Monday, 30 December 2013

Turmeric Drink

Hot turmeric milk, or haldi ka doodh, is really good tasting and super good for you.

For one serving:

One cup milk (or almond milk)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 to 1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cardamon (or a few pods)
Small piece of peeled ginger root
Dash of vanilla
A few peppercorns
Pinch of cloves and/or allspice

Heat milk in a pan. As it warms stir in turmeric, or whisk it in. Add the rest of ingredients and let simmer gently for a few minutes. Pour the milk through a sieve. Enjoy!

Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, can stimulate the immune system, detoxify the liver, prevent cancer cells from forming, antibacterial, and antiviral.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Lines....... A poem

Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness
a poem by Mary Oliver

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume. 
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don't say
it's easy, but
what else will do

If the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed. 

Thursday, 26 December 2013


My mom called me again today. Apologetically. since I've spoken with her every day this week and we usually talk once a week on Sundays. I felt her longing to be closer to us. It reminds me of my own longing. For connection. For more family. For freedom from my imaginings. For clarity. Or something like those things. Words don't help.

My mom used to tell me the story of when we first arrived in Canada, when I was two months shy of my second birthday. She said this was a dreary, dark, and miserable place in March. And as she and I were on a bus one day, I refused to leave the bus, and I lay on the floor of the muddy bus, kicking and screaming for my grandmother. I wanted my granny to come. I missed her. She had lived with us in Helsinki and taken care of me when my parents worked. She was my dearest friend. I had on a white snowsuit. My mom must have been mortified as she hauled me off the bus. The next time I saw my granny, my mummo, I was 18 years old. The longing is now in my imagination but I can still feel for the little girl who hollered on the floor of the bus.

There has always been a longing by someone. My husband came from Finland to live in Canada. His family left behind. My mom moved to Australia. Even though I have cousins I know some of them only slightly. My girls have only two cousins and they live in Finland. However, my girls are fortunate to have found mates who have big families. There is something so magical in a big family. The first time I encountered a big family was my boyfriend, Pierre's big, big French-Canadian and Ukrainian family. I was 17 years old. I couldn't keep the relationships of everyone lined up in my mind. I kept asking how everyone was related. And the kissing and hugging that went on! I was really blessed! They tucked me under their wings for many Christmases.

I love my soliitude. I protect it. I love that there is Skype. I love that there are phones. And all my wonderful memories. I love the moments with my family. Sometimes I feel i don't make enough of them. I don't always know how. There are so many expectations in the world. What would it be like to have no expectations? Wonderful, I think. To just be with what is in the moment. To just be with who is here in front of me. Grateful for everything as it is. I think we learn to long, to miss, to expect. Maybe it's okay. Maybe it can be easier. Maybe it just is that way. I know nothing except that I feel really good right now - talking about it.

the girl's grandpa in Finland.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

My daughters in Montreal for Christmas. 

Christmas morning

I love Christmas morning because my work is done and I can play with my new toys. And in new pajamas too. Thanks mom! It reminds of being a little girl and still believing in Santa Claus. Sometimes I wonder if I don't still believe in Santa. Why not?

I celebrate Christmas on the Eve. We go for a sauna. We have a ham that's spent over 12 hours in the oven, rutabaga casserole, carrot casserole, beet and carrot salad, potatoes, rye bread, coffee and pastries. We open our presents. So, in the morning, I put the rice pudding on the stove to simmer. And then I play: Leonard Cohen is softly singing in my ear; I am having coffee with caramel spread on my rye toast; a delicate and heavenly scent is rising from the mister, oops, that is - a cool mist ionizer; looking up the properties of jade - wisdom, healing, love; reading poems of Mary Oliver; and of course, writing, which is so much fun!
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

Hey! I wonder if anyone would be interested in having a yoga class with Leonard Cohen? I think one is in the works.

Sunday, 22 December 2013


I love thick wool. 
Hats knit up super quick. 
It's the only way I watch television. While knitting. Gruffalo, an animated kids show was fabulous. And Home Alone :)

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Felix and friend

Felix has fallen in love with this frog. They've spent the day together. 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Bryon Katie on thoughts

"I love what I think, and I'm never tempted to believe it. Thoughts are like the wind or the leaves on the trees or the raindrops falling. They're not personal, they don't belong to us, they just come and go. When they're met with understanding they're friends. I love my stories." Bryon Katie

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Detach from drama

This morning I cleaned the fridge and made an innovative soup for lunch and stir fried rice for supper with leftover bits. I love looking into the fridge and knowing what's there or not there. And in the afternoon I went right under the wool comforter and finished the last half of the novel, The Birth House. These kind of days are too rare. 

I detached from the outside world and had a "day off". Drama is everywhere. We all have our stories and get caught up in all the events that make them. The drama in my novel I saw as outside of my life therefore I didn't attach to it at all. So why attach to any drama? All dramas are just stories that work out to some resolution in the end. Why make a big deal? Ah yes, the ego! All about "me". But what if we could see life as just one big wonderful video game? 

Sunday, 15 December 2013


Never be too busy to take a stretch break.  Get some fresh air!

Monday, 9 December 2013


Tonttus are elves in Finnish. They help at Christmas. And I've been as busy as a tonttu getting ready for mailing packages to the kids. It's fun! And then I will read and rest while the rest of the city (and world) runs around.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

White flowers

I love white flowers. My azalea is about to bloom for the holidays. I bought a new white orchid today for Christmas. Orchids are amazing! I thought they were difficult to grow. It must be because of some movie where the old gentleman spent his days in a greenhouse waiting for a prized orchid to bloom. 

Years ago I found a little white orchid in the men's windowless washroom at work. It had finished blooming when I brought it home and I put it on a windowsill and forgot about it. That's the key: they hibernate and you want to ignore them for a while. That little plant has bloomed about 4 times since them, each time the flowers lasting for about a month. They like only about a tablespoon of water once in a while. They are the perfect indoor plant. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Mars "original men are from mars"

There is a great store to check out on Court Street in Thunder Bay. It's unique, funky, casual, and original. It opened as a men's clothing store but now there are clothes for those of us from the neighbouring planet - Venus. Yahoo! Of course I bought something in my favourite blue. 

I walk by the store every day and marvel at the window displays.  I appreciate the statement they make. The ingenuity! The art of window display has been boring long enough. This wall and ceiling is the entrance. Be unique. Buy local. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


I went to the Friends of the Library bookstore yesterday. It turned out to be a Canadiana day for me. I bought some Robertson Davies  and Morley Callaghan novels. I've never read those two Canadian greats. I look forward to reading them.

Marjorie Harris writes great gardening books. I thought the person who wrote Thrifty, might be someone else, but no, it's the same person. What a fun book! I've read lots of books with titles like How to Live on Nothing, Cheap Household Hints, How to be Practical and......something. They all seem dour and not so sexy. This one gives me a sense of, oh boy, this sounds like fun!

Marjorie says, "Thrift is so muddled with the idea of cheapness that it's a source of great irritation to frugal types. Cheap is someone who buys based only on price, whose life experiences are guided by price, and who would probably give up something sublime because it costs too much. The rules of thrift aren't meant to develop a stingy quality; indeed, it should bring on a feeling of well-being rather than deprivation. To thrive is all-important. Being thrifty requires a brain; being cheap doesn't. Being thrifty is figuring out how things work and making them work more efficiently. Being thrifty means being self-aware."

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Busy to deliciously busy

I met up with people today while shopping. As people asked "how are you? I said " Deliciously busy!"

Sometimes we say we are busy as if it's a bad thing or a way to get someone to commiserate with us for our bad luck of being so busy. No longer am I saying it that way! I refuse! If I'm busy it's because I made it happen. Karma. 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Snow on berries

Isn't this just the most beautiful sight! My window scene as I open my eyes. The first snows are the most magical. It feels warmer than cold weather without snow. Muffled. Christmassy. Soft. 

The seagulls are flying above. There is open water or they would be gone. 

It's time to bring out the hot chocolate with brandy and a few chunks of ginger. Suka of Brazil told me about that as we were eating yet another bowl of plain oatmeal and watery tea and dreaming about food back home. This was on our Self-Mastery course. I suppose that we hadn't mastered detachment from the desire for deliciousness. 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Roasted butternut squash soup with ginger, basil, and coconut

approx. 3 lbs butternut squash
olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2-3 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch red chili flakes
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to tast
juice of 1 lime (2-3 tbsp)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush the cut sides with olive oil and place them cut-side down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake until soft, approximately 40 minutes. Scoop the squash from the skins once cool enough to handle.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and grated ginger and stir while cooking until they are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and chili flakes, and cook for another 2 minutes, continuing to stir.

Add the squash, along with the vegetable stock or water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Add the lime juice, herbs, and coconut milk. Lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves could also be added to this recipe to create a distanctly Thai taste. Blend until smooth, adding more water if needed to reach desire consistency.

Taste and adjust seasoning. Enjoy!

from the Ascent Magazine winter 2007

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Book thief

We went to lovely movie tonight - The Book Thief. It left me thinking about life and relationships and humanness. 
I think I would go to any movie with the word book in the title. I love going to a movie I know nothing about. Everything is a surprise. 

Friday, 29 November 2013

Yoga jeans

There they lie on the floor! Second Yoga Jeans, Canadian made with love.
They are very comfy - except for one place - the belly. I can stand, twist, and turn, but not sit or squat. I remember I could a few months ago when I bought them. They must have shrunk in the drawer or else I wanted them so much it didn't matter that they didn't fit. I thought I stopped doing that a long time ago.  How quickly I can slip into an old habit if I'm not vigilant. And of course, I could have gained weight. Ah, the belly! This soft, beautiful, warm, flexible sheath of skin that can grow and shrink and shrinking and growing is what it's supposed to do. In each breath it shrinks and grows. But I'd rather have mine stay shrunk. Or maybe the jean people can just make a nice little elastic band around the top with a fake zipper at no loss of style.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


There is this delicious feeling of emptiness tonight. I did everything that I meant to do today and now I feel complete. And with an empty empty mind. Eating popcorn for a before bed snack. That's about it. Body relaxed and tired. Mind relaxed and tired. 

I wish everyone the same kind of emptiness - where nothing needs to be added or deleted. 

Monday, 25 November 2013

Smile to joy

I woke up early this morning and had the thought to smile. It was dark. No one could see me. I smiled from ear to ear so that the cheeks closed in on the eyes and I showed some teeth. A really big smile! It felt so funny I chuckled. I've had a great day! You've gotta try it. I plan to smile before sleep too and maybe I'll be chuckling during the night.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Breathing room.

A pile of books to the Friends of the library!
It feels so good to de-clutter. I have to get rid of something to be able to bring anything new in.
It doesn't matter if it's new ideas or new clothes or food or books, it seems to be the way.
Or else I don't feel I breathe as well as I could.

Saturday, 23 November 2013


The weather has turned chilly. It feels like an arctic wind. I have been chilly and achy too. Yesterday I slept most of the day. Today I am a little better. I've taken my remedies: oil of oregano, lemon juice, vitamin C, and black currant juice. Finns don't do chicken soup. They do black currant juice. Hot! That's what I got as a kid. I don't remember any other remedy. 

It's nice to be able to read and watch television today. When not feeling well there is permission to not do too much. Hmmm, maybe that should be more available other times too. It reminds of a woman who told me about her very large family. When they were growing no one was sick longer than a day. They had a sick room upstairs and when anyone was sick they had to go there - alone and with nothing to do. They got well really fast!

Thursday, 21 November 2013


These seagulls were perched on top of St. Andrews church this morning. They stood on that very narrow edge looking north. What a view! I wondered how narrow that edge was and did they have one webbed foot on either side or both on the same side. 

Meditating is like being on that edge. If you veer one way you end up falling into sleep. If you veer the other way you end up in thinking mode again, at the surface of the mind. Awareness is right here right now. That's what we practice. 

And what about the seagulls?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A goose egg

Look at the size of this egg! It's a goose egg. The one egg filled the whole fry pan. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

A card

Monday morning after class I opened this card that had come in the mail. Yes the post! The Yukon in the fall. A very beautiful card and i wondered who it was from. Awwwww! A handwritten note from a former student. She's been reading my blog.

There is something so heartwarming about receiving a card in the mail. That someone actually chose a card with me in mind, wrote some beautiful words of gratitude, put it in an envelpe, bought a stamp, walked to the mailbox, and put it in. Thank you! And I remember you well! I talk about you in class sometimes because you were able to do the most amazing pigeon pose. 

Praise, as in simple appreciation, naturally leads to gratitude, which naturally leads to a feeling of union with another, connection, love.

What can you do today to brighten someones's day? Make a phone call? Smile at someone? Smile at everyone? Touch a shoulder? Give a hug? Say hello? Write a note?

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Saturday, 16 November 2013

A knitter's afternoon

I spent the afternoon knitting with Don's two young nieces, Madison, and Erin, and having tea. I finished my kid silk scarf this evening. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Green and golden

I sometimes think about being unfinished.  Unfinished as in growing and changing. I think I am still green. Golden. As are you!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Love what appears

I've had a long day. It's been a beautiful day filled with sunshine and wonderful people. Right now I can't remember how much actual sun there was but it was still a sunny day in my life. At this moment I feel abundant, full, rich with experiences. 

It is good, at the end of the day, to see the bigger picture. To look back momentarily and be grateful for it all. Love everything that appeared. Just because it did. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Love your gas station attendant

The little orange light that looks like a gas pump went on in my car today. Since my dad always said to never let my gas level get really low I headed over to my full service gas station. How did we ever manage without the reminders anyway, these little lights, beeps, and burps?

So, I said fill 'er up!
The young man said sure and plugged me in. He then came over and asked how my day was going. Excuse me? He seemed to really want to know. We chatted and went through the most common northern Ontario topic - the weather. We moved on to how some people are cold or hot and how couples are often opposite. We shared stories about how our partners were feeling the chill when we think it's 100 degrees. We moved onto skin sensitivities, and manscaping, which I had never heard of. That's when all these products and activities that women have bought and done for years: hair colour, body lotions, nail potions, hair waxing, etc. now it's for the man too! Manscaping! 
He wasn't buying it and neither was I. We had a lovely conversation. And you just never know when you find a kindred spirit. Stay alert. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Love your nostrils

Just an opening for air? Nope. The nose does much more than simply let air in. Rhinologists ( medical nose specialists), can list about 30 functions for the nose. Some of these are: the nose filters; moisturizers; directs the flow of air; warms the air; registers the sense of smell; brings in oxygen; creates mucous to detoxify as necessary;  provides a route of drainage for the sinuses; and affects the nervous system. 

You may have noticed that we are rare creatures to have an external nose as well as an internal nose. Most animals have 2 holes on the front of their face or at the end of their snout. 

Anything going on onside the nasal passage is closely related to the brain and the nervous system. There is turbulence inside the passage due to its non smooth interior surface. The nasal passage is a beautiful system when it's functioning properly. It's nice to have the right amount of mucous. It seems a strange point at first thought but you can even have more mucous because you suffer from constipation. The body has to expel and eliminate toxins in some way from some opening if the other end is plugged. 

Even the shape of the nose is a factor in how we are mentally and emotionally. Makes you think about what plastic surgery can change besides the shape of the nose. 

How does changing the shape of the air change a person?
And since the nose is the main portal of breath to the body it modifies and prepares the breath for assimilation by the body. 
May we should be more aware of our noses!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Christmas family supper in November

Tonight we ate our Christmas turkey. We had 12 people in our tiny cottage house. It was crammed and  fun. No one had to shout across the room or go too far to fill their plate. Don's daughter, Laura, and her boyfriend, Byron, are moving to Vancouver this week, so we had the whole clan over for a farewell dinner. And now that it's over it feels empty, and oh yes, peaceful too. I would have taken a photo of our beautiful bird but it lost it's legs pretty quickly, and then a wing, and some breast, oh well, everyone has seen a turkey.

All the kids have left home. I guess that's how it should be.

Self love

What you do for yourself - any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honesty and clear seeing toward yourself  - will affect how you experience your world. In fact, it will transform how you experience the world. What you do for yourself, you're doing for others, and what you do for others, you're doing for yourself. 

Pema Chodron

Friday, 8 November 2013


Just expand out into the space around you.  Love is expanding, filling, spacious, inclusive. It really includes everything. Lack of love isn't possible. You may not be aware of it but it's there. Always. Sometimes you are shrinking, closing, contracting, through fear and worry, so you aren't aware of love.
Love is all there is! Just love.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Plant love

I heard of a study done on plants by a bored scientist. He was working on something else with a polygraph machine when he decided to hook it up to his plant in the lab office - just for fun. He just thought about giving the plant water and the needle on the graph which was hooked up to the plant started to move. He was amazed and went on to do many, many experiments with plants - all with results that indicated that your grandma knew what she was doing when she talked to her plants to make them grow better. 

I usually have a hard time keeping a rosemary plant alive inside the house through the winter. So, here's my own experiment happening with my rosemary and a lavender plant. I have started to tell them how beautiful they are and how much I appreciate them for bringing greenery into my indoor landscape. I make sure I notice them every day. I think it's working. I will keep you posted. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Buildings need love too

This house is abandoned. This house I would love to own. It's my idea of a dream home. To lovingly bring it back to its original splendour. This is the back yard. The front has an amazing porch to have tea and watch the people and dogs walking along the nearby creek. The other two photos are the garage in back. Brick! And big enough to house a cute little yoga studio. I walk by it often. The lawn is cut. The sign says no trespassing. It's been this way for 13 years at least and soon it might just fall gown if I don't get to it : )

Monday, 4 November 2013

Pecan cranberry granola

1/2 cup honey ( I used 1/3 cup, worked well)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 cups large flake oats
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cranberries

Whisk honey, oil, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl ( you might whisk them in a pot over low heat to get a smooth consistency). Add oats and seeds and pecans. Stir to coat.

Spread mixture on baking sheet. Oven 325 F. Cook until nicely brown, stirring every 5 minutes.
Cool in pan. Add cranberries.


Recipe adapted from a Chatelaine magazine recipe.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Let go

I woke this morning grumpy.
No reason why.
I unrolled the mat.
Lay down.
And moved.
Back and forth, breathing.
Gently, softly, opening.
I shed and laid bare my feelings.
Better. Yes, better.

It came back later.
I had to stop and breath.
I unrolled the mat.
Lay down.
Back and forth, breathing slowly.
I wondered what's this all about?
No answer.
No thinking.
Or too much thinking?
Letting go of the need to be
Anything else.
Letting go of trying to be
Somebody else.
What would happen if I just stopped?
Lay bare my body, my mind, my Self.

Bliss is letting go of everything.
It seems to me that's it and all.
The only thing left to do.


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Wool dryer balls

I made these today and also tested them out. They really work.
You wind wool (wool that shrinks) into a ball and put it in a sock or pantyhose. Then wash and dry in hot cycles. When they were done, that is, felted, I put a few drops of essential oil on each and then put four of them into the dryer when I dried clothes. The clothes came out smelling gently scented, no clinging and the drying time was much less. Apparently drying time can be from 25 to 50% less.

I feel so accomplished today : )

Friday, 1 November 2013

The most miraculous healing spread

I have been making this spread since I discovered it in an Ascent magazine (a long time ago).

It's full of protein, B 12, calcium, iodine, and the nuts are warming food as our weather turns colder.

2 cups walnuts
3/4 cup almonds
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
(all raw and unsalted)
1 tbsp sea kelp
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Grind up all the dry ingredients to a fine consistency in a food processor. (I have tried a blender but it gets bogged down tight at the bottom.)
Put the mixture into a big bowl.

3 heaping tbsp of miso
1/2 cup tahini
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp tamari
1/3 cup warm water

Mix together to form a smooth paste and enjoy!
Makes 3 cups worth. It keeps for about a week in the fridge.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

All Hallows' Eve & the Katha Upanishad

The Katha Upanishad is about the deathless Self. It asks the question why do we die? What happens after death?  What is left? And who am I anyway? I love the translation by Eknath Easwaran in The Upanishads. 

In this Upanishad it says that through meditation one can begin to know the Self and rare are those who follow this path. It is a choice that must be made at every moment. 
"The joy of the spirit ever abides,
But not what seems pleasant to the senses. 
Both these, differing in their purpose, prompt
Us to action. All us well for those who choose
The joy of the spirit, but they miss
The goal of life who prefer the pleasant. 
Perennial joy or passing pleasure?
This is the choice one is to make always. 
Those who are wise recognize this, but not
The ignorant. The first welcome that leads
To abiding joy, though painful at the time,
The latter run, goaded by their senses,
After what seems immediate pleasure."


Wednesday, 30 October 2013


I chose a power nap over a dog walk. I don't think Felix appreciates it too much.
I wrote earlier about a check-in. Daily. The power nap is important too. I can lie down for 15 minutes and get enormous energy for the rest of the day. Sometimes it feels like there is no time. I know this. But test it out for one week and see if you are not convinced of its benefits. It could be taken right after work, before supper, or after supper, or closing your eyes on a coffee break. Start with the weekends and go from there. A Quantum Energy moment!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Wandering along the water

I had a friend over for coffee this morning. She is moving next week to Sarnia. We've known each other since our girls were born 10 days apart, 29 years ago.  Don's daughter is also moving to Vancouver in about 2 weeks. I feel left behind somehow. A bit melancholy today. 
The edge of Lake Superior soothes me. It just feels like I belong here. So that's where I walked today.