Snapshots #213, #214, #215, and #216, or “Before and After”

Last Saturday I brought home this piece from a garage sale:

The above photo is titled, Studly Doright Will Just See an Ugly Old Chair, while the photo below is, Surprise! It’s an Ugly Old Hamper, Too!

It was a bargain at $5.00, and I figured even I was up to the task of making it pretty again. And contrary to the title, Studly actually thought I’d found a gem!

Just look how beautiful it is all cleaned up!

Besides finding a colorful new cushion for the chair, I also applied a bit of oak tinted furniture repair paint to the white splotches, and then rubbed tung oil into the rattan. I am incredibly pleased with the results. I call these photos, Bare, Beautiful Chair, and Ta Da! respectively.

Now I just need to find a place for this beauty. None of my bathrooms has a vanity table or counter, but the chair might find a spot in my bedroom. I can picture the cats making themselves comfy on the cushion. Studly suggested selling it. Maybe he was just pretending to like the chair. Harrumph.

Peace, people!

What Would You Remember?

This morning while Studly played for the finsl day in his club’s golf tournament I decided to take myself to brunch at the Canopy Road Cafe on Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee. It’s a bit of a drive from Doright Manor to this cafe, so I had plenty of time to listen to an entire episode of NPR’s RadioLab on Sirius/XM.

The segment that gave me pause was one about a music conductor who suffered an illness that resulted in him having the worst case of amnesia ever recorded. He literally could not remember what happened from one minute to the next. He attempted to keep a journal at the urging of his nurses, but the entries went something like It’s 8:02 and I am fully awake. This was followed by, It is now 8:03, and I’m truly awake. Then, It is 8:04 and I am awake!This pattern continued until something else occurred in his routine.

Since I was driving I didn’t write down his name, but I do remember that of his wife, Claudia. I remember because she was one of only two touchstones in his life. He might not always remember her name, but he lit up when he saw her and he wanted only to be near her, to kiss her, and to enjoy her hugs.

He also remembered how to read music and could sing lyrics to familiar songs. Claudia brought his choir members to the facility in which he lived, and her husband was able to conduct their performance as if nothing had ever changed.

All I could think of as I ate my omelet this morning was what would I remember if inflicted with a similar fate. Would it be Studly Doright’s face? Those of my children? Would it be my favorite books or movies? What would survive an almost complete memory loss?

There’s no way of knowing, of course, and I hope I never have to deal with Alzheimer’s or dementia, or any other memory stealing event. Still, maybe I need to begin reinforcing pleasant memories. Note to self: Give Studly a big hug and kiss when he returns from golf today.

What do you think you’d remember? Are there things you wouldn’t mind not being able to recall? That’s dangerous territory.

Peace, people.

Suffering from a Severe Lack of Oomph

I surrender! I have all these photos of the grandkids’ visit, but not the oomph needed to write about them. My oomph evaporated on Monday afternoon when I left the kids at the airport in Panama City Beach, and I’m not sure when it’s coming back.

Life continues, though, as does this blog, so I’m going to take the easy, less oomph reliant path and just post photos. If the spirit moves me, I might even comment on them. If not, well, make up your own captions. Oh, I started at the end of their visit and went backwards for some reason.

Here are a few from our morning in Panama City Beach before we headed to the airport:

Dominique and friend, Sophia, pose outside Dick’s Last Resort.

Enjoying a pineapple drink on the promenade.

Dominique pushing Jackson in a beach wheelchair so he wouldn’t get sand in his cast. I pushed him out to the beach and she pushed him back to the pavement. Hey, I think I know the moment my oomph disappeared!

Ahhh! The sun and the sand and the water.

Dining at Dick’s Last Resort, where the waiters are rude on purpose and the giggles are non-stop.

From our trip to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia on Sunday:

Poppa (aka Studly Doright) and Jackson built a motorcycle during the kids’ visit. For some reason I didn’t take any “before” photos, but this bike was in pieces at the beginning of last week:

Tallahassee Museum and Zoo is one of the grandkids’ (and grandparents’) favorite places to visit.

While the two 15-year-olds embarked on the tree-to-tree adventure,

Jackson, Studly, and I explored the zoo area:

At Jackson’s request we went “thrifting.”

And I took the girls sightseeing and swimming at Wakulla Springs:

And that’s about it. The kids and I stayed up late to watch a scary movie one night, but I didn’t document that. I had crafts for us to do, but those ideas were met with little enthusiasm. That’s just fine. I’m not sure my limited supply of oomph would’ve allowed for much creativity.

It’s awfully quiet around Doright Manor since they’ve been gone. The only one happy with the kids’ absence is our cat, Patches. Maybe she’ll help with the oomph issue.

Or not.

Wakulla Swim

On Tuesday morning I took our granddaughter, Dominique, and her friend, Sophia, to Wakulla Springs. Sophia had never seen an alligator outside of a zoo setting, so we had high hopes for a sighting.

When we first arrived at Edward Ball State Park rain was falling, and tickets for the boat ride weren’t being sold yet due to the possibility of lightning down the river. The girls donned their hoodies so we could go exploring.

That’s the diving platform above.

The small blue markers strung across the river are the only demarcation between swimming territory and all manner of wildlife including gators, manatees, and snakes. According to the park rangers the only real thing keeping wildlife out of the swimming area is the presence of people.

Occasionally an alligator will cross the line and have to be removed. While the girls were swimming I watched two other swimmers each pull a snake from the water. They assured me that these snakes weren’t venomous, but eeek!

Around noon we were cleared for the boat tour. The rains had cooled everything off, so while we saw a good many gators, they were all in the water.

And I managed to fail at getting a photo of anything other than my fellow passengers, trees, and swampy water.

After lunch the two Texas girls swam in the Florida sunshine for over an hour.

Meanwhile I reclined on my brightly colored blanket and read.

The girls slept all the way back to Doright Manor, while I sang along to the 60’s channel on Sirius/XM. Now, I need a nap!

Peace, people.

Stitch Fix Trial Run

One of my favorite bloggers, “LA” at http://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.wordpress.com has repeatedly sung the praises of the styling company, Stitch Fix. I don’t know LA personally, but she seems smart and extremely organized, so I pay attention to her recommendations.

I’d read the Stitch Fix ads on Facebook for months, and had even gone so far as to complete their questionnaire, but couldn’t quite bring myself to submit the form. That is until a week or so ago when the need for something new and adventurous hit me like a sledgehammer.

Once I’d tapped the order button I became excited about the impending arrival of new clothes. It’d be like opening one of those grab bags in the old days where you didn’t know what you’d bought until you got home. Only in this case, I’d only be paying for the items I wanted to keep. I felt like Christmas was approaching.

My box arrived on Saturday:

Studly was out having lunch with his golf group, so I tore the box open, stripped down in the middle of my kitchen, and started trying stuff on. Don’t worry, I won’t share any of the those photos!

Here’s what I received:

A great, and I mean really great pair of Warp + Weft jeans. They’re a perfect length, and they fit as if they were made just for me. Definitely a keeper.

This adorable button down by Kut From The Kluth:

An interesting shirt dress from DM Collection:

The dress fit me, but I don’t wear dresses often (as in once a year), and the pattern is a bit busy for my taste. I probably won’t keep it, but I’ll see what Studly thinks first.

Then there was this V Neck knit top from Market & Spruce. It’s a green-hued grey, and I think it might be a bit muddy for my complexion. It looks a lot better on my frame than on the hanger.

The top above would be great for Tallahassee’s mild winters, though. It might make the list of keepers.

Finally, the box included a cute necklace from Marlyn Schiff:

I’m on the fence about it simply because I own dozens of necklaces, but I tend to wear the one I purchased in Ireland every single day. Chances are it would spend many more days inside my jewelry box than around my neck.

Purchased separately the items would cost $362.00, but if I bought the whole lot I’d get a 25% discount, bringing the total to $271.50. I’d already paid a styling fee of $20.00 which is deducted from the total bringing my cost to $251.50.

Studly came home as I was writing this. He liked everything except the dress, concurring with my assessment of the “busyness” of the print. So, the dress and the necklace will go back and I’ll have two great new tops and a pair of jeans I already love for about $210.

I’ll provide feedback to the Stitch Fix folks on the items I’m returning, so the stylist can adjust my profile for future shipments. Overall, this was a fun experience. I needed some fun right now.

Peace, people!

The Grandkids are Coming! The Grandkids are Coming!

Studly Doright and I have been getting Doright Manor ready to withstand a visit from our Texas grandkids, Dominique and Jackson. The two, along with one of their friends, are flying in to Panama City Beach on Sunday evening to stay with us in Havana for a week. The guest rooms and baths are ready, the cupboards are full, and the refrigerator is stocked with Jackson’s favorite root beer.

Each year when the kids visit, Studly, who goes by “Poppa” around the grands, has motorcycles ready to work on and ride. I usually take the kids to a water park. However, Jackson broke his foot at the beginning of the summer and will still be in a cast. We might have to get a bit more creative with our activities this year.

Arts and crafts, anyone?

Regardless of what we do, we’ll have fun. I’ll post something if I have the energy!

Peace, people!

Lunch with my Cousin and a Night in LaGrange

Drive, drive, drive! That’s about all I did on Friday the 13th. I left my friend Nicky’s home in Kingsport, Tennessee, around 9:45 yesterday morning and drove to Knoxville to meet my cousin, Peggy, for lunch. Peggy is my second cousin. Her father and my grandfather were brothers. Both were handsome men married to attractive women.

Peggy and her two older sisters were the young women I looked up to as a child. All three were beautiful and well-mannered; whereas, I was a plain little girl with a tendency to rebel. Nevertheless, Peggy, who is three years my senior, was a sometimes playmate, and I have great memories of times we spent together in our younger days.

I’d lost track of Peggy for at least a couple of decades, maybe more, until a few months ago when she friended me on Facebook. After I’d accepted my friend Nicky’s invitation to visit Kingsport I began making plans to have lunch with Peggy in Knoxville on the way home.

Now I’m kicking myself because I forgot to get a picture of the two of us together. Damn. You’ll have to take my word for it, but Peggy is still beautiful and well-mannered. We did our best to catch up in the limited time we had to visit, but I need at least another week with her.

Once we parted ways I set my GPS to avoid major highways and the city of Atlanta on my trip home to Doright Manor. The resulting route took me on a scenic, yet curvy, roller coaster ride through Tennessee and into Georgia. I figured that once I’d gotten far enough south of the aforementioned Atlanta I’d reconfigure my settings to find the fastest route.

Back roads are fun, yet exhausting, and around 7:00 p.m. I decided to stop for the night in the town of LaGrange, Georgia. Now, I might’ve found the most perfect town in the world quite by accident. After checking into the brand new Courtyard by Marriott, I had a nice dinner in their bistro before setting out to explore the downtown area.

Directly across the street from my hotel was a park with a statue in the midst of a fountain.

Curious as to the identity of the statue, I crossed the street for a better look. I’d expected to see some Confederate war era general, but to my surprise and delight I discovered it to be a statue of General Lafayette.

According to GeorgiaInfo, an online Georgia almanac,

“Born at the Chateau de Chavaniac, Auvergne, France, on September 6, 1757, Gilbert Motier de Lafayette became at age 19 a major general on George Washington’s staff. He played a vital role in the defeat of General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781, ending the American Revolution.

Later in France Lafayette was commanding general of the National Guard. Leader in the movement that gave France a republican form of government, author of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and designer of the “Cocarde of Liberty” which he holds in his hand.

LaGrange, Georgia, was named for Lafayette’s home, the Chateau de LaGrange, on motion of Julius C. Alford, when this city was chartered on December 16, 1828…”

The statue and the surrounding park are a fitting centerpiece for this lovely town.

The First Baptist Church on the Square:

This is a museum of some kind. I’d have visited it if it had been open. Maybe on my next trip through the area I’ll have better timing.

Lots of interesting shops called to me, but again, I arrived too late:

I don’t think I’d ever seen a “Keep Off the Trees” sign before. It kind of made me want to climb them, rebel that I am.

I MUST visit this shop:

What a day, am I right? Lunch with a long lost cousin followed by a trip on scenic back roads, culminating in a stopover in LaGrange. I’m ready to be back home with Studly Doright and the cats, though.

Peace, people!

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.