Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Years Eve

I am going out tonight. I hardly ever get dressed up so I've spent the afternoon looking through some clothes that might work. I'm going to wear a too tight top and too tight pants, too big shoes and too big earrings. Hmmm, they will work. No matter what I put on "the bulge" goes somewhere. It becomes a matter of choice. Do I want the bulge here low or at the sides or up high? I've decided to let it reside above the waist out in front. Might as well show off what I got!

I feel like new year's eve is a deja vu. I've been here every year at the same time. It's a melancholy time for me. Maybe because the daily newspaper and news in general looks back on the year. So much happens in a year. I don't see the point of looking back just to list what happened. It should reveal some insight or a bit of an ahah moment at least. Right now I don't have any insight into the year just seems like a bunch of events altogether. My question is: if all this busy-ness doesn't even produce one little insight or profound knowledge, then why do it? My best moments have been the quiet, still ones. Maybe I should aim to have more of them this coming year.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Turkey and Noodle Salad

This is another of Nigella Lawson's recipes from her Feast book. I really have modified it because I was too lazy to look for some of the ingredients.

It is vietnamese flavoured. She says the dressing is addictive. I agree!


2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 fresh long red chillies, deseeded and finely diced (I used dried red chilies)
2 tbsp finely grated ginger
4 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar


250g cold turkey, cut into fine strips (about 2 cups)
175g beanthread or glass noodles (I used thin rice vermicelli because I haven't seen those other noodles)
125g sugar-snap peas
125g beansprouts
3 spring onions, sliced into thin circles
2 tsp groundnut oil (I just used more sesame oil......I think that it's peanut oil?)
1 tsp sesame oil
small bunch coriander, finely chopped (I used freeze dried....probably not as elegant tasting)

To make dressing, whisk all ingredients together and take 125ml of this to marinate the turkey in it while you do the rest of the salad.

Soak noodles in boiled water and drain under cold to refresh. Drain well.

Put the sugar-snaps and beansprouts into colander and pour freshly boiled water over them and then rinse with cold water quickly and drain so they are not wet.

In large bowl, swoop everything together and add more dressing if you like. Any leftover dressing will keep for a good week in the fridge.

Nigella says this recipe is great using prawns and chicken as well (if no leftover turkey is available)

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Pasta with Ham, Peas, and Cream

If you had a leg of ham for Christmas dinner you might have some leftovers. Here is a great ham leftover recipe. It comes from Nigella Lawson's Feast: Food that Celebrates Life. She says it's a recipe for children, so here it is, for the child in all of us.

200 g short pasta (like bowties)
100 g frozen peas
150 ml cream
150 g diced ham
2 tbsp grated parmesan

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water and add the peas to the pasta water during the last part of cooking.
Drain pasta and peas. Put the dry pan back on burner and heat up cream, ham, and parmesan. Add pasta and peas. Serve.

I use whatever cheeses I have left but the fresh grated parmesan or asiago is best.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

New cookbooks

These are new cookbooks of mine from this Christmas. I have fallen into collecting them. I can read a cookbook like I read any other book. These look fabulous! First the ham and turkey have to be eaten. I do love them for leftovers. In January it is more fun to eat simple and wholesome with few sweet things. Mmmmmmm.......

Tuesday, 27 December 2011


Guilt isn't good for you. It has a very low vibration. And Christmas time seems to be a huge contributor to feeling guilty. Why did I eat so much? I didn't get her anything. I should have done that or shouldn't have done that. So, find a way to not carry any guilt. It is useless as the event has already happened and any dwelling on it keeps you stuck in the past and usually feeling even worse than when the event was going on. It's not necessary to analyze anything. Only to drop that guilt thought and pick up a better feeling thought. There are an infinite number of thoughts to pick up. A thought of gratitude for something is an effective way to move past guilt. There is always, always something to be grateful for. It is a choice. And we hear a lot about gratitude so it seems like a fad - but just try it! Feeling guilt? Look around where you are standing and find something to be grateful for and see what happens. Pay good attention to the feeling sense of you and stay there for a moment. Notice the breath. Repeat as necessary.

Monday, 26 December 2011


I feel totally saturated with goodness, warmth, and love!
I love Boxing Day! No more wrapping, cooking, or even eating too much......and no more shopping either and if there is......well, it's for yourself :)

I received wonderful gifts from my family. I notice that they really know what I like and they love to see me squeal with gift I am using now....and ipad dock and keyboard, so I am much faster with my blog. I can type with all my fingers again! Both my daughters bought me my addiction - books!
I don't where to begin today in playing with my new toys. I feel like a kid.

We had coffee at the Bean Fiend on Algoma this morning.....great coffee and funky people.....and I had an enormous sense of gratitude for my children coming home for Christmas, all the way to Thunder Bay.

My new, April Cornell tablecloth. I love colour.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve is the traditional meal and celebration at our house. So, a very merry Christmas everyone! I had one holiday meal a week ago in Australia, another one tonight, and a third tomorrow with all the children present this year; Minna, Tiina, Jon, and Laura.
Life moves so fast doesn't it? It just goes from one Christmas to another, with so much that happens in between. And life is good. Life is good if we see it that way. It's so much a choice! I never believed that before but it is true for me now. So this holiday season I choose for joy and love and happiness. I have so much to be grateful for....... Mostly the beautiful people I have in my life. And that includes YOU!
The really cool thing is that life doesn't have to be perfect for it to be full of love and joy etc....... All the stuff of life is even more evident.......lots of dust bunnies and dirty dishes and grease stains on your new shirt. But they can't touch that which you have eternally present within you.

Thursday, 22 December 2011


I am a northern chick!
I love the air in Thunder Bay, the coolness of it.......the crispness. Oh, and seeing the sun come up over the houses and the sparkle of the snow.

I miss the smell of Australia already though I brought myself a jasmine soap and Australia sandalwood oil to help the scent of Australia linger in my life.

I love going away and I love coming home. What a long haul traveling home and in so much noise. I feel pretty good this first morning at home :)

Jasmine soap and flower. One of the most divine scents on earth!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


Wow! Sydney is not what I expected. What a hustle and bustle! We are staying at a backpackers inn on Pitt street. We are the oldest clients for sure but the kids are super welcoming. We have our own rooms d our bathroom across the hall. For what we have it is expensive. If time doesn't run out for Internet I will post photos. Yesterday it rained and when we walked out the door here, two guys were shampooing their hair in the gutter. Everyone was aligning and taking photos. The elevator to our 5th floor room takes forever at each floor. I am sure it wouldn't pass inspection so we walked up tonight after our 5 meal day. I need to do 108 sun salutations after this trip! We went on a ferry to Manly Island and walked around the Opera house here at Circular Quay. Had a fabulous final meal of paella across the street at a Spanish restaurant called Encasa with the greatest servers......very cute and friendly. Leaving for home in the morning.

Monday, 19 December 2011


I've been saying goodbyes since I was little. First to my two grandmas and my aunties and uncles and cousins when I was 2 and we moved to Canada. I never saw one grandma again and the other I went back to visit 16 years later. Since then I've lived far from in-laws and my children rarely saw half of their grandparents either. My mom is now nearly 80 years old and lives in Australia. One of my daughters lived for a few years in the UK and now they both live on either end of Canada with me in the middle. Goodbyes never seem to get much easier. Every time I wonder if I will see this person again. It's much easier to leave someone and some place to go back home than to be left behind. The quietness must be hard for my mom tonight. And I am here in a backpackers inn in Sydney. It is rainy and wet and humid.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

It seems that folks are way more relaxed here at Christmas then in Canada. And maybe I just don't really know. The shops are busy but people aren't frantic even on this last weekend before the big day. People aren't carrying tons of parcels and decorating in general is less. It seems quite sane. This is our last night with mum and tomorrow we are traveling to Sydney. There is a feeling of melancholy......has everything been said and done? The suitcases are packed and bulging. One more walk along the beach in the morning.

Didgerido played on street was amazing!

Saturday, 17 December 2011


Today is so windy!
It's so windy that I still have sand in my ears and I took a shower a while ago.
It's so windy that my thongs (flip flops) which I took off at the beach, were almost buried in sand within 15 minutes.
It's so windy that Don lying on his surfboard was going faster along the beach than I could run along beside him.
It's so windy that when I came back from the beach, the book that I was reading at the beach looks like it has a few pens inside it. There is so much sand between the pages. I wore sunglasses so I could even read. Yep, the book is that good. It's called The Touch by Australian author Colleen McCullough.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Playing in the water

It hasn't been great weather for surfing because the cross current is too strong. Don has been letting the waves push him around in the ocean. He met a kid on the beach this morning and they talked about the difficulty of catching waves. This young guy just said that he doesn't care if he catches any waves he just has fun in the water. Awwww, that's really what it's all about isn't it? Good on you, kid!
And me, I love the pool!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

On top of the world!

Q1 building, one of the tallest residential buildings in the world..... Yep, that's me having champagne on the 77th floor. An amazing view, 360 degrees. On the earth a person can see for 3 km before the earth's curvature blocks the view but from this building you can see for 60 km.
From above cars look like dinky toys, so small and insignificant.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Christmas or Chrissy as they call it here, sure is different in a warm climate. Here is the big guy himself in a boat on the beach. I couldn't get close, he is pretty popular here. :)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Bus to Noosa

A big country, so a long bus ride to Noosa, north along the sunshine coast....... A beautiful beach coastline......Best beer, best ginger scones at the ginger factory.
Looking out the bus window I was amazed how scenery is more similar in every country rather than different. I felt the same in a countryside in Canada, Argentina, Mexico, etc. The sense and the smell of it seems more different than the sight of it. Australia smells fabulous, a tea tree like, clean, sandalwoody freshness.....

Monday, 12 December 2011

Men and women

The women are in the shop and the men are......

The summer clothes are colourful and fun and I've never seen so many summer clothes shops.


Sunday, 11 December 2011


Oh man did we walk today! 18 km or so and the first half was along the beach and then some hot payment. We met up with a Canadian carrying a surfboard and he guided us on to a bus to shorten our journey somewhat. And we had a wonderful chin wag with him. He sent us to a good pub for a beer. We were so pooped that we went straight to hot tub.........

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Flat white

We went to Bumbles, the cutest little cafe on the Nerang river. The flat white and orange almond cake was delicious! So, flat white is the greatest coffee. Australia is famous for it. And it's expanding to coffee shops in the UK too, and who knows when Starbucks will have it. It is espresso based with full fat frothy milk. It has less froth and less milk than cappuccino or lattes. It seems smaller and stronger but rich and full bodied.

I bought a little Australian dictionary as there have been times when I couldn't figure out what mates were yabbering about.

a sparrow's fart: at dawn "gotta get up at a sparrow's fart"
brickies cleavage: top of the buttocks exposed by sagging waistline
wally: foolish person
hottie: hot water bottle
keg on legs: a big drinker
mustard machine: a baby
brown trouser job: frightening or scary

Friday, 9 December 2011

Byron Bay

I loved this community....... Surfing beach, shops, food, and magnificent views. I had to pinch myself to really clue in to being here. There was a lighthouse and I thought how wonderful it would have been to live here when there was no one else for miles around. The solitude would have been sublime!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Burleigh Heads

We rented bikes and road to Burleigh Heads, about 20 km round trip. I had an electric bike and I loved it! Don got a workout with a mountain bike but I just held the throttle and went like a crazy woman. There were great surfers there and we had fun watching them, as you can see :)
There was a great walking path with these huge vines and boulders that could roll over us at any time.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Down or up!

So, water swirls the opposite way in this hemisphere. This tree's needles and branches go up and in Canada ours go down. When standing at an intersection my head goes back and forth, left, right, left, and even then I run across because cars, or rather, caahs, seem to come out of nowhere. And they speed. They like pedestrians less than the Canadians.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


I am noticing that I need homework on this vacation. I can so easily get drawn into the dramas of the small things of life, all the stories around me and of course, my own too.
My ears are not affected when I listen. They just listen. My eyes just see. They don't interpret or take things personally. There is no comment by the eyes. They just see. So, my homework is to just see and hear and witness life and not take myself so seriously as to think it's all about me. Don Miguel Ruiz talks about not taking things personally. It's one of the four agreements in his book of the same name. I think in the biggest way he means to witness purely. Just because I am thinking about something doesn't mean that it's generated by me. I could just be the witness. This is my homework.

Early morning

Other animals.