a little bit more about me

My name is Beth and I accidentally have found myself living in Arizona but I'm originally from Tennessee. My education is in history and anthropology, which means that I know a little about a lot of things and can hold my own at a cocktail party in mixed company. I work in museums, doing all sorts of things ranging from researching and writing exhibits to cataloguing absolute wickety wak. I love comedy, baking, photography, my daughter, dogs, and above all else, napping.*

* 2013 edit: Oh yeah, and my new son too.

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    Entries in heat (4)

    Thursday
    Sep272012

    So That's Where Summer's Been: Indoors with the Rest of Us

    As I mentioned a couple of days ago, every year I reach my breaking point. When I am just completely out of patience with the heat. By mid to late September every year I find myself thinking "Where in the HELL has summer gone?" as darkness falls earlier every day. But then I quickly realize "Oh wait. It was here." It's just that what I think of as summer - a season designed to spend as much time outdoors as possible - stopped by here way back in February or March. Then it just gets too hot to leave the air conditioning.

    But finally, things have turned. (Shhhh! I don't want the sun to hear me and plot its final revenge of the year). This week the highs are below 100 for the first time in months.

    Sh*t. I think it did hear me, because as I looked up the forecast to confirm that's still the case, the weekend highs are over 100, but just barely, so I'm still going to tentatively mark this one in the win column.

    Still. Last night, we went for the first of many nightly walks (now that it's not blisteringly hot), we found that EVERYONE has been going stircrazy with staying indoors. Normally, even once it gets dark, I'll see AT MOST 2 other people out & about at the park - usually walking their dog quickly before retreating back indoors. But last night, we saw no fewer than 38 people at our humble little neighborhood park. THIRTY EIGHT. A soccer game, a father teaching his son to throw a football, a family throwing a frisbee around, a family grilling some burgers, little ones playing on the playground equipment, and people just out having a nice night. In other words: all the activities I associate with summer, and always will, despite where I happen to live now, where the summer months are associated only with alternating between complaining about the heat and making a game of who can stay indoors more or log more hours floating around endlessly in a pool.

    So if you're looking for me, Baby & I will be in the park. Or out on a walk. Or off on a bike ride. Anything we can do to be outdoors until next summer arrives. Which, I expect to be around next February.

    Monday
    Sep242012

    In Which I Gain 7 lbs in One Week

    In addition to being sick, it has been too goddamn hot to set foot outside my front door. So I've not been going for the daily walks I so look forward to once summer is over. The September equinox may have signaled fall's arrival to the rest of the country, but here it just means that in another month or so I might be able to part the blackout curtains that are drawn all summer long. Which, here, is at least 5 months long, give or take. (Please take, by the way. TAKE IT AWAY. I daydream that some southern hemisphere equivalent of a Nordic god will come and throw his reins around the sun and drag it kicking and screaming right where it belongs: safely underground until further notice. Or maybe Vermont since I hear it's not all that sunny there? Maybe they could borrow it for awhile...) I get that I should expect it to still be this hot since I live on the surface of the sun but I am just over it. Every year I reach my breaking point, and this year, as always, it comes in September when it should not still be 107 (as it has been all week). I would be shaking my fist skyward as I say that but that would mean I'd have to expose my incredibly fair, delicate skin to even more sun damage. Where fair and delicate should be read as "formerly fair & delicate but now permanently sun-damaged and prematurely aged."

    In addition to being too sick and wiped out to brave the heat to get exercise, I've also been too wiped out to make multiple meals, which means we've been meal planning around Baby. Bad idea, as she has grown quite picky. Proper meals of a protein and vegetables - grilled chicken with vegetables, a lovely salad with fish - are all out of the question. She won't eat any meat at all, nor most vegetables. She's an utter carbitarian. A fruitivore. This means that our menus for the past week have looked something like this:

    • Mac'n'cheese
    • Spaghetti
    • Stuffed shells with pesto
    • Grilled cheese
    • Quesadillas
    • Leftovers of all of the above, served with sides of fruit and cheese

    On top of everything else, now I've got another issue to tackle this week: our dryer seems to be on the fritz. All of our pants seem to be shrinking...

    Monday
    Apr232012

    Shaking My Fist Skyward

    So after this weekend of 105+, I take back pretty much everything I've ever said about "So what it's hot! It's hot everywhere because it's summer. Just adjust accordingly!" Fate, you cruel bitch. I surrender.

    I attempted to entertain Baby but she got bored (as did I). Here was our itinerary Saturday:

    Our afternoon walk around the hood? Too hot, so that's out. How about playing with your bear? Bored already? Here's your lamb! Ok, let's read a book...or 8. Still no good? Let's listen to music while you crawl around...what's that noise? Oh Jesus. She's trying to eat a diaper. Luckily it's a clean one. Wanna go swing in your...oh, no. it's too hot out there and your swing is in the sun. You wanna go to...um....hmmm...the mall, I guess? What do you mean people watching doesn't entertain you longer than 30 minutes? Sigh. Let's go...um...well....home, I guess.

    Remember your bear? Oh, right. You're bored with him. Well, try it for awhile while I google playgrounds. Oh, City of Tempe, why is your website so anti-informational?! I can see that you have playgrounds but no info about any of them - do they have baby swings or just big kid equipment? Are they shaded?  Let's just go drive around and see.

    Hmmm. No luck but at least you're down for a nap. Jesus. I'm starving. I could really go for a burrito. Hey! There's a burrito place on the other end of Kiwanis Park. OMG! It has a drive thru! "Phone pickup orders only?!" Fine. I will pull over, look up your website & phone in my order from 5' away. Oh, c'mon people. Your menu is a PDF that won't open on my phone - time for a redesign, seeing as it's 2012, guys. Forget it. 

    And that was just Saturday. I googled Saturday night looking for activities in preparation for Sunday. There are indoor playgrounds...at $9 a head and nowhere near me, so that's out. The children's museum online reviews say it's a madhouse on weekends and toddlers beware.

    Sunday, I decided to take her swimming. City of Tempe - WTF? The only pool you have open before May is the wave pool, and @ $7, kinda steep for a public pool. At least it's indoors. But the waves are bigger than I envisioned - way too 'scary' for her, when she's scared of the pool in the first place. Looking online, there is only other public pool open this weekend. Too bad it's practically in Queen Creek, but hey, we got no other ideas, why not? After a 25 minute drive, it's a 20 minute line to get in. Once we got in, it's a f*ckin free for all. Parents not watching their kids who were practically running over Baby and definitely splashing her in the face. Thanks, little Assholes. We left after 15 minutes of 'fun.'

    So, yeah. I surrender. I have no idea wtf to do w/ her this summer. From what I read online, you get the same sort of Lord of the Flies experience at baby splashpads, other pools, & indoor playgrounds. Baby storytime at the public library? Tuesday afternoons in Tempe, Tuesday mornings in Mesa, Tuesday mornings in Chandler, Tuesday mornings in Scottsdale (are we seeing a pattern?) Did you know that more than 73% of moms are working moms? Cuz apparently public libraries don't. (I realize that work isn't always M-F but, c'mon). 

    I give up. This summer is going to be like Groundhog day.

    Saturday
    Oct072006

    Swollen Summer

    What's it like living in the Arizona desert? Well, the first thing is the heat. Saying it's hot is a bit like saying Bill Gates has money. True, but not nearly descriptive enough. The cliché is that it's a dry heat. Yeah. So dry that water gets sucked out of the ground, leaving dissolved minerals known as caliche, an impenetrable layer, behind.

    And so hot it's like living on the surface of the sun. The first time I came to Phoenix was for a baseball game and it was 118°. Another time I burned my hand on my seat belt after getting in my car to leave the store. And the empty plastic Starbucks cup I left in my car's cup holder? Melted. 

    But it's not just the heat. It's also the intensity of the sun. It's sunny 295 days each year. I like to joke that people who don't wear sunscreen every single day are turning themselves into human jerky. Or pleather.

    It also makes it hard for me to tell what time of year it is. Flowers strained by the Death Star just bloomed a week or so ago. There's no leaves crunching under my feet, and the morning's "chill" simply means I gotta close my sunroof once in a while. It feels like an endless summer since I moved here, like someone forgot to tell Phoenix that it's actually fall.