Friday, June 30, 2006

In no particular order- things making me happy at this exact moment

*my girls camp YCL's are making"pink is the new girls camp" t-shirts for me.
*i got the lyrics to the "oakton ward" version of "a boy and a girl in a little canoe"- (thanks to my oakton ward lurker- i knew you were out there!)
*a sunset drive down the GW parkway in my new car* yeah baby*
*the mcd's drive thru guy hitting on me- did he really think he had a chance?
*in just 3 short days i will be hyping my nephews up on candy
*totally unnecessary flirting with an old flame
*realizations of greater powers in my life

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I don't want to sip cider through a straw ever again

In just two short weeks I will be at Girls Camp corrupting the minds of the innocent young ladies trapped in the woods with me. This year I have a mere ten third level girls, as compared to last years' 23 4th year girls. One of the highlights for me this year is that some of my girls from last year are returning to be YCL's (Youth Camp Leaders for those of you not in the know). Which means, if nothing else, I'll know 3 of the 15 names I'm expected to learn.
I have a favor to ask of the blogging world. Please save me from 15 rounds of Sippin Cider.
(True, I do plan to sip some cider in the near future, but not while I'm at camp) I need new camp songs. I need a refresher course in all songs sung in the woods. The only ones I know are Sippin Cider and Trippin Billies. And somehow I don't think Trippin Billies will go over well at girls camp. So if you have a great, cute, and catchy song I can teach the girls (after all, it is one of our "requirements" this year- "teach a song or game to a group"), bring it on! Use the comments feature and sing along!

Songs I need lyrics to-
A Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe (preferably the "oakton ward" version, aka the "dirty girls" version)
I Love the Mountains, I Love the Firesides
Spiders Web (one of my cousins has to be reading this and know it!)
Any song not involving ants marching 2 by 2, or bugs getting squashed or eaten
The one about frogs going kerplop
Any other song you can think of! I've got to entertain these girls for 3 days! I don't think they have forgiven me for last year's accidental 5 mile hike mishap!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Can I get a hoo-ha Tuesday?

So freaking happy! On a complete whim I checked plane tickets one last time today, just on the off chance I could get a ticket to Utah next week. The frequent flyer gods have been punishing me and not giving me what I want for the last 2 months. But I checked one last time today and I'm going to visit my sister!! YEAH!!! WOO-HOO!! I get to spoil nephews and everything!! I can't wait!

Tonight I sat down to re-do the budget (hello car payment and new rent) and schedule out July. Holy Cow! How did I get so busy in July already? Next week I'm in Utah, followed by a big singles activity the next day. I'm home for 3 days, working serious overtime, and then off to Girls Camp for 3 days (yeah!! i heart GC!). Home for 1 day. Off to National Range Day in Philly (work thing). Home for a week. Off camping for a weekend. Home for a week. Off to go white water rafting with the cousins for a weekend. Home for a week. Off to a family reunion. Home for a week. Do you see a pattern emerging here, Scully? (lots of love to the person who correctly guesses that quote) Silly me for thinking I would have time for a part-time job to help tide me over this summer. Yeah right. But if I am extra good and cancel a few memberships, I just might be able to afford my lifestyle without selling my bodily fluids. Once September comes the budget loosens up considerably. But until then, no more Armands or Cheesecake Factory every night. And scarier yet, I might actually have to take my lunch to work! It doesn't mean I have to give in and learn to cook. It just means I have to be careful...

Famous last words...

Who cares?! I'm going to see my little guys next week! Yeah baby!

(Look! A whole blog without whining about the weather!! Shocking!)

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Lord Told Noah There's Going to be a Floody Floody

Like everyone else in the DC area all I can talk about right now is the weather. In case you are one of the readers on this site not *enjoying* our 40 days and 40 nights, and/or are not yet tired of the weather stories, here's mine.

I spent my Sunday afternoon at my parents house in Fredericsburg. I left Fredericksburg at 9:34 p.m. (As noted by the time I started making phone calls on my blackberry.) Thinking that the rain would probably cause some slow traffic, I was prepared with a list of phone calls to make, in cross country time zone order, just in case. It is 54.5 miles from my parents' house to my apartment, and usually takes me about 1 hr 10 mins to make the trip. I do it most Sundays. No big deal, right?

I was in my fourth phone call of the night (having made it to the "pacific time zone calls") when I was starting to realize that I was *still* driving, and yet, not that close to home. I wasn't even to the Beltway yet, and I had been driving over an hour. And traffic had come to a complete standstill. Hmm... So I just kept on talking on the phone, again, just not thinking about the traffic. It was when the little boy in the car in front of me got out and peed on the jersey wall that it occurred to me I had been sitting in the car for a really long time. So I checked the time. It was after midnight. (And it was a really little kid that had peed on the jersey wall. Poor kid must have been dying!) It had been 2.5 hours and I still wasn't quite to the beltway yet. Moments later traffic broke and I got to move a whole whopping half mile. I was soooo excited.

I got to the infamous Mixing Bowl of DC Traffic (aka intersection of 495/95/395 and multiple small roads) where I should take the 395 exit. But all 6 lanes were at a dead stop, and chances of me getting across all 6 lanes were nil. Didn't matter anyway, the 395 exit was closed. All cars were forced to take 495/95 northbound. Except that we weren't really moving and just sitting there, so I don't know that you can call it "forced" to do anything. Maybe we were just all staging a rebellion and not taking 395? (highly doubtful) It wasn't all that painful, as I was still just talking on the phone. I hadn't mentioned what was going on to my phone friend yet, but when the little guy watered the jersey wall, I laughed and explained my surroundings. So my friend in the PTZ got online and checked the Weather Channel for me, informing me that "more red bands" were on their way. This cracked me up several times, since he would tell me about the red, usually as I was sitting in the middle of all hell breaking loose from the sky and falling on my car.

Eventually I got off the skyway and actually on to 495/95. The cars really were not moving at this point. All bazillion lanes of traffic were stopped. Cars were being turned off, and more than just the little boys were getting out to water the jersey walls. Finally they announced on the radio that there were mudslides on the beltway between the next two exits. They shut down both directions of traffic. So finally they diverted ALL traffic off onto Van Dorn St. This is the opposite direction of where I needed to be going, but at least I was finally moving. It was at exactly this moment that my cellphone battery died. 1:46 a.m.

So I get off at Van Dorn and try to work my way over to 395, praying that that highway is now open and passable. I'm not very good with Alexandria geography, so that was a feat unto itself! But I got there without too much trouble (just 3 u-turns) and onto the free and fast moving 395. Hallelujah! 3 miles till home, right?!

Yeah right.

With maybe only 5 other cars visible on 395 I got to my exit in record time. Of course, 3 of those other cars had been abandoned in 3 feet of water. I just drove around them. But then I get to my exit- Washington Blvd. Blocked. Can't enter. Fantastic. So I exit into the Pentagon and attempt to bypass their parking lots (I'd really rather not have my car searched in the pouring rain in the middle of the night b/c I took a wrong turn), and get on Columbia Pike, thinking I'll just get on Wash. Blvd the other way.

Yeah right.

No matter which way I took to get there Washington Blvd- the main road in front of my neighborhood- is blocked. No can go. At this point I'm tired, I'm cranky, and I've been driving for nearly 3 hours. Who would have thought I'd still have to drive for another 47 minutes just to get the last 2 miles home?! I tried everything. Rt 50, Columbia Pike, Walter Reed, etc. Nothing. There's just no way to get to my complex. I'm yelling in my car for no apparent reason. The radio stations are useless to me. (curse you WTOP! you failed me!) All they can talk about are the mudslides, which were rather noteworthy. But no one is mentioning the other closed roads! ARGH!!!!

Finally I worked my way around and around Arlington until I found passage into my own complex. Not the easiest thing to do. At one point I even considered driving into Ft Myer and across (anyone who thinks a military base is a short cut is sorely mistaken), but even their gates were shut. AAAGH! What was wrong with the Arlington Police Department last night? Why couldn't they be more helpful? Put up directional signs? Or at least warn you that all the roads were blocked? They kept sending me in circles, never once offering any useful help!

But I made it. I got home a little before 2 a.m. (as several friends can testify as I had written them emails while stuck in traffic but couldn't send them due to low battery on the blackberry). Plugged the phone in, set the alarm clock, and woke up a short 4 hours later. My commute to work this morning took nearly 2 hours. Needless to say I was cranky and short with just about everyone.

And it still hasn't stopped raining. I did my laundry at my mother's house, and brought home a few hang dry items on hangers in the car with me. They are still wet! It is so humid that they won't dry! It's just crazy!

But for all my whining and crankiness, at least I don't have it as rough as the sister missionaries. I took them out for dinner tonight, and they showed up soaking wet. The poor sisters are on bikes in this Noah's weather! I felt terrible for them and treated them to Cheesecake Factory and told them to indulge. Hot chocolate, pasta, and cheesecake later, they looked a little less worn when they left!

In the end I'm grateful for a few things. 1- a friend who stayed on the phone with me for nearly three hours. 2- my new car and the a/c and defogger. 3- i'm not a sister missionary. 4- not one person questioned my crankiness today. 5- a holiday weekend to look forward to!

I think I'll go buy myself an Ark!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Change, change, and more change

There are two distinct sides to me. I love change. I love dynamic activity, constant motion, never sitting still, lots of variables. But, on the other hand, I hate change. I don't like change I can't control or decide on. I don't like it when things outside of my control change. I like control and I like change. And lately there have been a lot of changes. There have been changes within my family, changes to my friends, changes in my work responsibilities, changes at home, etc. All things outside of my control. Some are good changes, some are negative. But changes nonetheless.
Some of the changes I welcome- I'm moving soon, I've got a new car, new roommates in the new house. I'm excited for some of these changes. But there's so many changes happening at once right now (add to the list, no more column, new part time job), that I feel like I'm sinking. There's this wierd feeling to realize that by the end of the summer, my life will barely resemble the life I have today. It's good and it's bad, but it's mostly just hard to swallow. I'm pretty good at just picking up and dealing and rolling with the punches. Bring on the change! I love change! But give me a chance to accept what is happening around me!
I can't share much more of the changes that are happening out of respect for other people's wishes. Some are simple, some are more complex- like the loss of friendships. Others are learning to live with the choices other people have made, and respecting their wishes and choices.
So yes, there are changes afoot. Life is rapidly looking less and less like yesterday. Bear with me and have a little patience. Construction zone ahead.

The Caldwell Chicks and Cali's Big Day

Friday was my travel home day- by way of Palm Bay, FL. If I am in FL, obviously I have to make a trip to visit the Caldwell Chicks (and their big, sweaty daddy). So in our usual fashion, we did lunch and went shopping. Here's some fun lunch pictures!

This is the picture that also explains why the waiter assumed I was Cali's mom.

But there is never any question as to who Andi's mommy is! (There will never be a picture of Andi snuggling with me- it generally takes her about 3 days to warm up to me. We did make progress on this trip- she hugged me when I left!)

During lunch Cali mentioned her tooth was a bit wiggly. She demonstrated it, but we saw little evidence that the tooth fairy needed to visit the bank. In fact, in this picture you can't tell that there's anything wrong with her teeth at all... (Cali smiles like the best of us as children, and it's rather difficult to find a picture with her lower teeth in it!)

Shortly after we took this picture, she demonstrated again that her tooth was wiggly. I suggested she go chew on some ice, or bring me a rope. She didn't like the rope idea, but surprisingly she did get the ice. The only reason I suggested it was the idea that maybe if she ate ice it would
numb her mouth and we could yank the tooth while I was still there. This was 30 minutes before I had to leave, so I really didn't expect it to happen. So we took more pictures.

There is no explanation for this picture. But I think it does deserve a caption contest!

Or this one really.

So Juli and I are hanging out, looking at pictures of houses in upstate NY (where they are moving in a few weeks- only 7 hours away from me! YEAH!!!)! And Cali comes back in, mouth full of ice, and says, "Now my tooth is really loose!" So Juli reaches over to wiggle, it and it just falls out! Cali asks, "Do you think it will come out today Mommy?" completely unaware that her tooth had fallen out.

The evidence-

Side story to all of this- Andi, a true younger sister, always doing just what her older sister has done, also was eating some ice, and asking if it would make Cali's teeth fall out. When she saw the blood in Cali's mouth, she promptly spit the ice out of her own mouth.

So apparently my idea to chew on ice really does make a tooth fall out. Who knew? Either that or Cali really worked that tooth good all day. Maybe a little of both!

It wouldn't be fair to leave out a picture of Bryan (taken by Andi). After all, he is 50% responsible for the Caldwell Chicks, even if he is the one who stole Juli away from me. And it is his hard work that is moving them all to Rochester, where I can visit them a lot more often! Yeah!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It's Wednesday so I must be in Tampa

Today I am in Tampa, FL, at a SOCOM trade show. It's an interesting change of pace from a law enforcement show. At LE shows all the guys are trying to be more manly than the last guy and are all there to let me know they know more than me. But military shows tend to be a bit more humble (which I wasn't expecting at a Special Ops show). These guys are mostly officers and aren't afraid to admit they haven't held a pistol since they qual'd on it twenty years ago. (Enlisted guys are a different story for a different day.) Anyway, my point? It's nice to be at a show where the person on the other side of the table actually listens to what you have to say. And when they call me "Ma'am" I don't feel like it was condescending (usually).

But back to our regularly scheduled Erin's rants and thoughts on life...

By the time most of you read this it will be Thursday. And Thursday is the last day of "A Single Thought by Erin and Juli." An era has come to an end, and we have put the caps on our pens and signed off from our column. I'm a little sad to see it go, but relieved at the same time. It has opened new doors to us, given us the confidence to pursue dreams, and brought us many new friends. (Half of the friends on my blog list are because of the column!) I'm looking forward to new projects in my future and having the creative time to try some new ideas. But check us out- our editors seem to think our sign off was one of the funniest columns we have ever done.

Let's see... what else? Give me time and I'll bring up the men, or lack thereof, in my life. Hanging out solo in a hotel room has never been good for my psyche. It gives me way too much time to think, analyze, re-analyze, and debate internally every little detail about a relationship (or lack thereof) in my head. This week it has been over a guy that tends to run hot, and then tends to disappear on me. When he's around, he's a clown, and he's the best. I adore him. But he's just not so good at always being around. And I have been debating over and over whether or not to find away to put us around each other just a little bit more. The old fashioned "rules" girl in me, says make him be the one to come to me. If he wants to be around, he'll be around. I shouldn't have to "find" ways to make things happen.

I'm also replaying a past event over and over in my head. I'm a big believer in forgiveness for all things said in the heat of the moment and anger. It's the things said with malice aforethought I don't forgive as readily. A while back someone said and did a few things that hurt me considerably at the time. I truly believe he/she did not mean to hurt me, but at that time he/she was hurt, backed into a corner, and came out swinging. Some pretty awful things were said. Some time has passed, and an olive branch has been extended. But the healing process is bringing back the pain and causing me to remember the awful parts. I'm trying to focus on the good points, the positive things that made the person my friend in the first place. But sometimes that is easier said than done.

I need to get home to the real world where I have too much to do to be lost in my thoughts.

Does anyone have any amazing suggestions for affordable plane tickets to SLC? I'm dying to get out there to visit my sister, but I can't find a ticket for less than $400!! And US Airways has the worst frequent flyer miles program in the world. Boo!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You know you've reached the high life when...

... there's a mini plasma TV in your bathroom.
Last night was an absolute blast. I convinced Co-Worker Chris to go with me to Jelly Rolls, one of my absolute most favorite places on Earth. It's a dueling piano sing-along bar that I was once a regular fixture at. Ten beers (Chris), 6 Diet Cokes (me), 1 Sprite (also me), 2 baskets of popcorn, and 6 song requests later, a good time was had. (a little over $100 between the two of us) I "sang alonged" my heart out (showing Chris the "real" Erin- something that rarely occurs on company business), and surprisingly didn't make my voice any worse than it already was.
Now I'm in Tampa at a SOCOM event. Four more days of shows and hotels! Yee-haw.
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Monday, June 19, 2006


I'm still pretty exhausted and fighting off this virus. (The virus that isn't SARS, lung cancer, bronchitis or pneumonia.) After Paint the Town Red, I got home at 1:45 a.m., and still had to pack, clean my room, etc., all before my 6:05 a.m. flight. Already completely exhausted from the festitivities on Saturday, I managed to get about 1 hour of sleep before my flight to Florida.

So with no sleep and a lovely hacking cough, I'm in Orlando for a few days attending the National Sheriffs Association Annual Meeting. So far it's just another show. We're just working and doing our thing. It is interesting being back in Orlando as a tourist/visitor and not as a resident. I'm staying at the Peabody on I-Drive, which is a fun little experience. Tonight Chris (co-worker) and I are off to my favorite bar in the whole world, "Jelly Rolls." It's a dueling piano sing along bar on the Disney Boardwalk. You ain't seen nothing till you've seen drunk Disney cast members trying to outsing each other. Karaoke ain't got nothing on this place. (If you think I'm hoarse now, it's going to be even worse later tonight! And I can't wait.)

Tomorrow I take off for Tampa for a Special Forces trade show for a few days. 5 straight days of trade shows. It's going to be a great week.
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My Favorite Pic From Orlando Thus Far

I love their slogan and their spelling mistakes. You may need to enlarge this to figure out why.
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Sunday, June 18, 2006

And the crowd goes wild- PAINT THE TOWN RED DAY!!

Saturday, June 17- Paint the Town Red Day- We've been planning this day for about 1.5 months now. It was our first big "Mid-Singles" activity for McLean Stake (non-Mormon readers- this translates to "big singles activity for my local congregation and region"). We put a ton of work into this. (We being mostly Brenda and me, with tons of help from Jeremy, Jen, Steph, Staci, John, Gavin, Kara, and more.)

The schedule went as follows- 9 am- Temple Session, 11:30- lunch at Red Sage Grill, 1:20 pm- Nats. v Yankees game, 8pm- Rooftop Party. I don't have pictures from the temple or lunch, but keep on scrolling down for lots of pictures from the game and the party. We had a GREAT turnout at all events, and we are VERY happy with the final result. We had catering by Red Hot and Blue (and I still can't believe there were leftovers- the food was delicious!), music a la Stephanie, and oh yeah, we rented out the club-penthouse of one of the tallest buildings in Arlington. All in all- a fabulous day! I am exhausted but thrilled.

Tons of thanks to everyone who helped to make it a great day!

This pic is Johnny Damon doing a little pimping for the crowds at RFK. There were clearly more Yanks fans than Nats fans in the stadium (or maybe they were just louder!), but it doesn't matter- the Nats still pulled it out and won it! Woo-hoo! Let's hear it for the home town team!
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Go Nats Go!!!

I love Gwen's pink Nats hat! I gotta get me one of those! Did you know we (we being the Nats) beat the Yankees? Including one grand slam??

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You can take them out to the ballgame, but you can't make them put their cell phones away!

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Jeremy on the cell...

Check out that sold out stadium behind him!
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Paint the Town Red- The Rooftop Party!

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Woo-hoo! Work it Eddie!

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Hey, it's my blog, I'll post funny pictures of me!

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The type of scene every event planner wants to see- lots of happy people!

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Lots of self-portraits- some with me in them, some with me mostly in them!

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Lots of People!

Lots of fun!

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

A few little changes here and there

Before (at the wedding last Saturday)

After (about 10 minutes ago)

In case you are a guy and can't tell what has changed here, I shall explain. I'm not a blonde anymore. Well, maybe just not a platinum blond anymore. It's a dark blond. I like it. Suddenly you can actually tell I have green eyes and I am not as pale anymore. I look a lot more tan, and my "rosy" pink cheeks aren't so notable anymore (yeah). I like the change, but I'm still a little freaked about it. Oh, and there's layers in my hair now, which I like a lot.

I had the platinum blond for almost 13 years so this is a big change for me!

(If you are trying to read my shirt, it says, "writing well is the best revenge." it's funny for a girl who writes a column and a novel about her bad dating experiences.)

In other minor news, I'm feeling considerably better. We still haven't figured out what I have, but we know it's not lung cancer, pneumonia, bronchitis, SARS, or strep. I'm still coughing, but not as badly. I'm exhausted, but that just might be cause I'm running around like crazy getting ready for "Paint the Town Red Day" on Saturday.

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