multitude monday / aug 11

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There is a voice in me these days that says, “This is what I want,” and then proceeds to tell me. It is insistent, it is wise. It says: I want more time outside. It says: I want less on my schedule. It says: slow down. It says: be honest. You don’t want to do that thing? You can just say so. You don’t need to think of an excuse.

And I am listening to this voice. It is a hard thing to do, but since I have been through the “burnout wringer” several times in my life already, I am not interested in doing that again, of getting to a point where my daily living feels frantic. So in a way, listening to this voice is a hard thing to do, and it is also the easiest thing to do, because I am well aware of the alternative: despair, depression, frustration, anxiety. No fun!

These two paragraphs aren’t to say that I’m totally shutting down and going to hide in a cave, literal or figurative. Rather, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m just feeling my way through something (as we all do), and listening to the voice inside me when it says, “Move through the feelings with your body.” I’m walking, swimming, yoga-ing through. I’m taking time to myself to just be, outdoors, and I’m refining, ever refining (as we all do), what I want to be doing with my time, and what I don’t want to be doing.

This blog is something I want to keep doing! So perhaps I’ll get on with it, and get on with Multitude Monday, hehe.

So here we are! August already, the middle of it. The bittersweet winding-down of summer, and winding-up of Fall. I love the wind, the long grasses in the fields, the coolness of the air. The budding green apples, waiting for ripening. I love this time of year, bittersweet though it most certainly is.

Here are the ten things I’m most grateful for right now: (You can read more about Multitude Mondays in my last Multitude Monday post, last month.)

131. Fresh tomatoes from the plants in the back yard. I eat them right there, sweetness plucked from the vine and tasted on the tongue.

132. The scent of field yarrow.

133. Blue sky with puffy white clouds.

134. Walking in my bare feet through the field near our house.

135. Finding blueberries there, and crouching down and picking some to eat.

136. Finding unripe blackberries there, and making a note to go back and pick some later.

137. Remembering the years when I worked in North River, and I would walk down through the fields to the river nearly every day, and swim in it, and then sit and dry off, and listen to the river.

138. Simple and yet so delicious: hamburgers and sausages with home-made french fries, at Colin and Mary Jane’s, on Saturday evening, following by some Yahtzee. These simple evenings together are what happy memories are made of.

139. Meeting many welcoming and friendly new people at my new job, which started last week. (And which I’ll certainly be writing more about, soon.)

140. Sleeping on the couch with Adam on Sunday afternoon, comfortable and relaxed as two puppies dozing.

I hope you have a good day today! May you see the multitude of goodness all around you.

 

Posted in Day to Day Life, Food + agriculture, Leah's thoughts, Love | Tagged | 2 Comments

links loved / aug 9

linksloved

Happy weekend! This is a sunflower growing in my garden. I planted three seeds and the other two are doing OK, but this one is just super happy where it is. (The other two aren’t far away, not sure why one is doing better than the others! Weird plants.)

Each Saturday I like to post a list of stuff I’ve enjoyed on the webs lately. It’s inspired by the super rad Elise Blaha Cripe of California, and her “weekend links” series.

I hope you are having a super fun, relaxing, soak-up-the-Cape-Breton-sun-while-its-here weekend!

Linda Wright of Big Hill Pottery is hosting a pastel artist from the Napa Valley for a three-day workshop in October. Jealous!!

This product name and idea made me laugh a lot, and look at Adam like, “Is this for real?” (When we saw it advertised on a sports event he was watching.) Turns out, it is!

A brilliant idea for a cafe/childcare. We need one here!

Smart way to be happy at work: track your efforts, not your accomplishments.

Rainbows and glitter and joy! It’s Pride Cape Breton week!

Pretty graphic about friends and gardens... would make a lovely print!

Alrighty… time to take a long walk, then get some freelance work done, then spend some time with family! Hurray for the weekend. Have a good one!

Posted in Day to Day Life, For Fun | Tagged | 1 Comment

quick post Friday

quickpostFriday

Hey everyone! I’m just writing a quick post as I get ready for my day, and leave the house a little early so I can meet a friend at a cafe before work.

I was so lucky to dine last night at The Bite House, a new and amazing restaurant in Big Baddeck, run by Chef Brian Picard (who I interviewed in 2012). That’s where I took this picture, out in the gardens. (I took a lot more pictures, and I’ll definitely share those with you soon.) TGIF, right? Enjoy the summer while it’s here. Have a great Friday!

Posted in Day to Day Life, Food + agriculture | Tagged , | 2 Comments

eating local at kiju’s, part 1

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Last week I went to a local restaurant, Kiju’s, for a meal. Long story short: delicious!

Today’s post is all about the food we ate, and next week on the blog, I’ll share the chat I had with the Executive Chef there, Shaun Zwarun, who is a proud Glace Bay boy.

kijus02Kiju’s, if you’re not familiar with it, is in the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, which is in the First Nation of Membertou, a mostly urban community in the tribal district of Unama’ki, or Cape Breton. Membertou also happens to be right next to the largest urban centre here on Cape Breton Island, Sydney. The First Nation has done really well in the past several years at expanding and building new enterprises, including the busy Trade and Convention Centre. (Which is where my graduation was held, in June!)

Kiju’s means “mother” in Mi’kmaq, and is one word, not the possessive form of “kiju,” which I thought was interesting.

Full disclosure: the kind folks at Kiju’s asked if I’d like to come and meet their chef, and enjoy a complimentary meal, in exchange for sharing my thoughts on it here on the blog. However, rest assured I would definitely not lie, and that all thoughts and opinions shared here are my own.

So — back to the food! I love food, and I love eating local (and need to eat more local than I currently do, for sure). Chef Shaun Zwarun loves eating local too, and you can tell by his menu. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

kijus13I asked my friend Alicia Lake to join me for dinner — of the two of us, she’s the very active, non-lazy local foodie. (Her blog, Cape Breton Local Food Adventure, is here, where you can read all about her adventures in 100% local eating each September. She’s also the Chair of the board of the Baddeck Community Market, and does a bunch of other things related to local eating, around the island and across the province. The gal’s everywhere!)

It was so hard for us to choose what to eat! It all looked so good. We decided on two appetizers that we would share, to start, so we went with the Steamed Aspy Bay Mussels and the Gaufrette Fries with the blue cheese dip. (That’s the picture at the top of this post.) Oh, my, gosh. It looked beautiful (as you can see) and tasted even better. The blue cheese in the dip is from a Nova Scotia cheese maker, That Dutchman’s Farm.

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For our mains, Alicia went with the Main-a-Dieu Lobster Pasta, which is on the appetizer menu but is the right size for a light main course. The pea shoots on top are from a farm in the Baddeck area! I got her to give me a bite and the dish was creamy, rich and delicious.

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I chose the Feature that night, which was lamb with a fig reduction, served with a piece of bacon and potato pie, and turnip and carrot. The lamb was tender, flavourful and it paired so nicely with the rich, earthy flavours of the vegetables and the bacon.

We drank wine with our meal, choosing a glass of the local, Nova Scotia wine from Gaspereau Vineyards. I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more local choices of wine on the wine list, but perhaps they’ll add more down the road.

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And of course we had to have dessert. I have a feeling the chocolate in my Chocolate Tower was not local, but … it was delicious. I love chocolate mousse and that’s usually my default choice on a dessert menu. Alicia went with the Summer Berry Tart.

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kijus29(While we waited for dessert, Alicia visited the ladies’ room and I looked around the restaurant and out the window, and snapped these shots.)

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kijus32We took lots of photos of our food — that’s Alicia above — because, well, we’re bloggers and that’s what we do. That’s why it’s so nice to have dinner with a fellow blogger! Whereas Adam usually gets a bit annoyed with me snapping shots of every dish I eat, Alicia smiled and snapped along with me.

As you can see, our desserts were absolutely beautiful, and it was a good thing we took pictures at the beginning because there was nothing left to photograph very soon after!

Many thanks to the folks at Kiju’s, including our vivacious and friendly server, Lans, for a delightful evening tasting local flavours, talking about local food, and dreaming about what’s to come and what more we can do to get local food into local kitchens, both in restaurants and homes.

Next week I’ll share part 2, a chat with Executive Chef Shaun Zwarun!

Posted in Community, Food + agriculture, Mi'kmaq communities, Towns + communities | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

name that plant! (the pink edition)

 

namethatplantSo I took a walk around my neighbourhood yesterday evening, and as usual was admiring and checking out the various gardens I passed. I took pictures of three plants that I don’t know, but want to know, for future planting in my own gardens. They all happened to be pink, so this is the Pink Edition of what will likely turn out to be a regular feature!

So I’m shamelessly using my blog to find out what they are, haha. If you know what one, two or three of these plants are, leave a comment and let me know. (I feel like one and three are variations of the same plant?) There aren’t any flashy prizes, but you do get my respect and admiration. And those are pretty great, let me tell you.

ANYway, thanks in advance. Now … name that plant!

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Posted in Community, Day to Day Life, Outdoors | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

getting out for a bit of air

florencebeach

Yesterday I worked in my office at home, all morning and part of the afternoon. I pretty much always have a few freelance projects on the go, and I wanted to get a nice chunk of work done on them before my new job starts. (Today!!!)

The air was flat and calm, there was no wind coming in my open window, and by 2 pm I was feeling a bit grumpy. I hadn’t really exercised that day either, but didn’t want to just walk around my neighbourhood, which was hot and airless.

So I got in my car and drove over to Florence Beach, about a ten-minute drive, and walked the length of the beach, down by the water’s edge. It was just what I needed — a bit of wind, the water on my toes, seeing other people there.

(More of Florence Beach here, here and here.)

Today — I’m off to my new job! I feel like it’s the first day of school or something. 🙂 Nervous, but also excited.

Have a great Tuesday!

Posted in Active living, Day to Day Life, Outdoors | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

why we are lazy on Sundays

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Something Adam has done for me is teach me the value of the lazy Sunday.

I am getting better at believing in its power, and in trusting in it enough to not make plans on Sundays.

You see, I am a little bit addicted to my “to-do” list. I get a lot of validation from ‘getting things done,’ and get a bit panicked if I am spending time just being. And while I think there is value in getting things done, I also have come to understand the need to be idle, too.

On Sundays, we are idle. We sleep in. No alarms are set. We drink coffee with a little Baileys in it. Sometimes we make a fried breakfast. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes I’ll check in with the Internet, sometimes I don’t at all. And the silence that creates in my mind is so peaceful, so restful.

Yesterday, after breakfast, I lay on the couch and read a while. Then I put the book down, closed my eyes, and fell asleep a little more.

Later, I got up and ate cucumbers and tomatoes with crackers, cheese and mayo for lunch. I went to the beach, read my book, and swam. And on the way home I stopped and sat in the parking lot of Lick-a-Treat and ate a small mint chocolate-chip ice cream cone.

That’s the kind of “to-do” list I like to tend to on Sundays.

Posted in Day to Day Life, Health, Leah's thoughts | Tagged , | 4 Comments