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?

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.

Things I Didn’t Do This Weekend

Things I Didn’t Do This Weekend

By Leslie Noyes

This weekend I didn’t decorate my house for the holidays, but neither did I run naked through the neighborhood.

On Saturday I didn’t bake cookies, but neither did I shave my head and paint it berserker blue.

I don’t think I cried, but then I really don’t think I laughed, either.

I purposely did not attempt to slide down any banisters; although, I was tempted to throw myself down a staircase.

I’m trying hard to balance the good with the bad, you see. I’m still here. Wondering if that’s good. Or bad.

Christmas Shopping Angst

Every January I pledge to begin my Christmas shopping in August, yet every December finds me scrambling to buy the perfect gifts for my grandchildren. I’m such a loser.

We’ve done the “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read” method of buying Christmas gifts for the grandchildren for the past few years, but I’ll be the first to admit that this system has its drawbacks.

For one thing, I’m woefully out of touch with the current styles. I’m happy wearing flip flops and capris every day. Why shouldn’t the grandkids be satisfied with the same attire? Sure, it’s 32° in Illinois, where three of the kids live, but maybe they should toughen up a bit.

And what if the line between a want and a need is blurry? Maybe they WANT new shoes, but they also NEED them. Then what?

I’ve already bought each of the five grands two books each whether they want them or not. I like books, so by golly, they’re getting books.

Two of the girls are easy to buy for. One is into American Girl dolls while the other likes Disney princesses. The other three kids, though, are nearly impossible to shop for. They don’t want clothes or toys. I’m thinking lumps of coal might be an option.

I’ve texted their parents, a.k.a. my children, to press the kids into declaring their wants and/or needs. Hopefully they’ll torture the kids into coming up with some affordable ideas. I know one of them wants a horse, but that’s not happening. Can’t we all just get along?

Peace, people.

Family Photos

The Doright Family converged on Nashville, Tennessee, for Christmas. We rented a home on Old Hickory Lake through Home Away and spent four days in close quarters. I’m pleased to announce that not one of the twelve people present was harmed during our long weekend of enforced confinement. See, miracles do still happen.

As part of our Christmas gift our children arranged for a photographer to come out to the house on Christmas Eve to take family photos. The last family photos were circa 2002, so we were way past due. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Studly Doright and Moi
Daughter Ashley and Son Jason join the Dynamic Doright Duo
All the Grands
Jackson and Garrett
Eldest grandson, Garrett
Youngest grandson, Jackson
Eldest granddaughter, Dominique
Middle granddaughter, McKayla
Youngest grandchild, Harper
The big girls
Siblings
Siblings
Daughter Ashley and her family
Son Jason and his family
Just the granddaughters
The whole bunch featuring Saint Helen

Going Places

Leaving Nashville the day after Christmas, hugging grandchildren one more time

Before we climb into our respective rides for long journeys home. One heads west, another

North, while we point our car south and east, full of new memories and Christmas goodies,

Enough to last until our far-flung families are brought together once again. Safe travels.