Sharing my thoughts and adventures.

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Luskville Falls

This past Saturday, my Love and I (and about 100 other people) went for a little stroll to see the Luskville Falls.  There wasn’t as much water as I expected to find roaring down over the stone, but the water’s sounds were still calming and its movement still mesmerizing.  I was without proper hiking gear so I didn’t scramble too far up the trail.  Next time I’ll be prepared!  I can’t wait to go back here in the fall.

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More thoughts on committing

Long time sun shine

I have been home sick for the past three days and, no surprise, have been watching a lot of YouTube videos.  I was looking at yoginis flowing just a moment ago and was struck by one video of a Venice Beach practitioner.  She was agile and supple and strong. And she started doing yoga in 1999, just a year before me.

Which got me thinking.  In the past 12 (I wanted to type 10, but no, it is 2012), have I done with my life what I hoped? What I most wanted to do? Am I happy where I am right now? Yes and no.

I’m really pleased about many things I’ve done but I have some big regrets too. I’m happy to be where I am for the most part but I have some anxiety about the future.  I wish I had been better to people and I wish I had been better to myself at times too.  I wish I had committed more to things I love, like yoga.  I regret not going further with it and letting myself go with it more.  But it’s always a fine balance, isn’t it? Doing what you love, going after great opportunities, saying yes, saying no, moving on and letting go of some people, practices, and opportunities while embracing others.

I think it’s good at 30 to be perched at this place, with some regrets, a little bit of wisdom and understanding, with a dose of direction and some fear.  I sailed through the last decade in a hedonistic fashion, caught up in the excitement of discovering people, the world, and myself, with some vague career goals and not a whole lot else.

Happily, I seem to have tapped into a place of focus in the past couple of months.  I will not lose sight of taking care of myself.  I will make it a point to nurture my passions, go into the forest more, push my mind, my body, and my heart past easy, fleeting things to get at what is solid, real, valuable in this short life.

Bring it on, Sun.

Melt, melt it all away

Committing

I’m committing to blog again.  I think it will have less text but more pictures.  It’s been a challenging six months since I last blogged and I haven’t had much time (or equipment) to get on here every few days with a post.  But I realized after a major theft how great it is to have this blog as a place to share (and store) photos.  It’s so good to be able to come here and see images that have long been wiped from my stolen computer and external hard drive.  Back up your back up.  That is all.

Since my last post, this is what I’ve been up to in pictures:

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The Itchy and Scratchy show…

When I was starting high school my sweet but harried dermatologist counselled me about career paths for someone such as myself who is afflicted with moderately severe atopic eczema.  No hair styling was in my future, no professional cleaning (scary chemicals in both), think twice about health services (lots of hand washing), and beware of “dusty” professions (like historian, researcher, or art conservator).

I’m pretty pleased with where my career went in the meantime, with only some dustiness which was outweighed by fun for the most part.  In the meantime too, my eczema has behaved rather well.  Oh sure, some flare ups here and there when I did some stupid things like get dusty (tis true) or allowed spicy or lanolin-y things to contact me, rubbed my face with new nail polish, or dreamed too big and tried to act all normal (ie: not moisturizing multiple times of the day and preferably after dampening my body in some manner or another or forgetting my Reactine/Benedryl before venturing out into the pollen-y country air).  Overall, though, the past 7 years have been pretty smooth, in terms of sailing and skin.

Ever since I moved in with my Beloved, though… oh my.  Our semi-finished basement (seriously, one part is like a creepy burial ground and it’s just beyond the washing machine… scary, very scary) has that delightfully musty odor one usually attempts to wash off fantastic Value Village finds.  And to further indicate we’ve got a mold issue which exacerbates my mold allergies, two of my favorite fur hats were found growing things.  THINGS!!!

For the love of all that is good and holy, i want to eradicate mold.  I know it gives us good things like penicillin (yes, I’m allergic to that too) but it’s got no place in the house of a relatively tidy and clean couple.  None at all!  Other than these THINGS our place is fantastic and I’m feeling like it’s home more and more now that I’ve settled in fully.  My skin begs for sweet relief though.  I’m thinking tranquilizers since Benedryl seems to be taking its good old time kicking in these days.  I got all cocky last night, saying to the Darling “I’m not really that itchy tonight.”  As Dr. Sheldon Cooper once said, “There are no heroes in the fight against dermatitis.”  Wise words.  I really need to remember them… at least until we move next…in a few years.  Housing bubble… burst away!

So I’ve been up since 5 am, when I was woken by my own painful scratching.  Cotton gloves, once my friend and ally when I was engaged in more dusty ventures, are no match for my vigorous nighttime scratching.  Aveeno… powder of the gods!  Aveeno Eczema Cream…moisturizer of the gods!  A good cry and a wash-cloth-protected-itch-marathon later, I was somewhat comfortably reading on the couch, where I dozed till my Sweet woke up and graciously washed my hair so as to protect my raw mitts from further agony.  That, dear friends, is Love.  Comfort and compassion and stepping up to the plate in your partner’s worst moments and this has certainly been a hard time for my poor little self (and my Sweet).

We’ll see how tonight goes as so far (knock on wood) I’ve been managing to get through the day with some more moisturizing, medicating, and intermittent crying.  If it’s another horror show in the morning, I’m heading straight to the campus clinic.  Yo, Stiefel… thanks for putting a kink in my Prevex B supply, by the way!

And here’s to the comp arriving in less than a week.  If I can handle this motha-fluffin affliction, I can take you on too!

Happy Summer Solstice to you all… set the night to rhubarb?

It’s a beautiful, sunny day here in Ottawa, which is a great start to celebrating the summer solstice.  I’m planning on doing sun salutations for about an hour to say “hello Sun!  Thanks for all the heat and light” and breaking out the singing bowl as well.  Of course, food has to be part of any celebration and today rhubarb fits the bill.  It’s pretty plentiful this time of year and fiery red like a setting sun.  Here are a couple of ideas for feasting with this sour and sweet veg:

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble:

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 or 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 3 or 4 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Mix this all up and place in a 9×13 inch pan.  Let it sit for 30 minutes while you assemble the crumble topping:
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • spices you feel would be appropriate (cinnamon perhaps?)
Once you’ve worked these ingredients together (in a food processor or with a pastry blender by hand) spread it out on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.  Break up the golden crumble and spread evenly on your strawberry and rhubarb mixture (you’ll probably have some left over).  Place on the bottom rack of a 375 degree oven and bake for about 30 minutes.  Maybe you can do some surya namaskar while you wait!  Let cool and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  I find 10 minutes at 300 degrees is enough to heat any leftovers just perfectly.  (Adapted from allrecipes.com and the America’s Test Kitchen recipe for peach crumble in the Special Collector’s Edition: Best-Ever Recipes:  All-Time Favorite Recipes from Our Magazines, Cookbooks, and TV Shows, 2010, page 94).

Rhubarb Lemonade:

  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Boil water and sugar in a pot and all rhubarb once it gets going.  Bring the mixture back to a boil and then simmer gently for about 5 minutes.  Place a sieve over your lemonade pitcher (or a bowl if that works better) and pour your mixture into it, draining without pressing the mixture for 10 minutes.  Add this liquid to your pitcher if you drained it into a bowl, add your lemon juice and refrigerate for a few hours.  Remember to stir or shake it up before serving.  Yum yum. (Recipe attached to local rhubarb from the nearby farmer’s market).
Cheers!

Deschenes Rapids take two

Upon doing a Google images search for the Deschenes Rapids I came across my friend Marc Brzustowski’s painting of the rapids on his Union of Painters blog.  I’m guessing this is from the Quebec side.

He has a show on right now, The Tropic of Eyeland.  If you’re on Manitoulin Island you should definitely check it out.

Marc’s love of nature and all its amazingness shines through in his work, whether he’s painting scenes of Meat Cove in Cape Breton Island, Montreal, Ottawa, or now his new home on Manitoulin Island.

I Love you Dad! A shoreline yoga celebration.

Happy Father’s Day to my wonderful Dad who, among other things, instilled in me a deep appreciation of nature.  We have had some great hikes together and in our silence and chit chat through the woods, I always knew that Dad was sharing a really important secret with me: just go to the woods, nature heals everything.

Dad always supported me trying out sports, but he understood that I was just not made for intense and potentially painful team games and never pushed me into them.  He did, though, genuinely encourage my yoga practice and was kind enough to pay for my classes when I was in undergrad.  Although my practice has waned and waxed over the years since then, it has always been there for me.  I’m currently re-immersing myself in it and am feeling great.  So in honour of my Dad’s love of being active and communing with nature I paid him a quiet Father’s Day tribute near the Deschenes Rapids on the Ottawa side of the river…

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Love you Dad!