Monday, May 22, 2017

Evergreen spring

Sadly, the cypress fernspray we planted last May suffered extensive damage this past March. It survived the bitter winter, and then shrivelled to brown in the spring, after warm days were followed by a cold snap. 

The damaged cypress was taunting me. I thought I would replace it with some kind of dogwood shrub, so went off to the TBG plant sale to find something. Instead I saw a gorgeous dwarf white pine, and realized I'd really wanted one of those all along. 

The white pine looked a bit lonely, so I dragged Rob out to Sheridan where we picked up a beautiful bonsai juniper, calculating optimistically that it will get enough of the full afternoon sun to keep it happy.

Of course, two evergreens cried for a third. Tried a golden tipped cedar, but it wasn't quite right. So off to Sheridan Nurseries to find a blue star juniper.

Now there is a trio of slow-growing dwarf evergreens: white pine, blue star juniper, and bonsai. The blue star has a mounding habit and should grow to a maximum of 2' high by 3' wide; the white pine similar dimensions, but conical. The bonsai won't grow any further, just requires clipping. Hopefully these will fare better than their predecessors.

Of course, as I was searching for evergreens, each stop brought new temptations. At TBG I picked up caladium, two hosta, ligularia, siberian iris, choral bells, tovara, Irish moss, Japanese anemone, goatsbeard, astor, herbs... At Humber, more herbs, wooly thyme, and 12 pots of euphorbia. Blood grass at Loblaws.

One plant that I couldn't resist, but should have, was moonseed. A native woody vine meant for sandy soil. The name was irresistible, but it isn't really something you'd want in your garden.

Good thing it is a holiday today and garden centres are closed!! 

Everything is now in the ground, and I also did some transplanting, placing the false cypress, enoki and daphne in more prominent places along the side. Good weather for it, with grey skies and wet earth from rain.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Treated myself to the Women's Workshop for Mother's Day and spent the day designing nourishing and personalized sequences.

Every body is different. Bodies change over a lifetime, and even day to day. Each asana has different effects on breath and internal organs. So it makes sense to tailor sequences that respond to individual requirements.

Each time I go to a workshop I surprise myself with my ignorance and am simultaneously comforted by what I know.

I was looking at a simple diagram of internal organs and was surprised by the location of the spleen (#5 on the right). It was where I'd thought the diaphram was, but the diaphram is so much bigger. This insight has already changed the way I observe my breath, such a crucial element in asana and pranayama.

At one point, Marlene was talking about how the physical body is a way to reach the physiological, and moments later I opened a nearby book randomly and read that "yoga is a path for the body to the mind, and from the mind to the body." The book was Yoga: A Gem for Women, by Geeta Iyengar, who helped to codify her father's teachings and became a respected guru herself.

In the morning we talked about monthly cycles and life cycles, and explored how different asana may help relieve or aggravate physical symptoms; then we designed our own sequences for specific purposes.

In the afternoon we had 1.5 hours to do the practice we'd designed for ourselves. It was great to look around the room and see such diversity in bodies and ages, experimenting with so many different poses.

I designed a core 1.5 hour practice but then also adapted it for a shorter time in the morning, with another version for evening.

An hour and a half! What a luxury! Usually I have a timed practice in the morning, and am acutely aware of minutes passing, with one eye on the clock. I don't want to be late for work; I want to see how long I've been in headstand; etc. etc. It was so nice to just BE in the poses and lose track of time. When Marlene came around to tell us we only had 10 minutes left, I was a bit surprised but actually right on track with the timing of the sequence.

As a result of the workshop, I've added some new poses into regular rotation, as well as taking time in the evening to do a few rejuvenating postures.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Full Flower Moon - May

Moonflower Advertisment from Popular Gardening, 1886-7

Officially full May 10, 2017 5:42 pm

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hot Docs!

Portraits of the famous and not so famous include their relationships with partners, rivals, family and friends.

Rob picked the selections this year, and for three of the selections we ordered extra tickets so we could bring along friends and family.

Seeing so many films over the week is immersive and intense and eye-opening. The stories reflect the larger society and times in which we live, from the quirky to the endearing, to the truly horrifying. It's like traveling the world, and just like at the end of a long trip, I am happy to arrive home with a new perspective.

all descriptions from Hot Docs catalogue unless otherwise noted

You're Soaking in It From Madison Avenue to Silicon Valley, Scott Harper deconstructs advertising’s pervasive presence through a comprehensive and engaging look at the dynamic changes it has made over the past half century—shifting from “mad men” to “math men.”

Mermaids In this tribute to the eternal allure of an ancient myth, colourful fins and swimming pools fill the lives of five modern-day women who strive to embody the mysterious siren as part of a growing “mermaiding” subculture.

Whitney "Can I Be Me" Most of the concert footage in the film comes from Dolezal's incomplete documentary about Houston's 1999 world tour. This forms the backbone of the film, as it constantly flashes back and forth between the tour and historical information about Houston's life. It's stunning to watch the singer at such a pivotal moment in her life, when her connection with husband Bobby Brown became more destructive and she lost touch with her longtime closest ally, Robyn Crawford. It is with Crawford that Broomfield's intention most clearly lies: He takes Brown's claim that Crawford and Houston were lovers and runs with it, portraying Houston as a queer woman trapped in a time and family that rejected anything besides heterosexuality. Hype

Gilbert What’s not to love about Gilbert Gottfried? Publicly polarizing yet intensely private, the scandalous comic opens his peculiar life and process to cameras.

All That Passes By Through a Window That Doesn't Open Embark on a mesmerizing railway journey through the Eurasian expanse where Azerbaijani men labour, dance, dream and wait for a more fruitful life while building the “new Silk Road."

Goran the Camel Man Goran is Swiss, who travels to his gypsy wagon with his dogs, goats and camel recreating the Silk Road. The film was made in Georgia (Eurasia) shows a fragment of his unusual lifestyle.

Avec l'Amour An aging teacher in Macedonia is set to retire and devote himself not to his hard-grafting wife, but to his first love: collecting rust-bucket cars. Find delight in one man’s compulsive drive to live his lifelong dream.

The Last Animals From Africa’s front lines to Asian markets to European zoos, this animal-rights thriller follows the conservationists, scientists and activists battling poachers and transnational trafficking syndicates to protect the last of the world’s elephants and rhinos from extinction.

Bird on a Wire Leonard Cohen's career was on the verge of complete disaster in late 1971. Songs of Love and Hate, his most recent record, peaked at #145 on the American charts – this despite containing future classics like "Famous Blue Raincoat" and "Joan of Arc." CBS was ready to cut their losses and drop him from the label. A tour would give him the chance to regain some momentum, though Cohen hated performing live; he only reluctantly agreed to a one-month run in Europe because Songs of Love and Hate found a much bigger audience there than in the States. "He endlessly said that he didn't want to tour," says filmmaker Tony Palmer. "It had nothing do with him, he said. He was a poet, first and foremost."The rock documentary was still in its infancy, but Palmer had chronicled Cream's farewell show at the Royal Albert Hall three years earlier. He was also a huge Cohen fan, and showed up to a meeting at the office of the musician's manager, Marty Machat, clutching a copy of the Canadian icon's poetry book The Energy of Slaves. He didn't realize he had been summoned to create a tour documentary – what would become Bird on a Wire, a legendary lost film that would exist only in bootleg form until 2010, when it was painstakingly pieced together from raw footage. Nearly 40 years later, Palmer's chronicle of what would become one of Cohen's most legendary run of shows is finally getting an audience. Rolling Stone

Dish: Women, Waitressing & the Art of Service From Toronto’s diners to Montreal’s “sexy restos,” Paris’s haute eateries to Tokyo’s fantasy “maid cafés,” waitresses around the world dish the dirt on gender, power and the art of service.

Last Men in Aleppo As the Syrian conflict intensifies, residents of Aleppo prepare for a siege, becoming increasingly reliant on the selfless bravery of the White Helmets, a volunteer search-and-rescue group risking their lives to save others.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Poetry, how do I love thee!

My turn for the Book Babes this year was BYOP - Bring Your Own Poem.

People took turns reading their selections and sharing why they'd chosen it, along with their personal connection to the verse. It was wonderful listening to everyone reading out loud, the rhythm and pulse of the language. A very pleasurable evening.

Several childhood favourites appeared, and one poem, Kindness, was selected by three different people. A poem in Spanish (I Love You), a poem in English/Cree (The Language Family), two by Yeats, one by a ribald grandmother (Persian Pussy).

Diane:  The Waking, by Theodore Roethke 
Laura: Persian Pussy, by Emily Delina O'Shea Falkner
Liz: The Second Coming, by Yeats
Miriam: I Love You, by Mario Benedetti
Pat: Kindness, by Naomi Shihab Nye
Linda: The Language Family, by Naomi McIlwraith
Virginia: The Wreck of the Hesperus, by Longfellow
Debra: The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll
Christina: The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter, by Ezra Pound

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Merry merry month of May

Such a pleasure watching the greening in the ravine, the birds nesting, flowers popping. Chartreuse buds on sunny days turn shades of emerald on rainy mornings. My own awakening from winter hibernation began with the first buds of spring. May is a wonder.

Blood root drops its petals as leaves unfurl
big headed narcissus nod by the pond


Saturday, May 6, 2017

High tide

There was some debate at BPYC on whether to proceed with launch as water levels were forecast to be unseasonably high, but we went ahead last weekend... just six days later and the water is over the docks and still rising. Some people are building frames to extend the height of their docks, while others are tying close to their neighbouring boat. For safety reasons, no shore power. Apparently this has happened only once before in the last 36 years of the club's history. Flood warnings in many lakeside communities.