Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hot Town! Summer in the City

I misplaced June and July. I know! Who loses whole months? I glimpsed them in passing but have no idea where they went.

Blame the heat for my absent-mindedness. My adopted city, Houston, shows its worst side in summer. We get lots of sunshine, true, but with it come high temperatures and humidity so thick, I'm tempted to doggy paddle rather than walk. I long for the cooler air of late October but didn't mean to wish away two months.

In Texas, schools typically reopen in late August, and the Houston Independent School District welcomes students on the 26th--just 25 days from now.

That means I have 25 days to enjoy the pleasures summer brings.  I vow to appreciate each of the following:

1.) Shandy - This drink is half lager, half carbonated lemonade (think lemon soda). If you're in the UK, use Schweppes lemonade. If you're in the US or Canada, try Sprite, Squirt, or 7-Up. 

2.) Watermelon - Summer's gift comes with or without seeds and in sizes suited to big and small households. It tastes like summer to me.

3. Haagen Dazs mango sorbet -  Stow a pint of this in the freezer and consume as needed to prevent heat-induced crankiness. 

4. Pools and lakes - Water and summer go together. Don't discount the simple pleasure of a dip in a kiddie pool in your own backyard.

5. Air conditioning - What would we do without it? 

6. Crepe myrtles - These trees never let us see them sweat. They put on a show when the heat roars and the plants around them close the shutters and take siestas.

7. Ceiling fans, oscillating fans, paper fans - What would we do without these air movers/relief givers? 

8. Sprinklers--The twap-twap-twap-hiss of automatic sprinklers means relief is on the way for stressed plants, and the sight of kids playing in the old-fashioned rotary kind takes me back to long-ago summers. 

9. Peaches cooked on the grill - Grilled veggies are my go-to meal accompaniment during the summer, but I recently discovered the joy of grilled fruit, particularly peaches. I offer you two recipes. The first is a dessert grilled peach from The Pioneer Woman.

10: Swings--Young families have moved onto my street and and re-energized the neighborhood. Two neighbors hung swings from the big tress in their front yards. One's a tire swing and the other has a wooden seat. The joy of kids at play is infectious.

Last month, record-high heat struck the country. Did you wring something positive out of temperatures that hovered near or above the three-digit mark? How'd you do it? (I have at least ten weeks of summer-like heat to get through and NEED suggestions.)


Anonymous said...

Don't think I could live through 10 more weeks of summer! June was terribly wet and July terribly hot.

I'm like that guy on Sesame Street who lives in a log (sorry, don't know his name) in summer. Can't wait for it to be over. Very grouchy.

So far August is nothing to brag about either.

Don't you miss the northeast Autumn though Pat? We can have and have had some pretty nice ones. The ones you no doubt remember.

- Patrick

Patricia Rickrode w/a Jansen Schmidt said...

Watermelon and mango sorbet are definitely wonderful things about summer. One of my favorites is sweet white corn on the cob, hot off the grill dripping with melted butter. Now that screams summer to me.

Hang in there Pat. Cooler temps are coming.

Where I live in Northern California kids and teachers go back to school next week, August 6th I think. Earlier and earlier.

Patricia Rickrode
w/a Jansen Schmidt

Lark Howard said...

I don't mind the heat and even drive with the top down on my car mornings and evenings (mid-day is too hot!). That said, I don't spend all that much time outside in July and August, and instead admire my lovely trees and the wildlife from indoors. (A lot of my house is glass)

I used to have a delicious pool--big enough to swim laps and cool enough to float all afternoon reading a book. Alas, we left that summer luxury behind when we moved but gained the most beautiful live oak trees which shade our house and courtyard.

This year I have a new favorite summer pastime--my brother- and sister-in-law bought a gorgeous new sailboat and we have a standing invitation any day or night to sail with them. (They go pretty much every day or evening) I've always loved sailing and sailing someone else's boat is the very best sailing there is!!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patrick,
I miss autumn in NJ very much but carry with me the memory of vivid leaf colors.

Heat makes me grouchy, too. Alas, it's too early in the day for a shandy.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Corn! I can't believe I forget to put corn on my list, Patricia. You're right, it's one of the joys of summer.

I feel for the kids and teachers going back to school next week.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Live oaks are nature's way of compensating us for summers in Houston, Lark. I envy you your live oaks.

Hey, can't you count the time on the sailboat as research for any and all books set in the U. S. Virgin Islands? Yes, you can!

Jennette Marie Powell said...

I'm thankful that it's rare to hit the triple digits in Ohio! 90's is hot enough. Love A/C and Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy! I do tend to hide out inside a lot - we may not get the heat, but the humidity is awful. We've had an unusually cool and dry week here, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Jennette,
Yes, enjoy the cool dry weeks when you can. I'm off to Google Leinenkugel's Summer Sandy because I'm guessing it combines the beer and lemon soda. (Yes, I'm lazy, so I like a premixed drink.)

Sheila Seabrook said...

We don't get those three digit temperatures, Pat. In fact, by the time the thermometer hits 85, I start melting. :) Right now, it's about 75 outside. The sun is hot, the humidity is high, and we're replacing a wooden wall & steps around our fire pit with a stone wall. I yearn for a cloud just to break of the heat of the sun!

Just yesterday, we were talking about how fast the summer has gone. Our snow clung till the end of May, but you're so right when you said that June & July had vanished.

Here's hoping for cooler weather for you and a delayed winter for my part of the world. :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Sheila,
I wish you temps cool enough to justify a fire in that fire pit but warm enough to mean you're not huddled a foot from the flames.

Are you wearing a hat while out in that relentless sunshine? (Here I go, nagging again.) Seriously, put on a hat. Sunglasses, too.

Coleen Patrick said...

In the last couple of weeks, I've clicked on a Fourth of July recipe on Pinterest thinking, oh i should make this! Only to remind myself the fourth has come and gone. I have no idea how July just snuck by me. :) I've always wanted to do grilled peaches, I'm going to check out this recipe!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Coleen,
I've convinced myself Fourth of July desserts work for Labor Day. Certainly, they work for Memorial Day. And don't forget Bastille Day.

Grilled peaches are yummy.

Yesterday, I served mango sorbet with Trader Joe's raspberry tart. (I must have read about that combo somewhere,) Easy and delicious.

I have a feeling July was a good month. Why didn't it announce itself?

Anonymous said...

Hi there Pat, hope you are coping in the heat! Do you still get watermelon with seeds over there? I haven't seen them in such a long time, and they always taste much sweeter, in my opinion. Anyway, we're suffering the winter freeze here, so maybe we can do a swap? :)