I must have let it be known in the previous six years of the blog that I mostly hate summer.  Almost exclusively because it's hot.  Secondly because there are school age kids in public in the middle of the day in the middle of the week.  But mostly it's the heat.
A couple of weeks ago I got a hair cut (well, all of them, budum, chee!) mostly because the summer is hot and I hate it and the long hair really gets annoying.  But my hair is now just a little too short to pull back and must nearly constantly be beaten into submission and forced behind my ears.  This is fine unless I'm doing, well, anything.
Last week at work I ran a cardiac arrest and I found myself poised with a laryngoscope and taking a time out to pointedly put my hair behind each ear.  It took about 20 seconds for my hair to wriggle out and then be perpetually in my face because I didn't want to touch it with my dirty gloves.  That, plus the heat of the day was causing me to sweat in a very un-ladylike fashion and I was constantly wiping my brow pointlessly with my arm.  I couldn't take my gloves off as by that point they were kind of a permanent part of my sweaty hands and if I got them off, I'd have to wait an hour before my hands would be dry enough to accept a clean pair.  So, I had to fling my hair in a whiplash inducing toss to keep it relatively out of my face, and despite a good tube, constant CPR, and at least seven defibrillation attempts, the code was not successful. Which left me irritated, hot, and in desperate need of a slurpee. I must have looked more harried than I felt by the time we got to the hospital because no matter how insanely loud the a/c is running in the back of an ambulance, little progress is made toward it becoming less of an oven on wheels.
But sometimes, I really love summer.  Swimming, eating ice cream as fast as I can to keep it from melting, the smell of barbecues from every back yard, long days, the sound of insects in the evening, watermelon, lightning bugs, corn on the cob.  Not to mention almost unlimited time to play outside.  Okay, so summer isn't so bad.
Yesterday, though, I found myself taking my bike ride in the heat of the day (I know, stupid!).  I had decided on a little variety and took my usual loop backwards.  It turned out that this was a bad idea as some hills look much better going down than coming up.  In fact, some seem to never end.  I was ten miles from home and ready to quit, stopping at each shady patch to evaluate my situation.  It was so freaking hot and before me were hills and after me were hills.  I sucked it up (though I had no choice) and completed the loop in it's entirety cursing my lack of available safe short cuts.  The only redeeming feature was that I found a working pair of elitist headphones on the side of the road.  Finding stuff for the win!

Anyway, enough whining about summer.  It's not all mosquito bites and dehydration.

The Bruise

I press my fingers into the bruise
on the back of my right hand.
It does not hurt enough.
It does not take their pain away,
It does not save him.

Hand on top of hand, I did my best
to pump his dying heart back to life.
Never wishing so fervently
for a patient to open his eyes and smile at us
as we congratulate ourselves.

A slow leak in the brain
has left her a widow
with only one month in.
Does he have to die,
to remind us to live?

All of our tools could not compete.
Could not reverse the damage.
Still I plead with his heart.
Just start again
and we’ll give you what you want.

I press my fingers into the bruise
on the back of my right hand.
It does not hurt enough.
It does not take their pain away,
It does not save him.

A Race

They had picked up a patient at the nursing home and were coming down the hallway with him on the cot. Ahead, two women were side by side shuffling down the hall in their wheelchairs.
“Ooh, it's a race!” she exclaimed as they approached, pointing at the lined up wheelchairs.
Her partner laughed "Who's gonna win?"
They stopped the stretcher behind them and she walked up and squeezed the shoulder of one on them. “Do you mind if I push you along a bit, dear. We just have to get by.”
The wheelchair bound woman agreed and picked up her feet.
The EMT pushed her up and left her six feet in front of the other woman so that they could get the stretcher by.
As they passed, she pointing behind her with her thumb and, shaking her head with genuine concern said, “The other lady will never make up that time.”


Before we headed north, C suggested that we backpack one night and then hike in the high peaks the next day on a trail to "Avalanche Pass." To be honest, from the start I was not in love with the idea, and the addition of the word avalanche to our marathon of hiking didn't really sweeten the deal.
But, despite a questionable weather report and a significant drop in temperature from 60 miles east, we headed into the woods from Adorandack HQ. Though I had a 'tude on from the start, it was really good hiking. The trail was interesting and variable and there were no bugs! It was sprinkling rain throughout and the wind was cutting, but that really only made things better in a weird way. Until we stopped for lunch and nearly froze to death. We didn't do the whole hike to avoid walking along some exposed areas (didn't really want to brave the wind) but did make it to avalance lake which was beautiful. The trail got incredibly silly, comprised at some point mainly of wooden ladders carrying the hiker over enromous boulders. Did. not. like. at all. But, we made it to our 'goal' and it was altogether a good day.
By the end of the day, we brought our three day total to 25 miles. Not too shabby for the first hike(s) of the season.
The next day, we could miraculously sill walk and spent some time at a great and very camp mini golf course before going to a wedding. It was a fun time but we didn't leave until 9pm, drove all night and I got to bed at about 0515 and went to my grandmothers birthday party later that day. Whew!


Last week we headed to upstate New York, starting at Niagara Falls, which really wasn't NY at all. I'm happy to report that it only took me seven months to get back out of the country, even if it was only for a few hours. I hadn't been to Niagara since I was about 4 or 5 when I refused to get on the maid of the mist. And then, once convinced to get on, refused to get off. Man that was awesome.
This time, we did the behind the falls tour on the Canadian side. Someone thought it would be a good idea to build a tunnel behind the falls which is actually pretty cool as you are literally behind the falls. The view was um, watery.
We then visited illustrious Watertown, NY, a veritable hotbed of activity. If you count the production of car freshening trees and memorial day BBQs. From there we headed into the mountains and hiked and camped for three days.
The first day we left from a little town called Wanakena. It was warm, but the sun was baking the piney smell right out of the trees and the air was filled with the most pleasing aroma.
That is, until the air was filled with black flies. Nine miles of hiking and all I could hear was buzzing in my ears. The trail was fairly flat, and great for a first hike of the season. We camped at high falls, a great place to be where instead of bugs, the sound of crashing water filled the air and made for a pleasant evening.
I had my first shelter camping experience and it turns out we dragged a tent into the wilderness for no reason at all. I didn't much care for the shelter, it was strangely warm all night and inside the sleeping bag was too hot, while outside, every exposed piece of skin was susceptible to an endless supply of mosquitoes. But, though a chipmunk tried to rob us, we didn't get eaten by a bear, and the shelter was nice at 5am when a storm stirred up and blew a bunch of branches (logs, I should say) out of trees right in front of us. Scary.

The next day we did have a maybe, kind of, could have been run in with a bear. We heard a very suspicious noise and C thought he saw it, but we didn't stick around to make sure. We just STARTED TALKING VERY LOUDLY FOR POTENTIALLY NO REASON, but it made me feel better about the whole situation. From there we traversed beaver dams and at one point had to cross a terrifyingly high log over an otherwise impassable creek. Did. not. like. Turns out, we found more obstacles I didn't like the next day. By day two we had almost 16 miles under our belts and set out to the high peaks.

When I'm 95

Last week, my grandmother turned 95.  For the last few years I have had a work in progress poem, progressively titled 'When I'm 92...93...94' and this year, I finally settled on the lines.
Happy Birthday Grandmom, I'm sure Mom will print this out for you.

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
I want to be alive!
I want independence, children whose successes outweigh mine,
and grandchildren I can sip whisky with.

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
I want to be a good storyteller.
But really I would settle for the stories. They are what define you.
The one of bread handed over a fence, a proud little red wagon, or how a pair of pants set you free.
Or how you picked up coal from the train tracks, your adventures at the cannery, and how much you loved selling stationary at the five and dime.

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
I want to have found love. I want to have given all of mine and have it be enough.
I want to know the secret of a long happy marriage.
I want friends. Friends who truly know me, and after decades, it would be hard not to.
I want a family. Like yours, a family who can look past differences and distances. Family that can come together without quarrel, pretence, or shame.

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
I want to know joy and sorrow, success and failure. I want to know what life truly is and understand the sacrifices it requires. I want the strength to make them. 

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
Well, I'd like to be like you now.
Mostly, I want your generosity.  
When I come over, you never fail to shower me with, well, whatever you have. Doubtless, you would give me anything you owned if I needed it.
But, little do you know that I am satisfied now by what I have always been. A coke and a handful of M and M's. A taste of your unfailing love, and a good story, of course.

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
I want to embody these traits of yours,
to be your carbon copy.
Because I know that when I am 95, I will want to have you.

1st June

The very astute blog reader would point out now that I have skipped two days of the photo a day project this year.  But, realizing this, I decided to do like Ramadan (not to compare the importance of Ramadan with that of posting a picture a day), but if you miss a day of fasting, you can just tack one onto the end.  Which means, a 'bonus' photo a day for June 1 and 2!  Luckily, I was doing something photogenic. 

So, here's a fern.  I know, exciting!