Category Archives: driving

missing the wind in my hair

I really, really miss going for long drives in the country in our 1971 Cutlass Supreme convertible. Normally, at this time of year, we’d be taking it out at least once a week to drive for an hour or more through the rolling hills and fields of Southern Indiana, stopping for ice cream in the twilight on the way home.

This summer we haven’t had the convertible out once.

It’s been partly because it’s needed a tuneup. But mostly the fault lies with gas prices: thanks to the old-style 8-cylinder 350 engine, driving our big red beauty now costs about 40 cents per mile.


just can’t wait to get on the road again

Tomorrow morning, we leave on a 4,000-mile road trip. Yeah, I know gas is $4/gal. But this is the summer for us to do this trip. We’re heading to the southwest, to see kinds of scenery that cornfields / trees / rivers people like us are definitely not used to.

We plan to post pictures along the way — once we’ve crossed the first 1,000 miles and come to something worth taking pictures of.
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I’m just speechless

Just now I was listening to a podcast of the April 27 edition of NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! One of the questions used to try to stump the panelists revealed the existence of the newest in macho, “d’ya think he’s compensating for something?” accessories for a guy’s truck or SUV. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they’re Nutz!

From the site:

Are you sick of looking at side steps and bug shields? Want a REAL auto accessory? Want a site that offers Hot Chicks, Bad-Ass Rides, Free stuff, and the funniest accessory in the industry? Well you have come to the right place. Come on in and see what everyone is talking about.

Truck Nutz – The Ultimate Truck Accessory™

Available in 10 colors, including, umm, flesh. 🙂 While you’re there, don’t forget to order some Bikerballz for your motorcycle!

taking the wheel my little girl drove herself to school.

Somehow, the bouncy 2-year-old with sunny auburn Shirley Temple curls has grown into a gorgeous 16-year-old. Yesterday we went to the BMV where she passed her written test with no problems, I handed over $14, and she got her driver’s license.

This morning, away she went. Our town’s Harvest Homecoming festival is going on now, so she won’t be home until 10:00 p.m. — and for the first time, we won’t have to go pick her up.

It seems as though she was just born, and now she’s taking the wheel of her own life.

world’s happiest Golden Retriever

Want to make your Golden Retriever happy? Take her for a ride in a convertible. Even better, take her for a ride that ends at a park where she and your Black Lab can cavort in a creek. Sure, on the way back, my son and I were in the back seat with about 120 pounds of damp dog lying on and around us; but it was all good. 🙂

Photo of Lily by my daughter

all-American weekend

I had a really lovely weekend. a bit of time was devoted to my daughter’s preparations to go to her first prom. On Friday, I took her to have acrylic nails applied. Given that she’s had (unfortunately) bitten, ultrashort nails since about 4th grade, the sudden appearance of nails of even a modest length has caused simple tasks to become difficult: She has to work hard to button a shirt or open a door, her typing has slowed dramatically, and she asks for help with opening a soft drink can. Saturday morning we went and had her hair done; the result was a cascade of thick auburn curls, loosely pulled back and befitting a princess. (I have no clue how I gave birth to a daughter with such glorious hair.) On the way home, we stopped to purchase a white rose boutonniere for her boyfriend’s jacket.

When he came to pick her up, I was reminded that all over the country, during April and May, millions of high-school boys who normally wear nothing but shorts, athletic pants, or jeans (except maybe for dress pants on Sunday) are suddenly thrust into entirely unfamiliar garments: tuxedos. They have no concept of how the pants, jacket, and vest should fit or feel; my daughter described the helpless reliance on the motherly salesladies at the tuxedo shop when her boyfriend and his friend went for their final fitting. When he arrived at our house, he commented that his pants were still too loose, despite his mother’s taking them in a little and the adjustable tabs at the waist. I suggested suspenders and found some in our closet. He had no clue how to wear them, so I fetched my husband from mowing the lawn, and he came and assisted. Meanwhile, I was safety-pinning my daughter’s bra strap so it wouldn’t show at the back of her dress. It was like a scene from a Disney made-for-TV movie.

As they were on their way out, my daughter’s best friend arrived to borrow a purse, so we got some pictures of them together. Afterward, my 11-year-old son commented in an incredibly sweet way on how both girls looked beautiful, even though they looked so different.

I spent other parts of the weekend outdoors, enjoying the glorious weather: weeding flower beds, planting annual flowers in pots and hanging containers, and putting in new plants. I’m going to buy more flowers today, as well as some plants for the water gardens I have in tubs on the deck. yesterday, finally, the convertible came out of the garage for the first time this season, and we went for an almost 2-hour ride through the countryside. (The one in the picture isn’t ours, but it’s nearly identical, including the color.) We stopped for ice cream, as we often do, at a place that’s been in business for more than 50 years and draws huge crowds all day, every day, all spring and summer.

Ahhh, yes. It was a very excellent weekend. 🙂

44 hours of driving and worth every second

I’m back from beautiful, warm, sunny, well-nigh-perfect Sanibel Island, Florida, and buffering my return to work by uploading photos and deleting spam email. We ate a great deal of good food, rented bikes and rode them all over the island, kayaked through a mangrove jungle (and right up beside a manatee, which was extremely cool), took long walks, and r-e-l-a-x-e-d.

Our Saturn Vue (an awesome vehicle, by the way) carried two adults, our son, our daughter, and our daughter’s best friend. Packing the car is an underappreciated art form:

The condo we stay in is right on the beach. Every morning we ate breakfast to the sound of waves and watched the pelicans diving for their morning meal. It just doesn’t get any better—except for walking on the sand in water ankle deep, looking for shells. That’s perhaps my favorite part of vacation. Usually when I’m walking I need to listen to a podcast or a book on tape to keep my mind occupied; but on the beach, walking in the water, I’m at peace. Content just to be.

The kids, of course, made themselves completely at home. Behold the bathroom when inhabited by 2 teenage girls, a woman, a nearly teenage boy, and a man. Can you spot the 4 objects in this picture that belong to males?

On our last full day, we went to an art fair organized every year by the local Lions’ Club. At one booth, the Lions offered delicious barbecue that they’d smoked for 14 hours over pecan wood. Mmmmm. Then we noticed the apron one Lion was wearing, which proclaimed, “Everything’s better with a little Butt Rub!” Yes, Butt Rub is a seasoning (they were selling bottles, and I wish I’d bought one); but that catch-phrase has now entered my family’s vocabulary. 😀

The drive down took a total of 20 hours over 2 days; the drive home took 24, no thanks to unbelievably nasty traffic through northern Florida and southern Georgia. Hotel reservations: Don’t leave home without them! (We learned that lesson a few years ago after spending an exceedingly unpleasant night trying to sleep in the car at a rest area.) At 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, when we finally arrived at the hotel, a woman every bit as exhausted-looking as me was asking the clerk about rooms there … or anywhere … and being told there was no vacancy at any inn he knew of. She and her party were headed south, directly into Atlanta, on the weekend of the NCAA final games and spring break for half the country. I silently wished them well.

Here’s the sunset view we enjoyed every evening:

Waves … breeze … incredible natural beauty … I know it gets awfully hot in the summer, and they have those pesky hurricanes, but ohh—how I’d love to live there on the Gulf at least part of the year.