Washing my hair in rain water

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I read somewhere that washing your hair in rain water is a heavenly experience, and that your hair will feel beautifully silky soft and smooth.

Well, I thought that sounded like something I needed to try. But I kept forgetting to get a bucket out when it rained.

But yesterday, I remembered. It had been raining hard for about five minutes, and suddenly I remembered. I ran downstairs into the basement, looking for a bucket. There was one over by my husband's work bench, filled with some cleaning supplies. I dumped them out, ran upstairs, and shoved the bucket out on the deck. Voila!

It was really pouring.

When the rain stopped, I went out to gather up my rainwater,  and I noticed two things.

Number one. I only had a half inch of water. What?! I needed a whole bucketful. (Seriously? Did I really think we were going to get 20 inches of rain?! A flood of Biblical proportions?!)

Well, maybe I could do just a quick final rinse with the half inch of water.

But, no.

Number two. I had neglected to rinse out the bucket, and there was a layer of dust floating on top of the water.

So I had a half inch of dusty rain water to wash my hair with.


But that's not the end of the story . . . 

We had another heavy shower, and I got up to a total of one inch of water. (I googled yesterday's rainfall, and a neighboring town of ours got 4.57 inches of water!!) 

And the dust did settle to the bottom of the bucket.

So, in the spirit of true investigative journalism, I decided to go ahead and try a rainwater rinse this morning.

I washed my hair in the sink with regular tap water, put on conditioner, and rinsed in tap water as well. (That one inch was not going to do the job.) Then, carefully, as if the rain water was expensive and rare (and it felt that way!), I poured it over my head, collecting it in a bowl underneath. Then used a cup to scoop water again and again out of the bowl to rinse my hair well.

 Then I sat out on the deck, allowing the sun and light breeze to dry my hair. I tell you, it felt so luxurious and peaceful. I took a book out, but ended up closing my eyes and listening to bird song.

And pondering.

Where did Robert Redford get water to wash Meryl Streep's hair in Out of Africa? What did pioneer women do, especially in the winter? Melt snow? How long does it take to fill a rain barrel full of water? How does it feel to be a farmer and scan the sky, wondering when the rain clouds will appear? And what if we slowed down long enough to sit and dry our hair in the sun?

I don't think it's my imagination -- my hair really does feel very soft. Another benefit? I feel somehow more peaceful, more at ease, with a real gratefulness for how precious water really is.

It really was nicer than any visit to the salon.

Brunch with friends

Monday, July 27, 2015

This past weekend I hosted a book club sleepover. Can't remember the last time I had a sleepover party. High school?! There were seven (out of the 11 in our group) who were able to make it; so much fun to spend some extended time with dear friends.

We met for dinner at an Italian restaurant in our beautiful little downtown, where there's always a very well attended free outdoor concert on Friday nights, and then came back to my house to change into jammies, get some snacks, and settle in to a movie (Bride and Prejudice, a lighthearted Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice).

In the morning, brunch.

Noritake Cumberland, my wedding china; my MIL's silver, Rambler Rose by Towle-Sterling; and vintage linens.

Everyone brought a dish to share.

Top left, clockwise: sausage and egg casserole, fresh fruit, bacon and gluten-free banana chocolate chip muffins, and a gluten-free coffee cake.

My husband was very gracious about the whole thing, and took to our bedroom with a cooler and some snacks and his laptop! He left early in the morning and went out for breakfast. Thanks, honey!

Our book club has been meeting for just over four years now, twice a month. It was lovely to have an extended time with them to talk and laugh and share. I highly recommend it; you're never too old!! And I'm already thinking we have to plan a 2nd Annual Book Club Sleepover! 

Linking with Rose Chintz Cottage.

Hillsdale's Great Books 102 online course

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ten years ago, our oldest child was getting ready to go off to Hillsdale College. Since then, all three of our children have graduated from there, the youngest just two months ago. We were so happy they each decided to attend this nationally recognized small liberal arts college, just an hour and a half from our home, and we never once regretted sending them there.

I've enjoyed their education vicariously over the past 10 years, talking with them about the Big Ideas. The Good. The True. And the Beautiful. Yes, they really talk about those things at this college.

Hillsdale College is nationally recognized, partly because of its fierce independence from federal control; it refuses any federal funding, preferring its academic freedom. It is one of the only colleges in the U.S., outside of military academies, that requires each student to take a course in the U.S. Constitution. (Wish some of our current leaders had gone there.)

But what I love most about Hillsdale is its core program that every student needs to take to graduate. Students cannot transfer in English or history courses. Everyone has to take Great Books 101 and 102, Western and American Heritage, classes in the arts. These subjects are near and dear to my heart. I went to high school and college in the 70s, and all the classics were being tossed aside in favor of more "relevant" or "hip" books, and experimentation in education was the order of the day.                                

I never read Homer or Dante until I homeschooled my own children. I had only read two plays by Shakespeare. I hadn't read Milton or Chaucer, Plato or Aristotle.

I've always been a voracious reader, but nobody made me read these influential, foundational books. Somebody should have! Young people don't usually gravitate to these tough, challenging books. But I got to read the Iliad and the Odyssey three times, teaching my own children. And then later hear what my children's professors said about them when they read them again in college.

 For the past 10 years I've wished that I had gone to Hillsdale instead of that big state university. To have been able to discuss the Great Books, join in the Great Conversation, in small classes, taught by excellent professors, who know their students by name.

But, fortunately, there is a way for me to "go" to Hillsdale.

Hillsdale offers several online courses for free (donations accepted).  I signed up for U.S. Constitution and Western Heritage some time ago, but haven't done either one yet. But recently, I just decided I'm going to make the time. (Perhaps because there's no child of mine over there anymore to talk over classes with?). I got an email about the online course Great Books 102, and I started it this week. (I'll go back to Great Books 101 at some point.)

After an introductory lecture by college president Larry Arnn (so inspiring; I always want to read Aristotle or Winston Churchill after I listen to him), the first lecture begins with a discussion by English professor Dr. Stephen Smith of the novel Don Quixote.

Two short excerpts of the book are linked for easy access. You don't have to read the entire 1,000-page book by Cervantes. Unless you want to. A short quiz for fun (I got 10 out of 10!). And there's an interesting Q & A session after each lecture.

Hamlet, Notes from the Underground, Pride and Prejudice, and Huckleberry Finn are some of the books in this 11-week class. I have read all these books, but I will enjoy the lectures. These are books you can read over and think over many times. You don't have to do this course in 11 weeks; go as slow or as fast as you want, reading all the books in their entirety, or just enjoying an overview of some great classic literature. And I love that I can stop the video when it seems my note-taking isn't as fast as it used to be!

I love to learn . . . this was interesting: "we no longer privilege the text over the reader. We don't say, 'this is beautiful, you have to learn to love it. You'll be better if you do.' Teachers used to say this. Now, it's 'find your own reality' in the text." -- from intro by Larry Arnn.
If Great Books 102 doesn't interest you, there are a number of other courses available. Just go to their website.

Anybody want to join me? Let me know in the comments section; it would be fun to discuss the reading with you!

Go here to sign up.

A cup of retro joe

Monday, July 20, 2015

We have a Keurig, and it makes great coffee, but I do occasionally like to make a pot of old-fashioned stove-top percolator coffee.

I found this percolator on eBay a few years ago. It has a glass top thing-y. I don't think they make the glass ones anymore; they're all plastic, and tend to fall out when coffee's being poured (or so I've heard).

Taking the time to grind whole coffee beans makes a real difference in taste . . . 

Not as fast as a Keurig, but certainly worth the wait.

And this recent find of a teacup looks perfect for a 1960s-type cup of coffee. 

Very retro. I love the gold stars, and the pink amps up the cute factor . . . 

I have just started an online course through Hillsdale College, Great Books 102. I'm excited about the material, and already feel quite intellectually elevated! I'll share more next post.

Joining Rose Chintz Cottage for tea coffee.

Weight loss before and after pics

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A few of you asked for before and after pics, showing my weight loss.

Last summer . . .

This summer, 30 pounds lighter.

Another 1/2 inch of silver hair

Friday, July 17, 2015

be sure to stop and smell the roses . . . 

If you are a follower of my blog, you know that I am ditching the dye, and going natural. I guess I didn't realize how long this is going to take. Months and months.

I'm not sure I can do a super short haircut, but I did get it cut shorter, just to help speed things up a little. (It's only been 8 weeks, and I'm already impatient!) 

I loathe this picture of me. But how many times can I ask my DD, who is running late to a meeting, to re-take the picture? So, in the interest of trying to document this hair journey, it will have to do.  If you look closely, you can see the beginnings of my "skunk stripe." It's much more visible in person, and outdoors.

Here it is, close up.

It looks much more salt and pepper than it really is. The dark hairs make this more silver than white, but it definitely is very silver-y. Thankfully, it's quite shiny.

Can I bear this for another eight to 10 months? Or will I get tired and chop it off, like this?

via Pinterest
Jamie Lee Curtis is beautiful here, but not sure I can go so short. But I'm not ruling it out.

This is what I'm hoping I will eventually have . . .

or this . . .

or this . . .

I've always wanted long hair. But it may be a little optimistic to hope that I could end up with hair like any of these lovelies.

I'd be very happy to end up with this length . . . Isn't this pretty?

 images via Pinterest

Here's what I'm doing while I'm waiting for it to grow . . . 

Reading a book, enjoying a lovely respite from all the rain we've had. Look how green everything is.

Actually, I haven't been lying around too much. We're busy helping my son to get ready to move next week. And planning a sleepover (!!!!) here with my book club friends. Yes, we're a wild and crazy bunch.

I'm going to miss my son so much. A party with my friends will help, I'm sure.

Have a beautiful weekend, friends. xo

Water and veggie "tea"

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I am trying hard to hold onto my 30-pound weight loss these days. I haven't lost any weight in a month. Soon, I hope to get back in gear and lose the final 10.

To compensate for some of the food splurges lately, I have to make sure I eat lots of veggies and drink lots of water.

I am not a water drinker. I really prefer diet Coke. Fortunately, I've kicked that habit. 

But sometimes, instead of plain water, it's nice to have a flavored, sparkly water like La Croix. I like the grapefruit flavor best. (Don't you just love the French word for grapefruit -- pamplemousse?)

Or, a Pelligrino. Here, I have it in a recycled Bonne Maman jam jar, but it's also nice in a vintage wine glass with a wedge of lime. I will do this when everyone else is having a glass of wine, and I want to be "fancy" too.

The hydrangeas are dried from last summer's garden, and a little dusty. I'll soon be cutting new blooms to replace these. Love the soft colors.

This plate is one of four I have in green, pink, yellow, and blue, called Old English, by Johnson Brothers. Each has a different fruit, and I've arranged my veggies and fruit so you can see the apple on the green plate.

Reading A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge right now. Love it.

Thanks for your visit, friends.

(Joining Sandi for tea today.)

Bad habits

Friday, July 10, 2015

Do you have any bad habits?

I know of at least two of mine that I'd really like to change. I'm sure I have many more, but I've been aware of these two for quite awhile, and while I've made some half-hearted attempts to correct them, I really feel like it's time to get to business here.

This quote is always heartening . . . 

It is never too late to be what you might have been. -- George Eliot

One of my bad habits is running late. Late for appointments, late for church, late for social events. Funnily, though, if I'm paying for something by the hour (like piano lessons), I'm able to get there on time. So, I clearly can do it, if I choose.

Let's face it. Being late is just rude.

Yesterday morning I had a doctor's appointment. I was checking email, and then decided I had time to empty the dishwasher and start a load of laundry. And then, of course, I had barely enough time to make it to the appointment. I thought, oh, I'll use the valet parking at the hospital (running late costs money, too). That was full. The parking structure was full up to the top floor, and going slowly around and around each level to get to the top, and then finding my way to the doctor's office made me 10 minutes late.

No man who is in a hurry is quite civilized. -- William J. Durant

This quote was running through my head as I hurried down the hall. (We all know to watch the negative self-talk, but sometimes it is quite justified!) When I finally arrived at my destination, the receptionist told me I was late, and that the doctor might already have left for lunch.


(Thankfully, he was still there, and was able to see me.)

Being late is rude. I don't want to be a rude person. This is one habit I really want to change.

Another bad habit I have is that of interrupting. So rude.

I've had two close family members bring this to my attention, again, in the past two weeks.

Really, Deborah?

The thing is, sometimes I get so excited about what I'm thinking and want to share it . . . 

No, not a good excuse. I already know what I think; it's much more helpful to hear what others are thinking.

 I really am a good listener when someone is sharing their heart with me, or in some kind of trouble, or just needs a sympathetic ear. I can, and have, listened quietly and sympathetically to many friends and family over the years.

It's everyday conversation, or when we all get het up about politics . . . or when I'm with my book club, and excited about our latest read . . . 

But really . . . there's no excuse.

I feel like I need to do what Benjamin Franklin did. He made a list of 13 virtues he wanted to develop, and then, at the end of the day, he recorded how he did with each one. His included temperance, frugality, and tranquility, among others. Mine would include timeliness, or better planning, so I'm not running late, and not interrupting.

Maybe I need to stick a dollar in a jar every time I interrupt. Or . . . get some duct tape.

Somehow, though, I really do want to find a way to do better.

Do you have any bad habits you want to change? Have you found a good way to overcome them?

Giveaway winner!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Just a short post today to announce the winner of my giveaway -- Gina from Victorian Wanna Be. Congratulations, Gina, and I will be in touch to get your address so I can mail these off to you  . . . 

I think I'm with Gina today. I wanna be Victorian -- at least, I want to stay home, drink tea, read books, and enjoy my old, but well-made heirloom furniture!  Have you seen some of the over-priced, but poorly made, cheap-looking furniture out there? Today was spent shopping for my son's apartment. I wish we had more time to go to some estate sales.  Hate to see him spend good money on poor quality. At least he only needed a couple things. And then we spent hours at the Secretary of State's office waiting to do a car title transfer. Hours, people.

Time for tea. Let's pretend we are in Cranford.

Happy Fourth!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Last night, we attended an outdoor concert by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the U.S. Army Field Band, complete with fireworks and real cannon fire during the 1812 Overture finale. 

We went early, with hundreds of others, to picnic on the grounds of historic Greenfield Village.

Old-fashioned pound cake and blueberry muffins were on the menu . . . 

. . . as well as fried chicken, orzo pasta salad, fruit, and vegetables and dip. A thermos of coffee kept us warm as the sun set and the air cooled.

We joined in singing many of the old, beloved patriotic songs, and ended with a chorus of God Bless America. A surprising (given the current climate) and blessed antidote to some of the very hard news lately.

We are off to see more fireworks tonight, and then up early to watch the parade. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

*** Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in my giveaway.
See the previous posts for details. I'll draw a winner Monday. ***
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