The 2017 Great Heat Wave Saga

With all the rain and tropical systems and storms you may not realize it but we are having weather in the southwest too.

It is no secret that I am not a fan of living in the southwest but I have been trying  to make the best of things.  This week I was a bit dubious of the crazy hot temperatures forecasted but it turns out crazy hot was the correct forecast.  And then I had one of my mini-epiphanies: this is extreme weather.  This is my blizzard or hurricane!

So I acted accordingly.  I made sure we were well supplied with toilet paper and popsicles. I made a rough plan for my son and I.  We would each have the morning to do our own things.  Computer time for him, laundry, housework and blogging for me.  After lunch we would do some sort of cleaning project, work on a puzzle, play games, watch movies. We would hunker down and wait out the storm, er hot air.

Day 1

Whadda you know, the forecasters were right!  We topped out at 114° between 3:30 and 5:00pm

On Monday I swam from 8:00am to 8:45am taking advantage of the still shaded pool.  I had all the laundry on the line by 9:00am and in the house by 11:15am.  At 11:15 it was already over 100°!  It was time to hunker down.

After lunch my son and I completed our project for the day, sorting out his bookshelf.  We came up with 3 bags to take to Bookman’s next week  after this spell of ferocious weather passes.  Then we worked on this puzzle:

 

Yup, a puzzle of nothing but ice cream!

 

Perfect for the whole family with three different size pieces.

Followed by watching what has to be one of the worst sea creature movies ever, “The Creature From the Haunted Sea“.  The creature had ping pong balls for eyes and regular swim flippers for feet. The plot line suited such a bad creature.  The movies most redeeming feature was the fact that it was just over an hour long. Whew.  Maybe it would have helped if I knew it was supposed to be both a comedy and a thriller? (Probably not.)

 

Then we put together dinner.  I decided that in the event of extreme weather (as long as one has power) comfort food is called for.  We went with meatloaf, mashed potatoes and broccoli.

And then the pool beckoned for my son and his neighbor friends. And after the neighbor kids left I got in the pool and paddled around watching the day end.

Day 2: The Summer Solstice

Pretty much a repeat of Day 1 but with clouds.  Odd clouds.  It never felt like rain and it is unusual to have clouds in the morning.  During the summer you may see a few puffy white clouds floating around in the morning but monsoon rain clouds don’t roll in until late afternoon or evening.

But today we had flat whitish gray clouds pretty much covering the whole sky most of the day. But it didn’t affect the heat, still 102° at 11:00am when I brought in the laundry.  We topped out again at 114°,  but by 4:00pm it felt like storms might be edging in.  The air went from dead calm to breezy and the temperature plummeted to 110°!

I am probably one of few people in North America who is celebrating that the days will now be getting shorter.  Less sunshine, yeah! To celebrate I decided ice cream sundaes for dinner and to make them extra special I baked a pan of brownies. For dessert we had leftover pizza.

Then we waited for the winds to die down a bit, peering anxiously out the windows to evaluate the clouds and look for rain or lightening.  We didn’t see either so then we took our traditional Summer Solstice night swim. When we exited the pool at 8:45pm (full dark here, no gloaming time in the southwest) it was 100° and we could see stars.

Day 3: Officially Summer

9:00am:  pool temperature 92°, air temperature 98°

Found in the bottom of the pool:

That would be a chlorine bleached scorpion.  And the reason I always check to make sure any “leaves” on the bottom of the pool are leaves! I find two or three a summer.

Seen above the pool: seven F-16’s from the Air National Guard unit.  Obviously trying to get the day’s training sorties in early. (Sorry I didn’t get a picture but I was, you know, in the pool.)

Noon:  Air temperature, 109.5°.   Despite the morning and evening excursions outside to the pool I was starting to feel a bit cabin feverish.  And I really wanted a bagel. Did I dare make a run to the grocery store down the street?  I dared.

Hey, what were all these people doing out and about?  Didn’t they know they were supposed to be hunkered down?  I hoped they all weren’t craving bagels too!  Whew, scored one sesame seed and one blueberry bagel. Home safe again.

2:00pm:  Movie of the day:  “The Karate Kid”.  How awesome and totally 80’s! My son, “This is just like ‘Rocky’ “.  Good catch son!

5:00pm: Games played: Kerplunk and three months of Payday.

6:00pm:  For dinner I decided on brats and corn on the cob cooked on the grill. Air temperature had dropped to 104° with monsoon looking clouds and wind.  That is okay because my husband does all the grilling.  I stayed inside and set the table.

Practice monsoon clouds, no thunder, no lightening and no rain fell.

 

Day Four:  The Last Day

Sure there are three more days of pretty darn hot still ahead but who am I kidding?  That is how the whole summer is. But this is the last day of our heat wave saga.

8:00am:  air temperature 91°, water temperature 92°.  I drag myself into the pool and do a few low energy laps.  I need a break.

Pool’s eye view.

I float,

listening to the cicadas play their ode to heat

birds exchanging morning gossip.

High above  F-16’s roar west

eager to escape the rising sun.

2:00pm:  Movie of the day:  “Young Frankenstein” .  I laughed a lot and small child frequently looked puzzled, especially at the end.  You’ll get it when you’re older kid.

4:30pm:  Looks like we are topping out at a windy (but no clouds) 108° today.  The Heat Wave is over!  To show solidarity with my southeast rain soaked brethren I have decided to make coconut shrimp (Trader Joe’s), oven fries and cole slaw for dinner.  We really need key lime pie for dessert.  Do I dare venture out?  Nah, I’ll enjoy my last hours of hunkering down!

There you have it, how I survived ‘The Great Heat Wave of 2017″!!!

Ah the pool, the wonderful pool!

 

 

Apparently I am a Turnip

As the phlebotomist stuck a needle in me for the third time I found myself wondering who said the famous adage: “You can’t get blood from a turnip”.  (I could not find a definitive answer but maybe it’s from the bible.) And the third time was not the charm for the blood draw and thus ended a very long doctor visit.

And how did the visit start? With me being asked to sign a form stating that since this was an “annual checkup  or wellness visit” the following may not be covered:  referrals, new prescriptions, changes to current prescriptions, blah blah blah.  Um, what exactly was covered then?  Does this mean you can only get an annual check up if you are healthy?  The receptionist was stumped when I asked the question.  Apparently everyone just signs the form and hands it back, I was the first to actually read it.  I pointed out the word may and let her off the hook.  I have to trust the billing department knows all the right codes to put in.

Happily I love my doctor.  She really listens and we went through my whole list of concerns.  We talked some about menopause.  What I thought were typical crazy menopausal periods may be something more.  We discussed the joint pain in my hands and while I was thinking carpal tunnel she is leaning towards rheumatoid arthritis. So on Friday I am getting my mammogram, x-rays of my hands and a pelvic ultrasound.  And I have to go back and try to get my blood drawn again to check for hormone levels that would indicate impending menopause.  This time making sure I am well hydrated.

But guess what?  I don’t need a colonoscopy!  I do need to uh, mail some poop off and while that seems rather ew it is way better than getting knocked out and having something inserted where the sun doesn’t shine.

Now the long wait until Friday and hopefully some answers….to be continued.

(Random Yosemite photo above, chosen for it’s soothing nature!)

 

Blaming it on “The Good Witch”

I was supposed to be attending a three hour photography course this morning but upon arrival found my other two classmates standing outside the door. After waiting 15 or 20 minutes we gave up on the instructor and went our separate ways. Apparently the class was cancelled due to problems with the a/c and the instructor drafted an e-mail but forgot to send it.  These kids and their technology issues. 🙂

Since I now had a few free hours and I was so close to the mall I decided to go shopping.  This is very rare for me.  Typically I dislike the mall and I am not really a fan of clothes shopping but I had a specific goal.  I have two ancient t-shirts, one orange and one red that really needed to be replaced.  Of course I have a ton of other shirts but I needed a solid red and a solid orange.

I have read a bit about capsule wardrobes and decision fatigue but honestly I am just not interested in wearing a “uniform”  (21 years in the military will cure you of that) or only having seven or thirty-three or whatever number pieces of clothing.  I seldom have a problem deciding what to wear and I wear everything in my closet at some point in a given 365 day period.

That being said now that I am in my fifties (gasp!) I think my casual bordering on slob look could use some updating.  I have many older items that I wear but that honestly I don’t love. I have done a pretty good job over the last couple of years of purging items that didn’t fit or were badly worn but there was still some purging room in the ‘but does it make me feel good’ area.

And here is where the “Good Witch” comes into it.  Catherine Bell plays Cassie Nightingale.  I have been watching season three currently on the Hallmark Channel and catching up on seasons one and two on Netflix.  Catherine Bell is only 2 years younger than me so she is the right age to look to for fashion ideas.  And I love how serene and unflappable “Cassie” always is.  And then I realized how much I like how Cassie dresses (aside from those high heels!).  She often wears casual shirts with jeans or skinny pants.  Shirts that look comfortable, not too tight and a step up from a plain t-shirt.  So I had my shopping inspiration!

I arrived home with four new summer tops, one winter shirt (from a clearance rack) and a lightweight cardigan.  Once home I went through my summer t-shirts and pulled nine that I didn’t love.  For now they are in a bag in my closet and if at the end of the summer I haven’t missed them, out the door they go!

I love the embroidery details and it is a different color for me.

 

My new red t-shirt with lace trim, a pale pink accented with silver (hard to see) and my new orange shirt.  Not quite the shade I wanted but I love the buttons and neckline.

 

A light to medium weight simple cardigan. This will probably work as a coat for three or four months out of the year here!

 

The lace detail on the back of a new shirt for winter.  Not too heavy and a lovely silvery gray.

 

And then there are the shoes.  I will always be a sneaker wearing kind of girl. For years I had a pair of pale yellow LL Bean canvas sneakers.  I loved those shoes and wore them out. I finally got rid of them last year and I have been pining for a pair of yellow sneakers ever since.  And this is what I bought today:

Woodstock Van’s

How cool are these!!!!

So what do you think?  Age appropriate?  Casual yet stylish? (I am talking about the clothes, no matter what you say about the shoes I looooove them!)

Old Glory

Here in the United States today is Flag Day. Thank you Betsy Ross!

Sadly a walk around the block revealed we are the only house flying our flag today:

I am going to go out on a limb and say we are also the only house where peanut butter cookies were baked and decorated with red, white and blue sprinkles. “The colors red, white, and blue did not have meanings for The Stars and Stripes when it was adopted in 1777.”  I read somewhere that Betsy Ross just used whatever scraps of fabric she had lying around.

And I may be the only person wearing a flag shirt at my doctor’s appointment this afternoon:

And for dinner we are having Patriot’s Day pancakes from Katherine Hall Page’s book “The Body in the Bog”.  All red, white and blue all day today, despite the fact that flag colors weren’t really planned out!

HAPPY FLAG DAY!

I Miss Weather

I have a solid four to six weeks of nothing but sun and heat ahead of me. I know there are people who would love that. Not me. I am a four seasons girl and I love all types of weather. It is hard to truly enjoy sunshine if you never get any rain.  This is what I have to look forward to:

DAY DESCRIPTION HIGH / LOW PRECIP WIND HUMIDITY
TODAY

JUN 13

Sunny 95°62°  0% NW 10 mph 5%
WED

JUN 14

Sunny 104°/67°  0% NNW 10 mph 4%
THU

JUN 15

Sunny 106/°68°  0% NW 11 mph 3%
FRI

JUN 16

Sunny 105°/70°  0% WNW 11 mph 4%
SAT

JUN 17

Sunny 106°/72°  0% WNW 10 mph 6%
SUN

JUN 18

Sunny 109°/75°  0% NW 10 mph 7%
MON

JUN 19

Sunny

115°/79°

 0% NNE 9 mph 5%
TUE

JUN 20

Sunny 114°/79°  0% NNW 12 mph 6%
WED

JUN 21

Sunny 112°/80°  0% NNW 13 mph 8%
THU

JUN 22

Sunny 111°/81°  0% NW 13 mph 11%
FRI

JUN 23

Sunny 109°/81°  0% NW 13 mph 10%
SAT

JUN 24

Sunny 107°/80°  0% N 12 mph 11%
SUN

JUN 25

Sunny 105°/80°  0% W 11 mph 14%
MON

JUN 26

Sunny 103°/79°  0% W 13 mph 16%
TUE

JUN 27

Sunny 104°/79°  0% WSW 12 mph 17%

Those are Fahrenheit temperatures, for all my Celsius friends just trust me, it is going to be hot!

(In all fairness I believe this is a bit extreme even for us. I would also like to add that once you get over 104° or 105° all that hot feels the same to me.)

 

Sentinel Dome at Yosemite just a nine days ago.  For all those in need of cooling.

I miss watching the Weather Channel. Oh, I still check in from time to time but I no longer have a need to watch it.  Even when the monsoons start there is no way to accurately predict when they are actually going to hit your neighborhood until maybe ten minutes before they do and by then you have figured it out yourself.   Tucson and Pima County are too large and sprawled to get any accurate information for somewhere as specific as my house.  I find watching the Weather Channel just makes me homesick or roll my eyes a lot. Really, 90° is a heat wave?  Ha! That’s a cool down for us. Plus the southwest is seldom on the weather channel until after we get weather. Not enough population and too unpredictable. Once Jim Cantore was across the street from me at Sabino Canyon Rec Area reporting on all this monsoonal rain we were supposed to get.  Not a drop fell here in the foothills!  It all fell to the south which is pretty typical.

For those in more well rounded climates think of this as my version of mid-January, weeks of horrid weather staring me in the face.  But up North one usually catches a break for a day or two.  Snow can be fun and with the cold I can enjoy curling up next to the fire with hot cocoa and a book. There is nothing fun about the heat. But I am trying my best to endure. (I have yet to find a bright side to summers here so endure with grace is the best I can do.)

My attempts to make the best of things include swimming early in the morning and late in the day to avoid the worst of the heat and sun. (I could not believe it either the first time I said “It’s too hot to swim right now.”) My son and I took advantage of  today’s “cooler” temperature to stock up on ice cream and popsicles. I have a stack of library books and many options DVR’d.  All of our ceiling fans work.  As of right now I have nothing on the calendar that will force me to leave the air-conditioned comfort of home next week.  That is the best I can do.

Hetch-Hetchy reservoir (part of Yosemite.)

Un-Happy Heat Wave. 😦

The Summer of ‘Yes’

We are back from our two week vacation to California. The remaining weeks of unencumbered summer stretch before us. I love not having to set the alarm, love the idea of stay at home and hide from the heat days. Lovin’ the 90° pool water.

But I am sick to death of parenting. I can not say “please brush your teeth” one more time.  Six plus years of saying it multiple times a day is enough.

 

My favorite peak name at Yosemite is “Cloud’s Rest”.  The peak just to the left of Half Dome.

 

So I am taking the summer off from parenting (except in the event of true danger of course). No more teeth brushing reminders (the cost of any cavities will come out of his college fund).  Snack away my son because I am not doing much for dinner these days anyway. Okay, don’t shower or comb your hair, the only place we are going is in the pool anyway.  Yes you need to be in bed by 9:00p at the latest but you can stay up and read as long as you want.

And while I know the answer will not always be yes at least now I am offering alternatives: “No”, we cannot go to the park at 11:00a.m when it is already 100°, how about going in the pool instead?

My favorite photo from our trip to Yosemite.

Because my son would happily play on the computer 12 hours a day we sat down together and wrote some agreed upon guidelines which I printed out and placed next to the computer.

GUIDELINES FOR COMPUTER USE

  1. No more than 4 hours per day. (Be honest!)
  2. Only use the computer when time is available. Don’t forget to:
  • Play with friends
  • Go swimming
  • Eat
  • Play with your other toys. (Legos, cars etc)
  • Do chores and errands
  • Go places and do fun things
  • READ!
  1. No computer use after 6:00p.m.
  2. Stop using the computer when you feel cranky or frustrated. (Or when Mom says enough!)
  3. Do different things on the computer. Don’t play Roblox or Minecraft for 4 straight hours!
  4. Remember that using the computer is a WANT not a NEED.

 

***NOT FOLLOWING COMPUTER GUIDELINES WILL RESULT IN A 24 HOUR LOSS OF COMPUTER PRIVILEGES!!***

 

Personally I would prefer a 2 hour limit per day but I am trying to be flexible and open minded. (I am also secretly hoping that after a week or two he will get kind of sick of the computer and move on to other things.) The great thing about this list is there is no arguing or discussion. I merely say a number and he gets it. Yesterday for the first time I did not remind him of rule #3.  At 6:30p.m. his father reminded him because he needed to use the computer. At first my son tried to argue about the consequences and I simply  said if you don’t want to follow the agreed upon rules then we eliminate any computer use for the rest of the summer.  Hardcore and Easy-Peasy at the same time.  Guess who spent three hours in the pool today, read a book and finished building the Lego set he got for a good report card?  Guess which mother and son are both perfectly happy?

My second favorite photo from Yosemite.

Welcome to Summer!