Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Beautiful Graffiti

My mind is like this today. Beautiful graffiti......don't know what it's all about.....pretty even, and I'm curious, not concerned. Hmmmm.

I am not judging this experience. So, if you are feeling graffitified, just relax, it will pass, no need to judge it.

Monday, 30 January 2012


Books and bookmarks, they go together.

Some of my favorites are:
One from Sweet Thursday book shop, a wonderful and magical book store that we used to have here in Thunder Bay.
It has a quote by Cicero:
A room without books is as a body without a soul.

Another which has a quote by Erasmus:
When I have money, I buy books, and if any is left over I buy food and clothing.

And a bookmark I was given by Baba Hari Dass when we completed our yoga teacher training:

One thing that is very much helpful is to wish well to every creature. Such a thought will raise one from the very bottom to the highest point. Always, "peace unto all creatures." Carry on with this thought. It has tremendous power to uplift us.

Awww, and some chimply wonderful ones made by my girls when they were younger!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

I've been vegucated

We went to a documentary showing at the library last week. The documentary, Vegucated, was about 3 people who were vegans for 6 weeks and we followed them to farms etc., as they learned about practices regarding eating animals. The one thing we both came away with was the absolute inhumanity in the way animals are treated. If they were just killed, then okay, but there was a total disregard for life. Animals are treated as if they are not live beings, with heartbeats, and hair, and pulsing life-force. It is really difficult to think of eating any meat or drinking milk right now. It may pass if we allow a forgetting, but I don't want to forget just because it is more convenient for me.

Anyway, Don and I have been through this "what do we eat" conundrum many times. Information conflicts all the time, fresh food isn't as available in the winter, food is transported long distances, and then there is our food budget to consider too.

So, I pulled out some veggie cookbooks, and I do have a lot of them, and mused on my next move.
I've been vegetarian before. There was more work. And budget demands no processed food. Hmpf! What to do?

I made bliss balls! We had tea with them and just enjoyed this one food. No animal in it anyway, and pretty much raw.

Bliss balls:

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cardamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup grated coconut

Grind almonds finely in a food processor. Add raisins and grind until chopped up. Add tahini, honey, cinnamon, and cardamon, and blend well. Empty mixture into bowl and handmix in chocolate chips. Put the coconut into a shallow bowl or plate. Form balls with mixture, roll them in the coconut, and arrange on a platter.
Keep refrigerated.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The universal pause

when the old breath has left you forever
to enjoy this emptiness

when the new breath has filled you up
to enjoy this fullness

sandra sabatini

Friday, 27 January 2012

Simply be

All we need to do is relax into the moment. Everything is already okay.

To be here, all you have to do is let go of who you think you are.

Who am I without my story?

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Coffee or Lemon

"Without my morning coffee I'm just like a dried up piece of roast goat."

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

I don't drink coffee first thing in the morning. I usually drink one cup late morning or with lunch or in the early afternoon. That's all my body can handle now. I used to be a big coffee drinker. Many full-bodied cups a day. Then, during pregnancy, actually both of them, I couldn't stand the smell of coffee. It made my nauseous. How cool is that? My body telling me it's not good for this baby. Later, when I drank coffee again, at first it was ghastly. Diarrhea, the jitters, well some of you how it is. But I persevered and was able to drink it again in moderate amounts. However, a while later I just quit drinking the stuff altogether. Now, this is a Finn talking, and we love our coffee, strong, and thick, the stick to your ribs kind of brew. Even though I lost a few points of Finnishness, a new habit was formed. From coffee I moved to lemon and water. The first thing in the mornings I heat up some water but not to boiling, because I read somewhere that it destroys the Vitamin C, squeeze a half or whole lemon into the water, and drink. It works much better than coffee to get me going in the mornings, if you know what I mean.......
Occasionally, I add a dash of cayenne or ginger but mostly I'm lazy and it's just the lemon and water. You can put honey in it if you like, but I have gotten used to the bitter taste, pure and natural. It's been over 30 years. Sometimes, like now, I am drinking the one cup of coffee too, just because it tastes so good, but it's easy to do without. I've never looked back. Lemon, ginger and cayenne are all stomach stimulants, and they help to make digestive juice but don't require much themselves. So, if I remember this reasoning .......there is a cleansing action first thing in the morning as the surplus digestive juices get rid of toxins in the body.

I like to think I haven't become a dried up piece of roast goat because of this practice.

I remember last year I was having a second cup of brew and my friend took it and chucked it out saying that I am like a chipmunk on speed when I drink too much. Coffee, that is.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Wednesdays are my busy days.
Today, I am reminded of this quote by Socrates:

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Be willing for now.

I feel all gray and foggy today. The sun is shining beautifully and the air is crisp and bright, yet I feel foggy brained. And have such an unwillingness to get up and do something. I know what might help: some light stretching, dancing to Lada GaGa, meditation, cleaning something, going for a walk, ..... they are all ..... too much effort.

The real problem is that I am not accepting the moment as it is. If I could just be okay with being foggy or grumbly, then everything would be okay. Let me try...............................................................................................still trying...................................................................................................................... Hey, it's working!

Pay attention to the sensations in your body and stay there. Breathe. Stay in the moment. Not wishing anything to be different than it is. Be willing to do this one little thing and the world can go from fogginess to light.

Be willing for this one moment, right Now. Now, is always manageable. Everything is always okay - right now.

Alright, let the day begin!

Monday, 23 January 2012


Check out this site about a minimalist teen - January 23rd post.
Minimalism? - I do think about it.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Chinese New Year

So, have you cleaned house today? Getting rid of cobwebs and dustbunnies?
Hmpf! Me too. Just sitting here, well, I was, and now I'm writing, after a spurt of energy.

Today, I read first. Just sat with a warm fuzzy blanket, me and Felix, with warm coffee. I'm reading Helen Humphreys's book: Wild Dogs. I don't know what to make of it. The book has guts. Helen has guts for writing it. It's not just a story of some people, but cuts to my core. I don't know if I am melancholy, or maybe sad, or maybe happy. I know that I love the poetry of her words, and if I wrote a book, I would like to write like her, something real and surreal, at the same time. So, I read first, because I can get caught in getting caught up with all my gotta-dos. They are never done. And it worked. It gave me what I wanted, Sunday relaxing time. I felt like doing something after that. And without resenting it. Mandarin hot and sour soup is soon ready for our meal today. I've washed the sheets. Soon as Don is finished his project in the man cave below, we're going to vacuum, dust, clean toilet bowls, etc. Making way for a new and fresh new year. Did I say yesterday that tomorrow, Monday, New Years Day, you are not supposed to wash, not your hair, not anything, so as not to wash away good luck.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Prepare for Chinese New Year

Tomorrow, Sunday, is Chinese New Year's Eve. We have a day to prepare for the new year: to clean your house well, to "wash away" the previous year's energy and "stuff"; make sure the front entry of your home is spotless; sleep on new sheets tomorrow night; and wear clean pyjamas.

The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.

 Little Isaac in his new year finery with his red lucky money envelope

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Otter (January 20 - February 18)

Those born during this second moon of the year, the Rest and Cleansing Moon, have the otter as their totem in the animal kingdom, the quaking aspen tree as their plant totem, and silver as their mineral totem. Their colour is silver, and they are of the Butterfly elemental clan.

People of this totem are like their mineral, silver, in that they tend to be precious to all who know them. And like their mineral, Otter people are very sought-after individuals. They make good friends and interesting companions. Like silver, they are malleable, able to adjust easily to most situations in which they find themselves. Because of their true liking for people, they, too, seem to have shine, a luster that makes them appear to be beautiful people, whatever their physical characteristics.

The colour silver is considered to have many magical properties. It is considered to enhance the powers of the moon, the powers of perception, intuition and properly flowing emotional energy. Otter people are said to possess certain magical properties. They are usually very intuitive if they allow their energy to flow. They have the power to become telepathic more easily than most other people.

The quaking aspen can help the Otter folk to learn to sway gently with whatever winds are blowing, and by their swaying, allow the winds to blow through them and around them, without ever breaking. The tea of the quaking aspen can help Otter people relax and keep their internal organs in good condition.

With the otter as their totem it is easy to see why the Otter people are sought after companions. Like their totem they are clever, bold, playful, helpful, and gentle. They have a wide vocabulary and are as playful with words and philosophies as they are with other things. They are visionary and humanitarian. They truly enjoy being of service to others.

While they are generally mild, loving, and gentle, they do have the capacity to kick pretty strongly if they feel that you need a kick to get you back on the right road. They are rarely vengeful.

As other folk travel around the medicine wheel through this Rest and Cleansing Moon they will have the opportunity to find and develop the perception and intuition in their own natures. They will be able to formulate plans as to how to serve better in the world.

Excerpted from The Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology by Sun Bear and Wabun.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

When really busy

When really busy remember to exercise and to continue with meditation or any other practice that serves you. You need it the most when you are busy. It's so worth the time it takes.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Nothing wrong with you at all!

What I am really saying is that you don't need to do anything,
because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.
----- Alan Watts

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The organized shelf in my space

My space

Some "homes" on the water in Vancouver. Just so cute and organized!
The space in which we live we call home. The space in which my partner works at home, I call it the man cave, because it's in the basement, and because I have no interest in going there. Lucky for him.
I have a work space at home too, which I call the office, but it's so much more than my office: it's a sanctuary in which to meditate when I am not the only one awake in the house; it's a place to hold my stash of knitting yarns and projects; it's a place to read books; it's a place to clean purses: it's a place to cut up magazines for my ideabook; it's a place to organize. This room is small, 7 feet by 11 feet, so I am always organizing some part of it. I organized it on the weekend and I have loved spending more time in it. I also put in a little heater as it's the coldest room in the house. I have been productive in the last few days. I always vow to keep it organized, like every day making sure it's organized before I go to bed. I know people that can do this. I envy them. It would really be nice wouldn't it?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Chocolate Orange Cake

Oh my! For a gluten free cake this one is superb. The recipe is from Nigella Lawson's cookbook: Feast.
She says it is a citrussy, wet and light cake and that is true.

2 small or 1 large, thin-skinned orange
6 eggs
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
200g ground almonds
250g sugar
50g cocoa

Put the whole orange or oranges in a pan with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until soft. Drain, and when cool, cut the oranges in half and remove any big pips. Then pulp everything - pith, peel and all - in a food processor. Cool the fruit. (you can do this part the day before)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line a 20cm springform tin.

Add the eggs, baking powder, soda, almonds, sugar and cocoa to the orange in the food processor. Run the motor until it is like cake batter but with flecks of orange still visible.

Pour into cake tin and bake for an hour, checking at 45 minutes for doneness with a toothpick. Leave the cake in tin to cool.


Tip for baking cakes: always use the largest eggs you can find.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Quote for the day

Meditation simply means a few moments when you are not in the mind, a few moments when you slip out of the mind. You slip into reality, into that which is.

If even one percent of humanity becomes meditative, wars will disappear. And there is no other way.

Mind is a mechanism to create unhappiness. Its whole function is to create unhappiness. If you drop the mind, suddenly you become happy - for no reason at all.


Saturday, 14 January 2012


I love frittatas and omelets and pizzas. Frittatas take longer to cook because they are usually thick, omelets are quite fussy to cook and flip, and pizzas need flour which I don't eat much of. So, I've developed the fromelet. Easy for supper with leftovers, as long as you have eggs you can make it with little bits of stuff from the fridge.

Lightly beat some eggs with a small glug of buttermilk, or milk, or water, or nothing. Set aside. In a cast iron frypan cook in oil anything that needs longer cooking like onions, mushrooms, or garlic and when almost cooked pour egg mixture over top. Sprinkle on salsa, or hot sauce, or just salt and pepper. Cover with a lid to cook for a little while. When almost set, add ingredients like thinly sliced zucchini or tomato, or steamed asparagus, really anything, even leftover beans or lentils, or shredded spinach. Sprinkle some cheese or green onions on top.

Place in oven under broiler until completely cooked and slightly browned. You might sprinkle some parsley or cilantro on top if you have it.
It's also great to use pepperoni and mozzarella cheese on top to make a pizza fromelet.

Here is our last night's supper fromelet.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Winter is for massages

Felix loves, loves massages. His tail wags and he leans into it. As soon as the massager gets turned on he comes running over for his massage. Now this was a surprise for the humans who live with him. But hey, I used to have a dog that loved saunas and he would come onto the top bench with me. Tis the season!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Quote for the day

".....only be attentive to what is arising with you, and place that above everything you perceive around you......what is happening in your innermost self is worthy of your entire love; somehow you must find a way to work at it, and not lose too much time or too much courage in clarifying your attitude toward people."

"Live among the solitary children, and the grownups are nothing, and their dignity has no value."

-- Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Not a night blogger

Hey folks,
I do my emailing and blogging mostly mornings or during the day. But I notice I get lots of emails from people that are night owls. However, tonight, and it's not even very late, I am sitting with fresh home made bread, which someone so warmly brought to me today, and my tea, and curling up to catch up on all those funny clips, and other cool stuff that my friends have sent me.

Do you find that you don't always know what to do? Me too.
Ask yourself then, if I knew what to do, what would it be?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Sushi Bowl

This recipe comes from Heidi Swanson's book Super Natural Cooking.

Sushi Bowl with Toasted Nori, Avocado, and Brown Rice

2 cups short-grain brown rice
3 1/2 cups water
2 tsp sea salt
2 (4-inch) square sheets nori
6 oz extra-firm tofu
4 green onions, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp natural cane sugar
2 tbsp shoyu sauce
2 tbsp brown rice vinegar

Cook rice in water and salt for 45 minutes.

Toast nori in a medium hot skillet for a few minutes. Crumble into bits.

Drain tofu and pat dry. Cut the block into slices and cook and brown each slice in skillet. Slice into matchsticks.

To make the dressing:
Set the zests aside.
Combine orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, then add shoyu and vinegar, cooking for a few more minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in zests.

When rice is done, stir in 1/3 cup of the dressing and add more to taste. Scoop rice into individual bowls, and top with the toasted nori, green onions, tofu, avocado slices, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Okay - So I used tamari sauce instead of shoyu, just rice vinegar instead of brown rice vinegar, regular sugar, and everything was fine.

I bought a hard avocado rather than a black and mushy one, which were the only two choices ...... okay, I could have used an axe for the hard one. Next time I will probably just grate a carrot, or use sprouts, or maybe just chop some cucumber, instead of using avocado. In fact, I think of an infinite number of ways to modify this recipe depending on what I have in the fridge.

Good eating!

Monday, 9 January 2012


Money is always a hot topic. Most people have issues with money. Me too. I just don't always know what they are.

Today's Chronicle Journal in Thunder Bay had on their front page that an american 1793 penny, yes, a penny, was auctioned for $1.38 million. Good grief, who is this person?

Maclean's magazine this week has a cover article, 99 Really Stupid things the government did with your money. Hmpf! #21 - Durham, Ont. threw a $75,000 party to celebrate a new garbage incinerator, complete with air-conditioned tents and sushi. #15 Ottawa is designing a pedestrian bridge over a highway for $1.16 million just in case a stadium is built nearby. It might never even be built but they want to know the dimensions in case it does get built. #76 A Toronto city councillor charged taxpayers $300 to have his office blessed by a Baptist pastor. #95 The federal government paid consultants $19.8 million, or $900,000 a day, to suggest ways to trim budgets. Here's betting "overpriced outside advice" doesn't end up on their list of recommended cuts.

I wonder what the world would be like if we all were aware of our "issues" with money and if we could all see the bigger picture, world wide. Well, I guess it all starts with us, with me, with what I am aware of or unable to see. If I can be aware of how I handle money and you are aware and everyone is aware, well, then we might have next year's cover saying 99 really cool things the government did with your money.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Tomato & Caper Linguine

Here is an amazingly good recipe for so little effort. It's from Jamie Oliver. Dinner can be ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta.

400g linguine
olive oil
350g tomato passata
5 tbsp capers, rinsed
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
grated parmesan cheese

Cook linguine according to package directions.
Meanwhile, add a lug of olive oil to a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add the tomato passata, capers, and lemon zest and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
Drain linguine and toss with sauce to coat. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and extra lemon zest, if desired.

In the photo I cooked too much pasta so it looks a little pale.....the capers dropped to the bottom too. :)

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Life is not THAT serious.
Let's take humour seriously!

"The art of being happy involves being able to laugh at difficulties as soon as possible after they happen." Don't wait to laugh at your mistakes otherwise you suffer longer. Forget slights. Remember praise. (Sheesh? How often is it the other way around?)

Friday, 6 January 2012


I am having one of those days when everything is off kilter. Things I had taken care of earlier this week re-surfaced today.....banking stuff, scheduling.....a friend came over early, I was still in pajamas......got the wrong ingredients at the grocery store..... wrong web information and that needed re-doing by Don so he wasn't a happy camper either. Hmpf! The wonderful thing is - underneath it all I have a calm stillness and I'm just watching all this happen. I am so grateful for having discovered and practiced yoga and meditation. It all came in handy today.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

To list or not to list

This Desk notebook is just over 3 inches thick. Notes-Lists-To Do. From an awesome store in Vancouver - Anthropologie. My daughter brought me there when I visited her and this book is a present from her, since I oood and aaaahd about the store.

I make lots of lists: grocery lists; ideas for classes lists; bucket lists; shopping lists; books to read lists; things-to-do-today lists; etc. Quite frankly, I couldn't live without them. I make a list and then the stuff isn't rolling around in my brain. I don't have to remember. My mind is then free to play with other things.

My mom, on the other hand, never makes lists, except in her head. We were doing grocery shopping together and she was walking the aisles remembering what she needed to buy. I suggested she make a list next time. And she countered with, "Then how am I ever going to remember anything if I don't practice it?" Good point, ma! She was quite amazing that day, she never forgot a thing and we had a grocery cart full of a week's supply of food.

So, to list or not to list?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The hands and feet of sock knitting

I am surprised that I like to knit. This one stitch at a time thing. A sweater one stitch at a time seems to take forever and then all of a sudden it's done. Completed. One stitch at a time. One breath at a time. And then it's done.

My mom is a sock knitter extraordinaire. I love her socks. If fact I usually wear only her handmade socks. Thick ones or thin ones they all fit my foot like a glove,....er....sock! My feet are princess feet. They don't tolerate being in tight socks. Only handmade with love socks. My mom says that she thinks about the person she is knitting for while she is knitting. Awwww!

Knitting socks is a tradition in my family. Even my dad knit socks during the war. He's the one that taught me how to cast on, on many occasions, for I had trouble with that part.

Here is the feet of my daughter's and I, measuring our socks.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Winter is the true season of the north. Spring is merely a promise that something big is about to happen; summer is just an illusion, in which people believe for a few hot days, or at most weeks; autumn is death, the dark grave of spring's promise and summer's fantasies. But winter really exists; the snow, the ice and the frost are realities. Winter never fails us, it always comes cold, snow-white with sparkling diamonds of ice on its locks, it rises from the dark grave of autumn and reigns sternly and fearsomely over the earth and its people.

Translated from the Finnish author, Toivo Pekkanen

Monday, 2 January 2012

Snow Goose

People born under the Earth Renewal Moon, the first moon of the year, have the snow goose as their totem in the animal kingdom, the birch tree as their totem in the plant kingdom and quartz as their totem in the mineral kingdom. Their colour is white. They are born between December 22 and January 19th.

From the quartz, snow goose people can learn to see things clearly and to let the energies of the universe flow through them. If snow goose people can keep themselves clear and fluid they can act as receivers and transmitters for the powers of the universe. They have a cool exterior like quartz, which makes them appear reserved, however, they warm up, after a time, if those close to them pour their own warmth and energy into them. They are rarely gushy or overly sentimental.

The snow goose people are much like the birch tree, stately and beautiful. Snow goose people have a real respect for tradition. They often find themselves in positions where they counsel others. Like the birch, these people can rid the air of unnecessary static if they have taken care to keep themselves in a good state, where their energy can flow freely and purely. A tea made from birch could be useful to people of this totem, especially for ailments of the respiratory tract or for swelling of knees.

The snow goose itself travels thousands of miles to the arctic and then south. They are very gregarious birds. They make a strong impression on folks below as they fly overhead. Like their totem, people of the snow goose have minds that are able to soar and cover vast distances. These folks, like their totem have a genuine liking to be in a group but may be reserved and you may hardly notice that they are there. It can be difficult to break through the reserved exterior of these folk to find out what they are really like. They are careful of who they allow to let in. However, they like to be in the center stage although this is so masked it is at first hard to notice. They can be nitpickers and love neatness.

The colour of the snow goose is the white of the snow itself, that magical form of water that floats down to earth, each flake in its own special form, making everything look fresh, sparkling, clean and new. White is the sum of all colours. It is considered to be the colour of purity, and of balance between all colours. White expresses the highest nature that people can aspire to.

For other folks passing through this part of the medicine wheel of life, this position gives them the lesson that it is here that they can renew themselves and balance all the energies from the other signs. It is a time of rest and renewal and a time to review the actions of the past year and prepare for the year to come.

Excerpted from:
The Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology
by Sun Bear and Wabun

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Have you made a new years resolution? ......


"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back - .
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definately commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin in now."

Remember that all thought is creative. Be aware of what you are thinking. Choose what you are thinking.