Yep, the world is a strange place right now.
Yep, the world is a strange place right now. We’ll eventually get through this and looking back may see that this time of upheaval was a necessary evil. I’m leaving for my first real trip of the year, hitting the highway, so this is coming out a bit early.
With all the chaos and vitriol going on it helps to get out in nature and get some perspective. I spent time building a fort with the grandkids and it was way more fun than I anticipated. I went there this morning and just laid inside it on the ground looking up at the sky and treetops. Very restorative. Take a news fast and screen break for a day or two and go for a drive, a hike, a meal with a friend. We all need some comfort now.
I’m also volunteering at a farm that addresses food instability in the city and find it very rewarding. There is so much need out there now. Consider pitching in. You’ll meet interesting people, develop some new skills, and feel less helpless against world events. Google your states volunteer organizations. In Colorado try: https://helpcoloradonow.org.
It’s time to start stocking up for cooling months ahead. Collect the garden harvest and dry herbs for teas, seasoning blends, and kitchen remedies. Freeze, can or dehydrate that summer produce for your winter pantry. Enjoy peaches, plums, melons, beans, tomatoes, and all the other delicious fruits of summer. Visit farmers or produce markets for local produce that tastes nothing like the trucked in supermarket varieties.Get ready for the weirdest November in our lifetime. With the pandemic on the uprise, the anxiety of what will happen with this election, and the news blasting with division, disasters, and deceptions, it’s hard to feel optimistic. Take a break. I loved this TED talk by Dewitt Jones. https://www.ted.com/talks/dewitt_jones_celebrate_what_s_right_with_the_world?language=en
We are fascinated by train wrecks, it’s a fact. But we are also drawn to what nourishes and elevates us. Give it a look and feel better.
The pandemic restrictions, shorter days, and longer nights encourage us to pull inward. Have a fire, put on some music, sip cocoa while you read a good book. Take time to release all the shoulds that clutter our days, slow down, and take time for the moments that matter.
I have started taking news breaks and am surprised at how that has affected my mood and concentration level. The constant barrage of bad news tends to keep me in a state of low-level anxiety and irritation. Shutting it down for a day or two does wonder and keeps my profanity outbursts to a minimum. There is just so much we can do to counter all the uncertainty in the world, but we can limit exposure. Check out The Social Dilemma on Netflix. https://www.thesocialdilemma.com/ Fascinating and very important at this time.
Denver Arts Week – November 6 -8. https://www.denver.org/denver-arts-week/ Get your culture on.
Lots of events have been canceled this year but there is still plenty to do. Check out https://www.colorado.com/events for some possibilities.
Towards the end of the month, all the Christmas festivities will begin in earnest. Light shows at the Denver Zoo and Denver and Littleton locations of the Denver Botanic Gardens start on November 29 and run through January 16. Zoo lights start on December 4 – December 31. Reservations are a must and they will sell out so plan accordingly. One of my favorite holiday traditions. Go early on a weeknight to avoid the crowds.
A great reference for cooking up easy, fresh, delicious drinks and appetizers for entertaining. Makes a great gift or anyone on your Christmas list interested in herbs, cooking, and artisanal beverages. Get it here.
Yep, this one could be a little bleak depending on what is happening then. My 91-year-old Mom has elected to stay safely ensconced in her retirement community so we’ll be visiting in the parking lot and dropping off her favorite foods. We have to keep in mind that this will pass and next year will look a lot different. Let’s be thankful for food, shelter, health, our loved ones, and appreciate all the things we took for granted before this meltdown year.
Travel is one of my biggest passions and someday I plan to start a travel blog. This year I have taken a solo cross-country road trip, a Winnebago trip with 5 kids and 3 adults, and plan to leave next week for a last, short road trip through the southwest. I am being super careful, staying in Airbnb’s that I wipe down with bleach wipes, and doing all my own cooking. I miss the feeling of freedom we used to all have around travel but in the meantime have tried to explore more local places.
How many of us are unaware of all the outside opportunities in public gardens, lakes, parks, and hiking in our own backyard? One of my favorite sunset hikes is in Red Rocks. It’s free, close, fairly uncrowded on the trails during the week, you can take your dog, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Check out some hiking possibilities. https://www.redrocksonline.com/explore-red-rocks/recreation/
Herb of the Month – Chamomile
Chamomile is an often-overlooked little herb that has been used for centuries for a variety of maladies. There are two common varieties; German Chamomile (Chamomilla Recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The dried flowers are the part used. Usually, we think of chamomile as a tea for digestion and it works quite well for this but there are many other uses for this little herb.
Chamomile flowers contain terpenoids and flavonoids contributing to its healing properties. It is anti-inflammatory and can be used as a wash or poultice for skin issues and wounds. It has a soothing effect on the nervous system and helps with anxiety and insomnia. It is also thought to help balance blood sugar. For colds and flus, it can be used as a steam and tea for stomach upsets and discomfort.
I like to brew my chamomile tea from whole flowers, about a teaspoon or two of flowers to a cup of boiling water. Let steep for 7-10 minutes and strain. You can find chamomile tea bags everywhere. So enjoy a cup of this tasty, healing tea tonight.
Caution – people with allergies to ragweed and pollen may want to skip this tea. Try a bit and see what happens. I do have pollen sensitivities but I’m fine with it.
Recipes of the Month
As cold weather (eventually) sets in, it’s time to switch to experiment with winter squashes, hearty salads, pear and apple desserts, and warming main dishes.
You have got to own your days and live them, each one of them, every one of them, or else years go by and none of them belong to you.
- Herb Gardner
Be well, be safe, be good to yourself and others. We'll get through this, let's do ti with some grace and kindness.