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.

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!

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.

Hostess with the Leastest

I used to fantasize endlessly about being the perfect hostess for a holiday soirée. As a young bride I immersed myself in the Christmas catalogs from major retailers like JC Penney, Sears, and Spiegel, picturing myself in the ideal hostess gown, serving cute petit fours from a silver tray, while guests milled about my tastefully decorated home with crystal tumblers filled with tasteful cocktails in their hands.

Indeed, I hadn’t a clue about hosting any kind of elegant gathering. My knowledge of the social graces was limited to what I’d watched on the silver screen: Extended pinkie, napkin on lap. Besides, Studly Doright and I had barely two cents to rub together, and the resources we did have would certainly not have been spent on something as frivolous as a party. But I did a lot of dreaming.

The Hickory Farms catalog was an important part of the fantasy, as well. I received one in the mail today, and that triggered this post.

As a terrible cook, I reasoned that all I’d need to do to insure a picture perfect party was to order the right combination of sausages, cheeses, and spreads from Hickory Farms in order to impress my guests.

Everything they offer looks so festive.

Now that I’m much older and can afford to throw a really elegant event I find I don’t want to; although, part of me still wants to order from Hickory Farms and wear a vintage hostess dress. May I interest you in some hors d’oeuvres?

Am I the only one who did this kind of thing? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Peace, people.

Forest Photo

I had nothing to publish on this Wednesday morning. Sitting in my favorite chair with a cup of peppermint tea in hand, I was stymied. As is the norm these days, the television news was depressing, so I turned off the tv and looked out the windows onto our back yard that slopes down to a small lake.

Seemingly overnight the leaves had overwhelmed the green grass resulting in a carpet of fall colors. Now I’m thinking about putting on a hoody and some boots for some serious leaf crunching. I’m sure Studly Doright would appreciate it if I did some raking while I’m out there, too.

Saving the World

We spent Thanksgiving with Studly Doright’s family in Hereford, Texas. Studly’s mom, Saint Helen, lives on the outskirts of town in a pleasant home with a generously sized backyard. The yard is decorated with a variety of cute gnomes and small plaster animals that have always delighted her great grandchildren.

Our youngest granddaughter, Harper, invited me into her world of make believe in this backyard paradise, telling me that a bad villain had taken over the world and turned all the real gnomes and animals into statues. Only by defeating this villain could we bring the statues back to life.

Five-year-old Harper launched an impressive attack on the villain using a mix of martial arts and boxing, admonishing me to stay out of the fight unless things looked really dark. At one point she staggered back and urged me to enter the fray.

I must say I was something of a whirling dervish, kicking and clawing at this imaginary bad guy. I threw in a few impressive head butts and Harper said, “Nana, you can stop. You won several minutes ago.”

“Harper!” I exclaimed. “We did it! We saved the world!”

In her most serious, matter of fact voice, Harper replied, “Of course we did.”

We then went around the yard waking up all of the animals and watching them reanimate.

“They’re all alive now,” she smiled. “Well, except this one. He’s still headless.”

I guess we didn’t save everyone, but we came so close.

Peace, people.

In Today’s News…

I slept an (almost) uninterrupted twelve hours on Saturday night. Only my cats and my bladder kept me from reaching a state of perfection, but perfect people are so boring.

Studly Doright and I arrived home from our Thanksgiving/birthday celebration late yesterday evening. We’d flown from Amarillo to Orlando, and should have been safely back at Doright Manor around 5 p.m., but staggering holiday traffic and the resulting accidents on I-75 convinced us to travel backroads.

We stopped at a German bakery/delicatessen in Yalaha, Florida, for lunch and then meandered along two lane roads for much of the afternoon. After a couple of hours of aimless driving we declared ourselves lost, so we found a Walmart and purchased a gps.

The cats, Scout and Patches, welcomed us home around eight p.m. with meows and kisses. After quick showers we all snuggled into our bed and went immediately to sleep. There really is no place like home.

You Might Be Studly Doright If….

Studly Doright (aka David Noyes) seemed to enjoy his birthday celebration on Thursday. After an outstanding Thanksgiving feast orchestrated by his mother and sisters, we settled in to fete Studly as he prepares to enter his sixth decade on earth.

First our son, Jason, emceed a game show pitting our five grandchildren against Studly’s four siblings in a quest to see which group knew more about Studly. I’m not sure which team emerged as the winner, but we all got a kick out of the questions and accompanying vintage family photos that served as clues.

(Above, our two oldest grandkids, Garrett and Dominique, discuss their team’s answer.)

Our daughter, Ashley, led us in an activity called, “You might be David Noyes,” in which participants had an opportunity to share humorous recollections about the guest of honor in a format similar to Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck.”

The contributed memories had everyone in stitches. I can’t remember many of them; I was laughing too hard. One I shared was, “If you ever tried to claim gravy is a liquid to justify eating it while prepping for a colonoscopy, you might be David Noyes.”

The grandkids got a kick out of these revelations about their Poppa.

(Above, our youngest grandchild, Harper, listens as her Poppa explains one of the many shared stories. She might have been angling for a piece of the birthday cake, as well.)

Afterwards, Studly read cards from family and friends. He got a little emotional at times, declaring this was his best birthday ever.

Thanks to everyone who made it so special.

Peace, people.