Four Favourite Things

14 Apr

Blog Post #356

I have been suffering for a few days with a nasty cold — a wracking cough, aching muscles, snuffly nose, watery eyes and a deep, deep fatigue. Blech!!

So, I have been drinking hot lemon, ginger, honey tea, popping advil, and sucking on throat lozenges for days. And sleeping — lots of sleeping — yep, doing my best to lessen my symptoms and trying to maintain as pleasant an attitude as I can. That’s the hard part.

Luckily for me, my sweet husband makes it easier to be nice even when I am feeling my worst.  He brings me treats, makes dinner and generally tries to make me as comfortable as possible.

As I was enjoying the yummy chocolate-covered twizzlers he brought home, (seriously, have you tried them — they are to die for!) I decided to think of things that make me happy to distract myself from my misery. I came up with a list of five things. Sure, I have more than five things on my favourite things list, but I needed to take a nap so I stopped there.

Macarons

Macarons

These sweet meringue-based confections are made with delectable cream sandwiched between two airy cookies. This French-style pastry comes in many flavours and are delicious bites of joy. My favourite place to get these gems is Bon Macaron Patisserie.  With over 50 flavours it is difficult to choose just one — but I love the White Truffle Sea Salt (savoury) and the Lavender (sweet) are two that I can’t say no to.

1956 Thunderbird

Baby Blue Thunderbird

I love the old style cars like the classic 1968 Rolls Royce Phantom VI, the 1960 Bentley or the 1967 Austin Healy. But my favourite is the Thunderbird — 1956 and 1957 vintage. That car was the perfect size and came in a lovely shade of light blue or pink. The first time I saw one at a vintage car show, I put it on my “wish list”. It’s still there!

Old Music

When I am feeling nostalgic, I love to listen to music from back in the day. One of my favourite albums from the “olden” days is Elton John’s Madman Across the Water. Released in 1971, Madman Across the Water was John’s fourth studio album and considered to be his best. It went platinum in the U.S. in 1993. The track I love best on this album is the title song — it is still one of my faves.

 

A Nice Cuppa

Cup of Tea

What can be better than a lovely, steaming cup of tea to lift your spirits or restore balance? I love to have tea in the afternoon for a quick pick-me-up especially at work when I need an energy boost. David’s Tea is a favourite tea shop that I frequently visit — with many varieties of tea to choose from as well as teapots, cups and travel mugs. But I recently came across an independent tea seller at a craft market. I purchased several tins of tea from Karla’s Specialteas. Karla is a certified tea sommelier and offers gourmet artisan blends made with local ingredients. My current preferred tea from Karla’s is Japan’s Treasure — A blend of five highly prized Japanese teas: Kukicha, Genmaicha, Gyokuro, Sencha and Bancha,  married with the flavors of strawberries and red currants. Heavenly!

Cherry Haiku

11 Apr

Blog #353

After our long winter, it is exhilarating to see daffodils sway in the breeze, to notice the budding branches and to find rhododendrons getting ready to explode their colour throughout the neighbourhood. The cherry trees have finally blossomed and Vancouver is swathed in the frothy pink of delicate petals.

Cherry Tree

Morning sun rises
warm spring breezes stir the air
cherry blossoms falls

Om Nom Nom!

7 Apr

Blog Post #349

Lately, I’ve had a craving for Greek food — briny olives, salty cheese, luscious tomatoes. Maybe a Greek salad with a twist — something that would make a light, but satisfying meal. So… I opened up my Pinterest boards to search for the answer to “What’s for dinner?” and I found it — a recipe for Greek Pasta Salad! Om Nom Nom!

The recipe I found is quick, easy and delectable. It held its own as a main course, but if you wanted a heartier meal, you could add grilled chicken or a couple of lamb skewers. I would recommend this dish to anyone who likes Greek food. Give it a try — you won’t be sorry!

Veggies

All the veggies for the salad, chopped and sliced and ready to go in the bowl!

Greek Pasta Salad

(This recipe is adapted from 20-Minute Greek Pasta Salad from Baker by Nature)

Servings: 8 as a salad; 4 as a main course

Ingredients:
For the salad:

1 box of farfalle pasta (or your favourite short pasta)
1 english cucumber (I used 2 of the mini ones)
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 cups romaine lettuce
3/4 cup fresh parsley
1 red onion
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
Crumbled feta (8 ounces or to your taste)

For the dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste – I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 cup tzatziki

Method:
Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then slice into half circles. If you are using mini cucumbers, simply cut them into rounds. Cut the tomatoes in half, tear the romaine into bite sized pieces, finely chop the parsley, slice the onion very thinly, and slice the olives in half.

Cook pasta according to package directions, until it is al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, make the dressing.

Combine the garlic, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt (if using) and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until combined. Mix in the tzatziki and set aside.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and rinse it under cold water for a minute or two until cooled. Place the pasta in a large mixing bowl and in the tzatziki mixture and toss to coat. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, onions, olives and feta. Toss to combine. Serve and enjoy.

Pasta Salad

Om Nom Nom! Pasta Salad

 

Crows — A Six Word Story

5 Apr

Blog Post #347

One early morning when I was waiting for the bus to get to work, I was mesmerized by a large group of crows that had gathered in a tree across from the bus loop. The crows were perched on all the levels of branches, the cacophony of their cries filled the air. Crows would fly in and out, landing on an available branch or leave their spot to soar away, others would jockey for new positions on the tree. Each time a crow would leave or a new one arrive, the members of the group would unleash a loud, raucous chorus.

It was fascinating and I spent my wait speculating about this dramatic display. Why were the birds gathering? Why were they noisily proclaiming their presence? Should we be worried?

This has been happening for over a month — every morning, the crows are perched in the same tree, their convention apparently never ending. What’s going on?

Six Word Story About the Crows

The crows are plotting a murder!

Sleepy Time Haiku

4 Apr

Blog Post #346

I’m tired and the thought of my comfy bed is uppermost in my mind — so why am I still sitting here ostensibly writing a blog post, but browsing through my Pinterest feed instead?

Could that Café Verona I slurped down at 5:00 pm be keeping my brain buzzing with a million whirling thoughts? Or am I a crazy person too stubborn to call it a day and relax into the sweet peacefulness of sleep?

Sheep

Sleep is beckoning
stumble to my bed yawning
sweet dreams are waiting

 

Monday’s Quotation

3 Apr

Blog Post #345

Every moment is  a fresh beginning.

~ T. S. Eliot

timepieces

T.S. Eliot was a British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and one of the major poets of the twentieth century.  His quote above was taken from his 1935 play, The Cocktail Party and is a reminder that you are not bound by your mistakes or negative experiences. You can have a fresh start at every new moment.

Words to remember.

Words To Live By

30 Mar

Blog Post #341

There is a lot of advice, quotes and articles about finding happiness — but I think finding joy is simple.

As simple as a smile,  a laugh or an act of kindness. Below are a few words and phrases that help me experience a little more happiness every day.

Dancing

Dance. Laugh. Sing. Breathe. Dream. Practice Kindness. Smile. Learn. Play. Read. Love. Be Generous.

Hope. Feel. Listen. Eat. Walk. Cherish. Be Mindful. Express Gratitude.

Do you have any words, sayings or quotations that help you feel joyous?

Haiku Spring

28 Mar

Blog Post #339

The snow has melted
trees stand stark against the sky
spring rain falls softly

Puddle Jumping

Our long, cold winter is over and even though spring has brought more rain than sunshine, we’re happy because the snow has disappeared, the air is warmer and we can feel the promise of summer. Yesterday, on my way to work, I noticed that the trees and shrubs were beginning to bud! I even spotted a few rhododendrons blooming, their vibrant red petals ablaze in the dull morning light.

And at last, the cherry trees are burgeoning with the fresh, delicate pinkness of a thousand flowers just in time for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2017. This annual event includes many activities including the popular VCBF 2017 Haiku Invitational  which is now open for submissions. You have until June 1st, 2017 to enter — so grab your pencils and start writing!

5 Poses on Monday

27 Mar

Blog Post #338

Did you drag yourself out of bed this morning — dreading the day — already wishing it was Friday? Are you in serious need of a little motivation?

Triangle Pose

Try a short yoga sequence to help you have a better morning and a better week. You can do a google search for some poses that fit your level, your taste and your timeframe.

I like to do a gentle 10-minute sequence in the morning to ensure that I have a great day!

The five poses in this session start with Child’s Pose, then moves into Cat/Cow, followed by Downward Dog, Standing Forward Bend and ending with Triangle Pose.

This simple workout focuses on mindful breathing and gentle movement that helps you start your day with joy, energy and confidence.

Follow this link for instructions on these five easy morning poses.

Namaste

Greenery

26 Mar

Blog Post #337

Pantone’s colour of the year is Greenery. A beautiful shade of green reminiscent of new growth, a feeling of crisp freshness. A favourite colour of mine.

I’ve assembled a few photos that I think encapsulate the emotions of this year’s colours. I hope these images invoke special memories and feelings for you. Please note that these are pictures that I have collected from free image sites and not photos that I have taken.

Enjoy!

Granny Smith Apples

 

Waterlily

 

Green shoes

 

Basil

 

Bird

 

Grass

 

Tulips

 

Limes

 

Thread

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