Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Best Rhubarb Cake

I love rhubarb!

This is the best tasting rhubarb cake I have found. Enjoy! I can't remember where I found the recipe.

2 cups rhubarb chopped
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven 350 C. Butter a 9 inch square cake pan.

Sprinkle rhubarb with the 2 tbsp sugar and set aside while you prepare the rest of the cake.

In a bowl combine topping with fingers - 1/4 cup butter, brown sugar, coconut and cinnamon until chunky but well mixed. Set aside.

Combine together the flour and baking soda.

Combine the white sugar and the 1/2 cup butter and beat with an electric mixer for 3 to 5 minutes or until fluffy. Add egg and buttermilk, mix on slow. Add flour mixture until just mixed. Fold in rhubarb and any juices. Put in pan and cover with topping. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Full Cupboard of Life

The Full Cupboard of life is the next book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series that I have been reading. I usually read these books in the summer. There is something about the summer that I don't want to read anything too heavy. These are light reading but tell a lot about life in South Africa. Written by Alexander McCall Smith and he writes with wit through Mma Ramotswe, with her traditional body and keen eyes.

The sun peaks out........for a moment.
May you have a full cupboard of life!

Rainy days

Another day indoors!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Life can be a movie

I've been thinking how life is a movie. Sometimes a great, fun movie, sometimes sad, sometimes violent, sometimes joyful. If we live our own lives as a movie that is happening live each moment it can be wonderful and juicy. Or, we can press the pause button and start commenting on the movie, this is bad, this is good, this shouldn't be happening, etc. Where is the juiciness in that? It's like chewing something that's already been chewed. Yeuch! I want to just surrender to my own movie as it's happening. Watching, enjoying, or occasionally peaking through my hands when it's getting a little rough, but still alive moment to moment. And with no commentary!

Monday, 28 May 2012

What a day!

It's been quite a day. It began with the fire alarm going off in the basement at 3 am. What the heck? In this rain? Don went to check downstairs and stepped in water. The earth couldn't take it in anymore and the water was coming right up through the cement (or so it seems). The fire alarm? Well, we had an old washing machine that occasionally liked to dump water on the floor rather than the drain so Don rigged up a battery operated fire alarm to ring when water hit it on the floor. And even though we have a new machine we left the alarm on the floor and it sounded this morning. All hands on deck. We used dust pans to scoop water into pails and dumped the pails of water outside. We are on a hill and have a basement entry on one side of the house so we can never get more water than ankle deep because we can just open the door, yet, we have a finished basement and don't want mold problems. We had a coffee break at 4:50 am, two of us in shorts and boots, one in his underwear and my mom in her leopard print pajamas. We laughed at the situation and the occasion. Happy birthday to me!
We've all had a nap since then, eaten well, had our traditional strawberry and whipped cream cake and now - hello sun! Welcome back.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Last breakfast

Our meditation group (Ishaya's ascension of the Bright Path) meet weekly but also once a month for breakfast. Today we had a lovely breakfast at a new restaurant to send off one of our meditators, Bryan, to his six month self-mastery course in Spain. Hugs and kisses abounded, and laughter and joy! Wishing you love Bryan!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The thrill of the hunt

I love yard sales. It's my Saturday morning ritual in the spring. I plan the route early in the morning, 8 o'clocks, then 9 o'clocks, and 10 o'clocks. Usually I am finished by 9:25 pm or so. I just drive by some places. I have a good eye now and see from far away if it's worth stopping. It's really the thrill of the hunt. I used to buy lots of stuff when I first moved into my house but I've slowed down. And it's still the thrill of the hunt. I bring home very little......except today.......
First photo shows some of the stash.
Second photo......I bought the whole box for $4.00 but I only wanted one item from it. The woman selling it said it was a camping basket with everything for cooking and eating. She didn't want to separate anything so I bought the whole thing. Guess which item!

Right! The green coffee pot. It is a real treasure.

Friday, 25 May 2012

This evening was a present

I have spent the evening with a wonderful man who has lived a rich and full life and is now on his way to leaving his body. They say he is dying. It seems to me that his body has thoroughly lived and been used up and now it's time to shed it.

Don and I sang with him, laughed with him, even though response was weak but it was there in the most beautiful presence. It was a most real evening.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

It's still raining.

My yard is starting to look as green as Ireland is said to be. My flower pots, that do have holes in their bottoms, are starting to look like swamps. I do love the sound of rain. The sound gives me permission to be lazier. As lazy as I can be. I had a short nap today.
My mom and partner are enroute on the last leg of their journey from Australia. And there is a rain party for them with thunder......well, how wonderful, welcome to Thunder Bay.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Light

Yesterday, or was it the other day, the sun shone through the clouds in the late evening. The light always comes.
We have a misunderstanding about what is going to create peace for us, what is going to create joy and it is misleading. Your peace and your joy exist inwardly right now. And what meditation does is give you a vehicle to go inward now and there is a vast, boundless cavern of silence within us. We don't taste it very often because we are so absorbed in the chatter that is usually taking us backwards and forwards. The only way you can be assured you are living your divine dream, your divine purpose is to get out of the way. And the only way you can do that is to go inward.

Maharishi Krishnananda Ishaya

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Oh boy, oh boy! Another rainy day. It really is good for the earth, especially my garden. Yes, I cut the lawn yesterday too. But why does it feel cloudy in my mind? Maybe it's because my feet and hands are cold. The chill has gathered into my mind. I love to find a reason for everything. It's mind always looking to help me be right................a friend came over for tea. Now I don't know where the chilliness has gone but it's totally gone. I've taught a yoga class and now feel completely warm and fuzzy.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Cornplanting Moon (Deer) May 21 - June 20

Those born between May 21 and June 20, have the moss agate as their totem in the mineral kingdom, the yarrow as their totem in the plant kingdom and the deer as their totem in the animal kingdom. Their colours are white and green.

The moss agate is a healing stone. It used to be considered most beneficial for the eyes, but it has also been used, in pendulum style, to heal other parts of the body. It is considered to be a link between the mineral and plant kingdoms, enabling its owner to have a better understanding of both of these. Like their stone, Deer people have particular healing abilities, if they learn to develop them. People in this totem can have abilities in almost any field if they are willing to work at getting them. These people like beauty, and they like to make their environments beautiful. They are often capable of creating things of beauty out of very ordinary materials. With these abilities, homes, offices or other places that Deer people go will become more attractive places to be for anyone involved with them.

People of the Deer are most comfortable when they can spend at least part of their time in the mountainous or hilly country where the Earth Mother has joined the plant and mineral kingdom.

Yarrow is a beautiful, useful, versatile and prolific plant. Deer people are the same. They are a tonic to those around them. Like their stone and plant the Deer folk can be great healers.

Deer people have the gift of the gab. They can talk about any subject and they do. They jump quickly from one thing to another. They can have a difficult time settling into one thing.

Their white colour is the translucent white of formlessness, of the space where anything seems to be possible. As white contains all colours and Deer people tend to contain a myriad of possibilities. Their green is the green of nature.

Like their totem, Deer people are sensitive, graceful, fast moving and alert. They are by nature intuitive, and this helps them to sense easily the feelings of other people, at least those on the surface.

The need for beauty around them really runs deep within the Deer people. They are also clever, resourceful and creative.

They can make a wide range of sounds and usually voice themselves in an enthusiastic way. They love people.

When people of other moons find themselves in this position, they will discover something of their own abilities to be more sensitive, fast moving and appreciative of beauty in all of its forms. They will also discover the strengths and weaknesses that come from having life's energy run throughout them so quickly.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Thank goodness for rainy days

I slept 10 hours last night after my whole day of being out in the garden. And today it's been raining all day. Thank goodness! I have gotten so many things organized inside the house. I am working madly to get ready for my mom and her partner. They're arriving from Australia on Thursday and they are staying with me for the summer. Three months. We've all done it before, living together for three months, usually every few years. It's my mom, you know, got to get more cleaning done than I might do otherwise. I actually love making home or as Don has said - I can make a nest anywhere.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Now we know

Now we know, we are all brothers
Now we know, we are all sisters
Now we know, we share the earth
Now we know, our touch is green.

by Litha Sovell of Tanzania

Friday, 18 May 2012

Just right

I've been in the garden all day. There are infinite weeds to pull. Creeping charlie is creeping everywhere! The only thing I planted was garlic chives in the ground and pansies into some pots. I've made some soil for pots and wandered around putting the pots with just soil in them into the places they will rest all summer. I've counted all the shady and sunny locations. Every year I say that I won't put as many pots as the year before. But when spring comes I seem to forget the work involved in watering them. They are just so glorious all over the steps and into the garden.

Getting things just right isn't always easy. I try to do just the right amount of gardening to I am tired in a happy way and not too exhausted to even have a bath or eat. I used to do the extremes in gardening, either sitting all day drinking tea, reading gardening magazines and musing what to put where. Now, I am more seasoned and can work for a while and sit and muse for a while. Supper awaits. The herbal bath awaits.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Opinions

Sometimes I can be very opinionated. Very! When I think about opinions I see them as just a bunch of thoughts that I think are more true than your thoughts. Right? I am glad you agree with my opinion. Now, if I had less opinions I think I would hear better because I would just be listening and not trying to figure out how I can say something more profound and more true than the other person, and thinking all that while I am supposed to be listening. Usually, it's me listening to the thoughts floating in my own mind. Good grief! Minds are weird. No wonder we call the mind an ego. It's just full of itself. Anyway, my homework this week is to look at opinions. My own opinions and other people's opinions to see where they come from, how they build, what happens after I think an opinion, etc. Already I can guess that I won't want any more of them. What is the point?
So, in my opinion there is no need to have opinions.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Home again

The day started with a big breakfast at the Egg and I, in Minneapolis. My friends and I meandered home stopping to poke around at the Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis and Kohl's in Duluth.
I love traveling but I love coming home even more. It's wonderful to be away for a while - then you really see how things are not the same from day to day. I see home with fresh eyes. I see how the plants have grown. In just 4 days! The trees now have leaves a little bigger than mouse ears - more like kitten ears.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Our gang

This Is last night's skyline ....... I'm dancing to Lady Gaga's Boys Boys Boys while on a 22nd floor of a downtown building while taking my photo.

And here, at the end farewell, our whole group is on that same rooftop this afternoon soaking up the glorious sun's rays.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Where else?

Good morning Minneapolis! Where else would we head for morning java except Starbucks. The day is unfolding beautifully in the glorious warm sun.

What a wonderful day. We have meditated and meditated and laughed and laughed! Here we are on the sidewalk.........couldn't fit inside the restaurant.......at Dancing Ganesha, yuhuu!

Friday, 11 May 2012

On the road again

We are in Minneapolis, 10 of us Canadians. Seven hour drive south and check out their spring! Leaves on vines and trees and we don't have really any, maybe little mouse ears worth.

For a small town chick to drive in Friday traffic Ina bigger city, huh, I'm pooped. First stop was for a coffee in Grand Marais, Minnesota at where else but the Java Hut with a view over the big lake. The second picture is at place of arrival.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Own eyes

Albert Einstein said that "few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts". Let's you and I be one of those few, shall we?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Waiting

Felix has one of those days where he is waiting and watching. It's a sunny day and everyone seems busy. The mail person is rushing and she needs to be scolded for that rushing. Don is coming and going on errands. Buk, Felix's friend came for a visit and has left and Felix is waiting for his next adventure to come along. He loves the sun for the warmth and the sun for all the activity. I wonder what it would be like to wake up in the morning and be waiting, just waiting for the day to unfold without having to orchestrate it at all. I think I would call that a day off.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Blessings on ordinary days

An ordinary day. The best kind of days but we get used to them and they can feel boring and well, just plain and ordinary. Yesterday we were in a grocery store and I was bagging the groceries, Don was paying, and he is careful always to check the screen for the cashier so we don't get charged more than we should. This is a hard job when the cashier is good and swift. He squinted at the screen and said what's that irrest...frt...? That's not we have. The cashier stares at him coldly and I can see that she is trying to figure out if he is rude or some kind of other trouble-maker. She looks at me and I am smiling and then she smiles too and explains what we bought and it's some short form on the screen. Don keeps squinting and checking the prices as she watches him. And I think she had the audacity to speed up for him. She gives the amount and says there is a 20% surcharge for the best cashier and the total is.......! The two of them stared at each other and both broke out laughing. What a wonderful moment!

It seems to me everybody is just doing their thing. Their thing that they do because they do. We all do something that can drive other people crazy. We can be irritated because it seems silly or nutty or obnoxious, or we can just accept.

We then went to Timmy's for coffee with a coffee card that I found when cleaning the garden in my front yard. We live on a slope and the wind brings garbage down the hill to get trapped in the tufts of the ornamental grass at the picket fence. This year I found the Tim Horton's card with money on it, a few dollars of Canadian Tire money, and a Bulk Barn card that I haven't checked out yet. I guess that the universe is providing me a tip for cleaning up my yard.

Monday, 7 May 2012

A lentilly day

I cooked some green lentils today and here are two very good lentil recipes.

Lentil Dressing

(from Brendan Brazier's book-Whole Foods to Thrive: Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health)

2/3 cup cooked green lentils, unsalted
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp miso paste
2 tsp dijon mustard
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
Freshly cracked pepper

Use a blender or food processor to blend all the ingredients until semi-smooth.

Lentil Dip (shown below)

I 540 ml can lentils
1 red pepper finely diced
3 green onions chopped
1/2 cup currants (I used some chopped raisins)

Mix these together and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Then mix dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt, cloves, and pepper

Toss well and let mellow in fridge for a few hours. Stir. Best served room temperature. Enjoy! This recipe comes from my friend Michelle.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Gardening as teacher

Today I had so much to do in the garden that at first I just stood there and wondered what to do. I felt it was important to see clearly before I started. To make a list. To have some plan for the day. And to admit to what I see. What's really going on here. Gardening has taught me to be realistic. Yep, I've made many mistakes. I have learned from gardening to just start with the most obvious task, and to keep on going. The day flowed.....flowered, hmm, are those words related?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Cleaning the garden....and lazy man

I have scratched, pulled, picked with a pick-axe, dug, and kneeled in the garden today. I have hops - need I say more.....the roots go all the way to China, well, okay I exaggerate. Hops and a few other plants, some I know not what they are, really grow. And grow. I have comfrey too but for some reason I love how it looks with it's purple little bell flowers and big fluffy leaves so I allow it to stay in it's own little quarter. Comfrey leaves line the compost bucket beautifully so it's easy to keep the bucket clean and it helps to start the composting process. Pretty and useful. I much prefer perennials that grow in clumps and I have control over where I want them to grow. I am getting rid of most plants that grow with underground suckers. I have poppies that seed themselves but at least they are easy to pull out where I don't want them.
Check out the lazy man...tehe.....tehe!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Cleaning day

I just started this morning to clean. It's late in the day and I still have motivation to keep going. I was going to get rid of extra stuff in the house but I only have two little bags full. I realize I am a maximalist rather that a minimalist. I'm okay with that but I do like order and I have it today. Yippee! Well, as I look around there really is more to do but I am choosing to look at what I have done and not what is left to do.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Boreal Herbal

Dandelion Jelly, Yarrow Oily Skin Treatment, Boreal Skin Oil, and Coltsfoot Cough Syrup. These are some of the wonderful concoctions from this truly terrific book. This is simply the best book of its kind that I have come across. I recently ordered it and can hardly wait for spring growth so I can dip into these wonderful recipes. The book has great photographs and I recognize many plants even growing in my backyard. I have always wanted to forage and with this book under my arm I am going to set forth on this new adventure. Beverly Gray, the author, has written with love about this huge forest area. The book is both an identification guide and a food and medicine-making handbook. She writes "The spirit of the Earth is calling us together to simplify, return to our roots, and live in a symbiotic relationship with nature. Now is the time - nature heals."
Right on!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Names

A wonderful man was my dad's room-mate in the senior's home. Every day this man would listen to music, hum and sing with it, and rock back and forth in his wheelchair. His bed was right in front of my dad's bed. My dad lay in bed for most of the day and he watched this happy man. My dad got his vibes. He had his own little cheering concert every day. This man's name was Mr. Bliss. I remember him fondly.

I've read many great gardening articles by a man named Patrick Lima. Now did he pick his gardening profession because of his name? Or did the name pick him because of his future gardening aptitude?

So many names that tell what a person loves. I find it amazing! Now, that I am trying to remember all the ones I have heard, I can't remember them. But I am sure we all know some. I read a lovely book once about Australian Aborigines and how they may change their names many times during their lifetime to indicate what is special about them. There is the listener, the storyteller, the cook, the water finder, and so on.

There are many cultures that get their names from nature. Hill. Lake. Other names come from professions. Smith. Potter.

Names are given by teachers. Mayama. A Sanskrit name.
-It means the Goddess who reflects the illusory power of the Infinite.
-It is another name of the Divine Mother.

How did you receive your name? Does it reflect who you are now? What name would you like to have?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May Day! May Day!

Celebrating
Sima/mead drinking
Ice cream eating
Dancing
Working or not working
Marching
for Meaning
Singing
Spring planting.

I met a woman in a restaurant today. We sat at different tables and smiled. We chatted and connected. We exchanged business cards and lives. We are sure we will see each other again. I love that making new friends brings the same warm, lovable feeling inside as when I was a kid.