Venturing into the Unknown

Doright Manor is situated on a small lake in a rural housing development about eight miles outside of Tallahassee, Florida. I live in the woods, and I love it. Studly Doright, my husband of 43 years, and I often joke that there are more trees in our front yard than there were in our respective Texas panhandle hometowns of Dumas and Floydada. Honestly, that’s not much of an exaggeration.

One of the coolest things about living here is our proximity to Florida State University. A 20-minute drive gets us right into the heart of the campus. Of course being the curmudgeonly people we are, we avoid FSU like the plague. If I have an appointment anywhere near the school I plot routes that will avoid busy Tennessee street with its six narrow lanes of crazy college aged drivers, even if taking said route requires me to add an additional 20 minutes to my drive. Today, however, I am purposely venturing onto the FSU campus for OLLI.

One might ask, “Who is OLLI and why is he/she worth risking one’s life for?”

OLLI is an acronym for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. According to Wikipedia, “Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes offer noncredit courses with no assignments or grades to “seasoned” adults over age 50. Since 2001, philanthropist Bernard Osher has made grants from his foundation to launch OLLI programs at 120 universities and colleges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

I’ve been aware of OLLI classes for at least a decade. When we lived near the University of Illinois I had friends who took classes through the program there, but I was still working full time. Now that I’m mostly retired I no longer have any excuses. Except–the anxiety of venturing into the unfamiliar territory of Florida State.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I performed a dry run to locate the building in which my first class will be held, even though I initially went to a similarly named building. And, even after locating the right one I never quite figured out where I’d be able to park. Guess who will give herself an hour of extra time to get there today?

You might also wonder what class has intrigued me enough that I am willing to venture out of my comfort zone. It’s one titled “The Parallel Universe of Ants.”

Studly Doright thinks I’ve lost my mind, but who do you think will have the last laugh when our insect friends begin their quest for world domination? Again:

If you don’t hear from me again after today you can blame it all on OLLI, or ants, or you can just make something up that’s suitably dramatic.

Peace, people!

Anxiety Central

On Tuesday night I drifted off to sleep as gently as an innocent little lamb, only to awaken twenty minutes later with my mind raging like a caged lion. My trip to Illinois was still two days in the future, yet my brain paced restlessly inside my head as if my flight was imminent and I was woefully unprepared.

Truthfully, I was unprepared, but I still had ample time to do laundry and pack and straighten the house before I had to leave Doright Manor for the airport. So why was I all abuzz? Welcome to Anxiety Central.

Irrationally I began worrying that my car would break down on the way to the airport. What would I do should that happen? I worried that I’d forgotten to get cash from the bank, so I got out of bed and wrote myself a note that I then taped to the bathroom mirror where I’d be certain to see it first thing the next morning.

I became concerned that I’d finish the book I was reading on my kindle and wouldn’t have ample connectivity to download a new one. Most worrisome was the state of the liquids I NEEDED to pack for the trip. Liquids that might not be able to fit into a clear plastic quart baggie. Damned TSA requirements. How’s a girl supposed to cram all of her necessary liquids into such a small bag?

Zip, zip, zip went the thoughts in my brain. I was electric, and not in a good way. Poor Studly must’ve felt my frantic vibes causing him to adjourn to the sofa in the den at some point in the night.

When he left for work on Wednesday morning he planted a kiss on my cheek and told me he’d see me when I returned on Monday. I’d forgotten he had to be out of town on Wednesday and Thursday and wouldn’t return until after I’d departed on my trip. Sheesh. One more thing to worry about.

You know, I might not have many talents, but I excel at worrying over absolutely ridiculous stuff. Anxiety is my middle name, and that’s no joke.

I fly on Thursday. Just get me to the plane on time.

Peace, People!

On the Horizon

Months can pass at Doright Manor with nothing of interest happening. Okay, so occasionally I set my underwear on fire and once I sent a green bath rug to a total stranger because I thought she needed it…

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2019/09/24/beware-the-green-rug-or-be-careful-what-you-ask-for/

Sometimes, though, I have lots of good stuff on the horizon. This weekend I’m flying to Illinois to see my daughter and her family. We chose this weekend because all three of the Illinois grandkids have stuff going on: Grandson Garrett will be marching in the high school band playing saxophone just like his Nana (that’s me!) did. Granddaughter McKayla is a high school cheerleader, so I’ll get to see her in action, while the youngest grandchild, Harper, will be cheering before the game. I’m almost too excited to sleep!

But that’s not all, folks! In late October, I’m meeting a group of friends in Nashville for a weekend of shenanigans. Of course we’re all in our late 50’s to mid 60’s, so the shenanigans will be kept to a quiet minimum, but still, it will be fun.

I love having stuff on the horizon.

Peace, people!

A Wilde Find

My dear husband, Studly Doright, doesn’t quite get my fascination with estate sales. Or rather, he doesn’t understand my non-competitive attitude toward them.

I don’t arise at the crack of dawn to go pawing through the belongings of some recently deceased dowager in order to find items of value. No, I’m quite content to wander through homes looking for books and/or small objets d’art to add to my collection. Now, should I happen onto a rare first edition hardcover in mint condition, or a unique piece of jewelry, I’d likely snap it up; however, there’s a whole different mentality involved in the search for pieces of that nature.

I see these people at every sale. They arrive even before the doors open and walk around with a no-nonsense air about them. They block the bookshelves until they’ve examined every vintage book, and their bags are filled with promising finds to list on eBay.

On the other hand I wander through rooms picking up nonsensical items and looking for the next book in the Harry Potter series (currently I need book 4). This isn’t to say I never find anything that’s been overlooked by a more avid shopper, but my goal isn’t to turn a profit.

This past weekend I discovered a couple of fun items in addition to The Prisoner of Azkaban. One was a small piece of art that I thought was interesting:

The other was this book of fairy tales by Oscar Wilde.

Neither is worth much, but I couldn’t leave without them. I pictured both probably going to a Goodwill shop somewhere, and thought surely Doright Manor could provide a better home for them.

Of course at some point my kids are going to have to go through my stuff and decide how to deal with my treasures. At least I won’t be around to see how they are disposed of. I hope they’ll be treated kindly.

Peace, people.

For the Love of Cat

Our eldest cat, Scout, is 15 years old. According to a calculator I found online at Catnip Times, that equates to 76 in human years.

https://www.thecatniptimes.com/learn/how-old-is-my-cat-in-human-years-calculator/

So, she’s no spring chicken, but she remains playful and seems to enjoy everything and everyone who comes into our home. She’s not crazy about Patches, her younger “sibling,” but she grudgingly accepts her just the same.

On Tuesday night I awakened to the sound of Scout coughing up a hair ball. That’s not all that unusual, so I turned over and went back to sleep. When I woke up on Wednesday morning I was dismayed to see cat puke everywhere. After I called the vet and made an appointment I spent the next hour looking all through the house for puddles of puke and cleaning them up. Scout didn’t seem all that distressed, but still I wanted to see what the vet would say.

Scout, nestled into her carrier, complained loudly during our brief drive to the veterinarian ‘s office. Her pleasant demeanor doesn’t extend to car rides of any length. We’d never visited this doctor, so I was as nervous as my kitty about what we’d encounter. I was even more nervous about what we might learn.

The facility is brand new.

And the interior was welcoming. They took Scout and me back to an exam room within just a few minutes.

The doctor was dealing with an emergency, so Scout and I waited for awhile. It was a sweet wait, though, as she nestled in my arms like a baby. Occasionally she’d look up for reassurance, and I’d soothe her with a few words.

When they examined her everything looked good. They took her back for blood work and a few other diagnostic tests. While I waited one of the assistants took me on a tour of the premises. It’s a state of the art facility, and is equipped with luxury boarding for dogs and cats. I wouldn’t mind staying in one of the kennels! Comfy beds and satellite tv in every room.

As we rounded a corner I spied Scout in one of the rooms. My eyes filled with tears–she just looked so vulnerable there with the doctor and her assistant bent over her. The doctor motioned for me to come in, and I realized that Scout was enjoying every minute of the attention. The doctor said she was probably the best cat patient they’d ever had.

Her blood work came back fine. She’s in excellent health for a cat of her age, but the doctor suggested switching her to a different food to see if that might help. So, after $300 in vet bills I learned that absolutely nothing is wrong with my baby. And I breathed a sigh of relief. I know that some day we’ll have to say goodbye to her, but thank goodness it wasn’t this day.

Peace, people.

Pardon Me, Ma’am

Monday was a day for misadventures. I chronicled the first of a trio of missteps in yesterday’s post: https://nananoyz5forme.com/2019/09/10/shoe-saga/

To save you from needing to read the link, here’s the short version: I left a shoe store wearing two different color shoes, and did not notice until the store called to inform me. I returned to the store, decided on an actual pair of shoes, and voila! See, I’m not always overly verbose.

After I left the shoe store I had a couple of hours to kill before meeting a friend to see the IT sequel. I ambled around Whole Foods for a bit and enjoyed an iced coffee on their patio. I still had more than enough time to drive to the mall where the theater is located and to shop at the Belk department store there before my friend arrived.

Since my shoe incident earlier in the day I steered clear of Belk’s shoe department, instead looking at fall dresses and blouses. I tried a couple of items on, but ultimately decided I’d spent enough money for one day. I walked out into the mall and was standing outside the theater reading movie posters when I heard a rather strident female voice calling, “Ma’am! Pardon me, Ma’am!”

Not thinking I was the ma’am being addressed I still looked over my shoulder to see who was being hollered at and who was doing the hollering. The hollerer was a clerk from Belk. And yes, as she ran up towards where I lingered in front of the poster for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I realized I was indeed the ma’am in question.

When she reached me she came to a sudden stop and got this funny look on her face. “Oh,” said the woman. “It’s a bow. We thought, well, we thought you’d worn a shirt out of the store and that your bow was a tag.”

“You thought I’d shoplifted?” I asked.

“Well, it did look like tags dangling down your back as you left the store.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or be outraged. I could just imagine the clerks watching surreptitiously as I took blouses into the dressing room and then as I wandered through the store. The clerk muttered an apology and we parted ways.

My friend and I watched IT Chapter 2 in IMAX. I screamed loudly at least once, but it was a cathartic scream, resulting in giggles. Afterwards we had dinner and great conversation at a seafood place. She and I parted ways fairly early and headed to our respective homes.

I’d planned to stop by CVS on my way home, but instead decided to just hop on the interstate and save any more shopping for the next day. The entrance to I-10 west is literally less than two hundred yards from the seafood place, but I’d called Studly Doright as I left the restaurant and was so engrossed in hearing about his day that I got on the interstate going east.

So I had to drive three miles on I-10 east, exit onto Thomasville Road and immediately get on I-10 west. Fortunately traffic was nearly non-existent, and I’d only added ten minutes or so to my drive. Still, I felt like a complete idiot.

In one day I’d managed to walk out of a store wearing a mismatched pair of brand new shoes, been suspected of incompetent shoplifting, screamed like a little kid in a movie theater, and driven the opposite direction in my attempt to get home.

I had a glass of wine when I finally reached Doright Manor. And I slept in late on Tuesday morning. Surely, if I restrict the number of hours I’m awake I’ll have fewer opportunities to screw up.

Peace, people.

What in the Pangean World?

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/map-lets-you-plug-your-address-see-how-neighborhood-has-changed-over-past-750-million-years-180971507/

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!

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.

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!

You Know You’ve Matured When…

Sixty-two is a comfortable age. Most days I feel every year of it, but occasionally I believe I could still dance ’til all hours with no morning after consequences. Still other days I might as well be crocheting blankets in an assisted living facility. Such is life at 62.

Now maturity is a different matter altogether. Even though I’m nearing the 63 mark, I don’t often act or feel mature. I still enjoy roller coasters and haunted houses. I tell juvenile jokes and delight in Studly Doright’s goofy charm.

Yesterday, though, I realized that I might have turned a corner in the maturity game.

We had an issue with our satellite feed and had to call a service guy out to fix it. In retrospect, this man was extremely good looking: Tall with broad shoulders, high cheekbones, long dark hair pulled back in a neat ponytail, chiseled features. Kind of the whole physical package.

(Similar to the guy below, but fully clothed.)

But what did I notice during his visit? That he tracked in dirt with his size 12 boots. I was too busy cleaning up behind him to notice how hot he was until after he’d left. What the heck happened to me?

After the guy was gone I told Studly Doright how miffed I was that the service man had left dirt on my carpets. He gave me a hug and said, “That’s my girl.” I’m not sure how to take that.

Peace, people.