Purgatory comes early to Phoenix

Fuuuuuuuuuuckkkk …

was my response to today’s headliner:

Excessive Heat wave starts tomorrow.

Temps from 109 to 112 (42.7-44.4 C) for the coming week.

Pretty fucking miserable. That’s not the worst of it.

Heat this intense typically settles here in late June or July

For the record, it’s May 26.

Average temp this time of year is about 98 degrees (36.6 C).

We’re 1 to 1.5 months into Purgatory prematurely. Early Merry Christmas to us. Snark.

Records are poised to be shattered.

  • Phoenix has never had more than 2 days of 110+ degrees (43.3+ C) in May. About to become 4.
  • This will be the longest stretch of such heat ever recorded in May.

“Doesn’t mean that the whole summer is going to be hot,” says a spokesman at the Phoenix weather service.

He’s delusional. Should find a new job like most forecasters.

He did strike an “optimistic note.” Temps “do show a little bit of a cool-down by the middle of next week, and by cool-down I mean maybe closer to 100 degrees.” (37.7 C)

Big whoop. Still too hot and above the norm.


Grim Graphic

This summer’s gonna be BRUTAL, worse than even last year’s, and drier, absent seasonal monsoons,” I’ve been predicting since December. Never been wrong.

Why the weather service doesn’t hire me is their loss given its laughable track record.

Anyhow, southern Arizona is about to Bake Big Time.

Media’s flooded with announcements, warnings and instructions on how to survive. (Among other risks, heat kills, you know, and southern Arizona knows all too well.)

  • Drink extra water
  • Dress appropriately
  • Don’t leave pets or children in the car
  • Minimize outdoor activities

Uh, most people can figure this out. Heat has a way of informing our innate responses.

Like Snow Country. Does anyone really need to be instructed to wear gloves, hats and heavy coats?!

Today, May 26, was 103 (39.4 C) — humidity 5% so bone dry. Also a record for the date and among the many triple-digit days we’ve had in 2020.

Despite the climate change (i.e., increased dangerously excessive heat, heat arriving earlier and leaving later, drought), people are still moving here in DROVES. ESPECIALLY Californians, ugh, fuck them. Phoenix remains the fastest-growing city in the country for the 4th year in a row.

Perhaps another topic another day.

For now, please send sympathy and compassion for us here in the renowned Valley of the Sun. {Name makes it sound nicer than it is.) We’re toast way too early.


Phoenix residents from May to October

Postcards from Bali: but not in my box

I received a rather large postcard in the mail today.

It wasn’t addressed to me specifically, rather “Resident.” The address and apartment number are mine.

Might’ve been easy to dismiss it, lump it in with the bulk of supermarket ads. But I didn’t.

A photo in the upper left corner caught my eye. I read the card’s content.

Disturbed, I went online. I needed to know more. More than his name, age, height, weight, hair and eye color.

More than his face in his mugshot

More than his address next door.

For being 28, he’d built up a rap sheet. Certainly not the worst around but respectable as a small-potatoes thug. Notable is his investment of time and commitment to criminality: more than 14 years, more than half his life, back to his teens (if not earlier).

His list of infractions in prison is also noteworthy. You get the picture. Not a good dude or desirable neighbor.

All that said, it’s not his lengthy criminality that compelled my google search.

It’s this verbatim from the postcard (identifiers redacted):

“In 2016, Mr. C was convicted of sexual abuse and 3 counts of attempted molestation of a child in X-court. His victims were male and female family members.”

There’s SO much I can wrap my mind around in humanity. Even heinous crimes and serial killers.

This I cannot. Not molestation. And absolutely not molestation of your family.

He went to prison for it when he was 15.

His sentence: 4 years. That’s it.  Plus 3 lifetime terms of probation. Wouldn’t bank on his adherence, if prior parole records are any indication.

He is a level 3 sex offender. Level 3 is the highest.

The postcard from the local police department states that the information is being released pursuant to specific law.

It continues:

This notification is not intended to increase public fear; rather it is to inform the community of a sex offender living in the city” … toward an informed and safer community.”

I’ve memorized his face and physique not only because he lives next door. See, I often walk past that residence during my evening-into-night walks, when it’s “cooler” here in Phoenix, Arizona. We’re days from 110++ (43.3++ C), redefining outdoor activities.

My immediate area’s pretty ghetto. And while my apartment’s on a busy street, the sidewalk is shadowy, lit dimly if at all. I exercise extreme alertness and awareness of my surroundings — ahead, behind and from all sides.

Hypervigilance, intelligence and a lifetime of traveling alone in the U.S. and abroad have cultivated supreme common sense and street smarts..

I’d have made a fucking great detective/cop!

All said and noted, Mr. C. is an unsavory man. A lifetime as a criminal, in and out of prison, not a neighbor I’d choose.

I “get” some of his crimes.

But I cannot cannot cannot get molesting. Or trying to with children. In your own family.

Motherfucker can go to hell.

I’ve Flipped for Flippi!

Vornado fans. I’m a big fan — shameless word play.

Their engineering design is so thought out and cool — no word play intended.

Their fan base — ack! not again! totally unintended — is passionate about their many products. Vornado’s home.

Worth checking out the design. Blew me away — ack! enough already! One of many vids here.

Videos and research convinced me to purchase the novel Vornado 279 fan at Costco last summer. Could not be happier! It’s a keeper!

So impressed was I by its power to circulate air and cool a room (a challenge in Arizona inferno) and small footprint that I’m a now a Vornado loyalist and unlikely to purchase any other brand.

Enter Flippi.

Not to be confused with Flipper, the famous dolphin. What I’d give to be at a beach!!

I stumbled upon this lil’ gem at Costco Sunday.

Flippi by Vornado

Flippi desktop fan by Vornado. Coffee cup not included.


I’d been mulling how to move – remove hot air from my shower area — in a confined back corner with zero air circulation and worthless tiny ceiling “fan.”

ANYTHING to help alleviate this Phoenix, Arizona heat — now and certainly as we move into months of air-conditioner and fan use 24-7.

The baby Vornado fan. Perfect solution!

Turns out to have many more uses than originally intended.

Take my patio.

On second thought don’t you dare!

Love my lil’ patio! One day it’ll make the blog, this simple unadorned humble patch of concrete with weathered wooden rails painted brown.

Only some apartments in this huge complex have patios. “It costs extra,” management informed during the tour.

A no-brainer. “I’ll pay it,” I replied without hesitation.

Of late – especially with this stupid lockdown — I’m spending most of my time on the patio: while I still can. While weather permits.

It’s a “chill” 102 (38.8 C) today, May 5.

Quite soon it’ll tap 110 degrees (43.3 C), then 115-120 (46.1-48.8 C), where it’ll remain for months, forcing us into indoor lockdowns.

If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.

The mountain be mobile.

For Flippi is so mobile … lightweight … versatile!

It moves as I move through my space.

It travels from a spot next to me in my beach chair on the patio, delivering a small gentle breeze in otherwise dead-air Phoenix …

to the floor next to my yoga mat …

to the kitchen counter next to my papasan chair …

to the vanity by the shower room to move trapped hot air and maximize air-conditioning.

So cool!

Coolest is the versatility packed in lil’ Flippi!

  • An adjustable tilt head — maximizing Vornado’s signature air circulation
  • A base that swivels or stays still
  • Two controls for low or high air flow
  • UBER quiet!

Magnificent! Tough to achieve in a small unit — we’ve all heard those high-pitched whines. Ear-bleeders. Can’t use it.

Quiet operation is a deal-breaker. Because I’ve got human dog ears. A gift and a curse like most gifts. I also suffer with misophonia and audio-sensitive migraines. So for this alien / freak, Flippi passes muster.

All these breezy perks for about $20 ($28 CAD) at Costco!

Since discovered oodles of rave reviews (unsurprisingly) on Amazon and priced at Costco’s. Sweet!


Given dual challenges in my domicile and out in the desert, I must say as a hard-core loyal Costco customer for some 18 years across state lines is that this surprise find is among the finest!

Vornado ist wunderbar!

I’ve flipped for Flippi!

(p.s. review is wholly my own; the reward is in in deserved public rave about product & company)

May Day, mom & merrymaking

She’d collect them from the big yard. Geraniums. Red, pink, yellow. Roses perhaps too.

She’d fashion sheets of white paper — construction perhaps? — into cones. Tape the edges.

To each cone she’d attach paper handles. I think. Memory’s unclear. The white cones are certain.

And into each cone she’d insert bright colored blooms. She crafted about a dozen. 

Then she’d hand them to my sister and me to distribute to the neighbors on the hill.

We lived on a hill. A big hill it seemed to our child eyes and legs. The homes were large, too the distance between each.

Traipsing through the hill was a workout, even to strong agile energetic bodies. Some sections were rather steep. All were winding.

Whether we rang each doorbell for personal delivery I can’t recall. It’s also possible that we covertly hung cones on the doorknobs and scuttled away in the not-so-secrecy of broad daylight.

Either delivery system, the outcome was unchanged.

A white cone bursting with colorful blooms. A lil’ something special from Santa some 7-1/2 months early.

Everyone on the hill knew one another.

Times have certainly changed. Distrust and suspicion in response to a knock on a door have replaced a welcome and gladness.

Would the enclave on the hill exist today? I’d like to think so.

The wisened self says nuh.

“You can’t go home again” is absolutely true. It is always best to leave memories intact. Even if they be hazy, weathered or sent somewhat adrift by the passage of time and aging.

My relationship with my mother was a horror, a living nightmare that at 63 I’ve yet to live down or through with any true full healing.

Through that blackness and destructiveness (hers), I saw still who she was and her positive qualities.

May Day was made for my mother — or she for it.

She genuinely loved clipping the geraniums — plentiful on our large lot. Constructing cones. Then having her two girls hoof from home to home on the hill.

It suited her.

Suited her playfulness. Her childlike qualities. Her taste for whimsy. Her marvelous gift at delivering surprises and delight.

Flowers at your door.

Delivered by FTD faeries. 

Mom made May Day memorable and merry.

For years, years and years, every May 1 is fondly remembered my mother.

Wherever she be on the other side, there appears a surreptitious arrangement on her front door out of thin air:


Hey Donovan, where’s wind to catch?!


The ONLY word that usually springs to mind when Americans hear “Arizona.”

They are dead wrong.

Arizona’s also got spectacular forested mountains, a lot of snow, skiing, and bitter cold remote lands as well as scorching desert.

Topography’s not the focus of today’s post.

Southern Arizona — including Phoenix — is desert. It’s got serious heat for sure.

And something else that’s not written about nearly enough.


Unmoving air once the heat arrives.

A hot limp air that enfolds the body. Wraps itself around and tightens. Perhaps imperceptibly at first.

You feel squeezed for air yet can’t say why. Your skin becomes taut. Strains for moisture. Reaches for relief.

You hunger for whatever’s oppressing to lift. It does not. The force presses only more on the body, the lungs, the breath.

Your body trembles. Rattles like bones dried by the desert.

Yet you are not moving. You’re frozen. Frozen?! How can that be!? It’s a blistering dry 100+++ (37.7 C!)

You. Are. Inanimated.

Then the Force who’s sucking your life your life your movement is revealed. Reveals itself really.


Not a wind. Not a breeze. Not a whiff.

Utter. Stoppage. Of. Air. Flow.

“Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind” sang Donovan.

Well, yeah! Were there wind to catch!!

There’s Just Heat. Suffocating Immobilizing Unmoving Heat.

Do not underestimate heat. Heat kills. This is fact. The body on its own terms is not designed to survive brutal deserts.

That’s why you won’t see condos in the Gobi desert! Or, locally, Arizona’s Sonoran desert.

Heat gets all the attention. Deservedly, to a point.

Yet the Stillness is its Evil Sister. The unaddressed secreted wizard behind the curtain. Bolstering a suffocating  hot.

Not a whiff of breeze to “cool” the skin. Haha! As if!

Let me say upfront: Heat is brutal.

Its stillness is, what, the nail in the coffin?

Yet another example of God’s infinite cruelty?!

I mean, c’mon God, your earliest human creations survived in f-ing deserts! You put them there!

So for their survival why not equip them with tiny pop-up fans on their hands?!

I mean, if I’m God, I’m gonna give my “beloved children” a means to a BREEZE while they’re forced to live in and bake in the damn desert that I created!

The unmoving of air in a desert inferno oppresses oppresses oppresses. That needs more airtime — =no pun intended.

There, my work is done. Note: that’s desert, not dessert. Oh what relief in a typo!


Fantastical relief for DESERT residents

C’mon baby, light the fire. Actually don’t.

They’re heeeeeeere!

They arrived today. April 26, 2020.

Think I’m announcing rolls of toilet paper delivered by Amazon?

Fair enough. But no.

Something far worse but as enduring as these damned toilet-paper absences.

Triple Digits.

We here in Phoenix have been warned for a week. For once, forecasters got it right!

A massive heat wave’s settled over the West and Southwest, smashing records, especially in POS state California.

SoCal is baking (and I don’t care!) How many residents you think are defying closures of beaches and social distancing?

Tons, last look on Google.

One surfer was fined $1,000.

To be fair, it was after he disrespectfully blew off repeated instructions and warnings.

“‘Fuck you. What are you going to do about it?’ the surfer said to a lifeguard, according to witnesses. A police officer finally issued the citation. Yey cop!

No shortage of arrogant self-righteous a**holes in California.

Here in Phoenix (Arizona), the Triple Digits arrived early; normally it’s May.

Side note: I’m an unpaid walking farmer’s almanac. Been warning since December-ish that this summer’s gonna be extremely brutal — more than usual.

Thus far I’m on the money. Would be smart of Arizona’s weather service to hire me since my track record extraordinarily exceeds theirs.

“Only job where you can always be wrong and still keep it” I always say of weathermen.

Anywho — 103 degrees (39.4) here in Phoenix.

High for April, not a good sign. Come May, certainly June, we’ll be reminiscing about how frosty 103 was.

About then is crossed the next newsworthy threshold: 110 F (43.3 ).

From there it’s a straight speedy escalation toward 116-120 (46.6-48.8 C), where it settles for months. 

While this initial tap into Triple Digits is news, to my (unwelcomed) experience, it’s 110 (43.3 C) that’s most dreaded.

At that precise temperature, heat takes on distinct and different qualities.

It’s no longer sufficient to state simply “it’s hot.”

The heat impacts and takes a toll on the body in many markedly challenging, distinctive and detrimental ways — as well as one’s well-being and mind, depending on genetics.

For example, Mexicans (abundant in Phoenix) can still move, work, hoot ‘n’ holler in the heat; on the other hand, I of northern European descent blister then wither into slug with 1% life left.

Interestingly, scientific studies bear out my independent findings: 110 (43.3 C) is the cutoff for “bearable heat.” Beyond that …

In short: The Fire’s On in Phoenix.

Don’t Bug Me!

Mosquitoes in southern Arizona are particularly mean. Would hafta be to survive brutal sun and heat.

This I was unabashedly reminded of during my walk through the riparian preserve yesterday early evening.

I dressed for the bugs and mosquitoes. Jeans rather than shorts despite the heat, ugh. A T-shirt. Baseball cap.

I “erred” on two counts.

First, I didn’t spray myself with Off! soon enough.

Frankly, I didn’t think the mosquitoes were THAT BAD yet.

There’s a myth that Arizona hasn’t many mosquitoes because they can’t survive the dry heat. This is true, partly.

Caveat is where there IS water, mosquitoes boldly go and thrive — even in this desert. Especially so! For them too, water’s a scant resource so those little sons-of-bitches bully up around it.

Too late into my stroll, I watched mosquitoes make meals of my arms. Felt those telltale tickles on the back of my neck, face, ears!

Spotted one aggressively land smack on the front of my shirt. That takes cajones! Ha! No flesh there for you! SUCKER!

So outta my backpack came Off! (I tote it now like girls tote lip gloss.) Better late than never — the Off! not lip gloss — but damage was already done.

Second error was not spraying my feet.

I was in sandals. Mostly in motion, not resting.

Thus I thought it unlikely they’d make feasts of my feet … that they’d target upper body for easy mid-flight bites.

I was wrong. So wrong.

My feet are smothered with bumps! Lord they itch like hell! Swollen red from scratching. I’d post a pic but even I with a stomach for gross-ities am grossed out.

Did count a dozen bites in a 1-inch (2.54 cm) patch on one foot though. Paint your own picture.

Message to Mosquitoes

Two words for you malicious buggers.


Off! Deep Woods specifically. Spray repellant really works! (I prefer the “dry” over “wet” version — less messy). Kudos to maker S.C. Johnson & Son.


Just as I was contemplating slathering forearms and feet with a paste of baking soda and water, I flashed on an old rarely-used tube of hydrocortisone cream in a cupboard.

No offense baking soda. You’ve been my hero for bee stings in childhood and unclogging drains in adulthood. My loyalty remains.

That hydrocortisone knocks itch right out!

Prevents blood loss too — for as anyone who’s crazy-scratched itchy bites knows, it turns futile and ugly. 

Timely Takeaway

Suit up for those suckers.

Leave no stone unturned and no skin unsprayed.

Keep basic odd ointments on hand.

(Greatest of takeaways. While most folks keep that stuff without thinking, I do not — having made a lifelong career outta too-frequent moves and routinely tossing things to satisfy both my inner Anti-Clutter nazi and nomad traveling light.)

Sunday’s Score:

Mosquitoes: 35 (guesstimated number of bites)

Me: 1 (only for wisely choosing jeans over shorts for walk)

A Deserved Shout-Out


Ode to Off!

I crossed a line. It was cool but not.

Had to happen. Sure as the day is long.

Long and hot. My edit.

Summer is arriving in Phoenix. More precisely summer temps as summer’s official start is June 20. Hit 97 F. (36 C) today, April 24. Inches up to 101 F (38.3 C) in a day or two.

Then it’s a temp free fall — in the opposite direction of gravity. Shit.

Had to happen in my home.

My tiny studio has exactly two sizable windows. One faces east, the other west. Thus my space is bathed in sun from dawn to nightfall.

Circulation is also poor, making it a heat trap. Terrific in winter! Now, no.

I’m a nature girl. A vital factoid to put this post in perspective.

In a residence, I looove open windows. Fresh air. Light. My organic nature and free spirit cannot tolerate confinement or impingements of mother nature.

This in fact has been an issue with past roommates. They’ve gotten on my back for cracking windows or having the thermostat set at 60 (15.5 C).

Roommates and I are a toxic mix. So I’m uber-grateful to be living alone during covid confinement. Had to say that.

To date, I’ve been keeping my screened windows open from waking to bedtime. GOT to see the sky! The light! Breathe air!

Unfortunately, the end is in sight.

Increasingly, the Brutal Phoenix Furnace demands its own lockdown. Staying indoors. Windows ever shut. Curtains drawn. Air-conditioner and fans running 24/7. From now ’til October.

I resist, forestall, push back that sealed-up state with every fiber of my being.

Eventually Phoenix weather wins and I lose. It had to happen and it did.

Late last night. Windows open, two fans blowing. Still I felt uncomfortably heated — promising scant slumber among other discomforts.

So I bucked up to check my indoor temp. 90 degrees (32.2 C). A mere 7-degree difference from the day’s high.

There it was. Had to happen: I shut the windows. Pulled insulating curtains.

And did the dreaded deed. I switched on the air-conditioner.

Set it to 82 degrees. Granted, 82 (27.7 C) is “too hot” by local opinion. Around 70 (21 C) is the going rate in Phoenix.

Me, I set it just enough to take the edge off and save money — ’cause lemme tell you, keeping cool in Phoenix is a VERY PRICEY endeavor.

I hated doing it! Don’t misunderstand. I’m grateful to have a (fairly) functional air-con — though a small one with only one vent — in my space.

Still, turning it on was a pivotal moment.

  • Don’t like air-conditioners to begin with.
  • It warns that the heat is rolling in like a troop of heartless whacked-out unrelenting soldiers.
  • A weather lockdown is imminent.
  • Paired with this virus lockdown, it ain’t pretty. It’s purgatory.

Last year marked my first full-on unchartered summer in Phoenix. I regret not giving this epic experience its due by journal or blog.

In truth, it was dreadful that I’d decided to not be here this summer or in any other — a mix of escapist road trips + cross-country relocation.

Well, that got screwed up by a virus and hysterical lockdown.

So I’m stuck.

To cope, to survive, I truly should learn from last summer’s mistakes and this summer express myself, write more, record the experiences. Would also help lighten a mountain of stressors and losses I shoulder.

I’d title this coming 6-month chapter perhaps:

The Adventures of a Water Baby in a Phoenix Furnace

Baking a Water Baby in a Phoenix Fry Pan

Woes of a Water Baby in a Phoenix Fry-Off

How to Survive Phoenix Summers as a Fish Outta Water

Whatever. I crossed a line last night. Studio sealed shut, air-con switched on. A turning point that was cool(ing) but not. It’s downhill from here. If only it were this downhill!


How to Survive a Phoenix Summer: Astral Travel