Three Sheets (And One Lavender Cocktail) To The Wind

I have reported back on a number of facets of my beach getaway with my friend Kathy. I’ve told you about the mystery animal stalking me outside our vrbo rental. I’ve told you about my triumph in finding a perfect crumb bun. There is one more adventure from that trip that I wanted to share.

On the last night of our trip, we went to a restaurant situated right on the beach. I did not realize it when we got there, but some of the “outside seating” was actually picnic tables in the actual sand. Kathy and I had a table on the patio with a lovely view of the ocean. I could smell the salt and feel the sea breeze on my face. It promised to be a terrific way to spend our Last Supper on Amelia Island.

Let me explain a little background information here. Typically, I eat dinner pretty early. I am old. I eat dinner around 5:00pm usually. Because of my diabetes, I am careful to ingest sustenance at regular intervals throughout the day. My feeding schedule tends to put a crimp in my style when I am out of my regular routine. For some reason, I was at sixes and sevens on this trip. We ate big breakfasts in restaurants, which meant breakfast was later and lunch not as demanding. Still, I could not make it all the way from breakfast to dinner without some form of food converting to glucose in my bloodstream. Because we spent much of the middle of the day at the beach,  eating lunch was not terribly convenient. I am pretty adept at juggling my blood sugar, but these beach days were challenges. Nice challenges, certainly. Challenges that were certainly worth the trouble. Challenges, nonetheless. What that meant is that we ate dinner much later than I usually eat.

On this last night, we set out for the dinner after 7 o’clock. When we got to the restaurant, it was packed. I guess most people do not eat dinner at 5:00 o’clock. Either that or the restaurant was also packed at 5:00. We waited for about half an hour for a table because we did want to sit on the patio in the sea air. The hostess seated us, and the fun really began.

I cannot say that the staff was slow. In fact, our server was incredible. She zipped like chain lightning over the patio. The woman never stopped moving. The simple exertion of opening a menu caused me to wilt in the late evening heat and humidity. Our server must have had her ration of Wheaties. She plowed from one table to another, bearing drinks and large platters of food. She maintained her composure, friendliness, and good humor. When I noticed there were patrons at tables out on the sand, I was amazed to see this same server traversing the beach to take care of them. When I first noticed her gait, I thought there was something wrong, but I soon understood that there was a trick to walking rapidly through the sand. That trick involved taking awkward giant steps in a side-to-side motion. Our petite little server galumphed through the sand like she belonged up a beanstalk.

Our server speedily brought my iced tea and my friend’s cocktail. The cocktail was gorgeous. It was a beautiful shade of lavender. It looked like something that pixies would drink.

Despite the speed and efficiency of our server, getting our food took a long time. I think the restaurant was just too busy to be contained. As we sat waiting for our meals, we enjoyed the view. We chatted over the dull whistle of the waves. At one point, we heard a loud crash.

“What was that?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” replied Kathy.

“Was it your drink? Where is your drink?” I surveyed the table for the hefty glass filled with lavender liquid.

“No, I don’t think it was my drink. I didn’t touch it. It was right over…” Kathy looked confused as she motioned to an empty spot on the table. The only trace left of her drink was a ring on the table.

As we looked at each in bemusement, a lady at the next table told Kathy she might want to move her purse. The “ocean breeze” had actually blown her glass off the table, depositing most of the drink on the chair next to Kathy before it crashed to the floor. There were pieces of glass everywhere. The ladies at the next table summoned the frenetic little server.

It took both Kathy and me several minutes to absorb what had happened. The fact that the wind could be strong enough to send a nearly full glass of drink flying just did not compute. To be honest, the whole incident still feels surreal, even in retrospect.

I blame it on the lack of nourishment.

the lavendar cocktail before its flight

What weird and strange vacation adventures can you share with us? Please leave a comment to share your perspective. In the alternative, you can email me at

Happy flying!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

Out To Sea

Recently, my friend and I whisked ourselves away for a beach getaway. We spent three delightful days on Amelia Island hanging out with the four “s’s”- sun, sand, sea, and shops. We had a wonderful time, but there was one catastrophic moment.

We were staying in a condominium a couple of blocks from a beach slightly north of the main beach, so we had been walking to that area for most of our beach time. We had an enjoyable time, but the ocean was pretty rough, and the beach was very, very rocky. I had an excellent pair of water socks that protected my feet very well. My friend had water shoes, but they did not fit so tightly. The tiny rocks that seemed to make up the entire shore filled her shoes like cement. She finally gave up and tried to remove them while still in the water. She successfully removed one shoe but lost the other one in the process. She chased it around in the surf for a bit, but finally realized that resistance was futile. The pink water shoe disappeared into the ocean. We went to Walmart that night and got her a pair of more fitted water shoes.

On our final day, we decided to visit the main beach for a few hours before starting our journey back to our landlubber homes. We immediately noticed that the ocean was less rough and less rocky than at our walkable beach. This perception turned out to be sinisterly deceptive.

Because the ocean was smoother at the main beach, we were able to make our way much further out to sea without being pummeled by waves breaking an inch or two from the shoreline. My friend and I were enjoying the sense of coolness and freedom as we bobbed up and down with the waves. We giggled and chatted like little girls. Neither of us wanted to tear ourselves away from this moment of time to go home.

At some point, we decided to venture out a little further and my friend realized she had her drugstore sunglasses on over her prescription eyeglasses. We decided she should go back to the shore and leave her prescription glasses in her beach bag. I, however, did not think to leave my costly brand-new prescription sunglasses in my beach bag. While waiting for my friend to return, I was pulled under a breaking wave. The undertow caught me, and I thrashed around for a bit. Luckily, I eventually surfaced. Unluckily, my brand-new prescription sunglasses did not.

I suppose that, if something had to go missing, it was better that it was my sunglasses than my lifeless body. I was still pretty bummed. However, I did not want mourning over the loss of my sunglasses to overshadow what had been an exceptionally wonderful time. I decided I was to reframe the situation.

Most of you know my Tinker Bell obsession. You may not know that Tinker Bell lives in Neverland. She collects “lost things” and repurposes them to create new, innovative items that make life in Pixie Hollow easier. My friend’s shoe and my sunglasses are not gone for good. I am convinced they have washed up on Neverland Beach. Tinker Bell will find them and turn them into something wonderful. You never know what a tinker fairy can do with a water shoe and pair of sunglasses!

What is the strangest thing you have ever lost to Mother Nature?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Hope you don’t hit rough waters today!

Terri/Dorry 😊

Flying Lessons

My friend and I decided to take a trip to the beach the other day.  We have both been craving saltwater and ocean breezes.  We decided to hop to it when we saw a day that decreed would likely avoid rain. 

We ran into a few snags as we made our way to Clearwater Beach, but we were having a good time and enjoying each other’s company.  We stopped at a Christmas shop in route, which is always a plus in my book.  We inched our way across the 10 miles or so of causeway to get to the beach area.  Circling around several blocks several times, we finally found a parking structure.  We drove up, up, and up before we found a place to park.  The elevator did not work, so we climbed down, down, down four flights of stairs to the street level. 

Maybe we should have stayed in the car.

We had not walked ten feet on the sidewalk, when my foot caught on a raised square of concrete.  That was when I learned how to fly.  I am convinced that I did fly.  I was airborne for long enough to have the sensation of soaring across stopped time.  It was like those commercials for paper towels when someone spills a drink.  The film goes into slow motion.  I was flying in slow motion.  I even had enough hang time to realize what was happening, analyze whether I could right myself, and maneuver my body into the most viable, least harmful way to fall.  What is weird is that I even felt kind of graceful.  I am absolutely positive I did not look graceful.

Yes, I did learn to fly.  The problem is that I did not learn how to land.  Nobody told me where the landing gear lever was.  I came down on my undercarriage with more force than a flying machine should.  It took me a few minutes to figure out that I was still in one piece.  Getting up was also a challenge.  Several nice people stopped to see if I needed help.  My friend also tried to help.  All I could see was me pulling all these nice people down right along with me.  I sat on the ground for a few moments and then I figured out a strategy for getting back on my feet.  A few feet in front of me, there were some metal chairs cabled together.  I crawled over to them on my battered knees and steadied myself on one of the chairs as I carefully moved myself into standing position. 

We walked over to the beach.  Before we even set our things down on the sand, it began to rain.  Lesser women would have turned tail and gone back to the car.  Not us.  It is Florida and it is summer.  We waited a few minutes and the rain stopped.  I do not know if I decided to wait because of my fortitude or because I was afraid to face the scene of my unscheduled landing quite so soon. 

Luckily, I did not sustain any significant damage.  I attribute that to my general physique.  Sometimes it is better to be shaped like Winnie the Pooh than like Tinker Bell.  My fluffiness certainly saved me from serious injury.

I do have some impressive bruises on my thighs, elbows, knees, and toes.  I did not do a lot of kneeling during the church service this week.  Jack and Jill, the twin bruises on my left and right knees were not happy about putting themselves under that much pressure just yet.  The bruises look way worse than they feel.  There is very little tenderness now.  I have been wearing a lot of navy blue to match the bruises.  Now that they are starting to fade, I guess I am going to have to clash.  Yellow is not my color.

I am going to try to avoid flying lessons in the future.  Orville and Wilbur might have been Wright, but Terri LaBonte is definitely wrong!

What new skills have you learned since retirement? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have an earth-bound day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

Waiving Good-bye To Weird

I think it is fair to say that 2020 has been a very strange time, not only in MY STORY, but also in HISTORY.  It seems that I have spent the past seven months constantly reinventing my idea of normal.  I spent some time just waiting for things to get better and, when that did not happen, I found myself continually jerry-rigging the routines of my life to make them work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  I have become the MacGyver of real life.  I embraced Zoom to keep people connected.  I ordered curbside dining and balanced Styrofoam boxes on my steering wheel in order to keep patronizing restaurants. I wear make-up and jewelry and do my hair even though I am only traveling from the bathroom to the living room.  I went to Disney parks masked and sanitized at every turn- staying so far away from other patrons, I needed a carrier pigeon to communicate with them.  I invest in a lot of postage stamps to periodically send little surprises to my absent loved ones. I re-defined getting a COVID-19 test as a date, for heaven’s sake. 

Some folks would say I have invested way too much time and energy trying to solve problems that don’t really exist; that the activities I am trying to recreate could easily wait until after the world starts rotating properly on its axis again. 

On the other hand, I know that I do a lot of these things not because I must do those specific activities, but because I am chasing some semblance of “feeling normal”.  I am a person who is extremely motivated by steadiness and routine.  I am pretty risk and change adverse.  Spending nine months in a world that feels different every day in every way absolutely wears away at my sense of security.  In retrospect, I feel like I have done remarkably well in coping with the situation.  I have been able to manage my anxiety and depression level effectively most of the time. 

I have certainly had my days when I have had to make a deliberate effort to push back an attack of negativity from my brain, but mostly I am good.  I credit that emotional survival with continuing to try to build some weird, mutated version of normal life.  In essence, it is not the doing of these activities like meetings on Zoom or calling a COVID-19 test a date that is important.  It is the process of creating normalcy that is important for me. It is also important for me that the essence of myself does not drown in the ocean of apathy that threatens to engulf my quarantine life.  When it gets too easy and too normal to not communicate, not socialize, not look my best, and not have fun, I know bad things are bound to happen to my psyche.

Still, despite my super-human efforts to create normalcy out of weirdness, I have not been completely successful.  Masks, social distancing, hug prohibitions-  all remind me that, no matter what I do, life is not normal.  I am getting really tired of it, so I thought about when I have felt most normal during these past months.  What can I do to maximize those times?

As I thought about it, I realized that the times I felt most normal were the times when I was at the beach.  A couple of friends and I took an overnight trip to Fernandina Beach this spring.  Max and I went to Daytona Beach a month or so ago.  Recently, a friend and I went to Clearwater Beach.  That is probably more beach activity than I have had in one year for as long as I can remember.  It has been remarkably helpful. 

At the beach, people can stay six feet away from each other easily.  In fact, even before COVID-19, I would not be closer than six feet away from any other beach visitor.  No one needs to wear a mask because we are outside and physically distant.  There is nothing less claustrophobic than looking out into the vastness of the ocean.  Hearing the sea birds and the waves, smelling the seaweed, tasting the salt in the air, feeling the cool water on my skin… all these things help me remember how big and beautiful the world is.  I remember looking out at the ocean as I walked through the waves on Daytona Beach and thinking it was like a treasure chest filled with emeralds and aquamarines and teal tourmalines… so many beautiful, sparkling blue and green gems twinkling at me. 

All three of my beach visits were this rejuvenating.  I bought a shirt in Fernandina Beach that says, “Salt Water Heals Everything.”  That may not be completely true, but, for me, salt water does seem to heal the COVID-19 blues.  At the beach, I can wave good-bye to weird. 

Is there a special place you go to “get back to basics” and feel at least a little normal? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a weird-free day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

Finding My Way

I finally made it to the beach.

One of my critical deciding factors for where I would move in retirement was that I must be able to comfortably drive to the beach.  I grew up within a frisbee’s throw from Surf City, USA.  I spent a lot of time in my childhood playing on the beaches of Southern California.  As an adult, I lived about 10 miles from the beach.  Life got in the way and I never was the type to spend hours and hours sunbathing on a regular basis.  My father used to say I was whiter than a nun’s belly.  Still, the beach always held an allure for me.  I would usually spend a few hours there at least a couple of times a year.  It was the place I felt most relaxed.  It was the place I did my clearest thinking.  There is absolutely nothing in this world like walking on the beach, feeling the sun on my shoulders, wet sand under my feet, and ocean breeze against my bare legs.  Next to the ocean, I was always somehow lighter, freer, and happier.  I even felt closer to God.

Before I bought the house in Florida, I evaluated the distance to the beach.  Once I got over the whole “the ocean is to the east” instead of “the ocean is to the west” thing, I realized that it was, theoretically, about a 90-minute drive to the Atlantic coast and a 90-minute drive to the Gulf of Mexico coast.  That was acceptable to me.  The beach criterion was met and so I was contented.

I moved to Florida seventeen months ago.  With beaches in two different directions, you would have thought I would have made it there before now, wouldn’t you?

When I first began making “I want to go to the beach” noises, it was too rainy.  Then, it was too cold.  Then, it was spring break.  Then, there was a confluence of motorcycle aficionado clubs from all over the country scheduled to be zooming around the beach communities when I finally made a specific plan to go to the beach.  Then, there was a total eclipse of the sun.  Well, maybe not that one.  Still, it began to feel like there was ALWAYS something in the way between me and the sea.  I was sure I was never going to get to the shore.

I began to wonder what was really stopping me from just getting in the car and driving the 80 miles or so to the beach.  In thinking it through, it seemed to me that the big obstacle was fear of getting lost.  As I have crafted my new life in my new state, I have had to find my way across new geography many given times.  After a lifetime of living in the same general vicinity and visiting the same places time and time again, it is kind of stressful to face the fact that every time I get into the car, I am running the very real risk of getting lost.  Even with MapQuest, GPS, and local signage pointing the way to popular tourist destinations (like, say, THE BEACH!), I feel the juices in my stomach start to churn in a rather unpleasant way when I embark on a new journey. 

I guess the same can be said for just about everything I have done in the past year and a half. I have had to find my way in all kinds of contexts- dealing with house and yard issues, taking care of my mother, living far away from the friends who are dear to me, and learning how to be active and satisfied without a job telling me I am.  I guess I could deduce that my internal compass is a bit over-used and worn from all this “way-finding” and that is the reason that going to the beach seemed more like a burden than an adventure.  On the other hand, I think the truth is actually that my internal compass is more sound and more finely-tuned from all the practice I have had.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine from my old state was visiting her father who winters in a small beach town about 100 miles from where I live.  When she contacted me about meeting her for a visit somewhere halfway between her father’s beach home and my place, the planets seemed to be aligned.  I decided to carpe diem and told her I would meet her at her father’s condominium… which just happens to be situated on a beautiful stretch of beach.

I found the beach with zero trouble.  I loved seeing my friend.  I also loved walking along the beach, sliding my bare feet through the tide, and gobbling salt air.  All the reasons I love the beach came flooding back to me in an instant.  I found myself wondering why on earth I denied myself this pure pleasure just because of the fear of not finding my way. 

It was a lesson learned.  I think it is likely that, as I continue to go through life, I am often going to face situations where I need to find my way.  I can go with life’s adventure and be content with where I go.  I am likely to find my way.  If I don’t, that’s okay, too.  I’m sure to end up someplace.  Yes, something truly bad could happen if I get lost trying to find my way, but the odds are against it.  Realistically, the worst thing that is likely to happen is that I’ll just waste some time and energy getting back on track.  In those wanderings, I may even encounter some of life’s mini-miracles… beautiful places to see, fun things to do, and lovely people to know.  Who knows, I may just find a way that is better than the way I thought I wanted.

They say God draws straight, but with crooked lines.  I don’t know why I worry so much about finding my way.  I have a feeling that, no matter what crooked paths I take, I am going straight to wherever He wants me to be.

How are you finding your way?  Are you enjoying the journey?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a wonderful, wandering day!

Terri 🙂