The Time Traveling Hibiscus

With ephemeral traits hallmarking the gate to past and future, have you considered gifting a hibiscus for the New Year?

Once it’s Gone, it’s Gone
You know the sayings, “Out with the old and in with the new,” or “Here today, gone tomorrow.”  True for so many things — like each year, our youth, good health, and hibiscus flowers.  “Hibiscus flowers?”  Yes, lovely hibiscus flowers last only one day.

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“Appreciate what you have in this very moment,” the flower bewails.  It’s spectacular bloom will be gone by night.


For Yesterday or Tomorrow
Yet as short-lived as hibiscus blooms may be, this plant offers medicinal properties to improve health and hopefully extend longevity!  Tea made from Hibiscus sabdariffa has been known to lower LDL cholesterol, blood sugar levels and blood pressure as well as aid digestion, weight management, and the immune system.

Preferring complementary and alternative medicine, I’ve been drinking organic Hibiscus with Tropical Fruit tea by Celebration Herbals.   My recent blood pressure was 99/69!

Capturing a Moment in Time
The antioxidants in Hibiscus sabdariffa tea also help skin remain youthful by improving moisture and elasticity, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Considered a feminine flower, and often symbolizing young women, hibiscus was given in Victorian times to recognize the receiver’s beauty.  No wonder Hawaiian females tuck anti-aging hibiscus flowers behind their tender ears.

Out with the Old…
The orangey-red/yellow Hibiscus kokio was Hawaii’s first state flower.

 

However, in 1988 the Hawaii legislature traded her in for (a younger model?) the striking yellow Hibiscus brackenridgei to become the new official state flower.  


Youth, good health and hibiscus flowers can be fleeting.  Savor them while you can.

young girl with hibiscus

Medical Disclaimer:  Sorry to say in today’s world it’s necessary to note that this content is informational and educational in nature only.  It is not intended to substitute professional medical advice and should not be solely relied upon. Under no circumstances is wRighting my Life responsible for the claims of third party websites or educational providers.  Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional before trying anything you have read on this blog or in links to other sites; otherwise, it is solely at your own risk.  The information provided in this blog is only from personal experience.  While I offer what has been beneficial to me, everyone is unique and may experience different results. 

Go ahead…feel the thrill

“Those swings are for kids, not grown-ups.”

“Who says?”

“What will people think if they see a mature woman on them?”

“Do you really think someone is going to arrest me?”

And so the dialogue went between my inner critic and the lure of a childhood thrill when seeing a swing set in a new neighborhood last Sunday afternoon.  Quickly, it reminded me of this photo (appearing in my last post) and my carefree, youthful feelings of riding as high as I could on the swings.

Looking around to see if any neighbors were out — no one was, I walked up the hill toward the swings, paying attention for any signs indicating “adults not allowed.”  The trodden, bare ground under each of the six swings stared up at me.  Oh, yes, I remember now — stomping down the grass, pounding to push-off and ride higher and higher.

I sat down.  Good, the swings can hold me.  (I’m not overweight, but I’m not a slight child either.)  I began to push-off.  Again and again.  Higher and higher.  Soon my hair blew freely behind me, like the woman in the photo, cooling the perspiration off the back of my neck from a hearty walk through this new neighborhood.  Gosh this felt good.  Exhilarating, like when I was a kid.

As previously mentioned (Busy Body Meditations), I do better with movement meditation than attempting to force myself to sit still.  Swinging on those swings was an in-the-moment, mindfulness meditation for me, unleashing pure light-heartedness.

Is there an activity you loved as a child but seems long forgotten?  Have you given yourself permission to feel the thrill once more?  Go ahead, tickle yourself with that sense of delight and see how much lighter you’ll feel.

 

Did you say Aspergrass?

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Knowing it takes three years to harvest, I delayed growing asparagus for decades.  Three years ago it was now or never.  I didn’t really know what I was doing but, as usual, I learned a lot in the process.  Now, I’ve been harvesting spears for the last six weeks and more keep coming!

Asparagus Tips (Inedible) and Tidbits…

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  • In America, asparagus is often pronounced aspergrass or aspirin grass.
  • Asparagus is a member of the lily family.
  • Packed with vitamins and nutrients, asparagus is deemed the King of Vegetables.  Plants comprise a crown of rhizomes and lateral roots, and a tall, frilly fern.
  • Green asparagus is most common in America; white is common in Europe and essentially grown in the dark.  Purple asparagus is sweeter and originated in Italy.
  • It’s suggested to grow 10 asparagus plants per person.
  • Asparagus can grow up to 7 inches in one day.
  • Harvesting ranges from 2 to 12 weeks.
  • Plants can produce for up to 30 years!
  • Curved spears?  Check for insect damage or be careful when cutting adjacent stalks.

  • Revered since the first century, Egyptians offered asparagus to the gods; a 16th century Arabian love manual contained an asparagus recipe for stimulating erotic desires.  Roman Emperor Augustus’ soldiers transported asparagus in speedy chariots to ice caves in the Alps so it could be freezed for later use.
  • The Greeks used asparagus to cure toothaches and heart disease.  Today, it’s used to treat other health issues like joint pain and urinary tract infections.
  • Smelly urine after eating asparagus?  It’s because our bodies convert asparagusic acid into sulfur-containing chemicals (although not everyone detects the odor).
  • A cold salad vinaigrette of Belle d’Argenteuil asparagus appeared on the menu for first class Titanic passengers before sinking in April 1912.
  • Two species of asparagus — A. fallax and A. nesiotes are endangered in the Canary Islands.
  • 1600s slang pronounced asparagus as sparagus which evolved to sparagrass and then sparrowgrass.

Asparagus Culinary Ideas (Edible)

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I love to cook and I’m looking for creative ways to prepare ə-ˈspar-ə-gəs.  I understand that in China, asparagus is candied as a special treat but I have yet to find the recipe.  How do you eat asparagus?

  • Steamed and topped with burnt butter?
  • Grilled with olive oil and sea salt?
  • Wrapped in prosciutto?
  • Sprinkled with lemon zest and olive oil, or shaved parmesan cheese?
  • Tempura or stiry fry?
  • Leek-asparagus-herb soup?

Have you tried Béarnaise sauce rather than the typical Hollandaise to dress-up your asparagus?  I can hardly wait to make that flaky pastry tart with cheese and asparagus spears or even the baked asparagus fries.  If you have some favorite aspergrass recipes please do share!

Postscript:  I baked the asparagus fries tonight and they aren’t for me.

 

I talk a lot about one size doesn’t fit all, so that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t like them.  I tend to like spicy.  I tried a Tempura dipping sauce and although that livened them up a bit, this recipe will not appear in my favorites.

 

 

All The Buzz About Bees

I hadn’t realized pollinator week is upon us but am acutely (and sadly) aware that most of the honey — even “organic,” is being reported to be contaminated with the glyphosate of Monsanto’s Roundup.
It’s pleasing to see more people interested in honeybee production but we need to do more — via planting and becoming more vocal — to help these bees stay busy and thrive.  I’ve reblogged this post “All the Buzz about Bees” to see what you can do at home to help them.

P.S. to this post…link to the EU “banning” bee-harming pesticides.  America can learn a lot from the EU’s approach to heathy living.

Giving Voice to My Astonishment

It’s a busy time of year for everyone: spring gardening, spring cleaning, graduations, end-of-year award ceremonies, holiday travel, and a whole lot of other happenings.

IMG_2831My photo of article in Midtown magazine. Photo of bee on flower by Matt Williams.

I’ve been busy working on several upcoming article assignments, and that’s the reason for my lack of writing a recent blog post. So, I thought I’d share an article I wrote for the current issue of Midtown magazine. It’s on a subject that’s near and dear to my heart, pollinators, specifically honeybees (Apis mellifera). Their numbers have been declining due to several reasons, most notably Varroa mite infestation. There is encouraging news, though. Some local beekeepers are starting to see an increase in their colonies. What can home gardeners do to help? Read more about it in my most recent article appearing in the May/June issue of Midtown…

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Get a Universal Hug!

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day sat on my bucket list for several years.  With no events offered in my small, semi-rural community, I made up my mind last year to drive 1.5 hours to participate.  The powerful group energy felt like a profoundly calming universal hug, not to mention the good people I met and now have the pleasure of studying the Tao with.   Yes, I make the 3 hour roundtrip drive to do this monthly but it brings me so much pleasure it’s a worthy investment.  Now, World Tai Chi & Qigong Day is an annual must do event for me.  (FYI, it’s always the last Saturday in April at 10AM local time.)

As an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person),  safeguarding my own peace and serenity (aka well-being) is critical for me.  Detaching from the bombardment of frenetic and frantic energy through sensationalized “news” while staying engaged with humans and the environment is key, and I’m meeting numerous others with similar observations.  Like the waitress who sadly said, “I’m serving more and more families who come in and sit glued to their phones rather than talk to each other.  It doesn’t make sense!”  Or the fellow concert goer who high-fived me after first responding in shock, “You did what?!  I’d like to give up this thing too and get my life back.”

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For the record, I recognize some value in having technology like GPS or locating a restaurant in an unfamiliar city, but it’s not worth the expense to me — financially, mentally or emotionally. I just don’t need technology. My life M.O. has changed to “discarding” rather than “adding” non-essentials. I value my time more. I see how easily I could become addicted. And I see the stress — whether to the user or those around them — from constantly pinging phones interrupting each moment, deteriorating eye contact and banishing personal interaction. I see others trying to remedy their lives after their electronic financial accounts were hacked… What I don’t see is the value of turning my life over to technology.

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Photo by Seth Macey on Unsplash

But anyway, the point of this post is to encourage you to try World Tai Chi & Qigong Day if you haven’t already.  Whether you are or aren’t engaged with technology, Tai Chi and Qigong are certain to bring a calmness into your life.  And couldn’t we all use that these days?

Visit this site to find an event near you:  http://www.worldtaichiday.org 

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Spring, Life’s New Start!

yellow tulipMissed starting over for the New Year, like so many do?  Don’t feel bad.  It may have been Day 1 on the calendar, but Mother Nature begins anew with Spring.  You can too.

Becoming more aware of the paradoxes of life while studying the Tao, I suppose it’s not so unusual that I occasionally rant about technology addiction.  Afterall, it’s the antithesis of nature (and of growing concern to me).  So, if you’re among the trapped “millions” who bought into technology to have the latest and greatest, be like your friends, were attracted by “convenience,” or became hooked on virtual life rather than “living” your real one, you already know how crummy you feel.  Be honest.  (If you don’t know or believe that technology is addictive, ask your Smartphone for the answer.)

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’m not completely kicking technology in the butt.  I admit, there are “some” conveniences and I realize even flowers need rain.  But, I also see how easily the technological scales tip to losing one’s self (not just through identity theft either), a sense of community, and an appreciation of nature while adding stresses like being hacked, internet bullying, lost privacy, constant interruption and distraction, unrefreshing sleep, increased onset of macular degeneration, mood impairment, etc., etc. purple tulip(Isn’t that enough?)

Yes, it takes courage to change, to not follow the crowd, and the only one who can do it is you.  If you want to de-stress and take back control of your life (and mind) this recent article will help.  Remember, only in the dark can you see the light.  It’s time to turn over a new leaf — it’s Spring!

 

March 20 Second Stage

 

Stop the technology virus from mutating the human brain and natural living.  In 2014, there were 420 million internet addicts.  In 2012, 84% of the population couldn’t go a day without their phone.  What do you think the numbers are now?

 

I Wonder…

I wonder how healthy Americans would be if:

  • The government gave everyone $2,000/year to spend on the preventive care of their choice.
  • Western medicine would partner with the wonders of alternative, eastern, and non-traditional medicine.
  • Big Pharma and lawyers stopped advertising.
  • Insurance companies allowed patients to select their own doctor, and gave doctors enough time to develop a knowledgeable relationship with their patients.
  • Medical schools taught diet and nutrition rather than what scripts to write.
  • The primary goal of medical students was to heal.
  • Doctors changed their focus from disease to creating optimal health.
  • Health, senior and child care workers were better trained and paid.ripple effect of good health
  • Restaurants stopped super-sizing portions.
  • Government agencies denied the use of harmful chemicals, pesticides, hormones, preservatives, additives, etc. in our food supplies.
  • Politicians worked “for the people” rather than the special interests they serve.
  • Technology stopped directing people to be lazy or on overload.
  • Manufacturers produced quality products that lasted.
  • Businesses discarded voice mail and returned to employing and training “people” to help customers.
  • Hollywood stopped making violent movies and video games.
  • Parents interacted with their children as a family and limited screen time.
  • We connected with nature and respected our environment.
  • As a nation, we showed personal pride in our person and how we treat others.
  • Everyone took personal responsibility for their own health.

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Perhaps my response should have been to a Daily Prompt on “What I Know” rather than via Daily Prompt: Wonder