Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

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What do mothers want?

Here is an abridged version of a piece written by Marian Wright Edelman, the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and first African-American woman called to the bar in Mississippi.  Joy Kogawa, community activist and award-winning novelist and member of the Order of Canada read this at the People4Kids Gala chaired by me and my husband, which took place last Tuesday.  The success of this fundraising gala was the best Mother’s Day gift I ever received.

A PRAYER FOR CHILDREN (edited short version)

We pray for children
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who like ghost stories,
who erase holes in math work books
who can never find their shoes.
We pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of shoes,
who never “counted potatoes”
and who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead.
We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.
And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
And whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who shove dirty clothes under their bed and never rinse out the tub,
We pray for children
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry
And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist,
and who aren’t spoiled by anybody.
We pray for children
who want to be carried and for those who must, for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance.
for those we smother with kisses…And for those who will take the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

People4Kids Gala at C-5 - Sold Out

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Rest in Peace Danny, God Bless

Over $42,000 was raised in order to give Danny Kassap a proper burial in Mt. Pleasant cemetery, a place where he ran regularly.  To find out more about Danny’s story CLICK HERE.  How to measure the stress endured by those on the “refugee highway” running from, but leaving behind a life, for better or for worse.  Danny’s seven year struggle came to fruition in 2008 when he was granted landed immigrant status.  His story is the story of a refugee who found refuge and hope in running. The strength he showed through hardship won hearts and friends.

Forever young, at age 28


Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew;
Old passports can’t do that, my dear, old passports can’t do that.

The consul banged the table and said:
‘If you’ve got no passport, you’re officially dead’;
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go today, my dear, but where shall we go today?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said:
‘If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread’;
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying: ‘They must die’;
We were in his mind, my dear, we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren’t German Jews, my dear, but they weren’t German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren’t the human race, my dear, they weren’t the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors;
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

Now that Danny’s funeral costs are covered it has been suggested that friends and supporters consider directing donations to Covenant House where Danny found shelter in his early days in Canada.

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CBC Morning – Run to the Tower

A couple of weeks ago, I visited Mountain Equipment to outfit a young man, with running shoes courtesy of MEC. Generously, they also provided him with microfibre warm-up pants, this in preparation for an interview with John Chipman of CBC Radio Morning, the Running Show, to be conducted while running.

When the time came for the run, my friend did not appear and a while later we got a call that he would be another hour. Thankfully, I was able to recruit Clifton to take his place.  In the end, running with Clifton proved more in line with the theme of the interview, that being how running is a great activity to acquaint newcomers to the city.  Although barely a mile from the lake, Clifton was not aware of the lake’s proximity having arrived from Africa barely a month ago.  As well, he had never been very close to the CN Tower.  When asked whether had had seen much of the city, he cited a trip to St. Clair and Yonge.

The show will air this Tuesday, May 10th around 7:20 a.m. and will run for about two minutes.

CLICK HERE for details about John Chipman and running in Toronto.

CLICK HERE  to connect to CBC Radio online.

Spirited sight-seeing

Thanks MEC!

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I’m back!

I’ve learned that you cannot blog daily while organizing a gala, running and working.  Training for NYC starts Monday.  For now, I’m taking it easy and focusing on Monday as the day to step into a six-month marathon training plan.

As for the Gala, we sold out, are already planning for next year and met our net revenue goals.  We’ve got that loving feeling.  And it’s growing, growing, growing . . .

The happy but exhausted co-chairs of People4Kids Gala.

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Running & Cycling Around Town

I had my bike tuned up last week and rode my bike to work for the very first time on Monday.  How marvelous to get to work in 6 minutes, rather than 15.  A great development given my current time crunch.  My life now is all about lists, lists and more lists.

This morning I realized that I had forgotten to get a document signed, that had to be sent to the ROM for noon today.  So I ran to the signatory’s home and back for about 4 miles with a stopover at Walmart to pick up a number of much needed stationary supplies.  Very convenient that they open at 9 a.m. for a busy person who often starts work at 10 a.m.  I was able to scratch a slough of things off one list.

I took a bean salad to work for a farewell lunch that coincided with the nicest weather of the day, allowing us to eat cake and drink coffee in our backyard patio.  Lovely people, lovely weather.  Most of the meal was prepared by a Columbian couple and it was very tasty.  I left work a bit early to dash to the UPS store at King and Bathurst which is printing the Gala program booklet.  Getting there 30 minutes early means that they will be able to have it ready for late-afternoon tomorrow.  They did an amazing job, the prices are very competitive  and the staff and owner are  friendly.

From there I stopped at Sanko Japanese Foods where I picked up some obscure items for a complicated Japanese rice dish that I usually only make for very special occasions.  I confess, that there is a bit of vanity involved in this time consuming choice as we are going to a pot luck party at the home of the first Asian Canadian woman to be a judge.  Sanko is opposite Starbuck’s so I stopped for a coffee break and made lists and more lists, sent emails on my Blackberry and was able to cross off more “to do’s”.

I stopped by the Paper Place but they were closed and I headed west on Queen street to Woolfit’s Art Supply store.  I picked up a number of items including a 32″ by 40″ piece of black foamcore on which to display the Silent Auction results.  The clerk wrapped this item in plastic and I asked her to make a handle out of tape.  Thankfully there is little wind today and I was able cycle home with one hand on the handlebars and the other holding this potential sail.

And now, I’m home eating leftover pizza and ready to work.  Tomorrow afternoon I will part of an interview conducted by John Chipman of CBC radio.  The young man I ran with on the weekend, John Chipman and I will go for a 5 mile run and some of the chit chat will form part of a 2-3 minute radio segment.  He is not able to tell me when it will be aired but I’ll post the date when I find out.

In a week I’ll be able to tackle my growing list of Post-gala, things to do.


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How did I get so busy?

My husband is threatening to unsubscribe from my blog.  He tells me it has been a week since my last post and he teasingly says that he no longer knows what I am  up to.   One week to gala day.  We had our last pre-gala committee meeting at our house and had a nice time of it.  I estimate that I spent about 60 hours over the past two weeks on the eight page program booklet with Silent Auction catalogue.  Finally, this morning I sent it to print.

Is a picture worth a week of bloglessness?

Does this photo explain a week of blog-less-ness?

I took a day off from running yesterday. It is just not the time to push too hard but I did do 4 x 7 minutes hard today and had a good weekend of running with 13 miles on Saturday and 7 miles on Sunday. On Sunday I ran with a 19 year old from Namibia who told me that he doesn’t really run long distances. We ran through High Park up and down some of the steepest hills and his breathing never changed from that of someone walking. Well, he is after all 36 years younger than me but still. I expect more of myself and he certainly led me to expect less.

I look forward to having the time to blog and take photos.

Sweet dreams.

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Bad Weather, Running Boycott

Today, I did not run because I am super-busy and fed up with this prolonged wintery spring weather.  I don’t remember ever having come to this!  But, heck . . . where is spring?

People4Kids gala, a “labour of love” for my husband and I has already been proclaimed a success.  Joy Kogawa, renowned Canadian writer and friend, David Walsh , recipient of the Jane Jacobs award are two of our special guests.  Joy will read a poem, chosen by me, about children.  The gala will benefit an orphan sponsorship program in Ethiopia for children who lost their parents to AIDS.

Highlights of the past few days:

  • I sat beside our City Counsellor at lunch on Monday.  He seemed like a very genuine person.
  • I went on a day trip to Buffalo with my sister and bought a dress on sale for $8.98.
  • We have received donations from many of my favourite businesses, like Dufflets, Whole Foods, The Queen Mother Cafe, LUSH, Starbuck’s, Auberge du Pommier.
  • And of course . . . NEW BALANCE TORONTO!

Tomorrow is another busy day.  After work, I will go with a young man to outfit him with a pair of running shoes, courtesy of Mountain Equipment Coop.  Then to meet my mom for dinner and to the Toronto to Japan fundraiser for the Japan Red Cross.

I’ve been sitting in front of a computer for far too long today.  Life is very full and interesting and there is much to write about but no time.  Bon soir!


Ready, Set . . . BAKE

Alarm went off at 6 a.m. and I dozed back to sleep, waking after 7 a.m. and having to be out of the house for 7:30 a.m.  I considered deferring this longer run to Sunday but roused myself and plodded up the hill to St. Clair.  I was late but had sent an alert by email and BlackBerry Messenger to my companions.  It was only around mile 12 that I began to feel perky.  Miles run for the day, fifteen.

The cause of early morning sluggishness was a later than usual night due to my first ever bake-a-thon.  Leading up to our May 3rd, Gala my calendar of activities will be severely constrained to Easter dinner or event planning task sessions or meetings or runs.

Get set . . . bake!

My dear friend Dolores and I over the course of nearly 6 hours baked about 28 dozen cookies!  We discovered this to be a relaxing and rewarding way to spend time together.  Although early on as I exercised some quality control advice from my 30 years or more of making this particular cookie type, Dolores may have wondered what she had got herself into.  But she patiently heeded my instructions with appreciation for the fact that magnification of a slight over-size cookie could result in a  shortfall at the end of the evening.  Our minimum target was 300.

Batch #2 with 2 1/2 pounds of butter.

It didn’t take long for us to get into a groove and the afternoon and evening flew by, punctuated by a vegetarian dinner of Spanish Bulgur, a classic recipe from Diet for a Small Planet. Together we were able to nearly finish the whole mega-batch of 11 times the usual recipe for Mexican Tea Cakes from a Betty Crocker Cookie Book that was given to me by an aunt around 1967.

The Finished Product

We lamented the fact that our friend Robyn who is suffering from the severe sleep deprivation of mom-hood was unable to join us but felt good that the two of us had pulled it off.  And where will these cookies go you may ask?  Each gala guest will receive in their goodie bag two cookies, lovingly prepared by Dolores and Lynn.

Tulips for the Assistant Baker


Baking not Blogging

Sunnyside Beach not so sunny.

Yesterday, making all the pieces of my day fit together meant arriving at work super-early, running from work, along the lake, through High Park and a brief interlude at home followed by dashing off to a meeting at C-5  with the bandleader of Ethio Fidel Jazz band who will perform at our gala People4Kids.

The day got off to a sweet start as we got an early morning delivery of chocolate from CAMINO fair trade, organic chocolate destined for Gala goodie bags.  We received this note from CAMINO.  WooHoo!

Thank you for considering us as sponsors for your event. We are truly impressed with all your hard work and dedication towards orphaned children affected by AIDS in Ethiopia. We are happy to be able to contribute a small gift for your gala. We are able to offer you 300 chocolate minis (55% dark).

I just popped a chocolate into my mouth and yes, yum, it is superfine stuff.  Thanks Camino chocolate, you are the best!  I’ll also be seeking out their chocolate coconut bar.

Western Horizon seen from Sunnyside Beach

The foggy dew of the morning evolved into an atmospheric mistiness over the lake in the afternoon.  I took the beach shots just before starting the 12 x 200 meter pick-ups with 75 second recovery.  When I remarked to my coach that it was a fun workout, he confided that it is one of his favourites.  My coach, a former Olympian also holds some world records for his age group in the 800 meters.  I gather that one of his training secrets is circuit training which includes hopping up stairs on one foot.

On the heels of my workout I bounded breathlessly into our local Starbuck’s at College and Dovercourt to be greeted by the manager who told me that yes, Starbuck’s will donate a $75 gift basket to the Gala.  This manager is very excited about the opportunity she will have next week to meet Howard Schultz of Starbuck’s.

C5 Charcuterie Plate

As for food I added shredded apple and orange juice to my carrot oatmeal to improve on the “fruitlessness” of Wednesday. Also consumed through the day was; 1 bottle YOP, Activa yogurt (2.9% MF), peanut butter and banana sandwich, portion of a large charcuterie platter and that is it.  Not much really as my appetite is still a little curtailed and I’m feeling about 90%.  A nurse who is part of the team looking into the illness incurred by me and many last Friday was quite interested to hear that I had previously been struck down by the Norwalk virus.

Apple, Carrot, Orange Juice Oatmeal

After returning from C5, I was inspired by the sight of 4 very ripe bananas to bake banana bread for a friend’s visit.  Well, actually she will put to work, helping me to bake 30 dozen cookies.  After baking I was completely out of gas.  Time for bed – blog or no blog.

To Blog or To Bake Banana Bread

p.s.  I just got off the phone with Dufflet pastry and they are donating a cake certificate to the silent auction.  Life is sweet! But — will my friend feel the same way after helping me bake 30 dozen cookies?

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Chariots of Fire

I am feeling inspired today, my heart warmed by the generosity of those who have been able to support our efforts to raise funds for a sponsorship program for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia, knowing that there are so many good causes out there calling on us all.  I was reminded today that the phrase Chariots of Fire is from William Blake, a favourite poet of mine and many.

Primary Series Blue, 2008 (oil on paper mounted on wood with resin 12" x 12" x 2") Value $400

One special contribution comes from artist Frank Caracciolo who lives in Montreal but hails from New York.  He is donating a resin-coated oil drawing to our Silent Auction.  In my blog on The Urban Landscape I had posted a photograph of a work I had seen at Propeller Gallery on Queen Street.  I decided to contact Frank and he replied immediately to say he he was willing to donate the piece shown here.  I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this but the photo doesn’t quite do justice to the beautiful patina and tactile surface of his drawing technique.  CLICK HERE to link to his website.

I leave you with the words of William Blake as well as a link to the hymn Jerusalem that was composed to this poem.


William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

JERUSALEM sung at the end of the film, CHARIOTS OF FIRE