Thursday, July 8, 2010

Greetings From The Inferno!

Am I in the abyss? To be honest, I'm beginning to wonder. After starting the week out in the upper 90's, it was 100° F on Tuesday, 100° F on Wednesday, and the mercury reached nearly 98° F today. Tomorrow's high is forecasted to reach 94°, but barring afternoon thundershowers, I will bet you dollars to donuts that it gets higher than that, because the forecasts of late have tended to underestimate the severity of the heat wave we have been under. A brief respite will occur on Saturday and Sunday as the mercury dips into the 80's, then it's back into perdition for yet another week of suffering. It was the same last week. I'm beginning to feel like a condemned soul on a weekend release program.

I took a walk down through the woods yesterday, and I'm truly embarrassed about how high the grass has gotten down by the pond, but it's just been so hot for so long, that I didn't want to risk heat stoke, pushing the lawn mower around for an hour in the sun. I did get the grass cut on the road out front, when the temperature dipped down into the 80's for a couple of days last week, but then it soared back into the mid to upper 90's again. Incidentally, the temperatures I have mentioned aren't the whole story. When combined with the relative humidity, they create a heat index, or as one of our local weather forecasters calls it, a "humiture" that is even higher than the ambient temperature. So far, we have had heat indexes up to 107-108° F. With the weather pattern we've been having, I wouldn't be surprised if it was sometime in August, before we get a break in the heat.

Not much happening right now. My toe continues to improve. I've been keeping it taped to the one next to it. The bruising is almost entirely gone, and the swelling appears to be getting better. It is still a bit tender to the touch, and I can't wear my flats yet, but I have no problem walking around on flat surfaces in a pair of New Balance trainers.

I was reading Veronica's wonderful blog, Life Right Side Up , and saw this:

Years ago, I learned something from psychologist Martin Seligman. He says that the optimal psychological state is optimism tempered by realism. People who are depressed aren't unduly pessimistic. They're simply too realistic. We need to see things in a better light than is actually there. We need to overestimate our own strength and abilities and attractiveness. That's how we move forward. That's how we thrive.

I have had a difficult time embracing what Martin Seligman says here. In a way, I think he is right, because almost everyone I know who seems to be perpetually happy, has that attitude. Yet for me, that attitude has always seemed a bit Pollyannaish. Kind of like burying one's head in the sand.

As I told Halle today on her blog, Maintaining The Facade, I've always had a hard time finding the right balance between unbridled optimism and persistent cynicism. Although I adored Hayley Mills in the 1960 Disney Movie, Pollyanna, I was only 11 years old at the time. Her attitude seemed perfectly rational to me way back then. But since then, I have seen and been through so much negative stuff, that it just seems irresponsible to walk through life without keeping my eyes wide open. The trouble with keeping one's eyes wide open, is that you do see all the bad stuff, and it affects your thinking, so you go from being dismissed as a Pollyanna, to being dismissed as a Casandra. How do we find the middle ground, or as Martin Seligman says, the "state of optimism tempered by realism"?

I met a friendly little penguin today. He comes from down under, and he's quite delightful! Actually what I am talking about is a lovely Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, I discovered in the wine section of the grocery store today called, The Little Penguin. It was on sale. $10. 49 for a 1.5 liter bottle. If you can find it, it's well worth the try.

For all of you World Cup fans, it looks like it's finally down to Spain and the Netherlands this weekend. I know at least one of our favorite bloggers who will be rooting for the the Netherlands; a lovely girl named Stace, who just got back to her current home in Holland, after a vacation back to her original home in Scotland. I will be rooting for The Netherlands too, but unfortunately I won't be able to see it, unless ABC decides to show it.

My sister has been in France for a week now, singing in various Cathedrals, including Notre Dame. Barring Quasimodo hauling her up to the bell tower, she should be coming back home on Monday. I won't see her until the following Monday though, because she will be flying into Dulles outside of Washington DC, and she won't get back down to Richmond until late that evening. Besides, my mother has taken the train up to Pennsylvania to stay with her sister-in-law for a week, so there will be no family supper this coming Monday. I can't wait until the following Monday, to hear all the tales of her journey!

Well.......the Beast has just informed me that my coffee break is over, and he wants me to get back to my job of stoking the fires of hell. He said that he too would be rooting for The Netherworld against Spain. When I politely informed him that it wasn't the Netherworld, it was The Netherlands, he wasn't pleased at all, and he gave me double duty on the, until next time, take care.

Melissa XX (Any and all petitions to the Beast for mercy, will be greatly appreciated. It's HOT AS HELL down here!)


Caroline said...

In 1967, ooops showing my age, I was not that far from you on a summer holiday. We had been camping on the beach, Virginia beach, but even going "shopping" in air conditioned malls in the highest heat of the day finally was not enough and we headed up to the Skyline drive through the mountains for some relief from the heat.

Do you have to sit and stew in that heat, can't you treat yourself to a little trip? Don't like to think of you all sticky.

That paragraph in LRSU hit a nerve with a few of us!

Caroline xxx

Caroline said...

A cooling Chablis might be a better choice in that heat!

Caroline xxx

Melissa said...

@ Caroline

I have two window unit air conditioning units, that do an excellent job of keeping the entire house cool and dehumidified. It's just that I can't spend more than 30 minutes exerting myself outside, before the heat and humidity saps my strength. I have three areas of grass to cut. Two of them take an hour a piece, and the road out front takes about 45 minutes.

All of my camping experiences in the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Skyline Drive, have been in the fall, after the leaves have fallen. This summer though, even the mountains are experiencing temperatures in the upper 90's.

I don't think it was dear sweet Veronica's intention, to "strike a nerve" with any of us. It's just that, such are the hazards of heartfelt discourse.

Melissa XX

Caroline said...

Hate to have to say this but it is cool here today!

Glad you have some refuge from the heat and do not rely on just one unit!

Take care.

Caroline xxx

Stace said...

I'm trying to work out if I would rather be in the north of Scotland in the cold and rain that my parents now have, or here in Holland in the swealtering heat (34 centigrade on the way back from shopping!!! - and the AirCo has died in the Volvo!)

Hup Holland Hup!!!! :)


And thanks for the welcome back - good to be here :)

Melissa said...

@ Stace

34°C is pretty hot for northern Europe! I hope it's just for a few days, and not a month long heat wave like we've been having.

Perhaps your Volvo's A/C is just low on refrigerant. That's quick inexpensive fix. I hope its not the compressor. I had to replace the A/C compressor on my last vehicle, and as I recall, the bill was over $700.

Go Netherlands!

Melissa XX

Veronica said...

We're in our first heat wave of summer. Yesterday, outside our house, it hit 88°F in the shade, and the humidity was relatively low. We broke temperature records, but we never get heat and humidity like you put up with. And it cools into the 60s at night. Sorry!

I have to stop ignoring the grass along the verge. That's all I have left to mow. I need to replace that with something that maintains itself! The city allows us to do so.

Glad to hear your toe is coming along!

As for Seligman, how about rephrasing it as "keep your eyes wide open, but look at the full part of the glass"? It's a balance, of course, and you can't lose the realism or else you become delusional. We can't just play The Glad Game as adults, eh? :) But some of that attitude is useful.

I'm with Caroline -- much more of a chilled white wine drinker in the summer!

I am always a Netherlands fan. I'm so excited that they made it to the final! We're lucky that CBC will be showing us the match on Sunday. I hope that German Octopus is wrong for the first time! Go Oranje!

Two Auntees said...

Glad you have enough air conditioning to keep cool. I try to do most of my work in the early mornings, and rest in the afternoon with Kay.

Melissa said...

@ Sarah

The morning is definitely the best time to do outdoor activities when it's like this. The trouble is, since I've retired, I've become a night owl, so I don't usually get up until 9 or 9:30. By the time I've had breakfast, the heat index is already up in the 90's. But even at 7:30 in the morning it still very warm and humid. When I was working, at 7:30 AM each morning, I used to take a walk around the perimeter of the chemical plant I worked at, and by the time I got back to my office, I was always soaking wet.

Melissa XX

Anonymous said...

Just a few suggestions from someone that has had to work in the summer heat for over 35 years:

The main reason we begin to overheat is that our inner core is getting to hot. We can block much of the heat from our skin by using high SPF sunblock and by covering the skin with light clothing.

One summer (1980) the 100 degree days started in early June and lasted all the way through early September. I played in a softball tournament in Dallas one weekend. We played five games and the highs for the day were over 110...but dry. That same summer I had to learn to cope with the heat or go hungry because I could not get enough work done to get paid. I learned that if I kept a lot of crushed ice handy, I could munch on it constantly and just keep working. The idea was to cool my core...from the inside out, if you like. Before I started munching on the ice, I could only work about 45 minutes before the beginning signs of heat exhaustion started. With the ice, I could keep working, even in full sunlight...106+ every day.

Another very effective way to cool your core is to wear one of those neck coolers. There is a huge amount of blood that flows through your head and heads back to the body through the jugular vein. If the blood is cooled, it cools the whole body as it circulates to the far reaches. A wet towel can substitute fairly effectively. Some "extreme runners" use the collars when they run across Death Valley on a 50 mile torture run (as I see it).

Some people can't seem to tolerate ice cold water or ice swallowed whole. Drinking room temperature water will keep you from becoming dehydrated, but it will not cool your core effectively.

Hope some of this makes it possible for you to get that grass :)Suzi

Anonymous said...

I am glad we dont have heat like that here. Mind you it was 29 degree C today which was hot for us.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I feel much the same as you. Here in Utah we went from snow and 34 degrees in May to around 103 in June... and it hasn't let up yet :P

Keep cool! (literally and figuratively) :)

Caroline said...

I'm staying cool! No option really, 17C or 63F and constant rain.

At least there is no problem watering the vegetable garden.

Caroline xxx