Girl in the Tree

Dear Girl in the Tree,
This is supposed to be one of those letters where I, your older and much wiser self, am supposed to give you all sorts of advice but I look at you and the confidence that you portray and wonder what you might be able to tell me.
I don’t remember this picture being taken and when I first saw it I was surprised to see that you were at the top of the tree above everyone else. This is not how I remember being but Danita (yes, we are still friends) remembers it differently. When I mentioned my surprise to her, she just laughed and said that I was always brave back then, always the first to try new things. Really? I have to stretch my memory in order to remember this feeling and I am not sure when things changed. You already had so many things to be afraid of, yet you look so happy.
I guess if I had any advice to give you at all, it would be this: Don’t lose that fearlessness because in the process you will lose yourself and let me tell you, you will spend a whole lot of time in the future looking for you.
I know you have this inherent need to please others but don’t put everyone else’s needs above yours because eventually you just forget your own and, again, you will spend a lot of time trying to figure this out.
I guess what I am really trying to say is hold onto that Girl in the Tree as tightly as you can. Don’t let her go.
Love, Me (The girl trying to find the Girl in the Tree)
Note: My good friends brother posted this on Facebook recently. I had never seen this old photo before.  We were probably about ten years old. I am the girl at the top of the tree and I am amazed at my apparent courage.
I am linking this post to Tuesday at Ten where this week’s prompt was – “If I could write a letter to the past me . . . . }”

Be Still

Canva Be Still

I have FOMO Syndrome. I know, it sounds terrible, right? How do you know if you have FOMO Syndrome?

Well, here is a list of symptoms:

  • You can’t pass by anything that is shiny.
  • You have so many things on your to-do list and you are so overwhelmed that you don’t to-do anything.
  • You want to do it all because, well, you are just a really passionate person, right?
  • You don’t finish anything. In fact, you have a walk-in closet for all of your unfinished projects.
  • Sidetracked is a state you often find yourself in.
  • You have a hard time focusing.
  • Your husband often shakes his head at you when you are telling him about your “latest new thing”.
  • As a child, you stayed awake at night trying to listen to the adults’ conversations because you just might miss out on something.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, you may suffer from FOMO Syndrome, commonly known as Fear of Missing Out Disease.  Yes, it is a terrible thing but don’t despair, there is a cure.

Here are some home remedies:

  • Clear your calendar
  • Stop glorifying busy
  • Believe you are enough without the fuss
  • Take time to be quiet and listen – to yourself, to your body and to God
  • Slow down and take the time to heal
  • Create daily rituals to incorporate quiet space into your life, put them into your calendar and make them non-negotiable
  • Let go and just trust
  • Be still in mind, body and spirit

Do you feel like you have to be constantly doing in order to keep your head above water? Paradoxically, the opposite is true.

You can’t move forward until you take the time to be still.

This does not mean that you should stop trying new things and doing what makes your heart happy. It just means that it would be helpful to recognize when it is time to fold in and become still and listen.

Take five minutes today to just be.


dinner with destiny

Do you believe in destiny?  I do.
Here is destiny as defined by  the Free Dictionary by Farlex:

destiny [ˈdɛstɪnɪ]n pl -nies

1. the future destined for a person or thing; fate; fortune; lot
2. the predetermined or inevitable course of events

3. (Philosophy) the ultimate power or agency that predetermines the course of events

I believe that there were a series of unexplainable events that prompted me to make this particular dish.  You too will be a believer once you hear my account of the events as they occurred.

First of all, friends of mine traveled all the way to Japan to get me this cute, little soy sauce server. Wasn’t that nice of them and why did they pick Japan? 
Really, it was just a coincidence that their son was living there at the time.

Then, recently, I attended a cooking class that was taught by the chef from one of my favourite restaurants. This restaurant was in Vancouver for over thirty years and recently closed due to leasing issues. I was very sad to see it go. One of the last times that I was there, I had a tuna appetizer that was to die for. At the cooking class, I discovered from this chef that the secret was in the togarashi spice.
Do you think the restaurant closed just so this chef could be free to teach a cooking class that I would attend?!  Freaky, huh?
Then my mother brought me some togareshi spice…. you see where I’m going with this, right?

Then about a month ago, I came upon this blog called Regional Recipes which is hosted by Joanne of Eats Well With Others.  The participants of this blog cook their way around the globe visiting a new country every month.  And you will never guess where we are going this month.  Actually, you probably will.  Yup, you guessed it.  JAPAN.  How weird is that?  Is that not destiny?

Okay, there is one more thing.  I know you really don’t need anymore convincing but it is what it is.  When I searched the internet for a recipe using tuna with togarashi spice, this is the recipe that I came up with and I only, just now as I neared the end of this post,  noticed the significance in the name.  And that’s the truth.  Too funny.
Karma’s Togareshi-seared ahi tuna 
2 teaspoons shichimi togarashi (available at Asian markets)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 pound fresh ahi tuna
1 teaspoon sesame oil 

Combine the seasonings well, then coat the tuna with them. In a large, hot saute pan, add the sesame oil, then sear the tuna evenly on all sides till desired doneness.

Remove from the pan, slice and keep warm until serving time. 2 servings.


Orange-ponzu cream sauce 

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons cooking sherry
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 pound butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Kosher salt and ground pepper

Simmer the soy, citrus juices and sherry in a saucepan until reduced by half. Lower the heat, add in the evaporated milk and simmer for 2 minutes. In a ramekin, add about 1/4 cup of water to the cornstarch to create a paste.  Whisk into sauce until slightly thickened.  Take off stove top and whisk in the soft butter, a little at a time, until dissolved. Season with salt and pepper. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Both of these recipes were adapted from this site.

I loved this dish.  The meaty consistency of the tuna is unlike any other fish that I have eaten.  Even in the photo above it looks like sliced steak, doesn’t it?

Photo credits go to my daughter, Kyla Macdonald.