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Around the Bluhmin’ Town: Winter chills

Judy Bluhm~ 1/14/2015

Brrr! Have you been able to stay warm lately? The harsh winter blast of frigid cold (and I am talking about Phoenix) has been enough to send more than a few people over the edge. I thought folks only got cranky when we were dealing with relentless triple digits in the Valley of the Constant Inferno, but no, freezing temperatures can make us snap too. It is just “not normal” to have to endure twenty-five degrees and icy wind raging from the north at fifty miles an hour. What the heck is happening here?

A few of us lost trees and watched with horror as pretty green plants got frost-burned and turned a crisp brown. (Clever were the folks who put little Styrofoam cups on their cacti and covered the lantanas with sheets). Kids could be seen outside bundled up like snowmen. Local grocery stores claimed there was a run on instant hot cocoa. Did the waterfalls in Anthem really freeze? Some homes in Cave Creek had their pipes burst. New Year celebrations were cancelled due to the storm. People lit up their fireplaces (even on no burn days).  Hmm…guess we with the thinning blood are not exactly “prepared” for such drops in the thermostats.

I tried to use a new (well – not exactly new, but trendy now) mind technique called “imagine and it will happen.” A study from John Hopkins Medical School states that if people who are really hungry imagine themselves eating, it will lessen their appetite. This “imagine” technique is supposed to work with all sorts of conditions. I thought I would give it a whirl and imagined that the weather was lovely, warm, and balmy. I tried this, especially when I was out walking and facing frigid wind and nasty cold. Maybe my concentration wasn’t quite right, because imagining warmer weather didn’t do too much for me.

However, since this technique was first discovered as a success for people who have M&M cravings (and other chocolate affections), I did try it with food. I imagined that I was eating lots of chocolate chip cookies when I made myself a cup of coffee. My “imagine” experiment failed miserably. I ended up obsessing about cookies and had to make a batch (of course I gave them to grandkids – after I ate a few). They actually tasted better than I imagined.

Oh, but I digress. I was talking about the Nordic blast of weather we’ve been having, not delicious little mouth-watering chocolate cookies. Did I mention that my husband bought me a warm scarf, fuzzy hat, and pair of lined gloves? Thoughtful man. When it gets below forty degrees in Phoenix, I am ready. I also bought my daughter’s little doggy, Chopper, a fine wool sweater. However, when I went to put it on him, he bared his teeth and chased me all around her house like I was trying to murder him! Hey, ten pounds of growling fury was not appropriate when I was only trying to help! I took his little coat back to Wal-Mart and got myself a pair of warm socks instead.

By the time this column goes to press, we might be back up in the sixties and seventies – where we belong! This cold weather has done enough damage, and not just to our plants and trees. I saw a woman throw the pump and hose on the ground at a gas station screaming that her hands were “freezing and sticking” to the pump handle. When a man laughed at her (not very kind) she got so mad I was afraid she might run him over. Hey, frostbite is no laughing matter. I remember my brother’s ears turning white and blowing up like cauliflowers when he forgot to wear his hat walking to school. Of course, that was a winter day in Cleveland. Never thought we might get frostbite in Phoenix!

People in cold, dreary climates experience more depression than those of us who enjoy sunnier days.  Guess those of us living in the sunshine state are pretty blessed and should be quite happy. Cold?  Sip hot cocoa, cover the plants, get out the fuzzy socks and lined gloves. Light the fire, remember to cover your ears in cold weather, and eat plenty of cookies. Imagine…plenty of warmer days ahead.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor who lives in the Anthem area. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at