A hawk was sitting in the tree in the front yard when we left for our walk the other day. It didn’t bother to move when I tried to photograph it, just stared at me disdainfully. a vulture next to a dead opossum

Down the street, a vulture was snacking on a dead opossum. It didn’t bother to move, either, even though it was on the ground. It wasn’t wrong, though. I was certainly not getting close to it, and even Sophie was wary enough to keep her distance. Vultures are pretty big, really.

Later that same day, I opened the back door of the car, and a tiny frog was perched in the frame. I shooed him away without taking a photo, but belatedly realized the set of three would make a terrific little Florida slideshow. This is what it’s like to live in Florida: hawks in the Spanish moss, vultures and opossums on the street, frogs living in your car.

Sophie’s favorites are the squirrels and the lizards, though. I think the first time she ever saw a squirrel was at my brother’s house in PA — she followed it across the street without even hesitating at the side of the road, proving, alas, that I am not sexier than a squirrel. Since then she’s gotten better, but she still loves to chase them. IMO, they’re way too complacent about her. They flip their tails at her and chitter, which is fine, but sometimes they sit on the ground and yell at her, which I really think is probably a big mistake on their part. So far they’ve been lucky, but if she can catch one, she will.

Yesterday, we went downtown with friends and hung out at a sidewalk cafe for a while. People were setting up for an event later in the afternoon, so there were food trucks and live music and lots of people wandering around. It was fun to sit at the cafe with her and watch the world go by. I was pretty charmed by the number of people who reached down and rubbed her ears with barely a pause in their own walking. Like her ears were just a magnet for their hands, no conscious volition involved.

She was pretty good for an hour or so, but she got increasingly antsy, putting her paws up on my leg, and staring at me imploringly, and finally I decided maybe it was just too loud for her. We headed home, on foot, but had barely gotten more than a block away when she found a patch of grass with obvious relief. Oh! I am impressed, I think, that she defines “sidewalk cafe” as “inappropriate pee spot.” I would have thought outside was outside, but not so much for her. Grass is required.

Last week, I was a little worried that she was sick — she seemed very low energy to me. But if she was, she’s recovered, because I’ve had to hide the balls again. Today was almost five miles of walking, plus two stints of ball-throwing, of at least half an hour each. And if she can find a ball, she’ll bring it to me and suggest we play some more. All the playing, all the time.

Sophie, sitting under a tree

Here she is, resting after some serious backyard squirrel hunting. Well, and ball-playing, too.

We are not quite in our groove yet — little bits of a routine are starting to take shape, but I’m still feeling not quite settled. Example: I haven’t really figured out where I’m getting my groceries. In the past ten days, I’ve been to Costco, BJ’s, Aldi, Target, Save-A-Lot, Walmart, Winn-Dixie, and Fancy Fruit & Produce, all of which had things I wanted, none of which had all the things I wanted. I don’t want to have to go to half a dozen stores to find my staple foods, which maybe means settling into some new staple foods. But I don’t know what that looks like yet. No more pupusas or smoked salmon from Costco (too far away, the drive doesn’t make sense), no more GF bread from Arise, no more fresh eggs, but what will I be eating instead? So far, a lot of veggie hash, which, yay, good for me, very healthy, but also, bah, there’s only so much veggie hash one can eat. I’ll figure it out, I’m sure, but I haven’t quite gotten there yet. Still, it’s only been three weeks. It’s kinda weird sharing a kitchen with gluten-eaters, too. I’m trying to be careful, but it’s only a matter of time before I forget and wind up with a cross-contamination reaction. No big deal, of course, a gluten reaction isn’t fatal to me, just annoying. But I do prefer to avoid it if I can.

I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time today browsing time tracking tools and writer apps. I’m trying to convince the BBE to build me the perfect time tracking writer app, one that’s a lot like Highland 2, without all the screenplay writing focus. I want it to include the word counting, the sprint timer, the bin, and the notes, but I’d really rather not have to learn a new set of markup tools. I hate things that have the “oh, it’s so simple, you just have to remember that an equals sign means you’re writing a synopsis and that a synopsis is the same as a note and that if you want to start a new chapter, you should use a hash tag, but use more hashtags if you want smaller headings and the double bracket tool…” Um, no. Just stop now. Simplicity was gone as soon as I started having to remember symbols instead of words. But I would really, really like a writing app/time tracking app that let me have timed sprints and word-count reports, that sounds so handy.

Should I have spent all that time actually writing instead? Oh, probably. But I am making progress! I’d say I’m getting back to it now, but somehow my day has turned into evening. But I’ll be back at it in the morning!