June 2008

I got up at 4:00 a.m. to do a day trip to Newark yesterday.  It was hot and humid in New Jersey and it rained during the day but not enough to really clear it up.  We could hardly see Manhattan through the haze.  I spent the late afternoon and evening waiting for my flight to take off so I could go home.  There were storms in the Midwest so lots of flights were delayed and everyone was sitting cheek to jowel in the old terminal, I think it’s A.  So we got to know each other pretty well.

I was sitting next to a chatty laughing woman from Nashville and an older couple came around asking about something and she said, “are you going to Nashville?” and they said, “no we’re going to Halifax to cool off.”  And they talked about how the heat and humidity in Florida was stifling and they were coming to Nova Scotia to cool down and take in the sights.

When they wandered away Nashville said, “is that common??”  And I told her it was.  I used to live a couple blocks from where the big honkin’ tug boats dock, the ones that push the container ships into the harbour to unload.  One summer weekend day I took my journal down to the waterfront. I was writing and an older couple was sharing my picnic table. 

She turns and says, “whatcha writing?”  And being a reserved Canadian I was a little taken aback by the question but being a polite Canadian I told her something vague and then we started chatting about other things.  And sure enough, they were in Halifax to escape the heat in Florida.

I think the tourism folks are really missing out on an opportunity here.  I can see some travel slogans like, “Chill out in Nova Scotia” or “Cool it in Nova Scotia”, or “Come to Halifax where it’s not too hot to fry an egg”.

All at once planes started landing, people were rushing off them and then there were competing announcements as the airline people tried to get bums in seats as fast as possible.  Nashville got up to leave and I told her to come visit us sometime to cool off.  She laughed and said she would.

I got on the little plane to come home and when I stepped down onto the tarmack the air smelled so good.  Like the scent of a million green living things compacted into one deep inhale.  It was after 11 so it had cooled down after a warm day.  The air felt so good after spending so much time in an airport.  It was good to be home and I was glad I had a sweater on.

I taught my last yoga sessions before my summer break.  Some of the long-timers have stopped bugging me about taking the summer off.  But one of the newish folks has been keeping me informed of her disapointment.  And I’m totally cool with that – who was it that said you should always leave them wanting more?  I’m happy to hear she’ll miss it :-)  But really, if we kept going she wouldn’t be happy with the cranky-ass yoga teacher I’d quickly become.  “I SAID, WARRIOR 1!”  etc.

So she came to class in whites on Tuesday and said, “yeah so I’ve started taking TENNIS LESSONS on Tuesdays because there will be NO YOGA.”  I had to laugh.  We agreed tennis Savasana is not half as relaxing as yoga Savasana.  I’m sure she’ll appreciate it even more when we’re back in the fall.  I will too.

I’ve lived in Halifax for over a decade but sometimes feel like *such* a newbie.  Or a Come From Away, as my kind is referred to in the local vernacular. 

The other night I was at a big family lobster feed with the in-laws (or outlaws as I lovingly refer to them).  I’m beating the crap out of a lobster claw with a big chef’s knife on a cutting board.  Above the din of my wacking I hear a couple people saying, “No, Cor, Cor, No – STOP”.  And then someone pulls the knife out of my hand and shows me the exact spot where, with a wack, you can bury the knife into the claw shell.  Then you twist and presto, the shell splits and you can get at the meat inside.  They made it look so easy.

I said, “well what do I know, I’m a west coaster.”  And someone says, “they eat lobster different there?”  Ha!  Yup, that was us.  Snacking on imported lobster flown in from the East Coast – every Tuesday actually!

But this lobster thing is nutty. I’ve realized every family unit has their own lobster eating rituals.  When I was 16 I went on a school exchange trip to PEI.  The family I was staying with in Summerside one day agreed it was going to be lobster for dinner. 

So Mom went to the wharf during the day and bought a garbage bag full of lobster from a fisherman.  Pre-dinnertime the family gathers and goes into Lobster Mode.  Someone spreads out the newspaper on the table.  Someone else gathers the required picking and smashing tools.  Someone puts a big bowl on the middle of the table for shells.  Someone gets the 2 litre bottle of Coke.  Someone gets the potato salad.  It was like a well-oiled machine.  They obviously did this every time.  It was also the first time someone tossed a whole lobster on my plate and assumed I’d figure out how to get the insides into my belly.  I don’t remember how I did.  Obviously I didn’t figure out how to open a claw.  Or it didn’t stick. 

When the outlaws eat lobster it’s newspapers, beer and vinegar for dipping the lobster (crazy right?).  And then they have Day 2 of the ritual, which consists of digging through all the lobster bodies for god-knows-what and making lobster sandwiches.  Some members of the family swear Day 2 is best.

I think in my next life I’m going to get a government grant and research the lobster eating rituals among familial groups on the east coast.  Until then, don’t tell the outlaws, but I’m really more a crab girl.

Here’s an excerpt from my horoscope for this week:

….until we learn to let go and trust, we can’t open ourselves to the transpersonal power that is so much more enjoyable and more fulfilling than our personal egoic manipulations could ever be. So, accept uncertainty, stand in your integrity, and consciously release the need to control the flow of your life. …pay attention to your money, but remember that abundance can flow to you from anywhere at all. It’s the ultimate paradox: surrender is the key to victory.

That’s been an ongoing theme for me.  I should just get tattoo’d on my forehead, “my life will be better when I stop being such a control freak”.

So when your Deval Premal CDs get worn out and you’re looking for new yoga music that’s *different*, add of dash of these and mix well:

Revenge of the Number – Portishead – (Rebirth of Cool Phive) – You’re saying “Portishead??”, I know, but give it a listen.  It’s not for a beginners class of newbies, but for experienced yogis who want to tune out and just move through the poses, it works.

Jericho and Higher Ground - Weekend Players (Pursuit of Happiness) – nice slow groove including trumpety stuff.

You Wish - Nightmares on Wax (In a Space Outta Sound) – nice groove with a beat, good for Vinyasa yoga.  I also used the “The Sweetest” from this album for a Power Yoga class last night.  It’s got a bit of a slow dub feel to it and I wasn’t sure it would work until I saw some people wiggling their toes to the beat between Sun Salutes.  I guess it worked :-).

Somersault and Passion – Zero 7 (When It Falls) – lush vocal tunes.

Cryin’ Won’t Help You Now – Ben Harper – (Both Sides of The Gun) bluesy simple guitar/vocal tune.

Thinking of You and Not Too Late – Norah Jones – (Not Too Late) nothing beats songs of love and longing to stretch by….

Come Home To Me – Steve Earle (Washington Square Serenade) a more rootsy song of love and loving, you can’t have too many at the end of a yoga session.

Summerbreeze – Emiliana Torrini (Love in the Time of Science) – I love this tune for the first line “Might have been a while since you’ve been loved like you should be loved”.  Simple beautiful tune.


I started up my organic box delivery again this spring.  I hadn’t done it since Angus was born. I just couldn’t see myself identifying mystery veggies *while* doing all the things required to keep a baby alive.  But this year it was time to get back to The Box. 

The good news about organic box delivery is that you get lots of veggies that you might not fill your cart with at the grocery store.  The bad news is that you get lots of veggies that you might not fill your cart with at the grocery store.  What to do with them all? 

Well, eating them is good.  We bbq’d some pork chops on the weekend and HoneyBunny was horrified to see me pass him 4 little tin foil packet thingies with different veggies in each.  All requiring different cooking times, of course.  You know, the parsnips need way more than the asparagus, but the cauliflower needs something in between. 

It seriously harshed his beer-drinking-in-the-sun-buzz.  But boy are we healthy and pesticide-free.  Especially Angus, that kid can eat his body weight in cauliflower in a single sitting.  We just keep passing him “white trees” and try to conceal our surprise and amazement.

I’ve discovered that by the week’s end (quickly before The Next Box gets delivered on Saturday!) it’s time for kitchen sink meals.  Things you can make that allow you to throw in everything but.  Stir fry’s are good.  Quiche works.  Pasta is good.  I prefer a non-red sauce and then throw a bunch of saute veggies (onions, mushrooms, chopped up spinach etc.) in a frying pan, or if it’s something that’s better off at a boil (carrots, cauliflower) throw them in the pasta water toward the end of the cooking time.

Another one is soup.  I fry up some onions, garlic and ginger and add veggies.  Lots of ‘em and don’t bother chopping them small.  Then fill the pot up with chicken stock up to the top of the veggies and let it simmer.  When it’s done you can either puree the whole thing, or if you’re not big on baby food, puree half just to make it a more smooth and thick.  The challenge there is color.  If you don’t stick with the same color palette of veggie, you will end up with grey green mush.  Tasty healthy grey green mush.  It could be worse right?

But the other challenge of getting The Box is the zucchini.  In May it starts off cute and small.  But as the summer goes on it gets scary.  By early fall, you can hoist it over your head for personal protection when you hear odd sounds in the night.  It’ll scare the crap out of the boogie man.

But the bonus is that zucchini is awesome for baking.  And the best part is, people don’t know it’s there.  Here’s a recipe I adapted from the Rebar cookbook from the really great nouveau hippie food restaurant in Victoria.  These babies taste decadent *and* use up two cups of zucchini, which in the spring means all the zucchini from The Box, and later on doesn’t scratch the surface.  But grate the sucker up and throw it into baggies to bake with later, that’s why god created freezers.

Chocolate Zuccini Cupcakes

1 1/2 c brown sugar

1 c oil

3 eggs

1 t vanilla

1/2 c milk

2 c grated zucchini

1 c chocolate chips

2 c white flour

1 c cocoa

1/2 t salt

1 t cinamon

2/3 t nutmeg

Mix everything up.  Sprinkle the top with a couple of chocolate chips so you can feel justified in not icing them, life’s too short and they are tasty enough.  Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.  You can freeze them too.

A friend of mine from Toronto was visiting the area with his family, I had recommended staying at Salty Rose Cottages in Rose Bay just outside Lunenburg, one of my favourite spots. 

We visited them and it reminded me of the last time we stayed there.  Angus was just 6 months old and it was wintertime, between Christmas and New Years.  He started getting sick as we were driving there.  He felt warm and was sleeping alot.  And then once we arrived we all got it.  We had fevers, chills and felt really awful.

But the weird thing is I still remember moments of enjoying myself.  The cottages are right on a light-colored sand beach and I found the biggest moon shell I’ve ever seen there.  It’s rough and brown like it had been rolling around on the ocean floor until it washed up so I could find it.  It still sits on my desk.

Gussie was still nursing and one night I got up at 2:00 a.m. to feed him and he was so hot.  Like scary hot.  It was like holding a boiled potato next to my skin.  And I started feeling really freaked out.  Now I’m not a big worrier.  At all.  I will always choose to believe that things will be OK, get better, not be so bad – all of that.  But I was glad I didn’t have a thermometer with me because I really didn’t want to know what the number was.  I was running a pretty good fever too.

So I’m sitting on the bed nursing him and I start seeing angels.  I know, you’re thinking wow that’s some fever-induced hallucination, and that’s ok but I know what I saw.  It was two huge dudes lounging up against the wall.  And not real clear, they were vague figures, like looking at someone in the almost dark.  I wondered if they were gorgous-looking Germanic dudes like the angels in that Wim Wender film Wings of Desire I saw way too often in university. OK that last part was the fever.

But because I was feeling freaked I started putting them to work.  I said, “you guys – heal my baby.  Right Now.  Help Angus feel better and bring his fever down.  Do it now”.  I was total Mama bear protecting her young.  I was telling these 8 foot dudes how it was going to play out.  No negotiation.  Get to work.

He has never been that sick since.  And the next day was better.  He didn’t feel like a boiled potato, more like one that had been sitting on the table for a few minutes.

We had enough energy to make it home and then we were all on the mend.  Germanic or not, I won’t forget how the angels did their work their night.