coffee or tea?


I’m usually a hot tea kind of girl, but once in a while I’ll go through a latte’ phase.  I like simple tools no matter which I choose. My little brown teapot has brewed many many cups of tea. My favorite is Ginseng Peppermint (although the shop where I purchase it won’t be carrying it any longer… ) followed closely by green tea with mint. Now that my stash has to last indefinitely, I am drinking green tea every morning and saving the GP for a special Sunday treat.

Warning!!  Rant coming!!  We have reached that time of year where I can’t get out in public spaces. The poinsettias are already out in the grocery stores and mall.  I’ve been working on compiling a master grocery list for Kelly and Hannah so that I can just copy and paste the things we need etc week. I really do NOT like how early this stuff starts.  I remember when I could go grocery shopping until early December, then until Thanksgiving, and now I cat even spend my birthday money in a real store.


What I’m reading:  Harry Potter 3 in German, The Celtic Way of Prayer, Becoming

What I’m listening to: Ghost Hawk

What I’m watching:  Doctor Who, The Good Place

What I’m learning in Welsh:

  • bwyta: lemon, orenau, llsiau, menyn
  • smwddio
  • gweithio: swyddfa, garej, siop, siopwr, sinema, hedduas, trydanur, gwraig ty, drama, theatr
  • mewn
  • rhifo
  • nofio
  • yma
  • gwneud
  • cerdded

What I’m thinking about:  

Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve


About 3 months ago, I decided to switch back to the Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve shampoo bar.  My decision was based on several factors: ease of use, ease of travel, lack of plastic, organic, and a small company I can be proud to support.

Shampoo Bar: I use the Ayurveda Herb bar and have noticed a bit more body in my greying hair.  I use this by creating lather in my hands and then running my fingers through my hair and massaging my scalp. I use the leftover lather to get the “stinky bits”. Once a week (on Sunday morning),  I run the bar over my head, create a big-time lather, and really scrub my head. I follow that with an apple cider vinegar rinse (1 TB ACV to 1 cup warm water, pour over your head, let sit 1-2 minutes, then rinse)

Healing Herb Lip Balm: This is the best lip balm I’ve used yet. Soft, creamy, and I don’t have to constantly reapply. I always buy two — one for my purse and one for my bathroom. The little glass jar can be used for many other things when it is empty. My old jar is acting as a lotion tub in my purse, It holds enough for several outings, but weighs next to nothing.

Citrus Face Scrub:  I bought an ounce of this to try because I was certain I would not like it. But, it turns out I really do.  I liked it enough to order a 5 oz jar as soon as my 1 oz jar was empty. There is enough sugar to give you a scrub but not so much that you feel like your face is peeling off. The citrus scent is refreshing, but not overwhelming.  I love that it comes in a glass jar! Again, I can think of uses for the jar when the scrub is empty.  I attached a small wooden spoon with a ponytail holder to my jar so I never put my fingers in there. I refilled and put my clean 1 oz jar in my 3-1-1 kit.

Body Lotion: Again, glass jar, wooden spoon attached with a ponytail holder! One small scoop melted between my hands will nourish the most stubborn of my dry spots. I use this right after a shower and it soaks right in without leaving a greasy mess behind. Another half scoop before bed on my shins and feet and I am ready for bed. I chose unscented, but I may order a few sample sizes of ones that are scented as gifts (and take a sniff to see if I like them. Plus, I’d like two more 1 oz jars in my 3-1-1 kit.)

Just so you know, in the past month I have used a bit less than half a shampoo bar, 2 oz of face scrub, and 2 oz of body lotion, and just enough lip balm to make a nice dip in the center of the jar.



What I’m reading:  Harry Potter 3 in German, The Celtic Way of Prayer,

What I’m listening to: The Grey King

What I’m watching:  Doctor Who, The Good Place

What I’m learning in Welsh:

  • mwynhau
  • chwaith
  • teledu
  • Dillad — siwt, crystal, trowsus, esgidiau, menig, siwmper, het, ffrog, cot, blows, sagest, tei
  • newydd
  • Dw i’n gwisgo ccrys newydd.

What I’m thinking about:  Freedom of the Press, finalizing cold weather preps around the house, and rabbits.

bike & gear


Since I no longer drive, I am dependent on others for rides to functions and errand day. Kelly, my husband, gave my bike a tune up and new tires. I ride a Schwinn GTX3. Ive had this bike almost three years now and it remains a comfortable, easy ride.

I wear a bike shirt over a tank top or a long underwear shirt and either yoga shorts or yoga pants. So far, it has kept me warm and dry. I do need to find a rain jacket and possibly a warmer bike shirt.

The trunk on the back of the bike will hold quite a bit. Last ride I had a dozen eggs, 2 tubes of chips, a bag of spinach, and several Clif bars. It would have held a bag of apples and another dozen eggs too.


What I’m reading:  The Forest Church, Cherringham Cozy Mysteries No. 10-12, Harry Potter 3 in German, more climate change articles and food production

What I’m listening to: Merlin (S Lawhead)

What I’m watching:  News, Doctor Who, The Good Place

What I’m learning:  Welsh!

  • Bore da.
  • Prynhawn da.
  • Nos da.
  • Croeso.
  • Hwyl
  • Draig dw i.

What I’m still thinking about:  how to mitigate climate change and growing older in my own garden and in our woods.

low impact exercise

Exercise and movement are so important to our being fit and healthy. It takes surprisingly little to get your workouts in at home.


I’m currently using–

For cardio three days a week:  my trainers, a jump rope, and my bike.  I use the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) variety.  I take a daily walk as soon as the sun is up to get my daily dose of sunshine. I consider the walk an activity not an exercise.

For strength training three days a week: 2 x 5 pound weights, 2 x 8 pound weights, 1 x 12 pound weight, and a set of fitness bands.  I do an upper body push (counter push-up &  military press), an upper body pull (row, standing pull-up), a lower body pull (dead lift, hip-hinges), a lower body push (squat), balance (just standing around on one foot), and core (planks, dead bugs & Russian twists)

For flexibility training every day: a yoga mat, a yoga strap, a yoga block, and a bolster. I do a slow, steady, home practice that mirrors an old Jason Crandell video where you do 4 poses for each area you are focusing on . . . so using Sun Salutations you work in 4 shoulder, 4 hips, 4 abs, 4 leg, then a couple of balance moves, legs-up-the-wall series and finally savasana.

For mindfulness every day: BCP (with Laud and Vespers daily) and Headspace meditation app.


It seems like such a small thing, I mean, it is just a toothbrush. I’ve been brushing my teeth for about 52 years now and I never really gave my brush that much thought. The problem is . . . I should have.

Enter the MableBrush


  • No waste packaging
  • Bamboo handle (compostable)
  • BPA free bristles
  • Stands up
  • Cute non-toxic paint on bottom so you know it is your brush and not your partner’s.
  • It is very comfortable to hold, even for my hands — nice wide base to grip.
  • The company even has a way to get your brush delivered automatically, which will save you Amazon’s packaging it in a plastic bubble filled envelope and take one more thing of your to-do list.

ancient wisdom


There are times in my life when all the facts seem to coalesce into a greater truth. Normally I find that this truth is also an ancient truth, an ancient wisdom, and that I am never the first person to encounter it.  That said, it is very important to me that I come to this wisdom for myself. Otherwise it always is just facts & knowledge but never truly my own wisdom.

I recently had that experience with wellness. I have written about why I chose FWTFL. It was the best decision I have ever made health wise. It is an amazing set of “what’s” and “how’s”. It has given me the tools to get back to a healthy state.  But I am a “why” gal.  I like to know, no — I need to know, why.  So I read a book called “The Four Pillar Plan” (UK title) / “How to Make Disease Disappear” (US title) by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. It reinforced the “what” and “how” of FWTFL and went deeper into the “whys”.  Then I began listening to his podcast.  A particular episode really struck me as something that I wanted to know more about, something that was the big “WHY” behind all the little “whys.”

The big WHY is the circadian rhythm.

After listening to the episode(s) on circadian rhythm, I purchased the kindle version of Dr Satchin Panda’s book “The Circadian Code” then I read every article he referenced, then followed a rabbit trail of links and articles. It has been very enlightening. Very interesting. Very intriguing.

What makes us think we can just unroll thousands (and thousands) of years of living, being, and observation? This is the question I have to ask myself often. This is the crux of my endeavors going forward. It all came together for me when I sat down with my Book of Common Prayer to do Laud one morning and Vespers later that day.

Laud — Let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring to your holy hill and to your dwelling . . .

The very definition of Laud is praise, public praise so it is very fitting that my first intentional (conscious) thought is that of praising God. I notice that laud (praise) is tied to and acknowledges the rising sun. That first morning light that is filled with blue light, that light that alerts our body to awaken and prepare for the day  . . . and so I complete the prescribed prayers while lacing up my trainers, downing a glass of water, and heading out to walk in the new day, with the rising sun, and continue to focus my thoughts on God.

By the time my walk is done, I’m warm, hungry, and feeling quite alert and ready to tackle the day. I spend a few extra minutes outside watching Jasper caper about and weeding the gardens. This gives me nearly an hour out in the sun, moving my body, wakening my mind, and enjoying the peace and quiet.

The rest of my day falls into place with meals, plenty of water, a shower, light housekeeping, reading, writing, and learning.  By 3 pm, I am brain-tired and ready for a change. Some time doing yoga or resistance training helps re-focus my day from mental to physical — now is when I do any heavy cleaning or other physically intensive housekeeping chores, along with a quick dip in the pool to cool off, and my last meal occurs about 5 pm.

At 6:00 I sit down with my prayer book again and I find these words . . .

Vespers —

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are workday at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Vesper means evening (and Venus, as in the evening star) and I am reminded again to praise and I see again that it is tied to the changing light pattern. Now the sun is sinking, the day is aglow with reds, oranges, and purplish-gray. This is no time for glaring white/blue lights, screens, and exciting activities. This is a time to be be quieted, to prepare my body for rest and healing. This is a time for fireside (or candle-side) story telling, family chats, books, and audiobooks.  Even in the summer, when here in IN it can be light at 9 pm, it is easy to make this a quiet time — and sometimes another dip in the pool is needed to help cool down our bodies and make it easier to fall asleep.

There is so much more I’ve learned, and so much more I’ve remembered, but this is the gist of circadian rhythm and these are the keys to wellness:  Sleep, Eat, Move, and Relax.

what’s growing? may 2018

What’s growing in our gardens — May & June 2018

Kitchen Garden

  • peas (edible pod)
  • okra
  • lettuce (6 rows)
  • spinach (6 rows)
  • kale
  • chard
  • carrot (2 rows)
  • zucchini
  • cucumber
  • radish (globe)
  • beet
  • radish (French breakfast)
  • asparagus
  • hot peppers
  • bell peppers
  • tomatoes (cherry)
  • basil
  • parsely
  • cilantro
  • oregano
  • yellow squash
  • green bush beans
  • rows of blooming flowers interspersed in each bed to attract pollinators

In Seed Flats

  • lavender
  • basil
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • tomato

Fruit Garden

  • strawberries
  • grapes (4)
  • blackberries (20)
  • blueberries (3)
  • peach tree (2)
  • cherry tree (2)
  • plum tree (1)
  • apple tree (1)

Pollinator Garden (New)

  • new round flower/pollinator garden with wildflower mix (includes pollinator mix, hummingbird mix, butterfly mix, shade mix) **to help settle the soil while I fill in with perennials, bulbs, etc.** Will free up half a bed if we can remove these from the kitchen garden
  • primrose (4)

Compost Bed:

  • about 2 feet deep on 8 June
  • layers: <sticks, ashes, grass clippings, food scraps, soil> <sticks, grass clippings, food scraps, soil> (We will continue to layer like this until the stack is 4 feet tall, then 4 bags of manure will be added, 2 bags of peat moss, 2 bags of sand, and then a final layer of grass clippings and soil.

Planning/Dreaming (2019)

  • 7 red raspberry bushes
  • 2 blueberries bushes
  • 1 grape
  • 1 plum tree
  • 1 swamp white oak
  • herb bed (separate from kitchen garden — will free up a half bed (at least) in the kitchen garden
  • add perennials to flower bed
  • expand flower bed towards oldest peach tree, deck, and house
  • “shade house” over 2 half beds for greens
  • sunken greenhouse
  • rain water collection and irrigation hose to each bed


meals in bowls

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I primarily eat my meals out of a pasta bowl.  I’ve been doing this for about 8 years. It started when my husband was in an period of unemployment and we were looking for satisfying ways to have lunch when it was just the two of us at home.

We called them Buddha bowls from the story:

A monk said to Chao Chou, “I have just entered this monastery. Please teach me.”
Chao Chou said, “Have you eaten your rice gruel?”
The monk said, “Yes, I have.”
Chao Chou said, “Wash your bowl.”
The monk understood.

Our bowls were cheap, easy, and quick to put together.  The formula is quite simple and you can change it up in a never-ending of photos.

  • base of greens (kale, spinach, arugula, romaine)
  • scoop of grain or starchy vegetables (rice, quinoa, sweet potato, potato)
  • scoop of protein (beans, fish, chicken, turkey . . .)
  • two scoops of veggies (red peppers, carrot, onion, broccoli, cauliflower . . .)
  • a spoon of toppings (jalapeño, bacon, nuts, seeds, parmesan, feta,  . . .)
  • drizzle with sauce (salsa, tahini/garlic, guacamole, green goddess, cucumber-yoghurt, spicy peanut . . .)

Each week I cook a big batch of grain (2 lb bag), 2 bags of beans (1 lb each), and chop up all the veggies. It is all kept in the fridge and each day I just pull out what I feel like having and. load up my bowl.

*Today’s post includes pictures I have taken this week of my lunches.

Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce:

  • grate 1 cucumber
  • mince 1 clove garlic
  • mix with 1 cup yogurt
  • you can add: mint leaves and lemon juice too

Guacamole Sauce

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 c cilantro leaves
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper

Green Goddess

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 green onions
  • juice of 1 lemon (or lime)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • fresh green herbs (I like basil, sage, thyme, and sometimes rosemary)



Reading:  Glass Houses (Gamache #13, L Penny), Farewell to Mars (B Zahnd), Heidis Fruhstuck (German), Harry Potter 1 (in German)

Listening:  Harry Potter 1 (in German)

Watching:  Krypton, Timeless, The Last Jedi