Sunday, June 26, 2011

Settling In

I suppose some of you have been wondering why I haven't been posting. Okay, maybe only my mom, and then she calls, and maybe my computer is feeling neglected-- STOP ACTING UP COMPUTER AND THEN I'LL SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOU. Ugh. Well, that, and I get really tired of being attached to my computer and phone at work so I mostly just loaf around and read when I get home after dinner has been consumed and cleaned up. And I find myself going to bed earlier and earlier. I start brushing my teeth at 9 PM for goodness' sake! And it's not like I get up any earlier to be productive. I just don't sleep very well at night (I have an active imagination and my dreams are EXHAUSTING!), so I like just -resting-.

I have been occupied, though. Busy is the wrong word for my personal life. I'm busy at work. I'm occupied in my personal life. And I'm starting to settle in to the fact that J and I are really LIVING in Miami. For the longest time I felt like I was on an extended (and horrible) summer vacation. There is almost no change in the seasons, and I was unemployed for so long that I had lost a sense of passing time. We've been here for ten full months now. Where has the time gone? And why is there no snow? I miss chilly weather. Not FREEZING weather, just brisk, flurry-flake weather. My sweaters stare at me longingly from my closet. And I could take a break from this humidity. I look simultaneously sweaty and pinched. I'm always rocking this slight sheen of sweat and in order to prevent my hair from doing its "devil-horn curls" I have to pull it back in a really severe bun with a head-ache inducing headband. And there are some people down here who look fresh and pressed. I look wrinkly and disheveled. Fall cannot come soon enough. And the end of hurricane season. I'm terrified of one happening and then having to fight for supplies in a sort of post-apocalyptic sort of way. J and I joke about getting a shot-gun for times like that. But sometimes I'm not joking. Especially on the off-chance that zombies could be real.

I've settled-in in a couple of ways. The most excited and expensive way: I've invested in REAL sunglasses. I was using $12 sunglasses from Target that I had actually purchased down here when we came to look for apartments. I had bought a pair of faux-Ray Bans (Wayfarer Style) because they de-emphasize my rotund head. And a pair of aviators that ACTUALLY looked good on said rotund noggin. Of course the lenses on both are scratched, so they are not very fun to wear anymore. I have a pair of Versace (real, thank you very much)sunglasses that I love that my grandmother found and gave to me. But it just doesn't look right to be wearing tres-chic eye wear and sweaty, wrinkly clothing while trying to tame the frizz. I'm not worthy. :) And they are a little tight on my globe-like head. So, I've been telling J, "It's time to invest in a good pair of Wayfarers." Sunglasses are very prevalent down here, but still expensive. Not fair, supply and demand model! And thus I had been dragging my feet on making a $145 purchase when I have oh so many loan payments that are that price and higher. But whilst browsing one of my favorite fashion websites, they mentioned that TOMS is now doing eye wear in their One-For-One model (like their shoes). Basically when you buy a pair of TOMS shoes, a child in need also gets a pair. And now, with my purchase of $145 I was able to get decent sunglasses in the Wayfarer style, and someone will be able to see more clearly (they meet different needs: surgeries, glasses, and basic ocular health care). So I can now feel good about myself! And feel stylish! Without squinting in the sun. And don't worry- I got a very sturdy case so they won't get scratched. (When the guy at Nordstrom's asked me which designer cleaning cloth I wanted I chose Tom Ford because I think he's handsome... I'm a dork.)

Another way I know I'm settling: I got a library card. I don't know why it took me so long. I'm quite ashamed of myself really, but I've been reading a lot, I assure you. Now I can do it for free. The library system down here is decent. J's gotten me a couple of books from his school's library which is decent as well. I was spoiled with Madison Public Libraries, so I am always hoping for that experience. I have 8 books to read and it reminds me of the good old days when I would bike to the nearby public library and load up my back-pack, devouring the ten books in less than ten days. Yes, I've always read this much. Friends and family can attest to this. If I wasn't so lazy with this blog I'd do a book review blog. So, J and I went the three blocks to our local public library (lucky again, to be so close to a community center) and I stood in queue and proudly received my card. And then I promptly left J reading while I headed for the shelves. As my arms got heavier and heavier with books (some on my reading list, and some new) my spirit got lighter. There are a few places on earth where I feel happy to a point of delirium and giddiness. They are, as follows: libraries, book stores, office supply stores, craft stores, and THE CONTAINER STORE!!! And I found myself smiling as I met old friends on the shelf: Wind in the Willows, Redwall, Wee Free Men, and on and on... One of my friends had asked for book recommendations. Well, here is a list of books I've read since March. I hope some are inspiring:

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
The Ichdiean Universe Trilogy by Sherrilynn Kenyon
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice Through the Looking Class by Lewis Carroll
The Devil's Queen by Jeanne Kalogridis
The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley (graphic novel)
Scott Pilgrim Books by Bryan Lee O'Malley (seven graphic novels)
The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

I really liked the Alice books and the graphic novels. The Witch's Daughter was pretty good. Angelology was frustrating because I didn't know it was part of a trilogy that's not done yet (like when I had read A Discovery of Witches-- but I loved that book). Right now I'm working on The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Coe. Jury's still out.

And I've also added something to my social life: CRAFTING NIGHT! One of the women I work with was trying to figure out how to make me feel less lonely down here. She has a daughter my age, but we've got polar different interests, so she was peppering me with questions of what I like to do. I had been asking her what "kids-my-age" do down here and none of her suggestions were interesting to me. (J and I went out one night and I ordered my usual, vodka cranberry, and we were just chilling until the bill came and my tiny drink cost $11!!!) One day I wore a shirt that I had altered (I sewed cloth flowers to the collar.) And she complimented it. I told her I made it and craft night was born! She'll tell you she's not particularly crafty, but I'd beg to differ. She's great at painting. But the leader of our little rag-tag crafting group is her mom. She is the most amazing crafter I've ever seen. And I've seen some crafters. :) Her whole house looks like a block of the shops in Cedarburg. Her work looks professional. But she doesn't sell it. She just gives it away at the holidays. She's taught me to do a complicated crochet project (I'm not giving out details- they are going to be my Christmas gifts), and she figured out how to use the sewing machine that my mom had given me. Making stuffed animals will be a zillion times faster now. She's a very good teacher, and she's got a lot of crafting experience being 82. So the three of us gather at her house on Wednesdays now. Sometimes we order food, sometimes we pack extra in our lunches, and sometimes others will join us- which is nice. It's nice to have something to look forward to in the middle of a crazy week. Even though I'm not hanging out with people my age, I don't care. I'd rather be listening to this mother-daughter duo chit-chat while I try to do the many crochet stitches. Honestly, I get more out of it then if I were doing jell-o shots at one of the many drinking establishments. (Also, I hate how superficial Miami can be, so one less time to worry about looking sweaty and pinched...)

Luckily, I've been able to see two friends down here. My old, old high school friend has started a new business and he was downtown for a company meeting. I was able to hang out with him while J was home in Wisconsin. It was nice to see him. It felt just like old times, except I felt a little different and a little wiser from my high-school days. It was nice to reconnect and see someone who had been such a big part of those four formative years. And to laugh about how ridiculous those four years were. (Well- he was a grade below me, so three, but still...) And one of my bestie gal pals (part of what I am going to call the Fantastic Five from the college years and doing time in Education) was down in Fort Myers for a family wedding. J and I make the trek North-West through the gawd-awful Everglades. We had breakfast with her (the most amazing bacon omelet, pancakes, and hash browns) and we chatted with her and her mom, went to a souvenir shop (got J's gma some post cards), and got burned on the beach. I got my first significant burn. I was brown on the beach, and then I turned pink in the car. Oooh the itching and simultaneous soreness. It was bad. And I STILL have streaks on my body from where I had lazily slapped SPF. (I retain color for a loooong time.) It was so good to see her. I've missed the Fantastic Five very much and it is hard to go from spending all day, everyday (class, studying, and yes- a little drinking to relieve that student teacher stress) together to being so far apart. These were the people I could "bitch" to no matter what, no matter when and they understood completely what I was going through because they were schlepping through it with me. I wish life wasn't so complicated, and that I had a zillion dollars because I'd fly us all to Hawaii to sip girly drinks (no, make it fishbowls from Wando's) on the beach. :)

So, even though I'm so very far from friends, I'm still striving to keep those connections. And even though I don't do what the average 23 year old does down here it doesn't mean that I'm without good company. I love the two office-mates I have (we had a few headaches, but we're down one, and the headaches are gone!), I have my hubby, and my crafting guru. And soon there will be PUPPY!!! We're picking up Ruby (it's a girl!) on the 2nd. But that's for another post...

(I'll try to be good and make that post this week.)