Swimming With Beasts

A few nights ago I had a dream in which Studly Doright and I had taken our kids and grandkids on a trip to an indoor pool. The pool was huge, larger even than Olympic sized, but that wasn’t the oddest thing about it. As we walked around we realized that large animals were swimming with people in the pool.

There were lions and sharks, alligators and tigers swimming menacingly, seeming to stalk the humans who’d risked their necks to join in the activity. I was appalled, but everyone else in our family group began to jump in. My youngest granddaughter and her dad raced a cheetah to the side of the pool, narrowly missing becoming a snack for the feline.

I was pacing up and down urging everyone to get out of the pool before it was too late, but they all just pooh-poohed my concerns. A shrill blast from the lifeguard’s whistle signaled that it was time for a change in animals, so all of the humans were herded into cages while the pool was cleaned and the new animals emerged.

This time there were elephants and polar bears, llamas and giraffes in the pool. I found myself tempted to enter the water figuring it might be my only chance to swim with an elephant. Just before I took the plunge Studly Doright awakened me to lean over and kiss me goodbye before heading off to work.

“Whoa!” I mumbled. “I thought you were a polar bear.”

He didn’t bat an eye, responding, “That’s because I’m so chill.”

Peace, people.

Birthday Boy

Happy 15th birthday to our eldest grandson, Garrett. I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. We paced the halls and worried the hospital staff with endless questions. It seemed like you’d never arrive, and once you did, our lives were forever changed.

You’ve enriched our family in so many ways that I’ve lost count, and you’re the only kid I know who can consistently spell better than I can. Love you more today than the day before.

I can’t wait to see what your future holds.

Christmas Shopping Angst

Every January I pledge to begin my Christmas shopping in August, yet every December finds me scrambling to buy the perfect gifts for my grandchildren. I’m such a loser.

We’ve done the “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read” method of buying Christmas gifts for the grandchildren for the past few years, but I’ll be the first to admit that this system has its drawbacks.

For one thing, I’m woefully out of touch with the current styles. I’m happy wearing flip flops and capris every day. Why shouldn’t the grandkids be satisfied with the same attire? Sure, it’s 32° in Illinois, where three of the kids live, but maybe they should toughen up a bit.

And what if the line between a want and a need is blurry? Maybe they WANT new shoes, but they also NEED them. Then what?

I’ve already bought each of the five grands two books each whether they want them or not. I like books, so by golly, they’re getting books.

Two of the girls are easy to buy for. One is into American Girl dolls while the other likes Disney princesses. The other three kids, though, are nearly impossible to shop for. They don’t want clothes or toys. I’m thinking lumps of coal might be an option.

I’ve texted their parents, a.k.a. my children, to press the kids into declaring their wants and/or needs. Hopefully they’ll torture the kids into coming up with some affordable ideas. I know one of them wants a horse, but that’s not happening. Can’t we all just get along?

Peace, people.

Saving the World

We spent Thanksgiving with Studly Doright’s family in Hereford, Texas. Studly’s mom, Saint Helen, lives on the outskirts of town in a pleasant home with a generously sized backyard. The yard is decorated with a variety of cute gnomes and small plaster animals that have always delighted her great grandchildren.

Our youngest granddaughter, Harper, invited me into her world of make believe in this backyard paradise, telling me that a bad villain had taken over the world and turned all the real gnomes and animals into statues. Only by defeating this villain could we bring the statues back to life.

Five-year-old Harper launched an impressive attack on the villain using a mix of martial arts and boxing, admonishing me to stay out of the fight unless things looked really dark. At one point she staggered back and urged me to enter the fray.

I must say I was something of a whirling dervish, kicking and clawing at this imaginary bad guy. I threw in a few impressive head butts and Harper said, “Nana, you can stop. You won several minutes ago.”

“Harper!” I exclaimed. “We did it! We saved the world!”

In her most serious, matter of fact voice, Harper replied, “Of course we did.”

We then went around the yard waking up all of the animals and watching them reanimate.

“They’re all alive now,” she smiled. “Well, except this one. He’s still headless.”

I guess we didn’t save everyone, but we came so close.

Peace, people.

You Might Be Studly Doright If….

Studly Doright (aka David Noyes) seemed to enjoy his birthday celebration on Thursday. After an outstanding Thanksgiving feast orchestrated by his mother and sisters, we settled in to fete Studly as he prepares to enter his sixth decade on earth.

First our son, Jason, emceed a game show pitting our five grandchildren against Studly’s four siblings in a quest to see which group knew more about Studly. I’m not sure which team emerged as the winner, but we all got a kick out of the questions and accompanying vintage family photos that served as clues.

(Above, our two oldest grandkids, Garrett and Dominique, discuss their team’s answer.)

Our daughter, Ashley, led us in an activity called, “You might be David Noyes,” in which participants had an opportunity to share humorous recollections about the guest of honor in a format similar to Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck.”

The contributed memories had everyone in stitches. I can’t remember many of them; I was laughing too hard. One I shared was, “If you ever tried to claim gravy is a liquid to justify eating it while prepping for a colonoscopy, you might be David Noyes.”

The grandkids got a kick out of these revelations about their Poppa.

(Above, our youngest grandchild, Harper, listens as her Poppa explains one of the many shared stories. She might have been angling for a piece of the birthday cake, as well.)

Afterwards, Studly read cards from family and friends. He got a little emotional at times, declaring this was his best birthday ever.

Thanks to everyone who made it so special.

Peace, people.

Lessons in Holding

I realize the photo is grainy. It’s a screenshot taken during a FaceTime chat with my daughter and her kiddos on Saturday morning.

Five-year-old Harper, the one being held, climbed into her big brother, Garrett’s arms, where she began wriggling around like someone with ants in their pants as Garrett tried his best to keep from dropping her.

“Garrett,” Harper said. “You really need to take lessons in how to hold people.” We all lost it.

Couldn’t we all use lessons in holding? Not too tightly, but in a way that makes others feel secure. Sign me up!

Can’t wait to see these guys in person. Shhhh! Studly has no idea we’ll see them on Wednesday!

Chicago, Here I Come!

I’m flying to Chicago out of Panama City Beach on Friday afternoon. Once in the Windy City I’ll meet up with my daughter and our middle granddaughter for a weekend of shopping, dining, and Les Misérables-ing.

In preparation for the trip I’ve been listening to the Les Misérables soundtrack, because one never knows when they’ll need someone to fill in for a cast member. I probably don’t look much like Jean Valjean, but I could sing his part in a pinch. And Cosette’s role? I’m ready to don her dress and belt out her lyrics. Just in case.

My tastebuds are already anticipating a Chicago-style pizza, as I recall the ghosts of pizzas past. There’s simply nothing better than a deep dish pepperoni. Mmmmm. Can you smell it? I can. Now all I have to do is convince my daughter and her daughter that we need to head downtown for dinner Friday night!

Of course, Friday will be my daughter’s thirty-somethingth birthday. I’ll let her choose dinner on Friday, but Saturday is pizza for sure. Am I excited? Duh!!! And the best part? Getting to see my family! I’m packed and ready. Let the party begin.

Shipping Label Humor

Today, October 5, 2017, is my 61st birthday. Yay me! According to my youngest grandchild who is five, I am an old lady. Funny, I don’t feel old. In fact, I feel fairly wonderful.

Yesterday I received a beautiful basket of gourmet delicacies from my son and daughter-in-law. I mean this is the mother of all baskets:

Apples, pears, cheeses and crackers, cookies, and a bottle of wine. It’s gorgeous and I’m going to try to be a good girl and share with Studly Doright.

One of the best things about the basket, though, was the label on the box it arrived in. I laughed for ten minutes:

“Do not deliver to an intoxicated person,” it says. I told the FedEx lady it was a darned good thing she’d come before 5 p.m.

Happy birthday to me!

On Being Nana

I wasn’t always Nana. Once upon a time I was plain old Leslie, occasionally “honey” or whatever endearment

Came immediately to Studly’s tongue. But by far, Nana is the best name I’ve ever been given. Fifteen years ago this week,

Nana was born when a beautiful, round faced baby girl was placed in my arms. Her wide blue eyes connected with my own

Amazed brown ones, and I have been forever changed. I might have once been ordinary, but now I am Nana.

Happy 15th birthday to our eldest grandchild, Dominique Grace. I meant to post this on Wednesday, but never changed the post from “draft” to “scheduled.”

Panama City Beach

Before sending the Texas grandkids on a plane home we had one last hurrah at tourist-y Panama City Beach.

We strolled out on the pier and watched the ocean do its beautiful thing.

I asked a stranger to take a photo of the three of us:

We visited Ron Jon surf shop:


Then we had lunch at Dick's Last Resort where the wait staff is rude on purpose. These hats made great souvenirs and Jackson wore his until we got to the airport.

But they'll still take a photo of you if you ask politely:

After lunch we played a laser game that revealed my extreme lack of ninja skills. We shot zombies in a 3D shooting game that revealed my extreme lack of zombie hunting skills. Finally we ate ice cream at which I excelled. No photos, so you'll just have to take my word for all of the above.

All too soon it was time to send the kids home. Notice Jackson's travel pillow. It's all he really wanted as we shopped today.

Their dad texted to let me know they arrived safely in Dallas at almost the same time I arrived home to Doright Manor. I'll sleep well tonight–and late in the morning.

Peace, people!