Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Fatherhood & the Global Village

A Kobo Reader for dad

One of my husband’s most endearing qualities as a dad this past year, was to extend his circle of fatherly care, outside our immediate family. He did this by taking the plunge alongside me to chair a gala that raised $22,000 in net revenues for an orphan sponsorship fund in Ethiopia a program of People for Kids, AID Organization Canada.

The event was a small, family, friends and workmates fundraiser and a crucial element of making it all work, was that my husband had to step, or should I say sprint, far outside his comfort zone in asking for help (i.e. ask for money!)  from friends, family and colleagues.

Partners in fundraising

He was hugely gratified by the response to his outreach and we are both very grateful for the support of so many. And of course, my love for him grew with this big step on the journey of parent and couple-hood, a journey where are first steps together were taken on a run – of course. Happy Father’s Day my love!

Fathering is not something “perfect” men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child-raising is not the child, but the parent. 

Frank Pittman

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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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The Boston Marathon, a Run For All Reasons

The running of the Boston Marathon is fertile ground for stories to inspire, but most would be hard put to find one more compelling than that of Team Hoyt.  Rick Hoyt has cerebral palsy and the medical advice given to his parents on his birth was that he should be institutionalized, as there was no hope that he would have a “normal” life.  Nonetheless, his parents treated him like an ordinary child and with the help of a computer device Rick was eventually able to communicate to his family, his passion for sports.

Thus it was that Dick Hoyt began to enter charity runs and compete while pushing Rick in a wheelchair.  A source of much enjoyment, the pair began entering marathons and from there, progressed to triathlons. For the swim, Dick would tow Rick in a tiny boat and for the cycling portion would carry him on the front of his bike.  As of 2008, they had completed 229 triathlons and 66 marathons, often finishing in the top 10% of the field with a marathon personal best of 2 hours 40 minutes and 47 seconds.  A time, which is 3o minutes under the qualifying time for Open Men in the Boston Marathon.

In 2009 the duo completed their 27th Boston Marathon, Rick was 47 and Dick was 68 – sending a message to the world to include rather than exclude those with disabilities from activities that most of us have the good fortune to easily be a part of.

Never, ever give up! What does that mean to you?


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Power Packed Protein for Parents, Kids & Athletes

In the past couple of months I scoured the internet for the recipe for a high-protein drink that was a daily fixture of my pregnancy diet.  My weight just before pregnancy was 102 pounds.  I was vegetarian at the time, and I had a very difficult time gaining weight on my diet of tempeh, tofu and bean diet verging at times on veganism.  At my early check-ups my doctor, worried about my vegetarianism, once said that I was taking a risk that my baby would be in the lowest weight percentile.

Häagen-Dazs ice cream was part of my prescription for weight gain and I ate it often.  So much so that I remember telling people that I never thought that I would consider eating ice cream (one of my favourite foods) a chore.  Just goes to show you what a MUST will do to make something normally pleasurable, seem less so.  Funnily enough, my son just loves Häagen-Dazs ice cream and stocks up on it when it goes on sale at Sobey’s, which seems to happen fairly regularly.

Last Saturday at a 50th birthday party for a friend, I noticed a copy of Laurel’s Kitchen, the very book from whence the recipe for the high-protein drink came. My copy had disappeared in my years of living in co-op houses.  The birthday girl agreed to lend me the book.  I don’t think the newer version has this recipe. So,  ta-da . . . straight from a very yellowed copy of Laurel’s Kitchen, A Handbook for Vegetarian Cookery and Nutrition is my memory lane recipe.

High-Protein Blender Drink

  • 3 tbsp. whole soy powder
  • 3 tbsp. non-instant skim milk powder
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 cup fresh skim milk
  • 1 tbsp. toasted wheat germ
  • 1/2 teaspoon torula (I use brewer’s yeast)
  • 1/2 teaspoon carob powder

Authors, Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders and Bronwen Godfrey

Before I knew I was pregnant, I developed an aversion to coffee.  I view this as an example of the laws of the body taking hold.  Near the end of the second trimester I began craving meat.  It was quite a shock to my meat-eating husband when I nibbled on some Italian sausage he was frying.  From there, I never looked back and to be honest, I get sick far less than when I was a vegetarian.  To each his own, I’m convinced, is the way with diet.  For me, blood sugar stability seems to work better on a high protein meat diet.

I gained about 23 pounds, my son was 7 pounds 10 ounces and it took three months to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  Due to the heavy demands of breastfeeding, I went under my pre-pregnancy weight by 4 pounds to a very skinny 98 pounds in year one of motherhood.

My son was never keen on bananas except when served in a quickie-kid version of the high-protein drink.  I used to make this for him when he insisted that he did not want breakfast.

Power Drink

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate milk powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter

When he was a teen he wanted to weigh more than could reasonably be expected of the son of two very lean parents.  I used to supplement his drink with skim milk powder.  I can’t remember why, but I did not tell him this, and he never noticed.

Proving my doctor’s fears were unfounded, my one-and-only has grown to be over 6 feet tall, nearly a foot taller than his mom and a couple of inches taller than his dad.

Voila! I give you the mostly-vegetarian baby at 23 years.

Product of High-Protein Power Drink


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Don’t Stop Movin’

The best way to aggravate back problems, lower back problems particularly, is to SIT for long periods.  The worst thing to do in the morning after six or more hours of immobility is to SIT in front of your computer.

I incurred what I refer to as an under-use injury when I flew from Frankfurt to Toronto this fall and due to 8 hours of inactivity my sacroiliac joint locked up.  If you use a laptop my tip is,  move your laptop to a height from which you have to work from a standing position.  Another benefit of standing while on-line is that you are less likely to find yourself aimlessly surfing or getting sidetracked in cyberspace.

Sitting at my desk for 7 hours of work aggravated this state-of-affairs and was at times painful.  Naturally, I felt great when I was running, with its massaging motion!  The sacroiliac joint eventually let up, in part due to a routine of regular walks at noon hour.  It is my view that noon hour walks are one of the most under-used exercise opportunities there is.  Lunch can be eaten prior to a walk with no digestive troubles and a quick lunch can leave you with up to 50 minutes for a brisk or leisurely walk.  Whatever the pace, it is a quantum leap from the alternative of SITTING in a lunchroom to break up a day of  SITTING at your desk or sitting in a lunchroom.  I formed the habit of having a pair of running shoes designated for walking, by my desk.  And you don’t have to miss out on socializing with workmates if you invite colleagues to join you.

Lunchtime Walks in Hogg's Hollow

When the weather worsens, I make use of my metropass to travel underground to different Starbuck’s locations.  The air is not as fresh as an above ground walk but at least you are movin’ and have the chance to do some stair climbing.

I am a firm believer in taking a full hour for lunch when at all possible.  I find the break, makes me far more productive in the afternoon.  I would rather take that hour and stay late, when work piles up, than skimp on a lunch break.  I have indulged in noon hour walks even on days when I have run a few miles in the morning and then 8 miles home from work.  A walk is like a  third workout for me while marathon training.

Too much SITTING when not balanced by movement is a degenerative activity and with the computer, left, right and centre of our lives, proactive measures are needed to counteract the ill effects of the inactivity it engenders.

It is no surprise that a so called,  Fat Habit #3 has been identified by one writer as Not Multitasking While Watching TV.  My mom had strong views about television.  She once issued a list of shows that were banned in our household; on that list was one of our favourites, Get Smart (we loved that show!), although I don’t think this regime really took hold as she had strong views but was not particularly strict.

She also insisted that we be involved in other activities while watching TV.  Thus, I would draw, sew and sometimes iron to satisfy this criteria.  I carry the multi-tasking habit with me to this day.  Thank you mom!


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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!


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December 19th, a special day

Indeed, the 23rd birthday of my son. Did I run while pregnant you may ask? I first knew I was pregnant when I started to experience morning sickness while on a routine, easy run and had to stop. The hardest period of running was during the heat of the summer, with the already internal temperature of pregnancy, I backed off quite a bit during the summer.

Wrapped with love

Here is a famous family story which my son has heard much too often. I was running on the track at Hart House prior to the informal race that has been held every Friday for a few decades. My husband was a regular participant of these races which still go on today. The organizer announced with a megaphone that the racers should be careful as there is a pregnant woman on the track. This was my final run before giving birth 11 days later.

Good runner but likes basketball better!

As for Steven, we are lucky to have as our son a fine young man with good judgment and good friends and a promising career as a computer software engineer on the horizon. Although, promising enough that he dreams of moving to San Francisco to work in Silicon valley.  NOoooooo! Don’t move too far from your mother 😦