On the Road

On Saturday I began the drive home to Tallahassee after spending a little over a week with my daughter and her family in Port Byron, IL. What a week!

I arrived on Saturday afternoon, unpacked and took a deep breath, because every day to come had some planned adventure:

Sunday afternoon we attended 15-year-old grandson, Garrett’s performance in a play at Riverdale High School where he played two parts with gusto. I was so proud of him.

On Monday I had lunch with the youngest grandchild, Harper D, who is a sassy kindergarten student at Riverdale Elementary School, and I remembered why I never aspired to teach five year olds. They’re cute, but exhausting.

Tuesday was wine night with my daughter and some of her friends. Yay!

On Wednesday evening I got to watch our middle granddaughter, McKayla (13), at her gymnastics class. She is pretty fierce in her pursuit of perfection. What a dynamo!

Thursday evening involved a concert for pre-K and kindergarten students at the elementary school. I talked McKayla into accompanying Harper and me, and we had a rambunctious evening. Harper volunteered me to play the role of a hopping bunny during one of the songs. I’m 61. My hop was a bit on the floppy side.

On Friday I took Garrett and Harper to see Black Panther, after which Harper (5) summed the film up with “Basically, there were two kings who wanted different things, but only one could win. Right?”

I couldn’t argue with her logic.

Then on Saturday morning I got to watch McKayla perform in a music competition, first playing flute in the band and later singing in her school’s choir. She was so lovely and poised. That’s our raven-haired McKayla, below, in the white top and black skirt.

Saturday evening our daughter, her husband, his parents, and I participated in a trivia contest for a local charity. We didn’t win; although, we held our own for most of the evening. It was way too much fun, and I might’ve had too much Guinness. Oops!

Then early on Sunday I started home. As I write this I’m in a hotel room just south of Nashville, Tennessee. The weather channel is promising thunderstorms for my drive home. I’d appreciate good vibes sent my way for the remainder of my trip. Hopefully I’ll be safely home at Doright Manor early tomorrow evening. I need to rest!

Peace, people!

Late Lessons

You should read this piece by Jan Wilberg aka redswrap.wordpress.com.

Red's Wrap

I think you have to be careful about how bad you feel for someone else because it puts a burden on them that you probably don’t intend.

I realized this long after I’d listened to a friend tell me about her daughter’s suicide. At the time, I felt almost paralyzed by grief, as if there were invisible droplets of nerve gas hanging like tiny Christmas lights all around me.  I listened and tried to manage my body language.

She told me things, the truth as it were, she told me the truth. I tried to reconcile this truth with what I was doing which was eating, I was sitting eating a wrap and coleslaw as if everyday I listened to tragic death stories over lunch. The obscenity of it struck me. What had happened was hideous in all ways. Unjust, terrible, and irrevocable. I nodded but I wanted to rend…

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Lagomarcino’s for Me

Before the grandkids arrived home from school on Friday afternoon I drove across the Mississippi River into Iowa just so I could have a hot fudge sundae at Lagomarcino’s in Davenport.

My daughter introduced me to Lago’s when she first moved to the quad cities (Moline, Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island) several years ago, insisting that they served the best hot fudge sundaes in the known universe. After my first taste I agreed with her.

What makes these hot fudge sundaes so special? Well, Lago’s makes their own ice cream and their own hot fudge. And unlike other places where the sauce has already cooled atop the ice cream, at Lago’s the fudge is served separately and is still hot when it arrives at the table. Yum!

I portioned it out little by little and the last drop of fudge was still nice and hot, and as absolutely delicious as the first! I savored every bite knowing it will be a while before I get another of these treats since I’m heading towards home on Sunday morning.

Peace, people!

When You Haven’t Written Anything for the Blog, but You Remember Today is St. Patrick’s Day

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Enjoy responsibly. Or not. Here’s a bit of humor for the day.

As a child this is what I imagined when I was told the good saint drove the snakes out of Ireland:

So, this is where Irish cream comes from!


This one took me a minute:

I don’t iron anything anymore, but this is worth remembering.

Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day! I’m off to watch my middle grandchild participate in a middle school music competition in a couple of hours.

Peace, people!

March Minimalist Challenge, Day 16

I’m still in Illinois; however, I wrote this before I left home. I imagine I’m cold up here in the land of Lincoln. I also imagine I’m having a great time with the grandkids and my daughter. Maybe, though, they’ve locked me in the basement and haven’t fed me in the past four days. Hey, I might’ve deserved it. I can be pretty cheeky.

Before I left Doright Manor I cleaned out the refrigerator, and these items were among the treasures I discovered: Various selections of sodas and juices, soups, and sauces, along with sample sizes of Swiss cheeses and additional sweet and savory surprises. So far, so good, and so long!

Peace, people!

“This Is Us” Virgin No More

For two years now I’ve listened to the buzz surrounding the television show, This is Us. Apparently everyone in the world, except for Studly and me, is hooked on this drama about a family’s highs and lows, triumphs and heartaches, accomplishments and failures. All I really knew about the show was that it made viewers cry. Every episode provoked tears, it seemed. Why in the world would anyone watch something so depressing?

As my regular readers might know, I’m visiting my daughter and her family in Illinois this week, and last night they forced me to watch This is Us. Handcuffs and leg chains might’ve been involved. As it happened, Wednesday night’s episode was the season finale. About midway through, I felt one tear, then another leak out from the corners of each eye.

“Could someone dab my cheek dry?” I sniffed.

“If you promise not to bolt, we’ll take the restraints off,” my daughter said.

I nodded and continued to cry as she freed my hands, then I folded myself into a modified fetal position. The tears felt good. Cleansing, if you will. And there was laughter, too, so the show never became maudlin.

I might not become a regular This is Us viewer, after all there isn’t a single zombie in the mix, but now I get why people like it. The acting gets an A+ and the characters felt real. Maybe I could suggest the inclusion of an occasional zombie. It could happen.

Peace, people.

Roadkill and Potholes

“Roadkill and Potholes”

As I drove north on busy Interstate 65 through Nashville, Tennessee, and points beyond last Thursday I realized I was simultaneously dodging enormous potholes and a diverse array of dead animals. The remains of raccoons, opossums, and deer were so numerous that I became anxious when I drove a mile or two without seeing a carcass. Ah, but not to worry, there were plenty more just down the road.

It was during one of these rare breaks in the action that I thought to make a verbal note on my phone in case I wanted to write something about roadkill and potholes for the blog. I did my best to enunciate, yet the message clearly reads, “Local Postholes.” Most likely I drove through a pothole as I spoke into the phone. Although, had that been the case, there would likely have been an expletive uttered, as well.

I’m scouting alternate routes for my return trip. Can you $&@?! blame me?

Peace, people.

Lunch with a Kindergartner

If you want to enjoy a four-star meal, an elementary school cafeteria is not the place to dine. If you’d prefer a low-key vibe surrounding you and your fellow diners during your meal, don’t waste even a millisecond considering an elementary school at lunchtime. However, if you desire raucous discourse and goofy, snaggle-toothed smiles, by all means join your favorite under-12 child for lunch.

I’m visiting my daughter and her family in Illinois this week. My three Illinois grandchildren are 15, 13, and five. When the teenagers were younger, Studly Doright and I lived just three hours away, and we were able to attend grandparents’ days at their school. But we moved to Florida when Harper, now five, was two, so we’ve missed out on meeting her teachers and classmates. Today, though, I was able to enjoy lunch and recess with her. It was an event I won’t soon forget.

Harper’s friends were eager to tell me not only their names, but their middle names as well as the names of every member of their families, including pets living and dead. Two little boys were disappointed that I didn’t know their respective grandparents who also live in Florida.

The conversation was entertaining and even briefly turned political when the angelic child seated directly across from me asked, “Do you know Donald Trump?”

“Well, no,” I said. “But I know who he is.”

“He tells lies ALL the time,” she said, with great solemnity. All I could do was nod.

After a lunch of oddly shaped chicken fingers, carrots, peaches, broccoli, chocolate milk, and some bug shaped crackers, we all put on our coats and headed out to recess. Harper held firmly to my right hand while a group of children with sweet and slightly sticky fingers, argued over who got to hold my left hand. We worked out a rotation and soon we were walking briskly around the playground.

I live in Florida where even in the winter temperatures rarely dip below 50°, so I knew I wouldn’t last long out on the windy 38° playground. For a few minutes I watched Harper and her friends clamber over various pieces of equipment.

I taught the five-year-olds how to play London Bridge is Falling Down. They thought it was hilarious to “take the keys and lock him/her up.” I began to worry that perhaps this game from my childhood might not be politically correct. Oops!

After playing approximately three thousand rounds of London Bridge I hugged Harper and said my good-byes to the adorable munchkins. Then I went back to my daughter’s home and took a well-deserved nap. But the dreams were sweet, and slightly sticky.

Peace, people!

March Minimalist Challenge, Days 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and Perhaps 20.

Confession: I’m probably cheating a bit for the next few days.

For those of you who have been breathlessly awaiting my next minimalist challenge post, for heaven’s sake, breathe. I’ll not be responsible for any injuries incurred on my behalf.

Currently I’m far away from Doright Manor, visiting my daughter and her family in the great state of Illinois. My goal before departing on my cross-country trip was to sort through enough items at home to carry me through the eleven days I’d be away. I was going to snap photos, write some alliterative prose to accompany each photo, and schedule the posts for publication. I didn’t come even close to my goal.

But, in the back of my mind I thought that this item might suffice for the entire trip, as a backup plan in case I didn’t do my due diligence:

Inside the jar (1 item), underneath the lid (1 more item), are 174 pretzel nuggets that I discovered while cleaning out the trunk area of my car, for a total of 176 items.

12+13+14+15+16+17+18+19=124 items! Even if I don’t arrive home until the 20th, I’m covered!

Plus, I’m pretty sure I have something scheduled to post for the challenge on the 16th, so I’m not a complete loser.

Quick story about why I even had the long-expired pretzel nuggets in my car: Every now and again I decide I need snacks in my vehicle just in case of a zombie apocalypse or an EMP (electro magnetic pulse) attack by North Korea. Pretzel nuggets would keep me going for a few days, at least, as I made my way to a safe location. I might even be able to use them to barter with others along the way.



Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un

Okay, I’m lying, but that explanation is way more interesting than the truth.

Peace, people.

March Minimalist Challenge, Day 11

I awakened bright and early, okay, neither bright nor early, but I awakened, nonetheless, on this first Sunday morning of daylight savings time to find I didn’t have a minimalist challenge blog post ready to publish. Here I am at my daughter’s home, a thousand miles from Doright Manor, without a photo of 11 items to discard. Did I panic. Not I! I just rifled through my handbag:

The sad thing is, I can do this another day of my vacation if need be.

For those dazzled by my brilliant use of alliteration on prior minimalist challenge posts, please forgive my lapse. I made almost no attempt at alliteration today. I’m on holiday, after all.

Peace, people.