Sunday, June 26, 2005

As I mentioned in my last entry, the next few weeks are going to be crazy. Between work, writing, Girls Camp, and a holiday trip to go hiking, I may never sleep again. This past weekend I drove down to Roanoke for a conference entitled, “By Faith & By Reason: A Conference on Defending Marriage & The Family.” It was very interesting, and I learned quite a bit. The conference was co-hosted by the Family Action Council International (FACI) and the Public Theology Group. FACI’s board of directors includes several people with my last name. Needless to say, my family is very politically active, particularly when it comes to the subject of families, marriage, etc. It was fun to see several relatives and catch up on everyone’s lives. (As much as you can catch up in the quick five minutes you get alone with them.)
So I’m back from Roanoke, off to work, where things promise to be as busy as ever. We have lots of projects going on right now. Challenges are always welcome with me. But I do worry about keeping up with the challenge, especially when lots of people want to get involved. Its very hard to stay focused and understand your role when several people are trying to pull things in their own direction. That one thing frustrates me to no end. Because I tend not to be a fighter, I usually just get frustrated and back out. Only upon further criticism and provocation do I get angry. I suppose that is why I am always labeled passive aggressive. Its hard for me to understand though. I gave my full support and attention originally, it wasn’t accepted or appreciated, I backed out (which obviously is what the other party wanted), and then I get condemned for not being more involved. I always seem to run into this at work as well as at home. A personality flaw I am sure I should work on.
This week is also Girls Camp. 10 girls in canoes and on bikes. GC is Tuesday and Wednesday (this is for high adventure only- regular camp is at the end of July). And then on Friday I take off with friends to go to the Adirondacks. (Adirondacks- possibly my most favorite word to say.) Between GC (15 miles on bikes), hiking in NY, and the Atkins diet, hopefully I can lose the pesky 10 lbs I just can’t seem to shed.
In other fun “life after the book” stories, I had 2 interesting experiences this week. At the families conference, a woman recognized me from the column, book, and the conference in January that Jules and I spoke at. She originally called me Juli for a few minutes before I corrected her. It was fun to talk to someone who is truly a fan. I am never really sure of how to handle those situations. Its not like they happen on a regular basis, but just often enough that they are always fun. The other funny story is that my brother (who has just moved to Rexburg, ID to attend BYU-Idaho) was walking through the lobby of his dorm and saw my book being read by a student. In this words, “Its weird to see your sister’s book just sitting there like that. People read it!” I’m just happy to hear that someone out there has bought the book, and therefore I have made another $0.32.

So that is it from me for a few days. Maybe after the holiday weekend I'll have some fun stories and pictures to post. But until then- gotta work and gotta sleep while I can!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Too Tired to Blog Tonight

I'm too tired too blog tonight and I have nothing to say anyway. So rather than attempt to say something clever and witty I will just post some random pictures that are sitting here on my hard drive, all stolen from friends' websites. Enjoy.

The beautiful view from Scott's house where we had the BBQ before polo.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course

Me and Amber at the BBQ at the Walkers

Hanging out at the Nats game!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I think I have finally found my limit. I am not known for saying no. This week's schedule is a perfect example of that.
Sunday- Father's Day- go to Fredericksburg, visit family
Monday- FHE- Luau at the Nursing Home, dinner with the sister missionaries
Tuesday- Pick up "Diets to Go," buy first aid kit, teach first aid to 18 crazy teenage girls before Girls Camp
Wednesday- Work a little overtime to catch up on everything I'm falling behind on
Thursday- I don't know who reads this, so I can't say whose surprise party I'm going to
Friday- Nationals Game!
Saturday- Drive to Roanoke for the Conference on the Family, and drive back
Sunday- Thats the day of rest, right?
Monday- work, FHE, etc
Tuesday- Girls Camp (oh shoot, I have to pack for that first, don't I?)- 15 mile bike ride, camp out
Wednesday- Girls Camp- canoe trip down the Shenandoah
Thursday- Work! (Sleep!)
Friday- Work! Leave for Adirondacks?
Saturday- Holiday weekend begins. Hopefully it will be spent hiking in the Adirondacks. But now that I look at the schedule, I am realizing that may be a pipe dream.

Somewhere in all of there I have to do my part to write the column, sleep, eat, do laundry, fill the car up, plan a service project for 50 singles, etc. I'm starting to realize how badly I need a housekeeper to make my meals, clean my room, do the laundry, etc.

If I am so busy why am I sitting here blogging? I've got too much to do!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Expensive Horses and Rich Men Who Know How to Ride Them!

Saturday evening was the long awaited polo excursion. Several friends, headed up by Tara, got together for an afternoon BBQ, and attended a polo match. Polo? Yes, polo! That sport where rich men in fancy knickers ride horses around a ring, and swat at a little ball. Other rich people sit in fancy chairs and call each other things like, "Your Excellence," and "Darling," while drinking fancy wines from plastic glasses, with their little dogs preening nearby. Behind these fancy people are the commoners, like us, who have come out for the spectacle of watching rich people watch rich people.
It was a lot of fun to watch the game as well as people watch. I think I will go back soon and take my mom and sister, and their little dog too. (Trixie, our pomeranian, will be in her element at a polo match.)
I think my favorite part of the evening was halftime. It was a real live dog and pony show! A fancy man in fancy knickers on a fancy horse came out with his thirty berzillion hounds and trotted around the ring. I don't know this amused me as much as it did!
You can see all of the pictures from our BBQ and the polo match on Tara's community shots page here-
I should also mention that the BBQ we had at Scott's house was wonderful as well. You'll see several pictures of the BBQ and the gorgeous estate he lives on out in the The Plains, VA.

Who Let My Baby Brother Grow Up?

I got back from Texas on Friday morning just in time to drive to my parents' house for my baby brother, Scott's, high school graduation and 18th birthday. I'm not sure when he grew up. I'm pretty sure it was just last week that I graduated from high school and he graduated from kindergarten. We had a freshman in college and a first grader that year in our family. Now Scott is the freshman and my nephew Tell is off to start kindergarten.
All in all the graduation was entirely typical. I'll post some pictures of it when someone shares them with me. Scott leaves for BYU-I on Wednesday for summer and fall terms. That leaves little baby Stephie at home with Mom alone for the summer. Of course "Little Baby Stephie" is sixteen and can drive now, but it doesn't change the fact that she's the baby of the family. She will actually be spending most of her summer off at various summer camps, starting tomorrow. Which means Mom will be an emptynester for the first time in thirty years. Anyone who knows Mom well knows that her free time equates to redecorating. Natalie and I think she will probably paint her bedroom ceiling first. (Something she's been wanting to do for years). Either that or get another dog... (yeah right)



Thursday, June 16, 2005

They turned my hockey arena into a church!

So tonight I am hanging out in the Holiday Inn Express Downtown Houston. I've been down here for the Prodefense "Beretta" day. I've learned a few interesting things today. First, the lessons, then the story. #1- Customer service really is everything. #2- Zoning is important. #3- Shoes are what its all about. #4- If I have to get up at 4:30 am., I'll be wide awake at midnight. #5- The weeks I think our column will generate a hundred responses, we get nothing. #6 (last but not least, if there is a girl in a Beretta shirt, wearing a Beretta lapel pin, standing at a table with 10 Berettas on it, she will undoubtedly be treated as if she knows nothing about guns.

#1- I had to pick up my rental car this morning. First, I had a reservation with Enterprise. When I made the reservation they told me I could use a debit card. And then today when I went to get the car, OOPS. They do take debit cards, but only for Texas residents who are willing to leave their first born child as collateral (or literally proof of residence and employment, including utility bills). So needless to say, not having a first born child, or house in Texas, I didn't qualify. So I called Avis, who was much more obliging. Within 5 minutes of calling, I was at their store. But no one else was! I walked into the store, and no one was there. So I rang the bell. And waited. And waited. And rang the bell again. And then hollered HELLOOOO. And waited. The phone was ringing off the hook. I looked around the very small parking lot, and nothing. Ten minutes pass. NOTHING. I'm starting to get a little freaked by this. There is one door, marked employees only. So I knock. And I wait. I try to open the door, completely terrified I'd find a dead body on the other side. I knocked as I began to enter. All of a sudden a guy opens the door, obviously putting his clothes on (I so do not want to know what he was doing in there) and says, "I'm just a cleaner. She'll be back in a minute." And pulls a shirt on, and shuts the door. Um, okay? So I just sit and wait. Its not like I can go anywhere! After a full 20 minutes "the girl" just walks in, asks for my license, and hands me some keys- all while talking into her cell phone! How is that for customer service!?

#2- Just a few hours back in the United State of Texas and I remember why it is I love NoVa's zoning laws. When I lived here before I used to go to hockey games at the Compaq Center (also where the Rockets used to play). But they have now turned the C.C. into a church! A huge freaking arena is now a Texas sized baptist church!

#3- Shoes are essential to happiness. That is all I have to say.

#4- Should speak for itself.

#5- I absolutely love what Juli and I came up with this week. So why haven't we had any responses yet? Go read it-

#6- It will never cease to amaze me that as I stand at a table displaying guns, looking official, (i'm not thin or fake enough to be a booth babe), some guy will start telling me the features of a Beretta. (and more often then not, start telling me why glocks are better). I always greatly enjoy correcting them. "Actually, that is a Px4. It isn't possible that you shot that last year in competition because we haven't actually released them to customers in the U.S. yet."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What if Michael Jackson had been black?

I have a confession to make. I am/was addicted to all details emerging from the Michael Jackson trial. I am also addicted to a blog called the Achenblog from the Washington Post website. Joel Achenbach is one of my most favorite writers, and is truly entertaining. His blog today on the MJ trial was truly classic. To that end, I will post a snippet of his blog, and encourage you to go to his blog and read the rest yourself.
What if Michael Jackson had been black?
The big question surrounding the Michael Jackson verdict is: Would he have been acquitted if he was black? Answer: Not a chance.
We still have two justice systems in this country. If you think a jury that had not a single African American member would have let Snoop Dogg or Ice Cube go free in this kind of situation, then you haven't been paying attention. They would have nailed Harry Belafonte.
If Michael Jackson had been a black defendant, this would have become a racial case. But as a Bleached American, Jackson served merely as the representative of ALL multi-millionaire, has-been, facially mutilated pop stars who are suspected of touching boys during sleepovers at their mansion.
All such people are breathing easier today.

To read the rest- visit his blog! Its great!

As for me- I have to confess- I truly believe MJ is/was innocent. A complete freak show without question. But innocent. Naively, painfully, childishly innocent. He's a warped man deprived of a childhood, desperate for the love and friendship he missed as a child. So now he takes irrational steps to try and relive those moments. And he unfortunately took pity on a family who saw how easy he would be to take advantage of. I think the fact that this all happened is rather sad, and even more sad that the media exploited the case and ruined MJ's life.

All that being said, the only MJ album I ever really liked was "Thriller." I miss the guy that sang Thriller, Beat It, and PYT. He was cool.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

As promised, here is my report on what a fabulous thing it is to go to a Nationals game at RFK. Saturday afternoon we had a mid-singles activity (which means its for all singles regardless of age, but we really hope the ones between 27-40 will come). First it was a BBQ at Steph's, followed by the metro into DC for a Nats game. When I first heard people calling our new team the Nats, I cringed. I'm still not crazy about it. But there are far too many things in DC that contain the name "National," so it is nice to differentiate them that way. And now I am a full blown Nats fan.
I admit I am still a baseball neophyte. I know very little, but I am catching on. What I truly love is crowd mentality and people watching. Since baseball moves so slowly, I can get plenty of this done and miss very little of the game. I love tradition, nostalgia, etc., which is what I think draws me to baseball games. There's a little tradition in college football still, but you miss that on TV. (And I went to GMU- a football free school.) But baseball is just steeped in tradition. The seventh inning stretch, curses, legends, singing, popcorn, hot dogs, etc. You just don't get that in any other sport.
I love to people watch and be a part of a large innocuous crowd. I could just sit in a stadium and watch the people for hours. There's the extreme Type A, red, extroverted personalities, with their excessive fan loyalties. You see them jumping up and down, starting the wave, screaming, and wearing matching jerseys. And then there is the official sports aficionado. They know every stat, detail, prediction. They don't miss a beat when it comes to the game. They go to the games with friends or alone, and it makes no difference to them. You have the people that are just along for the ride as well. They don't know about the game, the team, etc. But they came cause they heard its fun. When it comes to the Nats, I'm a little of everything. Maybe not so much an aficionado, but I think I could get there. I actually even read the sports page today just to find out what happened in Sunday's game. I even bought the souvenir cup at the game ($4.75 for a 1 liter of diet pepsi!!!), just so I could take the schedule home with me. I'm already making plans in my head to go down for the next series of home games (against Toronto). If for nothing else, I have to go back so I can buy the pink W hat (W being the official logo of the Nats, which always makes me think of all the political stuff that said "W for President."). I have to have the pink hat, of course, but I think a true Nats fan should also have it in blue or red, so I'll get one of those too. I think I am ready for this whole true and loyal fan business. Bring it on!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Path to Spinsterhood

It was another one of those weekends where everything revolved around Church and being single. Some days I am happier about that than others. Saturday we held our second "Singles Second Saturday" activity. We had a BBQ at Steph's house, followed by some of us going down to the Nationals game. (More on why I love being a local girl and finally having a local team to love later.) We had a decent turnout, maybe 50 people or so. (Only 7 of us went down the game.) And then today, Sunday, I had church meetings from dawn till dusk. I am still harboring several frustrations when it comes to the Single Adult program actually meeting the needs of the singles. Which is my way of saying that they are not meeting the needs, let alone even identifying the needs of the singles. In Arlington Ward alone we have 160 inactive singles and yet no one is doing anything beyond "Hey why don't you kids have a potluck dinner?" I think my frustrations go a lot further than I originally realized. I think I am mostly afraid that in five or six years from now I will be one of the 160 that no one cares to go find. Every Sunday I already feel the urge to not bother with church, particularly Arlington Ward. It would be the easiest thing in the world to go inactive. No one in Arlington knows or cares that I exist, and Langley would never know that I wasn't anywhere. Slipping through the cracks is possibly the easiest thing ever to do for a single. I keep getting feedback from "the marrieds" that they seem to think the singles will all look out for each other. But the truth of the matter is, when we were in Langley there were 500 other people to be friends with. We didn't know each other there. And now we are still in a ward of 500, and we don't know each other here. Some singles left the singles ward more than happy to be a solo act in a family ward. They had no interest in the singles scene to start with. (There seems to be a disproportionate number of them that landed in Arlington.) And then there are the singles that loved being a part of something much bigger in Langley. (I was definately more the Langley type.) Either way, its easy to just disappear into the floral wallpaper and never be seen again.
In other church news, I was officially called today to be the Stake Public Affairs Director. I am looking forward to someone telling me what that means. All I know is that it requires a lot of work, and that it is unusual for someone as young as I am (and single) to be doing this job. But I'm up for the challenge. What little I know of it does sound interesting. I'm also taking off for Girls Camp next week. I get to take the 4th year girls on their high adventure. I think we are white water canoeing? and going on a massive bike ride. So for me its a lot of time on the exercise bike for the next 2 weeks.
Is there anything else going on in my life? I can't remember. Hmm... I'm going to Houston this week for a "Beretta Day" at one of our stocking partner stores. (That means lots of time standing in the heat wearing a bulletproof vest. Lots of fun, let me tell you!) I haven't been back to Houston since I high-tailed it out of there 6 years ago. I am looking forward to the steamy, muggy, heat and humidity and the cajun food. And I get to see an old friend while I am there, which I am sure will be fun.
My baby brother turns 18 this week and graduates from high school (she says with her fingers crossed). He's off to college at BYU-Idaho in less than 2 weeks. It doesn't seem possible to me that Scott is old enough to go to college. But off he goes anyway. I feel like it was just a few weeks ago that I was starting college and Scott was starting kindergarten. (He confused his teachers that year by telling them he had friends in college.) And now somehow I blinked and Scott is the one starting college, my nephew is starting kindergarten, and history repeats itself.
Now it is bedtime and I have to figure out how to lock our door tonight. We've been having trouble with our deadbolt for a while now. But usually the problem is that when we are on the outside we can't get the door to lock. And sometimes it takes a few tries to get it unlocked using a key. But today for the first time I was stuck on the inside of the house locked in! After fussing and fighting with it for 20 minutes, I finally gave in and just removed the entire lock off the door. (How many of you are impressed that a girl knew how to use a power tool and take a lock off a door? To those of you who are impressed by that, let me remind you that I am a fire fighter and know more than one way to get a door open. And no one should be impressed by a girl using tools.) So now the problem is that we have no lock on our door. I can get it back on the door, but it won't work. So we have our other "safety measures" in place, including the other locks on the door. But this was our only deadbolt. Am I insane for blogging this? Maybe. But none of you know where I live, and even if you did, it wouldn't matter as by the time you read this maintenance will have been here to put on yet another new lock for us. (and you all know i work for a gun company- so interpret "safety measures" any way you'd like.)
Have a good week!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Because we can

I just had one of those perfect urban nights tonight. Gwen and I went down to Glover Park in DC to the Grog and Tankard Bar to hear Chris Davies play. Gwen and I are not your usual bar hopping types, especially not on a school night. But off we went for a nice mid-summers eve, telling ourselves we were doing it "because we can." The music was great, and Chris put on a good show. (We even bought his CD). After that we spotted a little homemade ice cream shop, and had to endulge. Gwen had frozen yogurt in a cherry dunk, and I had a butter almond and mexican chocolate double dip. So good!!! As we left the shop we spotted a baseball game going on across the street. So we sat in the evening dusk, eating ice cream, and watching baseball. It was the perfect summer night!
On a completely unrelated note, Gwen and I were discussing our early less formative college years. We knew that we had graduated together from the same high school, but only knew of each other. We had never been friends there. What we didn't realize until this evening was that we also attended the same college and lived in the same dorm, just 2 floors apart! Neither one of us has any recollection of the other one during that un-formative college year. Makes me wonder how many other people I am re-crossing paths with, but have no idea.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More fun from the beach

Here's just a few more shots from the beach! Enjoy!

A berzillion mormons hanging out at Whalehead Beach for the millionth year in a row.

It appears to be a picture of Rachel, but I think I was actually trying to get a shot of Miss Gwen smiling in the background.

Friends just hanging out in the living room!

Possibly the least mature of the photos taken over the weekend. A pair of men's underwear randomly appeared on the top deck. We named them the "Mascot" and sent them for a little trip through the air, just to see if they would fly.

Sometimes it is fun to get in the hot tub at 2 am with your friends. And sometimes you can get hungry at 2 am in the hot tub with your friends. Which is why Tyler is eating Krispy Kreme in this picture. No one else ever knew that we had bought donuts for breakfast the next morning, as they were all consumed in the hot tub that night.

Tara discovered that sometimes it gets a little hot in the hot tub. So she and I would yell up to the third floor for someone to bring us down cold Sprite. I'm sure the neighbors appreciated that at 2 am.

Gwen brought some pretty high tech tools to build her sandcastle

Karl building his castle, complete with moat.

Help! I'm being held prisoner in Karl's sand castle

A Little Family Time

The following are a few of the pictures from my family's visit to the beach house. We had a good time hanging out in the hot tub, taking very fast jumps into the pool, running back to the hot tub, etc. I loved getting to hang out with my nephews for a few days. And the sister and mom time wasn't half bad either. Porter, age 4 months, hasn't really started to look like anyone too much yet. But bears a slight resemblance to Tell. Dallin, age 3.5, looks more and more like his mother every day. And I think Tell is starting to look more and more like me. Check out the kid's droopy right eyelid, crooked smile, and chin. He may have his dad's nose, but I think the rest of him looks a lot like me. Any comments??

Tell and Dallin are smiling goodbye to Aunt Boogers. The cat D is holding is "Chalk." Is it really that surprising that a kid named Tell has picked the names "Aunt Boogers" and "Chalk?" (Natalie- compare this pic of T to me.)

How pretty is my mom??

A little sister's self portrait.

Just a little bonding time with Porter

Natalie says that when you scrapbook you should take pictures that show emotions of the day. I think Dallin is showing his emotions pretty well here.

We drove up to the 4x4 area to find the wild horses. We never saw the horses. But we did have fun getting stuck in the sand. Steph hung out of the window to get a little fresh air. Mom did the same thing, and lost her hat. If you look close you can see the hat as it just happened to fly past the window!

The view from the car as we sped down the beach.

I don't think the boys felt entirely comfortable with Steph driving the Suburban on the beach.

Who doesn't love little baby bums?

I love this picture. Dallin's shorts had little drainage holes in them to let the water out. We found it very funny to hold him up and drain him.

The fam in the hot tub

Dallin really enjoyed the hot tub. He called it his bath. He put on his goggles, turned on the jets, and spent a lot of time under the water.

Cock a doodle doo

You know its going to be an interesting day when you can't pull into the office parking lot because a rooster is in the middle of the road, and his crowing and puffing up give you the distinct impression that he's telling you off. Maybe this is one of the perks to working in Accokeek. You just don't see enough roosters in downtown DC.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sunday Night Thunderstorm?

Its been a nice quiet weekend, just the way I like it. I did my usual Saturday thing (after getting home from the beach late Friday night). I like my Saturday routine- go to the chiropractor (I like to pretend this is my weekly massage paid for by health insurance), do a little shopping, and then go for a nice long walk. Generally I walk up to the Court House area, where there are lots of little cafes where I can have lunch. There is also an outdoor flea market where I can look at fun stuff, but have never wasted my money. I sit in a little cafe, eat my lunch, read a book, pretend I am in Europe again, and then go to the movies. My favorite part about all of this is that I can walk to all of it. Walking makes me feel more like part of the community, even if my so-called community is one of the highest turnover neighborhoods in the entire area. Most people never live in this part of town beyond the length of lease. But I love to pretend there is community here and that somehow I belong to it.
This week's movie, by the way, was the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." I have not yet read the book, but will now. I hadn't expected such a tear jerker. I loved it though!
Its nearly 11 pm now, and Cec and I keep thinking we hear a thunderstorm outside. Every few minutes our living room shakes and coffee table shudders. We have checked out the windows and online multiple times for a massive storm. But nothing! No clouds in the sky! We are on the top floor so we didn't think the constant rumblings could be furniture moving about. Finally, I opened up the door and heard the crash and rumbles even louder, followed by the Darth Vadar march. It appears that the people below us have installed a very nice surround sound system. At least it is just Star Wars. I can't imagine what it would sound like if they were watching "Saving Private Ryan" or something like that!
You may notice some changes on the blog soon. I am experimenting with my very limited knowledge of programming. (which equates to- if i can steal the code from someone else and copy and paste, that is what i will do) But I have added a stats counter, so I can see how many hits I get. (I won't be acknowledging when I refresh the counter.) And I have added links to a few more blogs by friends. If you would like to add your blog to the list, just shoot me an email!

have a great week!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Tara and Scott in the sun.

Hey look, its the group shot- again.

I swore I wouldn't post any pics of me in a bathing suit, particularly the red one. (The black looked better on- really.) But I had to at least post this pic of me playing with fire. I love fire.

Gwen building a mighty fortress in the sand.

Sand Castle Wars with Karl and Gwen

Another beach sunset.

Ladies by the Ocean, deep in thought

Ladies of the Sandcastle

Georgina, Rachel, Karl, and Gwen

One of the funniest parts of the trip was looking out at our driveway/parking lot. At one point we had 21 cars out front. And I'm still not sure that was all of them.

A girl has got to have internet access! Even if it means sitting on the floor in the boy's rec room (home to 8 guys sleeping on the floor) just so she can get online!!

The Pearl at Sunset (isn't it pretty?)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Have you ever looked at a picture and wondered what on earth was going on in the background? Great picture of Nate, Bryan, and Suzanne. But what the heck was I doing??

Tales from the Beach (or 7 years to call a girl)

Sunday afternoon here at the beach was pretty uneventful. Naps were being taken around the house (and with 30+ people in the house that meant in beds, hammocks, and in various places on the floor), a few board games were taking place, Karl was holding Sunday School in the basement, and people milled about the kitchen grazing on food. It was at this point when Geoff came up to me and said he had something to show me. I sat down at the table as he ran off to get something.
He came back and sat down with me and pulls out his wallet. For a second I thought he was showing me his driver's license or a picture of him with hair. "See look! I did have hair! Its not my fault I am old and bald!" But instead he pulled out an ATM receipt. "Aw, Geoff. Its okay, not even bald guys have to show their ATM receipts to impress a girl."
But then I noticed that the receipt was seven years old, had an account balance of $20, and when I turned it over it had my name and phone number on the back, as well as my cousin Anne Marie's name and number on it. What the??
Geoff waited to see if the receipt meant anything to me. It wasn't in my handwriting, and the phone number was several years outdated. Very confusing. I searched my memory for some time when maybe AM and I had been together and met a guy. But that wasn't ringing any bells. And for whatever reason, seeing my name with AM was just as confusing as the rest of it. I love my cousin dearly, but that is an odd pairing of names.
Geoff waited for several minutes of watching my reaction before telling me how he came to have my name and number in his wallet. The only thing I was sure of was that I had not been the one to give it to him. Finally he tells me that 7 or 8 years ago he was on a plane from Utah to DC, with a stopover in Chicago and was sitting next to one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. "So which one of my aunts was it?" should have been the next thing I said, but I waited. Geoff talked to her all the way to Chicago (narrowing it down to 2 of my aunts), and she apparently at some point encouraged him to call her neices in the DC area, where he was headed. (She got off in Chicago.) She gave him the names and numbers of 2 of us, and left. (Actually when my dad heard this story he laughed and said, "It should have narrowed it down to only one aunt. Aunt Bonnie Colleen would have been so heavily drugged to get on a plane that she couldn't have carried on a conversation that long.)
He claims he considered calling the two complete strangers for a while, just in hopes that they looked something like their aunt. But he was too shy to do so. (And probably for the best since neither of us look a whole lot like that particular aunt. Not that we aren't both drop dead beautiful in our own rights, but we look nothing like the aunt in question.) He said that he just was hoping to run into one of us sooner or later. He never did- for seven years.
Geoff would like us all to pretend that he just happened to find my phone number in a book he had on the plane a few months ago, just after he and I had entered each other's social circles. He wondered if it was the same girl and thought he'd ask me, and moved it to his wallet. But who is he kidding? We all know he's been carrying it around, 3 inches from his butt, for seven years, every day pulling it out and debating over whether or not to call. "Just finding it in a book" seven years later, and a few days after meeting me, is just way too suspicious. But its okay, Geoff. We all understand that rejection can be hard. But on the bright side, its a good thing you chose to stalk me and not Anne Marie, seeing as she's married and has 1.9 children. That may have been a little awkard for you if you had shown up at her vacation house, hoping to finally confess your stalker tendencies!
Oh, and for those of you wondering which aunt did it, Aunt Gina LaRee is the culprit.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Captain's Blog #3

It is early Thursday afternoon and I am enjoying a bit of quiet time in the rain. I have been typing away, working on "Way Beyond Perfection" since late Wednesday night. My mother, sisters, and 3 nephews came down late Tuesday and left late Wednesday. We visited the beach, played in the hot tub (which Dallin, 3 yrs old, calls the "hot bath"), drove up to the 4x4 only area, in our car without 4 wheel drive, drove on it anyway, with Stephanie (who has only had her license 2 months) at the wheel. The inevitable happened after about 10 minutes of driving on the sand up to the wild horse preserve. The McBurban (the family suburban) bottomed out in the sand, and we had to rely on some very nice men with no shoes in a big red truck to help us out. After that little experience, I took over at the wheel and drove us back to the real roads with Mom and Steph sitting in the windows, hanging out into the wind. I am sure it will take Natalie years to explain to her boys why it was okay for Nana and Steph to do it, but they can't. I don't envy her that one.
(I'll post pictures from the excursion later.)
Just for fun here is my favorite passage written so far from "Way Beyond Perfection." (It would probably help to have a little knowledge of the characters first. But why would I give it to you here, when you could just go buy my first book instead?)

Jana put some homemade muffins into the oven and went over to the couch where her twin sister was hiding in a cocoon of blankets. Jana lifted up one end of the blankets, climbed in, and curled up next to her sister. “Hey Babe.”
(other things happen, skipping about 5 paragraphs)
Austen walked into the living room and stared at the large lumps moving under the blanket on the couch. Amused at the sight, and aware of the fact that they didn’t know he was in there, he sat down on the LoveSac and listened to them.
“You cannot spend the rest of your life on my couch. It is time for you to get up, get a job, and get over Will. But necessarily in that order!” Jana proclaimed with determination. Austen smiled and stifled a laugh at his wife’s first attempt at firmness in her life. Watching, or listening to Jana, attempt to discipline her very hard headed sister, could be one of the funniest things he would ever see. He intended to enjoy this. He just wished he had popcorn for the occasion.
“Jana, I can’t get a job right now. It’s the Christmas holidays. No one is hiring. I’ve looked. There is nothing out there.” One of the lumps under the blanket whined.
“You can get a temp job. You have no money. You have to do something. You can’t live on my couch forever,” Jana said firmly.
“Who died and made you my mother?”
“Strange thing to say to your twin sister.”
“Oh you know what I mean. Why are you telling me what to do? You don’t think I’m aware of the fact that I have no money? I would love to get a job. But there is nothing out there.” The lump on the right side of the couch attempted to roll over again. Austen considered getting the video camera out. This could be used for great blackmail in the future. He quietly got off the LoveSac and headed for the closet where he kept the camera.
“Lizzie, I love you more than life itself. But I cannot sit by and watch you wallow in self-pity, and stink up my living room. Good grief, what did you do in here? It wreaks!” Jana exclaimed, fanning the blanket. Fortunately for Austen, she opened the blanket towards the couch, and she never saw him standing there with the camera documenting the entire conversation.
“I had way too much ice cream last night. I’m gassy.”
Jana groaned. “Elizabeth Benson! That was disgusting!”
Austen nearly fell over laughing. But he managed to keep it silent and the camera rolling.

Want to know more? You'll have to wait about a year! Sorry!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My favorite picture- 4 guys taking pictures of 3 girls.

Another version of the group shot

Karl and Tara

Georgina and Tara

Gwen and Tara

Kevan and Tara

Trevor and Tara- one of many of her self-portraits

Karl taking a picture of Tara. Hey Karl, don't forget to send me that picture!

More beautiful horses on the beach

Wild horse preserve area

Tara and Cammi show off the view of the beach area

Otso and Kevan making lunch after church. Yes, mormons go to church even when on vacation and their parents aren't looking!

Working Girl

Recently, I've been picking up work as a background extra on various projects. In the past month or so I've worked on 3 different m...

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