Hopefully Homeward Bound

Hurricane Michael has been a total ass. He’s destroyed lives and homes and businesses all along the gulf coast of Florida, and Michael has kept on wreaking havoc as he’s slammed inland through Florida’s panhandle, into Georgia, and beyond. See, a total ass.

My home near Tallahassee seems to have weathered the storm fairly well. I happened to be in Dallas with my son and his family while my husband, Studly Doright, and our cats rode out the Category 4 hurricane at Doright Manor.

Studly’s job as an area director for a public utility company calls for him to make sure resources and people are in the right places at the right times. When I spoke with him last night before bed he’d just ended one conference call and was preparing for the next one. It’s non-stop.

Originally, I was booked on a Thursday flight from Dallas to Panama City Beach via Houston on Southwest Airlines. When Hurricane Michael, the ass, came in so quickly I changed the flight to Friday (today as I write this). It seems I might’ve been a little optimistic. Yesterday afternoon I received a text from the airline saying the flight from Houston to Panama City Beach was cancelled.

I knew I had other options, but I wanted to check with Studly before changing airports, since he’d need to meet me there. Of course when I called him he was on a conference call and just told me to do whatever I needed to do, and he’d make arrangements to pick me up at the airport I chose. It was an easy change to make with Southwest (bless them) and I am now scheduled to land in Jacksonville around nine this evening.

Studly, however, called me back when he got my flight information, and he won’t be able to meet me. I’d anticipated that, knowing what’s going on in his world right now. So, I’m renting a car at the airport and we’ll return it on Saturday to our local airport. (It just occurred to me that the Tallahassee airport might not be functioning right now. That could be problematic. I’ll check after I publish.)

Studly warned me to be careful coming home. He says I’m going to be shocked by the amount and size of the debris around Doright Manor. For safety’s sake I might end up staying overnight in Jacksonville so I can make the drive in daylight. I’m ready to be home, though.

Thanks to all of you who’ve expressed concern for us during this storm. We appreciate the positive vibes and prayers. Keep those in the gulf coast towns in your thoughts. The damage there looks devastating.

Peace, people.

Suffering from a Severe Lack of Oomph

I surrender! I have all these photos of the grandkids’ visit, but not the oomph needed to write about them. My oomph evaporated on Monday afternoon when I left the kids at the airport in Panama City Beach, and I’m not sure when it’s coming back.

Life continues, though, as does this blog, so I’m going to take the easy, less oomph reliant path and just post photos. If the spirit moves me, I might even comment on them. If not, well, make up your own captions. Oh, I started at the end of their visit and went backwards for some reason.

Here are a few from our morning in Panama City Beach before we headed to the airport:

Dominique and friend, Sophia, pose outside Dick’s Last Resort.

Enjoying a pineapple drink on the promenade.

Dominique pushing Jackson in a beach wheelchair so he wouldn’t get sand in his cast. I pushed him out to the beach and she pushed him back to the pavement. Hey, I think I know the moment my oomph disappeared!

Ahhh! The sun and the sand and the water.

Dining at Dick’s Last Resort, where the waiters are rude on purpose and the giggles are non-stop.

From our trip to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia on Sunday:

Poppa (aka Studly Doright) and Jackson built a motorcycle during the kids’ visit. For some reason I didn’t take any “before” photos, but this bike was in pieces at the beginning of last week:

Tallahassee Museum and Zoo is one of the grandkids’ (and grandparents’) favorite places to visit.

While the two 15-year-olds embarked on the tree-to-tree adventure,

Jackson, Studly, and I explored the zoo area:

At Jackson’s request we went “thrifting.”

And I took the girls sightseeing and swimming at Wakulla Springs:

And that’s about it. The kids and I stayed up late to watch a scary movie one night, but I didn’t document that. I had crafts for us to do, but those ideas were met with little enthusiasm. That’s just fine. I’m not sure my limited supply of oomph would’ve allowed for much creativity.

It’s awfully quiet around Doright Manor since they’ve been gone. The only one happy with the kids’ absence is our cat, Patches. Maybe she’ll help with the oomph issue.

Or not.

Snapshot #211

I promise I’m not being lazy. Okay, maybe I am, but after hosting two teens and a tween for over a week, I believe I deserve a couple of days of laziness. Honestly, they were well-behaved and a ton of fun, but I’m having difficulty putting together a cohesive post because there’s just too much to process right now.

Yesterday I had to bid them goodbye, and I might’ve cried a little watching them file through the boarding gate at the Panama City airport. Seems like only yesterday two of them were running around my house in diapers. I know the summer visits won’t last forever, so I’m savoring them while I can.

We spent the morning exploring Panama City, and I thought I’d share one of our silly photos.

I call this one, Toes: Both Sandy and Broken.

Peaceful Snapshots from Panama City

Studly Doright and I enjoyed a quiet dinner at Uncle Ernie’s on the bay near Panama City, Florida, on Sunday evening. We were celebrating our anniversary a day early while awaiting our Texas grandkids’ arrival at the local airport. I took just a few photos at the restaurant, knowing I’d be in need of blog fodder this week.

What is it about the coast and surrounding area that makes me so happy? Wish I could bottle the feeling.

The kids made it just fine; although, their plane was delayed a bit. I might have been worried before I saw their sweet faces appear in the baggage claim area. Now, we’re thoroughly enjoying the giggles and general hilarity. Today we’re going to Wakulla Springs for a gator safari. Good times!

Peace, people.

Panama City Beach

Before sending the Texas grandkids on a plane home we had one last hurrah at tourist-y Panama City Beach.

We strolled out on the pier and watched the ocean do its beautiful thing.

I asked a stranger to take a photo of the three of us:

We visited Ron Jon surf shop:


Then we had lunch at Dick's Last Resort where the wait staff is rude on purpose. These hats made great souvenirs and Jackson wore his until we got to the airport.

But they'll still take a photo of you if you ask politely:

After lunch we played a laser game that revealed my extreme lack of ninja skills. We shot zombies in a 3D shooting game that revealed my extreme lack of zombie hunting skills. Finally we ate ice cream at which I excelled. No photos, so you'll just have to take my word for all of the above.

All too soon it was time to send the kids home. Notice Jackson's travel pillow. It's all he really wanted as we shopped today.

Their dad texted to let me know they arrived safely in Dallas at almost the same time I arrived home to Doright Manor. I'll sleep well tonight–and late in the morning.

Peace, people!

Last Day

Today I'm driving the Texas grandkids to the airport in Panama City, Florida, for their flight home to Dallas, Texas. Neither of have them have ever flown unaccompanied, and there are some jitters. Not on their parts, mind you, but underneath this calm exterior I'm going a little nuts.

We've had a good time these past two weeks spoiling these kiddos. Doright Manor will be awfully quiet once they leave.

With a Little Help from my Friends

Note: I had a great deal of help with this post. I left blanks in my story and asked friends on Facebook to come up with content. When I had more than one friend respond I drew names from a hat. The darned story went in a totally unforeseen direction. I like it. 

My helpful friends are listed at the bottom. Underlined phrases indicate where I received help. 

“Flirting with the Law”

Sitting astride her motorcycle in front of a small jewelry store in Panama City Beach, Beth smelled the stranger before she saw him. He smelled like sheets hanging on the line, dried by the summer sun, and she lifted her head to catch his scent on the breeze. 

The scent transported her back to her childhood when hanging laundry on the line out back was a chore, but the results well worth the work. There were few things in life better than sleeping on sun-dried sheets.

Lost in her reverie, Beth startled when she realized the police officer standing beside her motorcycle was attached to the nostalgic scent. He was tall, dark, and oh so handsome.

“Excuse me, miss,” This perfect vision of manhood began, “Did you know that your license plate is missing?”

“Huh?” Beth replied in her most articulate manner. “I mean of course it’s not missing. It was there when I left Tallahassee this morning.”

But even as she spoke Beth swung a leg over the back of her bike and walked back to check. Sure enough, the plate was missing.

“Well that’s just weird,” she said. “Now what?”

The nice smelling stranger said, “Could cost you a ticket, you know,” and without looking at her he ran his leather gloved hand along the curvy contour of her tank, stopping at the crest of her saddle seat.

Beth gulped audibly and felt a slow blush creep over her face. “Honest, Officer, ummm…”

“Greg. Just Greg,” he said. “And here’s your plate. I saw some kids messing around with your bike and caught them red handed with your tag.”

Beth exhaled. “Greg, you just saved me a huge headache.”

“Well, I’m not letting you off the hook just yet,” the officer said. “Did you realize that I just finished my shift and I’m starving?”

“I guess I should let you go then, though, I don’t suppose you have a screwdriver on you….” Beth said indicating her detached license plate.

Greg grinned from ear to ear. “Come, let me buy you some lunch, and I’ll find a screwdriver for you.”

For one brief moment Beth considered turning him down. After all, he was a cop, and she did have a bag of stolen diamonds in her saddlebag. 

“Why, I’ll take you up on that,”she smiled demurely, looping her arm through his. She was running well ahead of schedule.

Many thanks to

Steven Ramos
Bob Walsh
Flora Diehl
Janie Christie Heniford
along with everyone else who submitted suggestions.

Peace, people!

Lesson Learned

Note to self: Never hit Panama City Beach during March! 

I’m picking Studly up at the Panama City airport in a couple of hours, and thought I’d come on over a little early and eat dinner at the beach before his plane lands. 

It is a zooooo!!! People who have no business on motorcycles are riding scooters and splitting lanes. Families in these funky little street buggies–colorful little golf carts, really, are pulling in front of lane splitting scooter riders. College kids are everywhere. Of course at my age they all look like preschoolers. 

On the plus side, and it is a BIG plus, I can see the beach from my table, and I’m having fresh mahi mahi. And, Studly will be home soon!



Peace, people!