Thursday, February 28, 2013

This Just In!

This Just In!

The Haley and Cam Series, Book 2

By Erin Ann McBride

Haley Jo McAdams’ life is a modern-day fairytale! She has the perfect boyfriend in Camden Morrison, a great job, friends, and success.
But no good deed can go unpunished! A new scandal has left Cam’s career and reputation on the line, just as Haley’s takes off. Should she stand by her man or defend her own reputation?
Pirates, death, kidnapping, love, marriage, and babies- is Haley’s life a fairytale or a complete nightmare?
When the fairy dust settles, the explosions begin!

It's here! It's done! It's the full, entire, completely released as one, book, and you can buy it on your e-reader for the low, low price of...
$5.50 if you buy it through Smashwords between now and Monday!
Full price is $8.99, but with coupon code YF76X on Smashwords you can get it for $5.50!
Not familiar with Smashwords? (Don't worry, few people are!) You can buy e-books for your Kindle, Nook, Sony, iBooks, and even just in PDF or text, through the site. You don't even have to have an e-reader to use it.

Or just buy it from Kindle direct for $8.99!
(It will be up on on Nook tonight or tomorrow. But it will only be available at full price there. GET IT FROM SMASHWORDS!)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bad Serenade Date Guy

In my last post i spoke of a guy I consider to be one of the worst dates I ever went on. I normally don't share these kinds of stories, but since this was about 6 years ago now, I think the polite waiting period has passed, and I can share.

We'll call him Presley.

Presley and I met online through an LDS dating site. I could tell his photos were somewhat old because they were not digital pictures, but obviously scanned photographs. I asked him for more recent (or just more) photos several times, and he always made excuses. The pictures I saw were of a healthy, fit, young man, who told me he had never been married, and had no kids.

I met him on the second day after I moved to Utah. If he had had his way we would have met on the first day. He asked (and asked, and asked, and asked and then finally begged) me to literally drive across the country and straight to his house. He got irritated with me when I said I had other plans and wanted to go to my new home and get some sleep. I had planned to wait for the weekend to maybe meet him. But his constant pestering (which included looking up the name of the company I worked for- my first day of work, mind you- and calling me at work) finally convinced me to give in.

I just drove all the way across the country and then started a job the very next morning. Obviously I am exhausted. I don't think it was unreasonable to expect or ask Presley to come pick me up for the date. But apparently that was just a dumb idea!

So even though my car was still laden down with all of my earthly possessions, I drove to his house for the first date.  I also wasn't crazy about the idea of meeting at his house, but he promised he would wait for me outside on the sidewalk and I wouldn't have to go in. I still didn't love the idea, but I agreed to it.

I called him when I pulled up in front of his duplex. I didn't have his house number. I still remember vividly seeing him standing behind the screened door watching me. It was way too obvious that his plan was to check me out, and if I didn't pass, he would have hidden from me.  I called him and could see/hear him holding the phone. But until I got out of the car, he wouldn't answer. (So dumb!)

Once he finally came out, I actually thought I was wrong about what I had already guessed about him. I figured he couldn't be the guy from the photos, and it must just be a coincidence he was watching me from the door. He weighed easily 100-150 lbs more than his pictures (double his weight), and was 12 years older than those pictures. I didn't recognize him at all!

He introduced himself to me as Presley- the name I had seen for him online as well.  He tried to get me to go inside his apartment. I said no. He whined and whined. I finally agreed to stand at the doorway while I waited for him to get something. From the doorway I could see his place was totally trashed- literally! There was trash all over the place!

He found his shoes and wallet and said, "Would you like to go get drinks?" I thought that was a strange plan considering we were both Mormon, and therefore, neither of us drinks alcohol, but I shrugged and said yes. But oh no! My concerns were in vain! He didn't take me to a happy hour or to a bar! We walked to 7-11 and got drinks! Soft drinks to be exact! And then we walked back to his place.

I felt comfortable by then and agreed to go inside his nasty, gross apartment. We're talking half-empty containers of week-old Chinese food on the couch beside me, piles of take-out boxes on the floor, etc. I intentionally sat on the love seat after he sat on the couch. He got up and joined me on the loveseat. It was awkward to say the least.

And then he pulled out his photo album and his guitar.

Ha ha!

He wanted to show me the pictures of himself before he gained so much weight. I found the pictures I had seen online. It was in the real pictures that I realized he had on a missionary name tag. They weren't just older photos- they were ancient! He had intentionally put up pictures of him 12-14 years younger.

Some of the pages were scrapbooked (but not all). That was when I noticed that his pictures didn't say "Presley" on it, they said, "Elvis." (Obviously not his real name.) I asked why they said Elvis and not Presley. He told me he didn't trust his real identity with girls he meets online (because everyone lies) so he gave me a fake name.

I turn the page and found several pictures of him holding a newborn baby. I asked about the baby. He shrugged.

He then pulls out his guitar from under some fast food bags that hid the case. He INSISTS on singing me a long song. He asks for requests. I made a few. He didn't know any of them (sorry, can't remember what they were). He sings a song he thinks he knows. It was awful. He had to stop and adjust his fingers through every major chord, couldn't carry a tune, and because of his size, the size of the guitar, and the loveseat, there is NO room on that little loveseat. I got pushed further and further off the edge of the couch.

I try to ignore the singing and look more at his photo album. I notice he's in more pictures with the baby who has had multiple birthdays. I ask him about it again. He finally gets annoyed, puts the guitar down, and explains it is his son.

Son? I thought you said you were never married and had no kids.

"Well, since I don't have custody and don't ever see him, I don't count him."

Wow. That's a first.

Turns out he got an ex-girlfriend pregnant. He tried to convince me he didn't know about the baby until he was 4 years old. Except! All those pictures of him at the hospital and at birthday parties kind of said otherwise. To this day still suspect there was more than one child.

But the singing, oh the singing. it was so bad! He pins me into a corner on the loveseat and insists on serenading me. He never got the words right (to the song he picked), the tune right, or anything else. I politely sat there and waited for the song to end. I was trapped in the corner. Finally, the song ended (or he gave up- either way, happy day!) and he divebombed me to try and kiss me.

He really and truly kissed my hand. I raised my hand so fast to deflect him, that he ended up kissing the palm of my hand.

I practically ran. I could not get out of there fast enough.

He continued to attempt to call me for weeks. He asked me out "for drinks" several times. I always said no to every invitation. About a year later one of my friends got involved with him online. He was still using his ancient mission pictures and claiming to not have any children.  And still telling people his name was Presley (which was not his name at all).

9 Ways to Woo Me

One of the more original shirts I found in Cambodia. "I miss you. Are you my left and right side?"

I came across Erin Burnett's 8 things a man can do to impress her list today, and found that I love it. It's a very honest and real list! (And while some of them are expensive, they aren't actually all that expensive for the circles I imagine she moves in. After all, she did marry a Citibank exec/former trader recently.)
Did you know Erin Burnett is one of my role models? True story- and not just because she has an awesome name (obviously). She is a former financial writer/reporter, and worked on my end of media before switching sides. And now she's an anchor with her own namesake show on CNN. And she appears to have a totally awesome personality (she drank a Heineken on a show once after doing a segment about beer prices), and has a great laugh. Yes, she's my professional role model.
So after I saw her 8 things list, it got me to thinking about my own list. What could a guy do to impress me?

1. Plan a special event for me from beginning to end, and thoroughly communicate the plan to me. Because my life revolves around planning and being responsible for events, it would mean a lot to me to have a special event taken care of.  I don't want to be surprised with a plan. (I hate that actually.) But for someone else to plan every thing and communicate it so that I'm prepared and relaxed? Dream come true!

2. Loan/buy/share/give me books. I love to read. I love to learn new things. I love it when a significant other shares their passion with me in the medium I best appreciate.

3. Read my books- and then talk to me about it. I know my books are aimed at young women, but it is flattering when a guy takes the time to read it anyway, and can have an intelligent discussion about it. (And don't be like the guy who told me he read it, and then sat around and mocked it to my face.) Telling me you read my work tells me you invested time in me. That's flattering! Let me enjoy it!

4. I love live music. A man who will find out what music I like to listen to, and will take me to a concert, will win me over really fast (especially if it isn't his first choice in music).

5. Get to know my friends and family. My 3 closest friends are like family to me. And I am very close to my family. For a man to actually make an effort to get to know my closest friends and family is very meaningful for me. (And likewise when he takes me to spend time with his friends and family.)

6. Put the phone away. The very best dates are when a guy says he's leaving his phone in his car because he won't be needing it while we are out. I hate sitting and waiting for a guy to finish up on his phone!

7. I'm not a sentimental girl, and I don't like to see wasted money. I'm not a fan of roses or other cut/dead flowers. But my favorite flower is easily found potted and live. Find out what my favorite flower is (hint: it's easy to figure out. it's not just on this blog, but in many other visible places in my life as well.), and give me that.

8. Something no one has ever done for me- do a humanitarian trip with me! (Is it any surprise that I've fallen in deep crush on nearly every humanitarian trip I've gone on? No!) Someone who likes/will do humanitarian work as much as I do will win me over in a heartbeat!

9. Play music for me! I'm a sucker for piano players. And guitar players too sometimes. But if it isn't played well (oy, there was this one date... so bad, so very, very bad), it doesn't work. Woo me by playing the piano for me!

That's pretty much it. I can't come up with a good solid tenth item. I have some half-hearted ones like "do not use teenspeak when texting me," "use a phone as an actual telephone, and not to text," but those are more pet peeves than must-haves. There's also "try new foods with me," but that isn't a must-have either, although it is close.

Personally, I think I am pretty easy going. I'm not coy or withholding about any of the information needed to do any of those things. But then, I can't recall a time when any one guy tried to do any of the above things for me (except for the horrible guitar player- blog post on him here!).

I'm pretty easy to please. Give me a book and one of the cheapest flowers out there, took off your cell phone, and practice the piano while I sit and read, and I'm going to be one really happy girl!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mormon Singles and Sex- a Very Frank Talk

The following was going to run on a different website. At the last minute it was determined that it was too raw and too edgy for that site. I've decided to go ahead an run it here. Some of you will agree, some of you won't. Some of you (non-Mormons in particular) will read this and seriously wonder what the heck is wrong with us.
I'm just telling it like it is.

For the sake of this article I will not use polite alternative language, or pretend we don’t all know what I’m talking about. I will be straightforward and as blunt as possible.
Sex is an incredibly complicated subject. For Mormon singles the subject is even more complicated the more it is engaged in, or the more it is avoided. There is a little secret running through the singles of the Church that the rules for dating and sexual relationships changed over time. No one ever addresses this subject in detail. As a result, many singles have formed their own new rules for appropriate physical relationships that are no longer in harmony with what they were taught at age 16.
When I studied interpersonal communications in college one of the key principles taught was, “everyone is in a relationship.” You may be in a friendly relationship, a married relationship, or a relationship where you do not know each other. Not speaking or avoiding another person, is also a type of relationship. All people everywhere are in some type of relationship with each other. By these same definitions, all people are in a relationship with sex. The type of relationship may change- you actively engage in it, avoid it, have not engaged in it, dislike it, enjoy it, etc. These are all forms of relationships. Everyone is in a relationship with sex.
Mormon singles have the most complicated relationship with sex. And sex complicates all relationships, particularly when sex is to be avoided. To be honest, most dates are planned activities as an alternative to sex. “What can we do to enjoy each other’s presence that won’t lead to sex tonight?” or “How much can we enjoy each other physically before we have to stop ourselves so we don’t have sex?” are the subconscious (and not so subconscious) approaches to dating.) This is what dating is in today’s culture and to think otherwise would be naïve and foolish. You can get to know each other on the phone, through email, etc. Dates are about physical relationships.

What the Youth are Taught
Today we see more sexually arousing images before lunch than our parents saw before their honeymoons. And just like we have been taught since we were twelve years old, the more you are exposed to such things, the more de-sensitized you become.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Woman's Search for Happiness

Kaya says, "Please, please, pretty please may I have some of your delicious human foods??"

Oh if you could only hear me laughing now...
No sooner do I go public with my hiatus than another surprise comes my way. It's still a crazy long shot of an opportunity. But it turns out there are still a few irons in this fire after all.

It was a beautiful Sabbath today. I had several opportunities to remember and be reminded of the blessings in my life, and that I am not alone, and that there are others who are mindful of the challenges I face. And sometimes, right when you are not really busy doing anything, it is nice to be remembered for being helpful.

It is the ultimate challenge sometimes to be happy in spite of difficult or unhappy circumstances around us. Tonight I can go to bed and truly say that in spite of difficult or challenging circumstances around me, that I am happy. Maybe it isn't the life or the world that I would have picked or designed for myself. But I can be (and I am) happy with what I have made from what I have been given. And that isn't something I can say (or have said) very often. And being able to do so tonight makes it that much sweeter to be able to say.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

How bizarre, how bizarre

If you happened to have come by this blog recently enough as to have seen 2-3 posts that seemed a little out of place, I apologize! They were actually ancient posts from several years ago. I noticed some old posts that were once published (from 2007??) were in draft suddenly, and re-published them. Most of them went back into the line-up where they belonged. A few jumped to the front of the line as if they were new posts.
Sorry for the out-of-order confusion. I have no idea what that was about!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cry Uncle! (and buy my books!)

Almost exactly one year after I begged for mercy and declared a personal hiatus from life, I'm doing it again.
No more job hunting- or at least not active and aggressive job hunting. There are a few leads still out there and I will continue to follow through with those. And if a great opportunity finds me, I'll pursue it. But otherwise, my ego, psyche, and broken, jaded, little heart need a break.
This hiatus comes as a huge relief for me and gives me the personal mental freedom I need to make other commitments and move on. There are other opportunities and options around me that I have not taken advantage of because I was always afraid that I might be about to accept a job and move away.
And so it is I cry uncle, and move on in a different direction with my life.
I don't regret this. If anything it comes with a great deal of relief. I'd rather be happy with what I have- or work to be happy with what I have- than always be telling myself I could do better if others would just let me. I prefer to be the one who determines my own happiness!
Just 48 hours into this decision and I've already looked at plane tickets for another humanitarian vacation, made inquiries into musical activities, and joined a dance class for adults. See? Already happier and more active!
And... I've already started to work on a brand new book (as well as continue working on Book 3 in the Haley and Cam series, "Coming Up Next").
Which reminds me! The final section of Book 2, "This Just In," will be ready sometime next week. (The full book will also be sold as one unit starting next week too.) Have you read parts 1-3 yet?
(PS- Does anyone use iTunes/iBooks for buying/downloading books? I haven't had any request that I make my books available that way, but I'm curious if I should.) (Also, if you haven't checked out yet as a way to find and purchase books, I highly recommend it!)

You Heard It Here First (Book 1)
From the moment girl-next-door Haley McAdams met America's Favorite News Reporter Camden Morrison, her life hasn't been the same. Suddenly she has everything she ever wanted- love, money, and career success. But can she handle the pressures that come with it? One day she's a financial blogger, the next, a TV expert on a political scandal. Her on-air epiphanies and liberated writing style have landed some powerful men in hot water, and there are consequences to pay. Just as her career takes off, so does her love life. But the memories of her past make it hard to accept the good things around her. Is her rich and famous boyfriend the real reason for her new success? Does he really love her? Or does he have an ulterior motive too? Haley is a good girl from a loving family and traditional values, but she knows her way around the world of finance and politics. She may be virtuous, but she is not naïve. And if there is one thing she has learned, it is that the love of money is the root of all evil.

Kindle: $3.99
Paperback: $7.99
Nook: $3.99
Smashwords/iTunes: $3.99 

This Just In! (Book Two, Part One)
Haley Jo McAdams has found the love of her life in Camden Morrison. She's landed her dream job, and fame and fortune are hers for the taking. Her life reads like the perfect modern-day fairy tale. She's never been happier and life has never been better.
But just as the starbursts and fairy dust begin to settle, the fireworks and explosions begin. Long-distance relationships are never easy,  especially when they cross international time zones, and involve the paparazzi.
Just when Haley thinks she has it all figured out, scandals, pirates, and a kidnapping turn her life upside down.
Is her life a fairy tale or a complete nightmare?
Kindle: $1.99
Nook: $1.99

This Just In! (Book 2, Part 2)
When we last left Haley and Cam, Cam had endured and succeeded in a very tense first meeting with Haley's father. The couple had discussed marriage, but Haley began to have doubts.
Big questions are resolved, but as Haley learns, life goes on, and more questions are always asked!
Kindle: $1.99

Nook: $1.99

This Just In! (Book 2, Part 3)
No good deed goes unpunished! For every good thing that happens for Haley and Cam, something worse seems to follow. Cam's reputation and career are on the line. His family's dirty laundry is out for everyone to see. Should Haley defend her man or defend her own reputation?
Kindle: $1.99
Nook: $1.99

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Bittersweet Day- Not Anything Like a Dragonfruit

Today was a bittersweet day.

First, I had a phone job interview. The job sounded absolutely fascinating. I felt like the interview went really well. And then there was the kicker- it's a Christian organization, and the employee must support their cause.
I absolutely do support their cause. In fact, I'd love to be their biggest champion. I am behind what they want to achieve 100%!
But- that doesn't mean they want me- and they don't. No, this "Christian organization" defines Christians by the Apostles Creed or Nicean Creed, and therefore, doesn't allow Mormons (or Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, and a few others).
So in spite of the fact that I love their cause and am a great candidate for the work, they have already ruled me out.
The Bitter: Didn't get the job (or even considered)
The Sweet: A good interview, and the assurance that comes from forthrightly standing up for what you believe.

Speaking of job interviews, a few weeks ago I had a great one. I really liked the person I interviewed with. I felt like there was a great connection, and I hoped for the best for that particular job. I've been crossing my fingers, hoping for a response from them this week.
They finally called today. Normally this is a good thing, but not today. Well, not completely anyway. The interviewer herself called me back. She explained that they had decided to go another direction, but that she wanted me to know that she really did like me, and hoped I would apply for other positions within her company in the future. And hoped that we could keep in touch in the future.
The Bitter: Not getting the job (obviously)
The Sweet: I didn't read the person entirely wrong. Dating and job hunting  have a lot in common in this respect - it's just nice to know you didn't get it completely wrong.

I found a dragonfruit at the grocery store. I ate these things every single freaking day in Cambodia. I LOVED them. They were so good! (See picture above- and below.) I have craved one of these suckers every day since I left the country. (Fun sidenote: I'm not a sign seeker, but if I was, I'd take this as a good sign. I applied for a really cool job in Cambodia yesterday. It's a serious long shot, but it would be a huge dream come true for me!)
The Bitter: It was rotten.
The Sweet: I did manage to get one or two good bites out of it.

This was mushy and grayish on the inside. It should be crispy, and a little watery (like an apple), and bright white (plus the seeds). This was just yucky. $9 of yucky.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Friendly Reminder

I have another website - Mormon Books and Authors - that y'all should go visit!

Looking for a Regency Romance? Try the Duke's Undoing (award winner!)

How about something to help prepare Relief Society lessons? Pick up the Ready Resource for the Relief Society!

In the mood for a fantasy novel? How about The Guardian by Gerald Lund?

Want a good suspenseful mystery? Try Caller ID!

As you can see, this site has a little bit of something for everyone! And you don't have to be a Mormon to buy these books. Books that cater to Mormons are clearly indicated. All books on this site are clean (no profanity, vulgarity, or overly sexualized), and written by Mormons.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I am my own Valentine

Like so many of my weeks, this has been a crazy and busy week. I'm not complaining. I like to be busy.
I was blessed to have several job phone interviews this week, and they all went well! They were all for different types of work, which was unusual. I feel like I am getting closer to a change, or a result, or something! The hardest part of this whole unemployment - job hunting journey is just not knowing what happens next and when it will ever happen. But right now feels good. There have been a lot of options (some unusual and unexpected) lately, and that feels good. Now, for one of these options to turn into an actual plan!
Today (if I get this posted in the next 5 minutes) was Valentine's Day. For the first time, possibly ever, I didn't have a poor, poor pitiful me kind of Valentine's Day. No, there was no man or special Valentine in my life. I just finally didn't let it get to me. I've really come a long way in the past few months with being comfortable with who I am as a single person, and the thought that maybe I will be single forever. Valentine's Day- no longer a thing.
I wrote/curated this article for Meridian ("Improve Your Valentine's Prospects"). I really recommend the list of suggestions for ways to improve your dating prospects. (I did not write the list- a singles ward bishop did.) I have personally done several of these suggestions in the past several months, and for the most part, I've had very positive experiences as a result. I hope others benefit from them as well.
Tomorrow night my darling "Baby Ducks" are coming over for a slumber party. I look forward to these nights just as much as they do. (The Baby Ducks are the young women from my church. I nicknamed them the baby ducks when we were at girls camp last summer. I told them I felt like a momma duck walking around with a trail of baby ducks following her. The name stuck and we all use it now.) Last month when some of the girls came over we watched "Pillow Talk" with Doris Day and Rock Hudson. The girls liked it so much that they have asked to watch it again so that the girls who weren't there can see it.  Of course, it is also one of my favorite films, so I don't mind watching it again!
This was one of their favorite scenes. Gotta love Rock Hudson!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Spiritual Guidance

Today in Sunday School we discussed how to hear or know when the Holy Spirit speaks to us. We had an enjoyable and in-depth discussion in our class that I really benefited from.

The first time I recall feeling the Holy Spirit I was twelve years old. I was in sixth grade and it was nearing the end of the school year. We were in preparations to make the jump to the middle school. I woke up one morning before school, and had this overwhelming and exciting feeling that I HAD to go to the bus stop early. It was an undeniable feeling.
I got up, dressed, and left early.
I will add here that I lived in a new neighborhood that was still under construction. I lived about one block from the school. Our bus stop was directly across the street from the school. The arrangement was rather ridiculous if you think about it. But because people were worried about young children crossing the street with so many trucks and other construction vehicles around, we got a bus ride directly across the street.
That morning as I left [early] for school, I remember a distinct feeling telling me to not go to the correct bus stop. Instead of turning left, I turned right. I went to the corner and waited.
I was too young to really know why I so blindly and faithfully went to a corner and just stood there. But I did it.
After a minute or so my music teacher pulled up. I remember she still had curlers in her hair. She was excited to see me standing there. She said she had been looking for me. She handed me a form and explained that she had just found out that if I wanted to audition for the middle school choir I had to do it that day, right after school. I needed to run home, get the form signed, and bring it back to school. My music teacher would be able to drive me and another student to the middle school if we got those forms filled out.
I had just enough time to run home, get my mother to sign the form, and get back to the correct bus stop on time. I went to the audition that afternoon and made it into the choir.
I remember so clearly the feeling that I needed to do this thing. I didn't know why, but I knew.
I've had several experiences in my life where I knew and felt that the Holy Spirit had guided me. This is one of the more simple examples, but it is the first one I remember.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: “Visions do happen. Voices are heard from beyond the veil. I know this. But these experiences are exceptional. … Most of the revelation that comes to leaders and members of the Church comes by the still, small voice or by a feeling rather than by a vision or a voice that speaks specific words we can hear. I testify to the reality of that kind of revelation, which I have come to know as a familiar, even daily, experience to guide me in the work of the Lord” (“Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 14).

Doctrine and Covenants 6: 22-23
22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might aknow concerning the truth of these things.
  23 Did I not speak apeace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater bwitness can you have than from God?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Reflections on life-changing moments

There is a funny little misperception out there that I talk about people on this blog. I've had acquaintances or even close friends tell me, "I better not show up on your blog."
Go back and try to find even one post where I talked about someone (in the negative or even a unfair or humorous way) without their permission. You won't find one. I've never done that and I never will.
I want to make that clear before I continue. I would never speak ill of another person on my blog, especially if it gave away identifying information.
There have been key, life-changing moments in the past ten years that I did not share here because I did not want to say anything that may be construed as negative about another person.
Over the next few days, weeks, maybe months, I have decided to start sharing some of those key moments. This blog is, after all, nothing much more than my personal diary, and the parts of my life I have chosen to share. There has now been enough time and space between the original events and now that I feel I can share those experiences without hurting feelings, causing any drama, or even inadvertently "outing" another person's identity.
I chose in the past not to share these experiences as they happened because I knew other people might be able to put vague references and puzzle pieces together to identify the players. There are some past events that were hard and awful to go through, and my side of the story was never shared. But I am ready to do so now. This first experience is the only one where I think the person in question will be identifiable. I have not taken more pains to hide her identity because she has passed away.

Many moons ago I had a wonderful friend. She was, even at her best, a fair-weather friend. Some days we were thick as thieves, the next, she couldn't be bothered to pick up the phone.  Her hot-cold attitude drove me crazy. And if everything we did was not about her, she was going to make me miserable for "forcing" her to do something else.

When she and I first met I was immediately turned off by her snotty, snobby, superior attitude. She had once read the expression, "turned up her nose," in a book. She took it literally. I have very clear memories of her literally "turning up her nose," and walking around with her head tipped back, her chin sticking out, and her nose pointed to the ceiling. She would purse her lips and walk with her hands clasped at her chest when she did it. It was comical. She would tell me eventually that she was "being haughty." We were only about 15 I think and I didn't know what "haughty" meant- at least not the way she pronounced it- "hofty." I had to ask her to clarify it for me, and she laughed and laughed in one of the most snobby, condescending tones I have ever heard. (And it was a laugh I would hear often over our friendship.)

I remember that moment exactly- her high-pitched, fake, laugh. We were in her bedroom. She was an only child (sort of- there were half and step-siblings who did not live there), and somehow had connived her way into the master bedroom. Her parents slept in a different room. She had a queen-sized canopy bed and a chaise lounge. She loved to tell me to sit on the "chayzzzzzz." I didn't mind doing so. It was comfortable.
Even after her definition of "hofty" I was still confused. How had I never heard of this word before and she had? She was behind me in school and English was my one good subject. I noticed a dictionary on her desk and picked it up. I asked her to spell "hofty." She condescended and spelled it out slowly, letter by letter. By the time she finished spelling it out, I knew the word and the meaning. I didn't need the dictionary. But before I could put it down, she snatched it from me, intending to mock my stupidity further.
I tried to correct her- not to put her down and make myself out to be the smarter one, but because if you are going to walk around with your nose turned up "haughtily," and tell people so, you better know how to pronounce it.
She was so mad that I would dare correct her (which I only barely did), that she threw the dictionary (a big, blue, hardback) across the room and broke something.
It was the only time I have ever seen someone do that in real life. Sure, I have seen it on television or movies plenty of times. It sounds and looks dramatic. I have no doubt it was a move she had learned in a book or a movie. I remember thinking at the time that she had no idea how to be authentic. Everything she did was calculated, rehearsed, and gleaned from pop culture. I wondered how long it would be before she would act normally with me.
After the book throwing incident I went home. I told my parents I didn't want to go back. They had set me up with her in a way and encouraged me to try again. She had had a rough life and needed some friends (she was new in town).

Monday, February 04, 2013

Black cloud with a silver lining? Or silver cloud with a black lining?

Today was both a beautiful day and a tough day for me. Please forgive me for not getting too specific with the details while sharing this personal experience.
I had a job interview in the DC area. Going to these interviews has really started to take its toll on me. It costs me easily $100 each time I have to make the 4 hour drive up there, for what is usually only a 1 hour meeting. The $100 covers gas, food, etc. Plus let's not forget weather and seasonal changes have meant needing a good winter interview suit.
I've gone on a lot of interviews in the last 3-4 months. I hate to admit that I have lost count, but I'm thinking around 8 times? That's at least $800 I have spent going to job interviews.
Can you see how that alone would really start to wear on me?
And that doesn't even include the time investment, or having to ask friends and family for favors, or letting me sleep on their couches. Or getting a dog sitter. (My dog is becoming a pro at this too. Since she likes car rides so much, I've brought her along on several of these trips.)
I am grateful and excited each time I get an interview. Please do not think that I am not grateful!
But this is a lot of money I have invested with pretty much no results thus far.
Today I had another interview. I thought I was well-prepared, and I was actually fairly excited about it. I even felt nervous for the first time in a long time about an interview.
Before the interview I said a very specific prayer. And as I always do, I ended it in humility that I would accept the outcome of the events of the day as the Lord's will, and move on. I felt very comforted and confident that the events of the day would not be an accident, and that they would be the Lord's will, and I would see and know the answers to my very specific prayer.
And again, forgive me for not giving the specific details.
I can say that there were events in this day that no amount of preparation would have given me reason to see or anticipate coming. Things so completely out of my control and ridiculous that it was actually easy to walk away and laugh (at the time). It was not hard to accept that the unexpected turn of events were the Lord's will, and move on.
In many ways the very clear, obvious, and specific answers to my prayer made it a beautiful day. One I will always remember.
But then after so many negative experiences with interviews lately, there is that hazy, dark blemish on this day. I burned out. My desire to put myself through this again has dwindled down to nothing. I have more interviews lined up in the very near future, so this is a little black rain cloud I need to get out from under quickly- if possible. 
I'm very tired, very burned out, of job hunting and interviewing. I want to call it quits, but at the same time, I want to move on with my life even more. So I can't give up.

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