Sunday, July 31, 2011

TNT & Art

We’re just now discovering exactly what TNT means in the world of coffee. While it is still an abbreviation for that wildly explosive material, we found out it is also short for something coffee houses call Thursday Night Throwdown.

Being curious what it was all about, we walked over to the coffee shop to check it out. Sebastian insisted it was high time he had a change of scenery so we brought him along as well.

tntaa_1“Can I be the judge? I have the glasses and my serious look.”

TNT is a latte art competition. Latte art is those fancy designs or patterns that the barista creates with the foam in an espresso drink.  Arriving early, we snagged ringside seats, ordered some mochas – which by the way, ended way too soon – and waited for the competition to begin.

tntaa_2“I can do this!  I can be a judge.”

The art on the left is a tulip design.  The one on the right – rosetta.

tntaa_3“Lovely symmetry, good contrast, nice definition.  I pronounce this design a winner.  Can I have some?”

Sebastian, the competition hasn’t even begun yet.  That’s not yours to drink anyway.  You need something decaffeinated.


Soon the shop filled up with competitors, supporters and the occasional customer too! 


The first competitors:  last month’s winner on the left (one of our very own baristas) and a barista from the chocolate shop I mentioned in the previous post.  Oh, that’s going to be tough!


“Who’s going to drink all those latte’s they’re making?  Can I have one?  Can I?  Can I?  Huh?”


Sometimes the baristas drew the unlucky ‘blindfold’ where they had to steam the milk and pour without seeing.  Those designs didn’t turn out too well as you can imagine but it was fun to watch!


One by one the baristas were eliminated.  Then the competition started to heat up – both literally and figuratively.


“Oh I want one of those.  Either one – makes no difference.”

Sebastian, you know one of those lattes would keep you up all night long.  They are pretty though.  Which one is the best?  Tough decision.


Down to the final two.  The reigning champion and his boss.  The design:  A Heart.  If he wins, will he still have a job?  Will he throw the competition?  And most of all, who will get to drink the winning latte?


Let’s be fair.  If we judge on symmetry, the one on the left wins.  But, that one on the right looks a lot like the hearts I draw in a hurry.  I kinda like it.  Judges, what say ye?  The one on the left?  Ah!  The champ still reigns!  He still has a job too.  (I know this because he made our mochas Friday afternoon.  Mine had a heart shape – and it was superb.)

The competition was friendly, loose, fun and entertaining.  Then we had to go home.  Even without the caffeine, Sebastian was singing:  “99 cups of lattes on the wall, 99 cups of lattes, take one down, pass it around, 98 cups of lattes on the wall . . .”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Not for the Faint of Heart

As promised, today I am dedicating the entire post to just one subject inspired by the 31 Day Photo Fun. Just to prepare you, this will not be for the faint of heart.

Day 27: Your Weakness

Chocolate. Yep. I love it. No apologies.


You won’t find me scarfing down a whole bar of chocolate or even an entire cupcake, but I do enjoy sampling – a lot. The sweet samples above came from an artisan chocolate shop here.  When you walk in the door, the aroma is blissful.


Chocolate also comes in liquid form.  These works of art in both appearance and flavor were made within walking distance of our front door.  We should have stayed away.  Now it’s a near impossibility.


Double Chocolate Chip cookies.  And no, I didn’t make them.  A friend of ours brought them over for dessert one night – not even knowing about ‘my weakness’.  How perfect was that?


We felt a responsibility one evening to investigate the new cupcake place.  It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.  I’m pretty certain there are some other flavors and one visit won’t be enough to write a well rounded review.  Somehow we’ll manage.


I threw this extra photo in just in case you didn’t catch it the first time.  My motto really should be ‘So much chocolate, so little time.’ As you can see from these photos, Sebastian is nowhere in sight. This is no accident. If I expect to get even a little tiny bite, he has to stay home. What can I say? We’re competitive that way.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A stray among other things

Shiver me timbers! Where in the world did the month of July go? Oh that’s right – it melted away – like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz.

I have a few more photos from the PhotoFun series – choosing a photo seems to be getting harder. Or maybe I’m just getting pickier. In any case, here’s the next batch.

Day 23: Black & White

We came across this house about the time I began this project and remembered the eons I spent in the dark room smelling all the chemicals associated with developing film and photos. (Maybe that’s how I got this way.) Now I just change the setting on my camera and - Viola! Black & white!


Day 24: Love

I couldn’t decide about LOVE. It can be so big and also small. As a concept and as a photo. So, take your pick – of these ‘love’ photos.



Day 25: Citrus

Strays – ya gotta love ‘em. This poor little lime lost his way and ended up with the lemons and oranges. It’s the wild ones that are hard to rein in.


Day 26: Favorite Color

Day 26 was Favorite Color. It seems everyone has one. For as long as I can remember, mine has always been blue –even when I didn’t know it. Believe me, I’ve tried to break it off – but it’s just meant to be.


I am saving Day 27: Your Weakness for tomorrow. My weakness has a myriad of components but they all fall under a broad topic. Be forewarned. It won’t be for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rusty Shoes

I was in the middle of sewing up a small bear when I heard something that sounded amazingly like thunder; as in thunderstorm. It has been quite a while since our tiny little plot of land has seen any rain. I took off my glasses and clambered down the stairs to see if it was in fact, raining.


Then we saw drops of liquid looking a lot like rain landing on the pavement, the driveway, the sidewalk and the steps. Could it really be rain, real rain? (That is, as opposed to fake rain . . .)


I would have happily danced in it but my rain dancing shoes are just a bit rusty. I bet you’re wondering how they got rusty without any rain falling from the sky.


It’s the humidity – really, we’ve had that much of it and well, what can I say – my dancin’ shoes took a bad turn. Still, I love this quote: “Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.”


Friday, July 22, 2011

A Baby and a Dog

When this project was named photo fun – I had no idea how much fun it really would be. It will soon be done and over with but there is still more to come before it’s finished.

The photo for the 15th was action. This sweet young thing was in the middle of a yawn when I took this photo. Ain’t she somethin’?

Day 15: Action


The next assignment was a bit of a challenge. Not because we didn’t have a Mason jar. Heavens no! We have quite a few since my husband collects them. I just wanted it to be an interesting photo. Can you see the word ‘STRONG’ here? It’s from ‘Strong Shoulder’ on a canning jar. This one happened to be an Atlas. You think it still meets the requirements? I mean technically, it’s not a Mason jar.

And just in case anyone asked if I’ve lost my marbles, I just say, “Heck no!  I know exactly where they are.”

Day 16: Mason Jar/Jelly Jar


Bokeh is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur. I thought it was going to be hard. In fact, I didn’t know if I had done it adequately until I brought this photo up on my screen. I’m rather fond of it now.

Day 17: Bokeh


On the 18th, the list said “Eyes”. What do these eyes say? To me they say “I’m just one of the sweetest dogs around and if you give me a treat, I’ll be your bestest friend in the whole wide world.”

Day 18: Eyes


Ah, Summertime. A few bikes parked beside the neighborhood gelato shop and people enjoying their purchases on a pleasant summer evening. Me thinks it’s time to take a stroll across the street.

Day 19: Summertime


I took this one as the drops began to fall from the sky during a thunderstorm. They always pool like this on the sunroof of my mini. You’d think it’d get old after several years but we always stop and watch the drops fall.

Day 20: Water


I had some nice close-ups of a rose but this one seemed more interesting to me even if not quite as pretty.

Day 21: Micro (Up Close)


This lake isn’t far from my house and the water looked really cool on a day that was supposed to feel like 107°F (42°C). I could use a trip to the beach right about now. I could cool off with a dip in the ocean.

Day 22: Landscape


Oh and just so you know – I appreciate your visiting my blog!  That’s all. Me just saying thanks – ‘cuz, you know, you all are the best!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not as crazy as it looks.

The photo below needs a bit of an explanation which I am happy to offer. I think letting it go unexplained would just provide confirmation that I’m really off my rocker. While that may be a bit true, I do have a reason for some of the stuff I do. And one of the reasons is that I like to conserve – my own energy.

I’ve been doing a lot of painting lately – spray painting, box painting, etc. With it, there’s a lot of painting one side, letting it dry, painting another side, letting it dry. You get the idea. I don’t mind that too much but if I can do it all in one go, why not? It speeds things up.

That being said, you could walk into my home, garage or kitchen when I am in the middle of a project and find a string stretched from the handle of a drawer tied to a jar several feet away. You might find a suspended wire wrapped around a clamp that extends to a hammer. And dangling from either one of those could be any number of things that are in the process of being painted.

When my husband walks in the door, nothing surprises him. It’s almost disappointing that these types of things are no longer odd. I guess I’m just going to have to come up with new ways to catch him off guard.

Now perhaps this photo makes a little more sense. Painting round things can be really tricky and this is how I decided to avoid too many cycles of painting, drying, turning, painting, drying, turning.


I’m hoping that at some point this project will be ever so much more interesting to look at than it is right now, but that’ll have to wait since I am under strict orders from the rule makers at TBAI that it should not be revealed for a little while longer.

I can tell you that as soon as I am allowed to show you how all this turned out, I will. In the meantime, I’m hoping that this tidbit of info will help dispel the myth that I am completely nuts. A little, perhaps. Even a lot, at times, yes. But completely??? No. That’s just stretching it a little far – even for me.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Field Trip!

Beware of little ears. That’s my best advice to you today. You see, I had just barely whispered to my husband that we had been invited to celebrate our friend Faye’s birthday when Sebastian popped up and asked, “When is it? Where are we going? What do I wear? Nevermind, I’ll think of something.” And as usual, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he hadn’t been invited.

The next thing I knew he was all decked out in party gear, sitting on the porch waiting for the party guests to arrive.


It was then I knew that he would absolutely be coming along, invitation or not.


At the end of our journey by car, we had arrived here – Guglhupf – a place with a solid reputation for some delicious German dishes and an extraordinary bakery.


We could have eaten outside under one of these umbrellas,


but we decided that for this trip we would eat inside under these paper lanterns amid the wonderful atmosphere.


I couldn’t get Sebastian’s opinion; his mouth was hanging open at all there was to see. I suppose that was enough of an assessment.


Once his senses returned, he insisted on having his photo taken with the guests to prove to himself the following day that he hadn’t been dreaming.


Soon the food arrived – I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.







Look at that gorgeous decorating!  It almost looked too good to eat but we dispensed with that idea rather quickly.


Sebastian insisted on two things before we left: his photo with the birthday girl and a photo of the best waiter ever. Whatever Sebastian wants, he usually gets.


Happy Birthday, my friend!  (Thanks for sharing your cake!)

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