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Birthdays, Shopping, Books, Hair and Giveaways! Good Grief!

October 29, 2022

Did you know Ivory likes pretzels almost as much as me?

It has been a long week, and I am very glad to be back home.  I am not really into long shopping trips, yet this week, I’ve been on three, one to Michigan to pick up food items my family can’t get locally (5.5 hours up, 5.5 hours back, the same day and a two – hour break to do the actual loading; next day Dan went to go buy a new to him car, and so did Scott- and then I went into Westerville, about 50 miles from here, to do a little Christmas shopping.  I am about shopped out.

However, I promised to tell you about the escapade of last Friday afternoon in which this little old lady went to a salon for the first time since before the lockdown to try and tame her hair.  I found a lovely shop that came highly recommended to me and, well, let’s look at this logically.

This is a before of my hair:  and this is not on a bad hair day! It’s somewhat thin and blows everywhere even without static electricity or breezes. Sort of like Medusa without the snakes.
And this is during the process:  yes, a little hysterical looking but I brought my Kindle with me to read during the in-between times.
It’s much tamer now!

And then, when it first came out, the curls looked a mite like they belonged to a sheep who had stuck its tail into a Van de Graff machine-I did not take a picture of that:  I was frankly afraid it would encourage it to stay that way, by making it feel entitled or some such thing, and I really have no sheep blood in me, and I didn’t want to look like one.  However, the stylist chuckled and started doing things to my head with my back to the mirror and when she was done, I looked a little bit like Ben Franklin, which is much better than a sheep or what it was before, so I am satisfied. What do you think? It does not blow into my face when I garden and best of all the CBW can’t get hold of it in her little chubby hands and pull on it so easily.

And although I am not a vain person, having a birthday, as I did this week, makes one wonder just how long one shall be on this old earth and want to get more done.  I just wanted to let you know I shall shortly be releasing a new cozy mystery named Criminally, Lovingly Cross-stitched.  It’s book two in The Melody’s Zoo series and I think you’ll enjoy it.  I’ve just seen the mock-up of the cover and it’s great.  There will be a proper release shortly but here is just a chapter to help you get involved with the people:

Matt was dancing at the reception with his brand new as of thirty minutes ago wife.

“It was a lovely ceremony,” she smiled at him.

“Yes, it was.”

“And in two hours we’ll be heading to our honeymoon. Our flight leaves at 5 and we’ll be at our cottage by eight tonight, in time to have coffee on the balcony overlooking the Smokies.” Mark cleared his throat.

“Well, actually, our flight leaves at 5:30 and goes north.”

“What?” she asked. “North?”

“Yeah, I was talking to the agent at the travel bureau and found out if we added a stop, we got a really good discount from the airlines, so I did.” He swirled her around as they danced, trying to change the subject with physical activity. She didn’t buy it.

“Oh, OK. Where’s this stop?”

“Fairbanks, Alaska.” She stopped dancing. “Say what?”

“Fairbanks. They have a special tour to see the aurora borealis. I’ve always wanted to see the Northern lights, and we can take a few days there, stay in a cabin, ride in a dog sled, maybe even see polar bears by the town dump and go out each night to take pictures with a professional nature photographer who is doing shoots of the lights and we just sort of tag along and take pictures. Then we catch a flight to the Smokies and spend the rest of the time there.”

“Polar bears in a dump? On my honeymoon?”

“Well, yeah, you don’t get up close.”

“What am I supposed to wear in Alaska?”

“I guess maybe we pack coats.”

“Do you have any idea how cold it is in Alaska?”

“I checked. Fairbanks in May averages 60 degrees in the day, thirty at night. We’ll be just a little north of there. Once we land in Fairbanks, we get in a bush plane and go farther north so city lights don’t keep us from seeing the natural lights. We sled dog over to the cabins. I’ve never driven one of those and you just get to ride all bundled up, so it ought to be fine. We stay in the cabin with the photographer for 3 nights and he flies us back.”

“Do they even have indoor plumbing in these places? What am I supposed to wear? We stay in the photographer’s cabin? No privacy?”

“Casey packed you some stuff and it’s already been sent up. I got a text that it arrived and he has it ready for us. I didn’t ask about the plumbing; I didn’t think of that. It’s AAA approved housing so I suspect it has a bathroom.”

“What? You don’t know for sure?” Casey and Brad danced over.

“I take you’re telling her of the little change in plans?”

“Change of plans?” asked Aurora. “You knew about this?”

“Yes, don’t worry. It’s all legit and it’s going to be fun,” smiled her friend Casey. “I already packed you and we shipped the clothing you’ll need and Matt’s cameras already; Brad checked and the guy has them on his plane waiting. You’re all set.” Aurora’s face was a study in emotions. She spoke slowly. “Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t you and Brad go to Hawaii for your honeymoon?”

“Yes, we did and it was wonderful.”

“And you don’t see anything wrong with you all shanghaiing me to the land of polar bears, sled dogs, whale blubber eating natives and glaciers?”

Brad looked uneasily at his wife. “She doesn’t sound thrilled.”

“Honey, your name is Aurora and I thought you’d like to see what an aurora actually looked like.” started her husband. Seeing her face, he shut up, swallowed a couple times, and took a deep breath.

“I abhor cold weather. How could I possibly like Alaska on a honeymoon? I packed for the Smokies, not wilderness camping.” she protested.

“Maybe, I’d better go get you some punch.” suggested Brad. “Matt, maybe you ought to come too?”

“No, you don’t. Whose idea was this, anyway?” demanded Aurora. Brad’s mother had come over. Aurora’s dad came over. The pastor came over.

“Dear, it’s not a bad thing. You get three weeks honeymoon and get to see more stuff.” started Brad’s mom. “You’ll be making great memories. And you can get Alaska souvenirs. I’m pretty sure they have shopping up there.”

“I don’t need more stuff. I want to go, come back and move into my new home. I need to get settled in before the school year and set up for the first semester.” Aurora stated.

“About that; they ran into a little snag so we can’t move in anyway for three weeks. It’s nothing bad, the contractors are a little behind. I figured we might as well have another week off before we settled into the heavy lifting of marriage.”

“Heavy lifting?” she asked. Her eyebrows approached her hair line.

“Not the best way to put it, brother,” Brad replied, sipping on his punch. “Drink?”

“When were you going to let me know?” she demanded.

“I thought maybe it would be a nice surprise? Anyway, the extra week was either to Needles, California, in a desert, which I didn’t think we’d like or Cancun and I didn’t know if you had a passport.”

“So you took freezing instead of warm? You didn’t even ask my opinion?”

Aurora’s dad came over and put his arm around her shoulders. “Dear, I want you to think of something. Neither of you are used to having to include anyone else in their decisions. You are both in love. There are going to be glitches. They aren’t worth destroying what you’ve started to build.”

“And you’re telling me to be a good sport and go to Alaska?”

“That’s the general idea.”

“I could also wait until he comes back from his little escapade and we could go on the honeymoon then,” she said with a decided frown. “No one ever said you had to take the honeymoon right after the wedding. I have classroom stuff to set up and could get a lot done in the peace and quiet of the apartment. The lease doesn’t run out until the end of the month.” She took a deep breath. “I just can’t believe you were all in this and thought it was OK and no one said a thing to me.” Matt’s mouth dropped open and he looked helplessly at his mother and brother-in-law.

Jed Miller and Amelia Armstrong joined the rapidly deteriorating wedding group. They carried a tray of punch.

“Hey, guys, it’s time to go over and cut the cake,” Amelia smiled.

“Dad,” started Aurora. “If I let him get away with this boner this time, what’s going to happen next time? Are we going to actually be equals in this marriage? Am I going to have any input in this marriage?”

His dad drew her away from the others. “I think you just married a young man who had all the good intentions of the world, didn’t want you to be unhappy that the house wasn’t completely finished, and thought he had a good way out of it. Would you have liked Needles?”

“I have no idea. I’m not even sure where it’s located.”

“He knows you love science. Have you ever had the chance to see the northern lights?”

“No. But shouldn’t he have at least mentioned it before we got married?”

“Probably, but you know, the wedding preparations were taking a lot of your time, the groom is supposed to plan the honeymoon and he just sort of made a short, maybe good, maybe bad choice at the travel office. You’ve been charging around like a whirling dervish getting the wedding all done, and he made a decision so you wouldn’t need to. Think seriously, since it’s not freezing this time of year, wouldn’t you rather go someplace you’d never been for a little bit to see something you’d never seen before instead of sit in an apartment missing him? The rest of the honeymoon is at that place you both wanted so badly to go; that’s still in place just a week later. I’d say cut him some slack, don’t bring it up again, don’t do anything silly or rash, and you’re going to be fine. You have a cake to cut.” She shook her head. “Polar bears at the town dump? Alaska. I can’t believe it.” She looked down a moment. “OK, reframing this. I can take photos, I can use them in the classroom, and I can still write in my journal. I’ll have to see if we are coming home in between to pick up our southern stuff. I need to repack the carry-on. We’ll need to leave the reception a little early, and I won’t have time to open the gifts until I get back. Can you see they are all put in the new house so when I return, I can write the thank you notes? I went to the house just last week and it didn’t look to me like it was behind. Just pile them all in one room and cover them with a tarp.”

“There are three envelopes you need to take with you to open. There is cash in them and you’ll need it on your trip. I’ll get them sorted out and slip them into your car.”

“Thanks, dad.”

“That’s my girl. Now straighten up, fix your smile and let’s go cut cake.”

In the meantime, the pastor was talking to the groom.

“It’s after wedding jitters, that’s all,” he was consoling Matt. “Let her dad talk her down a little. You’re going to have differences in your marriage, you need to weather them and you need to remember for future reference your bride needs to be included on all the big decisions.”

“I really screwed up, didn’t I?” he said a little shakily. He downed one drink of punch, then another, and chucked down a third as Jed watched in admiration.

“Good thing that stuff’s virgin or you’d be out right now.” He declared. “I was able to stop the guys from spiking it with shine. I got some here under the table if you need a snort.  Now get over to the cake table. You guys need to get it cut so everyone can eat and you can leave.”

“I’m not sure Aurora is going to come.” He looked over to where her dad was still speaking earnestly to her. She looked down, shaking her head, then stood up straighter and turned to walk over to the cake table. He hastened to her side; the photographer took shots of them holding the knife together. They each served each other a bite; for the record, she did not shove a piece in his face, though the temptation was almost overwhelming. Her servers took over the disassembly of the cake and the cutting of the pieces for guests. She and her new husband went to their table and were served their lunch, ate cake, and the rest of the reception went smoothly. The bride asked to go home to change her clothing and at 2:30, she was whisked off by Casey to make last-minute changes. The groom showed up at her place at 4:00 to pick her and her luggage up. The drive to the airport was uneventful and tomb-like quiet; they got checked in and on their Air Alaska flight.

On the front step, Casey held in her hand a cross-stitch Christmas ornament she had found hanging on the front door as she waved goodbye to her friends. She had looked carefully and found nothing else amiss, no footprints, no body, no graffiti, no disturbance of any kind, just an ornament. She headed back to the reception to give it to Brad and help clean up.


And I am working on a new series for January-it’s sort of sci-fi/shifter but sweet, and everything from Bigfoot to Nessie is involved.  Keep watching the thoughts page; there will be more to come.

Fall has been lovely here!

And now it’s time for this writer to get a shower, get to bed, and be ready for her birthday party on the morrow.  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway on the gifts page-the more the merrier!  Blessings and peace to all.

And the more grandkids running in the backfield, the better!
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