If I hear the words "triple digits" one more time, I'm going to remove a couple of those digits, preferably from the next weather forecaster who refers to 100 degrees as "warm."

If I hear the words "triple digits" one more time, I'm going to remove a couple of those digits, preferably from the next weather forecaster who refers to 100 degrees as "warm."

That's public lying. Tell it like it is, people! It's hot. Blistery, flowing lava, Colin Firth hot! Warm does not describe the weather we've been having.

Just seven brief months ago, I wrote about how much fun I was having trying to stay warm in my igloo of a house during the coldest snap to hit our valley in years. Now, we've just come through the hottest July since they began keeping records in 1911. It has reigned over us like an intrusive house guest, assertive in its systems of high pressure for 31 days. I bid it a glistening farewell.

I'm sorry. Earlier this summer, I made a mental note to self that I would not use this column to complain about the weather for a second time in a year. No matter how hot it got, I would write of more pleasant things. I would turn a determined, perspiring back to the obvious.

But our present heat wave taunts like an obnoxious carny; it dares me to emerge from my air-conditioned closet as the devout heat-hater that I am. There, I said it. And now I'm sweating. Not that I ever completely stopped for the past 31 days.

Each day it sits on me like a market hog. A dripping hog, though I've learned that swine do not perspire much. That's why they love to wallow in the mud; it keeps them cool. So, that means we can't be honest and say, "Man, I'm sweating like a pig," because we derive the saying from pig iron that sweats as it cools. You could instead say, "Man, I'm sweating like pig iron!" which actually means you're cooling off from having been molten, which weakens your point while sounding lame.

We could say we're sweating like a hippo and be more accurate. Hippos secrete perspiration, which contains an antibacterial agent and prevents sun damage while cooling their hides; it's also an orangish-red color, simulating some self-tanners. But again, lame.

But lest this be all rant with little comfort, I'd like to provide some perspective on our heat and highlight the positives. It's a good thing this column is short.

After having lived for 20 years in Phoenix, Ariz., which spreads out within the Sonoran Desert, I can tell you we have it good where summers are concerned. While living in the Valley of the Sun, I was the proud owner of a '68 Mustang with black vinyl upholstery. In Phoenix, folks wear shorts and tank tops year round. Absent the ubiquitous seat-shrouding towel, shorts plus black vinyl upholstery in Phoenix equals seared thigh flesh.

Not only can you fry eggs on the sidewalk, you can soft boil them in your swimming pool. The temperature in summer, which is around 61/2 months long, might dip into the lower 90s at night. Throw in a few onions and potatoes and you have a nice stew.

It's better here. Things to love about Southern Oregon summers:

There's no excuse not to read and write. Sort of like a 20-degree day, a 100-degree afternoon likewise prevents me from adventuring far from the laptop; My appetite is suppressed instead of resembling that of the folks in Carl's Jr. commercials; Sweet summer fruits, like peaches, drench my chin; Stalwart blackberries are ripening nicely and begging me to ladle them into pie crusts; Thunderstorms roll in with little notice — to cool us, make everything smell nice, and lift the curtains by an open window; Our nights are pleasant enough to sleep out under shooting stars; The coast is only three hours' drive, with mountain lakes even closer than that.

Not a bad list. There's more, but my rant has cooled and I'm out of space.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer who works from a 1900 farmhouse in Eagle Point. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.