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written by Raulla S. Mitchell

If you feel as if you’ve been hibernating most of the winter, the last thing you may want to think about is making sure to get enough sleep now that spring is here.  You’re ready to burst forth and enjoy, greet your neighbors, catch up with friends over outdoor lunches, and spend evenings out after bitter chills and early sunsets have kept you indoors for too long.

I dream of taking my beloved ’98 S70 lipstick red Volvo out for a spin, give her a turbo thrill anywhere but 30 mph Valley View Road (and I don’t mean 32 or 35 mph which is pushing a speeding ticket).

This I can no longer do.  She was forced into retirement last May when one of her cylinders unexpectedly went down.  I was in deNile, in part because everything else about her was perfect.  I don’t want to believe she’s gone.  Even now, I sometimes look for her in parking lots, wondering who might have brought her home, fixed her up, and now takes her out for a spin.

I wanted her back the moment I felt with little choice but to replace her with a computerized black Volvo S60 that has a bazillion features (of which I still have minimal comprehension), and lacks her colorful personality.  Without my Mimi magnets, I feel a little guilty saying this, but she’d be just another black car in a sea of black cars, undistinguished from all the others.

She’d been huffing and puffing (running rough they call it) for about a week before I took her in to Borton, thinking she might need new spark plugs. Don’t all of us older gals need new sparks from time to time?  Made sense.  Unfortunately, the problem lay deeper.  When we’re not on all cylinders, it’s a serious problem, one I wasn’t prepared to face.

Dan at Borton Volvo service told me to have a stiff drink and say goodbye.  She was no longer safe.  She could blow at any moment.  What does that even mean I remember wondering.  Would she just stop without warning on the freeway?  Would she blow up?  I didn’t feel she’d betray me in that way.  She’d give me a few signs.  Dan continued to impress upon me the severity of the safety risk.  It could be a day, a week, a month, maybe a year.  I didn’t want to let her go, but I couldn’t continue to hold on.  I drive my daughter around town.  Safety’s a big deal.

So, I took photos.  I stood next to her.  Wherever she went from the Borton Volvo lot, she remains ever in my heart.  I’ve not yet had the stiff drink, and don’t really think it would have worked anyway.  She was bigger than that.  She grows more special in her physical absence from my life.

I’ll never feel the same about another car.  She was my first Volvo, my signature red, a boxy handmade Swedish girl who developed a distinct personality with age, and carried on even after I blew out her ignition one winter, and someone pushed her gently in a parking lot, leaving a subtle barely remarkable dent in her otherwise perfect frame.  She proudly wore my kissing Mimi magnets till the end.

One never knows, but I can’t imagine ever feeling quite the same about my new (to me) Volvo S60 on whom Mimi blowing her kiss to passersby seemed sadly faded.  My new Volvo demanded new magnets. That’s the thing about changing one thing – other things seem suddenly old.  And who I am to judge.  I’m getting older too.  My parts will wear out.  Where will I go?  She deserved better.  I acted in haste.  I wished she were back.  It was too late.

I digress.  Besides, if I count out the years, I’ll have a few more Volvos enter my life.  Or I’ll leap into a hybrid.  Just must remind myself to get ready and prepare for it emotionally next time.

Back to our theme of beauty sleep.  Cherie, now is when you need your sleep more than ever, to handle the ups and downs of life, hopefully more ups…

When it rains as much as it has in Minneapolis the past couple of days, thinking about getting enough sleep doesn’t seem to be an issue, at least if you’re like me.

Don’t you just want to curl up under the covers and read until you fall asleep for 20 min, maybe longer? Sleep makes everything feel better, especially when it’s raining.  Let all else fade away slowly as you close your eyes and your body (not the alarm) tells you what time to wake up.

Rain makes me love Minnesota, put up with its extremes.  It’s not the sunny summers that I love.  It’s the cloudy rainy days when I throw on a trench, pour a cuppa Tetley with cream, sip slowly, grab Henry Miller (not the man, his novels) and pretend I’m in London or Paris.  Anywhere but here is my modus operandi most days, but when it rains, it’s nirvana adventure time.

I digress again.  Back to healthy sleep, healthy you (and me).

It’s essential to get enough sleep to ensure optimal immunity against illnesses such as colds, sore throats, flu, and other viruses or infections that seem to wait in the wings when we’re transitioning from one season to another and Minnesota isn’t sure if it’s ready to bloom or snow.  

On a sunny spring day, we may feel super energized and ready to dash out of the house without a jacket, stay out all night, and catch up on zzz’s later, but our bodies know that now is the time to repair, rejuvenate and protect with essential beauty sleep.

If you are in the habit of eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, you will find it easier to fall asleep quickly and enjoy uninterrupted sleep. Sleep, along with diet, exercise, vitamins, and stress management is part of a healthy lifestyle.  

As you listen to the rain fall softly on your roof top, slowly unwind with a warm evening bath, your favorite products nearby, the ones that make you and your skin feel pampered and calm, scented candles, and a cup of tea.  Dandelion tea offers excellent alterative or cleansing properties:

  • cleanses liver and kidneys
  • removes toxins from the blood
  • increases circulation
  • breaks up obstructions to energy flow
  • is high in vitamins and minerals to support a balanced rejuvenation and boost immunity

It seems that I’m always recommending dandelion tea to someone these days.  One thing I should tell you is that it can be kind of bitter, especially dandelion root.  I love to mix dandelion tea with licorice for extra sweetness and flavor.  Or, simply add a teaspoon of honey to your tea.  I promise you, dandelion tea is one of the best things you can do as your body transitions from winter to spring.

Out of the bath, before completely toweling dry, while your skin is still moist, massage in your favorite lotion, creme and/or body butter.  Try layering moisturizing treatments depending on the dryness of each area, for example, maybe driest areas like hands, feet, neck and decollete love an uber-rich emollient body butter applied on top of your all over body lotion.

Snuggle under comfy covers in your bed. Read a few pages of a book, do a crossword puzzle, watch a classic flick, catch Anthony Bourdain eating unusual foods around the globe, even if you’ve seen him there before times too numerous to count, snuggle next to the one you love, hey, it can be your dog,…Ease gently into dreamland for eight hours (or more, you know how much you need to fill completely rested and relaxed) of sleep.

Awaken revitalized with a clear mind and cheerful spirit to start the new day and be your best.

Rainy or sunny, chilly or warm, an evening bath is always restorative for your mind, body and spirit.

Still, there’s something magical about a gentle rain, a long hot soak, and sleep that create a beautiful trifecta that I’ll always love.

Lazy happy me.

How about you?

About Red Note Botanica

RED NOTE BOTANICA formulates fresh natural skincare for the bath. Luxury soaps, sugar scrubs, lotions, cremes, body butters, and perfume cubes are made with only the highest quality ingredients to make lusciously fragranced skincare that is always seriously safe, effective and eco-friendly.

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