June 27th, 2019



Today is cool and overcast with a pillowy, layered duvet of clouds above us but it's still summer. It's still warm enough for Capri pants and short sleeves but maybe not for sandals. Yesterday and the day before that, and the day before that, were HOT. Over 30C which is close to 90 in Monopoly temps. And humid, too, which made Barky completely flip out.

Last year in Sweden it was hot early and May set records for sunshine and high temps. It was also a record year for forest fires, unfortunately, since there were so many days without rain. In July the entire country was 3-5 degrees hotter than normal and in some places the highest temperatures ever were recorded. Someone told me today that last summer there was a total of 30 days that were classified as "tropical" (in SWEDEN) when normally? There are 2.

It's not (yet) that hot this year, here, but the rest of Europe is certainly suffering. I spoke with colleagues in Munich today (37C) and in Paris (38C with humidity heat index helping it to feel like 48C). Most private homes and apartments in many parts of Europe don't have air conditioning, so as you can imagine, it's pretty grim when the heat drags on.

I have a fan or two going nearly all the time, and I open windows as soon as I get home, hoping to encourage stray breezes to help the house come down a few degrees. If we didn't have a ceiling fan in our room, I'd be sleeping on the porch, I suspect. Or not sleeping at all, since between the stultifying humidity inside the house when it's really warm and sunny, and the addition of hot flashes (which, GAH), I don't sleep at all well this time of year.

Honestly, I don't know how my friends and family who live in warmer climes can stand it. I know most of them have AC, but still. It's one thing about working in the summer that make it okay: the office is air conditioned...so much so that I sometimes have to put a sweater on.

The nice thing about the heat is the reaction of my rosebushes. They pretty much explode as soon as they've had about a week's worth of summer and they are going gangbusters right now. Our potato plants are nearly knee high and we've got some little tomatoes greening on the vine. Sadly, the rest of our vegetable garden doesn't seem to be doing as well...there are 2 zucchinis and a yellow squash, and a row of carrots coming up but we're not seeing any kohlrabi or soybeans at all. Not sure if we just can't tell the weeds from the veggies or if they are all just later/slower than the others or what. I'll keep watering, though, and hoping for the best!

Yesterday, when I came home it was really hot and humid, but there was a good breeze so I opened all the windows and the door for good measure and about 15 minutes later I was really regretting it: THE FLIES INVADED. GAH!! I hate flies. I must have killed over 40 of them, and Anders swatted another legion of them after he got home, but they still keep coming. Seems like a bumper crop of them this year for some reason. They weren't this bad even last year, and it was much hotter and drier then.

I'm not one to sit out in the sun or sunbathe, since my skin doesn't react kindly to it, and since I dislike the heat, I'm perfectly happy to hole up inside and admire the sunshine from the porch. Karin loves it and soaks it up and lays out on the sun lounger in the backyard every time she's home. I have a friend who loves the sun so much she insists on tanning even though she's allergic to it and suffers from severe sun poisoning. Karin's favorite thing to do in the summer is compare her skin to mine. I'm always bleached-whale white so even in the winter she's browner than I am.

Are you a hot potato or a chill pill? I'm definitely the latter, no apologies. You can always add another layer if you get too cold, but there's a limit (if you're me, at least) to how much you can take off if you're too hot, and if it's really hot, even taking it all off doesn't make a difference! I guess part of it has to do with your skin type, and part of it has to do with your median body temperature, and part with your own perception of how tan you need to be. Some people like to sweat, as far as I can tell, though they are weird and not my people. :D

I'm just hoping that this summer is nice but not as brutally hot as last year's. Hot enough to make the roses and the vegetables happy, but not hot enough to restrict grilling or start forest fires. A happy medium, that's what I want. LAGOM.

So Swedish.