Monthly Archives: December 2012

the bread

This year for my family Christmas dinner, I wanted to try something a little different.  I decided to bake bread.  And not just any bread.  My Grammie Johnson’s recipe.  I recall the many hours I spent with her as a child, watching her knead, punch and bake the yummiest bread ever!  Now, normally I’m a whole grain-flax seedy-sprouted-really healthy and good for you kind of bread girl.  This recipe has none of that and is simply white bread in all it’s carby goodness. The recipe paper was so well used and folded over, that it was translucent in parts and held some strange directions – boil water, then cool to warm, then add sugar and yeast to proof.  I’m guessing that’s a carry over from the “get the water from the crick” days.  But I did it anyway.  I didn’t want to change a thing from her recipe that’s been handed down.  I loved the whole process… deciphering the seemingly bizarre instructions, kneading the dough, seeing it rise and the best part – punching down the giant mound of dough.  It made me feel connected to my grandmother, even though she lives far away in New Brunswick.  I liked how slow the process was.  No microwave.  No rushing the rising.  Just many hours dedicated to creating something connected to my family’s history for people to enjoy around the Christmas dinner table.  And the bread – it turned out to be quite delicious if I do say so myself.

Posted in Uncategorized

Manicotti, Music and Celebrations for no good reason

This week has been a bit all over the place.  Intense conversations. Silly laughs. Stress. Forced relaxation. Work.  Sleep.  On Monday, I lost a coin toss with my sweetie and was bound by the code of the coin to make supper for us.  Having a lot of veggies left from my good food box, I made up some salad and manicotti…and threw in a couple of glasses of whiskey for us as an aperatif for good measure.  Did I mention that we had been participating in a spiritual fast that day?  So no food  all day + whiskey made for a very giggly Jen. Then it was on to The Commons to make some music and practice some original material by the commons collective.  So fun!  Yet, still challenging for me as I continue to re-learn how to play and try to strengthen my sound.  Things are still forced, but in time, the natural cadence of the music will come through.  I will learn to trust my instincts and feel the music more and more, rather than clumsily remember which notes go where.  When life gets hard and really, really sucks at times, I cling to that knowledge that though tough now, in time, the soul of the music of my life will one day be played with ease.  I just need patience and practice. And sometimes whiskey induced giggles help it along too.  The challenge is to find the laugh along the way. Like today for example.  It’s 12:12:12.  ‘So what?’ some might argue.  ‘Not a big deal.’  I know it’s not really,  but we should take any opportunity we can get to celebrate.  So make sure you do something to mark today and celebrate for no good reason.

Posted in fun


Today, I needed to get out of here.

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can’t sit still ONE.  MORE.  MOMENT.  You need adventure!  Any kind – even just a road trip.  So today, after dropping things off at various friends places, I hit the road.  Not too sure of a destination, I set out waiting to see what I would discover.  On this grey, drizzly day, I vaguely set out in the direction of Elora. I didn’t even make it that far.  As I was driving along, I saw a sign for Crieff.  Remembering that name from a spiritual retreat a few years ago, I quickly changed lanes and followed my instinct to drive up there.  I saw some beautiful light falling across bronze leaves still attached to trees, so I pulled over reveling in the freedom to just meander and stop at will.  I took some random pictures, just cause I wanted to.  It was bliss.

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I then discovered that I had unknowingly parked right next to Crieff Hills.  Recognizing the opportunity before me, I turned up the lane and wandered around there for a bit until I found my old friend, the Labyrinth.

That’s right folks, I broke into a Labyrinth.  Not sure if that defeats the purpose, but I kinda liked the secretive nature of trespassing to encounter God.  It was so quiet, with just the wind and the birds.  I liked the solitude.  I think Labyrinths are best experienced alone.  Sigh.  I love the Labyrinth.  Right now in my life there are so many questions! So many choices to make and fear creeping in that I’ll make the wrong one.  It was very soothing to have a path mapped out in front of me where I could bare my soul and ask all the questions I needed to.  No, I didn’t receive specific answers with giant flashing arrows, but did get a feeling that regardless of what happens – God is here.  At the centre.  At the edges.  With the stumbly rocks in the path.  With the unknown dark tunnel at the exit of the path – He’s there.  And there is adventure to be had.  After lingering for a few hours in the Labyrinth, I finally left as I got too cold.

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I realized that my phone was dead and I had no idea how to get back to Hamilton.  So, I just went on instinct and guessed the general direction I needed to go. No map. No one telling me where to turn.  No one reassuring that I was going the right way.  Just instinct, hope and reassurance that I had a full tank of gas and emergency oranges if I needed them. I saw some amazingly beautiful homes and farms along the back roads and finally saw a signpost to confirm I was headed in the right direction. The risk had paid off.  Once I knew where I was, I stopped for some coffee and a delicious fritter.  I think all pilgrimages should end with warm apple cinnamon fritters and dark roasted coffee.

Posted in nature