Tuesday, 31 July 2012

What I have learned today

I have learned today not to be so hard on myself. That I should be vigilant in getting my whole meditation in every day. And that there has been a study done, I think with Kirlian photography, that if you thank and are grateful and loving to the food you eat there is more value than worrying about the food you eat. Did that make sense? So, if you have a plate of organic veggies, etc and eat it with no thankfulness there is less nutrition and benefit than if you ate a plateful of processed fast food which you thanked. How cool is that!

I am in the library here at Mount Mary in Ancaster. Hopefully I can find my way back tomorrow. Enjoy this moment!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Flying continued

Nope, not flying any more but I had the most amazing views from inside the plane last night. The flight path was along the shore of the great lakes. I can't remember ever seeing so much before. I could have taken a photo but I decided to just keep looking outside and staying in the beauty. The islands, and islands, and islands! With nobody on them! Sandy beaches all around. Some islands had a speck of something, a cottage, or metal like a boat. And Ships! Like little dinky toys. The lakes were completely calm. I saw oodles of windmills.....no, they are not windmills..........hmmmmm, you know those wind turbine things that, from the sky look like the tin man with arms and head slowly circling around. The air was so still that some moved not at all.

I would love to live on one of those islands for a whole month and watch the waves and the birds and the daily changes. I think the fall would be nice. No bugs!

I looked at the islands like we look at clouds to find shapes. I saw a giraffe, and elephant, and an old man with a long neck and a big Adam's apple. If fact, everything I saw looked like a character out of a doctor Seuss book. I so enjoyed my flight.

So, I might not have access to Internet for the next 7 days. If I am able you will hear? see? from me. Otherwise I will connect on the 6th.

Have a joy filled day!

Sunday, 29 July 2012


I am about to fly on Air Canada to Toronto. I am staying with my friend Madhu for the night. Her and I and another friend, Ira, are driving tomorrow to Ancaster, near Hamilton. There is a meditation retreat we are attending with our teacher, Maharishi Krishnananda Ishaya. I can barely wait for the delicious company, food (we are always fed well), and resting in the stillness. We are a joyful group of folks who are wild and wonderful together. I used to think that meditation was serious and somber. Not at all. Yet there is peace and joy!

On the plane I have a great way to not get sore popping ears. During take off and landing I rub the web between the little finger and ring finger and also between the ring finger and third finger. Works wonderfully. No gum chomping necessary.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Talk to the body

Sometimes it is good to talk to the body. To ask it what it needs. How are you today? What can I do for you? Are you happy with the amount of exercise you get? Are you happy with the nourishment you are getting?

If my belly had a voice what would it say? Too much work. I need a rest from the variety and amount of food! That is what mine says today.

You can ask any part of the body. Ask and be surprised what you might find out :)

Friday, 27 July 2012

What a weekend!

It has been a day of activity!
So many possibilities all weekend to come as well.

In Thunder Bay today is the Nordic Walk for the Guinness book. Well, it's an attempt to get into the book - walking with ski poles. Yeah!

The beginning of Finn Thunder - a Canadian annual happening and this year it is in Thunder Bay. Many tourists that look like they are family :)

And of course, the opening of the Olympic Games. I love the opening and closing ceremonies. I feel tearful! Big and moving to watch. The athletes are cheering. There is a talk about being role models, sportsmanship rather than winning, doing your best and having fun. The Queen looks bored.

Thursday, 26 July 2012


The beauty of Northwestern Ontario.
Everyone should visit here at least once!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

No buts

Every time you say the word, but, something closes. It is a word that pulls you in two directions. Okay I would love to do that but I can't. But, the word is over used!

Every time you notice yourself saying but - change it to and. But to and. It is radical. It will put a positive feel into every cell of your body.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Summer soup

This is one of my favourite soups to eat in the summer. It needs fresh vegetables, preferably just dug from the ground, to give it that earthy taste. I first encountered this recipe when I was living in Finland and here is my version.

2 cups water
3 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
4 carrots
3/4 to 1 cup fresh peas
1 smallish cauliflower
5 to 6 small potatoes
handful of spinach
4 cups milk
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
handful of parsley

Chop vegetables into soup size pieces. Boil water with the salt and sugar. Add carrots and boil for 5 minutes, then add peas, potatoes and cauliflower. Simmer until soft. Add torn spinach.

Mix the flour into a little bit of the cold milk until smooth and stir into the soup and stir again until thickened. Add milk, stirring constantly. Bring just to boiling. Add parsley and the butter. Serve.

Here again, the soup pot was half empty when I remembered to take a picture. :)

Monday, 23 July 2012

Ripe Berries Moon (Sturgeon) July 23 - August 22

For people born from July 23 until August 22, their mineral totem is the garnet and iron, their plant totem is the raspberry and their animal totem is the sturgeon. Their colour is red.

Like their minerals, Sturgeon people can be found in a wide variety of forms and settings, yet they have some common characteristics that make them easy to identify. Like the garnet, Sturgeon people are often identified with their hearts, which tend to be large, affectionate and magnanimous. Sturgeon people function best from the feelings that they have in their hearts, and these are usually ones of friendliness and benevolence toward their fellow humans. Because they work from their heart center, they tend to be intuitive and perceptive people who usually have clairvoyant talents, either actively or latently. These talents often make the Sturgeon person aware of danger that might come to him or those close to him.

Because of their perception and sensitivity, these folks have the ability to do and say things that can penetrate straight to the heart of their friends and enemies. Sturgeon people make both powerful friends and powerful enemies.

Sturgeon people are usually regal in their bearing and attitudes. They stand out in a room full of people. These people are doers who literally will go where angels fear to tread. If you have a difficult task, find yourself a Sturgeon person. They are courageous and capable and versatile.

Like the raspberry some sturgeon people appear to be all bombastic aggression, rather thorny, when you first encounter them. This prickly outer coating is their way of protecting the soft heart that lurks within. Others appear to be all warmth and affection, but, underneath, you will find a few thorns. These people are usually friendly and outgoing on the surface but have a marked tendency to avoid showing their feelings to others.

Like their animal totem, people of this moon tend to be the ruler of whatever waters they inhabit. They come to this position naturally because of the large amounts of primal energy that run through their beings. They seem to be born to lead, and they are usually fair and benevolent leaders, as long as their energies are flowing smoothly. They have an unending source of inner strength and depth of feelings. They need to guard against a tendency to seem arrogant and to be too dominant.
Like the sturgeon, these folks have a tough armor that is difficult to cut through.

When people who were born under other totems pass through this moon, they can learn about the vital powers that flow through them, sometimes unnoticed. They can learn of their own courage and strength, and they can experience themselves as leaders of whatever things they are involved in at the time.

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

Sunday, 22 July 2012

No time to waste

A friend in the U.K. told me that as he was reading the Sunday paper with news of the shooting at a cinema in Denver, he came across a story that jumped out at him. It was about a couple who were reunited in a hospital after believing that each other was dead. Right there, the guy got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She said yes. What she said to a reporter was this: "There is no more time in our lives to waste. Only love will help us to put all this evil in the past."

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Chocolate Mint

Tonight I gathered chocolate mint from the garden. It makes the most delicious tea. I take off the harder stems and put the leaves on an oven pan. And into the oven no higher than 120 F. I stir the leaves around with my hands once in a while. In 2 or 3 hours my mint is dried and can be put in a jar. I know there are probably better ways to dry mint and other herbs that keep more natural oils and flavor. Hanging them - well, I forget and they are dusty by the time I remember. Putting them in a paper bag is what I do for nettles and lemon balm, etc. but in the oven seems to work good enough for mint. And it's so fast. I can have chocolate mint tea tonight.

Friday, 20 July 2012


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the space in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

by Judy Brown

When there is lots of busy-ness and then you stop there can be lots of unintegrated stuff left under the surface. It can be intense when the lid comes off. In summer, when you have time, attend to the experiences. Let the lid off stuff and tease out the good bits and the bits to let go of. Ask for help if you need. Summer is a wonderful time to reflect on busy-ness and see where you are going or not going. What are you running from? What are you running towards?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Why don't we know what to eat?

Don is having a crisis about what to eat. He reads on nutrition and fitness. There is just so much information and rarely does it seem to agree with each other. Or it changes month to month. The only thing he has found to eat that no one has criticized is leafy, green vegetables. And he said who wants to live on that? It's a funny thing - with all our knowledge we still can't agree on this simple thing - what and when and how to eat! Baba Hari Dass who grew up in India and lives in California once said that it's not good to think so much about food. Just eat the best food available that you can afford. And fast for 12 hours every day so body rests. Now, so much is available and it's perhaps not all meant to be eaten all the time. Who knows? Really? I just don't get why we don't know what to eat. Or maybe we do and it's only complex because there is too much variety.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Recently I received a shower head and hose from a friend. It was much newer and nicer than my old one. I threw mine out because the new one appeared to work wonderfully. Next day it sprung a leak. It was cracked. Okay, I thought, I'll buy a new hose but threads are worn on the tap and the taps are super old and I have trouble opening and closing them so let's replace them too. Easy or so I thought. Hmmmmm, I forgot that my house is 100 years old and the plumbing has been repaired and reworked by different people through many years. A simple job has expanded to 3 days. My brother knows the lay of the house pretty good by now as he is my chief repair man. He tried the simple way and couldn't get parts and had to re-work pipes to suit and replace some boards and has ended up with more joints than he wanted to have. It's quite a spectacular sight!

It was funny to see 3 people standing in this tiny bedroom closet (2 x 3'), bums in the air, musing on the strange plumbing done previously and peering through tiny holes into the bathroom.

I couldn't be a plumber. Tiny spaces. Hot spaces. Burnt fingers. Leaks. Old houses.

It's amazing that one small gift of a new hose can snowball into a full blown project. And the timing was perfect. There was time to do it and the right man available for the job. It needed to be done.

So, thanks for the hose!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Cleaning out and cleansing

I cleaned the fridge today of all the bits of veggies and made a huge salad, some vegetable stock, and stirred the rest of the vegetables into a lentil curry. What fun! I love cleaning out. And a bounty of food is the result.

I would like to cleanse one day with a raw food only day. Or just veggie and fruit juices. There just seems to be so much food coming in and so much good cooking that I am waiting for the right day. Hmmmm, that day may never come if I don't make it happen. Okay, soon!

Raspberries are ripening daily so more food continuously appearing! Here I am today, with my raspberries for dessert and cleaning out by eating it - the rest of the ice cream that I found in the back of the freezer. This ice cream has nuts and chocolate lumps in it and is wonderfully good. But no one else cares for it except me. What luck!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Quick and easy blueberry tart

Here is a recipe I have used for years when I crave something sweet but not too sweet.

175 grams margarine or butter
300 ml flour - I use all rye flour with the blueberries, whole wheat works wonderfully with everything and I haven't tried it but I bet that brown rice flour would be good for gluten free
100 ml sugar - I always use a little less
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Bring butter to room temperature. Mix all dry ingredients and add the butter and mix thoroughly with a fork. Pat into pie pan and up the edges.

Fill with frozen or fresh blueberries. Sprinkle a little bit of lemon juice and a little bit of sugar and maybe not at all. Bake at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes.

This recipe works well with raspberries too but don't add the lemon juice.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

No believing necessary

One of the many things I love about meditation is that I just have to do it. It doesn't have to feel like a "good" meditation and I don't have to try to do anything special. I just have to do it. When I do meditation it works on me. When you do meditation it works on you. Meditation as in being still and silent. Being in a being mode rather than a doing mode. Just being. Just this. I should really say when "I be still" rather than "I do meditation". It's kind of like talking about sleep. You can't. You can only sleep. You can't talk about meditation either. You can only meditate. You know you were in meditation when you aren't any more. You can only say you were in sleep when you aren't any more. Contrast is a wonderful thing.

I was reading this afternoon....something about emotional fitness.....and all of a sudden I had an understanding that my life situation at any time is the field or the place of happening for my beingness. It is the playground or the ground of being. It is the school. And what I am learning is wholeness, healing, and healthiness. It's all about that. And we each have different life situations or stories but that's not the real deal. The real deal is what we do with it. The real deal is what we learn during the living. How to be alive. How to be wholly what we are.

I saw the trap of my mind. My mind is a trap if I believe every thought that wanders through. If I don't believe my thoughts I am free and happy. Joy comes on its own. I don't really have to do anything. Yet, I do. I meditate. And understanding and "ahaa" moments flow from that. It's not really doing but I have to apply myself anyway and just do it. Don't you just love words?

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Stones and wood

These are some of my favourite things in nature. Stones, rocks, driftwood. There is such beauty at a beach!

Friday, 13 July 2012

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean---
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down---
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

Thursday, 12 July 2012

My spot

Years ago I was reading the Carlos Castaneda books (never did finish them). He talked about your power spot in a room. The place in the room where you had the most power or energy or aliveness or presence. Everywhere I am I tend to go to the back of the room by a window. Every room is different in energies.......lots of detail in the feng shui teachings and in similar teachings worldwide. Me, I want to feel it inside myself. This is my power spot in the garden on a hot sunny day when I don't want to socialize. Pictures looking out from my spot and my spot - without me, of course. Happy sunny days!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


With the weather being so hot I am glad this was the year I bought a BBQ. This was supper last night. And the recipe for baked sweet potatoes follows. It's a recipe by one of my favourite cooks, Jamie Oliver.

I did get up at 6 am today. Yeah! And the day has been wonderfully full! I had time to smell the flowers.

Baked sweet potatoes:

Wash sweet potatoes well, prick skin with a fork all over and rub on a mixture of salt, cumin, and dried chillies. I put the spices in a bag and bounced them around and that worked well. Wrap in double foil so the skin won't burn. Heat on a medium grill for 20 minutes, turning at least once. When done, cut open and sprinkle on fresh lime juice.

These were fabulous with pork chops, of which my brother is the best cook.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

No, I did not get up at 6 am.

Bugger - I failed! In fact I slept 10 hours last night getting up at 8 am. I feel enormously relaxed about it. I am usually very hard on myself or so I am told. Most often I think I could be harder on myself and GET THINGS DONE! I like to do things I like to do and time goes by very quickly. But when I have things to do that I don't particularly like, but they must be done, it seems to take forever. I know you know this. So now that I've really shortened my day by sleeping so long I feel I just have time for the the things I must do.........work, eat, wash, cook.......meditate. Hmmmm. It's really about not putting anything in categories. The MUSTS, the FUN STUFF - it's all just stuff. Someone's must do stuff is another's joy and leisure. Some things can be both. Meditation for me, is a must but it's also a joy......... Well, well, well.....a great opening has occurred in my mind - everything can be about being while doing, just stuff to do with no idea of good stuff or bad stuff or fun stuff etc.

When I watched my dad in his seemingly many last years of life lying in bed in a nursing home, not being able to talk or even turn himself in his bed, I thought I would always be grateful for being able to do stuff. How soon we forget! My dad loved to work. I never heard him grumble about "having" to get up and go to work. In fact he worked a few jobs at once. He got up most mornings at 5 am, drank coffee and played solitaire until he could go to work. In his later years I remembered his love of doing and working or even just putzing in his garage and thought how wonderful it would be if he could even just walk down the hall or dress himself. At this moment I am feeling so grateful to be able to do all these many things that I grumble about. I remember a quote in a magazine that said something like "as long as you have a window, life is exciting". My dad had a window and he was always looking out of it. And even in his bed he was amazed at life!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Early morning at the marina

It is so much fun to be up before the birds. I don't get up before the birds often enough. Here a duck still has her head tucked under her wing sleeping even though the sun has risen. You sleepy head! And the geese are just walking out of the long grasses one by one for their first swim of the day. Even the lake is still.

Most nights I go to bed thinking that tomorrow morning I will get up early and go walking or even just sit in the clear blue air of the morning. But morning comes and I bask in the sun coming in the window. I meditate. I sleep a little, again. One of my teachers said that we all tend toward lethargy and sloth and that we have to kick ourselves out of bed in the mornings. It's necessary. Morning is the best time for spiritual or personal practice which can include reading something inspiring or walking. And it gets done first. There is a feeling of accomplishment all day. I did the most important thing! Yeah ! ! ! Okay......tomorrow. What about you? Can you too?

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Canoeing along the McIntyre river

Evenings are great for canoeing in Thunder Bay. There are many rivers and lakes close by (and in the city) for short paddles. We paddled along the mouth of the McIntyre river near the mall and out to Lake Superior. It was beautiful.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Listening to the Blues in my own backyard

This year at our house on the hill we can hear the annual Blues festival really well. Sometimes we only hear the bass sound but today we can hear the words of the songs and everything. We live close to the lake and the marina and most festivities are heard in our yard. The Blues festival has the loudest sound especially if the wind hits just right. It's better when you can either hear or not hear, half hearing is just the bass sound and it sounds noisy and crass. So it's good this year. And we are enjoying the sounds while cooking dinner. Halleluja this afternoon was superb!
We're grilling smokies - there are wonderful locally made sausages at Sausage Pros on Simpson street in Thunder Bay. They are meaty and fresh. The jalapeno and cheese ones, oh my!
I love potato salad and here is the recipe I'm using today:

3 lbs potatoes, either halved if small or chopped into chunks, boiled in salted water until cooked
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp fresh sage (and parsley or other herbs to taste)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
6 tbsp finely chopped white or red onion
4 to 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2/3 cup mayonnaise

As soon as the potatoes are cooked, drain and sprinkle the vinegar over top and gently toss. Let cool until room temperature and peel if you like. The vinegar is always good to sprinkle over potatoes right away. You can taste the difference.

Mix rest of ingredients together into a bowl and gently stir into potatoes.

Happy eating.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Homemade Tortilla Chips

These taste great crumbled in a soup or used to dip into your favourite salsa.

Corn tortillas (you can use flour ones too)

Brush oil lightly on both sides of tortillas and cut into the shapes you like, triangles or little squares, etc. Put on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt or any other spice you would like on your chips. Cook in a 375 F oven until nicely browned. If I make bigger shapes like shown here I usually put one layer and then flip over during cooking. If I make smaller squares for dropping into soup I put a big pile on pan and stir the pieces a few times during cooking.

I even eat these with nothing on them. Yum!


My eyes just popped open. It's just after 3 am.........I didn't blog yet and now it's morning. Hmpf! Argh! Voi, voi, voi!

It is steamy hot. I can hear the fan in the other room working hard to move it's twin blades but I can barely feel any movement of air in my bedroom. My upper lip, middle back, back of neck, yeah pretty much everywhere is dripping wet. I heard it's good to sweat. I don't like to sweat.

Is it ever quiet at this time of the morning. No birds announcing life. No cars, no ambulances, no bicycles. No shouting or laughing. I can hear the fan and the gentle buzzing in my ears. I wonder if there is always sound if you have enough silence to hear it? I know that didn't really make sense but I like how it sounds philosophical at 3 am.

Well, goodnight, before I start thinking too much I'm going back to bed to listen to stillness.......if I can stay awake long enough. I love to sleep......what a pleasure.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Quick little frozen treats

When the girls were young we lived in the country and we couldn't just go to the corner store and buy a popsicle or a drumstick ice cream. I made my own quick little summer treats-on-a-stick. I made banana ice cream by freezing peeled and chopped up bananas and then putting them in a blender with just enough milk to make them ice cream. And I added just a smidge of vanilla. This really is instant ice cream and it tastes better than you might think. This one we just ate from a bowl.

I also froze yogurt in plastic popsicle trays. Sometimes I mixed strawberries with plain yogurt or bought ready made flavored yogurt. The girls really liked getting their treat-on-a-stick from the freezer and we didn't even have to walk to the store.

I've been looking to make some for myself but haven't yet found the popsicle forms. There are some amazing flavored yogurts. I love Liberty yogurt and thought it would taste decadent frozen. Yum!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

It's late

It's late and it's hot. It's still almost 30 C outside and 28 inside. That is definitely not sleeping weather. I can't think in the heat. So here is David Hawkins doing the talking:

"At all times, remain aware that the real you is not the ego. Refuse to identify with it."

"It is a relief to let the mind become silent and just "be" with the surroundings."

Yeah to that!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Wild Rice salad

This is Angry Trout's (a sustainable restaurant in Grand Marais, Minnesota) wild rice salad. It is delicious, easy, and quick, once you've cooked the rice.

2 cups wild rice
3 cups water
1 tbsp oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup frozen peas
2 ounces chopped toasted hazelnuts

Cook rice and water to tenderness, 20 to 40 minutes. In a frypan, cook onion, mushrooms, celery in oil until tender, then add to cooked rice. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Enjoy slightly warm or cold. The restaurant serves this salad as a side dish with the entree. I make it often. It really "feeds" me.

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Water is well........fabulous in the summer. And always. Nothing cools me off better than water, whether it's swimming in it or drinking it.

The drink of choice. I made lemon and lime water today. I just slice the fruit into a large pitcher, let it sit on the counter for a while, and drink throughout the day. You can go crazy and put in lots of fruit, or ginger, or berries, or mint leaves. You get to be creative :)

Cucumber water is wonderful and tastier than it sounds. I first tasted it at a restaurant in Vancouver, called Nuba (a very good restaurant). I just peel about half a cucumber and slice it and pour a few liters of water over and let sit. I love room temperature water and it also doesn't disrupt digestion, but you can chill your water after it sits a little at room temperature.