Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I Blog Because I'm Bored

Tonight I am doing a rare mid-week blog because I am bored. I am waiting for the dryer to do what dryer's do best, and dry my linens. I can't go to bed until my bedding emerges dry from the dryer. So I'm up later than I care to be, and I'm blogging.
Juli and I did something unusual this week. We actually wrote our column for next week in advance. We wrote it on "Cat Women," or women who backstab other women in a desperate and shallow attempt to get a man. I had a strange and unexpected experience with it this week, which is where it all spawned from. A girl from my old singles ward "sent the message" to me via a mutual friend that I need to back off Rick (name changed to protect the innocent). According to the girl, she is dating Rick now, and I'm not welcome to be friends with him anymore. My first reaction was, "Wow, she's stupid if she thinks he's going to stop having female friends because he's dating her." I felt a little sorry for her. This particular guy is well known for having lots of "just" friends. He and I have been "just" good friends for about a year now. (And I have no intentions of stopping my friendship with him just for her.) I felt bad for her that she obviously has such little confidence in herself that she would feel she has to eliminate all competition in order to play on a level playing field. What does it say about her that she thinks she'll only be noticed by her boyfriend if she eliminates all other women from his view? Well, I emailed Rick. I basically said I was surprised I hadn't heard it from him first that he was dating her. And I mentioned that she apparently feels I've acted inappropriately around him. Much to my surprise, he wrote back and said that she's not his girlfriend. And he gently reminded me that he's not exactly the boyfriend commitment type. On one selfish hand that made me feel better. But then on the other hand, I just feel bad for a girl that insecure. I hope never sink to her depths. I think the column Jules and I have put together for next week covers the subject well, and we pulled in some fun jokes.

In other news, there's just a few weeks left till the annual Mormons Take Over Duck Beach Weekend. I've rented out a house for the second year in a row. This year I have rented one of the largest houses on the island. Thankfully, I've rented out all the beds and spaces in the house. Here's a link to the house, if anyone cares to check it out- the Island Pearl, . My plan is to stay down there for a full week. Most of the singles/friends only stay for the course of the holiday weekend. But I'm staying the full week, and taking some vacation time, so that I can finish some personal writing projects. I'm working on a sequel to Beyond Perfection, with Juli, and a second novel, "Ask Emily," on my own. Plus, hopefully by then we will be into the editing phase of, "Altar Ego: Life in a Singles Ward." I have to admit staying in a fancy beach house for a week, just writing and hanging out in the hot tub, is something of a dream come true for me. I can't wait!! Ooh, and reading of course. And watching DVD's. (I can't type the ENTIRE time I'm down there.) So if anyone has some good books or movies to recommend, I'm all ears.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Blogs lost

I keep blogging and my blogs are getting lost somewhere in cyberspace. I don't mean to neglect the blog. But sometimes these things just happen! I also posted about 10 pictures of various events, and they have all been lost as well. But thankfully, just in time for Girls Night Out, the picture blogger bot thing has decided to work again.
This past weekend I joined some very lovely ladies for a big girls night out. We went to the movies and followed that up with ice cream and more fun. Tara was the main organizer behind this great night, and she took "self portraits" with each of the attendees. Below there are a few fun pictures from that night.
I had a funny experience on Sunday. I wish I could put it in my column, but I have it on good authority that the person I would like the most to mock reads the column. So for now, I'll just have to mock people here in the blog.
I recently started attending a new congregation. I am no longer in a singles congregation, and now attend a "family ward." It turns out that this "family ward" has over 200 singles in it. And [unlike previous congregations] most of them are considerably over 40 years old. A nice older man that I have met many times before came up and invited me to the singles "family home evening" activity they hold on Monday nights. Now, this is normal. Singles frequently hold their own replacement activities for FHE. In my last congregation we did things like picnics at the Cherry Blossoms, or BBQs, or movie nights. So you can only imagine what I thought when this older guy (in his early 60's) very politely invites me to join them. The conversation went like this-
Old Guy: Every month we meet at the Elms nursing home in Vienna. We'd love to have some new faces there. Do you know where the Elms are?
(I nod slowly. Every month they do service at the nursing home? No variations? Nothing else? Hmm...)
OG: We have some ward members that live there. Its just easier to meet there and then go out. They don't get out much otherwise.
(I'm torn between thinking that's sweet that they take the old people out every month, and thinking there was something odd in the way he said "we meet there.")
Me: So you go there every month? Just a nursing home service thing every month?
OG: (Laughing) No, we meet there so that everyone can participate. We go out for the activity from there.
Me: (shaking my head in disbelief) Let me get this straight. You don't GO to the nursing home? You HAVE it at the nursing home because some of the participants LIVE there?
OG: Right.

OH MY GOSH. What did I get myself into? The singles in this ward (congregation) are so old that some of them truly live in a nursing home!!! Talk about old maids!! I don't think I have ever felt more desire to get married in my life. I want to run screaming to the nearest available man and beg him to marry me! I'll do the dishes and pick up after you for twenty years! But please, whatever you do, I can't end up in a nursing home singles FHE!!!

And now, just to add insult to injury, I have been asked to be the single adults rep for our ward. So now I have to plan the monthy activities for the singles. Fantastic. I have to plan activities for singles in age from 21-98. Because, oh yes, the oldest person on my list is 98!! Gotta love this job!!

All the lovely girls at Girls Night Out

Big Grins with Gwen

"Self Portraits" by Tara.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

We Sold Out!

OH MY GOSH!! I just got an email from the bookstore we signed at this weekend- we sold out! And I checked the inventory levels at all the Deseret Bookstores (our biggest retailer in the West) and we've just about nearly sold out at all of their stores!!! In just our first weekend! YEAH!!!!!!!!!
Today our column posts for the first time with a "click to buy" feature. So hopefully all of our wonderful, devoted, amazing readers will click to buy our book, and we'll sell out even more!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Conclaves, Catholics, Angels, Demons, and the DaVinci Code

I have recently become intrigued by the procedures by which the new pope will become elected. I guess it have never occurred to me before that Catholics had such a socialist system set up in house for the papal succession. In the past few months I have read both "Angels and Demons," and the "Da Vinci Code." This has lead to a lot of my newly found interest in the conclave and the mysteries surrounding it. For Pope JPII to die just days after I finished "Angels and Demonds," was quite exciting for me. I kept expecting Wolf Blitzer to interrupt the daily news to announce that the Camerlengo has discovered the Pope was poisoned while locked in his secret tower room. But alas, no such drama. Just round the clock TV coverage instead. I did find this article today "Venerable Papal Tradition: The Very Smoke-Filled Room," in the Washington Post. Its an article filled with history regarding the conclave and the intrigue behind the election of the next Pope. It all makes me very glad to know that when the prophet of the Mormon Church dies, no one will be murdered on their way to Sunday Services just to increase the political odds of another man. I am looking for some Catholic literature now so I can gain a better understanding of these rituals. I wonder if the education the Washington Post has so freely offered me is entirely accurate. I would like to learn more (just out of curiousity) from sources that actually care. Any recommendations?

Buy the Book?

Ta dum! It is finally finally official, I am an author. This has been a very fun filled weekend with book signings and family and friends. Juli flew in from Florida, her mother came from Utah, and McBrides came from all around the state for our book signing this weekend. It made this whole experience seem finally real. It was nearly three years ago that we started this process, almost completely on a whim. I had been living with Juli (and Bryan and Cali) for several weeks, while I looked to make a home for myself in Florida. The day before I moved out of Chez Caldwell, I said to Juli, "We're funny. We should write a book." There was never a brilliant plan to get it published. It was mostly just something to do together. So in spite of the fact that we had lived in the same house for quite some time, as soon as I moved out, we wrote a book. We have the free instant messenger and email accounts from Yahoo! to thank for that. It took over a year to write the complete novel, and then exactly a full year from the day we submitted it to Covenant to the day it hit the shelves. I remember we submitted the book just a few days before my sister announced she was pregnant. I said at that time, "Let's see which takes longer, making a baby or a book." Turns out babies come faster. Porter is nearly 3 months old now.
Saturday morning we had a book signing at This is the Place Bookstore, in Kensington, MD. We did more sales there than we expected to, which was great. We went from there to my parent's house in Fredericksburg for a party-style book signing with friends and family. We sold lots more books and tee shirts there. (and gave each of my aunts the lipstick pens we had signed the books with) To share the experience with friends and family, and to have Juli there with me (and not just on the cell phone), made it all feel like it was no longer a figment of my imagination.
All in all, VERY FUN. And a big thank you to all those who came out to show their support and love. THANK YOU!!!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Happy 35th Anniversary Mom and Dad

Friday night I drove down to Fredneck to take Mom and Dad out for their 35th wedding anniversary. We joined a few of their "couple friends" at a steakhouse. (Its very different going to dinner with married people versus single people. Married people all split up- women on one end, men on the other. So not what singles do.) Dinner was very enjoyable. We told the waitress about the anniversary, and she had the staff come out and sing a happy anniversary song and give them a cake. But Mom wasn't sitting next to Dad. She was sitting next to Kurt Meppen. So the waitresses all sang for Mom and Kurt. It was all very funny. After that Mom and Dad had a little re-creation of their wedding day and served each other the cake. All very cute and fun. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.

In other news, I am happy to announce that my (our) book is finally for sale on Barnes and Noble. (it won't be carried in BN stores)


Mom and Dad reliving their wedding day.

Mom and Kurt Meppen accepting their chocolate cake.

Maybe this is why they call me the Gun Girl?

Chicago Demo Day

Just got back from the Chicago Demo Day at the Elk Grove Village Police Department. It was a learning experience, to say the least. I traveled with Craig, Rick, and Len to Chicago for the demo. The objective of the trip was to demo the newest Beretta pistol, the Px4 Storm. All who shot it loved it. We also shot the Cx4 Storm (the carbine), and the PD just happened to have one of the old Beretta PM12 submachine guns too. So we had a few items to shoot. I discovered that I may have a little thing for submachine guns. I shot over a hundred rounds through it. I only stopped when the vibration of the gun would cause my hands to shake uncontrollably.
Other highlights of the trip- dinner at my favorite restaurant, Pappadeaux. I had a crawfish appetizer, fried crawfish, and crawfish etoufee. (and maybe i cheated on my diet and had dessert, but no one can prove it)
Unfortunately the resolution of the pictures on the disk was lousy. You can't see how big I am smiling with my PM12. I really wish those were still legal.
Enjoy the pictures.

A table of ammo and guns. What a pretty sight.

Erin and the Pm12. Unfortunately the disk with the pictures had horrible resolution. In the real photo you can see how big I am smiling with my machine gun.

Craig and the Px4.

Len showing off with the Px4.

This picture is for Steph. Here is Joby the K9 for Elk Grove PD. He speaks Dutch and is a very friendly dog.

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