Mindfulness and Photography

“This ordinary, workaday world is rich and good.  It might not seem that way at six in the morning when you are rushing to prepare your coffee or tea and get out the door to go to work, or when you are tired and irritated after dinner and have to take out the garbage.  Instead, ordinary life might seem hassled, repetitive, and boring.  When you are impatient, resentful, or uninterested in daily life, you will be blind to the potential for living cheerfully and creatively.

Life seems repetitive and boring when you don’t notice the uniqueness of each moment and the constant, subtle changes that are going on all around you…Even though things seem solid and enduring, nothing really lasts a second moment.  Our experiences are always in the process of disintegrating and transforming.  As photographers we can know this intimately.”

-The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes-Andy Karr & Michael Wood.

Sarah Susankah-The Not So Big Life

Just finished a great book that I admittedly plowed through for an online book club I have been following.  The book came complete with exercises and some big questions, to really get your brain going but I haven’t had the time to get to those yet, so I think I’m going to have to purchase this one. I had a lot of what the author calls “Aha” moments while reading, but one quote stuck out for me in particular that I thought I would share here:

Once you make the unequivocal internal commitment to do something-when you absolutely know this is the time and place to act-the world around you will shift in all sorts of apparently miraculous ways to make it happen.  But they’re not really miracles.  This is the fluid nature of both life and consciousness.  When your intentions are clear, events move to support them and to expand the ripple effect of your efforts. 

(Sarah Susanka-The Not so Big Life)

Okay, it’s a bit hippy dippy, but it resonated with me as I am entering a new phase of my life, taking new risks and willing things to happen.  I don’t entirely know which path this next phase of my life will take me-but I do know that because I am getting out there and opening myself up to opportunity, I am inviting change and new circumstances, something I feel I was previously closed to out of fear of change, the fear of taking big risks or the fear of failure.  I have finally learned that “the worst that can happen” is not enough to make me stagnate and I have found that this new shift in view has opened the world up so much more.  It’s a nice perspective and I am excited about the future!

xoxo

Spicy Caesar Mussels!

It wasn’t until recently that I learned that the Caesar is a Canadian drink.  Bloody Mary’s you can find, but there is something uniquely Canadian about deciding to put Clam juice in a cocktail. It’s nearly impossible to convince an outsider that this is actually delicious, not at all “fishy” and worth at least a try, so for the most part, we keep this drink to ourselves up here. Lately, I’ve been having some major cravings for a Caesar and so on the way home to celebrate my long weekend and quitting my job, I hit the ol liquor store to grab supplies. During our long seawall walk in the sun yesterday afternoon, I began to think how great a big pot of steamed mussels would be with a tall Caesar and then I started thinking how great it would be if you combined the two into one meal! In our house, we every so often have the “Snacky Dinner”, a gratuitous gorging of various tapas whipped together, cheese, crackers, always smoked oysters, pickles and olives and whatever else we find lying around. The Spicy Caesar Mussel dish was the perfect accompaniment!

Recipe:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1 c. canned diced tomatoes
  • 400-500 grams fresh raw mussels
  • 1 c. Extra Spicy Clamato
  • 1 oz. vodka
In a deep pot, heat olive oil on medium heat and throw in chopped onions.  When nearly tender, add garlic and chili flakes and cook for several minutes.  Do not allow to brown, burn or stick.  Add the canned tomatoes, stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes with lid off.  Add clamato and vodka, stirring to mix.  Rinse mussels, removing any beards or dirt and throw into pot.  Mix with sauce thoroughly, allowing tomato sauce to touch all the mussels at least once! Put on lid and allow to steam approx. 8-10 minutes until all mussel shells open.  Stir again thoroughly and toss into bowl.  Grind fresh pepper on top, slice a baguette to serve on the side and you are good to go! Use baguette to soak up spicy sauce and prevent broth from running down your arm! Yum!

Weekend Happenings and Changes!

Okay so once again I have fallen behind.  This is a very bad habit, I know but I’ve just been so busy.  As mentioned in the post title, there are a lot of changes going on which I hope to be able to write about here soon, but to give a wee idea, Ms. Flaneuse has decided to hit the road and seek out some new adventures with her M. Big adventures await and I am very excited! However, I have been building up the list of things I want to share here and keeping in mind to bring my camera along when I go out, to share my weekend happenings.  Now we are in the middle of a four day Easter long weekend and it is bliss.  This is our first statutory holiday since New Years Day and I’m pretty sure that was the longest “dry” spell in the Canadian calendar when it comes to long weekends.  On top of it, the weather has been amazing, which makes me happy!

Last weekend we had cooperative weather as well although it has been unusually cold for April still, and hovering around 5-8c.  Last Friday I headed to J’s place to have a sleep over which was great and I got to visit her little muffin to boot which is always good news! I mean god, look at that face:

We all had a good chance to catch up and for J to show me *her* energy ball recipe which allowed me to come to the conclusion that “yes” you need the coconut and “yes” it doesn’t hurt to dip em in chocolate after you pop them in the freezer for a few minutes.  We are both working on perfecting the recipe 🙂 And I am happy to sample any works in progress.  I make my coworkers my guinea pigs as well!

Anyway, the next morning we got up early (a la bebe) and headed to a Japanese Zen temple where they were having a charity “rummage” sale.  I scored a beautiful scarf and a summer dress for 25c each! J got an amazing satin kimono style shirt/dress and I managed to grab some much missed homemade Japanese snacks.  After this, we busted down to Main street to catch the annual Vasakhi parade.  Vasakhi is an Indian festival from the state of Punjab that is celebrated by people of all religions to celebrate the harvest. However, it has special significance to Sikh’s as it corresponds to a special day in the Sikh calendar of which I do not know much about and so won’t pretend.  But I assume, that it is on account of the celebration of harvest and abundance that you can find so many food stalls set up on front lawns, where people give away amazing curry dishes, soda, bags of chips, Indian sweets and much more. Much like last year when I went with M, this year involved a lot of walking and eating and the parade being delayed by 2 hours when we finally gave up having exhausted ourselves.  The crowds in the photo below do no justice to how completely insane this event got.  At one point we had to carry the stoller as it was just too packed to roll it through the crowds.  Everyone was elbows out but miraculously still having a good time.

Crazy loud music blared from speakers everywhere and we just saw the beginning of the parade, which was for some reason frozen in it’s path forever before we finally left.  From there I left J and the babah and headed further down Main street to meet M for Record Store Day at Redcat! We saw a great band, and again was amongst a squishy crowd and after not being able to find the records M came for, we decided to leave. Somehow despite my exhaustion and insane allergies we managed to walk all the way home, a distance I can only estimate at around 10km not including all the walking I had already done at the beginning of the day. A quick Japadog on the way home and I was done!

The next day involved another HUGE walk from our place to Broadway and McDonald to this great produce/import goods store I love and the long walk back. I am unstoppable!

And now here we are at this weekend. We did the seawall yesterday, something which is becoming increasingly effortless the more we exercise, hit the supermarket for supplies for our “Snacky Dinner” and headed home to relax and drink some Caesar’s.  It was the Caesar’s that inspired my next recipe for Spicy Caesar Mussels which I will share with you in my next post.  Hope your spring weekends are filled with relaxation and sunshine!