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