Sunday, 30 September 2012


I love crisps of all kinds. Today I made one with pears. I love pears and raspberries together, and apples and cranberries together, but I think my most favourite is a peach crisp.

I make all crisps the same - give or take a tweak here and there.

I put the fruit in a oven proof pan, at least 3/4 full. If it is sour fruit or berries I sprinkle either sugar or honey on them, otherwise I don't.

The topping for a 8 inch square pan is 2 cups dry ingredients: I usually use 1 1/2 cups rolled oats and 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or 1 cup oats and 1/2 cup ground almonds, 1/2 cup brown rice flour);
a pinch of salt; some cinnamon; some sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit); melted butter enough added to make dry mixture moist (it's 1/4 to 1/2 cup or more).

Mix all together and pat on fruit. Cook 325 to 350 F for about 1/2 hour.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

A symphony of beauty

The highway from Thunder Bay to Marathon. I love driving it alone. It is such a symphony of colour and texture, of up and down hills, and left and right. I really got to drive (to use the steering wheel).

I spent the day with Marathoners......sitting in the silence of no thoughts.....give or take a few thoughts that roamed through searching for a place to land. It is so magnificent to share space and share insights with people who want to just play with beingness.

Friday, 28 September 2012

To discipline or not.

I don't like the word discipline. It sounds hard and I resist it. I have tried to discipline myself to do all kinds of things: sleep less, eat less, eat differently, meditate, exercise, to be non-judgemental, etc. And it hasn't ever worked well. I can for a while but then it fades and I feel bad. I failed.

I notice that when I really know why I am doing something, absolutely why this is right for me, on my own authority then it works to do a discipline. And I can't even call it a discipline. It is just something I do.

The absolute internal understanding of "why" is the most important part. It is not just an intellectual thing. You also know it in your bones. The rest follows. You read and talk to people, you test out, and you find out for yourself what works for you.

We don't usually do this. There are so many authorities out there and we follow. Follow your own authority. Who says that you are not wise enough?

We have to find out what is agreeable to ourselves, what nourishes us. We need to learn our rhythm. When we do things which we don't understand or which we don't completely see the significance to our lives then it becomes a discipline and a burden. And we resist burdens.

Find out why you eat this. Find out why you exercise and why you walk. Why you do this job. Find out why you meditate. Then, there will be no resistance and it will be a spontaneous action that springs forth from understanding. And it will be easy to do what you want.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Orange pumpkin

Pink pumpkins

I notice as Thanksgiving and Hallowe'en are on the horizon that magazines and papers are giving decorating paint our pumpkins white or pink?! I know there are naturally white punkins' so just grow or buy a white one - but what's wrong with having a plain, old, ordinary orange pumpkin on the stoop?

I love ordinariness. Do we always have to do something different? more? Let's learn to love the simple, the natural, and see it with new eyes.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


There is nothing more soothing than watching the breath. It's like sitting with my best friend. The breath flows in, the breaths flows out. Nothing I need to do. Just sit. Just watch. It is a deep constant presence. The rhythm of me. And the rhythm of the whole universe. I feel centered and secure. At the bottom of the breath right in the bottom of the pelvis I no longer can think. All opinions and ideas drop away and I am left empty. And then I am full again with the inhale and a thought or a noticing of something. And then again an emptiness dancing.......just like the waves at the beach..........

Saturday, 22 September 2012

What am I?

I think I am having a crisis of some sort. Nothing on the surface that anyone can see. It is internal, like something big is going to change in my life. Part of me wants to just keep doing the same things I always do because it is safe and known. I feel too busy to be myself. I feel too busy doing the "story" of me rather than being "me". I feel that if I just had enough time to figure out what I am supposed to do with this one precious life then I could go ahead and do that. I know that is not true. It's not about time. It's not about knowing "supposed to do". So, what is it about?

Is it about dropping my story? The story of my life.....what I was taught to believe about me.....what I am supposed to do and be. I don't know who I would be if I didn't know who I was! My own story grabs my attention more than the internal bliss that I know is available at all times. I think it feels even worse because I truly know there is more, so much more. I hang out with my meditator buddies at retreats and there is instantly uncaused joy. Joy flows everywhere and I feel so grateful to be alive.

Something about the everyday life feels so restrictive because......because.....because? It is my choice how to live so I am the only person who can change this. What can I do to be who I truly am? I know meditation works. And it works really well. So, why don't I do it all the time? Why do I sit here writing a blog? Why do I read about living well rather than living well? I feel like shedding my skin and shedding more skin and being empty to start all over again. A fresh start - how cool would that be? If I could live my life over again what would I do?

I would live more simply. I would meditate more. I would hug more. I would sing. I would dance. (And definitely as if no one is watching). And what about making enough money to eat and to have a roof over my head? I don't think my singing and dancing would cut it. I could be a professional hugger :)

And what about being a meditation teacher then? Hmmm, what a novel idea. Teaching something that can't be taught. I thought I wanted a simpler life.

I think I am seeking a truth so profound that it can't be spoken. I want to abandon that which is no longer necessary. Then resting back in the essentials. The truth without the fluff. I want to ask the questions:
what is really happening right now? what is "this", meaning "me", without the story?
what do I really love?
what is my true nature?
how can I serve?
how can I love more?

All these questions draw me inward to that quiet, sweet place which is full and rich, infinitely loving, joy, peace, gratitude......surrendering with my whole being to that - which is eternal.

What is it that stops me from allowing this closeness to be ever present?
I am tired of other people's answers. I want to find out for my self. I only want others to tell me when I am not following my truth. I love the Leonard Cohen song...."Everybody knows......"

I know I don't.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Wood piles

This is a new kind of wood pile we are trying this year (or maybe it's old for some folks). We are city mice and don't have much room nor do we have a wood shed. It looks charming, eh?


"Excuses are a form of guilt therapy. You collect reasons to justify your procrastination so you won't feel guilty about it."
Think about it. You have to have a really good reason for doing anything. You have to know what you want. Why you want it. And sometimes I don't know so I procrastinate. Or I don't want it badly enough - yet.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Turkish towels

We have a cool new store in Thunder Bay - Portobello Home on Bay Street. I love the funky, natural, clean lines, and up-cycled things for the home. Here is a Turkish towel that is apparently wonderful to use after a shower or a Turkish bath. I plan to use it as a tablecloth on my old table but I think I will buy another one for a shawl! It costs $27.00 and is a real find. They come with the eggplant, red, or blue stripes.

The store has furniture that is from - very nice. You can also find old barn wood made into tables which can give you that warm fuzzy feeling of recycling and having something really beautiful too.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Books on yoga.........Yoga

This week I bought two books on yoga. They are books that I have never seen before nor heard of spoken. I should have known not to buy them. In the last few years there have been a lot of new yoga books but very, very few good ones. Each book that comes out seems to have less and less real information on yoga. They have routines and they talk about the same 8 limbs of yoga but have no substance. In fact, they have a lot less substance than ever before in history. I have a lot of yoga books and I go back to older ones when I want to check something out, especially about pranayama or philosophy. I can't understand what I am searching for when I buy another! Good grief - maybe I should stop. But I love people's take on it. The only thing is that the "takes" out there are pretty diluted. Or, it seems that they are taking this amazing, rich practice and dumbing it down.

I guess this is my Sunday rant.

There are some authors I fall back on again and again: Donna Farhi, Judith Lasater, B.K.S Iyengar, Erich Schiffman, Don Stapleton, Timothy McCall, and most things put out by the Himalayan Institute, especially the Yoga International magazine.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Fall bounty

Aren't these beets the most amazing colours!?

Here is a great and super, super easy zucchini recipe:

Zucchini soup

2 large or 3 medium zucchini or more!
Some garlic
1/2 litre or more good quality chicken broth
Little bit of cream (light or heavy) (maybe 1/4 cup)
Butter - a few tablespoons

Cut zucchini into cubes and boil with garlic in the broth until tender.
Purée with handheld blender until smooth.
Add cream and butter.

This soup is really good and you will feel fabulous for finding a super way to use those humongous zucchinis your neighbour brings over :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Life for a little guy

This little guy was wandering all over the deck. Back and forth, checking all crevices, bumping into the walls, crawling under the deck edge for a while, and returning again to go the other way. As I drank my tea and just watched (and thanked my world for having the opportunity), I thought that us people do this. We wander through life trying this, trying that, looking for how we belong here. How we fit in. Some have to look for food and lodging all their lives. Some get to play with more choices. We bump into things. We fall into cracks and even get stuck for what seems like forever. We have our beauty and also our spikes (this guy had five spikes and even they are beautiful). What a wonderful world.

I thought of helping this little guy to find a leaf or some fresh earth. I didn't. I felt like I would be messing with the scheme of things. Even Felix just sniffed him gingerly and snorted a bit and walked away.

Is this what allowing can be?

Monday, 10 September 2012


Gravity is really the most amazing thing, the most amazing presence. We can use it - always! Just where you are right now, feel the parts of your body that touch the floor or/and the chair. Let gravity be felt. Let it pull you down into the earth, through all the layers of the building. Let go into it........and let go into it. Abandon everything else. Free the breath this way. Free tension this way. Experience gravity internally. Feel like you are growing from the ground, steady, and at ease. Do this with every movement, every position your body goes through or stays in. This is not slumping, not collapse, but an endless unfolding, sinking, lengthening, reaching through the roots upward into space. A body happy and content.

Sunday, 9 September 2012


It's finally time to sit down. I have been cleaning and organizing and creating for fall yoga classes. And emptying my house of superfluous stuff (that's been happening for two weeks already) is never ending. That's just the way it is. It's never done. So, I just have to decide to sit down, drink some tea....a wonderful brew of chamomile, lemon balm, and nettles.......and relax in my chair!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Cabbage and beef casserole

This picture doesn't tell the tale of this food. It is really good! And super easy though it does take time hanging around the kitchen.

You need:

I cabbage
500 gr. ground beef

Slice the cabbage thinly. In a heavy bottomed pot cook the cabbage in a little oil on medium low heat. Stirring occasionally. The cabbage needs to cook slow and long for it to brown slightly. Depending on the size of the pot it can take more than half an hour. Don't rush this part. Then cook the beef in a fry pan until just brown. Stir cabbage and beef together with salt to taste. Pour into casserole and bake in oven for about 1 1/2 hours, 325 degrees. Depending on shape and size of casserole it could be ready sooner. Wait for it to be nicely browned.

I served this today with the perfect condiment, a delicious beet relish that a friend gave me. You need something like that to go with it - lingonberry preserves are particularly good.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Mouse stories

We have mice living with us - again!

I didn't know anything about living with mice until 11 years ago when I bought this old house. The house has a rear entry and the back wall is all wood with lots of cracks for mice to come in. I would never have believed that mice could make themselves so skinny. They can squash their bones and go through the tiniest of openings.

I remember the first time I ever heard of mice in a house. My neighbours out in the country had them. They had three cats. We had a dog. We never saw or heard a mouse except once a year when we dug out our barbeque from the shed. The mice had been living in it and made the cutest little nest in one corner and the toilet in the other. Very neat mice we thought. And cute too. We oohed and aahed. How wonderful!

When, Tiina, my youngest daughter, went away to school, she shared a part of a house with roommates. As winter settled in so did a mouse in their house. It came to sit on top of the stove. They thought he was really cute with his little paws and super big ears. They named him Jackson. One day, they had a friend come over, who obviously knew more about mice than they did. He said you better get rid of it or it will soon be Jackson Five. And it was. My daughter had never dealt with such cruelty before. Her roommate got a trap. Jackson or one of his offspring landed in it. But didn't die. It was just caught in the trap, shouting for mercy, and dragging and bouncing the trap all over the kitchen. It was around midnight that night and I received a phone call from Tiina. She was crying so loudly I thought someone had died. Nope. Just her mouse in the trap who didn't. Every suggestion I gave of what to do, put it outside, kill it, etc., was met with dismay. So she put a heavy bowl over it so it wouldn't drag the trap all over the house and keep them up. Well, didn't that little bugger live even the next morning. I can't remember what finally happened to it. All in all it was traumatic. For everyone. It is a dilemma. It was a life that ended by violence.

So, here I am in my cute little house with mice ~ every year! We have tried keeping them out with steel wool jammed in the cracks, mint planted in pots around the foundation. We've tried scaring them out by banging on the floor and ceiling or wherever we heard them chewing. And chew they do. And it's really loud. It sounds like a dog munching kibble. We've tried trapping them live so we could send them off to the neighbours house to live. Impossible to get them in the trap. Or maybe they know how to go back and forth and only pick up the deposit of fresh food. We even put a little of that poison seed out. I stopped using straw as mulch. I've done a special ceremony asking them not to step into my house. All to no avail. So we set out traps. The new plastic kind that kill instantly. That works. It's their karma. I've told them to stay out.

Last year, Felix (now I know why we gave our dog a cat's name) caught two of them while we were out. They lay side by side on the floor near the entrance and when we came home Felix solemnly carried them to the back yard. Good boy!

This morning I heard a mouse somewhere in the bedroom. Near the closet. Probably the mama getting good bedding for her soon-to-be babies. The movie, The Mouse Hunt, used to make me laugh. It's all too real now. :)

Here is our mouser on duty.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Raw Asian Noodle Bowl

I am hooked on eating raw at the moment and loving it!

Here is another great recipe.....though I cooked noodles instead - just because I had them.

Asian Noodle Bowl with Kelp Noodles and Almond Chili Sauce from Whole Foods to Thrive by B. Brazier (from a restaurant called Cru, Los Angeles)

Prep time 10 minutes.

Almond Chili Sauce:
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup tamari (I used Bragg's)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp salt (i didn't use any salt)
1 pinch chipotle powder
1 1/2 tbsp chili flakes

Mix everything together in a bowl until well combined.

The Noodles:
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
1 cup kelp noodles (I've never seen these so I used bean vermicelli and heated them in boiling water and used them hot).

Toss noodles and sauce and garnish with cilantro, chilies or cashews or whatever sprouts you have. I didn't have anything......and we ate the whole thing before I thought of taking a picture :) This recipe is a keeper!

Monday, 3 September 2012

An Old Irish saying

Take time to work ~ it the price of success.
Take time to meditate ~ it is the source of power.
Take time to play ~ it is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read ~ it is the way to knowledge.
Take time to be friendly ~ it is the road to happiness.
Take time to laugh ~ it is the music of the soul.
Take time to love and be loved.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Zucchini noodles

This is a raw food dish that is great for your bumper crop of zucchini. You can also heat up the sauce just to warm or hot, if you wish.

Zucchini Pasta with Chunky Tomato Sauce (from the book Whole Foods to Thrive by Brendan Brazier)

4 medium zucchini
1 tsp & 1/2 tsp salt
20 sundried tomatoes, soaked in warm water until soft (about 30 minutes)
1/2 cup soak water
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 heaping tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp hemp oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or brazil nuts
pinch red pepper flakes

Trim the ends off zucchini and using a hand held vegetable peeler strip the zucchini into long strips like noodles and place into a colander (discard inner core and seeds) and toss with 1 tsp salt and let excess moisture drain for 30 minutes. Then wash squash to remove excess salt and let drain for 5 more minutes.

In a food processor, blend together the sundried tomatoes, 1/2 cup soak water, tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, oil, raisins and 1/2 tsp salt into chunky mixture. Add the nuts and pulse a few times to chop the nuts finely (but do not blend).

Toss the sauce with the zucchini noodles. You can serve immediately or warm the whole thing for 1 to 2 minutes.

I loved this dish cold on a hot summer day.