Monday, 1 September 2008

Are you feeling better?

sunny, hot, temps 29

Glorious day.

Poor Michael's sick in bed. We're going to have one week of brilliant summer and he may very well miss it. I should pull the curtains and tell him it's rainy and cold. Hmm, might just do that.

He's running a temperature, but it broke in the night and is now down to normal. I give him pills, soup, juices and slather him in Vicks Vapo-rub. You know, that's almost a comfort smell for me. I remember reading a study about comfort smells and the conclusion was that there were certain smells that most westerners reacted to. Roses. Fresh cut grass.

But - the intersting finding was that comfort smells are evolving and generational. For people over 70 they're likely to be fresh baked bread, line dried clothing, vanilla. For baby-boomers they're more likely to be Vapo-rub, gasoline, talcum powder, Kraft dinner. In other words, a more chemical smell.

I remembered that as I spread the Vapo rub on Michael's chest. While it clearly signals illness, even more than that it signals caring.

The amazing Linda Lyall - the woman who designs and maintains my website - sent out the September Newsletter today. That's always fun.

Had a great breakfast at the Saint Patrick restaurant in Sutton with Cheryl. We talked about all sorts of things including maybe one day taking a couple of weeks in the spring or summer and sign up for one of the short courses Trinity in Dublin or Cambridge University give. Take something like anthropology, comparative religions, the history of recluses - something almost totally useless but fascinating. Wouldn't that be fun?

Cheryl's one of the most gifted people I know. A writer and artist, she has a series of children's books. One's already published and is called Dragon Dreams, and the others are in various stages of completion and about to be sent to her publisher. We're lucky enough to own one of her original illustrations. A real treasure.

Must be off - check on Michael. We're watching Gustav on the televison and very relieved it isn't worse...though I suspect it's bad enough.

My goal is to see how many times Michael can be asked, 'Are you feeling better?' before he explodes. Wish me luck.


Kay said...

Poor Michael. Hope he is better soon (but don't go ask him!?!). Ha!

I do think that Vick's Vaporub is a comfort smell for me. I've always had so many respiratory illnesses. It is quite familiar.

I ordered MURDER STONE today, to be shipped as soon as it comes out. I'm so looking forward to it and CANNOT wait until the US release.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Kay,

How wonderful. Dying to hear what you think of it. And hope your good health continues!

Neocitran is in that catagory for me too.

Liz said...

Hi Louise

Sorry to hear Michael is feeling under the weather and hope the Vicks and your nursing soon have him feeling better.

I've had the CNN live feed coverage of Gustave going on my computer while working on draft #3 of Madelaine - I can't imagine what its like to be uprooted like that time and time again, and never knowing what you are coming home to. Hmmmm...perhaps there's a story in that....

I may not be in the 70+ group for a while, but I still enjoy those comfort smells alloted to them!


Lesa said...

Eighteen years in Florida, and we never had to go through a hurricane. Hurricane Charlie hit our county the week after we moved to Arizona. But, I know what it's like to sit and watch the warnings, and worry about whether or not it's coming your way. It's not fun. And, I feel so sorry for those people in New Orleans and Mississippi.

As to Vicks, I swear by it, and KNOW it works. My husband, Jim, says he'd rather die than use it. Can't stand the smell.

Elizabeth said...

I grew up in a multi-generational household where my great-aunt Isabel made crabapple jelly in August and marmalade in February (when the Seville oranges were available). I guess I'm off a generation for comfort smells, because the aroma of those jellies cooking is the ultimate comfort smell to me. I have her old jelly bag--you know, for straining the juice from the pulp, and it still gives off a gentle scent of the crabapples we grew at our cottage. Takes me right back. My own kids have asthma and since Vicks and other strong chemical smells are bad news for them, we've never had it in the house.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Elizabeth, Lesa and Liz,

So interesting to hear about your comfort smells. I think we're all of an age - on the shoulder between the 'smell' generations. I love bacon and coffee and woodsmoke, but I also love Vicks and gasoline...i think from times at the lake as a kid, in the boat. My first taste of freedom, being allowed to run the boat all by myself. One hand on the gunnel, the other on the arm of the outboard motor, bouncing down the lake, and smelling gas from the chipped red tank.

Thank you too for giving me a taste of the dread you've felt waiting for a hurricane to hit. It seems especially malicious since the skies almost always are bright blue hours before the storm, as though nothing horrible is approaching.