Comfort zones are important too…

This weekend took me into new places, < never been the the Almonte Arena before>, taught me new things and helped me see things from a different perspective.

I’m not going to get too heavy into this, as I am just at the beginning of some of my “outside my comfort zone” adventures, and I’m not really into revealing all those dark side moments.  There have been a few this weekend, and I can say that the dark is needed to be able  see the light, and it is important not to dismiss it or ignore it. I’m just not gonna write about it today.

Since being grateful and sharing positives is something the internet needs right now, here’s some of the highlights from my weekend adventures.

Dancing in a crowded fundraiser performing a stick routine where there really was not enough room to safely do so with 3 other Belly Dancing For Fun dancers:

Siddiqah, Halyma, Madhumakiand Ammenah pre-show shot!

Siddiqah, Halyma, Madhumakiand Ammenah pre-show shot!

So, doing this kind of event has become pretty much second nature. We show up, text whoever has not arrived yet to indicate where the heck we are – thank goodness Siddiqah has been out there before and knew where the event was happening!

And we scope out the space make a plan, then I change the plan halfway through the routine as it’s not quite working as I had hoped. So the comfort zone gets shredded and reassembled as best we can…

We danced, we wrought havoc, we were applauded, and then Ameenah and I changed back into our civvies and headed to Ottawa’s deep south.

And then we shot arrows tipped with marshmallows.  Having no real inclination towards athletics,  Archery seems like a reasonable alternative, except when you know you’ll be “playing” with people who do sportsing and training and have a lot of muscles and weaponry skills. Thank goodness there was almost as many of us with nerd/ geek/ artsy skillz to offset the venn diagram.

Me, Linda and Andrea ready to rumble!

Me, Linda and Andrea ready to rumble!

Lesson learned -Bow arm:  rotate elbow outwards to get the upper arm the heck out outta the way when shooting the arrow.  Will revisit Archery games in January to try again!  Might actually make a personal arm brace too…

Saturday, I was in recovery mode from the above adventures, plus another journey I am on at the moment that involves trips to a fitness facility, guidance and accountability. I’m not going to get into this one too deeply as it’s really a test journey which may be short lived, or not. We’ll see, but suffice it to say, I have more pain from it than from the Dramatic Battle Bruises…

Sunday morning I walked cross downtown to hop on a bus to Montreal, then walked and bussed again within Montreal to attend the 2015 YOGA MUDRAS – HEALING & THERAPEUTIC ASPECTS by Amrita Choudhury workshop. I had no time to dillydally in Montreal so anyone I know who lives there, know that I had no time to see you anyway.

Thank you Amrita again for an informative and fun workshop!

Thank you Amrita again for an informative and fun workshop!

I learned a lot, and while I found sitting on the cushion really uncomfortable – I don’t do yoga regularly, and with the pain I have from the other things I’ve been doing, I was happy to go grab a chair for the latter part of the workshop.  There was a wonderful amount of information and lots to assimilate into my world. After we finished,  it was a bit of a blur as I then had to hurry to get back to the bus to head home.   PSA – Montreal busses could use some sort of announcement system for the stops. Nearly missed mine with the crowded bodies blocking my view of street signs <read stressful moment>!


Thank goodness for a wonderful husband who made supper and there was gelato and macadamia nut cookies and Moscato to bring me back into my comfort zones after a bit of a crazy weekend of new stuff.

And this morning, after another fitness facility visit < slightly less stress, but still questioning this whole concept>:

Every day should start with the sun glowing brightly and a MINPINBUTT

Every day should start with the sun glowing brightly and a MINPINBUTT

Oh, #zeropeopleday, you are my jam…

sorry… silliness.


Often Monday – sometimes shifted when i need to due to deadlines and workload.

And I am treasuring you.


Anxiety. Overworking. Burnout. Not treating myself with the courtesy I have just barely learned to give others….

It began with messages from my therapist I’ve talked about in a previous post, and continued as I have been trying to be consistent about keeping that “1 day off” per week.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 5.35.54 PM

And today has been a much needed day off. I did lots of little things today and am about to hit the futon with the book I am reading right now < Human, by S.M.Carriere, if you are curious>.Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 5.37.39 PM

I am simply taking a moment to post about how grateful I am for being reminded to take time to recharge myself so that I can be a productive member of society.

And to also not feel guilty about it, since it’s part of the larger equation.

Other folks get it too- each in their own way, but with ideas to help find our own ways…:

Anyway – time to get back to my #zeropeopleday – and the dog just grunted at me – she needs some snuggle time too!


And the wheel turns…

Officially car-less…. first time since 1999.

Happy Halloween BTW – or Samhain if you are a little bit Celtic.


Awesome decor at our friends’ place!

In the spring of 2011, we gratefully took in a rescue that was no longer wanted, and gave it a spa week to rejuvenate it and equipped it with some new accessories.

And the Silver Sunfire has served us well.

SS participated in the production of Scream All You Want, journeyed to many a local dance event, has taken us to family events and obviously, on our annual summer trip.


But, as with all things in life, the wheel turns and changes must come.

This week we made a donation.


With much reflection, we decided that SS should be sent on new adventures.  And we checked out a variety of options, and chose to donate to the Kidney foundation.

There are many ways to donate your car, and we encourage folks to check them all out. For us, it was the clearest and simplest and they were helpful on the phone and the pick up was quick and painless.

So, fare well, Silver Sunfire, on your new journey.

Oh, and tonight we try for the first time – so if you want a referral, let me know – there are discounts/ coupons or something…

What? More soup…? mmm…soup

Roasted pepper and Tomato soup

Today is this week’s Domestic Day/ Zero People Day/ 0CommitmentDay / Do Whatever I want Day.

So when I am not sewing, seeing clients for sewing, dancing, teaching dance, teaching sewing, and planning for either upcoming sewing or dance events, I like to cook and bake. Oh, I know – you know that already…

Ok – here’s the Roasted Pepper Tomato Soup recipe.

Roast a pile of peppers:

Lightly oil 2 cookies sheets for about 10 medium size peppers.
Oven = 400 degrees Farenheit
Wash the peppers, split in half, take out the seeds and toss them all in a huge bowl with a bit of olive oil.
Spread them out on the cookie sheets and get them roasting while you take care of the rest of the soup. Maybe 20 minutes… check ’em – see when they start to char. them take them out.
I leave them on the cookie sheet until I’m ready for them, then take them off and peel away any really burnt skin/ section.

In a large saucepan, start cooking the onion, and tomatoes:
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Chop an onion – I used red and it was large so I only used half.
toss it in and saute until it smells awesome. Add in one can of whole tomatoes, and cover and let simmer. < Purists are welcome to peel and seed fresh tomatoes, if that’s your prerogative.>

If your peppers are ready, toss them into the pot and let it all continue to cook.

Add spices to your liking – salt and pepper, basil, oregano, I went italianesque for this batch.

I happened to have roasted a small pumpkin while roasting the peppers and could not fit all of it into my 2 cup container, so I added the remaining pumpkin to the soup too.

Once the peppers are tender, or you are bored, do what you do to puree soup.  I toss it into a big stainless bowl and use an immersion blender – as you can see.

Jar it/ serve it/ find a friend who makes homemade bread and barter some in exchange for a fresh loaf…


Oh,yes…it’s fall…

Butternut & buttercup squash soup

This recipe yields 2 1 litre jars. So perhaps 1 squash = 1 jar…

It is fall and the squash are all over the place- harvest time!!

So today’s adventures:


Yeah, this is classic and simple so not a lot of photos! And I did not weigh the squash so you can just judge the amounts for your own liking.

1-Chop half a white onion and 2 scallions into small chunks. Toss into a large pot.

2-Sauté the onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil, along with 1 teaspoon each( more if you like) of ginger and coriander powder.

3- While that’s cooking, stir occasionally and peel and chop 2 squash ( smallish); add the chunks as you go.

4- Sauté the squash as you continue peeling and chopping- you can multitask right?

5- Let sauté for a few minutes after you get the last chunks in.

6- Add water to just cover the veggies; bring to a boil and turn down heat to simmer until tender.

7-Purée by your method of choice- I transferred the soup into a large stainless steel bowl and used an immersion blender.

8- Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.



Soon – apple adventures! Yummy Macintosh Apples from my “Maternal Back Home”, and by fluke or how small Ottawa is, my hubby’s “Paternal back home”!

Thanks Ottawa for the greenspaces – they are important…

This morning, my weekly newsletter was a bit later than I had intended as I apparently needed an extra long walkabout in my nearby parks.

IMG_8854My life is such that during the spring and summer, I do not get as much time outside as other folk might, and the fall brings me renewed freedom to get out and enjoy the parks and pathways near my home.

I live in the heart of the city, maybe the right ventricle for folks who consider centre town to be the “heart – I’ll give them the left ventricle.  The Byward Market/ Lowertown area is full of character and a mix of old and new housing, families that have lived here for generations, gardens that are overrun with weeds and gardens that  are tended with love and artistic beauty.  And parks. and the Rideau River, as well as the connection to the Ottawa River, where water cascades over a small waterfall.

I grew up in a small town and I find this area of Ottawa to replicate that experience. There is a comfort in living here. I know many of our long-time neighbours, and we see many transitory folks as they come through for the school year, and if they are “trouble”, they don’t stay for long. “Trouble” is defined as requiring phone calls to 911 – otherwise, they might party  bit here and there, but in general, keep to themselves.

IMG_8389Back to the greenspaces – What blessings they are. We have our own park less than 2 blocks away, and it connects to 3 other parks with either fairly clear pathways or a little bit of “city walking” over a coupe of bridges.  The sound of leaves rustling, while the sunlight is glistening on the water, that kind of thing just refreshes the soul.

And I know there are many other areas in Ottawa that have similar blessings, so thank you, City of Ottawa/ NCC – keep our greenspaces alive for us, as they are a much needed balm for the stress and wackiness of life.

And It’s September – time to get dancing again!

Yes, thanks, I have a wonderful holiday!  And now it’s time tog et back to work with both my sewing and dancing!

Have you signed up yet for your class of choice?  If not, please head over to my Schedule page and find one that works for you! I’m mainly offering belly dance through the City of Ottawa and Bellywood is being offered privately through me!

And register – details are with each class!!

Pushy, eh?

Well, I know I want to get creating some new fun stuff and I need lovely dancers to play with, so I hope to see you in a couple of weeks!

Some of my recent students in action!

Some of my recent students in action!