Things to do when it’s goddamn hot outside

  1. make sun tea
  2. find shade
  3. cut your hair short
  4. take photos of the sun
  5. bury your feet in the sand
  6. nap in a hammock
  7. run through a sprinkler
  8. cook on the grill
  9. eat on the beach
  10. go swimming
  11. pack away your winter clothes
  12. take long showers
  13. make smoothies
  14. eat salad
  15. go on a road trip
  16. find a patio
  17. eat popsicles
  18. walk in a mall with AC
  19. buy new sunglasses
  20. wait for the sun to go down


There is no right way to write. Use a computer, tap on your phone, or try pen and paper. Whatever works for you. In the morning, on your lunch break, or before bed. Just get your words out. But here is one weird trick that works for me.

Go outside. There’s something about the drastic change of scene that helps my brain settle down and get in the mood. At home, I have TV, wifi, food, and even laundry needing folding. I have so many excuses at home, not to mention my couch.

I’m writing this on the beach in White Rock. It’s a ten minute walk down the hill from my house, including the time looking for the right spot to sit. I brought my phone with me, but it’s unusable out here. The sun is blinding.

I came out here for that exact reason. I wanted to write, and I wasn’t writing at home. I needed to kick my own ass and get something done on my day off.

It’s so easy to waste time. Ten o’clock, every night, an alarm goes off on my phone reminding me to write a journal entry. Every day, for 1300 days, I take a few minutes to write down something short about what the day was like. Whatever is still interesting at ten o’clock. Some days, ten o’clock buzzes my phone, and I don’t know where the hell the day went.

But if I got outside, if I went for a walk, if I doodled something in my notebook, if I set a timer and put some words on the page, that’s a day. That’s all I ask for, every day.


By the time it’s hot enough to wear shorts here (which is always a false alarm; Vancouver weather can, and will, change at its own whims), it will have been eleven months since I last shaved my legs.

My job doesn’t require me to dress formally, I don’t attend fancy events, and I don’t care for skirts and dresses besides. I sometimes shave during the summer months (here, that’s July and August), but generally, as a fair-skinned blonde, I’m happy to let it grow.

This year, summer came early, and I didn’t have time to prepare before the first day of shorts. I haven’t bothered since. I think about it, usually when I’m putting on sunscreen, but then I realise I would rather be doing so many other things.

I’ve lost the weight I gained during my two years of unemployment, and I fit into my size 12s again. I fit into the short shorts I bought from the GAP because they were on sale and because I was amazed to fit into them. I barely wore them then because they were a concept wholly new to me.

I wasn’t ready to be a person who wore shorts that short, despite how they fit. Usually, come hot weather in summer, I cut off an old pair of jeans or khakis and wear those like shorts.

I’m self-conscious about my legs, in general, my thighs, in particular. Sitting on a bench on the pier, and I’m self-conscious about the way my legs are crossed. Hairy legs, flabby legs, pale legs–it’s everything put together.

I try not to care, but it doesn’t always work. My short shorts are an act of protest, for myself and for the world. I don’t know if it’s working yet, which, to be honest, is why I’m writing about it. This is how I figure out how I feel.


One of the things my grandma gave me when I moved out was a tortilla press. It’s not a family heirloom, just an aluminum thing she probably bought during one of their many stays down in southern California. I have friends in LA, which is where I learned to love tacos.

I’m still learning how to make tortillas. Because she was giving up the press, my grandma also gave me a half bag of instant masa. I thought that meant this would be easy. The package said all you need is water.

My first batch were too thick. My next batch crumbled. They all tasted great, but I had to eat my tacos with a fork. Edible, but not what I wanted.

I rolled smaller balls, tried more pressure, with no success. Then I added melted butter. (I’ve been eating mostly vegan these days, but my grandma had given me a few pounds of butter before I made this decision. Part of the reason I want to eat vegan is because I abhor wasted food.)

I also left the masa in the fridge overnight because I was making four different things at once (I’m pretty sure one of them was pizza). The next day, I rolled, pressed, and cooked my tortillas in a dry frying pan, and they were almost perfect.

They stayed together! You could definitely taste the butter (I’ll use oil next time). Here are some things I put in tacos: black beans, greens (kale, swiss chard, spinach), bread and butter pickles, pickled onions, chives (and chive flowers), green onions, leaf lettuce, sautéed shallots, and any kind of vinaigrette. I made five tortillas, I was so excited, and I ended up eating all of them.


In anticipation for summer (and because my parents are frequent cruisers willing to bring me home a bottle of duty free vodka), I made limoncello. Rather, I’m in the process of making limoncello.

Buy a bag of lemons–organic, if possible, but not necessary. Just wash well with mild soap and water, if not. Zest them all. There are a few ways to do this. A sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife, the fine side of a box grater, an actual handheld zester, or–my choice–a rasp. The key with zesting is that you only want the yellow part of the peel; none of the white.

Collect the zest in a large glass jar. I used a wide mouth pint jar to make it easy to get stuff in and out. Fill the jar with vodka.

Let this steep in a cool dark place for as long as you can wait. My lemon zest vodka has steeped a month, only a few days away now. Like anything you steep, the longer you wait, the strong the flavour.

You’ll need a few more ingredients. Limoncello is defined by the lemon, but also the sugar. Simple syrup is one part sugar and one part water in a small pot, and boiled until dissolved. After you filter out the zest, mix one part syrup to one part vodka. Now you have limoncello!


When I moved in February, my new basement apartment, with wood floors throughout, was too cold. Now, the temperature outside is climbing towards 30C, it’s not even summer, and my new basement apartment is lovely.

It’s not too cold; it’s perfectly lovely, especially after walking home from work when the sun is still high in the sky. My windows sit just aboveground, and with the shutters wide open, they fill the room with light and a cool breeze. The floor is chilly enough to demand socks in the morning. Even cranking my oven past 500C to make pizza for dinner is no problem at all.

It’s lovely down here, and nearly unbearable out there. I work afternoons, which means I walk thirty minutes up the hill at 2:30 in the afternoon. I wore a cardigan to work yesterday; I took it off and shoved it in my backpack not four blocks up the hill.

When you live underground, you never have to think about the heat. I never have to know how hot it really is until I go outside.

Lucky for me, the beach is just down the road.