Snake Eyes

I never met a snake I couldn’t hate. Venomous, non-venomous, short, long, infant, adult, it doesn’t matter. They give me the willies. If I can see one well in advance of initial contact I can handle a snake’s presence, but the thing about snakes is they tend to lurk, hidden among the leaves and undergrowth, offering apples to unsuspecting naked people.

Tallahassee, Florida, is basically a hilly jungle. We have oak trees, magnolias, mimosas, pines, sweet gums, palms, and a host of other trees all, apparently, on steroids. In addition we have millions of shrubs and bushes and flowers. A profusion of plant life populates this part of the Florida panhandle. It’s beautiful. And it’s home to five different kinds of venomous snakes: the Pygmy Rattler, the Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin, the Timber Rattlesnake, the Coral Snake, and the Copperhead. These snakes love to hide under fallen leaves. Guess what? Lots of trees mean lots of leaves.

Above: water moccasin


Coral snake


Pygmy rattler



Timber rattlesnake

Recently due to an increase in snake bites among the local populace, the “Tallahassee Democrat” ran an informative piece on the venomous snakes in our area. How kind of them. Since then I have barely stepped foot into our forested backyard. Every single snake named in the article enjoys hanging out in fallen leaves. I look out my back door and all I see are trees surrounded by fallen leaves. When I do go out I have this ritual dance. It’s part flamenco, part ninja, part karate. Think John Belushi in “Animal House.”

They tell me cats are good snake repellant. I have two, but they don’t want to go outside either and I’m not sure how much good they are doing as mere spectators.


A while back I wrote about super powers I’d like to have. I need to add one: Super Snake Dominance and Avoidance. This power would instantly cause all venomous snakes within 5 miles of me to be rendered inanimate and harmless. Indefinitely. I’ll give the non-venomous ones a break as long as they do their living outside of my direct line of sight. They just need to heed my ritual dance.

Peace, People!

To Fly Or Not To Fly: What was the Question?

I’ve given a great deal of thought to my “yet to appear” super powers. Just what would they be? How strong? Will they be worthwhile powers, or useless ones like the ability to consume massive quantities of prunes with no adverse effects?

Any day now I feel sure these dormant abilities will emerge in full strength to make up for all the years they’ve been suppressed. I was fairly confident that my 50th birthday would be the trigger point, alas, here I am at 57.75 and still nothing. I just hope they show up in time for me to fully utilize them before I’m too old to reap the benefits. It’d be a shame to learn I have the gift of super flexibility once I’m confined to a wheelchair.

In no particular order, here are the three standard super powers I’d most like to have:

1) The ability to fly. Okay, I lied, this is by far the most important of the super powers, so I listed it first. I do have some stipulations, though. If I can fly I also want the super power of having hair and skin impervious to sun and windburn. What good is having the gift of flight if one is wrinkled and unkempt? I’d also need an incredibly strong set of neck muscles if I’m going to fly long distances. Maybe that’s just a standard set of accoutrement when gifted with the power of flight.

2) Invisibility. Obviously I’d only use this power for good. Wink, wink.

3) Super strength. This is one that could be especially useful as I age. No more accosting strong young men to open tight lids and doors for me. Wait, I might want to think this one through.

In addition to these, I’d also like to have some not-so-standard powers. For starters, how about the ability to nap at will? Anytime, anyplace. I’ve actually seen this power in action, but have yet to be able to master it.

Also I’d like the power to eat any thing I want without ever gaining a pound of fat. I’d like that one as soon as possible as I’ve been eating like it’s already a given. On second thought, could it be made retroactive?

One more, because I’m feeling greedy snapping up all the good powers. I’d like the power to magically transport my grand kids to my house at any time, and then transport them home when they’ve been thoroughly spoiled. Really, this is the only one that matters.

If the whole super power thing doesn’t work out, I still have hopes that my letter from Hogwarts got lost in the mail. Accio correspondence!

Peace, People.

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

I got two hours of sleep last night. Maybe two and a quarter. My husband, Studly Doright, who by the way doesn’t have sleep apnea (we had him tested) snored all night long. And when I say he snored I mean he:

And mmmphhed

All night long.

There was never any pattern to the cacophony. He usually maintains some sort of almost hypnotic, metronomic rhythm that allows me to slip into sleep. But not last night. Just as a tango was established he’d switch to a rumba, then to a cha cha. There might have been a salsa thrown in, too. I would have loved a minuet, but that never happened.

I moved to another bedroom around 3:40 a.m. The cats found that amusing and wanted to play. I must have fallen asleep at some point, only to have Studly wake me up to kiss me goodbye when he left for work at 6. How very considerate of him. Thank you sir, may I have another?

Normally I’d have had the luxury of snuggling under my covers after Studly left for work, but I’d promised to meet an acquaintance at a fitness center for an early morning aerobics class. I went, and held on through most of the class, but I might have fallen asleep during the cool down. There was a trickle of drool on my yoga mat. I just hope I didn’t snore.

Peace, People

Movie Etiquette for Dummies

Today, I rant. Either I’m getting less tolerant, or the movie-going population has become more rude. I suspect it’s a little of both. At any rate, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” — a line from the film “Broadcast News” that I might have missed if the couple sitting beside us in the theater today had been sitting by us when that film was released in 1987. And that was a line that was quite literally shouted from the rooftop multiple times. I would have missed every single repetition.

Nowadays, Studly and I move to different seats almost every time we attend a movie, and today was no exception. So, here is my list of theater etiquette. Thoughts are welcome.

1. Don’t text during a film. The light from a smart phone is a real buzz kill. Part of the reason one goes to see a movie at a theater is for the ambiance, and sharing light from a cell phone in a darkened theater is akin to flushing a toilet in the middle of a ritzy restaurant. It ruins the ambiance. And the appetite. And it’s inconsiderate.

2. Don’t rattle wrappers. It drives me insane when people scrunch, shake, and otherwise loudly manipulate their sacks of popcorn and boxes of candy. For pity’s sake, just eat it all before the movie starts, or open the package in such a way as to facilitate easy access to the snack during the film. It’s not rocket science!

3. Chew as quietly as possible. Really. No one wants to hear the crunch, crunch, crunch of popcorn or Jordan almonds during a romantic flick. In a perfect world, only gummi bears would be served in movie theaters. And maybe pudding. Oatmeal would be okay, too.

4. Be aware of surroundings. if the theater has plenty of vacant seats, don’t choose to sit right next to someone else. It’s just awkward. And if you rattle wrappers or chew loudly I’m just going to want to slap you upside the head.

5. Don’t talk. Ok, the words, “Whoa!”, “Ahhhh!” or similar declarations of fear, surprise, even wonder can be uttered, but under no circumstances should one carry on a full-blown conversation. Even in whispers! Whispers carry. Whispers are annoying.

No lie, the couple that sat beside us in the theater today (who could have chosen from among multiple seats, by the way) carried on a running commentary throughout the film. I gave them my best teacher look, the one that says “shut the hell up!” They were too busy talking to notice. I ahem’d. The talking continued. I coughed loudly. They actually gave me a nasty look. Finally Studly and I moved, but it just wasn’t the same after that. They’d blown my experience.

Movies aren’t cheap. And i just want to enjoy my movie in a respectful atmosphere. I know, I know I should just stay home and enjoy movies on HBO or Netflix, but I still like the big screen experience. I refuse to give up on my dream of watching a first run film in companionable silence with a bunch of random strangers. Is it too much to ask? Studly says the odds are against me. As for me, I say, “Never tell me the odds!” Han Solo would be so proud.

In spite of it all,
Peace, People.

Goose, You Big Stud

There are a handful of films that I can watch again and again, coming in at any point in the narrative and getting right down to the business of rooting for the good guys and booing the bad guys.

“Top Gun” is one such movie. I know, it’s an over the top macho fest (aka pissing contest), but it also shows the vulnerabilities of the characters, Maverick and Goose, as well as those of other characters. My favorite scene is the one in which Meg Ryan’s character, who has something odd stuck on her eyelash–I’ve never been able to figure out what it is, declares, “Goose, you big stud. Take me to bed or lose me forever!” Dang! If that isn’t one of the best lines in moviedom, I don’t know what is.

Another movie I can pick up at any point is “Pretty Woman.” Yes, the main character is a good girl gone bad gone good again, and I get that the movie glamorizes a less than glamorous profession, but how can you not love the scene where Julia Roberts’ character, newly made over, dressed to the nines, and carrying shopping bags from a high-end store, strides into the upscale Rodeo Drive establishment that had previously snubbed her and says, “Big mistake. BIG mistake.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve been given the cold shoulder in one of those boutique-y type stores, and I’m not, nor have I ever been, a hooker. Julia’s win is a win for all of us. Plus, she gets Richard Gere.

Probably my favorite movie to watch, watch, and watch again, is “Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back.” I can almost quote the entire movie, not verbatim, but close enough to drive my family nuts. This is the movie that cemented my love for Han Solo, that caused me to daydream endlessly about sharing one of those uncomfortable looking cement cots on Cloud City with the infamous scoundrel. When Princess Leia tells Han that she’d rather kiss a Wookie than plant one on him, and he responds, “I can arrange that,” I pretty much swoon. I’m right here Han! I’ll kiss you! No Wookie kisses for me!

There are other films I could add: “The Princess Bride” (“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means,”) “Dumb and Dumber” (“So…you’re telling me there’s a chance,”) and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (“Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”) are a few of the more memorable.

I’m not a film snob. Obviously. I mean, the “Dumb and Dumber” reference should have been a clue. What are your go to films, favorite quotes, insane movie fixations? Share if you’d like. Just remember, “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” (Animal House)

Peace, People.

High Five

I saw this post on Facebook yesterday and it made me think. Just what are my cardinal rules for life? Do I even have one cardinal rule?


So here’s what I think. See if you agree.

1) Love. Everyone. Period.

2) Be kind, even if it’s the last thing you feel like being.

3) Forgive. Yourself, others, the world.

4) Do what needs to be done. It might be hard. It might be distasteful, but do it anyway.

5) Experience life. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Okay. It’s your turn. What are your cardinal rules for life? You don’t have to have five, but that happens to be my favorite number.

Peace, People.


Normally I am not a productive person, but when I started this blog I told myself that I needed to post something at least once a day for the first two weeks. Being the good listener that I am, I set myself a goal (thus the title) and have every intention of reaching it. So far, so good.

If you read my very first blog post you know that I started blogging, in part, to deal with all the crazy thoughts going on in my head at bedtime. Every single night of my life goes something like this: Around 9 p.m. I begin yawning and can barely keep my eyes open. I remove my makeup, take my night time medications, and climb into my very comfy bed, laying my head on the oasis that is my cool pillow. I say my prayers and softly I drift into sleep. Lovely, lovely sleep. Then BANG! The random thoughts attack:

“Should I look for a new job? ”
“Will I ever make friends in Tallahassee?”
“How are my kids and grand kids?”
“What was up with that pushy lady at the grocery store?”
“Will Lebron James lead the Cavaliers to a championship in the next three years?”
“Do I have a brain tumor, or is it merely a sinus headache?”
“Will I ever be able to watch “The Shining” all the way through?”

And on and on and on. Of course by now, Studly Doright is honing his snoring chops, so I’ve lost the opportunity for peace and quiet.

Since starting the blog thing I’ve now begun analyzing each one of my random thoughts for future use. Prospective titles run through my mind like children at play. I like writing titles, and a new thought pops into my head: “Could I possibly get a job just writing titles?”

I think, “Maybe Ellen Degeneres would hire me to write titles. After all, we have so much in common. We’re both women and both in our 50’s. She’s a spokesmodel for CoverGirl, and I used to wear CoverGirl. She has short hair, and I have short hair. She likes Justin Timberlake, and I like Justin Timberlake. We both have spouses with blonde hair. We’re both from Texas. We are almost the same person!”

About this time I roll over and look at my clock. Ugh. Midnight. I adjust my pillow, rearrange my t-shirt, sigh heavily and try to slough off any errant thoughts. I have a hot flash and throw off all of my covers. I begin repeating my mantra: it just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter. Hmmm. Matter. There’s a topic. Maybe I should get up and google it. I resist that urge. I probably should go to the bathroom, though, so I do.

Upon my return, the sheets feel cool and welcoming. My pillow is again an oasis. My breathing deepens and sometimes I’m even able to fall asleep.

I know I’m not the only one dealing with this. How do you handle the crazy thoughts, the restless legs, the night sweats? Maybe you need to start a blog if you haven’t already. I’ve heard it almost helps.

Peace, People.

Pretending for Grownups, Round 1: I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Every now and then some random song, sight, sound, or even smell triggers my imagination and soon I’m off on a tangent. This morning as I was cleaning out my closet and dancing around to The Beatles number one hits album, one such tangent attacked and my mind was off on its own, rambling down a path best left undiscovered. But that’s not going to stop me from sharing it with you.

The rain began all at once, pelting angrily at the skylights. I hadn’t even noticed the room growing ever darker, so intent was I on my even darker thoughts.

Just two weeks prior, my husband of 38 years had calmly announced that he was leaving to pursue other avenues and I wasn’t welcome to come along. Adam wasn’t sure if he wanted a divorce; he just needed to find himself. I was devastated. He was my high school sweetheart, the love of my life. Why did he need to leave me in order to find himself?

A slash of lightning closely followed by a seismic clap of thunder woke me from my reverie. This storm had no patience with my maudlin thoughts.

I turned back to the overnight bag on my bed. A friend had offered me the use of her beach house for the week, assuring me that salt air and sunshine would help clear my head. Quickly I stuffed books, swimsuits, cover ups, underwear, towels, and toiletries into the bag. I could stop for groceries on the way.

I pulled my car out of the garage and into the storm. The weather report indicated clearer skies at St. George Island, where Aimee’s house was situated. Even ten miles south of Tallahassee the rain began tapering off. My mood lightened with each mile I placed between myself and the home I’d shared with Adam. Maybe Aimee was right. Maybe this trip would help me put things in perspective.

When I reached the town of Caravelle I stopped at a mom and pop grocery to buy yogurt, fruit, bread, meat, cheese, and a bottle of wine. I hadn’t felt much like eating since Adam dropped his bombshell, but I knew that at some point I’d need nourishment.

The clerk was a young man with sun drenched blonde hair. As I handed him my debit card he smiled and whispered, “Don’t look now, but I think that guy over there is checking you out.”

I laughed out loud. “No one checks me out–not even at the library.”

“No, really,” he said. “Ssshh! Here he comes.”

As I turned to see who the clerk was describing I felt a jolt of recognition. Could it possibly be…Sir Paul McCartney?

“Hullo,” he said. “My name is Paul. What’s yours?”

Unfortunately, my phone in the real world rang right then. I’m sure that Paul, who in my dreams is always single and forever young, was so overwhelmingly attracted to me that we spent an entire week on the beach talking and cuddling and ignoring the world. I can only imagine.

Peace, People!

Photo by Michael

I Mustache You a Question

My name is Nana Noyz and I have a mustache. There, I’ve said it. Let the 12 Step Program commence. While I have come to terms with my crinkly wrinkles, my saggy breasts, my droopy eyelids, and my jiggly arms, I cannot embrace my facial hair, nor have I been able to admit that I am powerless to stop it.

I remember gazing in amazement at the sparkling white hairs on my Grandma’s chin and upper lip. They were fascinating to 5-year-old me, and I might have made the mistake of wishing for some of my own. If so, I rescind the wish! I do, I do, I do!

Fifty years ago I don’t think women of a certain age worried as much about random hair sprouting from their chins and cheeks. Those were the days, my friends. But in the 21st century we are almost obsessed with keeping a smooth visage until death removes all such vain concerns.

Heaven knows I try to keep ahead of the hair growth, but sensitive skin keeps me from going the depilatory cream and/or wax routes. Instead I look in a magnifying mirror every morning searching for offending follicles and then ruthlessly pluck the fruit, er, hair. There are two trouble spots.

The first is a place on my chin just left of dead center that can always be counted on to yield a pluck-able strand. It amazes me just how quickly a hair grows in this spot and I’m thinking of willing this particular follicle to science. Not only is there always a hair there, but it is consistently two shades darker and three times coarser than the hair growing on any other part of my body. Truly it is a worthy topic for Unsolved Mysteries or Ancient Aliens.

The second place is just above my upper lip. I’ve named it, The Fringe. The Fringe isn’t dark, and it isn’t coarse. In fact, it is so fine that I almost cannot see it even with the 20x magnifying mirror, but I can FEEL it. Sadly, plucking on a daily basis yields almost no results, so I end up waiting until individual hairs grow to an obscene length. You know, like when the small child sitting next to you on the park bench tries to get your attention by tugging on one.

My only consolation is that my husband, Studly Doright, cannot see anything up close without his reading glasses. This is the reason why women should always marry men near their own age. He thinks I look just like I did when we married 38 years ago. Poor guy. He got a raw deal in the “for better or worse” department; he just doesn’t know it.

I’m Nana Noyz, and I have a mustache that my husband can’t see. There. I’ve accepted it.

Peace, People.


A Thigh Slapping Good Time

Whoever said that endorphins released during exercise can give you a high must’ve been smoking something. All I get from exercising is tired.

I’ve put on a number of pounds over the years. At least 10 for each of our many moves. Granted, I go through periods of weight loss, otherwise I’d have added 170 lbs. over the last 38 years of wedded bliss.

After our most recent move to Tallahassee, I weigh more than I ever have. It’s a loneliness thing. I know no one, therefore, I eat. Great excuse, eh? Unfortunately my clothes are not fitting anymore and no one wants to see me naked. Trust me. Even my cats have expressed their disgust. Where others might see hair balls, I see only revulsion.

It was time for a lifestyle change. So, in addition to trying to eat healthier foods–lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, salmon, etc., I decided to get more active. But that means exercise. Damn. My eldest sister-in-law, we’ll call her “The Pretty One” or TPO, for short, suggested a water aerobics class.


I searched the websites in Tallahassee and found that several city parks offered water aerobics. On Wednesday I made my first visit. I knew I was in trouble when the instructor, Madame de Sade, told me, “First time? Don’t worry, it’s a work at your own pace kind of class.”

What she meant was, “I’m going to run, run, run in the water and you are going to wear a blister in your left big toe trying to keep up with me.” All we did was run. Forward, backward, sideways, we ran with her screaming, “Run, ladies! Run like your lives depend on it!”


I didn’t want to go back, but I figured Wednesdays must be leg days, so I returned on Thursday. Same. Damn. Thing. Now the blister on my big toe is bigger than my big toe. It’s formed an alliance with my ankle and they both scream for relief every time I take a step.

I looked at the lady on my right. “I’m blowing this joint tomorrow.”

She nods. “I’m in,” she says.

So today, we went to a different park. There was music playing when we arrived. The instructor gave us a smile and a hug and welcomed us to the group. We only ran once before launching into a series of routines that left me panting and smiling and, well, high! My endorphins and I can’t wait to return to class on Monday.


Peace, People!