You've asked some good questions, my friends. Hopefully my answers will be equally satisfying.
Libby asks: Why did you move to Florida? Did you sell your business? Do you miss winter?
Short answer is: because living at the beach is AWESOME!, yes, and absolutely not. I'm actually surprised how often I've been asked if I miss winter or miss snow or miss the seasons. Winter does exist in Florida. It gets colder, and the sky turns clear crystal blue, and the citrus trees bear fruit. But do I miss cold, icy, bleak grey winter? Nooooooo. I never was a fan of cold weather, and I'm perfectly happy to miss out on it.
A much, much longer answer to "why did I move to Florida" can be found in the entry I wrote on New Year's Day. But it's me at my wordiest, I'm just warning you now.
Melody asks: Are you still a big coupon, bargain shopper when it comes to groceries?
I'm still all about bargain hunting to keep our grocery budget down, but I don't do coupons so much any more. There are two reasons I've been neglecting my coupon folder. The first is that none of the grocery stores do double or triple coupons, so there isn't as great a payoff for saving coupons, and the other is that the local newspapers blow. In DC, it was doubly worthwhile to subscribe to the Sunday Post. The Washington Post is one of the country's great newspapers, and the Sunday paper was always good for at least an hour of lazy reading. I loved the Travel section and Style, and the Magazine was a staple of my bathroom reading. Even if the coupons were disappointing, at least I still enjoyed the paper. Here, the local paper publishes photos of people's grandchildren who've come to visit. I am NOT kidding. If it's one of those coupon-free Sundays, the paper goes straight into the recycling bin unread. So I gave up, essentially.
What I do instead is carefully go through all of the sale flyers and plan out my shopping for the week. It's not unusual for me to hit two or three stores in a week. I'll go to Publix just to get their buy one get one free items, and then go to Albertson's on Friday or Saturday so I can use the $5 off $50 coupon they often publish. If none of the sales look good, God help me, I'll go to Wal-Mart to get the essentials, even though that store saps my will to live.
The real bummer is that the farmer's market closes over the summer... they have the best, cheapest produce, and they won't open up again until October. I also miss the grovestand, which is also closed until fall -- they always have a big bin of unattractive citrus fruit, and for $5 you get as many as you can cram into a plastic bag. I got 40lbs of grapefruit in a bag once. The only way to beat that price is to make friends with someone with some grapefruit trees, which we have.
Melody also asks: Is there any wonderful new food that you've tried in FL that you hadn't had before prior to moving there. Any new restaurants or take-out places that you love?
Yes! I've become a huge fan of steamed oysters. Even though I grew up not too far from the Chesapeake Bay, I hadn't eaten steamed oysters before. I'd had fried oysters, which I like, and I've always thought the raw oyster thing seemed gross, but it turns out that I really like steamed oysters, especially when accompanied with plenty of lemon and melted butter.
Our favorite restaurant is a sushi bar, at which we are such regulars that they now always give us free food. And I just found a fantastic little Mexican carry-out, the kind of place where they don't have a menu and it really helps if you can speak Spanish. It's on the way to the beach, too, which is a major bonus.
Lynn asks a question which is actually related: Do you miss anything about DC?
I miss Ethiopian food so much. I really, really miss going down to U Street for Ethiopian, and every time I go back to DC I have to go to Etete for a vegetarian platter with fish. I also miss having easy access to ethnic grocery stores. When I lived in DC, if I wanted to go to an Asian store, I had to ask myself if I wanted to go to the Chinese store or the Thai market or the Korean mega-mart. Here, I have to drive 20 miles to buy a bottle of fish sauce.
I'm out of fish sauce. This makes me sad.
Of course, I miss my family (especially my mom) and my friends, but it's kinda surprising how little I miss living in DC. There are things I miss, but a much longer list of things I don't miss. But no one asked me that....
I haven't answered all the questions yet, I know, but the ones that remain unanswered are ones that demand entries of their own. I don't have that much time left before the finale of "The Fashion Show" starts! So stay tuned, there's more to come... and if you think of another question, feel free to ask.