Tag: Summer

Weekend Links

“If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe and Aloysius in a good temper…”
― Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

Hi, kittens. It was another rattling week of news and the general sense of overwhelm continues. Between acts of violence, tragedies, media shenanigans, Twitter-happy trigger fingers, ongoing debate or outrage over American legislation, grumpiness over British politics, and goodness knows what else, there was a lot to absorb.

On the personal front, work continues to plug along and the benefits of my Paris break seem to be sticking around. I put to bed a yearly budget, sat down with some creative pals, am back to working on some of my 101/1001 goals, and Jeff is acting a personal training and nutrition coach as we try to get back to being healthy. You may imagine how the last bit thrills me.

Here is a nice batch of links for you, some funny and some serious, to help kick off your weekends. I’ll be at the gym. Crying.

I mentioned this last week, but this summarizes why the Comey Hearing had so many specific overtones to women.

HIDEOUS.

Summer street caller response prep.

There’s little I love more than a good disruptor story, particularly in the world of beauty!

When I first saw this story, I legitimately thought it was satire. It’s not.

Shut up and take my money!

Seriously, just take my money. I mean it.

Alas, poor J. Crew.

Having said that, I appreciate the kitsch quotient in this sweater.

After multiple mass shootings this past week, which were all horrible, let’s talk about it and some facts around it. Also, here’s an overview of the mass shootings of the last 18 months. In fact, here was an overview of all the shootings that happened that same day.

I indulged in some major vintage scouting while in Paris but at the moment, a lot of easily accessible vintage pieces are not from the eras or decades that I like and so I sat on my hands on all cases but one. But it got me in the mood to read more about vintage, so this article was right on target!

This piece from the Columbia Journalism Review is nicely thought provoking.

Album of the Week: How Did We Get So Dark, by Royal Blood

Five Things I Loved In May

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

Kittens, I am neglecting you lately, but the world of work has rather consumed life over the last couple of weeks and free time has been taken up by getting outdoors into the increasingly nice weather whenever possible. I enjoy the parade of seasons most years, with their respective fashions, celebrations, and foods, but I have been craving summer in an unusual way this year and am ready for the accompanying heat and holidays. This is pretty clear in this month’s batch of favorites!

 

Nars x Charlotte Gainsbourg eyeshadow in Old Church Street. I had every intention of being good and not buying any more makeup for the rest of the year, truly I did. But when this collection dropped I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. The combination of slate and champagne shadows was too gorgeous to be believed, and I could actually justify it to myself as I didn’t have any existing shades in these colors. Clearly my upcoming Paris trip inspired me! I’m now sitting penitently on my hands and eschewing temptation for a good long while to make up for it.

 

Neom candle in Complete Bliss. Most floral scents, whether for perfumes or home fragrances, simply do not do it for me but this is the rare exception and I currently have three of these suckers scattered throughout the apartment. It’s rose scent would be overpowering, but it’s got some citrus and black pepper thrown in to balance things out. So not only do we have fancy antique chairs now, and a regular cleaning schedule, but our house always smells nice too. We begin to feel quite grown up!

 

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season Three. This absurd delight of a show continues to bring me joy, mixing light and dark equitably and shot through with ridiculousness. I inhaled the whole season in one weekend and firmly believe that Titus’ “Lemonading” episode needs to win some kind of award.

 

Sunglasses. I seriously didn’t start wearing these regularly until my late 20s, for no good reason whatsoever. I have since reformed.

 

Hermes, Un Jardin sur la Nil. I’ve owned this bottle of perfume for years now and I’ve finally come to the end of it. It’s done good service and though I don’t think I’ll ever repurchase it, it is a wonderful summer fragrance with green notes. Inspired by the garden islands at Assouan on the Nile, it’s one of a series of “travelogue” style scents that Hermes has done, and are well worth a look in. As the weather has warmed up, I’ve enjoyed spritzing this on liberally as a prelude to summer.

Daughter Concert

“For those of you in the cheap seats I’d like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewelry!”
― John Lennon

Confession time, we have not been taking appropriate advantage of London in the summer and we need to rectify this immediately. Working from home obviously contributes to the problem, as does the fact that my clients are several timezones behind me and I often have to be at least partially available during hours that most people spend frolicking. Jeff also has a lot of studying to do for the ever present reality of tests, and weekends are largely devoted to the necessary errand running that we haven’t been able to do during the week.

But it’s summer. In London. We need to be outside absorbing as much Vitamin D as humanely and safely possible because the cold, dark days will arrive much sooner than we all probably realize. To that end, we’ve started making an effort to track down as many outdoor adventures as possible, while varying up the routine a bit.

If I’m a theatre girl, Jeff is the resident music guy. When we were deciding what to do for our anniversary this year (travel being out of the budget for a while to go, alas), I picked the midnight matinee at The Globe and he wanted a concert and found a great one.

Somerset House, on the banks of the Thames, has a long history. The site has been home to a Tudor palace, a residence for members of the Royal family and their entourage, and apparently later a barracks. It was demolished and rebuilt in the neoclassical style and has moved over time to house various arts and learning societies and is a popular venue for performances. Particularly in, hey! Summertime! We first heard about the band Daughter on NPR and Jeff snapped up tickets as soon as he found out they were going to be performing.
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Not bad, venue.
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Drinks boys circulated the crowd with these signs and easy-to-spot flags that I probably found entirely too funny, but that I clearly had to document.
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No makeup and summer allergies, but pretty happy to be here!

The opening act was D.D Dumbo, an Australian artist who builds his songs while you listen (see more here, thanks again to NPR’s music reporting).

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A disproportionate amount of my music is tragic or vengeful, the blues feature heavily, so make of that what you will. Daughter makes music that is gorgeously sad and depressing, and the lead singer Elena Tonra has a perfectly haunting voice so she’s right up my street. The band is still learning how to tour and their stage presence could use some work, but the music is the slow, quiet kind that gets its claws into you.

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Just as pretty in the dark. Hopefully there can be more concerts in our future, as this has only been my third ever. My second, incidentally, was my first date with Jeff, so things are working out pretty well so far.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

“Anyway, I liked autumn.  Autumn – the season of new boots.”
– Marian Keyes, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married

Nope. Still not happy.

I am of the of the few, the grumpy, the Perpetually Meteorological Unsatisfied.

In the depths of a Western winter, when I have to dig my car out every day for weeks at a time, I long for spring.  When spring shows up, I tsk at its lack of purpose in waffling back and forth between blizzards and broiling.  As for summer, well, Small Dogs were not meant to be heated (I’m stupidly susceptible to heat stroke and exhaustion).  By all accounts I should be equally aggravated with fall for its schizophrenic weather, but I’m oddly indulgent.  I love fall.  I love the holidays, the new clothes, the cool weather after the sunburned, blistering baking I get June through August.

But I don’t love when Fall teases me with glimpses of cooler weather (relatively, seeing as how we were pushing triple digits here recently) before vanishing until at least October.

It sends me mixed messages.  The temperature dips (for a week) and my brain starts firing.  Sweaters!  Pumpkin in every baked good ever!  Boots!  Halloween!  Hot chocolate every day!  End of summer clothing sales, buy all the things!  College football!  Actually working out regularly because I’m not overheating and getting sick!  Nutmeg!

Then a couple days later I’m literally knocked backwards by the thump of heat that surges inward when I open the door in the morning to go to work.  My brain, which was already planning pies and outfits and pre-winter projects swivels around on itself yelling, “Abort, abort!”

The Hot Hot Heat

“It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire.  With air conditioning their windows were shut, they couldn’t hear the barbarians coming.”
– Garrison Keillor

It is a truth Americanly acknowledged that lack of air conditioning makes all other problems, including those of moving to a new country when said country has enacted new visa laws, pale in comparison.  Whiny?  Yes.  Wimpy?  Undoubtedly.  But the fact remains, kittens, that C.’s and 100 degree weather simply do not mix, and the effects on J.’s isn’t too much better.

NO.

The air went out sometime Thursday night and the repair guy has been over several times to.  The first time he inspected the cupboard where all the machinery is located and said, “The problem is that your unit is 30 years old, and that some of the wiring’s loose.”  So he tightened up the wiring, the air became cooler, and he left.

Thirty minutes later the heat was back and so was the repairman.  This time he climbed up to the roof and checked a couple of other flats’ units.  “The problem,” he declared, “is that your unit’s 30 years old, the coolant is about 2 gallons beneath what it’s supposed to be, and the wood holding up the roof unit is has rotted out from under it.  And the fan just exploded when I looked at it.”  Oh.  Goody.

Apparently he came back a third time to check out some other flats again and the real underlying issue is, “The unit – all the units – are about 30 years old.”  No one saw that one coming.  In any event, the cold (ha!) truth is that the only permanent solution is upgrading everything.  He’s going to fix our fan, hopefully soon, so that we can at least get some air moving through the flat, but it’s only a band-aid solution over the bullet hole.

We tried to hold out, we honestly did, but Saturday afternoon when the thermostat was at the end of it’s ability and incapable of reading any higher, we called my in-laws and begged to be allowed to sleep in their basement that night.  And like the wonderful people they are, they said yes.  Last night the blessed clouds rolled in so we went home and opened every window in the flat, regardless of rain and managed quite well, but if we don’t get this fixed soon there will be dark, dark consequences.  Or I may just throw in the towel, park myself on the bed with a glass of iced tea and a fan, and start speaking in an exaggerated Southern drawl.  You know.  Whatever comes first.

And after I've recovered from the vapors... I will END YOU.

Mother. Nature.

“Nature’s all well in her place, but she mustn’t be allowed to make things untidy.”
– Cold Comfort Farm

Pictured: Summer, after a particularly impressive bender.

Of course, summer is moving towards its inevitable end.  Though not quite in her death throes, she’s sensing that they’re not far off and so is  looking to have a last fling with a boy a third of her age, wear skirts that are far too short, and spend all her money rather than let her grasping nephew Fall get a penny of it.  In other words, generally behaving badly.

The other day J. called me up.
“Are you coming home for lunch?” he asked.
“Wasn’t planning on it.  Why?”
“Because you need to go to the store.”
“Again, why?”
“Because you need to pick up ant traps and spray.”

Summer's attack German Shepherd. And although I didn't catch a glimpse of this guy, I am sure he was lurking back behind the suitcases.

Augh!  Apparently ants had descended on our flat.  They were crawling in from a closet runner, bent on global domination (For the record, Mum, our flat is in no way in a state to attract the wildlife, please don’t wring your hands and bemoan anything).  Anyway, I dashed home armed with chemicals, J. vacuumed everything, sprayed and booby-trapped our closet to the point that those famed nuclear-resistant cockroaches of lore couldn’t survive, and we waited with baited breath to see if it had worked.  So far, nary a six-legged fiend has been sighted.

However, marshalling the ants to send them indoors was only Old Lady Summer getting drunk at her granddaughter’s wedding.  She finished the night by climbing up on the buffet table, shaking her bon-bon, and collapsing spectacularly into the punch.

That night we had a massive lightning storm.  I read later that in a half hour period we had nearly 150 lightning strikes in the area.  And unlike normal storms, where the flashes and rumbles are spaced out a bit, this was explosion after explosion for hours.  Neither J. nor I slept because every few seconds our whole room would light up and it would sound like someone had cracked a whip right next to our heads.  And this sort of weather has continued, with varying degrees of intensity, for the last three days now.  The power was knocked out yesterday, making getting home from work a nightmare.

Small Dog gets Summered-out.

Summer and I have a middling relationship.  Round about February of each year I whine and long for sunlight, but as soon as we’ve made it through July, I start glaring at bank signs along the road with their publicly displayed roasting temperatures and start mumbling things like, “October sounds good.  I could do October right now.”

*Photo of cracked old biddy, from mygutinstinct.wordpress.com
*Photo of the vile insect invader, still from the 1954 film Them!
*Photo of my approximate face come mi-August from: findavet.us/blog/2010/04/how-to-keep-your-dog-safe-in-the-heat/