Story Prompt – Crisis

Story Prompt is hosted by Confusing Middle’s – Sunday Scribblings

Crisis

Tony jerked awake. It took a minute to orient himself, coming out of such a deep sleep. Something woke him but what was it?

There, he heard it again.

His wife was screaming. What is going on? Is there an intruder in the house? Is she being attacked?

Scrambling out of bed he grabbed the baseball bat from behind the door and ran for the stairs.

He scanned the rooms quickly trying to identify the enemy and the threat. So far nothing.

Moving from room to room and finding no one he moved on to the kitchen.

Still no intruders but his wife was standing on a chair.

Screaming.

What? What’s going on?

There’s a MOUSE!

Story Prompt – Red

Story Prompt is hosted by Confusing Middle’sSunday Scribblings

RED

I know this will come as a shock to you but the first place my mind went with this prompt was Books and Movies.

Who could forget The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan Universe Book 1) 

I will admit I haven’t read the book but I am in possession of (and have watched) the movie (I do own movies I haven’t watched, just sayin’.)

Somewhere under the freezing Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. The chase for the highly advanced nuclear submarine is on—and there’s only one man who can find her…
 
Brilliant CIA analyst Jack Ryan has little interest in fieldwork, but when covert photographs of Red October land on his desk, Ryan soon finds himself in the middle of a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek played by two world powers—a game that could end in all-out war.

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The next movie assaulting my memory is The Scarlet Pimpernel

I will admit, I have not read this book either but I have seen the movie. Or at least one version of it. One of my daughter’s college friends was a lover of the classics and was a collector of the movies. This particular movie has been made and remade, a few times. One detail we all remember with a smile is the favorite exclamation of the foppish main character in one of the versions. Well, SINK me! I’ve no idea where that expression comes from but we thought it was pretty funny.

Amazon quote:

The Scarlet Pimpernel is the first novel in a series of historical fiction by Baroness Orczy, published in 1905. It was written after her stage play of the same title enjoyed a long run in London, having opened in Nottingham in 1903.

The novel is set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution. The title is the nom de guerre of its hero and protagonist, a chivalrous Englishman who rescues aristocrats before they are sent to the guillotine. Sir Percy Blakeney leads a double life: apparently nothing more than a wealthy fop, but in reality a formidable swordsman and a quick-thinking master of disguise and escape artist. The band of gentlemen who assist him are the only ones who know of his secret identity. He is known by his symbol, a simple flower, the scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis).

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The next remembrance is a story by Francine Rivers. I did read this book but several decades ago. It must have made a big impact if it still springs to mind after so many years. Francine Rivers was a huge favorite so it’s not surprising that I still remember.

The Scarlet Thread: A Novel (The Historical Christian Fiction Story of Two Women, Centuries Apart, Joined through a Journal from the Oregon Trail)

Sierra Madrid’s life has just been turned upside down when she discovers the handcrafted quilt and journal of her ancestor Mary Kathryn McMurray, a young woman who was uprooted from her home only to endure harsh conditions on the Oregon Trail.

Though the women are separated by time and circumstance, Sierra discovers that many of the issues they face are remarkably similar . . . and uncovering Mary Kathryn’s story may help her write the next chapter of hers.

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More recently I’ve been reading A Scarlet Cord by Deborah Raney

In the four years since her husband’s death, Melanie LaSalle’s life has been consumed with managing the family design firm and caring for her five-year-old daughter, Jerica. The possibility of a new relationship is the last thing on her mind. But when Melanie meets Joel Ellington, a new staff member at her church, she is instantly attracted to his warm spirit.
As their friendship deepens, however, Melanie is troubled by something she can’t quite understand or explain. Joel past seems to be off-limits, even to Melanie. Because of her growing feelings for him, Melanie pushes her doubts away. But when Joel disappears, along with the contents of a church bank account, she can no longer ignore her suspicions.
Now, torn between her feelings for Joel and the evidence mounting against him, Melanie faces a heart-wrenching decision: to forget the man who gave her reason to love again or to trust Joel enough to give him her heart.

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One thing for sure… it was easy to find many book and movie titles using some version of Red. Maybe next I should look at pink. Pink Panther, for sure

Read and Enjoyed.

I was thinking. Often I make the comment about having no opinion on whether a book is good or not (when it’s something or someone new to me) but I rarely follow up on it after I’ve read the book.

Maybe it’s important or maybe it’s not, I don’t know, but the thought crossed my mind like it should at least be considered. I haven’t decided yet if it really matters but maybe I should comment, in the meantime.

A couple of days ago we had two Christmas collections, each written by the same four authors. I had no opinions then. At this point the read experience is still fresh in my mind and now I do.

I did like both collections. All eight books were good but my favorites were books one and two in each collection.

On reflection, I think it was mostly tone of voice that made the difference for me. Author personality showed through and some were more appealing than others.

Some included an abundance of detail that seemed less than important to the story, and I’m not a fan, so there was that too.

Anyway, I loved half of them and liked all of them.

The common theme running through the eight books was intriguing and did give these collections something to set them apart from the usual Christmas romance stories. It was definitely a cool idea that worked, Kudos for that.

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There are more read & enjoyed to be mentioned but time is running out so I’ll save them for another day.

Sadly, it was a slow day for book suggestions so there’s nothing interesting to share with you. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

In the meantime, if you need something to read and haven’t downloaded these collections check them out, they are probably still at bargain prices and they are worth the read,

Until tomorrow,

Happy Reading!

A little of this, a little of that

No books today, not yet anyway. Still, I feel agitated with the need to write something. This will be a just-write-something day and see-where-it-goes.

To be honest it’s been a stressful day, filled with a number of unexpected official news conferences. Political and health officials together, specifically to tell us; as of 12:01 Thursday morning our province is on total covid lockdown. Every thing non essential is to be closed. Essential services only but operating at reduced capacity.

Stay at home as much as possible, associate only with the members of your household. One person running errands.

This will be in place for a month at least but probably longer.

It’s been coming for a while and would have been here sooner, maybe, except officials were trying to give us a chance to get it right and flatten the curve without such drastic measures. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do the hard work to get it done. Our province, Manitoba, has the highest positive numbers in the country and deaths are massive compared to the low numbers we had in the spring. I think we had eight in the spring compared to one hundred fourteen now. At the moment we have 5390 active cases. On a per capita basis that’s high.

Personally, this doesn’t affect me very much with of my hermit-like lifestyle, but I still feel very sad it has come to this again. It’s hard on the economy and it’s hard on the health care system, to say nothing of what it’s doing to peoples lives.

Never before have I heard doctors banding together to speak out publicly, about anything. If they are speaking out now, asking for a shut down before things get out of hand, it’s serious and I’m glad we are listening to them.

All of this sounds distressing, on the one hand, but on the other hand there is something hopeful about what we are going through right now.

For me, I’ve always likened the hard places of life to Boot Camp. You know, a military training camp for new recruits, with strict discipline. The purpose of boot camp is to whip us into shape so we can take on challenging tasks.

I think what we are going through right now is a little like boot camp. As a society we have gotten soft and spoiled, we’d not last long if we were faced with a major challenge. Not very long at all for some of us.

Life has no guarantees. We never know when tragedy will strike. Or if not tragedy then some other event that calls for courage and bravery. To think we are being called to get off the couch and develop some skills has a hopeful feel to it. If we develop muscles and strength during this pandemic, it means we will have a fighting chance if we happen to one day be faced with something bigger and unexpected.

So, to be honest – I take this situation seriously but I’m not feeling fearful. I’m feeling hopeful that we will come out the other side of this stronger and more resilient. Ready to stand up and fight for our lives if we need to.

I’m hoping most of us will look at this as the opportunity that it is. A chance to grow, and develop new skills. Skills you may need in an unexpected moment that could change your life.

I’m doing it. Embracing the chance to grow.

Speaking of growing … our writers group is having a Zoom meeting on Saturday and I agreed to present a review, probably about something related to writing.

This is a growing experience for me, especially if it involves non-fiction. I’ll probably share it here and you can help decide if it worked or if I should keep my day job. lol

I’ll be keeping my day job either way (just in case my boss is listening.)

Free and bargain books November 04, 2020

Today is one of those days where I haven’t posted in a while and the well is dry. What to do, what to do.

While I was trying to come up with a little of this and a little of that to talk about I opened Amazon and happened upon a FREE book I’d seen mentioned and then forgotten about a few days ago.

So, I guess we will start with a book. A novel idea hey?

I’ve read other books from this author and this one is not a bad place to start.

Southern Gentleman (Finding Love in the Low Country Book 2)

Amazon quote:

What’s best for the baby? Norah Brown must answer this question when Thornton Winter pushes his way into her life. Baby Camille’s parents, Thornton’s brother and Norah’s sister, were killed in a terrible accident. Now both feel responsible for the baby. But by the time Thornton comes along, Norah has already formed a strong bond with Camille. Will Thornton try to take the baby from her?

To keep her greatest fear from being realized, Norah reluctantly agrees to move with the baby to Thornton’s family home in South Carolina, where she soon finds herself in a battle of wills with his take-charge manner. It certainly doesn’t help that Norah begins to lose her heart to this Southern Gentleman.

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I tripped over another FREE book mentioned and forgotten about recently, in the busyness of life. I’ve read this one in the last year or so.

Her Deadly Inheritance (Jill Shepherd Suspense Book 1)

Amazon quote:

First a runaway. Now running for her life.

Won’t Jill’s family be surprised when she returns home to end their scheme to have her declared legally dead?

Clay Merrick may seem to be nothing more than a handy-man restoring homes, but when the former Special Forces operative tracks a brutal killer to Jill’s home town, he has most of the evidence he needs to bring the killer to justice … until Jill gets in the way. And when Jill exposes the mastermind behind her family’s murderous scheme, she ends any chance she has of remaining alive.

When the assassin moves in for the kill, it’s not just Clay’s mission on the line, but his heart.

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Book three in a series I’ve been reading has shown up as a bargain. I loved book one, didn’t enjoy book two as much but it was still good. Now I think I’d better give book three a try.

Cape Corral Keeper (Saltwater Cowboys Book 3)

Amazon quote:

They agreed to marry. But they never agreed to fall in love.

When Cape Corral Fire Chief Dillon McGrath saves a woman wearing a wedding dress from drowning, he knows he’ll have a great story to tell the guys at the station later. He never expected to get personally involved in the woman’s plight to stay alive.

Gracie Loveland had no choice but to run only moments before saying “I do” to her manipulative fiancé. Staying would have ultimately meant her death at the hands of the cruel man. Desperation, along with a dormant feistiness, surfaces as she fights to survive.

Only one plan might keep Gracie safe and help Dillon preserve the island’s wild horses. The idea seems crazy, but Dillon and Gracie can think of no other options. However, a foe from Gracie’s past is closing in, determined to get what he wants regardless of whose life he destroys in the process.

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Currently I’m reading a WWI historical novel. It’s not really about the war so much as it’s about family left behind to worry and make do as best they can.

Jane: A Fierce Heart (Harvey Girls Book 3)

Jane is determined to make the world a better place even when everything seems so bleak in this clean and wholesome historical western romance story.

Independent, red-haired Jane Harris is twenty years old in 1917 when war breaks out and changes her life. In her hometown of Beaumont, Virginia, she does her best to be a good sister, a good daughter, and to volunteer however she can for the war effort.
But it’s not enough. Her brothers, many of her friends, and the man she loves are gone to France, and Jane needs to do more than knit socks for them. She needs to be busy. She needs to leave home. Luckily, her mother understands, and soon Jane is interviewing to be a Harvey Girl.

The job comes with challenges she has never before experienced. Far away from home, she must stand against her adversaries, and sometimes against her friends. She will have to work hard to achieve things that come easily to those around her, but luckily she will learn that character triumphs over talent, especially when times are hard.

Watching a new world unfold all around her, Jane realizes she is changing too. Will she recognize the difference between childhood devotion and true love? Will she choose the man who can give her the love she deserves? And will he make it home safely?

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Well, this whole exercise has turned out to be much more productive than I ever expected which is awesome.

I’m going to poke my nose in this current book for awhile. The end is in sight and I’m ready to be done and start something new.

It has been a good book and I’ve enjoyed it but the downside is it has more detail than I have patience for. It’s time to move on.

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I have a short attention span when books are calling my name. Almost forgot to finish this off.

Now, I’m outa here!

Happy Reading everyone.

Story Prompt – Frontier

Sunday Scribblings initiator of these story prompts is hosted by peckapalooza – the Confusing Middle.

Frontier

This is something I think about often.

Mostly spurred on with my historical reading. But it’s also because, like many others, I’m interested in life, changes, and possibilities.

Historical novels love to use Settler and Wild West themes and there is no shortage of books written, old or new. about people rushing to conquer unexplored frontiers.

You would think we would run out of new things to say about this subject but apparently not. There is good reason for this, when I think about it. Research is so much easier in our digital world. As readers we’re happy about the endless supply because our thirst for adventure is still strong.

In the days of the settlers the land seemed to go on forever. Most journeys by wagon train took months of hardship. Now, with the invention of not only the automobile but planes and trains, our world has shrunk dramatically.

When we read historical novels, (or even when we don’t,) it’s easy to be envious. I don’t think we envy the hardships but we do envy the chance to explore and discover. There’s a temptation for us to look at our world and think what else is there?

Our ancestors thought that way too, in a way. They looked at life and expected it to keep going on like it was. I was reminded of this the other day while reading another historical novel. There was scoffing at the sight of the first automobiles. Staunch die-hards were convinced, and proclaimed loud and long, that the car would never survive. Horse and buggy is here to stay, they said.

Their minds would not be able to comprehend the changes in our world over the last forty years, never mind the last hundred. Just think, in the days of horse and buggy who could have imagined the technology we now take for granted.

Just like them, it’s easy for us to think we’ve arrived. The world has been explored, the mountains have all been climbed. What can we do that hasn’t already been done.

We haven’t arrived, not by a long shot. Our civilization is on a roll. A fast roll. Ten years from now take stock. The world will be a much different place. There is so much more to be done.

And, I’m still waiting on a replicator like the one Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Star Trek USS Enterprise enjoyed. A cup of tea and a turkey sandwich please.

There are still frontiers to be explored and conquered, folks.

Dream big. I am.

Life is not over. There are places to go and bigger and better things to be done.

If life is unfulfilling and you need a dream and a challenge, look around, take stock, and be a pioneer on the frontier that is our world.

Bargain books for October 24, 2020

BookRunes has a thought provoking suggestion for us.

The Garden at the Edge of Beyond (The Beyond Trilogy Book 1)

Amazon quote:

Enter into regions beyond the human imagination, worlds filled with surprise and discovery, fresh hope and infinite love.

A man lies down for a normal night of sleep and inexplicably awakens to find himself in a surreal garden bursting with fantastic aromas and colors.

A succession of “tour guides” come and go, helping him to interpret the landscape’s fragrant messages, each one a clue on the journey to discover his true self, and, ultimately, the Creator of the Country Beyond.

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The Amazon suggestion strip mentioned book 3

Hell and Beyond (The Beyond Trilogy Book 3) 

Amazon quote:

A lively and fascinating trip through the afterlife—one that will inspire you to rediscover the significance of your life here and now.

A prominent atheist dies unexpectedly and goes to hell. Or so it appears, but nothing is what it seems.

“Michael Phillips has done the impossible—written a thriller on hell…” – C. Baxter Kruger, author of The Shack Revisited

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Interesting:

Book 1 and 3 showed up easily, there must be book 2.

There is. I found it on pre-order.

And so is book 3 on pre-order – now that I take a closer look.

All three are bargains and the last two will be out by the middle of next month, that’s not too long to wait.

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Heaven and Beyond (The Beyond Trilogy Book 2) 

Amazon quote:

Best-selling author Michael Phillips has produced a riveting tale of eternity.

The victim of a terrorist attack on Easter Sunday travels in realms of heaven and earth, finding his notions of both to be turned upside down.

“Phillips has offered a breathtaking and important addition to the world of traditional theological allegory, joining Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and C.S. Lewis’ Pilgrim’s Regress . . . It is beautiful beyond describing and stunning in its impact.” —William Paul Young, author of The Shack

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I’m planning to read all three of these.

I want to hear what he has to say for several reasons.

The beginning of life, heaven, and hell, are not easy topics to write about. Turning any of these subjects into a fiction story is an even bigger challenge, in my opinion.

As well, Michael Phillips has shown up on my reading list many times through the decades. I respect his writing and his knowledge. I even hold his opinions with respect.

I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

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I’m currently in between so this is the perfect time to start with book 1.

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Somehow I feel like there is more to be said yet today but I don’t know what.

Maybe more books will show up and that will be reason for another post. You just never know,

Life can be full of surprises sometimes.

In the meantime…

Happy Reading!

Just say something… anything

That’s the advice of a fellow blogger. Rather than abandoning a regular post for lack of ideas just start talking, who cares what you say.

I have a little trouble with the who-cares part.

Anyway, I decided to start talking and just see where it would go. At the very least, I thought I would tell you a quick story. One where I made a choice and got away with it, until I didn’t. It has to happen to all of us sometime, right?

So I was writing this inspired version of the story, including pictures to illustrate the point. The trouble was, one of the pictures was in a weird format and no matter what I did nothing changed. It was irritating because one picture was big and beautiful and the other was not.

The trouble escalated when I explored, trying to find something in this new editing format that would help me out.

I clicked on the Wrong button.

It was something called enhanced format or some such thing. I did not want to go there but it would not let me leave. There was no close or cancel button that I could see. No matter what I did it wouldn’t go away.

So I did the only thing I could do.

I trashed the whole thing.

I’m starting over with a scaled back version of my story…which is probably better anyway.

The law of averages says you can keep taking a chance but sooner or later something will backfire and get you.

I’ve been doing a bunch of pruning in my yard this fall.

I have a nice sharp pair of clippers. If I twist just the right way with grit and determination, I can muscle through some good sized branches. By good sized I mean about twice as big as one of my fingers.

Anything bigger I’m out of luck. Usually.

Last fall while my teenage grandsons were over I borrowed a long handled pruner from my neighbor and they whistled through the bigger branches. The ones I couldn’t cut with my clippers. They weren’t huge. Maybe an inch and a half thick.

This fall, I still had those long handled clippers. I looked at them, looked at my small trees and thought, why not? I bet I can cut something with them.

Sure enough, it worked and I was thrilled.

It was easy to move on to bigger and bigger branches until it was almost impossible to have the strength to squeeze the handles together enough to get the job done.

Where there’s a will there’s a way. Get creative.

With lots of whole body contortions I discovered I could rest one handle against my left side, grip the other handle with both hands and squeeze with everything I had. It worked. Sometimes I had to finish the last little bit with my small clippers, but it worked.

I was down to the second last tree and it was awkward up against the fence, so close to another tree. Somehow I just couldn’t seem to get the usual angles happening. My left side normally worked better for this chore but not this time. So I decided to give my right side another try.

Bad move.

Something popped. I was Ow, Ow, Ow, THAT hurt. Hmmm. Let’s go back to the left side.

I’ve never cracked a rib before.

It’s been about four weeks and things are starting to feel better. If I behave I can forget it’s even happened.

The trick is to know when to hold and when to fold. I gambled and lost 🙂

So, like my guy in the Sunday story prompt…. I have one more story to tell the grandkids.

Story Prompt – Paper

Sunday Scribblings initiator of these story prompts is hosted by peckapalooza – the Confusing Middle

Paper

Rock Paper Scissors. Her brother’s favorite decision-making method.

Jared’s wife called Jenna in a panic. Jared and his best friend Daniel were hours overdue. They had planned to be back from their afternoon hike in time for dinner. He promised. Said they would be a couple hours, tops.

Jenna was pretty sure this would turn out to be another event where logic would have been the better choice.

One more time, she was grateful for her search and rescue dog Nadia. who’d had lots of practice finding Jared. Jenna had no doubt, this time would be the same. They would find him. Alive or dead – that would be the question.

Her search and rescue team had a good track record for bringing him home too. They knew from experience they’d better bring every piece of equipment they owned or they’d be sorry.

Actually, dealing with Jared and his friend was better than trying to stage simulation exercises. Between Jared and their other occasional rescues they didn’t need much extra practice.

As they were suiting up the guys were taking bets on what kind of pickle Jared had gotten himself and his friend into this time. No one was betting against a pickle of some sort, they knew for sure they’d lose. Some of the guys were getting pretty good at getting it right, they won the pot more often than anyone else. Now even that was getting to be predictable. Maybe they should start taking bets on who would win the pot, just to change it up a bit.

The lighthearted fun of guessing helped reduce the worry and the not-again thoughts. How many times could one guy get himself in trouble and still have it turn out OK?

It wasn’t long before they knew for sure there’d been a Rock Paper Scissors moment. The guys were following an old animal trail through the woods and it split. Veer right or left. Which way?

Nadia’s nose said go right.

At first this looked like an okay choice but it wasn’t long before the trail started to peter out. Trouble could be close.

It was a good thing everyone felt the same sense of caution. Who would have known the trees were hiding a deadly drop off. One wrong move and a person could end up splattered on the rocks hundreds of feet below.

Daniel had good hearing and started yelling about the same time the team discovered the hazard. Peeking over the edge, they found Jared had landed on a ledge and Daniel was beside him. The guys had no way to get back up without a rope. A rope wouldn’t have been much help to Jared anyway. He’d had a bad landing and his leg took the brunt of the force. The only way they’d get him out would be a helicopter rescue.

Pulling Daniel back up after Jared was gone was no big deal.

As they trudged their way back home Jenna couldn’t help feeling miffed with her brother.

He takes all of this stuff in stride. He thinks it’s funny.

“Just think of the stories I’ll have to tell my grandchildren” he says.

If he lives long enough to have grandchildren.

So-help-me, next time I think I’ll just leave him there.

I think his wife might even thank me for it.

Story prompt

Sunday Scribblings  initiator of these story prompts is hosted by peckapalooza – the Confusing Middle

Today’s prompt … Carnival

This is one more installment in the ongoing saga of Bella, as she settles into a new witness protection situation.

Carnival

Exhausted, that’s what she was. It’s Saturday, no need to get up. Bella sank back into her welcoming blankets. Later… she would think about getting up later. For now sleep was easy and she let herself go.

Several hours later she still couldn’t bring herself to get out of bed. Maybe she’d just lie there for awhile thinking about the week behind and the week ahead, that would be a good thing. She wasn’t even aware when she’d drifted back to sleep.

By the time she woke for real and forced herself to get up, the temptation to give in to more sleep was still strong. That would be an unhealthy choice on so many levels. Sleep wouldn’t happen tonight, that’s for sure.

What was with her anyway? It wasn’t like her to be sleepy like this.

Things seemed to be going pretty well at work. In the last few months her new business was growing as word of mouth brought new clients. Financially it looked like she had little reason to be worried for the future.

Personally, people were friendly and she’d met a few women she already could tell would be an important part of her new life.

As she polished off her late afternoon brunch the phone rang. Oh, No.

There’s a carnival in town and she’d promised to meet her new friends there.

It’s a good thing she rolled out of bed when she did.