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!

Roadkill and Potholes

“Roadkill and Potholes”

As I drove north on busy Interstate 65 through Nashville, Tennessee, and points beyond last Thursday I realized I was simultaneously dodging enormous potholes and a diverse array of dead animals. The remains of raccoons, opossums, and deer were so numerous that I became anxious when I drove a mile or two without seeing a carcass. Ah, but not to worry, there were plenty more just down the road.

It was during one of these rare breaks in the action that I thought to make a verbal note on my phone in case I wanted to write something about roadkill and potholes for the blog. I did my best to enunciate, yet the message clearly reads, “Local Postholes.” Most likely I drove through a pothole as I spoke into the phone. Although, had that been the case, there would likely have been an expletive uttered, as well.

I’m scouting alternate routes for my return trip. Can you $&@?! blame me?

Peace, people.

Scraps from Their Pasts

For Christmas I put together scrapbooks of their early years for our two children. The idea wasn’t an original one. Studly Doright’s mom, Saint Helen, had given Studly and his four siblings scrapbooks several years ago as Christmas gifts and for him at least, it remains one of his all-time favorite gifts.

I’m not a very crafts minded person, but in preparation for assembling these scrapbooks I made multiple trips to Michael’s (for non-Americans, that’s THE place to go for creative types) in order to purchase the books and to find appropriate decorative touches for each page. I bought tons of stuff and ended up using only a fraction of it. Project ideas, anyone.

I’m so awful at this type of thing that I actually started all this at the beginning of 2016 and had planned on presenting them with their gifts at Christmas that year, but I got bogged down in the minutiae, and it took me almost two years to complete the task. I’m still not sure how my mother-in-law put together five such books without going crazy, because I’m fairly certain some of my sanity was lost in the process.

I’d looked forward to presenting the books to my kids in person when we were all in Nashville that Christmas, but since I was an entire year behind, and we weren’t getting to see them for the holidays this year, I had to put them in the mail.

Now, I’d worked my butt off cropping photos and arranging them with curlicues and doodads. I’d spent countless hours searching through old school pictures and awards. The thought of trusting these works of heart to the mail almost drove me crazy(er). So, before I boxed them up for shipping to Dallas, Texas, where our son lives and to Port Byron, Illinois, where our daughter resides, I documented each and every page with the help of my trusty iPhone camera.

I’ll spare you from viewing all of the pages (you’re welcome). While I wasn’t there when they opened the books they both assured me they’d enjoyed their trips down memory lane. I’m so glad I spent the time creating these, but even more glad that I had only two children.

Peace, people.

Kind of a Big Deal

Several years ago during spring break a friend and I were visiting Nashville, Tennessee, for the first time. We’d gone on a bus tour of the city and sung karaoke in a downtown bar. We’d even checked out Coyote Ugly, which was a bit disappointing. Maybe if we’d been a couple of guys it would’ve been more fun.

One of the oddest occurrences from the trip was when an obviously drunk guy in a well-tailored grey suit stumbled across a crowded bar, weaving between tables as a singer belted out a Charlie Daniels cover from the stage. To our shock, the drunk approached our table, pulled out a chair and sat down.

With no preamble the first words out of his mouth were, “I’m kind of a big fu**ing deal.”

My friend and I exchanged looks, rose from our seats, and left the bar. Neither of us needed this guy’s line of b.s.

I feel like Donald Trump is the drunk at my table. He keeps telling me what a big deal he is, and I keep walking away. He keeps spewing b.s., but no one holds him accountable. When will the GOP controlled Congress say, “Enough!” and walk away from the table? Once Kim Jong Un hits the nuclear button, it’s gonna be way too late.

Family Photos

The Doright Family converged on Nashville, Tennessee, for Christmas. We rented a home on Old Hickory Lake through Home Away and spent four days in close quarters. I’m pleased to announce that not one of the twelve people present was harmed during our long weekend of enforced confinement. See, miracles do still happen.

As part of our Christmas gift our children arranged for a photographer to come out to the house on Christmas Eve to take family photos. The last family photos were circa 2002, so we were way past due. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Studly Doright and Moi
Daughter Ashley and Son Jason join the Dynamic Doright Duo
All the Grands
Jackson and Garrett
Eldest grandson, Garrett
Youngest grandson, Jackson
Eldest granddaughter, Dominique
Middle granddaughter, McKayla
Youngest grandchild, Harper
The big girls
Siblings
Siblings
Daughter Ashley and her family
Son Jason and his family
Just the granddaughters
The whole bunch featuring Saint Helen

Going Places

Leaving Nashville the day after Christmas, hugging grandchildren one more time

Before we climb into our respective rides for long journeys home. One heads west, another

North, while we point our car south and east, full of new memories and Christmas goodies,

Enough to last until our far-flung families are brought together once again. Safe travels.




I’m too Fat for my Ukulele (and Other Stories from the Road)

No bull! 

At the Houston rodeo. I’d have won my event, except that my bull wasn’t real.
 
Apart from the skirt pulled up way too high–Erkel style under my boobs and the dainty sandals on my pretty feet I look like a real life bull rider. Right? Right? Why do I hear crickets?

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I own a ukulele now, purchased from a shop in Amarillo. So far, I know two notes, but the ukulele is small and my body is bulky. Together we look odd, like the instrument is being absorbed into my flesh. Like Jabba the Hut swallowing a little invertebrate whole. Gulp.

I’m not going to let appearances prevent me from learning to play the ukulele. Nossirree. But I might need to purchase a muumu just to complete the whole vibe.

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 Each day, the tattoo my nephew Russell bestowed upon me becomes prettier. I’ve tried to explain my feelings about it which go above and beyond anything I expected. 

Having never been a particularly attractive woman, it pleases me more than I can say to have such a beautiful piece of art adorning my body. It makes me feel happy. And just a little bit special. I only regret not having it done sooner. 

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One friend asked what I’d listened to during my adventure. If I were to try and list my choices in some kind of order, it might look like this:

Howard Stern on Sirius 100

  

John Fugelsang on INSIGHT Sirius/XM 121

 
Diane Rehm on NPR

 
An audiobook by John Scalzi
 
 
A V.I. Warshawski novel by Sara Paretsky
      
I also listened and sang along to the Classic Vinyl station, as well as the 60’s and 70’s stations on Sirius/XM. The comedy stations helped me cover many miles as well.

And then there were great distances without any sound other than that of my tires on pavement. Driving through the cities of Nashville, Kansas City, Dallas, and Houston required a great deal of concentration, and radio silence was a balm for my soul and a boost for my driving skills.

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Being home feels good. Today is a day for tackling mountains of laundry and snuggling cats, and for reading blog posts. I’ve been a terrible follower these past two weeks, clicking through blogs with nary a comment.

Thanks for all your positive vibes and support during my journey. Here’s a little Simon and Garfunkel to tie things up.

Peace, people!

http://youtu.be/7z9wd9bS1FM

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.

When You Gotta Go…

I let my 12 year old grandson help write my blog post for today. He picked out this meme:

  
I picked out this one:

  
Both are fitting for the start of my long journey home, because this

  
Is so very true.

It’s been such a fun week with the grandkids. We went bowling, played laser tag, and video games, feasted on junk foods, and acted out scenes from Frozen until I had ice shards shooting out of my nose.

My plan is to reach the southeast side of Nashville on Monday afternoon and maybe relax in the pool for a few minutes. A bit of relaxation might be in order after all the fun. I’ll miss these guys, but Studly Doright is ready to see me.