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Ok, Life has been crazy busy with starting school again, and all the anxieties that come with going back into the classroom after a 15 yr 'break'.  So in the midst of this, I felt the need to be randomly creative, and write something useless.   It's kind of a subversive Nancy Drew book, that has elements of the Wizard of Oz.  Familiar items and creatures become characters and actions.  I originally wrote it in my head to amuse my good friend wonderlenny but when my brother got a kick out of it I figured I'd let the rest of you look in and see how my psyche is doing.  So Enjoy:

Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Ghostly Hoda.
Chapter 1

   It was a bright and lovely day, and Nancy Drew was feeling good.  She shook her titian locks with glee. It had been a good day at High School, and the vivacious senior girl was looking forward to an evening of gabbing with her good friends at the local java joint St. Arbuck's. She just needed to stop at home, drop off her books, and change into that new emerald green t-shirt she had purchased at the mall last weekend.  
   Nancy loved this particular color green.  Not only did it set off her hazel eyes, but it made her hair look like it was on fire.  She knew it would draw attention to her, wherever she went, and there was nothing Nancy loved more than attention.  Except her boyfriend Ned Webster.  Or a good mystery.
   Nancy turned into the driveway of her quaint Michigan farmhouse.  She had expected to just run in, change, freshen-up, perhaps relieve herself, maybe brush her teeth, make a few phone calls, clean the bathroom should her ADD strike, and then head out.  To her surprise there was a lovely, tiny, silver Hoda sitting in the parking area, by the rear entrance to the house.  At first Nancy was puzzled and a little wary. Her home was quite rural and remote (all the better to hide the bodies) and few people knew how to find the drive that led to the back of the house.  As she grew nearer apprehension turned to delight.  The Sleek Sliver Speedster could mean only one thing.  Her Best friend in the whole world was here, most likely dragging with her Archie, big and better sister to Nancy's roommate Jane, and Apple White, one of the few women Nancy would give it up for, if asked. Nancy picked up her Samsung and banged out a quick text "Sry Ldy's.  Plans chngd.  No St. 2nite 4 me.".  She parked her car, the aptly named Darcy, and dashed into the house shouting.  "What up sistas?!?"
   Nancy's heart sank.  The house was empty of  x chromosomes, unless you could count the one that her boyfriend Ned had. Ned was waiting just inside the door.  He was practically panting with excitement to see her. Nancy greeted him coolly.  She really loved Ned.  They had been together for a LONG time, but he had just started getting on her nerves.  He was always hanging around, being so very needy. "Lets go out.  Come on Please? Take me out!" then "Let's go home.  Come on. I'm dying to go home" and " Let me have a bite of that.  It looks so good, so much better than mine.  Please?". He wanted to sleep with her all the time, but never managed to stay a whole night in her bed, and thought cuddling was overrated, unless there was something in it for him.  She often thought of kicking him to the curb, but then he'd turn that tousled blond hair and big brown puppy dog eyes her way, and she'd realize she didn't want to be without him.  He was useful, after all.  He did clean up the floor when she cooked, something Nancy hated doing.  Today, though, Ned was an intrusion.   Nancy had hoped for a fun evening of girl talk and chick flicks, or maybe even Lost, but no. She sighed, ruffled Ned's hair, went to the bathroom, closed the door, and sat down on the toilet to think.
   She thought about the Hoda in her driveway.  It definitely was BeBe's car.  Why was it here? And where was her friend?
BeBe was Becky Brandon, Nancy's best friend for years.  She was the daughter of a retired army Colonial, who's character and nature BeBe had inherited in spades.  She was an intelligent girl, and the perfect foil for Nancy, whose brash boldness needed tempering.  Bebe lived a couple of hours from Nancy, in a charming, historic house near the river in Waynestown.  She shared it with Apple White, a slim, chic woman with many talents and applications, and Archie Cos, a media savvy girl, who's style was cutting edge and slightly alternative.  Archie was Nancy's roommate Jane's older, and more awesome, sister.  Jane had secretly confided in Nancy, who then told Bebe and her friends, "I'm just a poor man's Archie".  As much as Nancy loved Jane, and enjoyed her company as they were getting ready for bed each night, she had to agree.  Archie was just that much better.  She was well connected, and easy to be around, and lovely to look at.  People would pay money to be her friend.
   Nancy wondered where her friends could be, and why Bebe's car was sitting out back, and running through the list of all the horrible possibilities, all the while trying to ignore Ned's whines (Let me in.. come on…I've missed you all day!). Finally she remembered.  BeBe had said something about going with the girls to the Melody Spring in the North for a few days!  They had invited Nancy and Ned, but Nancy had a different Spring Break than the rest of them, and had to stay in school.  She knew Ned had off ("You're my full time job now, babe" he had told her when he graduated last year)  She wished he would have gone. Then she could have had some peace and quiet, and maybe a brief cuddle with that adorable Toby….but no.  Ned stayed since she did, and the others, having met here to consolidate vehicles, had headed to Melody without her.
  This made Nancy cranky.  She snapped at Ned, sent him home and headed to her room, stripping her clothes off as she climbed the stairs.  She had so much homework to do, but it could wait.  She needed a nap.  She needed Tylenol.  She needed Captain Wentworth. She needed a drink. Why not have them all?  She popped in her Persuasion DVD, laid down on the bed, swallowed a couple of pills, and washed it down with a swig from her whiskey flask. She emptied the flask as she fell asleep to the sounds of the rapid breathing of quite possibly the worst Jane Austen Heroine Portrayal ever.
  When she awoke, several hours later, the Silver Hoda, quite simply, had vanished.


Perhaps later, if enough of you beg, I'll put up a key to the characters, and who/what they are in real life.  That is, if enough care enough.

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or how I may actually beat Kelly this month.
I have been doing a lot of reading.  Here's the roundup.

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!
Airman
Gregor And The Marks Of Secret (Underland Chronicles)
The Sign of the Book: A Cliff Janeway "Bookman"  Novel (Cliff Janeway Novels)

City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments)
The Diamond of Darkhold: The Fourth Book of Ember (Books of Ember)
Change of Heart: A Novel
Gregor And The Curse Of The Warmbloods (Underland Chronicles)
A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

I read the first two in the City of…series recommended by Kelly.  I enjoyed them.  Great mix of 'slayer' lore and fantasy and real life.  I enjoyed the characters but am a little nonplussed by the brother/sister attraction current that runs through the series. I think that it will probably work itself out in the third book, but I hope that comes soon.  I like that the heroine is a red-head.  All heroines should be.  I give this series a B+. Enjoyable but not earth shattering or full of things to discuss.  My next book, The Diamond of Darkhold on the other hand, does. It's the fifth in the "Ember" series by Jeanne DuPrau.  VERY GOOD.  These books are so full of things to talk about, forgiveness, selfishness, responsibility, prejudice etc.  Also how to care for the world and it's people. ALL OF THEM.  I listened to this book in my car and often had to stop and talk to myself about things it brought up.  Satisfactory conclusion to the series.  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Well it lives up to it's name.  It was funny and somewhat gross, but I got a kick out of this quirky rewrite of one of my fave books of all time.  Change of Heart was sad and deep and very good.  I read it in conjunction with Reading for Life and we had much to discuss about faith and Justice and belief.  Jodi Picoult always makes you think.  So does Eoin Colfer when he writes his stand alone books. Airman was no exception. It reminds me of what Steven King wrote in the Shawshank Redemption: "Either get busy living, or get busy dying". Airman tells the story of a young boy whose life gets totally upended in one event.  Goes from being loved and cherrished and becoming a flier, to being a prisoner whos father hates him, who bears on his concience the inability to save the king and his mentor from murder.  It was a lovely book, lyrical and sad. You almost feel the loss of hope, but then discover life again, bit by bit with Conner.  I highly recommend this book for boys about 12-15. It's something you can read with them and talk about too. 
I also read two more in the Underland series by Suzanne Collins.  Gregor and his family have a lot to learn in the Underland when they discover that the people there aren't too different in thier motives than the people on the surface.  Gregor again has to choose the best option time and again, and has to learn about life , loyalty and how to be a person of integrity towards all species.  Suzanne Collins is a gifted writer and the books are enjoyable and fly by easily.  I'm looking forward to finishing this series.
I also read John Dunnings book The Sign of the Book. This book is a solid C. It wasn't horrible, but certainly not a nail biter or really inventive.  Typical with red herrings and twists and turns, and typical with things left unresolved.  Meh.
Last but certainly not least was A Little Bit Wicked a memoir by Kristin Chenoweth.  Chenoweth is on one of my fave shows of the moment (damn you ABC for cancelling it) Pushing Daisies.  She also played Galinda (the good witch) in the Broadway show Wicked, when I saw it in Chicago.  (she was really great in that.  The woman who played it the second time I saw it was not near as good with the nuance of the character)  I loved this book.  It was fun seing her life, and some of the things she faced.  Kristin is perky (but not annoyingly so) and witty, and also a woman of faith.  She also talks about the mistakes she's made, the love she's lost, and the journey of her life.  I enjoyed this romp in her Tony awarded life.  Plus she got to kibbutz with Jon Stewart back stage at the Oscars.  Not fair.  I want to hang out with Jon Stewart.
Currently reading:  Bonk (still), A year of living biblically (STILL), Envy, Briget Jones:Edge of Reason (again), The Hound of the Baskervilles (my first Conan-Doyle), The Language of Bee's (latest in the Holmes/Russel series), and Men at Arns (My requisit Terry Pratchett.

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