What’s to Become of Me?

My daughter, Ashley, might begin looking for a nice retirement home for me, and her actions would be justified. You be the judge.

I was watching the morning news and one of the broadcasters opened with today’s date. As he pronounced the words, “June 7th,” I experienced a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’d forgotten my youngest granddaughter’s June 6th birthday. What kind of grandmother forgets her sweet grandchild’s sixth birthday?

Immediately I sent off a text:

Within seconds my daughter tweeted her reply:

She did try to give me an excuse. Her oldest child’s birthday is December 6th, after all.

You see from the exchange above that now she’s humoring me. I’ll bet she was looking up names of nice assisted living homes in her area even as she was lol-ing at me.

Testing the waters I texted,

See, now she’s wanting to medicate me.

I hope she finds me a nice place, somewhere with a swimming pool and nail salon. Oh, a wine bar would be nice, too. I’ll go without a fuss.

Peace, people!

Simple Art for Non-artists

My need to create art is overshadowed only by my complete lack of artistic ability. Almost daily I’ll see something on Pinterest or on Facebook that makes me think, “hmmm, I can do that,” only to discover that no, I can’t. But that seldom keeps me from trying, and subsequently failing again.

One day last week I found this video on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/artfidodotcom/videos/1737457416309371/

It looked foolproof, so I gathered a sketchbook, some paints, and a bit of embroidery floss. Guess what? Not only is it foolproof, it’s great fun.

My first attempt. I love that I get two prints in one go.

I tried two colors on my second piece. I’m calling this one “Angry Parrots.”

And three colors on my third. The black just looks muddy, though.

Here’s my favorite:

This will be fun to do with visiting grandkids. I used washable paints, and all my work surfaces survived unscathed. Yay, me!

I won’t be opening a gallery any time soon, but I am going to keep experimenting.

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!

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, 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.

Clone?

One of the upsides to the social media site, Facebook, is the way it reminds of us photos and events we might have otherwise forgotten. This morning the following photo popped up in my Facebook memories:

That’s Studly and me with two of our grandchildren, Garrett and McKayla, from nine years ago. At first glance I thought the woman pictured was my mom. Then it dawned on me, that my mother died before ever meeting any of her great grandchildren.

Here’s a photo of Mom with our daughter, Ashley, who is the mother of the children pictured above. I think maybe Ashley was four in this photo.

Again, here’s the photo of me:

Holy cow. People have told me how much I look like mom, but until now I don’t think I fully realized it. Cloning. It’s real and apparently has been since the 1950’s.

Peace, people. (Miss you Mommy)

Thirteen Today

Our beautiful middle grandchild, McKayla, was born 13 years ago today, prompting us to leave our son’s home in Dallas, where we’d spent Christmas Day, to journey as quickly as possible to Kansas City to welcome this child.

She wasn’t due until mid-January, but she insisted on arriving early. I will always believe the tsunami that hit Indonesia on December 26 played a role in McKayla’s early arrival. Superstitious? Maybe. But she’s quite a force of nature.

Happy birthday, dear McKayla. We love you.

Our Christmas Letter

Studly Doright and I were too lazy to send out our annual Christmas letter this year (and the year before, and the year before that), but after receiving the twelfth such letter from various friends and family members I began feeling guilty. Without such a missive how will anyone know what an absolutely awesome year Studly and I had? Fortunately I have this forum, so with just a bit of exaggeration, here is our offering:

“Doright Year in Review”

Dear Friends,

It’s that time of year again when we regale all of you with our adventures great and small, but let’s face it, the Dorights only have great adventures. All others are swept under the rug.

In January we moaned about temperatures dropping into the 50’s. My tan faded and Studly had to wear long pants to play golf. It was devastating.

February brought more of the same, but Valentine’s Day broke up the monotony. Studly made it special by purchasing a 10-karat diamond necklace for me to wear to the grocery store. It pairs well with the mink he bought me for Christmas last year.

In March the temperatures began creeping into the tolerable zone. I spent a great deal of time at our beach house while Studly made a killing on the stock market and switched to shorts on the golf course. He shot a 69 on his home course and recorded two holes in one. The PGA contacted him about joining the senior tour, but he declined, saying it wouldn’t be fair to all the other golfers. What a mensch!

April and May were memorable for their showers and flowers. I entered the annual garden show with an orchid I discovered on my last trip to South America. The National Society of Horticulturalists have named it the Nana Glorious in my honor. My entry took first, second, and third place honors at the event.

We spent June, July, and August abroad. While Studly golfed in Scotland and Ireland, I explored quaint mountain villages throughout Europe and discovered yet another rare flower. Being the generous soul that I am, I pointed it out to a local woman who will go on to win multiple accolades for her contribution to botanical studies. Studly isn’t the only mensch in our family.

September was quiet as we recovered from our travels. Studly worked a bit, as his sharp mind and quick wit are in great demand. I was approached with a multi-million dollar deal to publish my memoirs. I just laughed and said, “Darlings, I haven’t even begun living yet!”

In October I traveled to visit our five precocious grandchildren. Fortunately they all take after me and will be outrageously successful.

November brought us together with most of Studly’s family. We celebrated his 60th birthday with a small concert. Sting said it was the best event he ever performed at, and asked if he could join us for Christmas this year.

So here we sit, Sting, Studly, and I, sipping spiced rum around a massive Christmas tree in the grand salon of our cabin in the Rockies. Sting keeps wanting to sing, but Studly says, “Enough, man. Let’s enjoy a Silent Night.”

We hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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.