Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fill in the Blanks...

creative dream assignment: fill in the blanks

if my dream was an animal, it would be a ____Lion____ and it would need ____a mountain____.

if my dream was a colour, it would be ____Green____ and its favourite colour would be ___Purple___.

if my dream was a {real or made-up} holiday, it would be ____Samhain____ and we would celebrate by ____going camping and having a bonfire____.

if my dream was a car it would be a ____mini convertible or a jeep____ and i would drive it to ___the ocean____.

and in honour of my new business partner tree, if my dream was a tree, it would be a ___hawthorn___ and if i could plan it anywhere, i would plant it ____in Scotland___.

bonus question: what insights, ideas and inspiration did you glean about your dream from this assignment?

I was surprised my color's favorite color was purple!  I thought it would have been orange :)

I am inspired, as ever, by the way my responses are based in nature and the Earth.  I want to keep moving in that direction...reconnecting with the Earth.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Newfangled Diaries, These Blogs...

I am a huge lover of all things historic.  Old buildings, ruins and reading about people's lives back in the they did name it.

I also love researching my family and finding out personal details about the people who came before me (my great grandfather was listed as a tennis racket stringer and then later owned his own barbershop!)

It's a shame, though, that I don't have any personal diaries from these folks. I've kept diaries since I was young...though most of them are poetry journals.

The other day I was reading the blog of a woman who recently passed away and I realized that blogs are a record of our lives that are accessible immediately.  Weird that I hadn't thought about it until then. It was so poignant...reading this woman's words.  So full of life and ideas and was like I could see her typing up each entry. She was alive in every word.

Facebook and Twitter add into this too. Good lord...some people record every little moment in status updates! I realize that all this online exposure can be a mixed blessing at times. I mean, we do need to filter what we put out there to a degree. I still write out the deeply personal stuff with pen and notebook but am very glad I have this blog to document my life and that people can see it now rather than later.

I had been thinking about how over saturated the blogging world is. Maybe I was wrong?  Maybe it's sort of like an ongoing time capsule that we don't have to wait to dig up in 20 years?

I've certainly shifted my perspective.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Beauty of Doing Nothing...


I used to think it was terrible to have "nothing" to do. That it meant a lack of a life or laziness.

Now, I not only think it's awesome...I know it's necessary to have "me" time as often as possible to keep a balance in my life.

I can't stress the importance of re-charging the batteries and, on occasion, spending some quality time on your own.  However you enjoy doing that.

I've had some of my best ideas and moments during downtime.  I've had life changing epiphanies during solitary walks in the woods.

And it's especially important following a big upheaval, event or accomplishment.

When I visited Iona for the first time, I took the week after to hang around Edinburgh...walking and thinking and absorbing all the good stuff I'd learned.

Today, I've been relaxing and letting the dishes slide after hosting my first Lion's Share Circle yesterday!  I sat around in my pjs and knit...I even took a nap.

It was a wonderful day and I will blog about it soon :)  But not right now. Now...I'm going to sit and enjoy the aftermath.


P.S. As if reading my amazing Creative Coach, Andrea, wrote a blog about this very subject a few days ago...right when I was preparing this post! I'd love to share her perspective with you all!

Creative Rest by Andrea Schroeder (ABCcreativity)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quiet Strength


Yesterday, when the above photo flashed onto my computer screen, I looked at it in an entirely new way.

It struck me as amazing that the delicate blades of grass had grown up and through the crack in that heavy gravestone...bending and stretching until they reached the sunlight.

What a wonderful gift! Determination, flexibility and gentle strength got them to their goal.

Made me think of one of my favorite Leonard Cohen lyrics:

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in. "


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Taking Time

Good Advice...

I've been trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to keep my apartment in order.  I thought that I'd do a complete over-haul for my first Lion's Share gathering (which is this Saturday!!!) but, instead, it's remained just about in order...with brief periods of questionable :)

I've been surrounded by so many changes, possibilities and exciting things that I had to take a step back and absorb it all before forging ahead...lest I forget just how far I've come.  I tend to exhaust myself with, "Go...Go...Go!!!"

And...I've also been dealing with a very heavy-footed upstairs neighbor (who apparently refuses to get carpeting) interrupting my sleep...and my flow of inspiration (too tired)! Hence my infrequent blogging lately.

But maybe it's okay for things to be imperfect.

My friends will hardly care that there may be a touch of clutter around my place for this first gathering.  After all...everything's a work in progress.

I still have a little time to clean before the big day...and figure out what fabulous Fall food to prepare...and order the groceries...oh my, there is a lot to do!!!

So far, today, I've cleaned a little...finished one long over-due knitting project (slippers!) and blocked another (a stripey hat!), made yogurt, washed some dishes, attempted to make granola bars...watched some 80s spy TV...sung along to my soundtrack in the kitchen ... :) I gotta be me, after all! Maybe I'll take a relaxing bath before the evening is out...hmmm.

As I sit back and look around at my place after all today's hard's still not party-ready. But that's okay! It will all get done.

Fortunately I have enlisted the help of a friend for setting up and general party stuff...all with the promise of a movie night complete with girl-talk and beer. I might introduce her to Dr. Who!

What could be a better kick off to an event!

Now, I must go check on my granola bars...


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Old Bay, All The Way!

I decided to try this recipe...from Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals and I have to say, it's Delish!

Crispy Oven Fish Fry with Mushy Peas

Let's forget that this "30 Minute Meal" has a cooking time of 40 minutes...

It was, however, very simple :)

I was cooking for one, so I quartered the ingredients for the fish and made one serving, but made the full amount of mushy peas...figuring I could incorporate them into another dish for the week. I'll admit that I over chopped the mint.  All the oils came out and made the peas super strong!  So I added more peas and some lemon juice to tame the mint :) The malt vinegar also helped.

I, of course, enjoyed this with a really good beer ;) 

When the fish was gone, I mixed some ground pork (I wanted lamb, for the mint...but couldn't find it at the store) and brown rice with the peas. 

I cooked the pork with the same seasonings for the fish's breadcrumb lots of Old Bay!!! Yay! I also added a splash of malt vinegar before having it for lunch at work!

Yum. I can't believe it's taken me so long to attempt pub food at home...  :D


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Heritage Weekend 2010

Last weekend I went back to my hometown, in CT, for it's annual Heritage Weekend.  I always enjoy it...and my camera does too! I went to elementary school just across from this site.  It sure does bring back memories!  I don't think I will ever shake the "back to school" feeling Fall leaves me with.  Although now, it's more of a joyous "new beginnings" type emotion and the thrill of bundling up in cozy sweaters again...then it was probably decidedly less happy.

Nothing much beats a New England Autumn.  Kettle corn, anyone?

 I bought the red variety...and the vendor was so nice!

 At the woodworker's table...

 Soldiers commemorating those we lost in the Civil War

 Local gravestones...


Then we made our annual visit to B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill in Old Mystic...It wouldn't be fall without some great pumpkin shots :)

I've been visiting Clyde's since I was a wee little thing.  I have very fond memories of watching them press the apples and bottle the Dad always fascinated by how the press worked and showing me all the workings. He always had questions for the family that runs it. Local pride at it's best. It's hard to visit any of these places and not think of all those times. And the cider donuts rock my world :)


Interested in more photos?  Check out my galleries:

B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill

Mystic and Clyde's - 2009

Heritage Weekend - 2004

Heritage Weekend - 2006

Mystic Seaport - 2004

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Butternut Squash with Spinach Pesto and Barley!

This is a different take on a salad I had in Edinburgh on my 30th birthday.

I was in the mood for a squash I ordered a butternut squash from Fresh Direct...along with some of their lovely pesto, organic white northern beans and grape tomatoes.  I had frozen spinach and barley on hand already.

1 butternut squash
1 container frozen spinach
1 can white northern beans
1 pint pesto
1 package of grape tomatoes
One Onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Crushed red pepper flakes

Bear with my memory because I NEVER write things down and made this over a week ago!  LOL

I began by cutting up the squash, which is always an adventure, but MUCH easier since getting a decent knife (thanks Mom!) Then I put it in a large pot with some water and the frozen spinach so I could steam it all up together! 

In the meantime, I cooked 1 cup of the barley according to the package's instructions and sauteed the onion in some olive oil with the garlic.

When the squash was tender and the spinach, thawed, I added the pesto, beans and onion...then seasoned liberally with salt and pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. (You can pump up the garlic and onion flavor with powders if you wish...)

*I also added powdered stinging nettles and I think kelp, to the squash/spinach/pesto/bean concoction....and some white miso paste to the cooking barley. But that, of course, is me :)

When the barley is cooked, add it to the rest.

Just before serving, I added some fresh, sliced, grape tomatoes which I had lovingly sprinkled with celtic sea salt and pepper.

Celtic sea salt is so flavorful...and a little goes a long way! I adore it!

Those tomatoes added just the right touch!!  One day I even added some yogurt cheese to it and YUM!

Note: This made A LOT of food!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pilgrimage for Change

Iona Abbey

So...for anyone wondering about this mystery workshop I'm doing on is the scoop.

Let me begin by saying that my first trip to Iona made a huge impact on me.  I am so blessed to have spent such a wonderful week with some truly wonderful souls in October 2009.

Here are some blogs I wrote about my first Iona experience while in Scotland and then upon my (reluctant) return to New York.

The Seeds for Iona

Iona, in the Beginning

Taking the Plunge 

Life Run

Wednesday on Iona

Pilgrimage Day

The St. Columba Hotel

Matter Matters

Iona Stones

Pilgrimage for Change, St Columba Hotel, Iona, Scotland
(9-16 April 2011)

In April 2011 John Philip Newell, along with his wife Ali, will be leading Pilgrimage for Change, a week on the Isle of Iona for young adults, 20 and 30 year olds, seeking inner and outer transformation in their lives and world. Iona over the centuries has been a place of new beginnings and commitment to peace. In the development of his work and vision, John Philip has placed a priority on working with young leaders in the belief that they hold part of the key to new beginnings in our world. Pilgrimage for Change is designed to support this work.

Each day on Iona will begin and end with the rhythm of prayer and meditation together, either at the Abbey or elsewhere on the island. In the mornings John Philip will teach on themes related to the oneness of the human soul and the healing of creation, asking what sacrifices we are to make in our lives as individuals, as nations, and as a species, if we and the world are to be well. The afternoons will be given to hiking, conversation, and rest, and in the early evenings Ali will lead us in embodiment practices of chant and meditative movement and further reflection on the way of transformation in our world. On at least one of the days we will walk the seven-mile island pilgrimage route together to reflect on the journey of our lives and universe. Wholesome breakfasts and evening meals, with provision from the organic gardens of the hotel, are an important part of our community life together.

Participants are welcome to bring children to stay in the hotel with them and to participate in mealtimes but the programme sessions will not include children. This means that participants with children will need to provide their own childcare. We know, for instance, that at least one granny intends to come and look after her grandchild during the sessions!

For costs and registration information contact

The recently formed foundation ‘Friends of John Philip Newell’ is offering a limited number of scholarships for this event – International Scholarships ($1000 USD) and British Scholarships ($500 USD). Scholarship awards will be announced by the end of December 2010. For further information and application forms contact Helenmarie Zachritz, Executive Vice President of Friends of John Philip Newell at