Wow, we come home from a great vacation in Gatlinburg, TN to record heat. Today it was 109 degrees - a new record high temperature for us. And it's not just us here in central SC - I hear a lot of the eastern part of the country is under heat advisories for weather just like this.
Fortunately, 100+ degree weather isn't too strange to us around these parts. Truth be told, this year's heat wave came late, considering that we were breaking the century mark in May and early June over the past couple of years. So naturally we know what to do when it gets hot. The weather forecasters have given you their tips: Stay indoors, wear light colored clothing, limit exercise, stay hydrated, limit or avoid alcohol intake - these are all great tips. But I have a few more that I've picked up over the years that might not only help you keep cool, but keep those power bills from shooting up with the mercury in the thermemoter:
1. Keep your blinds/shades closed, and if you have curtains, close them. A lot of people raised their eyebrows at us when we put up dark colored panels in our master bedroom and the other front rooms in our house, until the next summer when they saw how good those dark panels are at keeping heat out and cool in.
2. Electronics and appliances put off a lot of heat, so you might want to limit use of them. The biggest culprits are ovens, dryers, and computers. Consider preparing meals that take a bit less time in the oven or on the stovetop. Only run full loads of laundry and dishes. Use cooling mats for laptops. Consider skipping the surround sound system when you watch television during the day at least.
3. Use fans, but only in rooms that you're in. Fans work to help evaporate moisture in your skin as well as to circulate air, which means they don't do much good if you aren't in the room with them. So only use fans in the rooms you're using.
4. Turn off the lights! Only turn on lights in rooms you're in, and try to use as few as possible. You might think a light bulb can't put off much heat, until you try to change one that was just on. Yea, those suckers can indeed get hot.
5. Those sun shades you see in cars might not look extremely fashionable, but they work. If you park outside for any length of time at all, get one and use it. Also, crack your windows or open your sun room to let air circulate and prevent your car from becoming a sauna (and potentially busting a window, which can happen if too much hot air gets trapped in there and can't get out).
6. Stick to indoor activities. I know it's tempting to head for the pool or the water park on extremely hot days, but that fun in the sun can wear you out. Consider seeing a movie or heading to an indoor shopping complex instead. Or better yet, just stay home. Read a book, do arts and craft projects, play a game, watch a DVD and make microwave popcorn, call a friend on the telephone - just stay in the AC.
7. Skip the sneakers and socks. Wear sandals or slide on shoes that you can wear without socks. And put baby powder on your feet to keep them dry and cool. If your feet are cool, it will be easier for you to cool off. I'm not sure why this is, but someone gave me this tip in high school and it works. It also works in reverse too - when it gets extremely cold this winter, put away the flip flops and put on socks.
8. Consider cool meals and snacks. Salads, ice cream, popcicles, watermelon, pineapple, cantelope - you can even stick apples in the refridgerator and they make good, cool snacks.
9. Take it slower. When the nighttime lows are above 70 degrees, it doesn't give your body or the environment time to rebound. That means that you're more prone to exhaustion and heat related problems. Your body is busy enough trying to stay cool, so what you normally do could put more strain on you than you realize. This is why the meterologists tell you to make sure you stay hydrated and to limit exercise when it gets extremely hot. I usually cut back my treadmill time and try to space out my housework more so I'm not pushing myself as hard as I usually do when it gets extremely hot. Likewise, you might want to try to get more sleep too.
10. I know you've been told this, but PLEASE bring in your pets and make sure they have plenty of cool, fresh water. If you're hot, imagine how they feel with feather/fur coats on! And animals can't sweat to cool off, so they usually have to adapt in other ways like drinking more or immercing themselves in water. Come to think of it, Chloe wasn't as disagreeable about her shower tonight as she usually is and she isn't pouting as much either ...
So there are a few more tips from a native southerner on how to adapt to the heat. Because I don't care what they say - you can't really beat it. I've tried for almost 37 years anyway and I obviously haven't won that battle or we all wouldn't be cooking these days. But I've learned to adapt, and I hope sharing some of what I've learned can help you adapt as well.
Happy Friday to you. Have a great weekend.
I wanted to let you know that there have been other things going on in life besides the book contracts. Yes, life marches on no matter what's going on. Here's an update:
The first bit of news isn't good, I fear. You know that we lost a friend at church to cancer a couple of weeks ago and in fact, it was nearly a year to the day after I lost a coworker to the same kind of cancer. Well, we found out that a third friend that's battling cancer has taken a drastic downhill turn. Her's is lung cancer and well, it's spread to her brain and they've given her 3-6 weeks. We're absolutely floored, because for a while she was actually improving and the tumors were shrinking. Or so we were told. Turns out, she wasn't being completely honest with any of us about her true condition. We believe it's because she wasn't being completely honest with herself. There's been speculation that she didn't fully comprehend the severity of her situation.
I don't even know what to say at this interlude. I've seen two people die and now it looks like a third heading down the same road. To say that I'm tired of seeing good people suffer seems to be a pretty obvious point. But one thing they've all had in common was that they have fought to the very end. So the point, it seems to me, is that every battle isn't won - but you fight nonetheless. Because if you don't fight, hope is gone and you're dead already (spiritually, anyway). But as long as you fight, there's hope whether the battle ends in victory or defeat.
That may or may not make sense but a second thing I've learned does, and that's how important it is to live. There are too many people satisfied with accepting mediocrity and bad things in their life, and if there's one thing I've seen in these three ladies, it's that this isn't how we're supposed to live. While we live, this is OUR WORLD. We need to live life to the fullest: To take advantage of every opportunity, enjoy everything we can, defeat what discourages or holds us back, and just get out there and DO STUFF.
So there you have it. My take on death and dying these days. And by the way, the reaper can quit touching people I know anytime and that will be a-ok.
Moving on ...
I think my cold is clearing up. Thank God, too, because I really didn't want to go on antibiotics. I don't like them.
The roses are doing very well, which is pretty amazing given the soaring heat around here. Then again, we water them every day.
I finally took off the purple nail polish and have replaced it with pink. I have some meetings coming up, and I figured going conventional would throw people off. But don't worry. The purple polish will be back.
Here's one you may or may not believe. Last week, the principal at the school where they found Ollie a year ago had the nerve to ask for him back. Can you believe that? And she didn't even remember his name, just said she wanted the bird back. Rick said no. While she forgot Ollie for the past year we have loved him, housed him, fed him, and otherwise spoiled him. This is his home. She's bought an iPad and a 50 inch TV. I think she can spring $20.00 for her own darn bird.
I'm finding that I understand baseball a bit better this year. But those players are so skinny. Do they feed them? Rick says they probably sweat it off playing in this terrible heat.
My parents just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. Congratulations! And so you'll know, my brother is 41 and I'm 35.
My mother-in-law told Rick she'd like to get to know me better. Um, we've been married 13 years. A bit late on the uptake, don't you think? And gee, look at the timing of that one too. The day after I sign a second book contract. I will let this one go without further comment.
Ok, that's all the fun happening in my corner of the galaxy. I hope you're doing well and that the new week is a good one.
I can't believe it: I twisted my ankle on the treadmill again. The last time I did this was almost 2 years ago, and I wound out with a sprain. Darn if it isn't the same ankle, in the same place, again.
I must either be clumsy, a special kind of idiot, or a little bit of both!But on the bright side, at least it's not the wrist. I got tendinitis in my right wrist a year ago. The sprained ankle hurt more, but the tendinitis in the arm was a lot more inconveient. Between my day job in professional licensing and my writing, I type a lot. That arm injury put me to a lot more trouble than dragging around a bum ankle did.
Ok, truth is that any injury is inconvenient. I guess the wrist injury just threatened me more psychologically because so much of my life depends on typing. Anyway, I'll pray it's not sprained and will heal quickly and make do until it quits pinching/aching.
In other news, I typically do my big, super duper season finale round up in my blog this time each year, but this year it won't be so big because, well, I didn't watch much TV. I guess between the mind-blowing changes of a new jobs and the in-laws moving, writing a novel, researching publishing and then promotion once I got the contract for Anywhere But Here, and Rick working on the church website, we just didn't tune it to much this season. In fact, all we really watched were our normal shows: Smallville and Supernatural. So here goes with my take on those shows:
Smallville - the final season was a good one, although I feel they really should have played up the Justice Society a lot more than they did. Still, they squeezed a lot in, and there's no denying that the finale was epic. I'd go so far to say that's the best finale I've ever seen - so well done. This show had it's ups and downs over it's 10 year run, but overall I say well done. I'm going to miss it.
Supernatural - not as good as the previous 5 years. I can't say I was overly enthusiastic about the turn they took towards creatures this season. It would seem to me that averting the Apocolypse would have bigger ramifications on the sides of angels and demons than we saw. Indeed, they built up to that late in the season, but I believe that's a story line they could have played all season, if they wanted. I also can't help but wonder if they couldn't have done more with the whole purgatory thing. I knew all along that the wall in Sam's head would come crashing down, but they did surprise me in how it happened, and that finale did not end the way I expected at all. So overall I was not as impressed with this season, but I do see potential for development next season. I would say to them to use it wisely.
Now I ask the question I ask every year this time: What am I going to do now that everything is in reruns for the summer? I should be hearing from my publisher on Anywhere But Here in the next month, so I expect that ball will be rolling this summer. More reading, of course, and more researching on improving my writing and promoting it. Hopefully this writer's block will life and I'll be able to get back to writing short stories like I planned this summer. And, of course, we have Netflix - so between that and a summer of super hero movies, I imagine I will be well entertained in the coming months (if Thor is any indication, amazing stories and special effects will rule this summer!). I don't believe there's any chance of me being bored during this long, hot summer - which, by the way, has already started. It was 97 degrees today. No joke! And forecast to be more of the same through mid week. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, summer has hit the Southeast U.S. whether we're ready or not!
That's all for this time. I hope you have a great week and will try to check in again soon. Take care and stay cool!
Hi all; I hope you're doing well and off to a great start to the week. Well, summer's here. Oh, I know the calendar says not for over a month, but here in the South, it's summer. How can I tell? The obvious signs, of course!
1. It's hot, plain and simple. Highs in the 80's. Lows in the 50's - 60's. Time for sunshades in cars and AC on day and night.
2. We have to run the sprinklers again. Significant rain stops in May and starts again around November. Sure, we get occasional wrath-of-God thunderstorms, but it's never enough rainfall to save you from sprinkler duty for long!
3. Days are longer. Light lingers in the sky until after 8PM.
4. Season finale's of TV shows start running this week. (I still can't believe Smallville is running their last episode Friday!)
5. Pack up the socks and polish the toenails! Every day is sandal day now.
6. Nature is singing - the roses are blooming and the birds are eating like crazy (wild and domestic, but please don't tell Chloe I put it in such an "undignified" way!).
7. Rick wants ice cream in the freezer at all times.
8. Standardized testing at the schools!
9. Big movie releases every Friday.
10. Writer's block! My muse has slacked off, thereby signaling the end of the winter writing blitz.
Hey, everybody's definition of summer is different and this is mine. It might be a bit early, but I don't see the harm in starting it a bit early. Why not? All signs point to the summer pattern starting now. Let's hope it's a good one. And not too many 100+ degree days this year!