Monday, June 30, 2008


Guess what? There were no neenish tarts on Acland street! I know, I know, I'm a pastry tease. I bought something else very creamy and goopy today from Le Bon Cakes on Acland and I'll let you know after dinner tonight how it shapes up. {Update--- Please see picture left. --- THIS PASTRY WAS AWESOME!!!! Rich cream and jam snuggled on shortbread and cake with a yummy pink icing robe! I feel so much better now! ;-) }
All of the cake shops left on Acland street are European style so I must have been delusional to think they'd have dinkum aussie neenish tarts. Anyway, I was distraught after all the build up on this blog about the treats and felt really guilty about not delivering the goods. On the plus side though, Acland street was still just as funky and hip as ever and I felt so much at home there. 17 years fell away as I cruised up and down the street peering into old favorites and then finding new shopping gems to explore.

As to the overall vibe here in Melbourne, I'd say it feels very prosperous still and forward looking. People seem upbeat and are really proud that the Aussie dollar is at par with the U.S. dollar for the first time. The news in the papers is less chipper, but except at the petrol pumps, I rarely hear people grumbling these days about the economy.

Thanks to Sarah about the comment on my new photo heading. My mother-in-law took that photo in her own back garden last year and it just seemed perfect for the blog. I love it too!

On to yoga:
Yolanda delivered another beautiful class today and I learned so much about sequencing and body placement. She is very careful about head and neck alignment. I will definitely be doing more of this in own classes. If your head is properly aligned in mountain pose (chin slightly tucked downward) for instance, you are absolutely more grounded and protected in everyday life. Something to think about.

I need to run as I'm preparing dinner for the whole family tomorrow and have a brisket to slow cook for many hours in preparation. As always, it's all about the food!

Warm hugs to all,


Love the Mantra

The Mantra 100 on Exhibition was a winner. Or as the Aussie's would say, "a ripper hotel". Perfectly located, well-appointed, clean, quiet, and next door to Cartier Jewelery. Who could ask for anything more? Of course David wouldn't actually let me walk into Cartier and was sweating each time we passed by the entrance, but still it was comforting just knowing it was there.

We had two wonderful meals in Chinatown at Westlake and The Shark Fin House. I can highly recommend them both. Make sure you go around lunch time to savor the dim sum trolleys being pushed around with delectable dumplings and treats. This is called Yum Cha here and is well worth the trip into the city.

Oliver's football match was also a real eye opener. The coach bellowed and screamed at the kids and even made one of them cry. We're talking 10 and 11 year olds here. Now I'm sure this goes on regularly back home on the soccer grounds, but I was shocked. The one soccer game I went to recently for friends in Portland was quite sedate and friendly. Nothing like this all out scream-fest. I was sure that the kids would all hate this coach and dread going to practice, but nothing could have been further from the truth. They took it in stride and even professed affection for the coach. I should also mention that Ol's team is undefeated and currently way ahead. Between shivering on the sidelines and flinching at the yelling though, I'm quite happy Izzy seems more interested in piano and tennis these days.

Tomorrow is more yoga with Yolanda and then a day of gossip and joking with an old friend from my days of living here in Melbourne. And at last a trip to Acland street. Stay tuned.....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Off and away

Sorry I've been a slacker about writing the last few days. All is well here and we've been enjoying family get-togethers and taking in the sights. Speaking of which..

David and I are off to a night on the town in the city (or CBD in Melbourne speak, which stands for central business district)and then we have a new hotel to try out. This is one of our best rituals. Every year we continue our quest for the perfect hotel. It has to be near Chinatown, great shopping, Flinders station, etc... I've picked a new one which is: The Mantra 100 Exhibition. I booked us through a travelocity affiliate called and got a great deal. I'll let you know my opinion of it when we get back. We're off now to watch our nephew Oliver play football (otherwise known as soccer) and then we'll hop a train to the city. The weather is rainy, cold, and blustery so we'll see how this tough Ozzie kid manages to make goals in the mud.

More to come soon and thanks for still reading,


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Treats and tricks...

I'm sure most of you are asking the single burning question of the day.... has she had that Neenish tart yet? The simple answer is yes... and no. I had a very good one yesterday from the bakery on Hampton street that I like (humorously named The Loaf In Bakery) and I'm saving one from Keith's Cakes on Church street for my afternoon tea today. But the all time greatest Neenish Tart from Acland Street is still eluding me. Not for long though... I figured out how to drive there from my yoga class today. HOORAY!

On to yoga. I had a wonderfully serene and satisfying yoga class today with Yolanda at her studio. Her style is so warm and inclusive and she is a master at pacing the class through deceptively effective asanas. Every move was filled with light and ease but I still managed to work out quite a few muscle groups this morning! I loved her encouraging words and gentle manner during the class. I feel certain that I will be incorporating many of her teachings into my own.

After the yoga class, we had a 20 minute meditation practice. My meditation session was going well until I suddenly became very nauseous at the end of it. I'm not sure why this happens to me during meditation. Yolanda assured me that it will get better and that she has experienced this as well. I'm glad...I felt like such an idiot having to lay down on the floor during meditation to overcome the queasiness. So typical of me really, when you consider I get car sickness even when I'm driving! I suppose meditation is like that.. me driving my body/mind and not always being careful enough not to start and stop abruptly or simply taking mind curves too quickly.

Well, that's my day in a nutshell so far. Please keep checking in and sending me comments. I love seeing that map add red dots. And by the way, Izzy is fine now - thanks for asking!



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A long day of learning...

Happy Tuesday from Australia,

I spent 6 hours today in a yoga workshop with Lev Dulitsky and had a truly mind-energizing experience. My stomach was also galvanized by a wonderful lunch of soup, russian dumplings, and pastries whipped up by Lev's multi-talented wife Elizabeth Dulitsky. (You KNOW how much I love pastries!)

Lev introduced me to ideas about energy and affirmations that I haven't experienced before. We also explored Tibetan Meditation and Oki-do yoga meridian work. I took many notes and have great things to bring back and share with my students this fall... especially for the Yoga for Healing class. Lev was extremely generous with his knowledge and laughter. It was a wonderful day.

Izzy finally got out of the house today and enjoyed the fairy store down the street with her grandmother. She is so comfortable here in Australia and is satisfied with just pottering around the house and garden. David also returned from Sydney tonight and was glowing with joy from spending time in his favorite city with his best friend Joffa. We have so much to be grateful for.

I'm readying myself for bed tonight and will be dreaming of rabbit ears, elephant ears, and buddha ears tonight. Be sure to ask me about this when we next meet.

Warm hugs,


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sick already...

So my daughter woke up with a sore throat at 4:30 this morning and crawled into bed with me. Ahhh, it's so wonderful to have another turn at winter illness. To be fair, she probably inhaled bad germs on the plane and hopefully it will be a quick recovery. The neighbors have shocking viruses/infections next door and their little girl did come over for a few moments on the day we arrived, but surely it would take longer to incubate?

I had another great yoga session with the birds this morning and experienced this amazing heat-building sensation during meditation at the end. I really felt my body getting warmer and warmer from the core. Kept fanning the flames with my breath and doggone it if I didn't feel the difference. I know... I sound like a kook, but give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

I'm having lunch today with Yolanda Pettinato who has very generously offered me her time and expertise.

Okay, so this is not the most exciting blog today, but at least we're still connected right? Good enough for me.



Friday, June 20, 2008

The Yogi has Landed...

We're here and all is well. It was actually quite an easy trip and we've settled right back into our Australian life. It only took me three hours in the country to fry the cord to our portable DVD player by plugging it into the wrong type of currency converter. The lesson I've learned from this is never try to deal with electronics on the first day of jet-lag. I had the correct transformer here from our last visit, but my brain just wasn't working properly so I used the wrong one. Oh well, we didn't really need the dvd player for our visit anyway. It was more for me to use to watch my US format Yoga dvd's anyway.

I had a great 6am yoga session today with the birds chirping right outside the window and the light beginning to filter in. Palm trees in sillouette as I began to stretch and circle around and around. I was really enjoying getting my body warm and moving when a largish black spider crawled up my hand. I briefly thought about not harming it in a noble moment of dharmic awareness, but then I let fear take over and squashed the crap out of the poor thing. I felt really evil afterwards and had to laugh at the incongruity of me trying to find my inner peace while at the same time murdering this poor little creature. I kept hearing Bill Bryson's words ringing in my ears that Australia has more poisonous and downright deadly spiders, snakes, and creepy crawlies than any other country on earth. He made it sound as if everything in Australia was out to get you. I went with my gut and attacked the pitiful thing in a pre-emptive strike. It also happened to be in Izzy's bedroom so I guess the mama bear syndrome kicked in too. Anyway, when I come back as a scary bug in my next life you'll all know why.

Hope you are having a great day! More to come later....


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ready for takeoff and zen pastries...

Girding oneself for 15 hours of nonstop flight is a real challenge. I find that passing the time is not as difficult as the discomfort and fatigue accompanying the flight. It takes days to get my body rhythms back in sync and healthy. But oh, is it worth it! Australia and Melbourne in particular makes my whole body smile. I love the people, the animals, the trams, the pastries, the wrong side of the road... I love it all. Did I just mention the pastries? Let me elaborate. There is something called a Neenish Tart that should be in the Guiness Book of Records for most amazing little yum-yum ever made. My favorite version of this tart comes from a bakery on Acland Street in St. Kilda which just happens to be nearby one of my yoga classes. Hmmmmm... full lotus to full belly! Once again my sensory palate takes over and all things come back to food. The hedonistic flow I feel during yoga and meditation is similar to my devotion to this pastry (and let's be honest all food!). It's no mistake that this tart is half black and half white though. The perfect tao treat! Click here to check out a picture and recipe

I better keep packing, but the next time you are looking for a little balance in your life think Neenish and petalsyoga. ;-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Writing for me

This whole world of blogging is so strange. I'm sure I'm only writing for myself here. Who else has the time or interest in my ideas and words? Surely this is just internet sponsored mental diarrhea? Literally an abnormal frequency and fluidity of verbal evacuations. If you are out there reading this please give me a comment or shout out... I promise I'll do something funny to make it worth your while.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Getting ready...

So, we leave for our big trip to Australia this week. So much to do but I'm just in end-of-school languish mode. Just enjoying lazy moments with my family and avoiding responsibility. I really do need to pick up some chewable dramamine though, or I will be very unhappy on the plane ride over!!!! Yuck!

I'm so looking forward to yoga sessions with Simply Yoga's Yolanda Pettinato and Oki-Do Yoga teacher, Lev Dulitsky. Both are teachers focusing on body healing and yoga as a holistic experience.

I also can't wait to see family and friends in Melbourne. David's grandmother is 98 this year and totally amazing! She still lives at home alone and plucks her own garden weeds when no one is watching. Manna is definitely my hero. If I can get enough secrets out of her about life, then I know I'll have something special to pass on to my own little girl.

Okay, I'm pulling out of the dreamtime and back into trip-planning mode... off to the drugstore! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thoughts from the yenta yogi...

I attended a wonderful meditation as movement class today with Simon Menasche. So perfect and dreamlike. I was weaving in and out of clarity throughout the class and realized how far I've come on my journey into meditation. I have small chunks of time now that I am wholly removed from the space I inhabit. I am also exploring walking meditation techniques and find that simply focusing on the physical dynamics of motion is a wonderful way to soothe my mind. How amazing for the original meditation-phobic. Or as my husband calls me... the most zenless yogi on the planet.

I realize that I'm so annoying about all of this too. As if I am the first person in the world to discover these things, I am constantly shoving my new awareness and techniques at any and all innocent bystanders. The checkout lady, teachers at my daughter's school, my father, and very kind friends have all become hapless victims of my new obsession. Of course I realize that I'm just taking baby steps at this point and don't really have a clue what I'm talking about. I haven't even acquired the level of prowess that my dog has at meditation! Seriously, I mean that poodle can focus!

Anyway, these are my meanderings for today. Come back soon if you can stomach more ruminations of the zenless yogi.