Kentucky is prettier than Texas.

Elizabethtown, the movie, was pretty good. It’s about a town in Kentucky where my aunt and cousins live (or used to live—they just moved to Bardstown, home of My Old Kentucky Home), so I feel a special connection to it. I really love the soundtrack which plays when you enter the website. I need to breakdown and buy it. But I only buy about one CD a year. And it’s free to listen to on the web.

I’m listening to it today while I finish up work. Maybe I like it, because it takes me back to Bluegrass roots that I didn’t know had sprouted within me. I grew up drinking the same water as Bill Monroe.

I’ll be driving to the E-town area tomorrow to see my family. The plan is to catch a plane to Nashvegas, rent a car, maybe drag Leslee with me, drive two and a half hours, and spend some time with my family. The whole shindig is planned for 2:00 p.m.(EST), and I don’t land in Nashville until 3:30 p.m.(CST). We all kind of had a miscommunication of time this year. That thing kind of happens when you’re the Poster Family for ADD (Our slogan: We don’t SUBTRACT – we A.D.D.!!).

And all this is supposed to happen tomorrow?! How in the world does this Christmas thing just slip up on us? Santa comes like a thief in the night...I wonder...

I’m living the Titanic movie right now. I just heard a noise very similar to the simulated sound of the water entering into the lower level of the Titanic—like on the movie. Over Thanksgiving, my niece, Christan had us all watch the movie, because it was on t.v., and therefore “cleaned up” a little bit, so my brother let her watch it, so the memory is pretty fresh.

Anyway, the sound of echoing water pouring into the stairwell is surrounding me. I work in a basement. I heard what sounded like a waterfall, and then I found a small lake forming in the back stairwell of our office, so I called the facilities department. Since that time, men have been rushing past my desk. The last group had sandbags. Now, I see a Wet Vac being brought in by a new set of men. I asked one guy if we could needed to evacuate. He said, “No. Just put on your swimsuits!”

Ha. Funny. My work will go on…

I remember Troy and I waking up at about 3 or 4 a.m. and that the living room looked completely magically. [Eventually, Traci wouldn’t go down and check out things with us. She preferred to sleep, and she wakes up like a bear.] My mom always loved to try to make our home look as much like Better Homes & Gardens as she could, so for Christmas, the living room was perfect.

Our house is really old, and has a stone fireplace by which we hung our stocking with care. So, we would sneak into the living room, and the fake logs would be glowing along with the glow of the tree lights and there were presents all separated into three stacks. We would wake up my sister and make her look with us, and then we would go wake up my parents and say, “Guess what Santa brought us?!” And they would be groggy and say, “…great…okay…let’s go back to bed…”

Let’s just focus on the fact that I still remember repeating this every year until probably about age 12—maybe later, at which point my brother would have been almost 19. My first memory of finding presents was the year I got a baby grand (well, it was sized for a 4 year old), and then there was the great year I got my Fisher Price Doll house.

That Santa, he’s a gem!

Memories of Note:

The year we got a VCR, my brother said, “There really is a Santa Claus!” (It was probably 1985.)

The year that we had to have our septic tank cleaned out on Christmas Day, my brother kept saying that Santa Flush came to town.

I remembered that when I was probably around 9 or 10, I started pricing my list. I would comb through the catalog, pick out all my toys, and list all the prices. Our parents had given us an approximate amount of spending for each child. My dad was an accountant.

Immediately after opening all the presents, we would call my cousins and compare loot.

I still have heartache over the Christmas that I lost my Barbie’s shoes. I think they got thrown away in the wrapping paper clean up. Why did they make those shoes so easy to lose anyway? They should come with a back-up.

No, I don't have a new boyfriend that's Italian, but I do love Paciugo. And he's not a pokemon either. It's a new gelato place on Westpark and Buffalo Speedway. It's completely fabulous. Last night, I had the Viola (which is purple), the Wild Berry, and Cinnamon. YUM!! The spoon is so tiny that next time, I will just bring my own.

I was so sad when Dolce & Freddo closed, because I didn't know the wonders of gelato until after I got back from visiting Italy. My time with Dolce & Freddo was so short. Now, I have a new love. And it's absolutely sweet. Who cares if I go up a few sizes? I'll just look more like a robust Italian I just need to get a hold of a spray tan and some black hair dye...

Isn’t it bizarre that I’m sitting at my desk with hunger pangs and when I was in Africa, I was constantly full?

It’s payday today, and I performed the usual monthly audit of my financial status. Even though it’s torture, it’s best if I do this. If not, I convince myself I am living on Trust Fund status, and I load my basket way too heavy at Target.

'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me... for when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV).

I found this on the internet on!
Now, I know, the internet really does have everything!!
My Granny's secret hanger-technique is revealed. If I find my Grandmother Richards' chocolate & biscuits recipe, I'm going to be really weirded out.

Materials Needed:
Two matching wire hangers
Two balls of yarn (remnants work great) in the same or coordinating colors
Scotch tape


Using a small piece of scotch tape secure the hangers together in three places - at each elbow and middle top just below the twisted section.

Hold the hangers in place between your knees as you work.

Tape the ends of the yarn down at the start of the hanger hook and place one ball on each side of the hanger.

Make a knot by wrapping the ball under the wire and slipping it back through the loop (see photo.)

Continue making knots alternating sides until all the wire is covered.

Finish off with a tassle if desired.

This is amazing. I am in awe. Who knew that Granny's ancient talent was on the internet? My family is going to flip out.

Today, we reveal the Secret Santas at work.

My Secret Santa gave me all this loot:
Lotion, a laser cut angel cube with a light stand, granola bars, gum, hot cocoa mix, a mug, Lipton chicken noodle soup, some lipgloss, an ornament, and a magnet.

That’s a lot of loot!
Soon, at the unveiling, I will get a $25 gift card from somewhere.

I gave my Secret Santa all this:
Tiny Dr. Pepper’s in a can, gum, a mini-tree w/ ornaments and lights, and fresh peanut butter cookies.

Today, he gets a $25 gift card from Target and a big box of Eclipse gum.

Next year, I hope we just all exchange iPod Nanos. The surprise will be the color.

I miss my Granny. My Granny loved Christmas. Well, any holiday, for that matter. But for Christmas, she had a special formula to make everything flow in the way she had planned. She was a 4’11” holiday powerhouse of tradition.

Her home used to be decorated with every possible holiday item available: the Kleenex box holder; the window-sticker decals; the tinsel, the tinsel, and the tinsel on the tree; the special table cloth, etc. Head to toe d├ęcor. And, yes, she had a holiday sweater and turtleneck.

Granny made sure that Christmas Eve was reserved for all her daughters, son-in-laws, and grandchildren. We ate until we had stuffed ourselves on deviled eggs, ham, rolls, corn, and green beans. Then, we gathered in the family room. The Christmas Story was read from the gospel of Luke, and presents were opened in an orderly fashion so she could see what everyone got. (We used to have a free for all, and around age 76, she decided that wasn’t working for her.)

As time passed, she didn’t have enough money to dish out big presents for us, so she would give us a five in a card, and give us her special hangers. She learned the “hanger-wrap” technique from the Fordsville Homemakers. She would wrap colorful yarn around a wire hanger. On a good year, when she hadn’t had too many health issues, we would each get about five.

I can still hear my cousin, Melanie, “Oh, look, hangers from Granny! Thank you, Granny!” Melanie is known to be the family dramatist even from her early years.

It sounds bizarre, but I am certain we still all have the hangers. My hangers have traveled with me all throughout the country. (I really like the ones that have the pom-pom feature at the hanger neck. I try to steal those from my mom’s house when I visit.) So if you’re feeling a little down because you don’t have a lot of cash to pour forth on gifts, remember that even hangers wrapped with yarn can be a gift that is treasured for years if love is given with it.

I had band practice again this weekend. Dave is the superstar of the band. He is a musical genius. He listens to songs and can totally pick out every little note, and then he teaches me. Martin is singing, and I’m attempting to harmonize. And Christie is rockin’ the drums like Sheila E.

Sunday, I actually spent time practicing. I think I’m starting to get calluses on my fingers like real guitar players. After I practiced our song, then I rocked out with some of my own creations. I totally am almost ready to move back to the Nashville area to be a song writer.

It’s pretty fun writing songs. Most of mine are more like Adam Sandler songs, but one day, there might be a huge market for songs like that. Then, I can be on MTV cribs with my collection of VW beetles and BMW minis in every color available. And I can show my closet containing millions of blue jeans and black t-shirts.

Okay, back to reality. Yes, I am the girl that traveled to Kenya. And I do know being a Material Girl is not a spiritual gift. …Maybe I’ll just get one VW.

For some reason, my favorite phrase to say now is "Geez-Louise."

I just got scared from my co-workers talking mistletoe, and the first thing I said was, "Geez-Louise!"

Who is Louise? And why her first initial "G"? And why do I say her name when I'm freaked out?

I'm driving myself crazy with this. It unconscious and then it's instantly conscious, and them I'm annoyed with me.

I broke down and purchased something highly expensive, but I'm considering it an investment in my future. And it was on sale (27% off) on! I bought the coveted CHI hair straightening iron. It's supposed to make my curly hair turn silky smooth and look like I'm always flowy-headed instead of covered in cascading frizz. We'll see.

Houston and my hair are in a constant battle. May the CHI be with me.

Okay, I try not to release too much of my crazy, always exciting, dating schedule on this blog, but I cannot get this off my mind. Tonight, I have a date.

I'm not so nervous about the date, but I just have no clue what to wear. My apartment looks like the Poltergeist team came to visit and forgot to clean up. I have clothes everywhere. I never have finished organizing my clothes since I got back from traveling. And then, with the constant temperature switching and random events of last weekend, I've got workout clothes next to pajamas next to party clothes next to work clothes. I've got all these clothes, but still feel like I have nothing to wear. Silly, American woman, I am.

I have my dream outfit in my head, but it might involve extensive plastic surgery to pull off, so I probably will just stick with something normal that doesn't have a food stain on it.

Since everyone should blame things on their mother, I will blame my mother. When I was little and would come out ready to go for church, I was always told to go change again. "Beth! Why are you wearing that?" I could never figure out the whole winter/summer shoe thing or Christmas dress versus Easter dress. I'm still confused.

When are we ever going to make it to the future where everyone will wear the same outfit like in Star Trek? In all movies of the future, everyone wears the same body suit thing. In the future, the sci-fi writers have it pictured as more simplistic, not the whole stiletto/ankle/cowboy/moon boot world we've made.

Clinton and Stacy! Beam me up!

I just called the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee. I’m supposed to go to a convention there in the spring. Last year I was so anxious about having my first real business trip. Not many teachers get to travel with their jobs, so this was a new experience for me in Corporate Land.

I have nothing but pleasant memories of my experience last year, and I’m excited about going back. The convention was fine, but the hotel was amazing. I had my own balcony, free internet, a frig with two free water bottles, and a huge room decorated with all the fixins’—all just for me. It was bigger than my apartment.

As I sat on hold waiting to book my room for the spring, I experienced the best hold music I’ve ever heard in my life. It was a Christmas jazz song, “I’ve got my love to keep me warm…” After the song was done, there was like a whole radio show going on announcing the Christmas season at the hotel. Mrs. Claus was on it, and they also announced the Holiday Gnome hunt! I was kind of disappointed when I got off hold. Why can’t phone companies have hold music like that?

Betty White is my hero. I stopped dead in my tracks as I was leaving the hospital cafeteria. I had to do a double take when I saw the television up on the wall. There was Betty up on the t.v. on what appeared to be a soap opera.

My life plan has been as follows:
Get my masters and teach community college.
After I retire and my kids are grown, move to Hollywood to act in the soaps as the crazy Grandma.

I’ve always wanted to get into acting, but if I wait until I can only play a grandmother, no one will ever ask me to do a nude shot, the paparazzi will never bother me as I go to water aerobics, and none of my scripts will contain profanity.

And today, there was Betty White—living my dream—playing the crazy grandmother on the soaps. She’s one golden girl, that Betty.

Life is strange. So are friends.

When you're feeling a little heavy hearted, sometimes God gives us giggles.

A snippet of text messaging today from an undisclosed number:

Friend: I have had a wedgie since 5:45 this morning
Me: Pull it
Friend: I have been. that's the problem.

I don't know quite how to respond now.

My dear friend, Kristin, experienced a huge loss on Saturday. Her friend, Volkan, died because injuries from a car accident on Friday morning. Volkan was from Turkey and a student at the community college. Kristin became his friend in her math class.

I had never met Volkan until I saw him in the Neuro Trauma ICU with a ventilator supporting his breathing as he slept in a coma. He had been around various activites with my friends, but I missed out on meeting him at those times. Despite the circumstances of our meeting, it was a precious honor to be with him and pray for him and take turns with some other friends as we stood by his side—to kind of stand in the gap for his family. One of his family members called and asked if he was getting the best care, and if anyone was with him. I assured him that there were always two of us by his side.

He was 26. And handsome. And from the stories I’ve heard, he loved life and people immensely. Please pray for his parents in Turkey and all the people who loved him. May God use this heartache for His glory. And if you see Kristin, please give her a hug. It kind of seems pretty unreal that the experience happened.

Last night, I got a great treat. My precious friend took me to see Death Cab for Cutie in concert at the Hobby Center. I didn't really put too much thought into my dress, but I wanted to stay warm and look semi-cute. I wore a black sweater from the gap, and later realized I was dressed exactly like the bass player. Nobody else pointed it out.

We had lots of fun. The band was great and mellow and fun to listen to--but the people watching was probably the best. I've lost touch with the semi-alternative world, and don't really know what's cool anymore. Bad dye jobs and streaked hair are cool. And so are pencil jeans and heels. I don't think I can jump on this wagon.

Another super-fabulous part was the opening band, Ok Go. They are famous for their treadmill video (hilarious!!). They didn't bring their treadmills, although I kept insisting they might come down from the ceiling...but they did do a mean clean dance to one of their songs. I can't figure out how to get links on my blog anymore, so make like a first grader, and cut and paste, baby. Perhaps it takes me back to the glory days of syncronized routines at OCHS; regardless, it will make you smile.

Last night/this morning, I had a dream that I was getting ready for work, and noticed that a tan kitten had gotten into my apartment. I couldn't figure out how in the dickens that little guy made it in.

I sat him on the rail on my deck, and got him some milk and said to myself, "I will call him Mr. Jingles."

Then I thought that might be a silly name so I tried desperately to think of something else. But I was having that dream-fog where the thoughts just wouldn't flow.

I made up a new word for Christmas. It’s cule. It’s means something that looks really good or is unusual and amusing, but only found at Christmas time. Formed from the words “cool” and “yule.”

Usage: Did you see the Christmas display at Armani Exchange? It’s cule.

I saw an MSNBC clip that compared different news anchors shopping in the mall versus online. The online shopper saved the day and the money and the time.

I just finished with most my shopping, but my eyes are crossed, after shopping online. I kind of miss the whole hustle-bustle and looking around for random items that I think my family might like. And I might miss the feeling of my time running out, which leads me to buy them a bizarre gift, or realizing I'm out of time, and I buy everyone the same gift.

Traveling with Christmas presents is a beast. So hopefully, this plan will work. The gifts are being shipped ahead to my mom's house. One possible worse case scenario will be that my mom forgets where she put the gifts, and then I wind up having to trek to Wally World in a snowstorm to buy all the family members the latest Mary Kate & Ashley perfume gift set or car airfreshners. But I'm thinking positive!

At work, we play this game called Secret Santa. We played it when I was a teacher, but it consisted of leaving trinkets in another teacher’s mailbox. It wasn’t that hard of a game. A little note here and there—and you’re playing!

This office has upped the ante a little too high for my personal salary level. Last year, I almost had a heart attack when I heard the ground rules. The game consisted of buying small gifts almost everyday for about 2-3 weeks including candy bars, Starbucks drinks, magazines, etc., and then buying a big gift worth about $25. I don’t even get to spend that much money on my family members!

If I think about it in terms of an equal exchange, the miser in me can stomach it a little easier. This year, everyone requested gift cards. So that means, I give $25, I get $25 back. So basically, I should break even.

I’m probably most bitter because I’m not very good at the game. I forget to bring the present to work, or the person doesn’t like the gift, or something like that.

Yesterday, I wrote a poem from Santa Dogg with Snoop Dogg’s picture, and nobody could tell who the gift was for, even though I made about 5 references to the owner of the gift, including identifying him as a male because all the other people in my office are female. The letter has been “read” and the gift still sits unclaimed. I’m taking it home if he doesn’t pick it up by 4:30 today.

The reason for the season. The reason for the season.

I am a Type A/B positive personality. Or maybe I’m O negative. Whatever the case, I have in my head that I am highly organized and efficient, and then the other part of my personality kicks in and says, “Carpe diem!” I experience “carpe diem” most days of my life. I took the clip highlighting this phrase from The Dead Poets Society a little too seriously.

Yesterday, I came up with a rigorous holiday exercise plan. I planned it on the way as I walked to the YMCA. It consisted of me getting up at 6:00 a.m. and running every morning for five days each week with two days of weightlifting. I got to the Y to kick start my program. I ran/walked on the treadmill at a pretty good pace as I listened to the Black Eyed Peas. My friend, Ann, surprised me as I was getting ready for the last leg of the run, so I stopped and talked to her. As I talked, I realized my stomach cramps were so severe, that I needed to go home and I didn’t even have the strength to hear about my friend, Jen, and her wedding dress. This is the first time in my life I have ever wished to own a Jazzy. On the walk back home, I un-planned the rigorous holiday exercise plan.

Today, I’ve started out the Christmas shopping season with an Excel sheet with all my family and friends’ names on it. I have columns for projected and actual spending, and also columns for the projected gift versus the actual gift. Knowing myself all too well, I give myself about 3 hours with this system. Before long, my Christmas list will be written on the back of an old envelope stuffed in my purse with hieroglyphics written around it. My purse will become a black hole containing receipts, wedding programs, old tubes of lip gloss, and pennies. Ahh…the holidays.

I'm leaving on a jet plane today to see my family in Kentucky. This time I will be armed with a digital camera. I figured out today that I can hook the camera up to a t.v. So then, I can play the pics on my mom's t.v.

Attention all nieces and nephews: brush your teeth and hair! It's picture time!! And act happy!

My friend, Beth, from my Kenya trip found out she is allergic to about 100 different kinds of foods, and can therefore, eat about nothing. In order to remember and pray for her, I’m doing a raw food diet for 3 out of 7 days through the holidays. So far, I’ve done two days. I was explaining my raw food diet to my boss and how I was so proud that I ate no chips and a ceviche salad at Escalante’s, and she said, “Doesn’t the salad have oil in it?”

I guess her point is that oil is not “raw”; I don’t know if oil is raw or not. No raw food diet police is allowed on this venture. I guess I’m doing a “modified” raw food diet. Regardless of the fact, it’s not so bad. I’ve eaten more vegetables in my two out of three days than I have in the last two months.

In Kenya (transitioning into Kenya story), the food was very fresh. As in, I-just-looked-in-your-eyes-two-hours-ago-and-now-you-are-on-my-plate fresh. I’m steering away from meat for awhile. Perhaps the whole experience of super-fresh food left me a little chicken when it comes to eating meat.

Susan’s dad slaughtered a goat for us because we were important guests in his home. Susan told him that he shouldn’t because we wouldn’t eat it. But Dennis and Charles insisted that it would be really cool. So he slaughtered. And we ate. I didn’t even know that little guy’s name. I just ate him.

The food was actually surprisingly good. I guess I’ve heard about Africa's starvation my whole life, but then after I thought about it, every pastor I know from home that goes there never loses weight (and they usually have some to spare before they leave). We kept saying on the plane, “This could be our last meal…we better eat up!” I think we all probably gained weight.

We ate ugali (mushed maze that you formed into a spoon—kind of like playdoh/mashed potatoes) and chepate (?) bread at most meals. The chepate was kind of like a tortilla. …If we just had queso… They did have this stuff that was totally pico de gallo, but they called it something else.

I miss Africa. I miss the children. I want to hold their hands and hug them again. And wipe their noses (that’s another story). They are precious, precious, precious jewels.

While trying to look at a study of Philippians during lunch, I overheard an interview going on in the lobby in which I lounged.

The following are actual questions asked to the interviewee (I made up the responses):

What are three strengths and three weaknesses about yourself?

Strengths: Cute, happy, and smell pleasant most of the time.
Weaknesses: I’m progressively later and later to work if I don’t like my job. My mind wanders when I should be working. I can never decide what to wear in the mornings, so sometimes my outfits look a little bit “invented.”

If you disagreed with your supervisor, how would you handle it?

If they wanted to me to do something illegal or lie, I’d say, “Tough Turkey, Supervisor!” and do what I thought was best.

If your life was summed up in a headline, what would it say?

Is this lady for real? Is this how you find the perfect employee? What kind of answers was she trying to find? I started to laugh, but I tried to suppress it since I was holding the Bible in my lap. I thought it might be a bad witness.

I’ve been exploring other churches; not because I’m hopping out of my church, but because my responsibilities have lessened at church, so now I’m a free-agent again. And if I happen to let the wind blow me to another service because someone invited me, I can go feeling guilt and responsibility free.

Yesterday I went with T.Lo to check out a church he’s been a part of lately called Kaleo. I pass by the location all the time and never knew there was a church meeting there. They actually used to meet at the Marq-E theater, so this location is a bit new.

The church has about 50-75 people, they have free doughnuts, and the people were very nice. The pastor made me laugh and did a great job of teaching the word at the ripe age of 27.

In my visit with T.Lo, I kept trying to figure out what stage he’ s going through right now. He’s been through many ethnic stages with a focus predominantly on Indian and Asian cultures, but has sent me several pictures of himself in a turban. He explained to me that he doesn’t so much go through phases as much as he keeps adding on things. He says if he was to say he was in a stage, it would be the “reformed” stage. E.V.V. would be so happy. T.Lo and I made an observation that even though the church was small, there were a lot of single guys there. He asked how I thought the church could get more single women to attend.

Pretty crazy problem, huh? Of course after the service, I thought of several guys that I knew that would really like that church. Maybe it was because the pastor used illustrations about He-Man—if it was Barbie, would I have thought about women? Whatever the case, I might visit T.Lo at Kaleo again one day, and bring along a small, reformed, single-lady posse.

I keep remembering people to pray for from my trip to Kenya. Their faces pass before me and my heart is stirred. I remember a man named, Peter Mungai, who prayed that God would take him home (I promised I would pray for him and not forget his name). He was a patient at the Nairobi Spinal Injury Hospital. It was a hospital that looked like what I expected a third-world hospital to look like. But the patients looked far healthier than what I was expecting to see. Most of them looked like that they were strong, beautiful, young men and women, who happened to be sitting in wheelchairs.

One guy, Towd, had his Bible by his bed and said that sometimes ministers come on Saturdays and “life their hearts.” He had been in the hospital for three years. He had been through two surgeries—one just five days prior to our visit. And had not seen his family in a long time because they lived in Tanzania. He said that a lot of people in the hospital suffered from depression, and he tried to encourage those around him.

Something I was not prepared for was the tiny little hats that the nurses wore. They were about the size of a Hostess cup cake and some had tiny little bows. One of the nurses that showed us around was a very beautiful, strong, Kenyan woman, but I could not stop looking at that tiny hat on her head.

Back to real business and out of the strange workings of my mind: Please pray for Peter to realize he has a hope and a future. And pray for encouragement for Towd as he encourages others. And pray for miracles for the men and women at the Nairobi Spinal Injury Hospital. And for the nurses with the tiny hats.

Last night, I had a dream I met George W. Bush. It was at a high school basketball game or something, and he was sitting next to another older man that I knew (can’t remember who it was). I went up to him awkwardly because I had a huge rolled-up floor rug in my arms. So I’m balancing the floor rug between my left arm and my chin, and I shake the President’s hand with my right. He shakes my hand and says something like, “Nice to meet you.” And I nod and say, “Beth Richards.” He smiles his sideways smile and repeats my name.

I ask him if he knows my friend’s dad (because I had seen a picture of him with her mom and dad at their house in real life) and he said, “No, I don’t think I know him.”

I was wishing he would just humor me and say he did know them. I said smiling, “Well, maybe the picture was a cardboard cut-out of you!”

He laughed. Then he gets up and takes the rug from me and carries it out the door for me without even asking if I needed help. I was grateful. That rug was heavy.

This is my first dream ever about the President. Perhaps the product of the wonders of Tylenol PM mixed with a little Malarone.

I also had a dream later on last night I petted a cheetah, but that was a real life experience, because the Kenya teamsters petted a cheetah in Africa.

I hadn’t seen a friend in a while, so he e-mailed me and asked if I wanted to get something to eat or hang out sometime soon to catch up. I wrote back that I was broke, so maybe we could meet at the YMCA.

So, then we have this phone conversation:

Him: “Hey, Beth. Do you work at the Y or something now?”
Me: “No.”
Him: “Why did you want to meet there?”
Me: “Well, I thought maybe we could turn over a new leaf and exercise or something instead of going out to eat. Like, we could be people who do that kind of thing.”
Him: “Yeah, right! So where do you want to eat?”

I suppose not all the advice that’s given in Fitness magazine is applicable in real life. But I’m still anxious to put the gift tag on my bathroom mirror that has “Flat Abs” as my gift to myself (advice in December 2006 issue).

I think I’m experiencing something called jetlag. During this time, I should not try to operate heavy machinery, drive for prolonged periods, or have cell phone access to avoid bizarre confessions to ex-boyfriends. I should also lose access to the remote control, because I watched another Lifetime movie last night. I wanted to spend time with friends at a birthday party, but was scared that “Sybil” might attend instead of myself.

I woke up at 2:00 a.m. last night, but my clock still says 3:00 because for some reason I refuse to fall back. I’m not ready yet. I’m waiting for the leaves to turn or at least for the temperature to change a bit. When I wake up and see that the clock says 3:00, my first reaction is a clenched fist and I hear myself in “Newman”-esque style say, “Dennis!!” Dennis told my other Kenya teamsters that we would probably be really tired around bedtime, and then wake up around 3:00 and not be able to sleep. I need him to give me a new prescription or at least a new time that I will wake up, because for some reason, my brain believed him and is acting out this behavior.

And I know that I haven’t shared much info about my trip yet. I talk to Sybil about it a lot, but she told me not to tell everything yet. That I need to rest first. Maybe Dennis has other prescriptions available for me, too.

It’s the most unusual thing. It must be tattooed on my eyelids, because every time I close my eyes, it’s there. It’s also been beaten onto my eardrums, because I hear it as well. The sites and sounds of Africa are with me. I suppose I should be thankful the smell was not woven into my nose hairs. (sorry, I just could not resist telling a joke to myself. the smell wasn't bad at all)

I’ll tell more about Kenya soon. And I’m sure I’ll tell you a lot.

Beth’s mom (another Beth) said that Pastor Gregg said you give one person the two-hour version and the others a five-minute one. Wise advice.

Have a blessed day today and be thankful for shoes and Kleenex and health and family and friends.

Is it possible to go to the recycling center, prayer time, pharmacy, spray the clothes with mosquito repellant, lift some weights, make some phone calls, shave my legs, take black polish off my nails, eat some dinner, throw away food that will spoil, buy a few more things at Target, send back RSVPs to some weddings, and then squeeze everything in the suitcase—in one evening? And then bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan...

It’s Halloween today. I didn’t buy candy for any kids. I wonder if my mom still has the plastic pumpkins that we used for our candy.

My brother’s had a top hat on, but I think it was another thing we used to all argue over “who’s who’s”--“Beth’s is the little one, because she’s the youngest, and mine is the one with the hat, because I’m a boy.” All of this of course was generated by my brother (who is now a minister with four kids).

Soon after Halloween, we also would spend about an hour figuring out which stocking went with which kid—“I’ve got the star because my middle name is David…and Traci has the candy cane, and Beth has the Christmas tree…” My brother’s comments again. I probably still have it wrong. If my brother reads this, he would still correct me. He loves being right. Eventually, he’d wear us down, so we’d let him be right. And then by the next Christmas, it would start again. It seems like we could have put our names on them, but I guess we enjoyed the tradition or something.

Well, I’m calming down. I talked by e-mail and phone to a few other team members, and our biggest quest so far is figuring out who will pack a waffle iron (please, no questions, top secret mission). We think we have it figured out. I’m excited to get to the airport to see everybody. We really need a before/after pic of us on the trip.

We are not a Mission Impossible Team, we are a Mission Possible. Nothing is impossible with God. Perhaps that was a cheesy statement. If so, get out some nachos to go with the queso. Speaking of nachos and queso, I’m really gonna miss that while I’m gone. Maybe in Kenya there’s an African equivalent of the nacho/queso combo.

I'm going to Kenya tomorrow!! Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Aw, jeez, am I quoting that kid in Annie?

Last night, I gathered more supplies at Target. But then I got stuck in the Target warp, and almost didn't come out. (Target Warp = where you start looking at every new product and making plans for it) I got a neck pillow, some hand sanitizer, and a can of chili-lime almonds. Once again, I ate the almonds as soon as I got in the car. The chili-lime taste is so fabulous that I can't stop eating the almonds. And then the taste absorbs all my saliva and it's almost painful to swallow, but I can't stop eating them. A vicious cycle.

I'll probably blog about twelve times today, so don't let it annoy you.

Well, I made it to some Halloween parties, and I finally thought of a costume. I had a Starbucks apron, and I built the costume around that. I added some accessories from Claire's, but apparently, I did too good of a job, because I got asked the question, "Do you really work at Starbucks?" a few too many times. And the people were serious. The lip ring and piercings also through them off. A few people seemed scared to talk to me.

Here's me and Briggs--after his 7-11 shift.

And then, me and Tex-Elvis.

Belived it or not, I was the only Twisted Barista. I guess I found out that I make a pretty good semi-punk.

Did you know that we had 435 lightning strikes in 15 minutes last night? I was driving home in the storm and it looked like a crazy light show. There was no sound, just frantically dancing flashes of light. It looked kind of like Club God. Man’s imitation of flashing light is minuscule compared to the lightshow from God. It’s fascinating and frightening all at the same time. Maybe that’s how we see God, too.

I absolutely love the analogy of Aslan the Lion and how we view God. The first time it really hit me was when I was visiting my friend, Leslee, in Atlanta and we were in her Sunday school class. One of her friends, John Isaac, quoted the from the Chronicles of Narnia with his great South African accent:

"Is Aslan safe?"
"No, child, Aslan is a lion. He is not safe, but he is good."

I consider myself to be a fairly creative person. I love the theater and have been known to play quite a variety of characters in plays and sketches. But for some reason, I get thrown for a loop every Halloween. The whole idea of a costume haunts me every year. Maybe it’s just too much pressure.

When I was probably eleven, I dressed up like Ed Grimley for the church Halloween party (this was before Halloween got banned from churches). Little did I know that it might not be appropriate for an eleven-year-old to dress up as a character from an SNL sketch. I spent the whole night explaining how I was NOT Pee Wee Herman (which at the time would have been more appropriate).

Then, at Jason Bailey’s last big Halloween bash, I decided to be a woman from India. I sprayed my hair black and didn’t realize until I glanced at myself in the bathroom mirror at the party that I had developed a case of black beard. I tried wrapping a scarf around my head to cover up the beard, but the more I danced, the more the scarf would shift and expose my black beard. I spent the whole night in turmoil—should I dance? Or should I hide my face? I danced.

I’ve been invited to a friend’s party on Saturday. I have no clue what to be. Should I take the cutesy approach (which makes me hurl)? For just one Halloween, I just would like to experience hearing this all night, “Hey! Great costume!”, instead of, “What are you?”.

I am the Charlie Brown of costumes. I’ll guess I’ll just get a sheet and cut Swiss cheese holes in it. And maybe I’ll wear a wig and glitter eyelashes under the costume just for fun.

I’ve heard a famous bible study woman say, “Hang on until you receive the blessing.”
Well, I’m hanging on, and I’ve got some blessings! Like the hymn says, “Count your blessings name them one by one, count your many blessings see what God has done.”

Here I go for now:

1) ALL funds for Kenya have been supplied! The girl who had no dough is funded by her brothers and sisters and friends. THANK YOU!
2) I had a party Friday that I didn’t even get to go to, and the party carried on. THANK YOU, JIMMY “DJ” RANNIK AND HOSTEST WITH THE MOSTEST, STEVEN MURRAY! And Kelley and Kristin!!
3) I have a great family that is really funny and loves God.
4) I get to hear crazy stories from my family when I call them.
5) I’ve been able to keep in touch with Leslee, Robin, and Brenda through the wonders of cell phone technology. Even though they’re not my roommates anymore, they’re my “cell” mates—so to speak.
6) I have so many friends here that I don’t even have enough time to spend with them all. They make me laugh, hug me when I cry, and make life lots of fun.
7) Today the dogs’ tails wagged in unison as they watched me leave the driveway. (yes, that’s a blessing—a funny one.)
8) My hair is red (Still trying to accept this as a blessing. First time I ever said it.).
9) The YMCA got new gym equipment! And the Y is finally getting to be like Cheers for me; it used to be kind of lonely working out and nobody ever talking to me.
10) Good food in my belly. Thank God for Niko Nikos. I lika da sauce!

Ignore the grammar.

10/21 Went to Midland. Smelled the sweet smell of crude oil. Drove to Big Spring. Went to a funeral for my best friend’s dad. Spent time with her family. Made new friends. Looked at the stars and sighed. Played UNO with the kids. Hugged a lot of people. Ate so much food I gained about 5 pounds. Picked up a strong accent.
10/23 Got up at 3 a.m. Drove back to Midland airport. Got frisked at 4:30 a.m. Caught a plane. Picked up my car. Went to work. Had too many meetings. Came home. Yelled at the dog for barking at my door. Ate too much trail mix for dinner. Worked out on new Y equipment. Went to Whole Foods. Read my bible and then a magazine. Talked on the phone. Went to bed.
10/24 Overslept after hitting snooze five times. Ate trail mix for breakfast in the car. Declared 9:30 p.m. official shut-off time for cell phone. Went to meetings. Ate lunch. Got a hot tea from Starbucks. And time goes on…

Last night I was listening to an old sermon from The Village Church while I was at the Y working out. And in the sermon, the speaker said, “Do you ever feel like you’re on a treadmill? And that you’re trying to distract yourself with everything else to not think about the fact that you’re on a treadmill?” I was on a treadmill. Dude. That’s weird.

“I’d like to cancel my ****card.” (**** to protect the “innocent”)

“Yes, ma’am, but would you like to take advantage of upgrading to our Diamond card offer for 0% for up to $7500 up until October 2007?”

“No, sir. That’s a $7500 deal with the devil. I’d just like to cancel the account.”

“I see you have another ****card? Would you like us to increase your credit limit on the other card?”

“No. I purposefully lowered that credit limit myself. I just want to cancel the account.”

“Are you sure that you wouldn’t want to transfer a balance? What APR are you currently paying on other cards?”

“Actually, my goal is to have as few credit cards as possible. I’d just like to cancel the account.”

“Yes, ma’am. I understand. Is there anything else that I can do for you today?”

Can he hear me the first time? Can he pay off all my other credit cards? And my student loan? Can he stop sending me those offers in the mail? Can he send me a picture because despite him driving me crazy he sounded nice on the phone? Not for me, but for a friend. If yesterday’s blog was about my "wedding", I can’t be getting crushes on the ****card guy. Women are so weird! I know, because I am one. Although, I could marry the ****card guy and we could live debt-fully ever after.

This romance started out hot.

Then, we decided to encourage one another by realizing that we had found the greatest love of all.

What a beautiful portrait of the result of HFBC courtship. Who would’ve thought that this romance was budding?! We’re all surprised—even me!

Perhaps this is the result of an e-mail chain gone crazy. Or a case of the Kwandary Photoshop Team having too much time on their hands. Regardless, you can bet your lifesavers that I just found my Christmas card photo. Hopefully no one will get suspicious that they never saw the engagement photos. We’re registered at Needless Markup, Saks Fourth Avenue, and Train Depot.

Does anybody know how I can renew my vehicle registration after the date has passed? Not that this describes me…but it could describe a friend. I heard you could go to Kroger, but all I could find online were locations in Brazoria County.

Help! My friend could be driving illegally. And she would have done the online thing, but she kept forgetting to bring her car insurance information to work!

Working in the Med Center, sometimes you can feel trapped. I need wide open spaces (like the Dixie Chicks). My longtime friend, Ann, rescued me today. She drove up in her Civic and took me away from the Med Center. I felt like my hour lunch turned into a sweet retreat.

We ate at Houston’s Restaurant. I had the salmon/dill appetizer. She had the chicken fingers. We sat at the bar so we could get food fast. And we drowned our troubles—with lemonade.

I didn’t realize that I was having so much fun until I realized that the bar tender was laughing at me laughing. When I’m with Ann, I think I try to mimic her laugh and it turns into this weird deep, machine gun, “huh-huh-huh-huh!” It was a little embarrassing, but not embarrassing enough to make me stop.

Sometimes you just need to get away. Sometimes you just need to laugh. Work gives you lemons, you go drink lemonade!

If I was a modern day Noah—which sometimes is what it feels like living in Houston, would I have to pack up two of everything?

Two iPods (one video, one nano)
Two burritos (one Freebirds, one Mission Burrito)
Two fajita dinners (one from Pappasitos and one from Lupe’s)
Two small cars (one mini-Cooper; one Wendy Smith edition VW Golf)
Two large SUVs (one Hummer; one Suburban)
Two video game units (one PS2; one X-box)
Two computers (one MacBook; one Dell)
Two Starbucks drinks (one White Chocolate Mocha; one Caramel Frappachino)

I’ve heard that in case of a flood emergency, Lakewood will float. That’s why the construction took so long. –Okay, that’s not true, but it would be pretty cool if it did.

The time has arrived. It’s almost time for the unofficial Beth’s Adventure Club (BAC)* to begin. Membership is free to those who are good travelers and long for adventure –whether that adventure be in an alligator invested area or in a shopping outlet the size of 100 football fields. Consider this, my friend, your Call of the Wild.

Some adventures we will take: 1) the Village Church’s Saturday evening service, 2) Big Bend, 3) Brazos Bend state park, 4) New York City (to tour a salsa factory), and last but not least, 5) the San Marcos mega-outlet (not for the weak).

There will a fitness and endurance test before you’re allowed to officially be in the club. Or you have to supply three references who will testify on your behalf of your fitness and level of endurance.

We'll also get badges after we complete trips. And we'll put them on our backpacks to remember the times.

*The BAC is in no way in competition with the Stan Kwan Adventure group – which I hear is pretty Stantastic.

The days are ticking by. Soon I will be in Africa. I'm almost done with raising support. I have about $600 to go which is amazing when I started out needing $3200. God has humbled me so much by having me ask for money. It's made me really want to give more to other people that I know who need support. Like my friends that work with Crusade and YoungLife. It's not easy.

But I've seen that if God calls you to something, He will provide. Today's Oswald Chamber's My Utmost For His Highest (Oct 13th) was amazing.

Moses knew that he was called to go, but then didn't get to actually do what he was called to do for a long time. God put some things on my heart a few years ago, but it hasn't happened yet. I also remember in college really wishing I could be "called" to Africa. But I didn't feel the call. I can see now that God has taught me things through life that I needed to learn before I was ready. And perhaps (just perhaps), there are some more things to refine in me before he opens the door for the desires of my heart that I feel he's given me.

Sorry my blog is about J.Crew one day and God the next. In the world, not of the world, I suppose. :)

My J.Crew catalog came in my mailbox yesterday. I like to flip through the pages and pretend I can afford the clothes. Or I try to put the styles I like in my memory bank so I can pick up similar ones at Target.

I also like to pick out my boyfriend. Back in the past, he was this tow-headed, blonde guy with scruff, blue eyes, and a dashing smile. He was usually laughing in pictures or carrying a canoe. He wasn’t in my issue this time, so he might have moved on.

Or sometimes I pick out clothes that I would like my one-day real boyfriend to wear. Of course, if my real boyfriend shopped J.Crew, it might weird me out that he paid $33 for a ringer tee.

If you buy something from J.Crew, they usually send you the coveted sale catalog. I found a stretch skirt I really like, so I might buy it, even though I hate the fact I don’t get to try on something before I buy it (which is the whole purpose of the catalog). Hmmm…I just realized something. I’m ready to make a commitment to a boyfriend I find in J.Crew, but I’m not sure if I can commit to the skirt.

Note: Back in my days in NC, Brenda and I made some ornaments out of J.Crew models (guys only). They were really cute. Both models and ornaments.

Trudge. Trudge. Pray. Pray. Feel lighter. Pray more. Float. Sigh. Praise! Thanks.

It’s the time of year, if I lived somewhere besides Houston, I would be slipping into sweaters. I miss sweaters. I miss feeling hugged by my sweater. Sweaters are good friends. They keep you warm. They’re cute. They’re fluffy. They tell the world, “Look at me! I’m cuddly!”

I used to have a ton of sweaters. I had a drawer or two just for sweaters. Now, I have about one real sweater, and the others are thin sweater substitutes made of cotton.

My one green sweater gets worn every time I go home to Kentucky during the winter. We usually take lots of family pictures, and I think my family might get suspicious that in every holiday photo, I’ve got on the same sweater.

Good things about sweaters: soft, cuddly, fuzzy, and warm.

Of course there is a dark side to sweaters: sweater fuzz flying into your mouth, sweating in a sweater, an itchy sweater, a sweater with two large inappropriate red dots (flashback from a very embarrassing sweater labeled “Cherries” from 1st grade—thanks, Mom!), the turtleneck sweater that prohibits neck movement, and the never-attainable-because-it’s-too-dang-expensive cashmere sweater.

I joined a band.
I fell in love (from a distance) with an entire Christian skateboard team. [It's really hard to check for wedding rings when they're moving around so fast!]
I stopped working out.
I got a free haircut (not from myself this time).
I made new friends.
I wrote a couple of songs.
I went to two mega-women’s bible studies.
I organized a mega-party.
I had Starbucks with Laurie.
I went to Target and spent less than $10.
I got a new life plan.
I found an old friend.

All this done with God’s guidance and without watching any t.v. It’s been good to be me this week. :)

When I had braces, I had a guide that said, "When in doubt, leave it out." It was referring to the various foods that you could and could not eat. I need to rephrase it to some lessons I'm learning about myself which would be, "When in doubt, trust God."

Over and over, God asks me, "Do you trust me?" Not being positive in my answer sometimes allows me to get myself in a pickle. And look like a pickle. And act like a pickle. And feel like a pickle. It's not a good thing. Nobody likes pickles that much.

Over and over, I have to realize that God has my life. Every situation. Every minute. Every relationship. Never fear, Jesus is here. And that God loves me. As a pickle. And as a girl/woman named Beth.

With too much time on the internet this weekend, I rediscoved my old favorite website I met Kristen's sister-in-law, Susan, through a Bible study. I only met Susan once, right after Kristen had died, but I am forever thankful for her sharing her family's story. It has been a special joy to pray for them. Kristen Hartland was a young wife and mom who had breast cancer twice. In between her cancers, she had a baby named Sam. Her and her husband's story is precious and sweet. She's someone you'll definitely want to meet in heaven.

I'm going to try to close my blog this week to fast it. Can you fast a blog? Well, I'm going to. I'm such a write-a-holic. I love to write, but I think that God has some things to teach me this week as I prepare for Ken-YA! (You have to say that with a karate chop at the end.)

Special thanks to friends this weekend who let me know that: God loves me, has a plan for me, I'm not psycho (just sometimes experiences tendencies like that), Africa is going to touch my life in a way I cannot imagine, being "Beth" is good, loving people 1 Cor 13-style is not easy for humans (need God), and that I'm beautiful. (and so humble -- hee! hee!).

I wrote a new song on my guitar last night. It’s so cool to feel like a girl with a guitar. Like I’m all Sheryl Crow or something. But it’s hard to be Sheryl Crow when you only know about three cords. All my songs basically sound the same. Kind of like the old Def Leopard album or something. Without the head-banging, but with the big hair and make-up.

The bad part is that I stayed up until midnight playing my guitar. Suddenly, it was just fun and I was a creative genius. Or maybe I was just really sleepy and on some weird sleep-deprived trip.
How many songs are out there in the world? What if you write a song and it’s already been written? I used to write rap songs, but my friend T.Lo said I sounded ridiculous. I’m actually not a bad rapper. If you ever want to have a freestyle stand off, let me know. Maybe we could have it at the International Starbucks in the parking lot. I just have to figure out what to wear…

Believe it or not, I found a recipe on the back of my Gorton’s Fishsticks. The recipe is called Fish-On-a-Log. The ingredients are squeeze cheese, pizza-flavored Goldfish crackers, and fishsticks.

Prepare the fishsticks per the instructions on the box, squeeze on the cheese, and put the Goldfish on top. Serve while hot. Yummy!

I think I laughed for a good five minutes. More recipes are available at

I thought of a new recipe called Bloody Fingers. It’s for Halloween parties. Cook the fishsticks, and apply ketchup. (Oh, this in no way is to make my brother feel bad for having that accident. I love my stubby-thumbed brother!) Maybe I'm more domesticated than I realized.

The Gap has done it again! Just when I thought I might be outgrowing The Gap, they’ve thrown a new bone (or clothing collection) my way. This time—a whole new concept: Forth & Towne.

I used to think a cool way to describe the Trinity to shop-aholics was by using The Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic: three-in-one. Now they’ve added Forth & Towne, so my method is messed up. The clothes appear to be pretty classy. I don’t know if it’s a step between The Gap & BR, or if it’s a step above BR.

It’s going to be interesting to see the clientele. Will Dinah leave BR and now only shop Forth & Towne? Me? I’ve been a Gap Girl for a long time. For awhile, I’ve felt like I’ve needed to move on…to expand my territory (and wardrobe) in a new direction. I thought I was just going to have to settle for the BR Outlet at Katy Mills, but I can only get out there about once a year.

The new Forth & Towne opened Sept. 20 in the Galleria. I suppose I’ll drag myself there one day and check it out. Since my funds are low for now, I’ll just have to be a pretend shopper. And I WILL NOT get a Forth & Towne credit card –even if they promise me 10% off my first purchase and give me a kidney if I ever need it.

p.s. When will H&M ever come to Houston?? :(

Abs of Steel have eluded me for all my 31 years. But for my 32 birthday, I’m going to give myself, abs of steel. I can’t wait! I have less than 6 months to reach my goal.

I’ve been reading fitness magazines for a good 8 years now, and I know all the theories. Some people were never meant to have abs of steel. Also, you have to get through the abs of flab before you can reach the Abs of Steel. But I’m serious this time. I don’t have a definite plan, but I’m working on it.

After I have my Abs of Steel, I can go up to people and stay, “Hit me in the stomach! If you dare! Or are you scared your hand will break from my Abs of Steel?!” I will also wear half-shirts because I think there will be lots of them available on Ebay since Britney and Christina no longer where them (okay, this is definitely a joke! I’m a whole-shirt fan. Honestly, more of a turtleneck sweater fan.) If you want to join me in the Abs of Steel challenge, let me know. Maybe some competition will help my cause.

Have you ever felt the call of God? Like you check your cell phone and it says GOD 777-7777 (Yes, that's God's phone number.)

I really feel God has put on my heart to go to Kenya on a mission trip with my church. I really didn't want to even think about going because I have been broker than broke. Months ago, I had a big plan about how I was going to save up for the trip. And then, mysterious bills kept entering my mailbox and crazy extra non-planned-for costs. But God still called me, and has made me ask for money. I do not like asking for money. I'm the kid that couldn't even sell M&Ms for the school fundraiser. My brother ate them all and my parents had to pay.

Anyway, a former co-worker is determined that I will have enough money to go. Isn't it crazy that the two years I spent removing staples and making copies would have more impact on my life than I could ever imagine? Her kindness has touched my heart. And who knew that God would change me so much by accepting my helplessness and trusting Him? I'm sure there's more to come. Wow. I'm going to Africa. I will be going.

My friend, Kari, is in town visiting from Kentucky. She brought along her two-year-old daughter, Katherine. There aren’t enough meals available during their visit for me to introduce her to all my favorite Houston restaurants, but last night, we got to hit Chuy’s. (Isn’t it bizarre that Chuy is a nickname for Jesus? Note: This does not necessarily make the restaurant holy.)

Katherine was standing on her chair eating Creamy Jalapeno dip for the first time. I really wish I had my camera there. It was a precious moment. She’s a great chip dipper. Then, while Kari and I are talking, I notice Katherine has moved the C.J. dip right in front of her. After a few more minutes, Katherine is seated and then grips both sides of the bowl with her two-year-old hands and puts her lips on the side ready to drink the Creamy Jalapeno.

I can totally relate.

I’ve justified visiting Starbucks by thinking of it as renting space for the price of my coffee. I give them $1.41 for hot tea, and I get to use their space.

Do men like wearing cowboy boots because it’s kind of like wearing heels, but in a manly way?
How did Andy Gibb sing so high like in Stayin’ Alive?

I want to go on a date one day to Cleburne Cafeteria. I believe that being in the presence of 90-year-old couples with canes and oxygen kind of puts things in perspective for a relationship.

I was excited about Veggie Tales being on CBS, but I heard they’re making them take out all references about God. Will they post a message that says, “Content has been edited for TV”?

I'm scared to check out a book at the library because the last one cost me $24.00 in fees--including threats from the library. And I only got to page 43.

The Gap is having a big fall sale. They’re putting boot-cut jeans on sale. It can only mean one thing: skinny-legged jeans are here—boot-cut is out. One day you’re in. The next day you’re out.

On What Not To Wear, they said that skinny-legged pants make women look like ice cream cones.

I really don’t know what to do here. Do I buy the skinny jeans to wear with ballet flats so I can keep up with the trends like Sienna Miller (per InStyle)? Or do I get the bootcut jeans on sale and deem myself free from the chains of fashion, but totally not hip? Hey, maybe I can buy the boot-cut and figure out a way to roll them up where they look like skinny jeans. I just re-discovered tight rolling!

I think I have a hidden twin. I’ve never had my DNA tested, but I know when I do, my DNA will be different from my children that I birthed. Well I haven’t birthed them yet, but when I do, it won’t match unless they take my DNA from my thyroid gland, and only then will it match. All because I have a hidden twin. It’s called chimera. And you could have it, too.

By the way, my hidden twin made me watch a really stupid movie on LMN (the new name for Lifetime). I got sucked into a two-hour drama that spanned 11 years.

I just noticed these words on the lock on the bathroom door. It said "Hiny Hiders" with the "H" written in a special design.
Yup, that's what it said. Hiny hiders.

Who knew? And of course, google-to-the-rescue reveals the website.

After watching Super Size Me , I declared fast food no longer a part of my life. But then I made a friend who was the poster child for fast food (not pictured). Perhaps it's because this person hadn't seen the door of age 30 yet, but somehow I was entranced by the carefree attitude he had about fast food. Not thinking about trans fatty acids and clogged arteries was a free feeling. When he asked me if I wanted a gordita or a taco, I had to ask what a gordita was, I hadn't eaten at Taco Bell in about 3 years. I chose the taco. It didn't taste disgusting. I liked it.

Then, one day at work, my boss of 110 pounds sopping wet came in with a Taco Bell sack, and I jokingly (but not really) asked if I could have a taco. She freely shared one with me, and, again, I liked it.

Last night, I purposefully searched a neighborhood for Taco Bell so I could have a taco. I had a tough time deciphering the menu, and then I decided on a kids' meal. I got two soft tacos, cinnamon twists, and they also accidentally gave me an apple empanada.

Now, as I sit at my desk the next morning with a stomach ache, I realize that the only border I need to be running to in the Canadian one. Mexico, your fast-food border is not tummy-friendly. Canada, let me in! I want to ski and dance with the elk! Oh great, now I'm hallucinating from all the trans fats because blood to my brain is being blocked!!

I've been walking to a bus stop about a mile from my office to avoid having to sit on the bus so long. I don't sit in the little bus booth because I've seen lots of vagrants hanging out in there, and I can just imagine it being used for a public restroom.

So, I'm standing outside the bus booth, when I see a lady that I've seen before (she never rides the bus, just sits in the booth) coming across the street. She's not using the crosswalk and has just made it over the median when she gets this uncomfortable look on her face like she's hot. Before I know it, I see the red t-shirt come over her head and then realize that this lady is indeed a lady, and not a man, and that she does not have on her over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder. Then, she keeps walking towards me and takes a seat behind me. I felt like maybe I should say, "Hon, let's put your shirt back on."

But I was basically standing there in shock. No one really seemed to notice. I might have easily been the only one to see this. (Is our world so blind to the homeless that we don't even notice them--NAKED?!) So, whether or not it was the right thing to do, I casually booked it by foot to the next bus stop.

When my bus driver picked me up, I said, "Did you see naked lady back there?" He looked at me with a crazy face (like I was crazy) and said, "No."

Am I living in NY or Houston?! My coworker and I (thank God for cell phones to have instant therapy after something like this) decided that maybe it's a new term for Houston weather, "It will be strippin' hot today with high humidity..." Another friend said, "I've never been that hot."
I was kind of hot that day, too, but I'll stay on the shirts team. Let's leave the skins to the mens.

I watched Fight Club last night. It was on TV so I think most of the really bad stuff got edited out.

One of my friends, Tyler (but not Fight Club Tyler), tried to explain the movie to me once, so I kind of knew the premise. I probably missed the first half hour or so of the movie, so I had some trouble figuring out what was going on. Finally, everything clicked and I thought I understood it. But I really don’t. I think it’s a guy thing. And I’m a girl. Maybe guys feel like this when they watch You’ve Got Mail or Emma.

The best thing that happened as a result of watching the movie was feeling like I was friends with Brad Pitt again. I’ve had a tough time since the break-up. I was actually impressed with his acting abilities in this movie. Now don’t think that I’m not putting posters up of him in my room or using him as my screensaver, but we’re friends. Just friends.

Last night, I found myself in Randalls’ shopping for dinner. NEVER shop at the grocery store when you’re hungry. My list and the budget got thrown to the side at the entrance near the apartment guides, and then things got crazy.

I had recently seen in a magazine that Ben & Jerry’s now has little serving singles (available in a grocer’s aisle near you). I really like things that are mini. On this fateful day at Randalls’, I found the little darlings! These things are too cute to resist. Before I knew it, I was shoving Ben & Jerry’s singles in my basket. And then, in another flash of time, I was shoving Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream in my face while I drove home.

The serving comes with a plastic spoon hidden in the lid that I believe was once a part of either the Mattel X-Wing fighter or my old pink Barbie Corvette. I got frustrated by the weird shape and size, but by the third bite, all I could think about was cookie dough and yummy-yummy. Maybe I could start a spoon collection…

I tried e-mailing a blog entry, but it didn't work, so I'll summarize my weekend.

Friday: Why do the people at the Amegy Bank in the med center wear scrubs on Fridays? Maybe it's to make me laugh, because I do every time I see it.

Saturday: After a difficult day, I then went to visit a total of 3 married couples. Living in a neighborhood where the bathrooms are as big as my apartment and there is a lake with a fountain in the center of every four streets is nice, but I was glad to come home and be single. Kind of. That's all I want to say about that.

Sunday: Why does Houston seem like the smallest city in the world? There needs to be a formula for the likelihood of running into people in Houston, or maybe just at Starbucks. If you figure out where someone's Starbucks is, I estimate your chances of running into someone are as high as 33 percent on a sunny day. If you've ever participated in the Starbucks singles' scene, you might want to avoid the establishment when the percentage is higher than 10.

I will not aim for the head.
I will not barf unless I'm sick.
I will not expose the ignorance of the faculty.
I saw nothing unusual in the teacher's lounge.
I will not conduct my own fire drills.
Funny noises are not funny.
I will not prescribe medication.
I will not teach others to fly.
A burp is not an answer.
I will not eat things for money.
I will not yell "She's Dead" at roll call.
I will not sell miracle cures.
I will return the seeing-eye dog.
I will not charge admission to the bathroom.
I am not deliciously saucy.
There are plenty of businesses like show business.

--I might be able to apply some of the above to my work environment. Hmmmm...

Last night I got to see my precious friend, Jonah Werner, play some sweet music. God blessed me with a friendship with Jonah back in the glory days of living in Asheville. It's been really neat to see him grow as an artist and to see how he makes all different kinds of people laugh and think. And to watch how fast he can pick his guitar! (faster than he picks his nose-hee-hee!)

Anyway, last night you missed out if you missed him which I think everybody but all of Kincaid's YoungLife group did. It was awesome. He brought a drummer, bass player, and his kind and wonderful brother, Aaron, too. Jonah's matured as a man and a musician, and I wish him all the best. His best song (in my opinion) on his new CD is called "Moonboots". There's a oh-so-precious girl singing with him named, Bailey. Check out Jonah at

I've wanted to go to the Houston Zoo for five years. I finally went yesterday. The zoo is free on Labor Day, so what better day to go? Through the years, I have asked friends, boyfriends, and acquaintances, etc. to go with me to the zoo. No one would go with me. So, yesterday, I went with my Nikon. And we had a nice, hot and stinky, zoo day.

As soon as I entered the zoo ready to hit the aquarium, I was a part of a crowd with a group of teenagers and this kid says to me, "Did you know the crocodile hunter died? Some thing " I said, "Are you kidding me?" He said, "No. For real." His friend with the grill shook his head in agreement. And I said, "Are you joking?" (I don't trust teenagers after teaching school.) Then another gentlemen with a bling-bling necklace who I think I saw in a Nelly Furtado video (not with the teens) sadly shook his head "yes" in agreement.

I had tears welled up in my eyes as I tried to look at the sea horses. So I silently looked at fish, and prayed for Steve, Terry, Bindi, and Bob. Keep Steve's family in your prayers. Even though I never met him, I loved that guy. He showed such a love of life, creation, and his family.

Last night I was so excited because my sixteen year old niece sent me a text. This was my first text from her--and it was a picture text--of my brother's cut-off thumb!!! Ewww! [He had a work accident last week.]

She said that she and her sister, Katie, got to see their dad (my bro, Troy) bandage his hand, and they tried to act really cool because they didn't want to make him feel bad. And then they went to the bedroom and said, "Ohmiga! That is soooo gross!!"

He's in a lot of pain. Please pray God heals his hand. Our hands are very similar so when I hold my thumb up next to the pic, it looks identical. Maybe I could be his thumb donor one day. Although it might be a little different than giving a relative a kidney or something.

I'm housesitting right now. Every house has some unique feature. This home has a Gazelle.

I used it in during commercials the other night and I really did absolutely nothing. I've got more of a workout from an escalator. On the other hand, it is kind of fun for about five minutes. And if you have a ponytail like Tony Little, it will sway back and forth while you use the Gazelle.

Why is today going so slow? I feel like I've been driving around Big Ben about 200 times.

Usually, I have constant phone calls and e-mails at work. And work is piled to my forehead. Today, I think I've gotten six e-mails. And zero calls. No personal text messages or anything. Have I become a communication junkie? I've check Lori's blog five times and she hasn't updated it. I'm chewing on a straw right now for entertainment. It's really scary how much work I don't have on my desk anymore.

In a strange turn of events, I got to go home last weekend. It was glorious. My older sister, Traci, turned 40 and I got to be there. We were all in our 30s and now, she's broken the record. It's really weird that I can still remember what she looked like when she was probably only 13. And now she's 40.

Traci taught me how to read, how to brush Barbies hair without pulling it out, how to color in the lines (and then apply the same technique to driving--stay between the lines), how to make reading the word a priority, how to laugh at yourself (and others sometimes--only because we sympathize), and now, how to eat organically.

1. Starbucks would give you free drinks for reading books like an adult Book-IT! program.
2. All credit card APRs would be 0%. And stay that way.
3. My company would give me a cost of living raise everytime the cost of gas went up.
4. They would also furnish me an Apple laptop and a Motorola Q.
5. Tax deductions would be given for buying designer clothing. Save those receipts!
6. Models would be back on magazine covers instead of actors.
7. I could take a shower and get my clothes on in the morning on a conveyor-type thing like George Jetson.
8. A car being little wouldn't necessarily mean it was unsafe. The mini is so cute and the rabbit is back!
9. The drive home to see my family wouldn't be so long. Bring on the Ruby Red slippers!
10. I could have my own cable access show like Wayne's World. Excellent.

My friend, Robin, just got engaged. (Not the foof-head--the one in N.C.--foof-head is still a swinging single for now) Anyway, her then, boyfriend, now fiance, took her up to Mt. Pisgah, and where he had a little picnic-y thing set up. But then they went to see the sunset on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and that's where the magic happened.

She looks so stinkin' happy I love it. This girl is amazing. I met her at precious Camp Hollymont years ago, and we affectionately call her Nibor because of the time she painted her name on her forehead using a mirror. Oh! And if she gets married in Asheville I have another excuse to visit again!! Congratulations Nibor and Nasoj (I mean Jason)!