Anyone who has known me personally for any length of time has likely realized that I’m not exactly a maven of the finer points of etiquette. Yes, I do know better than to chew with my mouth open, and I’ve only put my elbows on the table a couple of times in my 62+ years, but there are so many basic rules of etiquette with which I’m unfamiliar. Emily Post likely cannot rest in peace knowing the extent of my many faux pas.

I can’t blame Mama for my lack of social graces. She did her best to educate me, but the world we inhabited when I was young didn’t require much more than knowing how to answer a phone properly and the correct form for a thank you note, along with the aforementioned table etiquette. I was, and continue to be, a manners mess.

But maybe I’m not too old to learn. I purchased this little book at an estate sale this weekend.

One literally could not judge this book by its cover, but I knew it was old, and that made it intriguing.

The lettering on the spine was faint,

but inside the cover I discovered what might be the missing link in my social education:

While not a first edition, it’s still of a venerable age, and will be a welcome addition to my little library. Oh, and the priceless information within will most likely make me a highly sought after companion among the “Ladies Who Lunch.”

For example, if I decide to host a bridge party I now know how to write the invitation, including which scripts are acceptable for the engraving.

Appropriate apparel for every minute of one’s day is covered in the book. I read this section carefully, and nowhere did capris pants, a t-shirt, and flip flops get a mention. Huh.

Notice of the first four pages, only a portion of the fourth page addresses what a man should wear. And note, these pages only cover the morning hours. There are additional dress rules for afternoon and after six p.m., as well as ones for sporting events, funerals, weddings, business, and travel.

There is even a section on vacation customs. The first paragraph gave me the giggles.

I can well imagine the shoulder shrugs and exchanges of amused glances when I roll up to the resort in my Mickey Mouse t-shirt and shorts. Good times!

The author, Anna Steese Richardson, seems to have been a contemporary of the better known grande dame of etiquette, Emily Post. I wonder if the two had an ongoing ladylike feud regarding which type of calling card best conveyed the appropriate solemnity. I can just picture them politely snubbing one another at a wedding or requesting to be reseated at a dinner party to avoid being in one another’s presence.

Thank goodness many of the formalities the two women adhered to have been relaxed over time. The whole thing sounds exhausting.

Now, pardon me while I change out of my morning t-shirt into an afternoon t-shirt. I think I’ll pair it with my blue flip flops and dark wash jeans. I’ll be available to receive callers at my summer residence (see also, winter, spring, and fall accommodations) between 3:30 and 5 this afternoon. Be sure and leave your properly engraved card on the table in the foyer.

Peace, and Propriety, People.

Give Me a Sharpie, and I’ll Rule the World

Most likely by now most folks living in the U.S., and perhaps a few people in other parts of the world, have seen Trump’s latest weird move.

When reading early reports of the possible trajectories of Hurricane Dorian, Trump somehow got it into his head that Alabama was in the path of the storm, even though none of the weather trackers ever indicated that Alabama was in danger.

Rather than backing down from what most likely was a mis-reading of the word “Abaco Islands” in the Bahamas, which most definitely was in the storm’s path, Trump doubled down on his statement by producing a map that clearly had Alabama added in black marker.

This has, of course, inspired a bunch of cartoons and memes that highlight the man’s shameless inability to admit he’s made a mistake. Here are a few I’ve come across.

That dart board is my favorite. I’ve heard Trump’s latest gaffe/lie/idiocy is being tagged #SharpieGate. Fitting.

And finally, from the brave folks in Alabama:

Peace, people.

What in the Pangean World?

The link attached allows one to plug his/her address into an interactive map in order to see what their area of residence has looked like through the millennia.

In my case, Doright Manor wouldn’t have even been a possibility 700 million years ago, because the tectonic plates weren’t yet in place. Somewhere between then and the 640 million mark enough movement occurred to allow for the beginnings of Florida.

Am I the only one who finds this fascinating?

Peace, people!

Run-in With a Bunch of Bullies

Normally, I kind of like bugs. Spiders do us a real service. Ladybugs are marvelously cute. Bees are necessary to life on this planet. But wasps? Wasps are assholes. I hate wasps.

Yesterday afternoon I had nothing to write about. I’d had a manicure and ruined it within an hour, so I bought some polish remover and applied a clear polish. Even I can’t mess that up. It was taking forever to dry, so I thought I’d walk out on the front porch while dinner was cooking.

No sooner had I closed the door behind me than a swarm of angry wasps swooped down on my head. At first, I didn’t know what was attacking me, and I swatted at the little bastards, earning me a sting on my left forearm. I made it back inside the house with just the one sting, but I was mad.

Studly Doright was sitting in his chair in the den, and I went crying to him that the insects had to die. I wanted them executed with extreme prejudice.

“Assassinate the little f*ckers!” I demanded, directing him to the light fixture on the front porch.

With a few well aimed sprays of a deadly insecticide, Studly destroyed the nest. My hero!

See the little fuzzy bunch of wasps on the light fixture? It’s gone now, and all of its nasty little denizens are sleeping with the fishes, figuratively speaking. In actuality they’re in the trash bin. I’ll take that.

Peace, people. Except for wasps. Although, they did give me something to write about.

Thoughts on Hurricane Preparation

At the time I wrote this, Doright Manor here in the Florida panhandle didn’t seem to be in the path of Hurricane Dorian; however, I have been recalling past hurricanes and thinking about the ways I’ve prepared for them. So, in no particular order, here are my sometimes unconventional ideas about what really helped us survive several storms and the days after.

  • Keep a pair of real shoes, as opposed to flip flops, next to your bed. Trust me.
  • Never use the term, “hunker down.” It affects me like fingernails on a chalkboard and should be stricken from the language.
  • Stock up on unscented baby wipes and Little Debbie oatmeal cookie sandwiches in addition to bottled water. Studly Doright recommends Vienna sausages, as well.
  • Wash all of the dirty clothes in your hamper. This way if you’re out of power for a few days, you won’t worry about running out of clothes to wear.
  • Go naked as much as possible. (Just kidding, but it could make hunkering down more interesting. Just don’t say “hunkering down.”)
  • Take “before” photos not only of your property for insurance purposes, but also of yourself to remind you of happier days. “Here I am, smiling and innocent.”

  • If you have cats, buy extra cat litter and treats. Scout says that a new catnip toy would be nice, too.

  • Fill your car(s) with gas. You might not need to drive, but you’re going to want to charge your phone at some point, and you can do that in your vehicle. Just do so in a well-ventilated area.
  • Make sure you have propane or charcoal for your grill. Restaurants are liable to be closed for a long time, and at some point you’re going to run out of Little Debbies and Vienna sausages.
  • Get plenty of cash before the storm. Following our first hurricane experience I inserted my debit card into an ATM and it didn’t come back out. No money and no card for an entire week made life interesting.
  • Fill your bathtub with water. You can wash with it, and use it to flush your toilet. Plus, the cats find it fascinating.

On a more serious note, Dorian isn’t likely to impact us, but it’s done terrible things in the Bahamas. Praying for all those who’ve been affected and for those in Dorian’s path.

Peace, people.

Better Left Unseen

Have you ever witnessed something so shocking that your mind refused to accept what your eyes were seeing? Studly Doright likes to tell the story of a time when he was on his motorcycle, stuck in traffic beside a car of young women. When he glanced at the car he realized they all were flashing their breasts at him.

“It was so shocking,” he said, “That I had to do a double take. Then a triple take.”

Yes, I’m sure shock was what caused him to go back for more glances. I asked him what his reaction was.

“Heck, I think I gave a thumbs up and then got away from there as fast as possible,” he replied.

The thumbs up part, I believed.

At any rate, yesterday morning I witnessed something of a salacious nature that rendered me speechless. And yes, I did a double take because I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes.

I was slowing down for a stop sign at a busy corner in Tallahassee. To my right I noticed a well dressed couple waiting at a bus stop. They were face to face and I thought they were about to kiss.

“Ah! How sweet!” I thought.

Then I noticed where her hand was on the man’s body and what she was doing with said hand. To say I was shocked is putting it mildly. What in the world were they thinking? And, ewww! What if a kid saw what I did, and it’s entirely possible that one or more did. It made me incredibly sad. Needless to say, I didn’t give them a thumbs up. I simply drove away. Sigh.

How I wish it had just been a streaker.

Peace, and decency, people.

Snapshot #269 and #270

Yesterday morning at an estate sale I discovered that money might not buy happiness, but it can buy…fur aprons.

(The aprons are being displayed by another estate sale customer. She was as amused as I was.)

While I didn’t feel even a tiny bit of temptation to purchase either of these oddities, I did name them: Fur Thing 1 and Fur Thing 2. I also categorized them under the heading, More Money than Sense.

Peace, people.

The Name’s the Same

Not so long ago I posted a piece about the pronunciation of my name. It’s Leslie, pronounced with an s sound instead of a z. Occasionally people will use the z sound when pronouncing my name, but I don’t correct them. In the scheme of things, it’s not that big a deal. At least not in my world.

But I was watching the Today Show this morning and they did a story about a 49-year-old woman who’d legally changed her name from, wait for it, Leslie to something she thought was more feminine because people kept pronouncing her name with the z sound.

I tried to find the link to the segment, but all sorts of Leslies popped up: Leslie Mann, Leslie Uggams, Leslie Nielsen, Leslie Bibb, Leslie West. Even my comedic hero, the fictional Leslie Knope.

I’m pretty happy to be in their company, regardless of how you pronounce our name.

Peace, people!

Writing is Hard

Stop laughing! Seriously. I’ve been working on a little novel for a long time now, but I’d run into a roadblock and I didn’t know whether to go over it, around it, tunnel under it, or trash it.

Yesterday morning while the technician was fumfering around with our sick air conditioning unit I had a nudge of inspiration and opened up the dormant manuscript on the computer. Since the story had been abandoned for such a long time I settled in and read it from the beginning. And I have to say I really like it. The characters feel like old friends and the part that once seemed like a major roadblock now feels more right.

You know how when you put on makeup in the morning and at first you aren’t crazy about the way it looks, but if you step away from the mirror for a few minutes and come back to your reflection you look great? No? Well, that happens to me all the time. And that’s exactly how I felt about the perceived roadblock. It now sounded appropriate.

When I got to the place where I’d left off in March I had to figure out how to nudge my characters forward. Now, this might come as a surprise to you, but my characters really like to talk. Several times I’ve had to call a halt to their conversations for the sake of action. I remind them that this isn’t Waiting for Godot. Lazy bums.

I think I’ve accomplished that now. Stuff is happening. People are moving. Jugglers are juggling. Seriously. Now I just need to tie all my loose ends together and complete this thing. For the first time I can actually see a finish line.

Okay, characters, break’s over. Quit talking and follow my lead. The checkered flag is in sight. Maybe I’ve got this. Maybe not. We’ll keep chugging along and hope for the best.

Peace, people.

Underneath it All

We’re having some air conditioning issues here at Doright Manor. I might write about them if any sanity remains after the technicians get through fixing the problem. Right now I’m too hot, sweaty, and annoyed to type more than a few sentences.

Yesterday when the repairman was here he took the thermostat off the wall, and I realized that at one time, Doright Manor had some really busy wallpaper.

I’m not a fan of wallpaper anyway, and this pattern made me shudder. Thank goodness they stripped the walls and painted them a nice boring white before we first looked at the house. Sure saved me a lot of unpleasant work.

Okay, that’s enough for now. Perspiration is blurring my sight.

Peace, people!