Lessons learned. Sometimes I feel that despite my age, I remain a student of life’s lessons. There is an inherent energy that comes with this type of continual adrenalin rush that toggles the line between invigorating and insurmountable.
Do you ever feel as if you are living in a movie that is unfolding before your very eyes? I have that feeling often. I wonder what types of expressions must cross my face as the good, bad and ugly reveal themselves to me. There are certainly spiritual moments and times of reflection, but what there has been little time for (as you may have guessed) is to write and truly process the reality as worlds collide around me. At times I wonder if it is just the lens that I look through that leaves me in a quandary of how I might possibly ever be able to be present for all those I adore, let alone do an impeccable job at work and integrate those fun things that keep me ticking.
Certainly one cannot survive in intensity mode for extended periods of time without hitting a wall. The question I ask myself is where is that wall and how fast I am approaching it? There are days when I have to stop the constant intense pace and step back to have a conversation and switch gears. I am often teased that it is at these times when I work at “normal” person speed. >yes it is a joke!<
I don’t see that there is anything particularly unusual about me – but then, I’ve only ever been me. If there is a character flaw it’s that I am too passionate and I just can’t let go….of anything or anyone. And I am horrific at permanent good-byes.
Palm Springs is a place that conjures up a lot of those memories because it brings me back to the holidays we spent with my Grandmother Antoinette, my mother, my Aunt Ro, cousins; and as we grew older, even a few friends. For years on end we would stay in downtown Palm Springs, but as our group grew my grandmother decided that it made more sense to move to a place where she could cook and have us all under one roof. Like all children we were adamant that we needed to keep doing exactly what we’d been doing as it was our tradition, which is to stay at the hotel and go to all of our old haunts. What we didn’t know was that her decision to move to this new location, was one that would give us friendships and memoires to last a lifetime.
Right next door to us was another lovely family originally from New Jersey, who were now residents of Palm Springs. Elaine (Lainer) and Eric (Bop), and their family quickly took to us and we to them. A new annual tradition was born as we celebrated Pass-ter (Passover/Easter) together with a gourmet feast and all of the families joining together as if we were celebrating something bigger than Chrismukkah. Sometimes when I think of our days together I am reminded of the Alan Alda movie, ‘Same Time Next Year’. When we were together it was as if no time has passed, we knew all about each other lives and we loved to be together.
When my Grandmother passed away, Bop showed up at her services and reminded me of all the times she blew his mind with her antics. When Prima was born, Bop took to her like a Grandfather. He indulged her every whim and developed a special relationship with her- even shaving as to spare her from his unshaven stubble. And like good Aunties, Lisa and Jilly Bean doted on her. Even Evan, the younger of the two brothers, threw her in the pool and chased her until she squealed with joy, or Bruce his older brother told him to told him to stop.
When Bop passed away, there was a hole in our lives felt all the way to San Francisco. We hadn’t made it to his last birthday and that was a deep sadness. A few years later, when Lainer passed, the place just seemed like it had lost its soul. I recall that with a smile as big as could be she would ask you about anything and everything, nothing was off limits, but mostly we spoke about food and recipes. I’ll never forget the day I saw a humming bird perch on her arm. It’s as if even they wanted to join her group of family and friends.
One of Lainer’s favorite things to make was her ice tea. She would brew her sun tea and then add a bottle of Snapple’s peach ice tea to it. This ice tea is simple, satisfying and delicious beyond words. I think she would have enjoyed this tea-infused recipe for the same fresh citrus flavors that I was drawn to. Palm Springs is always busting at the seams with citrus (and dates, but that’s another story) so this recipe is a ringer for conjuring up the Lainer nostalgia.
Plop a dollop of these tea-soaked pineapple sweetened blood oranges on top of ice cream or yogurt. The deep red color is gorgeous to behold. The aromas blend as if they were always together- kind of like our family and their family.
Tea and Pineapple Infused Blood Oranges
6-8 blood oranges
4 cups water
¼ cups loose leaf hibiscus tea leaves (or 3 Tazo Passion tea bags)
3 oz pineapple juice
Boil water in a pot and add tea leaves or tea bags, allow to steep and cool.
Peel oranges and remove pith (white matter around the sections of orange).
If using loose tea leaves strain liquid, or remove and discard tea bags. In a large glass bowl add tea and pineapple juice. Stir to combine. Add in orange sections and refrigerate until ready to use.
Serve over ice cream, yogurt, panna cotta, tapioca or pudding.