Dry Heat 101

There’s been a lot of complaining from my friends on facebook and twitter about the temperatures reaching triple digits. And yes, 100-plus is hot but know this: if it’s a dry heat it feels about 10 degrees less.

I grew up in Palm Springs and the most miserable summer I endured was the first one I spent in the San Fernando Valley. (It even beat the summers I spent in Chicago. At least there you could possibly get a breeze off the lake.) I’m not sure if it was the smog or the humid or both, but it was 110-degrees of gross. In the Coachella Valley, it was only really unbearable when it hit 120. Otherwise, you could still breathe and go outside. But that seems to have changed. Now that there are more golf course and more green grass, there is more humidity and the summer really can suck. That is why when it’s hot you want it to be truly dry.

In Phoenix, it’s dry. Landscaping is more brown—sand, cacti, palos verde—than green—trees, grass, planted flowers. All of the latter need water, and the more of those things are planted, the more water is in the air, and the more humid it is. Our first (and last) weeks in Phoenix were spent in 95-plus degree heat. It wasn’t bad. Actually it was quite lovely out. The same temperatures would have felt like the middle of hell in the San Fernando Valley, specifically Woodland Hills.  It’s amazing what a lack of water can do to temperature perception. That’s why I’ll take a dry heat any day.

Dry Heat 101

The Phoenix Five

Last Friday, M., Baby A and I moved back to Los Angeles. And while I’m happy to be back in LaLa Land, there are some things that I appreciated about living in Phoenix.

1. Uncle J and McFriends — When we moved to Phoenix, we knew we had family there and J. was the best uncle my son could have. I’ll miss our Sunday night dinners with him and seeing him on a regular basis. As for the McFriends, they embraced and adopted Baby A. They will miss him more than M. whom they saw everyday. How can you not appreciate those who have so much enthusiasm for your child? I enjoyed visiting with each one as they cooed over him. I will miss my lunches with them, especially S.

2. Storms—We arrived at the end of monsoon season and left during the first week of it. For thunderstorm junkies like M and me, the thunder, lightening and hail that we experienced were highlights of our time there.

3. Jackrabbits and quail—Where we lived there were tons of jackrabbits and quail roaming around. There was something very relaxing about co-existing with these animals in the same place (except when the bunnies decided to take a swim in our pool). The quail families running around with their chicks were beyond cute. Imagine the opening credits for the 1970s television show “The Partridge Family”— Momma with her chicks following in a single file.

4. Paradise Bakery and Café—In California, we have Panera. It is no PBC. (Same company, different restaurants). This place makes sinful muffins, delicious cookies and a friendly staff (at least at the Biltmore, Scottsdale 101 and Desert Ridge locations that we frequented). Their prices are reasonable and you could eat there nearly everyday, M. pretty much did.

5. Lifetime Fitness—I’ve written about this gym before (see “A Ride to Nowhere”). This 10,000 square foot gym is awesome. And while I’m sure that we will find a comparable gym in Los Angeles, the one in Scottsdale will hold a special place in my heart since it is where I worked off 50 pounds of baby weight over nine months.

The Phoenix Five