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The local stores are full of chicks and bunnies and tender young flowers in soft pastels, because Easter is right around the corner and we should all be welcoming spring!

Outside, though, it's hitting 90 degrees in the afternoons. It's still cool at night, but the days are decidedly not springlike. They are, in fact, drifting toward summerlike (although here, summer means 95 degrees and up from midmorning on, and night temps that only drop into the 80s). It feels like we've bypassed the whole pastel-Spring-dream thing entirely, which isn't helped by Easter's being so late this year.

And yet... despite the summery tendencies, we still haven't turned on the air conditioner. We usually turn off the air and throw open the windows in the spring anyway. This year, I've resolved to keep the windows open and the air off for as long as possible.

The funny thing is... I kind of like it. And I grew up with A/C. I couldn't imagine living in Florida without it. (My husband, who grew up even farther south in Florida without the benefits of air conditioning, can imagine it but prefers not to live it again. Then again, he dreams of moving to upstate New York for the winters.)

But when the windows are open, you can hear what's going on in the neighborhood -- you know when the mail's here, you know when the school buses pick up and drop off kids. Stepping outside isn't such a shock to the system -- in fact, going into air-conditioned buildings is weirder and feels colder. I feel like I'm taking part in the seasonal change, instead of hiding from it.

It helps that I've lost some weight over the past year, so I'm not as thoroughly insulated as I was. It also helps that, for the most part, we do as others in hot countries do: get the active things done in the morning, spend the afternoon doing more quiet things. In fact, the hottest part of my day is generally cooking dinner, because when you rev up the stove or oven, it heats more than just your food.

We've invested in a few more fans (we have paddle fans in all the bedrooms and in the sunroom, but my office space, the kitchen, and the dining area are sadly fan-free) and with the air moving about the house, it feels -- temperate. Warm, yes, but not unduly so. When the sun sets, you can feel the change in the air. When rain is coming, you can smell it. I like that.

(I also like saving $150 to $200 on my electric bill each month. O yes.)

We'll see how long this lasts. I'm hoping to hold out until June.


Last night, I downloaded The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure for my Nook (Amazon BN Indiebound Powell's), and read it in two big gulps (started last night, finished today). I loved that the author, similar to me, had obsessed over Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a kid, and similar to me, she'd rediscovered them as an adult, found some things to be reassuring and other things to be troubling (hello, Osage Diminished Reserve*). Like me, she'd started nosing around the Internet for more information about what really happened.

Unlike me, McClure took her interest to its (il?)logical conclusion and started rediscovering what she calls "Laura World," first by doing some of the things Laura and her family had done (grinding wheat in a coffee mill to bake bread!) and then by going to the places Laura had lived, in search of ... well, she doesn't quite know, at the start. But she eventually gains her own answers, and a fine collection of sunbonnets. (Don't wear them on your head. Let them hang down your back, like Laura did.)

The result is both touching and funny -- part memoir, part biography, part road trip, part literary criticism, and part realization that the past -- yours and mine and McClure's and Wilder's -- is both still with us and unreachable.

(I should add, here, that I'm jealous -- my wonderful parents took me to Rocky Ridge Farm when I was a kid, on the way back from a trip to visit the Iowa relatives, and the house was CLOSED. The Rock House, at the time, was open and was a gift shop, and that's where I bought my own copy of Donald Zochert's Laura. Also, I have been (briefly) to Westville, FL, where the Wilders lived for a year, because it's right around the corner from Bonifay, where my grandfather grew up -- but I haven't actually Laura-touristed it. Someday.)

*Also, hi, Penny Linsenmayer, whose name I recognized from HP fandom!

Date: 2011-04-22 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heathrow.livejournal.com
I can't wait to read The Wilder Life . I didn't realize it was out yet. :) I've been to DeSmet, SD. My husband's mother lives near there, and it was a lovely touchback to my youth of rereading all of the novels over and over again.

Date: 2011-04-22 02:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] peacockharpy.livejournal.com
I read a Salon.com review and then downloaded the sample. I think I clicked "buy now" without a breath of hesitation because I just didn't want to stop.

You've been to DeSmet! That's so cool. I know that if I'd known about Laura's year in Iowa I would have been bugging my parents to drag me across that state, too, to see the place she'd lived.

Date: 2011-04-22 12:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heathrow.livejournal.com
I forwarded the book link to my husband saying "Do you want a Mother's Day gift idea?" I think he got the idea. :D

I really hope my girls get into LIW as much as we did, but there are so many other competing authors for the dwindling hours of their young adult readership!

Date: 2011-04-22 02:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] peacockharpy.livejournal.com
Margaret has read the "early reader" versions of the books and she's read Little House in the Big Woods. But she's much more into fantasy. It didn't stick.

(On the other hand, she has just discovered Judy Blume, so realistic fiction may be gaining a bit.)

Apparently, there are now MANY Little House series about the various women in Laura's family (her mother, her grandmother, etc.) and I'm kind of "eh" about the idea of those books. Part of the charm of LIW was that she was telling her own story. (Quite fictionalized in some cases, but still.)

Date: 2011-04-22 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jerel.livejournal.com
Your husband is crazy (but we already knew that.) I lived in Boston for 12 years, and winter is MISERABLE. Snow is great until you have to shovel it. And frost is great too, until it gets in your door locks and you realize the little can of door lock de-icer is in the car, so you're out there with the hair dryer and an extension cord. And you have to take the car to the mechanic's to get him to put on the snow tires. Playing in the snow loses its appeal very quickly when the snow gets under you gloves and in your boots, and windburn sets in. Or worse, sunburn (yes, I got sunburn in January, in Boston. I am very talented like that.) Ask my mother about the joys of parenting when the kids can't go outside for 2 or 3 weeks. :)

[So, do you think that will convince him?] :)

Date: 2011-04-22 02:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] peacockharpy.livejournal.com
Oh, believe me, believe me, I am quite sure that his delighted dreams of Winters Up North have everything to do with having grown up in Florida. And nothing but the harsh reality will convince him. However, since we have no earthly reason to pack up and move, it's likely his dream will remain a dream. ;)

Date: 2011-04-22 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moorewr.livejournal.com
No. Nothing will convince me except trying it for myself.


Date: 2011-04-22 07:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skogkatt.livejournal.com
I am so glad I don't live in Florida.

Um. I mean. [supportive friend message]

Date: 2011-04-22 02:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] peacockharpy.livejournal.com
You've seen it in August, which is the worst.

Okay, no. Early October, when everyone is maundering on about the delights of autumn, and it's still blitheringly hot here. That's the worst.

On the other hand, everytime someone posts something about the snowpocalypse and how they're shoveling out the sidewalks for the Nth time, I think I might have the better end of the bargain. ;)

Date: 2011-04-22 03:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gardenwaltz.livejournal.com
NC - no snowpocalypse, average of 2-3 good snows each year, current outdoor temp 55, but it will be in the high 80's this weekend.

- NC welcoming committee

Date: 2011-04-22 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] peacockharpy.livejournal.com
My understanding is that all of Florida is slowly migrating into NC, so watch out for the influx of crazy!

Date: 2011-04-22 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moorewr.livejournal.com
Find me a job near the mountains.. I'll leave here in unseemly haste...

Date: 2011-04-22 02:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ljrags.livejournal.com
I read all the Laura Inglalls Wilder books. ALL OF THEM. OFTEN. Drove my Mom to distraction. I kept trying to cook or model things in the kitchen after what Caroline would have cooked. I read an article a couple of years ago about Rose and she seemed to be one of those kids caught in a time bubble? The world she lived in was not her parent's world and neither side really seemed to mesh there for a while? {G}

Thanks for the book reccomendation!

Date: 2011-04-22 04:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] peacockharpy.livejournal.com
Rose is an interesting case... McClure sees her issues stemming from being a smart kid stuck in a small town, with her family barely scraping by through most of her youth, and I can see that, too.

Date: 2011-04-23 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ljrags.livejournal.com
Well the article seemed almost anti-Rose in a way, so I think I like McClure's version better. {G}

Congrats on the weight loss btw!


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