Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Unwanted Fervent Love of Mosquitoes

While watering the yard this morning, hose in hand, spraying the green grass and wild flowers, I killed a mosquito who was sucking the blood from my arm. I truly dislike mosquitoes.

Every summer I wonder the same thing: Why are there mosquitoes?

I know the general "food-chain" reasoning, knowing that another bug benefits and so on down the line, but what the heck do they have to do with me and why do they keep pestering me?!

Why are some people tastier than others? Is "tastier" even the right connection? So my musings this morning stem from this need to know: Why me?

I found great information in an article by Joseph Stromberg,  Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others. He specifies eight different reasons for the extra loving I receive from mosquitoes. Of course, not all eight apply to me, but I now have a better understanding of why my body is the ultimate love-fest for mosquitoes.

Image Source

Number One: Blood Type Anyone?

Supposedly, those darn, pesky mosquitoes are picky on what type of blood they prefer. They have a favorite. Type O seems to be the one they most gravitate toward. Type B was their next favorite, and Type A was their least favorite. Unfortunately, as of this moment, I can't recall what blood type I am, so I'm not sure if this reason is a deciding factor for why they love me so much.

Number Two: How Much Carbon Dioxide Do You Blow?

As we humans breathe, we exhale carbon dioxide, and mosquitoes are attracted to how much we emit. Now they say that generally how much carbon dioxide any one person emits tends to depend on how large they are. I'm guessing for myself I'm sitting in the middle on that one, since I'm not large but not petite either.

Number Three: Are You Exercising? Increasing Your Metabolism?

Mosquitoes smell our sweat, which contains ammonia, lactic acid, uric acid, and other substances, which help them find us. They also like higher body temperatures, which makes sense they would zero in on us if we're physically exerting ourselves. Our warm bodies are attractive. I have to say, I am guilty of this. Hurray for exercise!

Number Four: Skin Bacteria. Say What?

Mosquitoes enjoy the bacteria on our skin, but they don't like a plethora of different kinds of skin bacteria. They like it better when the person just has a few bacteria friends. For myself, I've never taken the time to figure out what or how many bacteria adhere to my skin. Your guess is as good as mine.

Number Five: Had Any Beer Lately?

Mosquitoes love it when people drink beer. "Just a single 12-ounce bottle of beer can make you more attractive" to mosquitoes, though the scientists have no idea why that is. What's good for me though is I don't drink. Drinking beer is not the reason why they love me so much.

Number Six: Are You Pregnant?

This makes sense, considering what we've learned so far. Pregnant women are warmer and larger. Between the extra heat they generate and the more carbon dioxide they are sure to exhale, they are prime targets for a mosquito's love nibble. Great news for me—I'm not pregnant!

Number Seven: Really? The Color of Our Clothing?

Yep, the color of our clothing. Mosquitoes like their victims fashioning mosquito-trendy colors, like red, black, and dark blue. These colors are similar to glueing a bullseye on your back.

Number Eight: I Knew It! It's My Parent's Fault!

Genetics may be the deciding factor—a whopping 85%. 

As Stromberg points out at the end of his article, the benefit of some not attracting mosquitoes like the rest of us is scientists may be able to use "chromatography to isolate the particular chemicals these people emit" to create a bug repellant that us unfortunate ones could use. 

At last, there's hope.

Okay, now I'm informed, though I'm not sure any of it truly helps me feel better about the love-hate relationship mosquitoes and I have (they love, I hate). I guess I'm stuck with bug spray and covering up when the sun goes down and staying out of marshy areas with tall grass.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - June 16, 2015

"I think that's what I love about writing, is the ability to try to, in a sense, take a vacation from yourself and try to enter the sensibility of another time, another character, another place."

- Ron Rash - 

Reading and writing are similar in that way. Both avenues take me somewhere other than where I'm at, the difference being that someone else wrote one piece and I the other. 

Ron Rash was born in Chester, South Carolina on September 25, 1953 and hasn't left this world yet. He's a novelist, poet, and a short story writer. His novels include: One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, The World Made Straight, Serena, and The Cove. Here are a few of his short story collections and poems: The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth and Other Stories from Cliffside, North Carolina; Burning Bright; Chemistry and Other Stories; Eureka Mill; Raising the Dead; and Waking.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - June 11, 2015

"A man can get discouraged many times but he is not a failure until he begins to blame somebody else and stops trying."

- John Burroughs - 

In this life, I've had numerous times where discouragement supplanted all thoughts of trudging forward, and I found myself wallowing in the failure of who I thought I was. I did blame others in those dark moments. I wanted someone else to take responsibility for my life, for who I was, for the possibility of me. I wanted the world to know how wrong it was for a girl like myself to have such a hard go of it. I wanted others to feel sorry for me, because then I believed they would fix what was broken in me - that is, if they truly loved me.

Little did I know that what was "broken" in me needed mending from the inside, and the inside was a place no one could venture. Except me. 

Today the word blame is no longer allowed in my vocabulary, at least when it comes to myself and my own life. And the keep-on-of-keeping-on is paramount for me on a daily basis, because sometimes that's what it comes down to, one day at a time. I know, very cliche and kind of sappy but so true.

I have to remind myself that taking responsibility for my own life and actions transforms my life from a prison that I endure to an open meadow where I'm free. I don't have to live in the constraints of waiting for somebody to live my life for me, and, beyond the simple restoration of my responsibility and dignity, I gain hope, laughter, ease, contentment, enthusiasm, connectedness, love, creativity, and much more.

Image Source

John Burroughs was born in Roxbury, New York on April 3, 1837 and left this world on March 29, 1921. He was a nature essayist and a naturalist. He wrote essays for the Atlantic Monthly. Hurd & Houghton published his first collection of essays, Wake-Robin. He was friends with Walt Whitman and was encouraged by Whitman "to develop his nature writing as well as his philosophical and literary essays." Here are a few of his writings: Winter Sunshine, Ways of Nature, Far and Near, Notes on Walt Whitman as Poet and Person, Whitman: A Study, and Under the Apple Trees.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

MUSINGS OF THE DAY - June 2, 2015

"Don't brood. Get on with living and loving. You don't have forever."

- Leo Buscaglia -

I spent most of my day on a small farm west of town pulling weeds. The sun was bright and hot and the sky a light blue, peppered with white fluffy clouds. A gentle breeze blew, which cooled the sweat against my skin. I listened to birds chattering with one another and bees buzzing; one bee considered me a flower because of the colors I wore.

Some would think that weed pulling would be an arduous task, unbearable maybe. I didn't. I reveled in the vast greenness of the farm and the silence that filled the air when the birds stopped twittering. I enjoyed the meditative time spent in pulling one weed after another and to then look back and see that progress was made and be glad of it.

I thought of the things I could do with my own garden, because these rows of veggies were not mine but a friend's. I savored the stillness in my surroundings, because where I live now is in the city, which has a constant bombardment of noise. I appreciated the opportunity to show up for my friend when they needed help.

And after several rows of weeds were dealt with, we sat on my friend's deck and played banjo and ate ginger snaps. Sounds like living and loving to me.

Image Source

Felice Leonardo "Leo" Buscaglia was born in Los Angeles, CA on March 31, 1924 and left this world on June 12, 1998. He had a PhD and was known as "Dr. Love." He was a professor at the University of Southern California (Dept. of Special Education), as well as a motivational speaker and an author. "While teaching at USC, Buscaglia was moved by a student's suicide to contemplate human disconnectedness and the meaning of life, and began a non-credit class he called Love 1A. This became the basis for his first book[.]" A few of his works are: Love, The Way of the Bull, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, and Living, Loving, Learning.