29 July 2015

hot, also more hot

Here is how I am dealing with the heat:

Doing things inside my own house as long as the temperature will allow.

Drinking lots of (sparkling) water.


As soon as it gets too hot to have my computer on my lap, leaving the house for air-conditioned errands/tea.

"Yes, but how hot is it really?" T. said, because it is a well-known fact that we in the PNW are whiners about this.

"High of 102," I said, which apparently qualifies as Texas-quality heat, especially since we don't really do air-conditioning in houses here.

It was a myth, though. It's only 95, and the forecast has been adjusted so that the new high is 95 (edit: 97). 95 is a perfectly acceptable temperature in my book. I find that they generally overestimate how hot it's going to get here. (Tomorrow still says 102, and Friday 100.)

(Hi, all I talk about is the heat right now. Well, what can you expect? The rest of my life is top secret, nothing to see here, until the time when it's not. I'll let you know.)

25 July 2015


It's raining, which is nice because it means that I feel no guilt whatsoever about watching Scandal at 11:30 on a Saturday morning.

Last night I went out for the evening. When I left the house, I was wearing two little hexagonal rings that I like to wear together on my middle finger. On the drive, I took them off and set them on my skirt so that I could put some lotion on my hands.

It wasn't until I got home at midnight and was putting my watch and earrings away that I realized that the rings were gone.

This has happened to me before. Two weeks ago, I was talking to an old man who was washing his car on the street (I wanted to know if I could just use dish soap to wash my car or I needed special soap; he told me where to find the good stuff for 1/3 the usual price), and fiddling with my rings. (I'm a fiddler.)

One of them popped away and disappeared, and this old man and his French wife ended up searching the driveway and the street and the grass with me for 20 minutes until we found it.

"You should get them resized," the French woman told me. "I can't take my wedding ring off. It's been on my finger for 33 years, and my knuckle grew as I got older, but I wouldn't want to take it off."

These are $10 brass rings we are talking about. Also, it didn't just fall off my finger. I took it off and messed with it. And I can't imagine how claustrophobic I would feel if I couldn't take these two rings off.

So last night, when I discovered that they were gone, I took my headlamp and went out to the car. I looked on the floor and in the pocket on the door. Nothing. 

I made a snap decision, jumped into the car, and drove back to where I had parked five hours earlier. The only thing I had with me were my keys/wallet (attached to one another) and my headlamp. I was worried, you see, that if I waited until morning, someone would have found one or both of them.

The spot where I had parked my car earlier was empty, so I parked on the other side of the intersection and went back, headlamp in hand.

I found the first one almost immediately. It was just there, in the road, lying next to a hair tie.

It seemed like going at night might have been a mistake, though. It was hard to see anything. 

A woman came up, in the road. "What are you looking for?" she asked.

"Oh, another ring like this," I showed her. "They aren't valuable, but I like them a lot."

"You got any change?" she asked.

"No, I don't think I do," I said.

"I have a flashlight. I'll help you look. Don't worry, girl, we'll find it," she said, and she did. A minute or two later, she found the second one, and we fist-bumped. I gave her the $5 in my wallet. 

"You need to put those rings on a chain, like mine," she said, showing me her necklace.

"They didn't fall off," I told her. "I took them off to put some lotion on my hands and forgot about them."

"We found them, girl! God told me to help people who need help," she said. "Do you want to smoke a cigarette with me?"

I said no thanks, although thinking back, even though I don't smoke, it seems like a moment where smoking a cigarette on a warm summer night in the middle of a dark street might have been just the thing.

21 July 2015

shoulder, now

I... think I did something to my rotator cuff.

It started hurting when I zipped up my dresses. You know, when I reach back over my shoulder? I gradually started to realize that I can't turn my right arm in a full circle without pain. When I lift it out to the side so that my hand is straight up and my elbow is bent at a 90 degree angle, I really feel it. 

I thought it might be a frozen shoulder, but I seem to have full range of motion and then I read something about the rotator cuff and googled a picture of the rotator cuff and yep. That's it. 

I don't know how I could possibly have done something to my rotator cuff. I don't do much but type away at my computer these days. And sleep. And occasionally, I don't know, cook something.

Yesterday, before I read about the rotator cuff thing, I did a bunch of stretches and arm circles to unfreeze my allegedly frozen shoulder.

That was a mistake.

Today I can hardly move my arm. It just nearly fell off / seized up / something when I reached over to  turn on the lamp.

Possibly carrying that watermelon 10 blocks home was also a mistake. I carried it in my left arm, but I had to use my right to support it, and both of my arms are numb now.

I'm probably going to do exactly what I usually do for these types of things: wait and expect it to go away. So far pretty much everything has gone away like that. I do not look forward to the day when my body is old enough that it does not repair itself so well anymore.

I should go eat some vegetables.

19 July 2015


It's hot again. 

I read online that it's been almost two years since my parents' part of the Mitten has been over 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). We've been over 90 degrees F here, oh, 15 days so far this year?

It's to the point where I don't even mind temperatures between 90-95. It's only when it gets above 95 F (35 C) that I even notice. 

It's 97 right now.* 

The houses here are built for neither heat nor cold. I've tried doing that thing where you let the cool night air in and then close the house up during the day, but somehow it still gets hot in there. I mean, really hot. Hotter than it is outside hot.

When my momma was getting ready for her trip here, I kept saying, "But it cools off at night! You can sleep, because it cools off at night!" And this is true. Even last night I pulled up a second layer of covers in the middle of the night. 

But during the day it is hot enough that even I don't want to be outside much. Even me! Even the girl who goes out into the sunshine every chance she gets!

Tea shop it is.

It's hard to really feel hungry in this kind of heat, but I think I drink my day's calories in sugary liquid substances. 


* It's not 97 anymore. I wrote that yesterday and then went off to do things like listen to jazz in a park, so there. It's 93 now.

** Okay, it's 97 again. 

17 July 2015

life improvement

A decade or more ago, while I was in law school, I bought a keychain at a little True Value hardware store by my school. It was a loop of cable attached to a little round piece of metal. 

Keys slid off and on like a dream with no breaking your fingernail trying to pry the pieces apart wide enough to fit a key on there. In a pinch, I could open the ring and attach it around something so that it would never fall/float/drift away.

I used it alone for a long time and then started attaching it to the ring on my wallet when I started using a little id case with a key ring attached as a wallet. 

It looked like this, only blue:

(image from amazon.com)

Eventually, it started getting a little ragged. I periodically looked for a similar one when I was in a hardware store, but no one had one and the customer service people were uninspired when I asked.

In the last few months, it started fraying. The metal cable inside the plastic is breaking, and I keep stabbing myself in the finger with the little metal pieces. It hurts more than seems reasonable. The little spikes stick in my finger until I pull them out. 

Today, I was running an errand outside of my normal zone. When I got out my keys to get back into the car, I noticed that the fraying has gotten to the point where the cable is going to break in half, so I google-mapped the nearest hardware store.

If you ever wonder where the customer service in the world has gone, I can tell you: it is stored up in this one little store in Gone West.

The guy at the counter got the owner, and the owner found the closest keychain they had (not at all the same) and looked it up in the computer and looked through the other keychains near it in sku and  found the right one and ordered me two of them. And he's thinking about ordering some for the store. Winning. I speak so highly of this keychain that I have sold it to other people now, too. 

(Of course, as soon as I managed to get it ordered from a real store, I also found it on amazon. But you have to order it in sets of five on amazon. Which is not to say that I couldn't use all five. I could. I seriously love these things. Go forth and purchase.* You will not regret it.)


* HAHAHAHAHAHA. As if someone paid me to say this. No. No one pays me for jack on this website. Or anywhere, at the moment. I am merely telling you about a product that has made my life better and will improve yours, too.

15 July 2015

no regrets

The nice thing about having guests (okay, not the actual nice thing, but a lingering nice thing after they leave and leave you all alone [sob]) is that the house is so organized.

All those papers that lived on my dresser for 8 months? Gone.

(By gone, I mean stuffed in a brown paper grocery bag in the closet. Obviously.)

My room has not been this bare of clutter since ever. 

Also, I am eating the world's largest one-person salad in a mixing bowl because I picked too much lettuce from the garden and I had to get rid of half an avocado that we started last Wednesday. (I might not make it through the whole salad.)

(Update: I managed the whole salad. It took me an hour.)

My momma and Aunt K. arrived last Tuesday, and we embarked upon a whirlwind of farmers market and holding baby twins and Other PNW City and waterfalls. We settled, on the last day with the three of us, on a motto of No Regrets. 

We tried to find a waterfall and it wasn't where I thought (right by the road), and I started driving away. My momma seemed to want to see it, though, and finally I said, "Tell me to turn around if you want me to turn around. We are not going to have any regrets for the things we didn't do on this trip. That is our motto. No regrets."

So we turned around. 

We parked in the lot and hiked down the little trail to the waterfall. I'd never seen this one before, and it was just enough of a hike to give my guests a little taste of State of Happiness hiking, with a beautiful cascade of water into a pool and then further down into another pool. 

No regrets. 

06 July 2015


Everything hurts. I feel like I've been beaten from head to toe. 

I have rope burn on my hands. I scraped up my arm and elbow falling on some rocks (but the expensive camera I was holding is okay!). My arms won't go above my head. My chest muscles hurt. I have a bruise on the back of my thigh from hitting the water too hard. The insides of my knees feel bruised for some reason. The bottoms of my feet are sore from hitting the water too hard, and also from something sharp that got into my sandal. My little toe might be broken. I have mosquito bites on my legs. There is an area of raw skin on the top of my foot from an unknown source. My skin is either sunburned, despite frequent applications of sunscreen, or it just shriveled up like a raisin from the water and heat. I haven't slept well since Wednesday night. 

It was a brilliant weekend, basically.

Mostly it was brilliant because it involved jumping off high rocks into pools of clear, topaz water. 

It took me a little while to work up my courage on the first day, but then I spent a couple of hours happily jumping off a ledge into a pretty little pool. I had to be (virtually) dragged away from the water, kicking and screaming. (My momma will recall this from when my brother and I were little. My sister, too, come to think of it, although she was much younger. We were not the sort to walk away from water - ever - unless coerced.)

On the second day, the cliffs were just too high. I couldn't do it. I do not like heights. Well, the heights don't bother me. What bothers me is the falling.

"Come over to this side. It's a little lower," D. said, and I did. I scrambled through the foliage to the rocky outcropping and stepped off without even looking. 

Back on the first side, though, I still couldn't do it, even at the lower of the points. 

After a lot of hemming and hawing and allowing other people to go first, a middle-aged woman arrived at the vanguard of a troop of parents and kids. 

"Should I jump?" I asked, as she was looking over the edge in horror. 

"No!" she said. "Don't do it!"

So I leapt. The prospect of horrifying a mom-type person was enough to get me off the ledge. 

It still took me a while to jump from the higher point, even though it was only 5 or so feet higher, and even more time, somehow, to do it a second time.

"I have to do it at least three times," I said. "The third time really proves that I can."

I did it five times, in total, shivering from the 42 degree water in-between, especially as the sun shifted and the area at the top of the cliff fell into shadow. The rest of the group lost interest and sat around drying off and eating. I kept jumping. Each time, though, I made sure that someone was paying attention. For some reason, the idea of dropping off the cliff and no one knowing where I had gone bothered me. (I was left at a waterfall in Honduras once. This concern may date back to that incident.)

Further down the creek, the same: there was a natural waterslide in the rocks. Most adults did it once or twice and left it to the kids, but not me. I kept sliding over and over until the group was ready to go. 

Years pass, but water does not lose its thrall. What I needed was my brother or sister with me. They wouldn't have lost interest, either.