Back in the Future

Poor Studly Doright has a herniated disk. For the past three weeks the pain this has inflicted has prevented him from sleeping more than thirty minutes at a time. Walking takes his breath away and sitting isn’t much better. He has an appointment scheduled with a highly respected neurologist next Monday, but calls the doctor’s office three times a day to check for last minute cancellations.

I was away for a week visiting our daughter in Illinois. During my absence Studly tested every flat surface in the house in order to try and get some rest. There were pillows and blankets everywhere including on the kitchen counter and the dining table. He tried out all of the guest rooms and both sofas. While I felt awful about leaving him, he swears it was a good thing I was gone because he’d likely have driven me crazy.

Now, somewhere in my journey to and from Illinois I tweaked my back. I’m not sure if it was done while lifting the five-year-old grandchild for a hug or while hoisting my suitcase in and out of the car. Regardless, my lower back isn’t happy with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suffering nearly as much as Studly is, but I’m not too spry right now either.

This afternoon as Studly limped pitifully down the hall towards our bedroom I followed slowly with a load of folded clothes to put away, one hand supporting my lower back. We alternated grunts of pain.




Between exclamations I told Studly this was a look at our future: A little old man and his little old wife moving like little old snails.

He wasn’t amused. I guess snail humor isn’t his thing.

Peace, people.

Mississippi River by Morning

After two full days on the road, navigating crazy interstate traffic I am safely home, and can honestly say, “There’s no place like Doright Manor!”

Yes, I’ll miss my grandkids and my daughter, but I was really glad to be reunited with my husband and my shower, my cats, and my own bed, not necessarily in that order. It is good to be home.

The last thing I did before leaving Port Byron, Illinois, early Sunday morning was to drive down the Main Street of the small town to take a picture or two of the mighty Mississippi River that divides Illinois from Iowa.

Across the river one can see a portion of Le Claire, Iowa, reflected perfectly in the still water.

And here the mist partially obscures the bridge connecting the two states.

Moody, right? I just couldn’t leave without trying to capture the Mississippi in the morning.

Peace, people.

On the Road

On Saturday I began the drive home to Tallahassee after spending a little over a week with my daughter and her family in Port Byron, IL. What a week!

I arrived on Saturday afternoon, unpacked and took a deep breath, because every day to come had some planned adventure:

Sunday afternoon we attended 15-year-old grandson, Garrett’s performance in a play at Riverdale High School where he played two parts with gusto. I was so proud of him.

On Monday I had lunch with the youngest grandchild, Harper D, who is a sassy kindergarten student at Riverdale Elementary School, and I remembered why I never aspired to teach five year olds. They’re cute, but exhausting.

Tuesday was wine night with my daughter and some of her friends. Yay!

On Wednesday evening I got to watch our middle granddaughter, McKayla (13), at her gymnastics class. She is pretty fierce in her pursuit of perfection. What a dynamo!

Thursday evening involved a concert for pre-K and kindergarten students at the elementary school. I talked McKayla into accompanying Harper and me, and we had a rambunctious evening. Harper volunteered me to play the role of a hopping bunny during one of the songs. I’m 61. My hop was a bit on the floppy side.

On Friday I took Garrett and Harper to see Black Panther, after which Harper (5) summed the film up with “Basically, there were two kings who wanted different things, but only one could win. Right?”

I couldn’t argue with her logic.

Then on Saturday morning I got to watch McKayla perform in a music competition, first playing flute in the band and later singing in her school’s choir. She was so lovely and poised. That’s our raven-haired McKayla, below, in the white top and black skirt.

Saturday evening our daughter, her husband, his parents, and I participated in a trivia contest for a local charity. We didn’t win; although, we held our own for most of the evening. It was way too much fun, and I might’ve had too much Guinness. Oops!

Then early on Sunday I started home. As I write this I’m in a hotel room just south of Nashville, Tennessee. The weather channel is promising thunderstorms for my drive home. I’d appreciate good vibes sent my way for the remainder of my trip. Hopefully I’ll be safely home at Doright Manor early tomorrow evening. I need to rest!

Peace, people!

March Minimalist Challenge, Day 16

I’m still in Illinois; however, I wrote this before I left home. I imagine I’m cold up here in the land of Lincoln. I also imagine I’m having a great time with the grandkids and my daughter. Maybe, though, they’ve locked me in the basement and haven’t fed me in the past four days. Hey, I might’ve deserved it. I can be pretty cheeky.

Before I left Doright Manor I cleaned out the refrigerator, and these items were among the treasures I discovered: Various selections of sodas and juices, soups, and sauces, along with sample sizes of Swiss cheeses and additional sweet and savory surprises. So far, so good, and so long!

Peace, people!

Lunch with a Kindergartner

If you want to enjoy a four-star meal, an elementary school cafeteria is not the place to dine. If you’d prefer a low-key vibe surrounding you and your fellow diners during your meal, don’t waste even a millisecond considering an elementary school at lunchtime. However, if you desire raucous discourse and goofy, snaggle-toothed smiles, by all means join your favorite under-12 child for lunch.

I’m visiting my daughter and her family in Illinois this week. My three Illinois grandchildren are 15, 13, and five. When the teenagers were younger, Studly Doright and I lived just three hours away, and we were able to attend grandparents’ days at their school. But we moved to Florida when Harper, now five, was two, so we’ve missed out on meeting her teachers and classmates. Today, though, I was able to enjoy lunch and recess with her. It was an event I won’t soon forget.

Harper’s friends were eager to tell me not only their names, but their middle names as well as the names of every member of their families, including pets living and dead. Two little boys were disappointed that I didn’t know their respective grandparents who also live in Florida.

The conversation was entertaining and even briefly turned political when the angelic child seated directly across from me asked, “Do you know Donald Trump?”

“Well, no,” I said. “But I know who he is.”

“He tells lies ALL the time,” she said, with great solemnity. All I could do was nod.

After a lunch of oddly shaped chicken fingers, carrots, peaches, broccoli, chocolate milk, and some bug shaped crackers, we all put on our coats and headed out to recess. Harper held firmly to my right hand while a group of children with sweet and slightly sticky fingers, argued over who got to hold my left hand. We worked out a rotation and soon we were walking briskly around the playground.

I live in Florida where even in the winter temperatures rarely dip below 50°, so I knew I wouldn’t last long out on the windy 38° playground. For a few minutes I watched Harper and her friends clamber over various pieces of equipment.

I taught the five-year-olds how to play London Bridge is Falling Down. They thought it was hilarious to “take the keys and lock him/her up.” I began to worry that perhaps this game from my childhood might not be politically correct. Oops!

After playing approximately three thousand rounds of London Bridge I hugged Harper and said my good-byes to the adorable munchkins. Then I went back to my daughter’s home and took a well-deserved nap. But the dreams were sweet, and slightly sticky.

Peace, people!

March Minimalist Challenge, Days 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and Perhaps 20.

Confession: I’m probably cheating a bit for the next few days.

For those of you who have been breathlessly awaiting my next minimalist challenge post, for heaven’s sake, breathe. I’ll not be responsible for any injuries incurred on my behalf.

Currently I’m far away from Doright Manor, visiting my daughter and her family in the great state of Illinois. My goal before departing on my cross-country trip was to sort through enough items at home to carry me through the eleven days I’d be away. I was going to snap photos, write some alliterative prose to accompany each photo, and schedule the posts for publication. I didn’t come even close to my goal.

But, in the back of my mind I thought that this item might suffice for the entire trip, as a backup plan in case I didn’t do my due diligence:

Inside the jar (1 item), underneath the lid (1 more item), are 174 pretzel nuggets that I discovered while cleaning out the trunk area of my car, for a total of 176 items.

12+13+14+15+16+17+18+19=124 items! Even if I don’t arrive home until the 20th, I’m covered!

Plus, I’m pretty sure I have something scheduled to post for the challenge on the 16th, so I’m not a complete loser.

Quick story about why I even had the long-expired pretzel nuggets in my car: Every now and again I decide I need snacks in my vehicle just in case of a zombie apocalypse or an EMP (electro magnetic pulse) attack by North Korea. Pretzel nuggets would keep me going for a few days, at least, as I made my way to a safe location. I might even be able to use them to barter with others along the way.



Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un

Okay, I’m lying, but that explanation is way more interesting than the truth.

Peace, people.

March Minimalist Challenge, Day 11

I awakened bright and early, okay, neither bright nor early, but I awakened, nonetheless, on this first Sunday morning of daylight savings time to find I didn’t have a minimalist challenge blog post ready to publish. Here I am at my daughter’s home, a thousand miles from Doright Manor, without a photo of 11 items to discard. Did I panic. Not I! I just rifled through my handbag:

The sad thing is, I can do this another day of my vacation if need be.

For those dazzled by my brilliant use of alliteration on prior minimalist challenge posts, please forgive my lapse. I made almost no attempt at alliteration today. I’m on holiday, after all.

Peace, people.

March Minimalist Challenge, Day 10

I’m on my way to Illinois to spend some time with my daughter and her family. Before I left Doright Manor on Friday morning; though, I preemptively purged the prescribed number of paraphernalia for each day.

Snack packs of pudding and peaches are presented for your viewing pleasure. We purchased these when the grandchildren and their parents paid us a pleasant visit in the past year, but these products have expired. Pooh.

Peace, people.

March Minimalist Challenge, Day 5

On day 5 of March, I turned to the recycle/reuse cabinet of my kitchen. And what did I find there? Plastics. Plenty of plain, plastic repositories for putting away paltry paraphernalia. Plastics.

Side note, the tall container was the jug I mixed the nasty liquid laxative in preparation for a colonoscopy I had several years ago. What kind of person saves her colonoscopy prep bottle? Don’t answer that.

Peace, people.