Is It Hot Enough Yet?

Dog PantingWe call August the “dog days” where I’m from, probably because when a dog’s hot she just lies around and pants heavily, tongue lolling from her mouth.  Dogs do this as part of their cooling system, especially if they have thicker coats.  They’re unable to sweat like humans do, and this is part of the way they cool their bodies down.

I couldn’t resist this You Tube capturing the dog panting.  I just want to throw a bucket of water on her, don’t you?


So I got to thinking what I do when I’m overheated, which seems to be more and more often as I age, damn it!

dog and fan

dog on iceI remember, way back in the day before the necessity of air conditioning, that my mom would sit in front of the open refrigerator door.  That was her way of cooling down.  My kids have always slept with fans blowing on them during the summer, and it’s become such a ritual that many of them can’t sleep without the whirr of a fan, even during the winter.


We never had a pool growing up – that was for the very wealthy in our community – but we had a free pass to the local swimming pool, so that became an everyday occurrence during our summer months.  Later, when my children were little, we bought a house with a giant above ground pool, complete with redwood deck.  It was soooo sweet; the kids still remember that pool fondly.faux fan

I’ve begged Dr. Big for years to put a swimming pool in our back yard which is gigantic and way too much lawn for us to care for, but he refuses, citing the heavy upkeep of a pool.  He’s right, of course, but I still dream of the aerobic exercise inherent in swimming.

Every year we buy one or more standing fans to enhance the air conditioning.  Plus we have overhead fans in three rooms and an all-house fan for whenever the delta breeze sweeps in from the south and cools our area down.  For those of you unfamiliar with this term, a delta breeze is just that – the wind caught up from the Pacific ocean, following the fingers of the delta around Stockton and pushing their way up the San Joaquin Valley to cool off Sacramento and surrounding areas.


I have a love-hate relationship with summer.


I love when it arrives, bringing greenery, fresh fruits and vegetables, warm sunshine activities, but in my area, it eventually results in dried up lawns, widespread fires, and soaring temperatures.


What do you do to keep cool when those temperatures rise along with the humidity?  A trek to the mountains, a dip in the pool, lying around like a panting dog?  Come on, dish about ways to keep cool during the summer months.


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  • Jane says:

    Hello Jo,
    The subway platforms are brutal in the summer and I always make sure the AC on the trains are working before getting on. The movie theaters always have the AC on full blast, so I might go to a showing just to enjoy the cool air.

  • Amy Conley says:

    I go outside and soak it up. I know I’m weird but I love the heat hunter the better.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      I used to love lying around in the sun, working on my tan. Now, not so much. Skin cancer is always a worry.

      The irony is that my sister, older by two years, NEVER ever lolled around in the sun. She has a very fair beautiful complexion, and even goes to the beach with a wide-brimmed hat and long pants and shirt. Nonetheless she got a melanoma on her nose and had to have it reconstructed.

      You just never know …

  • Mozette says:

    Keeping cool in Summer is a national past-time here in Australia… I mean, think of it: we are The Sunburnt Country for a reason. 😛

    But being a fair-skinned redhead, it makes it difficult for me to stay cool; seeing redheads often feel the heat and cold more than most as it seems that – from a scientific standpoint – we feel the slightest amount of difference in the mercury. Oh… yay… how fun. 🙁

    Anyway, let’s see… keeping cool… my advice? Hang out in the shade where there’s a nice breeze with a huge container of Cranberry Juice and mineral water on hand – all in ice of course! Or if that tartness isn’t your style, try some nice Ice Tea with lime (I was sent a recipe from South Carolina where they use lime instead of lemons, and it has the most deliciously refreshing taste to it! And use decaf tea and only a tablespoon of raw sugar – and not white – and you’ll have a lovely taste to it; needing less sugar than usual).
    When our Summers hit those really high degrees, I have lots of cold showers and stay inside with the curtains drawn… to keep the heat out… drink lots of water and ice coffee and ice tea and just hang out and paint and read… yep, that’s my Summer days for ya.

    however, now, it’s freezing cold I’m hanging out for something nice and hot to eat…. namely home made pizza! You know the kind, make the dough from scratch and devour the lot! 😀

  • Mary Preston says:

    I am NOT a summer person. When the temp rises above 30 I am a hot, sweaty mess. Last summer here in QLD, even with the AC on, I was a cranky puddle of misery with temps over 40.

    My advice, globe hop & follow the autumn.

  • Helen says:


    Sounds like our summer over here and we have an air conditioner and that is where I will be LOL indoors with a book and the AC on although before we had the AC I would drink lots of ice water and find the coolest place to be indoors and whine LOL but I am not a summere person although like you I love the summer fruits.

    Have Fun

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    Like you, when I was growing up we didn’t have air conditioning. We used fans, went swimming at the local pool and drank lots of Kool-Aid. Then my brother was diagnosed with Gaucher’ s disease and spent a lot of time in bed so we got two air conditioners, one for the back of the house, one for the front. From that point on we always had it. Now I have central which is great. I always wanted my own pool but like you, the hubby said too much upkeep and unfortunately we aren’t wealthy enough to hire a pool boy! Lol! My daughter has access to a community pool where they live but she doesn’t swim so they never use it 🙁 Again, I would love it for the exercise.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      So sorry about your brother, Debbie. I didn’t know what Gaucher’s Disease was until I looked it up on the internet.

      Like you, I’d really get some aerobic swimming exercise if I had a pool, but I definitely wouldn’t lie out in the sun poolside!

  • Jo –

    Growing up in Maryland we didn’t have air conditioning. We had fans running 24/7 and on the really hot nights – slept outside. The pool was a trek but well worth it.

    Today we have ceiling fans in all the bedrooms and an attic fan that pulls air through the house, but sometimes I resort to clicking on the central air. (I hate to pay those electricity bills!). Today it’s supposed to be near 90. I’m looking forward to doing my water aerobics class at the community pool. It’ll be an aaahhh moment. 🙂

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Sounds like you have lots of ways to cool off, Donna. Unfortunately, here we’re supposed to hit 109 next week. The only good thing about that is the humidity will be low.

      I’m stocking up on supplies and staying in the house. Although I have to admit that my car with it’s nice AC is probably the coolest place around!

  • Susan Sey says:

    Hey, Jo!

    You know, you’d think that here in the upper midwest we’d never get sick of the heat. We wait all year for it, then only get it for about six weeks.

    That said? We totally complain when it gets hot. 🙂

    My favorite thing to do is go to the movies. They have those places air conditioned down to about 55 degrees. You have to bring a sweater. Plus I love summer movies. All those mindless explosions & car chases? Yay!

  • Deb says:

    I don’t mind the heat if I can cool off a little bit. It’s the humidity that gets to me. I got heat exhaustion on a trip to Kentucky several years ago, and since then, the humidity does affect me. We have ceiling fans and a standing fan in the hallway to help with the A/C unit. We don’t have central air, but do have a large window A/C in the wall. We have a wonderful attic fan that cools things down a lot; however, it is down and out this summer and we are still awaiting a part to come in to fix it.
    Even when it is not terribly hot outside, we run the A/C to help rid the house of humidity. Our house is brick, and it tends to retain the heat and humidity if we don’t run the unit.
    Limeade is always good to help cool me down, and maybe even a margarita in the evening. 🙂

    • Jo Robertson says:

      I love our all-house fan too, Deb. It really takes the heat that builds up during the day out of the attic and cools down the house. We don’t have the humidity you do — thank goodness! Humidity plus high temps are the worst!

  • Hey Jo!

    It was 98 here yesterday. Which is hot, but not as hot as some Junes. I know July and August will be in the 100’s daily, so I’m not complaining at the moment.

    I live with air conditioning. Both for the cooling affects and the dehumidification we need in the rainy season around here!

    But I have the secret weapon of a pool!! It’s lovely to dive into the cool water after being out in the heat all day. Or just because I love to swim! 🙂

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Wahhhhh, I want your secret weapon, Suz! I remember one year we had 10 straight days of nearly 110 degree temperature.

      When we went to Egypt many years ago, which as you know had very extremely high temperatures, we noticed that the natives covers everything — their head, arms, legs, necks. The only body parts exposed were the feet and the hands. Apparently that lets the body’s natural cooling system work. And the garments are often wool!

  • catslady says:

    I live in Southwest PA and we really don’t get a lot of hot weather but enough to need AC. My husband is always hot and I’m always cold. I usually have a sweater on lol. But I do remember the days before AC as a child. My dad was from MS so he rarely thought it was hot and we had one small fan. And you never let the refrigerator door stay open!!!!! lol

    • Jo Robertson says:

      LOL on the open refrigerator door, Catslady. What is it with teenagers? They’ll open the door and stare inside for long moments, trying to figure out what they want to eat from the frig while all the while the cold air is escaping!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    We’ve got every fan in the house going, along with the AC because the high today is supposed to be 107, but I think it’ll only get to about 103. When it reaches the hundreds, though, it doesn’t much matter. IT’S DARNED HOT!!!

  • Becke says:


    Here in SC we have the humidity thing going on. However, I was raised in the Mississippi River Valley so the summer is the same-it just lasts longer in the south.

    I agree with your dh. My job as a kid was to clean the freaking pool. Ugh–terrible. However, now they have easier devices.

    We swim in the subdivision pool. Limit outside exercise to extremely early in am or late in evening. Do the movie thing. Love waterparks. We live close to US Whitewater-great fun. Kayak. Paddleboard

    Here, ac is a necessity not a luxury so I’m for passing out ac units for the poor.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Hi, Becke,

      We’ve done some work with the homeless in our area, and it is very difficult during the summer months for these people to find relief from the heat.

  • Shannon says:

    I’m a spring fan, but summer rates a close second. I like being warm, and after a winter like the last one, I am happy when I feel hot.

    I walk in the mornings to avoid heat and humidity, or swim in the afternoons to cool off. I love sitting out by the pool reading. It’s the condo’s pool, so no need to maintain it. I read, look at the pool, and look at the scenery (yes, trees and God’s other creatures in speedos).

    One of the ladies who goes to movies/plays with me on Sundays, brought a fan yesterday. (Not needed in the theater!) It was not any fan–it was her great-grandmother’s from a ball where they gave the girls fans and the gentlemen signed them. She sighed sadly that the ink fades each summer. Her shawl was her grandmother’s, a most beautiful weaving of blues and teals and turquoise.

    My only complaint about this summer is that grass pollen is bothering me. I did fine with the flowers and the trees, but grass? Thank goodness for the 2nd or 3rd generation antihistamines–relief without the drowsiness!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    There were tips on the news tonight about how to remain cool; one of them was cold water at the pulse points. Another was putting your feet in ice water. That would surely cool me down!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    LOL, Shannon, I was trying to imagine your friend plugging in her “fan” to an electrical outlet and then I figured out it was a hand fan. Boy, that’s a dated item, isn’t it? I remember going to church as a child and having those hand fans on the seats.

  • I refused to cut down my old trees and as you walk down my driveway into the hole where I live you can feel the temperature drop because of it. Don’t get me wrong. It is still hot, but once you get beneath those big water oak and sweetgum trees it is bearable. I have those stand fans all over the house to keep the AC circulating. And I drink LOTS of iced tea in the summer.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    I, too, love the shade that my huge tree in the front provides, Louisa!

  • Alyn says:

    When I was a kid, I enjoyed the summer and being out in the sun. I don’t ever recall being too hot. I remember riding a bike as fast as I could just to feel the cool breeze on my face. Now that I am older, I can’t stand the heat!