What I Learned in Arizona

My daughter and I took a little weekend trip to visit cousins in Arizona. We had a great time and can’t wait for another visit!

We (ok, maybe just me) learned a few things while we were there:

1. Arizona is really hot. No, seriously hot. I grew up in the high desert – so 110-115 degree temps aren’t new to me, but it was a dry heat. Somehow it can be 108 and HUMID in AZ, which makes it feel like 130.

2. I miss warm summer nights. While it can get quite warm in N. California (not inland, but in the south bay), we cool down significantly (55 this morning) at night. You need to put a sweater on at some point. In the desert, ‘cooling down’ means it gets under 90 degrees and you can sit outside in your shorts and tank tops without melting. I miss that comfortably warm outside dining, visiting, relaxing experience of my youth.

3. The lizards in AZ are big. Like foot-long big. ‘Snout to Vent’ measurements are essentially the body without the tail. They’re a welcome sight in any backyard because they eat spiders and scorpions and other creepy crawlies.

4. They have spiders and scorpions in AZ. Preferred method of dealing with scorpions is putting some duct tape on the end of a large Maglite and coming at them from the top. You then carefully wrap the duct tape around the scorpion and dispose of it. My method of dealing with scorpions – scream for your braver cousin…which I didn’t get to test out this time. Oh, and I really like lizards.

5. Wolf spiders travel in pairs. ‘nough said. Oh, and I really like lizards.

6. Grasshoppers in AZ are colorful. They also have sticky feet.

7. Quail are vain. So vain that they’ll spend a lot of time flirting with themselves in reflective glass. While forgetting about their younglings and callously climbing over their mates to get a better look at themselves.

8. EXTRA large ice cubes make simple cocktails more fun.

9. There are good multi-purpose kitchen tools. I think I can make a good trade-up to minimize my small kitchen appliances. I may be able to combine my Panini press, waffle iron, and griddle into one tool! Who wouldn’t love that?!

10. My daughter and her second cousin get along amazingly well – picking up as if they see each other every week. I suspect they will be life-long friends. I am pretty lucky to have married into a family with such amazing people.



This is a Desert Spiny Lizard. They like to eat spiders and scorpions. They also do pushups.



When you look up ‘colorful AZ grasshopper’, you discover that entomologists really like to take pictures of amorous grasshoppers.

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