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I have a new baby cousin!  Well, second cousin.  It’s totally weird that my cousin is old enough to have kids and stuff, but whatever.  Max is totally cute.  I felt bad for my cousin because she was HUGE before she had him.  I mean, seriously huge.  On Christmas Eve, my family always reads the Christmas story and when we got to the part where Mary rode the donkey to Bethlehem, I thought of my cousin.  I can’t imagine anyone that huge riding a donkey!  Especially not all those miles.  Mary sure was a trooper!  I think I would have told God he was crazy!  And then gotten myself a plane ticket or called a cab or something!

So the new year starts tomorrow.  I’m not a resolution girl so I don’t have like ten things I want to work on.  I do have one wish though.  Or maybe I should say prayer.  I’m hoping that Claire and I can get back to the way things used to be.  She says she’s over what happened, but it doesn’t feel like it.  We still hang out and sometimes talk on the phone, but it’s just not the same.  Maybe the new year will bring us a better friendship.  What are you hoping for in the new year?

I’m back to thinking I should have gotten Claire the earrings.  She’s talking to me again and we’ve hung out a couple of times, but she’s still pretty frosty.  She’s hanging out even more with Molly and her clones and ditching me to be with them.  Mom says that sometimes friends “out grow” each other.  I don’t feel like I’ve out grown Claire at all.  I don’t WANT to out grow Claire.  She’s been my best friend since kindergarten.  Mom says I need to branch out and talk to more people, but I’m not exactly Miss Popularity or Miss Social, so I don’t really know how to do that.  It’s not like a friend is just suddenly going to appear.  Why does junior high have to be so hard?

So I’ve been struggling to make amends with Claire since I hesitated in helping her.  I did show up to help, by the way.  My mom and I were out shopping and I found the PERFECT “I’m sorry” gift for Claire.  I found them in this funky jewelry store that just came in the mall.  I know you hear funky and think that wouldn’t fit Claire at all, but it wasn’t just weird stuff.  They had some really classy things too.  I say things; the lady at the counter said pieces.  Very posh.  These earrings were so pretty.  I couldn’t take my eyes off them and that’s saying something since I’m not really the blingy type.  They were silver, dangly, and feathery.  Like metal feathery.  I don’t even know how to describe them really.  All I knew was that Claire would love them.  I picked them up and then saw the price tag.  $25.00  Not a fortune for someone who has a job, but for me, they might as well have been a million dollars.  I explained the situation to my mom and asked if I could borrow the money and I would pay her back in chores and stuff.  She said Claire didn’t need expensive earrings as an apology.  She also said that it was obvious I was sincere in my apology and Claire needed to accept it.  It was no longer my fault or my problem.  Okay, so she had a point, but these earrings would totally smooth things over!  When I wouldn’t give up, Mom suggested I find a cheaper version.  We looked around at another jewelry store, but found nothing.  Mom told me that our neighbors were always looking for good baby-sitters for their twins.  There’s a reason for that!  Those twins are terrors!!!!  There’s a fence that separates our houses and I’m very thankful for that!  I’d almost prefer our neighbors had a menacing dog.  Maybe that’s a bit dramatic.  I’d have to be desperate to baby-sit the twins for those earrings.  When I told Mom that, she raised her eyebrows.  I resented her insinuation that I was desperate.  We left the earrings at the mall.  I don’t think any amount of scheming will get me those earrings and I’m really not desperate enough to baby-sit for them.  So I guess that’s that.  Maybe I’ll take Mom’s advice.  I really did apologize, meant it, and then showed up to help.  Maybe Claire really does just need to get over it.

So I have to fess up to something.  I’m totally a selfish person.  I honestly don’t think I do anything without thinking about how I’ll benefit from it or how it will affect me.  For example, yesterday, Claire asked me if I would help her with her cheerleading signs after school.  I should have said yes without any hesitation.  Instead, I thought about it.  I thought about how Molly and her clones would also be there and how Molly would be totally mean.  Then I thought about how Claire was my best friend and she knew how Molly treated me so she wouldn’t ask for help unless she really needed my help.  I was about to say a nervous yes, but Claire went off on me.  Seriously, it wasn’t like I had to think about it for eight years.  I only took about thirty seconds, but Claire interpreted my silence as a no and told me that if I was really her friend I would help her like she’s been helping me basically my whole life.  She flounced off and now she’s not talking to me.  I called her and left a voicemail telling her that I was going to say yes, but she hasn’t called me back.  I am the worst friend ever.  Especially since she was right.  I should have just said yes without thinking about Molly.  I am selfish to the max.  Lord, please help me be a better friend and help me be less selfish!

Occasionally, my dad will go hunting.  He really likes venison – deer meat for those of you who are not hunters.  I’m not a fan.  Especially of venison jerky.  YUCK!  But dad really likes it.  Since Kent couldn’t go this year, he decided that I needed to go.  I’m not a vegetarian or anything, but I seriously am not fond of the idea of watching an animal die, but Mom convinced me I should go with him.  Have some bonding time or something like that.  So here we are sitting in this tree stand, waiting for a deer to show up.  It’s stinking cold and my dad thinks that while we wait, we should have this deep conversation.  I’m all for meaningful discussions, but not in the freezing cold, with the sun just coming up, in the middle of the creepy woods.  Dad starts telling me about how his parents were really, really strict and how that shaped his parenting.  I can’t imagine anyone stricter than my parents.  I mean they wouldn’t even let me go to Europe with my best friend when I was INVITED!  He tells me that one time his dad left and didn’t come back until months later.  My dad said he was sure his dad wasn’t coming back.  I’d never heard this before.  His dad, my grandpa, died before I was born so I never knew him.  Apparently he wasn’t the most stellar guy ever.  Dad told me he and his sister weren’t sure if they wanted their dad to come back or to stay away.  When he did come back, he was a little better than before.  Anyway…  The whole point of the story was that he hoped that I wasn’t counting down the days until I could move out like he and his sister were.  He hoped that I knew that he and Mom loved me and wanted what was best for me.

After telling me the story, he was quiet.  It was an awkward silence.  Should I say something?  Did he want me to say that no, I wasn’t counting down the day until I could move out.  Fortunately, a deer saved me.  She darted out of the woods and my dad was totally focused on that instead of my response to his story.  It did make me see him in a whole different light.  I never knew he had anything less than an idyllic childhood.  It was crazy to me that his dad wasn’t a very nice guy.  I couldn’t imagine a better guy than my dad.  Sometimes he made me mad, but most of the time, I knew that he was doing what he thought was right.  It made me realize how blessed I am to have parents who do love me, even though they drive me crazy sometimes!



So I came up with this perfect plan to help Noah forgive me.  I wrote this really long letter to him, folded it up this new way that Claire showed me, and waited for him in the hallway.  He has to pass my locker after first period to get to his second class (I’m not a stalker!  Promise!) so I could pass him the note without being too suspicious.  The bell rang, I raced to my locker, and there he was.  I called his name and held the note out.  He was talking to Landon so I called his name again.  Landon elbowed Noah and pointed to me.  Noah looked right at me.  I held the note out again, but he just kept walking.  Landon started cackling.  I swear he has the loudest laugh of anyone.  Of course Molly had to be right there.  She smirked when she went past and called me pathetic.  SOOOOO embarrassing!  I want to crawl under a rock and stay there until we graduate.

I was hoping all this junk with Noah would blow over quickly.  I mean I learned my lesson on forgiveness, he should too, right?  Well, apparently he didn’t because he’s completely ignoring me.  I say hi to him in the hallway and he just keeps walking.  I guess it’s better to be ignored than to be bullied or something, but I pretty much hate it.  Oh, I deserve it.  I treated him pretty horribly, but I still don’t like it.  Have you ever felt completely invisible?  I think this is what it would feel like.  It’s like I don’t even exist.  I almost wish we could go back to the relationship we used to have – he would pick on me and I would pick back.  Sometimes that wasn’t fun either, BUT at least I was getting noticed.  Claire doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.  She says I need to get over it and move on.  Maybe I would listen to her if I didn’t have to listen to her hours of stories about cheerleading and Caleb.  Yuck!  I’m trying to think of ideas of how I can show Noah that I’m truly sorry and that I’m deserving of his forgiveness, but I’m drawing a complete blank.  Maybe I should just wait and see if time will heal this wound.

So things with Claire have gotten weird.  Ever since she’s been back from Europe, all she wants to do is talk about hair, make-up, and clothes.  She’s always been way more fashion conscious than me, but this is at a whole new level.  I have barely been able to get a word in.  AND she’s decided she wants to try out for cheerleading!!!  What?!  It’s not the cheerleading I have a problem with.  I just can’t believe she voluntarily wants to spend all her after school time with Molly.  Yesterday, she told me that I needed to come over so I could tell her if the cheers she made up were stupid.  I’ve tried to talk to her about Noah, but she cuts me off to tell me about some “faaabulous” lip gloss she’s found.  All summer I couldn’t wait for her to come back and now I wish she would go back to Europe and bring back my best friend!

Since Claire’s been gone and Noah’s not speaking to me, there hasn’t been anything to report, but now Claire is back!!  I’m so excited!  We’re going to hang out this afternoon and I can’t wait to hear about all things Europe!  I hope she brings some pictures too.  Okay, so maybe pictures might be a bit early, but she could bring her camera so I can see them on that.  After she tells me about all of her adventures, then I can tell her about what happened at camp.  It will be SO good to hear her opinion and hear her say that I’m not a terrible person!  I know that’s what she’ll say.  This summer has just gotten so much better!!

Let’s just say that camp was the most horrible experience ever!  It was awful!  No joke.  Between the heat, the bugs, and the frenemies…  I don’t even want to talk about it.  If you want to read about it, check out my book Revenge At Camp Tepeki.

I’m so glad to be home and I can’t wait for Claire to come back from Europe!!  I miss her so much!