While the media is talking about first snow storms in the east, we on the west coast are quietly melting. Triple digits and low humidity are hard on you, can cause dehydration, make it difficult to sleep, and difficult to write. Unless you have central air, which I don’t.
As I type this it’s a raging 103 degrees outside and it feels like my fingertips are fusing to the keyboard. However, I’ve developed some little tricks to stay cool during this hell on earth period:
Cucumber water: You need to stay hydrated and plain water is kind of boring if you ask me, so try this: Cut a cucumber into very thin slices and add them to a ½ gallon pitcher of water, (if you want a little extra zest you can also had thinly slice limes or lemons). Add ice. Stir well with a large spoon. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Then drink as much as you want. Very refreshing.
Fruity iced tea: If you’re an iced tea fan but concerned about too much caffeine, do a half and half with fruit juice. I prefer apple or cranberry. Add lots of ice and lemon slices. It’s refreshing, you don’t need to add extra sugar and you reduce your caffeine intake.
Snacks: Eating during extremely hot weather can also be a challenge because even though you should eat, you may not feel hungry. Cold hard-boiled eggs, cheese and apples, gazpacho, peanut butter and celery sticks, and fruit smoothie protein shakes are all light foods that can provide protein, carbs and fats without weighing you down.
Cell salts/Salt tabs: During hot weather you sweat like the dickens (or if you’re a lady you perspire like the dickens) and lose a lot of trace minerals and salt. Salt & potassium tablets and/or cell salts can help you replenish these. You can purchase either in most drug stores or health food stores.
Darkened rooms are cooler: I don’t have air conditioning at my house, we have what’s called a swamp cooler – which is a system that uses water to cool. Helpful but not nearly as effective as air conditioning. However to get the most out of my cooling system I:
- Draw the curtains first thing in the morning
- Close off any rooms that aren’t being used at that time
- Stand fans in doorways of rooms facing out (this creates a draught of pulling out warm air and pulling cooler air).
Outside fixes: One word – shade cloth. Okay that’s two words but it’s amazing how effective this inexpensive item can in helping to keep your house cooler. It comes in big rolls and can be found in most plant nurseries or stores that provide gardening supplies. You can create ‘sails’ suspend them with bungee cords and hooks. Or if you’re not that handy (like me) You can simply cut a square and tack it up to create a barrier between the sun and your house. For example, at my house the exterior wall of my bedroom is exposed to late afternoon sun. We cut sails from the shade cloth and attached one end to house and the other to the wall, creating a kind of veranda. Doesn’t look good, but works pretty well. I also tacked up a spare piece on the porch rafter, which gets heavy morning sun exposure. Hopefully you get the idea.
Tarp your vehicle. Mine sits in the drive in front of the house and the sun beats down on it all day. The tarp won’t make the car cool but it will protect the paint job, and reduce the amount of heat it absorbs and then radiates.
Keeping the body cool: I waited tables for many years and when you’re runnig around feeding people you can get pretty over –heated – especially if you’re in and out of patios or hot kitchens. As easy way to get quick relief from being overheated is the rub an ice-cube on your pulse points (wrists, side of neck, back of knees). I’m not really sure why it works but it does.
If you sit at a desk while you work, as I do, you can also make an icy foot bath that will help keep you cool. Just fill container large enough to comfortably place your feet, with water, add ice cubes and if you have it some mint.
Australian air conditioning: Okay, I don’t know if this is for real but an Aussie friend of mine told me that down under when the weather is brutally hot, they soak their tee shirts in water, wring them out, put them on and point a fan at themselves. Sound weird? You betcha. But it really works. If you’re not up for wearing a wet tee-shirt you can try a modified version by soaking a hand towel in water, wringing it out and draping it around your neck, then point the fan and turn it on.
What are your tips for staying cool when the weather is brutally hot? Let me know. I’d love some new tips.
I was raised to be a good Catholic girl and true to form, I readily adopted the altruistic approach to life. Turning the other cheek, putting others before myself, forgiving those who trespassed against me (so to speak). And I really believed that such behavior was the right thing to do, that putting the interests of others before my own somehow served a higher purpose.
And I carried my altruism into adulthood – still believing that others would act in kind toward me. However, recently I’ve come to realize that in fact people just think you are a doormat and have low self esteem when you act that way. Believe me, I have the battle scars to prove it.
Little did I realize that as a child I set the pattern for being continually exploited and used for the benefit of others and just could never understand why I didn’t get anywhere. And while pondering this recently I realized that I have never really tried to serve my own best interests.
Now, I don’t mean this in an arrogant or haughty way. I don’t propose that anyone, myself included walk around with the attitude that they are the best thing since smart phones. However, a good healthy dose of self value can go a long way.
If you study successful people, whether they are business magnates, inventers, artists, or celebrities you will find that they have good self esteem, understand their strengths and weaknesses but most importantly act in their own best interests. Meaning that they are motivated by what will be best for them. And if you study the average Joe, you are likely to find the opposite.
For example – how many people out there practically kill themselves for their jobs? A woman hired as a administrative assistant for example, allows her employer to exploit every ability she has (most of which were not included in the job description) all for the privilege of making $13 per hour and feeling like she was run over by a truck at the end of every week. This hypothetical woman is not only not serving her own best interests but likely also feels unappreciated, underpaid and overworked. However, none of that could have happened without her consent. And ironically, this type of scenario is probably more frequent with really capable and competent people because of course, they naturally have a larger skillset. Competent people are proactive, do not require supervision, like to learn, tend toward activities that improve their skill and abilities.
In my case, I always believed that if I showed a prospective or employer what I was capable of then he or she would naturally offer me more money and opportunities, a better office and benefits package. In reality, they just figured they were getting a better deal and only worked at extracting more work, talent, and creativity for the same bargain basement price.
In the case of clients, you at least have the option of finding better clients who are willing to pay you what you are worth – in a job not so much. An employer is always going to frame things in such a way that you will feel that they are somehow doing you a favor by providing a job to you. And that you should feel grateful for the work and allow them to extract every possible talent you possess into a benefit for them.
But you know what? You don’t have to do that. I’m not suggesting you quit your job or demand an enormous pay raise but I am suggesting you act in your own self interest.
Obviously a job is beneficial because it does provide the wherewithal to pay your rent, put gas in your car and buy food. These are good things and we all need them. However, you can have your own game plan. You can accept a job and in accepting that job determine what you are willing to exchange for that job. In other words, you don’t have to reveal every talent you possess only the ones you are required to have in order to perform your duties. Don’t offer ideas, or mention other talents unless it means you will improve your situation. Believe me, if you feel you have to prove something to your employer you are already the underdog and you will spend your nights and weekends proving just how good you are and still never get anywhere.
My new attitude is that I will work a job because it benefits me. And that I will continue to work the job until it stops benefitting me. Or I decide I will work for this employer for this length of time until I can gain the money, experience or some other benchmark to get a position that will benefit me greater. What is really amazing is the difference I feel in the adoption of this new attitude. I no longer worry about jobs or clients, or what they do or don’t think of me. I don’t worry proving anything to anyone. I simply do the work and when I’m done, I leave it there. My free time is now once again my own and I have to say I like it.
How about you? Do you serve your own best interests?
I walk on the floor of thoughts and sometimes hear the whimpers of the minds I step upon. It’s a very dangerous thing to try to control something as powerful as a human being, very dangerous – because every once in a while it explodes and explodes with violence.
Secrets. I whisper these to myself, inside my head. I search the truth in silence. I bow in their church and pretend their truth but religion is always different than the truth. The truth doesn’t lie to you or control you – it just is. They want my secrets but I will not give them over to the machine.
The streets are paved with mummified souls and they cry out to me because I can hear them. My secret. I hush them back to slumber and continue on, careful that no one notices my mutters.
The market cries with color and clamor and I find melons that are ripe and sweet, cheese that will fortify me, bread that will fill the hollow spot in my stomach. Food I will share with the others who have secrets.
The night is frigid and the moon, yellow ice, slicing through obsidian sky. My brothers have gathered and we are ready. And black night turns to crimson rage. “Damnation,” they shriek as the flames engulf. “You will pay!”
Our thirst for destruction knows no restraint nor limit and their holy place is no more. Their lies burn and smolder and are swallowed whole by vengegance -–and the souls imprisoned rise up and hover. Keeping secrets no more.