What do you see in this rock?
I went to high school in Alexandria, Virginia (Remember the Titans) and we had no air conditioning. I had the upstairs bedroom in front of the house. We were on the road that had the bridge over the train tracks, so we got every ambulance, fire truck and police car sirening from one part of town to the other. b
I live on a “busy” street. When the realtor warned me it was “busy”, I thought, well, not like Alexandria. No gun shots in the house a block over, at least not often. I used to hear the helicoptors landing at the hospital four blocks away, but now that I am not on call, my brain dismisses that as a “not worrisome” noise.
So here are my tricks to stay cool.
- Get a bandana or headband wet with cold water. Wrap it around your head. Keep wetting it as needed.
- If you are going outside, put a hat over the bandana or headband. If it is a straw hat, you can wet it too. Ditto wool.
- Stick your feet in cold water.
- Fountains make sounds that make you feel cooler. Find a website with a stream or water sounds. Let it play.
- Drink lots of water.
- Salt. Now, if you have high blood pressure or heart disease or congestive heart failure, be really careful. My symptom of being too low in salt is feeling nauseated and a bit off and woozy. Those are professional doctor terms, ok? I bought 5 kinds of chips yesterday, beer, seltzer (no sugar) and ice.
- Do NOT drink sodas to cool off. Most sodas have salt hidden under the sugar. Screw up your hypertension and the congestive heart disease. Oh, and kidney disease and some liver things. Hey, talk to your doctor. They will say “Do not drink sodas. They are the EVIL dwelling on earth.” Well, ok, your doctor might not say the second sentence. I said stuff like that.
- Get ice, put it in a cooler, and put in water, maybe beer if you are healthy enough, (go light on the beer. Max seven drinks weekly for women, fourteen for men, and no saving it up for the weekend. The recommendations are different in the UK and different again in Europe. Who is right? Science is a moving target. It is never DONE. Dang ol science. Just give us the stupid finished book so we can stop arguing about it all…. heh. The truth is, we’d argue about something else.) go light on juice (because sugar), cut the juice in half with seltzer or better yet just drink the seltzer. Now, seltzer has salt again, so all those people who has to watch salt intake… oh, shoot, that is everyone. I drank one beer yesterday and one seltzer and a lot of water and in the morning tea.
- Consider sleeping outside. It’s cooler here once it cools off! Alexandria, Virginia didn’t cool off. It would be 98% humidity and 98 degrees. So HOW did I sleep in that?
- Take a wet washcloth to bed. Wipe down your arms and face. Get your hair wet right before bed if you need to. Put a towel on your pillow. That, plus a fan blowing over me from the open window, and I could sleep, even in 99 degree weather with 98% humidity.
- Water animals, plants and don’t forget your trees. I’ve been watering the trees in the early morning and the lichen on the trunks turns BRIGHT GREEN when I do. Happy lichen. I am watering the leaves of everything in the garden in the early morning, to try to help the plants stay cool. Evaporation helps them too.
- Take heat stroke seriously. If someone with you stops making sense, then think about an ambulance and do not let them drive. If the core temperature gets too high, people can die, and they are too goofy to drink water. It also can be damn hard to put an iv into someone dehydrated so call early rather than late. Take care!
- Curtains. Shut the curtains to the east in the morning. Open them and shut the ones to the south at noon. Open them and shut the ones to the west in the afternoon.
Ok, so I put some rocks in the Beatnik bathtub fountain so that if a mouse falls in, it has somewhere to climb out. Then I went to QFC looking for a sprinkler. I would be hobbling through the sprinkler, but it’s still very cooling. They were out. However, I found fish. Squirt fish. They promptly went in the fountain.
And for music for Juneteenth: Nina Simone Mississippi Goddamn.
…..I keep thinking of new ways to nearly strangle myself. I keep thinking that I have hung up the oxygen tubing on every possible thing I could hang it up on. But no, this was a new one. At least with this one I did not lock my car keys in the car. And even if I did, I can take the nasal cannula off. There is that moment of panic: AUGH I AM TRAPPED, but I am not really.
Today’s blog is especially for B who is not trapped.
Have a wonderful Saturday.
Qia is in her first year of college, 1200 miles from home. She joins the ski team, hoping to ski. There really aren’t mountains in Wisconsin. They are hills. She doesn’t have a car so she has to get rides to the ski hill. She does get demo skis, because she is on the team. It’s mostly guys, a few women. The guys chug a beer at the top of each run. The runs are ice after the first time down. It is very poorly lit and very cold. Qia is afraid of the ice and the guys and the drinking.
At Christmas she goes home, to Virginia. She really wants ski pants, she tells her mother. She is cold. She is still skiing in spite of the drinking and the scary guys and the ice. They yell at her to go faster but she goes the speed where she will not die. It doesn’t matter anyhow. She goes to a formal race and they have three foot tall trophies for the boys and nothing, not even a ribbon, for the women.
At home, her father is laughing. He is giggling, silly. He doesn’t make any sense. He gives Qia the creeps. Her mother sails along like nothing is wrong. Qia’s little sister has gone from the extroverted life of the party to locked down so hard that her eyes are stones. Fungk, thinks Qia.
Her father loses his down jacket, leaving it somewhere. Then he borrows her mothers and loses it too. Qia’s sister has out grown hers. On Christmas morning there are two down jackets and a pair of ski pants.
The ski pants are two sizes too small. Her father laughs. The down jackets are the ugliest colors, cheaply made, junk. Qia watches her mother and sister try to smile.
Qia leaves the ski pants and returns to Wisconsin. She gets a spider bite. It spreads. She goes to the doctor. He gives a laugh of relief and says it is shingles. He has to explain what shingles is. “It either means you are very run down or have severe stress.” Qia laughs. Worst Christmas of her life so far.
She realizes the problem. Her father has been abducted by fairies and a changeling put in his place. She reads everything she can find about changelings. Adult changelings are rare but not unknown. She pulls out every stop on top of her heavy schedule to learn about how to fight fairies. She can’t afford to hire a fighter. She finds an iron sword at a second hand shop. She hangs around the gyms and watches the fairy fighters fight. She goes home and practices every move. She collects herbs.
She sets things up before spring break. She arrives home and asks her mother and sister to go with her to a specialist in changelings and fighting fairies. Qia is sad but confident. Her mother and sister both cry after watching the movie about the behavior of changelings. Qia asks her mother and sister to help her.
They both refuse.
Qia can’t understand it. But she has studied and read the books. She will do it alone.
She meets with her father. She tells him how awful and frightening Christmas was. She tells him how ashamed and scared she was. She reads him a letter that her sister wrote to her, emotionless, about having to watch him when he is curled in a fetal ball at the top of the stairs. Her mother asked her sister to watch him, so he wouldn’t hurt himself. Her sister says that she wanted to go out with her friends. Her sister is in tenth grade.
Her father doesn’t say a word.
Qia begs him to tell her the key. The word that will open the portal. She shows him the sword and lists all of her herbs and describes her training. She tells him that after she defeats the fairies he will go home and her real father will be returned. She says that she knows he isn’t happy here, with mortals.
He doesn’t say a word to her for the rest of spring break. Her mother and sister do not say a word about it either. Her father drinks more heavily. Qia returns to college.
Qia refuses to come home for the summer. She stays in Wisconsin. She does not want to be around any of them.
Her sister is three years younger. Qia wishes that she could scoop her up and take her to Wisconsin. Qia frets and is in pain. Qia’s second year starts and her sister is in eleventh grade.
Qia’s mother calls. Qia’s sister is on her way. 3000 miles away. “At the last minute, C invited her to live with them in Seattle.” says Qia’s mother. “C was leaving the next day. Your sister decided and went with her. It’s a relief because your sister was getting A’s on tests but refusing to turn in homework, so overall she was getting D’s. ” Qia is relieved. C and S have a son named after her father. He is younger than her sister. Qia also has a cousin 6 years older who lived with C and S and still lives in Seattle. Qia wishes her little sister the best.
Years later, after her mother has died, Qia asks her father about it. By now her father is back and the changeling is gone. I was angry, says her father. But your sister was getting into lots of trouble. Really bad trouble. What could I do, locked in fairyland. He does not go into what Qia’s sister was doing.
And after her father dies, Qia finds a letter. The letter is from C to her mother. It is talking about her sister going to live with C and S. My mother lied to me, thinks Qia. I am not surprised. I wonder why she lied to me. Qia thinks it is probably because her mother set it up with C and did not tell her sister. Qia thinks that her mother lied to her sister. Qia thinks how much that would have hurt her sister: that her mother chose the changeling over her. Her sister would have been terribly hurt and angry.
But so many are dead, what does it matter? Qia’s mother is dead. Her father is dead. Her sister is dead. C’s son is longest dead. S is dead. Even the changeling is dead. Friends in fairyland let Qia know. Actually, Qia and C are the only ones left living.
C did not lie to Qia or her sister directly. She let Qia’s mother do the lying.
Qia does not talk to C again.
Qia is tired of liars.
This is not a story about fairies. It is about alcohol or any addiction. We must support families, because the whole family becomes ill. Triangulation, lies, competition, enabling. In my maternal family, the enablers die before the enablees. I have chosen to leave the system and I refuse to be either an enabler or enablee. If you are in that sort of system, you may find that the family resists you leaving and tries to draw you back in to it. When you do finally succeed in leaving, there will be a strong reaction. When the pirahnas run out of food, they eat each other. Stand back and don’t get drawn back in. The newest victim will need to make their own decision to stay or leave.
Do you know the round?
Spring would be a dreary season
If twere nothing else but spring
would be a deary season….
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: awakening.
After my sister died, I eventually got a box from her home.
People were cleaning it out. My cousin Ko, my friend Caroline, other friends.
Among other things, they sent part of her yarn stash.
What they sent me was the very very fine yarn and the fuzzy yarn. The mohair.
Oh gosh, I thought, they sent me the toughest yarn.
Well, as part of the dealing with the ADHD/OCD antibody annoyance, which makes me wired while the OTHER antibodies make me physically not able to do much, what am I doing?
Sorting my yarn stash, for one. I have a LOT of that lovely fuzzy soft superfine mohair and other superfine yarns. It is tricky to work with because the fine needles are hard on the hands and because if you screw up, it’s hard to take it out. I know some of the tricks: freezing the sweater is one. It makes it easier for the fibers to untangle.
I’ve also been sorting the knitting books and magazines. I have more books. My mother gave me a whole hardcover book on edges and casting on. I’ve used it twice so far. But now I am home, buzzing with antibodies (yeah, sometimes it feels like ants or bees or pins. On the inside.) and so: knit.
And lo, I find this book. Fine knitting. It even has a mohair t-shirt pattern! Awesome, I am going to be knitting up some of my sister’s mohair. Wonderful. I think she’d approve. Also, I plan to be just as glam and sultry as the woman on the cover, heh.
I think I’ll submit this to the Ragtag Daily Prompt: Country Comfort.
I love this gorgeous piece of music: Over the Rhine’s Let it fall.
Happy Easter Sunday.