I wish you could smell these beautiful gardenias. (Wouldn’t scratch and sniff photos be awesome?) My dear friend Dani gave them to me. She has a whole bush full of them at her home. We met for coffee and I walked away with these flowers that bloom in June in Durham, NC.
While on the subject of flowers, I must include my solitary lavender plant that is now blooming.
No, it doesn’t hold a candle to the lavender fields of Provence, but it’s my little corner of beauty. The fact that it lived through the winter and is blooming, no thanks to me, makes me so happy.
School’s out for the summer! (The kiddos just think that they are happy!)
Year 39 teaching middle school French is in the books. Grades done. Comments written. Classroom cleaned up for Student U.
More time for relaxing and hanging out with the Ex-Ex.
He will be the Ex-Athletic Director very soon. I think there is a chance that he is counting the hours. 29 years as a school administrator is a really long time. He will pass the baton to my traveling buddy Andy P. before we head off to Sunset Beach later this month. More time to relax and hang out.
Books, books and more books. Reading whenever I want to and as much as I want to. (Well, sort of.)
This is Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. I am reading Susan Vreeland’s novel of the same name. I feel as if Auguste is my new BFF. Ms. Vreeland is very good at making icons such as Renoir come to life and be a “normal” human being. I feel as if I am with him roaming the streets of Montmartre, looking for friends and models to be in the scene he dreams of painting. Thanks to criticism by Émile Zola, he is inspired to paint his chef-d’oeuvre. The painting now lives in the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC and I have stood in front of it.
I have a huge stack of books-in-waiting.
- Murder in Bel-Air by Cara Black. The 19th book in her Aimée Leduc series, each set in a different Parisian neighborhood. I am addicted. This map is from her website:
I search for Aimée, riding through the streets of Paris on her pink Vespa, every time I am there. I want to be her in my next life and have written about my obsession.
- Swann’s Down by Charles Salzberg. Another series. Henry Swann, skip tracer. A man you can’t help but falling in love with.
- Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. Need I say more? This was the soundtrack of my summers living and working at Eseeola Lodge in Linville, NC in the mid-to late 70’s. (Shoutout to Tom, Grant, Ron, James and all my buddies wherever they are.) The Ex-Ex read this a couple of years ago and has been saving it for me.
- Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. Another of my favorite authors. I found this one at our annual book fair at school. (It is sponsored by our Parents Association and teachers can have all the books they want for FREE.) Ms. Tyler grew up in Celo, NC and Raleigh so we were sort of neighbors. We share Quaker roots as well. Beach reading for sure.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Recommended at the People of Color Conference I attended and by several of my students. It is also a movie, but I want to read the book first.
There are other books, but this list will get me started.
Berries. Cherries, Strawberries. Blueberries. Blackberries. Raspberries. And more time to bake in the morning.
I made blueberry scones for the Ex-Ex for his birthday. I ate one, too. They were basically his birthday cake.
Blueberry Buttermilk Scones
makes 8 large scones
recipe from Baked by an Introvert
For the scones
- 2 and 3/4 cups (357 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (111 grams) fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240 milliliters) cold buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
- 2 tablespoons coarse sugar
For the glaze
- 1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the scones
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
- Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingertips. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Gently fold in the blueberries.
- Whisk the vanilla and buttermilk together and gradually add it to the flour mixture. Stir just until the dough comes together. You may not need all the buttermilk. (I needed all of it plus a little extra.) Add a little at a time until the mixture is moist but not too wet. Do not over mix the dough or the scones will be tough.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough four or five times. Pat the dough into a 7 inch round circle.
- Cut the circle in half, then cut each half into four triangle shaped wedges. Arrange the scones 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the scones in the freezer for 30 minutes. (My baking pan doesn’t fit in my freezer so I put them in the refrigerator for an hour.)
- Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400°F. Brush the tops of the scones with milk or cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and drizzle with glaze.
Make the glaze
- Combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. (I didn’t glaze mine.) Drizzle over the warm scones.
Bon appétit et bon juin! I hope that you have a wonderful summer, full of good smells, good books, and good things to eat. Hanging out with your friends and loved ones.