Alexa, Not Now!

I’m fond of Alexa. With a simple command she does all sorts of wonderful things for me, including providing a weather forecast, defining words, telling jokes and giving sports updates. She’s like the kid in school who raised her hand at every question from the teacher, and always had the correct answer, without the accompanying smirk.

Early Friday morning I was doing some chores around the kitchen and decided to ask Alexa to play music without specifying an artist or genre.

She responded, “Here’s a station you might like. X-rated R and B Slow Sexy Jams.”

As the first song began I quickly realized she wasn’t kidding about the x-rated thing! I blushed at the graphic lyrics as I told Alexa to stop. There’s a time and place for x-rated slow sexy jams, but my kitchen at 7:30 a.m. didn’t fit the bill. I might’ve jotted down the station name, though, for future reference. You never know when a slow sexy jam might come in handy.

Not My Guinness!

We’re having some work done on our driveway at Doright Manor. Tree roots had mangled the drive causing it to crack and heave as if an earthquake had struck. The guys began work early this morning and are just now getting ready to add texture to the new concrete so it’ll match the concrete around it.

Studly Doright came in from supervising the workers, peered into the refrigerator, and interrupted my reading to ask, “Which beer should I give the guys?”

“Not my Guinness!” I squeaked, even though I can’t enjoy a Guinness for a few weeks. “There’s Michelob Ultra and Corona in the shop fridge.”

Studly just laughed, saying, “Touchy, aren’t you?” But he did leave my beer alone, thank you very much!

Can’t believe he considered giving my beer away.

He called me out to look at the new section of driveway, and this is what I saw:

Poor little guy’s living quarters have been disrupted! Apparently he’d patrolled the worksite off and on all morning, much to the chagrin of a couple of workers.

I might let the snake have a sip of Guinness to compensate him for his loss. Cheers!

Peace, people!

Rest and Recuperation

Since the Illinois grandkids left on Thursday I’ve been slowly getting back into my normal routine, but mainly I’ve been catching up on sleep. While the two teenagers weren’t early risers during their visit, the six-year-old came creeping into our room every morning around five.

On the days Studly was working in Orlando I’d just tuck Harper in on her Poppa’s side of the bed, and we’d doze off to the sleep stories featured on my Calm app, but every other morning last week she was ready to eat breakfast way before my eyes were ready to be open. The two of us had some pretty comical conversations about fairies, cities versus states, and family relationships while eating early morning Pop Tarts, so I’m not complaining.

On the Wednesday night before the kids’ 6:25 a.m. flight home we stayed at a hotel that was about a 15 minute drive from the Sanford/Orlando airport. Studly had to work clear across town on Thursday, so it was up to me to get the kids on their way. I set my alarm for three a.m., but Harper’s feet in my face woke me up around two. Gently I moved her back into a position parallel to mine, rather than the perpendicular one she’d assumed.

Then what sounded like four quick gunshots caused grandson Garrett to sit straight up in bed. He never awakened, just quietly laid back down, but I was then on high alert. I tossed and turned until my alarm went off, then stubbed my toe on McKayla’s sofa bed on my way to the bathroom in the dark. I’m really glad the kids all slept through my colorful string of whispered curse words.

The teenagers were surprisingly easy to get going that morning. Oddly enough only Harper, the early riser, resisted. Soon, though, she was up and going full speed. I think the anticipation of seeing her Mommy and Daddy in a few short hours did the trick.

We took the 4:30 a.m. hotel shuttle to the airport and I’d thought that was absurdly early; however, an accident on the Interstate (remember those “gunshots”? Apparently we’d heard a crash) had traffic backed up, and by the time we checked in, went through security, and made it to our gate the flight was boarding.

I hugged my sweet grandkids and watched them board.

They looked so young and yet so capable as they left me.

I rode the shuttle back to the hotel where I’d planned to nap before taking a shower and driving the four and a half hours home to Doright Manor, but I was pretty keyed up after all the morning’s activity, so I packed and got on the road. Emergency crews were still cleaning up the interstate after the crash, so I set my gps to take backroads. About two hours into my trip I found myself unable to keep my eyes open, so I found a shady spot for a nap. After waking myself with a loud snore half an hour later, I continued on home.

Said home was sadly quiet. I busied myself with straightening up some of the mess we’d made over the past week. The Risk game went back into the game closet. The stuffed animals went back into their basket. Two remaining boxes of Pop Tarts went into a grocery bag to be offered to a friend’s children.

Studly arrived home later that evening, and we struggled to stay awake until finally giving up the battle around eight. I slept restlessly that first night without the kids. Part of me wished a sweet six-year-old could still sneak into my room for giggly snuggles before sunrise. Did I mention that it’s too quiet here?

Peace, people.

Postcards from the Hedge

The grandkids are safely home in Illinois after spending a week with Studly and me here in Florida. Our time together was much too short, and now Doright Manor is quiet again.

I’m kind of exhausted after spending a full day with grandson, Garrett, at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on Wednesday and then getting up at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday to get them to the airport on time. I’m taking the lazy way out and just posting photos of our week with the kids.

Harper liked wearing Poppa’s reading glasses while intoning the phrase, “I’m a little old lady.”

McKayla, above settles into the Texas bedroom.

We went to a showing of Captain Marvel:

And talked about upcoming movies

Garrett chopped down a tree so that we could relocate the fairy house displaced by Hurricane Michael.

McKayla and Harper made the fairy house a welcoming place once again.

We played several games of Risk. I didn’t win even once. It seems that I’m lousy at games involving strategic thinking.

McKayla piloted the riding lawn mower around the yard, collecting fallen limbs and other forest detritus, including her sister.

We enjoyed a beach day at St. George Island:

Well, some of us enjoyed it. Studly and Garrett just tolerated the beach.

The girls had our nails done:

On Wednesday we packed up and left Doright Manor for Orlando. While there we took a tour of Full Sail University so our tech minded grandson could satisfy his curiosity. He was impressed, and now has some work ahead of him in his last two and a quarter years of high school.

The kids swam at the hotel pool in Orlando while I acted as lifeguard.

On Wednesday the girls and Poppa Studly spent the day at Sea World, so I have no photos of that. I heard plenty of stories of fun and silliness, though. Harper even coerced her Poppa into riding a roller coaster. He says it was the last one he’ll ever ride. We’ll see about that.

The girls did get tattoos at Sea World, but I only got a photo of Harper’s when we were back in our hotel room. Garrett and I spent our day at Universal Studios, and I’ll share those pics tomorrow. I know, I know, you’re all on pins and needles to see them. 😂

Peace, people!

Sweet Sleep in an App

Sleep is often my fickle friend. She’ll visit three nights in a row and then not again for a week. It doesn’t matter how I’ve spent my evening or what I’ve eaten for dinner or watched on the evening news. Sometimes, though, there is a correlation between my late evening internet usage and my ability to fall asleep, so I do try to put my phone away an hour or two before bedtime. Even then sleep isn’t guaranteed.

Staying in strange hotel rooms adds to the likelihood that I won’t sleep, and last week when I traveled to Austin from Doright Manor I spent a sleepless night in a Drury Inn in Lafayette, Louisiana. Now, that’s when my gastric pain started, but even once it tapered off I could not fall asleep, instead tossing and turning until the sun rose.

I wearily went about the business of getting ready to travel on to Austin, showered, and turned on the morning news to keep me company as I packed. Lo and behold the panelists on one of the morning news shows were discussing sleep apps. I listened and jotted down some notes before leaving the room.

When I got to my Austin hotel I read over my notes and picked one of the apps to try. It’s called “Calm” and I’m here to tell you it’s working wonders in my life. I slept beautifully both nights in Austin, and only struggled with sleep one night afterwards–and that was most likely because I took a nap that same afternoon.

I chose the “Calm” app for a couple of reasons. First, because it’s also a meditation app, and I seem to respond well to meditative exercises. But the main reason was that in addition to offering calming music and white noise, the app has different narrators read excerpts of books as bedtime stories for grown ups.

Studly Doright laughed at me when I told him about the app, but now he’s noticed a change in my sleeping habits that’s resulted in me being a happier spouse. Even dealing with whatever is going on in my digestive tract, I’m able to fall asleep listening to these stories.

I was afraid the narration would bother Studly, but he claims he can’t hear anything other than my breathing. That’s an unexpected perk of growing old, I suppose. I tuck my iPhone under my pillow and most nights I fall asleep within just a few minutes of the story’s beginning.

So far I have some favorite stories: Matthew McConaughey reads a piece called “Wonder” that I still haven’t heard the end of. Astronaut Terry Verts tells of seeing earth from space, and his words are beautiful and peaceful.

There are many stories I haven’t gotten to listen to yet, but right now I’m sticking to a few tried and true tales.

I tend to find the deeper male voices more calming, or maybe the women’s voices just make me want to listen longer. Regardless, this app has made a huge difference. (Hoping I’m not jinxing my progress by typing this).

The initial week of “Calm” is free, but it costs right at $60 for a year’s subscription. That almost turned me off, but after the week was over I was convinced the app was worth it. If you’re struggling with sleeplessness, you might want to give it a try. Let me know if you do. I’d like to compare notes.

Peace and good sleep, people!

Lazy in Dallas

I didn’t post anything yesterday morning because I was hanging out with my son and grandson going to estate sales around Dallas. None of us bought a thing, but we had fun looking at stuff we didn’t need or want.

After a light lunch some of us napped. I’m not saying I was one of the nappers, but about two hours of my life passed without my knowledge, so chances are I was.

We had a pleasantly low key evening watching television. The guys watched the movie, “Tag” in one room, while my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and I watched the British series, “Safe,” until my eyes would no longer stay open.

Not sure what’s in store for today, but whatever it is will be just right. Tomorrow I’ll start driving home to Doright Manor.

Peace, people

A Mixed Bag, and That ISN’T Cocaine!

(Note: I wrote this on Tuesday evening. Hopefully by the time it publishes on Wednesday I’ll be well rested and powder free.)

The sleep fairy was a fickle critter last night. Studly Doright was out of town, and I stayed up past my bedtime packing for my own trip to Texas. My thoughts were racing and every little noise made me jump. One would’ve thought I was on a drug-fueled high, except that I don’t do anything stronger than caffeine these days, and that only sparingly.

Maybe I got in three hours of rest between the hours of two and five before I gave up the fight and decided to shower and get on the road. Since my night vision really stinks I waited until sunrise before saying goodbye to the cats and turning out the lights at Doright Manor.

For the first couple of hours I made good time, then weariness began setting in. I made frequent stops, and I’m fairly sure I have now officially patronized every rest area between Tallahassee, Florida, and Lafayette, Louisiana, where I stopped for the night at a Drury Inn. Look at this cool sculpture that adorns the wall of a welcome center in Mississippi:

At a gas station in Mississippi I purchased a product I’ve heard about my whole life, but had never tried–BC Powder. I’d wanted Bayer aspirin, because the hypochondriac in me decided I might be having a heart attack. I get weird when I’m tired. The clerk suggested BC instead, and I bought it and a bottle of water to wash it down.

Having never used BC Powder, I was unprepared for it to be just that, a powder. Go figure, right? As soon as I was back in the car I opened the package and white stuff went everywhere. It was on my shirt, my pants, the car seat. After cleaning up the mess, I gingerly opened a second packet and with some measure of control managed to shake it onto my tongue where I could then send it into my system with the water.

Now, only after I’d washed it down did I notice that caffeine is a key ingredient in BC Powder. Great. I’ll likely be awake most of tonight, as well. Oh, and when I had a chance to look in the mirror in my hotel room I realized I had BC Powder on my face. No wonder the hotel desk clerk kept giving me odd looks. I promise, it’s not cocaine!

Peace, people.

Packing Isn’t My Bag

Early Monday morning I rolled over in bed to watch Studly Doright pack for an overnight business trip. The act took him exactly three and a half minutes. I timed him.

On Monday around 3 p.m. I began packing for a week long road trip to Texas. As of nine p.m., I’m still at it. Now, keep in mind this isn’t a business trip. Most days I’ll just wear jeans and a blouse; although, I am packing a dress and heels for the evening that my niece and I go to see Michelle Obama in Austin.

So why does it take me so long to pack?

  1. I get distracted easily. I had to watch the Ellen Degeneres Show, and then I needed a snack.
  2. The characters in the book I’m currently reading are in a rough spot, so I had to stop and read them out of it.
  3. My favorite jeans needed to be washed.
  4. My niece texted me to say I needed a clear bag for the Michelle Obama event, so I had to go shopping.
  5. My regular wallet was too big to fit in the clear bag, so I also had to buy a new (cheap) wallet.
  6. I got hungry. Again.
  7. My cats’ litter boxes had to be cleaned.
  8. The car I’m driving to Texas was filthy. I drove to the car wash and cleaned it inside and out.
  9. The cats needed to go out on the back porch.
  10. Then the cats needed to come back in.
  11. Out.
  12. In.
  13. Facebook.
  14. Write a blog post.

I know I’ll get the job done eventually. Maybe after “The Voice” is over.

Peace, people!

Road Trip!

Tomorrow I’ll set out on a road trip in my “old” car, a 2015 Mazda CX-5 with an outrageous 85,000 plus miles on the odometer. The car was in a minor accident back in November, but one can barely tell even upon close inspection.

My first destination is Buda, Texas, outside of Austin. There, I’ll rendezvous with my niece, CB, who bought two tickets to see Michelle Obama and invited me to join her. I can hardly wait for Thursday night!

On Friday I’ll drive north to Dallas where I’ll deliver the car to my son. He’s buying the Mazda for our oldest granddaughter, but it’s a surprise, so shhhh! I’ll spend a couple of days in Dallas with my son and his family before heading back to Doright Manor near Tallahassee, Florida.

The original plan was for me to fly home, but Studly Doright decided I needed a car to run around Tallahassee in. I’ve already put nearly 6,000 miles on my 2019 Lincoln. Apparently that’s excessive, so I’ll be picking up a used car at a dealership in Dallas and driving it home. This will be my every day driver, and chances are it will someday end up being another grandkid’s car. Of course, at the rate I rack up miles, it might have a million on it by then, but who’s counting?

Peace, people.

Wednesday, Part 2: The Good

My Wednesday started off with a (bad) bang when I locked the keys, along with my phone, in my car at a Goodwill store in Tallahassee.

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2019/02/22/wednesday-part-one-the-bad/

Now, some people might’ve gone home after such a downer of a start, but not me! I gamely soldiered on, running errands around town, eating a late lunch at Newk’s, and then shopping at Lucky’s–hands down the best grocery store in the universe.

I’ve decided one of the reasons I like Lucky’s so much is that everyone there is so friendly. There’s a great conversation to be had on every aisle and in the checkout line, to boot. No one seems to be in a hurry when shopping at Lucky’s, so buying groceries there is a refreshing change of pace.

I completed my shopping and returned to Doright Manor where I had a couple of hours to kill. Studly Doright was out of town, so I didn’t have to plan a meal or anything. With my free time I read the newest Gareth Powell book, Fleet of Knives, and cleaned out some closets. If you’re into Sci-fi, I heartily recommend Gareth’s Embers of War series. My only complaint is that I read them too fast, and the third book in the series hasn’t been written yet. Damn!

Around four p.m. I washed my face and drove across town to join Meetup friends for trivia night at Southwood golf club. We did well, finishing third, I think. The group that made it to the event was a nice mix of people from past Meetups and brand new folks. Meetup has been a godsend for me, and I enjoyed every minute.

After trivia, a couple of the ladies and I decided, on a whim, to head to The Moon, a Tallahassee nightspot, to see Los Lobos in concert. It was such fun. I danced all by myself and sang my heart out. Of course, the band saved their hit, La Bamba for the encore, so any thoughts I’d had about sneaking away early were dashed. It was a great way to end a day that had started on a bit of a low note.

So if there’s a moral to my story it might be, “What starts with a lock could end with some rock.” Or, “Shake it off. Shake, shake it off.” I’m open to suggestions.

Peace, people!

https://youtu.be/nLAWPrCUQQ0