Thrift Store Finds

My decorating talents are weak, at best, and most of my efforts at making my home attractive are more miss than hit. That doesn’t keep me from trying, though.

Last week I dropped off some donations at a local thrift shop and thought I’d look around for artsy pieces while I was there. Usually I come away from such trips empty handed, but on this day I hit gold.

Okay, this first one is something most likely originally purchased at a Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but I liked it and for $10 it looked like a winner. It’s a great piece for our den.

This one, though, was my favorite find.

It’s an original, most likely by an FSU art student, and fits nicely with the Guatemalan decor in our dining room. It only set me back $3.99.

One of my all-time best thrift store art finds, though, is this painting.

I think I gave $5.99 for it at a second hand shop when we lived in Melbourne, Florida, many years ago. It makes me happy. Isn’t that what art is supposed to do?

Peace, people.

Carabelle

At this time of year in the Florida panhandle there seems to be something fun going on every weekend. On Saturday morning I had a tough time choosing between events, but decided I needed a bit of the coast, which led me to Carabelle, Florida’s Riverfront Festival.

Usually Carabelle is just a place I pass through on my way to St. George Island or Apalachicola. Maybe I’ve purchased gas there, but that’s about it. Today I walked around and sampled some of the foods and did a bit of shopping before returning home to Doright Manor.

The engineer discouraged me from riding the train.

I intended to bring Studly some kettle corn, but forgot. Maybe a photo will suffice.

Fried foods and more fried foods:

A beer bottle cap lobster:

Nothing exciting happened, but it was a pleasant way to spend my day.

Peace, people!

O Canada!

On Thursday night I was bedeviled by a bout of insomnia. I’d broken a cardinal rule and continued reading well past what I’ve come to think of as the “sleep tipping point.” It’s that point when I can feel my eyelids drooping and my breaths relaxing into the rhythms of sleep.

If I’d put the kindle down in that moment I’d have been fine, but no. I was reading James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, and had just gotten to the period of time following trump’s inauguration. There was no way I could stop. Soon I was wide awake and had swung in the opposite direction of the sleep tipping point.

Studly Doright’s sciatic pain awakened him around 11 p.m., so he went to the den to try resting on the couch for awhile. I finished the book just before midnight, and my brain was churning furiously. I checked my phone–another bad decision, but what the heck? I wouldn’t be sleeping for awhile anyway.

WordPress had a message for me. It said my stats were booming. “Well, well, well,” I thought. “Finally hit the big time.”

Actually, since this wasn’t my first rodeo that thought never crossed my mind at all. I reckoned, and rightly so, that someone had found my blog and had taken the time to read more than one post. I love it when that happens. I always picture someone very much like me sitting somewhere in the world making connections through our shared experiences.

When I looked on my stats page I saw this graphic:

Clearly someone from Canada liked my blog well enough to read 75 different posts. Whoever you are, thank you. This is for you.

https://youtu.be/-98Jg_4p_O8

Laundry Detergent

The Big Bend Homeless Coalition in Tallahassee posted this announcement on Facebook a few days ago.

I made a note of it and decided to take part in some way. When I returned from my trip to Austin the note popped up in my calendar, thank goodness, and yesterday I went shopping at Walmart.

Buying items from a list of suggestions should be simple, right? So why did I agonize over brands and sizes? Should I buy one of each item listed or should I concentrate on buying a lot of one thing?

In the end I bought a large box of diapers, a good sized box of trash bags, a huge container of laundry detergent, and some feminine hygiene supplies. The last item wasn’t listed, but I’d asked if it would be okay to bring some and had gotten a thumbs up from the staff. (Thanks to blogging friend Jan Wilberg at http://redswrap.wordpress.com who gave me the idea.)

Of all the things I bought, though, the laundry detergent was by far the most appreciated. The man who helped me unload it from my car said, “We can do a whole lot of good with this.”

That’s pretty much the best thing I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve decided that going forward I’m going to take laundry detergent to the coalition’s office once a month. I want to help somebody do a whole lot of good again and again.

Peace, people.

Game Show Ponderings

Recently I submitted an online application to Ellen DeGeneres’s Game of Games television show. I answered a few simple questions, hit send, and promptly forgot about it. Then last week I received an email from someone on Ellen’s staff asking me to submit a brief video audition.

I hadn’t checked my email until late in the day and had only a few minutes to shoot something before their deadline. My audition was a very bland production, and I am sure it will get no farther than the first level of examination, but it was fun to briefly consider how I might fare on the show. I already had the grand prize of $100,000 spent several different ways.

If you’ve never seen the show, Ellen’s Game of Games is a hoot. Contestants compete in physical and/or mental challenges with the winner of each game advancing to a general knowledge round. The winner of that round goes on to play Hot Hands in which they must quickly identify people or objects that appear briefly on a screen. I’ve been practicing Hot Hands using Ellen’s app on my iPhone. I’m absolutely awful at it, but that’s another story.

Years ago I auditioned for Jeopardy. I didn’t make it past the first rounds, but a friend did and made it on to the show. Likewise, I passed the preliminary round for Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but wasn’t selected to be on the show. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a game show contestant. Perhaps I lack charisma. Naw, that can’t be it.

Last night I was watching Family Feud and considering which family members I might choose to play with me. My kids and Studly? My sisters-in-law? Decisions, decisions. Given my record of not being selected I guess it’s all an exercise in futility.

What about you? Have you ever been chosen to be a contestant on a game show? What shows do you see yourself auditioning for? I’m going to go practice Hot Hands again just in case I get the call.

Peace, people.

Random Photos from Austin, Texas, plus Bonus Footage of Me on Drums

On my recent trip to Austin, Texas, I took a good many photos. Surely some of them are worth sharing.

These photos below are of random works of art I saw on the Austin Tour of Weird Homes:

The one above was part of the black light decor in a bathroom!

One home had two rooms dedicated to various images of Marilyn Monroe.

We stopped for lunch at Lucy’s where darned near everything is deep fried and delicious, even the deviled eggs!

I did find a sandwich that wasn’t fried:

Oh, except for the fried chicken in the chicken salad sandwich.

Sister-in-law, Angie, struck a pose at Lucy’s.

We also strolled around the expansive grounds of The Great Outdoors nursery.

But best of all, I got to play drums at the house we rented!

Autographs, anyone? By the way I’m well aware I am holding the sticks incorrectly. Don’t be haters.

Peace, people!

A Snore Thang

I flew home from Austin yesterday. My original flight, scheduled to leave the Texas capital at noon was cancelled, and I ended up on an earlier flight. My 5 a.m. alarm came much too early, especially since I hadn’t slept much anyway.

Not long into the first brief leg of my flight from Austin to Houston I must’ve dozed off, something I’m rarely able to do on a plane. Unfortunately some pesky person near me jarred me awake with their snoring. The same thing happened on the flight from Houston to Dallas. Just my luck to get stuck by two snorers the one time I’m able to catch a few much needed zzzz’s.

It wasn’t until the third leg of the trip from Dallas to Panama City Beach, when once again my sleep was interrupted by snoring, that I realized the culprit was me. I guess the drool on my chin was the giveaway.

At least my seat mates were different on all three flights so my embarrassment was diffused. I do so hope my snores were ladylike.

Peace, people.

Sunday Shenanigans in Austin

Sunday was my last full day in Austin, and what a day it was. We started with brunch at Brooklyn’s in Buda, Texas, and then headed to Bass Concert Hall on the University of Texas campus to catch a matinee performance of The Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is not for the easily offended, but it is hysterically funny. From the opening number, “Hello,” to the closing number, a delightfully different version of “Hello,” the play was one irreverent romp about the misadventures of a pair of Mormon missionaries.

(Above is our mandatory selfie. From left, niece Christie, her daughter, Sophia, sister-in-law Lyn, me, sister-in-law Angie and friend Mauri.)

Below I posed with the young man who played Elder Cunningham (Connor Peirson) and the young woman who portrayed Nabulungi (Kayla Pecchioni). It won’t surprise me if they go on to even bigger roles on grander stages. They’re both impressive actors.

There was a bit of a downside to the day that had nothing to do with the play, though. Just a few minutes before the curtain was raised on the opening act I received a text saying my flight for Monday had been cancelled, so of course part of mind was fretting even as I guffawed during the performance. After the play I spent nearly an hour on hold with Southwest customer service agents.

I think we finally got everything ironed out even though it means we now have to get up really early in the morning so I can be at the airport on time. So I need to brush and floss my teeth and go to bed. Right now.

Peace, people!

Austin’s Weird Tour of Homes

Saturday in Austin was spent touring weird homes around the city. In a town known for being weird, it takes a special kind of home to qualify for this tour.

I’m not even going to try to explain what we saw on the tour, but here are a few photos I thought it would be fun to share with my readers.

Pictured above are the weirdest people in Austin this weekend. From left, my sisters-in-law Lyn and Angie, friend Mauri, niece Christie, and yours truly. We’re not nearly as innocent as we look.

Too much happened today and I’m too tired to post much, but suffice it to say I had way more fun than is probably legal in the state of Texas.

Goodnight and peace, people!

Fasten Your Seatbelts

Lately it seems as though all I’ve done is travel with brief periods of rest at Doright Manor between trips. On Friday I flew on Southwest Airlines from Panama City Beach, FL, with a brief layover in Houston before reaching my final destination in Austin. I’m meeting up with two of Studly’s sisters and my niece for a girls’ weekend. It promises to be way more fun than I’m accustomed to. But first I had to survive my flight!

The first leg of the flight was routine. The pilot found a smooth route and we cruised without incident to Houston Hobby Airport. The flight, though, from Houston to Austin was a bit of a nail biter.

We hit turbulence upon takeoff and it was constant the entire flight. Thank goodness the ordeal only lasted 32 minutes. But the flight attendants were never instructed to take a seat and they served passengers as the plane bucked like an untamed bronco until the very last seconds. I was reading and in the back of my mind wondering when the attendants would announce that our tray tables and seatbelts needed to be secured and our seats in the upright and locked position.

The message to secure the cabin never came, though, and the plane landed jarringly, resulting in cups and cans from the back of the plane becoming airborne. I’ve flown thousands of miles and never experienced anything quite like this landing. The flight attendants were visibly shaken, but there was never a word from the cockpit. Weirdest landing I’ve ever encountered.

But I’m here! Our niece, CB picked me up at the airport and then we rendezvoused with her mom (Studly’s eldest sibling) and her aunt (Studly’s middle sister) at CB’s home in Buda, Texas outside of Austin.

So far I’ve had terrific Mexican food at Garcia’s, a family owned restaurant in Buda, played a fun strategy game called Ticket to Ride, at which I thoroughly sucked, enjoyed some good red wine, and laughed so hard I cried. CB’s family joined us for the fun and games last night adding to the hilarity.

I never could remember which color my train was!

{In Ticket to Ride (above) I never could remember which color our train was! I thought we were blue, but midway through my sister-in-law informed me we were red. Needless to say, we didn’t win.}

We’re staying in a lovely “vacation rental by owner” place, with plenty of room to spread out, and today (Saturday) we’re going on a tour of weird homes in Austin. I have no idea what we’ll see, but it should be a hoot. Austin is famous for its weirdness.

On Sunday we’re seeing a production of The Book of Mormon, and I’ll fly home on Monday. Unless, that is, I get a look at my pilot and recognize him from the flight on Friday. I might be looking for the nearest Greyhound bus station if that’s the case.

Peace, people.