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But You Can Have This…and other perspectives on a bummer week.

by Cheryl Fork



In this issue of Soap AF, I’m sharing a poem I recently came across that relates to my experience last week. I also included a short list of related wellness recommendations at the end for surviving this cold/flu season.

Dear Reader,

Last week started out as a bummer for me. Nothing catastrophic or outright terrible, just the kind of week where nothing seemed to be going the way I wanted it to. First, I was about to start. Maybe it’s changes in hormones as I age or maybe I’m more in tune with my own body now after a several-year-long fertility journey (probably both), but as I get older my PMS symptoms seem more noticeable- usually revealing themselves as worse sleep, feeling more emotional, and higher irritability to name a few*. And second, I got sick AGAIN. I was literally just sick 2 weeks before…how is it possible that I was already sick again?!? One of my New York friends told me a year or so ago that I was “one of the healthiest people she’d ever met” – which living in California and seeing how high that bar can actually get, means I’m definitely not the healthiest person ever. But I eat pretty clean (subsidized with a pretty strong supplement game), fit in a mini workout and/or walk most days, have detoxed almost all of the products we use in our home, don’t drink alcohol very much anymore, and prioritize mental health and sleep, among other things. This (along with my genetic makeup and the grace of God) has historically meant that I thankfully don’t get sick very often and feel pretty good most days.

But that has all changed very recently now that my daughter has started preschool! The whole first year of her life neither she nor I got sick**. That first year is the craziest thin
g ever anyway- it’s already the most physically and emotionally demanding role one can imagine. Your Supermom gene somehow kicks in and seems to get the job done amongst insurmountable odds, fighting off anything that could get in your way. Then year 2 came around and things got slightly more manageable. We did mommy & me music class, ballet, art, gymnastics, and more together. Both her and I got sick once or twice that year, being out and about much more after the covid era and the initial “baby bubble”. We’re now in year 3, and E*** started preschool at the beginning of this year. I caught a quick bug right before Christmas and have already gotten sick twice since then- this preschool thing is no joke.

Back to last week: I came back from a fun boat outing with extended family the Saturday before last, and by that night I had 100-degree fever. I woke up Sunday morning feeling terrible, and thankfully my husband was able to take my daughter for most of the day so I could rest. Then Monday came and I was still not feeling very well but was hoping to get some work done while E was at school. The time she is in school is when I get most of my work done. But apparently there was another unexpected hurdle coming my way…not more than 15 minutes passed after E was dropped off and the power in our entire house went out! There were no storms in sight, it was sunny and mild outside, so this seemed to be happening for no reason. I had really hoped to be productive. But without wifi there wasn’t much I could do.

So I decided to go back to bed, thinking at least I could get some more rest and aid my healing process. I crawled into bed, laid my head down on the pillow, and closed my eyes. I had gotten less than 20 minutes of rest until…the smoke detectors in the entire house started BEEPING. EVERY. TEN. SECONDS. My husband had already left for another location so he could keep working, so I was on my own. Apparently the beeping had something to do with the power outage. I was commiserating with my next-door neighbor over text message but about to lose it at this point. Now I couldn’t even try to sleep!

I felt like crap, I had a ton of work to do…and the whole thing just sucked.

Then Tuesday came around (thankfully the smoke detectors had stopped beeping, and the power was back on), and my 2-year-old and I had the day together while my husband was working. I was still feeling bummed out. I was behind on my work, I wasn’t feeling up to taking E anywhere out yet, and I was overwhelmed wondering how I was going to keep this little girl entertained in the house all day with so little energy.

But then…E actually let me lay in bed most of the morning, while she played under the covers and snuggled with me. We read storybook after storybook. I slept while she took her nap. We even came up with a little inside joke that afternoon that is literally the cutest thing in the entire world****. We have been getting a kick out of it pretty much every day since. The day ended up turning into one that I cherish and I bet will always remember.

So even though whatever virus I had has been stubborn (I still have a bit of a dry throat even now), my outlook shifted greatly after that day. And the whole experience reminded me of a poem I came across recently in a novel I’m reading. The actual novel itself hasn’t really grabbed me yet, but this poem is so visceral and moving it has stuck with me:

You Can’t Have It All
By Barbara Ras

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam's twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man's legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who'll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can't bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can't count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother's,
it will always whisper, you can't have it all,
but there is this.

Ahhhh! I just teared up again reading it over*****.

And with that, I’ll leave you with a short list of wellness recommendations to get us through the rest of this cold/flu season. And of course please note, I am not a doctor and nothing in my newsletter is meant to constitute or substitute for medical advice! I am only sharing my personal experiences for informational purposes only, with hope that it is helpful:

1. Bone broth instant packets. Bone broth has so many health benefits it would make sense to drink it every day of the year: immunity, high collagen content for joints and skin health, gut health, protein! which is so important especially as we age, sleep support, etc., but especially during winter months when immunity is lower, and when the colder weather makes soups and warm drinks especially appealing. I was very into premium quality bone broth during certain parts of my fertility journey (it is also said to help with fertility). I would take special trips to Jimbo’s, a specialty health food store that is in this area but not close enough to be my regular grocer, just to get a specific brand that they kept in their frozen section. If you really want to go all out with bone broth you can look at buying from a local farmer in your area, or even (gasp) make it yourself. But at this point in my life I definitely do not have the space for all that, so when I discovered these instant packets I was in love! These days I have tried buying the shelf stable broth, only to put it in the fridge after opening and forget about it until it’s too late- and both my husband and I hate wasting food! The packets are genius because you just use one at a time. I like the variety pack with both the beef and the chicken. I’m also interested to try this powder version from Kroma, which is pricey, but all of their stuff is delicious and the highest quality.

2. Bee propolis throat spray and lozenges. The Beekeeper’s Natural’s brand has blown up somewhat recently (it’s available at Target and some of the larger drug stores now) and is known for its use of healthy ingredients and lack of sketchy additives that are in most traditional drug store cold medicine brands. Our family has been using their throat spray lately to help strengthen immunity, and it’s also soothing for dry and/or sore throats. I give the kid version to my daughter and she says it’s “yummy honey”. The brand also makes lozenges in both honey and elderberry that have vitamin D and zinc in them, which I want to try once my current stash runs out. I see they have an immune support kit as well that includes liposomal Vitamin C (liposomal is supposed to be absorbed better than taking a pill). These throat lozenges by trusted brand Wedderspoon are another great option, which also have bee propolis in them, are organic, and have manuka honey which has all sorts of health properties. And they have more drops per bag than the Beekeeper’s Naturals ones.

3. Organic matcha. You may be very familiar with matcha and already aware of its multitude of health benefits. If you are like me (until recently), you have heard the term for a long time and have seen matcha lattes offered at coffee shops and know it’s green, but never knew much more about it and haven’t been interested enough to try it. However, I started getting into matcha about a year ago, as a result of the rabbit hole I went down when researching what supplements and supplement-type-things I wanted to bring into my routine for a kind of “glow up” (lol) post-pregnancy and post-breastfeeding. The benefits from matcha are said to include boosting metabolism and immune system, skin anti-aging, heart health, stress relief, more energy, and more. The traditional way to make it into tea is with a special Japanese whisk and bowl, but I’ve found it is way easier to just pour water and the matcha powder into our electric milk frother, and it comes out perfectly with minimal effort. I have it a lot in the afternoons when I need a little boost and/or when E is having her snack, and I feel like I’ve noticed the benefits! I usually make it with water and add a splash of lemon, and sometimes I make it into a latte with almond milk instead of water along with turmeric and some other spices. I’ve also added it to smoothies. But now with my throat dryness I’ve been having it with a little scoop of organic honey and it’s very soothing. The matcha brand I buy (Cymbiotika) also makes an excellent liposomal Vitamin C, among several other amazing supplements. They are not cheap but they are the real deal. They’re actually local to San Diego and have taken off nationally, as the health movement continues to grow and consumers are so much more discerning with what’s in the products they’re choosing to buy.

4. Classic chamomile tea. I normally drink coffee in the morning, but in addition to matcha tea in the afternoons I’ve been drinking a cup of chamomile tea with honey in the morning instead of coffee to coat my throat. It’s also great to drink in the evening, as it has calming benefits to help with sleep. Chamomile is said to be anti-inflammatory, soothing for sore throats and cold symptoms, good for digestion, anxiety-reducing, and good for sleep. I love the pretty little tin this one comes in- it’s a classic brand I discovered many years ago (their first tea I bought was their famous Paris tea).

5. Clean luxury bubble bath. Our bubble bath has made its way onto the list twice in a row. Check out our article on all of the health benefits of baths here.

Simple. Clean. Chic.

Here’s to a warm bath, a cup of tea, and a fresh perspective.

Xoxo, Cher

Valentine's flowers.jpg__PID:64ab1ca2-983c-4d8d-8fa7-4446ff758aec

*My husband has an alert go off in his phone around this time, which has been helpful ha.

**Other than a hellish week when she was 4 months old that my husband and I both had some kind of stomach flu/food poisoning. That is a story for another time.

***Abbreviation for my daughter’s name.

****At least to me.

*****Admittedly tearing up is pretty easy for me. I find when you are actually living in the moment and/or experiencing something with someone in empathy, it’s not hard to be filled with the weight or the beauty. The longer you live, the more you experience, the wiser you become, the easier it is.

^Image of Valentine’s flowers my husband got me when I was still feeling under the weather. They opened up a few days later to be even prettier :)

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and nothing in my newsletter is meant to constitute or substitute for medical advice. I am sharing my personal experiences with hope that it is helpful, and for general informational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. FORK & MELON and its affiliates shall not be liable for any information provided here. Always seek the help of a medical professional for your individual health needs!

Please note, any products I share are things I actually use and/or are genuine recommendations of mine. I may earn some money if you purchase through one of the links above. If you enjoy this newsletter and decide to purchase one of the items- using my links helps to support the continuation of this newsletter at no cost to you, so please use them! :)

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