Getting to namaste

It’s Sunday evening and my vacation is just about over. I have to say, it’s probably the oddest vacation I’ve ever had.

Not odd in the sense that I mainly used it to move. This is the third time I’ve used a week or two of vacation to move and get settled into a new space. But odd in the sense that for the first time in my life, I wasn’t excited to set up a new space.

Relieved, yes…somewhat. When a marriage ends and the real estate market is sluggish, it’s a relief to get the “marital home” sold and move on. But the relief was marred with the apprehension of not moving where I want.

Edgewood Christmas 2008You see, peninsular Halifax is where it’s at, in my view. Eleven years ago, I’d bought a lovely little post-war pre-fab house in the west end just as the market was starting to skyrocket. I put my heart and soul into renovating and making it my own. I loved that house, and the deep sense of loss when I sold it and moved in with my then fiancé should have been a sign that leaving it was the wrong thing to do.

Today, that same house would cost so much that I wouldn’t come close to paying it off by the time I’m eligible to retire. And so two weeks ago, I moved with some trepidation into a condo in Clayton Park.

Now, residents of Clayton Park, please don’t be offended. It’s a nice part of town and has a safe, family feeling about it. But it’s too new. I miss the older houses on streets lined with big old trees. I feel so out of place here. And don’t get me started on living in a condo instead of a house. It’s just not the same. I really would rather mow the lawn, rake the leaves and shovel the snow than live in what feels like an apartment.

But if I let myself drown in my sorrows, I’ll never get through this thing. So I’m looking for ways to make myself like this place a bit more. Today, after a good long sleep in, I filled my water bottle, grabbed an apple, and took my little body, sore and tired from moving, for a walk on the Mainland Linear Trail. Aptly named, it runs straight along a main power line. It was nice, if awfully darn straight.

Apple, parsnip, bacon soupThe fresh air did me some good. I came home and rolled out my yoga mat for a hip, hamstring and lower back opening practice. Lying in shavasana trying to be in the present, I felt the tickling of whiskers on my cheeks and opened my eyes to find my two darling cats on either side of my head, staring intently at me.

Feeling slightly more centred, I left the mat in place for another practice soon and headed to the kitchen. I’d picked up parsnips, onions and apples at the Halifax Seaport Market to make a delicious sweet and savoury soup concocted by the Feisty Chef, Renée Lavallée. I’ll post the recipe below if she gives me permission.

In the meantime, namaste.


ps – Here is the recipe, published with permission from the Feisty Chef, Renée Lavallée.

Apple, Parsnip, Bacon Soup

1 tbsp oil
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1.5 litres vegetable stock
150 ml cream
100g bacon chopped

Heat saucepan and add oil and bacon. Cook until it starts to crisp, set some aside for garnish. Add onion and cook until soft and golden.

Add parsnips, rosemary, apples and stock. Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes or until parsnips are soft. Purée. Stir in cream and bring back to a simmer. Season. Garnish with bacon.


A divine tuna melt

So I mentioned I was moving. Well, I moved on November 1. In a monsoon. Those poor movers deserve medals.

lahave bakery

Anyway, I’d held off taking vacation until this move came about. I’d hoped it would happen in September, but alas, the real estate gods had other plans for me. It’s not the best time to be away from the office right now — many thanks to my colleagues who are covering for me. They recognize that I both needed the time to get settled into my new abode and desperately needed a vacation or I might explode, and that’s just messy at the office.

The painting, unpacking, and multiple trips to Home Depot have had higher priority on the to do list than just chilling. But I promised myself that on a sunny day, I’d take a drive down the south shore of this beautiful province and have lunch at the LaHave Bakery.

If you haven’t been, you must go. It’s one of my favourite places on Earth.

I first arrived at this delicious place on two wheels. I recall that weekend bike tour ensured three delectable stops at the bakery in two days. (It’s uncanny how cyclists can devise tour routes that hit every bakery possible, or the same one multiple times.)

lahave bakery lunch

In fact, most of my visits to this spot have been by bike. We all lean our steeds up against the little deck along the front of the building, get a huge brownie, a sandwich or some soup, and maybe the unsweetened iced tea of the day. If we’re lucky, the row of yellow Adirondack chairs isn’t already taken by customers soaking up the sun while they fill their bellies with baked goodness.

Yesterday, I finally had a break from the move in madness as well as a sunny day. I arrived in LaHave for a late lunch: ham, cheddar, mushroom and spinach panini with raspberry black currant iced tea. It was marvellous. It was a little too cold to sit outside in an Adirondack chair, but indoors, I listened to a few gentlemen discussing the middle east and then local community economic development, flipped through my magazine, and soaked in the local historical items and photos all over the walls.

tuna meltBefore leaving, I bought a cinnamon bun that I had later for dessert, and a loaf of herb and cheddar bread. This stuff toasts up all golden and delicious…it’s all I can do to stop myself toasting and eating the entire loaf with a pile of butter. I managed to save some for a tuna melt for tonight’s dinner. I’m telling you, his bread elevates the humble tuna melt to a taste of the divine.

So, get thee to the LaHave Bakery the next chance you get. It’s heaven on Earth.