Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Signs That Summer is Coming

I really don't like summer in Georgia. *sigh* I'm not particularly fond of winter either, but that's beside the point. I absolutely love spring and especially fall :), but I have never liked the weather that accompanies that season between the Summer Soltice and the Autumnal Equinox. Actually, unfortunately the "summer-like weather" in Georgia is not confined between the above recognized distinctions of the solar year.

Actually, I have a very love-hate relationship with summer. The association is not all bad. I passed one quarter of my youth during that season. Summer has always been the season I most look forward to in the sense of extra freedom from school responsibilities (as a student, teacher, or tutor). I like Father Dear being home more (though he does usually teach something during the summer), and I love visiting friends and relatives. I like wearing lightweight cotton dresses, and I love going barefoot or with sandals and not having to worry about covering my feet from the cold. I love waking up early for a walk and not bundling up despite the early hour.

The rest of my associations with summer are mostly bad. I really don't like summer weather, at least the weather that accompanies the summer here in the South. The last few weeks I've been aware of a few of the signs that summer is indeed soon to come upon us.

(1) The Humidity

The humidity is back. If you don't understand what I mean by that, I envy you. Georgia feels like a swamp during the summer - a very hot one. I don't mind dry heat, but I don't tolerate heat + humidity well at all. Think of a spa. All day long. Or a sauna. Ick.

It is not a pleasant experience to air dry 40 inches of hair when the atmosphere is already bursting with moisture; it's sort of like walking around in a cloud for an entire day.

(2) The Mosquitoes

I discovered my first bug bites of the year this morning: two on my left foot, and one on my left ankle. I must have acquired them during my lengthy visit to the local park on Sunday. Georgia is practically a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and I try not to find myself outdoors in the evenings without ample coverage or strong bug spray. Unfortunately mosquitos really like me, while many bug sprays don't get along well with my skin.

My record for bugbites was just over 240 in 4 hours, one hot and muggy summer evening with some Dear Friends (the Trues and Freemans) in a backyard with ample foliage - read "mosquito breeding ground". Yes, for those of you with a mathematical bent, that was a rate of just over one bite/minute. I also discovered through that experience that Caladryl should not be applied constantly and, in fact, over-application of Caladryl can irritate one's legs more so even than a surplus of 100 bites/leg.

(3) The Sun

This Sunday I got my first real taste of sun-dodging for the year. We had a picnic after church at a local park, and the sun was out and beating down on us, so I donned an ankle-length skirt, a light-weight long sleeved blouse, and a wide-brimmed hat. I then quickly headed for the shade of a large tree, where our party was picnicking :).

Those who know me well know that I work very hard every summer to keep up my ghostly-pale complexion :-D. The last time I went to the beach was 2 summers ago with my Dear Friend Emily and her Dear Family. We were there for 4 days and I used an entire family-sized bottle of sunscreen by myself. But I didn't get sunburned! In fact I returned from Florida just as pale as when I went - mission accomplished!

Some of you may laugh at my antics to avoid the sun, but then you probably don't have the same level of melanin in your skin that I have in mine - practically zilch. I don't tan, as I try to explain to people; I just burn. I can get pink from the sun after 15 minutes under partial clouds. By the way, did you know that on a typically-cloudy day, 80% of the sun's rays still get through??? People laugh when I say this until they see my pink-tinged skin after I've spent an afternoon in cloudy weather with one or two sunscreen applications. *sigh*

For those of you gasping that I had the audacity to just color part of my text in red given, (a) my pinkish-purplish blog color scheme, and (b) the purplish text immediately preceding it, it's okay, calm down. I was merely trying to associate colors with each of the three signs I listed, and unfortunately red was the best choice for the part on sunburns. I recognize that there are times to couple colors that are otherwise to be kept apart. Even I sometimes wear red and pink together on Valentine's Day. . .

So yes, summer is coming, as evidenced by various signs I have been dreading. But then, as Mother Dear just pointed out to me amidst my typing, if we didn't have summer, we couldn't appreciate the other seasons as much :). And I am looking forward to a long break from teaching and tutoring. . .

What signs of summer have you witnessed recently?


Anna Naomi said...

I can empathize with you exactly! The conditions you describe fit Alabama weather to a T! And yes, I can entirely empathize with you regarding pale skin. I too, never tan, only BURN and horribly, so I always use tons of sunscreen this summer! I too am looking forward to freedom from some responsibilities, warmer mornings, and light clothes, but not to the heat, humidity, and sun!

une_fille_d'Ève said...

Crazy bangs and poofier hair that gets tangled easily and will not cooperate!
That's my sign, which is of course linked to the lovely humidity that you already mentioned. :-p
I also finding myself day-dreaming about how fun it would be to spend my summer in Africa, Quebec, Europe, or South America. :-)

Ashley said...

A few things:
1) Never move to Orlando. The humidity is worse there. Or at least I think so.
2) Never move to Peru. It's humid there too - in the jungle (duh) and on the coast, anyways. It doesn't get really hot (max high 80's or low 90's in the summer) but the sun is SOO strong - being 12 degrees below the equator (in Lima). I used to burn a lot before I moved there, but since living in Peru I don't have to worry as much now! I think my skin is more used to it. You're giving the eulogy at my funeral, right? ;-)

That being said, I love summer. I think I will like summer even more when I'm not working. :-) I love the humidity because it reminds me of the south which is my HOME! It brings back pleasant memories, and calms me. I love being able to go for walks when I get home and it not be dark. I love swimming. I love feeling the sun. I love the more laid-back lazy attitude.

You really don't like it here in the South do you? *sad sigh* To each his own, I guess... I will miss you when you move to Indiana though. :-(

Becky Miller said...

It is not NEAR summer here in RI...it's barely spring. The trees finally blossomed.

I really like the pictures from that photo shoot - they have such a lovely fuzzy-sunny-fairytale quality to them.

kate said...

Georgia summers are so awful!!! But, right now I am in New England and missing the heat, the sunshine, and the awesome thunderstorms (not to mention my family, who live below Atlanta). Fun to find your blog! I shall probably keep on checking in here, if you don't mind.

deb said...

Susan, Virginia has only started having some summer-like days, but we're definitely not as far along as Georgia...yet.

Thankfully, we don't have many mosquitoes since it's so breezy here in the Valley. I'm a mosquito magnet! They can find my body heat anyplace! So, I'm thoroughly enjoying living in this area--so different from all the swamps/water surrounding Wmsbg and the Peninsula where we were for 9 years.

Our family will be headed to Georgia (northern part) early June for my son's wedding. I already dread the heat and humidity I'm assuming we'll experience. In fact I just got a body perm to help with my hair drooping in the wedding pictures. But now I'm worried about frizz. :)

You're right--spring and fall are the best!

Susan said...

Oh, just as a clarification to all, the signs I listed are just that right now - signs. Summer in full force is yet to come, but it will be here. Right now it's just starting to be hot, humid, blisteringly sunny, and mosquitoey.

Yes, Anna, AL is approximately as bad as Georgia :(. Bleh.

I talk about icky summer weather conditions, and you talk of spending the summer in Africa or South America, Sister Dear???!!!! Whatever, Dearie.

Well, Orlando and/or Peru weren't on my list of places to move, Ashley, but then, Mother Dear at one time said she'd never move to Atlanta :). Absolutely, I am available for your funeral when you die of skin cancer. I'm going to be one busy girl in 20 years when all of my friends have to take me up on that offer. . .

Our trees have been blossoming in cycles for quite a while, Becky. We still have blooms now, but most of the blooming season is past, I believe. All the trees are green again :). Glad you liked the photos.

Thanks for stopping by, Kate. I don't mind at all if you come by to check! Please do :). The more the merrier.

Deb, congratulations on your son's upcoming marriage :). Hopefully in early June you'll stumble upon a not-so-humid day. Not probable, but possible :). Now of it was July it wouldn't be possible :-P.

Ben Garrison said...

I'm so glad I live in seattle now. :-D Noah doesn't have air conditioning, but it doesn't matter 'cause it's cool enough in the basement. :-D

Lydia said...

Acutally, we have had negative signs of summer, as in very cool weather and ice storms. Yes, ice storms-- although most people would call it hail. We had a major hail storm this past Monday morning with hail in our area marble to half-dollar size. The body of my semi-new car looks like it has pock marks:( At least we didn't have baseball and softball size like downtown reported, not to mention broken windshield glass. :)

As for the temps., today the high was in the 50's and it felt like a crisp autumn day when I walked to my car after work this evening. I didn't bring a heavy enough jacket so I was quite cold.

I like summer for the most part. I just try to stay indoors for most of it.:) I do miss the more pleasant weather for walks, though. I never had to worry about sunburns when I was younger since I have dark features and a more melanin in my skin as you pointed out. Now I do burn occasionally but it is usually just a minor burn that turns into a tan. The worst burn I remember was on my scalp when I didn't wear a hat while we were on my uncle's speed boat. Owww, was my scalp ever tender and it looked like I had dandruff for a month!

We do have high humidity but I don't think nearly as high as the southern states. I spent two weeks in Pensecola, Florida during July and about passed-out from the humidity. It was unbelieveble. I agree that a more intense heat is preferable to a humid heat. Give me Arizona over Florida any day. The top three things I like most about summer are: 1) wearing sandals (I could live in sandals if it were warm enough all year)
2)Vacations or trips to see people we haven't seen in a while.
3)Summer holidays (I have great memories from celebrating the 4th at different times)
I actually look forward to summer but not so much as before when I was still in school. I do love the changes in seasons and something I like about Kansas in general are the distinct seasons we have.

Thanks for the fun post! Oh BTW, was the pink color supposed to represent Calamine lotion for your bug-bites?
Pretty clever. I think you are obsessed with color after all.;)

Calla Lilly said...

Hmmm...in Chattanooga the signs of summer heat are about the same. My personal signs of a long, hot summer (yuck!) to come: glistening while hanging clothes on the line in April, the air conditioner running in April, my dear husband whining about wanting to go to New England, having to cover my eyes as I see folks scantily dressed - ewww!

une_fille_d'Ève said...

Sister Dear, Peru was actually extremely lovely weather during the six weeks that I spent there last 'summer' b/c it was their winter. It was like spring and fall weather, or colder when we went into the mountains! It was a great escape from the GA heat. Anyway, my desire to travel didn't necessarily have anything to do with the heat... it more has to do with free time and a break from school.
But, I suppose you're right... twas kinda funny that I joined you in bemoaning our horrible summers, and then in the next breath expressed a desire to go to South America and Africa! :-) Quebec would be nice this time of year though.

Jessie said...

Well, Susan, you won't have to eulogize at my death-by-skin-cancer-caused-by-sun-exposure funeral! I'm just as pale as you : )
And it gets pretty humid around here too. This week we've had some storms (even a little "tornado" 10 miles north) and highs in the 80s one day with 60s the next. I'll keep the 60s any day!

Mrs.B. said...

Signs of summer?

As Calla Lily said: 'The scantily clad people.

I just dread that aspect of summer....)o:

Susan said...

Oh, blah, Boy! But I'd take Gerogia over Washington any day!

Ice storms this time of year, Lydia? That's odd. . . though you are quite a bit farther north than me. My worst sunburns have been on the scalp as well. It's no fun to not be able brush or wash your hair for days without extreme pain! That's why I massage sunscreen through my scalp when I'm going to be exposed to the sun without a hat - especially if I have a part. Yuck, but it works! Very astute - yes the pinkish-purplish color was supposed to represent calamine lotion :) - though I actually used the clear type for my 240+ bug bite episode. Clear letters just wouldn't have shown up. . .

Yes, the extra skin we get to see during the summer months. . . *sigh* I feel more sorry for the guys than I do for us ladies, though.