Thoughts on Killing Off a Bottle of Merlot

I stopped today at a small winery in Chautauqua, Florida. In a tasting room, I sampled the Chardonnay along with a Merlot and a holiday blend. I purchased three bottles, one of each, and tucked them into my suitcase before continuing my journey west on interstate 10.

My plan was to meet up with Studly Doright at a Holiday Inn Express in Crestview, Florida. I love assignations with my husband. The prospect of a pretend illicit meeting with my man is a bit heady, so as I drive I contemplate which bottle to open tonight. The Chardonnay? No, too much of a lightweight. The holiday blend with mulled spices? No, I’ll save that for Christmas Eve. Ah, that left the Merlot. Deep and rich and red.

I can’t divulge the details of our night, but let’s just say, I picked the right wine. Here’s a toast to old married people. We live. We laugh. We love.

Peace, people.

Sweet Home

Thank you to the people of Alabama. A special thanks to minority voters who stood up to voter suppression and waited in long lines to vote for and elect Doug Jones, the first Democrat to hold an Alabama senate seat in 25 years.

https://youtu.be/6SQjVtKEXTg

Now, a majority of white evangelical voters, including women, stuck with accused pedophile Roy Moore as their choice. I cannot understand their lack of decency in their choice, but then, these are the same folks who helped elect an admitted perpetrator of sexual assault to the White House. Party over country, don’t you know.

While I’ll never understand that mindset, I can still celebrate this win for Alabama and for all Americans. Congrats to Doug Jones and to all of us. What a great Christmas gift!

Peace, people.

Knit Wit

On Sunday afternoon I went to a Meetup group at a Tallahassee assisted living facility. Our group’s activity was to knit hats for cancer patients who’ve lost their hair due to chemotherapy treatments.

I haven’t knitted in years. As a kid I used to knit misshapen pot holders, but whatever dubious skills I once possessed have been lost forever.

Fortunately for me, the knitting done by members of the Meetup group is done using a loom similar to the one featured below.

After a couple of false starts I managed to knit several rows before Studly called wondering where I was.

“I’m knitting,” I told him.

“Does that make you a nitwit?” he quipped.

“No,” I said. “That happened when I married you.”

Occasionally I’m the one with a witty comeback in this relationship. Or in this case, a knit witty comeback. I enjoyed knitting so much that I bought a loom of my own to practice the art. Who knows what creations I’ll produce? I think I’ll start by trying to make a decent potholder.

Peace, people!

Ho Ho Ho, Falalalala, and All That Jazz

I needed a little jolly with my holly this Monday morning. Enjoy!

How could he not play a 7-letter word?

Go ahead, Santa! What do you have to lose?

It’s a Wonderful Life after all….

They call her Twiggy the Snowgirl:

Long distance?

Safety in numbers?

I know the feeling!

Mom always knows best.

Sex Ed for the gingerbread kids.

And my favorite!

The Case of the Missing Mary

The Case of the Missing Mary

By Leslie Noyes

(Note: This first appeared on my blog two years ago, back in the good old days when Trump’s candidacy was merely a bad joke. Guess I should’ve thrown more darts.) 

I leaned back in my wooden chair and aimed a dart at the picture of Donald Trump I’d taped to the door of my cramped office. Bullseye, baby. Before I could launch another projectile at the human embodiment of evil there was a tentative rap at the door.

Quickly I stashed the darts, downed a shot of Glenlivet and hid the bottle under the desk.

“Come in,” I intoned with as much gravity as I could muster. I was new at this detective gig and badly needed a client. Throwing darts at Trump, no matter how satisfying, wasn’t paying the bills.

The man who walked through my door was a sight for hungry eyes. Tall, dark, and handsome, and apparently built like Thor if the bulges in his well-tailored suit were to be trusted.

“Excuse me,” he said. “I’m looking for Mr. Noyes, the private investigator…”

“It’s Ms. Noyes,” I smiled. “My receptionist just stepped out for a bit.” Little did he know my receptionist, Glenlivet, was hiding under the desk. I nudged the bottle with my foot for reassurance.

“Oh!” He was clearly flustered, so I rushed to reassure him. Rising from my chair I stepped closer, hoping to encourage him to stay.

“Don’t let my gender color your expectations,” I said. “I’m fully qualified to handle discreet investigations.”

I held my breath as I watched him wrestle with his thoughts. Finally he extended a hand, and I exhaled.

“My name is Joseph. Joseph Carpenter, and my wife has gone missing.”

I motioned for Joseph to have a seat and took my place on the other side of the desk. Pulling out a pen and notepad I asked Joseph for details.

“She was right beside me. We were watching over our newborn son and I turned away for just a second to greet a man, a foreigner of some distinction, who’d brought a baby gift. When I looked back, Mary was gone.”

Joseph’s rugged face collapsed in tears. It took all of my strength to maintain a professional distance. My maternal instincts were urging me to comfort this man, but he didn’t need a nursemaid, he needed a detective. And by God, that’s just what he’d get.

“Do you have a recent picture of your wife, sir?”

“No, we weren’t into pictures. But she was just a little thing. Maybe five feet two. Brown eyes. Dark brown hair. Olive skin. She was, is, beautiful. She has the most beatific smile.”

I tried my hand at sketching a picture of Mary.

“No, her nose is a bit larger,” Joseph said. “Yes, like that. And her lips fuller.”

Finally we had a sketch that Joseph approved.

“Joseph, did you notice any strange characters hanging around, let’s see, the manger on the night of your wife’s disappearance?”

“Well,” he began, “Besides the foreigner there were a couple of other visiting dignitaries. They looked fairly trustworthy; although, come to think of it I have no idea why they dropped by.”

“Ok, that’s a starting place. Anyone or anything else?”

Joseph snapped his fingers. “There was a shepherd there ranting about some star he followed. Could it be…?”

“I couldn’t say right now, Joseph, but I promise to do everything in my power to find your Mary.” I stood and indicated we were through.

“By the way, how’s the baby?” I asked offhandedly. “I know newborns can be a handful. Is it possible Mary just took off?”

Joseph’s temper flared. I could see I’d hit a nerve. “Absolutely not! You have no idea what Mary has gone through to have this child, why….”

I held up one hand. “I had to ask Mr. Carpenter. I believe you.”

I told him I’d need a retainer and I’d bill my services at a hundred dollars per hour. Then I assured him I’d get on the case immediately.

“Money’s no problem. One of those foreign dignitaries brought gold. For a baby!” He shook his head in amazement.

As he paused at the door, Joseph Carpenter turned, his face half in shadow.

“Ms. Noyes. Have you done anything like this before?”

“Yes,” I answered honestly. “Every December.”

Almost every year one piece of my nativity goes missing. One year it was the lamb. I found it nestled next to the Christmas snow globe. Another year it was a wise man, the one carrying myrrh. He didn’t turn up until I was putting decorations away. Apparently the myrrh king had been napping in a Target bag. This year it’s Mary. One can’t very well have a nativity scene without the mother of Jesus. I’ll keep looking. Until I find her I have a cut out Mary from a Christmas card to stand in for her:


The scale isn’t that bad, right?

Quick Post

Read The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah.

I started it yesterday and finished it early this morning. Cried like a baby and never could go back to sleep.

In these days of Americans parading around as would-be Nazis and proudly proclaiming white supremacy we need books like The Nightingale to remind us of the horrors perpetrated by those who fought for Hitler’s Germany.

Never forget the atrocities.

For Your Sartorial Consideration

Since moving to the Tallahassee, Florida, area Studly Doright and I have had very little need for cold weather wear. I’ll dig my jacket out of the guest room closet every now and then, and both of us have hoodies we wear on cooler days, but for the most part we can just wear long sleeved shirts and jeans and be perfectly comfortable.

But we’ve had a cold front move into our neck of the woods just in time for Studly’s company Christmas party, and he wanted a new sweater for the event. Our search for the right garment took us to Beall’s department store. In Studly’s mind there’s no other place to shop for his clothing, and he can usually find something that suits him fairly quickly. Emphasis on quickly.

At this stage in our marriage I don’t even try to offer my advice. He’s going to buy whatever plain blue or red or green sweater he sees first, so I went looking for fun stuff. I didn’t have to look very far:

When Studly came to the checkout counter I led him over to these festive suits. “You could wear one of these to the party,” I told him.

“And you could wear that,” he said, pointing to this rack:

I told him I was game, but he backed out, so he’ll be wearing his plain red sweater tomorrow night. Bah. Humbug.

Peace, people.

Swimming With Beasts

A few nights ago I had a dream in which Studly Doright and I had taken our kids and grandkids on a trip to an indoor pool. The pool was huge, larger even than Olympic sized, but that wasn’t the oddest thing about it. As we walked around we realized that large animals were swimming with people in the pool.

There were lions and sharks, alligators and tigers swimming menacingly, seeming to stalk the humans who’d risked their necks to join in the activity. I was appalled, but everyone else in our family group began to jump in. My youngest granddaughter and her dad raced a cheetah to the side of the pool, narrowly missing becoming a snack for the feline.

I was pacing up and down urging everyone to get out of the pool before it was too late, but they all just pooh-poohed my concerns. A shrill blast from the lifeguard’s whistle signaled that it was time for a change in animals, so all of the humans were herded into cages while the pool was cleaned and the new animals emerged.

This time there were elephants and polar bears, llamas and giraffes in the pool. I found myself tempted to enter the water figuring it might be my only chance to swim with an elephant. Just before I took the plunge Studly Doright awakened me to lean over and kiss me goodbye before heading off to work.

“Whoa!” I mumbled. “I thought you were a polar bear.”

He didn’t bat an eye, responding, “That’s because I’m so chill.”

Peace, people.

Birthday Boy

Happy 15th birthday to our eldest grandson, Garrett. I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. We paced the halls and worried the hospital staff with endless questions. It seemed like you’d never arrive, and once you did, our lives were forever changed.

You’ve enriched our family in so many ways that I’ve lost count, and you’re the only kid I know who can consistently spell better than I can. Love you more today than the day before.

I can’t wait to see what your future holds.