Hey Toto, This Isn’t Florida

This is what I awakened to this morning:

Maybe I needed a reminder that I wasn’t snuggled into my bed in Doright Manor near Quincy, FL, on this Friday morning. Or maybe it was time for my “Driving on Snowy Roads” refresher course.

Brrrrr! And peace, people.

Happy Place

Happiness is…

…being in my daughter’s home.

…listening to my eldest grandson talk about a book he’s writing.

…watching our middle granddaughter practice her cheerleading routine.

…waking up to the exuberant sounds of our youngest grandchild greeting a new day.

On this Wednesday morning, I am so incredibly happy.

Unpacking to Repack and Freaking Out

I might’ve used this title before. If so, my apologies. Surely no one is keeping tabs, least of all me. It just seems that my life is divided into two unequal parts: 4/5 a yawn worthy routine and 1/5 “holy cow I’ve got back to back events, and I’d better freak out a little.”

Freaking out is my go to mode when the routine is broken up, and since I’ve had the same reaction for as much of my life as I can remember I recognize it for what it is and just roll with the feelings. Sometimes I can even use them to help me focus on the task at hand.

Studly Doright and I broke up our normal routine and spent Friday night in Orlando, FL, so I’d packed an overnight bag with just the essentials. Of course in freak out mode the essentials ended up being the entire contents of my cosmetics drawer and enough outfits to have stayed for a week instead of just one night.

Saturday was used to recover from a Friday night spent at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, and once we were back home I slept much of the day. Getting scared silly multiple times for five straight hours is exhausting. Part of me knew there was something I was supposed to be freaking out about, but I was too tired to care.

So on Sunday morning, I’m back to full on freak out. I’m flying from Tallahassee to our daughter’s home in Illinois on Tuesday to stay for a week, hoping to help out around the house after she undergoes surgery. I say “hoping” because sometimes I’m more of an annoyance in those situations than I am a help. I have given myself pep talks, and made promises to myself not to be a nuisance or a hoverer. Hovering is my unwanted super power.

At least my bag is still partially packed from the trip to Orlando, but if I needed seven tops for an overnight trip I’m going to need at least 49 for a seven day trip, right? And at least 40 of those need to be sweaters because it’s way colder at her house than it is in Florida this time of year. And boots. I’ll need boots and socks. No flip flops! Maybe just one pair, you know, just in case the temps warm up, and a coat. Will I wear the coat on the plane or should I try to pack it in my carry on with the 40 sweaters? Everything has to go in the carry on. I’m not checking a bag! That’s an extra $60 both ways. Well, maybe I should just pay the extra, but wait, what if my luggage gets lost and I have to go buy all new clothes while I’m there? Better to cram as much as I can in my carry on. Or not. Argh!

See? Freak out mode. BUT, I get to see my daughter and my Illinois grandkids in a few days! Totally worth the freak out. Right?

Now, where is that other pair of jeans? No, not those, the dark blue ones.

Peace, people!

Buhbye to Roseanne

When ABC revived the Roseanne show I didn’t pay much attention. I’d seldom watched the original program and had no desire to watch the reboot. All politics aside, I always found the show to be mean spirited.

When we lived outside of Champaign, Illinois, I saw Roseanne Barr do standup live at the venerable Virginia Theater. Studly Doright was out of town that week and I got bored, so at the last minute I bought a ticket.

She was good that night. Not great. She seemed subdued, talking about how becoming a grandmother had changed her. There was nothing political about her performance, as I recall, and I gave her scant thought after I left the theater.

But these past couple of years Roseanne has become a vocal trump supporter. Her tweets on Twitter were peppered with insults aimed at Liberals, some were of a blatantly racist nature. She even embraced hardcore right wing conspiracy theories and shared them with no regard for the truth.

In spite of this, ABC brought her back into the fold hoping, perhaps, that she could keep her racist ideology under wraps long enough to make big bucks for the network. Yesterday, though, she finally went too far for ABC and parent company, Disney.

From a local ABC affiliate:

Roseanne Barr wrote early Tuesday morning, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Barr was responding to a comment about Valerie Jarrett, a top former aide to president Obama. She later deleted the tweet.

The show was quickly cancelled following the abrupt resignations of show writers, Wanda Sykes and Whitney Cummings. I’d say, “bravo, ABC,” but they knew she was a racist, right wing troll when they hired her. Public outcry was the driving force behind her termination.

So let us bid adieu to Roseanne, at least for now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her honored for her actions by the Racist-in-Chief.

Peace, people

Here are somewhat relevant photos of The Virginia Theater in Champaign. I adore this old place.

And an even more relevant photo of a younger Roseanne grabbing her crotch during her heinous performance of the national anthem before a sporting event.

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.

“Oh!”

“Ow!”

“Damn!”

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.

Lagomarcino’s for Me

Before the grandkids arrived home from school on Friday afternoon I drove across the Mississippi River into Iowa just so I could have a hot fudge sundae at Lagomarcino’s in Davenport.

My daughter introduced me to Lago’s when she first moved to the quad cities (Moline, Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island) several years ago, insisting that they served the best hot fudge sundaes in the known universe. After my first taste I agreed with her.

What makes these hot fudge sundaes so special? Well, Lago’s makes their own ice cream and their own hot fudge. And unlike other places where the sauce has already cooled atop the ice cream, at Lago’s the fudge is served separately and is still hot when it arrives at the table. Yum!

I portioned it out little by little and the last drop of fudge was still nice and hot, and as absolutely delicious as the first! I savored every bite knowing it will be a while before I get another of these treats since I’m heading towards home on Sunday morning.

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!

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!

A Drop in the Bucket

A Drop in the Bucket

by Leslie Noyes

One shard’s sharp clatter

Finally hitting bottom

Way down in the well

No splash forthcoming

Water dried up years ago

Does no good to cry

Keep shoveling dirt

Keep plowing those narrow rows

Keep harvesting naught

I grew up in the Texas panhandle, one of the areas hardest hit by the Dust Bowl. Although that was before my time, I heard many a tale from my grandparents about the dark days when the dirt blew non-stop, filling every nook and cranny and clogging lungs.

Several years ago, a book club I belonged to in Illinois, read the book, The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. It’s a rather long book filled with firsthand accounts of the Dust Bowl Days, and while I don’t usually indulge in nonfiction, I found this book fascinating.

When the book club members met to discuss The Worst Hard Time I was excited to share my perspectives. One woman, a New Yorker transplanted to Illinois, couldn’t believe that people still live in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. I assured her that not only did people still live there, they thrived.

I highly recommend the book. If you read it, let me know what you think.

Peace, people.