Ahh, The Beach

When Studly Doright came to me one chilly spring day in Illinois and told me he’d been tagged for a position in Florida, I was elated. We’d lived in Melbourne, FL, for four years before the company transferred us to Illinois, and I’d fallen in love with the white sand beaches that were only ten minutes from our Florida home.

It wasn’t until I started searching online for homes in or near Studly’s new office in Tallahassee that I realized we weren’t going to be very close to a beach. I was a bit dismayed.

Studly was already in Florida living in an extended stay hotel when I called him from Champaign, Illinois, to ask, “Where the heck is the nearest beach?”

He hemmed and hawed a bit and finally admitted that he wasn’t sure. Certainly if our positions had been reversed locating the nearest beach would have been at the top of my list of priorities. Alas, Studly isn’t a beach person. The only sand he cares about is in the traps he tries to avoid on the golf course.

Once our home sold in Illinois and I joined my husband in Florida I had two urgent tasks: find a home and find the beach. It took me awhile to find Doright Manor, but just a week to discover the beach at St. George Island. And while it’s an hour and a half drive from our house, it is a lovely place.

Yesterday I drove down through the towns of Crawfordville and Sopchoppy, Lenark Village and Carabelle. I turned left in Eastpoint and over the bridge to paradise.

St. George Island’s residents don’t allow big chains to operate on their turf, so the hotels and restaurants are mom and pop businesses.

I enjoyed a lunch of grilled mahi mahi tacos at the Blue Parrot overlooking the beach.

Then I changed into my bathing suit and set up a spot on the beach just short of the lapping waves.

The heat of the June sun was intense on my super pale body, but every now and then the clouds provided some relief. And when things got too hot, hot, hot, I waded out into the water to cool off.

I took a horrible selfie. I had on my dark sunglasses and couldn’t actually see what the picture looked like until I returned home and began editing my photos. Is it just me or is my face crooked? Also, I need cheekbones.

We’ll call this one “I Think Chipmunk Cheeks Needs a Bigger Hat.”

The photo below is my favorite of the day. I really needed an umbrella like the one pictured.

I didn’t stay too long on the beach for fear I’d get a sunburn even with SPF 50 slathered on my lily white limbs, but my brief visit to the sand and the sea restored me. I returned to Doright Manor feeling better for having made the drive. I guess it’s not all that far away after all.

Peace, people.

A Good Day

Yesterday Studly Doright was working out of town. I knew he wouldn’t be home until late, so with a long expanse of time to fill I decided to get out of the house and find stuff to do.

My initial thought was to drive to St. George Island for a beach day, but a quick glance at the weather forecast showed rain showers for much of the afternoon. I’ll wait for a sunshiny day to head to the gulf.

Instead I went to see The Book Club, starring the fabulous four: Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, and Diane Keaton. Even on a Tuesday morning the theater was almost full, and all but two of the seats were occupied by women. The movie is a treat, especially for women my age and older. I laughed harder than I have in ages.

Afterwards I had lunch at Zöe’s, and then strolled around Whole Foods. Exciting stuff, right? But I hadn’t felt as good as I did yesterday since the beginning of May, so for me it was exciting stuff indeed.

A rumble of thunder and a darkening sky hastened me on my way to my car, but I wasn’t ready to return to Doright Manor quite yet. I drove to Governor’s Square Mall, parked in the parking garage, and then wandered aimlessly for awhile. Then the Great American Cookie Company in the food court started calling my name. For awhile I was able to tune it out, but then it got really obnoxious and I had to have a chewy pecan supreme cookie to quiet the voices. I hate it when that happens.

Of course then I had to walk more to work off the cookie calories. I decided I needed an ottoman for our patio. Even knowing that none of the stores in the mall was likely to have such an item, I looked anyway. That’s how I tricked myself into walking for another hour. I’m easy like that.

Now that I was on a mission to find an ottoman, I left the mall and drove to the shopping center where Marshall’s and Bed, Bath, & Beyond are located. Surely I could find something to suit me at one of those two stores. Bed, Bath, and Beyond had ottomans more suited for inside use. Marshall’s had a couple that were indoor/outdoor, but they were gaudy. We can’t have gaudy at Doright Manor.

I want one like this:

Just for grins I walked through Michael’s arts and crafts emporium extraordinaire. There I found a crate that I thought I might could turn into a cute ottoman with a coat of paint and a bright pillow. But I got a splinter in my finger when I picked up the crate, putting a damper on that idea. I’m opposed to furniture that physically attacks me.

As I left Michael’s, a glance at my Fitbit told me I was within 1,000 steps of reaching my goal for the day, a goal I haven’t even come close to realizing for over a month. My feet were getting tired, but I buckled down and did a quick walk through of the Old Navy and Ulta stores in the same shopping center before driving home.

I fixed myself a light dinner and drank a tall glass of water. My Fitbit was at 9,900 steps, and I practically had to crawl to bed to finish out the day, but by golly, I reached my goal, and today should be easier. Or I might just have to hibernate and recover. Regardless, yesterday was a good day.

Peace, people.

Timberrr Update

A few days ago I posted a photo of a tree that had fallen during a thunderstorm on Sunday. This happened just a couple of houses from Doright Manor.

The route I normally take out of our neighborhood is in the opposite direction of the fallen tree, but I’m a curious sort and took the long way ’round yesterday morning so I could check out the situation.

Part of the tree has been been cut into pieces so that it now only blocks half of the road; although, the bulk of it remains in the front yard of a neighbor’s home.

Thank goodness it fell into the road and not onto their home.

Although, this trailer felt the full brunt of the fall:

Again, it could’ve been much worse. The tree could’ve easily landed instead on the pickup truck to which the trailer had been hitched.

Posy Poser

Our youngest cat, Patches, is normally a reticent creature. She prefers her own company and generally ventures out only when she feels the urgent need for a tasty treat. Occasionally I am granted the privilege of petting her. Even less often do we hear her purr.

So when Patches emerged from one of her hideaways to pose with a couple of flower arrangements, I had to take her picture. It’s like she was aware of the pretty picture she made.

I give you, Floral Arrangements with Cat:

Peace, people.

A Metaphor?

Monday is laundry day. Now that there are just two of us in the Doright household the chore isn’t nearly as tedious as it once was. I still don’t love doing laundry, but I don’t mind it nearly as much.

Once the final load was in the dryer I drove into Tallahassee for a few necessities. Normally I avoid the big retailer (aka Walmart), but it was the nearest store that was sure to have everything I needed.

When I entered the store I was looking for just three items, so I didn’t grab a shopping cart. Can you believe how naive I still am at the ripe old age of 61.5? One doesn’t simply shop at Walmart without a cart.

As my arms became overburdened with just discovered “must haves” I began looking for an abandoned cart. As luck would have it, I found one just around the corner from the Preparation H aisle. Don’t ask, but yes, that was one of my necessities. Damned diverticulitis.

It didn’t take me long to realize why the cart had been abandoned:

That annoying intermittent sound (much louder in real life than in the above video) was my cart. The darned thing handled like a two ton tank that every few feet emitted an awful buzz causing fellow shoppers to wince and/or laugh out loud. A small child began crying as I approached.

I guess I could have abandoned the cart as its previous operator had done, but I decided to embrace it instead, quirky sound effects and all. As I wrestled my noisy cart around the store, adding milk and cat treats and plain yogurt and bananas and yes, Preparation H, among other things, I began to think of the cart as a metaphor for life:

“The road we travel isn’t always peaceful or smooth, but if you keep pushing, eventually you’ll get to lay down your load.”

Okay, that’s a crummy metaphor, but what are you going to do? Sue me?

Peace, people.

My Morning View

Our little piece of the lake behind Doright Manor is my happy place. From my favorite spot on the sofa I watch the day unfold.

If you look closely you can see one of two fairy houses in the bottom right hand corner. The fairies are stealthy, though, and we only get glimpses of their daily activities.

Occasionally a snowy egret sweeps low over the lake. A pair has nested here every year since we moved in, and most likely long before that.

We haven’t spotted an alligator yet this year, but I’m always watching for the telltale bubbles.

Fish jump, turtles perch on logs, and frogs, who are quiet right now, have a concert scheduled tonight and every night this summer.

Lizards provide entertainment for my cats. They climb the window screens, secure in the knowledge that their furry nemeses are stuck inside on this late spring morning.

Oh, let’s not forget the snakes. We’ve seen a few this year, but the birds and the squirrels give us warning. I click to the squirrels and whistle to the birds.

Who’d have ever thought a girl who grew up in the dry, dusty Texas panhandle would ever get to live in such a place? Certainly not me. It’s heaven.

Peace, people.

I Need a Hug

The awful illnesses that have infected Studly Doright and I seem to be slowly drawing to an end. I watched a hamburger chain’s advertisement for a double thick steak burger last night without feeling the need to run to the bathroom to puke up the chicken broth I’d just sipped on for an hour. It’s a harbinger of better days to come, just as the first robin signifies Spring’s beginning. Less poetic, but the same.

Studly seems to be coughing less and he doesn’t fade in and out when walking through a room with white painted walls. He’d make a great spy if all the walls in a given location were bone white. Walk right in, seize the classified documents, walk right out.

One of the worst things about being ill at the same time with one’s partner, only with two different types of viruses or infections is that we can’t hug lest we give each other what we’ve got.

“Here, Studly, my love, have a week of puking up everything you even think about wanting to eat.”

“Sure Nana, my goddess, why don’t you enjoy hacking your head off for a change of pace.”

I really need a hug. Studly might need one, too. We’ve patted each other on our respective heads and arms, and then quickly moved to sanitize our hands lest germs be transferred in this manner.

Maybe that’s why last night (in my dreams, of course) I had an intense make out session with Gerard Butler. I woke up feeling immensely more cheerful.

Peace, people.

The Flu or Something Even More Hideous

Readers, I’m sick. Studly Doright is also sick. We both have different symptoms. His are upper respiratory in nature, mine have kept me tethered to the toilet. Fun, fun, fun.

We’ve had to take turns caring for one another over the past four days. Neither of us are good nurses under the best conditions, and certainly these conditions aren’t good.

I hope we’re both headed towards our own warped versions of normal. In the meantime, this little girl has been my constant companion.

Patches would’ve made a fine nurse.

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!