Monday, January 18, 2010

For the Love of Words

I've never been a morning person. Yet, I can go from dead asleep to reading in about thirty seconds flat. It's because I love to read.

When my children were young and in school, and I was working outside of my home, I got up around 5am so that I could drink a cup of coffee and read the paper, beginning to end, uninterrupted. It was my way of easing into the day, and by the time everyone in my house was awake, I was alert and up on all the current events. Except when the delivery person didn't get my paper here on time. Then I'd have to read something else, and that was OK, too, because I had plenty of books and magazines stacked up to be read.

Now there's an online source for local news in addition to the regular media outlets. launched today, and my blog is in it! It can be found on the OPINION page. That excites me more than you'll ever know. Now Who-Knows-How-Many can read about our crazy life! It's the power of the internet, but more's the power of Words.

I joined a book club in the early fall and I've been reading like crazy since then. I read the selection of the month and usually one or two more books each month. We have lots of lively discussion in our group, and it's all led up to this past weekend when ten of us went to a book club convention of sorts in the quaint little town of Jefferson, Texas.

Girlfriend Weekend was started ten years ago by Kathy Patrick, who owns a combination beauty shop/book store in Jefferson called Beauty and the Book. She is also the founder of the Pulpwood Queens, a book club that met in her shop. Before long, there were spin-off clubs and now she has chapters worldwide. ( She later wrote a book, The Pulpwood Queens' Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing GUIDE TO LIFE. Our group, the BB Queens, is a chapter of the Pulpwood Queens. So, off we went to the tenth anniversary of Girlfriend Weekend, where we had a ball! (Of course, any time women get together wearing tiaras and boas, a good time is had by all...just ask my friend Jill Conner Browne!)

Jefferson has about 40 bed and breakfast inns, and we stayed in the Old Mulberry Inn, although most of our time was spent in Jefferson's new civic center with women from other bookclubs and AUTHORS, who were invited to come and talk about their books, their writing routines, and whatever else they wanted to talk about. I bought a ton of books, because all the authors were signing them, and I can't resist a personalized signed copy of a book, especially when I've heard the author read from it.

 One of the highlights of the weekend was a panel discussion with best selling author Pat Conroy (The Great Santini, Prince of Tides, South of Broad, etc...)and his daughter, Melissa Conroy, and up-and-coming children's book writer. They were discussing her book, Poppy's Pants, written about Conroy and his endless supply of khaki pants. It was sweet to hear him talk so fondly of his daughter, but tempering it with "grouchy grandfather" stories about his seven grandchildren! Conroy was the keynote speaker at the luncheon on Saturday, where he spoke to a roomful of adoring fans (including plenty of other authors!)
for over an hour. He entertained us with stories about how he stumbled into the publishing world (he wasn't born a best-selling author!), stories of his childhood, stories about practical jokes with his best friend and sister, and touching stories, including the fond memories of his mother reading books to him as a child. "When I'm reading over my manuscripts, it's still her voice I hear."  He was fun and entertaining, as good ol' boy Southern storytellers tend to be, and it was a real treat for us.

Then each night it was time to strap on the boas and tiaras...Friday night we had a "Barbie Ball," celebrating Barbie's 50th birthday. Everyone dressed up like their favorite Barbie, or as the Barbie they'd like to see.

 Merilee Hall and Theresa Reed dressed up as "Pajama Party Barbie." The next night was the "Big Ball of Hair Ball," with a Wizard of Oz theme to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the movie. There were some very creative costumes, like this mother and daughter Munchkin duo. They rocked it out on the dancefloor to "She's a Brick House." That was worth the trip...they were hysterical!

I had a little Barbie lunch pail that served as a fun accessory (my purse!) as well as coming in very handy for the Barbie Ball...

It's always good to get away on a girls' weekend to recharge your batteries, open your eyes to new experiences, and to bond with other incredible women. That's exactly what I did, and here are some of the witty, intelligent, caring, fun, friendly, creative and fabulous women I spent my weekend with:

While I was away, Nicole had some promo shots taken...this is my favorite. A quick update on her therapy program...she "graduated" from outpatient rehab, and is now in the Methodist Rehab QUEST program, which focuses on independent living skills. She had her first full day there today (I feel like it's the first day of school!). She'll go to QUEST three days a week. She's still working out with Eclecius (in the basement of the Fondren building) five days a week, and soon she'll be in a dance class, if all goes as planned. Nicole's still persuing a career in motivational/'inspirational speaking. Tomorrow, as a matter of fact, she'll be speaking at the Professional Women's Association luncheon at River Hills Country Club. Her message is a strong one! For more information about Nicole, check out her website (which is a work in progress!):

It's nice to know that her life is back on track in such a positive way, and I can resume mine...writing, reading and spending an occassional weekend with the girls!

Blessings to all who read this!

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