What I'm reading this summer (2017)

Clouds from my garden

Summer rolls in on the 21st at 12:24 am. Do something special to mark the longest day of the year.

Any plans for the season? I'm preparing a set of new online drawing and watercolor courses that debut (to alums of my foundation courses) in September. Also, I am taking my first, actual, planned vacation in late August and truly looking forward to that. But on the other hand, I'm enjoying life immensely right now, so I can wait.

I am leaving behind the habits of checking the news more than once daily (if that often), and of streaming movies and tv shows online. I'm sick to death of both and am back to reading.

I've just discovered Andrew Garve (aka Paul Winterton, aka Roger Bax, aka Paul Somers), and finished his Hide And Go Seek this afternoon. I discovered this book in a free basket (as I have several other fab reads over the years), opened to a random page, read a paragraph aloud, put it under my arm and am committed to three more of his.

Here's what else I have stacked up for summer: Click here to read more...

About my Dad


Edwin J. McDermott, Esq.
1907-1978

Recently, I have been missing my Dad. A lot. I think of him now, especially while I am swimming laps, remembering the simple, loose, lined '60's swim trunks he wore in olive green or khaki.

Approaching Father's Day, rather than compose some sentimental essay, I am making a list of random facts about him, as they come to mind. The massively interesting, good stuff I remember. Okay, here goes.
He
  • was once arrested on Atlantic City beach for bathing without a top on.
  • had just come back from horseback riding on Atlantic City beach when he heard the news that Pearl Harbor had been bombed.
  • taught Naval officers accounting at Penn during WWII.
  • was one of the youngest lawyers to go before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1932 at the age of 24. 
  • graduated third in his class, Order of the Coif, at University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1930.
  • entered St. Joseph's College in 1927, at the age of 15.
  • rowed single scull on the Schulykill River.
  • regularly bought records from Sam Goody at his first record shop on 9th Avenue in NYC, relying on Sam for au courant recommendations.
  • said, "Here. I understand that you should listen to this." while handing me a copy of Meet the Beatles.
  • taught me how to work an amplifier and tone arm...read more

The Growing Season


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud                                                  was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ― Ana├»s Nin
The garden is coming along.

I can't get the ever-expanding plots all in to one shot so the above photo is a detail of Russian kale that's been keeping me in greens all winter, flowering zucchini, dill, beets, leeks, tomatoes, vinca, lavender, anise hyssop, scabiosa and some native plant in violet bloom that a neighbor gave me last spring. There's more, much more... but you get the idea.

This time last year I started with discarded heirloom tomato seedlings in old recycling bins. I knew little about growing vegetables and still have a lot to learn but I can say that about almost anything.

Along with the garden, I've been growing new drawing and watercolor studio classes in art history. These have evolved since January in dramatic and exciting ways. Dramatic because of the phenomenal results of student work. Exciting because, well, any...read more

Sleep on it


You need more sleep.

That's the name of a book on the shelf in my bathroom.​ It's a bunch of good advice to humans from cats.

I'm going to make this post quick because I'd like to get to sleep, oh, right about NOW. But I'll sleep better if I write this post and publish it first. I've missed my regular weekly posts because I've been profoundly exhausted from a sinus infection and have used every ounce of energy to do only what was necessary. Although that also happened to include outlining and partially designing three new courses (one of which I created while teaching the first iteration).

Have you ever been so tired that you cannot sleep? That's the way I've been feeling. Laying down a lot but not getting proper sleep. That, however, is changing. Right now. Tonight, in fact. Because, hey... click here to read more...