Serve your water "cool" ~ thanks for sharing this, Gibby.  (All photographs by Marylin Warner)

Serve your water “cool” ~ thanks for sharing this, Gibby. (All photographs by Marylin Warner)




Hydrate your skin from the outside in with a brisk winter swim.

Hydrate your skin from the outside in with a brisk winter swim.


It’s that time of year, at least in Colorado. Outside, the water is ice and snow. Inside, it’s hot: for coffee, tea, and showers. Borrowing from last week’s post, we’ll just say this is H2O multi-tasking.

My mother was the poster girl for drinking plenty of water. When she was working with my dad at the dealership, or at home as she ironed, cooked, cleaned, gardened, sewed or worked on her writing, she always had a glass of ice water nearby. She wasn’t a coffee drinker, but she drank hot tea. One of her favorite quotes about the strength of women and tea was by Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a tea bag ~ you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

Now Mom is 96 and has advanced dementia, so it takes some coaxing to get her to drink enough water, Ensure or juice. For the rest of us, this post is a tribute to water and a reminder to drink plenty of it.

Isak Denisen (pen name for author Karen Blixen, best known for OUT OF AFRICA), said, “The cure for anything is salt water…sweat, tears, or the sea,” referring to hard work, healthy crying, and being close to the rhythms of the ocean.   Today many doctors advise drinking a glass of water (pure, not salt) before taking a shower or bath to regulate blood pressure, and a glass of water before going to bed to lessen the chance of a stroke of heart attack.

English Romantic poet John Keats, who was more influential and highly regarded after his death, asked that only a one-sentence epitaph be engraved on his headstone: “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.”   And Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, wrote “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” Both are good reminders.

My mother’s favorite water quote was by Eleanor Roosevelt, but I think she also would have enjoyed author Barbara Kingsolver’s advice: “Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.”

I can imagine my mom going through this routine, shaking her head like a dog shaking off cold water, laughing and saying, “Be still, imperious voice!” She’s never been a fan of arrogant or domineering attitudes, and in her mind she would have dosed them with cold water.

Snow: water waiting for its turn.

Snow: water waiting for its turn.

PEO snowy creek



Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, special quotations

74 responses to “WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE…

  1. It’s another case of your Mom being 50 tears ahead of her time .This time with detoxifying so all the rage these days.
    To be honest, I too can here your Mom saying “Be still imperious voice” with a huge smile since from all I’ve read that’s the last thing she’s likely to have had.
    Have a Great Weekend Marylin.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  2. My niece who is visiting me from Germany and I like the Eleonor Rosevelt quote the best., I always carry my own tea bags wherever I go. But I have to say that the older I get the less I like to drink. Just like David said, your mom was ahead of her times. I would have loved to shared some tea with her.

    • And she would have loved the recipes you’ve posted on your blog, Gerlinde. Especially the desserts. You and she would have baked up a storm and laughed over cups of tea.
      I’m glad you and your niece both liked that quote.

  3. Lovely post Marylin. My mother too had Alzheimer’s for several years towards the end of her life. She drank a lot of water but also drank tea. This is a very cruel way to end a productive, long life.

    • I’m sorry, Judith. It is a cruel ending, but so far my mother’s dementia hasn’t been as hard as my father’s Alzheimer’s was. Overall, even though my mom rarely knows exactly who or where she is, she’s still usually her calm, patient ad sweet self, and I’m grateful for that.

  4. Pingback: My Name is Jane | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

  5. Beautiful train of thought. One thing I don’t understand, though, is why you Americans always have to drink water ice cold 😊

    • I’m don’t think all Americans do, but my mother kept her glass filled with ice cubes, or she kept it in a pitcher in the refrigerator. And the older I get, the less I like to drink room-temp water; I like either very cold or very hot, for making tea or coffee. Do you not like very cold water?

      • Not really – unless it’s an extremely hot day, Sorry, I was generalising from my American friends and visits to the States, where I’ve always been given a glass of ice with a bit of water to fill the spaces between the ice cubes!

      • I like your description: a glass of ice with a bit of water to fill the spaces between the ice cubes. 😉

  6. Water is so important to our well being. Some great tips here. I love the idea of shaking like a wet dog. They always look so happy after a good shake so perhaps it would work for us too. I will try it. BTW my mother drinks a lot of water too and some tea. My Great Aunt Barbara, who lived to be 95 with sound mind and body to the end, only drank hot water with a slice of lemon.

    • That’s interesting, Darlene. Did your aunt ever say why she only liked hot water?
      I love Kingsolver’s advice and the image of a wet, shaking dog. I did try this, and it does a pretty good job of loosening up tension in my shoulders. Before the dementia, my mother was so good at pressure points on the feet; she could relieve one of my dad’s sinus headaches just by working on his feet.

      • Everyone else was having tea or coffee, a hot drink, so she just had hot water and lemon. This was on the prairies so hot drinks were the usual, even in the summer.

  7. Don

    Well Marylin, you have made me feel a lot better about that glass of water I have every night before I go to bed. I just drink it because I enjoy doing so. Didn’t know it had that effect on you. Thank you.

    • Excellent, Don! I was surprised to find this advice about drinking water at certain times in several different magazines, and a doctor spoke during the medical segment on a news program and said the same thing. So you were doing on your own what they all were suggesting.

  8. Some great quotes here too!!

  9. I love your mother’s favorite quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. For me, drinking a big glass of ice water in the morning has the same effect as caffeine. I only drink water, coffee and tea. Even when I was a child, I drank a ton of water. I’m one of those rare people who loves it. 🙂

    • Oh, I wish I could say the same thing, Jill. As children, my brother and I weren’t allowed to drink soft drinks except on special occasions, but I wasn’t a big fan of drinking water instead. I loved milk–and this was before people served skim milk instead of whole milk–but also iced tea. In our neighborhood, some of the mothers made a lot of Kool-Aid or lemonade mix, and I thought that was great.
      But now I agree with you about the benefits of drinking a glass of water; when I need to perk up or feel hungry, ice water really helps.

  10. What a splendidly memorable quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. In the form of a simile it’s easy to remember.
    I have a friend who has a ribbon of beads attached to the frig with a magnet. Like a rosary, she moves a bead almost religiously from one side to the other keeping track of her water intake each day. Funny, I think that this is such a great idea but haven’t done it yet myself.

    • Wow. The ribbon of beads is a great idea, Georgette. I have a friend who keeps 6 water bottles in her refrigerator and her day isn’t complete until they’re all empty, but the beads have a certain charm.
      I think Eleanor Roosevelt knew about the challenges women face and how strong they can be. It’s a quote to remember.

  11. Your literary bites on water are choice, as always, Marylin. I do remember the ones by John Keats and Eleanor Roosevelt, of course, but Barbara Kingsolver’s is new to me. I’ll add it to my stockpile of quotes too and try to practice what it preaches. (Ouch, my aching back and neck!)

    Love all the photos, especially the first one of water cooler which reminds me of an aqua-tic Mrs. Potato Head.

    • The water cooler is so much fun, Marian. And you would love my friend’s entire kitchen and dining room. She has wonderful tea pots and cups, and she makes the most wonderful teas. 🙂
      Let me know what you think after you try the ‘wet-dog’ shake. I took it easy with the head shaking, but it worked pretty well with the shoulders and waist.

  12. Wonderful post Marylin…such a graceful representation for the importance of drinking water. I love the quotes your present in your post. The phrase “Be still, imperious voice!” especially resonates with me. Have a wonderful weekend my friend!

  13. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Love the thought that snow is water waiting its turn. There’s a lot of waiting going on in my yard!

    • This has been quite the winter for Colorado, hasn’t it, Nancy? But we won’t be complaining when it all melts and we have plenty of water. We have a hill of snow in our back yard, but then I watch the news of homes back East with sagging rooflines and still more snow predicted, and ours doesn’t seem like so much.

  14. juliabarrett

    Your mother’s wisdom. In this she and my father agree. Water. Except my dad always says – water water everywhere and not a drop to drink.
    I’m a tea drinker like your mom. 🙂

    • I almost quoted some of the lines from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Julia, but it makes me kind of nervous, the last part “…and not a drop to drink…” because there are more and more questions about where there is water safe enough and plentiful to drink.
      When my parents could still live at home, whenever I visited I brought my own coffee. Mom and Dad drank only tea, and herbal tea in the morning instead of coffee didn’t do much for me. 😉

  15. I am so glad you shared these water quotes, especially since I had heard the tea saying but never knew it came from Eleanor Roosevelt. I also enjoy that you mentioned Isak Dinesen’s real name, Marylin. I have used her as one of several women who chose to take a man’s name to get published before. This quote of her ‘cure’ for all is salt water, made me think of how it would be so nice to sink my toes into hot sand and then cool off in salt water of the ocean.

    • I once heard that she had several pseudonyms, Robin, but the only one I’ve ever been sure of was Isak Dinesen, and OUT OF AFRICA is a favorite of mine. Mary Ann Evans’ George Eliot and Karen Blixen’s Isak Dinesen wrote some wonderful books, but early on in Dean Koontz’s career he supposedly used some pseudonyms, including at least one female name, so I guess it works both ways? 😉

  16. I am so impressed by the wisdom you continue to give through your mother’s experiences and sayings as well as the quotes your provide from those we admire. Love all the water quotes.

    I wish I liked to drink water. I think my skin would be better but I’m like my mother, who didn’t and lived to be 96. Come to think of it, she had gorgeous skin. I don’t recall her ever drinking a glass of it, so not sure about it all.

    I read somewhere recently that the idea of drinking five to six glasses a day is no longer considered necessary but who knows. I’m assuming I get my quota through fruit, coffee, tea and vegetables. Does wine count? I like a half glass with dinner.

    My dad though loved water. He would pour himself a glassful from the tap, drink, and smack his lips. “Ah, sink cola,” he’d say. Thanks for triggering the memory. 🙂

    • When my mother drank milk, Diana, she used to love buttermilk! No one else in our family liked it–except when she baked buttermilk biscuits–but she would drink down a full glass and say how good it was. 😦
      Remember when the recommended amount was 8-10 glasses of water each day? I can’t drink that much, but I do usually drink at least 4-5, and I love your dad’s “sink cola.”
      I’m not an authority, Diana, but in my opinion, your glass of wine does count…for several good reasons. 😉

  17. The Chinese are great water drinkers, usually hot water. It is my wife’s standard drink, wherever we go. I have adopted the habit to some extent but still like my morning tea. Water seems to cleanse the inner self. I like the Eleanor Roosevelt quote.

    • I just finished the novel GHOST BRIDE, Andrew, and among the many things I learned about Chinese customs and traditions is the drinking of hot water. It makes sense, especially in the case of boiling water and then letting it cool just enough to drink. Seems like a good way to get purer water.
      Does your wife say how she started drinking hot water as her standard drink?

  18. Jim

    There is also research that recommends drinking a glass of water when one first wakes up in the morning because that is frequently when a heart attack happens. I am thinking we all could start drinking water 24-7 and put the heart doctors out of business. (Just satirizing research studies. Don’t mean to minimize the difficulties of those suffering from heart disease.)

    I love the pine-cone-under-snow picture. The forest is never out-of-season.

    • Okay, honey, let’s try it! For one week, we’ll drink only water…er, water with coffee sometimes, okay? 😉
      But really, it is something we could try. Maybe for 3 days?

  19. Claudia

    One more timely post for me as I shed tears this week to some bad news.
    It is snowing, snowing here today. Tomorrow the forecast holds sleet. We have what we need…and I have books! So still we wait for spring and tomorrow’s March 1st is not going to be it! Ha, ha. Snow in Colorado too still I guess.

    • This has been a LOT of snow, even for Colorado. Not as much as back East, though, so we can’t complain.
      I’m sorry about your bad news this week, Claudia. And the sunless days of snow and more snow don’t help much. But you’re right; you have what you need…and books. I hope you have some great books and you can curl up under a quilt, drink some hot chocolate, and immerse yourself in a great story.

  20. Marilyn … Your photo of the ducks looks like they’re loving the water. But I remain unconvinced. This morning, I watched white pelicans – must be visiting snow birds – shivering in our pond. I don’t think I’ll be taking an icy dip any time soon. I will however, follow your advice to drink more water. 😉

    • I took that picture last week, Judy, near the Garden of the Gods on the westside of Colorado Springs. It was an amazing day of blowing snow, and I was bundled up and taking a slow and careful walk. I came up on these ducks having a terrific time. I couldn’t believe it–ice had formed around the edges of the pond!–and the ducks seemed to be loving it. So I dug my camera out of my jacket and tried to capture the moment.
      Yes, Judy, drink more water, and so will I. Or we could do what Diana Stevan asked to do, and drink more wine! 🙂

  21. Water – also known, apparently, as Adam’s Ale. I like that!

  22. Hi Marylin, I am a big fan of water. I am taking a twice weekly swim class, I love big glasses of cold water (like your mom, with ice cubes), and I’m headed for the beach (finally!) this coming weekend with my mother and two sisters.
    Here’s to us water lovers-
    xo Joanne

    • You are a water lover, Joanne! 🙂
      I was in a water aerobics class years ago. I loved it and felt so good, but my skin didn’t love it. The rash came from the chlorine in the water, so I had to stop.
      Have fun at the beach with your mother and sisters!

  23. Marylin, love the water cooler photo. As always, your mom was way ahead of the times. I try to drink a lot of water and I prefer room temperature. Love Roosevelt’s quote and all the others are wonderful too. 🙂

    • Thanks, Tracy. It’s difficult to get Mom to drink enough water–or any fluids, actually–but all the years of drinking LOTS of water must have done their job since she’s 96 now and holding on. The quote was one of her favorites. Sometimes when she was making tea, she’d repeat the quote and laugh and comment about how correct Eleanor R. was.

  24. I remember trying to get my middle son Nicky to drink water but he always said it tasted ‘funny’. Then, years later, we watched the movie ‘Signs’ with Mel Gibson and the little girl had the same ‘thing’ about water, leaving untouched glasses of it all over the house and saying it was ‘dirty’. It turned out that those glasses of water saved the day as they contained bacteria that while harmless to humans, killed the invading aliens. Or something like that! Lovely image of your mom saying ‘Be still imperious voice’ while shaking invisible water off like a dog. I will give that a try! And great tips about when to drink it too. You know how much I love my tea Marylin, but I do try to drink water too, but not as much as I should. And I remember you saying about the coffee too so I make sure to drink that in the morning! Lovely snow pics. Hope spring arrives for you soon and that you have a wonderful week my friend 🙂

    • And a wonderful week for you, too, dear Sherri. I’m driving to see my mom tomorrow–this is hoping the weather cooperates–and I’m taking flowers and cupcakes! These seem to be the only “sure things” she enjoys. Plus I’ll take along the usual books of children’s poetry.

  25. Water, my favourite element Marilyn 🙂 lovely and interesting post. I had no idea water regulated blood pressure but it certainly makes perfect sense. I begin my day with a drink of hot water and a slice of lemon. No tea or coffee – that is for late afternoon. I also prefer living near the sea or a large body of water – years of living under drought conditions does that to a person 😉

  26. If I waited until late afternoon to drink my coffee, Yolanda, I’d be up until very late before I could go to sleep. But my parents both used to drink hot water with lemon squeezed in it each evening. My dad said it just seemed to make them feel fetter.
    While you prefer living near water, I like living near the mountains where I see the peaks every morning. But the best combination is water and mountains! 😉

  27. Oh, precious water! We had a bit of rain over the weekend, but now it’s back to warmth and sunshine. I drink coffee, tea, and water, and the occasional soda (I can’t eat pizza without a Coke). At work, I stick to drinking water all day, which seems to keep me clearheaded. I’ll be thinking of your mother (and Eleanor) when I have my next cup of tea.

    • Oh, Darla, if it weren’t for Mom’s dementia, the three of us would have to get a pizza together. Mom and I both have to have an ice cold Coke with our pizza, too! We’d have to meet halfway between Kansas and California, though… 😉

  28. Jane Thorne

    Much love, like water, flowing to you all and especially to your dear Mum. ❤ xXx

    • Thank you, Jane.
      I’m still smiling at your darling nephew. Little Jasper is so sweet in the recent picture on your blog, looking at the marbles and being so excited, wanting to know if those are his to keep. It’s one of your most touching and charming posts, and all of your posts are winners.

      • Jane Thorne

        Oh Marylin, you are so kind. His mum has sent a recent picture through where Jasper is blowing a kiss to Granny (my Mum) to say ‘thank you’ for a tank top Mum has knitted and posted to him. He’s standing there looking lovely in it with his hand right over his mouth to send loving kisses. So much love pours from him. At Christmas I was cuddling him and he nestled in and wound an arm around my neck to hold on tight. My Emily whispered ‘Ohh Mum’ and I looked as her eyes filled with unshed tears…she then whispered ‘He’s stroking your shoulder’. It’s a moment my heart will never forget as I knew that Emily was remembering me cuddling her as a child. Love, that is all that matters. Much love flowing to you all and your lovely Mum. ❤ Xxxx

      • That is such a touching, sweet remembrance, Jane. There’s nothing better than seeing how the love is passed on to the next generation.
        Jasper is such a precious child, and his question about getting to keep the marbles all for himself was absolutely adorable. I love all the ages, but three is one of my favorites, a delightful combination of emerging independence and open, hopeful innocence.

  29. We don’t say — ‘keep in flow’ — for nothing. Made up mostly of water, we are also soothed and/or invigorated by it. Love the quote of the cure being tears, sweat, or the sea. So true!!

  30. Wow, winterswim, I don’t know if I would be able to do that even when I love swimming.

  31. Hi Marylin!

    Great post! I love the H2O-Multitasking. It is actually true that water is one of the most important resources ever! But even we need it so much you won’t find me taking a swim in icy water – ever. Brrrr 😉

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