Heat Wave -- 07/08/03

After a long cool rainy spring, summer sprang upon us a couple of weeks ago. The past week, especially, has been very hot. I'm wilting.

I had set out to get in a long run on July 4th... thinking maybe six or seven miles... I had done six miles a week or so earlier and thought it was about time to perhaps add another mile. The heat (and the humidity, but mostly the heat) really began to get to me... as I approached my five mile turn-around point (i.e., two and a half miles from home) I decided that it was just too hot, I would never even make six miles, let alone seven, settle for five miles, so I did a u-turn and headed back toward home. Shortly after that I decided that maybe walking a little bit wouldn't be a bad idea... in fact, a mile or so of walking would be just what the doctor ordered... or, rather, would prevent me from having to see a doctor for heat stroke. See, getting older is making me a little bit wiser... at least in some ways. (And, yes, I know, it was broiling hot around this time last year while we were laying down sod to rebuild our front lawn. Hmmm, I guess it must be summer.)

Saturday was roasting. Friends of Nancy's from back in upstate New York, an older couple (we had attended their fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration a few years ago) were visiting their son in Boston and were making a trip down to Providence so we could get together for lunch. We met at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul (a landmark their son knew) and then they followed us over to the Federal Hill area. Federal Hill is a traditionally Italian neighborhood in Providence [one of these days I have to get around to seeing Michael Corente's movie Federal Hill] and several blocks of Atwells Avenue have a lot of Italian restaurants, ranging from hole-in-the-wall pizza shops to upscale places like Mediterraneao. We decided to eat at Constantino's Venda Ravioli (at DePasqualle Plaza, which is open to Atwell's Ave. and is lined on both sides by Italian restaurants and Italian food stores... paved with cobblestones, a large fountain in the center, rows of umbrella-shaded tables for outdoor dining... ah, you cold be dining in Italy)... so we had a long, leisurely lunch, enjoying the shade of the umbrella, a pleasant little breeze from time to time, the water gurgling in the fountain... After lunch we strolled along the street, admiring some of the restored buildings, but the heat drove us indoors, to an Italian bakery-deli, for some nice cold lemonade, where we again sat and talked and talked. Finally, well past four o'clock, Lorrette and Pete and Peter headed back to the cathedral for five o'clock mass before returning to Boston (Lorette wanted to go on an early-morning whale-watching cruise) and Nancy and I drove back down to South County. My car has an outside temperature read-out on the dash and it was telling me that the temperature was 98 degrees in Providence, although a time-and-temperature display on a bank said it was 100 at 4:25.

It was too hot to run, but later on I went down into the coolness of our basement and rode a dozen miles or so on the exercise bike and then lifted weights for a little while. We wanted to get up early Sunday morning and go to a beach. Nancy wanted to sit on the beach and read the Sunday paper and watch the surf roll in, all before it got too crowded; I wanted to get in a long run on the packed sand at water's edge, also early, before the beach got too crowded and before the tide came in. Unfortunately, we slept in and didn't get up until after eight o'clock... so by the time we had eaten breakfast, etc. it was almost ten by the time we reached the beach (East Matunuck State Beach) the tide had come in high enough that there wasn't much hard-packed sand left and too many people were there. I ran a bit over half a mile on the beach, but it was no fun zig-zagging around people, so I left the beach and ran on the roads... which meant instead of a refreshing sea breeze, I was running along baking hot blacktop roads... so I did about four miles and decided that was enough of that.

Monday meant back to the office... a busy day... got home between six-thirty and seven (Nancy was off playing tennis), did a bit of advance preparation for dinner (picked lettuce from garden, cut up veggies) -- went downstairs and rode the exercise bike for a short time, then lifted weights -- came back upstairs after Nancy got home. Fixed dinner -- sauteed two Italian-marinated boneless chicken breasts, and in a different pan sauteed red onions, sliced zucchini, green beans, green pepper slices, and yellow pepper slices (flavored only by the sweetness of the caramelized onion, plus a splash of pino grigio wine added with two or three minutes to go), cooked some farfalle pasta, also microwaved a bit of leftover pasta sauce I had made a couple of days earlier. I'm going into detail because I think it was a good dinner, good presentation and all that. Each plate had: a small salad (red leaf lettuce with sliced red onion, carrot, celery, and sugarsnap peas; a pile of farfalle, half covered with pasta sauce and half covered with the sauteed vegetables, and sliced chicken breast piled next to it. Served with crusty bread. Pino Grigio for Nancy, Merlow for me. That's the way I like to cook -- no recipe, just think of some things that would probably work nicely together.

Struggled out of bed this morning, managed to get in a few miles on the exercise bike and some weight-lifting, then breakfast with the morning paper, shower, off to work. Another busy day, although I did escape for a little while, got my eyeballs away from the computer screen and went outside and walked for a mile or so. Got home around seven o'clock -- Nancy was off playing tennis again -- I did some weeding in my vegetable garden, picked some Romaine lettuce for dinner -- when she came home from tennis I made chicken caesar salad (sliced up half a chicken breast leftover from last night's dinner) which we enjoyed eating out on our back deck (a couple of years ago Nancy bought a metal frame work with a canvas top which I thought was silly when she first bought it, but I have come to enjoy the pleasant shade it provides -- and this year she discovered that they now sell mosquito netting walls which she has added, so we can dine outside relatively bug-free). Bass Ale for Nancy while I enjoyed a bottle of Magic Hat Brewing Company's Humble Patience (an Irish-style red ale, very tasty).

Yes, yes, I really will continue Police Story... but I am drained by the heat... I am surprised I actually wrote this entry... I'm going to bed now, going to work from home tomorrow but I want to get in a run and also need to give Nancy a ride to the eye doctor's office (well, it's actually a ride home that she needs, after those dilating eyedrops) but still need to get in at least a full day's work... so I'm going to try to get started very early in the morning, go to a beach with Nancy in the morning, before it gets too hot and while it is low tide, so I can get in a long run, then back home, shower, work some more, go to eye doctor, then back home to work some more.

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