Summer School

Look what popped up as we got our gardens ready to grow! We had no idea what most of the gardens would look like aside from the palms. Ed, who takes care of our lawn, also trims the palms. We have seven of them. They’re beautiful. It’s starting to rain a bit here in SWF (Southwest Florida) and rainy season soon will be about an hour shower or storm daily. That’s beautiful too. With wind, the palms stream water through the rain. So otherworldly. Well, if your world for 66 years was Michigan.

A snag occurred in Jane Book 3 last week when our calendar overflowed with invitations from friends. The Michigan people are going home, so we had get togethers to say a final goodbye (until next year) and the new neighbors are inviting us for get to know you cocktails. Someone had a party every day last week. At first I thought, oh that’s fine, I’m done writing by 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Well, ha, writers need to be in shape to write. Maybe just older writers? Party drinks and fancy snacks will sneak up on you. Over the week, instead of writing, I filling the gas tank with naps and reading to get myself ready to be social. The just-started story was reduced to scribbled plot notes.

Today I was determined to get back to work but it took me an hour just to turn on my new computer and find the Word program. I tried to do a blog post first but Windows didn’t recognize my Word Press sign in. So here I am on the Mac. But I have to stay with the story on Office/Word. I HAVE TO. I would like to maybe take an online class. Or two. http://www.wethegeek.com had some good info. I’d like a personal class like I got with my genius at the Apple Store. Not sure Miscrosoft has that. In an ideal world I’d like one tutorial for switching from MAC to WINDOWS when blogging and one for writing novels. Also email would be good too. Had no luck finding my email on Windows.

A thing about getting older is learning new stuff takes longer. Also Al is only willing to help me with this up to a point. He got my garden growing, moved furniture, painted living room, keeps the spa ready, and so much else. Even some golf. 🙂 My plan for now is to just use Word and get on with my story. And blog on the Mac. For now. Until school starts.

Starting With a Rug

When we walked on the ground level ceramic tiles (almost everywhere in our new house) we knew we needed area rugs. TBH it was a shock to Al but he soon agreed when I found a half off sale. This was before mega-inflation. I decided on three rugs to start. Dining room, living room and my office. Chatting with a friend who had an area rug in her living room, and told me a story about how she chose it, I decided to go wild and buy a rug just because I liked it. Our dining room was empty, what could it hurt?

As you see above, I chose this blue pattern just because I liked it. I had a wood table in mind and found something that would match the rug. I had two pieces of art with blue in them and they were both water themed. Hung those up. My friend said they needed “something else” or I should buy one big piece. I agreed with her. Meanwhile I’d unpacked as many books as I could fit into the bookcases I had from St. Pete and Michigan. There are two boxes of books left. Al and I set out shopping for a bookshelf, a third piece for the wall to even things out, and a table to use as a buffet.

We came home with hardly anything except groceries. Bookcases, well, it was folly to think I could match a 70 year old bookcase that my granny had antiqued blue, but I saw some painted furniture almost that color in other shopping forays. Yes, I found the painted furniture but nothing was the size I needed. Meanwhile I had realized almost as soon as the rug was laid that it in no way matched my Desert Rose dishes, nor the table. I found some dinnerware I thought would do on Amazon so those came and that made me happy because they blended nicely with the rest of the things I’d gathered for the table.

I started my St Pete condo with the idea of those pink and green Desert Rose dishes. I love them but Al, my consultant, was never crazy about the pink. Dishes okay but I also have a pink toaster, a pink tea kettle, pink placemats, pink wineglasses, pink apron, pink oven mitts, and a small pink pot for boiling eggs. All of that in my tiny St Pete kitchen gave a true pink effect, but here it just melts into the house. There is a green countertop so things look good. I will keep my pink dishes for everyday use in the nook where we take our meals at a small table with two comfortable chairs the color of marshmallows and just as soft.

I like to sleep on half-baked ideas. They come clear in the dark. I woke and knew what to do. I had a pamper day scheduled at a new salon only 7 minutes away, but after that I rushed 2 more minutes to the Posh Pelican and bought a buffet table with a driftwood edge. It is the same color as a bookshelf I left in St. Pete, also made by my grandfather. We will bring that bookshelf home, since we still have the St Pete place and need to fix it up for rental. I also bought an Englewood Beach poster already framed that filled out the empty wall space and kept with my water theme. Done!

Finished during Mercury Retrograde

Confession: I am not an efficient mover of abodes. I can pack boxes and unpack them, too. I try to put things in the approximate spot they were in the other house. That works up to a point. Al and I mostly split chores but some things we had to work on together. We just hacked away until finally one day he was working in his office and I was writing in mine. Yes, writing!

I have been taking notes for Jane 2 and now I’m able to write scenes from the notes. Exciting! This is my favorite writing room ever. Maybe because it’s big. We wanted a bit more space and we managed to nab it. Everything in the room above is either from St. Pete or Detroit. About half and half. If you don’t count the books. I have 3 bookcases in here, 2 empty shelves and 4 boxes still full of books. I have a very high shelf I don’t use in my clothes closet where I can store any books I cannot fit in here or I can be a bit more ruthless and donate. We have a used bookstore in town.

So that’s what I mean by “finished” — still books to shelve (not many) and some art to hang. It’s been cold here, too, so I have plants to cut back and a lanai to make pretty. Everyone in the world has chores, stuff to do, and that doesn’t stop when you get your new house in order. For example, my MacBook Air has been acting up. Time for a new one. I had a decision–Mac or PC? Love my Mac, hate Word for Mac. This decision took me a long time but I’ve only got a few more crashes until this baby is burned.

It’s been a few years complaining but I wanted to finish the book on the same laptop. Instead I mailed the half-done manuscript to myself and then I’m buying an Inspiron (Dell) which is what Al is currently recommending. He also has suddenly developed a heart for the MacBook. New ones and the Dell are currently about the same cost. Still. I need WORD because I am too old to change. And not funky word as it really doesn’t work well these days on the Mac.

Also, Mercury is in Retrograde until February 2 or 3. I don’t let astrology run my life, but if I can put off buying electronics during that period, I do.

Meet the Neighbors

Yesterday I finally got out to look again beyond the lanai at all the flora. I needed the soothing vibrant colors and the sun after a slight accident when my slipper caught on the venetian blind and I lost my balance. Landed on my well-cushioned butt. It still hurts! My neck too. So as an exercise in appreciating what I have, I took my photo stroll. The banana tree above is in the side yard. It’s a lush yard full of palms and flowers and lest you feel my life is paradise, I ran into some trouble when minutes later I ventured out on my first solo trip to the local grocery store just down the road. All would have been fine if I had not turned the wrong way leaving the store. I figured out what I had done when I passed the paint store we’d shopped at. I knew it was the other way. So I pulled onto a side street; I knew my house was in there somewhere. I clicked on my phone map. In that nano second, I hit a mailbox which went flying everywhere.

Put the car into reverse to fess up and as I looked in my rear view mirror I saw a very large man in his driveway with his hands on his hips and a disgruntled look on his face. I carefully drove in and he turned out to be very nice, as was his wife. But they called the police, who did not issue me a ticket, for which I am eternally grateful. The homeowners, meanwhile, had stored my frozen food in their freezer and my perishables in their fridge. (They had an extra one in the garage.) While the report was being written up they had me come in and sit down and gave me water. Very kind. Al (on phone) talked to the mailbox owner who said this was the third time his mailbox had been hit so he had specifically used concrete to anchor it. It would be expensive to replace. Al is repulsed by the word “expensive.”

But the important thing was no one was hurt. “It was just a mailbox” the owner said when I kept apologizing. He said he was just happy I was okay and that I didn’t try to speed away! He was wondering if he’d have to chase me down. The reason they called the police was because I had a Michigan license plate, a Michigan car registration, and a St Pete address on my driver’s license. Nothing saying I lived where I said I did. So it seemed a bit suspicious. I believe I said I’d drive him to my house and show him the deed, but he declined.

Back home, Al was pissed. Of course he was. I’d just been in an accident in the bedroom a few days ago and when I confessed I’d taken my eyes off the road in front of me for one second, he was steaming. Unlike the hot tub he was supposed to be warming up for me! “So this is my punishment?” I asked. Listen, it’s been stressful. We moved twice this year on our own. Now with his stitches (never mind, he’s fine, and he would kill me twice if I told a story about him. Yes, he reads this blog now! Sometimes.) So anyway, he could not carry in the heavy groceries as he usually does. With my butt, my neck had also been whacked. Or my head. This is accident one in the bedroom, not accident two in the car. After I accused him of torture, he turned on the hot tub and we went in.

All my pain and trouble instantly dissolved. My butt didn’t hurt anymore, nor did my neck. I was buoyant! The bubbles were soothing. Al came in and we enjoyed an interlude of peace. Later, I grabbed the bar to get out and it was wet and my grip was weak, so I slipped right under the water, head and all. I never learned to breathe underwater but I’m okay. It’s a spa, not the ocean. 

Survival Medicine

Photo by Luci on Pexels.com

We finally moved on Christmas Eve, pulling into our new abode about dusk. It is beautiful and spacious and has lots of window sliders to the gardens. Inside there are many boxes but very little furniture. We do have a bed, television, and two chairs. I have my desk too, in fact I have everything for my office, but we are using my office for our little living space while Al paints the actual living room. He’s almost done. I’m not sure if I’ll get my office back today, but I am setting it up in the almost empty box room (someday to be our dining room). We’ve been so busy unloading boxes. I finally got my scented drawer liners for my dresser from Amazon and unpacked my suitcase on NYE. We have his and her closets, so cute!

Once I get myself together with this HEIC jpeg conflict I will be happy to splash photos because I exaggerated before. We have bookshelves too and I’ve got one filled in my office. It looks so good in a little alcove with a print of Frida in an antique frame above it. That was the photo I wanted to post. Just got frustrated trying to convert. Why can I post on Instagram and not Word Press? Anyway…yesterday (and the day before that) we were furniture shopping. We found a great sofa and chair for the living room and it’s coming next week! Well those pieces are, plus a ottoman and rug. The wood stuff, coffee table and end table, won’t be delivered until May. That’s the world these days. We looked at 500 sofas and this was the first one available. And, good luck, it’s my favorite! Very traditional Florida.

There are so many garden patches and palm trees here it’s hard to keep up. I don’t even have a pair of gardening gloves. But we’re managing to water everything. Including the weeds, which look just like Michigan weeds. We had this idea that we’d be in the hot tub drinking wine an hour or so after we moved in. Hahaha. We still have not OPENED the hot tub. But we’re getting there. Floors steamed and walls painted. Desk and chair ready to go. I wrote a scene a few weeks ago when I grabbed a spare couple of hours. I’ve been thinking of the next part of the sequence and oh I’m not sure if it’s the next book or if it’s going to work now…I need to write it to find out.

The holidays usually mess with my writing anyway but this one, well, it’s a whole other bag of toys. But we’re happy and settling in. We woke up Christmas morning, the first morning in our new house, and I thanked Al for my lovely Christmas present. He also insisted on gifting me with The Lyrics by Sir Paul and it’s wonderful reading in my favorite chair, which is the only chair we brought from Michigan. I have always wanted a ranch home and at age 66 I finally got one! It’s the nicest house I’ve ever owned. Maybe it’s the palm trees and the flowers in January or the Spanish Moss waving in the breeze. Maybe it’s because this was home to my ancestors. Now it’s my home, too.

Hope everyone had a good holiday. Back to work! For me that’s writing and I love it too much to think of it as work. More like survival medicine.