Alterations 

Yesterday, I took one look at the weather forecast for the inland Southwest and said, “Nope.”  So now we’ve altered our trip plans and will explore the parks in autumn instead.

I feel even more excited about this, as one reservation agent said fall is best for seeing wildlife.  And of course, fall color, which is legendary in the mountain West.  It’s also great elsewhere throughout the West, with lower elevations turning much later in the year.

So, some alterations.  The plus side?  Day trips and letting summer guide us, rather than the other way around.  I kicked that attitude off with a visit to the Little Italy Farmers Market, or Mercato, this morning.

It had been a few months since I had visited.  And so now it’s an explosion of summer fruits and veggies!
Flowers too…

Local mead and soda and jams…


And of course it would not be summer without stone fruits in particular!

Summer guides us now.  Local, fresh foods, sunny days, languid nights.  That’s a fair tradeoff, I do think.


Producers of these lovelies:

Jackie’s Jams

Susie’s Farm

Smit Farms

Superfood Coffee Co

Golden Coast Mead

Stay cool, everyone!

Summer Dreaming

Peaches

Summer fills the mind with possibility.  It is the ripe, full, juicy peach.  It is the scent of pungent, full berries on the vine.  There are trails to be hiked, beaches to dig in, roads to twist our way through valley and range.

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While it’s not officially summer, it’s already fizzing like soda up my nose.  I’m poring over maps, plotting the summer reading, scoping out new places to picnic.  I’m browsing books to read under the wafts of the ceiling fan on the hottest days.  I’m combing through recipes for grilling, sangrias, cobblers, ice creams, popsicles, tiki drinks, salads…and realizing I’m leaning toward not cooking at all, as my thoughts wander to olives and cheeses and fresh fruits.

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Soon we will hit the road, and we’ll see our wonderful national parks, so do stay tuned for that!

BerryCrisp

For now I’m digging in to the deliciousness of summer dreaming.

This Peach and Raspberry Crumble recipe was made from the recipe by Joy the Baker.

The homemade vanilla ice cream  is from Crowther Cafe.

Blooming

VariegatedJune Gloom overtook the region, carrying over from May Gray.  I’m not one to complain about this weather phenomenon in SoCal, because well do I know the furnace that awaits in August and September.  I’ve indulged in brisk walks and I’ve dared to have hot tea.  Besides, the gray skies make the flowers glow.

The month canters ahead, full of activity.  Many things are unfolding rapidly, more rapidly than the blooms it would seem.  I do pause to look at the flowers, though, as I dash hither and yon.

And I always stop at a Little Free Library.  This one caught my eye recently:

LittleFreeLibraryCan we talk about the landscaping first?  You can’t see the rest of this lady’s yard, but let me tell you, it’s a complete dream.  She’s a plant sorceress.  And look at what she’s done with the Little Free Library case!  Adding decorative branches!

Aren’t these things delightful?  I think my neighborhood has four Little Free Libraries that I know of.  They’re popping up everywhere, like June flowers.  And the best part is, they’re little treasure chests, you never know what’s in them.  And it feels grand not only to find a read, but to return and put another one in for someone else.  Our family loves everything about this.  Books in bloom!

Avocado Lessons

avocados

Avocados:  the koans of the produce world.

Pause for a moment with me and consider.  These little dragon egg “butter pears” never arrive perfectly in our lives.  Warty, lumpy, sometimes stunted; we would not immediately call them beauties.  How judgmental of us!  For when an avocado hits its peak ripeness, its interior reveals a smooth, dreamy green.  And it nourishes us and pleases us.  It is versatile as well.  Not a day goes by without seeing an avocado-based dessert or smoothie.  It’s not all about the guacamole.

But it kind of is.

For when we buy these oval wonders, we often have to wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

And then we must HURRY!  Hurry now, before the avocado turns brown!

Such a small little window.

Isn’t that like life?  We wait.  We wait for feedback on something.  We wait for summer.  We wait for a call or a text, and then realize we did not feel this way before something introduced the need for the waiting.

I was not wanting these avocados so badly until I had to wait for them to ripen!  That is a koan.

Appreciate that your efforts will bear fruit, even if there might be a bit of a rush when it all begins to happen.  Pause for a moment and savor that fruit.

These times call for avocado lessons.

I Built a World

At this moment, I’m resting.  I had been going nonstop for four hours:  school, errands, cleaning, hastily wolfing down food so I wouldn’t slide onto a floor or implode with a hangry attitude.  Now I’m sitting down, and in a few minutes I’ll have to jump back up again for a very busy afternoon.

I was stewing a bit on writing tactics.  Where do I go from here?  Should I sign up for this one publishing class?  (I did.)   Should I run forward a bit with this new short story I’m working on?  (Of course.)  But I admit I’ve been really in the weeds lately.  Had I waited too long to go forward with everything?  Time and trends change.  Self doubt creeps in.

But I stopped myself and realized why I was doing this.  I built a world.  Not just one, but several worlds, in fact.  I spent late childhood and my teens and my adult life working on building all of this.  School and a career (and changing a career) kept it on the back burner (although my writing skills advanced all of those).  Yet still I worked on it, when I could.  I realize now that I could not have stopped, because writing is what I’ve known most of my life.  It helped me get through so many turbulent times.  It gave me an outlet when I had no other.  It gave me a way in which to describe the places and the people I had dreamed up.  Now I have more options, but the writing proceeds.  It is as much of me as the fingers I use to type this.  It is as much of me as the art I have also made.  It is as much of me as the foods I make for those I love.  It is, simply, me.

So while the journey rollicks a bit, still it wends onward.  I will get to where I want to be eventually, though the method may not be what I anticipated.  I built a world, and now I want to share it.