Documentary Review: RBG

When my daughter Elissa invited me to go see the documentary RBG, about the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I was happy to go. It was an opportunity to spend time with my eldest child, in the fun and unique atmosphere of Bookhouse Cinema. And it was an opportunity to learn more about the woman behind the justice robes and collars, the occasional headline, and the artsy Notorious RBG posters.

Documentary Review RBG

RBG highlights the life and work of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The biographical documentary, directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West, carries a PG rating and has a run time of 1 hour and 38 minutes.

This well done docudrama follows the life of Ruth from her childhood in Brooklyn, New York, through her years as a law student and attorney, when it was a struggle to be taken seriously because of her gender, to the current role she plays, on the Supreme Court and as an unexpected cultural icon.

Documentary Review RBG

Young Ruth was taught by her mother to be a lady, which to her meant, be your own person and be independent. This petite, reserved woman, who avoids small talk but speaks up powerfully when she has something to say, has certainly embraced her mother’s idea of a lady.

The film looks at her accomplishments, which are extraordinary and many, however the focus is on the woman. Using personal interviews with Ruth, interspersed with historical photos, videos, and audios, and candid chats with her children, granddaughter, friends, and colleagues, Cohen and West weave together a moving tribute to a life well lived.

Documentary Review RBG

Ruth married Martin Ginsburg and had her daughter Jane before enrolling in Harvard Law School, one of nine women among 500 classmates. When Martin took a job in New York City, Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School and became the first woman to be on two major law reviews: the Harvard Law Review and Columbia Law Review. In 1959, she earned her Bachelor of Law at Columbia and tied for first in her class.

When she had difficulty finding employment, she entered academia, one of fewer than 20 female law professors in the US at that time. Early in her adult life Ruth became a voice for women and a staunch supporter of equality for women, especially in the workplace. She co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 1972 and, in 1973, she became the ACLU’s general counsel. The Women’s Rights Project and related ACLU projects participated in over three hundred gender discrimination cases by 1974. As the director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, she argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court between 1973 and 1976, winning five.

Documentary Review RBG

She attained a reputation as a skilled oral advocate. Ruth chose her plaintiffs carefully, representing both females and males, to show that gender discrimination was harmful to women and to men. Her work led directly to the end of gender discrimination in many areas of the law.

Ruth was nominated by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Her service terminated on August 9, 1993, due to her elevation to the United States Supreme Court. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was only the second female appointee, after Sandra Day O’Connor.

Documentary Review RBG

One can go to Google to discover more fascinating facts about this feisty 85 year old woman. What I loved most about the documentary was getting a glimpse of Ruth’s compassionate heart and soul.

She and Martin had two children, and enjoyed a long and marvelous marriage, until his death in 2010. They complemented each other perfectly, two strong individuals who respected and appreciated and loved each other.

Ruth’s best friend was Justice Antonin Scalia. Even though they agreed to disagree on interpretations of the law, and had very different viewpoints, they shared a long and happy friendship. How inspiring, to see them attend opera performances together, travel the world as companions, and speak highly of each other. When friends of hers complained about the seating arrangement on an elephant in India (Ruth was seated behind Scalia), she pointed out, with great amusement, that it was a simple matter of weight distribution.

Documentary Review RBG

This woman makes a difference in the world, and in the lives of others, one decision, one dissent, one ruling at a time. She accepts her ascent into pop culture with a casual shrug and a smile. She laughs over Saturday Night Live portrayals of her. She spends time at her beloved opera, without her best buddy, since Antonin passed away in 2016. She receives collars from around the world, to wear over her robes. She is quietly fierce as she seeks justice.

I left the sold out showing of the documentary deeply appreciating RBG. She inspires me to see the world in a bigger way and to meet people who think differently than I do with openness and compassion. And she inspires me to make a difference in my world, in my own unique way, and to help as many people as I can along the way.

Documentary Review RBG

A Message from My Dad

Father’s Day is one of those bittersweet holidays for me, as it is for many others. I enjoyed a brief chat with my stepfather Walter this afternoon. When my sister returns from vacation, we will take him and my mother out to dinner, to celebrate him.

My thoughts have been on my dad the past few days, with the approach of this time of special recognition for fathers. I had even decided already that I’d write a Sunday Short about an item that belonged to my dad, that has meaningful significance to me. And then, my dad changed that slightly, by visiting me and sharing a short message with me. That’s not unusual. Many people had visits with their fathers today.

The thing is, my dad passed away eight years ago.

A Message from My Dad

I love the award that my dad received, almost 20 years ago, in recognition for excellent customer service at the car dealership he worked for. Dad supervised repairs and body work. He was great with cars…and even better with people. I’m sure the award was well deserved.

What brings me joy is that the award is made to resemble a golden Oscar, the award handed out each year in the film industry, for the Best of categories. It makes me smile for two reasons: I adore movies, and the Oscars is a must-see event for me every spring. And…my dad’s middle name is Oscar. Seriously! How appropriate is that?!

Near the end of his life, Dad had his children look through his mementos and select what we wanted to take home. He was, quite literally, handing out memories for us to keep. He was amused that along with other treasures, I wanted this Oscar. It means a great deal to me. I have it displayed in a little vignette that contains the award, a photo of Dad, and a small container that holds a portion of my dad’s ashes.

A Message from My Dad

There it is, the little story I intended to write. Dad added to it though.

He visited me last night, in a dream. It is common for those who have departed to visit their loved ones in dreams. These aren’t typical dreams though. To me they feel more like a visit. There isn’t anything happening. It’s a face to face conversation with one I love, who is now in spirit.

Dad appeared to me, in my house, looking like he was in his mid to late 30s. I remarked about the dark hair on his head, and even touched his neatly trimmed mustache, which was black as well. He looked so young. It made my heart ache.

Dad hugged me. And then he shared these words:

“I am so proud of you, Sissy, for taking care of your health. You are doing well. And the things you are learning, about the connection between the health of your liver and your pancreas…they are true.”

I know. That seems like a strange conversation for a father and his daughter to have. However, it carried great meaning for me. I have turned my health around. And I continue to learn how to improve my wellbeing even more. I just listened to a webinar, presented by my health mentor, Anthony William, on the very thing Dad mentioned…the vital connection between a healthy or unhealthy liver, and a healthy or unhealthy pancreas.

It’s important information for me. My dad died of pancreatic cancer, a cancer that is on the rise. In addition to my father, I’ve lost three friends to this type of cancer and I know of many others who have succumbed to this horrible disease. If taking care of my liver is good for my pancreas as well, then I’m all for that. I’m grateful that Anthony’s new book, Liver Rescue, is due out this fall. I’ve already preordered it.

I’m grateful as well for my dad. It could be argued that my dream was just that, a dream, created by my subconscious. The hug felt real. The man who spoke to me looked like my dad. His words were relevant to what I am learning. I’m going to accept it for what it appeared to be to me…a loving visit from my sweet dad.

And his advice was sound. Just before he vanished, he looked into my eyes and offered these words:

“Take care of your liver.”

I smile when I think about his words…such a Dad thing to say…even while I feel a little catch of emotion in my throat.

I will, Dad, I promise. Thank you for caring. Happy Father’s Day. I love you.

A Message from My Dad

Touchstones: 25 Things I Love

I completed an assignment in Julia Cameron’s book, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, that suggested writing down 25 things that I love. She calls these touchstones, things that are personal to me. Touchstones are to remind me of my identity and connect me with joy.

I began the task more than a week ago, and created the second part of the assignment first…I made mud babies. (You can read that post HERE) I’ve slowly added to my list, and then divided it into categories, grouping the things I love around the five senses. Surprisingly, this task was more difficult than I thought it would be. It required much thought.

Touchstones: 25 Things I Love

As a reminder, a touchstone, long ago, was a literal stone, a dark one such as basalt or jasper, used to test the quality of gold or silver. Later the word referred to a reference point from which to evaluate the quality or excellence of something.

A touchstone can be a physical item, such as a feather or a rock, or a symbol, such as a butterfly representing a dream or a goal, or it can be something created, such as a drawing or a photograph, used to represent something significant.

I like the creative idea of listing things I love, and then creating representatives of those touchstones.

Here is my list, divided by senses:

25+ Things I Love

Taste – watermelon (connects me to gardening and my grandfather Pop), potato soup (something my mom made often and I’ve loved since childhood), blueberries (one of my dad’s favorite fruits for pie), hot herbal or Scottish tea (connects me to the grounding practice of afternoon tea), and Cara Cara oranges (one of my favorite fruits and representative of my improved health).

Touchstones: 25 Things I Love

Touch – flannel sheets (oh so cozy and snuggly in winter), garden dirt (love getting my hands into the warm earth), holding hands (connection with another), soft blanket (coziness seems to be extremely important to me), feathers (they are soft, cleverly made and represent writing), summer evenings as the heat leaves (it’s a magical, mysterious time).

Touchstones: 25 Things I Love

Smell – vanilla (my favorite personal scent), cinnamon (reminds me of the holidays), herbs (whether growing in the garden or dried, the fragrance of herbs represent Life to me), curry (one of my favorite cooking scents), just bathed babies (does anything smell sweeter? The scent of a just bathed baby, snuggled in my arms, evokes a strong maternal response).

Touchstones: 25 Things I Love

Sound – children’s laughter (one of the most joyful sounds on earth), crackling fire (cozy), gurgling water or sound of ocean waves (water sounds soothe and ground me), movie soundtracks (my favorite style of music, they reconnect me with the films), thunderstorms/rain (energizing), instrumental music (played by a variety of musical instruments, it reminds me of the bigness of life and that everyone has a part to play), summer frogs & cicadas (a favorite sound from childhood, it represents freedom).

Touchstones: 25 Things I Love

Sight – movies (one of my major touchstones, for so many reasons), gardens (represent beauty, growth and the earth), moon/stars (I’m drawn to both and the vastness of the universe), firelight/candlelight (cozy, enchanting and mesmerizing), water (I can stare into it all day and reflect), my family (connection, unconditional love, legacy), my passport (represents travel), nature (one of my favorite places to be).

Touchstones: 25 Things I Love

This exercise brought up many memories, as I mentally sorted through things that I love and examined the reasons why. Touchstones have been a crucial part of my life I’ve realized, marking what’s important to me. Turning to any of the touchstones I’ve listed immediately centers me and brings me joy.

Over the next few months, I intend to review this list and stay receptive to ways I can creatively form a symbol for the touchstone. Some items, like my soft blanket that I’m cozily wrapped up in now against the cool of the air conditioning, already exist in material form. Others, however, like garden dirt, can be represented, which is why my marvelous mud babies are now at home in my creative studio.

I’m excited to see where this journey takes me as I stay open to inspiration.

Touchstones: 25 Things I Love

White Clover Iced Tea

Today’s simple post is a follow-up to yesterday’s story about foraging in my own backyard. I identified 18 edible plants in my yard, available now or that will reappear next spring. Today I was eager to pick something from the yard to eat or brew into a tea. White clover blossoms dotted the lawn. I decided to pick the flowers and brew a tea.

White Clover Iced Tea

White clover is a very common North American plant, found most often in yards and along roads. The plant originated from Europe and Central Asia and was introduced here as a yard crop. The flowers are white with a pinkish tint and slightly sweet aroma, making them a favorite of bees.

Clover contains protein, minerals and vitamins A, B and C.

Medicinally, white clover has many uses. It can be made into an eyewash, into a tonic for treating fevers, coughs and colds, and it makes a great expectorant. A tincture of the clover leaves is used to treat gout. A tea made from the flowers has analgesic properties, making it helpful for arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism. White clover is also considered a good tonic for the blood and cleansing for all the systems of the body.

White Clover Iced Tea

As a culinary treat, the entire plant is edible although the flowers are used most frequently. The shamrock shaped leaves can be added to salads and soups. The are most flavorful when picked before the plant blooms.

The freshly plucked white blossoms can be added to salads or dried and ground up to make a flour. The flowers, fresh or dried, can be used to make tea. The tiny seeds can be ground up as well, making a flour.

I gathered a handful of white clover blossoms, dropped them into a 16 ounce mason jar, and filled the jar with boiling water. I covered the jar and let the tea steep for 15 minutes.

White Clover Iced Tea

The finished tea was a delicate green color. I strained the tea, because bugs are always a possibility with foraged food, and returned the tea to the mason jar. It was hot outside today, with the heat lingering well into the evening. I opted for iced white clover tea.

I let the tea chill while I prepared dinner. By the time my veggie bowl was ready, my tea was cooled down. I added ice and enjoyed sipping on my foraged tea as I ate dinner. The taste was light, slightly sweet and refreshing. I like teas unsweetened, however raw organic honey could be added.

Creating tea from the clover in my backyard was fun for me. Trying anything new has become a creative form of play…discovery play because I learn things I did not know before, about the world and about myself.

White Clover Iced Tea

Foraging in My Backyard

With my awareness turned toward the outdoors this month, three topics of interest came up for me, that I am curious about. All involve being in nature or at least, outside. I love following my curiosity, to see where it leads me.

Today, I learned about foraging.

Foraging in My Backyard

Foraging is defined as “searching for food or provisions”. Although we can search for food at the grocery store, foraging is the practice of gathering edible plants, flowers, leaves, roots, seeds and nuts in the wild. In this case, the wild may mean right outside your back door. Many of the plants that are called weeds can actually be served up for a meal.

I’ve gathered dandelion leaves and flowers from my yard and used them in salads and teas. I wondered what else was growing in the garden and yard that I could eat. I brought home two books from the library to serve as my guides.

Foraging in My Backyard Dandelion leaves are great added to salads or steamed with veggies.

I learned a few basics about foraging.

Know the plants. Identification is very important. Eating an unidentified or misidentified plant or the wrong part of a plant can cause serious and negative reactions. Which is why I picked up the books. The internet has photos and descriptions of edible plants as well. Learning to identify the correct plants is crucial.

Watch for soil contamination. Know the land and how it has been impacted, environmentally. Since I am foraging in the city, for now, my own backyard is the only area I completely trust. My yard was remediated after the 2011 tornado. I know my soil is free from lead, pollutants and debris. I would not forage on vacant lots in my neighborhood because the soil is contaminated. Be aware of the impact of pollutants, run offs, streams that are polluted, herbicides and pesticides on the land. A field is not a safe foraging place, unless the history of the land is known.

Introduce new foods in small amounts. It’s always a good idea to try something new in small amounts, to see how the body reacts.

For this first foraging adventure, I simply walked around my yard and garden, looking at and seeking to identify plants and weeds. I located 18 edible plants, although some of those are herbs I’ve intentionally planted.

Foraging in My Backyard

Those edible plants include bee balm, pictured above, lemon balm, catnip, honeysuckle, mint and surprisingly, the spring flowers from my redbud tree and lilac bush can also be eaten.

I also identified dock, nettle, plantain, violets, white clover, wild lettuce and tangy wood sorrel. I used to chew on that plant as a child. It has a sour citrusy flavor.

Foraging in My Backyard The leaves and flowers of the wild violet are edible.

Foraging in My Backyard The leaves of the plantain are edible, as are the brown seeds when they appear.

Using the books, I was able to identify four other plants that are edible, that appear in my yard in early spring only. I pull up handfuls of chickweed every spring and toss them in my weed bucket. I didn’t know this bright green plant makes a great addition to salads, smoothies or pesto.

Other edibles that show up in my yard in the spring. The orange day lilies come in later. I’ve tried to get rid of them, without success. Perhaps I’ll just eat them!

I chewed on wood sorrel as I walked thoughtfully around the yard, looking at plants. I’ve wondered about the white clover in the yard. Now I know it makes a great tea, just like red clover.

I think changing my diet to plant based has created this interest in wild foods. Food truly has become my medicine, and I have a deep appreciation for the healing benefits found in plants, herbs and flowers. I like the idea of supplementing my diet with these wild cousins of foods I purchase at the market. They are growing in the earth. As I pick them and use them in my teas and meals, the powerful nutrients will go straight into my cells, nourishing me.

I have more to learn. I want to be very confident about what I am picking and eating. I’m excited, however, to forage and include my finds in my meals. Greg inspected his veggie bowl that I prepared for dinner, and recognized everything. He wondered aloud if he would know what he was eating tomorrow night!

Foraging in My Backyard

The Health Benefits of Hugging

I come from a family of huggers. When we gather together, we hug. When we get reacquainted with old friends, we hug. When we meet new people, we hug. Hugging is what we do.

I have carried that practice forward into my own family. My kids grew up being hugged and I still embrace them as adults. And my grandchildren would be shocked if I failed to give each one an affectionate squeeze every time I see them.

I was excited, therefore, to come across info today that suggests that hugging actually promotes health and wellbeing. I spent time doing research of my own, because I had a question that I sought an answer for. Here’s what I found out.

The Health Benefits of Hugging

The act of embracing a loved one, a friend or a pet has these important physical and mental benefits.

1. Hugging produces oxytocin. This feel good hormone helps us to relax, feel safe and experience contentment, while lowering anxiety. Oxytocin slows heart rate and reduces cortisol. This “fight or flight” hormone contributes to stress, heart diseases and high blood pressure.

2. Hugging slows us down, creates connection, and fosters appreciation. Embracing another boosts self esteem for both participants.

3. Hugging helps to prevent disease. Studies have shown that close physical contact with another boosts the immune system, reduces pain and inflammation, decreases autoimmune disorder symptoms and lowers glucose levels in people with diabetes. The gentle pressure on the sternum and accompanying emotional charge opens the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland which regulates and balances the body’s white blood cell count.

The Health Benefits of Hugging

The Health Benefits of Hugging

4. Hugging stimulates the production of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. Dopamine is responsible for that feel-good feeling and influences motivation. Low dopamine levels contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Serotonin and endorphins create a sensation of pleasure and negate pain. They lift mood, while lowering depression and sadness, reduce the risks for heart disease, stabilize weight and prolong life.

5. Hugging calms the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system helps us to “rest and digest ” as opposed to the “fight or flight” response of the sympathetic nervous system, which, when overactive, causes stress related illnesses, weight gain, insomnia and chronic fatigue.

6. And hugging is a nonverbal form of communication that promotes love, acceptance, appreciation, care and affection. Studies have shown that people who are hugged are more likely to pay forward love, acceptance and care to others.

The Health Benefits of Hugging

The Health Benefits of Hugging

The positive effects of hugs do not last long, so it is vital to give and receive hugs throughout the day to create wellbeing. Research shows that 12 hugs a day are optimal for the greatest health benefits, and each hug should last 20 seconds or more, which is considerably longer than the average hug time of 3 seconds.

Hugging on pets can be just as beneficial as embracing humans, as is cuddling babies who aren’t able yet to hug back. Even hugging inanimate objects such as stuffed animals, pillows or blankets release those feel-good hormones.

My question was this. Are there health benefits if I hug myself?

This may seem like a strange question, however, I often spend time alone. When I’m in solitary mode, can I benefit from hugging on myself? The answer, I found, is yes!

Crossing my arms over my chest, and placing my right hand on my left shoulder, and my left hand on my right shoulder, creates that gentle pressure on the sternum, opens the Solar Plexus Chakra, and signals the release of all the health boosting, emotion lifting hormones. If there’s no one else around to hug, and I need one, I can embrace myself and contribute to my own wellbeing.

Hugs are powerful. Hugs are free. Hugs improve our health. Have you given and received your hugs today?

The Health Benefits of Hugging

Superman Day

I saw a brief post earlier today, announcing that today is Superman Day, in recognition of the man from the planet Krypton. I smiled. I have fond childhood memories of this particular superhero, however I had no intention of writing about the Man of Steel. Guess what? I’ve thought about Superman most of the day.

Superman Day

Superman Day was created by DC Entertainment on June 12, 2013, in honor of one of the world’s most famous superheroes and two days ahead of the release of the film “Man of Steel”. Henry Cavill put on the red cape in that DC Universe reboot.

Superman was originally created in 1933, by writer Joe Shuster and artist Jerry Siegel, with a featured role in Action Comics #1. With his blue suit, red cape and stylized S on his chest, Superman soon became one of the most recognized figures in the world. He was awarded his own line of comics in 1939.

Superman Day

For the next 79 years, Superman would continually save the world in comics, movies, and television shows. George Reeves portrayed the hero on television from 1951 to 1958. Christopher Reeve brought the Man of Steel onto the big screen in three films, from 1978 to 1983. Dean Cain played the dual roles of Clark Kent and Superman in the New Adventures of Superman, airing on tv in the 90s, while Tom Welling played a young Clark Kent for ten years in the series Smallville. Brandon Routh played Superman in one film in 2006, before Henry Cavill stepped solidly into the role in 2013. He continues as Superman, most recently starring in the first Justice League movie.

Superman Day

Although the series ended the year I was born, I watched George Reeves as Superman, in reruns, throughout my childhood. However, it was through comic books that I really got to know the character. I’d pick up a new comic on Saturdays, for a dime or 12 cents, climb a tree or seek out one of my hiding places, and read about the adventures of Superman, Lois Lane, Batman and Robin. By my teen years I had switched to Archie comics, but as a kid, hands down my favorite stories featured the caped man from Krypton.

That’s what I’ve thought about today. Why was I so drawn to Superman? What was it about him that captured my interest?

I believe my fearfulness as a child caused me to gravitate toward larger than life heroes. But it was more than that. Superman had two identities…human looking Clark Kent, and Kal-El, who came from another planet, sent to earth by his parents before Krypton was destroyed. Clark was raised by human parents in a small farming community. But he knew he wasn’t human. He knew he was other. His life was divided between pretending to be someone he wasn’t and using his gifts and abilities to save the world.

Superman Day

Perhaps as a child I both identified with Superman’s duality and felt sympathy that he had to hide so much of who he was. I hid who I really was too. I envied Superman his abilities to fly, exhibit incredible strength and use x-ray vision. Me…I struggled with living in dual worlds. The veil between this world and the spirit world was extremely thin for me. I didn’t want to see what I could see or hear what I could hear. I wished I could leap over buildings and fly instead!

I learned important lessons from the Man of Steel. Superman taught me that no one is who they appear to be, and that good wins over evil and that people can be fooled by a disguise as simple as a pair of glasses. It bugged me that no one seemed to see that Clark was Superman. As an adult, I realize that people see what they want to see.

Superman embodies the best in humanity, although he is not human. He displays strength tempered by compassion. He offers to others without expecting anything in return. He faces adversity and emerges stronger. And in many ways, in spite of Lois Lane, he lives as a solitary man. Those are all traits I appreciate about Kal-El.

The red S on the blue uniform doesn’t stand for Superman. It is a symbol, a coat of arms for the house of El. He says, “It’s not an S. On my world it means hope.” Hope. Turn it upside down and it represents Resurrection. I like that about Superman most of all. I’m glad there’s a day to celebrate this hero.

Superman Day

Right as Rain

I very rarely have to water my flower and herb gardens. The containers get watered daily and the veggie garden once or twice a week. However we typically get sufficient rain during the spring and early summer months, making additional watering of the gardens unnecessary.

Not so this year! We’ve gone from a cold early spring to a hot and dry late spring. It’s mid June, and yet I’ve already had to water the entire garden three times. Although the dryness is surprising, I’m not really complaining. I’ve enjoyed using a couple of vintage water sprinklers for the first time.

Right as Rain

I brought these two unique old sprinklers home, after Greg’s dad Bob Moore passed away three years ago. We found them in the garage. I don’t remember Dad Moore using the sprinklers, however, he used to have a garden 30 years ago, raising gorgeous tomato plants and rows of green beans. He surely used the sprinklers then.

After I brought the sprinklers home, I kept them with the double intention of displaying them in the garden and using them for the purpose they were made for…watering plants. This season, I’ve done both! The metal sprinklers are on display on the potting table that Greg built for me. And this past week, I’ve tried out both sprinklers.

Right as Rain

The Square Sav-Water Sprinkler was manufactured in the 1930s. The company is no longer in existence. The square base creates stability and makes it easy to move the sprinkler around the garden. The sprinkler head is round and contains many tiny holes. I admit to a sense of child like glee as I attached the garden hose to this sprinkler last week and turned on the water. After a few sputters, as the force of water cleared years of dust from the openings, beautiful life giving water arced into the air and showered down on my thirsty plants. I laughed with delight.

Right as Rain

Right as Rain

The spray covered a surprisingly large area. I was very pleased with this “patent pending” sprinkler.

This evening I tried out the HECO Roselawn Sprinkler. Manufactured in the 1930s as well, this sprinkler came from the Heckethorn Manufacturing Company, located in Littleton, Colorado. The company does not exist there today, although it produced a variety of metal products until the 1950s.

This round sprinkler makes me laugh. It reminds me of a face, or a gas mask. I thought, as I studied the design, that it might put out two streams of water, making it less effective than the square sav-water sprinkler. It worked great, delivering a fine spray of water to the plants in a circular pattern. I was impressed with this sprinkler as well.

Right as Rain

Right as Rain

When I discovered that the sprinklers were made in the 1930s, I asked Greg if they originally belonged to his grandfather, rather than his father. Greg confirmed that.

Grandpa Bill was a gardener later in life. However, as a young man, with a growing family, he worked as a golf course superintendent in Wichita, Kansas, hired by the Wichita Board of Commissioners. He oversaw several of the golf courses in the area, responsible for the greens, grounds and landscaping, designing greens, and monitoring the health and environment of the golf courses. He held this position from the late 1920s to the early 1940s, precisely when those sprinklers were being manufactured.

I’m speculating here, since sadly I can’t ask Bill or Bob, but it is easy to imagine that Grandpa Bill purchased those sprinklers for his personal use, after using them successfully in his work. Or he purchased them from the golf course or they were given to him when new sprinklers were bought to replace them. Greg told me that after the Moores moved to Missouri, Grandpa Bill raised zoysia grass that ended up on several church and funeral home lawns in the county. And, he always had a huge garden. Those sprinklers were in use for many years, before being given to Greg’s dad after Grandpa Bill moved into an assisted living facility.

And now…these vintage sprinklers that are 75+ years old are watering my gardens. I love that they have history and a story. I love that Grandpa Bill used them and Dad Moore used them and now I do. They will pass on to one of my kids someday, whoever inherited a green thumb or at least shows an interest in gardening and growing things.

Give me these unique vintage metal sprinklers any day, over a bright green plastic sprinkler that might last a season or two. These sprinklers will still be watering gardens 75 years from now.

Right as Rain

Conversations with Myself

Today’s post was inspired by a journaling meme that asked three questions. These questions created an opportunity for reflection and also provided a great follow up for last Sunday’s Tips for Living a Full Life post. Unbeknownst to me, they would also mesh perfectly with the chapter I am working through in the It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again Workbook. I love such synchronous collisions.

Conversations with Myself

Journaling is a form of conversing with myself. Writing down my thoughts seems to open access to my higher self, or to my inner child, or to some part of me that has shut herself away. It is very healing for me, as well as revealing. Many of my ahas in life appear as thoughts become words, flowing onto a page.

So I welcomed the questions presented in this meme:

Conversations with Myself

I appreciate that all three questions ask me what I can do…to feel loved, to support myself, to nurture my body…rather than asking what I need from someone else. The moment I look to another for something, expectations are created. And when expectations aren’t met, disappointment arrives. I don’t like putting expectations on another or living with disappointment or regret.

I made a list of ways that I can show love to myself. I’ll share a couple.

What do I need to give myself to feel loved?

1. Connection – This is at the top of my list. To lose connection with myself, with my heart, with my soul, with my body, creates a-lone-ness, otherwise felt as loneliness. Being present with myself, centered in myself, and feeling my feelings creates awareness. I can’t feel alone when I am so connected.

2. Recognition – I need to acknowledge myself, my journey and what I am doing, in a positive and sincere way. I used to reward myself, for accomplishments or for sticking with a tough task, with food, which was unhealthy on so many levels. Now doing things that bring me joy is my way of recognizing who I am and my worth.

Conversations with Myself Spending time, outside, on a quilt, under my favorite tree.

How can I best support myself?

I can support myself, and who I am, with compassionate self-care, self acceptance, openness, curiosity about my journey, and the willingness to continue seeking, learning and growing. When I am aware of myself, and tuned in physically, emotional, spiritually, mentally and creatively I know when a part of me needs extra care and support.

What steps can I take to nurture my body?

My focus has been here the last two years, with astonishing results. Here’s the list I jotted down.

1. Nourish – eat healthy, whole foods. For me this means fruits, veggies, legumes, brown rice, herbs, seeds and nuts. I know my body thrives on such a lifestyle and that my body can heal itself.

2. Eliminate – limit toxins that go into my body and go on my body, and that are in my environment. For me this means no GMO produce, chemicals, pesticides, dyes, herbicides or other poisons. I’ve been switching over to different cleaning products, laundry supplies and toiletries such as chemical and dye free shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. What goes on my skin, goes into my body. I want to create optimal health.

3. Move – walk, garden, stretch, play and do yoga.

4. Be still – journal, meditate, read, go within, keep developing my intuition.

5. Clear – energy, old emotions, old habits and patterns, limiting beliefs, past experiences, anything that weighs my spirit down.

Conversations with Myself

These were good conversations to have with myself, and they are ongoing. I appreciate what I am discovering about myself, and what I am uncovering. I love deep conversations and connecting at a heart level…with another, and most especially, with myself.

Conversations with Myself

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

It’s time to keep the hygge going during the warm and free summer months. Hygge, pronounced hue•gah, is a Scandinavian custom that promotes a lifestyle focused on coziness, comfort and simple pleasures. Often associated with winter time, hygge can actually be practiced throughout the year.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

Here are 15 ideas to create that hygge coziness in summer.

1. Stargaze – find a quiet place free from city lights and look up. Lie on a quilt on the ground, stretch out in a lounge chair or sit in a pickup truck bed. Watch for shooting stars and make a wish.

2. Go camping – summer time is all about enjoying the outdoors. Make your camp comfy. Bring lightweight throws and quilts from home. Throw a rug down outside the tent, or inside if the tent is roomy enough. Have fun being outside while enjoying some comforts of home.

3. Grow a garden – a flower garden, an herb garden or a veggie garden all provide beauty and/or food and allow a connection with the earth and growing plants. Get your hands dirty.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

4. Watch a sunrise and a sunset – bookend the day with the promise of a new day and the satisfaction of a day well spent.

5. Play in the water – cool off at the beach, in a pool, or with a garden hose and sprinkler. Have on hand piles of thick fluffy towels, wide brimmed hats and lightweight cotton cover ups.

6. Drink flavored ice teas – swap out hot teas for cold iced tea. Try new flavors of herbal teas. My current favorite is a blend of rose hips tea and orange juice, chilled before drinking.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

7. Watch fireworks – celebrate the 4th of July with your own mini fireworks display or attend a big sponsored event.

8. Travel – take a day trip, a road trip or a two week vacation. Go somewhere new. Explore different cultures and cities and meet new people. Create a scrapbook capturing your trip.

9. Build a fire in a backyard fire pit and light candles throughout the yard and garden – candlelight and firelight are important aspects of hygging. Create a cozy evening in your own backyard with a fire and candles. Use safe containers for candles and monitor the fire!

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

10. Watch a movie or attend a concert outdoors – check your local news sources for movies in the park or outdoor concerts. If you are fortunate enough to have a drive in theater nearby, take family and friends to watch a movie on the big screen.

11. Experience a thunderstorm while sipping tea – appreciate nature’s cleansing through thunderstorms. From a safe place, watch the lightning, listen to the rumble of thunder, catch the scent of rain. Chamomile tea is a good choice for a calming tea if thunderstorms make you nervous.

12. Walk barefoot in the grass – and benefit from receiving the earth’s energy as it enters through the soles of the feet.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

13. Create an outdoor room – turn your porch, your patio or deck into an outdoor room. Add comfy seating, waterproof rugs, cushions and pillows, tables to hold drinks and stacks of books and include twinkling lights or candles. Eat outside, read, daydream, entertain.

14. Make your own ice cream – use an ice cream maker and create your own flavors. For a healthy easy ice cream treat, blend 3 frozen bananas, cut into chunks, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Top with fresh fruit.

15. Slow down – observe life. Listen. Rest. Breathe. Take naps, in a hammock or on a pile of pillows. Eat lightly. Savor fresh fruits and veggies. Take your time.

Hygge is such a beautiful way to engage in life and care for the self and the soul. Connect with others. But most importantly, connect deeply with yourself.

Happy hygging!

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer