heat wave

We’re still in the heat for another day or so.  Around 90°F (32°C) today again.   Early this morning I walked through our fairly shaded neighborhood to a post box and noticed that the breeze was coming from the west, which is good news.

Over the last few days, any wind was coming from the south, as in Desert Southwest, where the hot air has been parked.  When the wind comes from the west, it means the air is coming from the ocean currents, bringing cooler air, instead of the hot air from the overheated interior land mass.

Desert Southwest:  that's HOT!

Desert Southwest: that’s HOT! (46°C)

Yaaaay.  Subdued I am by the heat and by the efforts to keep the house cool.  I was never meant to live in the heat, but my years in Tucson taught me how to manipulate air currents, curtains, sun blocks, fans, and swamp coolers.    (And, of course, now I have my portable air conditioner.  Thanks, Ma!)

It always helped that I was outdoors despite the 100-deg heat.   Often in the 9,000-ft mountains above Tucson, tootling up the switchback road in the red 1965 VW convertible Bug, always getting a vapor lock after we’d hit some cool elevation.  <:-D

gigantic red sunflower

gigantic red sunflower

One October, I moved directly from Tucson to Anchorage, and as I paused at the top of the mobile stairway parked next to the plane, seeing the mountains and ocean that surrounded the city, I knew soul-deep I had come home.   True that I panicked slightly at the 45°F (7°C) temp that greeted me.

That winter I learned about cold, with a stretch of two weeks of -20°F (-28°C).  I brought with me the love and need to be outdoors and discovered that I loved to be outdoors in the cold:  camping, skiing, mountaineering.  I will always know how to live in the cold with little thought or strained effort.

my happy Alaska place at my dresser

my happy Alaska place at my dresser

happy in the mountains at 10°F!  A Raven friend.

happy in the mountains at 10°F! A Raven friend.

 

 

 

perhaps

Perhaps I will forget the former easy facility of my brain power.  Perhaps there will come one moment when I don’t compare now with then, that I don’t notice that I have to concentrate to be sure to get the day-after-day same ole ingredients into my cereal bowl, that I cannot think of something else at the same time.

Perhaps I will no longer notice that I have dropped into a dimmer-witted state, that I no longer am lightning-quick.  Perhaps I won’t care that I’m not as smartly-able as I was in the before-time.

Perhaps I’ll stop thinking I’m someone else, that person I’ve witnessed countless times in classes who struggles with concepts, concepts for me that in the before-time often just floated into my mind as whole bits and meshed with other remembered knowledge.  Perhaps I’ll accept the new way to be a student, a student who struggles to succeed and then to excel.

Perhaps the devastating disappointment observing my difficulties reading will fade to nothing so that as I struggle to get my eyes to follow the words into my brain, I won’t notice how sad I am to have lost that quick reading uptake.

Perhaps I will forget that I could spell any word in the before-time, that I always chose the homonym I intended.   That I knew that homonyms were fascinating choices instead of blobs of sameness.

Perhaps I will feel deep relief that in the before-time I studied English, Mandarin, French, Italian, Latin, Spanish, and Akkadian so that at least I was able in my lifetime to experience that intellectual joy and cultural connection.

Perhaps it won’t matter that I cannot remember.

Perhaps the River Lethe will welcome me to her banks.   And then, perhaps, I will once more want to talk and write instead of avoiding the dread of once more witnessing the dimmer-witted me.  Perhaps I’ll forget the old me and get to know the new me.

Alaska’s River Lethe, along whose banks I did trudge in the early 1980s.  Valley of 10,000 Smokes, Katmai National Park.  (credit:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RiverLethe.jpg)

gimmee the drugs, man

I’ve been sick for a stinkin’ month.  My usual prescription is rest and the occasional ibuprofen.  But today, the light bulb went off, albeit a slow-to-warm fluorescent, when I realized that I was actually getting worse instead of better AND that I’ll be flying in two weeks and a couple of days.  aggggghhh!

No respiratory thing to start a trip on  a pressurized craft!  No, no, no!   The thought of my poor old sea-level ears and lungs being pressurized to 6,000 feet fills me with dread!  Gimmee the dang drugs, man!  (My physician’s assistant, who only sees me when I’m dead or dying or if I have to get refills of happy pills, actually had an appointment this afternoon and I got the drugs, man!)

The last time I went to Europe I had pneumonia.  It was a grand ski vacation for three weeks to Austria and Switzerland.  I tried to ski (telemark), but I was in pretty bad shape for a while, so spent a fair amount of time riding the narrow-gauge rail a little way down the hill to the baths.  Which, of course, I loved!

The group I went with was a bunch of downhill ski patrollers I associated with in my capacity as a backcountry ski patroller.  My dear friend Dolly, who was not a patroller, went too and we were partners in escapades and curious adventures.  One non-skiing day, the whole group went on bus tour down the mountain and on the way back up, Dolly and I decided we should get off at the baths.

Well.  We were in Switzerland.  I spoke basic French, a smattering of Spanish, and pretty good Chinese.  (I could also say mit schlage in German, which means with whipped cream, but I couldn’t find a way to comfortably or helpfully toss it into the conversation.)  Dolly spoke Spanish fluently.

You should have heard the two of us faking it in French, English, and Spanish to ask the driver to please let us off at the place where we could catch the narrow-gauge.  I probably threw in some Chinese because my brain gets all bollixed up with all the languages floating around.  I digress.  (Cue Eddie Izzard dancing.)  Our busload of buddies ended up cheering for us –and the driver–  as we stepped off at the correct place!

On our way to Europe from Anchorage, we stopped over in Copenhagen, which I thought was quite fabulous!  We had about 24 hours there and I planned to make use of that time, jet-lag be damned (and very real!).  Dolly and I decided to find our way to Roskilde, the site of the Viking Ship Museum.  We’re both adventurous and have that attitude that carries us wherever we want to go.  We knew we could catch a train, so planned to trundle off to the station.

The others in the group, I think there were 9 others, decided that might be fun, but not a one of them was interested in finding the way.  Keep in mind that everyone else in the group was a tough downhill ski patroller–they see broken bones, blood, contusions, all the icky stuff, whereas we backcountry folks tended to see avalanches and the occasional stabbed-himself-with-his-pointy-pole stuff.  Well, there was that one guy who dropped dead, but that’s for another story.   (Eddie Izzard again dances in my head!  la la la, where was I?)

Nobody else spoke a language other than English either, so I imagine it was kinda daunting.  The group of us started walking to the train station, Dolly and I in the lead, reading the Danish signs (how?) and the 9 others following in a duckling-train behind us.  Standing at stoplights was particularly amusing — the Other 9 would mill closely around Dolly and me, clearly not willing to leave us, so we 11 would stand in a clutch until the light changed, then the duckling-train would chug along again.

Dolly and I bought the tickets for all 11 of us.  The Other 9 stuck close by us on the train ride–what if we had tried to sneak off without them?  How would they get back to Copenhagen without us?  How would they find the hotel?  gasp!  (Lots of folks speak fluent English there, including the ticket seller at the train!)

At Roskilde, we walked in a duckling pack until I thought I would scream.  I am an independent sort and require a level of independence of those around me.  When we finally got down to the water and the museum, I ducked out on ’em and wandered around the museum that I had wanted to see, to experience, without a single quacking duckling in my wake.

Then it was time to go get the train back to the big city and we did the duck walk dance again.

That was a grand trip.  I still have the souvenir sweatshirt from les bains de Val d’Illiez where I spent so much time soaking away the pneumonia!  (The baths are MUCH fancier now than when we were there!)

My first stop on my Italy trip will be in a tiny village called Bagni di Lucca.  Bagni means baths.  Yep, I’m going to soak myself in the baths again.  How cool is that?!

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Happy Solstice, Earthlings!

The quality of daylight starts changing as of right-now-ish.  When I lived in Alaska, I gave Solstice parties, but I was the only one mourning the return of the light.  Don’t know why, but the dark is where I thrive.  All my friends toasted the coming light….

Happy Solstice, All You Earthlings!  And, OK, you too, you lurking beings from off-planet, you cut-ups who turn my jammies inside-out in the middle of the night, who zapped my brain, and who love rock ‘n’ roll.  There’s one thing we did right, huh, rock ‘n’ roll?  I know it’s not enough right for you to want to colonize our planet.  We’ve wrecked Earth all to hell, so no, no, no no colonizing!  (I’ve seen the movies; I know how it works!)

Oh, and isn’t the word put together beautifully by those early French (based on Latin roots)!  (You may sense my linguistics minor in school!)

solstice Look up solstice at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., from O.Fr. solstice, from L. solstitium “point at which the sun seems to stand still,” from sol “sun” (see sol) + pp. stem of sistere “to come to a stop, make stand still” (see assist).
 
(Citation:  The Sciolist, and what an interesting intro page!  I may have to go back and see what else he’s talking about.  Anyone who puts together an etymology dictionary is a good kind of oddball!)
© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dear Optimists…

The lovely pair over at the blog, Dear Optimists, asked folks to send in happy/optimistic stories.  I sent them a story about Mom and me.   I am delighted to say they published it and Nadia illustrated it!    Complete with my purple hair!

Please cruise around their blog and More

Declared redundant

The pressure builds, the atmosphere shrinking, pressing.  High-altitude breathing, gasping to tease out the combo of airs that will sustain.

Only in the last year or so did I hear the expression “made redundant,” which is the equivalent of the US “laid off.”

To be laid off is a shunting aside, a putting away, but still along the stream of the action.  To be made redundant says that the purpose is gone, done, over, shoved away from the stream.

Coming on two years ago I was made redundant.  …  More

Frozen nose hairs

The muted orange glow in the east tells me the time this morning.  At this 47-degree north latitude, the minutes in a day are changeable according to the tilt of the Earth.

Slow down enough to notice how the light changes as the seasons progress.  In February in Anchorage (latitude 61 degrees north), the sun comes straight at us; here at a lower latitude, that same straight approach comes a little later.

Slow down enough to gauge the temperature.  If the nose hairs are frozen, it’s at least 10 below zero F.  Important to know that for philosophical musings:  once while camping in February in the wilds of southcentral Alaska, my camp-mate and I were hanging around in the late afternoon dark, nose hairs frozen, having finished dinner in a plastic mug. 

We were bundled to the nth degree–on my feet, 2 kinds of socks, fleece booties, insulated soft over-booties, plus gore-tex knee-high overbooties.  Under our bums we each had a piece of blue foam thinsolite, keeping the frozen ground temps from seeping into our puny 98-degree F bodies.  He leaned back against a scrawny spruce trunk, sighed, and said:  “Life’s a bitch.  Then you die.”

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Co-ink-i-dink? I think not!

My Mom has saved bits and pieces of her past lives and passed them to me.   The day before I posted about Italia, I found a stack o’ stuff from her in the Italy section of a dusty bookcase.  Lots of small tourist booklets from Second-World-War-time Italy from my uncle who was an officer in the hospital corps.  There’s a slim volume about Siena, which has been on my list for 10 years.  How is this possible?  (He must have been on leave from North Africa, where he did serve.  Shudder.)

Sometime in my 30s when I had been living the outdoor, self-propelled life in Alaska, I found out something special about a tiny town that I love and where I thought I’d retire–Seward, AK.  My paternal grandmother was shipped to Seward as an unmarried girl who hadn’t quite found a husband yet.  She did find her husband there, my grandfather.

In my late 20s–Mom you started telling me stories then, yes?  Or did I start to listen?–while working as a technical editor, I found out that my mother had worked as a technical editor in the 1960s for Chrysler Missile!  (Chrysler Missile was the reason we moved to Taranto.)  Remember this as the time of NATO, the Cold War, and nuclear attack worries.

My own parents after they were first married in the early 1950s were headed to work in Alaska, but the contract fizzled and they ended up in a more southerly portion of the Pacific Northwest.   I moved to Alaska after college and lived 16 amazing years there.  I’ve been gone for 13 years and I’m still homesick.

I used to be amazed by these co-ink-i-dinks, but now I am rather blase (where’s the acute accent here?) and just find that the revelations give more structure to my life.

©  No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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