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.

Saving the World

We spent Thanksgiving with Studly Doright’s family in Hereford, Texas. Studly’s mom, Saint Helen, lives on the outskirts of town in a pleasant home with a generously sized backyard. The yard is decorated with a variety of cute gnomes and small plaster animals that have always delighted her great grandchildren.

Our youngest granddaughter, Harper, invited me into her world of make believe in this backyard paradise, telling me that a bad villain had taken over the world and turned all the real gnomes and animals into statues. Only by defeating this villain could we bring the statues back to life.

Five-year-old Harper launched an impressive attack on the villain using a mix of martial arts and boxing, admonishing me to stay out of the fight unless things looked really dark. At one point she staggered back and urged me to enter the fray.

I must say I was something of a whirling dervish, kicking and clawing at this imaginary bad guy. I threw in a few impressive head butts and Harper said, “Nana, you can stop. You won several minutes ago.”

“Harper!” I exclaimed. “We did it! We saved the world!”

In her most serious, matter of fact voice, Harper replied, “Of course we did.”

We then went around the yard waking up all of the animals and watching them reanimate.

“They’re all alive now,” she smiled. “Well, except this one. He’s still headless.”

I guess we didn’t save everyone, but we came so close.

Peace, people.

Oldie #2: Close Encounters of the Bear Kind

Our bear wasn’t this cute, or this small, or waving at us….
Every now and then I wake up in a cold sweat remembering this day.

Tallahassee Auto Museum

Last Sunday Studly Doright and I took his mom, Saint Helen, to the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. Even though Studly and I have been in Tallahassee a little over three years, this was our first visit to the museum that sits just off Interstate 10 east of Tallahassee.

Elvis Mobile
Weird horse statue greets visitors

Here are just a few of the automobiles on display. The array was dizzying. 

Amphibious car–LBJ had one and loved to prank guests to his Texas ranch by driving into his lake.
Studebaker Avanti: The front looks like the rear.
Studly and Saint Helen

Batman had his own section.

There were motorcycles in abundance:


Boat motors:

Tricycles and pedal cars:

Steinway Pianos:

Cash registers:

A vampire hunting kit (I really think I need one):

And lots of other goodies:

Hearse believed to be used to convey Lincoln’s body.

The museum, with its eclectic array of memorabilia, provided us with a couple of hours of entertainment. I think I’m still suffering from antique overload. 

Peace, people.

Looking Ahead

Post-election depression has put a real damper on my Christmas spirit. I’ve shopped and wrapped gifts, partaken of eggnog, and watched hours of Hallmark Channel movies, but I’m really just going through the motions. A future with Trump in the White House seems too horrible for contemplation. Alas, barring a last minute miracle, that stark reality seems to be in store. 

But I’m not a gloom and doom person at heart, so I’ve made a list of things that will definitely lift my spirits:

  1. Hugs from the grandchildren
  2. Large quantities of wine
  3. Hanging out with my kids
  4. More wine
  5. Having my mother-in-law, Saint Helen, with us for Christmas
  6. Did I mention wine?
  7. Studly Doright’s love and support
  8. And wine
  9. Cat kisses
  10. Cheers!

I feel better already.

That’s Not What I Meant to Say

Forgive me, but my language might get a little graphic here. Saint Helen, don’t read this one, or if you do, read it with your eyes closed.

I engaged in a verbal battle with a Trump supporter on Facebook. I would have ignored him, but he called Hillary the “c” word, and I don’t mean “Clinton.” My intention was to call him “An asshole with typing capabilities” but autocorrect kept changing it to “ashore.” 

The sentence, “apparently you’re an ashore with typing capabilities” isn’t witty repartee. Heck, it doesn’t even make sense. I finally gave up and told him to piss off,  which Autocorrect changed immediately to “pus” off. And that’s just gross.

While I’m speaking of autocorrect, has anyone besides me ever noticed that when you’ve mistyped a word and replacement options are given often they don’t even vaguely resemble the word you had in mind? I once was offered the word “Illinois” when trying to type “loving” in a poem. Granted, I’d gotten the word started with an i instead of an l, but in what context does “His Illinois arms” make sense?

Ok, I feel better now. I’m going to go give that Facebook troll a pizza of my mind. 


Building for the Wee Folk

Doright Manor is set in the midst of a delightful forest in the Florida panhandle. From our screened in porch we enjoy the shade of oak trees, the majesty of pines, and the splendor of magnolias, along with all of the critters that call the forest home. 

I’ve always thought it the ideal place to offer sanctuary to fairies if we provided a proper home for the wee folk. Studly Doright wasn’t convinced that we needed a fairy home, though, until he saw the one at Saint Helen’s home in Hereford, Texas, on our visit in May.


Studly’s brother, Shaggy Doright, built Saint Helen’s fairy house.

When we knew we’d be entertaining our Dallas grandkids for two weeks, Studly decided that constructing a fairy home would be the perfect activity.

And so it begins: 
We each had our respective tasks:

 Mine consisted of documenting the process and staying well out of the way.

We didn’t quite complete the project yesterday afternoon. Studly and I ran out of energy before reaching the finish line. But we made a good bit of headway.

Tomorrow is another day.

Peace, people!

Saint Helen’s Birthday Bash

Studly Doright, the love of my life, was raised by an extraordinary woman who I’ve dubbed Saint Helen. Last week Studly and I traveled to the Texas panhandle to join in the celebration of Saint Helen’s 80th birthday.

The event, held at the Senior Citizen’s Center in Hereford, Texas, on Sunday afternoon was grand, with well over a hundred people in attendance. I turned to one of my children as I observed Helen greeting yet another guest and said, “You’re going to need to hire folks to come to my 80th.” 

I believe said child muttered something about there being no way I’d make it to 80 before dutifully responding, “Sure, Mom!”

Eighty is only two decades away for me, so I better start being nicer to people. Dammit. 

Back to Saint Helen, though…I took a great many photos and while most of my followers are not among her friends I hope you’ll indulge me. She really is a terrific person and the very best mother-in-law imaginable. 


This wonderful cake was made of cupcakes with a layer of icing covering them to make it appear like a regular sheet cake.
Helen, on the right, with her childhood friend Billy Tobe and his wife, Louise
My daughter, her middle daughter, and I arranged all of the flowers for the event. Not bad for three novices. 
Daughter Ashley created this arrangement for a memory table.
This creation on the reception table was mine.

My lovely 11-year-old granddaughter, McKayla took charge of the flowers on the refreshment table.

There was much laughter, tons of hugs, and general merriment all afternoon.   
Saint Helen’s friend, Leona
Father Tony bearing gifts of homemade sauerkraut and store bought water guns.
Monsignor Bloom with Saint Helen
Friend Annette.
Cousin Leighton.
Saint Helen with Studly Doright

Studly and I with Saint Helen and our children and grandchildren.

Two of the great grandkids kung fu fighting. No one was injured in this battle.
All of the great grandkids who could be present. Two had to leave early and one missed the celebration due to circumstances beyond his 3-year-old control.

My five grandbabies. Nothing makes me happier than having them all in one place.
I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate than with this bunch. 

Peace, people!