Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Smile, breathe and go slowly.
Thích Nhất Hạnh, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, poet and peace activist

As I sat waiting for the departure of my night train, I was astounded to look outside the window and read the message, "Remember to breathe", emblazoned across an iconic image of an Alberta landscape. Here was a moment of synchronicity when unrelated events are meaningfully related: I have not seen these wrapping advertisements on wheels until this ride home at the end of a workday that marked the beginning of my vacation . . . in Alberta. I have been longing for Alberta's wide open spaces and big skies that stretch one's spirit from one horizon to the other. Looking out the window, I let out a deep sigh. As Carla Melucci Ardito writes, "Learn how to exhale, the inhale will take care of itself."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gifting Roses

The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.
Chinese proverb

A dear neighbour shared with me her tea set and memories of her late husband nurturing fragrant roses in their garden. I look forward to hosting afternoon teas with, perhaps, a small posy on the table to accompany the lovely china set.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Creativity in a Barrel

The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.
Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist (1881-1973)

On today's road trip in search of the perfect sofa (a successful one, I should add), Mom and I admired people's creativity with their flower potting. First we spotted a bright yellow bicycle in the midst of green shrubbery with a sunny bouquet standing tall in its basket. A few miles along, scarlet begonias overflowed from an old wheelbarrow. Later, stopping at a roadside diner for lunch, we found a very creative way to recycle old wringer-washing machines as planters. Who would have thought!

It was a cheery sight made all the more joyful because I can remember "helping" my mom with the laundry beside a similar machine when I could only just peek over the top of the barrel at the swishing, sudsy water. My job was to "catch" the clothes as they descended from the wringer and to make sure that they landed in the laundry basket rather than on the floor. I probably only "helped" once or twice, but those times are inscribed among the leaves of my memory.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Special Deliveries

How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers?
Andrew Marvel, English poet and politician (1621-1678)

I received a couple of unexpected gifts this week that have brought much pleasure this weekend. My aunt provided a large bouquet of sweet basil, the fragrance of which still floats in my kitchen. I christened my food processor by making a large batch of pesto, part of which was immediately consumed with gusto and part of which was frozen for future pleasure.

Regarding pesto, a few week's ago friends from Britain shared with me an article entitled "25 recipe ideas for leftover pesto" published in the Guardian. As he noted "leftover pesto" is an oxymoron for most of us; however, just in any case my kind readers may want some savory sweet inspiration, I provide the link to the article for all to take delight in this heavenly herb.

And speaking of cases, I actually won two bottles of wine during this Spring's "Get Fresh" oenological tour. They were delivered in an unmarked white van in an unmarked box to protect my reputation among the neighours who might question special deliveries of alcohol to the door. I won't say what percentage of the 700 ballots had my name on the them, but I will say that "Get Fresh" and "Wrapped Up in the Valley" are a couple of highlights in my calendar. I am already looking forward to November's event.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Of Rains and Rainbows

Where does the rainbow end,
in your soul or on the horizon?
Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet-diplomat (1904-1973) in The Book of Questions

I have been watching the rain in its many different forms for most of the day. What an awesome and wonderful surprise to find myself gifted this evening with a magnificent rainbow -- a double one, in fact. Looking out my window, the child within beamed inside and out. The fabulous vision transported me . . . over the rainbow.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Stynke or Bust

Garlick maketh a man wynke, drynke, and stynke.
Thomas Nash, English poet and first husband of William Shakespeare's granddaughter Elizabeth Barnard (1593–1647)

I look forward to Friday night dinners because I can indulge in my love of garlic and have two days to 'recuperate'. Tonight I harvested some basil from my window herb pot and delighted body and soul with a bowl of fresh pesto. A divinely inspired combination. What's more, I find the working of the ingredients between mortar and pestle to be very satisfying.

While Mr.  Nash may not have approved of my meal, I am supported by Mrs. W. G. Waters, who published The Cook's Decameron: A Study In Taste, Containing Over Two Hundred Recipes For Italian Dishes in 1901 and wrote, "Garlic used as it should be used is the soul, the divine essence, of cookery."

Moreover, as an added benefit, tonight I am protected from any vampires. ;-)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Birthday Canada!

Canadian pride may not rest on our sleeves, but it resides deeply in our hearts.
Steve Miller

I am not sure who Steve Miller is or under what circumstances he spoke but he succinctly captured our laid-back spirit and belief in our great country. Parades, fireworks and speeches are all well and good but what better way to celebrate the homeland than with a backyard barbeque with family.

Happy Canada Day!