Water Weather



This photo shows a lady duck who landed in our pool a while back. She and her man hung out for a while, then flew away. That was the last we saw of them.


This holiday weekend is hot, y’all. And like that lady duck, I am spending time in the pool. It’s saving my life during the heat.


Having lived in L.A. for a couple of decades now, I remember when we used to have rain every year. Water Weather has come to mean something else entirely now. I’m grateful for the pool, but I do miss the rain. Our drought is incredibly sad to me. I don’t care about lawns, but I do care about life.


I’m not making sense now – not even to myself – so I’ll stop and try to enjoy the last official weekend of Summer. Hope you do, too. And I hope that wherever you find yourself planted on the globe, your weather is kind and inviting. Even if that means plopping down in a pool and doing your best duck impression.

Rumpus Room Coffee Table



This is our Rumpus Room coffee table. It sees a lot of action. And by action, I mean drinking and eating. See the rings? There are plenty to choose from. (If you’re thinking I could use better coasters, you’re right.) As this is where we gather on a daily basis, as well as entertain guests, those rings make for a less than appealing presentation. We could sand the danged thang and refinish it, but that’s a little more time and commitment than I’m presently willing to give. So what’s a gal to do?



BriWax is my answer. When I’ve mentioned this product to friends, they’ve stared blankly, as if I’ve made it up. So I wanted to share the stuff and its usage here. As you can see, the rim of this can is aged and rusty. That’s because I’ve had it for probably 15 years. And it has held me in good stead.


In preparation for applying the BriWax, I cleared the table and gave it a light cleaning, removing any food or dirt.



This is what the wax looks like. It reminds me of shoe polish, both in its appearance and application. It comes in different shades (including clear) and this dark hue seems to work pretty danged well for me. I simply take a clean, disposable rag and dig in.



When applying, I glob on a healthy amount of the stuff. I then rub it on in a circular motion, until the entire piece is covered.



Once the BriWax is on, the surface looks pretty dull. That’s because there is one final step to go.



This is usually the time I look down an my pitiful hands and tell myself I should have worn gloves. Please do not emulate me, y’all. Wear your gloves, people!


Finally, buff out the wax. I’m not gonna lie to you – this is work.  And there’s no getting around it, so if you decide to use BriWax, know that you’re gonna sweat. I take a clean, soft rag and buff the waxed wood until it has a nice sheen and is smooth. I do this in a circular motion, the same as when applying the wax. You’ll know you’ve buffed enough when you feel no resistance from the wax against the rag. When you begin, it takes more elbow grease to rub out the wax. As you proceed, the smoothness of the wood eases the work. Get it?



This is the finished product. See the rings? Not so much, eh? Clearly, this doesn’t produce a perfect surface. I mean, it looks much better, but I still see the effects of time. And for me, that’s okay. Like I said, this table sees a lot of action. But the BriWax works pretty well. What can I tell you? I’m a fan.


And for the record, no one at BriWax has ever heard of me, y’all.

Hotel California



This painting is part of a series based on song lyrics. I’m trying to stick to lyrics about California, and so far I’ve got an abundance of ideas. Time, time, time – that’s not so plentiful.


Anyhoo, how could I resist “Hotel California” as an option? I couldn’t! And I didn’t feel the painting needed to be complicated. So it’s fairly simple, with roadside palms against a night sky. Folks in Northern California may not relate, but those of us in SoCal are quite familiar with palm trees. To me, they say Cali. And if I were driving on a dark, desert highway toward Hotel California, I suspect there would be roadside palms, silhouetted against the night sky.


California. Lord knows I’ve not been able to leave…

Observations From the Road



Yesterday’s exercise equaled me getting out for a bike ride. It was H-A-W-T, but a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do. While I was on the road, I made a few observations (in no particular order):


-At one point I found myself behind a trash truck. And do you know what it smelled like? Chocolate. Where, I ask – outside of Hershey, Pennsylvania – does a trash truck smell like chocolate? I was only behind it a few seconds, but it was pleasant. Pleasant, I tell you!

-Did you know that a Birkenstock shoe could be as flat as paper? Neither did I, until I rode over one. I have no idea how long it was there on the road, or how many wheels it took to flatten it, but it was impressive just the same.

-While I was out there in the world, I stopped at a department store to look for a particular item. Apparently, if you’re shopping while wearing sweaty clothes and a bike helmet, you can only be looking for low-rent merchandise. At least that’s where all the sales clerks pointed me.

-When it’s hot outside, it feels much hotter on the road. Thank goodness I remembered to hydrate.

-It would appear that a multitude of people in L.A. are incapable of calling in their discarded bulky items for pick-up. I saw so much old furniture out there, it looked pathetic. For such a fit city, we sure are lazy.

-At one point I found myself behind a second trash truck. And do you know what it smelled like? Trash. Go figure.


These were only a few of the observations I made on the road. The rest were either too dirty or forgotten. It was a heat, I tell ya. A heat!

Pageant of the Masters



Thanks to the generosity of friends, Mister and I had a super-duper art outing recently: Laguna Beach’s Pageant of the Masters. Over the years, we’ve attended this annual production a few times. And we’ve yet to be disappointed.


Since 1933, The Pageant has been presenting various tableaux vivants (or “living pictures”) to the amazement and delight of audiences. Here’s a simple breakdown of how it works…


A chosen work of art, be it painting or sculpture, is recreated on scale with our human form/size. For instance, a chosen painting will be reproduced – entire background, costumes, applicable props and shadows – without the painted human(s). Then a volunteer will be dressed in wardrobe that matches the original painting. Make-up and hair pieces created specifically for said painting will be applied and then the volunteer will take her or his designated place in the framed piece. Hit the stage with proper lighting and voila! The recreation appears magically before our eyes, as if we’re seeing the real painting. The volunteers hold their poses for 90 seconds, allowing the audience to really take in the show. Once in a great while, an arm will flicker and that is when you know your eyes are not fooling you. Added to this visual extravaganza, original and historic music played live by the Pageant of the Masters Orchestra is simply the proverbial cherry on top of an artistic sundae.


This year’s Pageant featured 40 works! That’s a lot of art, y’all. The variety was tremendous and so beautiful. Not only were pieces presented on stage, some were shown throughout the show’s grounds. And you’d think 90 seconds would be plenty of time to get a good gander, but trust me when I tell you each piece left us wanting more.


Each year’s Pageant is built around a unique theme. This year’s theme was “The Art Detective” and the represented pieces all fit into that category in some way or another. Per the show’s program, the various works “…have been lost, stolen, misunderstood, rediscovered, and sometimes unfairly forgotten.”  I loved the way the pieces were tied together. I loved the history and stories belonging to each piece. Some made me laugh. Others made me cry. What can I tell you? Art is emotional.


I’m not sure, but I believe the Pageant of the Masters has ended each year’s production with the same piece: Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. This year, as part of the show’s theme, it was explained how The Last Supper was very nearly destroyed by an errant bomb during World War II. Even though I know the piece has persevered, even though I knew it was about to be presented, I cried. I had no idea da Vinci’s great work had been barricaded and saved by desperate monks who knew the intrinsic value of The Last Supper. I had no idea how close the world had been to losing such beauty. Like so much of life, I had (have) no idea…


After the lights had come up and folks were making their way out of the venue, Mister and I were given the rare gift of a backstage tour. One of the friends accompanying us is a volunteer at the Pageant. She took us around and showed us where the magical preparation happens for each night’s show. The sets were beautiful and gi-normous. The areas designated for wardrobe, hair and make-up were perfectly organized and tiny. I guess that after 80-plus years the folks behind the scenes have figured out a thing or two about keeping the show rolling. Seeing behind the curtain was enlightening and a privilege. We were mighty grateful.


The Pageant of the Masters is about to close its nearly 2-month run. But there’s always next year! And if you plan to find yourself in the Los Angeles area next summer, I highly recommend looking into tickets for Laguna Beach’s Pageant of the Masters. Like I said, I’ve never been disappointed. How could I be? It’s living art. And it’s truly spectacular.

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 34



This past week found us working on an idea Mister’s been considering for a while. We gathered some supplies and now we’re seeing if we can bring his vision to life. This one is going to take a couple of weeks, and that’s okay. In fact, Mister’s quite happy about the required time. He isn’t too keen on the pressure to complete an art project in a one-week period. (It is rather arbitrary.) Time is sometimes necessary for creation. Go figure.


So this one will take us a while, friends. And I’m not gonna give away any details until the project is complete. For now, you’ll just have to be content with knowing our materials mission required an intense visit to a local book re-seller…

Peach Rumba!



Mister wanted a drink. And I’d been itching to use a Peach Shrub I’d made 2 weeks prior. What’s that? What’s a Peach Shrub? Well I’ll tell ya.


I’d been reading about Shrubs for a few months when the Use Real Butter chick introduced me to a recipe on her blog. When she got around to blogging a Peach Shrub, I knew it was time to give it a try. I followed her instructions, y’all. The only difference I made was to wait 2 full weeks before using the concoction. I did try it after one week, but it was far too acidic for me. After 2 weeks, the magic elixir had mellowed just enough to make me very, very happy.


Anyhoo, back to Mister and that drink. He wanted bourbon, but I thought I’d give rum a shot. So I got my ingredients together…



Spiced Rum, Peach Shrub, Seltzer Water/Club Soda and ice (not shown).


Fill a short glass with ice and pour in 1 ounce of Spiced Rum.



Then add 1 ounce of Peach Shrub.


Top off with Selter/Club Soda and that’s it! This summery cocktail was so sophisticated and fun. The Spiced Rum gave just enough kick to add interest, and the Peach Shrub brought it all home.



I have to say, now that I know how good that Peach Shrub is, I believe I’ll have to make more. Per the Use Real Butter chick, the Shrub will keep in the refrigerator for a full year. Though honestly, there’s no way we’ll be able to keep it around that long. The Peach Rumba is just too danged good! If you try it, let me know how yours turns out.


Here’s the printable…

Peach Rumba!
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1

A delicious Summer Cocktail made from simple ingredients, Peach Rumba is dependent on making a Peach Shrub. That process will take 2 weeks to process, so plan ahead!
  • 1 ounce Spiced Rum (I use Captain Morgan’s)
  • 1 ounce Peach Shrub (I use the recipe found at UseRealButter: http://userealbutter.com/2014/08/03/peach-shrub-recipe/ )
  • Seltzer Water or Club Soda
  • Ice

  1. Fill a short glass with ice.
  2. Add 1 ounce of Spiced Rum.
  3. Add 1 ounce of prepared Peach Shrub
  4. Top off with Seltzer or Club Soda and serve!


Dry Cleaner Wisdom



True dat, Troy. True dat.

All Grown Up



What happens when a kid attends Rock Camp for Girls 4 years in a row? And takes guitar lessons? Her very own show at The Mint in L.A., that’s what.


And what happens when said cool kid needs a backing band? She gets Tom McNalley on guitar, Meghan Toohey on bass and Patty Schemel on drums, that’s what.



As I watched Claudi Dae perform, I remembered going into her band practice at Rock Camp, 4 years ago. She was so tiny! She was the keyboardist with her band, Crazy Rockerz. I remember her smiling as she played and I remember her positive energy. I knew then that she was a good kid. She still is.



As Claudi’s Mint show went on, I found myself thinking about life. Claudi’s parents gave her the gift of attending Rock Camp. After her joyful experience, Claudi pushed her mom, Misty, into volunteering at Rock Camp. And so we were given the gift of growing our tribe. Misty is as dear to us as any, and so is her daughter. I suppose that’s why we’re all so heartbroken over their upcoming move to Nashville. The whole fam damily is going, and that, friends, has meant saying goodbye.


But I’m not worried about them, as they’re impossibly fabulous people. Misty is an amazing photographer, and I don’t doubt for a minute that she’ll be producing beautiful work right away in her new town. Claudi is, well, she’s growing into a mighty rock star. I don’t have any doubts about the brightness of her future, either.



After Claudi’s show had ended, and before taking my leave, I told her I didn’t like that she had promoted the show as being her “last time in L.A., ever.” She responded, “But it is! I’m moving away!” I hit her back with, “So what! You’re gonna keep performing, and eventually you’ll tour and find yourself right back here – with so much love and support!” I’m not sure she believed me, but I believed me. And I believe in her. And in Misty. No, I don’t enjoy saying goodbye. But I am terribly excited for those gals. There’s just no telling how big they’re gonna shine…

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 33



“No news is good news.” Not so much when speaking of weekly art projects.


What I’m getting at here is this: we didn’t do a danged thang last week on the art project front. There was just so much other life happening, Mister and I didn’t have time. Or energy.


But that’s the way it goes, best intentions and all. For the year, I think this is only the second (third?) week we’ve missed doing some sort of project. That’s pretty good, so I’ll relax about being all self-judgie on this one.


There’s a new weekend before us. I wonder what we’ll do with it…