Driving Home

I successfully picked up Studly Doright’s new pickup truck in Houston on Friday night. My flight into Houston Intercontinental was delayed, but not late enough that I could escape evening rush hour traffic. Fortunately Studly had arranged for a gentleman from the dealership to meet me at the airport, so I didn’t have to rely on Lyft or Uber.

The salesman, Tim, was an interesting guy and the thirty minute drive to the dealership in Tomball went quickly. I was in the truck within another 30 minutes and headed home. So much for seeing the big city, but my plan was to get as far east on Interstate 10 as possible so I could make it home on Saturday evening. The best laid plans of mice and women—Bwahaha!

Gamely I shifted gears in stop and go traffic. To my credit, I only killed the engine once, but I over revved a bit and probably upshifted when I should’ve downshifted a couple of times, but before long I was back in the groove of driving a manual transmission vehicle.

By the time I reached the outskirts of Houston, though, I was worn out. I saw the sign for Buccees huge service station/store in Bay Town and pulled in for a rest. Normally I’d spend some time wandering around and ogling the place, but I made a beeline for the bathroom, then grabbed a water and a barbecue brisket sandwich.

Oddly enough, there’s no place to sit and enjoy a meal in Buccees, a store roughly the size of Rhode Island, so I ate standing up next to a couple who were heading back to Houston after a trip to New Orleans. We had a nice visit and we wished each other safe travels which prompted the husband to tell me that there’d been a bad accident on the eastbound side of I-10 and traffic was backed up for several miles.

That, combined with my tiredness prompted me to go back in the store to enquire about nearby hotels. A very few minutes later I was ensconced in a nice room with a glass of wine. I reasoned that I’d get up extra early on Saturday and make up for my relatively early end to the evening. Again, bwahaha!

According to my Fitbit app I slept a total of two hours and 44 minutes on Friday night. Around 5:30 a.m., I gave up on sleeping. I showered hoping to shock myself awake, and for awhile I felt okay. Sirius/XM radio helped and I sang along with the 60’s and 70’s channels or listened to NPR for many miles.

I also drank a lot of caffeinated drinks. And subsequently had to stop frequently to empty myself of caffeinated drinks. I wasn’t making much forward progress, and my need to sleep was gaining ground.

Studly called my cell phone around 2:30 and after listening to my sad tale, told me to stop fighting the need to sleep and get a room, so a mere five hours from Doright Manor I exited the interstate and checked into a Holiday Inn.

Now I’d only packed for one night’s stay so I had to go to a nearby mall to purchase a clean T-shirt and undies. My jeans and socks would have to suffice for one more day.

I would love to say I slept like a baby on Saturday night, and I did–a very colicky baby. Again I got up around 5 a.m. and this time emerged into a gray world and a steady rain. I did make better time and was home by two that afternoon. I kissed Studly and handed his new truck keys over. He tucked me into bed and then I didn’t hear another peep until he joined me around nine.

I know for sure I’m not cut out to be a long haul truck driver, so I’m crossing that career off my list. The pickup was fun to drive, though, and I’m glad I made the trip.

The World in Black and White

A childhood friend challenged me to post seven black and white photos, one each day for seven days on Facebook. The photos could contain no images of people, and I wasn’t allowed to comment on the subject matter. Do you know how difficult it was for me to forgo an explanation of the pictures? Excruciating, that’s what it was.

Fortunately I have this blog and no restrictions as far as I can tell. Of this one thing, I am the boss.

The one below was taken in Chicago from the backseat of a car during an Uber ride. I’m amazed that I didn’t have to crop any humans out of the picture.

The next photo is of a portion of the ceiling at the Cadillac Palace Theatre where my daughter and one of my granddaughters, and I saw Les Misérables.

The anchor below was found on Amelia Island in Florida. I paused to snap the photo as Studly Doright urged me to run for our car while a storm headed our way. With one step to go I got drenched! But the shot was worth it.

Next up is a moody picture of the Florida capitol building. If you’re ever in Tallahassee it’s well worth visiting.

The Atlantic Ocean near our Amelia Island Hotel posed for my next shot. Loved these clouds.

Another photo taken on Amelia Island showcases the swamp we kayaked through on a recent visit. That house in the background looks a bit haunted shown in black and white.

Finally, one last photo from Amelia Island. This one is self-explanatory. I love the sepia look of this one.

I feel much better now, having given these shots some context. Maybe I’ll sleep tonight.

Peace, people!

Panama City Beach

Before sending the Texas grandkids on a plane home we had one last hurrah at tourist-y Panama City Beach.

We strolled out on the pier and watched the ocean do its beautiful thing.

I asked a stranger to take a photo of the three of us:

We visited Ron Jon surf shop:


Then we had lunch at Dick's Last Resort where the wait staff is rude on purpose. These hats made great souvenirs and Jackson wore his until we got to the airport.

But they'll still take a photo of you if you ask politely:

After lunch we played a laser game that revealed my extreme lack of ninja skills. We shot zombies in a 3D shooting game that revealed my extreme lack of zombie hunting skills. Finally we ate ice cream at which I excelled. No photos, so you'll just have to take my word for all of the above.

All too soon it was time to send the kids home. Notice Jackson's travel pillow. It's all he really wanted as we shopped today.

Their dad texted to let me know they arrived safely in Dallas at almost the same time I arrived home to Doright Manor. I'll sleep well tonight–and late in the morning.

Peace, people!

Renaissance Kid

Our youngest grandson, Jackson, is something of an old soul. He's much more interested in shopping at vintage and antique stores than in shops selling toys. When he and his sister visited last summer Jackson found a knife for his collection at Planters Exchange in Havana, Florida. So yesterday morning he asked if we could check out their merchandise.



Dominique has almost no interest in shopping for vintage items, so she wandered and grumbled.

Although, at another shop she was tickled to find a wax apple with a bite mark on it.

And she wanted a picture of a funky door at Planters Exchange, but only if I'd pose with it.

Jackson came home with a new knife for his collection, so our trip was a success.

I'm exhausted, but at least everyone is happy.

Peace, people!

Almost Cher

On Tuesday evening my son took me to Lakewood Brewery in Dallas. I had already enjoyed their award winning Temptress imperial milk stout, and Jason wanted me to visit their tasting room.

Temptress is an outstanding ale, but it's not Lakewood's only brew. If you live in the Dallas area you should check them out. http://lakewoodbrewing.com.

My favorite part of the evening was a brush with greatness. Yes, that's almost Cher posing with me.

Here's a little taste of Cher-aoke.

We didn't get to stick around for karaoke, but I enjoyed myself. I even bought a tshirt.

Peace, people!

Toby or not Toby

I am visiting my son and his family in Dallas this week, so my posts are going to be brief glimpses into their lives. Jason and his lovely wife Liz adopted this amazing Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees mix dog about a year ago.

His name is Toby and he's approximately the size of a coffee table. I fell in love with Toby at first sight.

In the picture below Toby is telling my son that it's well past time to go for a ride in the car.

Studly Doright won't let me have a dog, but if he did, I'd want one just like Toby.

Above, Toby is charming a fellow canine. The little boy in the photo was enamored of both dogs, while they were so into each other that they didn't even notice there was a human in their midst.

Peace, people!

Thief with a Conscience

I am on a road trip from our home in Florida to our son's home in Texas. Studly Doright called me yesterday to say someone using my American Express card has been buying stuff all over the world including plane tickets to exotic destinations and a pinball machine.

This morning he called to ask if I'd just made a sizable donation to Doctors Without Borders. While I hadn't, I applauded the thief's social conscience. I just wish he/she had waited for a more convenient time to steal my card. Like never.


Irrelevant picture of an alligator.

The Artful Dodger

Yesterday I drove across Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, on my way to see my son and his family in Dallas. More than once I encountered torrential thunderstorms that reduced visibility to less than a handspan.

My knuckles are still bone white from holding the steering wheel in a death grip. At least most of my fellow travelers kept their speed in check; although, occasionally a hotshot would come barreling willy nilly through the downpour as if the roads were dry and the sun shining fiercely. I'd have flipped them the bird if I hadn't feared taking my hand off the wheel.

In addition to dodging the aforementioned would-be NASCAR drivers, I also had to avoid an odd variety of other objects, including, but not limited to the following:

1) a blue and orange striped beach chair
2) one canvas bag approximately three feet long.
3) an infant car seat (no baby, thank goodness!)
4) a tennis shoe

But the best thing I had to dodge was a large alligator. He was dead, thank goodness, but still gave me a fright as I saw him just in the nick of time. Apparently some other driver wasn't as fortunate as I'd been.

Hopefully today, as I head north and west away from the coast, the weather won't be as crazy, the drivers less aggressive, and the gators safely in their proper habitats. I'm tired of being the artful dodger.

Peace, people!

Irish Beer Retrospective 

If you're new to my blog you might've missed some of my greatest moments in Ireland. Studly Doright and I embarked on an eight day trip to the Emerald Isle with a group of golfing friends, and I became enamored of the beer. Yes, while Studly was sinking putts, I was downing pints.

I kicked off the beer tour quite by accident. We'd landed in Shannon around 8 a.m. their time. After going through customs and collecting our luggage we met up with members of our group and met our driver, Paul. We had a bit of a drive to our hotel in Killarney, but still arrived before our hotel had rooms ready. 

As Paul drove us through his home town of Killarney he pointed out several pubs where we might wile away the hours before checking into the hotel. One pub was very near the Malton Hotel, so several of us left our luggage with the concierge and walked a couple of blocks in search of a pint. 

Of course I had to have a Guinness and when the barkeep offered to take my picture I proudly held up my glass for posterity's sake. Some women are born to greatness, others have greatness thrust upon them, and then there's me.

On day two of our trip I asked about local brews, and as it happened the pub we stopped at after touring Muckross House had a local pilsner from Killarney Brewing Company. One of the ladies I was with suggested that we take a photo of me and this lovely beer, and someone (maybe me) suggested I go for a different beer a day. I eagerly accepted the challenge.

My day three beer was a Murphy's, and I have developed a genuine affection for this beer. It's got a sweetness to it that Guinness doesn't have, and while it isn't carried in any of my local grocery stores like Guinness is, I have found it at World Market in Tallahassee. I cheered when I came across it, startling a rather conservative looking gentleman in the world beers section!

Day four's featured beer was a Smithwick's (pronounced "Smittick's," which confused me for a minute or two). Smithwick's is another thoroughly enjoyable ale. I believe it's a match for Guinness, with Murphy's being my favorite of the dark beers. I have yet to locate Smithwick's in the states. Perhaps another trip to Ireland is in order?

On our last day in Killarney, Studly Doright and I had dinner at the pub in our hotel, and I sampled a Crean's lager, brewed in Dingle. I enjoyed my Crean's. It had a clean, crisp taste and paired well with my order of fish and chips.  


A Black and Tan combo was in order for my sixth day. That's a half Guinness and half Smithwick's for all you novices (that was me ten minutes before I ordered one). The Black and Tan combo is in my Guinness glass, while a Smithwick's drinker let me borrow his glass for demonstration purposes. Superb mixing of flavors in this drink, but unless I can get my hands on Smithwick's I will have to wait to enjoy it again. 


On the seventh day I did not rest. Nope, instead I had a White Gypsy beer, brewed in Tipperary. It was pleasant. I liked it even more when I learned that the company uses only malt and hops grown near Tipperary, and their logo might be my favorite. I felt as dainty as a 5'8" tall, 164 lb., pint swilling woman could possibly feel.


Day eight brought the only beer I wasn't crazy about, or maybe I was just tired of beer. Naw, that can't be it. This Hop House 13 Lager just missed the mark. It wasn't awful, just left me wishing I'd had a Murphy's!


Finally, I made it to the last day of our trip, finishing with an O'Hara's IPA. We'd stopped for lunch near the Burren's, that wild, forlorn area dotted with limestone outcroppings and ancient relics. It seemed fitting to hoist a pint in tribute to our adventure. And because I wanted one.


So what's next? I need to find another niche to explore. Scotch in Scotland? Wine in France? Rum in Barbados? Tequila in… nope. Someone else has to taste test tequila. Of course until I replenish the funds in my bank account I'll most likely be reduced to sampling the burgers in Tallahassee.

Peace, and drink responsibly, people!

Fungie, the Dolphin of Dingle 

“The Dingle Dolphin — or Fungie, the name given to him by the fishermen — is a fully grown, possibly middle aged, male bottlenose, Tursiops Truncatus. He weighs in at around one-quarter ton (500 lbs.) and measures in the region of four metres (13 feet).”

We didn’t see Fungie, but we posed for pictures on a statue of the dolphin whilst visiting the town of Dingle, County Kerry. That surely counts for something!

Visit https://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/home/fungie-the-dingle-dolphin.html for additional information on Fungie. Better yet, visit the Dingle Peninsula!