Thursday, September 29, 2005

To Miami and Back Again

I apologize for the lack of blogging this past week. My laptop gave up the ghost and died on me last Friday. I've been in laptop and blog withdrawal for a week now. Hopefully IT will have the girl up and running by tomorrow, with all files safely intact, so my life can return to obsessively blogging.

The Miami trip was busy and fun. This blog started out as a way for me to share the photos and experiences of trade show life with the folks back home, and I won't disappoint with today's entry. (I hope!)

Highlights of the trip- having a great booth at the show, dinner at Emeril's with Seabreeze (how do you expense a $70 dinner for one with no alcohol included??), the amenities at the hotel (loved my bed and the jazz music), the things co-workers will do and say after hours in the bar, Shaq (as in Shaquille O'Neal) in the booth (see pics below), and more.

(Due to technical difficulties and a crappy hi-speed connection, all other photos will have to be posted tomorrow from a better computer.)

The Players (in no particular order)

Obviously, I must start with myself. Because I am Wonder Woman!










And then there is Len, giving me the look I frequently get from him, usually followed by the phrase, "You're killing me, McBride." But when I'm forced into honesty, I couldn't have done this last show without his help.













And then we have Blake, devoted Blog follower, in a lovely self-portrait.









Boss Man Mike enjoying his post-dinner cigar.








One of the best parts of this trip was hanging out in the bar with the guys. Charlie was a little stunned to realize I really don't drink alcohol. He protested considerably at first, but then ordered me a $6.50 Shirley Temple. (Behind him Timmy is "smiling" for the camera as well.)


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bienvenidos a Miami

I leave for Miami in approximately 9 hours. Stay tuned for all the fun and excitement trade show life has to offer- set up and install of a 20x30 booth, bring 18 staff in from around the country, arrange f&b for 18 staff, worry about hurricanes in the Gulf, ship 20 something firearms, plus accessories, and the rest of the job.
If anyone cares to check it out, I'll be staying at the Raleigh- www.raleighhotel.com . Its a beautiful South Beach (SoBe) boutique hotel on the water. I have my sights on a private cabana, with massage time, and a cabana boy who speaks no english, by 4 pm tomorrow (that gives me plenty of time to go set up the show first, right?). Wish me luck.
Fun pictures and trade show stories coming soon. Ciao y'all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

lost house of the gilmore girls of law and order with arrested development at the crime scene

Against all of my better judgment I watched "House" this week. (Courtesy of TiVo.) And yes, I'm hooked. I loved it. And then I accidentally Tivo'd "Arrested Development." And yes, I'm hooked. A hole may be popping up in my busy TV schedule though if "Gilmore Girls" doesn't start getting better. And I think I can finally rule CSI: Miami out of my schedule. David Caruso just isn't doing it for me. But Christopher Meloni over on L&O:SVU still does. (always has)

But more importantly, let's talk about "Lost." Did anyone else see the "108" painted on the wall in the bunker? All of Hurley's numbers add up to 108! And there was a lady in the painting (thanks tara), AND in the bottom corner a little house with "sick" written next to it. And I think I also saw a little boy in the painting as well. So the painting is also a mural. But it still leaves us with the big question of how and why there is a quarantined bunker hidden underneath an island with full plumbing, electric, and antiquated computers? Among the oh so many other questions. I think the writers on this show must really have either the most difficult job in Hollywood thinking up the most bizarre plot twists, or the best job in Hollywood thinking of the most bizarre, unexpected plot twists.

Favorite line from tonight's "Lost" episode- "And sometimes people blow up on you, but you get to sleep in every day."



Tuesday, September 20, 2005

my life is better blogged elsewhere

I have had a few random questions about why I haven't been blogging about EVERYTHING everything going on in my life right now. The answer is simple- my life is better blogged elsewhere. Currently over on Tara and Gwen's pages you can read about dinner parties, Marrakesh (Saraina's bday) night, singles activities, girls night and more. They have digital cameras, and therefore, better blogs. So if you want to read more about my social life, check out the guys I talk about, etc., I highly recommend their blogs. In the other events going on these days, I am finally off the Nyquil. It took some serious detox, but I think I have finally kicked the habit. But I will miss the good sleep that it brings. 5 weeks of bronchitis. Fun stuff! I have now passed on my germs to co-workers and friends alike. Everyone gets to share in the fun. And while they are coughing and sneezing, I am getting ready for the big Miami trip. In just 3 more days you will have the joy and privilege of reading all about the exciting life of trade shows again, but this time from the sunny beaches (or at least well-lit convention center) of Miami Beach. There had been some fun plans for a girls weekend in conjunction with this trip, but sadly, not anymore. I'll just have to flirt with the gay men in South Beach by myself now.
Other events in my life- I spent the weekend hanging out with the soeur bebe in Fredneck. We laughed, we slept, we discovered we both hate to cook. I had the "joy" of seeing my sister get up at 5 am for early morning seminary. If I hadn't had to do it for 4 years, I wouldn't really believe that high schoolers can do it. Faced with the prospect of having to get Steph up that early I made sure we shared a bedroom so I wouldn't have to travel far to rouse her from her bed at 4:55 a.m. My sister has had a lifelong habit of talking in her sleep. I had sort of hoped she had outgrown it by now. But no such luck. Instead I had to attempt to fall asleep with her mumbling something about the elevation of the Rockies. The annoying part wasn't so much the talking (I'm used to that), it was that she was getting the elevation wrong. I had to fight off the urge to wake her up and correct her. Thankfully, when 4:55 a.m. did come, she got herself up, and I slept right on through. Of course, I was dreaming about what would happen if a tsunami hit Aspen, but we'll save that for some other day.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A New Sort of Dilemma

I have a new dilemma before me. One I have never encountered before. I have too much to do. Now, you should be saying to yourself, "Um, EA, you are sort of known for always having too much to do, but doing it anyway." Yes, well, I know that. That is why this dilemma is so unique for me. I recently agreed to an online book club, so I need to finish reading, "Brave New World." Plus with the new Harry Potter movie coming out, I have to go back and re-read books 2 and 3, and watch movie 2. One must be fully up to speed before seeing the movies. (And don't even get me started on how much reading I have to do before "Chronicles of Narnia" comes out!) I have started 3 major knitting projects, and have a 4th in my head I want to do. You can't read and knit at the same time. I've tried. It doesn't work. There is a new Institute of Religion class I want to take on Wednesday nights. But my old class, that I don't want to leave, is on Wed nights. You can't knit in class either. Its rather frowned upon. And I'd probably look pretty stupid trying. Next, it is the new TV season. This means all new episodes of "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," "Gilmore Girls," "Lost," "West Wing," "The OC," "L&O:SVU," "CSI: regular," and "CSI: Miami" to watch. Plus I am already getting into the new show, "Reunion," and there are a few more shows that look fun too. So already we are up to 10 hours of TV watching. There's a lot of knitting to be done in 10 hours. Now, thankfully, I do have TiVo, so I can narrow the 10 hours down to 8. And it all doesn't have to be done on the actual night it airs. I'm thinking I have Monday nights free, so I could squeeze in a lot of TV on Monday nights. But who are we kidding? I can't wait until Monday night to find out about all of those shows! (Maybe the detective shows.) Someone, or the radio, will ruin it for me by then. Oh, and hockey is finally back. (I HEART the NHL.) Someone has to go cheer for the Caps. And I think that someone should be me.
So where is the dilemma? I have a life! I'm never home to start with! How am I supposed to keep up with my media addictions (books, movies, and TV) and keep my life up at the same time? Multi-tasking can only get me so far here! Something has to give, and I have no idea what it is going to be!
(And please, everyone, stop suggesting I also get addicted to "House," "24," and "Alias." I just don't have time for them too! Don't forget, come January I have an "American Idol" addiction that must be fed too!")
So I apologize in advance to any and all friends who I might have to blow off in the upcoming months in order to feed my addictions. I'll be back soon. Just as soon as the reruns start.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Erin Meets the Stupid Sales Guy

This is a real conversation held with a clothing catalog company over the phone last week.

Stupid Sales Guy (SSG): We have 3 pairs of pants for you today, Miss McBride. Did you know that today for just $6.95 a month you can get rejuvenating eye cream that will improve appearance and take years off your face? This amazing anti-aging cream sells in stores for over $100. But with your purchase of $6.95 today, plus $15 for shipping and handling...."

Me: No, thank you. I don't need any anti-aging cream.

SSG: Well, maam, we can all use a little something to turn back the years. This miracle cream...

Me: Sir, i have the face of a 14 yr old. I really don't need anti aging cream.

SSG: Well, maam, you may say that now, but its never too soon to start. You will see the effects start immediately.

Me: Trust me, I really don't want anti-aging cream

SSG: (very annoyed with me) Well then today for just $49.95 you can get the sweater on page 46 to go with your charcoal pants.

Me: No thank you. I ordered what I want!(But glancing through catalog to page 46 anyway) I'm going to Miami. I don't need a boiled wool sweater.

SSG: Well if you will just look at page 3, there is a lovely red...

Me: (interrupting rudely, getting very irritated): What's my total?

SSG: (ignoring everything i say) Its fitted, with frog clasp...

Me: (very loudly): What is my total?

Silence

Me: (very loudly): What is my total?

SSG: $160

Me: Wow, that is $40 too much. What did you add on?

SSG: I see you have ordered 3 pairs of pants, and today for just $39.99 you can have a lovely handbag from a top french designer.

Um... did I say anything about wanting a lovely handbag from a top french designer? UH NO>

Me: Sir, I'm going to cancel this order if you don't knock it off right now. No handbag, no sweaters, no creams. Just my real total.

Silence. Irritated grunts.

SSG: $120

Me: Thanks, that's better

SSG: Bye

Me: Oh, no not yet. You didn't ask what kind of shipping I want. I want express. Add that in and give me my total.

Another prolonged irritated silence.

SSG: Express shipping has been added. Goodbye.

No total, no "thank you for shopping with us," no "your package will arrive on Wednesday", NADA. After such an experience, I will NEVER shop with this company again. I realize that the SSG was only doing what he's paid to do, and its not such a bad marketing trick to suggest matching clothing for items the customer has purchased. But come on! Only one offer is enough. To keep pushing it, and to not take no for an answer, it going way too far. And then to try and slide things in on the total is just plain wrong. If my package ever arrives, if there is one item in there that I did not expressly order, I will be calling this company back with 'a piece of my mind.'

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

New links

Just for fun I added a few new links to the sidebar today. Please welcome Smash, Hardy, Steph and Boo, to the blogroll. I didn't ask any of them for permission first though. So do try and be nice to them.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Anne and Frankie


I recently acquired two new roommates. The first one was Anne who replaced Cecily. I had about 2 weeks alone between roommates, and never really thought about all of the changes that would happen when I got a new roommate. Cec was pretty much never around, didn't keep any food in our apartment, and didn't really even have anything (furniture, "stuff", etc) in the place either. I always said living with her was like living alone except that someone else paid half the rent. Living with Anne has been quite the opposite of living with C. Not only did she bring tons of furniture and mountains of boxes, she actually eats here and even works from home occasionally. She is also just as addicted to her laptop as I am. It is not unusual for both of us to sit at the kitchen table and work in silence on our respective computers at the same time. Like I said, she's a great girl. I just wasn't mentally prepared to share my space. So I've needed some adjusting time on things. And it hasn't helped that I have been sick nonstop since she moved in.

So a few days after Anne moved in she mentioned something about wanting a cat. I agreed a cat would be fun. The very next day Frankie arrived in our lives. He's a very playful white and black cat with a warped sense of humor. I like cats with a warped sense of humor. For starters, if you leave a glass, cup, jar of jam, etc on the kitchen counter, he can sense this from wherever he is hiding at the moment. He will come running from his dark corner, jump on the counter, and bat it off (on purpose). This is one of this greatest pasttimes. He's been here less than 2 weeks, and I am already down 3 glasses. He doesn't like cat food, but seems to have a hankering for quesadillas, based on how many times I have caught him licking my dinner. He also has one other trait I have never seen in a cat before. If you are eating something he thinks he wants, he will get up on his back legs and "beg" like a dog. Its a riot to watch. He's also a lot like a newborn baby with its days and nights confused. He sleeps all day (only coming out to knock cups off of counters), and then wakes up when we get home from work. And then he expects to play with you all night long. And by play, I mean play fetch, another thing I have never seen a cat do before. But its fun, and I enjoy having him around. And since I take copious amounts of nyquil each night, I am sleeping through his demands pretty well.

It is also that time of the year again where I break out the knitting. (Directly related to the new TV season premiering.) Tonight I re-learned that you can't knit when there is a cat in the room. Frankie REALLY likes to attack the yarn (and me) when I knit. However, he can sit and watch me type on the computer for hours before attacking my hands. I wonder if for him watching me type, is sort of like when a human plays "whack a mole?"

In other random news, my head cold actually seemed to get better over the weekend. I had some minor coughing, but nothing big. I even went to bed Sunday convinced I would be just fine in the morning. But no such luck. Somehow I woke up with laryngitis, and my cough is considerably worsened. Once the genie grants my third and final wish of giving me three more hours in the day, I will pay another visit to the doctor to figure this out. No rest for the wicked, right?


Frankie attacking Anne's bed.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Bound for Glory

If you have read my blog much this summer you may have caught on to have few Saturdays I have spent at home. So today was a very exciting Saturday for me because of the lack of a road trip involved. So I took care of lots of personal business today (translation: spent way too much money on personal needs), and decided to do one unique thing for myself. A few days ago I learned about a new exhibit at the Library of Congress, called "Bound for Glory." As soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to go. Here is the description of the exhibit from the website-
Bound for Glory: America in Color is the first major exhibition of the little known color images taken by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI). Comprised of seventy digital prints made from color transparencies taken between 1939 and 1943, this exhibition reveals a surprisingly vibrant world that has typically been viewed only through black-and-white images. These vivid scenes and portraits capture the effects of the Depression on America's rural and small town populations, the nation's subsequent economic recovery and industrial growth, and the country's great mobilization for World War II.
These colorful images mark a historic divide in visual presentation between the monochrome world of the pre-modern age and the brilliant hues of the present. They change the way we look--and think about--our past.

The Library of Congress is one of the rare and finest treasures of the world. Truly the crowning jewel of Washington, DC. It is truly remarkable that it is free and open to anyone to walk in and visit. And the exhibits are incredible, and more fact based, and not so art-based. So it feels different from a museum, and more like a library, or a church. The last time I was in the Library was back when I was a Hill intern during college. Back then security was considerably lighter, and you could take the tunnels under the Hill from the Longworth over to the Jefferson building. I was notorious for getting lost in those underground tunnels, and and not much better once I was in a building. To make a long story short, I somehow got lost and ended up in a special room in the Library that was having its mosiac tile floors refinished. It was one of the most beautiful rooms I have ever seen. I was caught and escorted out of that room by security. I have never been able to find that room again.
But anyway, back to the exhibit I saw today.
I fall considerably short of the term 'history buff.' But I do love history, particulary the Depression era. So there was a real draw in getting to see real color photographs of that era. We have all seen black and white photos, and we have seen Hollywood renditions of the Depression. But for me it was very exciting to see real color images from that time. There were about 70 photos in the exhibit, and 2 particularly stand out in my mind. The first was of schoolchildren from Pie Town, NM. At first glance it just appears to be 20 or so kids singing in the school choir. But the closer you look the more details show up that would never have been obvious in black and white. The first thing I caught were the awful haircuts. The little girls with their short chin length haircuts, cut at ragged and jagged angles, clearly by their mother with a pair of dull scissors. The second detail that struck me were their feet. Some of the kids had on shoes- beat up, dirty, shoes. But most of them were barefoot, but it was hard to notice, because their feet were so blackened and dirty they appeared to be wearing shoes. To see it in color was striking and made their lifestyle seem that much more real to me.
My second favorite picture was similar to the "Rosie the Riveter" image from that era. But in this photo there was an African American woman wearing the same type of blue shirt Rosie wears, and hair pulled up in a red bandana on her head. She's holding a drill of some sort and is "fitting" some machinery. But the striking part of the picture, that never would have stood out in black and white, were her fingernails and lipstick. In spite of her rather dirty, manual labor job, she has perfectly red polished nails, and red lipstick on. It all of a sudden hit me that even though these women had to go into the factories to work, they still took care of themselves as if they were classy housewives.
Overall the pictures were all very beautiful. Other things that stood out for me- how beautifully blue and clear the sky was. It hit me that most of these rural pictures were taken prior to pollution becoming a problem. The vibrancy of the colors of the painted buildings and signs. In every single picture of small town America there was a Budweiser sign.
The pictures made history that much more real to me. I highly recommend this free trip to America's past.
My other favorite surprise at the Library? Getting to see the Gutenberg Bible. I didn't know it was owned by the Library until today. Having heard about the Gutenberg Bible all throughout my education, it seemed strange to me that I had never known that one still existed. It really is a beautiful book, with stunning typeset. I had also never seen a Bible in Latin, which added another special element to it for me.
If you have never been to the Library of Congress, I highly recommend it. From now on I will suggest it to all tourists and DC transplants that I meet.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Volunteer work can be fun

A few weeks ago the McLean Stake Mid-Singles sponsored a volunteer service project at the DC Village Family Emergency Homeless Shelter. The families there were living in what appeared to be a converted nursing home. Imagine the typical nursing home bedroom, with hospital bed, small closet, and tiny bathroom, and put a whole family in there. These were humble means to say the least. We were originally scheduled to go up and do some landscaping and paint the playground. But Mother Nature had other plans for us, and we moved inside to escape the rain. I made a last minute trip to Target to grab a few toys to play with, in case we needed to entertain the kids for a while. As you can see from the pictures below, its a good thing I made that quick pitstop. The toys were a huge success. In addition to playing with the kids, we also served lunch (hot dogs and chili brought over from the soup kitchen), and sorted clothing and school supplies.

Braiding hair was a VERY popular past time. Here's Jill being a good sport while a little friend does who knows what to her hair.


Valerie's hair was also very popular for all would-be hairdressers. Valerie was also our chief photographer. Thanks for the pics!!



In what could not be a less appealing game to me, the kids LOVED to spray shaving cream on the table and just go to town making messes. As with all good games though, it comes to an abrupt end when somebody loses an eye (or gets shaving thrown in their face). (You can spot me in the background explaining to a child that "No, I will not give you my cell phone. No, I don't care who you want to call with it. And no, I don't care if you think you know how to use it.")


Look at that sweet little smile! How can you not want kids?!

Tyler made a few little friends that refused to let him go. Literally- held on and refused to let go.

A very riveting game of Chutes and Ladders. Even the older kids played along. Next time we'll remember to bring games the older teenagers can play too.

A lovely time playing games with the kids. Such sweet little angels (till the shaving cream comes out).

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Taking the Challenge

A few months ago President Gordon B. Hinckley, the president and prophet of the church I attend, (www.lds.org) challenged all members of the Church to read the entire Book of Mormon by Dec 31, 2005. There are 531 pages in this book. Its in the same sort of type print that a typical Bible comes in. So in other words, tiny little print. So its not just 531 pages. Its 531 pages of tiny print of religious doctrine. I have been attempting off and on to read the Book of Mormon daily, but I'm not very diligent. But I decided tonight to really commit and actually do it. And to force myself to do it, I am blogging it. So I will now periodically give little updates as to my progress, just so I can be held to it. There are roughly 100 days left in the year, which means I have to do roughly 5 pages a day. Tonight I am starting with the Book of Alma, pages 207-213 (Alma chapters 1 and 2). Wish me luck! (And for those of my non-LDS friends trying to figure out why I am starting on pages 207- its like the Bible. I am reading it by book, not necessarily by page number. But I will eventually go back and read the first 200 pages as well.)

Monday, September 05, 2005

I Heart Beaches

Nags Head
Hatteras
Eddie, Mattie, Kelli
Wind
Sonic
Seabreeze, Ben, Joy
Queen Elephant Trash Talking
Extreme Ceiling Fan Beach Ball
Serenity Now
Chris, Jaqueline, Jason
Equal numbers? Not possible.
Wind, Sun, Sand, Wind, Sand
Cough syrup is my friend
Stars enough to fill the sky
Not naked midnight skinny dipping
3 am bedtime
North Shore, Dogtown
"You're killing me, Smalls!"

If I did I wouldn't let them ash on my monkeyhead
$3.29

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Prayers for Rebekah and Maggie


I have blogged on this before, but because it is so important to me, I am bringing it back up. If you haven't had a chance to check out Rebekah's website yet, I encourage you too. I have never met this little girl. In fact, I've only known about her maybe 2 weeks now. But her story is so touching, that I can't forget her now. Rebekah is just 3 years old and is suffering from inoperable cancer in her neck and face. At her small young age she is going through radiation and chemo. The blog is maintained by her parents on a daily basis. Read it with a tissue nearby.

From Rebekah's page I learned of another little girl named Maggie. She is also just 3 yrs old and suffering from leukemia. She is in the same hospital (sometimes) with Rebekah. She had a bone marrow transplant a few weeks ago, but her body has rejected it. She doesn't have much time left in this life. Maybe just a few days or weeks. Her website is absolutely heartbreaking. Her parents have amazing strength and courage and are doing their best to enjoy what time they have with her. The Make a Wish Foundation is also doing their part to help out.
You can find Maggie May's page here- http://www.curemaggie.com/index.html

I know there are a lot of places you can make donations right now to help so many different people (particularly for the victims of Katrina). So if you can't make a monetary donation for these little girls, maybe you could at least say a little prayer for them and their parents. They really need it!

Things I Love About My Blog

One of my favorite parts about this blog is my statcounter. My other blogging friends have frequently heard me speak of my addiction and praise for the statcounter. It keeps me greatly entertained to see who has been checking in on the blog. Ever since the Great Blog War began with Chris' blog (www.hardys.org) I have seen an amazing surge in numbers. My statcounter only shows me my last 100 pageloads, minus anyone checking in from the Beretta server, or Arlington Comcast, so that I don't see my own pageloads. Unfortunately, this also means I don't know when anyone else in Arlington has checked in, and I don't know how often my co-workers are spying on me. (And it has come to my attention that this is a lot more frequently than I expected.) So today I looked at my loads, and I was amazed at some of the hits. So, here in alphabetical order, are the last 100 loads. I feel so loved and internationally popular.


Alexandria Virginia United States

Allen Texas United States (Hi Blake)

Atlanta Georgia United States (Hi Chris)

Boca Raton Florida United States

Canberra Australian Capital Territory Australia

Esbjerg Ribe Denmark

Fairfax Virginia United States

Falls Church Virginia United States

Frederick Maryland United States

Lindon Utah United States

Littleton Colorado United States

Oxon Hill Maryland United States

Palm Bay Florida United States (Hello Jules)

Rexburg Idaho United States

Rockville Maryland United States

Salt Lake City Utah United States

San Francisco California United States

Schaffhausen Schaffhausen Switzerland

Sioux City Iowa United States

Spanish Fork Utah United States

Staunton Virginia United States

Sugar Land Texas United States

Tampa Florida United States (Hello Jared)

Tarpon Springs Florida United States

Truckee California United States

Washington District Of Columbia United States (Hello W)

Whitehall New York United States



(I would say hello to more of you that I am guessing are behind these cities, but I don't want to freak you out.)
Clearly that is not 100 cities, so there is more than one person checking in per town. But I am greatly amused by these numbers today. Who knew I could be so entertaining?

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