Mistress of the Mix: The Sweet Spot

Right now, we’re in the midst of the sweet spot. I know you know what I’m talking about. The sweet spot is that time of year when those of us in Northern California neither need to turn on the heat or the air conditioning. It’s such a brief moment, but oh, how I love thee, sweet spot.

I moved to Shasta County during the sweet spot of May 2002. I fell in love with the weather immediately. It was so beautiful, and we got along perfectly. During the day, the sun was shining bright, but it wasn’t the blistering hot 114 degree heat that would come later, in July. The sweet spot brings the kind of warmth that feels good on my skin, and turns the air sweet with the fragrance of budding flowers with every light breeze.

During the sweet spot, the nights are perfect. It brings alive the kind of evening that begs to be celebrated out on the back deck by candlelight with a glass of old vine zin and conversation. The sweet spot allows short sleeves day or night. It lets me turn the thermostat from HEAT to OFF, and throw open the doors and windows, inviting the soft breeze to deliver the fragrance of daffodils, roses and lilacs blooming out in the back yard. I keep the windows open throughout the night to receive the ever-changing song of the mockingbird that has been a fixture in my neighborhood for years.

That’s the sweet spot of Spring.

There’s usually another sweet spot of Autumn. It happens as the daylight and the temperatures both gradually taper off, before being replaced by drizzling rain and gray skies. Another few weeks, maybe three if we’re lucky, when the HVAC stays dormant, neither heating or cooling, just allowing us to live without the assistance of modern technology, until a few days into the first rains of Fall force me to begrudgingly shuffle down the hall to the thermostat and with the flick of my finger, switching it from OFF to HEAT.

Sure, one of the reasons I love the sweet spot is because I have an 8.32 credit on my PG&E bill right now that I’ll probably still have until October rolls around. That sweet spot always translates to a few hundred dollars I don’t have to pay the utility companies to keep the bones of my historic home chilled or warmed. No matter how brief the respite, its always welcome.

When I’m in the sweet spot, I sleep so much better. I wake up with a smile on my face, and actually look forward to facing whatever the day has to bring me. I’ve also realized that when the Shasta County sweet spot is in full bloom, I find myself gravitating to songs that are optimistic and light of heart, and I tend to turn up the stereo a little louder in the mornings so I can sing along as I travel from room to room. Lately I’ve even been riding my bike to work as often as possible, with my favorite current playlist blasting from my back pocket along the way.

Which reminds me. A word to all the drivers out there: please take care. I’ve already had a few close calls this year with vehicles that didn’t seem to realize they were encroaching in the bike lane, and not the other way around. We’re all going somewhere. Slow down, chill out, and smell the roses. You’ll get there, and I’d like to get there too. Alive.

And hey, while you’re enjoying the sweet smells and sounds of Spring, you might also enjoy the music I’ve been carrying around in my back pocket for the past month or so. Its filled with birds and flowers, and songs that bring a wide smile to my face. You’re invited to stream The Sweet Spot playlist on Spotify by clicking on the arrow below. You’re also invited to share your favorite feel good songs of birds, flowers and everything else that evokes the sweet spot of Spring in the comments section below.

Valerie Ing
Valerie Ing has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
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