Sunshine on the morning mist at the park down the street

Sunshine on the morning mist at the park down the street

I’ve been exploring new walks with Sophie around our new neighborhood, but I think we’ve settled into our morning routine. It’s about a mile and a half, across one busy road, and then down a friendly street and around a small park. Sophie gets to be off-leash for some of the walk, on-leash for the part that involves streets with cars that drive too fast, and she seems happy with the first, tolerant of the second.

This morning when we headed out, there was a little chill in the air. I was wearing a lightweight hoodie — it not having even crossed my mind to check the weather before leaving the house — and I shivered a little, but but by the time we made it home, the sun was already warming up the day.

By 10AM, Sophie and I were in the backyard, me with computer and Chuck-It in tow. I’ve spent the vast majority of the day sitting in my new, reasonably comfortable, reclining outdoor chair, with my laptop on my lap, pondering Cici. The Chuck-It is on the ground next to my chair and when Sophie brings the ball close enough, I throw it for her. (We’re having a tiny power struggle about how close the ball needs to be before I’m willing to throw it, but she’s going to figure it out eventually.)

My outdoor office is not quite perfect: I’m going to need to start experimenting with mosquito repellents, because this is Florida, after all. But I bought two chairs so that my writing friends could come hang out in my backyard with me, and set up Sophie’s dog bed between them, so I’m looking forward to some peaceful sociability back here.

Some peaceful, warm, sunny sociability. I am not, of course, sitting in the direct sunlight. I’m under the shade of some huge trees that I think might be live oaks. I’ll have to see if I can get Apple Photos to identify the species for me. But they’re draped with beautiful Spanish moss and their leaves are green and there is not the slightest hint that this might be winter. Of course, come summer, assuming I’m still here, I will probably be a lot less willing to work outside. As I remember from when I lived in Florida last, when the temperature gets much past the mid-80s, my hands will be sweaty enough that it’s hard to type. But there’s plenty of shade, so maybe I’ll still be able to enjoy it.

And if not, maybe I’ll love my office set-up in my bedroom. My room is not big, but it’s actually not much smaller than the tiny house was and unlike the tiny house, I don’t have to treat it as a kitchen as well as a living space. So I’ve ordered a small desk and a comfortable office chair, and they’ll get here tomorrow. I’ll set them up right by the front window, which looks out on a lovely green space, so I’ll have a view while I write. Yep, a room with a view.

Speaking of kitchens — I LOVE having a real kitchen. Counter space! Two sinks! Four burners! A full-size refrigerator! It’s cozy and cute and full of other people’s belongings, (I have two housemates, three if we include the owner of the house who doesn’t live here, but left the kitchen fully stocked) but I have been making myself thoroughly at home.

Today I made one of my housemates come rearrange the cabinets with me, somewhat with the excuse (true) of wanting to have my spices on shelves where I can easily see them, but also in the hopes of getting rid of anything truly ancient. We wound up organizing all the leftover containers — more tops than bottoms, of course; stashing some things likely to be less-used on shelves above the fridge; and discovering lifetime supplies of cumin and turmeric. I think there are three almost full and one partially full bottles of turmeric. We also tossed anything with an expiration date of more than two years ago, which meant emptying out some jars that had been sitting on the counter and moving them to free up more counter space.

At one point, I said, apologetically, “I’m not really a clean freak,” and then I stopped myself and said, “And if I was, that would be totally fine.” I’m not, especially when compared to my mother and grandmother, but it is true that I like living in an organized space. This space is more organized today than it was a week ago, and cleaner, too, and that’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t quite feel like home, but it feels like it might someday feel like home, and that’s… well, that’s lemonade.

Next week, my friend J will come write with me, and sometime soon thereafter, I hope my friend Lynda will come write with me, too. I am going to have to get some real lemonade to offer them, but I am already grateful that I get to spend time with them and that when we part, it will be with “when can we do this again?” instead of “I might be back next year.”

Yeah, I am liking my lemonade.