Mindfulness, Poetry

Sunday Contemplation

Water ImageAnother week has gone by — and I was searching for a beacon of hope, something to soothe my soul and bring a smile to my face. A reprieve from the tragedy, the nastiness and the grimness that is so prevalent around us these days.

I am always uplifted by heartwarming stories about the kindness of strangers, the courage of ordinary people and the many acts of gratitude that circulate around the globe. Stories about the beauty of humankind, simple acts of love and everyday heroes fill me up. Luckily, there are many such anecdotes around, easy to find with a quick search.

Here are some examples I found this week — I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Song is Poetry

Angel City Chorale is a Los Angeles choir that boasts over 160 singers with an expansive repertoire that includes music from classical to pop and everything in between. The choir was started in 1993 and is known not only for its music but also for its good works. Their motto is “Building Community One Song at a Time.” Find out more about this group.

Watch this YouTube video of their performance of Africa. Oh, how I wish I could sing like this!

Poetry in Motion

I love flashmobs and a few years back it seemed as if people were gathering every week to put on a mass dance or sing-along. These days, flashmobs aren’t as news worthy, but I love watching them and would LOVE to be in one. In the video below, watch these amazing students as they perform a group dance at a mall in Liverpool.

Comic Relief

In this last video, members of the New York City Ballet perform an excerpt from The Concert, a lighthearted comic ballet by Jerome Robbins. These talented dancers prove that even missteps can be beautiful, poetic movement.


Mindfulness Thought:

Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it. ~ Sharon Saltzberg


Four Favourite Things

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.



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!


Dance Me to the End of Love

Blog Post #203

Ahh, it’s Saturday night and it’s quiet — we are enjoying a glass of wine, reading (of course) and listening to music. I am getting into a new book — Zoe Whittall’s, The Best Kind of People (No. 1 on Indigo’s Best Books of 2016)

I’m only 40 pages in but the writing is strong, the characters are interesting and the story is compelling.

The wine, Take it to the Grave — an Australian shiraz — is delightful. The music is rich, poetic and beautiful. In tribute to Leonard Cohen, we are listening to a selection of his music. We’re comfortable, relaxed, content.

Have a listen to a few of my favourite from tonight’s playlist.

Dance Me to the End of Love – Madeleine Peyroux

Thanks to Realm of the Lone Grey Squirrel for posting this YouTube video, I hadn’t heard Ms. Peyroux sing before — wow, love her voice! By the way, LGS, “Suzanne” and “Hallelujah” crop up here, because, well, they are two of my favourites!!


Suzanne — Leonard Cohen


Hallelujah — Leonard Cohen


Joan of Arc — Jennifer Warnes & Leonard Cohen


Famous Blue Raincoat — sung by Jennifer Warnes

Rest in peace, Mr. Cohen. Thank you. You will always be remembered.


The Art of the Dance

Blog Post #170

The other day my post for the day was all about different choreographies of the song, Uptown Funk. I thought it would be fun to continue the thread and share some other dance videos that I found on YouTube.

Have you watched any of Sia’s music videos? Her songs are amazing and her music videos are stunning (and sometimes controversial) with breathtaking and thought provoking dance movements.

Her widely acclaimed video Chandelier was nominated for several awards and won the 2014 MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography. The video featured the incredible talents of 11 year old Maddie Ziegler, who Sia discovered on the TV reality show, Dance Moms.

Sia’s video, Elastic Heart, is an example of her powerful imagery coupled with beautiful music and again features Maddie along with Shia LaBoeuf (who is actually a very strong dancer). This production unleashed an outcry throughout social media channels resulting in the artist issuing an apology for offending some people. Sia also published “The Story of Elastic Heart” that describes the making of the video, with insights from the key people who worked on the production.

Big Girls Cry, produced in 2015, is the third song in Sia’s triology and also features Maddie Ziegler. In this video, Maddie faces the camera in front of a black background and displays an array of emotions using only facial expressions and hand movements.

I find these works intriguing, compelling and beautiful in both the music, vocals, dance and choreography. I’m not sure that I understand everything that is going on in these pieces — but I definitely feel awed by how it all comes together. I believe that the artists in these videos are incredibly gifted.

What do you think about Sia’s work? Provocative? Offensive? Is it art? How does it make you feel? Tell me, I’d love to know.


These Three Things

Blog Post #124

This week in my never ending foray into the cyber world, I came across many interesting and wonderful things. These are three of the most engaging, thought-provoking and amusing items that I would like to share with you.

This May Amuse You

There are so many little quizzes, tests, and puzzles that pop up everywhere on the web.  I usually don’t participate in any of them — sometimes I am wary of the source, sometimes the activity seems too silly and sometimes I just can’t be bothered. But, this vocabulary test showed up in my Facebook feed a while ago, and I decided on a whim to take it. It was a short quiz — only 50 multiple choice questions about words …what is the synonym of this word…what is the antonym of that word, like that.


It was fun and it only took a few minutes — no sign-up or registration required — and my score appeared right after I answered the last question.

If you enjoy quizzes and tests, you may like this one. Find out what your vocabulary size is!


Have a Listen

I love this song — Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. I first heard it on Grey’s Anatomy, that’s right, and I loved it. It evokes a bittersweet feeling every time I hear it. Listen — it’s got all the feels.


Think About This

“In some parts of the world it is easier to get an automatic rifle than it is to get a glass of clean drinking water.” Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder of the international humanitarian organization, War Child, speaks about the global arms trade, its ramifications and possible solutions in this Ted Talk.  Food for thought





What’s On My Playlist? 17 Songs You Should Listen to Right Now

Blog Post #9

Friday night, and we’re having a relaxing night in. Lounging on the sofa, books in hand, music on the stereo. A little conversation now and then, to share an interesting or funny passage in our books. Or to relate an amusing thing we saw or heard during our day. Ahh, now that’s blissful!

My husband is a true music aficionado — his taste is wide and varied. Tonight we listened to an amazing compilation CD that he put together from some of his favourites.

They are all excellent songs — see the full playlist at the end of this post — but I wanted to share a few choice ones with you. So, in no particular order, here are some of my faves that we listened to tonight:

The Littlest Birds by the Be Good Tanyas. Formed in Vancouver in 1999, the Be Good Tanyas is a folk music group. They play alternative country music. Have a listen to The Littlest Birds from their album, Blue Horse.

First We Take Manhattan, a Leonard Cohen song recorded by Jennifer Warnes on her album, Famous Blue Raincoat. Stevie Ray Vaughan plays lead guitar on this recording. Check it out:

Mr. Zoot Suit, by Ingrid Lucia and the Flying Neutrinos, is the kind of song that “makes your pants want to get up and dance”. The band is an American Jazz band and the song is from their album “The Hotel Child” Listen below to hear this song, but be forewarned — you will have an irresistible urge to cut a rug across your living room floor!

And lastly the song, Hard to Explain, from my favourite country rock group, Cowboy Junkies.  Listen in to this beautiful number from their album Pale Sun, Crescent Moon.

I love these songs! But that is not to say that I don’t love the rest of the tunes on the CD. I just didn’t want to fill my entire post with YouTube links, but I encourage you to check out the rest of this eclectic mix.

The Playlist — in order 
Tudo Tem Sa Limite (A Limit to Everything) — Césaria Évora.  Okay, I’m sorry but, I HAVE to put a link to this song — you have to hear it — it’s the Nincompoop Song!!!

The rest of the list:

Born to FightTracy Chapman (Powerful)
Broken BicyclesAnne Sofie Von Otter/Elvis Costello (A pretty song)
They Can’t Take That Away From MeElla Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong (Fitzgerald & Armstrong, enough said)
When You Really Love SomeoneAlicia Keys (Beautiful)
Danny DiamondSquirrel Nut Zippers (Jazzy Blues)
The Littlest BirdsThe Be Good Tanyas
The Mystic’s DreamLoreena McKinnitt (Very Celtic –think Lord of the Rings. This song is 8 minutes of loveliness)
First We Take Manhattan — Jennifer Warnes
Lake CharlesLucinda Williams (Awesome bluesy, folksy, country singer)
WarriorWyrd Sisters (haunting)
God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind)Etta James (Emotional)
Gonna Have Some Fun Tonight — Etta James (Bluesy)
How Do You StopJoni Mitchell (Soulful)
Hard to ExplainCowboy Junkies
Mr. Zoot SuitIngrid Lucia and the Flying Neutrinos
Lullaby of BirdlandSarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown (Hopelessly romantic)

I’m forever thankful that there is music in the world — and I hope you enjoy these songs. Tell me what music do like to listen to on a Friday night? (Or any night!)


Brynne’s Daily Drawing #09

Brynne's Daily Drawing #09


Blue Rodeo

My sweetie and I were running some errands and listening to some tunes in the car.  He explained to me that our daughter had shown him how to program the car’s sound system to play songs in order other than alphabetically by title! That meant that we could now select music by album or artist instead of listening to what the iPod wants to play!

I searched through the play lists and came across Blue Rodeo. I LOVE Blue Rodeo! So I hit  “select” then sat back and listened to What Am I Doing Here?  from the album, “Casino”. Throughout our drive we let the iPod play through the songs that we had downloaded from our CDs. I sighed contentedly as the tracks Til I Am Myself Again, Trust Yourself, and Montreal filled the car.  I, of course, had to sing along — just couldn’t help myself! Soon I was belting it out as the band played 5 Days in May, Hasn’t Hit Me Yet, Cynthia, and Photograph — from the album “Five Days in July”.

The last song we listened to is one my favourites, What is This Love — a beautiful, haunting song with guest vocalist Sarah McLachlan (one of my favourite artists).

Blue Rodeo is coming to Vancouver in January – they are booked at the Orpheum – better get my tickets!

Check out Blue Rodeo’s official website here.  Want to learn the lyrics to What is This Love? Click here.