Sunday, May 03, 2009

The upside of stress

Roses beginning to open outside the bedroom window.

I'm losing weight- I had to remind myself to eat today, ate only some veggies and smoked salmon. This is really good because normally I crave a bagel with lox and cream cheese on the weekends (a bad habit I developed with my New Yorker and Montrealer exes) and if only one of those three ingredients is in my fridge or freezer, I usually go out and buy the rest. Especially because my garden is now full of fresh herbs in pots and the ground (oregano, tarragon, thyme, cilantro and fennel) and wild chives, which are actually a nuisance, but which go really well with the cream cheese.

But today, I had to force food down. And I nearly threw myself out doors to get to the gym this afternoon, where I knew peace of mind was waiting for me. Maybe I'll even get back to my normal weight, the weight I had before I moved here to this barren, sidewalkless suburban city and put on 15 pounds driving everywhere. I've got to get into good hiking and city-walking shape anyway, because in a month I'm off to Turkey and Israel with my family for three weeks!

So the plan right now is weights plus cardio every other day at the gym, plus yoga and belly-dancing 3 times per week. And any and all hikes I can wheedle my friends into going on. This area is great for hiking and I've explored only three of the excellent nearby mountains and trails. Between that and tending to the tiny organic vegetable garden I've started (heirloom tomatoes, yellow and purple bell peppers, herbs, spinach, radishes, cukes and swiss chard- ok, maybe not so tiny), the review and article I've got due at the end of the month, I should be fairly busy.

My tiny heirloom vegetable garden in the back of the house.

I'm a little sad about the doves and fig tree, though. The mourning doves have moved out of their urban loft on my porch. The babies grew up and the whole family took off. It's probably best for them, given the nest's proximity to the porch railing and the neighborhood cat. But the garden doesn't lack for bird activity- I've spotted at least 8 or 9 different species and calls in the late afternoon. And I think perhaps there is a bit of a Robin overpopulation problem- they're everywhere! I had to drive them out of the upper garden the other day, where the spinach and radishes are growing. I'll try to post a picture of one of the more enterprising ones.

Alas the fig tree that was so productive last year has fallen victim to the late snow and ice storm that consumed my birthday. The entire trunk has split in several places, there are no new leaves, it's wobbly and hollow and grey and most of the upper growth turned black. I cut off the black parts, but I think it's pretty much gone. Thankfully there are a few tiny shooters coming out of the base of the trunk, so it's not entirely dead, but the yield will be much smaller this year. And so there's this sad, dead looking tree in the middle of my lush front garden.

So the doves have apparently moved out for good. The fig tree is mostly corpse-like, but for a few tiny green shooters at the base.

I'm trying not to see this as a metaphor. Like the tree, I've had a rough couple of months. Man, sometimes I hate being a literary scholar.

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