Life Lately: Heat Wave

Phoenix weather forecast

June 20-25, 2017

OMG you guys… I went on my adventure to Spain last week with my friend, had a lovely time, then returned to the deepest level of hell. My dad would say that’s being overdramatic, but there was one day where flights were canceled because it was too hot to operate the planes!! Ugh.

Monday morning I walked into the Orange County, CA airport with a sweater on; I walked out of the Phoenix, AZ airport and lost my breath. It was so hot my eyes felt like they were shriveling up in their sockets. Yes, it is a “dry heat” – ta! for the reminder – but let me enlighten you a bit on that “dry heat” – go and turn your oven on to 400 degrees (350 will also work for a 110 example; 400 is needed for the 120 effect). I’ll wait…… When pre-heated, place your face near the door and open it. That woosh that happens when you first open the door, that’s what it felt like walking out of the airport.

And Monday wasn’t even the hottest day this week! Tuesday flights were canceled because it was too hot for the planes to operate (seriously)! By Friday there were pictures all over social media showing various things melting. Luckily, the heat wave is supposed to break tomorrow, but summer is only just getting started…

So, why am I still here? Excellent question. This will be my 9th summer in Phoenix. When I first moved here, I was actually a fan of the heat. It was, after all, a “dry heat,” which at the time was much better than the tropical humidity of Miami, FL. All I really cared about was that it was warm, sunny, and free of major natural disasters. Phoenix is my shining example of that whole “be careful what you wish for” adage. Unfortunately, every year the summers are a little more difficult for me to take. I know what’s coming, but the temperatures never fail to surprise me somehow. I suspect it’s those lovely winters that do such a fabulous job of lulling me into complacency. I have a growing respect for the methods of the snow birds (summer in the north, winter in the south).

I find that the extreme temperatures wreak havoc on my body now days. I suspect the FM is to blame for that, but I’m mostly left counting down the days til there may be a break in the heat and dreaming of winter destinations. My whole outlook on climates has done a total 180 – bring on the snow! Although I’m calling this a lesson learned and heading to more temperate climes. I can always visit colder – or hotter – places, but there’s no need to live in one or the other.

Tossa De Mar, Spain

Along the Spanish coast

Yes, ladies and (perhaps) gentlemen, after almost a decade, I finally have a plan for my future that feels right, even exciting! Tentatively, this plan is to move back home to my dad’s house early next year. In an interesting turn of events, I will be keeping my current job and working remotely. If things work out okay, we may even open an east coast office; we’ll see how that goes. My five year goal is to get myself back in grad school for an MA in English Literature. Law school was my family’s dream for me; my dream was to be an English Professor. I tried their way, now I’m keen to try my own. I also have about a hundred ideas for things to do in the meantime, thinking of which keeps me sane during the long hours of intense sunshine. I have finally landed on a plan that I’m sure about – I haven’t felt this way since college to be honest, and it’s so nice to be excited about the future again!

I think I’ve needed to take a step back to reevaluate for some time now, but I had to wait until I was ready to understand what that meant. This plan allows me to stay in my comfort zone just enough to not be afraid to move forward with it. I’ll be able to help with my grandmother, and I’m hopeful that this will be just enough change to alleviate most of the stress that triggers the FM flares. It won’t be all rainbows and butterflies, I know that. I’ve resisted moving back for 15 years; I’m well aware of what awaits me. But I’m willing to give it a go, to take this step back in order to better see what my next step forward will be. The fact that I’ll have seasons again (even if not quite so pronounced as they might be elsewhere) is just a huge bonus! (smile)

Roadway through the painted desert, Arizona

My first “featured” photo on Instagram! @instagramaz

So life lately has been a combination of naps in cool places (heat fatigue is real), daydreaming about the future, and trying to appreciate every final moment here in the desert. There’s been a fair amount of travel in there as well (smile), but that will die down now until September (yay Alaska!).

Oh yes, I suppose there’s one other thing I wanted to share today… I’ve created a photography website! I’m not quite sure to what end exactly, but I felt compelled to create a separate space for my photos. It really all started with Instagram (as things do) and snowballed from there! The site doesn’t have much on there yet, but it’s been fun getting everything set up! I’ve got quite a few post ideas for this space, which I’m planning to share now that the travel is done for awhile. Then again, they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I wonder if that’s how I ended up here?! (ha!) Probably best to put those good intentions into play and actually post lest I land myself in another heat wave! πŸ˜‰

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Kitty Dreams & Street Scenes (Morocco)

Morocco cats asleep

As I depart for the land of ice, I thought it only appropriate to share just a few more photos from last year’s adventure in the desert oasis that is Morocco. By the end of the trip, one of the running jokes was all of the photos of cats that I had on my memory cards – to this day I still refuse to apologize for a single one! Morocco seems to be a land of cats and I love it all the more for that reason. (smile) I’ve included a few of my favorite kitty shots – and a few of my favorite street scenes too!

 

 

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Life Lately: Au revoir August

San Diego California, Pacific OceanWeather: Warm & Humid
Days til Fall: 31

We’ve actually had a proper monsoon season this year, which means two things – 1) the temps have been reasonable and 2) it has been so humid! You’d think coming from the south I’d be used to the humidity, but turns out it doesn’t take long to adapt to the “dry heat” of the desert. It’s a trade-off I suppose, but in the end I’ll take the cooler temps any day. Who knows, maybe Arizona will have a proper fall by the first day of fall this year! (A girl can dream…)

For the past several months I’ve really struggled with feeling in control of my life. It felt like things kept popping up to dictate my time and energy, creating obligations that made me increasingly resentful. I find that this tends to happen when I don’t have enough alone time and it’s incredibly frustrating. The last couple of weeks I’ve made a much greater effort to plan my time, stick to the script, and say “no” to those things that I don’t really want to do. This has meant disappointing a few people, but it’s really helped me feel (slightly) more in control and balanced. I’m still working on finding the balance between happy in the present and planning for the future; at least now I’m on level ground to give it a go!

San Diego California, Pacific Ocean

My cousin made it out for a long weekend earlier in the month. Despite all warnings, she was definitely unprepared for the heat (bless her heart). We ended up heading further west to the coast for a little sea breeze. We stayed one night in San Diego and one in Huntington Beach. She’ll tell you that her favorite part was a proper Sunday-Funday on the beach (complete with champagne and good company), and I won’t lie, it was my favorite too! (smile) I sent her home with a sunburn, no glasses, a (partially) shaved head, and a new perspective on life.Β  Overall I’d say the trip was a success πŸ™‚ (At least she didn’t go home with the tattoo she randomly decided she should get… I convinced her to save that one for another trip lest I never be able to return to Alabama again!)

I have finally gotten serious about studying for the PMP certification. It’s quite the process, but I’m hoping it’ll be worth it in the long run. Assuming everything goes to plan, I should have this out of the way by the end of the year. If/when I actually pass the exam, I’ll share the resources used and any additional tips/tricks that seemed useful. I don’t want to jinx it in the meantime!

San Diego California, Pacific Ocean

September promises to be a busy month with camping, Wyoming, and Iceland all on the calendar. I am finally getting excited about Iceland and all the beautiful scenery. All of the big plans have been finalized, so now it’s just a matter of deciding what to see in what order (which is my favorite part)! Once I’m back from that trip it’ll be time to start planning the next big adventure – a move to the east coast. That’s a scary sentence to write, but also so exciting! The thought of being somewhere that has a true autumn actually makes me tear up a little!

San Diego California, Pacific Ocean

I won’t lie though, I will miss these sunsets ❀

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare Close-ups

lizard on rock macro

baby snake near rocks

This week’s photo challenge is “rare.” Neither of these little guys may be rare in and of themselves, but it is pretty rare that I can spot them AND get a good close-up! In fact,Β  this is the first time I’ve ever come across a baby snake here in Arizona (seriously, he was tiny), but I’m glad I saw him before I stepped on him! He was certainly a fierce little fellow.

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Joshua Tree Revisited

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Back in March some friends and I decided to take an impromptu camping trip over to Joshua Tree National Park. Of all the National Parks I’ve been lucky enough to visit, I’d say Joshua Tree easily makes the top 3 just by virtue of being the strangest, most surreal park of them all (which is saying quite a bit after Yellowstone). So of course I was more than happy to take the opportunity to visit – and camp – in such an awesome place – this time with a proper camera! (smile)

Joshua Tree National Park, California

If you’d like the official info on the park, I’d suggest checking out my first post on the park. This post is mostly just a photo journey through two deserts and an incredibly diverse landscape that is rumored to have inspired Dr. Suess’s The Lorax. Actually, that last tidbit there really kind of sums it up perfectly…

The Cholla Cactus Garden. Absolutely gorgeous area near sunset!

Cottonwood Spring near sunrise. We actually camped at this campsite and it was magical πŸ™‚

This area is on the map as Barker Dam. It was a nice, easy walk and interesting to see some of the historic development.

The rocks are by my far my favorite part! It’s just so surreal how they seem to pop up out of the ground so abruptly and haphazardly. Skull rock (shown above) is a definite hot spot, but it pays to know what angle you’re looking for!

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Ready to go yet? πŸ™‚ If you have the chance, I would definitely say go for it! (The Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain are also nearby – just sayin’.)