Sunday, March 07, 2010
Playing catch-up on news
Playing Catch-Up on news
Wow! What an incredible 10 days I've had. Computer and company, party and promotion, and writing and learning! Here's the scoop:
Rob is a Colonel! Rob got promoted to Colonel on Friday Feb 26. The ceremony was wonderful. His mom, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, Chuck, my Aunt Margo and Uncle Dave attended. We also got a last-minute surprise when his Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary Ann were able to come, too. The kids and I had never met them--very sweet people. His friend Gerald "Crusty" Goodfellow officiated, and told all kinds of funny stories about our family--things he remembered Rob talking about at work years ago. It was a touching counterpoint to my blog about why we took the kids out of school to attend, and just hit home how important family is to my man.
Of course, the most touching part was when his mom pinned on the colonel's rank that had belonged to his father. Felix (now deceased) gave those eagles to Rob on the day of his commissioning, telling him he'd need them one day. More than that, though, he wrote to Rob every day of his Academy years, encouraging and advising. After Rob graduated and got commissioned, he called his father every time he had a problem or question, and even today, when faced with a challenge at work, he wonders, "How would Dad handle this?" Felix died shortly after Rob and I married, but he remains at Rob's side--and now, on his shoulders!
Amber's 15! Amber's quinceanera was a blast. As some of you know, she wanted a Steampunk theme for her party, and wanted everything low key--video games and movies rather than a big fancy dance that is traditional. We're just not a traditional family. Much of my time the week prior to Feb 27 was spent decorating tophats with gears, ribbons and feathers; making Amber's dress (Japanese style with a cumberbund for the steampunk look), and Victorian dress for my mother, sister, and myself. The night before the party, my mother-in-law decided she'd like one, too, so we adapted a prom dress I got at Goodwill for her. (We'd hoped she'd like the idea.) I also made a bustle for myself, which embarrassed Amber so much that I made one for my sister, too. She was Aunt Fanny and I was Momma Fanny. We couldn't get our husbands to entertain her friends by singing, "We like big butts," though. As Chuck put it, "Just who are we embarrassing?"
Most of her friends are not Hispanic or Catholic, and we did not click with the Church crowd this year, so we figured it'd be a small ceremony with family. My father, a deacon, did the blessing; Amber's godmother came and played the keyboard for the opening and closing hymns, and she and her daughter sang a special song for Amber. My mom brought a garden arch which we decorated with lights, flowers and fabric for the blessing area. The dog even attended, sitting by Amber at one point, and greeting the guests.
The big surprise, however, was when most of Amber's friends showed up for the blessing ceremony! We filled our living room to capacity and filled with song. (This is an arts school, so most have had singing classes.) Passing of the Peace took 10 minutes as everyone hugged everyone! Amber was beaming like a new sun. Afterward, we old folk dressed in our costumes (The men had vests) and everyone else donned hats. As the ladies bustled about the kitchen cooking Chinese food, the kids played video games, shared YouTube, and just had a great time. (At one point, the men hid in Rob's study.) Amber's cake was a series of gears that took up half the table. As Amber unwrapped her gifts, squealing over each one, her grandmother remarked on how well her friends knew her.
The next day, her friends told her how awesome her party was. I know she'll remember it for a long time.
The Catholic Writers Conference Online is another huge success! Overall, things ran more smoothly, and when something unexpected happened--like a guest missed a chat--people in the audience jumped in to take their place and share their knowledge. Our presenters were awesome as usual, and I learned some interesting things. The crit groups, a new addition to the conference, proved a hit. We'll do those again next year. Next year, I also plan to extend the conference, but concentrate on chats at the beginning and forums at the end, with two days overlap. That way people can enjoy the chats and still have time to work the forums. There's just not enough time to do both simultaneously.
Next week, I'm going to start a series on lessons learned in the pitch sessions. We'll talk about Do's and Don’ts and what kind of things editors were looking for. Check back each Monday.
With all this, Neeta Lyffe has been getting the short end of the stick. I'm back to writing today. I'm also editing all of my dad's stories--he finished them all here!--and finishing off my own. Watch on Thursdays for that. I hope you all enjoyed Heidi's book tour. The book is amazing and perfect for kids. My goddaughter is reading it on her own and referring to it as well!