Vacation time for Halyma!

See ya in September…

The nose of the canoe

The nose of the canoe on Whitefish lake in Algonquin Park

So what happens now?

I’m going to be offline for most of August – only occasionally popping on the make sure the universe has not exploded – but really, I’ll be relaxing and not too concerned.

For you:
Check out the Dancers’ News – there are only a few events listed at the moment, but – it’s got info about other teachers, restaurants with performers and more.

My classes start September 15th: I’ll be teaching evenings this September through the City of Ottawa at the Routhier CC and Sandy Hill CC, as well as running my Private Playtime Adventures for more experienced students.  Registration starts for the classes August 12 at 9 p.m. online, and for my private classes – you can contact me and let me know you are interested – we’ll connect in September.

In the meantime – have a lovely August!


And - just showing off: my new Logo for Halyma's Belly Dancing For Fun

Sprocket therapy

Vacation approaches, last summer performance for me – but September is coming soon.

Just looked at this week’s forecast – it’s gonna be a bit warm.
I’ll be working steadily on a variety of client pieces, both in my home studio as well as at my part time job. And the A/C will be running < sorry environment>…

Later today I’ll be out at Kites4Cancer with dancers from my two fave dance groups – Bollywood For Fun and Bellydancing For Fun/ BellywoodRaks


And I just realized that although my lovely dance colleagues at Bollywood For Fun will be participating in the Festival of India on August 8, teaching a workshop, as well as performing in the South Asian Festival on August 15th as part of  the cultural presentations, I will be off on holidays, taking some time to relax and recharge before September.

And September is coming – barring any Armageddon activities – and I’ll be back to teaching classes, still sewing up a bridal storm and performing again with the great ladies I dance and play with.

So, if you happen to be in Orleans today – come on out at around 3 p.m. and help stave off any rain by thinking dry thoughts!

Analogies from a counsellor…#personaltime


Many people I know, myself included, are engaged in a journey of trying to improve our mental health.  Anxiety has become a more prominent adventure in my world over the past 3 years or so, with side benefits of panic attacks, moments of lethargy and awareness of aging and hormonal changes and realizations that I write run-on sentences.

Thankfully, after the 3rd annual physical where I asked my doctor about how to deal with these feelings of anxiety that were manifesting into physical reactions < heart pounding, every molecule in my body tingling, and other experiences> she finally stopped telling me to “Go for a run.” and let me know that the clinic I belong to offers a limited number of free counselling sessions.

“Would talking about it help?”

Uh, yes… that’s why I keep talking about it with you when I come in here..

“Did you know we offer free counselling?”

NO, you never told me that.

” Would you like me to set that up?’

YEESSS … <*FFS!*, my brain emits loudly into the silence  >

So.  The poor counsellor.

She’s a very quiet woman, who is trying to figure out how to get me to understand what I am doing to myself and why I have to stop.

I’m going to the sessions because I want help, so I am trying to help her figure this shit out so that she can give me some guidance.

And this week she tried 3 analogies, of which the first one was totally blown out of the water by my programming.

“If you had an employee, would you make them work straight through without taking a break?”

Well..  that depends.  If we are on a deadline for a client and have to get the work done, yes. I might get them pizza, but I’ve been there and worked 24 hours x multiple days a few times over the years. You do what you have to to meet the deadline and get things done. 

She looks at me.


“Okay, then maybe you need to look at this like a marathon… You cannot keep running at full pace the whole time and expect to finish. Maybe the reward is to finish…”

A light went on, I added, in my head,  ah, ok – without collapsing and vomiting…  

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 7.57.54 AMPlease note: I’ve never run more than a block or two, so I do not actually know from personal experience how hard a marathon is, but I can live vicariously through others and have seen the good and bad results of folks running marathons. Those who finish after pacing themselves, pushing when they need to, but keeping Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 8.00.46 AMthemselves hydrated and taking care as they go, those folks may still collapse at the end, but the results seem much more positive than the ones lying in pain on the side of the course having pushed too hard.

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 8.01.59 AM” And maybe, think about stoplights. when things are green, you can good to keep going. When things turn yellow, you need to consider slowing down. and if you don’t slow down enough, if you run through those red lights, there’s a chance you’ll get hurt.” < I’m paraphrasing, but this is pretty much what I got from her.>

Okay – I can work with that too. Slowing down before I run a red light and crash, that kind of makes sense…

And reading…and researching… and keeping it together when I have to, and stepping back and retreating before I crash – that’s in the works.

Anxiety and Phobia workbook One of the books she suggested I get, has a section that talks about how much downtime we all should be taking:

1 hour per day

1 day per week

1 week every 3 months

and there might be more, but my brain stopped at 1 week every 3 months – who can afford to do that? With bills to pay and client deadlines to meet, how can anyone take that much time off??

And yes, my hubby and I take 3 weeks in August every year, so I guess that’s almost the same, but we schedule for it for months, making sure our clients know and our work is up to date and done as needed. And yet, the thought of scheduling in a week off every 3 months through the rest of the year, that’s a hard one.


So, I picked the 1 day off a week as my goal.  I call it my “Zero-People Day”.  For me, that means: no clients, no social engagements, internet only if I “feel” like it, but no business replies, fun/ creative/silly stuff only.  And I try to take time with the family that day, but big commitments are off the table.

And I felt guilty.

and I felt like it was wrong.  Wait…what?

Why do I not deserve a day off? What’s that about?  Ah, well, this is why I’m getting help.  So I started to look forward to my zeropeopleday with growing personal permission to do what I needed to do that day, for me.  Yes, work was still there and waiting, but it will always be there, so I just needed to manage my time when I was in work mode to allow myself that break and reduce those negative feelings.

And then the universe chose to test me – as it always does…

For 3 weeks I had to give up my Zero People Day to work. Crisis deadlines and this being my busy season, all call into play extenuating circumstances and there it went. I still had a day off here and there, but those days off were filled with social commitments and other pre-booked events that were fun, but I still had to be “on”.

I reclaimed it on Thursday July 2nd and was amazed at how I had returned to feeling guilty and awkward and undeserving again – after only 3 weeks of being in crisis mode!


So… obviously, I have some issues.

We all do, I’m not the only one, and on a scale, if I was comparing my problems to others I know, my problems are pretty low. I am relatively healthy physically, and have many good people around me that are very supportive – and I try to avoid burdening folks with this stuff, but I thought it was time to talk about it a little bit – maybe the stuff I’ve been told will help others.

Other things my counsellor has suggested: – treating ourselves as we would treat a friend < uh, that one did not resonate as well for me as it could have> – this one I am still working through the downloads…

So, there it is. I’m still having days where I need to step back and take time to cocoon < yesterday after work was one of those>.  And I know there are more changes ahead as I approach/ enter into a new age of my physical development as a woman.  But I’ve been angry for years so I’m not sure how different some aspects of it will be… we’ll see.

Anyway – back to your regularly scheduled programming now:

Sprocket therapy

Vegan meringues

Father’s Day 2015.

A brief moment in conversation has the Sis-in-law erupting into a raving review of chickpea whipped cream.

Seriously raving. lunatic even…sorry JKL, I think your eyes were glowing slightly…

But today, I am making a slow cooker casserole and using a can of mixed beans – see photos – and decided to give it a try.

The first place I checked out was via Pinterest and as a starting point.

Again a bit of raving there too… but ya know…foodies… :-)

She had made a reference to people baking the mixture into meringues, so I thought, “Hey, that sounds good.”…hmm…talking to myself…yeah…

I had to check on baking time and temperature, so I checked out  as it seemed like a good way of maintaining continuity.  

And yes, lovely vegan meringues pictured there are super inspiring.  I don’t have silpat mats for my cookie sheets and I cannot be bothered to set up the piping bag and decorative tubes I do have, so spooning it onto paper bag cookies sheet liners works for me.

So… the concept:

Drain the liquid from your can of beans into your mixing bowl and start mixing on high and whip/ beat until you get stiff peaks like you would with egg whites.

This stiffness comes after about 10 minutes.

Add sweetener to taste. I started with about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and added another tablespoon of honey for the white ones. 

I then added 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 1/2 tsp vanilla for the brown ones.  They are still baking, I am afraid to look – but I will and will add that photo later.

At this point, you can stop and just use this whipped frothy wackiness as a topping for whatever you want.  Strawberries, cake, your spoon, your fave person – whatever…

Or you can dollop them out and bake them to make crunchy little bits of yum.

Yeah… the insanity is pervasive.

Freakin’ canned chick pea juice has a use! 

UPDATE: don’t try baking the mixture once you add cocoa. It totally lost it’s shape and was not salvageable. So just use it as whipped topping if you add flavourings. No pics – too horrible for you to witness…

Summer so far…

… has been BUSY!

First – super belated thanks to everyone who participated in the June 9th #OCCP35.  We had a blast as always and I appreciate you all.

I received some lovely personal notes afterwards that reminded me of why I spend the hours and days preparing a safe place for our community to show off what they have learned, and I continue to be amazed at the phenomenal artistic adventures we are taken on by all of the teachers at every OCCP.

Housekeeping notes: there were some lost items that will have photos posted soon on both the flick group and the Facebook page – Cat/Suhani as well as Mia have these items.. If you lost something that evening, drop me a line and I’ll connect you with the ladies.

Also unclaimed door prizes:

If you had the ticket number listed, You have a prize awaiting you!
#132 – EcoTav Haversack
#219 – Duniya Studio Free Drop in
#100 50% off Duniya Studio Registration

If you have your ticket still, message me to claim your prize! Or if you tell me you had that number….

and the links:

Facebook – where you can find RSVPhotography photos < scroll through the comments>:

Flickrgroup: Remember to use any of these photos you should be asking permission of the photographer first and giving credit to them.

Ok. that’s what I got for ya re the OCCP.

Next day, I was back at Luxe working on wedding gowns and then rushing home to work on prom dresses for my TAV clients.  so life has not really stopped.

IMG_8277I’ve also been having fun with Bollywood For Fun – and even today we will be out at Community Cup – hoping the rain takes a break for a while this afternoon!

We did manage a weekend with our families on Father’s Day weekend – with a lot of driving and some lovely socializing, it was very nice to shift focus away from work for a couple of days.

and every morning that I have time, I try to get in a walk so that I can see sights like this:


and otherwise I’m seeing this:


What? You are gone all day and now you come home expecting me to cuddle?

So, I will be continuing to dance and sew and look forward to when this will be my view – hope you are having a great summer so far as well!

Scene from Pog lake

The view from the Hammock at Pog Lake

Getting into the greenery…only a little tho


So I don’t know much about plants. I grew up in a house where eventually we lost the use of the dining room because of the amount of house plants mom had.
My dad had a garden and compost bin out back as well, growing lots of stuff but Swiss chard was the notable plant- he loved it.

So here I am, in my middling years, with enough knowledge to have kept a spider plant alive for a decade or do and a few other indoorsy plants ish.

Bring on the new abode… and the shifting of the universe that emptied out 3 out of 6 units, including the folks who sort of took care of the common areas.

I had already been shovelling the front walk all winter as the “superintendent” never seemed to arise before noon and certainly never picked up the shovel even to do a second round during the day.

We also had brought our own mower from the old place as we did take care of the common areas there.

So here we are again. We’ve taken on the care of the common areas and I’m feeling like progress can happen.

This time, the front already had established flowery beds and the back yard had some basic work done by the previous tenants ( I think I have Kitty to thank for that).

My caveats: I know nothin about plants, except :

  • perennials mean plant once and if they live, you are all set.
  • ….uh, yeah. That’s all I know. Well, and water them if the rain is not doing it’s job.

Today I was able to get the 2nd gift of greenery donated to my cause of maintaining my sanity as well as creating a nice space.
Gailene got me started a couple of weeks ago- those pics are somewhere and the plants seem to be still alive!
Thanks muchly to everyone who has offered and to Gailene and Andrea who have been able to provide the experimental flora for me to explore this ancient art.

Now I have to go clean my nails!

Sweet soya beans- cooking again!

Sweet Soya Beans baking




Today takes me to our monthly gathering of crafty ladies- and sometimes non crafty but simply socializing ladies…and sometimes “lady” is more ironic than accurate for this group…I digress.

soya beans. I have a small amount raining of dried soya beans from a bulk purchase a few years ago- and yes- dried beans are great.

I soaked and cooked up a small batch last week and decided today they would be my contribution to our potluck.

The recipe:

1 cup dry soya beans, soak them and cook them- I used my slow cooker overnight.

1/3 cup molasses

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamom

1/4 tsp coriander ( I ran out- add more if you like)

Melt/mix this in a skillet and add the drained beans.

Chop a small apple and toss it in.

Cook over medium heat and stir until the apple melts into the sauce.


Jarred beans ready to go