typical Baltimore summer? hot, humid, and hazy with a chance of thundershowers :-)
you can also find leafy green trees, overgrown gardens, cicadas humming, plastic pink flamingos, people cooling off whenever and where ever they can, DC politics, tall ships, shrimp-n-grits, lots of spice..
and no matter how oppressive and sticky the air gets, there’s no fighting it. it’s best to just accept it for what it is and enjoy it while you have it <3
when i talk about my hometown, those who know about the Baltimore/Washington metro area know that summers there are one long ‘hot, humid, and hazy with a chance of thundershowers.’ a few who have spent more than a day/week passing through also happen to know that it was a vast expanse of swamp before the European settlers came and built cities on it. so when we say hot and humid, we really mean hot and humid.
the Eastern Shore is all that hot, humid, sticky, with an extra large order of mosquitos, and then some. this is the piece of land on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay that is still mostly rural. there are a few quaint towns, some small farms, open expanses of forest and parkland, and a decidedly different set of politics.
it’s a beautiful place that i’ve experienced in small doses: i’ve been to Ocean City a few times, my mom used to take us camping on Assateague Island (the one with the wild horses!), and my father has recently found new love for kayaking along the Pocomoke River.
so what’s the big deal with this river? as you can see, it’s a lovely way to spend a lazy afternoon outdoors. but also, this river is lined with Cypress trees, which are known for having leaves high in tannins, tannins that turn the water tea-brown and kill mosquito larvae :-)
it was a perfect kind of lazy summer day! thank you daddy <3
i’m just back from a long week in Baltimore. this year i made sure my summer visit coincided with ArtScape, the largest free art festival in America and one of my favorite summer events (besides thunderstorms and sailing at night on the Chesapeake Bay).
just to clarify – this art festival is no joke. it attracts artists from all over the country and sees upwards of 350,000 people in attendance. this year George Clinton, Michael Franti, and Shorty Trombone were headliners. there were also Symphony performances, professional dance troupes, very well organized roller skating street performers, experiential installations, skilled artisans, jewelry makers, potters, silk screeners, painters, illustrators, gourmet food trucks, etc, etc, etc..! this is not some craft show, this is serious business. and it’s all free and open to the public :-)
by some unspoken law of the universe, the weekend that ArtScape falls on always happens to be the hottest weekend of the summer. it’s the one weekend when hundreds of thousands of people pour out into the center of Baltimore to party together. and each year, after barely surviving hours in the sweltering sun, 98F with 95% humidity, we all swear off ArtScape for good. then the following year we’re right back out there doing it again. but who can blame us? it’s a damn good time! as soon as the music strikes up in the nearest outdoor arena, the crush of people just starts swaying in rhythm together. everyone is out to have a good time.
this year the theme was water (the irony was not lost on me). there were elaborately decorated misting tents, water-like installations and sculptures strung up all over the place, boxes of water being sold, a giant hammerhead shark constructed from plastic water bottles, art cars decked out with sea creatures and other water-inspired paraphernalia… WATER! it was a bit strange for me to see water being sprayed into the air and streaming down into storm drains, but i was told they’d already had too much this year. so far this year it’s been raining so often, they have more water than they know what to do with.
it was hot, humid and hazy, and we had some thunderstorms. but i got my culture fix. can’t wait to do it again next year :-)
we did more than just watch fireworks last weekend, we also drank lots of beer, made beer bread, and bbq’d stuff. this year we opted for a 5lb cut of sirloin from a butcher shop in the north bay (where cows are out standing in their fields – ha!). we smoked it for 5+ hours and not one neighbor was annoyed with our sidewalk setup. because we were out there for so long most happened by more than once, and they all cheerfully checked in on our progress :-)
the meat turned out beautifully! but since our party wandered off before it was ready to be served (*ahem* 5+ hours), a few of us were left with a large pile of leftovers.
the morning after it was just as delicious. a little hair-of-the-dog for your July 4th recovery? ;-)
we’re a rowdy bunch, Americans. opinionated, entitled, empowered – and as much as some like to position those as negative qualities, there are others who rather enjoy what this inclination enables. out here in the wild west it’s as much about doing it your own way as it is live-and-let-live.
but i digress.. July 4th in San Francisco means everyone celebrates what it means to be American, the land of the free and all like that. we drink lots of beer, BBQ piles of deliciousness, and we blow sh*t up!
note: all this occurred in a weirdly maintained setting. i can’t explain how well these guys managed such a dangerous party! even the police seemed to be too busy with real work to bother to interrupt the festivities.
*video also available here.
4th of July on Bryant Street, Mission District, San Francisco.
..and the livin’s easy!
it’s getting warm here in San Francisco. some days it’s hot and the sun is intense. then the fog rolls in so thick it doesn’t burn off for days. one evening on my way home from work, i heard this at 16th Street Bart. it was well after 6pm and the warm air was only getting heavier, no relief spotted on the horizon..
thank you SCOTUS :-D you just gave San Francisco permission to have the biggest Pride weekend ever! the marriage equality ruling is such a big deal for so many people, i can’t tell you how many happy tears i saw Friday morning alone. you could feel the excitement everywhere here in the Bay.
so what did i do? i got out there and enjoyed it while it lasted! this ruling came through right as we were kicking off Pride weekend. i had even more reason to step out and celebrate with my friends and family.
i partied with the ladies on Friday night at Ruby Rose’s White Party. and can i tell you? there’s no better way [for a woman] to feel loved than with a bunch of women who really love women! so many gorgeous, happy, wonderful people just having a great time – taking you as you are, no questions, no exceptions.
on Saturday i made it out to see the Grateful Dead. that was everything you’d expect it to be :-) complete with long stem red roses for all 70,000 attendees, cold beer and it’s-it ice cream sandwiches, and a full rainbow making an appearance right as the band finished their first set. (which was not lost on anyone!)
and then of course the big day, the Pride Parade. this was my first year attending the parade, and i was fortunate enough to actually be IN it! i was invited to help the ACLU remind people that #BlackLivesMatter and we must #ProtectTransLives. though we weren’t dancing our way up Market St with a DJ and colorful float behind us, we still had a great time and felt so much love and support from everyone!
ahhhh, such a great weekend! :-) special congratulations to the ACLU Northern California chapter for winning an award at the parade. it was an honor to walk with you!
we saw the new Whitney building and visited the Brooklyn Museum. we wandered the streets of Harlem, we ate pizza, we noticed old buildings cleverly converted into churches, we stayed up late eating harissa-spiced lamb wraps while talking about the world..
and yes, we also whispered about cute boys seen everywhere.