Relaxing Dates

Wisdom for the Journey: On Digging, Delving, and Stillness

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” ~ Claude Monet

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ~ Hermann Hesse

“The sound of  ‘gentle stillness’  after all the thunder and wind have passed will be the ultimate Word from God.”Jim Elliot

“One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be mere rushing on.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

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Categories: Reflections, Relaxing Dates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Lesson in Renewal – A Dry Spell

Stores are dangerous places for me this time of year! They flaunt vegetable plants, herbs, flowers, and gorgeous pots in all colors knowing that I am addicted! I’m weak. Really, I think I may be helpless. Ok, I know I’m not helpless, but I am vulnerable. To the point that I could probably use a good-looking secret service type protector (non-Columbia model, of course).

Vulnerability struck a couple of weeks ago, and even though I knew I was heading out for a nine-day trip, I bought a beautiful peat pot of basil. It contained four thriving plants. They all proudly stood on the shelf and called my name. As they rode around the store in the shopping cart with me, I swear I heard them mocking the other plants. They even chided me for putting them in a grey plastic bag for the ride home in the car.

Soon, I had them temporarily settled on the counter to await their garden fate. Then, as fate would have it, there they would remain for nine long days. Alone, in the dark, lifeless room, straining for sun that would also steal their last remaining drops of moisture.

Upon my return, I gasped at their bedraggled and lifeless state. They didn’t respond at all to my cooing and self-flagellation. They were spent. All pride gone. Lifeless.

Regardless, I bathed them gently with tap water and soaked their peat base to the point of saturation.

I wasn’t sure, but thought I heard a bit of complaining, “Now, you come?”

Guiltily, I left them and proceeded to post-trip activities, unpacking, laundry, sorting nine days of mail. Every once in a while, I’d look in on the basil and drop an encouraging and gentle word.

“You can do it. I know it’s hard, but dig deep from your roots. You have strength you’re not aware of for this journey.”

Reaching for the sun once again! My basil plant that went through a “dry spell.”

Sure enough, within 24 hours, life had returned. No, they are not to their former glory. They have a bit of a bend now. But there are helps for that sort of thing. Besides, they’ve not even met their new home yet – a bright pot with rich, dark soil and a prime patio location.

Perhaps best of all, they have a new appreciation for their strength and ability to return even from a bit of a dry spell. A lesson even a plant junkie can appreciate.

Categories: Garden dates, Reflections, Relaxing Dates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the Garden

“It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.”  ~James Douglas, Down Shoe Lane

Lovely date this morning just enjoying the fruits of yesterday’s labor in the garden and pondering the moments of today yet to come.

A dove visiting with me in my garden this morning

There are days of back-breaking labor when I despise and curse the retired woman whose love of nature spawned these many beds. But this morning as the dove coos, the woodpecker taps, and the yellow finches flit and dance among the sage and salvia, I perch in the midst of gentle morning breezes breathing in the aroma of lavender, mint, and roses and bless her.

A butterfly perches herself on a knot hole near pink clematis

A butterfly lands nearby just beneath a knot hole in the fence post. I want to snap a photo of her lovely wings, but she closes them as if to tell me her morning thoughts are hers alone. Ah, the flower garden paparazzi never relents and snaps away regardless.

Not without cost, however, for as the camera focuses, I see where yesterday’s gardener missed culling some dead branches from the pink clematis. Shoot!

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Sweet, Sweet George

Ace of Cakes, Cupcake Wars, Just Desserts – none of them have anything over George and his LaBaguette Bakery. Right next to his International Market George daily bakes up delectable desserts and crusty breads and then sells them at some of the most reasonable bakery prices you’ll find in the Northeast Indiana corridor.

You gotta go. Heck, throw an impromptu party just so you’ll have a reason to go in and try all kinds of things. Treat your co-workers. Host the neighbors in your backyard. Whatever excuse you need. Just do it.

If we are what we eat, think of how sweet and wonderful you’ll be after you visit George’s La Baguette Bakery. I’m living proof. It works!

Categories: "Cheap" Dates, Date Ideas, Foodies, Relaxing Dates, Restaurants, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Thank You” H.I. Salon & Spa and Brigette

For about a year now, my inbox has been flooded with daily offers from coupon companies like Groupon, Living Social, and Moolala. Usually deals from local establishments, they can sometimes be a bit tricky if you’ve never done business with the company before.

Like the two-hour housecleaning I purchased for $35. That was a great buy! Except for the fact that they called me the morning I was expecting them, which just happened to be the same evening that I was expecting to entertain my Mom for the weekend.

Now, every woman alive knows you always clean your house before your Mother comes! But if you’re working that day and the cleaning company suddenly calls to say they aren’t coming – well, your Mother feels like a failure, you feel like a failure, the dust on the bookshelf feels like a failure….

It’s just a dirty shame!

Groupon deals can often overwhelm the company who offers them. They get lots of buyers but aren’t prepared to handle all the business the offer brings. The discounted price can make delivery tricky, too. Ah, but I digress. For this post is really about my experience this past Saturday with a massage and facial at Hair International Salon and Spa. A purchase I bought from Groupon.

Hair International Salon and Spa markets itself as H.I. Salon and Spa. (I have a friend, Elizabeth, who is a communication coach. She hates acronyms for names like this, says they hinder understanding. She probably has a good point here. She often does. In honor of her, I’m going to refer to H.I. as Hair International throughout the rest of the post.)

Hair International is housed in what seems to be a large white house turned into multiple businesses. It’s not easily spotted, though once you know it’s there, you can’t help but notice the building against the stark fields surrounding it. A lone figure, seeming like a holdout to the expansion preparations for new construction going on all around it. The result of a close proximity to the new Parkview Regional Medical Center.

Coming from the West side of town, it’s tricky making your way to the business. The newly widened road sports a concrete barrier preventing a left hand turn into the driveway. I maneuvered into the westbound lane back toward the white house and made my way to the door. Inside, I was immediately greeted by owner Jessica McKean and esthetician Brigette Mckinnon, with whom I had my appointment.

Hair International's Brigette McKinnon (Licensed Esthetician) and me just before my massage and facial

Representing its name, Hair International‘s decor felt more salon than spa. Nevertheless, I was excited to begin.

The next hour was truly wonderful as Brigette worked her massage and facial magic. I wanted the clock to stop and the kneading, probing, warm towels and soothing music to continue forever. I’ve had several massages and paid much more for some, but this was one of the best. In 30 minutes, the knots in my shoulders were softened and in 30 minutes more, my face felt nourished and replenished.

Hair International wasn’t anything fancy. Without Groupon, I might never have ventured to it. I’m glad I did.

Simple, understated, and delivering great service! Can’t ask for more than that for one of 52 Dates with Myself.

Categories: Date Ideas, Relaxing Dates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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