Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Beat the Heat!

When it's a hundred outside, how does this northern girl - a self-professed shade loving mammal - beat the heat?

(Of course we have air conditioning...which I keep at 80 degrees during the summer.   If I'm outside in ├╝ber hot weather, going inside to 80 degrees feels wonderful.  Today I went wild and turned the a/c down to 79, but that's mostly for emotional reasons.

Usually one of the following tricks cools me down enough for me to be comfortable:

First, I get a bandanna wet and then wear it around my neck.  This serves a dual purpose.  It cools me, sure, and that's important. But I'm also in my sixties so any legitimate reason to cover my scary neck is a plus.

Next, I make myself a big glass of ice water, adding thinly sliced cucumbers and mint from the garden.  The floating mint and cukes don't make the water any colder, but the glass sure looks classy.  Presentation is everything!

While I'm in the kitchen, a quick trip to the freezer scores me a handful of frozen grapes.  (I also like frozen mango chunks.  Frozen chocolate covered raspberries are my very favorite, but they disappear immediately after I dip them.  They rarely even make it to the freezer, they are that awesome.)  Of course, ice cream would work too, but that goes without saying, right?

I take these icy snacks down to my basement where it's naturally cooler because it's underground.  Then I set up a box fan to blow air on me.  This is the summer equivalent to a space heater in the winter.  I only care about my immediate environment, not the entire house.   I also have a lovely handheld black feathered fan I can use.  It may be 80 degree air, but air in motion feels cooler to me.  

Usually those couple ideas are enough to make me feel comfortable, but some days when it's really, really humid, I might need to take my game to the next level.  

When this happens, I will plunge my feet into a dishpan that's filled with cool water.   This immediately cools me off.  My friend Elaine, who taught me this trick, calls this a "redneck swimming pool" but I jazz it up a little. By adding Epsom salts to the water, I can pretend I'm at a spa.  

Hydrotherapy also works in the form of a quick cold shower.  Style points to those who keep their hair wet.  Blow drying your hair in summer seems so wrong to me.

If you are not absolutely frigid after trying these suggestions, you can employ my number one secret weapon for beating the heat.  This will work, guaranteed! Drop everything and drive to the library.  Reading a magazine in the cool, cool library is a perfect thing to do in the heat of a Carolina summer day.  

Remember to take a sweater.  Oh, and save a seat for me.


www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com



Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Baby

Sunday evening the grands and their parents came over for supper.  After the meal was done, the boys went outside to play with their Dad and Grampy.  Jessica tagged along to watch.  

This was the opportunity I'd been waiting for!  I scooped up the baby and asked permission to take him to our next-door neighbor Mary Ann's.  She, of course, was delighted to have a six-week-old visitor and I was in "Grammy Heaven" showing him off.  He's sooooo cute!  

We were having a blast with the little guy when Jerry arrived and told us it was time for the kids to go home.  We helped get them all strapped into their car seats and they left.

Later Jer told me that when Jessica and Brent began gathering up their things to leave - baby paraphernalia, left-overs, kids' crocks, and so on - Brent asked her, "Do we have everything? ...Have we forgotten anything?"  Jessica, whose arms were overflowing, said, "I've got OUR stuff, have YOU forgotten anything?" 

At this point, the two-year-old chimed in. "THE BABY!"

Brody, who had been quietly observing in the background said nonchalantly, "I already told them that."

Lucky Parker!  Both his older brothers have "got his back."


Baby Parker on the go


www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dancing in the Moonlight

In his youth, Allen Palmer had the body of a Greek God and when he aged he was kick-ass cool, bright and amusing.  Allen's death was a loss to the entire neighborhood (and beyond) and so we had a Caribbean themed “Celebration of Life” party. Of course we did.

Allen Palmer, circa 1961
Shot during the filming of  "The Teahouse of the August Moon"

The place was jam packed with friends and family who wanted to pay their respects and remember their friend.  As the night wore on, people began grabbing the mike from the steel drummer and telling Allen stories. Many of them had known him their whole lives so they had lots of fond memories to recount. I had a story too, but mine remained untold. Until now.

Shortly after I met Allen, I added him to my bucket list. That was the day that I discovered he had been an instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studios, the Cadillac of dance institutions. I vowed on the spot to dance with him. I didn't know where, I didn't know when, but I knew. It WOULD happen.  

Jerry and I are extremely compatible in many ways, but as a couple we are lousy at dancing. Secretly, I've always blamed him.  It's not that we haven't tried - we have taken so many dancing lessons over the years that we should be the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire of our time. I yearn to be that couple on the dance floor that performs so beautifully that everyone else stops in awe and watches their dazzling footwork. Clearly, I needed to dance with Allen Palmer.

And then, it happened. I will never forget that night. We were all at an outdoor concert at the clubhouse and people were dancing on the grass in front of the band. Suddenly, Becky Palmer materialized out of the darkness. “Please go dance with Allen!” she begged. “I'm exhausted.”

She didn't have to ask twice. It was a shining moment which will live forever in my memory. I floated over the lawn to the dance area just as a slow song started. And then Allen took me in his arms. 

God has a wicked sense of humor and this was the longest song of my life, spent stepping all over poor Allen's feet. At one point, I think I may have even kicked him in the shins. It was mortifying. People were looking at us, but not for the reason I had imagined. Turns out that it's me, not Jerry, that is rhythm impaired.

Armed with this insight, I have started my “Afterlife Bucket List” - things to do after I die. First on my list? “Take dancing lessons from Allen Palmer.”


P.S. Jerry, this post is your public apology and the only one you'll ever get so if you don't read it, it's not my fault. 


www.StillSwimmingUpstream.com