Tuesday, December 17, 2013

hello again

Well, it has been a while. The last few months have been so busy with thesis-writing and working on The Boston Day Book that I haven't had much time to devote to this space.

But I do love to collect experiences and impressions here. Time seems to be moving so quickly sometimes, and scrolling back through this blog, I see some of my most treasured moments of the last few years. So in spite of my long absence, I do want to keep collecting those moments here, and sharing them with you.

Friday, September 13, 2013

a week in the west

Originally we had thought to stay local this summer, and theoretically had put a moratorium on traveling for a while. But it's hard to resist the invitation to see two good friends get married on Vancouver Island! While I have been lucky enough to have traveled quite a bit, I don't know the west coast very well at all, and we were excited to explore Vancouver Island and the city of Vancouver.

The ferry ride was absolutely gorgeous. The mist-covered sea was otherwordly, and every so often the banks of fog would part to reveal beautiful small islands. 

After spending the full two hours of the ferry on the deck with my camera in hand, breathing in the sea air, my hair was a little bit wild! Me and my voluminous hair caught up with friends that night, and then were busy with wedding preparations the next few days. After the lovely wedding, we stayed in the cute harbor town of Cowichan Bay, where we had so much fun looking at all the boats and house boats!

Further north on the island to visit family, we visited the majestic and aptly named Cathedral Grove - even my tall husband looks small compared to these awe-inspiring trees. 

A sunset canoe ride on Fanny Bay below a spectacular sky...

And then we were off to Vancouver for a few days. We were able to meet up with some friends from our days in Montreal and Paris who we hadn't seen in a few years, and meet their new babe! Vancouver felt so different from anywhere else I've ever been - it all felt so NEW! I guess it shows that I am an east coast girl - cobblestones and crumbing bricks and carved facades are what I expect. Everywhere I looked in Vancouver, I saw residential high-rises with tree-covered roof decks! Our friends live in a neighborhood constructed for the Olympics, and their apartment measures the amount of water and energy they use on a little screen. Each unit is given a large plot of rooftop garden to grow food - it felt like the city of the future. (Although I love my history as well - I wouldn't give up my brick and carved facades!)  

What a great trip! The week away reminded me of how huge America is, and how much there is to see. I am looking forward to so many more North American adventures.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

staying cool in summer heat

It is hot out! Yesterday I was booking it across town, and the heat made the scene in front of me actually shimmer. It would be better to be at the beach, but that's not in the cards today, so I'm staying cool in the city.

I recently went to a workshop with Larissa Hall Carlson on yoga for summer, focusing on ayurvedic tips for staying cool. Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, makes so much sense to me - it is all about balance. During the warm months, to balance out the pitta element that is associated with summer and heat, we should stimulate cooling aspects. Everything has an effect, including what we eat, do, see, and feel. In terms of yoga, balancing pitta might mean focusing on more moderate classes, rather than the most physically challenging vinyasa class. Avoiding forceful breathing (such as ujjayi), closing the eyes, and letting go of competition can also keep your yoga practice cooling during the summer months.

Drinking more water is always important when it is warm, but adding the cooling flavors of cucumber, mint, or lime to water can enhance the refreshing effects. Cool foods such as melon, coconut, and salads will be more balancing than warm or spicy foods. Even wearing cooling colors like blue, green, and white can soothe the eyes and give a feeling of coolness.

I also like to chill out with nadi shodhana, a cooling breath in which you cover one nostril at a time. For most people, it is very calming and refreshing, and it can help with insomnia as well! This video from Larissa shows how it is done. How do you stay cool in summer heat?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

city fog

There is something so powerful about not being able to see where a building ends and the sky begins.
The world feels untethered, unbounded, without those weighty lines that hold us to the earth. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston, Forever Strong

There are no words that can express all the emotions of this week in my city. My heart is so heavy. I am thinking of all those who were at the finish line on Monday, and their friends and family. So many people's lives have been forever changed and my heart aches for them. 

My instinct in these situations is to stay home and give into fear. This week has brought up memories of other bombs in another city  and another time that I was lucky. At that time and place I felt so alone and so incredibly vulnerable. 

Tuesday morning I didn't want to leave my apartment, but I forced myself out the door. I left my building and walked all around this city: Dewey Square, downtown, the Common, The Public Garden, and the streets of Back Bay. And this is what I saw: people on park benches, children playing, kind eyes, flowers and signs of support for the victims. There seemed to be an extra gentleness in each interaction. Walking the streets on my own, I felt so connected to the people I passed - there was such a sense of community, and the feeling of safety that that brings. 

Thank you to the many heroes whose quick thinking and selfless actions helped so many people on Monday, to those with extra space who took in stranded visitors, and to those who have walked our streets these past few days with kindness - you have shown me what grace and goodness and strength there is here, and how the light will always find a way. 

I love you, Boston.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”       - Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, April 5, 2013

These ducklings are ready for spring.

Spring style at the Make Way For Ducklings sculpture in Boston's Public Garden.

Little People Project

Have you heard of the London-based artist Slinkachu? In his Little People Project, he creates and then abandons tiny figures in public places. These mini installations are photographed up close and far away.  Check out the images of his installations from his blog - some are so emotionally affecting. I wish I would happen upon one of his vignettes in my city.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


It is probably clear to anyone who reads this blog that I love public art, especially works that have an aspect of graffiti to them. In Montreal, I was always on the hunt for interesting art when strolling the streets (see here and here). Walking around downtown Boston the other day, I was excited to notice that some of the utility boxes have been painted.

(This box in downtown crossing was painted by Adam O'Day.)

Then I started noticed painted boxes all around the city! Paintbox, a program through the Boston Arts Commisson, has asked local artists to use the utility boxes in their neighborhoods as canvases. What an amazing idea! There is even an interactive map to help you find them. I am excited to find more of these as I get to know Boston better.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

winter beaches

A few weeks ago, Dan and I took a weekend trip to the North Shore. It is amazing being so close to the ocean now that we are living in Boston, and we were craving a little time out of the city. We definitely got that - some of the towns we stopped in were quiet under the snow, without their crowds of tourists searching for lobster and taffy. On our way home, we stopped for a walk at Manchester's Singing Beach - it was cold, but beautiful.

Exciting news!

Being back in Boston after many years away, there is so much to explore. I am so excited to have joined my sister, Natalie, and her friend Melissa at The Boston Day Book, a website on everything Boston!

I think contributing to The Boston Day Book will be a fun way to write in a casual way, be creative, and get to know people and places around Boston. So far, I've written little posts on gallery openings, a museum exhibit, and the closing of a beloved button shop. To my handful of readers at this spot: if you are in Boston, check out the website and let me know if there is anything you think I should write about!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

a blizzard

It's been a few weeks since Boston got a blizzard named Nemo (cutest name ever for a storm). I have to admit that before it I had felt that global warming must really be speeding up, since I hadn't yet worn my real snow boots. (While I am still worried about global warming, I did wear snow boots.)
The streets downtown were deserted.

It was a good thing there were no cars on the road.
A walk signal yet nowhere to walk!

Photos from my husband, who ventured out into the storm for chocolate bars and milk ;)

Friday, February 8, 2013

on endings and beginnings

Yoga is the meeting of the drop and the ocean. 
     -Swami Kripalu

One week ago I became a Kripalu yoga teacher!

The graduation ceremony was such a powerful culmination of four weeks spent together with my fellow students and teachers. As each student walked a petal-strewn aisle flanked by our fellow teachers-in-training, we spoke our blessings and well-wishes for the graduate. Looking into the faces of these people whom I have gotten to know in such a special way, I felt so connected to them. Earlier in the week, our teacher had used the analogy of a tapestry - we are forever woven together in an important way, for having been so vulnerable and honest together, and for sharing this time of amazing growth.

While I learned so much about yoga, the teacher training was about so much more. Having that time to consistently go within myself, away from all the distractions of regular life, was so insightful. Emotions came to the surface that had long been buried, and then were washed away. At the end of a day of silence and meditation, I realized how free I felt - I had been carrying around the echoes of the past, and now I had shaken them off, and it felt like seeing the world (and myself in it) in a new light.

The challenge now will be to remember that feeling of freedom and tap into that well of connectedness, calm, and love when things gets in the way. Each ending is a new beginning - now to bring that Kripalu magic home, and hopefully share it with others!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


A few weeks ago, I packed a suitcase and left for Kripalu, a yoga school and retreat center in the Berkshires, for the first half of a yoga teacher training that I had signed up for quite a while ago. On my windowsill I placed this ceramic bowl - a gift from my sister - and a reminder that the people we love are always with us, within us... (from my favorite e.e. cummings poem)

Being in the mountains at the beginning of winter was beautiful. Our program was so intense that some days there was barely time to get outside, except to stand on the back patio of the building and breathe in the misty air.
 The place has a unique energy - a building full of people from different places, different backgrounds, looking for the same things: to learn, to renew, to feel, to grow.
 Each day brought so many challenges and so many insights that two weeks felt like two months. By the end I felt so close to the other wonderful people in the training - lunch time conversations consistently revolved around "the big questions" so it got deep fast. No matter how I end up applying my teaching certification, I am certain that this will have been one of the most intense, and most enlightening experiences of my life. We'll see what comes of it...