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.

Photos from Birdsong

On Sunday I met up with members of the Tallahassee Women’s Meetup group for a visit to Birdsong Nature Center outside of Thomasville, Georgia. This was my second visit to Birdsong, and I had eagerly anticipated the trip.


Anticipation can sometimes be the enemy, and leave one feeling disappointed by reality, but Birdsong delivered the magic once again.

Here are just a few of my extremely amateurish photos.

Dogwood in bloom:

A titmouse at the window:

A bright red cardinal:

Wild azaleas:

A nice fat woodpecker:

An even fatter squirrel:

The Listening Place:

And one more cardinal:

What a glorious day!

Peace, people.

2018 Snapshot #1, or Who Can Identify This Plant?

Last year I posted snapshots and tried to number them reliably, but I’m rather a disorganized soul, and soon jumbled up the count. I’ve never let disorganization stop me in the past, though, so I’m just going to number these things according to an ever changing set of rules.

I snapped this photo yesterday in the garden area of my dentist’s office in Tallahassee. Then I proceeded to ask everyone what it was. No one in the office had a clue. I guess that’s why they went into dentistry and not botany.

Anyway, perhaps a reader with some gardening knowledge can help me out:

The blossoms aren’t on the plant itself, so kindly ignore them. Do note the purplish serrated looking leaves, and the oddly bare trunk-like stem. The plant is striking in its almost alien demeanor. I imagine if plants grew on Venus, this is what they’d look like.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Peace, people.

Behold The National Rifle Association’s Worm in the Florida Apple


Watch the entire video link from MSNBC, and see why I am fuming.

I live near Tallahassee, Florida, and have personally attended hearings on gun laws at the Capitol. On my first visit the bill being considered in our House of Representatives was to allow open carry in our state. The opening process was mundane–lots of parliamentary procedures and much palavering.

Then one by one people from both sides of the argument were called upon to explain in front of a panel of legislators why they either were for or against the right of Floridians to openly carry firearms. One older woman wearing a red hunting jacket and sporting a grey pageboy style haircut sat right up front, not quite part of the panel, but not a part of the regular gallery like myself. It was Marion Hammer.

I heard during this hearing that Marion, who is NOT a duly elected official in the state of Florida, had helped craft this open carry bill. Every time there was a proposed change to the bill or a question about what was included this woman was called forward to consult with our ELECTED lawmakers. She holds an immense amount of power, but again, IS NOT AN ELECTED OFFICIAL.

There is something rotten about a system that gives one person the power Ms. Hammer wields. Didn’t Americans launch a revolution based on our right to be represented by duly elected officials? Right now her favor or lack of it can make or break a politician in this state. She needs to go.

A Long Walk

On Wednesday, February 21, I took a long walk up Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee. It wasn’t for exercise; although, my heart rate certainly sped up as I strode across a bridge on my way to the historic capitol building.

Students representing Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, the site of our nation’s most recent school shooting, traveled more than six hours to the state capitol this week. Some of the survivors of the shooting met with state legislators in small groups on Tuesday, petitioning their representatives in Florida’s House of Representatives to take up a proposed ban on semi-automatic weapons.

The representatives ignored the students’ pleas, but hey, they did vote to ban pornography, so there’s that. I hope you can read the anger in that sentence. That action, that slap in the face the legislators handed these young people, spurred me to drive into Tallahassee on Wednesday to support their cause as they marched to the capitol. I wasn’t the only one.

There were no available parking places near the capitol grounds.After driving around for about 45 minutes in search of a parking spot, I finally found a shaded place in the Chili’s parking lot half a mile away. As I locked my car I crossed my fingers that the car wouldn’t be towed during my trek. I had some place special to be, and if I got towed, so be it.

The crowd grew as I got closer. People were pouring in from every direction. Some were gawkers, but most were there to offer support. We were all inspired. These teenagers spoke passionately, articulately, and with a maturity that puts a certain current president to shame. They are fired up and angry. Many will soon be able to vote. And they won’t forget the snubs of their elected officials.

Peace, for our kids’ sake, people.

Anyone Know a Good Blacksmith?

When I took my new-to-me CanAm Spyder out for a test run yesterday I never expected I’d throw a shoe. Isn’t that an event reserved for horses?

And yet as I pulled into a parking lot in Mariana, Florida, in search of a place to have lunch I felt an odd sensation on the bottom of my left foot. The entire sole of my boot had detached and slipped off onto the asphalt.

Fortunately there’s a layer of leather between my foot and the sole; otherwise, I’d have been in a barefoot pickle! I guess I could’ve bought a pair of tennis shoes or cheap work boots at the local Beall’s department store, but I’d have had to ride the mile or so back in that direction and then gone limping inside to shop. Maybe it’s time for new boots. Or a good glue–has anyone ever tried that on motorcycle boots?

I put about 150 miles on the bike today. The ride is a bit different from that of a two-wheel motorcycle. One doesn’t counter steer on the Spyder, and there’s no front brake handle. I know eventually I’ll stop reaching for the handle and feeling ridiculous when I grasp nothing but air, but it may take awhile.

The bike “walks” a bit from side as opposed to a two-wheeler, and it catches wind in ways I’m not accustomed to, but it never feels unstable. Plus, not having to put my feet down upon stopping is priceless.

Additionally, one doesn’t lean into turns on the three-wheel Spyder. I was never a knee dragger, but I caught myself in leaning mode a couple of times today, and the bike is having none of that nonsense. I kept expecting it to rap my knuckles and admonish me to “sit up straight, for pity’s sake.”

I am in love with the reverse gear, the cruise control, and the radio. My windshield is adjustable and the bike has heated handgrips, as well! Those are all accoutrements I’ve never had on a bike before.

After my ride my shoulders and thighs were pretty tight and sore. Those are sure signs I need to relax a bit more. And for those of you who don’t ride motorcycles, 150 miles on a bike can feel like 350 if you’re tense.

Experienced Spyder owners tell me it’ll take about 500 miles to really appreciate everything the bike can do, so I’m off to a great start. If only I had boots, I’d ride again today.

Peace, people.

My New Toy

Studly Doright took Friday afternoon off of work and we drove to Crestview where I purchased this beauty:

It’s a 2010 Can Am Spyder RT and it’s stunning. Both Studly and I took our riding gear along. I’d intended to ride the bike home, but after Studly took it for a test ride he suggested that I drive the pickup home while he familiarized himself with the quirks of the Spyder.

The three wheel configuration requires a completely different style of riding than a standard motorcycle, and my guy didn’t want me getting used to it on a busy interstate. I didn’t grumble much and we took separate paths home.

Once we were both back at Doright Manor Studly gave me a tutorial and I put the Spyder through its paces on the narrow, twisty roads running through our neighborhood. It’s a blast, and while I still have a great deal to learn, I think the bike is a good fit for me.

Now, though, since the Spyder is definitely a “want” and not a “need” I have to get rid of four extra items on this 17th day of February, in order to meet the requirements of the Minimalist Challenge. Might be time to clean out the holiday closet. First I’m going for a ride!

Peace, people!

Jury Duty Today

I received the jury summons several weeks ago. To my credit, upon reading the summons I didn’t stomp my feet or throw myself on the floor in a tantrum; although, I did grab my calendar to see if I was scheduled for anything that might be used to excuse me from serving. Not a flipping thing. Sigh.

So off I go this morning to do my civic duty in Gadsden County, Florida. Last time I served I ended up as the foreman on a hit and run case in Champaign, Illinois. I’m hoping to blend more quietly into the background this time; although, I did keep the panel from getting bogged down in the swamp of “what ifs.”

And I’m pretty sure I did a better job of delivering the jury’s decision than Yoda:

Peace, people!


Yesterday as I exited the Publix grocery store on Ocala Street in Tallahassee I saw a little boy, maybe a seven-year-old, playing on the sidewalk directly in front of the store. I spoke to him, something innocuous like, “Hey pal,” but he didn’t respond.

I looked around, but didn’t see any adults nearby. He seemed to be keeping close to the store, so I went on to my car. No sooner had I packed my groceries into my car than I saw a little blur dash behind me. It was the little boy running hell bent for leather through the busy parking lot towards an even busier street. This 61-year-old, out of shape grandmother took off after him.

Just as he reached the intersection a car turned into the Publix parking lot and with inches to spare missed hitting him. Without hesitating the child swerved back into the parking lot and just stopped, standing stock still. The car’s driver, a young college student, pulled over and the student’s mom got out and took the child’s hand.

I had begun calling 9-1-1, but so had she. Now that I was close to him I realized he most likely was autistic. Leaving the child in her capable hands I walked back to the store and found a manager and a clerk looking out into the parking lot. Figuring they might be looking for the little guy I asked and sure enough they’d been approached by an anxious mom who’d lost her kid while shopping. So I took them out to where the woman still held the child by the hand.

We watched as mom and child were reunited and the woman who had held his hand while I ran up to the store kind of fell apart for a minute. So did I.

“I thought my son was going to hit him,” she cried on my shoulder.

“Thank God for young reflexes,” I said, patting her on the back while shaking her son’s hand.

I honestly thought I was going to see this little guy go under the wheels of a car. Once back into my own vehicle I sat shaking before I could even start it up. His angels were working overtime yesterday.

And now, the Beatles. How’s that for a segue?


Looking for a Whatsit

Yesterday I posted about the Happy Painter, aka Janie Roberts, and her shop out at The House of Plywood in Tallahassee’s Railroad Square Art Park. I was specifically looking for a replacement for this piece:

This was the crowning glory of a decorative candle holder my eldest sister-in-law, Lyn, had given me four years ago as a housewarming gift. It fit atop this piece,

and enjoyed a place of prominence on my dining room table. Upon presenting me with the gift Lyn had made just for me, she advised me to avoid picking it up by the top. For three and a half years I was so careful to follow her advice, but one day I moved it without thinking and you see the results above.

I’d tried to describe to Janie at The Happy Painter just what it was I was looking for–a sconce, a globe, a whatsit, but until I took the piece in she wasn’t sure exactly what I meant. The minute she saw it she sent me to another vendor, Chip, who has a wonderful lamp shop in Railroad Square. I’ll do a whole piece on Chip’s shop one of these days. I’m not even sure of the name of the place, but he found me a possible replacement for a reasonable price.

Now I just have to break out the old glass and affix this new whatsit to the wrought iron piece. I’ll get Studly Doright to help me with that. There’ll likely be less bloodshed that way.

So what is the proper name for this? Is it a sconce? A globe? A whatsit?