Thursday, 29 November 2012

Leonard Cohen

I saw Leonard Cohen in concert in Montreal (his hometown) yesterday. Amazing! Wow! Wow!

I have never been in a place with 30,000 people and it took my breath away. The huge spaciousness all surrounded by these loving bodies.

Leonard started just after 8 pm and went on until 11:45 pm. There was a 20 minute intermission. (Younger performers could take note of this).

His accompanying singers and band members were absolutely fabulous. There was a guitarist from Barcelona who could have had a concert of his own and same with his keyboard man, I think his name is Neil Larsen. Two sisters from Kent, England and Sharon Robinson, were the three singers and they had solos which were awesome. And the violin player.....! I love how Leonard stood with hat in hand and eyes closed with reverence as each member of his troupe shared their own magic.

Leonard went down on his knees to sing many of his songs which felt like he was expressing service to us, how he wanted to surrender to the divine and share his gifts so we could all be loving and kind.

Every time he went off the stage he skipped and danced waving his arm. Such beauty and grace in this 78 year old icon. I felt privileged to be present. I have never been to a concert that I loved so much. It even brings a tear to my eye thinking about it.

The little dude

This is Whiski - otherwise known as Whiski Dude. He is 13 weeks old. He had his first walk in the park (he has been in the park but until today has stood terrified instead of exploring). We wandered in the neighbourhood, his little head bobbing up and down in his carry bag. He fell asleep at the coffee shop. I definitely felt like the proud grandma.

Minna, my daughter, and the dude.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


I love the Porter airline lounge at the Toronto Island airport. I've had roasted almonds and a latte in a real china cup. They have a little store now. Lots of leather goods.........really nice! WANT Passport is the name of the store. It began with two Canadian brothers (twins), and there are four people running the company now. They have their main store in Montreal.

So, I've arrived in Montreal. Minna and Jon, (daughter and her boyfriend), have an awesome home right downtown, it's too dark for good photos on the iPad tonight.

It is wonderful to have adult children who live in amazing cities. I can visit!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Pumpkin Soup

I have modified this soup from a recipe in a Canadian Gardening magazine Fall 2012.

Olive oil
chopped onions - 1 to 2 cups
some minced garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
a bit of cream or milk
cut and chopped pumpkin - I used a whole small pumpkin but you could have less or even pureed pumpkin
roasted pumpkin seeds and sour cream for garnish

Heat the oil in a pot. Saute onions and garlic and cook until they begin to soften. Add ginger and stir a bit. Add curry powder and stir until smooth. Add pumpkin chunks.
Add broth. Simmer until pumpkin is cooked. Puree.
Add some cream or milk (or evaporated or condensed milk). I usually just put in a dollop, or 1/4 cup but you can put more if you like. (I bet coconut milk would taste great too).


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Little time for great benefit

I love to do yoga before supper. I usually do this on the weekends. I get supper started or partially prepared so that after yoga I can just sit down to eat. Today was wonderful. I only did slow yoga postures for a very short time but it was enough to get into a peaceful, slower mode. And I lay down on the carpet and listened to Will Blunderfield's music (a Vancouver yoga teacher and musician). It was heavenly. Such a little amount of time for such a large amount of peace.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Getting up in the morning

This business of getting up in the morning: I've been exploring it.

I remember my dad (who worked 2 jobs) getting up around 5 am every morning. He drank a pot of coffee and played solitaire until it was time to go to work. He loved work! I never remember him grumbling about "having" to do anything. Maybe that's why he had an easy time getting up in the mornings.

When I was a kid I got up pretty early too, school days or holidays, I read a book before I got up to get ready for the day. And I liked school and holidays. But the days we were going fishing or to the dump, well, I got up even earlier. If it was just my dad and I going we left before 6 am. It was always an adventure.

So, yes, I am a morning person.

I have noticed though, that getting up in the morning isn't like it used to be. Perhaps because I am not usually home in the evenings until 9:30 or 10:00 pm and I can't get to bed early enough or maybe getting up now isn't like to go to school, or fishing, or the dump.

This is what I have discovered about alarms, mornings, and morning practices. The most important part is the night before. Before going to sleep I have to "input" that I will happily and eagerly get up in the morning. I set the time, put the alarm on, and "input" that I will wake up just before the the sound doesn't "alarm" me. This works when the habit is formed. Really!

However, I must never press snooze. I must never roll over onto my side.....or I fall asleep instantly. I have to kick myself out of bed the first few times and right now as the mornings are dark, I have had to kick myself out of bed for a good week. And that's only because I have been off track.

When this works and I don't miss a single morning for a while it is heavenly to wake up. Another adventure!

I have started to also allow for one morning a week to sleep in. I usually wake up as usual but then I remember.....ahhhhh......this morning is the sleep in morning. It is heavenly to roll over and not have to feel I have to keep a promise to myself.

I want to get up so my morning practice is done first. Right now I mostly meditate. And if the day is busy I still feel accomplished because I did what I am committed to doing. There is an amazing feeling of power in that. In doing what I set out to do.

If there is a practice you want to do daily, and daily is best, even if it's not long, you must commit to it. You must consciously find the time, whether it's morning or afternoon, or evening. Once you decide, really decide, then you just follow through, no matter what. Just do it!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


My family loves Ikea furniture. Only my daughters know how to build them.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Out the kitchen window.

I am looking out the kitchen window.
I feel free - out there.
Over the tops of the trees.
The seagull soars in absolute silence, or so it seems to me from my windowed, closed box of a house.
Another gull flies overhead. I feel the silence of it.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A man's chili

Today was warm and soft. It was a great day to walk, clean the garden, and turn on the bbq.

I made Steak and Ale Chili. A real man's chili.
(from Weber's Time to Grill cookbook)

2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

1 pound steak, about 3/4 inch thick, trimmed of fat
vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground oregano
2 cans (16 oz each) beans, such as pinto or white kidney beans, with liquid
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 bottle stout beer
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients. Brush oil on steak and then rub in dry ingredients on both sides. Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes before grilling. Heat up grill to 350 to 450 F. Cook steak on grill for 4 to 6 minutes turning once to medium rare. Let sit for 5 minutes and then cut into 1/2 inch chunks.

In a large saucepan heat 1 tbsp oil and cook onions and garlic for 5 minutes or so. Add spices and cook for one minute. Add the rest of the chili ingredients along with the steak and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Then simmer for about an hour without the cover. 

Enjoy with the grated cheese.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

No longer

To be no longer content to pick up what is floating on the surface of life, and to want only the pearls at the bottom of the sea, this is grace, welling up from deep inside.

Eknath Easwaran

Friday, 16 November 2012


Recently, it was suggested to me to be more bold. More bold? How? I am to do one bold thing this week. I usually wear a lot of grey or muted clothes colours so I bought a bright turquoise jacket from Joe Fresh and I have been wearing it with an orangey scarf. I love those two colours together. I even work a lime green, yellowy shirt today. Yahoo! Bold here I come.

Next week I plan to do something else bold - not what I'm wearing, maybe what I can do to BE bold.

Playing small isn't helpful to anyone.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Bloomers and the Brownhouse

I finally went into this new little shop on Archibald St., in Thunder Bay, called Bloomers and the Brownhouse. It's an old home that looks happy, cozy, and inviting. I loved it. They have fresh flowers, potted flowers, candles, some knit cowls, purses, lots of xmas decorations right now, AND chocolate! And they know about chocolate, so I had a bit of a lesson and I bought some ginger smothered in chocolate which was super good. A fun shop to check out for gifts for others and a treat for yourself.

I bought this "everyday" bouquet too. There is something decadent about fresh flowers in the house. I often move them around to the room I am hanging out in.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Less work, more time

This fall I made two of my work days really long, Mondays and Wednesdays. So it always feels like it's a bit of Friday night on those evenings. I still work on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Fridays but they are not as long. And I love that! Some Fridays I have completely off. I truly think it would be a much healthier world if everyone only worked no more than four days a week. And I mean the same 8 hour days not longer. I'm sure it could be figured out. More people would have jobs. We can learn to live with a little less money if we have more free time to cook, and walk and put our lives in order.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

My earthquake

My computer is slow and working very poorly........and my iPad never ceases to amaze me. I would love to learn more so maybe I would never need an actual computer. I can't yet write my blog in colour or change font.......or make a group contact list ( which is really important for me). Anyway, I feel sad that I might have to get a computer as I don't have that in my budget.

I am still feeling an inner earthquake and know that something is about to change radically in my life. I have an inkling of it and I am excited now. Life is meant to be lived full-on! But in the meantime I am discombobulated. Isn't that just the greatest word!

The most amazing thing is - I've stopped listening to the voice in my head that tells me what my experience is about. My mind is always concerned with reasons, why, what........I guess I will know soon enough. It is wonderful to trust that everything is already okay. Sometimes I would love to start life over again, all the way from the beginning. And isn't that what we do? It might be. We learn all these lessons in this life body and return again in another life body (and hopefully retain the life lesson knowledge from previous ones). Yeah! We get to do it all over again. Or maybe, just maybe I can press the reset button and start fresh right now. I think this is my earthquake.

Monday, 12 November 2012


Epictetus (circa 55-135 CE) taught in Rome until the year 94 CE, when the Emperor banished all philosophers from the city. He kept teaching in exile, one of his notable students being Marcus Aurelius. This is an excerpt from The Art of Living: the Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness. (Interpretation by Sharon Lebell).

Happiness Can Only Be Found Within

Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control. We cannot have a light heart if our minds are a woeful cauldron of fear and ambition.

Do you wish to be invincible? Then don't enter into combat with what you have no real control over. Your happiness depends on three things, all of which are within your power; your will, your ideas concerning the events in which you are involved, and the use you make of your ideas.

Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions. Vigilantly practice indifference to external conditions. Your happiness can only be found within.

Stop aspiring to be anyone other than your own best self; for that does fall within your control.

Hmmm, could have been written today.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mind can fool

Today I feel like I have an earthquake happening in me. I woke up with the feeling. I can't even describe it. I feel like something in my life is changing and I don't know what it is. I was a bit distressed with this feeling and looked for reasons: it's because I don't like to do this anymore or because I don't have enough time to do this and that, etc. It was just my mind looking for reasons and I have already discovered and needed to remember today that I can't trust the mind to know what is real and what is false. So, I've stopped looking for answers and am just riding the wave. And of course, I feel enormously better. I keep doing what I need to do and breathe and be easy with everything that happens. This sounds cryptic but it's all I know at the moment.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Wild woman

I am going through some kind of change. It feels like a birthing of something new and I don't what it is. I was telling a good friend about it and she asked me if I had read Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I have not I said. In fact I have had two copies and tried to read it at least once but got bogged down by all the verbiage in the long introduction. This friend has mentioned to me before (at least twice) to read this book. So I checked my books and I still have the copy so I read the introduction again and had the same feeling about it but I finished it. And now am looking forward to reading more. Perhaps it is the wild woman in me that needs birthing.

Friday, 9 November 2012


This is a wonderful book to help you understand (both men and women) how relationships can go askew without either person doing anything wrong. Don and I have been reading it together and we both like it. It's great to know about our hardwiring. We have laughed together and I shed a few tears for men. It is so worth reading this book - for everybody for any relationship. Don't worry about the title.

How to Improve your Marriage Without Talking about it.
By Patricia Love and Steven Stosny

Thursday, 8 November 2012


Introducing Hank. I found him today in the store, Finnport. He is handmade in Canada, an original by cate & levi.

Hank and I played for about an hour this evening, bantering back and forth. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Notice what you think

Try this:

Sit down. Close the eyes. Notice your your breath flows in and out and how your body feels.

Then visualize yourself in your favourite place in nature, maybe at the beach or in a forest, wherever you love to be. Notice your breathing. How it flows in and out and how your body feels.

Now visualize yourself walking down the road and a driver swerves in front of you, scowls at you, and shows you the finger. Notice your breathing and how the body feels.

Now visualize yourself lying in a warm bubble bath. Notice your breath and your body.

Now visualize yourself looking at a beach that has an oil spill, this goopy stuff with a seagull lying dead on it's side. And again notice your breath and your body.

Now one last visualization: see the cutest little puppy, wagging it's tail, running towards you ready for a scratch under it's chin. Notice your breath and body.

Did you notice a difference in your breathing? Did the breathing change as you thought of different images?

It really is important what you think. If you spend your whole day thinking of things that bring on feelings of sadness, or anxiety, or angry, or make you depressed then that is what happens to the cells of your body. The body slumps, contracts, and you can't breath fully.

You can change your life by what kind of thoughts you think. Choose for the thought that lets you breathe well. Choose for the thought that relaxes the body. Choose for the thought that brings peace and spaciousness.

Think of having a default thought: whenever you find yourself having thoughts that are not allowing you to feel your best choose your default thought. A default thought is a thought you come back to that always makes you smile and feel just a little better. My default thought is visualizing my dog run in figure eights around two bushes in the backyard, with his ears flapping wildly with joy. It sets me up to think of something more and more positive with each following thought.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Nothing in the mind to say....

I want to write something but there appears to be no topic waiting in the wings.

Someone at our meditation meeting tonight talked about just talking, that nothing needs to be in the mind to say something. It doesn't need to be rehearsed and figured out before hand. When it's your turn or my turn to speak, it happens. Hmmm, I always can talk but if I check carefully as to what happens just before I talk, it seems that the words and thoughts appear, just appear. Slowly they form on the periphery and start to become clearer and clearer until they are fully formed and come as the spoken word. The thoughts aren't ever "mine". They appear to be mine because they have my flavour, probably because of my conditioning, and they bump against the personality of me - then they appear to be "me" and "mine". But where do they come from? Are all these loaded up in my brain somewhere? Or do they appear from source? Are thoughts little bits floating in the air? Thoughts or emotions which come first? Either? I find it amazing that I can see (actually I feel them more than see them) these thoughts forming and because they appear to be inside my head I take ownership. This is what I think. The word's an interesting thing that we capitalize this word "I". We capitalize all words to do with the divine when we are indicating the Divine....He.....Self.....God......Source (at least it's done in the spiritual books). And we always capitalize I. So, whose words are these? I's.

Monday, 5 November 2012

An evening with Felix

It's a dog's life. Felix has been on the couch all day, under the blanket. He is feeling the cold. He just poked his head up to say welcome home. I think I was a dog in a previous life. When I was a kid I connected better with my dog than any human being. I find it so amazing that humans live so closely with animals at all. An evening with Felix is quiet and restful, a scratch and a belly rub, and it's perfect.

Sunday, 4 November 2012


I have been knitting this sweater for a while. I've got the back done. Yahoo! But I haven't knitted for weeks so I hardly know what size I am knitting or where I am in the second piece. I need to knit a little every day but don't and then it's frustrating to begin again. That's the same with everything - if you want to be good at something you have to do at least a little every day.

The last few sweaters I've made haven't turned out as well as expected .......... I keep on trying to find the masterpiece :))

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Wrinkly spottedness

There is such beauty in being used up. The yellow, golden leaves have lived their moments and are ready to fall and nourish the earth. Fresh and new follow this parade of colour and wrinkly spottedness. What is there to do but watch and marvel?

Friday, 2 November 2012


Home is where the heart is.

Anthony Lawlor writes about A Home for the Soul and says that "The primary ingredient in creating a home for the soul is our conscious attention. By bringing care and positive regard to the daily actions of living, we can deepen and foster soulfulness in ourselves and our surroundings." He writes about connecting soul to matter, that there is no separation between any of our experiences and that there is wholeness.

When I was little I used to take my mom's rag balls and unravel them to make rooms on the lawn, like architectural drawings. Rag balls are fabric cut into long strips and wound into a ball. My mom cut old clothes into these strips and when she had enough she brought them to some woman to make into colourful woven rag rugs. I remember looking at them when ready made and seeing my dad's pyjamas and my old t-shirts and my brothers sweaters. They were my favourite to play with. I made bedrooms for all my dolls. Maybe because I didn't have my own room until I was 14 years old so I had these huge houses with rooms for everyone of my "children". I have always loved making a "home". A place that feels good to be in. My favourite kind of day is a home day where I get to stay at home all day and organize or putz with something or just sit and read. I will have to make that happen more often. It is my way to relieving stress.

Thanks Deborah for the book!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Buying a coat

Okay, today I was excited to go out to look for a winter coat. The excitement didn't last long. There is a big difference between what I would like to wear and what I can find (or fit into). I love soft comfy clothes. That doesn't seem to be a winter coat. The coats that fit well were stiff and black. The loveliest coats were skinny at the hips and big at the chest and had sleeves down to my knees. I am shaped more the other way. One saleswoman even said it is difficult to find coats for pear shaped bodies. Me? Pear shaped? It wasn't helpful to be compared to a fruit. I began having an identity crisis. I wanted to be different. I wanted to remember what it was like to be young and just know what was stylish and also to be the size I was when I was 21 years old.

I did end up finding a coat. It's almost perfect. I can see my hands. It has a real fur ruff around the hood. It is a most beautiful blue colour. And I had to skype my daughter and ask her if it was too old lady-like. She said it was beautiful.