posts tagged with 'heat'

no business like

Lately Harvey's been feeling that he'd like to have a chance to try out musical theater. We listen to lots of musicals and sing them too, so it makes sense! Not being in school, though, he doesn't have as much access to the stage as many kids, and I figured he'd have to wait until the summer. But then via the Homeschooling Together email list I learned about the North Cambridge Family Opera Company, holding open auditions for a show about pirates. Everyone who tried out would get in! Sure, opera isn't precisely what Harvey was going for, but it's modern opera, so he didn't take much persuading to give auditioning a try. Plus the auditions were being held Sunday afternoon, just a few minutes walk from church. It's like it was made for him!

It was slightly stressful transitioning from a busy morning at church to getting ready to walk into someone's house and sing for them, but aside from the boys trying to walk briskly holding full cups of hot chocolate ("don't spill on your shirt", I told Harvey; "I did!" he answered) we managed it. And Harvey did great with all aspects of the audition: answering questions about himself, smiling for a photo, and doing his best singing on command. He hadn't had time to prepare anything, but that was fine; they just tested him on pitch-matching, then explored his range by having him sing the first half of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in many many keys (he wondered afterwards why it was that his voice was so shaky; I told him that's what happens in auditions).

As he finished, the show's music director asked what experience Harvey had with singing. When I told him we just do a lot of music at home, he wondered if I sang too. I had to admit that I did, so he suggested that I should audition myself. I tried to demur, saying that this was Harvey's thing, and plus I had the littler boys to think of, but he wasn't having it. "It's a family opera," he told me. "And they can join too!"

So we all three auditioned. Each of us had to do less than the last: I sang plenty, but much faster than Harvey. Elijah volunteered to go before Zion and did fine; just a couple minutes was enough to show off all his strengths and limitations. Zion stood behind a chair and did his best not to take part at all, but he loves singing so much he couldn't resist singing along when it was supposed to be Elijah's turn, and then he was persuaded to give just enough to give a sense of his considerable range. Then of course we all had to get photographed and measured (Harvey told us how it was done).

Zion and Elijah still aren't convinced that they want to be in an opera. In fact, right now they might be convinced that they don't. But we were all so proud and happy Sunday afternoon as we left the auditions, that I hope they change their mind. They're both fantastic singers, and getting to be part of a big production seems like a great opportunity. I told them we'd all go to the organizational meeting and see what it's like; that'll be towards the end of November. Stay tuned!

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giving up on keeping cool

Back in July and early August when it was really hot I was doing all kinds of things to keep the house as cool as possible. Turning fans on at night, closing windows and blinds during the day—and of course minimizing baking and boiling. I didn't even like to run the vacuum during the day, it made so much heat! And then we had a beautiful stretch of mild days with cool nights, and even a few days that you might call chilly... and I almost started to think that winter was on its way. Well, it's hot again now. But since I've already transitioned to winter mode I don't care, and it's all cooking all the time. Last week it there were all the baked goods and jam the boys made for the fair, and since then we've kept right on going the same way. I made bread and biscuits over the weekend and Leah made cookies; this morning Harvey baked some dog treats (since the fair he's gotten interested in dog training) and I made sourdough bread and enchiladas for dinner. Sure it's horribly hot, but on the plus side it makes the breeze from outside feel downright pleasant! And of course we get to enjoy all the baked goods. Tomorrow I hope to make jelly from the grapes we pressed at Backyard Farm Club last week, which will add humidity as well as heat. Oh well, it's almost September... surely it'll be getting cool again soon!

how we're beating the heat this time

We're living through a heat wave this week. We kept the house reasonably cool for the first couple days, but by now that's a distant memory. It doesn't help that it's also very humid. We're doing alright though, thanks to a variety of adaptive measures. The boys' favorite is our blow-up pool.

Zion and Elijah swimming in the pool on our deck

feeling no heat

We got the pool last year, and we've managed not to pop it so far. It lives on the deck, which is great because there's a perfectly flat floor with no danger of sticks or rocks, and also because I don't have to worry about damage to the lawn. The boys have been having a great time out there: singly, all together, with friends... Listening from the street you'd think we had a full-size pool in the backyard with all the noise they make splashing, "diving", and even playing Marco Polo!

Elijah jumping into the pool, Harvey watching

next we need a diving board!

While we fit in the pool well enough, Leah and I find that the boys' enthusiasm leaves it a little dirty for us to feel quite comfortable soaking. So we take other routes to beat the heat. We've got a window AC in the bedroom—which is to say, Leah's office—so she can work in comfort. Relative comfort, at least. When the humidity gets too much even there, she does her swimming at the pond.

Me, I've discovered I do the best when I spend the most time outside. I've spent lots of time weeding and pruning the last few days, and it's been really hot—but when I take a break and sit in the shade for a minute the air feels charmingly cool and comfortable in comparison! Plus, I'm more on top of the weeds than I've ever been before! In the past I've failed to understand how people could embrace really hot weather like this, but I'm actually kind of digging it this week. I've even taken a couple good bike rides! Maybe improved heat tolerance is something to do with getting older?

Tomorrow looks like it's going to be the last day of the heat wave before cooler, rainy weather takes over. I'll miss all the weeding time, but the plants will appreciate the rain. And it'll also be nice to give the water meter a break: between the garden, frequent showers, and water play in the yard keeping cool has taken a lot of water!

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we do this for fun?

Yesterday and today there's a high heat warning out. The Bedford Citizen tells us that the heat index will be 104° and warns that we should stay inside, in air conditioning. Well, we don't have air conditioning, so instead yesterday afternoon we went for a hike. It was very hot.

Zion with a sweat-beaded face

this is what it was like

But amazingly enough, we survived! And we even had fun... a certain kind of fun, anyway. We found some places to put our feet in the water, and the dogs went swimming. The boys played in the root cellar cave we passed along the way. We got plenty of time to talk to each other as we moved along. And when we got home, our house felt pretty cool in comparison! I think sometimes our culture tries to define "hard" as the opposite of "fun"—or maybe the other way around. But that's silly: just about everything that's fun is actually hard too. Certainly exercise is always challenging. I'm not much of a gamer, but I understand that video games involve a fair amount of grinding. Sitting on the couch watching TV? Maybe that's not hard. But that's not an option for us, so I guess we have to hike!

Mama, boys, and puppies wading in a pond along Nashoba Brook

not so hot here!

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summer's final assult

After a week of lovely mild weather that had us feeling like fall, it turned hot again. Terrible hot. I don't know if yesterday and today were really the hottest days of the year, or if they just felt that way after a little while of getting used to cool evenings. Anyway, it's back to summer for now. We're trying to make the best of it: yesterday we went tot he pond in the morning for two-three hours, then came home for lunch before heading over to Lexington tp visit the farmers market and play giant checkers at the giant checker board. That last part was where I succumbed to heat exhaustion, so I had to drag the children away before they could finish their third game. I was restored a little later by dinner in air-conditioned comfort at our friends' house; fair exchange for bringing their son along with us on all the day's adventures.

The only problem with our day yesterday is that we went everywhere by car. Harvey rightly pointed out that we should have biked to Lexington; as the eldest, he has dutifully absorbed my prejudice against the automobile. But it was so hot, and I was already feeling weak. Today we made it right by not driving anywhere at all. We took a long walk in the morning before it was too blazing, then Lijah and I had a few quiet hours to ourselves while the bigger boys played with friends. Then after lunch we spent four hours in the cool convivial comfort of the library, reading books, playing on the iPad, and—Harvey and I—practicing Pokemon.

Pokemon is one of our focuses for this fall. On a shorter time scale, so are monarch butterflies. We have at least one—or rather, one caterpillar well on its way to becoming a butterfly. To get us some school credit I thought to academize our informal study a little bit, so we picked up four or five butterfly books to look at over the next couple weeks. I thinking about academic rigor, see, because I'm rushing to finish up the home education plans for the year. It's not that I want to impress the superintendent.. just that I have lots of good ideas for fun things I could do with the kids if only I could manage a little more organization. My thought is if I write them down now they'll have more chance of coming to fruition. We'll see soon enough; because never mid the heat, fall is just around the corner!

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a stroke of heat

It's been really hot here the last couple days: hot enough to take over our lives—our entire theory of existence. But we put the air conditioner up in the bedroom (to make napping possible) and I figured out how to open most of the stuck windows, so I think we're going to pull through. I got to the windows this morning when I went downstairs to discover it was maybe ten degrees warmer inside the house than outside—too much to fix with the doors open before the sun got up and the outdoor temperature raced back up again. So the house was warmish today, and we didn't know what we were going to do with ourselves all day; until the boys solved our dilemma by coming down with a debilitating fever. Then they were happy to lie on the couch with the fan on them and alternate between sleeping and watching movies!

Two of them, anyways; Lijah has escaped so far, so he spent his time at home jumping on his brothers, messing with the iPad, and putting the vomit bucket on his head as a helmet. To defend them he got to go on errands with Mama and Dada, and enjoy AC and samples at stores as diverse as Whole Foods and Costco (no points for guessing which outing goes with which parent). Here's a picture of Zion sleeping on the floor this morning; he dropped there on the way to the breakfast table for pancakes, and if Lijah hadn't sat on him he probably would have been there all day. As it was he transitioned to the couch where he stayed all day—until maybe 7:00 when he got up to have a pancake at long last.

Zion asleep on the kitchen floor

needs his rest

By that time the heat had broken (after a terrific windstorm with only a little rain). Yesterday it never broke at all: terrible hot well after dark. And we were all healthy, though less raring to go than we would have been in more temperate conditions. Though in retrospect, maybe the early warning signs were there. We certainly took very well to the news that it was, apparently, National Hammock Day.

Harvey in the hammock reading an Asterix book

celebrating in style

Just the thing when the heat index is over 100°.

I have no problem with it being hot in the summer. It's to be expected. And I think with the AC and the windows (and the hammock!) we're all set for a couple more days of this craziness—all set, that is, as long as the other three of us don't get sick!

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