location often has sales on perishable items. I was very pleased to find that one pound of unsalted butter was on sale for $2.99. Bonanza! I guess Shopper’s is going into the grocery business as the butter was a house brand. I bought three pounds of butter along with Fry’s cocoa and finally jogged-waddled home laden with my purchases.

Late in the afternoon the final gift on my list, ordered from an Amazon affiliate arrived by courier.  So my shopping is complete and I can enjoy the longer run tomorrow morning without the need to rush here or there.  And, I have continued to run on these busy days of baking and eating what I have been baking.

I wish you all a wondrous, peaceful and joyous Christmas eve!