With temperatures mercifully dipping into the lower 80's today, I figured this would be my best chance to get the shin high grass cut down by the pond. So I pleaded with the Beast for some time off. He said OK, but to make up for it, next week I will have mow the grass down by the Lake of Fire. Well, the grass down on my pond really needed cutting after over a month, so reluctantly I agreed. I pulled the lawnmower out of the shed at about 11:30 this morning, and pushed it down the hill through the woods, to the long grassy area, where my property backs up to our communal pond.
I have about 400' of pond frontage, but the grassy strip on the bank is only about 60' at its widest point. There is a pretty good slope there, so there is a lot of pushing uphill. It takes about an hour for me to cut it all with a push mower, and it's an excellent work out, both aerobically and anaerobically. Thanks to the cloud cover today, the temperature was only 82°, but the humidity was a steamy 76%, giving us a heat index of 87°. So despite the lower temperatures, within 15 minutes I was still dripping with sweat. By the time I had finished mowing the bank, I was fairly knackered, but I still had the long push back up the hill through the woods. These two pictures were taken last fall, and don't really give a good indication of the grade, but I would estimate that my house up on the other side of the woods, sits between 35-40' higher than the water level in the pond. To push the mower back up the hill through the woods, you have to lower your center of gravity, and really dig in with each step. If any of you have ever played American Football, then you know what it's like to push a blocking sled in practice. That's about what it feels like pushing my Honda mower back up the hill. Going down is a breeze, but going back up, once you've spent an hour pushing it around, is a bear!
About halfway up, I had to stop and get my breath. I wear a dust mask while mowing, and in the thick humid air, that wasn't helping my breathing at all. It was like trying to work out with a paper bag over my head! So I pulled off the mask, took a moment or two to catch my breath, and then forged onward. Emerging from the woods into the back yard at the top of that hill, is always a relief, and panting like a pooch on a dog day afternoon, I put the mower back into the shed, thankful that that chore was over. I was still red as a beet and soaking with sweat, when I got back into the air conditioned comfort of my house and looked at myself in the mirror, but I felt nothing like I did a few weeks earlier, after cutting the back yard in full afternoon sun, with temperatures in the mid 90's.
Last winter sucked, because it was so extreme, and I wished for warm weather. When it was over, I was so glad. Now I know to be careful what I wish for.
No supper at my mother's tonight. She is in Pennsylvania, staying with my aunt, her late brother's wife. S is a very sweet aunt. I have always adored her. When I was a child, and my mother and her sisters were much younger, they use to make disparaging comments about their brother's wife. They were Polish/Welsh in origin, and she was from German ancestry. It used to embarrass and hurt me to hear those jealous remarks, because I knew from the moment I first met her, what a sweet loving woman she was. They did the same things about my late uncle Billy's wife Thelma. I stayed with them for a few days before we moved to Germany in 1964, and she treated me so kindly. She was a genuine sweetheart too! I never knew why my mother and her sisters felt that way, but now that several of my mother's brothers, and two of her sisters are gone, she and Aunt S are the best of friends. I guess it just takes a long time for some people to put their petty jealousies aside, and realize how much they have in common. Fortunately Mom and Aunt S became friends long before my uncle C, S's husband died. In fact my mom and dad went on trips with them to both Russia, and South America, before my father and uncle died.
My sister should be getting back to her home in Richmond sometime late tonight, from her trip to France, where she sang in Notre Dame. I probably won't see her until next Monday evening, when we all gather at our mother's apartment again for supper. With two people returning from trips, the conversation should be lively. I will be so happy to see my sister again. If it weren't for her and my niece, I wouldn't want to drive into town each week. Caroline, if you are reading this, please send me an email Sunday night, or early Monday morning if you can remember, to remind me to take my camera, so I can show you the view from ten stories up!
My sincerest condolences to our dear sweet Stace, in Holland. I watched along with you sweetie, and rooted for Orange til the bitter end, but it was not to be. Spain and The Netherlands both played an inspired defensive game. It could have gone either way, but Spain got the lucky break in the second extra time period. I know how painful this third attempt at a the Cup must feel to some, but The Netherlands has nothing to be ashamed of! It really could have gone either way. Time to shift focus to the future.
Now.........can we put those infernal vuvuzelas to rest?
To all of you girls in the UK who attended Sparkle this past weekend, I hope you all had a great time supporting and socializing with each other, and that your solidarity had a positive effect on your confidence as women. I'm looking forward to some of your accounts. You are to be envied! We have nothing like that here in central Virginia. I guess the closest thing we have is the Richmond Pride Festival in September. I dearly love my lesbian sisters and gay brothers, but I would love to see an exclusive transgender festival here. I fear there are so many more of us hiding away, because they think they are all alone.