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.