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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Air Conditioning Woes


1953 Chrysler Imperial - detail of the air ven...

1953 Chrysler Imperial – detail of the air vents for the factory air conditioning system mounted in the trunk of this car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unlike most people I do not like or use air conditioning unless there is no other choice for me.  I have had weird experiences with this mechanical wonder for as long as I can remember.  It is a rare time when I am happy or comfortable with the benefits that others laud air-conditioning for.

First and foremost everyone I know who has central air, a unit in their house or car, keep the temperature below freezing, so it seems to me.  I have a most difficult time keeping warm in the winter, so why then should it be necessary for me to wear a sweatshirt in the summer?  That’s right, it shouldn’t be necessary.  Hot is the order of the season.

In my younger years not everyone had air-conditioning in their cars.  I remember Jim and I driving around in my mother’s 1960 Studebaker, Lark.  It was about 90 degrees in the shade and we were very young.  We were driving along Bruckner Blvd in the Bronx and while almost every other car on the road had all their windows rolled way down to catch a bit of breeze, we rode with ours closed up tight, pretending to have an air-conditioned car.  Needless to say, we were sweating our brains out, but we smiled and waved to others.  Fortunately, we arrived at Orchard Beach before either one of us passed out.  Ah to be so young, stupid, and healthy enough to pull such a stunt.

I have quite a few air conditioning mishaps.  There was the time when I was about eight months pregnant.  I walked from our apartment through the broiling hot streets into an air-conditioned bank which was kept about 65 degrees.  You guessed it, the sudden change in temperature almost caused me to pass out.  Thank goodness for the old-fashioned benches in the bank, and the glass of water provided by the security guard who manned the front door.  I did mention I was pregnant, hence several decades ago.  You would be hard pressed to find benches in today’s modern banks, never mind a visible, armed, security guard.

Then there was that very wet ride to Virginia Beach when the air conditioning unit went bad and dripped cold water on my foot all the way to Kyra’s house.  I wore sandals that day.  My toes were pruned for hours after our arrival.  On the way home the unit went on fire and we had to drive real fast to put it out.  It worked, but I wouldn’t advise that it was the best course of action.  I guess the leaking should have given us an inclination that something had gone amiss.

In St. Martin the air conditioner in our room leaked all night long.  Unbeknownst to us.  It was a wet surprise when we awoke in the morning ready to jump in our bathing suits and head off to the beach.  We should have brought those suits into bed with us.  After placing our feet on the floor we found we were almost ankle-deep in water.  I won’t mention how many days it took the hotel management to fix it.  Being me, I was happier with the ceiling fan.  If the air conditioner had worked I would have required a quilt while staying on the Caribbean Island.

There were several other incidents where air conditioning was the cause of much angst.  These symbols of creature comforts, haunt me.  To this day we do not own an air conditioner.  I bring sweaters with me whenever I visit friends, or especially when I visit my children in their homes.  Each has central air and are most comfortable in igloo type conditions. It is a sad commentary when I am offered a hot drink and a blanket upon entering their beautiful homes, in the midst of July!!

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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Having a Heat Wave!


Heat Wave (album)

Heat Wave (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All winter long I yearn for Summer.  Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy days of Summer as Nat King Cole once declared..  At a time in my life that hit song was my mantra. I couldn’t wait for the months when you discarded sweaters, coats, gloves, tossing them aside for sleeveless blouses, and daring short shorts.  We drove with the windows open, inhaling leaded gasoline fumes while on the way to the beach.  What fun.

Not so much today.  I’ve come to realize its not the blistering Summer moments I desire, but rather I rejoice at the birth of Spring.  Spring time with its fresh budding flowers.  The greening of grass; the mowing of a lawn causing the air to waif fragrant with the smell of watermelon.  That is what a fresh mown lawn always reminded me of, watermelon.

It’s true that I still do love Summer,on Long Island, New York.  What joy to bury your toes in the freshly raked sand of our beaches, and play chase along the ocean front with the incoming tide.  A season when it’s just warm enough to catch the scent of the ocean, even a mile inland.  An on shore breeze that dries the beads of sweat on your body leaving in its wake remnants of salt.  Salt from the air and salt from a healthy body. Going home after a day at the beach, showering, and feeling buffed by the elements.  Have you ever felt so clean?  Yes, these things still thrill me.

Unfortunately, there is not always time or the energy to race off to the beach when the temperature rises to ninety-two on the first day of Summer.  In fact, today, we are still two hours from the Summer solstice.  I arose this morning about ten and it was already over eighty degrees.  We are lucky that the old oak trees, surrounding the house, do take the edge off, but still ninety is hot!

I think of all the people I know that have moved South to avoid the New York Winters.  Of course they have some moderation of the natural heat of their new location, and I have heard often enough, when it’s too hot we just stay inside in air conditioning.  The reasoning is that we Northerners are stuck in the house in the Winter.  It’s a trade-off.  They don’t mind being confined to a house during their Summers.  No thanks!  As for me, I am just too non productive during the sizzle of a heat wave.  And I love being outdoors, rather than tethered to air conditioning. I just could not endure Summer all year round.  Right now the temperture has dropped to eight-seven degrees and the ocean breeze kicked in. It really is delightful.

The few days, each Summer, that roasts the North East, is enough to cure me of any urge I might ever entertain to pick up my life and move South. Winter here on the island is not debilitating.  A couple of snowfalls a year allow for days to cozy up by the fire-place, time to straighten out our clothes closets, and attempt a few new recipes. As soon as the snow melts, or the streets are plowed, its life as usual, only you need to be wearing a coat.  Perhaps that new coat I purchased at the end of last Winter.

So here I stay, suffering a heat wave and wishing for the refreshing winds of Autumn.  The season when I relish the crispy leaves beneath my feet, check out Women’s Day for the newest decorating ideas for the holiday table, and  preparing a Thanksgiving menu

Having reread this post I realize that I love New York and the changing of seasons.  I look forward to the advent of each, and I’m just about ready when they depart.  Tomorrow, on this the first full day of Summer, I will put on my bathing suit and not another thing.

Have you heard?  We’re having a heat wave.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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What Bathing Suit and Why


Woman's one-piece bathing suit, c.1920

Woman’s one-piece bathing suit, c.1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     Its well into that time of the year when I must decide on a bathing suit.  I don’t know about you, but for me one suit certainly doesn’t do it for all occasions.  I own at least ten.

     My favorite is always a two piece with as little material as I can get away with.  Unfortunately, I no longer have a real two piece bathing suit body, nor would it be considered appropriate for me to wear one at certain private or public beaches, or at hotel pool sides.  Unless it was an adults only space.

     There are a couple of pros to wearing a two piece and then many more cons.  In case you are unaware of them I’ll tell you.  When you don a two piece you don’t have to fight it on.  The top and bottom are slipped into as easily as underwear, even when you are wet.  You don’t have to powered yourself even if you are sweaty.

     Time to go to the ladies room?  No problem.  Again its as easy as pie.  No struggling out of the straps to roll sodden wet stretchy material down your body, pulling and pinching your skin.  All the while squeezing your legs together because you really gotta go.  Or doing the straddle to pull aside the crotch material so you don’t pee on it.  Nope a two piece bottom removes as easy as panties.  Slide down, step out.  If the cleanliness of the floor permits.

    Another asset of the non attached bathing suit, more skin is exposed to the sun.  More tan for the hours spent lying on that longue chair.  When you climb out of the pool you tend to dry faster so that you can go into the house and make a nice cool rum punch. Which is another plus.  Darn, its true I can’t think of a single con.

    Ok, so you say if its your favorite why don’t you just buy two pieces.  Therein lies the problem, I fear the time has past, in public at least.  Someone, somewhere, dictated that beyond a certain age or certain weight, women must be tormented by being made to wear a one piece bathing suit.  The pinching, pulling kind that never dry, even after you take them off.  If you are packing to fly home,after a trip, you often have to wrap the suit in a plastic bag because it’s still wet!

     Sometimes this modest swim wear has a skirt which ends just short of your knees.  Its only about a year or two since I wore dresses shorter than that!!  Who designed these things?  And how dare you call them cute little suits. Not all of them are cute little suits.  Although, granted, I have seen a few that were really pretty.

     So my solution, a tankini.  A two piece that covers everything everyone else has dictated that women of my age must cover.  The bottom has a skirt but I will only wear the skirt in very public, public, or when with my grandchildren.  Even then, I intend to hem this skirt.  Other than that I have an abbreviated bottom that I can jump into.  If truth be told, in my own back yard, I’m wearing those daring, small, two pieces of yesteryear.

     If you come by to visit, be sure to knock on the fence gate before popping in.

French woman's bathing suit, 1898

French woman’s bathing suit, 1898 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Another Tomorrow


Exclusive-Avril Lavigne has fun with friends

Exclusive-Avril Lavigne has fun with friends (Photo credit: skinwon)

     I wonder what its like to get old.  I don’t mean just to advance in years, because that isn’t what makes one old.  Nor does retirement.  Sixty, Seventy, Eighty, Ninety and so forth, candles on your cake have no correlation to old. 

     Illness can sometimes make someone old.  But that is only for the moments it has a grip on you.  As soon as you begin to feel the slightest bit better, you shake that silly notion of age, and begin making plans for tomorrow, next week, next month.  Once freed of an ache or pain, you think about dieting, starting an exercise program, planning a vacation.  If that twinge persists, you move on with your plans and before you know it, it is surely a thing of the past.

     Grief and worry has a way of robbing us of youth.  Unfortunately, with life come those heart aches.  We must go on. There is no other acceptable alternative. Until we ourselves take the big dirt nap, we need not be old. Being old is a waste of valuable time.

     One is not old when they purchase a bucket of paint to give the house a fresh new look, or flip through a magazine to determine what the trend of the season is.  Are hem lines up or down?  Is red the new neutral this year?  I really love that dramatic purple eye makeup.  At what age are these things no longer important.  Maybe when we are old.  When’s that?  Vanity is not a bad thing.

     Life goals keep old at bay.  We can’t get old until we finish that water-color, write a novel or two or three.  We keep on going until we receive validation by having someone buy something we’ve created, built, or knit.  Old doesn’t learn a new technology, how to master a game, a new dance step, or shake our booty.  Old rarely laughs so hard you need to yell stop it, stop it!

     Old doesn’t care about other people, loved ones, friends or family.  Does not concern themselves with being positive and facing the world with a smile. A grouchy old person does not bend to help a child who has fallen, or pet a puppy.  Old is very self-centered and does not laugh at themselves.

     Ok, we all have our days, but get over it!  Have fun, laugh out loud, look around you and enjoy.  Bitter should be reserved for greens.  Rejoice in the achievements of others.  Celebrate the sound of music.

     This was my musing of the day.  I’m going to wrap it up now, I need to rest up for another tomorrow.  Perhaps I’ll go out and buy some sexy underwear.  Did I mention that old only dons utility underwear.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The War of the Roses 2012


Hibiscus

Hibiscus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      In so many of my blogs I have written about flowers, how beautiful they are, and how much I love them.  I admire other people’s gardens while envying their artistic eye and the talent they possess for creating the most unique designs. It is difficult not to covet their fabulous climbing Mandevilla vine or gargantuan Hibiscus.  Yes, Linda I am talking about you.  You are a garden witch!

      I delight in the gorgeous cluster arrangements, while wishing for an hour of the strength Leslie possesses to bend and kneel and dig in the earth in order to adorn her front yard.  She creates a fanciful ocean of color in a labor intense, free form. Boy, I’d like to punch her one.

     Not to mention the guy across the street whose yellow and purple pansies go right up the side of his walk way from end to end.  Tony, I am sure you had no idea that I peered at you from behind my curtain while you dug in your alternating hued flowers and fed them so lovingly.  They preened beneath your gentle hand. I had to hold myself back from running right out and demand you do the same thing to my driveway or suffer the pain of getting your hair pulled.

     So I have had to spend a Kings Ransome at the nursery.  I’ve carted home flats of flowers, pots of vegetables, humped around yards of dirt.  Foregone my mani/pedi (what was the use when I had to roll around on the ground). And bent, kneeled, dragged, broke hand tools, chopped, raked, pulled out last years dead plants, weeded, bought new pots, mixed and matched and created my own paradise.

     For four days straight I pulled myself from the comfort of my bed with a single purpose in mind.  Get the those cells of flowers in the ground before they whither in their tiny plastic containers.  I armed myself with the weapons to defeat my garden.  Blugeon it into submission.  And I went at it each day with a vengeance until exhausted from the battle.

     When I finally felt it was complete, and only then, did I allow my aching body to sit back on my haunches and admire my effort.  Around my house there are now dozens of various shaped pots boasting the most unlikely mix of blooms.  Sopia’s vision creates odd flower bed fellows.  But I and my guests will have the pleasure of their company all summer.

     Thank you Linda, Leslie and Tony for your inspiration.  See you on Arbor Day.  I truly appreciate you all.  Incidently, I don’t have a single rose!

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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