Today is remarkable for the fact that I rode my bike downtown to the Cultural Center for my writer’s group session. The ride down was just that–down. I came to realize and remembered on the way home ( i.e. UP) that the little House on Belmont Street sits on what used to be a ridge of sand dunes. The houses behind me on LaRua Street sit even higher. Imagine a time when the bay lapped much further inland than today, and homes were built on the higher dunes that undulated in stair steps down to the water. So, I admit that my flabby thigh muscles were complaining by the time I arrived home. But, I began the first of many such rides instead of using my car. Only time will tell whether this becomes a part of my lifestyle. More on biking later. But for now, I am discovering my city for the first time!
*A note about my writing group. The West Florida Literary Federation sponsors a variety of writing groups which meet on a regular basis. In November I was able to join the Portfolio Group. It is comprised of five amazing women writers who have already improved my writing. Because of them, I was selected into a Masters Workshop at the Tucson Book Festival coming up March 14-17th. After I return from Arizona, I hope to edit and write the final sections of a novel I started in 2006. Joining a writers’ group is one of the good decisions I made early in the process of creating a life for myself after leaving full time work.
ORGANIZING IN SMALL SPACES: I found new storage spaces above cabinets, storing outdoor kinds of things like batteries, bulbs, extension cords, halogen lamps, etc in plastic bins which I stacked on the back porch. I chose a color, beige, that blends in with the porch. Made decisions about art and just went ahead and put it up and did not worry about it being the perfect place.
REALITY THERAPY: Today our temps spiked to nearly 80 degrees. It was hot in this house. Because it is old, many of the windows–all original–are hard if not impossible to open. Because it is a shot gun house (straight and narrow from the front door to the back door) I opened both and turned on the living room fan. It created a nice flow through. However, hot spots are in the bedroom! So I need to buy a couple of thermal drapes for windows on the west side of the house. There is central air conditioning but the house is drafty. I do not want to use more energy than I did at the condo which is twice the size of this house. That might not be possible. This is the plight of renters. Owners can change things like insulate the house. This afternoon, images of me swatting mosquitoes as I slept on the porch danced around in my mind. These fearful scenarios are fading away however. I was worried about the trains and now I just roll over and go back to sleep. My neighbors tell me soon I will not awaken at all.
The downtown vibe is distinct, syncopated, loud, and vibrant. Prince came “on little cat’s feet” to drink half the water in the birdbath and make a bid for the front porch cushions for the night but I took them inside. He left after a short appeal. Should I give into Prince of the Kitties? What do you think?