Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Babes AGM 2014

The Book Babes AGM this year was blessed with fabulous weather and a profusion of trillium.

Virginia and I arrived at Nicki's on Friday night. Meteor showers were promised, so we found ourselves gazing into the night sky trying to spot them, but instead got reacquainted with Leo, Saturn and Mars.

I stayed up much later than normal and in the morning opened my eyes with pleasure to discover I was tucked in at Nicki's.

We seemed to show a bit more restraint than in previous years when it came to calories, and spent more time walking. Nicolette had a pedometer and we clocked something like 8,000 steps. Lots of great food, including a tasty asparagus frittata for breakfast, fruit and cheese for lunch, and a huge dinner.

It was a smaller contingent than normal, but Nicki, Nicolette, Virginia, Debra and I did the honours of choosing the final book selection, with a little bit of help from Louise and Linda.

Our reading list for the coming year is wonderfully appealing... looking forward to the conversation in the coming months.

Reading List
August: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Pat)
September: TBD (Miriam)
October: Birding with Yeats by Lynn Thomson (Nicolette)
November: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (Virginia)
January: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver (Laura)
February: Elegance of a Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (Lorraine)
March: Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (Debra) 
April: Flee, Fly, Flown (Nicki/Judi)
May: Cabbagetown by Hugh Garner AGM (Louise)
June: Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (me)
July: Life after Life by Kate Atkinson (Pat) 
August: Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Liz)

Honourable Mentions
What's a  Dog For by John Homans
Post Mistress by Sarah Blake
Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Smell of Mud by Jody J. Ballard
Orenda by Joseph Boyden
Hell Going by Lynn Coady
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
Road Ends by Mary Lawson
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blue skies

Rigging. Main sail. Motor running.
And we are out on the open water!
Amazing sky.

Just a few details to iron out: radio, jib.

Warmer weather would be nice. But not essential.


... three clematis to re-green the fence. Two Henry, and one Ice-Blue. Hopefully they will scramble up the fence and prosper. I even fertilized after transplanting, something I haven't tried before, but I want to do everything I can to help them thrive. Henry didn't fare too well in 2012 and I didn't see him at all last year. Then in May, the Boston ivy suddenly turned brown, after seeming to survive the winter. Hopefully this will reverse the trend.

Livened up the deck with some lavender and caladium.

The Solomon's Seal actually pierced a leaf when they came up through the mud this year. And I've noticed for the first time how the weeping maples fill their leaves from the bottom up, helping the lower boughs get more exposure to the sun's rays and then working upward. Amazing!

Red Dragon Maple
Blooming now
- bleeding heart
- primrose
- trillium!
- violet
- bergenia
- foamflower
- hellebore
- pulminaria
- tulips
- daffodil
- dandilion
Lavendula stoechas - Anouk (Spanish Lavendar, new to North America)

after the rain, sunlight on the garden slate

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Who designs the concert schedule and chooses what to pair with what, and why?

Tonight's Afterworks included Mendelssohn (the "Scottish" Symphony, Opus 56, composed 1829-1842) and Purcell (Dances from the Fairy Queen, Composed 1692).

Tom Allen spoke about how Purcell started working at 8 years of age and never turned down a job, learning the value of money after the family lost everything in the Great Fire of London. Organ repair, commissions... Never took a break or rested, until he came down with tuberculosis that forced him to take a few days off. He never recovered and died at 35.

Contrast that life with Felix Mendelssohn. Born into an extremely rich and intellectual family, he never needed to work a day in his life. By 20 he was in London presenting his Symphony One, following it up by playing a solo Beethoven concerto - without sheet music - something interpreted as showing off for the times. Mendelssohn's life ended at 38, when he died of a stroke, brokenhearted by the loss of his beloved sister. One of my favourites of his is the violin concerto in E minor.

Were the selections chosen because of the harmonies in the composers lives, or for their relative geography? Program notes don't really elaborate why these particular pieces were chosen to be placed with one another. Maybe these were the guest conductors choice, Michael Francis, visiting us from the London Symphony Orchestra. Although Felix was German, the Scottish symphony places him in the neighbourhood of Purcell, one of Britain's best-loved composers.

Full Flower Moon - May

The moon is 'officially' full at 3:16 pm.

photo credit

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Salad in a Jar

This may just be the perfect answer for quick-pack lunches! Salad dressing on the bottom.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May flowers

Grecian Windflowers, May 10

Tulipa Tarda

Hanging a bee hotel in the backyard for mason bees

Happy Mother's Day!

Slept in and woke up to a wonderful breakfast prepared by Alex and Rob. Beautiful flowers. Then spent the entire afternoon on the back deck, enjoying the greening and the sound of birds.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bringing it home

So now that the yoga sadhana and intensive have ended,  I bring these lessons home:

Trying not to fall isn't the same thing as trying to find my balance.

Staying in a pose for a length of time that is past my comfort zone, am I bearing with it, or dealing with it?

I have to search out and scan for the places in my body where I'm not conscious, and then experiment and wonder and try to work out the solutions for myself, rather than just relying on a teacher to point the way.  How can the world be wonder-full if I never wonder?

Writing these things down is an attempt to define something that is infinite.

It is not always about muscle & strength, but learning how to work with nature.

Opposites inhabit the same space.

Don't judge the asana in terms of whether I like it or dislike it.

Don't become comfortably numb.

Don't be in such a rush to finish something once it is started. Take time to linger.

Understand where you are.

Work with what you have, where you are. Start now.

~ phrases from BKS Iyengar teachers, Raya and Marlene ~