It's almost like the sun is not trying to murder me

Those of you who have been following me since last summer may have noticed that the weather has not yet caused me to completely lose my senses, as it had by this time last year. (You may also recall that I was not the only member of this household affected.) Chances are it's simply because of all the EMBRACING I've been doing, but let's take a look at the numbers...so far this year Austin has seen nine days over 100 degrees. Nine! Pretty toasty, and I'm sure August will up that total considerably. Ahyhoo, let's see what what happening last year, looks like Austin had oh ninety days over 100 degrees. Nine TEE. We also surpassed the entire 2011 rainfall total...in early May.

Look. I'm not saying that my personal decision to EMBRACE SUMMER is responsible for this dramatic shift to hot-yet-tolerable temperatures. And I'm pretty sure the fact that water now occasionally falls from the sky just like I've seen so many times on television is not my doing. But I'm telling you right now that the theme of Summer 2013 is going to be EMBRACE THE MOSQUITOES. Just in case.

BA #OHSOCLOSE (51): Black barley, fennel, and radish salad. So, okay. Black barley is...a thing, in theory. It does not appear to be available anywhere in the Austin area, but it can be obtained online for $3-4/lb! And $14 shipping. If I had tackled this as, say, BA#4, I probably would have sucked it up and shelled out the $20 to guarantee "visually striking" authenticity. But there has been a lot of shrimp and smoked salmon and obscure liqueur and grotesque sea-beast since then and I'm pretty much tapped, so I gladly took them up on their "feel free to substitute [the normal barley you already have in your freezer]" offer.

I'm sorry it's so visually unstriking, everyone.
It tasted like a room-temperature grain salad. I don't know, they've all run together for me now. Unlike, for example, TACOS! TACOS! TACOS! (which are special snowflakes, each and every one), anything that involves pasta, rice, or grains and a vinaigrette goes on my list of Things I Would Like Better If They Were Hot And Covered In Tomato Sauce. (This is a long, long list.)

It's nice to see that, even though we're two weeks post-party, Anna's birthday presents are still bringing her so much joy.

The furrowed brow of childhood contentment.
She is also taking her own stand against the mosquitoes.

Honestly, this is as good a solution as anything I've come up with so far.
Also, I feel like there's been a dearth of Ivy pictures lately, but she gets so shy when the camera comes out, you guys.

She just goes full Garbo on me.

Poor little recluse.