Contained Chaos Ensues

We sold our home in three days; lucky for me I didn’t have to keep the place pristine for very long. The buyers are a lovely couple who have agreed to let us stay until mid-August, so I think maybe amid the chaos I may continue to try to write my novel. Or at least fit in one more scene before we split town. It works to my benefit to keep my writing tools close to hand until the very end. People who are 66 years old, or at least some of them, accumulate a lot of stuff, which they, or okay I, nonchalantly decide I don’t want most of anyway. Ha!

The two or three boxes of books has turned into six and those are just the ones going into storage until we find our next good home, which will be big enough to hold these things that just won’t fit into our little St. Pete getaway. So into a storage unit most of it goes. Into the car we shall pack our usual assortment of clothing, minus winter coats and boots and sweaters. Those we will leave for the Estate Sale ladies to deal with, as they have ensured me they are very happy to do. They even sell unopened food. These Estate Sale gals have made the moving process much easier. Whatever we don’t want, they’ll sell. Whatever they can’t sell, they’ll donate. And then they’ll clean the house for the new owners. We’ll already be gone.

That I have the luck to be able to write a few more times in between the sorting and boxing owes much to these ladies. Meanwhile this big scene in Jane.2 has been growing, shooting out pretty flowers inside. I know I need to write it now. Or soon. For sure before we leave this place for good. Yes I’ll miss my writing room, but I’ll miss my family and friends more! As for missing a room, I do mostly write on a chair with my laptop, which I can do almost anywhere. This “ardent coral” room is for all the else, some of it practical like a printer and paper clips, most of it inspirational, like my books. I knew I was going to keep the complete collections of my favorite authors of fiction: Anne Tyler, Alice Hoffman, Erica Jong, Louise Erdrich, Barbara Kingsolver, Sara Lewis and Margaret Atwood.

Turns out, I forgot my favorite non-fiction writer: Anne LaBastille. And my lone male short story writer: Raymond Carver. He comes along with Alice Munro and Carol Shields. Then there are the poets and the Zen philosophers. But I ruthlessly cut myself off with one box there. Oh and I had to add Laurie Colwin, who died way too young. She wrote fiction and two cookbooks. Her stories were a big deal to me back in the day. I want to revisit her.

Except for the writing books, those I’m using as research for this book (here’s a hint: Frida Kahlo) will wedge into the loaded southbound vehicle with Al and I and our electronics. The few other favorite “How to Write” books, several of them by script doctor/screenwriter Linda Seger, I will store for use on the next book.

We are taking this a step at a time and I may be nuts to think I can actually write a book while relocating twice. Well, maybe only once. We are thinking we will stay in our little jewel in St Pete six months or maybe a year. Al is my guiding star with this as he knows all about the economics of the housing market these days. I couldn’t do this without him, but then I don’t think I would have ever been able to write a book without him. All you need is love. And books.

Everything is Different

As I await my editor’s comments on the manuscript of Jane in St. Pete, my website and my life are undergoing some renovations. Life has a way of moving smooth and slow for a long time and then all at once everything is different. It’s kind of that way on the blog now. And for sure that way with Al in retirement. We are still getting alongs swimmingly here on the sunny and warm Gulf Coast. I have some great people helping me make this website more reflective of where I’m at in life now. I am determined to do the messy work of cleaning up my archives and slimming down my categories! I’m excited for all the changes, although there are bound to be some behind-the-scenes growing pains. I will do my best to be totally upfront with the trials of this complete life makeover. In the meantime, if you can’t find me here for a week or two due to the dust, I’ll still be posting to all my other usual social media: Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. ❤

Postcard from St Pete

It’s hot today or maybe it’s because I have been busy all morning, making pancakes (hot stove), blow drying my hair (hot air), and starting the laundry. I would much rather be at the beach, like these people in the vintage post card. The day is a bit overcast but still warm enough for a stroll in the sand. We’ve been in Florida for five days now, finally starting to feel settled. Still have not been for a walk or a sunset on the beach.

When I grocery shopped I only bought fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Al hasn’t noticed yet that he is on the PBWF diet with me. We did go out to dinner last night with my dad, my brother and sister-in-law, Becky. A night off from cooking and also, full disclosure, I ate a filet mignon, paired with a nice pinot noir. I have not had a steak since I began straightening the curve months ago. Once Al leaves–he has another week with me here before he has to go back to work–it  will make sticking to a plant-based program much easier.

What I love about my diet-for-life is that once you’re in the groove, there are no cravings and no hunger between meals. It’s easy to step outside the diet and get right back on, which is not true of any other diet I’ve ever been on. Also, the energy levels go way up and I just generally feel sunnier. I’m hoping it is helping me inside as much as outside. I want to be below the pre-diabetes numbers I’ve been carrying around for a long time without giving it a thought. I wish I’d admitted to myself that most often pre-diabetes leads to diabetes.

In other news, I’ve been working on audio versions of The Paris Notebook. Almost done. Have a cute little office area now that my writing room has become a guest room. I’ll be writing much more after Al leaves, too, as my editor will be sending edits on the crime novel any day. It makes me wonder how we will work things out when he retires. My big idea is to sell our home in Michigan and move down here while scouting out a larger place. Just like Virginia Woolf, I need a room of my own. With a door. Ideally, one that opens to the Gulf of Mexico.

Night Life

img_3533Been dancing my fool head off  in Florida. I love to dance, so this has been kind of a life saving surprise. I live in the Long Bayou condos, and they have quite the social schedule. There were two dances in February! Not to mention their line dancing and ballroom dancing classes. All of this happens at night, and when I first got here I was firmly in Michigan mode, meaning I didn’t go out after dinner. Ever. 7 pm saw me with a glass of wine and a book.

Then I got a peek at the social schedule for this place. They actually put a calendar out every month and it is jam packed with excursions and classes and activities. I saw that there was going to be a Valentine’s Dance, and I decided to take line dance lessons every Tuesday night so I wouldn’t look too much a fool. The Valentine’s Dance was so fun that I went to the dance they had the next week. And this weekend I went out dancing with some people I met here. Imagine a bar full of 60-somethings. I didn’t think such a thing was possible but it happens here in Florida.

img_3550-2The place was right on the Gulf and there were two bands, one outside on the deck and the other inside after dark. We danced until the sun went down, and then we went inside and danced some more. It was so much fun. I’m starting to make some good friends and I’m thankful for them. I could have never predicted that I’d be dancing so much. Apart from the perpetually warm sunny days, it’s been the best thing about my new life in Florida.

Have to admit: it’s not all dancing in the moonlight. I really miss Al. And  not just as a dance partner. I miss every single thing about living with him. All the things we take for granted from that first cup of coffee in the morning, through dinner together, to curling up in bed next to each other at night. But I’m hanging in there. I have placed framed photos of him around the house, we phone each other every day, we text. And we have an end date to this long distance marriage. He’ll be back in Florida in three weeks and I am counting the days. When he gets here, I’m taking him dancing.