No rain?  Just a little rain?  Yup, that will do.  No jacket needed – going to be a warm day.  Hurray.  Perfect for this, yes?

I head to the basement of my wee building (actually a mansion from 1911! divided into 12 suites) and to the bicycle/boiler room.  Bikes, bikes everywhere, even from people who don’t live here I am convinced.  Surely a fire trap.  No matter.  I wheel mine outside and right in front of my building is a cycling street- cars still allowed on most of it but baby, this is a cycling route.

If I’m working at the downtown school I got fired from (odd how that works) I ride down that road for about 10 minutes and then head on over the bridge.  Burrard Bridge – a beautiful bridge made dangerous by all of the bloody construction.  Car drivers are impatient, everyone’s honking and horning.

In the morning rush hour, the cycle lane has its own rush hour.  Everybody and their grand dog – many wearing the holy grail of the bike outfit.  If you are wearing a cycling costume then no question you are going around me.

Hmmm – 20 minutes – 25? depending on the lights – it is a pretty speedy ride up there to the downtown school that fired me.  (Karen!  What if a manager reads this?!?!?).  My legs are chronically tired and unstretched these days from seeming vast amounts of over cycling but there is nothing better than getting here on my own steam – saving money and time and a bus ride full of stopping and starting.

I get so in shape in the spring summer and start to lose the weight I pack on during the endless rainy days of winter.

Cycling on city streets here is dangerous – no real question about that – I’ve narrowly avoided a few accidents and have been really close to being car doored. Even mentioning it feels like tempting the fates.  Five years ago when I started cycling again (as an adult) riding in traffic scared the non-cycling pants off me.  The theory has to be (and I’ve heard this before) that you have to pretend that all of the cars are out to get you.  Stay alert.

Vancouver is amazing with its cycling lanes though – Hornby Street saves me from the disaster of Burrard Street.

Hills are a thing.  The hills always seems to be going up.  The odd going down makes it all worth it though maybe – maybe not.  Do you ever get used to hills?  I do not think so.  The subtle grades are a thing – easy to walk up but cycling?  Holy smokes that takes some gumption, for me anyway.

I’ve started doing my longer rides again – the North Shore one is full of Lions Gate Bridge and Causeway (up, up, up up and up) and then more up and up. I am looking for new routes to conquer as I take my hybrid bicycle and 50 year old self all around the town.

Vancouver is a cycling city.

Geez- I just berated Oprah’s weight loss obsession in a previous post (that did not, sadly, go viral in any way) but wowza I was packing on the pounds this winter.  I had starred out with a commitment to weight lift and swim and indoor cycle but that died out soon enough. Rotator cuff injury was my excuse.    My 50 year old body wanted weight in the middle and it got it.  We shall see what this summer season shall bring.

Pool’s open and I have a week of not much work. There is some hope next week from TSTFM but who really knows.  Might try a few laps this week – Saturday’s attempt didn’t really work out – the pool was too crowded, it was really windy, and my bathing suit top kept coming off basically (yup).  Hoping for more success this week.

I say, if I can cycle up a hill, so can you.  Used bicycles can be had for not much, and a new hybrid doesn’t have to be that much.  Get a helmet and a bell.  Then go cycle the hell out of the city.


A blatant attempt at going viral, Oprah edition

So, you all know Oprah?

Massively famous American woman who had a talk show for a few years and then bought a network which she filled with reality shows about dysfunctional semi-famous people and briefly a talk show with Rosie O’Donnell.  Remember Rosie’s show from 20 years ago?  She never could quite re-capture that.

Anyway, so there’s been a lot of yada yada about Oprah’s latest weight loss – 30 pounds on Weight Watchers.  Oprah has also basically bought Watch Watchers so all weight loss is good for the company.  I saw a piece that Good Morning America did on this and commented that for god’s sake couldn’t Oprah talk about something else.  For all Oprah’s talk of women being empowered and own your power and quack your own duck and you can do it, women of America, she has never ever stopped talking about weight loss.  Oprah, who is a brilliant woman and a woman who clawed her way out of poverty and violence, refuses to stop adding to the obsession women have with their weight.  Such is her brand.  Her brand has always seemed to say ‘women, you can go this deep but no deeper.’  Her magazine has the odd article about women temporarily removing themselves from their (my, our) self-obsession and middle class lives to help other people.   But it quickly scurries back to women advising women on how to get over petty jealousies, succeed at work (get that promotion!), put on that makeup properly dammit, look years (decades?  centuries?) younger, walk across (or maybe up and down if  you don’ t have enough time) the country and heal yourself from emotional trauma, and where to get a really, really cool bag and thing a ma jig.

Hey, now, there is often something very comforting about reading O Magazine on the beach.   About checking out Gail’s page to see what/who she is promoting, er writing about.  And sometimes the book suggestions are not terrible at all, although they tend toward being books about women who either walk across the country to recover from some emotional trauma or who have tried to walk across the country to heal some emotional trauma but couldn’t quite finish because they got a fungal infection and had to stay home for six months following the attempt but that is when they really really learned about themselves.

Now, now, some of her fiction suggestions I have enjoyed.  Also, as a bit of a side note, if ever I met Oprah (why on earth this would happen I have no idea), I would certainly pass out.  Oprah is brilliant brilliant.  I must emphasize that I fully realize that Oprah is far more brilliant than almost everyone I have ever known, except my psychiatrist who seems to be so smart that I don’t know how she keeps all of that smart in her brain and have children and many patients.  Amazing.  So please, I do think that Oprah is amazing.

Sorry back to the point – the point!  First though, Oprah does, I realize, give away countless millions of dollars to charity, starting schools, etc.  Amazing.  Although she has so so much money (all of the money) I am not sure if this even makes a dent in her wallet(s).

The point!  The point!  Women (me me me too) will obsess about their/our weight forever and ever amen because we of course have been conditioned to do so.  We will continue to see rail thin 30 year old women playing mothers of teenagers (I am looking at you, Bloodline Netflix series. No way was that woman old enough to be Danny’s kid’s mother.  Otherwise though it was an excellent series) and diet and weight loss programs, forever and ever.  The weight loss industrial complex is worth billions.  Weight Watchers knows this.  Oprah knows this. All of the conversation she creates about women walking across the country to heal their emotional trauma and women who make cupcakes to  help grandmothers in Burma, are nothing compared to her constant uplifting and worship of weight loss.  Obviously, being heavy can definitely be the result of emotional trauma and that should always be looked at.  But none of that is what Oprah is even trying to do anymore – it’s all weight loss (join Weigh Watchers!  I bought the company) all of the time.

I realize that Oprah will never really deepen the conversation – that is not her brand.  But it seems she is shallowing the waters even more.



Prayers for the old man

Dad is in the hospital in Ottawa and has been for more than two weeks.  He went in with diarrhea (oy), a fever, and weakness.  Turns out is is pneumonia and E-Coli, amongst other things.  Dad is almost 81 (or 83, depending on who knows what but we have never understood it) and since Oct. 2014 has lived in a beautiful assisted living home in Ottawa near my sister unit, her husband, and their daughter.  Five minutes away by car type thing.

We never thought that dad would leave Winnipeg and the home he and my mom had lived in since 1967.  In the last few years of mom’s life when she was sick and isolated and scared she would have preferred to move to a retirement community, but he would not.  That sucked and he was quite selfish on that point but I shall move along here.  After mom passed at the end of 2013, dad quickly went downhill (er).  And so my sibling and her hubby amazingly got him out to Ottawa.

An adjustment period followed and at some points I think it seemed that my sister and hubby lived at the home themselves so often were they there.

Dad has his little place at a table for meals and apparently one of his table mates, a senior woman, has been missing him.  Sniffle.


I seem to be aware that often times seniors in hospital have a hard time, well, ‘bouncing back.’  And fair enough.  Seems dad is very weak (they took him off of a blood pressure medication which caused him to bottom out a bit.  He is now back on it) and not at all motivated to try to get back to the home.  His home now.  He is on a ‘rehab’ unit where they try to get him up and about a bit in an effort go get him back home.

My sister says he prefers the hospital food to the Manor’s which I can’t imagine – the Manor’s are homecooked and hospital food I think is pretty much the same Canada-wide.

My sister and her hubby do all of the leg work in our situation here with dad.  I blog and get vaguely hysterical at times – gah!  Too soon since mom died!

Dad and I aren’t bosom buddies – he was a difficult man to grow up with that is for sure.  I know that he has regrets about what happened – he has told my sister as much.

And now he is a helpless old man and that tears me the heck up.  He is still difficult as heck in a new way now but . . .

I haven’t seen him since mom’s funeral when he wasn’t nearly as down-hilly.  He could still walk then (albeit he fell an awful lot) and was basically him, emotionally broken, but him.  To see him now so many steps down the rung will be a shock no doubt.

In the end, he is one of my few remaining connections to the broken family from whence I came.

His own only sibling died about 13 years ago.  Of course he hadn’t seen his sibling in years as his entire family disowned him when he married my mom in 1960.  Messy messy cruelties.  He had never met his three nephews and their families – I met two of the wives once (they were visiting Vancouver) and I saw photos – bizarre to see features of my dad (and me) in their faces.  But they don’t care – have no desire for a relationship with he or me.  Fuckers.  Ooops, sorry about that.  But seriously people.


So there he is, hospitalized, weak, and unmotivated.

There is an expensive! private care home right near the beach near me. I often see workers wheeling these folks to the beach in the spring/summer (not winter, that would be cruel!).    That always makes me sniffle.

Old age.  Oy.

So perhaps a prayer for the old man, who to this day would call himself a Jewish atheist socialist.  Always seemed entertaining to me that Jesus himself was two of those three things.