Monthly Archives: March 2014

slight equinox (veggie burgers)

crocus

My spring is all cracks and slits of warmth. I am begrudgingly letting light in by conceding to the pleasure of falling asleep with the windows open to a chorus of frog song. Living on an estuary has its benefits. But, I am experiencing none of my usual excitement about each tiny stage of my most favourite season: making perfume from popular bud preserves, stalking the progress of skunk cabbage poking through the damp soil, picking crocuses blooming across the lawn, delighting in the return of takeaway lunch over a windy picnic table. As I prepare to head up to the arctic in a couple of weeks I am trying to convince myself that its fine that I planned myself an extra long winter; its ok that I am about to be ensconsed in snow and ice for another couple of months. Enough cold that when I brought my new giant parka home yesterday my north-hardy house-mates were utterly convinced it wasn’t big enough and that I am definitely on the road to freezing to death. They were polite about it, but I think I need to get a different coat. I am a little frightened that the largest puff-ball I have ever bought is still unacceptable for what is about to be my immediate future. My life is on the prepice of being placed in boxes again, my heart a little shattered at the triple loss of squamish, love, community, a fantastic job, my favourite running trails. My emotional core a wee bit flat from all the change.

But, its not all downer-downer over here. Over the weekend there were 200 dolphins in the estuary channel and a pod of orcas chasing them down for dinner. The entire town came to check it out. I have never seen a larger traffic jam in such a tiny city. My friend Kaz was out in the middle of it all in her yellow kayak, dolphins passing back and forth across her path. It was heart warming. A scene of colourful umbrellas in the middle of the desolate log boom, kids jumping with excitement about the gift of dolphins feeding on the once in a decade herring run. True to Squamish form, there were dogs everywhere. It made life joyful on a day heavy with rain and hail. Its in this sense that my hands are hopeful about the potential for arctic light to twist in blue sky-icy bay-glory to find a sense of settled in this new path with a new home once again.

In starting to pack Ive been sorting the books I bring with me every time I repeat my personal ritual of chronic moving. Eight moves in eight years means I am highly efficient at moderating the physical items that border my life. The tattered copies of the Rebar and Moosewood cookbook survive every move. Kate, Sarah and I cooked from those almost every night during our happy undergraduate life in our quadra house. When we would feel as overwhelmed as I might admit to being today we would come home, lie flat for hours on the kitchen floor and- when ready to sit up again-find solidity in warm cups of kate’s rebar-led homemade chai. Sarah would make bombay wraps with gingery hummus, and I would respond with yam-peanut soup. Ive cooked my way through both of them, but in times of transition there is nothing like returning back to where you first learned to stir onions to exactly the right degree of caramel, the place you made brownies religiously for your weekly history seminars in order to woo friends and potential lovers, and the soup that carried you through potlucks, degrees, new continents, and quiet nights alone in your first solo studio apartment.

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And, they gave me these veggie burgers- a melded classic of four different recipes that scream spring. They will bring a little easy bbq to your cast iron in times of dire need. I am sorry there is no picture. We ate them so fast last night I didn’t manage to snap anything except a photo of an empty plate. Oh well. Imagination is important. We had them with roasted sunchokes with lemon I picked up last weekend from the winter market and a tiny pile of new sprouted greens. Happy equinox everyone. Have a burger on me.

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just a week (baked oatmeal)

snowy trailsW

Last spring I went to the Tassahara Zen Center for three days. It was a deeply transformative experience, but in an odd way. I definitely meditate more regularly, and remember to take deep breaths in times of abrupt change. But I lazily did these things before. Then, I was going about my normal non-eventfull kind of week and it hit me hard: I have adopted the voice of the friendly monk who taught our course as my personal tutor. His biggest message? Just be a person being a person. Stop attributing meaning to everything. When I am whining to myself about cleaning the bathroom or going to work I personify him whispering in my ear to get off my high horse and just be a person. When trying to motivate myself through basic tasks: writing to-do lists, doing laundry thats been sitting for three weeks, falling over when skiing anything remotely steep, making breakfast late for work again, sorting through relationships, filling out tedious hospital privileging applications; there he is, giving me a gentle reprimand that I am all worked up for nothing. Just be a person skiing. Just be a person upset. No need to be a person upset that I am grumpy, tired, and sore from three minutes straight of push-ups the gym coach decided were perfectly suited to tuesday morning at 6am. Just notice: just be. That said, I don’t think picking up my own personal zen master fantasy was what I was supposed to get out of the workshop. Its like having your own personal coyote you pray to to get you away from bears on long runs or talking to your dream-catcher about your dinner options or something; my personal zen master life coach imaginary check-in has become a totally ridiculous daily ritual. At least its not sexual. I think I am committing buddhist sacrilege, but life has become more calm. Just being a person with another fake person helping me be just a person. Oh my.

Don’t want to travel to california to pick up your own zen master but still want a to have a nice simple morning? This baked oatmeal. Give yourself more time to just be a person drinking coffee, reading the new yorker and watching the spring birds make a cautious return? I have started making it at night and sneaking it into the microwave to start my morning off right. But, its better fresh and would be perfect for single folks wanting to have a fancy morning one day while having some leftovers to get you through the rest of the week in style (or if you are lucky enough; its perfect for having friends over for sunday brunch!).

Someone asked me for more photos. So, if the meditation talk isn’t floating your boat here are some images from a simple quietly lived week; skiing, running in the snow, working, cooking, dreaming. Recipe after the jump. Happy Sunday! Thanks for stopping by.

still winter

blueberry pancakes thai noodle soup study study whistler! got the pow mountain love

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