I can’t wait to flip the calendar to September! Florida is one part of the country where people breathe a sigh of relief when the end of August rolls around. Why? Because the JAPDIP (Just Another Perfect Day In Paradise) weather is just around the corner! Summertime in Florida is when we old folks look for something to do under air conditioned roof as opposed to under hot blazing sun. For sure, the picture post cards paint a carefree scene with young and smiling, tan and beautiful (and foolish) people in bikinis lying prostrate on the beach or poolside with just enough cover to avoid incarceration, sweating to the beat of ‘O Sole Mio’s UV rays.
What’s actually happening is Ole Sole is making their skin wrinkled, leathery, and tough as cardboard – not to mention susceptible to severe sunburn, skin cancer, herpes, lupus, tuberculosis, DNA mutations, and immune system diseases.
To think there was a time when I might have put myself in that sad category of idiots. Granted, those pictures were one of the motivations for my first-time move to Florida back in the day when my DB and I were young, foolish, and dreaming of the land of sun, sand and palm trees. Fortunately, I was spared this harmful fate by the need to earn a living, which kept me cooped up five days a week in an office and usually too busy with or too tired from household and other chores to indulge on weekends.
In fact, our lives here soon became nearly as tedious as they were in Ohio and going to the beach was seldom a part of our routine until someone from “up-north” visited and naturally wanted to see the Gulf of Mexico. Then a light bulb over our heads would begin to flash: “Oh right! The beach, THE BEACH, THE BEACH!!!!”
Now older, wiser, and seeking indoor activities during a hot, humid summer, we enrolled in a couple of classes at the Senior Center. For brain-food we would learn to speak Italian, and for our physical well-being, we signed up for Tai Chi.
The first to go was the Italian. Turns out the class already knew the basics and were in to arguing over which verbs were male or female. We learned enough words to get out of there with a friendly, “Ciao!” and “Arrivederci, Roma!”
Tai Chi was fun at first when we were learning individual moves. Then the instructor ruined it all by expecting us to start performing all those moves consecutively with no breaks in between! Well, Kung Phooey on that!
Of course, being under roof isn’t the only way to stay cool, so we’ve been cooling off in the pool which is less than a block from where we live. So close, in fact, you can see it from our front porch. (Just like Sarah Palin, could see Russia from hers). So we take advantage of that cooling relief quite a bit.
I especially enjoy it in mid-afternoon when the clouds roll in and shade the sun. The bad news is, those clouds are a prelude to the daily Florida summer showers, which sometime turn into thunder storms.
And when it storms in Florida, as they say in the song – “Man, it pours.”
So the other day we’re bouncing around in the pool on our Dollar Tree noodles under a mixed sky of blue and cloudy, when the calm was suddenly interrupted by an ear-splitting crash of thunder followed by a ferocious downpour, all without warning. Everyone scampered out of the pool, grabbed their towels, headed for their cars and took off.
Everyone but us - we had to walk home in that downpour! The price we pay for living so close to the pool!
All told, the best way I’ve found to beat the summer heat is right here in our little air-conditioned mobile home where I spend lots of lazy hours trying to read my way through every mystery novel and cook book in the Manatee County Public Library System. One of the best recipes gleaned from that so far is this recipe for City Chicken. We both liked it so much I’ve made it twice in one week.
1 lb. lean pork, cut in 1 to 1-1/4 inch cubes
1 cup flour seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder
1 egg, beaten and mixed with one
1/4 cup oil for browning
Tbsp. water or milk
6 wooden skewers about 6” long
Arrange pork on skewers. Roll in flour, egg mixture and again in flour. Heat oil in skillet and brown pork well on all sides. Transfer to a buttered baking dish and add a cup water and a crushed chicken bouillon cube. Bake, covered, at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes or until meat is tender, but not falling off the skewer. (Check occasionally to add water if necessary.) Serve with sauce spooned over meat.