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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Born and bred in the Sunshine State of Florida I adored rainy days and loved the sound of raindrops pitter-pattering on the windows. There was joy too in the excitement generated with the onset of a tropical winter’s whistling winds and cooler temps.

I live now, in Virginia where there are actually four seasons. And sometimes winter seems extraordinarily long. This has been one of those howling unexpected seasons when Spring is a distant memory and the elderly who have been in self imposed Covid-19 isolation begin to yearn for the sun.

Is a visiting Robin really a harbinger of Spring?

Today I thought I saw a Robin flitting through the barren branches of a Virginia Winter, a winter which boasted its gloomy days and featured overcast skies, ominous clouds, snow, sleet, freezing rain, and a disappearing sun.

Was my visiting Robin a mirage or the result of wishful thinking?

Oh, I am so ready to toss the fuzzy slippers and the warm-as-toast sweaters and awkward scarves and gloves and proclaim the winter “Said and Done!”

Then again, snowfalls and spring flowers are landscape reminders of times past and times to come. Tired of one season? Wait a minute. The weather will soon change.

And whether or not my rockin’ robin visitor was real or a conjured image of the imagination, he cocked his head and said, “Get ready again my friend because sunshine’s coming your way!”

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Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Once upon a very long time ago, when I was but a wee bit of a girl, my parents took me and my little brother to semi-professional ball games at a local park. It was a way to cool off in the evenings since we lived in Florida and had no air-conditioning in those good old days.

To us kids, those parktime excursions were wondrous, not only for the star quality of the young athletes in their dashing uniforms, but for the air of excitement and the vendors who went up and down the stands hawking, “Get your hot dogs here! Get your peanuts here!”

And Dad would buy us each a bag of warm wonderful peanuts. I think they were maybe 10 cents a bag. But what I recall is the delightful aroma.

The memory of those rich fragrant little bags of nuts stayed with me for years until I found out how to make my own replica in my own kitchen. Since then I have been giving tins of them for gifts, offering them up when company comes (before and hopefully after Covid), and keeping batches of them in my freezer.

Now, if you are allergic to peanuts, feel free to burn this page. But if you are not, just follow the recipe for Dor’s Home Roasted Peanuts.

DOR’S HOME ROASTED PEANUTS

INGREDIENTS:

One pound of Raw Blanched Peanuts (I get mine at a local Farm store, but I am sure you can order them online too).

Regular salt and if you have it,

Seasoned salt (usually more powdery than regular salt so it sticks better to the peanuts)

1 1/2 teaspoons butter (I use coconut oil but butter is fine too – it’s just to give the salt something to stick to).

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Pour all the raw peanuts into a rimmed pan. I use the bottom of my broiler pan.

Put the pan full of nuts into the oven and the timer on for 6 minutes.

After 6 minutes, stir them up and move them around for more even baking.

Time them again for 6 minutes. Repeat.

Repeat the 6 minute timing and shuffling for a total of 3 or 4 times.

When the peanuts look golden and brown enough, immediately remove from oven and stir in the butter all around to give the peanuts a light coating (just enough for the salt to stick to). If you use 2 teaspoons of butter it will probably be too much.

Now simply start salting to taste. I start with the stickier Seasoned Salt, generously apply and stir around. Then the regular or sea salt – apply and stir.

Serve warm or serve right out of the freezer. Mostly, ENJOY!

The taste of these peanuts is totally different than anything store bought. They are as close to the Ballgame Peanuts of my childhood as I have ever found.

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Fla Trip 2014 034

No two beaches are alike even though they both be sandy.  ~Quote by Dor

Having coped with the traffic to the west coast of Florida, we decided to try the other side of the peninsula.  Cocoa Beach was only an hour away via a civilized toll road (hardly plagued by heavy traffic and easy to navigate with the help of Lola-the-GPS-lady).

This time we packed a picnic and our bathing suits and towels and planned to settle in on the sands of the Atlantic.  We even had destinations marked for changing rooms and other necessaries.

The closer we got, the more the memories of my childhood came flooding in. I remembered there used to be a deluge of shell shops for souvenirs, orange blossom cologne, salt water taffy, pecan rolls, coconut patties, shell covered boxes, and carved coconut heads.  How I yearned for the scents in those little bottles of  cologne.  “We have to stop at one of those shell shops,” I told Bill en route.

And there we were at the Cocoa Beach Pier!  It was $10 a day to park but we thought there were changing rooms.  Nope – Just slightly cramped, less than pristine lavatories.  We walked to the end of the pier and made a new friend, Pete, who invited me to take his picture.

Gulls Arguing

The Pelican Brief-ing

Pete the Gull Posing

Pete the Pelican Posing

Looking down at the beach we could see crowds – lots of crowds – and lots of surfers.  Uh Oh.  Forgot about Spring Break again.

The beach we visited at Cocoa was mobbed.  I could almost see the ocean between the clusters of college students standing in circles or browning lithe bodies in front of us. Bill did not seem in a hurry to leave.  Wonder why.

The sun was shining bright so we baked for about two hours and left with semi-sunburns.

Shell shops?  None to be seen.

At this point I became obsessed with finding a bottle of that orange blossom cologne.

I nagged Bill to stop at the first gift shop (never mind a “shell shop”).  We did, and the people there never heard of orange blossom cologne and could not even pronounce it.  “Do you suppose those Florida souvenir shops have all gone out of business? What a shame.”

Wait!  There’s one!  I see the Shell Shop Sign!  Pull in here!

Empty and closed.

I was so disappointed.

However, oh the last day of our journey we stopped at an orange domed gift shop where the lady immediately pulled out a tiny bottle of orange blossom cologne for $5.99!  And I bought that bottle and will keep it until I die.

We also got a big bag of oranges and two pecan rolls and a box of coconut patties there.  I revisit my childhood every time I look at the big bag of oranges and the candies.  And if I really want to go back down memory lane, I just need to take one whiff of the orange blossom cologne.  O.k. – so it doesn’t smell like orange blossoms anymore.  It’s the idea that counts and it’s in an orange colored bottle after all!

Had enough of all this excitement?

Stay tuned for one last episode………

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To TampaLessee, where was I in the Sun Seeker saga?  We had just checked into our luxurious villa, experienced a day of rain and were ready to set off on an adventure.

One of the staff who could be heard through the chaos recommended Clearwater Beach as the loveliest of beaches an hour and a half away.  We decided to go there on a fishing expedition – no not real fishing for real fish – just an exploratory run to see if we wanted to go back for more sunning or more of anything.  Clearwater is on the west coast of Florida.  I was born and raised on the east coast, so this was relatively uncharted territory.

Clearwater Beach Pier

And off we went for a delightful trip until encountering Tampa traffic, but eventually we came upon the loveliest of wide white sand beaches with a grand walkway and lots of things to look at and admire.  We walked and walked, stopped for lunch at a loud, crowded diner, and visited a tourist center.

Baby Bungee Jumping at Clearwater Beach

Baby Bungee Jumping at Clearwater Beach

“Yep, we said, we can come back here tomorrow and

change into our swim suits and bring a picnic, etc.  This is the life!”

“You have come at the absolute worst time of year to Clearwater,” said the volunteer at the tourist center, “Because it’s spring break!”  Uh oh!  We never thought of that.  No wonder everything is so crowded and the traffic is so bad.  “I would advise you to get out of town before 3:30,” he also said, or you will be in horrendous rush hour traffic going back through Tampa.”  Uh oh!  Never thought of that either.

“When is the best time to come to Clearwater Beach?” I asked. 

“April,” he said.

So my advice to you dear blog-us-fear friends is to consider Clearwater Beach, Florida as an ultimate destination, but only in April!

Stay tuned…..

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Heading South

Heading South

“Let’s go south,” said Bill.  It was a bleak frigid morning with yet another forecast for plow-worthy snow.  “Great idea!” I said, “But I don’t want to go to Disney World.”  And we agreed, “Been there, done that.”

And off we went on a car trip to Kissimmee, Florida.  Guess where that is!  Almost next door to Disney World.   But we could get a luxurious villa there via our timeshare exchange and with steeled resolve we set off driving to the sunshine state determined to avoid Disney.  Well, maybe we would go to Universal Studios.  Maybe.

We stopped en route at a recognizable motel in South Carolina.  The sign was welcoming but the room reeked.  The paint was peeling.  And the john only worked with 5 flushes!  “It has to get more magical than this,” I thought and asked Bill, “Are we there yet?”

Not our Motel, but the Next Door Neighbor!

Not our Motel, but the Next Door Neighbor!

Next day we arrived via hoardes of traffic at an enormous resort with thousands of people checking in.  Crowds tend to make me nervous.  A bit on edge, I managed to keep smiling and acting cooperative as we were  herded in bank-type lines from station to station, asked to produce identification and credit cards at least three times, were numbered and given official looking papers to sign.

 

Timeshare Check-In Place - Note Blue Sky

Timeshare Check-In Place – Note Blue Sky

The noise was so deafening from all those people it was hard to understand any instructions (if there were any). And in spite of pre-registering via email, the check-in process was something like going through Check Point Charlie before the Berlin wall came down.

Finally we were escorted to a beautiful villa.  And lo and behold, the weather was warm enough for short sleeves and I could feel the sun healing my frozen face.  “Ahhh, this is the life!”

Westgate Villas Reflections

It rained all day the next day.

Each day thereafter was filled with sunshine and blue skies and so began our adventure sans Disney.

Stay tuned…..

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Disney_World_-_Entrance_sign_-_by_inkiboo

Hello favorite blogger friends!

My apologies for an unremarkable absence from the blog-us-fear.

If I have been suspiciously silent it is because Bill and I drove south to escape the cold and periodic snow and ice storms plaguing Camelot.

We went to Florida and stayed very near to Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Since Bill and I are now over the hill adults, we tried to forget Disney.

Imagine being so close to a child’s fantasy realm and not going!   Well, “been there – done that” (with and without the young-uns), so this time we were there for sun burning and grown up fun stuff.

The escape to sunshine was successful.

The rest requires a lot of sleep.

Stay tuned…….

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Daily Prompt:  The Transporter

Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.

 

palm leav

A sound.

Soft wind whistling by my window,

the rustling of a gentle breeze

like sweet music.

A sound.

Palm leaves chattering near my window

along with the murmur of adult voices

like a child’s symphony.

A sound.

The wind’s crooning caress

to drift me off to dreams

in a perpetual Florida spring.

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