From “duh” to “dang, now I know!”

Dear Weather Services: Tell us sumthin’ we don’t know.

And they do.

Excessive Heat Warnings.

Here in Phoenix, Arizona, They amuse. Make me giggle.

“Yeah, dudes. Duh. We know it’s hot! We live in a desert! Triple-digit temps for 5, 6 months in a year.”

Excessive Heat Warnings are like pop-up ads. The content — temperature — may vary but they remain persistent from April to October.

So I barely blinked today when another — yawn –Excessive Heat Warning popped up — for tomorrow, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., temp up to 114 (45.5).

Today’s 110 F. (43.3 C.) . Last weekend was 116 F (46.6 C).

Hardly earth-shattering, 114 (45.5) mañana.

So I did some digging for the “science” behind Excessive Heat Warnings.

The national and local weather services have defined standards and criteria for advisories, watches, warnings and so on. They are location specific.

While it seems otherwise in Phoenix, warnings not randomly tossed out for our anxiety, amusement or terror.

An Excessive Heat Warning locally is “a period of very hot temperatures, even by local standards.” (ha, love it!) “Actions should be taken to lessen the impact of the extreme heat.”

Excessive Heat Warnings are issued per two criterion:

  • When heat is notably higher than the norm for that time of year;
  • When the temp, though not above a norm, persists for consecutive days that exceed the norm.

So degree and/or duration dictate Excessive Heat Warnings.

Thus is explained tomorrow’s warning.

Based on a handy-dandy daily temp graph online:

On July 19, the temp typically ranges — quote — from 104 (40 C.)  (HA!) and is rarely above 111 (43.8) — unquote. (Double-dip HA!)

So yeah, 114 (45.5), official criterion met.

Heat warnings are a dime a dozen and easily spotted as top headlines or alerts boxed in blazing red.

They don’t alter my actions a whit. It’s damn dry and hot. I know this — painfully all too well, es no bueno for a water baby.

Whether it’s a frostbiting 100 (37.7) or inferno 122 (50 C.), I ain’t gonna slip on Adidas shorts and New Balances and go jog!

Hell, even evening strolls delayed ’til latest possible hour demand grit and determined commitment to exercise! A 107 (41.6 C) at 7 p.m. (discounting island heat) ain’t exactly cool.

What is cool is knowing the science behind Excessive Heat Warnings.

I went from giggling “duh” to “dang, now I know — and am glad for it!”

Does knowledge make ’em any easier to swallow?


Fewer “duhs” and giggles perhaps, yeah …


Gasp sputter groan goes my summer pal

I live in a tiny studio in metro Phoenix, Arizona.

In that little studio, you’d think I’m housing an airport runway.

Fair mistake. It’s only my air conditioner. Sounding like a jet engine.

A year ago, it didn’t.

It’s lodged above the bathroom ceiling, thus I’ve never seen the monster. However, the overly simplistic control panel suggests a dated and/or inexpensive model.

It’s never been whisper-quiet but neither obnoxiously loud.

Until recently  … at a time when air conditioners are run 24/7 in gawd-awful unrelenting Phoenix heat that arrives in April and peaks in August.

It’s gone from a moderate rumble to a loud grumbling and rattling to a low roar of an airplane taxi-ing down a runway.

Sounds like a train gasping chug-chug-chugging while strug-strug-struggling up a soft incline.

And the smell. Yuck. Like hot metal, an overheated engine without lubrication.

And it’s not cooling as it used to.

The air conditioner is everyone’s best friend in southern Arizona during long brutally hot summers. A dying or dead cooler is torture, in some cases fatal, this time of year.

Arid desert, blazing sun, bone dry, daily temps from 110 to 116 or more (43.3 to 46.6+) … dipping to a cool 92-ish (33 C) at midnight.

So I informed the leasing office that the air conditioner is on its last leg; a work order was created.

That was two weeks ago.

I’ve waited really really patiently for maintenance to knock on the door.

Meanwhile, the machine has only worsened. Its roaring, vibrations, decreased cooling, faulty auto-control … at any moment it may give up the ghost.

After waiting weeks and patience worn thin,  I followed up at the office today. I was greeted by an unknown gal who was filling in for a sick employee.

“Air conditioners that aren’t running get emergency priority,” she said in a way to suggest there’s more than a few of those around on this large property.

“I was trying to head off that breakdown by reporting the problem,” I quipped to that effect, “but it may have to become any emergency for maintenance to appear.”

We’ll see.

While waiting, stressed by this stupid covid scamdemic, excessive constant heat, oppressive isolation, my spirits really need uplifting.

Head to Netflix for that beloved longtime fav, classic parody, terrific comedy and casting, guaranteed laughs and coincidentally congruent with my current cooler situation: “Airplane.”



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

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)

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.