Salut! I don’t know about your parts of the world, but it’s getting cold here — we’ve had some days lately when the cold has caused me to gasp as I go outside. Last year, we saw hardly any snow in Zürich — though we arrived on January 2nd, it was too mild a winter for snow to fall often or accumulate. Looks like this year might be different, though. And while I don’t look forward to it getting much colder, I do think the city would look beautiful in a coat of white…
Here is a sundry list of things — apart from the ongoing quest to write a perfect (or at least publishable) short story — that have been keeping me occupied and/or entertained, the past few weeks:
- Going ice skating for the first time in 8 or 9 years;
- Attending a surprise birthday party (love these, so long as I’m not on the receiving end);
- Debating with a group of friends about where to spend Christmas — looks like it will be in the highest city in Europe;
- Wondering when the Christmas lights strung up around the city and my neighbourhood will actually be turned on;
- Trying new varieties of cookies that have appeared in the stores for Christmas (so far, they all taste disappointingly like marzipan);
- Discovering Nabokov. It seems unbelievable that I haven’t read this author before now, and I sense him becoming my new favourite, at least for the time being. We’re also birthday buddies (to the extent that you can be birthday buddies with someone who had already died by the time you were born);
- Replenishing my iron stores. As alluded to earlier, a few weeks ago, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia. The doctor asked if I hadn’t been feeling tired. I said that I hadn’t especially, but that running has been difficult for a number of months. She said she was surprised that I’d been able to run very far, given my levels. I was told it was imperative that I receive iron infusions, so I did — two sessions with an IV bag dripping a rust-coloured substance into my veins. It’s my hope that this will improve my running situation. It’s equal parts frustrating and relieving to think that this was the cause of my miserable summer training season in which I pushed myself continually but never saw any improvement in speed or stamina. Now that I’ve done the research, I know that iron-deficiency anemia commonly occurs among female long-distance runners, especially those (like me) who eschew red meat.
- So, I’ve been Thinking About Eating Beef. My iron levels should have been brought to normal by now, but in order to maintain them (if I continue to run, which I will) I’ve been ordered by my Swiss doctor to eat red meat 2-3 times per week. This is something I’ve avoided pretty much entirely in the past due to my ethical leanings towards vegetarianism and my general dislike of the taste of beef – in other words, I “have beef” with beef. It’s true that there are plant-based sources of iron, but they are not nearly as effective or available to the body as animal-based sources (there are also iron supplements, but these are known to have a number of undesirable side effects). So, sadly I’m forced to compromise my ethics and tastes in order to improve my health. I know, I know: classic first-world problem. Stelian, of course, was not at all sad to hear that we’d be adding more red-meat recipes to our repertoire. If you have good recipes of this kind, I’d appreciate it if you’d send them my way!
What’s new and exciting in your world?