Thursday, August 25, 2011

An old science fiction story becomes historical artifact

When I was a school girl in the 1950s, I remember having teachers telling me that petroleum was decayed dinosars preserved in the earth for millions of years. I mused in an earlier blog,"do I remember this correctly? Could this possibly be true?"

I heard from a number of contemporaries who said yes, that's what they were told , too. And we thought we were so advanced!(Wonder what silly myths we still believe today?)

Recently, my granddaughters and I were going to the used book store, and my oldest ran to her room for some books to trade. One was a juvenile science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein. The pages were VERY yellow.

"Oh, give me that!" I exclaimed. "I read everything he ever wrote and it will be fun to reread it now."

She sighed in relief. "Daddy gave me this and he really wants me to read it. But grandma," she turned a pained face to me. "I just couldn't get into it."

Well, rest easy, child. I almost couldn't get into it myself.

It was written in 1952. This family, living in Luna City buys an old spaceship and takes off for Mars, where there are several settlements. And live Martians.

Now, you youngsters, you don't know about the early 1950s and how the population romanticized Mars. People were still seeing UFOs--I saw one myself in 1947, and it's one of very few events the Air Force still lists as "unexplained."

When we looked at Mars, it seemed crisscrossed by regular, symmetrical canals. Connect UFOs with the canals, and you got some hopeful science fiction buffs who were itching to see what was there. An alien race? Oh, boy!

When better telescopes and better science came along in the mid-50s, we were told the marks were normal erosion, no sign of water--or air to speak of--and it was a big, ol' dusty planet, Well. We felt were bummed, majorly.

("Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury was written in 1950 and is still a lyrically written manuscript that might hold up.)

So I'm trying to read this book, and Heinlein was forward-thinking for his day. Everytime they went anywhere, though, they all whipped out their slide rules to calculate the orbit. Scary. The idea of computers, or artificial intelligence, was too far away for his mind to grasp. The grandmother in the story is a well-trained pilot who can't get a license because women can't have them. The mother is a physician, but she fixes ALL the meals, and of course, the author has them actually cooking in space. A passenger ship comes down with "neo measles" for anyone who hadn't had the measles earlier (Measles vaccinations also were beyond his imagination.)

There's quite a lot he does get right, but overall, it's kind of "Father Knows Best Goes to Mars." And a lot of you have never heard of the tv sitcom, "Father Knows Best."At least I lived through those years and had a referant. My granddaughter had none, and her eyes crossed.

Who knew a Robert Heinlein novel could become an nistorical artifact?

Actually, now I think about it, I hadn't planned on being a historical repository myself.

But I am.

Monday, August 22, 2011

We're Still A Contender

Those residents who were disappointed when Texas couldn't reach more than 43 triple-digit consecutive days have another record I hope we won't reach.

Average number of 100-degree or more days is usually 16 so far. We're closing in on 60 days. In 1980, the summer that would not die, we had 69.

Dare I hope it's another 30 years before the next one? I'll probably be dead by then.

You know, there are some things in life you just won't miss.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"The Help" is a reminder we have to keep working together

A friend and I went to see "The Help" last night. Critics are probably right. It's a predictable movie, no surprises, and the ending may be just a little too happy to be realistic.

Not to worry. It still focuses on a time at least two generations know nothing about but those of us over 60 remember. The theater was full. Movie managers, no fools they, had hiked the price up from $7 last weekend to $13 this weekend. There was a disclaimer in the credits that the women in the Junior League of Jackson, Miss., in no way resemble the characters in this movie. That made my friend and me chuckle.

I used to say I never went to a segregated school, but I found out a month ago my elementary was, until I reached third grade. We didn't have many blacks. But the hispanic kids were kept separate, too. That makes me blink.
In the Southwest, the bigotry is more subtle. I remember an hispanic friend in high school I wanted to go with to a certain restaurant.

"Charlotte," she said patiently, "I can't go eat there."
"Why not?" I asked angrily.
She just shook her head. And she wouldn't go.
And she was right. They wouldn't have served her, even with the blonda chica whose father was a town leader. THEN who knows where it would go?

When I was 16, we went to Florida by car. Mother, a history teacher, and Dad planned the trip so that we stopped at the state capitol in every state and photographed it.
In one of those buildings, I saw for the first time a water fountain labled "colored water". My impulse was to go integrate that water fountain, but Mother said no, and I didn't.

I remember thinking, "I couldn't live here. I'm glad I didn't grow up here."
It was a shadow of the grue I felt years later in Dallas when hooded Ku Klux Klan members approached cars in the intersection for donations. They had the right. And I rolled up my window and locked the door. I had never seen live Klansman in regalia, either, you see. I was in my 40s.

For me, this little movie made me remember a time I never want to see this country go back to. For those younger, really unaware, maybe in some it will awaken the same determination. There is much more to do.

Only a few things in life are worth saying, Never Again.

This just happens to be one of them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Living With Gracie--Chapter 1

When I was a new mom for the first time, I had taken a Red Cross course on how to hold a baby and how to wash the child without drowning him or dropping him on his head.

My son was a C-section baby. We discovered after about 36 hours of labor that the reason he wouldn't come out was that he had one foot on each sciatic nerve. This left his feet a little hinky and I was instructed to do some exercises with him every time I changed his diaper--cloth diaper with diaper pins, no less--and I did so competently.

Let me emphasize:I had never been around babies or other people caring for them. Nada.

My mother-in-law, a nurse and the oldest daughter of nine children, came by almost every day to give me support and help me learn how to mother this child I really loved very much.

She came by one day when I was changing his diaper and asked in astonishment, "Why aren't you talking to that baby?"

I was genuinely puzzled.

"Why?" I asked. "He can't answer."

I had read a number of books, but they discussed the practical. Not one of them told me about talking to your child. I learned a lot that day, and I started talking to my baby. And while it was a while before he could answer in words, he started answering me. A good time was had by all.

Sorry, son, but training Gracie reminds me of that old story.

Of course I talk to her, but apparently not enough. I've read enough to learn that if I don't get Gracie's manners under control, she is in danger of turning into an incorrigible brat. And one tool suggested was talking to her.

My youngest granddaughter has accustomed her to the leash by taking her out and running with her. Gracie loves it. She will follow me now without fighting the leash, but she does find my pace boring, and my refusal to let her run off to jump up on the UPS man mean.

So again I am talking to her all the time. A trainer I found on the internet suggested talking to her while she eats, and I did that this morning. She liked it. He recommended two feedings; I keep some kibble in her bowl at all times. She isn't greedy. She nibbles. When she is really hungry, she sits on her haunches and polishes it off.

Somehow, she has discovered human food on her own. I have not fed her, nor have the grandkids. Last Friday, however, I scraped two chicken drumstick bones into the trash and went outside. When I returned in a few minutes, she had overturned the trash and was finishing the last few bites of the second chicken bone. Note to self: her teeth are really getting strong. So. More changes in how I do things.

She loves her puppy toothpaste so much it is hard to get the brush out of her mouth.

Obedience classes won't start until September. I would like to teach her to sit, heel, stay down, not chew up my phonebook or poop on my woven Indian rug. Oh, and not bite. I leave her chew rope to the kids. I'm too slow. After my fourth half-inch bleeding cut from her faster reflexes and razor teeth, I've decided that isn't prudent.

I've learned a herder dog means very active. Want ads today advertised a year and a half Corgi male, crate trained. free to a good home. The owner said he simply didn't have the time the dog required.

I hear that. An intelligent dog means one that needs stimulation. Whew! We're working on her ear-splitting "YAP!"

"Inside voice," I tell her in a soft tone. "Inside voice."

I swear she gets it.

Right now, she's sprawled by my feet as I type. I love that her feet always stretch behind her. When she sleeps on her back, the hind legs stretch out and the front legs fold altogether like a child's. AWWWW. Her bed is in my bedroom, and she has begun to use it instead of the cool hardwood floor. She usually wants to be in whatever room I am in.

I think we're bonding.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Add 3 more inches to that skirt and I'll buy it

As goes Texas, so goes the country--so far as textbooks are concerned.

The state is so big, publishers pretty much sell other, smaller states the textbooks that our beknighted Board of Education select. (Briefly this year, Creationism arose again but thankfully was quashed.)

Anyway, Texas has hundreds of thousands of middle school and high school teenage girls.

You would think the clothing industry would like to sell these girls dresses. And they do sell a fair amount to middle class and richer kids who can afford to have dresses for parties and fun that they can't wear to school.

Because I doubt a single district in the state will let a girl wear a skirt three inches or more above the knees to school. Sundresses? Yeah. with a Tshirt underneath. No I said Tshirt. NOT camisole.

So the girls head for the trusty jeans again. No problems there and all their friends wear them, anyway.

But if makes me scratch my head. Obviously, the stores want to sell clothes. So why don't they make and sell clothes the girls can wear to school?

There's a lot of conservative school districts out there. A huge untapped market.
Oh, well, I've never been in retail.

It just seems silly to me.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rain? It's Rain? OMG!

It rained today. I don't know when it started, but probably a soaking rain for one and a half hours, at least. Maybe an inch?

Don't think it was supposed to be here.

Hope the farmer I saw haying yesterday afternoon got it in. In a good year, we get three cuttings. An okay year? Two. This is likely to be a one-cutting year.

Gracie, my three-month-old puppy, was amazed. She had never seen water fall out of the sky. Scared her, at first. Then she ran out in the yard, found all her favorite sticks and flimsy plastic garden pots she is demolishing, and brought them all up under the dry overhang on my deck. Then she finally ran around in the rain.

Good girl.

When I stepped outside and saw the wet, heard it on the metal overhang on my deck, I was astonished. What a lovely surprise.

Grandkids and mom are going to the lake cabin for the weekend--it won't have rained down there, likely. They will swim and maybe catch their supper.

It is going to be a might humid later. I'll nap, then research how to outsmart Welsh Corgi pups. Because so far this week, it is Gracie about 5, me about 1.

I can do better than that.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Record Not Broken, and Souls Refreshed

My morning paper tells me the sweet smell of rain is called petrichor. When rain falls on the earth, it causes a chemical reaction, mixing with the oils from plants and trees.

It causes that wonderful smell that makes us say, "Ahhh! It smells like rain."

It didn't rain yesterday, just the veriest sprinkle, but we had clouds and thunder--and that wonderful smell. Best of all, the temperature dropped in the approaching gusts of wind from 97 to 77 or lower.

At 1 in the afternoon, my granddaughters were running around and shrieking in the first midday fun outdoors they have enjoyed without a pool attached in months.

"Grandma," my oldest shouted at me in glee, "We're geeks!"

Some areas did get rain. Most did not. We got enough to say we got sprinkles on our faces.

The record is broken. At day 40 in consecutive triple-digit days, we didn't reach 100.Did. Not.

Today? Oh, probably another triple-digit. And on through the next week.

In the paper, the reporter wrote that business workers and shoppers congregated on the sidewalks to enjoy the cool break and see if it would rain. The break was too important. So my grandchildren and I weren't the only geeks.

We were humans enjoying pure physical relief this world can give us. Only a couple of hours of it, but we are refreshed.

The rain will come. It will come. We smelled it.

The rain will come.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I think there's a cloud at the end of the tunnel...

Oh! Oh! Clouds!

Not rain on my spot of ground clouds, but maybe block out some of the sun and lower the heat a scooch clouds. Wonderful to see.

The heat is gearing down just a bit. 103 today. 101 tomorrow. Saturday? maybe 100.
Saturday would break the 1980 record of 42 triple-digit days, although all in all, 1980 will retain the record for total number of days.

Saturday, I'll abandon my vigil and go on to other things.

It has been worth it. Concentrating on sweat and discomfort has been better than wondering if any of my invested retirement funds will be left. Or brooding about the odd fact there is street violence in Great Britain. Or familiarizing myself more with sequestration--do I have the word right? What we get if Congress continues to refuse to do their jobs.

My spot of green is getting a bit larger. The St. Augustine definitely is safe.
I was reflecting recently that it is summer, and my oldest granddaughter has not had to mow in two months.

Texas summers, baby, in a home where we know the bermuda will come back when it rains again sometime.

I don't know if any critters are hitting my pan of water in the yard or not. Haven't seen any birds. Bet they don't like the shiny. I'd like a birdbath, but can't find one so far under $150. I will.

Today, the library.

Tomorrow, the pool, and while we still have our suits on, we'll wash the dust off my screened porch. It really needs it.

My mornings at the picnic table on the back porch have become a really pleasant part of the day.

Thank you, Gracie.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dreaming of Cool places

More humid today. Gee, must be at least 40 per cent.

Silly me. If we had more humidity, we might finally get some rain.

Physical therapy in an hour. BTW, the knee surgery was great, but the physical therapy the surgeon ordered after is making a huge difference. My right leg is definitely the stronger now. The still unfixed left knee is pretty wimpy, limiting the exercise that leg can endure.

My balance is incredibly better. I take normal, swinging steps when I walk, much as I did oh, 15 years ago.

I definitely will get the left knee done. I have hopes of being able to walk up to four miles again. THAT will jazz up my nature walks. Also with the improved balance, next time I'm at the ocean in Oregon, I'll be able to walk to the tide pools. Nice dreams, anyway.

This afternoon, we hit the $2 movies. That is the cheapest cooling experience I can find. Not bad, not bad.

I need another book with a mountain or winter setting.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A simple Pleasure to last all day.

I step outside.

The humid, smarmy heat slaps my face,wraps around my body.

It is 85 or more. It is 7 am.

I start the sprinkler. A breeze blows through, cooling.

I acclimate and am quiet.

Now the air is pleasant. It smells of wet grass.

Birds come to the water. They land--swick, swick--on the feeder just 10 feet away.

The morning seems to exhale.

So do I.

Peace settles lightly, gently.

I will carry it with me through this day.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"We can cover your funeral expenses up to $10,000..."

Only 105 yesterday.

I'm grateful Gracie gets me up and out early, in the best of the day weatherwise.
It is after 8 now, and the most pleasant part of the day is sliding away. I think part of my discomfort in Texas heat is the sweat rolling down my face, my back.
When I came to the Dallas-FortWorth area my freshman year, I thought that first bead of sweat rolling down my back was a bug. In New Mexico, sweat evaporates as you go. I had never had sweat roll down my body before. I didn't like it. Fifty years later, I still don't.

I have to laugh at my mail. So much of it is aimed at infirmities and dying. One day recently, there were three different offers to pay for "my final costs". Isn't that delicate?

The letter that bemused me, though, is from--I don't know. I presume a branch of the pharmacy I use. Or maybe the manufacturer of my pills.

I am no longer taking blood pressure medication. My doctor okayed this.

The letter I got presumed a) I felt good so just stopped, b) was having trouble paying and here are some agencies to help and c) I don't remember what c was.

Imagine a world where we all ate better, exercised more and dropped a few vices.
The pharmaceutical industry would be horrified. They have college expenses for the kids.

I mentioned this letter to a friend who recently stopped another medication after her doctor observed she was developing some bad side effects. She got a similar letter.

This seems so much more intrusive than life used to be--and it is.

Back in the 1980s, I remember interviewing some computer researchers at the University of North Texas, and they said then that we were beginning to lose our concept of privacy. They said people who would never dream of rummaging through your wallet would get online and get the same information. This was 30 years ago.

Now? sigh. I grew up with a lot of privacy. I've watched slivers get carved away every year, and I wonder what effect this has on my freedom.

Probably not a lot. But some.

And that's a shame.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fun in the heat

It is warmer this morning than yesterday.

Yesterday, the town closed off downtown streets and had one heck of a good party, with several fun spots involving water, lots of vendors selling everything from snow cones to pretty good beef jerky (Texas, you know) One of the banks was selling $5 hamburgers with proceeds to go to the firefighters, police and library. There was the shoot out with blanks, of course. A good, sweaty street dance.

And armadillo races. I really wanted to see those. Those critters can RUN!

So far as I know, no heat prostration, and I do know it was a completely civil day. No arrests at all.Several thousand people. Not bad.

So, another hot day. Really, REALLY getting tired of 'em. This next week we stand fair to tie the 1980 record of 42 consecutive days of triple digit heat.

There are actually some sportin' people who are rooting for it.

My opinion shall go unvoiced.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And the Heat Goes On....

It only reached 105 yesterday. Blessed relief.

No rolling blackouts yet.

A young man called a local radio station and laughed at us Texas weenies. He said he was just back from Afghanistan, and it was reaching 135 there (and I presume, no air conditioning). So humans CAN survive higher heat. We just don't want to.

Just as extreme cold can cause streets to buckle and push up, so can extreme heat. Hope my street doesn't--it was paved about 6 months ago and is wonderfully smooth. Our new light rail system just opened to my part of the Metroplex is running at 45 mph instead of the usual 60 because of concerns about warping rails.

Water is the other consideration. The severe drought conditions virtually destroyed Texas produce this year, at a loss of billions. Most of our fresh produce is coming from miles away (except, as I said, for the okra and black-eyed peas.)

Will the rains come? We don't know.

About a quarter of the area water supply is unavailable because zebra mussels invaded Lake Texoma and they aren't releasing that water downstream. Fort Worth sells its treated but not potable water to surrounding cities to use for irrigation. I know a few families who have set up the gutters and tanks to collect the rainwater for watering. I bet we see more of that.

And you folks thinking about moving to Texas? Stay home. The steady flood of people into the state makes the politicians happy. It also means less water to go around. It is hot and messy down here, and the legislature stripped our schools of so much money this year it is a wonder our upcoming kids will even be literate. Stay home.

At least another week of this high heat to go. I think I have my second wind now.

We usually get a good rain sometime between Aug. 20 and Sept. 10.

Hope we do this year.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Survival means hibernation after 2 p.m.

I guess I am journaling at present.It's 9:10, DST,and the temperature is starting to climb. Another couple of hours and it will be over 100 again.

We will find out if today is when the rolling blackouts start. A big stick, indeed, to get the population's attention, but a healthy proportion of Texans are stubbornly going to cling to 72 degree thermostats no matter what. I'm wondering if I need a battery operated lantern. What bothers me most is that with no power--no fans, either. During the cold, they were publicizing 10-15-minute cutoffs, but I had one that lasted two hours. My house is not well insulated. How fast will it warm up?

Last night at 9 it was 102. I assume I am meeting criteria--my thermostat is set on 73-74, but in the afternoons and evenings, only cools to 78 or 79. This with 16 additional inches of insulation. I'm using all appliances in the morning, and yesterday even shut down the computer. The plug to the TV is behind a bookcase I can't reach or I would pull that, too. I understand DVRs pull current even when off.

Until this week, I've gone about my business, pretty much, but now I guess I'm into heat fatigue. I'm watering my volunteer St. Augustine in the back, and it has greened considerably. I've started watering the privet hedge in front weekly when I noticed the leaves on top were turning brown. They may be just scorching, but I don't want to lose this hedge. Last summer, I didn't water it even once.

The bit of green in the back feeds my soul. I've put a pan of water out for the birds and more birdseed, which I see the fire ants are prowling through. I'm seeing more birds and butterflies, even a big old toad hopping along this morning.

Gracie goes in for more shots today, then to PetSmart while I get a new leash and her doggie toothpaste. Last night, I imagined I would have to cancel--couldn't bear the thought of being out in the afternoon heat, even in an air-conditioned car I would park mere feet from airconditioned buildings.. Today, well, is a new day. So we will go.

I not only cooked chicken this morning, I've boiled some squash to go with. I figure if all I have to do is spoon it onto a plate and microwave it, I may eat this evening.

Either that, or I'll eat it for breakfast.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Think that was hot? Try hotter!

And the heat goes on and on and on.

We had 110 yesterday, with a bit of humidity. Hard to breathe air that warm.
This morning, at 6 am it must have been about 86.

Today's paper sums it up for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex:

so far, 40 days reaching 100 degrees or more.
Typical summers have 16 days.
For instance, we usually have 6 days in July over 100. This year we had 30 days.
Did I say yesterday reached 110? Today is predicted to reach 112.
By the end of next week, we will have surpassed the record year in 1980, with higher temps.

Statistically, the heat starts subsiding between Aug 12 and Aug.20. We'll see.
If you like beef, think ahead. It's going to be cheaper this fall as ranchers who can't afford hay and hauled water now are selling off the beef they ordinarily would keep to breed next year's beef.

Next year? Yeah, baby. That steak is gonna cost ya.

As usual in high heat, the trees are shedding about one-third of their leaves. The lake water has gotten so warm, we've had several large fish die-offs due to suffocation. Wild animals and reptiles are slithering into the cities in search of water. Even snakes need a little water now and then.

Here, we had one rain in June. Before that, mid-May. We need rain. I just dread the humid heat the day after.

Today, they are beginning to discuss possible rolling blackouts. I don't understand why retail facilities aren't required to raise their temperatures, but we residents are being asked to use as few appliances as possible between 4-7 pm, the peak heat hours. It makes sense, but folks don't seem to be hearing the message much.

Yesterday I washed and dried a load of clothes before 10 and baked a meat loaf. As a matter of fact, I find I slow way down in the afternoons. Others tell me the same.

Gracie, my brilliant puppy, seems to have most of potty-training down. It's that visit outside at noon or early afternoon when we have problems. Sun directly overhead. Temperature already 100. She gives me this "are you nuts?" look, and sometimes she listlessly walks over to a patch of grass and squats. More often, she just sits, panting, looking at me now and then as I get hotter and sweatier. Usually doesn't take more than 5 minutes. Then we go inside to the cool.

I could get all hot and bothered about 'what if' the rolling blackouts start, but I'm hot enough, thank you. If it happens, we'll deal. Meanwhile, I have discovered a new survival tool called Blue Bunny Double Raspberry Frozen Yogurt. AHHHH.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sweat Time, Living in the City

"Summertime, and the living is easy...."

I hear some dissenting harumphs to this, including my own. Mother used to sing that to me as a lullaby. I remember no air-conditioning in New Mexico. The advantage there is, most always, the evenings are cool. They give relief. Mother had this really light-weight bedspread that went on my bed in late May, and that helped, too.

I could wear shorts and a shirt. I had swimming lessons in the town unheated pool at 9 in the mornings when it was really cold and I learned to swim to keep from freezing to death....

But business did slow down in the summers. There was always a pitcher of sun-tea around, and some mint sprigs to go with. The temperatures rarely topped 100, as I recall, which was good.

I remember a summer trip to Dallas with my father,mother and grandmother across the Texas desert in an un-airconditioned car. We had a big thermos jug of ice water in the car but it didn't help much. It was the 1950s, and my mother and grandmother, despite the heat, had on a slip with their hose and a girdle, else how would they keep their hose up? I remember in the privacy of the car, they pulled their skirts up a bit and knotted those hose under the knees to give them more breathing room. I remember eyeing this and telling myself, never, never,never. There must have been a lot of us in that generation...even now, when I insist at least on crop pants for church on Sunday, I don't wear hose in the summertime.

But always, in New Mexico, nearby are some mountains and cool air. Only 30 minutes away from Alamogordo. Too many days of oppressive heat, and off we would go, for an afternoon respite. I think, from the Metroplex in Texas, I just about need to drive the 600-plus miles to get to those same mountains to get away from the heat here.

This year, add extreme drought all over. Only here, in the Metroplex, did we get just enough rain to be merely near-drought conditions. This year, for most folks, the green beans and squash didn't make--too much high heat came on in June. Despite watering, the tender corn shoots just shriveled in the sun. But the cantaloupe are doing well. Resilient okra and black-eyed peas are going gangbusters. Tomatoes? We can still get some but our own gardens have dried up for the time being. They will come back in September, and with any luck, we will be picking batches of half-green tomatoes to finish on the window sills in late November. That's when we usually get a freeze.

The summer of 1980 is talked about a lot here in the Southwest. Our longest, hottest summer ever in history. And we didn't even have a drought then.

I remember the summer of 1980 vividly. I was in my 30s, worked out regularly, and still that summer seemed it would never end. Heard today that with another week of 100-plus temperatures, an absolute surety, we will have broken that record.

So it is summertime. The living certainly isn't easy. Thanks to Gracie, I'm up before 7 most days, anyway. Get in a little watering while it still is in the
80s. I run the sprinkler and Gracie runs through it like a mad dog, barking her version of a cowboy "Yahoo!" Good to see. Good to laugh.

The heat makes families cruel to one another. Parents kill each other. They leave their children in hot cars. They kill extended family. We have bodies all over the Metroplex. They are the minority, of course. Most kids are having a fine summer, even if they do notice the hot. Most adults seem to be behaving like adults and finding genuine pleasure in what is, for now, a sweaty life.

Note to you folks in Minnesota, the Dakotas, etc., who have also suffered horrendous heat. It is pretty horrible, isn't it? And hard for you to endure because you don't have the resources to deal with high heat. You don't need the resources because it happens so seldom.

Remember this the next cold spell when Texans are sliding over the roads due to inadequate sanding or salt operations. Years ago, when I was working for a Metropolitan paper,I remember a forecast for sleet. One of the reporters was assigned an article on how to handle it. The weather didn't materialize. His editor, an organized and thrifty person, stashed the article. Five years later, it finally ran. Ice at last. The reporter even still worked there.

Summertime, and I guess the living is the same in every season. It is as easy as we let it be.