Derby Day

The eldest of my two younger brothers attended a Kentucky Derby several years ago and never once saw a horse at the event. That was his goal, in fact. He stood in the infield, sipping some fine Kentucky bourbon, and enjoyed all the festivities except for the actual race.

I really thought I’d set a better example for him during his formative years. Shouldn’t he at least have had a mint julep or two whilst watching the three-year-old thoroughbreds pound the track? Maybe I’m just jealous. He’s been to a great many more big events in his life than I have.

This year, I’m going to a derby! Not the derby, mind you, but my eldest sister-in-law is the director of the Senior Citizens Center in Hereford, Texas, and this year she and her staff are putting on a Kentucky Derby Gala to raise funds for the center. It’s such a big deal that I flew in for the event.

We’ll watch the Derby on big screens while coyly sipping mint juleps beneath festively decorated hats. Afterwards we’ll have a gourmet meal followed by an auction and our own horse race with pint sized mechanized ponies:

Those pictured above are just a sampling of the horses that will grace our paddocks.

I’m so excited! I purchased two hats for the evening, but accidentally left the smaller one, a fascinator, at home. Since I only have one head, it won’t be a problem.

Yesterday afternoon I got a sneak peek at the decorations, and the place looks fabulous. We’re in for a fun evening.

And I’ll at least see a horse or two.

Peace, people!

Under the Bus

A couple of days ago I shared my hurt feelings with my readers about a comment my husband made in regard to my new haircut, and in the process kind of threw Studly Doright under the bus. After all, on my blog it’s only my side of a story that gets told.

Studly Doright is a really good guy. He’s not perfect by any means, but he’s a decent man in every sense of the word (there’s a reason I call him Studly Doright). When I told him how I’d been hurt by his negative comment he was genuinely surprised that it had sounded so harsh to my ears, and apologized profusely.

He’d made the comment by phone after several long days of travel/work and I received the comment after several days of little sleep. That wasn’t a great communication construct. Once we were face to face the vibe was much better. A good night’s sleep didn’t hurt either.

I need to learn to recognize when my emotions are taking over my brain’s functioning. And I definitely need to resist throwing Studly under the bus. Thanks for all the advice, though. I gained some great insights through this process.

Peace, people.

Rest and Recuperation

Since the Illinois grandkids left on Thursday I’ve been slowly getting back into my normal routine, but mainly I’ve been catching up on sleep. While the two teenagers weren’t early risers during their visit, the six-year-old came creeping into our room every morning around five.

On the days Studly was working in Orlando I’d just tuck Harper in on her Poppa’s side of the bed, and we’d doze off to the sleep stories featured on my Calm app, but every other morning last week she was ready to eat breakfast way before my eyes were ready to be open. The two of us had some pretty comical conversations about fairies, cities versus states, and family relationships while eating early morning Pop Tarts, so I’m not complaining.

On the Wednesday night before the kids’ 6:25 a.m. flight home we stayed at a hotel that was about a 15 minute drive from the Sanford/Orlando airport. Studly had to work clear across town on Thursday, so it was up to me to get the kids on their way. I set my alarm for three a.m., but Harper’s feet in my face woke me up around two. Gently I moved her back into a position parallel to mine, rather than the perpendicular one she’d assumed.

Then what sounded like four quick gunshots caused grandson Garrett to sit straight up in bed. He never awakened, just quietly laid back down, but I was then on high alert. I tossed and turned until my alarm went off, then stubbed my toe on McKayla’s sofa bed on my way to the bathroom in the dark. I’m really glad the kids all slept through my colorful string of whispered curse words.

The teenagers were surprisingly easy to get going that morning. Oddly enough only Harper, the early riser, resisted. Soon, though, she was up and going full speed. I think the anticipation of seeing her Mommy and Daddy in a few short hours did the trick.

We took the 4:30 a.m. hotel shuttle to the airport and I’d thought that was absurdly early; however, an accident on the Interstate (remember those “gunshots”? Apparently we’d heard a crash) had traffic backed up, and by the time we checked in, went through security, and made it to our gate the flight was boarding.

I hugged my sweet grandkids and watched them board.

They looked so young and yet so capable as they left me.

I rode the shuttle back to the hotel where I’d planned to nap before taking a shower and driving the four and a half hours home to Doright Manor, but I was pretty keyed up after all the morning’s activity, so I packed and got on the road. Emergency crews were still cleaning up the interstate after the crash, so I set my gps to take backroads. About two hours into my trip I found myself unable to keep my eyes open, so I found a shady spot for a nap. After waking myself with a loud snore half an hour later, I continued on home.

Said home was sadly quiet. I busied myself with straightening up some of the mess we’d made over the past week. The Risk game went back into the game closet. The stuffed animals went back into their basket. Two remaining boxes of Pop Tarts went into a grocery bag to be offered to a friend’s children.

Studly arrived home later that evening, and we struggled to stay awake until finally giving up the battle around eight. I slept restlessly that first night without the kids. Part of me wished a sweet six-year-old could still sneak into my room for giggly snuggles before sunrise. Did I mention that it’s too quiet here?

Peace, people.

Postcards from the Hedge

The grandkids are safely home in Illinois after spending a week with Studly and me here in Florida. Our time together was much too short, and now Doright Manor is quiet again.

I’m kind of exhausted after spending a full day with grandson, Garrett, at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on Wednesday and then getting up at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday to get them to the airport on time. I’m taking the lazy way out and just posting photos of our week with the kids.

Harper liked wearing Poppa’s reading glasses while intoning the phrase, “I’m a little old lady.”

McKayla, above settles into the Texas bedroom.

We went to a showing of Captain Marvel:

And talked about upcoming movies

Garrett chopped down a tree so that we could relocate the fairy house displaced by Hurricane Michael.

McKayla and Harper made the fairy house a welcoming place once again.

We played several games of Risk. I didn’t win even once. It seems that I’m lousy at games involving strategic thinking.

McKayla piloted the riding lawn mower around the yard, collecting fallen limbs and other forest detritus, including her sister.

We enjoyed a beach day at St. George Island:

Well, some of us enjoyed it. Studly and Garrett just tolerated the beach.

The girls had our nails done:

On Wednesday we packed up and left Doright Manor for Orlando. While there we took a tour of Full Sail University so our tech minded grandson could satisfy his curiosity. He was impressed, and now has some work ahead of him in his last two and a quarter years of high school.

The kids swam at the hotel pool in Orlando while I acted as lifeguard.

On Wednesday the girls and Poppa Studly spent the day at Sea World, so I have no photos of that. I heard plenty of stories of fun and silliness, though. Harper even coerced her Poppa into riding a roller coaster. He says it was the last one he’ll ever ride. We’ll see about that.

The girls did get tattoos at Sea World, but I only got a photo of Harper’s when we were back in our hotel room. Garrett and I spent our day at Universal Studios, and I’ll share those pics tomorrow. I know, I know, you’re all on pins and needles to see them. 😂

Peace, people!

Excitement and Anxiety All Wrapped Up in One Package

Have you ever been so excited for something to happen while simultaneously hand-wringingly worried about the same event? I’ve been so in need of a spirits booster. My digestive system isn’t being all that cooperative these days, and I’ve felt like a useless, grumpy old biddy.

Part of my grumpiness stemmed from thinking I wouldn’t get to make my annual drive to Illinois to stay with the grandkids while their parents took a much needed vacation to a sunny beach. I really look forward to the one week a year when I get to hang out with the three Illinois grandkids, and when that was threatened I figured my days of being useful were probably over. (Okay, I get dramatic sometimes, so sue me.)

Then yesterday evening my daughter and I were brainstorming back and forth and we wondered if the kids could fly to Florida and hang out with us during their spring break week while their parents flew to Mexico. The more we talked the more our plan came together, and this morning we booked flights for the three who are ages 16, 14, and 6.

I jumped up and down and whooped a couple of times (take that, grumpy old useless biddy) and then realized I’d now be a nervous wreck until the kids were safely in Florida. See, I do have a purpose! Worrier-in-Chief. Fortunately, I have only a week to wait on their arrival, and I have plenty to do between now and then.

(The photo below was taken at Christmas. Cannot wait to hug these three!)

Peace, people!

Home and Miserable

My trip has come to an end. Thank goodness! I loved seeing my son in Dallas and his family, and my niece and her children in Austin. I enjoyed seeing Michelle Obama and Rachael Ray at “The Drum” on Thursday night. It was a great trip.

But, (you knew there was going to be a but, right?) I was so sick the whole time. Don’t worry, I wasn’t infectious. I’m having stomach issues similar to what I experienced almost a year ago, and even though I started on antibiotics two days before departing I was plenty miserable most of the time.

The drive was awful. Usually I enjoy odd sights along the way, but this trip I was too focused on finding the next clean rest stop to pay attention to oddities. Oh, and I was as annoying as a guest can be. The words “I can’t eat that,” came out of my mouth more times in a week than they have in my entire life. I’ve never been a picky eater, but literally everything causes me gastric distress right now.

I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow. This has to come to an end. One has to be firm with one’s stomach, right?

Peace, people.

My Great-Hedgehog

Bandit is the beloved pet of our oldest grandchild, Dominique, so I suppose that makes Bandit my great-hedgehog.

Above, Dominique with Bandit.

Aren’t they adorable?

Bandit even allowed me to cuddle her. I’m kind of smitten by this prickly baby.

I had to say goodbye to the Texas bunch today, and I’ve stopped for the night in Meridian, Mississippi. I’m about halfway home. My body sure doesn’t travel as well as it once did!

Peace, people!

Lazy in Dallas

I didn’t post anything yesterday morning because I was hanging out with my son and grandson going to estate sales around Dallas. None of us bought a thing, but we had fun looking at stuff we didn’t need or want.

After a light lunch some of us napped. I’m not saying I was one of the nappers, but about two hours of my life passed without my knowledge, so chances are I was.

We had a pleasantly low key evening watching television. The guys watched the movie, “Tag” in one room, while my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and I watched the British series, “Safe,” until my eyes would no longer stay open.

Not sure what’s in store for today, but whatever it is will be just right. Tomorrow I’ll start driving home to Doright Manor.

Peace, people

It’s Pronounced “Byuda”

I made it to Buda, Texas, yesterday afternoon after wandering on back roads because my car’s gps and I had an argument. It wanted to take me on toll roads and I wanted to avoid them, so we compromised. As a result I was an hour later arriving in Buda than I’d planned. Oh, and Siri on my iPhone doesn’t do well with the name “Buda” and kept telling me there was no town called Butor in Texas. I might have yelled at her a time or two. Yes, the war between woman and machines has begun.

I hadn’t slept much on Tuesday night, so I tried to take a nap when I got into my hotel room. No luck. I think in spite of being super tired I was too excited about seeing my niece and her kids. We went to dinner last night, and I enjoyed talking with them so much. It’s hard to fathom that they’re both high schoolers. When I get tired, I get a little weird, so I’m sure I talked way too much. Today I vow to do better. It helps that I slept last night.

Today my niece and I are just going to hang out, then we’ll drive into Austin for our evening with Michelle Obama. Of course my fantasies involve her pointing us out in the crowd and having us come to the stage for a quick hug. I’ll settle for a wave, though.

I’d better hit publish so I can get this day started. Can’t keep Michelle waiting.

Peace, people.

A Mixed Bag, and That ISN’T Cocaine!

(Note: I wrote this on Tuesday evening. Hopefully by the time it publishes on Wednesday I’ll be well rested and powder free.)

The sleep fairy was a fickle critter last night. Studly Doright was out of town, and I stayed up past my bedtime packing for my own trip to Texas. My thoughts were racing and every little noise made me jump. One would’ve thought I was on a drug-fueled high, except that I don’t do anything stronger than caffeine these days, and that only sparingly.

Maybe I got in three hours of rest between the hours of two and five before I gave up the fight and decided to shower and get on the road. Since my night vision really stinks I waited until sunrise before saying goodbye to the cats and turning out the lights at Doright Manor.

For the first couple of hours I made good time, then weariness began setting in. I made frequent stops, and I’m fairly sure I have now officially patronized every rest area between Tallahassee, Florida, and Lafayette, Louisiana, where I stopped for the night at a Drury Inn. Look at this cool sculpture that adorns the wall of a welcome center in Mississippi:

At a gas station in Mississippi I purchased a product I’ve heard about my whole life, but had never tried–BC Powder. I’d wanted Bayer aspirin, because the hypochondriac in me decided I might be having a heart attack. I get weird when I’m tired. The clerk suggested BC instead, and I bought it and a bottle of water to wash it down.

Having never used BC Powder, I was unprepared for it to be just that, a powder. Go figure, right? As soon as I was back in the car I opened the package and white stuff went everywhere. It was on my shirt, my pants, the car seat. After cleaning up the mess, I gingerly opened a second packet and with some measure of control managed to shake it onto my tongue where I could then send it into my system with the water.

Now, only after I’d washed it down did I notice that caffeine is a key ingredient in BC Powder. Great. I’ll likely be awake most of tonight, as well. Oh, and when I had a chance to look in the mirror in my hotel room I realized I had BC Powder on my face. No wonder the hotel desk clerk kept giving me odd looks. I promise, it’s not cocaine!

Peace, people.