Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Year in Review: Will She or Won't She

It cannot possibly be the end of December again. 2015 is just about in the hopper and, although I'm not all that thrilled about being a year older, there are many aspects of this year that I am very happy are in my rear view mirror.

So I've decided that rather than making New Year's resolutions that I then have to pretend I don't remember having made, I'm just going to do a quick recap. Remind myself of the good, the bad and the ugly.

A Year in Review: Will She or Won't She, a humorous look at lessons learned in the past year | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #humor

Here are 10 things I did this past year that I would not do again:

1) Cut my own hair.

2) Almost have a stroke at a car estimate before getting a second opinion. Turns out there's a huge difference between a $3500 new transmission and a $80 replacement switch on my {{perfectly fine, thank you}} current transmission.

3) Ask "what do you want for dinner?" when there is more than one person in the room.

4) Tell College Boy he could move back home for a semester (how many years, exactly, IS a semester?)

5) Brag about the fact that neither of my kids have ever broken a bone.

6) Pressure my PurDude to tell me how he REALLY broke his leg.

7) Follow up someone else's "thank you" with "any time" when what I really mean is "never ever, in my entire lifetime will I break my ass doing that again".

8) Ask Hubs to help me out by pushing the cart in a grocery store that has a liquor section. Unless, of course, I'm looking to get some extra exercise . . . find an item, walk back to the liquor aisle to put it in the cart, go back to the food aisles, find another item, go back to the liquor aisle to put it in the cart, walk to the front of the store and get my own frikken cart, go back to the food aisles . . .

9) Answer "fine thanks, how are you?" unless I feel like spending an hour of my life hearing about the cashier's near miss with herpes.

10) Put myself in a position of having to explain why all those candles are lit when the electricity isn't out. Duh.

11) Hide the remote when I want peace and quiet. On a side note, did you know that some cell phones can work as TV remotes? I do now.

12) Buy a liquor cabinet without a lock.

Yes, I'm aware that's 12. Seems there were a lot of lessons learned in 2015.

Toffee Butterfinger Crunch Cookies: A chocolate cookie with the crunch of toffee and butterfingers | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies #chocolate

Toffee Butterfinger Crunch Cookies
Toffee Butterfinger Crunch Cookies: A chocolate cookie with the crunch of toffee and butterfingers | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies #chocolate

And just to end the year on a positive note, ten things I did in 2015 that I actually would do again:

1) Tell the truth but NOT the whole truth about the ingredients in that new recipe.

2) Be "forgetful" on laundry day when someone wants to wear a certain pair of jeans. Seems it's possible to get the whole family's clothes washed without lifting a finger.

3) Hide half of the jello shots. A recipe only makes 5 shots. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

4) Ask College Boy for suggestions when I'm stuck on a dessert recipe. That kid has always had a great imagination. And he knows his sweets. Wonder where he got that from.

5) When I need something done on the computer, ask PurDude to explain each step slowly and meticulously. He'll just roll his eyes and do it for me. Done!

6) Nap.

7) Bake 12 dozen cookies for the food drive volunteers. People in our community need help. And those who answer the call deserve, at the very least, cookies.

8) Dance while I bake. Even if it does make the boys ugly-cry. Find your joy wherever it presents itself.

9) Pop every bit of bubble wrap that comes into my house. I don't care if it was in a package for me or for someone else, if it enters my house, I'm popping it. Once again I say, find your joy wherever it presents itself.

10) Thank every one of you for reading, commenting, sharing my posts and making this blogging journey fun. Thank you.

PS: I wish you all a very happy, healthy, safe and prosperous new year. And when that prosperous thing happens, don't forget your friend out here in the blogosphere.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Toffee Butterfinger Crunch Cookies

Printable Recipe
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup toffee baking chips
1/2 cup butterfingers baking chips (or crushed butterfingers bars)

*Cream butter, margarine, both sugars, egg and vanilla until smooth.
*Carefully, starting at the lowest setting, beat in the flour, baking cocoa, baking soda and salt.
*Mix in the toffee chips and butterfingers pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Roll the dough into approximately 4 dozen 1 inch balls.
*Bake for approximately 12 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes before removing to finish cooling.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Funny Friday: A Coat of One Color

Today’s post is December’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.
Funny Friday | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Follow me home.

Funny Friday: one picture, five captions | picture submitted by www.Followmehome.com | www.BakingInATornado.com

1. Driver to passenger: Dude, that must have been some righteous weed.
2. Driver to passenger: I must have missed that chapter in the driver's manual, what are the right-of-way rules with llamas?

3. Driver to the llama: Hey Buddy, you're headed in the wrong direction, the Dude Ranch is up ahead.

4. Llama to himself: I'm outa here. That's the last time those kids are gonna try to put a saddle on me!

5. Llama to driver: If you know what's good for you, you'll turn around and drive away. Fast. Those people up where you're heading? They'll shave you and turn your back hair into a coat!

And now for something yummy:
Gouda En Croute Appetizer: An easy, beautiful and flavorful appetizer can be made in under a half an hour. Smoky and a little sweet, just a few ingredients baked in a flaky crust | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #appetizer
Gouda En Croute Appetizer

Gouda En Croute Appetizer: An easy, beautiful and flavorful appetizer can be made in under a half an hour. Smoky and a little sweet, just a few ingredients baked in a flaky crust | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #appetizer

Gouda En Croute Appetizer: An easy, beautiful and flavorful appetizer can be made in under a half an hour. Smoky and a little sweet, just a few ingredients baked in a flaky crust | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #appetizer

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Baking In A Tornado | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Gouda En Croute Appetizer

Printable Recipe
Ingredients (makes 2):
1 TBSP melted butter
1 TBSP dijon mustard
2 TBSP honey
1 package crescent roll dough
4 ounces smoked gouda
1/4 cup chopped pecans 
1/4 cup dried cherries

OPT: Crackers for serving

*Whisk together the butter, mustard and honey. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
*Recipe makes two. For each one, unroll half the dough onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Press the seams closed and gently roll with a rolling pin to seal the seams.
*Slice the cheese into about 1/4 inch slices. Places half of the slices into the center of each of the dough squares. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans and cherries. Drizzle with the mustard mixture.
*Gently lift the sides of the dough up over the filling and pinch closed over the top. Make sure all of the seams are still closed.
*Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the dough has browned. Move to serving dish, surround with crackers, if desired.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Holiday Story: I Believe

A year ago, almost to the day, I published a post called A Holiday Story: The Finale which started with these words:
"If all good things must come to an end, then I guess this day was inevitable. Today I'm presenting the third and final installment of a project I've gotten very attached to. It's a collaborative holiday story. I started then story, then some very talented writers each gifted me with a continuing segment. The idea was that we'd all impact the story but no one would control it. As sad as I am to see this effort end, I'm honored to have had so many bloggers come together to make this idea a reality and I'm immensely proud of what we've accomplished together."

Progressive Story Projects: One cohesive piece of fiction written by multiple bloggers, each contributing their voice to the story | brought to you by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #fiction #blogging

I didn't know it at the time, but that post was not the end, not even close. Writers, both from that group and new friends, as well as readers, expressed a desire to bring the project back. And to bring the story back. This December we did just that. It was far more labor intensive because in order to continue the story, we all had to go back and familiarize ourselves again with the story from the start. Once again, a very talented group of writers proved up to the task. Today I'm honored to present the 7th and final chapter of A Holiday Story.

Catch up before reading on. The first six chapters:

A Holiday Story 
A Holiday Story: Part Deux 
A Holiday Story: The Finale
A Holiday Story: Set In Motion
A Holiday Story: First Steps
A Holiday Story: Impossible Possibilities

A Holiday Story, A Progressive Story Project: One cohesive piece of fiction written by multiple bloggers, each contributing their voice to the story | brought to you by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #fiction #blogging

Melissa of Home on Deranged

Virginia had longed to tell the story to Bethryn for years, partly because it was a story that screamed to be told and partly because it was all about her history, and Virginia loved to tell it. "When I was 5 years old, I couldn't wait for Christmas Eve," she began. "Not because I was ready for Santa Claus, but because we always ate extra helpings of bread pudding on the holidays. I didn't believe in Santa: I was far too sophisticated a young lady for that." Santana chuckled at this, mostly because he knew it was true. "After bedtime, the house was quiet, and I was sleeping peacefully. Until I heard this strange noise on the roof, as though someone was creeping about. All I could think was burglars were about to break in and take all my wonderful presents. And all the pudding!"

 Bethryn laughed, because she knew her mother loved desserts, while Damon giggled, imagining his grandmother standing guard over the family Christmas tree. "I went downstairs and noticed snowy boot prints on the rug," Virginia continued. "And then I heard a rustle in the kitchen, and I got there just in time to see the back of someone leaving out the porch door." Grabbing her galoshes, Virginia went out in the snow and saw a sleigh, with what appeared to be a man and his young son, only a year or two older than Virginia, she recalled.  "He told me not to be afraid, and the son handed me a candy cane," she said, her eyes starting to glisten, "and then the boy told me his name was Santana, and he would return for me very soon, as long as I believed." Beth and Damon turned to look at the jolly old man sitting with them, as Saint Nicholas laughed heartily and said, "Even that sophisticated little girl became a believer that night. Now what about you, Bethryn? And you, Damon?"
 Jenniy of Climaxed

Bethryn's mind was a chaotic swirl of new information that somehow still had a strange familiarity to it, as if she had known all this forever and was just now unlocking the bright red and green box it had been stored in all this time. Her recent dreams clung to everything she had thought she knew like a mist clouding everything she thought she knew, and she realized she had no answer to that question. At least not yet.

Damon yelling "Mommy, Mommy!!" pulled her out of her own head long enough to realize he had already answered for himself. The loving looks shared between the people in the car with her were enough to tell her that without her even hearing the answer. The same twinkle she had seen in Mr. Atnas's eyes was now recongnizable in Damon's With a frustrated sigh he finally said, "Mom! Tell them you believe. You do, don't you?".

She was a mother torn in that moment. A part of her cried out to make her son happy at all costs, to agree just to hear that characteristic squeal of his when he was delighted with something. But a bigger part of her was beyond confused. She had no idea what any of this really meant. Did she believe in what? What exactly was going on here? Every fiber of her being was rapid firing questions through her brain, her body at war with itself to try to explain something that might be unexplainable. Could she believe in magic? Would the rest of her life hinge on whether or not she answered "yes"? Questions about her future, Damon's future, their lives together all formed in agonizing lines marching through her mind like soldiers bent on destruction.

Her mother took her hand then and looked her in the eyes, "Honey, you don't have to answer that question now. We didn't mean to make you feel pressured to do that without seeing it for yourself. I guess that's what today will be about. You will get to see firsthand the things that I have, and it will change everything, I promise."

Bethryn closed her eyes and struggled against the tears she felt forming and nodded her head. For the time being, she was just along for the ride, hoping beyond hope that all of her questions would finally be answered.

 Karen of Baking In A Tornado

That night Bethryn knew. She knew what she believed and she knew what she needed her son to believe. They sat together by the fire, Bethryn holding Damon tight, and she began:

"Damon, do you remember the book Grammy was reading you when she first came to visit? About the boy who wrote to Santa that his only wish was for his dad to live? Santa's idea for all the children facing these kinds of struggles was to create a set of special keys delivered with a hand-written letter telling them to hold tight to their key and remember something wonderful about their loved ones. He told them to then share their memories with as many people as they could and help others to do the same."

Damon nodded. It felt like ages ago, in another lifetime, but of course he remembered.

Bethryn continued, "Do you remember how, after hearing the story, you found your key? It started us talking about Dad. And what happened next, Damon?"

Damon remembered clearly, it was so unreal . . . and yet so real. "Grammy brought you a feather pen with ink and special paper. I wasn't allowed to use it but we wrote a letter to Santa. I told you what to say."

Bethryn interjected, "The more you talked about dad, the more you saw a future for us, the more that key glowed."

Damon was excited now, taken back to that day. Remembering how his vision began to blur and there was a high pitched ringing in his ears and when the key fell to the rug it sprinkled magic, making the whole room smell of Sugar Cookies and Gingerbread.

"The writing instruments would not sign that letter," Bethryn reminded him, "It could only be signed by you placing your key on that paper. The power was yours, son, and only yours."

"Grammy's quill and your key told Santa everything he needed to know. That was when Kamryn called starting this whole adventure. We, you and I both, were ready. To talk about dad, not with tears but with joy. It took time, as it must, but we are moving forward. We have taken the steps to rejoin our lives wherever they may lead."

"We told you that night that Grammy had a story to tell you," Bethryn continued. "Today she didn't just tell it but she showed you. She showed us both."

"Damon, we are special, you and I. But whatever comes next, whether we stay here or go, whether we carry on the traditions of our family or not, no matter what you do or don't believe about us, there is a truth we both learned that cannot be denied."

"That key you pressed into that beautiful paper is a symbol. It reminds us of the fact that everyone, every single person who loves someone, whose heart forms a bond with another's, makes an imprint. Invisible though it may be, it's there. No magic is necessary. These people are with us. Always."

It's an honor for me to, once again, thank the talented writers who gifted me a section of this holiday story. I recommend you visit every one of these blogs:

Jenniy of Climaxed
and me!

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fly on the Wall: You Touched My What?

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 12 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house. At the end of my post you’ll find links to this month’s other participants’ posts.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

October and November are months full of cooking and baking. Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthdays and just having the boys and their friends around, in and out of the kitchen.
So one night earlier this month I needed a break. At about 4:00 pm, Hubs comes into the kitchen and looks around to see . . . well . . . nothing.

Hubs: What's for dinner?
Me: Air.
Hubs: Air?
Me: Yeah, that's what I was thinking.
Hubs: Ahhh, air. Take-out it is.

Smart guy.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Me: I have a funny status about you on my FB page, do you want to hear it?
College Boy: Sure.

So I read him the status and was met with silence.

Me: Not funny?
College Boy: You're never funny.

Now he was the one met with silence.

College Boy: If funny were . . .
Me (interrupting): OK, there is no need to clarify.
College Boy: And if funny were . . .
Me (interrupting): Thanks, kid.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

We all do it (or I'd like to think we all do), absentmindedly put things where they don't belong then go searching for it. 

The other day I was in the kitchen washing and trimming chicken for dinner. When I was done I threw the knife in the trash and went to put the paper towels in the dishwasher. Caught it right away, of course, standing there with dirty paper towels in my hand and the dishwasher open. Crap. Now I have to go digging in the trash.

As if all of that wasn't bad enough, I turn around and there's College Boy, arms crossed, eyebrow raised, not saying a word but letting me know he thinks I'm ready for the nursing home.

Double crap.

 Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

A few weeks ago, while PurDude was home, I was trying to get about a million things done on a Sunday morning. I was baking, doing laundry, working on a grocery list, working on a post for the blog and many other things. The boys were upstairs and Hubs was out doing errands.

I went upstairs, took a shower and stopped to talk to the boys for a while. Hubs had obviously come home because when I was heading back down the stairs, he was coming up.

Hubs (while passing me on the stairs): I touched your cookies.
{{now I have no idea what that's a euphemism for and I'm sure I looked both confused and indignant}}
Me: You did what?
Hubs: You asked for it, I was doing you a favor.
And he disappeared into our room.

I went downstairs, not really sure what to do. And then I saw the note I had left on the counter:

Fly on the Wall: don't touch the cookies | www.BakingInATornado.com | #family #humor

 Oh, he touched my cookies. Seems as though the smart ass-ery is finally rubbing off on Hubs.

 Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

It was hell getting PurDude home for Thanksgiving. The day he was it leave there was a snow storm that canceled many flights including his. Many people were stranded but we did finally get him home. We walked in the door at 11:15 pm. His brother came down to say hello and the two started talking. 

Apparently a new Fall Out game (which takes place in Boston) had come out and both boys were playing it. 

I'm sure you've all seen Charlie Brown specials. That's what was going on in my kitchen.

College Boy: Waa wha wha waa wha wha.
PurDude: Wha wha waaaaa Old North Church waa waa wha.
College Boy: Whaaa waa waa Fenway Park whaaa wha wha.
PurDude: Wha waa waa wha wha, wha wha Cambridge waa wha waa.

Well, that's what I heard anyway. I speak Boston but I don't speak Fall Out. Wonder if they sell a dictionary for that.

Dark Chocolate Mint Cookie Pie: This NO BAKE pie has a delicious dark chocolate cookie crust,a fluffy mint and dark chocolate center with a bit of a crunch | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #pie #chocolate #mint

Dark Chocolate Mint Cookie Pie

Dark Chocolate Mint Cookie Pie: This NO BAKE pie has a delicious dark chocolate cookie crust,a fluffy mint and dark chocolate center with a bit of a crunch | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #pie #chocolate #mint

I've talked before about how PurDude never takes pictures. I love to see them so I tend to stalk his frat's FB page. 

When he broke his leg on my birthday, I insisted on him sending me pictures of the casts (he ended up needing a new one almost every week) so I could watch the progress. Since I'm paying the bills, I win.
I decided to make him a gift.

Make that a GIF. 

So without further ado, I present what I'm calling "The Anatomy (get it?) of a Broken Leg":

Fly on the Wall: The anatomy of a broken leg | www.BakingInATornado.com | #family #MyGIFs

Think he'll ever send me another picture again? 

Yeah, me neither.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

When PurDude was flying back to school, we went in the day before to print his boarding passes. He's booked with his middle initial as your booking has to match your legal ID. When we printed the passes, we noticed that his middle initial was not capitalized and had been added to the end of his first name. So instead of PurDude A. Tornado, his name was PurDudea Tornado. I called the airline because I was afraid he'd have trouble with TSA. The airline said that his official flight document has his name listed correctly and he'd be fine. I wasn't so sure and was worried about it.

We watched him go through the TSA line and I was relieved when it went well. Hubs and I left. When we were leaving the parking garage PurDude texted me that he was flagged and was stuck in line having his backpack inspected. Crap. Then he told me what actually happened.

He loves my Pumpkin Bread. There was half a loaf left so I'd wrapped it in 2 layers of tin foil, put it into a freezer bag and stuck it into his backpack. TSA saw a brick sized something wrapped in tin foil and pulled him aside.

Ooops. My bad.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

The day after he went back to school, I was really missing PurDude. It's always the worst right when he leaves. I waited until around 1:00 pm and decided I'd text him and let him know I missed him. I tried to think of a cute way (as opposed to a clingy way) to let him know he was missed. Unfortunately for me, my boys don't do cute. The texts went like this:

Me: I woke up this morning and you weren't here {{sad face emoji}}.
PurDude: You just woke me up and you aren't even here. {{no emoji at all, which I suppose is better than a middle finger emoji}}.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Purdue and IU (Indiana University) are arch enemies. Hubs and I were watching the Purdue vs IU football game on tv.

I have to say here that I feel so bad for PurDude. He absolutely loves football. When he was choosing where to go to college, it was between Purdue and Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech has a great football program. Purdue . . . not so much.

In the first quarter IU was winning but Purdue was on the one yard line. Hubs was sure they'd get a touchdown but me . . . not so much. 

Aaaand. . . they turned the ball over.

Later on I was putting out some snacks for lunch.

Me: Do you want some chips and dip?
Hubs: I'm not eating until Purdue scores a touchdown.
Me: You could die a slow and painful death.
Hubs: Oh yeah, I forgot this is the last game of the year.

So I'm in the kitchen and I hear Hubs urging the team on. "Yea"s and "oh, no"s. Finally I hear:
Hubs: Yessss. I can eat! 

Phew, that was a close one.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

My car is suffering from some kind of cognitive delay and it's driving me crazy. I mean, it's bad enough it talks to me, I'm constantly frustrated and answering it with anger.

Car: The . . . door . . . is  . . . open.
Me: No shit, I opened it.

Now with the delay it's even worse. Conversations go something like this:

I let my passenger out, pull out, drive down the street and hear:
Car: The . . . door . . . is . . . open.
Me: Where the hell have you been? That was 5 minutes ago.

I drive a little further and hear:
Car: Please . . . fasten . . . your . . . seat belt.
Me: Mine is on and College Boy cannot fasten his seat belt, he got out of the car 5 minutes ago. Remember the whole "the door is open" thing?

Don't even want to know what's next. Voices from the garage in the middle of the night?

Now click on the links below for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Dark Chocolate Mint Cookie Pie
Printable Recipe
1 pkg (11.5 oz) Keebler Fudge Stripes Dark Chocolate Cookies, finely crushed
4 TBSP butter, melted

3 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
12 ounces dark chocolate
20 chocolate covered mint cookies, crushed

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Creme de Menthe

*Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
*In microwave, melt the dark chocolate with 1 cup of the cream. Microwave for 1 minute, mix well and continue at 15 second intervals until completely smooth. Set aside.
*Mix together the Fudge Stripes cookie crumbs and butter. Press onto bottom and about a half inch up the sides of the prepared pan.
*Beat the remaining 2 1/2 cups of cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and Creme de Menthe. Continue to beat until stiff peaks hold.
*Place about 1 cup of the whipped cream in a sealed baggie in the fridge.
*Mix the crushed mint cookies into the melted chocolate, then fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Pour evenly over the crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
*Before serving, release from the pan and garnish with the reserved whipped cream. Store left overs in the fridge.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Holiday Story: Impossible Possibilities

Today's post is chapter 6 in a collaborative piece of fiction crafted by over 20 bloggers. It started with an experiment last December when 18 bloggers added their voice, one after the other, to a 3 chapter story. It was a huge success both with writers, many of whom have joined in again this year, and readers.

Progressive Story Projects: One cohesive piece of fiction written by multiple bloggers, each contributing their voice to the story | brought to you by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #fiction #blogging

This holiday season we're continuing the story. Some of the writers were part of the original project. Others have joined in this year for the first time. Once again each author is listed above their segment with a link to their blog. All of their blogs are worth a visit.
Before you read on, be sure to read the story so far:

A Holiday Story 
A Holiday Story: Part Deux 
A Holiday Story: The Finale
A Holiday Story: Set In Motion
A Holiday Story: First Steps

A Holiday Story, A Progressive Story Project: One cohesive piece of fiction written by multiple bloggers, each contributing their voice to the story | brought to you by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #fiction #blogging

Beth could not believe her eyes or her brain. Surely she was suffering from hallucinations. Seated in the Escalade was her great Uncle Nicholas. She had seen so many pictures of him over the years. He was a beloved member of her family. He had died when she was young, probably Damon's age, if she remembered correctly. How could this possibly be happening? He leaned out to take her hand and smiled his megawatt smile, the one she remembered so fondly from all the pictures of him.

She reached out to take his hand, half expecting her hand to touch air, but his warm hand wrapped around hers as he helped her into the back seat. This was by far the greatest Doppelganger she had ever seen in her life. How was it even possible for someone to look so much lick another person and not be that person? Her great uncle did not have a twin and he never had children. Come to think of it, Beth didn't think he was ever married. She looked up, trying to catch her breath and slow her racing heart. Movement from next to him caught her attention and she glanced over. She gasped loudly and shrieked in shock. How was this even possible? Surely her eyes were deceiving her.

"Hello, Bethy Blueskin."
Beth dropped heavily to the soft seat beside her great uncle and stared at the man seated next to him. "D-Daddy?"
The familiar smile she so loved and had almost forgotten lit his face.
Choking back a sob, Beth dropped to the floor and threw her arms around his knees. His real, solid knees. She felt the rough fabric of the heavy twill slacks he wore against her cheek.
A gently hand softly stroked her hair. "My angel girl."
She looked up at him, trying to reassure herself that he really was there.
He was.
She reached out a shaking hand to touch the beloved face. A face that looked younger. Not pinched with the pain of the cancer that had ravaged him for so many years before he . . . "Daddy?"
Beth turned her head.
Damon and her mother were standing in the doorway, waiting to get in.
Damon's head was tipped to one side as he looked at her. Merely curious.
Her mother's face was paper white and she looked as though she was about to keel over.

Beth shook her head to clear her thoughts. "What in the world is wrong with me?" she wondered. She knew she was tired and over-stressed, but all these day dreams were getting out of hand. She had things to do. A child to care for. A home that was about to be lost. And a job interview to get to!

She most certainly was not seeing deceased members of her family waiting for her in the car that was to take her to her potential new job.

"Mommy? Are you okay?" Damon asked "Did you fall in the snow?"

"No, no, baby. I'm fine. Just a little light-headed. I think all the excitement from our trip is starting to me! Are you ready to go?"

She hugged him close and caught her mother's eye over the top of his head. Her mom still looked a little pale, but she had a certain twinkle in her eye that Bethryn couldn't quite place. She'd seen that look before.

 Steena of The Angrivated Mom

"Damon. Mom. I'm sorry. Get in, get in! I don't know where I left my mind today! Then we can do, ummm, introductions."

But those introductions, she discovered, were completely unnecessary. Before her mother could finish climbing in behind Damon, the men began speaking to her son with all the enthusiasm of a grandparent who hasn't seen their most beloved grandchild in far too long. They captivated his attention immediately with their jolly, robust, and even a bit whimsical, presence. Everything from the past few days was swirling rampant in Bethryn's mind as she tried to make sense of it all. Her eyes had not deceived her, in fact. She wasn't losing her mind, well, she hoped she wasn't losing her mind. Her mother's delighted squeals broke her trance and shook  her back into the present.

"Oh, Santana! You look just the same as you did on the day we parted. How I've missed you! I've fervently been awaiting this day to come for so long now, I couldn't stand a second of life without you by my side! It was so hard to keep up appearances, I wasn't sure I could make it", her mother gushed to the man Beth had thought was buried in the family plot located at her great uncle's old estate, which was no owned by some estranged fourth cousins or another. She didn't know much about that side of her great uncle's family, other than that his nephew and some of the nephew's children were afflicted with a type of dwarfism and preferred their privacy because of it.

Her mother turned to look at her just then. "Remember I told you I had a little story I wanted to tell you yesterday morning? I think it's time you and Damon heard it."

~~~ Come back next week for the conclusion of this story written by another group of bloggers ~~~

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