Last year when I came here, I spent a lot of time sitting with random strangers at meal-time, asking them all about their projects, their kids, their hometown, and their backgrounds. I sat next to strangers during chapel time, singing harmonies with them. I met a variety of people–including one woman who wrote a book with a talking llama as a character (she self-published, how not surprising)–and I am grateful for that experience.
This year, I came knowing another woman, Linda, who had the amazing experience of landing a book contract with Zondervan after coming to last year’s conference. Since we met, she started the blog, Spilt Milk, which is also the title of her book (out in 2009). Linda, an honest-to-God-real-housewife-of-the-OC, and I kept in touch over the year.
Linda brought her friend, Sarah, another OC-housewife and newish blogger. She has a blog called “the best days of my life,” which you will want to add to your blogroll and read daily (she updates daily, imagine that concept). She has a room adjacent to mine–the first night, I could hear her cell-phone conversation as clearly as if she were sitting on my lap. I held my breath, hoping that she wasn’t about to tell her husband about this frumpy housewife she’d met who was a friend of Linda’s. Fortunately, she never mentioned my name, nor mocked me behind my back. Which I always admire in a person, non-mockery of me, that is.
Anyway, we have bonded over our mutual weight-loss (she lost 60 pounds and has kept it off–well, she put it back on when she had a baby, then took it all off again). She’s a runner, a photographer, a mother of 2 little girls and a superb blogger. We got up for a 6 a.m. walk up to the cross at the crest of Mt. Hermon. We rock. Also? We’re tired.
Finally, last week, I received an email from a blogger named Annie. Annie knows someone who reads this blog (hello, you know who you are!) and that person told Annie that she thought I might be coming to this conference. So, Annie emailed me and asked and after I determined that she was definitely not a big hairy serial killer, I invited her to join Linda and me at lunch the first day.
And the rest is history. The four of us have been hanging out in our free time (between workshops, classes and meetings). I have laughed harder this week than I have in a very long time. Plus, they haven’t heard any of my stories. What’s old is new again! I accidentally made Annie shake with laughter during a prayer in chapel . . . the woman praying rambled on and on, running down a laundry list of topics she needed to speak with God about, including a dizzying request to “help us expect what we ought to expect and to lay down our expectations when what we were expecting fails to reach our expectations . . . let us expect what it unexpected and not expect what is unexpected and expect expectations that you expect us to expect . . . “
At that point, I opened my eyes and gazed at the back of the woman’s head and thought maybe she needed a hard thunk to get unstuck but I was too far back to be the thunker and then I shifted my eyes to the right and saw that Annie was also gazing at the long pray-er . . . who was, at that point, broaching the topic of Darfur with God and I am afraid that we burst into silent giggles. Because sometimes you have to laugh in church. It’s a rule.
Oh, so, anyway, Annie is hilarious and also, she writes a blog called “taking a step, towards my dream.“
Last night in the coffee shop, I suggested that we need to start a critique group. And also, we need to find a pair of pants that will fit us all. (If you get that joke, thank you.) We also discussed the question of hobos and why our children all speak about hobos as if they’ve seen them down at the local train depot. Where are the hobos, we asked? We talked about their bandana-bundles stuck on sticks and then, incredibly, the next afternoon ran across a man at the State Park who carried a stick with a red bundle dangling off the end. He looked pretty much like a suburban hobo which caused a great uproar among us.
In my absence my husband has been dealing with dental appointments, a wedding rehearsal, a wedding, a meeting, teaching a college class, watching our four kids, buying a birthday gift for the neighbor kid . . . all while being sick as a dog. I had a cold last week, a mild, wimpy cold, and he has a nasty cold this week, the superpower of all colds. Poor guy.
Okay, well, if I were more coherent and if I weren’t in a dimly lit hotel room (wooden paneling from 1980, I think) standing at a rickety dresser typing this (there’s no desk and I can’t cope with sitting on a bed with a laptop–I am inflexible), I would pause long enough to come up with an astonishing ending to this post.
However. Sorry, no can do. But do check out those blogs. (Just don’t like them better than me.) Ha ha. Yes, I’m funny. (But, as my dad would say, “looks aren’t everything!”)