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I am a desert rat.

There’s nothing like the sun setting over the saguaros, or the smell of rain when the monsoons downpour onto our dehydrated gravel landscaping. We regularly eat Thanksgiving outside and I’ve never in my life had a Halloween when I had to consider weather when planning a costume. I’ve heard some poor saps who live in colder climes have to wear winter jackets over theirs. To a Tucson child, that sounded like an urban legend, and proof only existed in television and cinema.

This is an unedited photo of a sunset in Tucson.

This is an unedited photo of a sunset in Tucson.

Admittedly, there are a few downsides to living in Arizona other than our state legislature, the primary of which is the absurd, ridiculous summer heat.

How do you stand it? People would ask me on my travels when I told them where I was from.

My response is a familiar four word phrase that any native Arizonan can recite. I’ll take a moment while the locals say it out loud.

It’s a dry heat.

My second response would be that it’s like living in a Cornballer.

But really, it IS a dry heat. Tucson has one of the lowest average humidity percentages (38.5% versus New Orleans’ 76.3%, to give you an idea). BUT THAT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER WHEN IT’S 110+ FOR DAYS ON END. People get a little edgy.

It was 7:17 p.m. when this was taken.

It was 7:17 p.m. when this was taken.

In case you’re wondering, the “Excessive Heat Warning” (in effect until 9  p.m.) that is not displayed right now but was an hour ago means that there will be “temperatures ranging from 105 to 109 at some higher elevations… to between 110 to 116 degrees in the lower deserts…These dangerous temperatures can cause heat related illnesses… including death. Those working or playing outdoors and those without air conditioning are most vulnerable.

Death is a pretty serious illness, guys. I’ve heard it can be fatal *badumching!

Flights were canceled in Phoenix yesterday because it was hotter than 118 degrees and officials did have enough data to be sure aircraft would safely fly in hotter temperatures.

I know we’re not alone over here, either. The internetz tells me so.

So what’s a lad/lass to do when it’s emeffing as hot as the blazes outside!?

Go to the movies.

On a normal day, I go to the movie theatre with a cardigan because it gets to be, like, 60 degrees in there sometimes. (Yes, people, that is COLD for people who live here!) It’s the perfect getaway from the scorch. You can nosh on egregiously overpriced candy and snacks while admiring the cinematic achievements of today’s Hollywood elite.

But really, it’s a good time to take advantage of matinees and summer blockbusters. How appropriate that The Heat made bank at the box office this weekend.

Perfect your card shuffling skillz

When I was about ten, I spent the summer learning how to shuffle cards. Okay, that’s not ALL I did that summer, but I did spend hours and hours cutting the deck and making a bridge until my little fingers bled.* Now, I am a master card shuffler!

When I was a kid, there was no such thing as YouTube! I had to figure all this stuff out just by watching someone.

*Also not true.

Catch up on that guilty pleasure tv series

Having traveled most of the year, I’m wayyyy behind on my favorite shows. I have an entire season of The Office to watch, and although I managed to watch nearly all of the new Arrested Development in Costa Rica, I have to finish it up. Maybe this oppressive heat will also let me dive into The Mindy Project or Deadwood. I’ve heard good things.


Because it’s good for your brain. And also, you can do it, like the rest of these things, in the comfort of your air conditioned home. I’m trying to slog through the rest of the newest Dan Brown novel, which is shockingly dull. My other option right now is In Cold Blood, and while it is haunting and beautiful, it can be a little emotionally draining.

Maybe I’ll rererere-read Harry Potter.

Eat lots of gelato/ice cream/icy treats.

Any excuse I have to patronize Allegro Gelato is a good one. Better yet, make your own! Check out this recipe for 5 Minute Ice Cream or this one for Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches!

Hang out in a cave!

Caves maintain a much cooler temperature year-round. SCIENCE!

Go to the pool.

Nevermind. That requires being outside. Don’t go to the pool, unless you have access to an air-conditioned indoor pool, or glacial streams.

Invest in some hand fans.

Haven’t you always wanted an excuse to fan yourself like a Southern lady and say things like, “Well, I’ll be!” I think this sandalwood hand fan will help.

Other pro tips for handling the heat:

Drink lots of water!

Exercise early in the morning or at night when things have cooled off a bit.

WEAR SUNSCREEN. And not just because this lady said so.

Light colored clothes are your friend when it’s killer hot outside; skip the black and stick to white and pastels. Linen and cotton are really good summer materials, because they breathe! They’re aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive with coolness!

Drink lots of water. I really can’t emphasize that enough.

Have fun!