Those who wish to sing always find a song.
~ a Swedish proverb

Friday, July 30, 2010

Balance






















I know that balance is the key to living a good life.  It is creating balance that is the challenge.  Like the rocks, we can build a foundation and then build slowly.



Monday, July 19, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nigel Slater wrote...


"I am not sure why this summer seems so vivid, with each day somehow more beautiful than the last. I only know that is the way it feels. The days are moving as if each hour is two, and every detail – a salad, a bunch of sweet peas or box of tiny broad beans – is somehow more rich than it would normally be. It is as if the colours, sounds and scents of summer have been turned up a notch."
I wish this for you.  Enjoy your summer.  It is fleeting.


Monday, July 5, 2010

A Few Days of Solitude


Recently I had the opportunity to spend a few days by myself at a comfy cottage in the woods nestled beside a rustic lake.  I know, I know, I am lucky!  A few months ago I had a realization that it has been many, many years since I had spent a few days completely alone.  When I was 23 and backpacking through Europe, I had a glorious seven days alone in Paris while I awaited the arrival of my boyfriend.  SEVEN DAYS ALONE IN PARIS!  I can’t even fathom the good fortune of that anymore.  Three days alone in the woods was as close to heaven that was going to come for me these days.  I was happy to take it!
Even though I was looking to spend time alone; I still had plans.  Still wound up from life in the city and I was heading into the woods with PLANS. It took me a few hours by myself to realize that whatever I had planned, life was going to take over and it hopefully would be the guide for my time alone.
I made the decision to surround myself with quiet for the three days.  I unplugged the ipod and settled into the sounds of nature and those sounds of me living by myself.  I got myself settled and the first natural thing to come to my body was sleep.  A two hour nap in the afternoon!  I asked myself to try to listen to my own body rhythms which is sometimes challenging in the city.  In the woods, it seems to be a little easier.  My PLANS included me cooking wonderful healthy meals for myself.  What my body told me was that all I wanted for dinner was a piece of toast and a glass of orange juice.  Shocking.
My body rhythm still kept me up late (I tend to be a creative night owl) but amazingly I did not sleep in like I had PLANNED to do.  My body woke me up early to start my days of getting to know myself again.
I had PLANNED to write for the studio.  For some time now I have wanted to get some words on paper but my body and my mind didn’t want to write what I had PLANNED.  I did want to write, but it wasn’t about business.  Instead, I wrote about happiness, my journey with yoga and life lessons that I feel are necessary to pass on.  
I had PLANNED to exercise each day (and I did make myself do this) but by the end of my very hilly runs, I was proud of my ability to move up each hill and all to happy to jump into a cool lake and practice my yoga down on the dock.  I was aware of a feeling of gratitude for my body to move as it just allowed me to do.
I had PLANNED to meditate each day.  However, my meditation took on a different form than it does in the city.  At home, I “set the stage” for my meditation practice.  Finding solitude in the woods didn’t require a “stage to be set.”  Every moment was a meditation.  I found that there was a mindfulness that was more astute and more refined.  It was hard not to be mindful when life was just oozing all around me.  The moving clouds in the sky, the sound of the lapping waves on the dock, the calls of the loons and the whistling of the wind.  Mindfulness came easier in the woods because I had a curiosity for what was happening in each moment.  It was INTERESTING watching the birds interact at the feeders.  It was INTERESTING watching the chipmunks plead for me for more peanuts.  It was INTERESTING looking straight into the eyes of a beautiful deer and asking it politely not to eat the rose bush, but to kindly consider moving on over to the bush next door.  (Funny enough, that deer looked irritated with me for my suggestion but then finally sauntered over to the other bush.  Deer have personalities!  Amazing!)
What my mindfulness meditation at the lake made clear for me these past few days is that life is always moving along, in the city and in the woods.  In the city, it is all too easy to let it pass us by while we are consumed with the tasks at hand.  What I know is that everyday we have the opportunity to make the choice to watch life and participate with it, or we don’t.  Too often we get lost in the drama of our own minds.  Time moves quickly but when we slow down, so does life.  What has become very obvious to me in the woods, is that while we are too distracted by our own busy lives and minds, we tend to miss the opportunities to watch the grass blowing in the breeze, or to hear the call of a distant bird, or to feel the gentle touch of our child; or most sadly, to understand the whispering of our own souls.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

National Anthems
























They sang the national anthems on the field and etched a memory in their lives forever.

Monday, May 10, 2010

We Wandered Hog Town
















We usually choose the woods, today we chose the streets.      We wandered Hog Town and saw a different side of life.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Homemade Life...stories and recipes from my kitchen table

I started reading the blog Orangette and really adored the way the author, Molly Wizenberg loved food.  She approached food in a way that was memory driven, full of naivete and rich with sensory descriptions.

I stumbled upon her book while relishing two hours found alone with my husband walking through working class, immigrant neighborhoods of Toronto.  Spring was just on the verge of pushing through the dullness of winter and we had the luxury to wander in and out of storefronts.  We were killing two hours and loving it!  We discovered a lovely artsy bookstore and lingered.  I found myself deep in the culinary section, my husband deep in biographies.  

A Homemade Life reached out to me.  The texture of the book as well as the simple design of the cover equally pulled me in and to settle into Molly's take on food sealed the deal.  I got that little excited feeling as I put the book under my arm and continued to move throughout the store.  

My husband and I then walked a few blocks, shot a few images of the bursting spring and sat ourselves finally in a little organic cafe that was featuring an organic black bean and red chili soup complete with a slice of homemade sourdough toast.  Luxury!!!  An hour to read, look across at my husband (without the distraction of kids) and to sit in a relaxed state only to mutter occassionally how wonderful the soup was, remark on a passage of our book or newspaper and of course, shift the eyes to a character that wandered into the cafe.  Bliss.  Thank you Molly for your book, thank you Toronto for your ambiance. 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

She is Inspiring.

She is writing a story.  She looks for ways to achieve on her own.  She is inspiring. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

This Moment is More Precious Than You Think

Trying lately to keep the theme of precious moments in the front of my thinking.  Found this lovely tune tonight and thought it was one.  Enjoy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another Time.

It wasn't avoided, it just didn't feel right.  Another time.  The tulips looked nice.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - A Year of Food Life

I loved this book.  I admit, I am a wannabe farmer, a wannabe activist, a wannabe writer and I would definately say, I am a lover of food.  This book was for me and anybody else who dreams about growing their own food and one day owning a small organic farm, I would recommend you pick it up.


This is the story of a courageous family who pledge to only eat produce and meat that they grow or that they can find locally in their own neighborhood or they simply learn to live without it.  They left the industrial food pipeline behind and learned to make their own cheese, raise turkeys, grow a bounty of vegetable and learned to preserve the bounty to get them through the winter months.


It was written in part journalistically and gave thorough description of how we end up the industrial food on our plates (not always a pretty picture).  It was eye opening.  But the book was also a warm memoir about a family who took on a challenge and worked together.


This book opened my eyes and I have found myself pausing before buying a dozen eggs, looking to see where our food was produced, and even planning my own vegetable garden this summer.  I plan to take on zucchini, peppers, and a plethora of herbs.  I will let you know how it goes...yikes.


If you have ever dreamed tending a garden with the purpose of sustaining your family, pick up this book and read of one family that did!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Choosing to see
















Noticing the dirty window but choosing to see the sunshine highlight her body.  There is always a choice.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vibrancy Beside Patina


Love the aged order.  Vibrancy beside patina.  It was a good day.  Felt like moving back in time and I could share it with him.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Bowl to Ease.

I coughed through teaching a yoga class today.  Proved to be challenging on the mind and body.  A bowl full of homemade soup eased me out of my morning.

Organic Chicken Broth
Tablespoon of Miso
Chunk of Ginger
Chopped Organic Carrot
Chopped Green Onions
Handful of Organic Baby Spinach
Red Chili
Drizzle in 1 whisked Egg

Not complicated.  Only 5 minutes.  Yum!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Organic Chick. Broth.
















She was home from school sick...not too sick.  And so we cooked and organized.  We had a day of folding and making chicken broth.  Back to school tomorrow.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Day Free of Expectations
















Energy is low when it needs to be high.  Time to settle into a day free of expectations.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Egg Nest Cake




































This is our Easter dessert.  Chocolate.  Chocolate.  Chocolate.

It just makes you feel good looking at it.  It is the freshness of the pastel coloured chocolate eggs, the lightness of the creamy chocolate whipped cream, the contrast of cream, flake, lightness and density.  These contrasts are the promise of spring.  This is a part of our Easter weekend. 


Cake:
8oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick softened butter
1tsp. vanilla
6 eggs, 2 whole; 4 separated
1/3c. plus 1/2 superfine sugar:  1/3c for the yolk mixture; 1/2c. for the whites

Topping:
4oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1c. heavy cream
1tsp. vanilla
1c. of robin's eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line bottom of 8-inch springform pan with parchement paper.  Do not grease the sides of the pan.

Melt the 8oz. of chocolate with the butter in either a double boiler or microwave and set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the 4 egg whites till firm, then gradually add the 1/2c. sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape and peak but are not stiff.

In another bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 1/3c. of sugar and the vanilla, and then gently fold in the chocolate mixture.  Lighten the mixture with some of the egg whites - just dollop a large spoonful in and stir briskly.  Then fold in the rest of the whites gently.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the center is no longer wobbly on the surface.  Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack: the middle will sink as it cools and the sides will splinter. 

To finish the cake, carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a plate, not worrying if bits fall off here and there. 

Melt the chocolate for the topping and leave it to cool a little.  Whip the cream until it is firming up and then add the vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate.  Fill the crater of the cake with the chocolate cream and easing it out to the edges.  Arrange the robin's easter eggs on top, shave additional chocolate and ENJOY!


Recipe from Nigella Lawson,
FEAST, Food to Celebrate Life

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

I had expectations for this book.  I bought it for my husband for Christmas, but truth be told; I was the one looking forward to reading it. 

Just this year we brought into our very busy lives a pound pup.  She was from the local Humane Society and she was found abandoned at 8 weeks in a ditch.  (Who can do that???).  We always knew that we wanted to add a dog to our family but my husband is the true "dog" person and he was leaning towards a breeder.  Thankfully our 8 year old daughter consistently begged to visit the Humane Society.  On this particular day, my husband was driving and he pulled in to appease her.  Once they walked in the front doors they were greeted by the sight of a penned in area with a cute little puppy scrambling around trying to escape.  The puppy ended up coming home with us and we named her Sadie.  She has been the brightness in our family this year in a time when we needed it.  We love her and she is now a part of our family.

So, knowing that this book was essentially about a relationship with a dog (or many) I was keen to jump into the story.  It enveloped me.  It consumed my husband first and he had a hard time trying not to look over my shoulder to experience along with me for the second time. 

The Sawtelle dogs are special and so is this story.  It is haunting, adventurous, suspenseful and inspiring.  It is a coming of age story and a story about communicating...the many ways of communicating.  This is a book that you don't want to put down, and one that you don't want to end.  It is a book that I need to share. My high expectations were filled.  Give it a go.