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flexitarian time

Functional central heating: check.

Long underwear: check.
Gloves, mitts, hats, puffy coat, snow boots, scarf to cover face: check.
I think I’ll survive. But boy, it’s hard work. Today – minus 13, with a wind chill of minus 26. At the streetcar stop, two minutes without gloves while I got out my wallet, and my hands hurt. Not for sissies, this country, except for the softies out west in Lotusland. And Toronto has an easy winter compared with the Maritimes or the Prairies or even Montreal. Today there was a winter storm in the Maritimes with winds of more than 100 k. an hour. So a wind chill of minus 26 is nuthin’. We can take it.
It’s impossible, though, not to gain weight during the long Canadian winter. Just so difficult to exercise and find fruit, and anyway, the body wants to protect itself with whatever layers it can find or create. I had spaghetti and chocolate for supper. Bring on those life-saving layers.
Neighbours Sally and David have a New Year’s Day party every year, a chance to connect with the people who live all around us. I had a talk with the ubiquitous Pam McConnell, who has represented this riding at City Hall for many years; whenever she ventures out, people corner her and grouse. So I did too, not about vital issues like housing and homelessness, but about garbage. I know, litter is not that important. But a Tim Horton’s coffee shop moved into the area a few years ago, and the amount of trash scattered about has quadrupled. This neighbourhood, and the city in general, is a giant garbage dump, strewn with coffee cups, plastic bags, cigarette packets, everything dropped in the street and left to pile up and blow in the wind. I think it’s hard to build civic pride for a garbage dump. So I told her about the handy green garbage bags all over Paris. She filed the information away, I’m sure, in her “crackpots to avoid at neighbourhood parties” file.
Then I talked to Elizabeth Harris, the most energetic volunteer in the city, who has lived in Cabbagetown since 1975 – one of the real old-timers here, I thought, until she told me about little old Pat who lives across the street from her in the house where he was born. Elizabeth is the founder of the wonderful Farmer’s Market that operates from May to October outside the Farm. She has heard my concerns for humanely-raised meat products and knows exactly the farmer I should meet. I’ve been reading articles about “flexitarians” – a new word for people who are mostly vegetarian but aren’t rigid about it and do sometimes eat meat. So now I have two new 2009 words to describe my lifestyle – I’m a flexitarian frugalista, happy to wear second-hand clothes to eat my broccoli.
Speaking of vegetables, Sally makes delicious marinated mushrooms every year; this time I asked for the recipe. If you’d like me to pass it on to you, just ask. We flexitarians need to inspire each other to keep the taste-buds happy, and we frugalistas need to eat lots of mushrooms so our clothes still fit when winter is over.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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