Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lost Weekend

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

Saturday morning, The Husband and I headed out to the Equine Affaire at Golden Hills Equestrian Center ready for fun and edification galore. Having heard the forecast, I dressed for warm weather and armed myself with plenty of water. Still, I think I had been lulled for so many months by cool (too often for my wimpy taste) cold weather. I wasn’t mentally prepared for the morning in Tehachapi. By the time we headed home a little after noon, the temperature had hit 93 degrees.

Not bad, you say, and I couldn’t agree more. But that’s not the way my wacky body saw it at all. In less than an hour—probably closer to half an hour, I had some type of sunstroke and was almost flattened. This problem has grown worse over the years and it has officially become a serious limitation that sometimes bugs the heck out of me. At the time, I didn’t feel overly hot (but then, I almost never do). Something just goes wacky in my system and everything pretty much shuts down. Thanks to a good Samaritan who put an ice pack on the back of my neck, I never passed out and this time my stomach didn’t try to turn inside out. But, the little episode wiped out two days, and I am still not quite certain whose body I am using. I do know this much: this loaner is no bargain.

I never fancied myself as the pale little lady, covered with the wide-brimmed hat, sitting far back, deep in the shade, cooling herself with one of those folding fans, and sipping a cool drink while others frolic in the glorious rays of the summer sun. Egads! That’s a picture that I’d rather not see.

Oh, well. Life is good. Even if I—a long time sun-lover—may end up unable to enjoy the entire middle of the day any time the temperature is going to rise above 85 degrees. I enjoy photo-processing (I did get some important-to-me work done on a few pieces during my recovery period). There are far worse things that could happen. Besides, limitations fuel creativity.

By yesterday evening, I was feeling somewhat human and The Husband and I went for a leisurely walk down at Cub Lake. After a while we sat on the side of the lake and played. I began tossing pebbles in the water to see what would happen if I took pictures of the resulting ripples. One thing led to another until we began experimenting with mini-geysers. Before we exhausted all the possibilities of our exploration, a new acquaintance walked by and we had a nice chat with her. I am already looking forward to more experiments and more easy walks at Cub Lake. What a wonderful refuge it is—and practically in my backyard.

Life is a series of adjustments, isn’t it?


  1. Anita, my wife is a person who excels at change. It's a part of the way she lives her life and it's what she preaches--she's worked in organizational development for years and is now in associate (human) relations. Me, I can handle change if you give me a little time to get use to it. We often laugh I'm an agent of change--requiring 3-days prior notice, and there's a lot of truth in that.

    From reading your post I suspect you're already coping with the changes you now face. Maybe like me you just need a little time to come to terms with it. Cub Lake sounds like a wonderful place to funnel some of that creativity.

    Personally, when faced with something I can no longer easily do the picture of a skier comes to mind I once saw competing in a downhill race sitting on a single ski contraption. He'd lost both legs due in an accident and decided to take up skiing. It boggles my mind and raises my spirit at what people can do.

    Oh, I'm not sure if life is a series of adjustments or just one long one? ;-)

    Take care!

  2. Earl - I like that idea of 3 days prior notice. But, most of all I think you have a point with life being just one long adjustment.

    Believe me I know well that my minor limitations are nothing more than tiny blips when compared to real life challenges. I am incredibly blessed with all my good fortune and grateful for each of them.

    You are right about Cub Lake and there will plenty other places to explore equally rich in possibilities. As I said, limitations fuel creativity.

    Thanks for all the good thoughts.

  3. Anita,

    Enjoying both your photos and essays. Stumbled on this blog after stumbling on Paul Lester's. Thanks very much, hope to read more.

    Mary Ann

  4. Mary Ann - Thanks for visiting. Any friend of Paul's is a friend of mine.
    I hope you will drop by often.

  5. Take care of yourself, Anita!

    The sun is a *bad* thing, IMHO... but then again I'm a native Oregonian who wilts in temperatures above 80 degrees. Today as I was driving home in the sun I was reminded of my grandmother who always wore a broad-brimmed hat outdoors in the summer. As a kid I wondered what she was worried about; as an adult I'm happy to follow in her footsteps.

    Enjoy your life of change and discovery. You'll never be bored!

  6. Amy - How wonderful to hear from you. Gee, I never believed that I might think favorably about living in a climate where the temperature rarely goes higher than 80 degrees. Maybe I will have to rethink that position. I have been wearing a hat for a long time, but I am thinking that I may need an even broader brim and still stay very close to the shade. And, thank you, I am enjoying my new life. Most of the changes are wonderful. I hope you are well.

  7. Your image of the pale little lady in the wide-brimmed hat, sipping a cool drink made me smile. It is such a southern image. I can see you there with your parasol in one hand, camera in the other, drink nearby with condensation rolling down the side, watching the grandchildren frolic.

    I'm very glad to hear that you are doing better and that someone had an ice pack. It's OK to be in the shade during the day. It's my prefered way to be. I'm not a sun worshipper and you're not likely to see me sitting on the beach in the sun or romping through sun filled meadows if the temperature is above about 80 degrees. I'll be inside of a proper environment, AKA, air conditioning!

    Your time spent by Cub Lake sounds like a nice, romantic time.

  8. Paul - Ah, you know me too well. You picked up on all the southern details and nuances of the picture in my mind—with the exception of the grandchildren in my case. That's something I missed out on.

    The second part of your note makes these choices sound downright pleasant. Plus, it's always nice to know that I will be far from alone there in the deepest part of the shade. I know that I will accept this (even gracefully) and enjoy the shady side of things and "proper environment"—even though I have struggled against it. I am long overdue for this particular surrender.

    Here's to more evening time at Cub Lake.

  9. Add something salty when you go back out... 90+ degree heat by itself can be pretty harsh, but I've learned the hard way (during a 100-mile bike tour in the hills of Northern Virginia when it was 96 degrees and 95% humidity) how much salt helps.

    (They ran out of Gatorade at the 55-mile rest area....)

    When I hike I don't carry salt, I carry water + snack food that tastes good and has salt in it.

    All that said, I'm glad you're feeling better... heatstroke is nasty stuff!

  10. Rakesh - Sound advice.

    Wow. That temperature combined with that humidity will knock you out if you aren't careful, won't it? We rarely see anything approaching high humidity here, but I have lived in climates where it was big part of life. It can be icky.

  11. Glad to hear you are on the road to recovery and the time spent at the lake sounds like the perfect antidote.

    Please do not exclude the altitude (4000 Ft.) in Tehachapi of what may have been the cause. If you have a chance, ask any pilot what the lift there is like in dry, mid-90 temps. You will get my general drift and it may have given you that old "one-two punch".

    It all seems to work together, much like aperture, exposure time and ISO for us folks a bit further down that path called life.

    The thought of you in the shade, wide brimmed hat in place, with a fan working works is fine. Just remember a nice back, quartering light is most flattering.

    Be Well, Steve

  12. Steve - Excellent point about the altitude and something that I hadn't thought about. I have had this problem to an annoying degree for some time now, but this episode was rough as I had more trouble than usual snapping back. (But, I fully snapped back today.) The altitude is likely the difference.

    The "quartering light" made me chuckle. I will keep it in mind. After all, as I get further down this "path called life" flattering light is an important priority.

  13. Anita, we might have another thing in common. I can't take heat either. For me it seems associated with not prespiring much.
    Have a solution you might try...
    Get a bicycle water bottle and dribble water into your hair. Keeps my brain cool but does look kind of messy. The more water the better liberaly splashed all over the body.

  14. Bob - I had never before bumped into anyone who had this same problem of not perspering. Weird, isn't it? My husband and I have figured for some time that that is a major cause of my problems. Your suggestion triggered an idea. I think what might work for me--other than mostly just staying in the shade--is to carry one of those spritzer bottles and just keep spritzing myself. Once when we were at the LA zoo, as a matter of fact, we poured water on me and soaked my cotton shirt and it made a nice difference. Great idea. I have also been known to put an ice pack under my straw hat (for that brain-cooling, but the ice doesn't last long in the sun. Too bad I didn't use any of those tricks last weekend. I often get fooled becuase I'm not actually feeling that hot--and I don't perspire. Then, by the time I'm in trouble, I'm in biiiiig trouble. I had better get used to taking preventive measures.

    With all the suggestions that I have gotten, I am optimistic about putting together a strategy that will get me through the summer without a repeat performance of my swoon. I really appreciate all the suggestions and information. This is going to make a difference.

  15. I too can sympathise with problems in the heat. I don't seem to sweat muh either, and suffer in high temps (especiallywhen cycling hard).

    I could go into the science (some fairly basic heat balance stuff) but the fundamental problem is cooling. At these high temps, water into the body is having limited effect and is slow to evaporate (perspiration), which is why external cooling (pouring water over yourself) is much more effective.

  16. Doonster - I know this smacks of "misery loves company", but it's somewhat comforting to know that others deal with this, and all the more comforting to hear the solutions. (Geez. I can remember when I was foolish enough to believe that not perspiring much was an advantage.) I am feeling much more optimistic about summer mid-day outings now.


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