Loving My Chatty Matty Coffee


When good friend Fil Derewianko gave me a gift certificate for Planet Bean, I decided to treat myself to Chatty Matty coffee, a delightful blend of lightly roasted and dark roasted beans. This popular blend is only one of the many certified fair trade and organic gourmet coffees available at Guelph’s popular roastery.

Like many Guelphites, I am impressed by Planet Bean’s vision and mission to create the best tasting coffee. Their innovative business model measures success, not only in financial terms, but also in their ability to improve the health of the planet and advance organic production. It is not surprising that they now have three different locations in the city.

While I don’t consider myself to be a heavy coffee drinker, I do enjoy my three cups every morning, well within Health Canada’s recommendation of no more than 400 mg of caffeine each day.

And I love hearing the health experts discuss the many wonderful benefits of this dark brew.

  • In their book, The Happiness Diet, Dr. Drew Ramsey and Tyler Graham state that coffee improves memory and reflexes, reducing the risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and depression.
  • According to Dr. Peter Martin, Psychiatry/Pharmacology Expert at Vanderbilt University of Medicine, coffee consumption reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and mortality rates from heart attacks.
  • Dr. Oz proclaimed coffee to be one of the most beneficial weapons in the war against cancer. Coffee is high in antioxidants and has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.

Healthy Choices Wellness Show


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As I wandered through the lobby and large conference room at the Delta Guelph Hotel, I could feel the positive energy emanating from the holistic practitioners and vendors. I enjoyed chatting with all of them and made several connections which I intend to pursue.

Some of the highlights…

  • Friend and fellow writer Sue Ricketts enthusiastically demonstrated the Nordixx Pole Walker.  An hour’s workout can burn between 600 and 900 calories.
  • Energy therapist Lisa Wilvert offered a short Tibetan Singing Bowl Workshop and Meditation.
  • Dr. Renee Paradis described the organic anti-aging facial that she offers at her clinic.
  • Susan Nash, Owner and Director of Body Innovations  provided an informative seminar: What your high heels are doing to your core? She also described the different classes–Pilates, Yoga, Specialized–offered at Body Innovations.
  • I was so  impressed by the entrepreneurial couple who owns Pure Organic Foods that I bought their Organic White Royal Quinoa Grain.

The Art of Storytelling

Last evening, I enjoyed listening to seasoned storytellers from the Guelph Guild of Storytellers. The ninety minutes flew by as Sya Van Geest, Brian Holstein, Maryann Bailey, and visiting storyteller, Donna McCaw shared original, traditional and personal stories with us. I was impressed by the complexity and simplicity of the stories and took note of the different styles of telling.

Brian likes to start his stories with “Once upon a time” and offers twists on traditional favourites. Last night, the classic Three Little  Pigs became Three Little Wolves with the pig as the bully. He is not a fan of “happily ever after” and often changes the expected endings.

I love watching Sya’s expressive face as she describes the setting and characters in her stories. This seasoned teller likes to borrow stories from African and Aboriginal folklore. Sya also delivered a short, informative PowerPoint session on “Finding Your Story.”

When I listen to Maryann, I know there will be a universal lesson in her stories. Last night, she entertained us with a “devil” story.

Donna shared two short stories: a personal one and a variation of the big bad wolf tale. The retired teacher and author impressed all of us with her poise and soft-spoken delivery.

I now know why the guild has been described as “one of Guelph’s best kept secrets.”

A few details…

The Guelph Guild of Storytellers meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Main Branch of the Guelph Public Library.

Hope to see you there.

Wellness Show

Best Western Conference Centre–Guelph, Ontario–Saturday, April 28, 2012

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Show Planner Lee Pryke’s mission was to bring together the people she met on her journey of making healthy choices and to share that knowledge with the Guelph community. Her positive energy was evident everywhere as I wandered through the lobby, Main Ball Room and Speakers Area. I particularly enjoyed the sessions with Joanne Johnson and Sarah Schlote.

Joanne  is part of the well-known Body Break team (Hal and Joanne Johnson). Joanne discussed the importance of knowledge and information, focusing on the health supplements offered by True Star.

In her session, Sarah shared aspects of her own life journey with us. This articulate and engaging speaker suffered through childhood trauma and bullying which resulted in years where she wore a social mask and avoided stressful situations. She presented three keys for overcoming stress: mindfulness, grounding and containment and boundaries. She ended with a guided meditation.

The Art of Storytelling

For the most part, I enjoy listening to writers read from their novels. The book comes alive as its creator breathes life into each word and punctuation mark. But sometimes, the writer’s storytelling abilities fall short and I’m left to question why his or her speaking voice is so different.

There is a definite art to storytelling.

Recently, I participated in a workshop facilitated by Sya Van Geest of the Guelph Storytellers Guild. She displayed her well-honed communication skills as she interspersed her PowerPoint presentation with folk tales. It is easy to see why she is so well received by all her listeners.

At one point, she turned the tables on us and asked us to tell the stories behind our given names.

A few of her hints…

  • Get out of yourself when you tell a story. Realize that you are only the conduit of the story.
  • Stories are meant for the ear. Do not memorize the story before telling it.
  • You can find your stories in different places. Be alert to what you see, hear and read.
  • Throw your voice.
  • Practice your story by living and feeling it. Have it in your head and go over it many times…before falling asleep, while doing chores, while driving.
  • When telling your story, build on the positive energy of attentive audience members. Ignore the one or two audience members who may be sleeping or not paying attention.
  • Trust your instincts. There is no one way to develop a personal style.
  • One of her suggested resources: New Tales for Old by Gail deVos and Anna Altman

Sundays for Writers

This afternoon, I joined several other members of Guelph Write Now for our monthly meeting at Lucie’s Restaurant in south Guelph. I look forward to meeting with other writers and talking about our respective writing journeys.

Lots of discussion and advice floated around the table as we discussed the pros and cons of social media, ebook covers, our WIPs and Fifty Shades of Grey. Organizer Cindy Carroll provided us with three prompts and we wrote spontaneously. Afterward, we shared out stories and commented on the different interpretations of the prompts.

We also enjoyed the delicious coffee, tea and desserts.

Monday Night Yoga

While driving home one day last fall, I noticed a sign on a large billboard outside St. Matthias Church in south Guelph:

Classical Yoga
Sunday and Monday Nights
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

I showed up one Sunday in early September with my mat and an open mind. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we would be practicing right in the church. The pews are pushed back, the lights are dimmed, and soft music plays in the background. Our instructor, Erik Hay, encourages us to try all the poses and then he suggests modifications. For seven months, I enjoyed the pace of the Sunday night class and felt myself easing into a comfortable yoga bubble.

Two weeks ago, I decided to challenge myself and try the Monday night classes. A faster pace. More balance poses. I was ready to become an advanced beginner in this beautiful church where I can step out of time and leave all my concerns behind.