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.

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.


Studly Doright and I have been in the Tallahassee area for four years now, having moved from central Illinois where we resided for eight years. This morning I realized I’d finally acclimated to the weather here when upon hearing that the high in our area would be in the mid-60’s today, I said to myself, “Better wear a sweater!”

I’m not complaining. I’ll wear that sweater all winter thanking my lucky stars I don’t need a heavy jacket and snow boots.

Truly everything is relative. We lived in North Dakota for four years where an ambient temperature of 34° on a winter day had folks digging out their bikinis and sunscreen.

Even in the mid-west the definition of cold is a matter of season. Forty degrees in November feels cool, while the same temperature in February is positively balmy.

The most difficult part for me when the weather turns cool is having to put away my flip flops. Although, I have been known to pull this stunt:

But only to take out the garbage. If I go downtown, I’ll put my pants on….

No matter where you are, I hope you have a great day. Pants optional.

Peace, people.

World Series Lite

I understand that the first game of The World Series begins tonight featuring two teams with epic hard luck stories and armies of loyal “there’s always next year” fans. 

Studly Doright and I lived in Illinois for eight years, and while I never became a rabid Cubs fan I did root for them. However, I’ve actually been to an Indians game, whereas, I never made it to Wrigley Field to see the Cubbies play. That’s still on my bucket list.

My son-in-law, Stephen the Great, and my grandson, are big Cubs fans, though, so I’ll put my energy into cheering for them. 

As a good friend once said, baseball is a simple game. You hit the ball, you throw the ball, you catch the ball. Piece of cake, right? We just have to do it better than those guys from Cleveland. Let’s do this! Fly the W!

Peace, and hot bats, people!

New Addition to the Family

We’ve been blessed by the arrival of a new family member–a beautiful 2010 Honda Goldwing:


The red bike in the background is my Yamaha Majesty. For the past couple of years it has led a sad life, sitting for months on end without any meaningful trips outside of our garage. Oh, Studly starts it up periodically and takes it for spins around the neighborhood, but the poor dear was languishing for lack of attention.

It’s not that I don’t still adore the bike. She’s taken me on some epic journeys, including a solo trip from Illinois to Texas and back the year I turned 50. But ten years later I’ve noticed that my reflexes aren’t as sharp as they once were, and while I’ve never been a fearless rider, I now find myself a jumpy one. That’s not a good characteristic for a motorcyclist to have.

It seems we’ve come full circle, having had a Goldwing many years ago and selling it when I declared I wanted to be in the driver’s seat on my own ride. It really is all about me. 

Studly is going to sell one of his bikes, and I’m going to sell my Majesty. We’ll still have a small stable of dirt bikes and his beloved Ole ’93.


Ole ’93 is Studly’s project bike. He’d part with me before he’d part with it.
A couple of our dirt bikes.
Studly’s VStrom will also be going to a new home.
I’m typing this while drinking a beer and watching Studly check over and polish the Goldwing.  

 I can hardly wait for our first adventure.

Peace, people.

On The Road My Friends

At some point this morning I will have departed from Doright Manor to take a trip of epic, dare I say Odyssean, proportions. Having packed my bags with everything from winter boots and a parka to capris pants and flip flops I should surely be prepared for any eventuality.

My first destination is a point north of Nashville, Tennessee, for an overnight stay. From there I’m bound for our daughter’s home in Rapids City, Illinois, where I will be baby sitter-in-chief for my daughter’s three children while the parents go to cavort in the bright sun of a Mexican beach.

After a week in Illinois I’ll head south to the Texas panhandle, the place that no matter where on earth I roam will always be home. I’ll stay with the lovely Saint Helen who gave birth to Studly Doright and hopefully get to commune with the rest of the panhandle-dwelling Noyes bunch. 

Once they’ve chased me out of town with torches and pitchforks I’m off to Dallas to spend a night with our son if we can get our schedules to sync. Then it’s on to Houston, that most intimidating city, for a couple of nights with the oldest of my two younger brothers and his wife. They’re taking me and Studly’s eldest (she’d say prettiest) sister to a big event. I’m sure I’ll blog about it afterwards. If I’m still capable, that is. 

I have another event in mind for the Houston stay, but I’ll save that for another post, as well. 

When my brother finally kicks me out of his home I’ll begin working my way back to Doright Manor. Somewhere on that stretch of road is a wonderful little outlet mall that’s been calling my name for awhile now.

I’ve been writing like a mad woman to stock my blog with pieces to post daily during my trip. I’m sure there will be times I can post something from the road, but just in case I can’t, the blog must, and will, go on! 

Any prayers, blessings, positive thoughts, etc., offered up for my safe travels will be greatly appreciated. And as always, peace, people.