Monday, 29 October 2012

"The Oak Tree"

A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree's leaves away,
Then snapped its boughs
and pulled its bark
until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground
while other trees fell all around...
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
"How can you still be standing, Oak?"
The oak tree said, "I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away,
shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
growing stronger since my birth.
You'll never touch then, for you see,
they are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn't sure
of just how much I could endure.
But now I've found, with thanks to you,
I'm stronger than I ever knew."

one of the ancient oaks in Sherwood Forest

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Chickpea Curry

I love chickpeas.  Here is an easy recipe from Peak of Market for a hot dish
for one of the cold days we will be facing in the upcoming months.

2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small piece of cinnamon stick
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 tbsp (15 ml) ginger root, finely grated
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cans chickpeas, drained but save liquid
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground coriander
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt

In large skillet, heat oil.  Add onion and cinnamon stick.
Cook stirring until onion is soft, about 10 minutes.
Add ginger and garlic and continue cooking another 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes and simmer about 10 minutes until tomatoes are soft.
Stir in chickpeas, cumin, coriander and salt.  Simmer 10-12 minutes.
Add about 1 cup reserved chickpea liquid to make it saucy.

Serves 4

Monday, 22 October 2012

Loving a Body

Loving a body is about nooks and crannies, 
the first hints of silver at the temples,
laughing out loud at the TV in the next room,
a pile of unwashed dishes but
opting for a snuggle instead.
Loving a body invites an opening,
a breathing into acceptance of that
one damned trait that can absolutely-drive-you-crazy –
until you let go,
celebrating strengths instead of obsessing.
Loving a body is both charted and uncharted;
we often have guides, some better than others –
who lead us into possibility.  Who hold
the stumble as precious and expected,
even welcomed.
Loving your own body is a wild landscape –
some have gone before you, but
the dispatches are few and far between.
And what is endearing in loving another
quickly turns to scorn when the object is yourself.
Loving your own body is practice, patience, persistence and
the metabolism of loss.  That is how I heard yoga
described recently, and the way the two
map each other is inextricable.  Broken and organic,
ragged and seamless.
Anna, Curvy Yoga

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Walk in the Park - Leo Mol Sculpture Garden

Just as the fall colours were starting, I took some time and went to
the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden at Assiniboine Park in my home
town of Winnipeg MB Canada.  Below are just a few pictures I
took on my walk.  Not many; I got caught up in just looking around.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Standing Wide Angle Forward Bend - with pictures

I have posted Prasarita Padottanasana before.  I'm just taking the 
opportunity to post pictures my teacher, Susan, took of me in the pose.  
This is a great forward bend if you have tight hamstrings and have 
difficulty bending forward with your feet together.

Feet apart, bend forward till you hands reach the floor or blocks.  At 
this point your back is straight and you are facing the floor.  Hold for 
a few seconds and then release forward bring your hands between your 
feet, bend elbows, and let your head drop. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Philippa Gregory - Cousins' War series

I've always enjoyed history.  Sometimes stories of real people and events can
seem more fantastical than any fiction.  One author I've become quite fond of
is Philippa Gregory and her series on the War of the Roses.  So far she has
written four books: The White Queen is the story of Elizabeth Woodville,
wife of Edward IV and mother of the "princes of the tower".  The Red Queen
follows the life of Margaret Beaufort, mother to the future Henry VII.
The Lady of the Rivers is the story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, mother to
Elizabeth Woodville.  Her latest book is The Kingmaker's Daughter about
Anne Neville, older daughter to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and wife
of Richard, Duke of Gloucester the future Richard III.

The stories are about the women who were the daughters, wives and mothers
to incredibly powerful men during a period of great turmoil in British
history. Each woman has her own "energy" that propels her through
extraordinary events of history.  Jacquetta has mystical powers to see into
the future.  Elizabeth is a great beauty and has considerable charm.
Margaret is of royal blood and truly believes in her divine destiny.
Anne and her sister are used as pawns by their father.

For read the story lines on these books go to
To order any of these books, use the Amazon link to the right.
Warwick Castle

Entrance to the Tower of London

Monday, 8 October 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving in Canada!
View of autumn colours from my condo window.
Skyline of Winnipeg, MB Canada

Friday, 5 October 2012

Chocolate-Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

This is an easy Kraft recipe cookie.  If you do not want raspberry
jam for the filling, use another flavour or try a whole almond or
hazelnut instead.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 squares Baker's unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 pkg (250 gr/ /8oz) brick cream cheese, softened      
1 - 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup raspberry jam

Mix flour, baking soda and salt in one bowl.
Melt chocolate and butter together.  Whisk in cream cheese.
Add one cup sugar, egg and vanilla.  Mix well.
Stir in flour mixture to form dough.  Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Roll dough into 1" balls.  Coat with remaining sugar.
Place on prepared cookie sheets and press thumb into centre
of each ball.  Fill each indentation with about 1/4 tsp jam.

Bake at 375F for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for
one minute then transfer cookies onto cooling racks.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Chatsworth, Great Britain

September of 2011, I was on a tour of the UK from London to Edinburgh.  One
of our stops was Chatsworth House and its gardens.  Chatsworth is in the
heart of the Peak District in Derbyshire and is home to the Duke and Duchess
of Devonshire. The whole of Chatsworth includes the house with gardens,
park and farm.  My group got a tour of the house and a walk through parts
of the garden. The garden is extensive with flower beds, trees and shrubbery,
sculptures and art installations. Being it was September, the dahlias were
particularly lovely. For more information, go to

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Monday, 1 October 2012

Triangle Pose - Trikonasana

Triangle pose is a classic standing pose and is one of the first poses taught.
Remember you are bending to the side not forward.  If you cannot get your
hand to the floor, use a block (as in the video below) or a wood block on
stack of foam blocks or a chair seat.  As you progress in the pose, work on
turning the torso into a twist.
Below is a YouTube video of Geeta Iyengar teaching triangle pose at at
Conventia Italiana a Montecatini in 2002.