Merry Christmas week!

Hello dearest readers,

Tina and I shall return next week with our regularly scheduled silliness. We wish everyone a fabulous holiday season and a merry newish year!

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Tarts

Tina here!

So when drawing a blank I like to use random generators to give me a kick in the pants to start writing. Here is one of my favorites of these kick in the pants.

A woman in her eighties, who is very stubborn.

A man in his early twenties, who can be quite wise.

The story begins in a penthouse apartment.

Someone is being cheated.

It’s a story about secrecy.

Your character offers to lend a helping hand

Everything about her was a lie, When she stepped into the room the woman wreaked of fake rose smell. She stood there with her light pale skin dotted with the brilliantly bright red lips and too pink blush. Her cropped blond hair met her earlobes perfectly and circled her head. She had everything in place and the party was in full swing and when the wretched Evalin had invited Martha, she insisted on the dress code. Even if invitation was just to appease the man of the house, Josh. Josh was the up and coming star, on every news station and magazine cover. He could be spotted at the most posh events around town. It just so happened that tonight it was being held in his penthouse apartment. His birthday was to be the party of the year. The sinky Evalin had tried every way she could to talk Josh out of insisting Martha come, but he knew she was needed.

Sliding along the wall Martha tried to hide from the cameras. Everyone was dressed to the nines, but Martha refused to play along. Why should she, she was eighty three and a half and had full rights to her own will of how to dress. She was her own woman and no “dress code” was going to tell her she couldn’t wear her fleecy plaid pants and solid pink top. She knew she didn’t look as posh as everyone else but she didn’t care. You stop caring when you get old, she would say to herself. As if she hadn’t come up with an excuse to her stubborn behavior all her life. That stubborn streak was however what lead to her invitation tonight. Josh had grown up being taken care of by Martha and listening to her no nonsense stories. Martha had a way of seeing past the face that everyone put on and calling them out on it. She didn’t save herself from any trouble or confrontation, but she took great pride in calling it like she saw it. That’s why when she found out about evil Evalin’s plans to make the party about her by forcing an engagement, she went right to Josh. That boy was too smart for his own good sometimes but in this case she had all the facts and had given them all to Josh to plan out. However, Martha was worried that Josh’s kind heart and easy way of living would blind him to the fake face Evalin had on now.

Josh had been schmoozing it up with the media and once his eyes landed on Martha he pulled himself away to walk right over to her. His bright cheerful face was one that sang of happy news and joyful starts. Martha hated it. Why didn’t he listen. Evalin must have started her plan earlier than expected. Just as Josh was within reach of Martha, Evalin swooped in and looped his arm in a vice like grip not too uncommon to that of a vulture.

“Joshie hunnybuns, you just HAVE to come meet the new friend I just made! She is the author of that new hit book, “whatever”, it is getting to be so trendy for not fitting in!” Evalin’s voice dripped with poisonous honey. The kind that would kill even the biggest bears.

She cast a victorious look backwards to Martha as Josh just laughed, “Of course! New ideas and creations must be sought out!”

Martha boiled with the need to say something. This evil red queen had lived long enough. This topsy turvy world Josh lived in now was just too much for Martha to grasp. Why had he invited her, she never had done anything special. She told a quiet, shy little boy about her misadventures as a younger woman. Something to show him hope. He was the one that had taken that and built a whole world around it. If she left now she could fit in a bubble bath before time for bed.

Martha turned for the door and started to slide back across those same walls avoiding the flashing bulbs.

“You know, I think it is time for a toast.” Evalin’s harpy tone invaded the room.

The lights dimmed and a large cake was rolled out into the room. This thing was larger than Martha’s whole bathroom. Who did Evalin buy this cake for? The people in this room would take a plate but none were going to eat it. They were too posh for that. The cake itself was decorated in a white and black theme with bright red roses all over it. Overflowing the top of it really. Who was she kidding? This cake was nothing like Josh. He hated cake, that boy had always demand she make him an ice cream cake every year.

Evalin had gone too far, but her next words almost shattered Martha’s poor 83 and a half year old heart. “Today, we celebrate the life and accomplishments of Josh. He has made the world a better place and if I had never met him I would have never know how kind the world really could be. Thank you Josh for believing in me and showing me how to embrace the world for all it has to offer. For that and so many more reasons, … Josh. Will you marry me?”

Martha stood there as time froze, flashes of light making each second of time seem like photographs being shown quickly to her eyes. Everything was happening right now and she couldn’t solve any of it. Josh stepped up next to Evalin and took the mic in one hand and her waist in the other.

“Evalin, when I met you I was struck by your beauty. The call of my chemical need to talk with you outweighed the calm and logical thought process I had taken years to set up. You rebooted my brain.” The room giggled a bit. “But, once I got to know you and find out who the real Evalin was, I was shocked. This beautiful flower who the world sees could be nothing compared to the real you.”

A video started to play in the background, the audio got louder as everyone turned to look. “LISTEN TO ME. I DON’T CARE IF YOU CHILD IS SICK. You need to get over here and get my nails done now. If your child is so sick drop them off at the ER and get over here.”

Cut to another angle, you can see Evalin and two of her closes Harpies. “Listen, when the money is this good you have to lock that down quick. So, I went to my mother’s office and snagged one of the extra sonograms! With this he will be forced to say yes! Maybe if I get lucky I can get a quick wedding, ball of the year of course, and no prenup!” Evalin tried to rip away from Josh but his hand held firm. Everyone could hear him say, “Wait for this next bit. It is my favorite.” The screen darkened and suddenly Martha was standing on screen. She was in the kitchen finishing up the touches on Josh’s chicken noodle soup. He hadn’t been feeling well that day and Martha knew it would cheer him up. From the corner of the screen you could see the hallway and Evalin could be seen. “You know, with all his money he could have the best doctors here taking care of him but he let’s this nasty old lady come in and bring him disgusting soup. Psh, but what do I care… If he checks out I could claim the cash.” Her curt laughter could be heard as she trails off. In the center of the screen you can see Martha’s face changing colors. Not in shame, but in rage. She calls out in the sweetest tone she can, “Oh Evalin dear, could you come her a moment?” Evalin is seen sulking her way back and perking up as she comes into view of Martha. “Yes Ma’am? How can I help?”

That is when it happens. “Well, you can start by taking your snobby ass shit out of this sweet boy’s house and never coming back.” All said with a sweet smile. Evalin looks gobsmacked. “Excuse me?!” Her face has fallen. Martha goes in for the kill, so to speak. “You heard me you two bit little con artist. YOU. OUT. If that wasn’t simple enough for you how about this, I will be talking to Josh, he will know you for the life sucking pond scum you are, and he will make sure you never get anywhere near him again. Including all those fancy parties you like to drag him to, you infectious, puss sucking, crud licking, ass faced, bottled up piece of shit.” Evalin clearly shocked just stands there. Martha picks up her bag and heads for the door. “Oh, and one more thing, Ppppppppphhhhhh” Martha gives her one last look and walks off.

The lights turn back on and Evalin’s beautifully applied face has started to droop. Makeup running down her cheeks and chin. She looks not sad but ferocious. She looks once at Josh and thinks better looking around the room for her prey. Her flaming eyes land daggers on Martha. The crowd turns to her. Some with looks of amazement or amusement. It is hard to tell which when someone is coming right for you.

“YOU RUINED EVERYTHING YOU EVIL BITCH!” Evalin rears back with an open hand and just as Martha flinches in a knee jerk reaction to getting hit before, a hand grabs Evalin’s, Josh’s security team is there.

Half of them take Evalin and her pre packed bags and walk her past the cameras to the elevator. As the broad men stand there flanking Evalin. Josh taps the mic. Everyone looks up, “ I just wanted to make sure I was clear. That’s a No.” and with that the doors slide shut. The crowd shuffles around a bit shocked. “Please, enjoy some cake, drink free booze and enjoy. Let us not waste what other’s almost never get. If you feel so inclined I will be accepting donations at the bar for the various Charities I work with and be doubling all donations. Enjoy.”

With that Josh sets down the mic on a table and walks away. The music starts up again and everyone goes back to party mode. Martha, no longer shy of the cameras marches right over to where Josh vanished down a hall.

“JOSHUA MARK HIGHTOP. You stop right there young man.” He smirks and turns around. “Now listen,” Martha starts into him with her most authoritative tone. “I did not get all dressed up in my best clothes to have you leave your own party.” Josh cracks a small smile but Martha can see the pain. “Listen Josh, your last date sucked, but good thing you have a backup. Let’s go.” She holds out her arm and Josh, as a good boy he was raised to be, takes it and starts to walk her back.

Josh realized then and there, this woman, a beautiful human of eighty three and a half, is the key to who he is. She shows all the things he grew to love about the world. That no matter how stubborn the world is to change it will bend, but when given a cause, they will band together and fight for those they love. The world, this woman, is stubborn, and for that, he will always love both.

White night

Well, gotta go and be out done by my husband.

Well that just can’t stand! I’ll show him! I am also going to write a holiday inspired short story. Ha, that will show him for trying to give the holidays a little more cheer with his own fantastic shorts.

So, I give you, a White Night.

~~~~~~________________________~~~~~~~

Bethany stood back and admired her hours of work. The house was dressed to the nines and her back screamed with the ache of all the hard work she had put in. The fresh cut tree glittered and shone under the small fariy lights that Bethany had insisted would bring a more magical feel to the tree. Small acorns and pine cones lightly dusted with an iridescent glitter gave a dewy look to the natural ornaments. One of Bethany’s finest works yet. The Zandogas will be so excited when they get home. With that she turned and packed up her bag. The soft light of the new decorations gave a dreamy glow to the room and just as she was shoving her excess of glitter into her bag she saw a glint of light shine off something under the bookcase in the den.

She laughed to herself at how many trinkets she always carried and walked over to retrieve the hidden object. As she got on her knees she looked under and saw a small pair of green eyes. The Zandogas didn’t have any animals. Not with how strict and uptight the mother was. The eyes blinked slowly. Although slightly startled Bethany wasn’t going to look away for a second. She had been the one to argue the merits of a live tree and how the idea of an animal hitching a ride into the house was just silly.

“Come here you little whatever you are.” Bethany didn’t want to touch it but she had to try and get it out.

The eyes focused on her mouth and she got chills crawling down her spine as her voice was echoed back. “Come here you little whatever you are.” A small thin arm shot out and with tiny claw like fingers grabbed onto her nose.

The sudden movement to her face had her eyes slamming shut as her breath caught in her throat. She could feel the small claws latch into her nose tip as she tried to move or open her eyes again she found much to her horror that her whole body had been paralyzed. The claw never moved but she could feel the air around her shift and become cold. She wasn’t sure if the feeling of the floor below her was an illusion due to the loss of feeling or if the moving wind was just her imagination. She could hear small jingles if bells in the distance and small peels of laughter. She could smell a far off smell of fur and pine. Her body shifted from cold to warm as she felt the claws in her nose tip start to retract.

Time had passed slowly as she felt her body reawakening. Her eyes slowly fluttered open and she was caught by surprise by the lush room that surrounded her. Like a room right out of Country Living, plaid, sheepskin and dark wood composed the whole of her surroundings. She looked around for a weapon and exit of some kind. To the far end was a wall full of brimming shelves full of books and knickknacks. She ran her eyes over it as her heart started to quicken. There on a tall shelf was a sword in a glass case.

Bethany ran over and noticed that she was no longer in the clothes she had started the day in. In fact, she was now dressed in a great white ballgown with simmers and sparkles all over the place. She turned this way and that and saw her dress move and flow around her. She heard a click and by the time she spun back around there was still no sign of an exit but now there stood a tall slender woman, her head bowed apologetically.

“He is glad to see you awake and asks if you would need anything until dinner is called in two hours.” The girl spoke with Bethany’s own voice and kept her head pointed down as her lips moved. However, watching her talk had been more like watching a horribly dubbed movie.

“I want to know who the hell you are, where the hell I am And who the hell this ‘HE’ is!” She screamed at the pale faced girl. She noted that the girl didn’t shudder or move away. She just remained standing as she had been. Waiting.

The girl shifted her weight and pointed a long slender finger to the wall behind Bethany.

Bethany turned to look and as she did, she heard the faint sound of a click and spun back around to find the girl missing. A click came from the wall that had been pointed out as Bethany turned back around she expected to see another stranger. Instead a small alcove had opened above her bed. She slowly walked over and picked up the paper neatly tucked away with her name on the front in her mother’s familiar handwriting.

My dearest daughter. I know we had promised never to keep things from each other. I am sorry to say I must break that promise the night you read this letter. You see, you are not really my daughter. I found you, crying your eyes out on Christmas Eve in the middle of the forest. You had no signs of damage or any fear of the cold. You seemed to cry just for someone to find you. When you had your first period I was surprised to find a visitor in our house. He told me that who I had hidden from him was not mine to hide. He was ready to kill me right there, however, you came home crying and I think it startled him. He vanished before I could make anything more out of it. I thought I had imagined the whole thing except I would see him in the audience of your performances. I would see him walking into your school when dropping you off. I asked about him once and you didn’t remember anyone matching the description. He came to me last week, after my doctor informed me that I had two weeks left to live. The cancer had taken solid hold of me and I would be leaving soon. I was thinking of how to tell you when he showed up. He looked me over and smiled, your time with her is done, he said to me. He told me of his plan to bring you wherever you are now. He allowed me to write this letter as a final goodbye.

Bethany slammed down the letter on the bed with tears in her eyes. She was going to go see her mom right after the Zandogas’ job. Now she was meant to believe that her mother was gone? She heard another click and lifted her head to see a bookshelf swing backwards and open to a brightly glittering hallway. Bethany wiped away the tears in her eyes and walked over to it. As she walked down the hall it twisted and turned. She found herself looking at mirrors faded back into the hallway walls, then images started to float to the surface. There she was as a babe learning to walk. A picture of her first lost tooth. An image of her dressed up for a dance. Prom. Graduation. University walking across campus. Her in her dorm room after a shower. Then a small room came into view. In the middle was a small table.

Bethany walked in slowly. Her mind reeling in terror. Her finger tips felt numb as she reached out her hand to pick up the ruby red fruit in the center of the table. She had never eaten pomegranate before but she was familiar with the staining power and use in winter displays. She examined it and saw that the kernels inside were bright and extremely full of juice. Her stomach cramped with pain as she realized the hunger that gnawed at her. She sniffed at the fruit and only became more hungry. Using her fingertips she carefully removed one kernel. It was firm in her fingers as she lightly squeezed it. She placed it on her lips and took it in. The juice rushed forth from the kernel with a small pop. The sweet tartness filled her mouth and she almost moaned with pleasure at the single kernel. She carefully knocked out 5 more kernels and popped them into her mouth. The pure joy and shuddering bliss pulsed in body. She fished out another handful of jeweled kernels and ate them without thought.

“And now she is reborn, my Persephone.” A deep voice grumbled from behind her. “Now we go to the wedding. “

In which Kris loves wind

Kris here,

I wanted to follow up on Tina’s post from last week a little bit. She grew up in a state where tornado sirens are tested every week without fail. They’re tested for a dang good reason too. If you go to Oklahoma and you hear a tornado siren anytime aside from a Saturday, there’s a good chance you can see a gaggle of Oklahomans outside looking around for the tornado. That’s a bit silly though isn’t it? Tornado siren – oh there’s a tornado! Zoinks! All the normal people you speak with have reactions like “omg I would lock myself in a basement surrounded by steel and concrete and a 15 day ration of food tornadoes can go straight to hell.”

I grew up in Washington in the Pacific Northwest – it’s an amazing place and I love it, but I was always so sad we never had bigger storms. Don’t get me wrong, thunderstorms are dangerous and set of fires every year in multiple states, but they’re still awe inspiring. I had no idea my spirit animal was actually Oklahoma state until I moved there, let me tell you. I don’t actually like the college football or some of their weird obsessions. But when the skies darken to twilight at 1PM and the skies dye themselves a dark green or purple, then that siren starts wailing – you can bet your whole bottom I’m standing outside with everybody else just freakin’ stoked like WHERE IS IT!

Storms and earthquakes and acts of nature are amazing, but of course beauty comes at a price. These things can be dangerous – if not to us as immediate observers, then to people trying to fix downed power lines, ambulances rushing through hazards to get people to safety…like this time I was outside looking for a tornado that was relatively not far away from me, it was exciting and downpouring like a crazy monsoon all over my work clothes. I didn’t notice it stop raining because I was a hunter stalking my prey..a uh…a tornado. It made more sense at the time. Anyway, I’m just hanging around and my roommate at the time was like “Kris by the way come inside” and I was like “ha! No way I’m invincible!” Then all of a sudden some hail fell that was almost as big as my palm, too big to hold more than 2 in my hand. This stuff was literally vibrating my feet through my shoes from like 2 feet away:

(not my video, but this is a few blocks from where I lived)

I’ve got a plethora of monitoring apps on my phone and computer at all times just checking out the world around us and I definitely think I’ve infected my son with the sense of curiosity too. I probably should’ve saved Tsunamis and earthquakes maybe until he was a bit older, but it’s too late to turn back now! Since the “please don’t kill me” hail incident I’ve gotten a bit more cautious, but more interested than ever.

I’m definitely watching this hurricane season as it’s punched its way into our lives with all kinds of record breaking numbers. Harvey was a windy, rainy couple days up where we live now, but dumped 15 trillion gallons of water on eastern Texas – as much as 4 feet of water in some places – and Irma is looking to be just as strong coming up at Florida. Stay safe in those storms, and let’s remember to pitch in to the relief efforts wherever you can, just a little can make a big difference!

Texas, you crazy

When moving from Oklahoma to Texas I knew it wouldn’t be much of a change. Or so I thought. 

In Oklahoma I was treated to the majesty and grandeur of wild weather. Tornadoes, snow storms and earthquakes all on the same day! 

Texas was much more than what I was expecting. I instantly fell into a stupor of community involvement and a passion for learning about my new city.  A simple oasis of kindness and free expression. A place to bring out all the things that felt so hidden and hush hush back home. I fell into some hard times but I found an amazing and supportive community to reach out and remind me that I wasn’t alone. 

The weather here can get crazy. This latest on set of storms has brought many people from the gulf out toward my little town and I had the pleasure of sharing some of the kindness I got to them. We talked about the easy access library where their kids can find tons of books and videos to hold them over. The new laundry mat that has huge and cheap machines down the street. Oh, and the new delicious delivery Greek food place that just opened up!

So as I am lucky enough not to be effected by the storm by loss of home or blocked up roadways. I have been lucky enough to be affected with the hospitality and love that my community has shown me and that I can now share with those in need. 

Til next week ya’ll!

Tina out!

Notebooks: Getting started

Tina Here!

I love the feel of blank paper under my fingertips. I love how free and hopeful a new notebook makes me feel. I enjoy finding different sizes, some with lines, dots, or nothing at all. I love the bright wonderful textures that the covers display to the world about how wonderful or colorful the works inside of it might be. Each one of the pages waiting to be filled with your ideas and musings.

Kris however, doesn’t like the cost. So he gently pushed me down the path of finding out what it would take to make my own books. I have to say, at first I didn’t see a real point in it for me. Then the light of different stitches came to my screen. I can make a book look or feel different just by how I stitch it. I was in love and wanted to try right away. What did I need?

Well the short list is:

  • Video tutorials (Because what can’t you find)
  • Time (Long time or in pieces)
  • String (various, cotton, wax thread)
  • A Needle (curved, or not. Doesn’t seem do matter much)
  • And paper (I plan on making my own but for now just bought)

I found a wonderful Youtuber by the name of Sea Lemon who has amazing diy videos on her channel. She caught my interest in a video about how to make a copy cat journal of River Song from the Doctor Who TV series. Looking around she talks about making not just notebooks but scratchpads and custom covers for your books as well! You can find here here: youtube.com/user/SeaLemonDIY

With her videos making my crafting fingers itch with will to give it all a go, I headed over to amazon to get some of the tools she works with.

Here is my list of links and tools I got:

I looked into buying card-stock for backing and covers but found that with the amount of unused cardboard around my house, I could make book covers for years to come. I also went out and got duck-tape as my primary source of covering for my books because I liked the fun patterns and durability that it added to the books.

My books are not the prettiest things in town but I love the way they look. I have made them primarily for other people though. I have yet to make one for myself. Not sure why yet. Maybe more because I want to use them all as practice so I can make an amazing one for mine. Either way, I have gained some really cool insight and skills from making notebooks. I gave a really thick 400 page one to my son last year when I got started and he filled it up with drawings and comics and codes from his friends. He loves and cherishes it and asked me to make him another one for the up coming school year. So I had to comply. After seeing his big brother’s notebook, Niko wanted one too. Seeing them sitting at the table together and drawing or writing in their books makes my heart glow. So I would say this is 100% worth doing for the kiddos alone.

This project is fun to get started with and easy enough that you can teach your middle schoolers how to make their own. Get into it and check it out. I wanna see pictures of your own creations.