From the Beach

On Sunday afternoon I enjoyed a beach outing with friends I’ve met through MeetUp. A group of us met at the Alligator Point beach house of a member to celebrate the birthday of our de facto leader. It was a great outing with lots of laughter and good food.

That’s me in the striped dress.
From the deck.
Her private little beach—so awesome.

I could get used to the beach life.

Peace, people!

Who, Me?

Today, I feel like Steve Martin’s character in The Jerk when he discovers his name in the phone book:

The new phone books are here! I’m somebody!

Why is that? Because my friend, Michele, who I met through the Meetup app, asked if I’d be interested in having Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort discussed at the group’s monthly book club meeting via Zoom in April.

Of course I said yes.

As my character, Zeke Fitzgerald, would say, “Well, don’t that beat all?”

Peace, people.

Monday, Monday

For a semi-retired person, Mondays are almost indistinguishable from any other day of the week. If it weren’t for Studly Doright, whose own retirement is still a few years away, I’d have no reason at all to mark the first day of the work week as any different from the rest.

We experienced thunderstorms all weekend, even had a tornado touch down nearby, and today’s weather looks to be more of the same. It’s a bit on the gloomy side, but I have nothing on my agenda other than laundry. I picture a day spent sipping tea between trips to and from the laundry room.

Mondays are great for reflecting on the weekend, and in spite of the rain I kept fairly busy. Friday night I attended a concert with friends. On Saturday I decorated the house for Christmas while Studly played nine holes of golf. The rain prevented a full round for his group. We lazed about all afternoon then went for dinner at a Japanese steak house.

I tweaked my back somehow on Saturday, perhaps while fetching Christmas decorations from the hall closet, or hefting tepanyaki shrimp with my chopsticks, and awakened with back spasms Sunday morning. I didn’t let the spasms keep me from attending a holiday-themed lunch with members of my favorite Meetup group, though. We had a fun gift exchange and made plans for a happy hour get together in a couple of weeks.

Then Studly took me to see the newest film iteration of “Robin Hood” on Sunday afternoon. It was an odd take on the familiar tale–kind of a poorly executed mashup of the Heath Ledger film, “A Knight’s Tale,” with elements of Batman and Indiana Jones thrown in for good measure. It bothered me that the costumes didn’t appear even slightly appropriate for the time period. I thought the movie was a waste of money, but Studly liked it.

A heat pack and ibuprofen helped me sleep well last night, and I think the worst of the back pain is behind me. Take that any way you want. I’m going to get up soon to shower. Then I’ll fill the tea kettle, and sort the laundry. But for now, the cats are snuggled around me, and I’m going to revel in not caring that it’s Monday.

Peace, people.

Train in Tallahassee

Studly Doright would rather have a root canal without local anesthesia than attend a concert. He isn’t a big music fan and has even less interest in rubbing shoulders with the hoi polloi. I’m the exact opposite, in fact, I’m a proud member of the hoi polloi, and if possible I’d go in search of live music every day. I’m not averse to attending concerts on my own, but they’re so much more fun with a friend.

When I read that the group Train was appearing in Tallahassee I began hinting that I’d like to go. Studly, however, wasn’t taking the bait. I’d about despaired of getting to see Train when one of my Meetup friends posted the concert on the app. With the click of a couple of buttons I’d bought my ticket and was set to go.

Four of us met at the Cascades Park amphitheater on Thursday night to enjoy Train. It seemed the perfect way to celebrate the summer solstice.

I fought off gnats to take that photo above. Next to me is Shavani, then Martha, and Mary Kay.

Although the opening band wasn’t scheduled to play until 8, we’d arrived at 6 p.m. to score a good spot in the grassy general admission area. The temps were in the mid-90’s, a storm was building to the west, and the humidity was intense. We even had to take shelter from lightning for a while. The shelter was an air conditioned bar with cold beer, so it wasn’t much of a hardship.

A local band, Brightside, kicked things off right on time. They were fun and energetic even as they battled heat and gnats. Once the sun dipped low and we all stopped perspiring both problems were solved and the night was perfect for soaking up the music.

Of course, we were there to see Train and they didn’t disappoint.

They played one hit after another and did a couple of covers that were mind-blowing, including Tom Petty’s Free Falling.

My favorite Train song is Drops of Jupiter. They didn’t play it until the encore, but it was worth the wait. I videoed a bit of it, but my camera work wasn’t great. This one is much better:

What a fun evening with friends! I was happy I got to attend and Studly was ecstatic that he didn’t have to. That’s a win-win.

Peace, people!

‘Til the Cows Come Home

One cow came home with me on Wednesday night, well, a picture of a cow anyway. One of the Meetup groups I’m a part of enjoyed an evening at Painting with a Twist in Tallahassee where we painted happy cows.

Here’s what Clarice (Yes, I named my cow) looked like after I’d worked on the background. You will perhaps note that I’m not all that accomplished at the fine art of painting.

But I did progress during the evening:

Clarice appears to have let her bangs grow out. Why on earth does my cow have bangs?

I know she didn’t look all that happy in the photo above, but I kept plugging and voila! Isn’t she something? You can answer that any way you choose.

I was the least capable of the four of us who were part of the Meetup group:

We did have a great time, though, and painting is s great way to get to know people. For instance, they all now know that I have a rich vocabulary of swear words. &@$%# cow.

Peace, people!

Bright Lights, but no Sushi

A Meetup friend and I made plans to eat sushi at Izzy’s, a restaurant in Tallahassee’s trendy midtown area. I’d never heard anything about the food at Izzy’s, but my friend said they had trivia on Monday nights, so I jumped at the chance to go. We invited others from Meetup, but in the end it was just “Shirley” and me who were able to make it.

Izzy’s had a cool vibe, and the place was hopping when we arrived. Shirley and I ordered drinks, an appetizer, and a sushi roll and settled in to play the game. The crowd was considerably younger than we were, so when we had to choose a name for our two-person trivia team we came up with “Not Your Moms,” to the delight of everyone in the restaurant.

Our drinks and an outstanding appetizer of hummus and warm naan bread arrived fairly quickly, and we ate as we played the first couple of rounds. At the end of those rounds we were in fifth place out of seven teams, ahead of a group called “Boy” and another I never could quite understand.

By the third round, Shirley and I had given up on our sushi roll ever being delivered. We kicked butt on questions in that round, though, so all was good. We ended up canceling our order, and that was a crying shame. It looked amazing.

After the fourth and final round, “Not Your Moms” was in third place! Not too shabby! And I made friends with one of the players from team “Boy.” His name is Ross and he gave me his door prize, this stunning necklace of Christmas lights.

I really needed that necklace, you know. What a fun evening. I’m glowing.

The high point of the night, though, was my correct guess of Weezer during the music round. Not bad for an old broad.

Peace, people.

Dinner with Ms. NRA

For several months now I’ve been attending MeetUp functions with women in my area. Various members of the group get together for wine or lunch. Sometimes we go for leisurely walks and visit historic landmarks. I always enjoy myself.

I’m beginning to get to know some of the women who attend, and find some of us have a great deal in common. On the whole, we tend to be a fairly progressive group. Even those that tend to be more conservative politically are appalled by the antics of our current potus.

One evening last week seven of us met for wine and dinner at a local restaurant. I knew three of the women in attendance, but three were new to MeetUp.

One of the first timers bristled a bit when the talk turned to the need for action on gun control. The shootings in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day are still very much on our minds.

“Well!” she huffed. “I’m a member of the NRA, and we can’t ban assault rifles.”

I restrained myself–you all would’ve been proud of me, but she also announced that she was carrying (a gun, I suppose, but might’ve been drugs, the terminology is similar), so maybe it was fear and not restraint that kept me silent.

We turned the talk away from guns, and someone else mentioned the Me Too movement. Again this woman spoke up, “Just ridiculous. These women parading around with hats shaped like vaginas…”

“I have one of those. I wear it proudly,” I said.

“Well, it’s so vulgar and extreme,” she countered.

“Sometimes, we have to be extreme to make a point,” someone else added.

The conversation was steered away again, and we continued to drink our wine and snack on appetizers. We even found things we had in common with Ms. NRA. I don’t want to know if she voted for trump. I don’t want to discuss women’s issues with her. I definitely don’t want to take up gun control when she’s in the room. But, if she’s at any future MeetUps I’ll strike up a conversation with her. Maybe I’ll wear my pussy hat.

Peace, people.

Look What I Made!

I met with members of the Tallahassee Women’s Social Meetup group Sunday afternoon to work on our hats for cancer patients. I’d begun working on the hat pictured above shortly after meeting with this group before Christmas and was anxious to find out if I’d remembered the instructions correctly. To my immense surprise, I had!

I’d taken the hat to a point at which I needed further instructions, and was pleased to learn I would be able to complete it this afternoon. The only thing I’d gotten wrong was the type of yarn to use. Apparently there’s a specific yarn recommended for cancer patients and mine is a bit on the scratchy side. Next time I need to purchase this brand:

One of the ladies knitted a hat for a preemie this afternoon. It’s so adorably tiny!

I had to try on my completed project:

Okay, I’m not a super model. I’m pretty proud of my hat.

Peace, people!

A Post About Something I Didn’t Get to Do

One of the MeetUp groups I’ve become involved with had planned to visit a local Tallahassee historical site, the Lichgate House on High Street on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately a private event was being held at the venue, so we ended up meeting for lunch at Newk’s, a local eatery.

I’d never heard of Lichgate, but it’s a site I’m eager to visit now. This is a place I’ve driven by dozens of times without realizing what lay behind the foliage. There’s only a small sign marking the site.

The story of Lichgate House is compelling:

I hadn’t checked my email before going to the site, so I got a glimpse of the grounds from the parking area where I learned we wouldn’t be able to enter, but would instead go straight to lunch. We’ve had a cold front move into the area, so maybe the cancellation was for the best, and we can visit on a warmer day.

Pinterest had some photos from Lichgate:

I can’t wait to see this for myself.

Peace, people.

Knit Wit

On Sunday afternoon I went to a Meetup group at a Tallahassee assisted living facility. Our group’s activity was to knit hats for cancer patients who’ve lost their hair due to chemotherapy treatments.

I haven’t knitted in years. As a kid I used to knit misshapen pot holders, but whatever dubious skills I once possessed have been lost forever.

Fortunately for me, the knitting done by members of the Meetup group is done using a loom similar to the one featured below.

After a couple of false starts I managed to knit several rows before Studly called wondering where I was.

“I’m knitting,” I told him.

“Does that make you a nitwit?” he quipped.

“No,” I said. “That happened when I married you.”

Occasionally I’m the one with a witty comeback in this relationship. Or in this case, a knit witty comeback. I enjoyed knitting so much that I bought a loom of my own to practice the art. Who knows what creations I’ll produce? I think I’ll start by trying to make a decent potholder.

Peace, people!

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