Showing posts from July, 2005

Do Protocol Officers in the Congo Get Married?

I wish I could find a way to express myself better sometimes. I have so many things on my mind right now. Why do things like this always happen when I am on a business trip? Is it just coincidences that big life changes start when I'm alone in a hotel room? Or is it just that when I'm off alone somewhere I actually have time to think about everything and start the changes? Either way, here I am, late at night, in a hotel, no place to go, no one to talk to. (So hey, why not put my deepest thoughts in a blog for the whole free world, and people in cities I have never heard of, to read?)

Its a dream come true to make it this far into the Foreign Service application process. So the big question now is- do I want to do this? Initially, yes! Of course! How can I not? Its a career position with the State Dept that allows me to travel the world, right? But what if it isn't? What if its a really boring job in a foreign country, where I have no friends, and I suck at th…

And The Show Goes On

The trade show opened today. I have mixed feelings about this show. We look great, and our booth is the biggest deal on site, which is fun for us. But we have more wives coming in the booth, picking up one of everything, asking for more freebies, and leaving, then we do real police officers. Things like this always frustrate me. How much of my annual budget is about to end up in a hotel trash can? Today my favorite person was a lady that came in, took one of every flyer (didn't bother to see what they were for or about), picked up a pin (freebie) off the counter, and then asked if she could have a second one. "I have 2 grandchildren. I can't take home just one of them!" So my pins that are meant to generate customer loyalty, further our branding image, blah blah blah, is being taken home to a 5 yr old grandson named Adam who will probably lose it in five minutes, and never shoot a gun in his life. After that lady came in, I promptly took all the freebies off the coun…

The Deed Is Done

I have a lovely new question mark henna tattoo between my shoulder blades. I LOVE IT! Hopefully it will last until the Langley Water Party on Saturday.

Story of a Broken Heart

I find when I travel I get more time than usual to work on writing and my novel. So for those of you following the few snippets of "Way Beyond Perfection" that I am posting, here's a passage. I always love feedback, not just on the writing, but on the topic as well. Enjoy.

The trouble with the truth about a broken heart is that it hurts. It doesn’t just hurt when it gets broken, but it hurts when it heals. It hurts as the wound closes up. But that isn’t the right imagery at all. A broken heart is a muscle that has been torn and abused, and then paralyzed. There is no outside wound to look at, no way of seeing if it has healed properly or completely. But even after the injury occurs, it’s the new use of the damaged muscle that really hurts.
There is so much pain associated with the breaking of the heart. But the real pain comes when trying to use your heart again. Knowing when it is safe to use it again. The little practice tries of allowing small amounts of ha…

If It Can Go Wrong- I Can Make That Happen For You

It all started with bad thunderstorms in Atlanta. That was why Chris overslept and missed his flight. It was when I had to go back 4 hours later to pick up Chris at the airport that I forgot the keys. Which is why we were over an hour late getting to the convention center. And that is pretty directly related to why we were in a hurry when we parked the car. (We= me, Ann, Blake, Chris, and Paul was a small party to all of this as well.) The parking lot was mostly empty, and we did look for someone to pay, but no one was there. As I mentioned before, we're using the mobile showroom trailer for our booth. So we had our work cut out for us as we schlepped boxes, cases, guns, etc around. The first big surprise was the large, heavy case of 50 guns that we didn't know about. Where do you put a 6x5x4 case that weighs a few hundred pounds, especially when its full of guns? Its not like you can just hide it behind the show curtain... So that was the first obstacle, which we thought we s…

A Day In The Life of a Busy Traveler

Business travel has its ups and downs, as does personal travel, I suppose. There are rewards to being on the road, the little thrills of business success, plus the fun of exploring new cities, and sampling new cuisine. There are the downsides to road work as well, such as being alone when big things happen, no one to hang out with, airports, traveler's woes, and that small detail of having to work all the time.
The positive story for the day is that I can't wait for the show to open up. We are exhibiting at the Fraternal Order of Police Show in New Orleans, LA. A few months ago I got it into my head that I wanted to "claim" a show, to really make a mark at a show. I picked two big shows, and this is the first big effort. And so far it looks like my plan is working. Our "booth" is our mobile showroom, a large 18 wheeler trailer, with drop down back end, hardwood floors, and gunsmith's station. It even has a golf cart inside of it, that I will take…

Lots of new pics

I have so many pics of current and old friends to post, that I finally caved and did the webshots thing. You can check out all of my albums at

Give me a few days to get them all posted. But for now, a very old Langley ward activity photo session is up there.

Places Your Daughter (Sister) Has Been

Here's a few fun pictures I got back today from various hiking trips over the last month (and from last year in the same places). Not all of me, obviously (someone has to hold the camera).
This is supposed to be one of the prettiest views from Old Rag. Umm... Can you say heat, humidity and FOG??
Parker and Joy (old rag)
Monkey Boy
Old Rag - Jason, Joy, Me (love the big old knee brace)
Crane Vista
My proof that I made it to the top of Crane Mountain.
Beautiful trees!
Cool tree on Skyline Drive
Skyline Drive (last October)

Hot Summer Nights

Its 11:37 pm, and the temperature is 86F both inside and outside of my apartment right now. The later gets and the less the temperature drops in our pathetically air conditioned apartment, the more apparent it becomes that I will not be getting any sleep anytime soon. So here I am sitting about 10 feet away from the a/c unit, sweltering, and watching "Bride and Prejudice." I still think it is one of the best movies ever! LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!

My name is Erin, and I steal pics from other blogs

Stolen from Sherpa/Ruby G's site. From left- Jason, Carli, Joy, Paul, me.

Words from the Weekend- in no particular order

Two hotties, too funny
Two dinners?
Two babies!!
Two’s company, but three’s not a crowd
Too long in the car.
2:00 p.m.
2:00 a.m.

Sunny skies
Surf boards
Saddest tan line ever!


D&C 122:8
D&C 121:7-8
2 Nephi 2:2
Jacob 7:5

Bev’s back
BBQ for 70
But I’m a 10!
Big hugs

Good friends
Good talks
Good to know you’re not alone

Girls Camp Rocks

Its been another fun and energy filled week. I spent the last 3 nights at Girls Camp as the Fourth Level leader, which means I had 23 14 yr old girls to certify in camp skills and hang out with. My girls were great, and I wish I could have more time to get to know each of them better. I think the best part of the week was getting to focus on important details with the girls, and emphasize our theme, “Remember Your PJS (PJS= Prayers, Journals, Scriptures.)J” My girls were anxious to talk to me about the scriptures our level focused on. And my favorite question was, “what does girls camp have to do with the gospel?” So we talked about how GC gives us a chance to stop worrying what others thing of us, and to not think about the outside world for a few days. My teaching is style is to not preach, but raise more questions, and encourage the girls to answer them out loud and discuss them with me and each other. So I asked the girls if they really thought they could change their lives…

I Love the Mountains, I Love the Rolling Hills, I Love the Firesides, When All the Lights are Low

Another fun weekend out in the mountains, climbing up and down things has come to an end. Joy, Jason, Parker and I took a turn about Old Rag on Saturday. While it was a fun trip (how could it not be in such entertaining company?) I think next time I will-
a) arrive at an unknown campsite before dark
b) get a map of unknown campgrounds, regardless of arriving there before or after dark, and actually read it
c) actually camp
d) not use my knee (whether it be the good or bad one) to push myself up on a rock
e) check weather reports to see how hot it will be at 7 am
f) bring a better camera
g) bring Joy ear plugs so she doesn't have to listen to the incessant arguing

Fun trip! Thanks guys!

This will conclude my blogging for the week. I have procured my own copy of Harry Potter, and will be holed up reading all 650 pages for as long as it takes. And then tomorrow I leave for Girls Camp where blogging will be impossible, but at least I'll get to sing campfire songs. I'm sure when I retur…

Cure for Boredom

More fun from the Adirondacks

Here's a few more pictures from the Adirondacks. These were all taken by Burke, who it turns out is a pretty good photographer! I'm still looking forward to getting a few more shots from Rae's camera soon too.
The lovely Miss Angela
Everyone but me and Rae on top of Crane. What? They couldn't wait just 5 more minutes to take pictures? From left- Jason, Eric, Yenny, Walter, Angela, Burke.
Crane Mountain Vista
The big question is "does smoke follow age or the ugly?" Either way...
Notice how the smoke is still following Walter...
Burke is a pretty decent photographer! I liked this shot of shoes on the shore at Schroon Lake. (almost a tongue twister- shot of shoes on the shore at schroon)
Lake Placid High School- also the home of the 1980 Olympics. Sure doesn't look like the prison that was Oakton HS.
Sailboat on Lake Placid
Into every trip a little subterfuge must fall. While in Lake Placid we found a beautiful resort, snuck in (wasn't that difficult), and enjoyed the scenery.

DC Fireworks

I didn't actually go downtown this year to see the fireworks. But Burke took some great shots of the action, so I thought I'd post them. (I did get to see the tallest fireworks from the comfort of my own living room.)
Ever wonder what the DC 4th of July is like? This picture captures it all! Crowds, sweat, and chaos everywhere.
Things that go BOOM!
Last but not least, the infamous DC purple skyline. I live somewhere behind all of that. This is my favorite picture. (Burke, its even my wallpaper right now.)

Still Trying to See the Bright Side (and possibly failing)

I had big plans for productivity this week. But they have all gone horribly awry. But instead of complaining about them (including no internet at home for 3 days, my car in the shop again, crooked landlords, and a bum knee-again), I am questioning myself. Why is it I feel completely worthless without a car and internet? I feel completely shut off from the entire world. I have no internet at home, my knee is so swollen I can't walk anywhere, and my car is back in the shop. I nearly went stir crazy feeling isolated and pathetic. I finally decided to just give in and walk to the library. Granted its a good mile and a half walk, but I was desperate. Besides, the a/c is still so weak in our apartment, that I'd rather be outside than cooped up in there. So bum knee and all, I walked. Conveniently I thought to take my checkbook with me, just in case my car was done at the mechanics. You are supposed to express your gratitude when you feel it, right? Well, I could not be…

Childhood Summer Memories

Tonight I endulged in a classic childhood summertime activity. To cheer myself up after a classic crappy day, I went for a little sunset walk to the nearest convenience store to buy an ice cream cone and soda. In honor of my childhood, I picked out a big chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich and a strawberry soda. (If the adult me had been picking it out I clearly would have bought a tub of Ben and Jerry's Fudge Brownie and a Diet Coke.) Just a nice little walk and sugar infusion can do wonders for an attitude adjustment. Part of me really needed the pick-me-up. If I were still in a bad mood I would point out that I had to walk because my car is back in the shop, and I wanted ice cream because its so freaking hot in my apartment that I couldn't think straight anymore. But the attitude adjustment is working, and instead, this was a great nostalgic evening. And it brought back great memories of walking to 7-11 and spending what felt like hours picking out just the right …

Just Can't Win

After paying over $400 to get my car fixed last week, it has broken down again today. I can't win. I can't take this anymore!! Someone steal my car - please!

Exhausted Procrastination

Its nearly 10 pm on Sunday and I have reinvented exhaustion. But this weekend its all my own fault. I played as hard as a girl can play, and now I'm paying the price. Friday night I got to meet more of my Girls Camp girls, and learn more about what I will be responsible for up there. I've got a lot of work to do this week to get ready for camp. I don't want to let the girls down. There are 55 girls attending the overall camp. I am responsible for 23 of them! Somehow we just have that many more fourth years attending than any other age group this year. I'll have my hands full, but I'm excited for it.
Saturday morning I went hiking on the Whiteoak Canyon trail outside of Sperryville with 2 friends. Its a nice trail, well maintained, lots of switchbacks. We saw 2 bears on the hike. I've never seen a bear that up close and personal before (by up close and personal I mean about 50 feet away- but still- there was no electric fence between us). Very cool.�…

Weekend of Insanity

As usual I have managed to pack 500 things into my weekend, when 499 would have sufficed. Starting in just a few minutes, I have a girls camp meeting and then a movie with Rachel. Then bright and early tomorrow morning, its off to go hiking again. (I must get in as much hiking as possible while I can. Heaven knows that my free time is limited this summer.) I do believe tomorrow's hike will be Whiteoak Canyon in the Shenandoahs, but I'm not entirely clear on that. Tomorrow night I am [hopefully] going with my mom to her first ever country music concert. She wants to go see Toby Keith tomorrow night at Nissan Pavillion, and I may have helped push her into buying the tickets. I can't wait to see my mother's reaction to all the zealously drunk rednecks singing patriotic country songs. "We'll put a boot in your a**, its the American way!"
And then there is Sunday. I have a 6:30 am meeting, 7:30 am meeting, 9:15 am meeting, church actually at 1, and …

The Stat Counter Sees All

A few weeks ago I installed a stat-counter on this blog. It took me a few weeks to figure out how to use it. But now that I have learned how to read it, I am greatly entertained by it. I have no idea who it is that reads my blog in New Zealand, and yet, there it is. And of course, there are a few dozen hits in Arlington, VA each day. But this is all I know. So, just for fun, I thought I'd invite everyone to identify themselves to me. I'm getting a good 30 hits a day, and for the life of me I don't know who they are. So if you don't care if I know that you are reading this, click the comments button, and say hi. I'm just curious!
And of course, I always welcome feedback. I'd love to read your comments!

Reliving 9/11 All Over Again

9/11 affected me in many ways. I was a volunteer fire fighter at the time, living outside of DC, where I spent day after day in the aftermath. I still clearly remember that entire awful day, standing around the station, feeling entirely useless and helpless, watching guys I had trained with, recognized, and knew, fighting the fires at the Pentagon. While the rest of the world watched the Towers fall, I couldn't stop watching one particular blue helmet at the Pentagon. He was a good friend of mine that I wasn't on speaking terms with at the time. And throughout all of the awful things that happened that day, I couldn't stop worrying about him. I will never forget how much I cried when he finally walked back into the station.

I had my fair share of responsibilities over the next few weeks and months, and lived in the nightmare that all of America felt. I worked zealously at the station, wishing that somehow my sleepless nights were somehow helping. I was so grateful…
Mt. Marcy- I didn't get to do this hike. But the picture shows you how beautiful the Adirondacks really are!!
Jason, Angela, Yenny, and Parker at the base of a ladder on Crane. Look at the top to see what I am assuming is Walter at the top of the ladder.
The Great Meadow of Schroon Lake
Parker, Burke, Angela, Jason, and Walter on top of Crane. (Rachel and I got there a few minutes later.)
The darling Yenny atop Crane Mountain.
The first night in Lackawanna. (L-R) Parker (standing), Burke, Angeal, Rachel, me, Walter (front), Yenny.

The Other 3 Nights I Dwelt in a Tent (Adirondacks Trip) EDITED VERSION

You know what I like? Second chances and having my own blog. I can say what I want, and if I change my mind, I can just hit 'edit' and do it all over again. After reading my blog on the Adirondacks trip, I realized that my writing sucked, and that my first rendition gave off the entirely wrong impression about the trip. I am a much better writer than that (not that some of my posts here don't question why it is I get paid to write).

One of the greatest things in life is getting the chance to break out of the normal routine of life, and experience something out your comfort zone. My typical comfort zone involves books, my laptop, a couch, and my car. There are many things that I love to try, love to do, but they are slightly out of my comfort zone, and I just don't get to do them that often. Camping and hiking are some of those things. I also tend to hide behind the same friends and not break out and meet new people very often. So every once in a while when th…

The Other 3 Nights I Dwelt in a Tent (Adirondacks Trip)

Funny thing about having a blog. Its my blog and my story. And yet, somehow, my friends all like to tell me what I should and shouldn't say on here. Not everyone agreed with my rendition of the Adirondacks trip. So I have now revised the story a little bit. And who are we kidding? The first version was way too long. Hope this meets with everyone's approval a little better.

On Friday afternoon we took off for the Adirondacks for a very fun filled weekend. Due to the demise of the big blue beast, we rented a car from Avis for the occasion. In my car we took me, Burke, Angela, and Rachel. It was my first time meeting Burke, who is a friend of Angela. In the other car (that drove up seperately) there was Walter (the main organizer, Parker (or Eric, depending on what we feel like calling him at the moment), Yenny, and Jason. I have known Eric since we were very small children, and I've known Yenny and Walter for about 8 years, but only have become better friends with them …

The First 2 Nights I Dwelt in a Tent

As mentioned, I have been camping like crazy this past week. So much has been going on that I'm not sure how I'm going to blog it effectively. We'll start with Girls Camp High Adventure (GCHA), and move on to the Adirondacks trip. And fill it in with car trouble and more fun and excitement!
GCHA was Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. I am the 4th Camp Leader. At regular camp (in a few weeks) I will have 23 girls. But for high adventure I only had 10, and 3 other leaders to help. (When we get to regular camp I am on a 1:23 ratio however!) We took the girls up to Harpers Ferry, WV for a 15 mile bike ride, campout, and 8 mile canoe trip. The girls were fantastic. I was shocked to find out that these girls had managed to make it to their 4th year and had never slept in a tent. I found myself saying, "Back when I was your age..." way too many times on the trip. But suffice it to say, back when I was their age (15) we camped in tents and cooked over fires f…