The Dog Days of Summer (and The Book of JOY)

That old phrase certainly rings true this summer! Here in AZ we started having “triple digit” temps in May. For those who live further north, that means 110° and above. It used to mean 100° and above but those days are gone. We hit 123° in late May and I headed to Mexico to cool down. Now we’re into monsoon season. Average temp 105° with 60% humidity and higher. Still feels like 123° in the shade.

I remember now what ‘dog days’ means. I run errands between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. depending on which stores I have to hit. I check the yard and my burning up plants even earlier – between 5 and 6. Lately I’ve been falling asleep on the couch at 8:00 p.m. or taking a nap around 2:00 in order to stay up till 9:00. I have no appetite and have started fixing a meal at noon and eating cold cereal or fruit in the evening. You’d think I’d be losing weight but I fill in with chocolate snacks and loads of ice cream.

There is nothing better on a hot summer evening than to sit and eat a gallon of Tillamook Marionberry Pie ice cream or plain vanilla covered with chocolate sauce. Yum.

Like everyone else in the Valley of the Sun, I’m irritable. I yell at other drivers. I curse at each red light. I toss the remote across the room when there’s nothing on but reruns. I scream with frustration when I try to write and my brain is so fried I can’t think a single creative thought.

I find myself playing solitaire on my cell phone for hours. Find I can hardly stay attentive as I read a novel or try to watch a movie.

I’m hot, cranky, exhausted and back on antihistamines to counteract the humidity, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, plugged ears and irritable colon. The other day I yelled via text at my daughter, “So now I have spring and fall and summer allergies? When don’t I have allergies and remind me why in the h e double hockey sticks we live here?” “Because you dragged us here 30 years ago, mother,” she reminds me. “Oh,” I write back – ugly face with crossed eyes and tongue sticking out at her.

I remind myself that I have some upcoming trips to Oregon and Minnesota. Oklahoma in Sept. and the Albuquerque Balloon Festival in Oct. And come Halloween night the temps will drop 60 degrees and we’ll be into winter. Somehow today that doesn’t seem quite enough and I’m cursing myself for not renting up north again this year.

Meanwhile I’m going back to my current read – The Book of Joy – an interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I remind myself – focus on joy and thank God for AC.

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