Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday Reads and 8/12ths to my Goal!

Last day of August and my 13th post for the month. Yay! I did it! I also managed to finish reading a book!

Will wonders ever cease?

Probably. The trick is to get 13 posts NEXT month. I’m gone/busy on some of those days (Dragon Con, Rom Con). Hope I don’t screw it up. I’m so close to completing this goal!

Here’s what I read the past week:

August 27: “Crave the Night” by Lara Adrian, the 12th book in the Midnight Breed series, a paranormal romance at 354 pages. Blurb from book: Born and raised to be an emotionless killing machine, Nathan is one of the most lethal Breed vampires in existence. A key member of the Order—an elite group of warriors charged with protecting both mortals and vampires—Nathan must now pursue a powerful, hidden enemy. But his training is no match for the fierce pull he feels toward a young woman he has no right to desire, and who may be the key to rooting out Nathan’s elusive quarry. Jordana leads a privileged life as a member of a prominent Breed family in Boston. She wants for nothing—until she crosses paths with Nathan and finds herself swept into an impulsive, sizzling kiss. As much as she tries to deny her feelings, Jordana cannot resist the craving to be near him. Getting close to Nathan will thrust Jordana into a treacherous new world, but loving this seductive man could be the most dangerous temptation of all. Some new twists and turns to the series. Love it! Can’t wait to see what happens next.

If I’m smart, I’ll download my camera so I can post pictures on Friday and Monday (Dragon Con). At least I can use my phone as a hot spot, so I won’t have to go down to the computer center to use their wifi (it costs to have it for your room—bugger!).

So… Do you think it’s cheating if I only post pictures on my blog? Or do you prefer pictures over writing? Okay, maybe I don’t want you to answer THAT!

Happy Reading!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Pictures From the Dixie Chicks Concert

Dixie Chicks concert was great! Here are a few pictures I took that actually came out decent. And as usual, if you click on the photo, you'll enlarge it for a better view.

This is the Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, IN. The whole place is behind that green hill. 

 Our seats weren't too shabby, were they?
 I tried a panoramic view of the area behind our seats, but stopped before I got to the end. Still, most of that is the lawn area. I'm too old for the lawn.
 Probably the best shot I got (except for that guy's head!).
Another shot that came out semi-clear (most of the pictures I took were way too blurry). That little dot off to the right is a beach ball that was being batted about.

Even though there were two opening acts, the Dixie Chicks played for about two hours. And of course, no one wanted to sit during the concert. My feet were killing me toward the end! But we really enjoyed ourselves. Best concert this year, and it was the last one for us, too.

But man, that drive home was a killer. Plus, it took over 30 minutes for us just to get out of the parking lot. We made it home around 1:30am. Probably why I didn't get ANYTHING done on Friday. I just wanted to be lazy.

On Sunday I was at the Westerville Public Library for the Local Author Festival. The event was held outside, in the covered parking area (more like a garage, really) and it was stinkin' hot! But I met a lot of people and sold one book to someone who actually saw my post on Facebook and only came to the event because I was there! How sweet is that? Sure made my day!

So... Are you fans of the Dixie Chicks? Ever since I saw them on the Grammys when they won an award for their first album, I became a fan. And I'm not a fan of country music. But for some reason I don't consider them country. Their music is just fun!

Have a great Monday!



Friday, August 26, 2016

What a Busy Week

Did I say my life would go back to normal this week? Hahahahahahahaha!

Monday: Hubby had a doctor appointment. 40 minutes from home. We ended up having lunch after. Pretty much shot my day, but I managed to get some revising done.

Tuesday: Probably the normalist day all week. I didn’t go anywhere! However, I did prepare several checks to be signed by the president of my local RWA chapter (I’m the treasurer), which meant also recording those checks in Quick Books. I felt like an accountant again. At least I got some revising done. Yay!

Wednesday: Board meeting with my local RWA chapter at 10:00 am. I thought I’d be home by 2 or 3 (it’s an hour drive for me). Try 6:30 pm. Yep. LONG day. No writing done at all. Boo.

Thursday: Still getting work done for the chapter (ran errands to the bank and post office). Met Hubby for lunch. Never could get into my revisions because I remembered I needed to write this post and I wouldn’t be home at night.

Why is that? Because Hubby and I went to see the Dixie Chicks! Whoo hoo!

Can’t tell you more about the concert, though, since I’m writing this before I left.

Friday (today): A big question mark. I’m hoping for NO distractions!

Plus, on top of all of the above, I was host for the Sizzle and Sass Facebook page, so it’s taken my time up, too. Saturday is my last day for that, so at least there’s an end in sight.

Tonight is the first game of the season for the Wayne Warriors Football Team (high school). Can’t believe football is starting already. Hope we win!!

Yesterday I was able to purchase those Pittsburgh Penguins tickets for the March 5th game (that would be the day after a book signing I’m attending in the area)!! Thanks to whoever gave my daughter the presale code! Much appreciated.

Looking forward to going back to Pittsburgh for a game. I need a new magnet for my car. Actually, a couple: Penguins and Steelers. J Mine are sadly faded.

If I took any pictures of the concert, I’ll post them on Monday. Which means, if I want an easy post, I BETTER take pictures! Hahahaha! J

So… How has your week been? Normal or hectic?


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

No Wednesday Reads, and an Upgrade Fail

I’ve been reading, just not enough to finish a book this past week. At least I will have something to report next week. And if I’m smart, I’ll read a novella after I finish and have TWO books to report. In any case, I’m about 14 books behind schedule. At my rate, I doubt I’ll ever catch up. Which is a shame. I have SOOOOOOO many books I want to read!

But hey, I’m getting my revisions done. That’s the important thing right now.

You know how I loathe change, right? Well, one of my apps changed and I am not happy.

I track my distance walking on the Nike+ Run app (FYI—I use the FitBit to track steps I take all day, which is inaccurate when it comes to recording the distance). I didn’t use the Nike app for everything it offered, just the simple stuff. Like the GPS when I walked, adding in my treadmill walking, and sharing it all on Facebook (I don’t post a lot there, so it was something and it was also a good motivator for me). I also enjoyed seeing the badges I earned, and seeing which walk was the farthest or fastest, and the routes I took on those days I walked outside. It was fun stuff. Okay, fun for me. If it’s not fun for me, I’m liable not to do it, you know?

Well, Nike changed their app. It’s now Nike+ Run Club. I lost all the badges. Lost which walks were the farthest or fastest. Lost the routes I took. Worst of all, I can’t seem to find a way to share my walk on Facebook. In other words, the app is USELESS to me. It took away all my motivators. Worse: it took away my fun.

I’m not the only one unhappy with this change. Apparently people lost their coaches, plans, and mileage on their shoes (I didn’t even know that was a thing). The new app is getting a big fat ONE in ratings. Makes me wonder exactly what Nike had hoped to accomplish with this upgrade. It certainly wasn’t to make their current users happy, because they aren’t. Not by a long shot.

So now I’m looking for another app to track my walking via GPS (one that will post my walks on Facebook), because I don’t like the new Nike app anymore. I just have a feeling it may take me awhile before I find an app I like.

Man, I hate change! It’s so time consuming! Ugh!

So… Do major upgrades make you as crazy as they do me? Please, I can’t be the only one. Share one with me.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Smart-Me? Not so Much

Sometimes I think I’m smart, only to find out I’m not.

I wanted to watch the men’s volleyball bronze medal game (since the US was playing). Smart-me looked for it on line. Site said it started on Sunday at 9:30 am local time. Not-smart-me calculated that to mean 10:30 am EDT (I added instead of subtracted). After looking all over NBC for the game (they showed all the other volleyball games, so why not the bronze medal game???), I eventually found it on USA.

I was getting ready to leave for breakfast with Hubby, so smart-me turned on USA to set up to record. The game was already in progress. D’oh! (this is when I realized my time mistake). Okay, not a total loss. US was losing 2 sets to none, but anything could happen. Smart-me hit RECORD.

Now, if I were TRULY smart, I would have adjusted the end time, or recorded the show after. But not-smart-me didn’t do any of that. As the US won set 3, then set 4, I realized my recording time was running out. During the fifth set the recording stopped when the score reached 7-7.

Damn it!

I thought I was so smart. But there is no such thing when it comes to recording live events, huh? It was such a good game, too! I had to look up the score on line to see who won. I would have been happier to have SEEN us win, but I was still happy. Because at the beginning of the volleyball games, I wasn’t sure US would even MAKE the medal round!

Oh wait!! NBC showed the final set later on. I got to watch it. Yay! What a game. Did you see it?

Hey, if you’re on Facebook anytime this week, come on over to Sizzle and Sass and say hi. I’m hosting through the 27th (Saturday). Yeah, I thought this week would go back to normal, but I completely forgot about hosting S&S. At least that won’t be as time-consuming as the Olympics were.

So… Is there something you thought you were smart about only to find out you weren’t?

Happy Monday!



Friday, August 19, 2016

I’m So Glad the Olympics are Ending!

You all know I love the Olympics. I love it too much. I’ve got the TV on all day and I’m watching, which means I’m not getting much else done. So yeah, I’ll be glad when it all ends this weekend. That means life can go back to normal.

Sure, I could have just turned off the TV. But the Olympics only come around every 2 years (I’m just as addicted to the winter games, too) and I just love seeing people compete. I love seeing all the countries together. Kind of wish that could happen year ’round, ya know?

Anyway, my WIP has been sadly neglected. So has my reading. And my exercise (I’ve been going to bed after midnight, and getting up early isn’t appealing). That will all end next week. Like I said, back to normal.

Well… until I leave for Dragon Con. Gosh! That’s less than 2 weeks away!!

The disruptions never seem to end, do they?

The Go-Go’s concert Wednesday night was fun. Just wish I didn’t have to wait through two (count them, TWO) opening acts to get to them. So they only played for about an hour. I’m hoping the Dixie Chicks play longer than that. We see them next week in Noblesville (Indianapolis area).

The funny thing about the Go-Go’s concert: our neighbors had the seats next to us! We don’t know them that well, so it’s not like we planned it. What are the odds, huh?

So… Are you happy football has started? Hubby’s happy that the last two Steelers games have been on TV here (not that they've been playing well). We don’t usually get preseason games. I’m not into preseason all that much. I like it when the game counts for something.

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday Reads and Miscellaneous Stuff

Wasn’t sure I’d have anything to report this week, but when you can’t sleep at 3am because you ate too much at dinner and dessert, reading is in store. Here’s what I read the past week:

August 14: “End of Watch” by Stephen King, the third book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, a thriller at 429 pages. Blurb from book: In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetable state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room. Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney—the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him on the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara . Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge, not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city. I told Hubby he could read this trilogy, that there wasn’t any “woo woo” in it. Oops, was I wrong. This book has plenty of “woo woo.” Hopefully it’s not enough to turn him off, though (he does watch “Sleepy Hollow”!). I enjoyed this book (and series) because I really like the characters. Specifically: Bill, Holly, and Jerome. Brady, not so much!

Today Hubby gets the official results of his PET scan, along with the results of the tumor board. Hoping for good news all around. Kind of expect it, but then you never know… I’ll report the results in the comments. Just so you know, Hubby is doing EXCELLENT. Still doesn’t like the feeling of carbonated beverages and spicy food in his throat, and he still can’t open his mouth as wide as he used to, but says he can live with that.

Tonight Hubby and I are going to see the Go-Go’s in concert. Supposedly their farewell tour. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. You just never know nowadays, huh? Anyway, we’re expecting a fun evening. Or at least, I am! Haha!

So… Have you seen the new Jason Bourne movie? Hubby and I saw it last night. Has all your typical Bourne stuff in it, so yeah, I liked it. We could have seen the Star Trek movie, but I let Hubby choose. Oh, and $5 Tuesdays has been increased to $6. Boo.

Happy Reading!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Pictures from the First Ever Rust City Book Con

I don’t have many pictures to share. And I got some of them from Facebook (Jackie Morgan—the lady who organized this con).

Not many people attended (I think I heard 85), but it was put together very well. The panels had good discussions and were fun. I just wish more people had come during the book signing (I had zero sales).

I ate too much on Saturday and paid for it on Sunday. I sometimes think a food hangover is just as bad as an alcohol one (but man, those cupcakes were sooooo good!!!). Plus, I really didn’t drink near enough water. We’ll see how I feel this morning whether I go to the fitness center or not. I’m not setting the alarm!

Anyway, here are some pictures, if only to prove I was there!
Here's a shot I took of my part of the table.
Donna MacMeans was nice to take my picture!
I finally met Sassy Kristina Knight. We both get a chance to take over the Sizzle and Sass Page (something like 3 times a year).
 I was part of the Mad Libs panel and boy, was I in for a surprise. Jackie used the blurb to Blind Temptation and the result was funny!
 Here I am sitting on the panel (way over on the end).

Okay, now it’s time for me to recover. Happy Monday!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A YA Short Story Written When I Was a YA

Since I’m not blogging on Friday (to keep with my 13 posts a month and the fact I’ll be at Rust City Book Con), and I haven't finished a book in the past week for Wednesday Reads, I thought it would be fun to share one of my first short stories, written way back in 1972. I first mentioned this story HERE and then HERE and can’t believe how much time has gone by since then! It’s about 6600 words of silliness, so yeah, it’s a long post today, but I hope you enjoy it.



It's One of Those Weeks

By Stacy Thurber

(written in 1972 at the age of 15 – errors as they occurred THEN)





"Hey Mom! Where's my shirt?" asked Mark Grainger.

"Why not try looking in your closet?" answered Mrs. Grainger, Mark's mother. So Mark looked in his closet and found the shirt he was looking for. "Did you find it?"

"Yeah, I found it," said Mark. I wish I looked in there before I asked, he thought. He took the shirt out and found it all dirty. Apparently, he forgot to put it with the other dirty clothes. "Oh no!" Mark exclaimed.

"What is it now?" asked Mrs. Grainger.

"It's all dirty! My shirt is all dirty! Why didn't you wash it?"

"Could it be that you didn't put it with all the other dirty clothes? Put it in there now and find another shirt."

"But I don't have another shirt!"

"Well, that's not my problem. Go get one of your father's."

"But Dad's are too big! What am I gonna do? I can't wear a school shirt to church. I guess I just can't go."

"You're going to church if you just wear your underwear!" Mrs. Grainger snapped back. "Now get one of your father's!"

Mark mumbled to himself, "I'd rather wear a school shirt." But Mark didn't. He went into this parent's room, got one of his father's shirts and put it on. It was way too big for him, but he wore it anyway. When he was done getting dressed, he went into the kitchen for breakfast. Mr. Grainger, his father, stared at him for awhile. Mark already knew what his father was thinking.

"That shirt is one of mine, isn't it?"

"Yes. Didn't you hear Mom and me?"

"Is that what all the shouting was for? Why are you wearing one of mine? Your shirt's don't fit anymore?"

Mark got really steamed up. He explained in a lot of shouts.

"Don't yell," said Mrs. Grainger.

"Well, it's not my fault I have to wear one of your shirts," said Mark.

"Isn't it?" asked Mrs. Grainger. "You're the one who didn't have that shirt cleaned. You're the only one who has one good shirt to wear. Don't say it's not your fault. It is."

They all ate their breakfast and got ready to leave.

When they left the house, Mr. Grainger asked Mark if he had any church money.

"I think so," said Mark. He reached into one of his pockets and pulled out a dollar bill. "Do you have change for a dollar?"

His parents both said "no."

"I guess I'll take change out of the basket when I put my dollar in."

When they arrived at the church, they sat down on one of the benches. They finished singing a hymn and now the minister was talking while the basket was being passed around for money. It got to Mark. He put the dollar in and started to take some change. Then someone whispered loud. "Thief, thief! That boy is taking money out of the basket!"

Mark looked up and saw everyone looking at him. "I'm only taking change."

The man who caught him said, "A likely story. I didn't see you put in anything before hand."

"My parents know I wasn't stealing."

"They would already protect you."

The minister went up to Mark and asked him to tell the truth.

"But I already told you. I had this dollar bill and I put it in the basket. Then I was going to take some change, when this man saw me. Like I said, my parents know what happened."

Everything finally got settled and when they came home from church, Mark was so relieved that the incident was all over with.

"Boy! I've never been so embarrassed in my whole life. And I had to wear this shirt, too. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day."





Monday started out okay. Mark found all his clothes and didn't lose one book. But when he got to school, his troubles had just begun.

Mark was walking to school with his friend, Zachory Peterson. Zachory was tall and lanky looking and the same age as Mark.

"Zack, you wouldn't believe what happened to me yesterday."

"What happened?" asked Zack.

Mark told him. Zack couldn't believe what his ears had heard. "You must be joking. Tell me the whole story later, okay?"

"Okay," said Mark. As Zack turned and walked away, Mark found his feet resting in a mud puddle about two inches dep. "Oh no! Not now! My new shoes are all covered with mud!" yelled Mark.

Zack returned after he heard Mark. "Come on, let's go and wash it off."

Mark and Zack were in the boy's restroom and Mark grabbed some paper towels and started wiping his feet. He sat on the edge of a sink and by accident, the water got turned on.

"My pants! They're all wet. I knew I shouldn't have come in here," said Mark.

"They why did you?" asked Zack.

"Because you told me to, that's why!" Mark's anger calmed down. "I'm sorry I yelled at you, Zack. But you just don't know what has happened to me."

"I understand. You don't have to say you're sorry. I've had days that made me so angry I'd hit my little sister, Sandy. I rarely ever do that. I'd get killed if I did it often. Don't worry, your pants will dry."

"I know they'll dry. But just how long will it take them?"

The first few classes were embarrassing for Mark. The students sort of made fun of him. The pants were dry by lunch time, though.

"Hi Mark!" Zack ran over to Mark. "How are your pants? Did they dry?"

"Yeah, they dried. After I was laughed at through my first three classes."

"Well, at least they're dry now. What are you getting for lunch?"

"A hamburger, I suppose."

"Is that all?"

"Why, are you getting more?"

"Sure. I'm starving."

"When aren't you?"


"Zack, how can you eat so much and stay so thin?"

"You're not big, either."

"Well, at least I don't eat as much as you do. It's amazing you don't look like the Goodyear blimp."

"Cut the wise cracks and let's get in line."

It seemed like days before they entered the building with all the food. But when they did, Zack's nose nearly lifted him off the ground.

"I love the smell of this place," said Zack.

"You say that everyday."

"I know it. I like to repeat myself."

Mark picked up a hamburger and milk while Zack picked up two hamburgers, two milks, and two packages of miniature donuts.

"Are you sure your not buying someone else’s lunch, too?" asked Mark.

"Yeah, I'm sure."

"How can you eat that much? I'm hardly hungry."

"I didn't have breakfast this morning. I've got to make up from this morning."

"Let's go sit down before there's no where to sit."

They found a spot on the grass and sat down. Mark unwrapped his hamburger and opened his milk. He started to take a bite, then…..

"Ouch!! There's something hard in my hamburger!" screamed Mark.

"What is it?"

"I don't know now, but I'll find out." Marked opened his hamburger and found tiny pebbles all through his meat. "ROCKS!"

"Rocks? Are you sure?" Zack leaned over and looked. "Those aren't rocks. They're pebbles."

"Pebbles, rocks, what ever they are, they are in my hamburger."

"Someone must be after you."

"Yeah, or I took someone else’s hamburger."

"My hamburgers are fine. Want one?" Zack held out his hand with a hamburger in it.

"Are you sure it's safe?"

"Look before you bite into it."

Nothing was wrong with the hamburger Zack gave Mark. When Zack was done eating his feast, they went over to the trash can.

"Hey Mark, isn't that the girl you were going to ask to the dance?"

"Yes, why?"

"Did you ask her yet?"

"No. After all the things that have happened to me, do you think I'd ask her?"

"Won't hurt to try."

"With my luck it probably will."

"Go on, ask her. She might say yes."

"Okay. I'll ask her. But it won't be my fault if she turns me down."

The girl was Andrea Taylor who had long blond hair and very blue eyes. Andrea's back was facing Mark when Mark approached her. Then he turned around. Zach motioned to Mark to keep going. Mark turned back around toward Andrea.

"Andrea?" asked Mark with a slightly cracked voice.

Andrea turned around. "Yes?"

Mark cleared his voice. "I'm Mark Grainger. I'm in your English class."

"Yes, I know," said Andrea. For awhile there was no sound. "Well, what do you want?"

"I'd like to know if you'd go out to the dance with me on Friday. Will you?"

"Mark, I thought you'd never…..I mean, sure. What time?"

"Is 8:00 okay with you?"


"I'll see you at 8:00, Friday night, then. Goodbye." When he turned around, he bumped into a garbage can.

"Are you okay?" asked Andrea.

"Yeah." He rubbed his left leg. "It doesn't hurt much." Mark went back to Zack. "Oh my leg!"

"Does it hurt much?" asked Zack.

"Of course it does."

"What did she say?"

"About my leg?"

"No. About your asking her to the dance. What did she say? Yes or no?"

"Yes." Mark said that as if she had said no.

"You don't sound very pleased."

"Well how do you expect me to sound? I just ruined my leg. I feel crippled."

"It's probably not that bad."

"That's what you think."

"Do you want to go to the nurse?"

"No. And besides, she's never there during lunch. Someone can die and she still wouldn't be there."

"That's true." Zack looked at his watch. "Oh oh. Lunch has five more minutes and I have to go to my locker."

"So do I. I hope I can make it."

"Want some help?"

"No. Thanks anyway."

When Mark got home, he first went to the refrigerator for a seven-up and went to his mother and told her what had happened.

"That's nice. About you getting a date, not about your shoes, pants, or leg."

"Can I use the car Friday?"

"The car? Why do you need the car?"

"To take Andrea to the dance. I have a license. Don't tell me you forgot about that."

"I didn't forget. I just don't think you need the car."

"Well, what do you suppose I do. Walk?"


"Then what?"

"Why not double date with Zack?"

"But this is the first dance I've ever been to and the first one with Andrea."


"So! Mom, I couldn't."

"Why not?"

"Because…I don't know. I just doesn't seem right."

"I've been on lots of double dates. It's cheaper for you guys. You get to split the tab."

"Okay. I'll call Zack. But what will I do it he says no?"


Mark went to the phone and dialed Zack's number.

"Hello, is Zack there? There was a short pause.

"Hi, Zack? This is Mark. Would you mind double dating with Andrea and I? That is, if you asked Carol."

"Sure, I wouldn't mind. Carol's used to it."

"Good. I almost thought I had to walk there."

"What do you mean?"

"Nothing, just something between my mom and I."

"Why do you want to double date? I mean, this is your first date with her, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it's my first date. It's just that my mom won't let me use the car. I guess she doesn't trust the luck I'm having."

"Neither would I."

"Thank you. You sure know how to make a person feel good."

"Sorry. What time do you want us to come and pick you up?"

"Around 7:45. Is that okay? I have to be at Andrea's at 8:00."

"Sure. 7:45 is okay. I have to go now. My mom's calling me. She probably wants me to fix something. Bye Mark."

"Bye Zack." Mark hung up the phone. "I'll tell Andrea tomorrow that we're double dating with Zack and Carol."

Just now his father walked in. He looked like he had a hard day.

"Hi Dad," said Mark.

"Hi Mark. Whatcha been doing?"

"Nothing much. You look tired."

"I am." Mrs. Grainger just entered the living room and spotted Mr. Grainger.

"Hey, I didn't hear you come in," said Mrs. Grainger and she went over to him and gave him a kiss. "Why don't you two get washed up for dinner. It's almost done."





Tuesday morning was a beautiful one. Just a few clouds and a beautiful blue sky. The weather was neither hot not cold. Mark was sure nothing would go wrong for him today.

On the way to school, Mark didn't step in any mud puddles or got his pants wet. He had geometry first period, so he went right to that class. Taking no chances, he was avoiding anything that could get him into trouble.

Mark's geometry teacher is a big one. He was about six feet tall with a waist as big as ten watermelons. He was about in his forties and his hair was sort of thin. His name was Mr. Barton and Mark really didn't like him. But then, Mr. Barton wasn't too fond of Mark, either.

"Alright class," said Mr. Barton in his low voice. "Turn to page 209 and read while I pass back yesterday's test."

Mark was really worried about that test. Yesterday he thought he'd never get it done. But he did and now he was getting it back. He thought, I just hope I didn't fail. I just know I did.

Mr. Barton had Mark's test paper in his big chubby hand and walked over to Mark.

"Mark, what has happened to you?" asked Mr. Barton.

"I don't know. Why? What did I do?"

"You got an A, that's what."

"An A? What's wrong with that?"

"Nothing. I didn't say there was. It's just that this is the first time I ever saw you get an A." He emphasized the "you." "Did you study this time?"

"This time? What do you mean by this time? I always study."

"I'm sorry. One thing though, this A will certainly bring your grade up."

"Great!" Mark thought, Maybe today will be my good luck day.

Lunch time came and when Mark spotted Zack, he ran over to him.

"Zack! Hey Zack! Guess what?" yelled Mark.

"What?" asked Zack.

"I got an A on my geometry test, that's what. Can you believe that? An A!"

"Wow! The highest I've ever gotten was a B. Seems like your lucky day to day."

"Doesn't it? Nothing has gone wrong for me yet. I guess my bad luck has gone for good."

The rest of the classes went pretty well. In history, Mark got bawled out for talking to Zack. But besides that, everything went okay.

Mark and Zack were now walking home. They came to the point where they both went in different directions and said goodbye to each other. Mark started toward home. He goofed off a bit and walked a little funny. He was stepping on every line and crack on the sidewalk, because he had nothing else to do. Then two grade school boys watched him.

"Hey! Look at him!" said the taller boy of the two. "I wonder what he's supposed to be?"

"I don't know, Robbie."

When Mark heard them, he stopped doing what he did, and turned around seeing the two boys.

"Hey kid!" yelled Robbie. "What's your name?"

"Why should I tell you?" asked Mark with a lower voiced than usual.

"Because I asked you, that's why!"

The short one turned toward Robbie and whispered, "Maybe we just better leave him alone."

"If your scared, go home. Your no help to me anyway." So he did and it was just Mark and Robbie.

Mark thought, While they are talking, I'll leave. He started walking, again, toward home, but Robbie saw him leaving so he yelled out.

"Why are you leaving? Ya scared of me?"

"No. I just don't want to be bothered, that's all. I have to be home, so bye!" Robbie ran after him.

"Put up your dukes!" said Robbie with his hands up against his face.

"Are you kidding?" Mark laughed aloud.

"Don't laugh at me!"

"Make me!"

"You asked for it!" Robbie took his hand, which was a fist, and punched Mark right in the stomach, then ran off.

Mark's face sort of turned blue. He couldn't breathe for a minute or so. He felt kind of embarrassed. A kid doing this to me! he thought. He was just glad no one was watching.

When Mark got home, he didn't dare mention anything about what had just happened. He wasn't going to tell anyone.





It was now Wednesday. Most of the day went terrifically. Mark was kind of sad to see that Andrea was absent. He just hoped that she'd be okay by Friday.

When Mark went home, he just walked regular. No goofing off this time, he thought. He didn't want to be the stupid idiot he was yesterday.

When he got home, he phoned Andrea to see why she was absent. He found out that she had a little cold and that she'd probably be fine by Friday. Maybe even sooner. She said that she didn't want to take any chances of getting it worse.

Tonight his family and he went out to dinner. They were going to a really fancy restaurant, so that meant that Mark had to dress up. Mark hated to dress up just to go to dinner, but he didn't want to get into any more trouble, so he did as his mother said.

They were all ready, so they got in the car.

"What restaurant are we going to that's so fancy? asked Mark.

"The Dragonfly Inn," answered Mrs. Grainger.

"The Dragon what Inn?"

"The Dragonfly Inn," she emphasized the "fly."

"That's a funny name for a restaurant.

"Well I can't help that. Tonight I want you at your best behavior. Your father is meeting with very important people tonight."

When they arrived at "The Dragonfly Inn", Mark got out of the car and was constantly tugging at his tie.

"Don't pull on your tie," said Mrs. Grainger.

"Why do I have to wear one anyway? It's bad enough to wear one at church, but why at a restaurant?"

"Because you can't get into the restaurant without one."

"I wish you picked one where I don't have to wear one. I hate to wear ties."

They entered the building and a waitress showed them to their table. They were now waiting for the other party.

The other party was the Peterson family. Mark didn't know it was Zack's family. He never thought to ask.

The waitress came again but this time the Peterson family was behind her. Mark saw Zack and said to himself, Zack? What is he and his family doing here at our table?

Mr. Grainger got up. "Hello Mr. Peterson, Mrs. Peterson. I'd like you to meet my family. This is my wife, Emily and son, Mark."

"Hello," said Mr. Peterson. "This is my wife, Cheryl, my daughter, Sandy, and my son, who is way back there, is Zachory."

Mark waved to Zack.

When the Peterson's sat down, Zack sat next to Mark.

"It seems that your son already knows mine," said Mr. Peterson.

"Mark and Zachory have known each other for some time," said Mr. Grainger.

"I've heard of Zachory talk about Mark, but I would have never suspected that he was your son."

"I didn't know your father was important to my father," whispered Mark to Zack.

"Neither did I. Well at least we won't be lonely."

"Yeah. But we might be bored all night." Mark rubbed his neck. "My tie itches."

"So does mine."

About fifteen minutes have gone by. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, except Mark and Zack. They were both tired of hearing business and woman talk. Zack's sister, Sandy wasn't looking too interested in what the Grainger's and Peterson's were talking about either.

They ordered their dinner awhile ago and they were just getting it now. The waitress was trying to hand Mark his dinner, but was having a bit of difficulty doing so.

"Here, let me help you," said Mark. He got up and reached for his plate. When he took it, it started to fumble in his hands. Mark tried to keep hold of it the best he could. The waitress hurried in giving everyone else their dinner to help Mark, but it was no use. SPLAT! The plate fell on the table hitting a ketchup bottle and ketchup sprayed everywhere. The waitress ran to get help.

Everyone looked like they were shot a hundred times. Mark sat down in embarrassment. Sandy started laughing.

"Sandy. Be quiet. It's not funny," said Mrs. Peterson.

"Mark, look what you've done!" said Mrs. Grainger. "Ketchup is all over everyone."

"I'm sorry Mom. It was an accident." Mark looked at everyone and said, "At least this lightened up the gath…er…ing." His voice was jagged during the last sentence because his eyes made contact with his mother's.

"How could you say something like that?" asked Mrs. Grainger. The waitress came back with help and rags.

"Would you like to move to another table?" asked the waitress.

"No. I think we better leave," said Mr. Grainger. "Mr. Peterson, I'll meet you some other night. Alone."


"Oh boy Mark. Are you ever in trouble," said Zack. "You shouldn't have offered to take the plate."

"I didn't think I'd drop it. My mom is going to kill me. That's her new dress and she just bought it today, too. Now there's ketchup all over it. I'll see you tomorrow, Zack. That is, if I'm still alive."





Thursday morning wasn't as good as the others, excluding Sunday. He fell out of bed twice when he trying to sleep. When he got up, he felt just miserable.

When Mark went to get his shoes, he found them missing. He thought that he could have left them in the living room, so he went and looked. He didn't see them in there so he went back to his room and started looking, very closely. He still didn't find them.

"Hey Mom!" yelled Mark. "Have you seen my shoes?"

"Did you look under the couch? I think I saw you kick them under there."

"I forgot about there." He looked under the couch, and sure enough, there they were.

"Did you find them?"

"Yes. I found them. Thanks."

Mark finished his breakfast. Twice he almost fell asleep eating. Mark left his house and went to the spot where Zack came along.

When Zack came, they started toward school.

"Mark, did you get any sleep last night?" asked Zack.

"Why? Does it look it?"

"Yeah. What did you do last night?"

"Trying to sleep, but I didn't do too good."

"You could say that again. I just hope you don't fall asleep during the English test."

"The test! I almost forgot about that! Oh, I hope I make it through today."

"You've made it so far."

The English class came along and Mark could barely keep his eyes open. Mark bumped into Andrea, by accident, when he entered the class.

"Oh, I'm sorry Andrea," said Mark. "I guess I wasn't looking where I was walking."

"Looking? How could you have? Your eyes were closed. Were you sleeping?"

"I don't know."

"Didn't you go to bed?"

"Yeah, I went to bed. I just didn't get any sleep, that's all."

"Do you think you can make it through English?"

"I've made it so far."

They went into the class, and sat in their seats. The teacher had already passed out the tests and everyone had started. Mark got through the first problem okay, but when the second one came, his eyes became very heavy. Before he knew it, he was asleep.

The teacher came up to Mark and shook him to wake him up. "Mark?"

Mark woke up and said drowsily, "Yes?"

"Were you sleeping?"

"Sleeping? Me? What makes you think I was sleeping?"

"Because your head was on the table." By now, the class was watching.

"I was just thinking," said Mark.

"Well, I don't see any answers on your paper." The teacher saw everyone staring. "Everyone get back to work."

Mark started on his test again. The teacher was watching every move Mark made, and Mark knew it, too. So he tried to keep his eyes open and finished the test.

When class was over, Zack walked over to Mark. "I saw what happened to you in class. You fell asleep, didn't you?"

"Yes, but that wasn't the only time. I did it in other classes, too."

"You're kidding?"

"No, I'm not kidding. I've been in trouble with three other teachers already and that's not including what just happened now. I just don't know what to do. I would have stayed home, but my mom wouldn't let me, and if I did, I probably couldn't get any sleep anyway, even if I tried."

"I'm sure glad I'm not you."

After school was out, Mark went right home and flopped on his bed and fell asleep.





Friday morning, Mark was not a bit tired, but he sure was hungry. Last night he slept straight through dinner. He slept with his clothes on, but he didn't care. He was glad this was Friday. Tonight was the dance.

Mark changed into some unwrinkled clothes and went to eat breakfast. When he was done, he got his books and started to leave. Right when he stepped out of the house, he realized that he didn't do any of his homework. He had a lot to do, too.

"Oh well, I'll just tell the teachers that I was too busy to do any homework. And if they ask me that I was doing I'll just way I was sleeping."

Mark left and Zack and him made it to school just in time. Right when Mark sat down in his geometry class, the bell rang.

He thought, That was a close one.

 "You were almost late, Mark," said Mr. Barton. "Try not to do it again. Next time you might be late."

"Sorry Mr. Barton."

"May I please have last night's homework?" All the students passed in their homework except Mark. Mr. Barton looked through them and noticed that there wasn't one from him. "Mark, where is your homework?"

"I didn't do it."

"Why not?"

"I was busy."

"Okay. You get an F for the day, then. Unless you do it tonight and hand it in Monday, then you might make a D." The class laughed a little.

When geometry got out, Mark was really mad. He mumbled to himself, "At least he didn't ask me what I was doing that was so busy. I think I would have been laughed out of that class if he did."

Mark walked over to the drinking fountain. He started to take a drink until someone bumped into him.

"Ouch!" yelled Mark. "Why don't you watch where you're going?" Mark turned around and no one was there. "The lousy guy ran away." Mark rubbed his head, he felt that he was getting a bump, so he went to the nurses office.

"What can I do for you?" asked Nurse Holloway.

"I hit my head on the drinking fountain and I think I'm getting a bump."

"How did you happen to do that?"

Mark explained.

"Let me get a look at it then." The nurse checked his head. "I better put some ice on that. Come with me."

Mark followed. She led him to a room where there were some cots.

"Lay right there," she said.

He did as he was told. She brought back a pack with ice in it and told him to keep it on this head. Mark did so and mumbled to himself, "How do I get into these things? I just hope I'm okay for tonight."

About thirty minutes later, Mark left the nurse. Andrea saw him.

"What are you doing here?" asked Andrea.

"I was at the nurses office."

"What for?"

"I bumped my head, but I'm okay now."

"Okay for the dance?"

"Sure. I have to get to my class before the teacher thinks I cut. I'll see you later."

When Mark got home, he did all of his homework from the night before. He finished about dinner time.

When Mark was eating, his father asked, "What did you do today?"

"Nothing much."

"Anything interesting happen?"

""Well, if you call getting bumped into and hitting your head on the drinking fountain interesting, then the answer to your question is yes."

"Do you feel well enough to go to the dance?"

"Sure. All I did was bump my head." Mark looked at the clock and noticed that it was getting late. "May I be excused, please?"

"Sure Mark," said Mrs. Grainger. Mark went to his room and got his clothes out for the dance. He got everything on without any trouble.

Mark finished dressing about 7:45. He heard Zack honk his horn and ran to Zack's car. "Hi Zack, Carol," said Mark.

"Hi Mark," said Zack. "Hop in. Where does Andrea live?"

"She lives at 654 Lomita Avenue."

"I know where that is. Has anything else happen since I've seen you?"

"No. I just hope nothing goes wrong to spoil tonight."

When they arrived at Andrea's house, Mark got out of the car, went up to her house, and rang the doorbell. Mrs. Taylor, Andrea's mother, answered the door. "You must be Mark," said Mrs. Taylor.

"Yes. Is Andrea ready?"

"She'll be just a minute. Won't you come in?" Mark entered, but tripped over the threshold. "Are you all right?"

"Yes." Andrea came from her room and entered the living room. "Hi Andrea. Are you ready?"

"Yes. I just need my coat."

"I'll get it." Mark got her coat and when he put it on her it was inside out. "I'm sorry Andrea."

"That's okay. I do that sometimes, too."

Mark fixed the coat and put it on her the right way. They went outside and Mark introduced Andrea to Carol and Carol to Andrea.

After the introductions, they left to the dance. Andrea said, "Is your head okay, Mark?"

"Sure my head's okay. All I did was bump it."

"I didn't know you bumped your head," said Carol.

"He hit it on the drinking fountain," said Zack.

"How did you do that?" asked Carol.

Mark explained. He was getting tired of all the questions about a bump.

When they arrived at the dance, Zack parked the car and they all got out and headed for the dance building.

When Zack and Carol entered the building, they started to dance right away. Mark and Andrea decided to do the same.

The first few seconds, Mark was dancing just fine. Until his feet got tangled in with others.

When the song ended, Mark had left a trace of ten or twelve wounded people. He was so embarrassed.

"I don't even know why I asked you to the dance. I can't even dance right," said Mark.

"Don't worry," said Andrea. "You'll do better. Just wait and see. Let's get something to drink.

"That's a good idea. We can skip the next dance."

Mark and Andrea went over to the punch bowl. Mark got two glasses and when he dipped the ladle in, his tie when with it, too.

"Oh Mark! Your tie," said Andrea.

"That's okay. It's just a tie." He put down the two glasses and ringed his tie as dry as he could. After he dried it a little, he decided to use one hand holding the ladle and the other hand holding his tie and started to pour punch into one of the glasses.

"Watch out Mark. You're filling it too high," said Andrea. But it was too late, Mark spilled the punch on the table.

"Clumsy me at work again," said Mark. "I can never do anything right."

"Don't say that Mark. You can do things right. It just hasn't been your week, that's all."

"It may not be my year. I'm going to go get a rag to clean up this mess I made. Wait here, okay?"

"Okay." Zack came over to Andrea when he saw Mark leave.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Oh, Mark's bad luck has struck again."

"What did he do?"

"Well, while we were dancing, he bumped into a few people."

"How few?"

"About ten."

"You call that a few?"

"Don't tell him I told you."

"I won't. Anything else happen?"

"When he dipped the ladle in the punch, his tie went in with it."

"You're kidding." Zack couldn't help but laugh a little.

"Don't laugh. It's really not funny."

"Was that all he did?"


"You mean he did more!?"

"I don't think I should even tell you."

"That bad, huh?"

"It wasn't that bad."

"Then what was it?"

"He spilled the punch on the table. Just a little. He went to go get a rag to clean it up. You know, he thinks this bad luck is never going to leave. Keep quiet, here he comes."

"Hi Zack," said Mark. "Did Andrea tell you what happened?"

"Some. Don't feel bad, Mark. Everyone has troubles once in his life."

"Then how come it all happens to me in one week?"

"I don't know. I better go back to Carol. She's waited long enough."

When Mark cleaned up the mess, the announcer announced that the next dance was a waltz.

"A waltz! Come on Mark," said Andrea.

"A waltz? Andrea, are you kidding? After all the stupid things I've done, you still want to dance? And especially a waltz?"

"Sure. Come on. Nothing will happen."

"Okay." Mark put down the rag and they both went into the crowd.

When the music began, Mark had a bit of trouble starting because it was so crowded. But as the music was played longer everyone spread apart a little and Mark and Andrea started dancing.

But Mark still had troubles. His feet always ended up on someone elses. Mark didn't know it then but that someone else was Andrea herself. She tried to hide the pain, but it was no use. Mark know right then that he wasn't touching the floor much.

"I'm sorry Andrea. I've spoiled your whole night."

"You didn't spoil it, Mark. Why don't you try at the punch bowl again."

"Do you think I should take the chance?"

"Sure. Nothing else could happen."

"Don't be too sure. But I'll try it anyway. The worse thing that could happen is getting killed, but I don't think that will happen. I hope."

When Mark walked over to the punch bowl, he walked backwards. The reason for this is because he was still looking at Andrea. When he turned around, CRASH! Down went the punch bowl and other refreshments.

"My mom's punch bowl!" yelled a girl. "You broke my mom's punch bowl. She told me not to bring it but I insisted. Now she's going to kill me because you broke it!"

"I'm sorry," said Mark. "I'll pay for it."

"You bet your life you're going to pay for it. And right now, too!"

"Well, how much was it?"

"Thirty dollars."

"Thirty dollars! I don't have thirty dollars! I've never even owned thirty dollars! How can a punch bowl, looking like that one did, cost thirty dollars!?"

"It didn't. But since this one is in a million pieces, why not get a better one?"

"He'll pay exactly what that one cost," said Andrea. "How much did it really cost?"

"I'm not saying."

"Then I'm not paying," said Mark.

The girl thought awhile then gave in. "Okay, I'll tell you the real price."

"That's better," said Andrea.

"How much did it cost?" asked Mark.

"Ten dollars."

"Do you have that much, Mark?" asked Andrea.

"Yes." He paid the girl the ten dollars. He was happy about the price being lower, but sad because the price was still high.

Mark was lucky having the rest of the night on his side. He was happy, too. The only part that would be bad was telling his parents what had happened. He wasn't looking forward to that.





When Mark got up, he headed straight for the kitchen. He was hungry.

"'What are we having for breakfast?" asked Mark, trying not to get on the subject of the dance.

"Pancakes," answered Mrs. Grainger.

"Where's Dad?"

"Getting dressed. How did you sleep, Mark?"

"Pretty good. I hope nothing goes wrong for me today."

"Speaking of things going wrong, how was the dance? Did anything happen?

"I'll tell you when Dad is here," said Mark wondering why things going wrong brought up the subject of the dance. He thought, Does she know something I don't?

While Mark was thinking, Mr. Grainger came in. "Dad's here now," he said. "What is it your going to say?"

"He's going to tell us about the dance," said Mrs. Grainger. "Well, what happened? Did anything go wrong?"

"Did anything go wrong! I'll say they did. The whole night was bad luck."

"What happened?" Mr. Grainger asked curiously.

"First, I'm a lousy dancer. I nearly bumped into every person. Maybe I did. I don't know. Then I dunked my tie, excuse me, your tie into the punch bowl."

"What tie was it?" asked Mr. Grainger.

"Your good one."

"Well, what one is that?"

"The blue with the silver."

"You're kidding! Mark, that's my best tie!"

"I'm sorry Dad. It's not ruined anyway. I washed it the best I could."

"My best tie, ruined!" Mr. Grainger pushed aside his plate and put his head on the table.

"Don't worry dear," said Mrs. Grainger trying to comfort him. "What else happened, Mark?"

"After I dunked the tie, I filled the glasses too high with punch and spilled the punch all over the table. Don't worry. I cleaned it up. But the worse part was knocking down the punch bowl." Mark covered himself with his hands to protect himself.

Mr. Grainger got up and yelled, "You what!!"

"I knocked down the punch bowl."

"How did you do that?"

"I bumped into it."

"We know that," said Mrs. Grainger. "But how?"

Marked sniffed the air. "What's burning?"

"The pancakes!" screamed Mrs. Grainger.

"Don’t change the subject," said Mr. Grainger. "How did you knock down the punch bowl?"

"I walked backwards and when I turned around, I ran into the table knocking everything down."

"Oh my pancakes!" said Mrs. Grainger with a very sad face. "I guess we'll just have cereal."

Mark got up. "I'll get the cereal."

Mr. Grainger grabbed him and put him back into his seat. "How much did it cost?" He said as calmly as he could.

"How much did what cost?" Mark asked innocently.

"You know what! The punch bowl!"

"Oh! Ten dollars."

"Mark, if you had to knock down a punch bowl, why a ten dollar one?"

"I almost had to pay thirty dollars. But Andrea got me out of it."

"How did the rest of the night go?" asked Mrs. Grainger.

"The rest of the night was fine. Even though we died of thirst."

"Well, at least that's all over with," said Mrs. Grainger.

The phone rang, so Mark got up and answered it. It was Zack.

"Why are you calling so early?" asked Mark.

"Mark," said Zack. "Everything has been going rotten for me ever since I got up. Mark, I think I caught your bad luck!"