Tag Archives: summer

Painting to Escape the Heat

2 Jul

I love to paint, but over the past few years I have had very little time to do it. Right now we are in the middle of a massive heat wave and are trapped inside. It’s too hot to do anything. Anytime you step outside it’s empty with just the sound of buzzing air conditioners and vibrating wires overhead. It’s eerie. It’s our version of a snow storm, except it looks beautiful outside, but as soon as you step out, you are enveloped in heat and can only rush backwards back into the house.

I found myself painting for several hours over the weekend. It’s a great way to ignore the heat with the aid of some music or Podcasts, I lose all sense of what’s around me and forget the 105+ degree heat and anything rattling around in my head is silenced. I revisited some old sketches I did several months ago and also practiced drawing and painting some new things including geometrically based succulents. Of course, the succulents! They aren’t far from my brain… I won’t show the full paintings yet, but here’s a couple of glimpses. I’m really happy with the studies and I hope to show the finished pieces soon.

painting-succulents3

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Cool drink for a hot day

7 Aug

Originally inspired by this recipe on Everybody Likes Sandwiches, I’ve tinkered with this recipe several times, always with great results. This time, I used what was on hand,  including lavender and rosemary from my backyard.

Lemonade with Lavender and Rosemary

Simple Syrup (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water)
4 Lemons, juiced
1 Lime, juiced
Several small clippings of Lavender and Rosemary

1) Make your simple syrup. Mix the sugar and water in a pan and boil until the sugar dissolves. You can also flavor it by adding ginger, mint, or whatever you like. I muddled Lavender and Rosemary in it while it boiled, and took them out when the mixture cooled.
2) Pour in your juice (add more for a stronger batch).
3) Pour over ice and add water until it suits your taste. Usually several cups.
4) Toss in extra clippings of Lavender and Rosemary for a beautiful presentation.

Tip: Since it is lemon season and you can score some great deals on large amounts of them, remember that you can always juice them, freeze them in ice cube trays and store the cubes in a bag or container in the freezer. That way if you need lemons during the off-season, you have a ready supply! It comes in super handy for recipes and drinks that call for them. You can simply toss them in cold, or microwave them.

Summer Reading

11 Jul


It’s hard to escape the nostalgia of summer.  It’s leftover from being a kid in school and counting down the minutes to the start of summer, those months of freedom, staying up late, eating junk food, going swimming and spending time with friends. You leave this world in your later teens when you opt to get a summer job, and it continues into your college years and/or the entrance into the “real world” where as an adult you don’t really get a summer unless you have the vacation time. You are most likely still working or if you are like many of us, you are under-employed and trying to find cheap/free things to take up your time while you make friends with your air conditioner.

One of the best things to do over the summer is to catch up on your reading. With a simple library card, you can get books, videos, and audiobooks FOR FREE from your local library! Since it’s the 21st century, most libraries allow you to browse their collection online and you can request materials and go pick them up when they are ready. Since teleportation isn’t available for us yet, take a trip to your local library and check out what’s available. With budget cuts slashing violently into libraries, they need our support and one basic way to do so is to prove their worth by borrowing from them and show their value to the community.

If you’re not into novels, you can check out cookbooks if you’re looking to improve your skills in the kitchen. Are you an artist, or interested in working the right side of your brain? There are wonderful books on sparking creativity and how-to and inspirational guides in all kinds of creative medias. If you’re more of a movie person, there are tons of DVDs and videos to borrow. You can also get audiobooks online and in disc form. Really, the library is a wonderful place and one that is not obsolete in our digital world.

So far this summer I’ve enjoyed some great reads, including Craig Ferguson’s American on Purpose. It’s funny, sad, highly entertaining and insightful. It’s a quick read and gave me a much better view of Craig Ferguson. I never knew he was in punk bands in the magic period of the late 1970s! He’s led an interesting life and made a crazy journey into the entertainment industry. It’s a great read, check it out!

I’ve also been really interested in history, and I’m still working my way through The Story of Britain, which covers Roman rule of Britain through current events. This book is massive and so interesting I ended up buying a copy for my collection. As an American, we are not very educated the history of countries outside our own in school, so it’s been great to read the history of a country much, MUCH older than the infant USA.

Another of my favorite reads this summer is comedian Mike Birbiglia’s book Sleepwalk with Me. Like many people I was introduced to his hilarious humor on This American Life, and have since watched a few of his comedy specials and watched him gain much deserved acclaim as an author, comedian and writer. This is a must read with stories from his life including his well known trials with his sleep disorders and those ever embarrassing childhood experiences.

Are you ready to read?