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

Betty Crocker is chomping at the bit

There’s hot news other than a damned virus, believe it or not!

Today — April 22 — the temperature struck 90 F. (32.2 C) here in Phoenix, Arizona, for the first time this year.

It only gets worse. Hotter. Rapid-fire.

On Saturday, we crack the significant 100 F. (37.7 C) mark. It’ll hit 102 F. (38.8 C).

Come Sunday bloody Sunday,  April 26, it rises to 104 F. (40 C).

Note: In APRIL!

April. While most states are celebrating the return of the sun, warmth, blooming buds, opened windows and shedding of heavy coats, Phoenix is lurching into its Bake-Off.

In April. That’s just WRONG.

We enter a lockdown of a different color … from May to October when, coincidentally, Phoenicians do all they can to be indoors and NOT outside.

Our windows are ever shut. Blinds and insulating blackout curtains are drawn.

Air-conditioners and fans are run 24-7. Electric bills spike — some as high as a monthly rent or mortgage payment.

People die: from heatstroke. In this Valley of the Sun, you’re at greater risk of succumbing to a furnace than a virus!

We spend 5-6 months in Triple Digits.

Thus that yearly initial tap at 100 (37.7 C) is a a big-font headline splashed across a front page. It generates as much dialogue as an assassination attempt and dread as the spread of a virus.

All too fast, that landmark 100 F. (37.7 C) burns to ash. Enter a new norm of: Fahrenheit 105 … 110 … 115 … 120 (Celsius 40.5 … 43.3 … 46.1 …48.8). In summer’s peak, the midnight low will be 100 (37.7 C) — albeit higher due to heat retention in the vast sea of concrete and metal.

These are meaningless numbers for most people.

“Greek to me” says a lifelong resident of Alaska. Fair enough.

I can’t claim to know what their -30°F / -35°C feels like.

BUT! — a crucial BUT! — I’ve lived in a very broad spectrum of climates, including Snow Country in Idaho and Colorado. So I can imagine and appreciate that extreme cold — as well as the extreme heat of say a Saudi Arabian desert.

A life of extensive movement, travels and lives in the U.S. and abroad and more addresses than I could recount have gifted me with awe-inspiring depth of experience and wisdom — weather wisdom among them.

Okay, so you don’t know what a dry 116 F (46.6 C) feels like every day for two months. But you can virtually sample it:

Turn on the oven — lowest temp please to be safe.

Open its door.

Face the oven.


Do not move. Do not adjust the heat. Do not reach for ice cubes or bathing suit.

Live with it.

Ease the suffering. Invite Betty Crocker over for months of marathon baking!

It all begins officially in three days on April 25.

The hot news from southern Arizona on this day of April 22. 2020.


Phoenix drivers remain phucking bad even in pandemic

The natives are getting restless.*

*as I predicted in prior post

Many are squirming out from under quarantine / lockdown / stay-at-home orders. A tamp-down of Life by any other name is still a tamp-down.

It’s particularly evident in the increased traffic.

Where IS everyone going?!

Yet people here in Phoenix, Arizona are definitely on the move!

In greatly reduced numbers, yes, compared to the norm. Think California.

What baffles and repulses are the accidents!

Phoenix roads and freeways look as they did maybe 30 years ago — before first Sprawl then Californication swallowed up vast desert land.

Wide open roads … little traffic … ample space to maneuver … change lanes without slamming into the car in front … or getting slammed from behind.

Driving now is as enjoyable and comfortable as it will ever be in Phoenix thanks to the pandemic. (For that reason, I hate to see it end but that’s another post.)

In near-perfect driving conditions, it’s reasonable to expect there’d be near-zero crashes.

Uh-uh, nope, negative, not happening.

Must be written:

I loveloveLOOOOOVE to drive on open roads and travel. Was born for them.

I take my driving responsibilities and the safety of others (and self) very seriously. Always have. Recklessness is not in my nature on the roads.

Driving is not a right. It is a privilege and an honor.

So you can see why I’m beside myself digging for answers to why all these crashes in the Best of Times on Phoenix roads!

Possible theories:

  • Assholes remain assholes, regardless of conditions.

To my thinking, perfect driving conditions reduce stress, in turn increasing opportunity for safety, attentiveness, alertness, responsiveness. May be true for some but certainly not all, as accident numbers indicate.

  • People won’t put down their phones, regardless.

Universally self-explanatory.

  • Some people see clear(er) freeways as opportunity to really lead-foot it.

This surprises (and disturbs) most. I’ve had to really think this one through because it is so fucking foreign.

See, for me, even if there’s zero traffic and cops (NEVER happens!), I’m abiding by the posted speed limit — no more than 10% over.

However, some drivers see less-crowded roads not as opportunity to enhance and enjoy safety and ease but rather to damn the torpedoes, full SPEED ahead. Let loose. Use the freeway as a personal racetrack.

Example. Phoenix freeway speed limits are 65 mph (104 km/h).

The other day I observed a driver weaving past obstacles (called cars), gunning it at about 90 mph (144 km/h) — and even that seemed too slow for him.

There’s an accident waiting to happen and good god it will not be pretty.

For the record, Phoenix has a very high rate of high-impact crushing accidents and fatalities.

We also hold the national dubious claim of high numbers of wrong-way drivers — most impaired — on freeways.

All in all, driver stats in Phoenix are quite grim.

And the pandemic has not made better men of drivers.

On the contrary, it has laser-lit what ails Phoenix.

Very sad for now’s the opportunity TO truly enjoy city roads.

But as in most things, for every good apple, there’s 2 or 3 bad ones to ruin it.

Closing thought:

Once everything reopens and this (BS) shutdown retreats in the rear-view mirror where it staunchly belongs, it is certain that Phoenix drivers shall reclaim their dangerous and deadly ways en masse.

I’m sorry I have to be here for it. A genuinely passionate and responsible lover of the roads deserves better.















I’m out. Not of my mind but the bullshit.

I’m washing my hands of this pandemic. No pun intended.

This trumped-up overhyped overkill — no pun intended — suspiciously timed to upend a strong president and economy. All so very clear (to thinking rational attentive folks).

My head was buried in reading, research and examining “all things pandemic” when this exploded on the scene a month ago. As usual, I was ahead of the curve in thought, awareness and self-education. I arrived at my own conclusions early on and have not wavered from what I know to be true or in any way bought into panic, fear and unreason.

Once this thing quickly took over like an insane miserable wildfire, fanned by the media, I was already done and out.

There is no vaccine for Media Saturation.

Including social media.

In the pandemic’s early days, I enjoyed a good reading run on Twitter. Enjoyed not only the “sciencey” intellectual opinions and insights by credible sources but the spirit of community that erupted.

Some clever, many creative, some downright crazy responses and posts on Twitter.

How to beat boredom. Crazy animal stunts. The Top 100 Movies to Watch in Lockdown. How to Cook a Meal with 5 Ingredients. What This Lockdown Taught Me: I Can’t Stand My Spouse and Want a Divorce. Like NOW!

And of course a zillion sarcastic or silly memes involving toilet paper.

Remember toilet paper, folks? Remember in the days of yore when it EXISTED in abundance on shelves everywhere?! … before the Goblins of Greed scurried in, snatched up rolls by the hundreds and sold it on eBay for 20 bucks a pop or outside of the backs of their vans?

BTW, I’ve not seen a single roll ANYWHERE for more than a month. And I live in Phoenix, (population 5+ million) so that “ANYWHERE” is fucking sprawled! I’ve given up.

I do still look for it … more for potential shock value than need. But if SHOCK OF SHOCKS I ever do come across any, I’ll pick up the Limit 1 Package to donate. My heart just bleeds for the elderly and disabled in this nest of wasps that is called a pandemic.

But finally reading even the “Best of Twitter” — is there such a thing?! — the amusing, uplifting and positive posts, pix and vids of people doing amazing GOOD, stories of first responders and delivery drivers and individuals doing whatever it takes to protect their small businesses and  every human being working retail  …. bless ’em all! … became exhausting.

I Am Saturated by a Shrewd Stunt.

I’m out.

Nothing to do but wait for Things to Come to Light — and they shall. Already are. The natives are growing restless. Pushback in a ridiculous unnecessary shutdown of an entire country for what is basically a flu is now unfolding.

Fractures are developing and the cracks widening. Heads will start rolling, you watch.

People exhausted by this unnaturally cramped-down tamped-down economy and life will begin rebelling and revolting in a myriad of ways.

They already are but it’s gonna really ramp up in the next couple weeks. Gonna get ugly in some places. Mark my words. Guns will come out. Shots — even if rubber bullets or tear-gas canisters — will be fired.

As for me outside of public pandemonium … when even substantive online reading and “the Best of Twitter” and favorite talk-radio shows no longer satisfied or downright irritated and inflamed my impatience with Stupidities and Sheeple, I gravitated to more satisfying human endeavors:

  • Listening to music on Pandora
  • Journaling consistently (not having done so is my bad)
  • Walking regularly (due to gym’s closure)
  • Watching Netflix at night (no change in routine)

Strictly limiting — even curtailing  –my time online (including beloved talk radio) and tuning out pandemic topics is an important necessary respite and escape from an otherwise CONSUMING madness.

Plus I’m damn sick of the media spin. (And I can really say that as one who got a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the nation’s best School of Journalism back in the 1970s when journalism was still journalism! Those days are long gone.)

I’m ahead of the curve, as usual, like I said.

Thus having removed myself from the fray, all I can do is wait for (1) the mayhem to ensue — the rebellions, “civil disobedience” as people break imposing (and unconstitutional) rules especially in liberal-infested New York and California  … and (2) the mayhem of this manufactured pandemic to die down.

My goal, nee recipe for sanity, is to remain as unaffected by this Shit Storm that I neither created nor participate in (only am impacted by as we all are).

Quality time engaged in quality activities that have little to do with “news” … “pandemic” … “deadly virus” … “infections count” … “lockdown” … “stay-at-home orders” … “hoarding”  … “toilet paper” … {fill-in-the-Covid-related-word} …

The blowback’s comin’, folks!

It’s already happening but it’s gonna grow from a gentle ripple to a tsunami very quickly and very soon as people increasingly wake up … realizing not only that they’ve been duped big time! … but above all one cannot tamp-down life / Life.

The vital Life Force cannot be contained — not without severe destructive consequences and fortunately we’re not a miserable Communist country (yet!). (See North Korea for examples.)

That’s what I’ve got today. Things are about to get really ugly, alarming, even disturbing and frightening to Sheeple who have bowed to the (human) powers that be.

Next two weeks shall be interesting, very interesting indeed. So hold onto your horses! Just keep one hand on the reins and the other on your adult beverage of choice.

Mine happens to be hoppy IPAs. Cheers to all that we love in these dark times!

Trellis Falls IPA

Trellis Falls Hazy IPA – by Modern Times Brewery, San Diego


I Am Officially Defeated: By People.

This damn trumped-up and overhyped pandemic has taken a toll on each of us.

Individual characters, individual stories, individual circumstances. Crisis or not, that’s life.

Not gonna play catch up since this all came down. Not gonna retrace my steps or bullet-point the volume of Pandemic / Lockdown material.

Instead, I will share what has singularly impacted me and stayed with me the most in this past month.  A picture speaks a thousand words.




Have not seen one roll of toilet paper for a month.

Some 12 markets in total. Different neighborhoods and times of day.

Not. One. Goddamn. Fucking. Roll. Ever. Anywhere.

That factoid’s not what slices my heart.

It’s what’s behind it, aka the rest of the story. Or True Story, in this instance.

It’s people.

It is people hoarding.

No. Dig Deeper.

It is Greed. It is Unabashed and Unmitigated Selfishness.


It’s communist Mother Russia on the shelves. Yet there is no reason or CAUSE for it.

As I’ve blogged before, all supplies for manufacturing and delivering toilet paper ARE STILL PRESENT. Ain’t like the forests all fucking burned down. Ain’t like delivery trucks are garaged.

There is but ONE AND ONLY ONE reason why shelves are stripped bare.

Goddamn fucking Greed. One of the 7 Deadly Sins, speaking of Easter.

That’s the True Story in that photo of decimated shelves. Soo so so so so many times I’ve gone into markets — sometimes 4 in a day — looking for toilet paper.

Not even for me. For others. To donate. Especially to elderly and disabled who are the first to be ripped to shreds by the Shark Tank that is People.

That’s the Belly Punch. Trying to help others from pure compassion. And I can’t.

I’ve felt deep despair going into markets to gather supplies for others.

And I’ve been defeated. For a month.

One question philosophically comes to mind, one that I dare not venture to address in a blog:


The Vicious the Selfish the Greedy the Self-Serving Win Every Time. Perhaps they don’t win the battle but they WILL and DO win the war.

Time and time and day and day again those same stripped shelves greet me.  I think of elderly who can’t get their wrinkly hard-working hands on ONE roll of toilet paper.

And I understand how vigilantes are born.

We are a people in peril.

God, that motherfucker, can’t help, rather won’t.

Jesus, eh, believe as you wish.

Nothing and No Body alters the truth:

People are horrible. Not all of them. However, even a handful or two can destroy a nation and its people.

I despair not because of the absence of toilet paper (that I seek to buy for others) but because People Are Shit: In their Greed Selfishness and Utter Disregard for Others.

THAT is why I despair at Mother Russia-like Shelves Stripped Bare.

I’m supremely empathetic. I feel it all, human suffering always have.

And this raw uninterrupted exposure to human Greed  … Selfishness … WHEN THERE IS NO CAUSE OR REASON! … WE’RE NOT MOTHER RUSSIA STRIPPED OF TREES! ….

This is my most poignant and pointed experience in this pandemic.

Greed. Selfishness

I despair at fellow man.


NONE of this did I create. NONE of this can I fix.

When evil triumphs — and it does — what then is the point of existing? Or applying all our will to survive against those Dark Forces?

Greed. Selfishness.

Happy Easter. Yeah, right. Because people are so damn good?!?!

I’m defeated by people.

I am defeated.