Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Small miracles

Tonight I was stuck on the subway and stressing about whether I would be able to make it to my yoga class, I was running behind and the train had been stopped for 10 minutes, and I was stuck and running late and calculating the time it would take to make it to my house and then how long I would have to wait for the bus and then if I was going to be late should I even bother to go, and when would I get home, how much traffic would there be and then when I got to the studio would I get a parking spot, and I calculated if everything went well I could probably make it 10 minutes late, but I hate being late, especially when there is a quiet restorative class, which this was, but if I crept in quietly and timed it right maybe it wouldn't be so disruptive and I really really need to go to a restorative class and relax damn it!!!!!!! Well I got in the car and behind the wheel and said to myself don't rush don't drive so fast you get a speeding ticket and what then would you say to the officer anyway, hurry up writing that ticket! I am late for my yoga class!!!

Thankfully most of the lights were green, I quickly got a parking space in a perfect spot, ran up the stairs, and..... made it right on time! Not even a minute late. Enough time to grab a mat and settle in.

It was a fantastic class, with Neron teaching. At the start, before the invocation, he said to "Bring your mind to the inner corner of your eyes. Now bring your mind to the outer corner. Now slowly draw the line from the inner corner to your outer eye."

We did pranayama with bramari breathing. A new instruction here, too, which was to make the first cycle a high volume buzzing sound, then do normal breaths, then reduce volume to a  medium buzzing sound, and then a low, soft volume, and then as quiet as you could be. Very restful.

At the end, a reminder to give thanks to the energy that brings us life.

Yes, a much needed restorative class!


The photo of my toes in the air was taken on my holidays, when I was doing yoga on the dock, and delighting in the view and the air and the warmth of the sun.

The more places you'll go

As Dr. Seuss once wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” 
This summer I’ve travelled the globe! Anatolia, Russia, Mexico, Vietnam, New York City and China; witnessed the decline of the Ottoman empire, oppression in Stalinist Russia and pillow talk in the court of Imperial China.

Fiction was for the holidays, with long periods of time and no interruptions as we travelled port to port. Bursts of non-fiction were great, I could focus for 20 minutes and then turn my view to the scenery. No book club meetings, so nothing I felt I 'had' to read.

Birds Without Wings, by Louis de Bernières 
Published after 9/11, the author tells the story of the fall of the Ottoman Empire through the eyes of his characters. Christians and Muslims had lived together peacefully for centuries in a small coastal town before war and political ideologies destroyed their community and uprooted lives. 

The Avenue of Mysteries, by John Irving
A "dump kid' teaches himself how to read while his sister reads minds. Nunneries, monasteries, and circuses are colourful sets for strong characters. 

The Noise of Time, by Julian Barnes
A slim volume easily read in a few hours, the story lingers. What must it have been like for Shostakovich, to suffer the whims of Stalin? How did he feel about Stravinsky, who left Russia and became popular in America? Why did he stay when he so often feared for his life? The author bases his story on letters and historical details, while acknowledging the book remains a work of fiction.

The Art of the Personal Essay by Phillip Lopate 
Fabulous collection of essays written in different times and places and written from a strictly personal point of view. It is quite incredible how modern some of the ancient voices sound, such as Sei Shonagan as she complains about mosquitoes buzzing at night and thoughtless lovers leaving noisily. Musings from Plutarch and Seneca and Virginia Wolf and Annie Dilliard. An extraordinary collection that I am so glad caught my eye one day in the bookstore. 

Luck, Lapham’s Quarterly
This edition seems especially well-curated.....The history of handicapping. When every decision is the wrong decision. Meeting the fates. Salvation from unexpected places. Master paintings. Interpreting dreams for fun and profit. 

Irreverent, hilarious, maddening, informative, entertaining... 

My latest tour through these pages has inspired me to pick up volumes by Roethke, Stevie Smith, and Adrienne Rich. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Waking

I came across this again when I was browsing through a World Poetry anthology. So mesmerizing and lyrical. I keep re-reading it.

The Waking

Related Poem Content Details

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.   
I learn by going where I have to go. 

We think by feeling. What is there to know?   
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. 

Of those so close beside me, which are you?   
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,   
And learn by going where I have to go. 

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?   
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. 

Great Nature has another thing to do   
To you and me; so take the lively air,   
And, lovely, learn by going where to go. 

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.   
What falls away is always. And is near.   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I learn by going where I have to go.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Eat Your Veggies! (and beans and seeds)

The End of Dieting, by Joel Fuhrman MD
VB6 (Eat Vegan Before 6:00), by Mark Bittman

Both of these books advocate an alternative to SAD eating, or the Standard American Diet:  eating more nutrient rich veggies, beans, seeds, fruits and nuts. Promised benefits are weight loss, more energy, and better all-round health. 

Fuhrman suggests limiting animal fats and proteins to 5% of the overall diet. His Nutritarian approach is to eat as much as you want of nutrient rich food. These ‘G-bombs’ include greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds (chia, flax, hemp, sesame). No refined foods, like white sugar, flour, or rice.

Bittman is less extreme, suggesting the evening meal can include moderate amounts of animal proteins and fats, and that over time people will gravitate naturally to less and less animal proteins.

I can imagine a week or two of the eating vegan, provided all the meals were prepared for me. In reality though, even eating vegan just before 6 has been a challenge, especially once the weekend hits. 

Little changes are easy to make, like swapping out almond milk for dairy. But give up cheese and butter?? As the old joke goes, I might not live longer, but it sure would feel longer.

Had some great vegan and vegetarian food this past weekend at the Rectory Cafe: a pico de gallo, chili verde and a compressed watermelon salad. The watermelon looked like tuna, and was caked with black and white sesame seeds. Gorgeous to look at and absolutely delicious. 

Seems complicated to compress watermelon at home but I'll have to give it a try someday.

Meanwhile, I think this would be easy enough to get in the habit of prepping and eating:

Overnight Oatmeal
Serves 3
1/4 cup raisins and/or other chopped dried fruits
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups unsweetened soy, hemp or almond milk
3 cups fresh chopped fruit or frozen mixed berries

Place all ingredients except fruit in a container and refrigerate overnight to soften. If using fresh fruit, may want to add that just before serving.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Notes from the galley for next year

Menu suggestions: Memorable meals included: french cut lamb chops, hamburger sliders, sausage risotto, butter chicken and lamb tangine. I appreciated the hotdogs and Kraft Dinner at the end of a long sail day. I didn't pack flour for making roti, and regretted it. Also had an inexplicable craving for a can of baked beans. The best lunches were casual plates of cold veggies, cheese, smoked meats, pickles, devilled eggs & crackers.

Equipment: This year I made the switch from an electric stovetop to induction heat. Only one burner, though, so some things need to be cooked consecutively rather than the same time. The unit was on sale for less than $70 from Canadian Tire. While it can heat up to very high temperatures very quickly, it only heats the cookware and not the whole surface, a real advantage in a small space on a hot day. We tested the pressure cooker and cast iron pan and both were suitable for use. Our butane burner is still on standby for times we have no access to a power source or need a second burner at shore power.

I used the pressure cooker 3 or 4 times, but the 6 quart took up a lot of space, so maybe I will get a smaller one just for the boat. Should've packed: a couple of mason jars for liquid leftovers, 2nd/larger pot; bullet or blender.
butter cellar
Another addition to the galley was the butter cellar, which has been great at keeping the butter soft, spreadable, and fresh. Just don't leave it in the sun! I will keep my eye out for a smaller sized one just for the boat.

Meat: All the meat was vacuum packed in Toronto and kept fine in the ice cooler throughout the entire three week trip. Vacuum packing saved a lot of cooler space because there was no need to worry about ice from the cooler leaking into the seals. I went to McEwans and splurged on the meats, but many butchers can vacuum pack on request. Kaarina recommended this one, closeby. A real bonus is that when the meats are frozen, they do double-duty as ice, at least for a few days.

masala daba
Grains and pulses: I brought a lot of dried beans along on the trip but used absolutely none. I used green lentils a couple of times. Arborio rice, basmati, orzo, pasta, and breakfast cereal were all appreciated.

Spices: I experimented a bit with my tiffin and masala daba to pack tea and spices, but ended up tossing jars and spice tins into one big Tupperware container. The particular container shape works nicely on the galley shelf, but because I couldn't decide which spices to bring, I ended up with an overflow. A bit more editing in the spice department would be good, and maybe smaller jars.

Fruits and veggies: Apples kept very fresh in the hold where we stored the liquor.  Someone mentioned that wrapping a head of lettuce in tinfoil and then storing it beneath water level is a good trick for keeping it fresh. Cucumbers and tomatoes were delicious in snacks, salads and sandwich stuffers and kept well in the cooler. In past years I have brought equipment to grow beansprouts and kept a pot of fresh herbs, which I'd like to do on a more regular basis.

Dehydrated mushrooms and canned veg on hand for when fresh supplies run out. It might be worth stocking some dehydrated meals from Mountain Equipment Co-op to have on hand, as back-up provisions.

Wine and Spirits: Many of the bottles were left untouched. I think for cruising we will stick to a few signature cocktails and leave the full bar at home, which will free up a bit more space to ‘cellar’ fruit and veggies. Nice bottles of wine to bring when invited as guests came in handy. Having different gins on board resulted in a couple of impromptu tastings. Premixed Caesars were perfect on a hot afternoon.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Coming Home

Going five months without a working boat really helped me appreciate this cruising holiday. Things I loved: big skies, swims in the lake, the feel of the wind and the sun on my skin, uncluttered views of the horizon, cloud watching, sail watching, star gazing, shooting stars, drinking ice water & gin cocktails, enjoying the taste of food, doing yoga outdoors, meeting up with friends along the way, spending time with Rob.

It was also fun to keep in touch with everyone via social media. Fellow Bluffers were messaging each other, so I knew how Laura and Peter were adjusting sail plans to wind and weather, when Caroline was setting sail for Waupoos, what Kaarina and Mike were up to on Medina, and where Lyn and Mike were headed. I also posted a lot of photos along the way on Facebook - to the point I probably was annoying some people. Lois was encouraging us to sell the house and take up sailing full-time. 

Just knowing the holidays were coming to an end caused the holiday glow to dim, so I tried to trick myself into thinking we were just embarking on our holiday to sweeten my mood. In the last few days of the trip I found myself bothered by unpleasantries like: smelly dead fish and scummy blue-green algae that prevented swimming in unbearable heat; biting flies; crappy dock assignments. 


past the Deseronto Bridge
Our return trip took us back under the Deseronto bridge into Big Bay on Day 16. I felt the holiday was coming to an end, even though we still had four or five days left. 

When we dropped anchor in Sandy Cove I went for a swim. The water was warm but still refreshing, although there was a bit of a current and lots of waves. Dinner was a simple but delicious risotto, and then we watched The Big Lebowski until the mosquitoes lightened and the stars brightened enough for stargazing. Five shooting stars, a couple with nice long tails.

The next morning, the water calmed, and it was green and weedy as we dinghied over for a walk on the shore. A dead fish was floating belly-up, which turned my swim into a very short dip indeed. We lifted anchor and headed out on Day 17 with hopes to anchor at Cow Pasture if conditions were right, or retreat to the wall of the Murray.

Cow Pasture was too weedy and too shallow, so we tied to a spot on the canal. It was too cloudy for stargazing, so we ended up listening to Moth podcasts. Listening attentively reminded me of how we used to entertain ourselves with rebroadcast tapings of old radio shows, like the Twilight Zone and The Shadow Knows.

Day 18, the sail from the Murray to Cobourg was really wonderful, but we were tacking a lot and the water was rolling. As a result I wasn’t drinking a lot of water, when things get bumpy I avoid the scramble of getting down the stairs into the cabin to visit the head. After a few hours my mood was absolutely toxic. I realized at that point I hadn’t had any water for hours and was stinking and miserable from the sun and heat. When we docked I drank a quart of water, had a cold shower and then had a cocktail, but was still sour. It wasn’t until we went out to dinner in an air conditioned restaurant that I started to feel my core temperature and mood turn normal again. A reminder that fundamentals really are fundamental!

Day 19, we mainly motored back to BPYC due to very light winds. The lake was flat, so I was able to make some macaroni and cheese on the stove while we were underway. Finished a book, Birds Without Wings, on the ten hour trip. We stopped for a swim mid-way which was extremely refreshing. Drank lots of water!

When we landed at Bluffers we anchored at the beach and swam again. Swam over to say hello to Wendy on Zen, and then back to Yondering again. This really is one of the prettiest spots on Lake Ontario!

swimming at the Bluffs

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Storm overnight, and rain, finally. It's been a Stage 3 drought and hard for the farmers and vintners in Prince Edward County.

Day 15, and Rob and I were debating whether to stay, or go, and if we were to go, would it be Stella/Kerr or Picton? We opted for Picton and set out from Waupoos about 9:30, arriving at Prince Edward Yacht Club around 3:30.

Light or no winds meant some motor sailing, and when went through Adolphus Reach, the water was pretty bouncy. I stood on the top deck near the bow and enjoyed the sun and wind as we passed the ferry docks and then turned around the bend.
We grabbed a slip and at the end of the dock there was a tug we were admiring. It turned out to belong to an ex-Bluffer, Brian O, who was more than happy to give a tour of his work in progress. He’d purchased it as a project and was fixing it up. It will be a nice floating cottage when he’s finished. I asked how he’d adjusted from sailing to power boating, and he said he wasn’t sure himself at first how much he would love it, but he does. The boat is more stable when navigating rough waters and offers better protection in nasty weather.

Hot!  Hot!  Hot! The water in this harbour isn't appealing for swimming,  too many w

eeds floating on top. It was very hot and humid, so we thought we'd cool off by visiting the air-conditioned theatre in town. Star Trek was playing.

Before heading out I cooked up a lamb tangine, which made the cabin in the boat even hotter. Things cooled off considerably by the time we came home, and we enjoyed a late supper in the cool night air.

Next morning, rather than walking up the hill to Main street, we took the dinghy down to Bridge street and then walked to chef Michael Hoy's for an outstanding brunch. Eggs Benedict on bap pastry, scrumptious quiche, and the best ever creme brulee.

The previous evening, we'd bumped into someone who was in town for the Music at Port Milford Chamber Music Festival. Their son had gone to the summer school for four weeks and there was to be a concert Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at St. Mary Magdelaine Anglican church. We went to take in the show, and it was very well done. Madrigals, quartets, and orchestra music played by some very gifted kids, 14-18 years old. There was such a wonderful energy in the church, with the kids offering up their best and parents and grandparents revelling. Program included works by Dvorak, Mozart, Borodin, Barber, Haydn, Mendelssohn, 16th century madrigal, U2 and Coldplay. Such concentration and intensity on the young musicians faces.

Now back on the very hot boat, looking forward to the cool of an evening.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Little Bluffs

Day 14 we sailed back into Canadian waters. One tack, 5 hours, 6+ knots. The best sail of the trip so far!

We had to secure our lines before customs would clear us, so back to Waupoos marina. Bush Goat, aka Medina, wasn't to be seen but responded to our texts from Little Bluffs.

I thought Little Bluffs was the nickname Bluffers Park sailors had given this Prince Edward County anchorage, but it is a place on the map, just around the corner from Half Moon Bay. We've never stayed here before, and what a gorgeous spot. Deep water, rocky shore, high cliffs.

Once we arrived, I jumped in the water to cool down. Dinner was tasty and quick: barbecued lamb chops, couscous, and cucumber salad. Then over to Medina, where Rob, Mike and I sat in the dinghies and stared up into the brilliant night sky. Perseids is forecast to be at its peak between August 11 -13, but I kept my eyes heavenward and saw seven shooting stars in half an hour.

Slept soundly and woke to a beautiful sunrise. Later we dinghied to shore and explored the rocky cliffs. Medina left late morning but we stayed, enjoying the sway of the hook until late afternoon.

Strong winds forecast, so back to Waupoos for the evening. It was sweltering, oppressively hot but I started to feel a bit better after the sun went down and breezes blew. A cold shower before I went to bed helped, too.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Henderson Harbour

This is a restful port with a beautiful view of the boats tied to mooring balls. Just the kind of scene I would like to be able to paint in watercolours someday.

Day 13, we docked at Henderson Harbour Yacht Club. Full reciprocals are offered with BPYC, so we could stay here for three nights free. It's a great little clubhouse, too, with comfy chairs perched to a view of the water. So hot when we were there, and unfortunately, the health department had closed the swimming area until further notice. Not sure whether the boats or Canada Geese are to blame.

We barbecued Korean ribs for supper, served with the leftover Cobb salad. The crispy, crunchy greens were an effective antidote to the heat. When the sun went down and breeze started to blow, I realized how much the heat had knocked me out. A very early night.

Now we are looking over to the fuel docks waiting for them to open. We want a full tank for our trip back to the North Shore.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sackets Harbour

This is our first time sailing to Sackets Harbour, although we did take a road trip back in 2010 and stayed in a great B&B while we explored the territory. This is a historic 1812 battle site, and had we arrived the previous weekend we would likely have seen re-enactments.

We'd originally thought we'd head for Henderson's Harbour, but there weren't directions for clearing customs in the Ports book, and we weren't comfortable with the answers we were getting from boat clubs. The phone for Border Services and Customs in Saint Vincent was connecting to a fax when we tried to call. So, to save future headaches we altered course for Sackets.

It took eight hours to cross, a few hours sailing and the rest motoring. It was unbelievably hot when we tied to the dock and walked over to the videophone. By the time we got to the part in the conversation where we show our passports, we'd realized we'd left them on the boat, each thinking the other had taken them. Sweaty walk back to the boat, so we took the dinghy for the return trip.

We also dinghied over to dinner at the Boathouse. Fun way to travel, and a bit cooler.

There is a lovely green woodland garden here at Navy Point, with the lake on one side and docks on the other. Perfect for morning meditation.

I also found a spot to do my morning yoga in a nearby wooden gazebo. It was flying both American and Canadian flags, but the wind was favouring the maple leaf when I took the photo. If there was a friendly American nearby I might have teased them about how it was proof the Loyalists won the war of 1812. Maybe it was a good thing no one was there, they might not have thought it as funny as I did.

When I opened the door to the gazebo, a big spider dangled in the passageway, and rather than swatting it out of the way I waited for it to move. No response, so I opened and closed the door a few more times until it got the hint and skittled up the web out of harms way. Lots of spider webs on the inside, and I caught the heebie jeebies. In the spirit of equanimity I did a lot of balancing poses and then realized, I've just passed the balance point of the vacation. Yesterday was day 11, and today is day 12 of 21. How quickly time flies.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


We've been so busy exploring the County from Waupoos it was a nice change to have a lazy day just hanging out.

Day 10 we recharged the laptop and phone, did a bit of yoga on the docks, watched the sailing school take the dinghies out, motored down to Black Creek and Half Moon Bay to charge the boat batteries, dropped anchor, went for a swim, then went for dinner on Sunglimmer.

Lyn made a pot roast with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans and roasted carrots. An unexpected, delicious feast, shared with Lyn and Mike B, Kaarina and Mike P.  A memorable meal and beautiful sunset.

The trip back to Yondering was the best star show this year - a clear night and sparkling Milky Way.

After five nights at Waupoos Rob and I pulled up anchor on Tuesday morning and headed for the South Shore.

Monday, August 1, 2016

More Exploring

Day 8, Saturday, I talked the skipper into taking our bikes to shore so we could get to the Waupoos Winery and watch the Elvis Impersonators in the afternoon. Weather watch said a bad storm was headed our way, so we called the marina. Only slips with no power were left, but we grabbed a slip, assembled the bikes, and went for a ride.

The fields around here are so picturesque. Golden oats waving in the wind, sunflowers nodding, apple orchards, sea views, vineyards. Lack of rain has parched the landscape and I was hoping for rainstorms for its sake.

It was an easy bike ride to the winery, and the Elvis show was entertaining. Three different performers, a live band, and fun music. Summer lunch was served: generous portions of brisket, fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni, cornbread. We were so stuffed it was hard to pedal back to the boats. A big dinner was  out of the question so we heated up leftovers while others headed out to the pub for dinner. We were invited onto Medina later for some Fifth Town Artisan goat cheeses (Improv and black truffle were delicious!). I brought some Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir to complete the pairing.

Now it is Sunday morning, sitting on the Waupoos dock in a very cool breeze. Despite foul weather warnings and Sun Dogs, the storms that threatened us back to shore yesterday have passed by, leaving a sudden change in weather. The earth is still parched from lack of rain. More thunder storms are promised in the afternoon, so we are sticking to the docks.

Lisa S reached out to us with an invitation to get together, so we headed out for another road trip exploring Prince Edward County. This time to Lake on the Mountain. Sailing past here so often, I hadn’t even known about the Provincial Park at the top of the hill, or about a  lake high above the Bay.

Devils Wishbone Winery here, and we sampled their vintages. Laura and I walked out the door with a bottle of Riesling and Incarnate Red, Lyn B and Kaarina were fans of the Wicked White. Then on to Millers, a great dining spot with spectacular view of the lake below. Before we headed back to the boats we stopped in at Picton for a few more supplies.

Bloody Caesars on the dock before dinner, where we could hear the band playing to entertain the Kingston Yacht Club cruise. Laura and Peter’s boat was later stuffed with eight Bluffers (Kaarina, Mike P, Lyn, Mike B, Rob and I). Enough people to weigh down their cockpit and empty the stuffing box of water that had gathered there. Enough to cause a small pool of water inside, and hopefully nothing serious.