According to dictionary.com, the Old English word summertime was used for the first time around 1350-1400; a long, long time ago. To most, the beginning and ending of seasons are cycles of personal change as well. We clean out our closests in the spring and fall; we change our smoke detector batteries when we advance of clocks an hour for Daylight Saving Time – then we do the same when we “fall” back; we make plans for a “new start” at the close of winter; we take leaves from work/vacations in the summer This year, 2020, the astronomical summer officially begins with the solstice, June 20, and ends on the fall/autumnal equinox, September 22. Anyway, June, July, and August mark the months of pure enjoyment for me; I hate cold weather! Maybe it’s because I was born in the middle of summer – a June baby? Maybe it’s because I was born on the west coast – SoCal? Whatever the reason, I am miserable when the temperature falls below 60 degrees. I am at my happiest in the good ole heat and humidity we are famous here in Kentucky.
You know what else we are known for here in the Bluegrass state? Yeah. Bourbon.
I know this is a health, fitness, and clean-eating blog, so you probably find it odd that the first blog I write is about alcohol. Well, it might be but there is something about a nice, cold cocktail on a hot summer day that is good for mental health and healing. I am not advocating that folks should drink excessively but there is something special about having a drink on the deck in the evening before dinner, especially since we have been trapped inside with Covid-19 and the cold winter months. I particularly like to experiment with what I call my “fancy” cocktails these days. I take a lot of care preparing the recipe, finding the right vessel, and the perfect garnish. It’s a process that’s so sacred, you only need or want one.
So, for the summer kickoff cocktail, click here for my Kentucky Buck recipe. It’s a refreshing Kentucky version of a Moscow Mule you can enjoy after a long bike ride, or a sweating run, or a hard day of yard work. Cheers!
Welcome to My Nightmare
I have been trying to write the first JAGGED ROOTS blog post for over a year. I created the site late winter of 2019 and was excited to start, then I drew a blank. I just couldn’t decide what angle I wanted to take, or what I really want to say, or how I wanted to say it. And then there’s the audience. Who do I want to talk to – write to? The entire universe? Americans? Women only? Or, more precisely, women over 50? I knew I didn’t want it to merely be an extension of my work life (that’s full enough!) but I also knew that my education played a huge role in me becoming who I am and how I react to and interacted with the world around me. So, here we are. Somewhere in the middle of a pandemic living in a bifurcated, polarized political mess. Five minutes on social media can take you on a roller-coaster of emotions. Anger. Frustration. Fear. Confusion. Rinse and Repeat.
In the past few months, I’ve lost two of my best friends; integral parts of my tribe; my family of choice; my “ride-or-dies.” One of them we lost to unknown causes, the other to a long battle with cancer. The sister we lost to cancer was young, by any standards, but really young to me. The other was older than I am but extremely young in terms of average longevity. I miss them both terribly. When things like this happen, coupled with a global pandemic, your mortality is called into question. How can it not?
I am headed to my mid 50s now and I seem to spend a great deal of time being anxious about things that never bothered me at all before. It makes sense that as you mature, your perspective on life changes. I think the narrative, “with wisdom comes peace” is flawed. The stresses of health problems (real or not), the loss of loved ones, and other major life changes tend to accumulate as we get older; hence, we become more anxious in general. While that might come across as a little depressing, I believe there are things we can do to help mitigate those feelings. Finding hobbies you enjoy, building a routine of appropriate-for-you exercise, cultivating friends, and being mindful about what you eat and drink all play a role in combating the normal anxieties of life.
So, that’s the story! I plan to simply share thoughts on food (primarily plant-based diets), exercise, hobbies, and current trends in health care. There’s not much here yet but I will build this piece by piece – hope you might find some peace here.
Just a disclaimer: While I have a master’s degree in public health and a PhD (in higher education administration, if you wondered), I am not a physician. The information I will share is for encouragement more than anything. We are all in this together and knowing that someone else shares the same concerns about, well everything, is 90% of the battle.