When Life Gives You Lemons

lemon curd

Are we even allowed to talk about making lemonade out of lemons anymore? I mean, it was cliché before but Beyoncé has to have that trademarked. So as not to step on the Queen’s toes, I made lemon bars.

The last three months have been full of breathtakingly beautiful, and amazingly ordinary, and I’ve shared a lot of that. What I haven’t shared is the crap bag of difficult in between the beautiful and ordinary. The reasons for not sharing are many. 1) I’m not Anne LaMott and as much as I appreciate her writing, I am not the sole owner of this story. 2) I can’t do the words. Or at least I can’t make the words due justice to the experience.  3) I’m beginning to realize that sometimes it’s okay to say, “I’m going through a difficult time right now.” and not share the reason. And I know that there are people in the world who are going to judge that and roll their eyes and have something to say. So, if you’re one of those people, go find another blog. Because I need positive thoughts and prayers or whatever it is you put out into the universe for the people you care about and I don’t want to explain the details. (And it’s my little corner of the internet, so I get to do that here.)  There isn’t a reason for anyone to worry – we are all healthy, we are all going to be okay. I have just hit one of those bumps that life can throw at you. It’s hard, it sucks, I’m not exactly certain things are going according to plan. I don’t even know how to plan which alone tends to be a bit of a struggle for me. (Give me a problem and I’ll organize that bad boy into submission. See here, here, here, and here.)

Which brings me to the half a case of lemons that’s been sitting on my counter since Sunday, the perfect metaphor. When I agreed to split the case with my friend, I had all these ideas in my head of what I would make. Then they arrived and I was feeling kind of punky. Then once I started feeling better, it was hot and I had too many other things to handle. Then I used one and realized that they were larger than I had planned. I hated the stupid lemons sitting in that box. Sour, bigger and juicer than expected, useless because I didn’t want to deal with them. I wanted to leave them there to rot.

Which on top of being wasteful, never works.

So I searched and searched and searched for my favorite lemon bar recipe and couldn’t find it. Finally I gave in and pulled up another recipe that someone had recommended to me awhile ago (it was okay). I’d like to find my other one. In my searching, I found a recipe for raspberry lemon muffins. And strawberry (or raspberry) lemon popsicles. And I juiced and juiced and juiced and poured that juice into ice cube trays so that I’ll have “fresh” lemon juice on hand.

I made a plan to get through that box. And I’m loving all the tart and juicy goodness.

I wish everything was that simple.

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  • Oh, I am so with you. This is exactly what I would do (have done): Get something full of intentions to do something awesome, and then it morphs into this albatross weighing me down. That would be our vegetable garden this year. I finally just said out loud (to Cane): You know what? It’s just not happening this summer. I don’t care any more that the plants are drying up and I haven’t picked any of the snap peas. Some other summer, maybe.

    I hope things ease soon. I’m guessing the particulars of your story don”t necessarily matter to understanding where you are, and I’m guessing I’ve got a pretty good idea of that, too. So, no judgement here! Or eye rolls. I want to keep hanging out at this blog. Sending you a hug.

    • I have a true gift for setting intentions and then kicking myself because LIFE gets in the way. If only there were more of me to go around. Speaking of gardens…I bought seeds this year, but they’re still sitting in the cupboard because…intentions. We inherited a makeshift raised bed when we bought the house and it gets great sun, but I told Jesse that next year I’m ripping it out and just putting in landscaping and flowers. I use the farmer’s market for fresh veggies most of the summer and vegetable gardening is just not something we do. So…no judgment on the unpicked snap peas!

      Thank you so much for the hug and hopes. I really appreciate them!

  • “I was feeling kind of punky” — it’s funny (not haha funny, but coincidental and misery-loves-company funny): just a couple days ago a line from Dr Seuss’ Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? randomly floated through my brain … the one containing the words, “… left all alone in some punkerish place … ” and I thought, THAT’S IT…that’s exactly the word to sum up where I am now — a punkerish place. It has been a very difficult summer for me 🙁 . Personally, I think it’s perfectly ok to acknowledge to people that you’re having a difficult time (because it can be hard to hide stuff like that, and really, why should you?) while simultaneously keeping the reasons quiet.

    Good for you for making use of those lemons! Given the way things are going around here, if they were on MY counter, I’m not sure I would have managed …

    Sending positive thoughts and a hug your way, Kate.

    • I haven’t heard that line before (Seuss has never been one of my favorites – I know, it’s like reader sacrilege) but it DOES describe how I’m feeling perfectly. Lately, I’m finding that we aren’t alone – too many people I know are finding themselves in a “punkerish place”. But I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having a very difficult summer too.

      I appreciate the positive thoughts and hugs and am sending some your way as well. I think we all could use a vacation from our punkerish place.