Thursday, November 6th, 2003 • 1 Comment
I love autumn. Autumn makes me want to bake. Baking is good. Cookies are good. I baked some kickass oatmeal raisin cookies tonight. I mean, they’re not chocolate, but they’re still pretty good. Oatmeal cookies just seem like a good autumn cookie, you know?
If you want to make some truly excellent oatmeal cookies, here is the recipe:
Kristina’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (inspired by Mrs. Field’s Oatmeal Raisin Chews)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
1 cup salted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups raisins
Yield: Approx. 3 1/2 dozen cookies
Preheat oven to 300 F.
-In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt and oats. Mix well.
-In a large bowl, mix sugars with an electric mixer set at medium speed. Add butter and mix until sugar and butter are well blended. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add honey, vanilla and eggs. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.
-Add the flour mixture and raisins. Blend at a low speed until just combined. Do not overmix.
-Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet, 1 1/2 inches apart.
-Bake for 20-22 minutes or until cookies are light golden brown. Transfer cookies to a cool, flat surface immediately.
-You can use all dark or light brown sugar if you don’t have one or the other.
-I used fancy cinnamon-covered raisins from Dole. They add a nice cinnamon flavor to the cookies.
Wednesday, November 5th, 2003 • No Comments
I broke 10,000 tonight on my NaNoWriMo book. Woooo. 40,000 to go.
Chapter Four is below. I think I’m starting to flouder. It’s too early to flounder. I can’t start floundering until I’m 3/4ths the way through. Oh well. Can you tell I’m not exactly thrilled with what I’m writing right now? I think it’s just a mood. Hopefully some good stuff will come to me soon. In the meantime, I’m just glad to make my daily word count.
After my desperate e-mail to Jeanette, I stripped off my blouse and hung it on the doorknob so I could rinse it out and threw on my robe until I could figure out what to wear. Of course, it wasn’t like I had a lot of clothing options. I didn’t care if Grandma yelled at me in front of the entire population of Truhart (and how many could that be, really?), I was not putting on that ugly pink dress.
I had come to the conclusion I was going to have to wear jeans and risk Grandma’s wrath when someone knocked at the door. I figured it was my mother, so I hollered, “Come in, if you dare.”
The door opened and the girl who had been with Wade and Darren came in. She was carrying a white plastic bag. “Um, hi. I’m Kaitlin.”
“Hey,” I said, wondering if this was some sort of country initiation thing. Was she going to douse me in red paint and then run back to tell her friends? “What’s up?”
She closed the door behind her and just stood there. “Well, I heard your grandmother yelling at you.”
I made a face. “I think everyone in the room heard her yelling at me.”
Kaitlin nodded. “Probably everyone in Truhart.”
She said it so seriously, I couldn’t help but laugh. “Yeah. That’s my Grandma. Leave it to her to embarrass me in front of thirty people I don’t know.”
“Well, so, your mom said something about how you didn’t really have many clothes and I felt bad.”
I held up my hand. I had to set this girl straight. “I’ve got clothes,” I said. “They’re just on a moving truck on the way from Florida.”
Kaitlin looked sort of flustered and being flustered seemed to make her talk a mile a minute. “Oh, gosh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that you didn’t have clothes, of course you have clothes, it’s just that you don’t have any clothes with you and I thought maybe you might want to borrow this.” She thrust the bag at me, but I was standing across the room so I had to go take it from her.
I looked at the bag suspiciously. It was nice thought and all, but I was afraid of what might be in the bag. A church dress? A pair of overalls? Who knew? But I didn’t want to be rude when she’d been so nice, so I looked inside. “What is it?”
Kaitlin laughed. “It’s a dress. Mom took me shopping in Richmond today and I bought that. We haven’t been home, so it was still in the car.”
“Oh.” I pulled the dress out of the bag and was pleasantly surprised. The fabric was okay, some sort of rayon blend, and the bluish-green color was nice, if not something I’d pick out. I held it up to me and it looked like it would come right about my knees, which wasn’t too bad. I had been expecting some sort of floor length nightgown-ish thing. “Thanks.”
“It’s probably a little small for you,” she said, blushing, “because you’re bigger in the chest and all, but it should be okay for tonight, don’t you think?”
I looked at the frumpy yellow and white dress she was wearing and compared it to the soft, flowing ocean colored dress in my hands. “Um, yeah. But can I ask you something?”
Kaitlin seemed very happy that I’d agreed to wear her dress. “Sure. Anything!”
I wasn’t sure how to put it. “Well, this is an awesome dress and all, but why do you look like you’re going to church when you obviously have taste?”
That didn’t seem to hurt her feelings, which was good because I really didn’t want to hurt someone who’d been so nice. “Oh, this?” She made a face. “We visited my great aunt at the nursing home on our way to Richmond and she made this for me. I wanted to go home and change, but Mom said we didn’t have time.”
That made sense. “Thanks, Kaitlin. You saved me.”
“Well, Wade said—” She stopped mid-sentence and turned beet red.
“What did Wade say?”
She shook her head. “Just that he didn’t think you’d borrow anything from me and that I’d be crazy to come up here.”
It was starting to make sense. “He dared you?”
“Yeah, sorta. But I wanted to loan you the dress. Honest.”
I believed her. “Thanks. I really appreciate it.”
She left me alone and I put the dress on. It didn’t go with my boots, but I had a pair of platforms that looked great with it. There was absolutely nothing wrong with how I looked, but I prepared myself for more of my grandmother’s screeching when I went downstairs.
My mother was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs. “What a pretty dress. Kaitlin seems very nice.”
I’d been in Truhart for two days and my mother was already snooping in my life. “She is very nice and I’m glad she had something I could borrow. Maybe Grandma will stay off my back now.”
As if she’d been waiting for me to say her name, I saw Grandma come barreling up behind Mom, with a tray of some sort of tarts or pies or something. “Well, that’s better. Awful proud of them knockers though, aren’t you? Everything you wear is tight.”
I closed my eyes and pleaded for the ground to open up and swallow me. It didn’t happen. The only thing that kept me from stalking out of the house was the fact that the party had gotten a little louder and I was pretty sure no one but Mom had heard her.
“Can we just please get through this night without any more arguments or criticisms?” my mother asked.
Grandma looked at me and raised one eyebrow perfectly, just liked I’d been trying to learn. “I don’t have to argue,” she said. “I’m always right.”
She headed off to the pantry and I exchanged a look with my mother. We weren’t the closest mother and daughter I knew, but at that exact moment I could have sworn I knew what she was thinking.
“We need to get out of this house as soon as possible,” I said, taking a guess.
She just looked at me and nodded.
Thankfully, the party ended without anyone spilling anything on me, laughing at me or otherwise embarrassing me. Mostly because Grandma holed up in the kitchen with some of her cronies while the people Mom’s age stayed in the parlor. Everyone under twenty eventually ended up outside on the porch. I pretty much stayed quiet and listened to them talk about what they’d been doing over the summer and decided that Truhart was a million miles away from Miami. Which meant it was a million miles away from where I wanted to be.
“Honey, what are you still doing up?”
I had changed out of Kaitlin’s dress and was wearing a Miami Dolphins jersey my father had gotten for me on my last birthday. I shrugged. “Waiting for Jeanette to call. She promised she’d call me tonight.” That was a little fib, since I hadn’t heard from Jeanette since I left Miami. That was starting to bug me, but I wasn’t about to tell my mother that.
“Well, you need to get to bed. It’s been a long night.”
I didn’t respond and she closed the door. It was only a little after midnight, so I dialed Jeanette’s cell phone. I still hadn’t remembered to add the area code to my speed dial numbers.
Jeanette answered, finally. “Hey, girl,” she said. “I was just getting ready to call you.”
“That’s weird, because it sounds like you’re half asleep.” I was grumpy and taking it out on Jeanette, but it was her fault for not calling me. I needed her to help me get through this insanity. “Where have you been? Aren’t you checking your e-mail?”
“Whoa, Jules. Stop with the twenty questions, I’m tired.” Jeanette yawned loudly. “I was up early for that interview, which you knew about and didn’t bother to call me and wish me luck.”
I curled up on my bed and tucked the phone between my ear and my pillow. “I know and I’m sorry. You wouldn’t believe how awful it’s been since I got here. First my mother has gone psycho and this town is like something out of the 1950s and my grandmother, don’t even get me started about her—”
“Geez, Jules, suck it up already. I mean, I had to listen to two months of this while you were here.” Jeanette took a deep breath. “I’m sorry it sucks lemons there, but things aren’t great here, either.”
She was making me feel like the worst friend in the world and the truth was, she was right. I had been obsessing about moving to Virginia from the moment my mother had gotten the hair-brained scheme into her head. But still, it felt like I needed Jeanette even more now.
“I’m sorry, I just don’t have anyone else to talk to,” I said, hating how pathetic that sounded. “I figured you’ve got a whole crew of people to whine to and I’ve got just you. And Josh, if he’d ever call me back.”
Another yawn from Jeanette. “Yeah, well, I’m sorry. I’m just really, really tired. Can I call you back tomorrow?”
“Yeah.” I felt like crying. I really needed to talk to her, but I wouldn’t ask again. “I’ll probably be out back plowing the field or something.”
Jeanette laughed. “Oh, Jules, you crack me up. I’ll call you tomorrow. Promise.”
I tossed my cell phone on the table and squeezed my pillow into a tiny little ball under my cheek, refusing to let myself cry. It didn’t work. I hadn’t been gone a week yet and I already felt like I was losing my best friend.
The weekend was a bust of wandering around looking for stuff to do and trying to avoid my grandmother. She seemed determined to make me into some little doll she could dress up and show off to her friends and I was having none of it.
My mother rescued me on Monday and said she’d drop me off in the downtown area of Truhart and let me walk around while she ran errands for Grandma. I’d begged her to take me to Richmond, but she said that would have to wait until next weekend. Walking around Truhart seemed like a slightly better option than staying home alone with my grandmother, so I grudgingly agreed. If nothing else, maybe I could find some decent conditioner.
As we drove into the downtown area of Truhart, I felt like I was in some old- fashioned movie, except everything was in color. There was a little grocery store called Minnie’s Grocer and a pharmacy called Buckler’s. A laundromat, a bakery, a farm and feed store (whatever that was), two antique stores, some sort of fabric store and, thankfully, one hair salon. Of course, with a name like Belva’s Hair Palace I wasn’t expecting much, but I was hoping they’d at least have some good conditioner.
Mom dropped me at the corner of Main Street and Tinwhistle Lane, right in front of the big brick town hall building. “Be careful and call me on your cell phone if you want me to come pick you up. Otherwise, I’ll meet you in front of the pharmacy at five. Be careful. Truhart is a nice little town, but you’re still a fifteen year old girl.”
“I hear you, Mom.” I looked around to make sure no one was hearing this little lecture. “See you at five.”
She drove off and I started walking. I didn’t know how in the world I was going to kill four hours in Truhart’s little metro-center, but it beat hanging out with my grandmother. I hit the hair salon first. The bell over the door jingled as I went in. There were two women under hair dryers with their hair up in big curlers and one woman in a chair, getting her long hair cut by another woman with really short hair. Not one of the women in there was younger than my mother.
“Hey sugar, have a seat and I’ll be with you in a minute,” the stylist said. “Gracie called in sick and it’s been just me all day.”
I didn’t know who Gracie was, but I was quickly learning that people in small towns really liked to tell you stuff. I sat down in one of the chairs by the window and leafed through an old copy of Self. I heard laughter and looked up to see a four girls walking by outside. Suddenly, I felt like an outcast. I hadn’t really wanted to accept the fact that I was actually living in a new state, but Mom had made it pretty clear we weren’t moving back to Florida. Which meant for the first time since kindergarten, I was going to start the school year without friends.
It was enough to make tears come to my eyes and I brushed them away angrily. I was funny, I was smart, I had lots of friends in Florida. Even if Truhart was the last place in the world I wanted to be, surely I’d make a couple of friends.
“Okay, sweetie, what can I do for you?” It figured that the stylist chose that moment to walk over. “You all right, darlin’?”
I blinked my eyes quickly and tried to smile. “Allergies.”
She didn’t look like she believed me, but shrugged. “I hear ya, mine are usually bad in the spring, but summer is nasty, too.”
I didn’t really want to discuss my non-existent allergies. “I was wondering if you carry Bed Head conditioners?”
She wrinkled her nose at me. “No, can’t say that I do.”
“How about Catwalk?”
She shook her head.
“Well, what do you have?” I asked, after she said no to my third, fourth and fifth favorite conditioners.
She led me to the back of the salon and showed me a shelf of hair care products. “Here you go.”
Other than Paul Mitchell, I didn’t recognize any of the names. I picked up one of the PM’s and handed it to her. “I guess I’ll take this one.”
“Oh, honey, you don’t want that. Not for that beautiful curly hair,” she said. “Try this.”
She thrust a bright yellow bottle at me. “You will love what this does for your hair.”
“Curl Magic,” I said, reading the label. “Guaranteed to give your curls the life and bounce you deserve.”
The stylist nodded. “It’s the best.”
Clearly, I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I was starting to think my grandmother’s bossy behavior was a trait shared by a lot of the women in Truhart. “Okay.”
“Say, are you Tess Baker’s granddaughter?” she asked as she rung me up.
I nodded. “Yeah, how’d you know?”
“You’re the spittin’ image of your grandmother. Tell the old witch I said hello.”
I was still reeling from the idea that I looked like my grandmother and it took me a minute to respond. “What’s your name?”
“Oh, I’m Belva,” she said with a laugh. “I own the place. And since I do, you need to come back in a week for a cut, on the house. That mane of yours is a little unruly.”
I didn’t bother arguing with her. Joseph at Hair Asylum was the only one I ever let touch my hair. There was no way I was going to let anyone else cut my hair, even if I had to wait until Christmas break to get a trim.
“Thanks, ” I said, making a quick escape. I wasn’t looking where I was going and ran smack into someone. “Oops, sorry.”
“Julia! Hey!” It was Kaitlin, with two other girls.
“Oh, hi Kaitlin. Sorry about that.” I smiled at the two other girls, but they seemed to be doing their best to ignore me. “Hi, ” I said. “I’m Julia Carmichael.”
“This is Melanie and Jenny,” Kaitlin said when neither girl responded. “They’re sisters.”
They both kind of rolled their eyes. “C’mon, Kaitlin, I’m starving,” said Melanie. Or maybe it was Jenny. Hard to be sure when Kaitlin hadn’t made it clear which was which.
“We’re going to Buckler’s for milkshakes,” Kaitlin said. “Want to come?”
Maybe it was because I already knew Kaitlin, sort of, from my grandmother’s house. Or maybe it was because Melanie and Jenny were making it very obvious they didn’t want o me to go. Whatever the reason, I nodded and said, “Sure. Sounds great.”
Wednesday, November 5th, 2003 • No Comments
I feel like all I’m doing is writing about NaNoWriMo, which is probably true. It is taking up a lot of my free time this week, but I’m still in the first blush of infatuation with this whole notion of writing a book in a month.
I’ve done the book-in-a-week thing a couple of times, but who are we kidding? No one writes a book in a week (okay,
no one) and the entire process is mostly just a writing exercise to get you out of your rut. This, however, is different. Fifty thousand words in a month is entirely do-able. They may not be great words, but I can do that. Of course, I’ve been up until 3 or 4 in the morning every night since Friday, so that’s given me a lot of time to write. We’ll see how that changes come the weekend when I have to work.
Still, if you’re a writer or an aspiring writer, NaNoWriMo offers a great opportunity at making some headway on whatever ideas are churning around in your brain. And if you happen to work best under a deadline (which I do), even better.
Chapter 3 of my still untitled work in progress is below. It’s all crap, but it’s on paper and I can fix it later. Hopefully.
Just when I thought my life couldn’t get any worse, my grandmother insisted I had to dress for her party. I figured that meant changing out of my grungy jeans and into clean ones. But no, she meant I had to actually wear a dress. Ack.
It was bad enough I’d spent three hours dusting every book, knick-knack and piece of furniture downstairs, breaking a nail in the process, I might add, but now I had to actually put on a stupid dress that would meet Grandma’s approval. What were the odds of that?
I stared at my meager wardrobe, annoyed that my mother had made me pack seventy-five percent of my clothing. She’d insisted I wouldn’t need much for the two weeks it took for the moving van to arrive, so I was pretty much limited to jeans and tank tops. I had one dress in the bunch, a hideous pink thing my mother insisted I pack in case Grandma wanted to drag us to church. I was not wearing that in front of my potential classmates, no matter how nerdy and country they might be. Heck, I’d probably fit right in if I wore that disgusting thing and that was not something I intended to do.
“Aren’t you dressed yet?” my mother asked, popping her head around the doorway. “Guests will be arriving in thirty minutes.”
Just then, Grandma screeched, “I need help down here! These canapes aren’t going to stuff themselves.”
I didn’t know what a canape was, but I definitely knew where Grandma could stuff it.
“I have nothing to wear,” I said, trying to maintain calm.
I didn’t even know why I cared. It wasn’t like I wanted to impress Grandma’s stupid friends. But it was my first chance to meet anyone in Truhart and I wanted them to know I wasn’t some hick from the country. I was a Miami beach babe and I was above square dancing and horseshoes, or whatever passed for entertainment around here.
“Just put on your church dress. It’s perfectly fine and you look lovely in it.”
I fought very hard not to make a gagging noise, but I was thinking about it. “Mother, that dress is two years old and I hate it. I cannot wear that tonight.”
She shook her head. “Julia, you’ve been difficult since we got here. Please, I’m begging you, just get dressed and come downstairs. I’m going to help your grandmother before she blows a gasket.”
I was so stunned at my mother using the phrase �blows a gasket’ that I could only stand there gaping as she walked away. Maybe I wasn’t the only one a little on edge about this party.
When I regained my faculties, I remembered that I did have a choice besides the stupid pink dress. I dug through the pile of clothes I’d dumped in the bottom of the tiny closet (what’s with old houses that have fifty gazillion bedrooms, but practically no closet space?) and pulled out my black pleather skirt. It wasn’t a dress, but it would have to do. It was also the wrong season for pleather, but I doubted anyone in TruHick
would know anything about fashion.
I finally decided on the peach blouse that accentuated my skin tone and the highlights in my hair. A pair of ankle boots, a little makeup and I was ready to party. Okay, I was ready to meet the good citizens of the dinky little town my mother had moved me to.
My timing was perfect. Just as I was putting on a second coat of mascara, I heard the doorbell ring. Good. Grandma would be so busy with her guests, she wouldn’t have time to freak over my outfit. And since my mother was so busy trying to make my grandmother happy, I figured she’d just be thrilled I was dressed and present.
I got an attack of the butterflies as I came down the stairs. It was ridiculous to be nervous, I told myself. Maybe it was just hunger. I hadn’t had much to eat since I’d gotten there since Grandma seemed fond of fried and breaded food. That stuff will kill ya.
I heard voices in the parlor and made my entrance, careful to toss my hair back just as I walked through the door. It was supposed to improve my posture and give me a last minute boost of confidence. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I really needed it to work tonight.
“There’s Julia,” m mother said to about six people standing around. I could tell by her tight little smile she wasn’t happy. “I thought you were going to wear the pink dress?”
I could fake smile as well as she could. “No, Mother, I said I was going to pick something else to wear.”
I kept my smile plastered on my face as I looked around. There was definitely a couple of blue hairs, a woman about my mother’s age, a girl who had to be in middle school and two guys who looked like they might be close to my age, maybe a little older. One of the guys looked awfully yummy in jeans and an Old Navy T-shirt, the other looked about like what I expected TruBumpkin teens to look like, complete with a ball cap that said John Deere. The girl barely looked at me, she was busy staring at the yummy guy. She was wearing a dress that looked an awful lot like the hideous thing upstairs on my bed. The boy in the hat said something to her and she looked in my direction and giggled.
I didn’t have time to analyze that because the doorbell rang again and another mini-herd came through. In about twenty minutes, the entire parlor was filled, which was saying something since it was about the size of my old house. I lost my mother in the crowd and Grandma seemed to have barricaded herself in the kitchen because I kept hearing people asking for her.
There were a bunch of people my age or close to it, but no one bothered to say hello. I thought maybe they were waiting for me to do it, but then I figured it wasn’t even my house, so why should I have to make the first move? I mean, when a new kid started at Miami High, they were usually the most popular kid in the class for awhile. As far as I could see, they should be making the effort to be my friends, not the other way around.
I made my way to the edge of the room where the drink table was set up. I’d made sure to put out my favorite sodas, all diet. I really just wanted to disappear into my room and not come out until the crowd went home, but I figured I’d hear about it from now until I graduated. Hopefully everyone would go home and I could watch a couple episodes of Buffy and decompress, as my dad’s girlfriend Amanda is fond of saying.
I was pouring a glass of diet Pepsi when someone bumped me from behind, spilling my cup down the front of my peach blouse. “Geez, watch what you’re doing, will you?” I said, mopping at my blouse with a napkin. I’d have to change now. The blouse was a thin fabric and the soda had made it almost transparent. Which might have been great if Josh was there, but I wasn’t feeling all that generous with the boys from Truhart.
I turned around to see the fox from before. Well, at least he was a fox by TruHick standards, I amended. “I’m going to have to change,” I said, annoyed that he hadn’t even apologized.
“Yeah, I was thinking it was a little early for you to be dressed like that,” he said with a grin.
I didn’t like the way he was staring at my chest, fox or no. “Dressed like what?”
“Like a pumpkin. Halloween isn’t for another three months.”
I just stared at him. “I do not look like a pumpkin,” I informed him. “This is peach, not orange. Not that you’d know the difference here in TruHick, Virginia.”
He just laughed at me, flashing a row of perfectly straight, white teeth. “I’m just messing with you, don’t get your panties in a twist.”
“Excuse me, will you?” I said as coldly as I could manage.
He did this kind of fake bow thing and stepped out of my way. “Sure. Wouldn’t want you to ruin your Halloween costume.”
I stalked past him and into the hall. Someone grabbed me and for a minute I thought it was him. I spun around, ready to use a couple of kickboxing moves Jeanette’s brother Eric had shown me, but it wasn’t the jerk with the pretty white teeth. It was his buddy, the ball cap wearing hick.
“Hey, wait,” he said.
I gave him a withering stare. “Take your hand off me or you’ll lose a knee cap.”
He let me go and took a couple steps back. I resisted the urge to smile. “I just wanted to apologize for Wade. He can be a jerk sometimes.”
“Sometimes?” I asked, practicing the one eyebrow raised look.
“Yeah. He’s an okay guy once you get to know him. I’m Darren, by the way. Wade’s cousin.” He held out his hand. When I ignored it, he left it fall. “Anyway, I just wanted to meet you. Not many people move to Truhart.”
“I bet an awful lot move away, though.”
His grin kind of faltered. “I don’t know. I think most people like it here.”
“I’m not most people.”
Darren kind of stared at me for a minute, like I was speaking a foreign language and he was trying to translate it. “Gotcha. I guess Wade was right.”
I put my hand on my hip. “About what?”
“Well, he said you looked like a snooty little princess who thought she was better than everyone else.” Darren shook his head. “I told him you were probably just shy and needed to get to know us first. But I can see Wade was right. Have a nice stay in Truhart. Maybe if you’re lucky your mom will pack you up and take you back to Miami where you belong.”
It was my turn to stare as he turned around and walked away. It was little comfort to see that he was wearing Wrangler jeans. Somehow, being insulted by someone who had absolutely no sense of fashion was just as painful as being insulted by someone who did.
“Sweet God in heaven, what are you wearing girl?”
My grandmother’s screech cut through the party chatter like a dagger to my heart. I’d made it up four stairs to my room when she spotted me. I wanted to just run the rest of the way, but I had a mental picture of her screaming after me and the whole crowd staring. It seemed easier to just talk to her for a minute and let her know I was going to hide in my room for the rest of the night.
“I got soda on my blouse. I’m going to change.”
“You sure are,” she said, wiping her hands on that painfully bright apron she always wore. “Has your mother seen you?”
“Of course,” I said, a little snappier than I intended.
“And she let you come down here like that? Looking like some street walker?” Grandma shook her head. “I thought she raised you better than that.”
Have I mentioned how my grandmother’s voice carries? I could practically hear a pin drop behind me in the parlor. I just knew everyone was standing there staring at me as my grandmother decided to play grand matriarch of Creepy Manor.
“Grandma, this outfit is very fashionable in Florida,” I said calmly, working my way back up the stairs. I would not, under any circumstances, look behind me. I refused to let anyone in that room think I cared what they thought. “But now I need to go change.”
Grandma huffed and puffed until I thought her cheeks were going to burst. “Put on something that won’t embarrass your mother and me, would you? Your mother has suffered enough humiliation and I’m too old to be explaining to people why my granddaughter looks like a floozy.”
I didn’t dignify that with a response. Never mind that no one had used the word floozy in probably fifty years, but I didn’t really like the way she talked about my mother, especially in front of a room full of people.
I slammed the door to the bedroom a little harder than I intended and waited for more screeching. Thankfully, there was none. Maybe Grandma would go chew out the jerk who’d spilled soda all over me.
Subj: Can you say humiliation?
Date: 07/16/04 8:02:03 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Okay, so I’m barricaded in my room and I refuse to come out until someone slips a plane ticket to Miami under the door. Yes, it’s that bad. I hate this place, I hate these people and all I want to do is go HOME. There is a crowd of people downstairs who just witnessed my humiliation at the hands of my grandmother and now I’m supposed to go back down and face them. No, I can’t do it. I refuse. Not even if one of them is a stone fox.
I miss you. I miss Josh. I miss the beach. I miss my pool. I even miss my father, believe it or not. I do not miss Amanda, not yet anyway.
I need e-mail. I need a lifeline to the real world. Call me tonight, I’ll be up late making an escape ladder out of bed sheets. I am so not joking.