Friday, June 22, 2012

cultural expressions

If you've been in downtown Fredericton in the past week or so you've probably noticed these lanterns on the lampposts around Officer's Square.  They're up for the Cultural Expressions Festival this weekend.  If you're downtown tonight or tomorrow be sure to check them out - they're hosting over 80 performances, demonstrations and workshops in celebration of Fredericton's growing cultural diversity.

Monday, June 18, 2012

namaste: yoga day in fredericton

It's 7:45 on Saturday morning and the studio at Nirvana is bathed in candlelight and filling up with people.  It's Yoga Day in Fredericton and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. more than 30 yoga classes will be offered throughout the city.  I've opted to start with Kripalu with live acoustic guitar led by my friend Anne Cullihall.   On Friday afternoon Anne and I had met at Nirvana's juice bar to talk yoga, living mindfully and what to expect from a Kripalu class.

Friday, June 15, 2012

st. andrews by-the-sea

I've been on vacation this week but as belts are being worn a bit tighter these days, I've been sticking close to home.  Lucky for me one of the most stunning little coastal towns is just a couple of hours away from Fredericton.  St. Andrews by-the-sea is a postcard perfect and never more so than yesterday with cloudless blue skies, sunshine and a refreshing breeze off the water.  My mom and I got an early start to head down and spend a few hours in this historic seaside resort town.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

yoga day

Yoga on the Lighthouse deck.  Photo Fredericton Tourism

Vinyasa... Iyengar... Kripalu... oh my! whether you're a seasoned yoga practitioner or a curious newbie, Yoga Day offers something for you.  Throughout the day this Saturday more than 30 classes will be offered in 11 studios around Fredericton.  All the classes are free and instructors donate their time but a $10 freewill offering is gratefully accepted in support of Hospice Fredericton. The classes are at the beginner level although some are more strenuous than others.  But the environment is welcoming so  if you have to site out some poses - don't worry!

Talk to me after I get through five classes of yoga on Saturday but so far the biggest challenge has been trying to decide which of the 30 classes to go to - so many great options.  As an early riser I'm looking forward to 8 a.m.Kripalu Sadhana at Nirvana with  live acoustic guitar - sounds like a wonderful way to  start the day.  I also hope to check out the newest addition to Fredericton's yoga community Dynamic Yoga - hot creative flow? Sign me up.  And, definitely, want to hit the Lighthouse deck for some yoga overlooking the river (Did you also know that there is Yoga on the Lighthouse deck every Wednesday evening in July and August?)   As for what other classes I do, I guess we'll just go with the flow!

The schedule for Yoga Day and other important info can be found here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


While Freddy the Little Nude Dude perched upon the City Hall Fountain tends to get all the attention, I prefer the Dunn Fountain located just east of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.  Placed by Lord Beaverbrook in memory of his friend Sir James Dunn, the fountain was imported from the magnificent 18th century Stowe House in Buckinghamshire, England.  On an idyllic summer, it never fails to remind me of the opening essay in J.B. Priestley's Delight (a book I wrote about here.) I've included his essay below.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

salvaged sunday

I woke up at 7:20 Sunday morning to the sound of half a dozen men in hard hats loudly setting up pylons to block part of my street.  It quickly became apparent that sleep was out of the question.  And then they started sawing... the... pavement. I decided that since a rare lazy morning was off the agenda I should be productive.  By 9:30 I had finished a batch of blackberry jelly.  By 9:35 the jack-hammering had started.

Relief came in the form of my friend Hetty who had been following my plight on Twitter (I normally don't like to use social media to air my grievances but sometimes a well-placed rant pays off!) So I gathered my knitting and my dog and headed to the peace and quiet of her house at the edge of Odell Park.  We sat in the sunshine overlooking a little stream, drinking tea and eating freshly baked Speerville trail mix cookies (thanks to her husband!) and enjoyed a few hours of knitting and good company.  
And when I got home the work crews were gone and life was tranquil once more.

Friday, June 8, 2012

it's the weekend: freshen up

 Elizabeth Taylor - gorgeous even when she wasn't glammed up.
watch.  Did you watch Mr. Rogers growing up?  I sure did.  PBS Digital studios has done this remarkably touching and humourous remix of some of his wisdom.  "It's good to be curious about many things."

listen.   The twee pop of Dream Diary is such a throwback it makes me feel like a girl of 17 again...

She Has a Way by Dream Diary on Grooveshark

admire. Julia Rothman's Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life makes me want to pack up and move to a farm.  Informative and charming at the same time.  I like that.

make. On Sunday after my lovage revelation I was chatting with my grandmother about it and she informed me that if I could find a use for chickweed, we'd be in business.  And then this recipe showed up in my Twitter feed.  Not sure that I'll be making the River Cottage chickweed pakoras any time soon but it was a funny coincidence.

breathe. Vienna-based photog Akos Major's series Still is a visual vacation from the over-stimulation of ever day life.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

the secret garden

On Sunday, before the truly depressing weather and not one but two flu bugs set in,  I escaped my kitchen adventures (see here and here) to get some fresh air in the Fredericton Botanic Garden.  Hugging the southwest edge of Odell Park, a wander through the Botanic Garden is a great way to clear your head (and snap some lovely photos.) 

live as well as you dare: 20 ways to be happy, circa 1820

"14th. Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue."
I'm not sure I agree 100% with all of English writer and cleric Sydney Smith's suggestions to his friend Lady Georgiana Morpeth in 1820 but most of them hold up.  What would be on your list?
16 February, 1820

Dear Lady Georgiana,

... Nobody has suffered more from low spirits than I have done - so I feel for you. 
 1st. Live as well as you dare. 
2nd. Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold, 75 or 80 degrees. 
3rd. Amusing books. 
4th. Short views of human life - not further than dinner or tea. 
5th. Be as busy as you can. 
6th. See as much as you can of those friends who respect and like you. 
7th. And of those acquaintances who amuse you. 
8th. Make no secret of low spirits to your friends, but talk of them freely - they are always worse for dignified concealment. 
9th. Attend to the effects tea and coffee produce upon you. 
10th. Compare your lot with that of other people. 
11th. Don't expect too much from human life - a sorry business at the best. 
12th. Avoid poetry, dramatic representations (except comedy), music, serious novels, melancholy sentimental people, and everything likely to excite feeling or emotion not ending in active benevolence. 
13th. Do good, and endeavour to please everybody of every degree. 
14th. Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue. 
15th. Make the room where you commonly sit, gay and pleasant. 
16th. Struggle by little and little against idleness. 
17th. Don't be too severe upon yourself, or underrate yourself, but do yourself justice. 
18th. Keep good blazing fires. 
19th. Be firm and constant in the exercise of rational religion. 
20th. Believe me, dear Lady Georgiana,

Very truly yours,

Sydney Smith

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

lovage, actually

Levisticum officinale (Garden Lovage) Otto Wilhelm Thomé

"I chose this for you because you seemed like the kind of person who'd be up for trying something new."

It's five o'clock on a drizzly Thursday afternoon and the line-up at Real Foods Fredericton  stretches through the small storefront and out the door.  Leah Antsis is walking me through the contents of my weekly grocery box. Among the still-crisp Honey Crisp apples, Chef Carson's new spring greens and the first local organic tomato of the season, she has tucked a Ziploc bag filled with fresh chives and... leaves that look like the sort of thing you'd yank out by the roots if you saw it growing in your garden.

Leah explains to me that it's lovage, that it has a flavour reminiscent of celery (the hollow stems make excellent straws for your Caesars, she says) and hands me a recipe for "Old-Fashioned Lovage and Potato Soup." Which of course I had to try.

Monday, June 4, 2012

the preservation society

I don't proclaim to be an expert on how Edie Sedgwick spent the mornings after Andy Warhol's Factory parties but I feel fairly confident that  they did not involve pickling a pound of asparagus spears.   But there I was digging out my canning supplies the morning after a large evening at a 1960s-inspired benefit for the Beaverbrook Art Gallery (a party so fun I forgot to actually take any photos. oops.)

When starting out canning the first step (well, the  first step for me anyway) is to get over the conviction that botulism-poisoning is imminent for one's family and friends.  As with most fears, your best weapon against this is information. Get yourself a good book on canning, educate yourself on the process and the dangers, be vigilant about prepping your materials, ingredients and water bath properly, pay close attention to processing times and temps and, for pickling, use the vinegar with the proper acidity and in the proportions called for in the recipe.  While you don't need to arm yourself with several thermometers and a roll of litmus paper, you should adhere closely to the recipes and directions.  So if you're the kind of cook who prefers tossing ingredients into a pot to see what happens rather than following a recipe, canning may not be for you.  Might I suggest flavoured syrups or a nice sorbet?

There are a number of great resource books out there but I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Canning for a New Generation from my friend Jennifer and I really like the approach author Lianna Krissoff has taken. 

We can pickle that after the jump.

Friday, June 1, 2012


it's the weekend: get out and shoot things

Jimmy Stewart. With a camera. That is all.

Watch.  This week we got our first look at what promises to be an epic screen adaptation of Les Miserables.  I'm not going to lie, watching this for the first time with my theatre chums nearly led to some ugly crying. 

Listen.  And on the theme of ugly crying, May 29 marked the 15th anniversary of singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley at age 30.  His only complete studio album, 1994's Grace,  remains one of my top summer evening soundtracks.  Here's one of my favourite tracks.  The bridge will tear your heart out.

Lover, You Should Have Come Over by Jeff Buckley on Grooveshark

Admire.  I am just so taken by this book of: Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum  If you follow my Facebook page you know that's I was particularly smitten by architect Eero Saarinen's list of his wife's attributes - so candid and honest and real; I'd take it over a sonnet any day!

Make.  As the warm weather moves in and clothes get lighter, my patience for bulky purses and wallets is in decline.  May be time to whip up a simple vinyl billfold.  

Breathe. I'm playing hooky this afternoon and heading here.  The weather was inclement during my last visit so I'm look forward to enjoying it in the sunshine.