Sunday, November 27, 2016


Rob turned 62; Alex turned 26.

A weird little numeric palindrome. How many times in a lifetime does something like that occur in the life of a parent/child? Definitely worthy of celebration.

The last time we had a co-celebration was the year Alex turned 4 and Rob turned 40.

We invited family for a reverso party. Alex suggested he and Rob exchange clothes, but had them change heads instead. It was just a matter of putting life-size photos of their heads on a cardboard stick, and then switching them around.

We served the meal in reverse, starting with coffee and liqueur. Then cake (one vanilla cake with chocolate icing and once chocolate with vanilla icing), and dinner last. Fun!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Seu George - Life Aquatic

I was stumped on what to get Rob for his birthday until I learned that Seu George would be performing David Bowie covers the very same night.

When we first saw him in the film The Life Aquatic, we were entranced and charmed by his acoustic guitar and tenor voice singing the lyrics in Portuguese.

During the concert Seu George talked about how Wes Anderson had telephoned him at home in Brazil and asked if he would like to participate in the film. Had he heard of David Bowie? Seu George had not. The first day of filming he recognized his fellow actors not by their names, but by characters they had played: there was the guy from Ghostbusters, the one from Jurassic Park.

The first song Wes asked him to play was Rebel, Rebel, which they would film in a half hour; it was one he hadn't yet learned to play. Redubbed later in the studio, it remains one of the film's highlights for me.  I also love his version of Changes and Oh You Pretty Things.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Zubin: Are you understanding?

When Zubin's five day intensive was announced several months ago I signed up right away. It began the day after sadhana ended, and several of us from the thirty day challenge were back for more. In fact, the studio was packed to the maximum and floor space was at a minimum. Marlene and Neron assisted and for the most part, people were aware and respectful of each other. The large class would often break into halves, with one group working on something complementary to the other, and then switching it up.

Are you understanding? A phrase the teacher used repeatedly.

The first night we worked at the wall, with the reminder that Iyengar used it is a teacher. Just standing with our backs to it, pinning the corners of our shoulders. Trying to broaden horizontally so the top of the back of our thighs align perfectly with the wall, and using a brick in virbadrasana so our knees must pin it to the wall.  Although Zubin had made these demonstrations on his previous visits, I was glad to experience once again how a seemingly simple thing can have profound implications.

He also reminded us we are bigger than our problems, and not to fixate only on fixing a sore shoulder with a specific pose, but rather to approach yoga with body, breath, and mind.

Body, breath and mind entwined for me in moments and I was able to glimpse my skin breathing, mind in body, breath in mind.

To incorporate into my home practice:

  • Stand in tadasana with palms facing back; lift arms backwards.
  • Raised arms with arms behind the ears.
  • Stand sideways, arms-length away from wall with palms pressed flat and fingers pointing down.
  • Stand with back to wall, arms-length away and then press palms flat and pointing down. Work towards arms aligned to shoulder height.
  • Squeeze yoga brick between arms, placed at wrist and palm, with palms facing up; keep arms straight and eyes of elbows facing toward each other. Raise arms above head without brick falling

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

October and November garden

The witch hazel and maple blazed in the backyard. Today the leaves on the back Trompenburg maple are stripped bare, and the witch hazel's are curled and brown. In the front, the dragon's blood is still scarlet.

Unseasonably warm temperatures meant the nasturtiums lasted until November 12 this year. The toad lilies weren't as noticeable as in past years, but begonias made for an exotic touch. The peach dahlia lasted well into October but was gone by Halloween.

I found myself transplanting in November, switching up the hellebore and cedar. It is a more pleasing alignment for the eye but I'm not so sure the cedar itself will like it under the maple. We'll see, can always switch them back in the summer. Also moved a hosta in the front from under the hydrangea bush to the other side. The plant will definitely prefer it's new location, and I'll be able to see it better.

Notes for next year would be to plant more of the begonias in the back yard, they were hardy until well into November and in the summer the foliage was gorgeous.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mystical Moon - November

The real moon was a distraction in the sky, as I was driving and trying to take photos. Absolutely breath taking! The photos really didn't do any justice to the real thing, not like 'Me and the Moon' by Arthur Dove, one of the mystical landscapes on display as part of the exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

This is the 'biggest' moon since November 1948, with the ancient satellite at its closest point to Earth than its been in almost 70 years.

Friday, November 11, 2016

So Long, Leonard Man

Last week I came across uke tabs for Dance Me to the End of Love, a song that has always deeply stirred me. I never knew until the site informed me, that it was about lovers in a death camp. I had always felt eternal love and yearning in that song, not darkness and death. That was the genius of Leonard Cohen, I think, to bring light into dark and despairing corners: "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."

Just before falling asleep last night, I learned he died. I actually couldn't believe it at first, and thought there had been some mistake. His latest album, You Want It Darker, was only released a few weeks ago.

This morning I went searching for uke tutorials of Hallelujah, a song that has inspired so many incredible cover versions.

Other songs I'm listening to now: Anthem, Tower of Song, I'm Your Man, Everybody Knows, Famous Blue Raincoat, In My Secret Life, Bird on a Wire, A Thousand Kisses Deep. Lasting gifts to the world.

So glad I was able to see him perform in 2012.

My first favourite Leonard Cohen songs were Marianne and Suzanne. Although neither are my name, I felt he was singing to me directly, and I played and played the album on lazy Sunday mornings. Now when I hear them in my mind, I can see light pouring through a window, dust tumbling in sunbeams. Leonard Cohen provided the soundtrack of many such moments.

Come over to the window, my little darling,
I'd like to try to read your palm.
I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy
before I let you take me home.
Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began
to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.
Well you know that I love to live with you,
but you make me forget so very much.
I forget to pray for the angels
and then the angels forget to pray for us.
Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...
We met when we were almost young
deep in the green lilac park.
You held on to me like I was a crucifix,
as we went kneeling through the dark.
Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...
Your letters they all say that you're beside me now.
Then why do I feel alone?
I'm standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
is fastening my ankle to a stone.
Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...
For now I need your hidden love.
I'm cold as a new razor blade.
You left when I told you I was curious,
I never said that I was brave.
Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...
Oh, you are really such a pretty one.
I see you've gone and changed your name again.
And just when I climbed this whole mountainside,
to wash my eyelids in the rain!
Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Life is good

I looked back over the past week and can’t believe my schedule.

Every day I have learned something new, spent time with people I like or love, found a reason to celebrate, practised yoga, taken time for myself, prepared a meal, eaten delicious food, enjoyed music or art or literature. The weather has been unseasonably warm, the skies sunny, the autumn colours brilliant.

Yoga studio at 6 a.m. for sadhana every day + working fulltime Monday to Friday + tons of fun stuff. Although I must confess to nodding off during evening entertainment. It’s a good thing the clocks went back this weekend so I could get an extra hour shut-eye.

Everything is going so great I keep waiting for some disaster to happen, but in the meantime I will just enjoy and be thankful for this wonderful time and the people in my life to share it! 
  • Saturday: Canzine and Mystical Landscapes at the Art Gallery
  • Sunday: Day of the Dead Brickworks market (with Kaarina) + Diwali at Amita’s (with Rob, Alex, Penny & Twincy)
  • Monday: Halloween at home (with Rob)
  • Tues: Celebrate Penny’s Masters! Dinner out (with Rob, Alex, Penny, Amita)
  • Wed: Book Babes Book Club, The Dressmaker (with Virginia, Liz, Nicolette, Nicki, Laura, Miriam)
  • Thurs: Doc Soup, Author: The JT LeRoy Story (with Rob)
  • Friday: East Side Players, Joyful Noise (with Rob, Mike & Kaarina)
  • Saturday: Royal Winter Fair & Horse Jumping Show (with Robin and Rob)
  • Sunday: Mystical Landscapes at the Art Gallery (with Liz) + Giller, Between the Pages (with Kaarina, Laura & Grace)
  • Monday: Scarborough Uke Jam