Summer Nectarine Buttermilk Cake

Nectarine Cake

Summer shouts at me through the squeals and laughter of the neighborhood children;
Its scent is Barbacoa de Cordero slowing cooking in the neighbor’s backyard
It passes by on wispy clouds riding rapids through cornflower skies;
I run my fingers through summer’s mane of apple green and fragrant grass
I kiss summer in the ripe, juicy nectarines from my straining tree.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet’s Raspberry Buttermilk Cake.

 

The snakes and ladders game of life

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Is he really pushing through my thoughts again?  Is it because of my period?  Maybe it’s the time of year or maybe it was the lackluster date on Wednesday.

Life has be going  fairly well – work is keeping me busy, I’ve been spewing out my guts to the therapist,  I’ve been taking my meds, my ex hasn’t been foremost in my mind – until today.  It’s been a hard day – there’s something about warm, lazy afternoons that bring the memories back stingingly into my gut.  These are the types of days that we would enjoy a leisurely breakfast, grab the fishing poles and spend the afternoon catching bluegill and drinking a chilled bottled of white wine with the sun on our backs.

Since he left…since I “fell apart”…since my “depression” (what I think of as my “emotional explosion”), I’ve noticed that I’ve suddenly gained unwanted period symptoms – today is the first day of my period and I’m just this side of weepy.  I’ve always had bad cramps, but now, since the “explosion”, my emotions also seem out of control during the first few days Auntie Flow visits.  The pain and bloating are just a few inches lower than that place that he left hollow when he left me (my solar plexus).  Maybe these two areas are just too close together, maybe they’re part of the same pain.

Today, I hate him. I hate him for making me start over again – my life was complete with him.  I don’t want to start over with the online dating, the emails from the unsuitables, the potentials who just stop writing and the dates that disappoint.  I don’t want perfect summer afternoons spent alone.

I went on a date on Wednesday – a quick two hours for drinks.  Nothing about him struck my interest or my desire.  I could have left after the first drink.  Am I blocking the chance because I’m not over my ex – or is this man really not right for me?  I’m giving him a second chance next Saturday, but I think it’s hopeless.  I’m starting at the begining again, I don’t want to, and today, it hurts.

Three steps forward, eight steps back.

The Taste of Summer

The nectarine tree in the yard is pregnant with fruit.  The firm, juicy orbs are just days away from their peak ripeness.  I’m envisioning the warm crisps and flaky pies I’ll soon be making. The heavy clusters of fruit have already broken a large branch.  I should have culled them in March, but I missed the chance and always feel guilty not giving each one the chance to ripen.  A few sun-soaked fruit on the East side of the tree are already ripe.  I had a fresh bowl of slices sprinkled with key-lime juice this afternoon.  For my late night snack, I’ve concocted a ham and nectarine sandwich with tangy mayo, gruyere cheese and a bit of peppery arugula.  Summer has arrived.

Why is it so damn hot?

The neighborhood late-morning sounds finally wake me.  It’s the first Saturday of Summer – and already 110 degrees outside.  My bedroom is filled with white noise, reminding me to be thankful for the portable floor fan that has been keeping the heat at bay – blowing cool air across me throughout the night.  I pull open my bedroom door to see my cat stretched out long, nose to tail, on the cool, wood floor.  His head slightly rises as he lets out a murmured meow asking me, “why is it so damn hot?”  I lightly scratch his head and feel guilt for our lack of air conditioning. 

Sitting at the kitchen table, coffee cup between my hands, I contemplate my day.  I could sit here all day –  doors, windows, drapes and blinds pulled shut from the heat, but I know that by 5 or 6 ‘o’clock the setting sun will be pushing hard against the back windows, turning my little house into an oven.  I could drive to the beach, with the thousands of others who have similar thoughts, and position my beach chair a foot or so from the family of twelve. This isn’t really getting away from the heat, but embracing it, honoring it, using it in my favor (if I am properly lubricated with sunscreen).  This idea seems like too much work – find my bikini, towel, chair and sunhat, pack lunch, iPod, sunscreen and beach read, and I can’t forget to shave my legs. The heat has stolen my energy for this.  Still undecided, I push my chair back and make my way to the bathroom for a long, cool shower.