A Shivery Update

This is an update to the shivery tale I wrote of on the 13th.  For those who prefer not to read about psychic experiences, just skip this entry.  I am merely recording my perceptions, my actions and what occurred as a result.

A week-and-a-half ago, when the family was out of the house, I went to the neighbors to deal with their troublesome entity.  Prior to my visit, I met with a gifted psychic.  I like to get her impression of the entity I will be contacting.  In this case she felt the ghost seen by the neighbor child was a man who was hesitant to pass over due to his misdeeds in this life.  The psychic warned that this ghost was not benign.  He had ill-will toward the child and was oppressing her.  I suspected the oppression extended to the others in the home as well.

After several days of energy building, I entered the house.  As always, the place felt heavy and dark to me.  I frequently get this sensation in areas that have hosted many years, or layers, of lives.  Wearing various crystals that are supposed to improve my vibration, I proceeded to cleanse the house.  Everyone has their own method for smudging.  I light several sticks of incense and carry them with a bowl underneath to catch the ash.

First, every door and drawer is opened so the incense smoke will flow freely.  Beginning on the north wall of the cellar, I blew the smoke toward the corners of all the walls.  It is important to make your intentions clear by chanting (I mostly chant silently) a benediction sanctifying the house to the light, that only good may remain.  Because I suspected the long, dark crawl space in one part of the cellar was a good hiding place, I spent several minutes blowing smoke in the hole.  It was a still day and it took plenty of lung power to move the incense into the space.  Suddenly the smoke was blowing back in my face instead of moving away with my breath.  I felt something flow past me out of the crawl space.

I continued to smudge the cellar, then went upstairs to sweep the main floor.  Smoke had to be sent into every nook and cranny; the tiny attic space, every closet, even into the oven and microwave.  Then I sealed every entryway with finely crushed Himalayan pink salt.  Last, I sat at the table with the incense still smoking, lit a white candle, read aloud the 23 Psalm (my favorite passage) and rang a small, high pitched brass bell.  Then I concentrated on listening to whatever entities were present.

I got the distinct impression of two individuals.  One was an older male named James who was from around the 1840s.  The other was younger, a child.  I’m not sure if it was male or female.  This entity had been there considerably longer than the James person.  I informed both that they were dead, no longer meant to be in this place.  I enjoined them to think of their loved ones and to look toward the light.  I saw them take the hands of those who came with the light for them.

When they had left, the house felt brighter and lighter as though a weight was lifted.  I closed all the doors and windows.  Before I left the property, I buried the remains of the incense in the snow to end the communication.

Then I waited to hear about any changes the neighbors noticed.  A week later I spoke with them.  The shadows seen from the corners of their eyes had disappeared immediately.  Since the day of the cleansing, there had been no more tampering with the controls for the woodstove, something that had been happening every night.  The child no longer heard noises in the closet, saw toys moving or had her hair touched.  She was sleeping all night in her room without nightmares.  The father said the house felt more cheerful to him.

This is all great news!  I am hoping the bad times have ended for this family.  The oppressive, unhealthy influence seems to have left their lives.  Sometimes after a cleansing, all the entities present do not leave.  They find ways to hide and work their way back into the house.  The next few months will show if I have to go back and repeat the process or perform something more aggressive.  So far, so good.  Except, my neighbors told me about someone they know who is being troubled by an entity.  And the work goes on…


A Shivery Tale

This is a chilly tale for the dying end of the year and the rattly-cold bones of December.  One of my neighbors is a little girl of ten.  I will call her Jill.  She is cute and sweet and very personable.  I learned that, much to everyone’s surprise, Jill’s first report card for fifth grade included two failing grades.  She had always brought home good report cards, As and Bs, mostly.  No fails.  Since I have experience with tutoring, I offered to help Jill a couple times a week with her homework.  Assistance was needed for math and social studies.  Math was her worst subject.  For those who have encountered it, this is Common Core Math.  Just the name can be scary!

I did some quick brushing up on Common Core math and realized it’s not very tough.  Seems the education planners of America want students to learn how to do math in their heads rather than with paper and pencil or…gasp…a calculator.  Once attempted and understood, Common Core is just like every other type of math:  an exercise for the mind, similar to a game.  For those who advance on in the Sciences, math is an essential tool.  For the average Joe, math is great for figuring out change, making sure the boss got your paycheck right, or perhaps useful in a home carpentry project.  It’s nice to be able to at least have an average showing in math.  Failing the subject is not so good.

The first several lessons with me, Jill struggled.  The biggest problem seemed to be her inability to concentrate.  She could not recall information she had just heard.  The poor child could not remember how to do a long multiplication problem from one example to the next.  Forget long division, a nearly impossible feat for her.  Yet, she knew her times tables nearly perfectly.  She was a good reader, although her vocabulary and spelling needed work.  What was going on here, that suddenly a child who could memorize multiplication facts could not remember what she had learned from one problem to the next?  Her attention span was only seconds long.  She started yawning after about ten minutes of math.

I began to suspect that Jill had a problem with getting enough sleep.  Children can’t concentrate if they are sleep deprived.  Her parents verified that she often went to bed late and then woke in the middle of the night.  Multiple times per week the parents would be roused by Jill sitting on the floor in their room watching tv in the wee hours of the morning.  They did not know why.  I decided to ask the child.

What she told me came as a surprise.  She was afraid in her room.  There were noises at night, scratching and scampering sounds like mice in the closet and on the shelves.  Her cat, who slept with her, would hear the noises and investigate.  It never caught a mouse or other critter.  The toys in her room would move on their own, rocking and sometimes falling over.  She could see dark shapes passing around her from the corners of her eyes.  And worst of all, something played with her hair.  Locks would be lifted in the air and often pulled by an unseen hand.

Jill had told her parents she was afraid of noises in her room.  She asked her dad if he believed in ghosts.  Yet she did not elaborate on the subject and seemed to accept pedestrian explanations for the noises.  Then I learned she had seen an actual ghost several times.  There was an old man sitting in a chair out on the back lawn.  He would wave to Jill and when she returned the gesture, he would smile.  The first time she observed this apparition, she was less than three years old.  When she asked her mother who the man was, her mother could not see anything.  Perhaps that was the beginning of Jill keeping the things she saw and heard to herself.  Unfortunately, by the time she got to be ten, these things were affecting her school performance.  She could not sleep at night because the ghost, as she called it, would not let her.

Determined to help Jill, who is only an innocent and defenseless child, I set out to learn what I could.  I told the parents just what was going on.  They were receptive to the extraordinary story and the dad admitted he saw shadows walking around all the time as well.  Articles often went missing, and strange, unexplained occurrences were a regular part of life for the family.  The home where Jill lives is built on the foundation of a house that burned.  The rock-walled cellar must be at least two hundred years old.  The home and land have been in Jill’s family for many generations, so the entity troubling her could well be an ancestor.

I have taken it upon myself to help Jill and her family.  With several episodes of dealing with ghostly visitations under my belt, I can offer some support and assistance.  In addition to instructing in school work, I am also Jill’s new psychic tutor.  Primarily, I am a confidant whom she can trust and who has the personal experience necessary to draw out the fears she has kept hidden.  I’ve taught Jill how to protect herself from being intruded upon by entities when she is sleeping.  She has also learned that she can speak to the ghost, telling it to go away and leave her alone.  This entity may be following her.  She described an event that happened this week in the school library.  She was reading by herself and some invisible person started plucking hairs out of her head, one at a time.  Ouch.  She told it to stop.  She must have said it too loudly because the people nearby gave her strange looks.

The girl likely has psychic potential and may be a magnet for entities throughout her life.  I want to help her understand and accept who she is, and how to control her abilities to protect herself.  Maybe one day she will choose to pursue honing her psychic gifts.  In the meantime, I will consult with a learned psychic who has advised me in the past before I attempt to contact and move on this lingering ghost.  My hopes are that within a couple weeks the problem can be cleared from my neighbors’ lives and Jill may once again bring home great report cards.

Traffic Accidents

This accident happened a few days ago on our road.  We own about one-third mile frontage on Rte. 139.  It is a high speed road with vehicles routinely traveling in excess of 70 mph.  The speed limit is 55.  The route connects the western part of the state with the interstate highway system and it sees more than its share of heavy truck traffic, speeding commuters and tourists in a rush.  The volume of traffic passing our house on this road is higher than the volume of traffic moving through our town on the interstate highway.  Hard to imagine there are so many vehicles roaring by our home every day.  But, it is true, the state has done traffic surveys.  Rte. 139 is a wide, well-built roadway with full breakdown lanes so that four vehicles could pass abreast, if they tried.

The accident occurred around 4 pm, just before twilight on a clear, dry day.  There was plenty of daylight.  I was in the house and heard two huge bangs very close together.  Since loud road noise is a fact of life here, I didn’t think much of the bangs until traffic started backing up by the house.  Checking out a window, I could see vehicles parked in the road with their emergency flashers going.  Looked like the trouble was about one-quarter mile away.

I walked up through our orchards and found one small SUV sideways in the middle of the road (seen in the photo above,) a tractor-trailer rig stopped about 200 feet down the road and a van backwards down the slope from the road in our woods.  The SUV was smashed front and rear and the van had the front end crushed.  A tire had come off the trailer of the 18-wheeler and rolled down the road at high speed to strike an oncoming car.  All traffic was at a standstill.

The driver of the SUV was trapped in his car.  He was moving around inside, but could not get out.  The van driver was out and seemed ok.  The semi driver was unhurt as were the occupants of the car hit by the tire.  No one could get the doors of the SUV open.  The SUV was steaming from a broken radiator.  Luckily none of the vehicles was in danger of fire.  As I studied the damage and situation of the various involved vehicles, I could guess at what happened.

The SUV was stopped in the road, waiting to turn left up a driveway.  The van driver somehow failed to see the blocked lane and slammed into the rear of the SUV at high speed.  I couldn’t see any skid marks on the road that would indicate braking by the van.  The impact from the collision drove the SUV into the first rear tire of the 18-wheeler, which was also likely going at highway speed of at least 50 mph.  The truck would have been just regaining speed after climbing a short hill.

The force of the SUV tore the truck tire from its mount and sent it careening down the road.  It rolled at least 100 feet before striking the car.  Luckily, it was just the tire without the heavy steel rim.  The van was whipped sideways by the collision and sent slipping backwards down our hillside until our trees stopped it some 80 feet from the road.  The slope is steep, about 40-45 degrees.  How the van driver could have not seen the turning car and maneuvered around it in the wide breakdown lane is beyond me.  The first crash I heard was the van hitting the SUV.  The second was the SUV hitting the truck.

We live eight miles from town.  It takes fire and police at least ten minutes to respond to accidents out our way.  People were doing what they could to help the accident victims.  The road was completely blocked, the endless traffic piling up for miles on both sides of the crash.   Finally we could hear sirens in the distance.  Before long rescue had secured the site and police were routing cars on a detour.  It took about an hour to extricate the SUV driver.  A firefighter and a police officer told me everyone in the accident would be all right.

After I heard no one lost their life, I began to think about what was lost.  The van and SUV were obviously totaled.  The trailer truck could be repaired.  The car hit by the tire was not too badly damaged.  Our land was damaged.  The broken van destroyed a small ash tree that stopped its descent.  The van then sat leaking oil and antifreeze for three hours.  Smashed plastic, metal and glass was scattered over our property.  When the van was finally towed out of the woods, it left a trail of oil and anti-freeze all the way up to the road.

This accident is at least the sixth I can think of that has occurred on our land in the last thirty years since the old road was rebuilt and turned into a high-speed, high-volume connector.  Every accident has resulted in some sort of damage to us.  Killed trees, rutted fields, leaked fluids, debris strewn far and wide.  We get to clean it up.  We never hear from the individuals involved in the crashes.  There is no compensation for our time or aggravation.

Who gives a second thought to the property owners damaged by irresponsible drivers?  The destruction is not at a level that makes a court claim worthwhile.  How do I charge a driver or insurance company for the polluting fluids leaked on my land?  Or the time and energy it takes to fill in the foot deep channels left in a soggy field after a car goes across it?  Or how about the effort required to pick up thousands of large cotter pins spilled from a truck that rolled into the orchard?  Not to mention hours spent collecting bits of smashed plastic, glass and metal car parts or the cost of disposal.  The giant truck tire is still lying beside the road near our grape vineyard.  It will likely be there till spring when the state cleaning crew makes a hurried pass through our area.

No, our sort of injury does not make the pages of the newspaper.  Rescue and police personnel do not clean up wrecks beyond towing away the large bits and sweeping the small bits to the roadside.  It’s difficult to not feel considerable resentment for the road and the traffic.  Beyond the noise, air pollution and thoughtless littering from thousands of vehicles, there is always accident cleanup.

Inversion Table

Here I am trying my new inversion table.  For those who don’t know, the apparatus holds your body by the ankles while you hang upside down.  This is meant to stretch the spine.  The model I have is the latest base model Teeter HangUps, although I do not endorse any particular product.  I found the barely used table locally for half the new price.

For years I’ve suffered with body pain.  My upper back was injured in a car accident, tearing a rotator cuff in a place so deep it cannot be reached for a repair operation.  The injury has caused me constant pain for twenty years.  My lower back was fine until pregnancy.  Something was moved out of place and has never been the same.  The lower back sometimes goes out, making it difficult to straighten.  There is a lot of pain.  My hip was injured in a winter fall.  I slipped on ice and my body landed with the front side of my hip hitting a concrete block.  Since then that side of my pelvis aches after moderate walking, climbing, etc.

I take NSAID pain relievers only when I have an acute issue such as a muscle spasm.  Otherwise I deal with the pain mostly by ignoring it.  A Theracane and self-administered trigger point therapy is helpful in reducing muscles spasms and alleviating pain.  For several years I visited a chiropractor, but found the continual trips for short visits didn’t address the issues for long.  I had to return every few weeks for another adjustment.  It almost felt like a racket.  I have also used four massage therapists and an occupational therapist over the years with minimal results.

Often I wondered if stretching my spine by hanging upside down might provide some relief.  The idea was:  straighten the spine and stretch the space between the vertebral discs with gentle traction provided by my body weight and it might put things back where they belonged.

Finally, after several years of thinking about it, I took the big step of splurging $150 on an inversion table.  The ankles are firmly clamped, then you use your body weight to control the degree of inversion.  The table will allow a body to hang completely upside down, 90 degrees.  So far I’ve gone to around 85 degrees.  I try to use the table at least every day, sometimes two or three times in a day.  The instructions recommend repeated daily use.  It only takes a couple minutes each time.

What a difference already!  I’ve been using the table about one and a-half months.  Immediately I felt my pelvis stretch and almost pop.  It seemed that something was evened out in the bones.  Since then there has been no pain with exercise.  I can hike all I want and the pelvis doesn’t hurt.  The lower and upper back also have improved.  I have less sore days and decreased intensity of pain.  With continued use, I hope to see even more improvement.

An added benefit I’ve found is that the table is helping to strengthen my core.  It allows a type of sit up to be performed that doesn’t put any pressure on the spine.  Using the stomach muscles to pull up against gravity is an excellent workout.

The biggest advantage is that the time spent on the table is minimal.  Just a few minutes per use.  As you can see by my face in the photo, the blood all goes to the head.  Not a terribly comfortable position for extended periods.  Because one of my legs seems to be slightly shorter than the other, there is more strain on one ankle.  Also, the stress on both ankles cannot be overlooked.  Since I’ve been going to nearly 90 degrees, I’ve been wearing pants and socks to pad my ankles.  This does help significantly.  Luckily, benefits are achieved through sessions of short duration so the discomforts I’ve mentioned are not unbearable.

Overall, I give an inversion table designed like mine two thumbs up.  It has really helped me!

The Scent of a Human

Foster kittens six weeks old

Many animals are sensitive to airborne chemicals in the environment.  It is a matter of safety to be able to quickly and accurately detect particles that are the product of fire, for instance, or to sense the presence of a predator or the reek of decay.  Smell is used to distinguish edibles and identify friends.  Humans, along with most mammals, have a strong sense of smell.

Some humans abuse that sense through smoking or are unfortunate enough to lose sensitivity due to allergies chronically clogging the nasal passages.  I recently read of a study that determined humans have very sensitive olfactory abilities, nearing those of dogs, that should not be dismissed.  Our reactions to aromatic compounds often occur at a visceral level, escaping our conscious notice.

For our closest domestic companions, dogs and cats, scent is an important means of communication.  We know this because both species have anal glands.  Sniffing under the tail is a social behavior for cats and dogs.  Observe a pet cat or dog as it encounters another member of the household menagerie.  A quick sniff of the nether regions leads to a visible body relaxation for both animals if the newcomer is a known friend.  There is almost a language of the bottom, as it were.

This sensitivity to aromatic organic compounds in cats was markedly demonstrated to me just yesterday.  I am currently fostering two kittens who are living in our home with their very feral mother, Moon.  The kittens are not feral, they adore humans.  Both have a natural affinity for me since I was the first human to become a permanent fixture in their short young lives.  One kitten is a black and white ball of adventure.  I suspect it’s a boy, although it is so dark under the tail I’m still not totally sure.  The other baby cat is a more sedate, pensive little yellow tiger female.  She has always been very snuggly with me.  She was the first to cuddle against my neck with a rattling purr.

This kitten is especially drawn to my lap.  She will run to me when she is frightened or unsure and press for comfort against my inner thighs if I’m seated crossed-legged on the floor.  That is her favorite place on my body.  If I’m standing, she will settle on my foot.  She sleeps contentedly in my lap.  I find this sweet and heartbreakingly endearing since she will soon enough have to leave my foster home for a permanent place and people of her own.  Imagine my despair when yesterday she suddenly wanted nothing to do with me!

It became quickly apparent that little girl kitten did not wish to be near me that morning.  I could think of no reason for the altered behavior.  She would not come close to me on the floor.  If I tried to hold her, she struggled and squirmed mightily to escape my clutches.  The kitten refused my every advance.  Her little “brother,” meanwhile, behaved as usual:  boisterous, reckless and full of antics.  Little sister just sat morosely off to the side with her tail curled around her feet, staring at me.  If I reached tentatively toward her, she fled in horror.  This behavior lasted all day.  By evening I was convinced the sweet lover kitten now hated me.

The look of a morose, disgruntled kitten

Late that night, as I was bathing, I was struck with sudden inspiration when I noticed the scent of my new perfume.  It was the first day I had worn Lancome Hypnose.  Since the kittens arrived, four weeks ago, I’ve only used one scent, a lily-of-the-valley sort of fragrance, JMC, Jessica McClintock.  Could it be the kitten’s response was triggered by the change in fragrance?  This morning I applied JMC again.  The main pulse point I use is the area of the inner thigh that corresponds to the underarm.

Favorite area on human

The change in the kitten’s response was amazing!  From her first whiff of me, everything was alright again.  She cozied up and even rubbed her tiny nose on mine.  When we sat on the floor, she claimed my lap immediately.  Her relief at the return to normal was obvious.  The good human was back.  Not the evil, strange smelling imitation that assaulted her the day before with demands for affection.

Ahhh, the right smell, the good human is back!

This lesson on the sensitivity of the six-week-old kitten nose is not lost on me.  In the future I will swap perfumes slowly, blending the fragrances for a couple days, so the little feline can still recognize me.  I will also vary the scents I use to teach the kittens that the same human may have a different smell and still be safe.  We do not have anal glands (thank goodness!!) but we each do have a particular aroma that is memorized by our furry housemates.  I suspect that our scent, more than any other feature, is what our cat and dog pets rely upon to distinguish their humans.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This is being written for the consideration of anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation and is contemplating carpal tunnel surgery.  I wish I had been provided this information when I was deciding to get the work done.  Please do not think I’m complaining or looking for sympathy.  I’m not.  Merely trying to inform people about my experiences.

I first noticed the problem about seven years ago when my hands fell asleep every time I sat and tried to use them for things like crafts or writing.  It got so bad that they felt numb and tingly nearly all the time.  The doctor diagnosed me with carpal tunnel syndrome and recommended surgery.  She said if I didn’t get the issue corrected my hands would become damaged over time since the nerves were being impinged.  To relieve the pressure, the tendon that supports the wrist bones must be cut.  That is the surgical procedure.  It is done under general anesthesia.

What the doctor explained about the narrowing of the carpal tunnel in the wrist and the squeezing of the nerve that must pass through the tunnel to reach the hand made sense.  I believed her and didn’t put any effort into second opinions.  The surgery was scheduled with a specialist.  I had both wrists done at the same time, bi-lateral surgery.  The procedure was conducted as a day surgery and I went home that evening with both wrists bandaged.

The pain was fairly intense for a few days.  For anyone getting bi-lateral surgery for the sake of convenience, consider that you will find it nearly impossible to use your hands with any force for several days following surgery.  The problem becomes apparent when you enter the restroom.  I struggled until I adopted through trial and error a technique for hygiene that placed little strain on the hands.  The healing was rapid and I only needed to use a couple Tylenol 3 during recovery.  The tiny incision scars quickly disappeared.

When it no longer hurt to use the hands, I began physical therapy to return the strength of my grip.  The therapist tested my grip and prescribed various exercises which I followed religiously.  I was motivated to regain the use of my hands.  By the end of the sessions the therapist was impressed that I had a grip strength that surpassed most women.  She was pleased with my progress and ended the sessions.  What I didn’t tell her was my grip was actually reduced from the power I had before surgery.  I continued the exercises and hoped for the best.

Things went along fairly smoothly.  My sense of how hard I gripped things had changed.  I thought my hands were holding tightly enough, but actually, at times, they were not.  I dropped stuff…a lot.  It was frustrating.  Hoping for the best, I figured over time I’d improve.  Then one day I was just lifting an empty five gallon bucket by the handle and something popped in my wrist.  It was quite painful.  A swelling developed in the area below the base of my thumb.  The place of the swelling can be seen in my two photos, although the swelling from an active injury is much more pronounced.  These photos are of the usual condition of my wrists now.  The little lump below the thumb should not be there.

The doctor said I had sprained my wrist.  I wore a splint to protect the area and tried not to overuse the other hand while the sprain healed.  Unfortunately, sprains in both wrists have become a part of my life.  When I do heavy manual labor I must wear restrictive splints with metal supports or I risk sprains.  Just everyday living can result in injury.  A movement as simple as wiping a dish, opening a drawer or lifting a cup can result in a strain or a sprain.  The reduced sense of grip has remained and I continue to drop items if I don’t remember to pay attention to how tightly I am holding them.  I described these difficulties to my doctor and she had nothing to say, she just glossed over my concerns.  I changed doctors.

The problem is the cutting of the tendon that supports the wrist.  Without that band of tissue to keep the bones in place under strain, ligaments are stressed until micro tears occur, pulling the ligament away from the bone (a sprain.)  This is the dirty little secret the doctors and surgeons don’t mention when they push for carpal tunnel surgery.  You are left to discover on your own that your hands will never be the same.  Sure, the pins and needles and numbness are gone, but the pain of wrist sprains is there to stay.  Because I live on a farm and use my hands for everything I do, the chronic pain has settled into the area of the base of my thumbs on both hands.

The only relief for this pain is massage, which I perform on my hands frequently.  Since the time of my surgery, I have been a patient of two different massage therapists who both informed me that prior to surgery I should have tried massage therapy.  They both explained that the pressure in my wrists leading to my hands falling asleep could very likely have been relived with trigger point therapy.  The tightening of muscles in the neck, shoulder and arms can lead to the symptoms of carpal tunnel impingement.  They told me many people have found a cure for the problem from massage therapy alone.  If only one of the medical doctors had informed me of this!  Or if only I had not been so trusting of their authority and opinions.

Now, whenever anyone mentions to me they are considering the surgery, I describe my experiences for them in the hope they can make a better informed decision than I.

Crystal Glaze

The ice storm two days ago left everything on the farm glazed in a layer of shimmering crystal.  Every twig and blade gleams in the sun, a fantastic winter landscape.  The slightest breeze sets the branches swaying against one another in myriad musical chimes.

The day after the storm was warm and some of the ice melted.  An ice coating about 1/4″ thick remains, bending limbs and boughs dangerously toward the snapping point.  Every so often, an overloaded branch breaks with a resounding crack.  The supple birch trees bow to the ground with the weight.  Most will never stand straight again.  We will probably have to cut this birch as it leans right over the driveway now.

We lost power for over two and a half hours during the storm.  Some still have not gotten their electrical supply restored.  Dinner the night of the storm was ham and cheese sandwiches by candlelight instead of the turkey stroganoff I had planned.

The day after the storm I drove to town.  In one place, a downed, dead electric line snaked across most of my travel lane.  The stressed-out utility workers merely cut the line and left it to collect later.  Large trees were uprooted and hung dangerously over the road in other areas.  Our neighbor lost several major branches from his pine that fell close to the road.

Although the ice can be dangerous and a serious inconvenience, for a brief time it turns even the most mundane landscape into a glittering wonderland before the temperatures rise and the glaze drips away into memories.