Changing Weather…Changing Drinks

I left town for literally one day and came back to a 40 degree drop in temperature.  Good times.

Among the other things that have to change with this temperature drop?  My drink preferences.

The evening before my short trip, I looked at my bottle o’ rum, looked at the internet, looked back at my bottle o’rum and contemplated what kind of cool and refreshing beverage I could concoct (I was lamenting my lack of Ginger Beer that would have allowed for a Dark & Stormy).  My quest led me past more than a few hot-rum drinks which, in the midst of weather that felt–in the words of a friend of mine–“like armpit”, sounded disgusting.

Tonight however?  Bring on the Hot Buttered Rum, y’all.

This is actually my first attempt at this particular drink.  Usually, I resort to hot rum drinks to alleviate the results of a close, personal encounter with the rhino-virus, and “butter” + “snot” is not really what I’m after.  Tonight, for once, I don’t care if the dairy element generates additional phlegm.  So I combined a few recipes and ad-hoc’d the rest.  1 T Butter, 1.25 tsp Cloves, 1.25 tsp cinnamon, dash of nutmeg, dash of all spice, 2 T brown sugar, 2 oz rum and hot water to fill the mug.   I think I should have cut back slightly on the cloves and added just a touch more butter, but otherwise, this is quite tasty.

Is this healthy?  Hell no.

Is it keeping me warm as this first legitimate winter blast sets in?  Yup.

Island Obsession

This might actually qualify as a secret heresy, though I’m not sure the adequate amount of shame is attached to it.  It’s an obsession I noted in myself years ago, and while I don’t bring it up, I’m not really hiding it.  It just, well, it doesn’t come up in conversation, really.

I have a bizarre fixation with islands.  Not the usual tropical-type islands, full of sandy beaches, drinks with umbrellas, tourists and cabana boys.  No, I’m thinking more along the lines of sparsely-to-un-populated locations.  Generally cold.  And generally so far off any normal human’s list of places to visit that the names don’t even ring a bell.

Some of the destinations on my island-hopping bucket list do boast people–even serious civilization and decent populations:  The Outer Hebrides, the Faroe  Islands, Svalbard, the Falklands (or Malvinas, depending on whose side you’re pullin’ for there…), Baffin Island, Tristan de  Cunha….But this devolves into less and less hospitable listings as I ponder how I’m also going to finagle setting foot on places like Auckland Island, South Georgia, and, the mack-daddy of all frozen remoteness:  Bouvet Island (the most remote island in the world, allegedly…and hella hard to get to.  A chopper is pretty much required).

I’m strangely drawn to any island, really, even the touristy ones, and the silly little rocks in the middle of lakes.  It’s my fixation on those frozen, wind-swept, out-of-the-way places that turn a garden variety interest shared by many into something bizarre.  After all, many of the places I listed basically qualify for the category of “frozen hell hole” to a lot of folks.

But, apparently, this strange subset of Islomania has other members beyond me.  After all, there was the guy who built the whole Subantarctic Islands website where I’ve spent way more time than I should have….and thank goodness for the nerds on Wikipedia, otherwise how would I know that not only do I want to visit Baffin, I want to see Mt. Thor?

At the heart of this fascination is probably something that psychologists would have a field day with.  I mean, it’s clear I’m not looking for places to get a tan or take a dip.  Maybe it’s the idea of going where few or no people have gone before.  Maybe I have a deep desire to visit places that involve me wearing a lot of layers.  It might just be the introvert longing for a place where I can be left the hell alone.  Some place hard to get to, so the only folks you see are the ones who definitely want to take the time to see you.

Or, possibly, this is just the closest terrestrial substitute I can ponder for living on Mars since, y’know, clearly we dropped the baton in that particular race.

Open Forum For Cold Cures

Okay people, for the, perhaps 2 of you still out there reading this, I am soliciting cold cures of the “my-grandma-always-said” variety.

I’m currently suffering from a summer cold.  In case you’ve never had the opportunity to distinguish, summer colds suck worse than winter colds.  In part this is because the weather is generally nicer and being down with a cold is more annoying in general.  Also, I’ve found that colds in the summer tend to be more stubborn, lingering beasts.  I’ve no real idea why, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the warm temperatures are just a little too conducive to icky things growing.

This particular instance started with the kind of sore throat that can only be attributed to post nasal drip.  Raw.  Burning.  Annoying as ever living shit.  I hoped (in vain) it might just be some sort of allergy flair up.  I main-lined hot tea, thinking I could just flush it out.

By 2 the following morning I awakened to the familiar ache of fever.  Shit.  I spent most of that day battling the temperature factor, but hey, the sore throat tapered off and aside from some minor sneezing and stuffy nose-age, I thought maybe I could clear this out quickly.

Even the day after the fever I thought maybe I’d luck out and limit this to some nose-blowing.

Then we hit day 4, I realized that I was not to be spared the chest congestion.  Fuck.  I HATE this part.  The heavy, congested feeling where you can’t breath right and you know there’s shit in your lungs and coughing is going to happen one way or another.

We are now on day 5.  I’ve had some  luck with sage/thyme tea working as an expectorant to loosen the shit, but not nearly enough.  I’ve had whiskey hot toddies, mint tea, green tea, jasmine tea, various and sundry other blends of tea (I spend a lot of time peeing).  I reek of Vick’s Vapo-rub because I literally have it from head to the bottoms of my feet.  I’ve taken baths with mint/eucalyptis bubble bath.  I was even willing to just take medicine, but wouldn’t you know?  The only cough medicine left in the house is an expectorant/suppressant.  No. If I’m going to loosen it up, I wanna cough it out–I haven’t had the kind of spasmodic coughing that really requires suppressant help.

So, gentle readers, as long as I’m feeling experimental here, hit me with your best old wives tale, whacky recipe, sure fire cure….assuming I have the ingredients in stock (I can’t get out of the house right now because A) the stupid fucking neighbors have turned the street into a war zone of  exploding objects making auto travel dangerous and B) the whiskey hot toddy was consumed a little too recently).

Talk back, people.


No one can say I’m not doing my part to cut back on my carbon footprint.  Even though it’s definitely been cold, and our first round of snow could be here day after tomorrow, I haven’t actually started running the heat.

It seems like a waste to bother.  I’m usually out of the house for 11-12 hours each day, so there’s no need to keep the temperature up for that.  And then I like it cold when I sleep.  And since the bulk of the energy used in heating a space goes to that initial change from cold to warm–and the process of warming a house up takes time–there’s no point.  By the time I would have taxed the system enough to get the temp up, I’d be turning it back down again to sleep.

So, it’s hoodies (God bless hoodies) and fuzzy socks, and hanging out upstairs where it stays warmer (repeat after me, kids:  warm air rises, cold air sets).  And for the most part, it works out swimmingly.

But every now and then, when my fingers are out and turning into icicles as I type a post, I start to think the whole global warming thing might be a little welcome.