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How To Cool Off When It’s Hotter Than Hell

For a couple of days now, my news feeds have been full of friends complaining about how hot it is outside. Many of them live north of the Mason Dixon Line and are rarely treated to the heat-wave-type weather I live with all summer long. This post contains a round up of ways to cool off when it feels like the burning cauldron of Hell outside your door (or inside it, if you don’t have air conditioning.)

  1. Go to Starbucks. No, this is not an endorsement of the Man, but every one I’ve ever entered is so freaking cold that I usually leave with my teeth chattering. If you don’t have A/C and want to get out of your sweltering house or apartment for a while, there’s likely a little green station near you.
  2. Put ice cubes in the bath tub. Don’t get carried away and throw in so many that you freeze your naughties off. Immersing yourself in a few cubes and some lukewarm water will do the trick.
  3. Make a fan. In the South, many of the country churches and funeral parlors have disposable fans for visitors. You can make your own with a sturdy piece of paper and a popsicle stick. Just staple the two together and start relieving yourself immediately. (Instructions by following this link.)
  4. Run through a fountain. Once, I did this in London with a bunch of kids because it was hot. My purse was soaked; my shoes were squishing; and I was euphorically happy. I didn’t care what I looked like, and the spray and the laughter kept me cool for the rest of the walk.
  5. Replicate fountain at home with a water hose. Being sprayed by surprise is the awesomest form of cooling off, because it usually leads to a water war in the yard. The soaking is preferable to the sweating.
  6. Carry a handkerchief. In summer, my handkerchief is my “dew rag.” I use it to wipe away any unsightly sweat before I go into a meeting or to clean up when I come into a random place off the street. Stick an ice cube in there, and it’s Heaven.
  7. Wear natural fibers, and wear as little as decently possible. Cotton and linen breathe better than anything I’ve found. I wear sundresses all the time in summer, and I just don’t give a good one if they don’t look professional. They keep me cool, which improves my mood and makes me marginally tolerable to others around me.
  8. Ladies (and men if it’s your thing), dresses are cooler than pants. My husband loves “dress season,” because I almost always wear dresses when it’s hot. They make a natural breeze “down there” and circulate more air for a cooling effect.
  9. Keep blinds closed at home all day long. Closing blinds or pulling curtains will make things a mite gloomy, but it does block the sun’s rays that heat up a room. Things may be a tad cooler at night, making it easier to sleep, something I have a really hard time doing when I’m sweltering.
  10. Stand on an air vent. Marilyn Monroe made it famous. Drawers are optional.

A repost today in honor of the 100-plus degree temperatures we are experiencing in Hell, I mean, South Carolina. Much of the US is suffering right along with us. Here’s to cooling off! And, if you like it here, please subscribe in the upper right-hand corner and share with your friends. 

And The Winner of the Urinary Extravaganza Is…..

MJ Monaghan, a blogger in California. Yesterday, he guessed the correct location of the Number 1 Tinkle.

The Signature Lounge at the John Hancock Center in Chicago.

For his Googling and guessing abilities, MJ has won a 3D puzzle of the John Hancock Center.

From eBay.

Congratulations, MJ Monaghan. Please message me with your address so that I can get your architecturally inclined prize to you.

Check out MJ’s blog by clicking here. He is the master of info-tainment.

This post is part of the series My Top 10 Tinkles. If this is your first visit to this urinary extravaganza, please click here to start the series at the beginning. Thank you for reading my blog, for sharing it, and for spending time here.

Let’s Flush the Political Potty

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence

It’s fitting that I’ve been writing a series on toilets for almost two weeks, because a rant about politics melds nicely with a nasty throne. My blog is not a polemic. It’s primary purpose is to exercise my writing muscles by both informing and entertaining anyone who cares to read it.


It sickened me to read this series in the Washington Post this week, a detailed investigative report on the stock trades of members of the United States Congress in the lead up to the financial crisis in 2008. The series identified 34 members of Congress, from both political parties, who initiated trades, many within 24 hours after meetings with principals in the United States Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.

Thirty-four of our elected officials possibly committed the same crime for which Martha Stewart was excoriated and served time in prison. CEO Jeff Skilling was convicted of insider trading in 2006 as part of the fall of Enron. Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky – those names ring any bells?

If I had acted upon the same exact information our elected representatives most likely had, I too would be bound for jail.

According to Wikipedia, it is not technically illegal for members of the United States Congress to profit from knowledge they may gain in their positions, but the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (SCORE), passed earlier this year, sought to limit the financial gains of our leaders in a puff piece of legislation that basically turns every type of information they could ever hear into “public” data. Why would they pass something that would limit themselves, after all?

Not one major news outlet that I can find has covered this story or expressed outrage about the financial gains these people had while my pathetic stock portfolio dropped by almost half. I can’t find anything on CNN. Nothing on Fox News. Ditto MSNBC and the networks. Please correct me if I missed it, because I’m not the most detailed-oriented person I know.

My problem with this story doesn’t lie with our elected officials. I expect them ALL – regardless of party – to be sleaze bags who are out for number one. They spend all their time raising money to get re-elected and passing laws to benefit themselves and their cronies, and they DO NOT CARE ABOUT ME. Period.

What bothers me is the apathy of the average American. The “I can’t do anything about it” mentality. The divisive clinging to the party line, or the feeling that a vote is merely a choice between the lesser of two evils.

Wake up, American voter. Our entire political process is broken. It’s suffused with corruption, regardless of party. You participate with your vote. If we continue to stand by and vote the same self-serving, bilious people into office – or if we refuse to exercise our right to vote at all – we deserve the government we get.

The United States Congress is the worst toilet imaginable. Let’s flush every single running incumbent out of office this November. I fear it’s the only way We the People have a chance.

No. 1 Tinkle: Signature Lounge at John Hancock Center Chicago

A bar was the inspiration for this wacky series, and a bar will finish it. We were in Chicago for MTM to reconnect with Hanno Weber, one of his architecture mentors. Hanno and his partner, Kathleen Hess, invited us to their apartment for dinner on our last night in the city.

But, WHY do we have to go to a crummy old apartment to eat? I’d rather go stand in line at Frontera Grill.

Their apartment is in a Mies building, Andra. You HAVE to see it.

Why? WHY? His buildings all look the same. A bunch of tall glass and steel. You’ve dragged me to almost all of them while we’ve been here, and I’ve had a hard time differentiating one from the rest of them.


The doorman directed us to the correct floor in the Mies building on Lake Shore Drive. It was like popping popcorn between my ears  as we ascended in the elevator. I gritted my teeth and hoped I would get to utter one sentence during a dinner party with three design people. It had the potential to drag on for hours. And HOURS.

I ended up highjacking the whole conversation with my boorish charm, lecturing Hanno about the perils of not running an architecture practice like a business for most of dinner. We volleyed back and forth with heated fervor. At the end of the evening, he smiled at MTM and proclaimed that he liked me.

Kathleen insisted that if we did nothing else in the time we had left, we had to visit the bar atop the John Hancock CenterBecause you MUST visit the bathroom.


The building was a short walk from their apartment. More popping ears, and we were dumped into the Signature Lounge, a packed establishment with the Chicago skyline twinkling everywhere we looked.

I’m going to the bathroom.

Now? Andra, we just got here. You haven’t even had a drink yet.

Just order me anything. I’ll be right back.

I pushed open a door to the ladies room and staggered. While the bar was teeming with people jostling for a chance at a window seat, the bathroom was empty. AND IT HAD THE SAME SHIMMERING CITY VIEW. Finally, a drinking spot that understood the relationship between bar and toilet, moving the patron from raucous activity to a private, quiet view. I was tempted to leave the stall door open while I tinkled, just to take it all in. I was gone so long that MTM thought I had flushed myself down the toilet.

It was tempting to stay in a place where they really know how to treat a girl who’s gotta go.

This post is part of the series My Top 10 Tinkles. If this is your first visit to this urinary extravaganza, please click here to start the series at the beginning. Thank you for reading my blog, for sharing it, and for spending time here.

Can You Hit The Spot? Guess the Number 1 Tinkle.

DISCLAIMER: This photo is in no way related to the winning tinkle.

Before I announce the winning tinkle in this list of urinary awesomeness, a contest is in order. We’ve visited three continents on this journey to find the perfect toilet. Outhouses. Airplanes. Nothing has been overlooked.

Please guess the location of the Number 1 Tinkle in your comment today. I will give a special, place-oriented prize to the Reader who guesses the exact location of the Number 1 Tinkle. If no one divines the precise tinkle spot, the winner will be selected according to the following criteria:

  • One point for the right continent
  • Three points for the right country
  • Ten points for the right city
  • Three points for the right type of place (hotel, bar, house, apartment, the dirt, etc.)

If we have a tie based upon the above point system, I will draw a winner at random.

Comments placed after 1:11PM Eastern Standard Time will be disqualified, because the correct answer will be posted at that time.

To encourage you to try, Dear Reader, I will give you one tinkly hint. The winning locale is less than one mile from a spot that’s already been featured in this series.

Good luck!

This post is part of the series My Top 10 Tinkles. If this is your first visit to this urinary extravaganza, please click here to start the series at the beginning. Thank you for reading my blog, for sharing it, and for spending time here.


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