Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year of Sundays 2012

2012

January 1st

Waking up in your own bed after returning from a wonderful holiday in Europe, mon amour taking care of everything else so I can work on my special project, calling family and friends to wish them a happy new year, feeling nervous but pushing the button anyway to launch my blog, celebrating with a glass of wine...I love Sundays

January 8th

Waking from a deep sleep, washing in cold water, coffee with pen in hand, fresh pineapple, mon amour braving trials of technology to set up my scanner, water heater repairman working on a Sunday, long chat with a good friend, feeling inspired and encouraged, fridge full of delicious leftovers, candlelight, wine and beautiful music, struggling with blog format, a helping hand from a friend, remembering this is a learning experience, luxury of a day filled with quiet contemplation...I love Sundays

January 15th

Rising early with a head full of ideas, curling up to write, gazing at beautiful flowers, embracing my "orchidness", organizing thoughts and papers, instantly loving my son's new song, bundling up for a winter walk, looking back and looking forward, being blessed with wonderful friendships - old and new, laughing until I'm crying, coming in from the cold and seeing the glow of my face...I love Sundays

January 22nd

Sitting on the warm hearth watching the forest wake as night turns to day, wrapping a gift for my daughter, dear friend coming by for coffee, seeing mon amour's smile on skype (next best thing to being there), a surprise evening planned by the kids, favorite burger and fries, joining the crowd to see my nephew #20 in his WHL game, stopping at the drive thru for a strawberry cheesecake blizzard on the way home...I love Sundays

January 29th

Waking from a deep sleep, washing in cold water, coffee with pen in hand, fresh pineapple, mon amour braving trials of technology to set up my scanner, water heater repairman working on a Sunday, long chat with a good friend, feeling inspired and encouraged, fridge full of delicious leftovers, candlelight, wine and beautiful music, struggling with blog format, a helping hand from a friend, remembering this is a learning experience, luxury of a day filled with quiet contemplation...I love Sundays

February 5th

Receiving the wonderful news that after seven long weeks the little one has now come home with his mom and dad, curling up on the couch to write, organizing files, preparing tandoori prawns with mango salad and butter chicken with saffron rice, gathering with friends around the special little table, heading off to the theatre to enjoy a film, walking home on a clear, cold, winter night...I love Sundays

February 12th

Early morning quiet contemplation, morning smiles of notre famille, hanging out in pjs sharing photos and stories, ciel bleu et soleil walk to the National Gallery, waiting for the perfect moment to enter Rideau Chapel for the virtual choir, staying to hear it twice, stopping at our favorite bistro for burgers and beer, saying goodbye after a weekend of celebration, afternoon bath followed by a nap, sipping hot chocolate with baileys and rum while watching the grammy awards ...I love Sundays

February 19th

Rolling over and falling back to sleep, yoga k style, coffee and morning pages, brunch at Chez Eric, a walk along the river in the bright sun and bracing cold, late afternoon beer by the fire at Le Moulin, opening night at the Wakefield International Film Festival, back home in our pjs drinking chocolat chaud with rum and baileys...I love Sundays and mon amour

February 26th

Rising very early to begin our road trip, goodbye hugs from notre famille, Adam Cohen on the stereo while watching the sunrise, being welcomed by friends for a lovely lunch, feeling the warmth of a loving family, the crunch of snowshoes on winter trails, warming up with hot chocolate and creative conversations, heartfelt encouragement and support, soup and toast in our pj's with the academy awards...I love Sundays

March 4th

Waking from dream filled sleep, coffee and decorating magazines, slicing a perfect orange, walking for hours in the bright sun, church bells, peering into cafe windows, warm woodfired bagels, buying sandals and summer clothes for our vacation, afternoon hazelnut lattes, prepping for the workweek ahead, soaking my sore body in a hot lavender bath...I love Sundays

March 18th

A cheery taxi driver at 5:30 am, traveling with only a small pack, having three great flights, arriving a little early, bare feet and cervezas in the sun, taking in the scenery of roadside stands on the drive into San Miguel de Allendes, a warm buenas noche, a lovely room off a beautiful courtyard, the serenade of crickets to fall asleep by...I love Sundays

March 25th
Waking to the sound of birds, coffee and papaya in a sunny courtyard, strolling the winding streets, music and dancing in the village square, the glow of late afternoon on the beautiful church, a lovely dinner with dear friends, sharing travel stories throughout the evening, walking home through the still dark night, trying unsuccessfully to connect to wifi, knowing it can wait until tomorrow...I love Sundays

April 1st

Sun bathing the vibrant colored houses on the Guanajuato hillside, breakfast at a sidewalk cafe, disapointing coffee but a great view of the fruit vendor peeling mangoes, bumping along cobblestone streets in the taxi, the warning of a very turbulent flight not coming true, fragile pieces from artisans making it home safely in our backpacks, finding a surprise birthday cake waiting on the counter, Apsara purring and happy to see us, brushing teeth with clean tap water...I love Sundays

April 8th

Singing along with the radio enroute to Montreal, croissant crumbs on our laps, the voices of the choir filling the church, wishing family and friends joyeuses paques, sipping cappuccino and writing my blog, apportez notre vin sign in our chosen restaurant, deciding to stay the night, mon amour running out to buy another bottle, stopping for chocolate to savour with the last of our wine...I love Sundays

April 15th

A luscious bowl of berries for breakfast, staying in our pjs all day, spending the day working to feel organized for the week ahead, writing cards to dear friends, frozen lettuce in our finicky fridge, finding lettuce on another shelf that is perfect, preparing a delicious chicken piccata for dinner, making plans with family and friends for the next few weeks in our "here, there, and everywhere" life, climbing into fresh sheets... I love Sundays

April 22nd

Waking to a dusting of snow, bols de cafe au lait, brunch, and nurturing conversations with family, streets filled with wrought iron stairways, visiting dear friends, listening to my first album - a gift from my grandparents when I was 9, bistro dinner and enjoying the energy of a young friend, missing the kids - beaucoup, music and conversation with mon amour on the long drive home...I love Sundays

April 29th

Rising early to tackle some work, the feeling of accomplishment when it is completed, stepping away from the desk and walking into the market, sharing warm wood oven bagels, planning a birthday party for my beautiful daughter, heading to Wakefield for a long walk in the sunshine, spanakopita and greek salad, hot springs and saunas, sitting by the fire under the half moon, treating ourselves to a sublime massage, late night wine and cheese...I love Sundays and mon amour

May 6th










Rising early with my thoughts, snuggling back in for a little more rest, fuzzy socks, coffee and papers, strolling in the sun to the market for wild BC salmon, stopping at the lemonade stand run by the neighbour children, preparing dinner for friends, wrapping little gifts, a call from a dear friend, sharing stories and laughter with food and wine, puppy on my lap, goodbye hugs...I love Sundays


May 13th

Opening the perfect card from my daughter, coffee and Oprah magazine, rebounder and free weights, beautiful messages from my wonderful kids around the world, catching a spider to take him outside, leaving the too quiet apartment for a walk in the sun, wishing I was with my loved ones, knowing that we'll all be together next weekend, happy news from a dear friend, preparing a welcome home dinner for mon amour, steak au poivre,roquefort salad and wine,hearing all about his weekend...I love Sundays

May 20th

Woken by alarm, realizing it was on eastern time, laughing and going back to bed, celebration weekend with my daughter and son in law, packing a picnic, driving thru the valley to Harrison Hot Springs, hot pools and massages, sparkling wine and picnic on our deck overlooking the lake, Sarah's witty humour, dinner and dancing, late night dip in the pool...I love Sundays

May 26th

Blue sky, sunshine, and a big breakfast served on the terrace, spending the day with a room full of some of the worlds best people, 60 goodbye hugs, road trip through beautiful BC, stopping to nap on a picnic table, wishing I didn't have to take mon amour to the airport, reminding myself to be grateful for all that we have...I love Sundays

June 3rd

Rising early to watch the sun reach the trees, counting the days, strong coffee, purring cat, and a good book, picking flowers for my desk and then sitting down to work, mowing the lawn, cleaning the BBQ, unpacking boxes, organizing shelves and wondering where it will all fit, grilling the perfect steak, dinner with the kids, hot tub and sauna, crawling into bed with a good book, the feeling of being home...I love Sundays

June 10th

Waking from a deep sleep, hot tub and swimming, lounging by the pool, brunch on a terrace, gondola ride to top of Mont Tremblant, being found irresistable to the mouche noir, blueberry ice cream cones, goodbye hugs for chere famille, listening to our wedding cd on the drive back, maximizing allowable luggage for the plane to Vancouver...I love Sundays

June 17th

Waking from a deep sleep cozy on the couch, counting the hours, french press cafe and decorating magazines, calling dear ones to wish a happy day, organizing cupboards, counting the hours, donning my apron to make lentil soup and oatmeal cookies, father's day lunch with my wonderful family, counting the hours, baking a lemon cake for friends birthday celebration tomorrow, counting the minutes, picking up mon amour at the airport and bringing him home...no more counting...I love Sundays

June 24th

Tiptoeing out of bed to review documents, crawling back in for a little more rest, coffee and fresh baked muffins, packing and prepping, receiving a good wishes text from my daughter, stopping to look at a camper van, goodbye kisses at the airport, the too quiet hotel room, settling in with a good book...I love Sundays

July 1st

Listening to one of the world's best drummers (my son) and his band mates in a club, falling into bed at 2, fresh baked orange muffins delivered by a friend, preparing a special bath for my wonderful daughter, simmering a pot of pea soup, fish and chips on a sunny bench at the beach, looking for the perfect camper van, heart to heart with dear friends, sitting by the fire with a glass of brandy and turning up the stereo with mon amour...I love Sundays

July 8th




Morning coffee and radio espace on the patio, making plans for camper van we bought yesterday, puttering around Spring Cottage, mise en place for supper, sipping sangria with dear friends, fresh figs with blue cheese, showing my goddaughters how to make paella, toasting the joyous arrival of our newest family member and Apeksha's birthday, hot chocolate, donuts, and stories at the dining room table...I love Sundays

July 15th

Waking up "snug as a bug" in our little home on wheels, saying good morning to the ocean, putting on the coffee and frying up some bacon, wandering through the village, toasting Deb at Molly's Reach, chatting with the locals, meeting an artist whose work I adore, mojitos on the dock, catching the last ferry so we can wring every moment out of this wonderful weekend...I love Sundays

July 22nd

Waking to rain gently falling, jumping up to close the rooftop vent, coffee with my nose in a book, reading aloud until I realize he's gone back to sleep, strolling through Whistler Village, cabbage rolls, crepes, and blackberry apricot pie...
at the Farmer's Market, driving through the mountains and along the ocean, buying cushions to feather our nest on wheels, appreciating our caring family who are always there when needed, new bar of dove and a hot shower, gratitude for mon amours love of spontaneity, not being able to keep my eyes open for another moment...I love Sundays

July 29th

Coffee on the beach, taking the meandering ocean route, bedside visit with grandad, buying a huge basil plant for our campsite, afternoon pastis, dear friends bringing kayaks and smiles, cooking greek food for all over the campfire, sharing stories while sipping wine and watching the tide...I love Sundays

August 5th

Rising early to be the "dish fairy", coffee and reading on the sunny beach, enjoying pancakes and bacon while watching eagles, gathering beloved family and friends for a bbq, kayaking at sunset, campfire and s'mores...I love Sundays

August 12th

Putting it off as long as possible, making the trip to the outhouse, mon amour's haiku, the smell of coffee percolating in our camper van, breathing in the last moments of our beautiful campsite, arriving just in time to drive straight on to the ferry, munching a tuna sandwich with the wind in my hair cruising through the islands, caesars on the patio with the kids, washing the wood smoke out of my hair, climbing between fresh sheets, feeling grateful for two weeks of blue skies and sunshine for our holidays...I love Sundays

August 19th

Wonderful neighbour and dear friend turning on both of our sprinklers at 5 am, following drs orders, morning coffee listening to the water and gazing at the magnificent trees, catching up on a little work, baking a carrot coconut cake, quiet reflection with afternoon tea, being moved to tears by Jeff Buckley singing Hallelujah, saying a prayer, mon amour walking in the door with boxes of blueberries and peaches and his beautiful, big smile, cool sushi and warm sake with the kids...I love Sundays


August 26th

Cafe avec le merveilleuse famille, being shown Barbie's playhouse, brunch, les histoires, et beaucoup de rire avec les amis - wishing my french was better, so I could have understood more, un petit visite jusqu' a la prochaine, smiles and waves as we head off - coming right back because we forgot something - smiles and waves encore, focusing on the way forward - figuratively and literally, a quiet dinner for two, walking back to the hotel in the warm evening air, kissing on the sidewalk, Stubbe chocolates and welcome card on the bedside table...I love Sundays

September 2nd

Waking to find that I was feeling a little better, miles of white sand beach to ourselves, coffee and magazines in our lawn chairs, driving along the coast, fried oysters with a squeeze of lemon, afternoon nap on the beach, getting the best campsite in the park, afternoon nap on the beach, watching the sunset with the waves rolling in, grilling steaks over the fire, reminiscing about our favorite times together, a sky filled with stars...I love Sundays

September 9th

Coffee and life goals conversation while curled up in bed, meeting up with dear friends for three days of fun in Portland, doing our laundry so we don't smell like a campfire, reading and loving Anne Lamott's writing while the dryer spins, finding that our hotel room has a beautiful tree to look out on, getting dressed up for the evening, scoring a window seat at the 30th floor piano lounge for happy hour and staying all evening, receiving some sad news and wishing I was there to help, soothing words to dry my tears, a warm evening walk back to the hotel...I love Sundays

September 16th

Turning the bed into the dinette for the last time on our road trip, making our way home slowly, perusing a great book store, wanting to buy an armload but choosing just one, sending a sick friend healing wishes, having a picnic on the beach and giving mon amour the book as a gift, stocking up at the duty free for Christmas, finding no wait at the border, arriving at Spring Cottage and loving all the fresh paint, new gutters, walkway, garden, and kitchen cupboards, thanking the kids for all their help to make it happen, toasting them with beer and sushi, giving in to ice cream cravings, a hot fragrant bath, climbing in to our big bed...I love Sundays

September 23rd


A big goodbye hug from my beautiful daughter, coffee and paper in the Maple Leaf lounge, being told I have a great smile, a smooth flight, knowing we'll all gather for Thanksgiving, crisp white sheets, looking forward to tomorrow, mon amour calling to say je t'aime et bonne nuit...I love Sundays

September 30th



Waking early and snuggling back in, finding a big box to fill for the plane, mon amour saying he'll come to an event with me, goodbye kisses, reaching out to encourage a friend, tea and magazines, remembering it is two sleeps, getting my work finished and then diving into a new book, being greeted by my beautiful daughter after a long flight, settling in for a heart to heart talk, candlelight bath, climbing in to my own bed after a week away...I love Sundays


October 7th

Early morning coffee and conversation by the fire, the happiness of having the kids here for the weekend, opening the first holiday magazine, donning my apron, the magic of flour, yeast, brown sugar, butter, raisins, and pecans becoming cinnamon buns, sunshine glistening on English Bay, impromptu picnic on the beach, imagining an oceanfront city life, sunset and turkey dinner on Granville Island, ending the day quietly by the fire just as we began it...I love Sundays

October 14th

Waking to the sound of rain falling, spending the whole day in our pajamas, steel cut oats with apple and cinnamon, reflecting on yesterday's Seed Event, an afternoon nap on the couch, spicy homemade soup, listening to great music, pizza and wine, a call bringing some happy news, fair trade dark chocolate with the last glass of wine, wishing we could do this day again and not change a thing...I love Sundays and mon amour

October 21st

Waking happy and relaxed on day two of a surprise spa weekend, the sound of silence as we stand on the balcony in our cozy white robes and watch the gently falling snow, stepping into the scandinavian hot pool, feeling cares drift away in eucalyptus steam, talking myself into a breathtaking plunge in the cold pool and then loving it so much I did it again, a perfect massage, agreeing that "experience gifts" are the very best, driving home along the ocean and snowcapped mountains, feeling the love from birthday calls and messages, reading an inspirational story aloud to mon amour, sushi and wine by the fire...I love Sundays, surprises, and my wonderful family and friends.

October 28th

Waking with a sore neck from keeping myself propped up, letting family and friends know that we are fine, reminding the kids of our family earthquake plan, being teased about reminding the kids about our family earthquake plan, thanking dear friends for last evenings wonderful birthday celebration, feeling the sun on my face as we walk together in English Bay, savouring eggs benedict while watching the street scene, laughing with someone I just met but instantly liked, finding the kids available for an impromptu dinner, receiving a beautiful message from a close friend, counting the hours until I am in the same room with Maya Angelou, being so tired I'm in bed by 8...I love Sundays

November 4th

Waking well rested from a long sleep, coffee and reading in bed, talking to our family here, there, and everywhere, cappucino and rhubarb cake in historic cafe, having the good fortune to sit next to Lena, hearing a little about her inspiring life, finding a new role model in her story of a 94 year old who rides her bicycle every morning and goes dancing in the evenings, walking in the rain, feeling the abundance of possibilities, snuggling in to enjoy leftovers, wine, and a good movie, the gift of an extra hour...I love Sundays

November 11th

Coffee brewing and Madeline Peyroux singing, creative ideas that make me smile, puttering around the house in a flannel nightgown, putting away the sundresses and pulling out sweaters, mon amour preparing our camper van for its long winter nap, popping next door for tea with friends, feeling very content with our decision, the delicious scent of indian food delivered to the door, red wine and chocolate, tumbling into bed very early with a good book...I love Sundays

November 18th

An hour of reflection before anyone rises, christmas magazines and coffee by the fire, film scores on radio espace, donning my apron, singing and prepping for the evening, writing menu on the chalkboard, the miracle of yeast and flour becoming a beautiful rosemary baguette, surprising our dear french friend with a special raclette dinner in her honour, happy faces of family and friends around our table, great conversation and lots of laughter...j'adore dimanches

November 25th

Beautiful messages to comfort us in our loss, baking lemon blueberry muffins and delivering to family and friends, trying to find the right words, getting out into the sunshine for a long walk, stopping for hot chocolate, delicious dinner prepared by the kids, BC Place lit up like the british flag, making a dream come true for my son, Paul giving us all a night to remember, sharing this special evening together...I love Sundays

December 2nd

Watching the sunrise, dear friends saying "yes"they'll spend Christmas at Spring Cottage, apron over my nightgown to prepare spinach feta quiche and hot italian sausages for brunch, singing Mull of Kintyre, the scent of carmelized sugar, nuts and chocolate becoming trays of almond roca, calling family and friends, cutting fragrant cedar boughs and holly for the entranceway, putting up lights and waiting for it to become dark to see them glow, cozy comfort food meatloaf dinner by the fire, looking at our wedding photos...I love Sundays and mon amour

December 9th

Waking with the realization that perhaps we enjoyed one or two glasses of wine too many, donning my apron and preparing early noel brunch for 20 members of la famille, cuddling babies, enjoying seeing everyone so happy together, trees dusted with snow, having a complete conversation au francais without any help, beautiful music for the long drive, hotel room with welcome wine and cheese waiting, falling into the king size bed with crisp linens...I love Sundays

December 16th

La famille gathering, room service cart rolling in with fruit platter and two big pots of coffee, blueberry pie and date squares for breakfast, receiving thoughtful gifts, hugs goodbye for tout le monde, climbing back into bed for the perfect nap, packing clothes, gifts, skis and snowshoes, working and reading in the Maple Leaf lounge, watching snow turn to freezing rain and wondering if we will fly, two hour delay but safely home, wonderful daughter picking us up with a big smile, tea and toast with peanut butter, believing with all my heart that guns do not belong in our homes, praying that others will share that belief...I love Sundays


December 23rd

Christmas carols and prepping deliciousness for three days of festivities, the heavenly smell of tourtieres baking, cranberry sauce cooling, dough rising, filling the second fridge with goodness, friends dropping by with wine and chocolate to share by the fire, getting into our pjs and snuggling in to watch Love Actually, loving that movie more every time we see it...I love Sundays

December 30th

Waking to the sound of waves crashing on the beach, walking through the arbutus trees, wishing someone a wonderful day and him replying "every day is wonderful", walking into the village, saying hello to everyone I meet, eggnog latte and gratitude for everyone who helped save Clayoquot Sound, Tofino pale ale and nachos at the waterfront pub, a late afternoon nap, wine and cheese by the fire, fireworks across the bay, music, port and chocolate...ending the year as wonderfully as we began it, wishing all good things for those we love in the new year...I love Sundays and mon amour

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dancing by the Light of the Moon

One old camper van + us = summer fun

We had decided on adding a camper van to our life and the search began.  Craigslist and Kijiji became part of our daily rounds.  We drove long distances and visited a few, but nothing felt quite right.   One day my father called to say that he had seen an ad and it was in our own community.  We jumped in the car.  As we pulled up I just knew.  I couldn't stop smiling as we shook hands with the owner.  The side door swung open and we stepped in.  Yes, this was the one.  We would climb into those seats and drive along side by side, we would brew our coffee and sit at the little table reading and talking, we would make up our cozy bed and curl up together at the end of each day.  It was meant to be ours. 

And so now it is.  Our little place on wheels is as much home to me as anything has ever been. 

Such delight to feather this nest - throw pillows, napkin holder, a percolater.  Finding places to store our books and bags.  Filling the cupboard. Stocking the wine cellar - alright a box.  Wrapping ourselves in the fleecy blankets maman made us.  We love it all. 

And like any of my homes it has begun to be filled with the bits and pieces that find their way into my pockets.  A shell from a beach walks, a wishing rock from a rocky shore, a small pinecone. 

We carefully log all the places where we have layed our heads - the pages filling with memories of the Sunshine Coast, Whistler, Vancouver Island, Washington and Oregon coasts. 

Oh, and, being me, of course a quote.  On our dashboard we have a lovely tile which reads "And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon."

And we do. 

"When using a public campground, a tuba placed on your picnic table will keep the campsites on either side vacant." ~Author Unknown

All good things, k

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia

Time for a slice of cake, or better yet, bake one and share it with friends.

Today is Julia Child's 100th birthday.  And while she left us eight years ago, in many ways she never will. 

Many years ago, on the event of a special award being bestowed, I wrote to Julia.  A long overdue message of gratitude for having taught me how to cook and, even more importantly, for having shared her special joie de vie.  Gathering family and friends together to enjoy food, wine, and each other, is one of my greatest pleasures.  Imagine my delight when shortly thereafter a note arrived from Julia thanking me and sending wishes for many more happy hours in the kitchen.  It ended, of course, with her signature "Bon Appetit". 

I've always been glad that I took a few moments to reach out to her and she to me. 

Who might you want to give thanks to.

"If you're afraid of butter, use cream."  Julia Child

All good things, k

Monday, July 9, 2012

Remembering

I lost a friend today.  No matter that you know it is coming, there is no preparation for the finality of hearing the words.  It was a life dedicated to United Way and serving the community.  So many will miss her presence.   She was feisty, passionate, bold, caring, and had the most wicked sense of humour. 

I call those who knew her well to share the news and the stories begin.  We cry, we laugh, and we remember. 

A few years ago, she shared that one of her dreams was to visit my home, see the West Coast, and travel to Gibsons, where the Beachcomber series had been filmed.  So we did just that.  She flew out and spent a few days with my family and friends.  The weather was glorious and we enjoyed long meals on the deck.  My son helped her buy an ipod and they talked music together.  We drove to vantage points and took in the views.  We visited an abbey and sat listening to the beautiful chanting of the benedictine monks.  And, on one fine day, we took the ferry over to the Sunshine Coast and visited Gibsons.  We ate lunch at Molly's Reach and then found someone who would take the two of us in his small motor boat for an idyllic hour cruising along the coastline.

Believing that there are no coincidences, it made me smile through my tears this morning when I realized that my husband and I have a reservation for the ferry to the Sunshine Coast on Friday evening.  So, I will stop in Gibsons, look out at the ocean, and drink a toast to my friend. 

"You don't have an enormous talent like that without having integrity nailed to your soul and humanity along with it."   Robert Clouthier, "Beachcombers" co-star about Bruno Gerussi

All good things, k

Sunday, June 3, 2012

You Had To Be There

Together again.

Last evening we helped a long time friend celebrate his 65th birthday. Invited for “burgers and beer”, about 120 of us gathered together in the backyard of the lovely home of he and his wife, to enjoy the sunshine, garden, and each other. 

Such happiness to be surrounded by family and friends from throughout your life.  A life that has so many facets.  A life that has always reached out and extended itself to make communities better for all.  That was how we had met, when he became a cherished volunteer of my own organization.

I too found myself with some dear friends and, as often happens, taking a trip down memory lane.  As past-colleagues we started reminiscing about our years together.  Formative years for me.  Creative and exciting, we worked hard, learned a lot, provided encouragement, supported each other, and enjoyed the feeling that comes from knowing we were making a difference.  I wouldn’t trade those experiences or the lasting friendships created from it for anything.
 
With the passage of time and the more distant view, these occasions don’t present themselves very often. 

We had a toast to being together again and brought out all the old memories.  The ones that make us laugh.  The ones that cause us to pause and reflect.  The “you had to be there” stories that only we could understand.  The ones that brought forward thoughts of those we’ve lost, but will never forget.. 

There is a distinct feeling of comfort and happiness in being with those with which you have shared special experiences. 

You had to be there. 

"It takes a long time to grow an old friend." John Leonard

All good things, k

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Magical Moment

Do you say something.

The young woman came walking towards me.  Dressed in white, hair adorned, face glowing, I couldn't help but notice her radiance.  As she neared, I said "You look so beautiful."  She replied, "You don't know how much I needed to hear that at this moment.  In fact, I didn't even know how much I needed to hear that until this moment. Thank you." 

Following behind her were two other lovely young women.  Overhearing our exchange, they said "We thought the same thing, but wouldn't have reached out to express it.  It's hard to know whether you should."

I shared with them three questions, attributed to Socrates and Buddhist teachings.

Is it true?  Is it kind?  Is it is necessary?

Thus began a conversation - creating a circle of sharing that was instantly warm, intimate, and important.

As we parted with hugs, contact information was exchanged, and a photo taken to capture the special moment. 

To my delight I awoke the next morning to find the picture and a heartfelt message from my new radiant friend.  "Thanks to you all for making my year and for allowing me to memorialize that special moment when one woman decided to be gracious to another.  What powerful evidence of kindness in action!  Let's all remember to speak up when the inspiration strikes, always bearing in mind the guiding questions Kim iterated for us.  I am grateful for that magical moment that opened up and hugged me, when I didn't even realize I needed it.  You can bet that's going in my reserves for a rainy day." 

I do so love those times when a chance meeting seems serendipitous, but I know that in fact, there was a reason we all connected.  I also know that the outer beauty I saw, was a result of the inner beauty that was within. 

Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is? ~Frank Scully

All good things, k

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Touchstones

We all have them.

Little touchstones that make us smile, evoke a memory, bring comfort, or simply make a space feel like "us". 

You can tell a lot about me by looking at my desk. 

You'll find a rock.  Not just any rock.  A rock from the beach at Rebecca Spit on Quadra Island, with a wide white stripe around it, thereby making it a "wishing rock".  There is also a flower, a beautiful cloth - a gift from my daugher and son-in-law when they were traveling in New Zealand, little notes from loved ones, and a small print with what I consider to be perhaps the most important question that can ever be asked "What does your heart say?"

A wicker basket holds a few books, my journals, and a box of pencil crayons - should a creative urge to color overtake me.  It sometimes does. 

There is also a card.  When I found it I bought many and sent them to dear ones - keeping one for myself.  It reads, "Always settle for more...more joy, more faith, more laughter, more grace.

I'll settle for that. 

"Dreams are the touchstones of our character." Henry David Thoreau

All good things, k

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Perfect Gift

You know it when you see it.


What a wonderful feeling to find the perfect little gift.  To anticipate that moment when they open it and nod.  Feeling it reaching out and saying "I know you and I love who you are".


Today I am wrapping and sending a couple just such gifts.  Neither are expensive.  Neither were purposefully sought out.  


For me there is no walking around malls, desperation creeping in, having to buy something...anything.  Rather I am always mindful as I go through my daily rounds.  Watching what draws my attention - what reminds me of a dear one.  When it appears, I don't hesitate.


Sometimes I will tuck it away for a special occasion.  Often the gift becomes the special "I thought of you" occasion.  


Even more often, gathering is my gift.  What could be more special than time together.  I love nothing more than time spent with family and friends, enjoying food, wine, and each other.  


I've been blessed with some of these "I know you" gifts too.  This past Christmas a friend gave me two little silver spreaders that were engraved "spread joy" and "spread love".  Every time I reach for them I smile.  Truly the perfect gift.


"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give."  Eleanor Roosevelt


All good things, k

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Feeling Blue

I'm feeling blue.


This is being magnified by my incredible guilt for these feelings.  I, who am so blessed.  I, who write I love Sundays.


The trouble with being an optimistic soul who is rarely down is that it feels overwhelming, to myself and to others.


I'm known for my sunny outlook (well that and my love of food and wine).  My belief that life is good, people are good, (well except for a few scoundrels, as my friend would say), and that everything unfolds as it should, is my carrying card.  Do not ask me to explain world atrocities.  I can't.  All I know is, that in my own sphere of life, it is reaffirmed each day, that being positive and grateful brings more to feel positive and grateful for.   I live in abundance.  


On Thursday I was publicly thanked for my serenity and on Friday I felt anything but.  I felt sad, tired, anxious, oh, and did I mention, very, very, guilty, for feeling that way.  


Usually a day spent at home in my pj's, listening to beautiful music, doing a little reading and writing, and generally relaxing, would replenish me.  All this while being cheered on by mon amour, who shopped for food and wine, did our income tax, and organized papers, while I was napping on the couch.  Even after two huge bowls of the finest pesto pasta I have ever made, a bottle of fine wine, all enjoyed while watching a riveting movie, the sadness remained.  


But today, as I write this, I can feel the fog lifting a little.  While I am still far away from my children, when I wish oh so much, that we were all gathered together with family and friends for Easter.  While my heart is aching for dear ones who are struggling with their own sadnesses.  And, while I still find myself at an in between place - something that never sits easily with me.  


I hold on to two things that I know for sure.  I am loved.  I love.  For this moment, it is enough.  For every moment it is enough.  


A lot of me is very up, and you have to have light and shade. They are both important and you have to be able to balance them. You have to admit that sadness is part of you and that it enriches you. I use it in my work.  Imelda Staunton


All good things, k

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Smile

Many years ago, I stood chatting to a friend who was asking me if I knew someone.  "My mom knows everybody.", my young son piped in. 

It took a moment before I knew what he meant.

I smile and often say hello to those I meet along my way. While I don't really know them, I do feel a spirit of connectedness to all. 

Such a simple way to lift your own spirits and those of others. Stories abound about people whose lives have taken a positive turn because of a kind word or gesture.  As do the sad stories of those who didn't.  Every little thing counts. 

There is a great quote from Coco Chanel, that I have always loved, "Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; life shapes the face you have at thirty' but at fifty, you get the face you deserve."  Well, Coco, I am happy that mine includes lots of crinkles around my eyes from smiling.


"What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”  Joseph Addison

All good things, k

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What Does Your Heart Say

I've been dithering.

When there is a big decision to be made, I think carefully, weigh options, fill pages with scenario planning of all sorts.  All in the hopes of making a "good decision".  And yet, what I know for sure is that all I really need to do is ask myself, "what does your heart say".  My head may keep me going in circles, wondering, doubting, wondering again.  My heart always knows.

My head and heart also know that all of my decisions have been just that, decisions.  They themselves not inherently good or bad.  But rather, choices taking me down one path or another.  One can never truly know where the other path may have led.

Am I happy at this moment...oh yes...joyfully so. This moment, this culmination of all the choices large and small, and even the dithering - for indecision is itself a choice. 

All the thinking is really just a distraction. Still yourself.  Trust yourself.  Ask yourself.  What does your heart say? 

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

All good things, k




 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Don't skimp on health...or cacciatore

"Let's just agree right now that we are not going to skimp on our health." mon amour says convincingly.


This statement comes as we stand in the middle of a health food store and I am considering the merit of buying a Spoonk.  My purse is bulging with the tin of tennis balls I have also just purchased, at the advice of the massage therapist who treated me a couple days ago.   


I am slightly desperate.  Muscle pain in my upper back is begging for attention.  My punishment for years of hunching and far too much time spent sitting at my laptop lately. 


A woman from Denmark, who just happens to be in the store, passes by and tells me they are popular there and she has been using it for years with great success.  I can't get in line fast enough to buy my new treasure. 


Back home again, I don my apron and soon chicken and sausage cacciatore, studded with sundried olives and artichokes, is simmering.  Then I place tennis balls between my back and the wall and slowly roll from side to side...little moans accompany each move.  I decide that this may be the best $4.99 I have spent in a long time.  Such an inexpensive and effective way to massage that spot in between my shoulder blade and spine that I simply cannot reach any other way.  Mon chat is also very pleased as she takes one of the balls off to play with.  Next, I roll out my "spoonk" accupressure mat and ease myself on to it.  A few seconds of "what was I thinking this really hurts", then a few moments later the pleasant feeling of increased circulation, and in five minutes a gentle warmth. 


Will it live up to it's promises of relieving muscle tension, providing pain relief, decreasing stress, and improving sleep.  Please let it be true.  Then I roll it up and place it next to the 40 inch rebounder that was delivered this morning.  Yes, we are not skimping on our health.


I am reminding myself to sit up straight as I type this.  Just as I will when we sit down with a robust bottle of red wine and a big bowl of cacciatore.  However, you may feel free to sit any way you choose when you enjoy yours. 





k's Slow Cooker Cacciatore (enough for four good sized portions)


2 chicken breasts (cut in half crosswise or four thighs - whatever you prefer(skinless...boneless too if you like...but the bones do add flavor)
2 hot italian sausages (remove casing and cut into bite size pieces)
28 ounces or so, of Italian tomatoes, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (choose a color you like)
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 or more garlic cloves, finely chopped
a good splash of red wine
1 jar of artichokes, halved or quartered
3 good spoons of capers
20 or more pitted sundried black olives
a few oregano leaves or one teaspoon dried
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Oh...and if you happen to have the rind from a wedge of parmesan...put it in too...I save them up for just this sort of thing.


handful of fresh basil
handful of fresh italian parsley
parmigiano reggiano
lemon


Place bell pepper, carrot, and onion in slow cooker.  Place chicken and sausage on top. Sprinkle with garlic, artichokes, capers, and olives.   Pour tomatoes and wine over everything.  A little fresh sea salt and a good grind of fresh pepper, and that parmigiano rind if you have it, before closing the lid.  The slow cooker will take it from here.  Soon the aroma starts to warm your home and in anywhere from two to four hours, depending on your setting, you will open it to reveal a heavenly, earthy, dish.  All it needs is a topping of basil and parsley and a grating of parmesan.  I like a little lemon zest too.

Spoon over pasta, polenta, risotto, or savour all on its own.  Mon amour would say that crusty bread is not optional.  I say that a glass of good red wine makes it perfect.


All good things, k

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Someone Else

I was consoling a dear friend recently. 

A broken heart and health issue had literally left her breathless.  As we sat amongst the wine and kleenex, she suddenly said she had to get home to shovel the snow in the driveway.  Then proceeds to tell how hard it had been to do it earlier this week.  That she had to do it in stages, stopping at intervals to rest and breathe.  "There are so many things wrong with this story." I said.

But, it is a story that I know only too well.  We all do.  The "if I don't do it who will" fairytale.

I have a book of these stories.

It is what led me to take my freshly injured foot, cram it into a shoe, hobble on to two planes and partake in several days of meetings before, no longer being able to cope, to then and only then, see a doctor for the x-ray I should have had immediately.   My foot was broken in three places.  It has never properly healed....and won't. 

The times you should have stayed put in bed, but struggled up, clutching kleenex in one hand, aching head in the other, to get to the office, drive a friend to the airport, or prepare a dinner party for fourteen.  My son calls it "putting on your cape", as in trying to be a super hero.

So fold up the cape.  Or better yet, let it drape across the foot of your bed...crumpled for effect.  For today let someone else shovel the driveway, attend the meeting, bake cupcakes for the party. 

We will all take our turn.  If today is yours, settle in, pull the blanket up tight, two hands around the warm tea cup.  Who is going to do it?  Someone else.



"New members are urgently needed in the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Yourself.  Apply within."   Unknown


All good things, k

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Treat Yourself

Everyone deserves a treat.

Not just once in a while, but all the time.  This is within reach.  It has little to do with your finances and everything to do with your perspective.

When my son was little, he and I were out getting a few groceries with a friend.  She said to him, "Pick out any orange you like and I will buy it for you."  It took a few minutes for him to choose from the mountain of oranges.  Several were thoroughly examined until he found just the right one.  It was then carried with great pride through the store.  Our friend had the cashier ring it through separately. 

When we returned home, she washed and cut it, then placed it on a plate with a big napkin.  It was then carried to the table, where he was watching and waiting, like a beautiful gift.  It was. 

I don't know if either he or she remember that.  But I do.

Treat yourself.  Take that bowl of morning oatmeal, but today, warm the milk, drizzle a little honey, and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Open the package of deliciously scented soap you received at Christmas and fill the bathtub.  Pour afternoon tea in your most beautiful cup. 

There is nothng to wait for.  Today, and every day, is a special occasion.  Treat yourself.

"One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats."  Iris Murdoch

All good things, k

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Remembering David

Dr. David Simon passed away this week.

When he first shared he'd been diagnosed with a brain tumour, I felt sure that this ayurvedic, meditating, spiritual, healer, loving, man would soon be well again.  A neurologist and vaidya recognized for his work in mind, body, emotions, and health - he would be well again soon.  The very best of every form of treatments were being brought to bear - he would be well again soon. Healing prayers being sent from around the world - he would be well again soon.

But on January 31st, his best friend and Chopra Center partner, Deepak Chopra let us know that was not to be. 

As I read the words I wept.  I wept for his family, for his friends, for all those who had experienced his healing touch, and for those who now never would.  In amongst it all there were also tears for what felt like hopelessness.  If someone so pure of heart, mind, and body, could succumb in this way, what is there to do.

Then I remembered.  We don't do those things in order to live forever.  We do it in order to experience the fullness of every day we have.  

David leaves behind a body of work, including his books, which will continue to inspire and the world is remembering and responding with an outpouring of love on a special website Remembering David, created for the community to share their stories and celebrate the life of a man who touched so many lives, including mine.

"The best use of a physician's knowledge is to teach patients how to heal themselves."
~ Dr. David Simon


All good things, k

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Escargot

Mon amour teases that I am an escargot.  I prefer to think of myself as mindful.

I am moving more slowly.  Purposefully so.  I not only "take the walk", I "take in the walk".  I stop to see the new buds or display in the store window.  I smile at passersby.  I delight in the unexpected.  I pick up lucky pennies. 

Noticing is always the first step to appreciating.  Being truly grateful requires that we truly experience what is before us.

No need to change the "what" to change the "how".  Only to begin.

Head down and rushing, as we move through our daily rounds, won't connect us with anything, except maybe those lucky pennies. 

Savour each moment. 

You may even find you want to share some of them with others. I do.

"We do not remember days; we remember moments".  Cesare Paves

GO SLOWLY...NOTICE EVERYTHING

All good things, k




Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Write Path

How will you know.

You will know when the struggle disapears and the walls fall away.  When that niggling doubt is replaced with a calm knowing.  When the doors swing open as you arrive, the dots start to connect, and it seems that the whole world is cheering you on.

Over the past few days I have:
  • received messages of gratitude and encouragement for my words
  • connected with a new friend offering to help guide my desired blog enhancements
  • been asked to proofread a book that is being adapted and translated
  • had dear friends make me aware of a writers retreat and urge me to attend
  • wondered whether I should go - while mon amour just went ahead and enrolled me
Everywhere I have found inspiration and confirmation. 

That's how I know I am on the right path, or, for me, the "write path".


"I must write it all out, at any cost.  Writing is thinking.  It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living."  Anne Morrow Lindbergh

All good things, k

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bring Yourself

longhand[ˈlɒŋˌhænd]
n ordinary handwriting, in which letters, words, etc., are set down in full, as opposed to shorthand or to typing

I write in pen.  Longhand as it is called.  While I’m not so sure about the “ordinary” part, the “set down in full” resonates.

Writing this way means that, for me, it has become a two-step...pen on paper...fingers on keyboard.

I’ve found that there is something that gets lost in the transition from paper to screen.  Perhaps it is remembering how I felt when the words first arrived.  Perhaps it is the ambience that surrounds me as I write and draw .  Perhaps it is something I can’t quite put my finger on.  Or, perhaps that is it – “I can’t put my finger on it”.  I can’t infuse the look and feel of the way I write into a computer.  Neither the style of writing itself or the little pictures that often accompany it. 

So, in the quest to move, ever so slightly, closer to the genuine article.  To truly bring more of myself to this endeavour.  Behold the drawings.  Through the magic of scanning (and the even more magical ability of mon amour to hook up said scanner and teach me to use it) you can now see what I see when I look at my pages.  Well, minus the incomprehensible (sometimes even to me) writing and the odd crumb.

And isn’t that the point. For all of us. To bring as much of ourselves as possible to everything we do.


                     Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

All good things, k

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Winter Wonderland

I have never really liked winter.

Vancouver born and raised, I'm not used to really cold temperatures. As for snow, we generally keep ours on the mountains, where you can go and visit it whenever you want, and then drive for a few minutes and come back home to bare streets. So finding myself spending a lot of time in Quebec and Ontario has been quite an experience. I'm not used to a world of heavy coats and boots. But, now I have a coat that looks like a sleeping bag and boots that are utilitarian and always covered in salt.

I do however love Christmas. For me, it always meant lots of decorating and baking, in preparation for gathering family and friends. A time of rum and eggnog in my glass and my children round the tree. I enjoy every moment. This year was to be different. My children would each be at opposite ends of the earth and I would be in between. That was until we got a wonderful invitation to travel to Eastern Europe to be with my son and his love. We bought tickets and before long we were off, my packsack laden with small gifts, cookie cutters, and an icing set. Sort of a Mama Claus.

It was there that I got a whole new appreciation for winter. These people know how to make the most of it. The squares were filled with christmas markets. Holiday trees and twinkling lights gave no doubt as to the season. Outdoor grills were covered with sausages, pans of perogies, and pots of sauerkraut. Breads were baking in the wood fired ovens. The air was rich with the scent of hot wine. So many of the things that I love about summer...farmer's markets, sidewalk cafes, gathering for a glass of cool wine....just layer on some warm clothes and mull the wine with oranges and spices. A true winter wonderland.

And, just when I thought it couldn't get any better...it did. On Christmas Eve my daughter and her husband arrived, having flown half way around the world to surprise us, knowing that nothing could make me happier than for us all to be together. Oh, maybe one thing. When they asked me to read "The Night Before Christmas", just as I have always done on Christmas Eve. 

"Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles." Author Unknown