Green…and the Garland pose


I’m late with my letter today – did you think I forgot you?


Spring is here in my area of the world. No doubt about it. The car is covered in pollen and I am stuffed up with hay fever. Today I knelt on the grass to take a couple of pictures (in bare legs) and now my legs are covered in an itchy rash. It will pass. It happens every spring.


One of the differences that I am really appreciating between living in the Yukon and living in southern British Columbia is how green April is.

Today Sam & I walked around McGuire Lake, in downtown Salmon Arm. The fountain is running and turtles are sunning themselves on logs.
Today Sam & I walked around McGuire Lake, in downtown Salmon Arm. The fountain is running and turtles are sunning themselves on logs.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss a lot of things about living in the North. However, April in the sub-arctic isn’t one of them.

In the Yukon, March and early April bring some of the best cross-country skiing weather you could ask for.

Here on Shuswap Lake, people are already out in their boats.


Today, everything is green, green, green. The new leaves are popping out. The daffodils, tulips, heather and forsythia are blooming. The cherry trees are blooming. The magnolia trees will be in full bloom any day. I have mowed the lawn twice.

Can you blame me for appreciating this particular difference?


All this greenness has caused me to cast on a sweater in rich dark green wool. I’m thinking ahead here, folks…it’ll be my summer knitting project. I expect to have it finished in time for the next big colourful season: autumn.

The yarn is actually fairly close to the colour of a rhubarb leaf, though it looks teal in these photos.

Green is my favourite colour this time of year! And what better pose for today than the Garland Pose. This is a pose I sit in a lot, though I’ve actually never done it in a yoga class!



Garland Pose

I naturally sit in this pose quite comfortably when I’m pulling weeds in the garden, or contemplating the layout of quilt blocks on the floor. I’m lucky to have flexible ankles and stretchy calf muscles, I guess. ♥

Here is a really nice video tutorial with modifications.

Fat people do yoga, too

The nicest people will say the most extraordinary things without even thinking about it.

Like one time a friend was describing someone she wanted me to meet. I was told how well educated she was, how varied her interests were, how well she dressed. And then there was an awkward pause. “But she’s, well…you know…(insert hand gestures here) “a little large,” she said, apologizing for her friend’s dress size before introducing her to me.

Or the time I naively made the suggestion to a petite, hard-bodied enthusiastic gym exerciser who was bemoaning the fact that she couldn’t go flat out on the treadmill while she healed from an injury. “Are you kidding me? Yoga isn’t exercise,” she snorted derisively.
“Have you ever tried it?” I asked, thinking about how sore my butt was from the previous day’s class.
“Yeah, I went to a class once. I couldn’t believe it when this fat chick walked in. Then it turns out she’s the teacher. So I left. Jeeze, I could teach her a thing or two about fitness,” she sorted. “Yoga.” Another snort.”

I don’t understand why a person’s dress size should be factored into someone else’s perception of whether or not they can or should participate in fitness activities.

And I don’t understand why Yoga is so often viewed as being just for skinny white chicks.  I mean, come on…

And since when is Yoga not “real” exercise? It’s just as legitimate an exercise option as cycling or walking or running is. A good yoga session can leave me sore the next day after working hips, thighs, bum, abs, shoulders, chest, back and arms – all hallmarks of weight-bearing exercise.

Warrior III April 6, 2016
NitaDances in Warrior III pose

Yes, yoga is meditative. It leaves me feeling relaxed and centered: key factors in maintaining balance in a hectic life.  But so does a good workout in the gym. It’s just apples and oranges, people.

NitaDances in Tree Pose
NitaDances in Tree Pose

Apples and oranges. Sure, there are a lot of bananas, but there are pears and watermelons there, too.


FFat people do yoga, folks. Get over it.




I take on-line yoga classes from Dianne Bondy. I’ll let this little video of Dianne flowing smoothly through a series of asanas to music speak for itself.

Happiness is Easy: visiting my yarn stash…and Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Sometimes happiness comes to you in small unexpected ways. Like today.


Somehow, without intending to, I played with my yarn stash today. It made me happy.

I was looking for something (isn’t that always the way?)…and before I knew it, I had pulled everything out. I found some beautiful yarn I had forgotten all about!



Like this wonderful skein of Noro silk-wool blend:







And this…which has lost it’s label. I have no idea what it is, but I’m sure it’s another silk-wool blend. It’s a wonderful colour…kind of a purple/denim. It’s very soft. I bet I had a scarf pattern in mind when I purchased it…




Am I the only person who keeps all the little bits and pieces of yarn left over from this project or that? Because, you know…I might need them someday. Meanwhile, they’re all wound and sorted into bags according to type.








See that basket with the green yarn at the bottom left? That’s my next project…a brioche-stitch sweater in grass green that I’ll be able to wear this fall. I’ll get a swatch made up and the gauge figured out, maybe this evening. Stay tuned!

It feels really good to have it all tidy and organized. 🙂

Isn’t it nice that happiness can be found so easily?




It made me very happy to sort and organize my yarn stash today, so it feels appropriate to introduce you to a yoga pose that promotes happiness!

EEasy Pose

It is said that The Easy Pose (Sukhasana) can reveal the joy that resides in your heart.

Think back to a time when you felt blissfully happy from head to toe. How would you describe the sensations that rippled through you? My bet is that during this period, you had a sense of being utterly grounded and at ease in the present moment. You probably also felt buoyant, uplifted, and awake to the vast possibilities of life around you
….Read the rest of the article here.

I invite you to sit in Sukhasana and let happiness rise through you.

Here is a really quick visual tutorial to help you out:


Every Good Cowboy Needs a Dolphin

I don’t remember what I wanted to be when I grew up, but when M was very small, he knew exactly what he was going to do.

He was going to be a cowboy.


But not just any cowboy…


My imagination-filled son was going to be the cowboy at Sea Land.

You know the one…

The cool dude who rides the dolphins.



Which segues very nicely into today’s yoga pose:

DDolphin Plank

Dolphin Plank is plank on your elbows. If you have wrist pain, Dolphin Plank is the one for you. It’s a great workout for your entire body.

It’s also a great measuring stick for how much stronger you’re getting!

If you can’t hold yourself up on your toes, it is absolutely 100% okay to put your knees down. You can do it! Yes, you can! 🙂

My Monday Challenges…and Chair Yoga

I hope you’re feeling happy and well this morning! I’m sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea  and a to-do list at my elbow.  First thing on the list is writing this letter for the April A-Z Blogging Challenge.

Today is going to be taken up with many things labeled domestic, so I’m a bit glad that it’s cool and rainy. It’s hard to be domestic inside the house when the day is warm and sunny, don’t you think? I always want to be outside on nice days.


The rain seems to have woken up my reluctant daffodils, though…a bit of sunny yellow that made me squeal with joy this morning because they were closed up tight last night.

I’ve fed the sourdough starter. I’ll leave it on the counter for a day or two to get really ripe before baking a batch of bread later in the week.

…and I’ve got a turkey carcass in the fridge ready to be turned into soup this afternoon. Turkey soup and buttermilk biscuits for supper tonight!

So that’s it for domestic duties in the kitchen.

If it stops raining, I’ll go for a bike ride. I’ve been riding 12 – 15 kilometers every second day. I’d been walking 10,000 – 12,000 steps every day, too, but started having issues with heel pain, so am taking it easy now for the second week in a row.

Mr C rides his bike 20 – 30 kilometers every second day and is working up to his goal of 50 hilly kilometers because he’s training for a bike race. His team is called The Aerodynamics. How perfect is that for a pilot/musician, eh? 🙂 It’s the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay, from Haines Junction, Yukon to Haines, Alaska: “The Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay travels through some of the most majestic and rugged terrain in the Yukon. You will travel through a national park, a mountain pass and an eagle sanctuary. There are huge climbs, long flats and a memorable descent on your way to the Alaskan coast.”

For those of you familiar with the race, he’s doing leg two of the relay. Pretty damn cool, if you ask me. Cheer him on this coming June 18th. 🙂

At the laptop, my challenge for today is to spend some time with a character that’s giving me a few problems. Maria Zhou, you need to shape up! C’mon…do it for mama.

In the sewing room, I’m going to tackle a challenge. I am going to attempt to sew a 6-inch paper-pieced block for the Splendid Sampler I’m working on. You may not know this, but I’ve been known to shed tears when it comes to paper piecing. But what would life be without challenges, eh? And if my only challenge today is paper piecing beautiful fabrics and getting tough with Maria Zhou, well….I’m pretty darned lucky.

Believe me, I know how lucky I am.

And now to fulfill my A-Z obligation:

CChair Yoga

Are you a person who dislikes getting up and down from the floor? Is getting yourself all the way down and then levering yourself up again painful, difficult, or downright impossible? Or maybe it just takes you a little longer…long enough that the video (or the class) has moved along without you, leaving you hopelessly behind.

It doesn’t matter why.

What matters is that the act of going up and down from the floor is stopping you from including a little bit of yoga into your day.

The following 25 minute chair yoga routine was developed by the therapists in the Chronic Pain Service at Toronto Rehab, Rumsey Centre. This video is a gentle exercise option that is chronic-pain friendly. Remember that finding ways to keep moving everyday is one of the best ways to manage your pain!

Because yoga is for all bodies!

Eat Cake and then do the Bridge Pose!

I’ve made two birthday cakes from scratch in the last couple of weeks, so I thought I’d tell you about them today. Because who doesn’t like cake? (I don’t see any hands raised…Everybody loves cake!)

I can make a cake from scratch, no problem – it’s the decorating that gets me. Just call me the queen of lopsided. Highly skilled in filling divots with extra icing. Nothing ever so bad that a good handful of sprinkles can’t make better. That’s me.

I was bemoaning the fact on Facebook last month when I baked a cake for M’s birthday, and here’s what my friend Val had to say:

cakeThese days, my heart warms to see a lopsided, real ingredient cake. More often, a perfect, symmetrical synthetic cake from the store is our effort to show love. Your handmade one is the real thing. It reminds me of the choices you make to spend your time on things that matter to you.


Isn’t that wonderful! It made me feel better right away. Because she is 100% correct. So pfffft that my sprinkle-drenched over-frosted-to-cover-the-divot cake was lopsided. It was delicious and I made it by myself for my son.



Today we’re going to a 59th birthday party for Mr C’s cousin who lives in Vernon. Feeling bolstered by Val’s wisdom, I volunteered to bake the birthday cake. I’m not sure how many people will be there, so rather than baking a two-tiered cake, I made cupcakes instead. They look very pretty on my wire cupcake stand. This is chocolate cake from scratch, with a chocolate whipped cream icing that is very similar to chocolate mousse.

And lucky you….I’m giving out the recipe! Now go eat some cake!

Nita’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe
Mix together dry ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa (the dry powder)
1 1/2  tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Mix together wet ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
Add 1/2 cup hot coffee & 1/2 cup boiling water.
Pour into 2 cake pans (batter will be very thin). Bake @350 30 – 40 minutes until done.

Chocolate Whipped Cream Icing
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
Whip until stiff.

Now that you’ve eaten all that  cake, you can work some of it off doing a bit of yoga during the April A-Z Blog Challenge:

BBridge Pose

Lay on your back with your arms down along your sides. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Scoot your feet up as close to your bum as you can comfortably get them. Push down through your feet and lift your bum into the air any amount.

Any amount means one inch, six inches, twelve inches – whatever feels good.

I like to press my lower back down into the floor and then slowly peel my hips up off the mat, raising my back one vertebrae at a time until I’m resting on my shoulder blades. I roll myself back down the same way. But that’s just me. You do what feels good for you.

Once you’re up there, you can wiggle around a little bit and get your shoulders underneath you.  If you’re way up there, you can lace your fingers together underneath your bum and push your arms into the mat to help get more lift in the hips.

If this hurts your neck don’t do it.

You might find that bridge pose feels really good in your mid & lower back. You might find it feels really good across the front of your chest.

Here’s a short video tutorial so you can see what it looks like:

And because every pose should be adjusted for every body, here is a great modification using a strap for those of you who are blessed with abundant bosoms (so that you don’t smother yourself), or using a block for those of you who haven’t developed the strength to hold yourself in the pose just yet. 🙂