Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Captain Kid

So yesterday the Captain had a milestone birthday.  

No it wasn't because of the age, although, he is rolling toward ancient, while I keep revisiting thirty something over and over again.  And why do men just keep getting better looking the older they get and we just keep getting...older?  Yeah, I don't have a good answer for that either, and it's probably better left for another posting.

No, the Captain had a milestone birthday because he got to spend it with some of his favorite people, his younger brothers.  Of course the wives and kids were all around too, but let me be honest here.  He doesn't get to see his little bro's all that often so when he does they revert to ten year old's who are now allowed bottles filled with alcohol, and have the time of their lives.

Even as I update my blog today, this merriest of Christmas Eve's, the Captain is currently off sledding with his brothers and the kids, and I am sure, having the time of his life.  

We drove north this year for the holiday.  And we made it in time to spend his birthday with the family having dinner in his honor and then the grand finale was the chocolate cake.  This year one of my sister-in-laws had volunteered to make it, but in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the holiday and rushing here and there and trying to get to the dinner on time she forgot it.  What I love about this particular SIL is that she didn't stress it, she shrugged it off and stopped at a bakery and shagged one while she was on her way.

No fuss, no muss and the little boys who live across the street from her will be getting a nice surprise when she drops off the chocolate cake today at their house that she made.  They love her cakes, so its really win, win.  I love when it all works out like that.  Of course had it been me I would have freaked out that I had forgotten the cake and then wanted to go back and get it.  Which would have made us late.  Her answer was so much more easier and convenient and at the end of the night, no one is going to remember that the cake wasn't home made, all they are really going to remember is the time spent with each other and the fact that everyone was filled with good cheer. 

So thanks for the warm wishes from the Captain, you all made his birthday special this year with all of the greetings and cards and gifts.  Just know it meant a lot to both of us. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...Happy Birthday!

Well this month we are not just celebrating the birth of Jesus, I also get to help some good friends celebrate birthdays all over the country.

First and foremost the Captain.  His birthday is the 23rd.  Yep, that's right, in your household the first day of Xmas may not fall until the 25th of December but the festivities in our house start way before that.  We celebrate on the 23rd all things The Captain. 

The day starts off with his crown.  No, you read that right.  He gets to wear a crown.  Why not let him at least look like a king for a day, right?  We spend it doing all things non-Xmas but make sure it's all about him.  He gets a birthday dinner of Chicken and Dumplings (his favorite) and we cap off the day with his gift which is NOT wrapped in Xmas paper.  

This month my niece turned two, my sister turned thirty-something, my SIL turned twenty-nine for the like the twentieth time and my other SIL had a birthday too.  That's just the family members.  Than I get to wish some guys from the old neighborhood the big HB!  I know I am so hip!  I originally wrote that as hop and almost left it.  I said, almost.  I'm not that lame.  Okay, I am.  But I fixed it didn't I?

Than I get to wish some new friends that I have made on Twitter Happy Birthday as well.  

So to Johh, Pablo, Lisa, Barb, Tina Lynn, Kevin and the rest of you I hope you all have a great birthday this year and enjoy the day the way it was meant to be enjoyed.  Celebrating that you guys are here with us!  Hope this year is the best one EVER!

And to Captain Kid, besides the whole: you are getting so old thing, I really hope this year is one for the books.  In a good way.  No family surprises,  But most of all I am just thankful I get to spend another one with you.  Happy Birthday Babe. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

One week left until Xmas!!!

Well today is Friday and next week is going to be jam packed full of fun and fabulous holiday stuff.  Since I want you guys to rush over to Karla's blog and check out her latest installment of fun and games (click here), I decided to just offer up this video for your enjoyment.

Happy Holidays!

I know...its just too cute.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Hungry: The Host

The book review below was a Book Hungry Club read.  All of the Book Hungry Members are posting a book review today on their blogs.  They are all listed in my blog roll to the right here, so after you read mine, go check them out too! 

This months selection for our book club was brought to us by my book hungry buddy and writing pal Karla Nellenback.  Her selection was The Host by Stephanie Meyer.

In a nut shell:  This one is a keeper for me.  I will be reading this one over and over again.  
Love her or hate her, Ms. Meyer has the ability to take you places and put you in the moment.  But not just put you there, you feel for her characters and this book does not disappoint.  

"The implantation is in its final stages. Soon, earth will be completely free of humans and the planet will be a peaceful place for the “souls” to enjoy - as it was meant to be enjoyed.

Very few humans remain on Earth. When rebels are discovered, they are captured by Seekers - the closest thing to a police force the "souls" have. Once captured, they are prepared for implantation where a small cut is placed at the base of the skull and the "soul,” a centipede looking creature, is put in the body. The "soul" connects to the body and takes control. The first experience the "soul" has is the receiving of the host body’s memories. Typically, the host recedes and leaves the "soul" alone to continue life as usual. For Wanderer, this didn’t happen."

Guess why it didn't happen?  Because Melanie, the human Wanderer was implanted into didn't want to let go.  She wasn't finished.  In true Stephanie Meyer form we feel equally for both Wanderer and Melanie.  I will be surprised if you don't feel sympathetic to Wanderer, this soul who has been around for a very long time and Melanie who has only been alive for twenty earth years.  

Two beings sharing one body.  And this book makes you think without being pretentious about it.  The souls justified colonizing earth because of the archaic and barbarian practices that exist here.  In the places they have resided there is love, peace and joy but you have to get past the idea of colonization and wiping out a species so they can live.

For Melanie this was unacceptable and she was not going to go quietly into the night.  

I liked each of these characters in equal measure and found myself routing for both.  There were laugh out loud moments as well as deep anguish and Ms. Meyer seems to be a master at that whether she is writing about love lorn vamps or soul infestations.  I highly recommend this book to anyone of any age and I challenge you not be as seduced as I was.  

This is going to be a stocking stuffer this year for all of our nieces and nephews who are of the age to read.  But don't worry you can get your copy too.  That's right its time for my monthly book give-away.  If you follow my blog you are already a contender.  If you don't just leave me a comment and good luck.  I will be announcing the winner December 24.  I know Xmas Eve, but don't worry I will make sure you hear if you win.

Now tell me what is the last book that made you think even though it didn't feel like you really were? 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another edition of Fun and Games

Hey everyone...I am still under the weather, okay, sick as a dog...but I wanted to get this done.  I hope I fixed all of the errors that my true blue pointed out, but if not, well this is a work in progress.

Like always tell us what you think.

“Owens Mom called?”  Grace could tell by Harper’s tone she was trying to make conversation as they made their way to the car.

“No.  Lucky said that so Owen would have an excuse to take you home.  He was trying to give O some alone time with you.”  Grace didn’t see any point in lying about it.

“Oh.”  Harper cast her eyes to Graces over the hood of the car and asked, “ So? What did you think of Lucky?”

Grace shrugged.  “He’s cute.”  She wanted to say so much more.  Launch into how it had felt as he held her hand in the mall and tell Harper about these rampant feelings she was having.  She wanted Harper’s opinion in the worst way.  But their relationship’s been subtly shifting for the past two days.  God, had it only been two days?  Instead, she did something she had never done before.  She shut Harper out and changed the subject. “I have a few things I need to do before I meet Truman tonight.  You want me to drop you off, or do you want to come with?”  

Her heart was beating double time, and it physically hurt that they couldn’t talk like they used to.  But Harper hadn’t been straight with her since the night of the band party, and right at that moment she wasn’t feeling all warm and fuzzy either.

Getting a little miffed, Harper asked, “Are you pissed off because I didn’t go with Owen?”

Again, deciding honesty was the best policy Grace said, “You bet I’m pissed, but it’s got nothing to do with Owen and everything to do with what happened at lunch.”

Harper froze.  The old Harp would have demanded to know what Grace was talking about.  She would have gone toe to toe with Grace even if she thought she was wrong.   But this new and damaged version of Harper went stone still.  Like, if she didn’t move, Grace would forget about whatever it was that had pissed her off to begin with.  

Whipping the car into the parking lot on the back side of the mall, Grace decided it was time to have it out.  Turning to her best friend of more years than she could count, she wanted to let loose with both barrels but was stopped short by the anguish in Harper's eyes.  Just that fast, her anger evaporated.  This was her best friend.  Maybe it wasn’t Harper who needed a reminder of what that meant, and wasn’t that a sobering thought.  Leaning down, she laid her head against the steering wheel while keeping Harper firmly in sight.  

In a voice better suited to a skittish animal, Grace said, “I get that you don’t need me to slay your dragons, or even want me to.  I do.  But Harps, I know something is wrong, and I know something happened.  And while I can’t promise not to go all ape shit when you finally tell me, it’s killing me that you won’t.  I have never lied to you.  Ever.  But suddenly you’re evading my questions and turning everything around.  Plus, you’re clearly uncomfortable around me all of a sudden.  I get that I fucked up today at lunch, but that was an accident.  I swear to God, I would never intentionally hurt you like that.  And on top of all that, I finally figured out Owen is the guy you’ve been all moony over for the past couple of weeks.  He’s a drummer, and that curly hair, I don’t know why I didn’t put it together right away yesterday.  Hell, I don’t even feel right telling you about my plans with Truman tonight because every time someone mentions the word ‘party’ or ‘go out’ you go all statue.”   

And just like that Harper demonstrated by bowing up.  Her eyes started to tear and she anxiously looked around as if trying to find a way out.  In true Harper fashion, her face got redder and she gasped for air.  Frantically, pulling the door handle release, she burst from the car running toward the rear where she proceeded to lose her lunch.

Moving like a shot, Grace jumped from the car as the panic climbed and clutched at her throat. 

Once done, Harper swiped her hand across her mouth and leaned against the car, before sliding to the ground in a soundless melt.  Walking to her side and bending down, Grace didn't know what to do.  With the same dogged determination that had seen her through everything else she slid to the ground next to her friend.

“Harper.”  She said softly, patiently.

Clearing her throat and then having to clear it a second time, Harper whispers, “Grace if I tell you…then it…that makes it…real.”

Touching Harper's hair, because in that moment she needed the connection, she whispered back, “Harp, it’s real whether you tell me or not.  But telling someone, anyone, makes it less scary because you don’t have to do this by yourself.”

A keening wail rose from her friend and she turned her head to look at Grace with eyes begging, for what Grace had no idea.  Suddenly Harper is in Graces arms crying big racking sobs, her body shaking with the force of her despair and heartache.  In that moment Grace is consumed with pure hatred for the person who could reduce her beautiful, gifted friend to this.  

Once the purging is complete, Harper sat up and leaned against the car.  Turning and meeting Graces stare she said, “I don’t think your right, about me feeling any better.  But you are right about me keeping a secret.  I just have one question.  If I tell you, will you keep my secret too?”

Feeling only a little dishonest Grace crossed her legs, in lieu of her fingers, and said “Harper, it’s you and me.  Cradle to grave, remember.  I got your back no matter what.  Do you want to go back to my house and have this talk?”

Harper looked around at the asphalt parking lot, taking in the buzz of the passing traffic and sighs.  “This is as good a place as any, I guess.”  Taking a deep breathe she turns and in halting, static filled words, began her story.

Okay so you know the drill.  Give me your honest opinion.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Word from the Captain

Hello faithful readers...

I know you are visiting today because Kelly is supposed to have her next installment of Fun and Games up.  Unfortunately my lovely bride is sick.  She has been since Sunday.  Since I have had to anchor her down to keep her from over doing it I am afraid she won't be updating her blog until she feels better.  She swears that will be today. 

So check back tomorrow and hopefully the next installment of her series will be posted.  If not I will let everyone know for her. 

Happy Holidays

Captain Kid

Monday, December 13, 2010

That is sooooooooo Tinsle!

I got my Christmas mojo back this weekend.

I have no idea where it had been hiding, but I am so glad that it decided to show up.  

Since the beginning of the month I have been trying to find it.  I have put the Xmas music on.  Loaded up my ipod and blasted those tunes morning, noon and night.  It didn't work.  I had all of my shopping done before Thanksgiving so I spent some time this week wrapping gifts.  That didn't work.  I watched all of my favorite Christmas shows on DVD and even went so far as to spend a whole day last weekend watching Fa La La La Lifetime.  You guessed it, that didn't work either.

Gracie Lou sees the magic!
So imagine my surprise when I woke up Saturday morning and was giddy with it.  Suddenly I was looking forward to this wonderful season.  Up early, I made a list of all of the things we needed to get done this weekend.  Yes, it was a long list and took every moment of the entire weekend, but when it was all said and done, I think it was completely worth it.

Saturday the weather cooperated and hit the high sixties so we had a great day for hanging lights outside.  Sunday we did the inside of the house.  Yes, it does look a little bit like Xmas Vacation, but so what right?  I also spent Sunday making peanut brittle and fudge for my give-aways.  Yummy!

Hope you all are ready for the holiday too.  Here's wishing a Merry Merry to you and your from me and mine!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's a Light Show...

As you know by yesterdays post I have been having a hard time finding my Christmas Cheer this year.  Good news.  I got a little bit of it back last night.  I spoke to a friend and I am getting to spend part of my holiday with one of my besties.  We have been best friends since 1993 and I got to watch her children grow up.  This year we will get to be together for a portion of the holiday.

Although I must admit that I got some pretty awesome advice from yesterdays blog posting.  Especially the ones that suggested alcohol.  But since it's a school night that's not really a good idea.  But in the spirit of wanting to share what little holiday spirit I did seem to find tonight I thought I would share this Xmas video with you guys today.


After you finish watching it make sure you head over to Karla's blog to catch her next installment in our Fun and Games Series.  You can hit it here.

Happy Thursday!  So do you put lights on your house this time of year and if you do; is it a little or a lot?  Share please.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Countdown to Christmas...and I need my Christmas Cheer

The holiday seems to barreling toward me at a fast and furious pace this year.  I thought I was handling it well, with my Christmas shopping completed by Thanksgiving.  I mean, who does that?    And, I was really proud of it too.

But then last night I looked up and I still need to get the trees up, the house decorated, the outside done, the cookies baked, the fudge made and my list seems to be endless.  The Captain says I should just not do so much this year.  I don't even know what that looks like.

I like the trees and the decorations and the baking and the wrapping and everything else that comes with the holidays, but for whatever reason, this year seems to be more work than enjoyment.  And I wish I could get the enjoyment back.  

We finally have some cooler temps and I was hoping that would help get me into the Christmas spirit.  It didn't work.  Sunday the hubs and I spent the day doing chores and watching Fa La La La Lifetime.  Is there really anything else for me to say?  So for, no go.  

Then I thought this picture would help.  It didn't.  Just makes me wish I had more time to get ready for the holidays.  Which annoys me, because I am the one who complains when the decorations come out the day after Halloween.  This year I am wishing that I had started then.

I need help.  Tell me what to do in order to find that Christmas Cheer I am without.  I promise to try anything once, except jumping out of an airplane.  That was the recommendation from my IT guy.  But he's crazy to begin with.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday brings you another installment of Fun and Games with K&K...

A quick recap:  I am currently working on a writing project with my twitter friend Karla Nellenbach.  We each take a turn writing up a part of the story and passing the baton back and forth.  Here is the my next installment.  When we last left Harper and Grace, Grace was being pulled from Harper by Owen's hot brother, Lucky.

Grace let herself be dragged halfway across the store before she came back to her senses.  Digging in her heels, she said, “Hold up.” 

Lucky ignored her as he moved for the mall entrance.  Clasping her hand firmly in his, he didn’t give her any other option but to follow.  Grace marveled at the feel of his hand.  It was rough, calloused, as if he worked with them quite a bit.  Hitting the brakes on the dreamy tone her thoughts were taking, she wanted to smack herself.  What was she thinking?  She had a date with Truman tonight.  Shouldn’t she be over the moon on that and not thinking about the guy pulling her through the music store?

Putting more of herself into it, Grace dug in and said louder, “Dude, wait.  Hold up.”

Sighing, Lucky got her clear of the store before he stopped.  Turning those ice blue eyes on her, Grace found herself thinking she could just stand there and look at them all day.  “Listen, I get it.  You and Harper are tight.  But, O has been trying to get her attention for what seems like months now.  So, let’s give them a little space okay?”

For once, Grace had nothing to say.  Owen had a thing for Harper?  Okay, she kind of thought so, but after everything that happened, she didn’t see Harper and Owen becoming a couple.  In fact, in the bright light of day, what she had been seeing shamed her.  All she had been able to see since this started was Harper.  Harper, as a victim.

Yeah, yeah, nothing happened.  She knew the stanza on the song that Harper kept singing and she still didn’t believe her.  In fact, that was why she had come over here.  She wanted to tell Owen what happened at the restaurant before she had been broadsided by the, oh so charming Lucky.  Again.

Lucky watched the play of emotions move swiftly across her face.  He didn’t actually want to admit it, even to himself, but he was intrigued.  When she came by the house last night looking for his brother, there was a moment where Lucky thought this might be the elusive Harper Owen rhapsodized about.  It had seriously pissed him off.  

The brothers had never shown any inclination of having the same taste in girls, something Lucky never noticed, until last night.  When she smiled and introduced herself, there was this sweet relief he didn’t understand.  Or maybe he did and just wanted to ignore it.  

He tried pumping Owen when he got home, but O was in a mood and didn’t want to talk about the hot blond in the pink VW.  He only wanted to talk about Harper.  Since the brothers didn’t have secrets, Lucky had gotten the whole sordid tale.  

Now standing this close to her, he was suddenly nervous.  Crazy, right?  Girls didn’t make Lucky Lancaster nervous.  Ever.  He liked girls and they liked him right back.  It was baffling; this one seemed to put him on edge. 
She turned those bright blue eyes up to his and asked “Owen has a thing for Harper?”  Was that disappointment he heard in her voice?  She couldn’t have a thing for his brother.  Right?

Grace pivoted on her heel and walked toward the benches that were strategically placed for husbands and boyfriends who were recruited to shop.  Plopping down on the hard wrought iron surface, she propped her elbow on the bench arm and rested her chin in her hand.  “This is just freaking great.”  Her tone said it was anything but.

Lucky sat down beside her and asked in a tentative voice, “You don’t think it’s great that Owen has the hots for your friend?”

Looking over, Lucky could see the anger stamped on her face, “No, I don’t think it’s great.  Why did it have to happen now?  Don’t get me wrong it should be great.  Or it would have been if she wasn’t dealing with all this bullshit with Mr.-. “  Realizing she had almost said too much, she stopped.  

Lucky felt the punch of immediate relief that her anger stemmed from what she and Owen believed happened to Harper and then realized his little brother had an uphill battle.  He couldn’t help but wonder if it was worth it.  Maybe that was small of him, but Lucky didn’t know Harper.  Remembering how she had flinched when he got close to her in the music store, he couldn’t help but think that there might be some truth in what Owen suspected.  

Looking up, he caught view of his brother and Harper standing at the register in the store.   Owen was standing protectively over the girl in the baggy clothes, listening intently to what she was saying, smiling and laughing with her.  Yeah, he had it bad.  Okay, he didn’t get Owen’s fascination, but maybe he could help.

“Do you have your car?” he asked.

She turned her blues his way again and something melted in his chest.  Disgusted with himself, he almost cursed.  Now, he sounded like a chick.
“Yeah, of course.  How do you think we got here today?”

“Good.  Here’s an idea.  Why don’t we let Owen give Harper a ride home, you know, give him a chance on the field.”

Grace looked toward the store, and Lucky was positive that she wanted to say no, but for whatever reason decided not to.  “Okay, yeah.  I need a really good reason though.  I would never dump her at the mall.”

Pulling her up from the bench and heading back to the store, Lucky smiled and said, “Well isn’t it a good thing I’m here?  Leave it to me.”

Grace was content to trail behind him and let him handle it, which was a new feeling for her, one she kind of liked.  Lucky made his way toward Harper and Owen at the register all the while never once letting go of her hand, and Grace realized they were moving through the store as if they were a couple.
She wasn’t sure if pushing Harper at Owen was a good idea or not.  But when she looked up and saw Owen standing next to her best friend with that protective look on his face she knew the choice was Harper’s to make.  Grace wasn’t going to victimize her best friend, Mr. Haas had already done that for her.  But it was going to be up to Harper to decide if she stayed a victim, and that was something Grace could and would help her with, starting right now.

Now it's Karla's turn...what did you think?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nope, its not starting to feel anything like Christmas

Saturday we spent winterizing the boat.  It is never a fun or an easy task.  Okay, in all fairness, for me it is just boring.  The Captain does all the work.  I just stand around waiting for some direction from him on what he needs me to do.  Thankfully, this year I took my kindle and read in between the "Honey can you put this in the truck." and "Babe, I need you to..."

It's always a sad day for us when we winterize the boat because we know this means we are definitely not going back out on it until we un-winterize it and that is another job that pretty much takes all day.  

My husband is meticulous when it comes to the boat or his truck.  He has a list of all of the things that has to be done for the winterizing process.  We follow the list accordingly.  This year it turned out to be a good thing.  We did not get the head pumped out.  For those of you that don't speak Navy, head is the word used for ladies room.  Now, personally I think ladies room sounds a whole lot better, but I didn't make the rules for the Navy.

When he realized this he got very excited because our Marina does not offer this service so it meant we had to take a boat ride to have this done.  He hadn't done anything that would preclude us from doing that so we packed everything up and had them put her in the water.  This was the first time I had been back on the water since October.  If you recall the Captain and our good friends got to go out Thanksgiving week but I was stuck at work.  So this was a real treat, except for the whole, freezing my ass off thing.  It was cold.

But it was worth it and I got to marvel at the fact that it was December 4 and I was boating.  I think I even got a little sunburned.  The Captain says it is more of a windburn, but I am choosing to believe it's from the sun.  We also got to see a couple of dolphins.  I believe it was a baby and its Mama.  They lift your spirits in such a way, its like the church for boaters.  

So today I am rested and ready to face this week.  Another week which looks to be as draining and stressful as last.  But I had a fabulous weekend!  What did you do?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Only 23 days until you feel it yet?

Today over at Karla's blog we are on the next installment of Fun and Games with K&K.  I am K and she is the other K.  Nope, not in any particular order.  Well I guess since today is her day to post she can be the first K.  On Tuesdays, I can be the first K.  Does anyone really care?  I guess, me.

So get over there and see where she sends Harper and Grace next.  I promise you it is getting exciting.  If you have missed any of the posts you can catch up by clicking the tab up there.  The one that says Fun and Games with K&K.

OK, for you entertainment today here is what I offer up.  In my defense we have another round of company staying with us and I find it a little hard to be rude and excuse myself to write blog posts for my cyber friends.  Don't get me wrong, I love that you guys stop by and take the time to read what I write, but I feel a little bad when there are actual flesh and blood friends sitting right there waiting for me to get done.

This is one Christmas Carol that makes me smile, because it exploits the commercialism in a funny way.  Check it out.

What's your favorite funniest Christmas tune of the season?

Tell me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Getting this season officially kicked off...

It's December 1, 2010 and I have no idea where this year has gone.  

I have all of my Christmas shopping done because I am an over achiever that way.  

I figured with this being the start of the Christmas season and all I would get things started off right and share some of my favorite holiday traditions.

Favorite Old Christmas Movie that I have to see every year is "The Christmas Story."  "You'll shoot your eye out" is a line I wait all year to here.  Favorite new must see Christmas show is "Prep and Landing."  If you missed it last year here is the trailer.  Trust me this is a good one.

Favorite Tradition:  I am proud of this because it is one I started.  Every year for Christmas all of the kids in our family get a new Christmas ornament.  It is something tailored to who they are.  This year the cheerleader in our family got a cheerleader ornament with her name and the year on it.  The little one got a stocking with coal in it and the words "But Santa, I can Explain."  It fits her personality to a "T".  The new baby got his baby's first Xmas Ornament.  I love this tradition because when they are adults they will have these collections that mark where they came from and hopefully get them as excited about sharing the holiday as I am.

So that brings us to my favorite decoration.  Hands down it is our Christmas Tree.  Every ornament tells a story.  I am not blessed to have the ornaments I may or may not have made as a child, but I am blessed to have the ones I have created as an adult.  Plus the ornaments that the Captain and I have picked out together over the years.  We have a special one for each year since our very first together.  In fact this is getting me very excited to get my tree up and decorated. 

So wanting to get this season kicked off right I thought I would start this month the way I mean to go Happy Holidays from me to you. 

Now I want to hear about your favorite things for this time of year.  Don't be shy.  This is a safe zone.  You can tell us anything here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Installment of Fun and Games with K&K Week 4 Part 1

A quick recap:  I am currently working on a writing project with my twitter friend Karla Nellenbach.  We each take a turn writing up a part of the story and passing the baton back and forth.  Here is the my next installment.  When we last left Harper and Grace, Harper had just showed up at Grace's with latte's and bagels and announced they were going shopping.  Let's see how it went.

Once in the car and on their way, Grace tried keeping up a steady stream of conversation that she and Harper both seemed to need.   She talked about the outfit she’d already had picked out for Harper in her head.  She mused on stopping at the bookstore for the latest Karla Nellenbach novel.  With forced enthusiasm, she tossed out the idea of lunch and maybe hitting the spa after for mani/pedi's all around.

It didn’t seem to matter how hard she tried, that big elephant was there with them, riding shotgun right along with Harper.
Once at the mall, Harper dove right into shopping by pulling Grace to the shoe department inside of Nordy’s.  They oohed and ahed over designer shoes, one of Grace’s favorite past times.  Harper insisted Grace model every shoe in her size and even selected a pair for herself without Grace once having to badger.  
When they finally made it to the clothing section, Harper was like a dynamo, bulleting through the racks grabbing shirts and pants on her way to the dressing room.  Again, they tried on what appeared to be every article of clothing in the store  Once the marathon shopping session was over, they decided to fore go the spa and head out to lunch.  Choosing a Mexican restaurant they both liked found them sitting down to chips and salsa within minutes.

With a chip in one hand, Grace looked Harper in the eye for the first time that day, and announced, “Truman was waiting for me when I got home last night.”

“I heard.”

Scooping up salsa, Grace hesitantly asked, “Did he tell you what we talked about?”

Harper’s chip froze midway to her mouth.  “No.”

Grace looked down at her hands and started shyly, “It was actually a pretty interesting conversation.” Or at least it had been once she convinced him there was nothing wrong between her and Harper.  He had been like a dog with a bone regarding that one.

Harper leaned forward and grabbed Grace’s arm with a bracing grip.  “What did you say to him, Grace?  You didn’t say anything about…” But she couldn’t finish it, and before she even tried, she realized by the change in Grace’s features that she had been completely off base.

Sitting back in the booth to distance herself from Harper, Grace took in her friend’s expression.  Harper was scared and breathing fast, and if she wasn’t mistaken, that damned elephant had just joined them at the table.  Sliding her arm away from Harper’s grip, Grace tried to get them back to even ground.  “Actually, he asked me out for tonight. “

The excitement she had felt last night, which had already been tempered by the situation with Harper, seemed to lose more of its sparkle.  She wanted to be happy that Tru had finally asked her out, but was feeling guilty that she could feel this way when there was all of this shit going on with Harper.  Not that Harp was copping to any of it.  Nope, Harper was running herself ragged, acting very un-Harper like in order to convince Grace that everything was fine.

Harper smiled.  “Grace, that’s great.  Finally, right?”

Since it was now her turn to act normal Grace tried to summon a smile and answered, “Yeah, he took me by surprise with that one.”

“Where are you going?”

“A party, I think.”  Grace didn’t miss the way Harper bowed up at the word party, and wanted to kick her own ass.  As much as Harper might insist that nothing happened, it was becoming more and more clear something had.

“What time is he picking you up?”  Harper forced the words out.

While she was saying all of the right things, Grace felt as if she and Harper were putting on a show for each other.  Wanting to lean across the table and shake her friend, she sighed and answered, “Seven-thirty.”

The tension at the table was thick and rising.  In a moment, Grace was sure they would both be choking on it.  Before she could comment on it, the waitress was there with their lunch orders.  Grace fell on her chicken verde, thankful for something else to focus her attention on.

They sat, pushing their food around before Harper said softly, “I'm really happy for you.  Tru asking you out and all.  I know how long you’ve wanted this.”

Grace looked up with a smile.  “Yeah.”

“But I don’t want you to get hurt either, so just be careful.  He’s my brother and I love him, but he is still a guy.”

Grace put her fork down and cocked her head.  “Harper, I don’t think he’s going to declare his undying love for me or anything like that.  But he did say he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about me since our trip to Lake Geneva.”

Harper snorted her disbelief.  “Listen Grace…” But that was as far as she got as something caught her attention on the other side of the restaurant. 
Turning, Grace saw Mr. Haas had just entered with a blond clinging to his arm.  They were both windblown from the frigid temps outside and laughing with each other.  In a casual move, he pushed his sunglasses to the top of his head and leaned in to nuzzle her.
In a move more reflex, Grace raised her hand to flag down the popular teacher before realizing the implication and cringing inside.  Turning her attention back to her friend, she saw Harper frozen in place.  Eyes full of remorse, Grace mumbled a quick apology before turning her attention back to the couple making their way to the table.
Smiling, he was halfway to their table before his eyes locked on Harper and Grace didn’t miss the hitch in his stride.   Eyes wide and wild, Harper looked everywhere but at the music teacher. 
Smoothly, Grace stood and shook hands with the blond who introduced herself as “Bambi.”  They exchanged a few words, and Grace plastered a phony smile on her face while she made small talk.  Nothing happened at the party, my ass.

Mr. Haas spoke to Harper directly as they were leaving, telling her to enjoy the rest of her winter break, and the rest of her lunch, but it was clear that he was no more comfortable around Harper than she was around him.
Calmly, Grace sat back down and picked up her fork.  She was furious.  Furious with Harper.  Furious with Mr. Haas.  Furious with this deception she was helping Harper perpetuate.  Something had clearly happened between the two of them.  But this was Harper’s game, so they were going to have to play it out.  Looking her friend directly in the eye, she asked, “Bambi?  Can you even believe that?  Who names their kid Bambi?  Do you think she’s a stripper or something?”

Okay tell us what you think.  We can take it.  And don't hold anything back. Come back Thursday, when Karla updates us on the next installment.  Trust me, it is getting good!

Monday, November 29, 2010

And the winner is....

I have been suspiciously absent from my blog for the past two days.  I took off Thursday and Friday for the Holiday and it was great.

Our awesome friend from Seattle flew in and we spent some quality time together.  On Tuesday the boys went out on the boat.  I had to work.  Yeah, I was unhappy with that too.  After we went to McGuire's Irish Pub for some pints and food.  It took a little longer to get our food and the manager was so nice, he comped the entire meal.  How cool was that? 

On Wednesday the conned me to go the Naval Aviation Museum.  Don't get me wrong.  This is a great place to go and hang out.  I love seeing the displays and browsing the gift shop.  But the weather was pretty freakin' awesome and I really wanted to be on the water.  Unfortunately I was outvoted.  I didn't grumble.  Much. After we headed to the beach and stuffed ourselves on crab claws, calamari and oyster at Peg Leg's.  I helped myself to a couple of Blue Moons and was feeling pretty mellow by the time the hubs and I called it a night.

Thursday was all about the turkey and man was it good.  It was the husbands best effort yet.  We stuffed ourselves on all the trimmings and didn't even get to the pies and cakes until the next day.  

Friday we said so long to our friend and sent him home.  But it was really great seeing him and after this visit know it will not be the last time.  We picked up as if no time had passed, even though it was quite clear it had.  I can honestly say this was one of the best holidays ever.  I was sad to see it end.  

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday as well.  Okay on to the winner of the book contest.  This months winner is Lenny Lee.  My buddy who hosts his own blog over at Lenny's World.  Congrats to Lenny!  I am hoping that after he reads the book he can guest post on my blog and tell me what he thought of it. 

So until tomorrow, tell me, how did your holiday go?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Lets start this posting with this...Karla's next installment with Fun and Games is already up so get over to her blog and catch yourself up with it.  As usual you can find all of the installments right up there.  Imagine me pointing my finger straight up.  See.  Right there.  The tab next to home.  Yeah, that's the ticket.  The one that says Fun and Games.  You can find all of our postings there, or if you are already caught up just hit here to go over and read Karla's next installment. 


Watch these first and know that I am wishing you all the best of the best this Turkey Day! 

If you like that will really enjoy this one.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fun and Games with K&K Week 3 Part 1

A quick recap:  I am currently working on a writing project with my twitter friend Karla Nellenbach.  We each take a turn writing up a part of the story and passing the baton back and forth.  Here is the my next installment.  When we last left Harper and Grace, Harper had declared NOTHING had happened at the party.  Let's see what happens next.

If you missed any of the earlier posts you can catch up by clicking on that tab up top labeled Fun and Games with K&K.

“Me either.” Owen said.  “Now what do we do?”

The street light highlighted the remnants of the night’s effects on Grace’s face, giving her an almost haunted look.   He guessed his didn’t look any better.  In fact, it felt as if he had taken one to the solar plexus. 
Grace braced both her hands on the steering wheel and said, “Now we get to the bottom of it.  And I swear to god, Owen, if Mr. Haas did something to Harper I will find out.”  With those final words, she put the car in gear.

After dropping Owen off, Grace headed back to her house lost in thought.  What should she do first?  She didn’t have anyone to turn to.  In that moment, she felt entirely alone and then had to laugh at the irony of that.  This wasn’t about her.  It was about Harper.  But Harper had always been her touchstone.  The one person she could go to when she needed an ear or a shoulder.  Harper had always been there. 

In truth, Grace thought that worked both ways.  After tonight, she was no longer so sure. 

It had been so obvious Harper was hurting.  For God sakes, she had been wearing her Dad’s old, battered, red Wisconsin sweatshirt with her snoopy pajama bottoms, her go-to for when she was sick or hurting.  Grace didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to see the ravages of emotion still visible on her friend’s face even though the TV had been the only light shining in the Simonson’s family room.

Pulling into the drive way, Grace sat for a moment hoping some divine inspiration would strike.  When none did, she mechanically made her way to the door. 

Truman Simonson had been sitting on Grace’s front porch for the better part of an hour.  He had been back from college for two weeks and had yet to see her.  Okay, so maybe he was avoiding her.  But he expected to be tripping all over her at the house and that just wasn’t the case.  At first, he didn’t think anything of it, but last Saturday night when Harper came back early acting weird, he decided the lifelong friends must have had a fight.

Truman was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin and while he loved the feeling of freedom he had being away from home, he missed his family.  And like it or not, for better or worse, Grace was a part of all that, which was why he’d decided tonight that he needed to get to the bottom of whatever was going on. 

Watching the Pepto-Bismol pink VW turn into the driveway, he smiled because the car was just so…Grace. 

Grace caught a movement out of the corner her eye and turned to find Truman sitting in her favorite double rocker on the porch.  “Tru?”

“Hey, Gracie girl.”

“Hey, yourself.  What are you doing here?”  Grace moved deeper onto the porch and sat down next to her second best friend in the whole world; or at least he used to be. 

While Truman had been home from school for almost two weeks, the two of them kept missing each other.  Secretly, Grace thought Truman was avoiding her after what happened before he left for school.  Honestly, she didn’t know why he should be embarrassed.  She was the one that totally humiliated herself by telling him how she felt.  It wasn’t his fault that he didn’t feel the same way back.

Truman studied Grace’s face.  He knew her as well as he knew his sister, and something was obviously wrong.  “Are you okay?”

Trying to smile, Grace said, “Sure.”  But it was too much.  Truman had always been her version of a knight in shining armor.  After everything that happened tonight, her emotions were much closer to the surface than she thought, and the avalanche took them both by surprise.

Tucking her head down, she leaned in and used him as her anchor.  True to form, he gathered her close and waited for the storm to pass. 
After, looking up through swollen, red-rimmed eyes she asked, “Have you been avoiding me?  Because it feels like you’ve been avoiding me.”

Truman smiled.  That’s what he loved about Grace, always got right to the point.  You never had to guess what she was thinking or feeling, and she never apologized for it. 

“Yeah, kinda.”

Using his chest for leverage, Grace pushed herself away and stood up.  Scrubbing her face with both hands, she moved to the opposite side of the large porch and leaned against the low wall that acted as a railing. 

She sat there for few moments, and he could have sworn he saw her mind actually working.   He imagined all types of gears shifting and spinning. 

Grace’s drank in his features.   Features, that were, as familiar to her as her own.  Truman and Harper both had dark hair, and light, glass green eyes.  It was remarkable really how the combination came out all feminine and soft on Harper, but all masculine and odd angles on Truman.

“I apologized for what happened.  You can’t hold that against me forever.  You’re one of my best friends, and I know you can’t help how you feel.” She had to clear her throat because the tears threatened to rise again. “But I don’t want to lose you as a friend.”

Truman stood up and moved to her because suddenly he needed to hug her.  He wasn’t sure where all of these feelings were coming from, but he was getting used to them.  They started right before he left for school.  They had gone up to the cabin on Lake Geneva for one final week.  He was down at the lake goofing off with friends when Harper and Grace came into view. 

She’d been dressed for a day on the water, just like always, lugging a large bag with snacks and books while Harper carried the small cooler and her guitar.  He could remember the sun bouncing off her hair and the line from a Robert Frost poem coming to him.  And just like that, everything changed

He pretty much avoided her at all costs after that, until the last night when they sat around the bon fire playing music and telling stupid ghost’s stories. 

That was the night she had screwed up her courage to tell him how she felt.  It had been almost eerie, since he had spent the previous days engulfed in the same emotions.  But he was leaving for college, and she was still in high school, and no way did he want to start that up. 

“I don’t think I could stand it if we couldn’t be friends anymore” she added before he folded her into another embrace.  Giving up the fight, she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him back for all she was worth. 

Rubbing her back in a soothing up and down motion he had seen his dad do a thousand times for his mother, he said, “Don’t cry.  Shh.  It’s okay.  You won’t ever lose me as a friend.  I promise.”

Nodding, Grace pulled back and smiled.  “It’s really good to see you.  I missed you.”

“I missed you, too.”

Moving back, Truman looked at Grace and said, “Okay now that we have that cleared up.  What the hell is going on with you and Harper?”

Okay, you know the drill.  Tell us what you think, because yes, Karla does lurk here to see what you guys are saying.  Make sure you swing by again tomorrow so you can catch her latest installment.  She is posting early again this week since Thursday is Thanksgiving.  I will have a link up to her blog so you don't miss any of it.