So Far Behind

Who’d ever think that being retired could be so stressful? I took a few days off to enjoy a girls’ weekend in Nashville only to come home to find a couple hundred unread blog posts from people I follow.

I tried to play catch up on Monday evening, but I only got halfway through. And I apologize for not giving my full attention to every post. You’re all wonderful bloggers; otherwise, I wouldn’t be following you. I’ll comment meaningfully at some point. Just not today.

I’m also behind on writing for my own blog. For the first time since I began this adventure in writing I took four whole days off, and the world went on without me. Unbelievable. Here I thought that if I didn’t post something every single day the earth would cease to revolve around the sun.

Laundry piled up in my absence. Email accumulated in my inbox. Text messages went unanswered. Even worse, Studly Doright went unkissed. Well, I hope he did. At least I’ve taken care of that issue.

Tomorrow I’ll make another attempt to catch up. And I might kiss Studly again just for good measure.

Peace, people.

A Walk in the Park

Studly Doright played in his golf club’s annual members’ tournament this weekend, so I had great heaps of time all to myself on Saturday and Sunday. There weren’t any estate sales within easy driving distance, but I found ways to spend money anyway.

By far the best activity I engaged in this weekend was a walk through Dorothy B. Oven Park in midtown Tallahassee. I’ve likely driven past this park hundreds of times, but never really paid it much attention. This weekend, though, there was an arts and crafts show taking place there, so I thought I’d give it a go.

After strolling through the booths I took off down a path and discovered just how lovely this little park is.

The weather was perfect for a walk in the park, so I lingered awhile. Afterwards I walked back to the craft booths where I bought one little picture.

It looks sweet in my “Beach Bedroom.”

Peace, people.

Who’s a Good Girl?

Last weekend Studly Doright went on a motorcycle adventure. He and a group of friends from Tennessee, Virginia, and other locales, converged on the small town of Dillard, Georgia, for a few days of dual sport riding in the mountains.

(For those not acquainted with dual sport riding, it’s fairly self-explanatory. The motorcycles for dual sporting are licensed for street riding, but also equipped for off road trail riding.)

Studly was a late edition to the trip when plans for a different kind of motorcycling tour fell through at almost the last minute. He put all his spare energy into getting his dual sport bike ready. Much farkling* took place in a short amount of time.

I was concerned that he didn’t have the right gear. The group was heading into the Appalachian mountains, and the weather was supposed to take a turn towards winter-like temperatures. Still, he’s a grown man, so I kissed him goodbye and wished him good luck.

Even though the group roughed it during the day, the organizer, G, planned their route to make sure their nights were spent in motels, so they had WiFi service and phone connectivity. I felt better about the trip knowing I could speak to Studly each evening.

He said the mornings were mind numbingly cold, but the warm afternoons made for perfect riding. Every day he had an anecdote for me. My favorite is about a water crossing.

As you might expect, water crossings can be tricky, and no one wants to drop a bike in an ice cold river, for a number of reasons. The group of riders approached a wide river that was flowing at a rapid clip. Swirls and eddies indicated there were rocks of indeterminate size beneath the water.

The first rider made his way across, encountering deep water on his route, so when Studly took his turn next, he veered a couple of yards left of where the other rider had gone. Studly’s route was no better than the first rider’s, and while neither fell into the river, the ride was more harrowing and the water deeper than was comfortable.

(That’s not a picture of Studly, or anyone else we know, but it could’ve been, right?)

Our friend G ventured into the river after Studly, trying to pick out a shallower path with fewer rocks. About midway across he stopped, trying to discern the best way to continue without swamping his bike.

Along about then, a local man and his black Labrador Retriever approached Studly and the first rider. He’d heard them calling back and forth across the river to the remaining riders and wondered if they needed help.

The dog was joyful, as Labs are known to be, and ran boisterously between Studly and the first rider, enjoying the attention and “attagirls!”

When the dog noticed G out in the middle of the river she took off to get some loving from the stranded rider, unerringly leaping and bounding from one point to another without ever getting in water more than three inches deep. She basically gave G, and the remainder of the group, the best path for continuing across the river. They all remained relatively dry, thanks to a dog.

Any doubt about that man’s best friend thing? I should think not.

(Again, not THE dog, but he is standing in water….)

Peace, people!

*Farkle/farkles: An ADV/dual-sport term for gear you’ve added or want to add to your bike, such as more lights, GPS, heated grips and so on. Usage: “I just bought that new KLR 650, so I’ve got to go load up on some farkles before the next ride.” 

Long Weekend Recap

Serendipitous. That’s what I’m calling the events of this past weekend. Although, to be honest, not all of the happenings were unplanned, but they were all happy.

Studly Doright left early Thursday morning for a grand adventure in dual sport motorcycling with buddies from Tennessee, Virginia, and various other locales. While I don’t mind time alone, I had no clue how I’d get through the long weekend without going a bit crazy out here at Doright Manor. Fortunately for me, I found ways to fill the time. Unfortunately for you all, I’m going to recount them.

Thursday:

Olli class at FSU. It was the fourth of six on The Parallel Universe of Ants. I take copious notes during these classes even though there’ll be no test, no grades. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Afterwards I had a long lunch at a Tallahassee restaurant before buying some goodies for dinner. I rented a movie on demand (Lion King) and snuggled with Scout on the sofa.

Friday:

This was the day I was most concerned about. No plans, no estate or garage sales on the calendar. Just me and two cats. I did all of the week’s laundry early in the day, and decided to make a run to Target. While I was wandering the aisles a friend, Michelle, texted me, and we chatted back and forth. I told her where I was and she asked if she could join me. Yay!

We browsed Target for awhile, talking more than shopping, then decided to go to lunch. Afterwards we went to a consignment shop and then to a bookstore. We completed the afternoon with a beer at a pizza place. Okay, I had a beer, Michelle had a slice of pizza. We talked and talked. Everyone went home happy.

Saturday:

Several members of the Olli class enjoyed a field trip to Ant Heaven.

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2019/11/02/ant-heaven/

Afterwards I came home and took an epic nap. I hadn’t looked at my email all day, so when I logged on I discovered over 200 messages. Most were easily deleted, but there was one from the Olli group. One of the class members who’d ridden to Ant Heaven with me asked if she’d left her keys in my car.

Immediately I went to the garage and sure enough, her vest with her keys in the pocket was in my backseat. I emailed her. No response. Called and left a message. Nada. Finally I texted her, and she replied soon after. Thank goodness.

In my wild imagination I’d pictured her standing in the Publix parking lot where the group had met that morning. Forlorn and hungry. Shaking her fist at the woman who’d driven off and left her alone to fend for herself. In reality, she had a spare car key and was at a movie when I’d tried calling.

Sunday:

In spite of my long Saturday nap I slept well. Thanks to the time change I lolled about in bed way longer than I normally would. Instead of having my regular breakfast I decided to have brunch at Sweet Pea Cafe, where I enjoyed french toast with fruit, cheese grits, and hash browns. Yum!

Afterwards I returned home and watched football well into the evening. Studly called saying he’d made it safely to his hotel in Dillard, Georgia, and would be home mid afternoon on Monday. I had such a lovely weekend, but I’m ready to see my guy.

Peace, people!

Tuesday Tech Miscellany

Yesterday (Monday) I wrestled with my internet connection all day long. Studly was traveling, and I didn’t want to exacerbate the technical issues by doing something stupid in his absence. Instead, I was mostly tech free all day, and it was kind of nice.

My understanding of WiFi and connectivity and the million other little things that go into making my devices communicate smoothly is limited. I know that some of the little lights on my home router need to be flashing while others need to remain constant, but beyond that I’m lost. Thank goodness Studly Doright arrived home in time last evening to tell me how to fix the problem. (Basically I had to unplug the router, count to five, and plug it back in.) My hero!

Speaking of being lost, one of the things I like best about my Apple Watch is the gps feature. When I ask Siri for directions to a location, my watch will sync up and provide brief instructions as well as a pleasant buzz on my wrist as I approach a turn.

For some reason, though, on Saturday the watch lost its ability to guide me. I was heading to an estate sale using iPhone guidance and kept driving mile after mile waiting for the friendly buzz to indicate I needed to turn. Finally, I pulled into a parking lot and realized the watch wasn’t doing it’s part, and I was stuck with just the phone instructions. Plus, I was way north of Tallahassee. Not lost, but not where I needed to be either.

When I returned home I googled possible remedies to the situation, but none of them bore fruit. I figured I’d need to seek out some technical assistance at a local tech shop. Then this morning I noticed the little airplane icon on my watch. Hmmm. Had I accidentally switched it to airplane mode?

Why, yes. Yes, I had, and as soon as I figured out how to take it out of airplane mode the gps was back in business. I literally just asked Siri for directions to Trader Joe’s and my watch responded with a turn suggestion. It’s a bit confusing since I’m still inside my home, but still, I’m back in business.

Now, at the risk of making myself seem even more foolish, my car has a gps built in. Yes, I could, and often do, use it for directions. But it doesn’t buzz on my arm. I like the buzz.

No, not that Buzz; although, the wallpaper on my Apple Watch can be set to Toy Story.

To infinity and beyond! Or to Trader Joe’s. Whichever is closest.

Peace, people.

Things I Know (War of the Worlds version)

These are things that occurred to me as I watched the War of the Worlds, Tom Cruise edition, on HBO Sunday evening.

–Studly Doright would absolutely be able to maneuver through traffic to put distance between us and the Martians. Whatever it took, he’d keep me safe.

–I’d be the one to declare we were up against Martians. Studly would try to convince me it was a natural disaster.

–I’d rather have Studly by my side in an emergency than Tom Cruise. Unless snakes were involved, then I’m going to go with Cruise.

–Martians are not good people.

–I really shouldn’t watch scary movies when I’m by myself.

–Tom Cruise hasn’t aged in years. It’s creepy.

(War of the Worlds, 2005, top. Mission Impossible: Fallout, 2018, bottom)

–Maybe he’s an alien.

–Dakota Fanning’s character is annoying as hell.

–The scariest scene of all is when humans are attacking Tom Cruise’s car with him and his family inside, begging the question, “Who are the real monsters in this movie?”

–Have I mentioned what a total pain in the ass Dakota Fanning’s character is? Shrill little fart.

–Storm shelters can provide some protection from alien attack. Unfortunately I live in Florida, so a cellar is out of the question.

–“Little Deuce Coupe” is a passable lullaby when sung by Tom Cruise.

–Society breaks down quickly in the face of catastrophic events. Why does that always surprise me?

–Never trust the crazy guy who invites you to stay in his storm cellar.

–Mirrors are our friends when used to confuse Martians.

–An idiot with a gun can threaten the lives of everyone.

–Sometimes good guys have to take extreme measures to insure their children survive.

–Dakota Fanning. Can we get a muzzle?

–It’s hard to beat a good hand grenade detonated in a timely manner.

–Remember why the aliens die? We’re toxic, that’s why. Big surprise. Not.

–It’s a better movie than I’d remembered it being.

Peace, people.

Motorcycle Memories

(Note: I did something to hurt my back yesterday. Today I’ve been taking it easy while reminiscing about better times when I was young and wild and free to roam the earth on two wheels. Okay, I was never wild, but I used to be young and relatively free.)

Studly Doright, my husband of 43 years, has been riding motorcycles since way before we met. When we began dating during high school many weekends were spent at motocross races all over the Texas panhandle. He raced, and I cheered him on.

After we married in July of ’76, he bought me my first bike. It was a little Yamaha scooter called a Chappy.

I loved that little scooter, and rode it all over Dumas, Texas. (By the way, all of these photos are from Pinterest.)

After I’d gotten my feet wet with the scooter, Studly decided I was ready for a real bike and bought me a 175 Yamaha Enduro. I had to learn to shift gears on this bike. While it was licensed for street riding we mostly took it to the sandy trails of the Canadian River between Dumas and Amarillo. On one trip I ran over Studly’s former girlfriend when she crashed her bike in the mud. I swear it was an accident. Honest.

When we discovered we were going to be parents, I took a break from riding, and not until our youngest daughter was bound for college did I begin riding again. After 20 years out of the saddle I was both excited and nervous to be riding once more.

After much shopping for just the right bike we ended up buying a new 650 Yamaha V-Star. This photo looks exactly like my bike. It was gorgeous. I bought leather chaps and a leather jacket and new riding boots to complete the ensemble. I looked like a badass biker (nope, I still looked like a geek), but the 650 had no oomph. Keeping it going highway speeds was exhausting.

We sold it and bought a secondhand 1100 Yamaha Virago from David’s former brother-in-law. Let me see if I can find a photo of one.

While the one above is similar, my Virago was much more gorgeous. It was Dallas Cowboy blue and silver, and ran like a beast. The Virago was getting on in age when I bought it, though, and Studly was concerned that it wouldn’t hold up mechanically. It remains my favorite bike.

We sold the Virago before moving to Florida, and soon replaced it with a used ST F650 BMW, in the appropriate color of Orlando Orange.

I don’t recall the year model, but the one pictured above is pretty close. It was a nifty little bike, and my first sport touring motorcycle. Unfortunately it had some electrical issues that were worrisome. I wanted to take a solo trip, and Studly didn’t trust the bike to carry me the distance.

By the way, when I bought this bike I began wearing a mesh jacket and pants with padding in all the critical places. While my leather chaps looked edgier, the mesh was much more comfy and lots cooler. Besides, the chaps fell off the back of my Virago onto the interstate on a blistering hot July day, somewhere between Denver, Colorado, and Salina, Kansas. I hope someone worthy found them. Oh, I wasn’t wearing them at the time. That would’ve made for a much better story.

So, (I know, you’re probably sick of my bike reminiscing. Sorry, not sorry!) we sold the BMW and bought me a 400 Yamaha Majesty scooter. I loved this bike, as well.

No shifting required, plenty of get up and go, lots of storage. I rode it from Mahomet, Illinois, to Dallas, Texas, and back all by myself just after celebrating my 50th birthday. It was a crazy trip.

I’m still not sure why I sold this bike. Maybe I felt like I was getting too old and klutzy. Heaven knows I’m getting older, and I’ve always been klutzy. Once it was gone I didn’t really think about getting another bike. But then a friend bought a CanAm Spyder, and I thought maybe it would fit the bill. I wouldn’t have to worry about falling over or putting my feet down at stop lights, or any other of a million things I tended to stress over.

Studly got all excited that I wanted to ride again. He began researching bikes and soon a Spyder was sitting in our motorcycle garage. Let me rephrase that, a Spyder was dominating our motorcycle garage. The thing was massive compared to all of the other bikes in Studly’s stable. He could’ve parked two and a half bikes in the same area.

And, after riding it around Tallahassee and on backroads in the area I had to admit I didn’t love the Spyder. It was too clunky and I didn’t enjoy riding it. Plus, after a distracted driver rear ended my car last November I became a bit paranoid about riding a motorcycle. I didn’t shed a tear when the Spyder left the garage for that of another rider.

If you’ve stuck with me this long, thanks. Hopefully my back will feel better tomorrow, and I can get out and about. Honestly, I’m kind of proud of myself for remembering all my bikes. I might be old and klutzy, but I remember the important stuff. Just ask Dudley. Er, Studly.

Peace, people!

Monsters Inc, Alachua

Based on predictions that tropical storm Nestor would bring buckets of rain and high winds to the Tallahassee area on Saturday, Studly’s golf course closed for the day. I envisioned a lazy afternoon of watching college football while snuggling on the sofa with him and the cats. Studly, on the other hand, envisioned driving to Gainesville, FL, to look at, and perhaps purchase a motorcycle. At least he invited me along for the ride.

When we left Tallahassee the skies were threatening.

The winds hadn’t begun blowing yet, but I certainly questioned Studly’s sanity in his decision to travel so far from Doright Manor and into the belly of a storm.

“Relax,” he told me. “It’s not going to hit until this afternoon.”

As it happened, he was right. What’s that old saying about even a broken clock having the correct time twice a day? I think that applies here.

Gainesville is about a two and a half hour drive south and East from our home, and thanks to gps we easily found the place where the motorcycle was being stored. Within a few minutes the bike was loaded into the back of our pickup truck, and we were headed home.

We were both ready for some lunch, and while Gainesville has hundreds of restaurants we opted to drive north to Alachua. I’d never been there, but Studly promised that the little town had a terrific Main Street with several good cafes. He was right again! I’m going to have to start reconsidering that broken clock analogy.

We ate at Conestogas Restaurant where everything seems to be fried, and vegan options were practically nonexistent.

I had a baked potato stuffed with bell peppers and grilled onions, along with a salad, while Studly enjoyed a chicken fried steak with gravy. Obviously he wasn’t concerned about the lack of vegan fare.

After lunch we walked along the street, and inspected the town’s Halloween decorations. It didn’t take us long to discern this year’s theme:

On nearly every corner we encountered characters from Monsters, Inc. If there’s a contest for best design, I vote for the one directly above. The door clinched it for me. Studly, who’s never seen Monsters, Inc., wondered aloud why the door was part of the display.

“The door doesn’t seem all that scary to me,” he observed.

Of course I had to fill him in on the importance of collecting screams and the implications of having a human child follow one of the monsters back through a door.

Still he asked, “Couldn’t they at least have painted the door orange and black and put spiderwebs or something on it instead of flowers? That would be scary.”

“But that’s not how the door looked in the movie,” I said.

“Their mistake.”

Sometimes I feel like I’m conversing with a tall toddler.

There were a few non-Monster, Inc. themed decorations, as well:

Perhaps those in charge of decorating these storefronts had never seen Monsters, Inc. either.

After our walk we continued the drive home, encountering heavy rain just as we neared Tallahassee. We’ve needed the moisture, so tropical storm Nestor did our area a favor. Studly and I spent the evening watching college football and snuggling, so I got what I wanted out of the day, as well. That’s a win-win, right?

Peace, people.

Fabulous Ant Fact #2

Yesterday was the second of six Olli classes I’m taking at Florida State University on the Parallel Universe of Ants. For those of you unfamiliar with Olli, here’s a link to their website.

http://www.osherfoundation.org/index.php?olli

If you’re fortunate enough to live near a university offering Olli classes, I urge you to get involved. I’ve immersed myself in learning about ants now, and perhaps you can be immersed in some new interest as well.

Fabulous Ant Fact: Fire ants mate 300 feet above the earth; although, no one has actually witnessed the act.

So, how do we know this is the case? Researchers have taken to the air in planes with nets attached. These nets have collected the bodies of male fire ants as high above the earth as 300 feet.

The males fly in mating swarms early in the morning. Females follow later and return after each has mated with a male. The females then lose their wings and attempt to start their own colony. The males, having depleted their store of energy in the form of glycol, die upon returning to land.

I took copious amounts of notes during the lecture, but mostly I said “Oooh” and “Ahhhh!” at appropriate intervals.

Our instructor presented slides of dozens of varieties of ant species. Some look remarkably like aliens, if aliens exist.

Aren’t they beautiful?

Studly Doright thinks this class is ridiculous. I think it’s fantastic. They do say that opposites attract. Hope he hasn’t expended his store of glycol. 😉

Peace, people!

Politics and Funerals

On Sunday Studly Doright and I drove south for about three hours to attend a Celebration of Life service for a man I’d never met, and who Studly only knew superficially through business contacts. We went more to support friends who’d known the man well than for any other reason.

The service was held at Silver Springs State Park near Ocala. I’d visited the park a decade or more ago and it’s lovelier than I remembered. When we entered the park a family member of the deceased directed us down a winding path to a rustic pagoda with raised seating and a view of cypress trees rising out of the swamp. The October sun filtering through the surrounding foliage created the most perfect spot on earth that day. We found our friends and sat together as the service began.

From the photos around the pagoda one quickly surmised that the man being honored had been rather remarkable. There were photos of him at the summits of several major peaks including the Matterhorn. He’d also been a deep sea diver and an astronomer. I wished I’d had the opportunity to have met him.

Then one of the pastors officiating the service spoke about the deceased saying he’d disliked Democrats and hated lawyers, and that if the man could speak from the grave he’d tell us to never vote for a Democrat. A smattering of laughter accompanied by a few groans resulted from his statement. I looked at Studly and he put his hand on my arm, most likely to keep me from saying something I’d regret. I’m no idiot, but I must say words bubbled in my mind.

The second pastor then went on to tell us how the deceased had loved the environment and sought God in all the faces of nature. But he’d hated Democrats and lawyers. Now, I’d say the dearly departed thought he was looking for God, but quite honestly never really cared about the meaning of God.

Listen, when I die, I don’t want any mention of politics. Such talk doesn’t belong at a funeral. I wouldn’t mind being eulogized in the sacred forest of Silver Springs State Park, though. Surely the trees will cleanse the air of any negativity.

Peace, people