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.
















Shake It Up, Yeah Yeah

Okay, no real relation to The Cars lyrics here.

But things are shakin’ in the East Valley of Phoenix.

Shake Shack is opening in Gilbert next week.

This contains no relevance in my life whatsoever.

I’ve never been to a Shake Shack (despite being a hamburger lover), though I’ve long been aware of its existence. One day perhaps.

This impending arrival brings to 5 the number of Shake Shacks in Arizona. So it’s big news here.

It’ll do wildly well in this new location in a humongous outdoor mall in Gilbert, which is the fastest-growing suburb of Phoenix. It is exploding.

It’s not that Shake Shack’s coming to my general area that makes it blog-worthy, rather what’s coming with it.

C-R-O-W-D-S. Massive humongous ginormous crowds. Blood-curdling crowds!

I’ve observed it time after time when popular food chains set up — Chick-fil-A … Jollibee … White Castle, to name just a few.

White Castle just debuted in Arizona — Scottsdale (aka Snotsdale) specifically.

People began lining up 4 days in advance! They camped on the sidewalk — you can do that in sunny Phoenix winters where it’s like 70 degrees in the day, 46 at night (21/8 C).

People arrive by the hundreds even thousands.

The really hard-core fans travel around the country just to attend opening days.

Who but the Rolling Stones or the Lord could generate such groupies?!

Here’s a pic of the White Castle opening.

Note: This is merely a fraction of the crowd. Only an aerial shot could capture the whole of it!

White Castle_Crowds in Line_1572009211

White Castle opens in Scottsdale, Arizona


The people may change but the numbers won’t when Shake Shack opens its doors in Gilbert next week.

MASSIVE crowds not only on opening day but well into the first months of operation are a given.

This phenomenon: I do not understand.

I’ve tried and tried and tried again to wrap my mind around it.

I cannot.

My deep aversion to crowds prevails. Ditto my common sense and reasoning.

I mean, if, say, a new iPhone were being sold on the cheap, I could understand, kinda sorta.

It wouldn’t compel me into those crowds — nuthin’ would — BUT for a $100 ($130 CAD) phone, a crazed turnout would make some sense.

But Shake Shack … White Castle … even that Popeye’s chicken sandwich that generated such mayhem, insanity, violence, assaults, threats with weapons … it’s FOOD, people.


It doesn’t contain nuggets of gold. There ain’t $100 bills in place of lettuce or a key to a Corvette tucked in a patty for some lucky customer.


Precedent predicts that SanTan Village in Gilbert will NOT BE THE PLACE TO BE next Wednesday!

Oh, I nearly forgot. The first 100 customers in line when the doors open at 11 a.m. will take home a free Shake Shack State Forty Eight T-shirt.

I’ve no idea what that shirt even means.

Dollars to donuts a thousand people at least will be able to enlighten me however!

So things are shakin’ in the East Valley of Phoenix.

I’ll be reserving my shakin’ for martinis in the quietude of my home, thankyouverymuch.



Dear Phoenix: Not all grass comes in baggies

Smells speak stories.

Stand in the middle of my small studio, shut your eyes, better yet blindfold them, open wide your olfactory sense. What story are the smells speaking?

You’ll likely notice in order:

Pollution. Very dirty air. Among the worst in America, in fact.


I live in the thick of metro Phoenix (Arizona). A massive sprawl of 5+ million residents officially; many many many more if one could count the uncountable illegals.

Amping up the prevailing odor of dirtied air is location. I live a stone’s throw from an interstate — one of Phoenix’s busiest — as well as alongside two major surface streets.

So you see, location plunges me into a Sea of Stink.

Carry on with your blindfolded smells tests.



Some 200+ apartments comprise this huge complex. Smoking’s not allowed in apartments. So smokers puff away on their patios, in entrances and stairwells and scattered outdoor spaces.

If you crave an occasional fag but want to avoid insane prices for a pack, step outside. Soon enough you’ll inhale all the secondhand smoke you desire.


Big check.

Not gonna sugarcoat it. This neighborhood and complex are a bit ghetto. Not that I fear a bullet in my back exactly.

But there’s a definite edginess. Sketchy characters. Police cars in the parking lots aren’t uncommon. Once I gently approached to thank them for their service. Surely this location helps fund their paychecks.

Dope smells are routine, especially at night, after management’s left. Arizona’s not yet a legalized-dope state but is well on its way due to the MASSIVE unrelenting influx of Californians. (Bye-bye Arizona, so sad.)

So if you wanna toke for free, step outside or open your patio door and inhale. See, young people comprise the majority of residents. There’s a smattering of us senior citizens who to passing observation seem harmless enough. No knowing what pasts they embody.

So yeah, drugs get dealt, drugs get toked in this hood. Just keep it away from me and my spaces and we’re good.

Then …. then …

I was stopped in my tracks by a new story … brought on the wind when I opened the patio door this morning.

A fragrance assaulted my nostrils — one, sadly, rendered unfamiliar, foreign even, in this ocean of concrete and cars.

The smell of freshly-cut grass.


A classic. Evocative. Earthy. Soothing.

Gotta be in the Top 5 of beloved scents. Who doesn’t recognize it? Isn’t moved by it? Who doesn’t have a story, a childhood memory, experience, fondness for that whiff of green blades?

And, personally, a longing for the smell.

It reminded me of life beyond these thick walls of concrete and gridlock that’s swallowed vast flat stretches of desert. And that monster of “growth and development” ain’t sated. Not even close.

So from my 3rd-floor perch, I inhaled appreciatively and scanned the scene for the source of this divine long-forgotten smell.

I could HEAR the roar of a lawnmower sure enough.

Pause to give due credit to management for maintaining the grounds, especially around the leasing office. The Mexican workers do a nice job, especially in that brutal long summer heat. Kudos.

Eventually my eyes spotted the mower — just as he popped out from behind a tree. He gave a final push to the machine across that patch of grass, then pulled the plug.

All too quickly he left, taking with him that glorious scent.

Gone too soon, dissipated into the air, replaced by the toxic stench of vehicular exhaust.

With the green grass smell gone and no cause to remain outdoors absorbing thunderous traffic and poisoned air, I reluctantly retreated into my studio. Pulled tight the patio door to dampen, marginally, the traffic’s roar — another story of another sense, the auditory.

I was thus again right back in big ugly noisy concretized Phoenix.

Yet there was that marvelous moment of mowed grass. Yes there was.

Indeed it evaporated much too quickly.

Yet traces remain: not in fragrance but as a reminder of life-changing decisions awaiting in 2020. Determining my next location in assuredly a cross-country move. Ugh.

Far far far from Phoenix. (ed. note: armpit of the Southwest)

Someplace where the grass is greener.

And plentiful.


Manna blesses Phoenix for a moment

Was it manna from heaven? Or a dream?

Some of each.

Manna in Phoenix (Arizona) means one thing:

Rain. Precisely, monsoons. Which normally in a 3-month season (June-Sept.) provide half our annual water supply.

Normally. This year’s monsoons — bupkus. “Nonsoons” they’re being called.

Were it not for 5 million people and sprawling behemoth of concrete, freeways and vehicles, Phoenix would eerily resemble the Dust Bowl of “Grapes of Wrath.”

Then is delivered unto us a miracle.

For the record: August 28, 2019.

Rain. Wednesday evening.

So when I saw that it was RAINING — ACTUAL WETNESS!! — I exited the pub early …

… to stand, simply stand on the dimly-lit street corner, under the manna.

Phoenix rain

Manna in Phoenix for an hour in summer 2019. Spelled R-A-I-N.

It. Was. Glorious. Elevating. Refreshing.

To experience wetness … on my skin, my clothes, on my face, head, my glasses, my feet in typical flip-flips … I rejoiced.

‘Twas joyful and bittersweet.

When was the last time I saw rain? January?

Way too long anyways. It’s on record. Phoenix summer 2019 has been brutal — concurrently in Excessive Heat and Absence of Monsoons.

Everyone and everything’s feeling the pain. Some more acutely than others. I’m a water baby. Pisces. I took to pools, swimming early in life, like age 3! Water to me means Life.

Saying I’m a fish outta water in southern Arizona is a tiresome cliche — yet true.

So I stood soaking up the drops — a “regular” rain — not the torrential downpour other neighborhoods got — breathing … remembering this unfamiliar element called moisture.

I stood appreciating … reawakened to and longing for water in ways never before across MULTITUDES of residences domestically and overseas.

Then I drove home. I hoped for continued wetness. Like a child at Christmas, I didn’t want it to end. Unfortunately in my hood, it was bone dry. Sprinkled for some seconds. That’s the way of monsoons. Torrential rain here. Across the street, zip, zero, nada.

As if to prove that God is indeed cruel, this is Labor Day weekend. (Aug. 30-Sept. 1). The year’s last big blowout “while the weather’s still good” — ha! — where outdoor activities, BBQs, family vacations, camping, traffic prevail.

Weekend temps are forecast at 111 F (43.8 C). Unusually hot. Yet another Excessive Heat Warning, yawn.

And to really stick it to us, no rain in sight. One month left in the monsoon season. If the “nonsoons” remain, we’re all soooooo fucking screwed!

Thing is, going into 4 months of unrelenting HEAT and DRYNESS without replenishment from precipitation only heightened the hallelujah!!! that resoundingly rang across the Valley of the Sun on Wednesday.

‘Twas over before it began.

Roads dried up. Plants opened their arms then shriveled.

And we the people resumed being baked and grilled under a blazing sun.

Painfully apropos given a holiday weekend that’s all about parties and BBQs.


All living creatures in Phoenix over Labor Day weekend 2019

Move over, Pillsbury Bake-Off, Phoenix is here!

Water water everywhere … but Phoenix.

It’s the last week of August. Approaching autumn, haha, right!

And yet again Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect for today and tomorrow for us baking here in southern (and central) Arizona.

Predicted highs of 114 F. (45 C). Near record-breakers.

This current excessive heat spell is the fourth of the month. Our hottest day this month (Aug 5) was 115 (46.1C).

For comparison, the average high in August is 102 F. (38.8 C).

Equally newsworthy but more frightening is the absence of monsoons. This desert state depends on a few months of massive rainfall for its annual precipitation.

Grab the galoshes! …

… for  a whopping 0.11 inch (0.27 cm) of rain has fallen in August.

Average monthly precipitation is 0.94 inch (2.38 cm).

Our hot season — when daytime temps strike triple digits (100 F  … 37.7 C) and there remain — runs from around June to October.

That’s of 4-5 months of an unrelenting dry summertime Bake-Off. Not even Pillsbury could pull this off!

It is taxing.

It is trying.

It is time for frying eggs!


Not your brain on drugs but your stovetop in Phoenix, Arizona

That’s a stock photo. Sidewalk egg-frying competitions, official and unofficial, do occur.

I myself have never given it a go.

I’m partly curious and partly recoiling. I mean, if I can actually cook an egg on a sidewalk, then I’m in the fucking wrong place!! And I need to haul my a** outta here and get back to water, baby.

Water baby. Pisces. That’s me. Water is my element, the ocean my joy, my place, my natural home.


This is my first full summer in Phoenix. It’s pure bad luck that it’s been one of the driest and hottest on record.

Because it’s my first, I’ve paid attention to my experience and responses — physically, emotionally, mentally.

I’ve sought to use these taxing hot dry months that go on and on and on as an educational experience to help chart my course in current Bigger Life Choices and Demands — primarily where to live and settle down and Move No More!

I’m 62. I’ve moved like 60 times. Most on my own — independent, without movers or much if any help.

It is enough. I’ve got maaaaaaaybe one more move left in me. Which is why it’s SO incumbent upon me to make a positive and lasting choice of location.

Like 114 F. (45.5 C) … on August 28 … Phoenix, Arizona. Not leading that list.

There is this silver lining however.


Steinbeck’s spirit slogs along in the Southwest

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. NOT!

More like the Dust Bowl from “The Grapes of Wrath.”

(A classic novel for illiterate millennials whose notion of literacy is largely-illiterate social media posts.)

The heat and dryness go on and on and on …

Was 114 F (45.5 C) the past coupla days here in Phoenix / southern Arizona.

We’re in a “cooldown” at a mere 106 (41.1 C)!

Won’t last. In a few days it’s back up to 110 F (43.3 C) … at the end of August, when, in other regions, autumn’s already peaking through the seasonal veil.

More disconcerting than the severe heat is the absence of monsoons.

Bear in mind that Phoenix is bone dry 9-10 months of the year, thus is entirely dependent on a few months of monsoons for its annual water supply.  This includes the ecosystem (such as replenishing cacti root systems).

So it’s not we the people who most suffer from the absence of monsoons but Mother Earth and her living creatures. My heart’s aching for them.

Nonsoons” they’re being called here in the Valley of the Sun (aka Phoenix / southern Arizona).

How bad is it? Take a gander.


Translation: 0.27 INCH = 0.68 cm …. normal of 1.55 inches = 3.9 cm … deficit of 1.28 inches = 3.2 cm.

The monsoon season runs from June through September — with July-August often being the wettest.

Note that these figures are the TOTAL “precipitation” we’ve had since June.


Abnormally hot.

The Dust Bowl of 2019 is upon us.

As exhausting as the extreme heat is, month after month after month after month, it’s the lack of moisture that’s the killer.

Particularly for this water baby.

The undisclosed irony is: Phoenix remains one of the FASTEST-GROWING cities in the country! And the COUNTY where I live … the fastest-growing!

Water water everywhere … or nowhere.

Welcome to Phoenix, Arizona 2019. Darn Dust Bowl.

Any day now I expect to look out my car window and spot John Steinbeck slogging along the side of the dry dusty road.

“But it’s a dry heat” – and fatiguing as f*ck

Winter fatigue gets all the attention and airtime.

Summer fatigue — heat fatigue — just as real.

This is my first full summer as a resident of Phoenix, AZ — aka the Valley of the Sun. (Makes the hideously crowded Los Angeles-of-the-Southwest sound sooo much nicer!)  

Heat here starts early and runs long … from June to October. Four months of Triple Digit days that begin at a “cool” 100 F (37.7 C) — official entry into the triple digits always garners headlines and elicits dread for what’s ahead — then escalate into 115-120 F (46.1-48.8). Not uncommon for it to be 100 F (37.7 C) at midnight.

“But it’s a dry heat.”

The running line here. The lack of humidity has its challenges. Still, Phoenix is an oven. Creatures bake. You bake. And yup, egg-frying contests on sidewalks ain’t a rumor.


Summer relief comes intermittently with the monsoons. Most people think Arizona’s just hot dry desert. SOOOOOOOO not the case!

Not only does the state have VERY varied climates — from Snow Country to the north to Brutal Desert to the south — but it receives very powerful and dramatic monsoons between, officially, June-September — though in practice more like July and August.

Except this year. “Nonsoons” they’re being called. Virtually no monsoon activity.  We are in a heap of trouble.

My first summer in Phoenix has been tough. Educational. Memorable — as most firsts are. I want to capture the highlights while they’re blazing in my face.

I’m Tired of Blazing Blue Skies

Sure, clear bright blue sunny skies are great — ESPECIALLY if you’ve lived under miserable constant gray damp cold sunless skies of the Pacific Northwest. Every day I see the sun — even in excess — I’m reminded of where I’ve been and am in gratitude to no longer be there.

Still. Imagine a humongous blue canvas hanging in your home for months on end. Sure, it’s a pretty blue but after a while it feels flat, redundant. My eyes, my mind hunger for visual stimulation, for something OTHER than Blue Sunny Sameness.

True, this Sameness is exacerbated by the absence of monsoons, their incredible cloud formations, torrential downpours, lightning, haboobs (dust storms). What clouds we have seen pass too quickly. It’s Back to Blue. The upbeat version of “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse but still depressing in its way.

Heat is Exhausting

I’m of European Nordic heritage. I’m not built for this. I’m wired for cold — DRY, please! I’m not in my element. It’s simple Biological Dissonance.

I‘m Tired of Living in Containers

Take my home for starters. A tiny studio with two windows. One faces east — thus is bathed by (hot) morning light — and the other west — thus is subject to summer blaze.

Thermal blackouts are imperative to keep out the natural elements: the heat and sun … and keep in the cool of air-conditioning.

I can’t remember the last time I got to open my curtains and windows! Oh wait! Like June!

I am ALL ABOUT natural light and fresh air. I REALLY need both more than most people. I’ve ticked off more than one past roommate by opening a window in cool weather!

Having to keep my studio sealed up is tantamount to a prison cell. My brain cells rebel. My mood shifts to DEPRESSIVE. To combat that, I often crack a curtain to allow in some natural rays — at the expense of losing cooled air and related cost.

I’m Tired of Life in An Airplane Cabin

EVERYWHERE you go in Phoenix is air-conditioned (sometimes to the Arctic Zone, which presents its own issues).

You’re breathing recycled manufactured air everywhere for months on end as you bounce from one air-conditioned space to the next. From your home to your car. Your car to your workplace to store to cafe to fill-in-the-blank.

Sharply contrasting life in the airplane cabins is the Space Between — the Phoenix Furnace. You do not linger there. In fact, you’d RUN through it to the closest air-conditioned space if only you could! Truth is, the HOT forces you to move slowly if you can move at all. The heat does not fuel your zip. It zaps it.

Some people fare better than others but every body is affected. Articles on surviving the heat abound. Excessive Heat Warnings are a norm. People die from it. Phoenix heat is as deadly as winter freezes …. just not talked about or appreciated outside the region.

Point is: Air-conditioning is ubiquitous because it has to be. It enables us creatures to survive. Nonetheless, it’s artificial recycled air — an airplane cabin — for months. My body, my lungs yearn for natural air. But I sure as hell ain’t gonna go hang around outside in 115 (46.1 C) for it! It’s an effort just getting from my studio to my car!

Excessive Heat Zaps My Will

This is somewhat surprising. I live in far too much solitude in a tiny studio.  Whether it’s to the gym or nearby favorite craft brewery,  I need to get out, meet people, TALK with humans, engage beyond the confinements of four walls exacerbated by the dampening effects of thermal curtains, closed windows, the constant running of a fan and air con.

It’s all I can do to move.

Even as I know my well-being and health require getting out, CONSIDERABLE effort is required to lift myself up, face the blast of the furnace, drive with air-con blasting and deliver myself into another air-conditioned spot

The mystery is that even when I’m indoors, not directly in the heat, I still feel the heat. It zaps my will. Sucks the life outta me. Frighteningly, it prods me toward an eternal siesta from which I’d never awaken.

Climate Control is Costly

Air-conditioning strains the budget. I keep my space at 78-79 F (25.5-26.1 C) — which many folks consider rather warm. I’m tough — definitely not a Whining Snowflake Millennial!! — and will endure discomfort to cut costs. That said, I’m ready for my electric bill to return to a reasonable level. Really ready.

In sum …

The extended Phoenix summer is at the halfway point. Come mid-October generally, this excessive oppressive heat lifts and the best, most temperate time — envied by America’s wintery regions! — begins.

Nuthin’s free in life. We PAY for pleasant winters with brutal summers.

 It’s official. I’ve got Heat Fatigue. 

The will to endure has been replaced by the need for it to be over. Think of it like the holidays. You feast on carbs, meals, sweets, drinks. Come January, you’re beyond ready for regular food in moderate amounts!

Heat Fatigue deserves equal attention and airtime given to Winter Fatigue.

Perhaps it doesn’t get its fair share ’cause everyone’s too zapped to speak and write! (haha)




Big splash restoreth my Zen-ny world

It’s baaaaack!

It’d gone down the drain. For a couple weeks it sat barren and silent. I wasn’t sure it’d return.

But maintenance brought it back! Just this morning.

And just yesterday I’d broached the matter while paying rent at the management office!

I’d sincerely missed it. The relaxing sound 24/7. Indeed a refreshing sound — and sight. ‘Twas what sold me on my little rental studio in fact.

I balked when at initial viewing management considered moving me down a couple apartments since a dishwasher was missing from my (future) unit.

“Don’t care about the dishwasher,” I’d said. “I’m a waterbaby.”

What won me over:


The long shot:


The water fountain … 3 floors below from my front door.

The motor died a slow and noisy death over a couple weeks. Every day the water shot up a little lower than before. Every day the motor groaned and spewed a bit louder than before.

Finally the thing died — or was switched off.

No more water flow.

No more soothing music to my ears.

No more water period. It evaporated damn fast in this dry Phoenix heat.

When I asked a maintenance man who happened to come yesterday to patch a ceiling leak whether the fountain was gonna be fixed, he said yes. “They’re letting it completely dry out so they can wash the green algae off the stones.”

“What?!” {eye roll.}  “Some algae’s normal. That’s not the problem, it’s the motor.”

Whatever. Only reporting.

But as I mentioned, I did inquire while paying rent yesterday. She wasn’t too impressed by the algae claim but did affirm it’s gonna get fixed (eventually).

Soon as I opened my curtains this morning, I heard that sweet sweet sound. Truly music to my Piscean water-baby ears!

The fountain’s back! (Granted, the stoney bed’s not nearly as full as it was and needs replenishment. Time’ll tell whether that’ll happen.)

Nobody loves or needs the sound of moving water than I!

This is doubly so in these dry desert conditions. The song of tumbling spraying water just outside my studio helps keep me sane in a climate where I don’t belong.

“Fish outta water …” never truer!

Water is my Zen and Zen is water.

The fountain makes me certain that this particular studio space was meant for me. Makes me feel that someone(s) up there was watching over and protecting me during an arduous search for my own space in February.

So all’s well in my lil’ world today.

Well, not really. Things just feel better with water in motion.

A big wave of gratitude to whomever(s) got it going. Thank you!

What’s to celebrate? Uh, wilting for starters.

Had to happen.

Always does. Not as predictably as Christmas on Dec. 25. Still, from media to bar folks, it’s had everyone talkin’.

Today it happened.

Phoenix officially hit the triple digits — 100 degrees (37.77 C) — for the first time this year.  At 2:10 p.m. and a week earlier than last year.

Records are kept on Phoenix weather, you betcha! From summer monsoons to heatstroke to air-quality warnings, seldom’s a dull moment in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun.

Speaking of air quality, Phoenix just made a nationwide list again. Ranks No. 7 as the most ozone-polluted metro area. Up from 8 last year.


No bragging rights there.

And rather contrary to a widespread perception that this desert Phoenix air’s great for health and respiratory issues. Retirees relocate here from all over the country for health. Car emissions are chiefly to blame for the shitty smog in this city of 5+ million, where drivers crowd narrow roads and sit daily in standstills.


Not that anybody’s dissuaded by this and other local unpleasantries. Phoenix’s largest county (Maricopa) also made the list of the fastest-growing county in the country for like the 4th year in a row.

Ugh ugh and ugh.

My relief lies in having no plan to stay. Even 6 months ago when I officially became a resident, I knew my stay would be short-lived … 1-1/2 years perhaps, time necessary to figure out the next move.

Anyhow, the Triple Digits arrived early. In no time, today’s high of 100 (37.77 C)  will be the low at midnight.


It was 95 degrees (35 C) in my studio apartment today.  I’m not happy. Neither are the blooms I bought just a few days ago.

They seem appropriate to mark the day’s occasion.


April 26, 2019. Happy Heating, Phoenix, Arizona




Books, brats & a birthday bash!

Happy birthday to you … happy birthday to you

Happy birthday dear library … hap …

Hold up, pause audio!  Library?! Darn tootin’!

Imagine you’re in a large room  — with some 100 people of all ages, from baby to senior, singing the birthday song … to the very place where all are gathered!

Yesterday was the 10th birthday of Queen Creek library.

Queen Creek’s a rural area in the far eastern corner of metro Phoenix, a restful area far from city suffocating sprawl, a place where farmland and irrigated ditches and, sadly, explosive growth prevail.

A place where presumably the library’s arrival to then-little Queen Creek was a very big deal 10 years ago.

As a newbie to the Valley — as greater Phoenix and its outlying areas are known — I’d never been to Queen Creek’s library. (In fact, had not been to Queen Creek apart from driving.) That certainly wouldn’t preclude me from participating in its celebration.

A cause that I very nearly gave up on, truth be known. The traffic – OH MY GAWD! Country roads swollen with evening commuters who’ve discovered they joys of living rural.

Or have they?

As I inched along mired in rudeness — Phoenix drivers are famous for not letting you in for mergings and lane changes — I was aware that every minute stuck in their mud was a moment lost in the magic show underway. I very nearly threw down the cards and baled to the next possible right turn — destination: DOESN’T MATTER — to escape.

Then I was brought back to my better/higher senses by my lifelong love of books and libraries. That singularly fueled my patience and perseverance — through driver muck, wrong turns and winding reroutings that eventually did get me to my destination, thank you Garmin GPS!

The magic show — I was soo excited! — was half over.

But better half than none at all, right?!

What a blast! The magician, Craig Davis, was excellent, spot-on with his sleights of hands plus his fun personality and presentation kept the brat monsters — I mean kids, in abundance — engaged.

No easy trick.

And me too! I so enjoyed his illusions even more than the kids did! Loove magic! Always have. As a girl, I even had a magic kit that I still often think about.

Life eventually beat the magic (and magician) outta me but in its presence, that spark flickers.

And that IS magic!

After the act, a cheerful library staffer led us in an uplifting rendition of Happy Birthday … to the library.

Then came cake — for what’s a birthday sans sugar sugar and sugar still!!

A massive sheet cake decorated with that thick sickeningly sweet white frosting and blue trim and “Happy 10th Birthday to the library” in cursive blue with a photo of the library to boot!

Plus there were cupcakes, vanilla and chocolate, with colorful sprinkles.

When I left , there was but one slice of cake on its paper plate remaining and a dozen or so cupcakes. I considered taking that last slice, it looked so lonely on that big long table.

(But my mother pounded in me to never take the last of anything (or anything at all) so I snagged a vanilla cupcake instead just to ensure my sugar soared into a stratosphere.)

“Wow, the crowd really went through that giant cake!” I commented to a staffer.

“Yeah and that’s the second one today!”

So Queen Creek surely got sugared up.

So, the celebration, was it worth the horrendous slog? Yes.

The kiddie brats? Briefly.

The sugar high? Nah but exceptions are called for upon certain occasions.

The magic show? Indeed!

To sing (really badly) in group song to a library? Yup, even that.

Every queen’s got to have a crown. Queen Creek is no different. This one’s for you, library. You wore it well and deservingly. You’re Queen for a Day — and in my book, every day.


Long Live Libraries!