My sister is a dietician and has become somewhat of an organic food junkie. The more she studies food facts, the more she finds that the way the typical American eats is very, very unhealthy. It’s not always our fault. We think we’re making good choices based on what the latest study says. It’s hard to separate fact from fiction in the food business; sometimes it seems like a huge conspiracy. The latest “healthy choice” could be just another marketing ploy (i.e. remember these labels everywhere on food: “fat free” and “low-carb,” and now “no trans-fats”).

Things that she told me to look for on labels: WHOLE WHEAT (not unbleached). Stay away from: PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL and HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Be on the lookout for that terrible twosome. (For the lady that’s eating Yoplait right now, it’s in there. Put down the spoon and buy Stoneyfield or the new Dannon Naturals. Also, HFCS is in most Kellogg’s cereals.) And just because something is labeled “no trans-fat” doesn’t mean it is. Traces of trans-fats don’t have to be claimed on labels.

Basically, from what I understand, eating these things changes our cell structure. Trans-fats can make our cell structure mushy. Because I did not master high-school chemistry, I can’t quite understand all the processes, I just know it’s bad.

I haven’t even gotten started on pesticides. But I must stop obsessing for a minute, and go eat some food that will probably destroy my cells.

I was going to blog about Kefir, but I got sidetracked. Basically, eat Kefir. It’s good for you. Spread the word. It’s probably not great to eat the kind with sugar in it, but it’s good. It tastes like drinkable yogurt.

Song stuck in my brain:
I’ve been living with a shadow over head
I’ve been sleepin’ with a cloud above my bed

Where in the world is that song from? Was it something I heard from AJ and Ally off the Disney Channel? Finally (with the help of my second brain named Google), I figured out it’s a song that sung by Cora, the fictional singer from the movie, Music & Lyrics.

Why do songs seem to get stuck in my head, and then start playing for no apparent reason?

One day, maybe iPods will be able to select songs based on our biorhythms. So when you see a guy you like, it starts playing something by Al Green. And if you run into your ex, it plays "I Will Survive."

My friend, Wendy, recommended a dentist to me. She said she was mean, but good. I really need a tough dentist, so I was excited.

A little background on my chompers: At the age of 12, like many Americans of English descent, I was in braces. It was the first time I realized that perhaps I could obsess over rules. I had a whole sheet from the orthodontist of foods I couldn’t eat, and I stuck to the rules – no gum, no apples, no corn on the cob, no popcorn, and all that jazz for one year and one month. My orthodontist showed no mercy. He had welded my brother’s headgear in his mouth, so I knew things could get dangerous if I didn’t listen. Now, I have a perfectly straight set of teeth that are so perfect, they almost look fake.

Yesterday, my dentist did not disappoint me with her treatment. She asked me millions of questions about my health and diet. Then, her assistant took cool digital x-rays of my teeth and roots that I could instantly watch appear on the screen. Also, she was not satisfied with the level of my flossing—she demands more from me. The last dentist I went to just praised me for my teeth; this dentist wants to take me to an elite level of dental hygiene.

I’m armed with my floss and possibly purchasing a new motorized brush. Tooth decay—this means war. [I’ll miss you, Laffy Taffy! We had some good times, but I’m not laughing with you anymore.]

Today’s unofficial sponsor of Happy Little Trees is Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves. It’s a tasty treat sure to please hungry peeps with the sweet, fabulous goodness that can cover toast, bagels, and serve as an exciting alternative to complement peanut butter.

Thanks, Bonne Maman for not being a mauvaise maman. Très bonne!

I feel like this today.

A lot of syllables for a small word.

If there was a fire in the store, who could find the exit? Will there be lighting that appears of the floor like in an airplane emergency?

Mismarked prices are frustrating, and there is no way to prove what you saw when you are at the checkout and the price marker is a whole 12 rat mazes away and up a floor.

Whoever invented IKEA is rich, but they must have a few screws loose.

Why do I ever attempt to purchase anything from that store? I know I do not have a degree in Swedish Engineering.

When you order from their cafeteria, is the food already assembled?

IKEA stands for “I Kan’t Even Amagine” how to put this stuff together.

After you get back to you car that’s been baking in the parking lot, you tell yourself, “NEVER AGAIN!” but like a dysfunctional Hollywood romance, there you are again—trying to find bits of promise in a blue warehouse decked out with disposable goods.

I like sushi. The sushi experience is like gambling and Fear Factor all rolled into one (with a seaweed-wrap exterior). You never quite know which piece is going to make you physically or psychologically sick. It takes a brave person to eat sushi.

My favorite sushi is the Julie Crunch Roll at Sushi King. My friend, Kristin, likes the Julie Crunch Roll, too. We’ve spent a lot of time sharing the woes and hopes of the week over a tasty Julie Crunch Roll.

My friend, Lisa, and I have started hitting the Happy Hour sometimes at RA where they offer some pretty good deals on rolls until 7:00 p.m. And if you’re only there for sushi, and not to compete with the twentysomethings to pick up a date, it can be an enjoyable experience.

My friend, Erin, is one of my original sushi friends. She and our mutual friend, Ann, were some of the first people in H-town that I knew to be sushi-obsessed.

I believe there should be sushi belt levels like in Karate. If you can only eat California Rolls, you’re a white belt. The black belt sushi eater could intake sashimi, all types of fish eggs, and other things which would make the lower belts want to hurl. Erin and Ann are probably brown belts. I’m maybe a yellow (but that does not include the ability to eat yellow-tail sashimi, as of yet).

Word of warning to the ladies: Never eat sushi with a group of males. Especially if you’re splitting the bill. You will leave the place dishing out about $30 because guys order sushi like they would electronic equipment. Before you know it, the sushi is covering the table, and it’s being inhaled by the big boys, while you’re politely dipping your spicy tuna piece into your low-sodium soy sauce.

Also, Tapioca Express has some pretty reasonably priced sushi that is reasonably tasty, and I don’t think they have slime in the ice machine.

If you need a friend to sushi-it-up with you, and you're paying, please let me know.

Last night, I got to take advantage of free movie passes to go to a sneak preview for Year of the Dog. Seeing a movie at the theatre for free (without being on an awkward date) is a sweet treat.

The movie is an independent film starring Molly Shannon. Shannon’s character, Peggy, is a simple, sweet, single-woman who spends her time visiting with her brother and his neurotic wife and their children, patiently listening to her nerdy boss, and then coming home to spend time with her absolute best friend—her little beagle, Pencil. One night, after Pencil is let out to go tinkle, he never returns. Afterwards, Peggy goes through many emotional struggles which cause some big changes in her outlook on life.

Parts of this movie, made me laugh very loud. So many parts were too true to life, and they made me laugh, and then stop laughing and sadly say, “Oh.” I think you call movies like this dramedies.

So, if you’re an independent film buff, definitely see it. You’ll enjoy it. If you’re not, only watch it if you’re a dog-lover. And if you’re a dog-lover that is a single-woman, do not watch this movie alone with any type of alcohol (including Nyquil) or sharp objects in the house.


For some reason, I am a mosquito magnet. They love to give me love bites all through the spring, summer, and fall. I do not love them back. Houston is a mosquito generating haven. I might make a bumper sticker for myself that reads: Mosquitoes *heart* Houston. (It might be more successful than my t-shirt suggestion: “I Got Hit by the Metrorail.”)

Because of this, our Happy Little Trees recommended product of the day is Sawyer Insect Repellent for Clothing. I bought this stuff to fight off the African mosquitoes—which proved to be few and far between compared with the Texan mosquitoes. You spray it on your clothes (while not wearing them), let it dry, and those mosquitoes run scared! I don’t know how it works. I don’t know if it will give me a weird disease, but it works. Thanks, Sawyer Insect Repellent for Clothing!

It's hard to think about what happened yesterday. And all the hurt, sadness, and jumble of emotions people will feel.
...Every man is but a breath...from Psalm 39:11. I am constantly being reminded and then forgetting that statement.

Matthew 5
The Beatitudes

1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I've been a mourner many times in life, and it's not fun. But comfort did come. Sometimes, I had to live a lot of sad days in the meantime, but comfort does come.

What could be sweeter than some absolutely fabulous chocolate? Last night, I consumed some very great chocolate. It was made by the chocolatiers at Lindt. The whole experience of eating this chocolate was divine, from getting into the box (while ignoring the nutritional facts section), to unwrapping the thin silver covered bar (which was a little difficult to do since I was driving at the time). The chocolate was amazing. I had the Lindt Excellence Intense Pear that has teeny bits of almond in it. Sweet. Crunchy. Fabulous. Party time. Excellent.

I miss it.

A shout out to Jason Voorhees on this special day!

Fajita, fajita, you’re so sweet and hot.
You fill my belly til it’s nice and taut.

I decorate you up wit’ on-yuns and cheez
Wrap you in tortilla--hold the peppers please.

How can I stop my fajita-eat-a love?
It sizzles—never fizzles—so it must be from above.

I drive around the city just to catch a glimpse
Of places I can dine with fajita-makin’ pimps.

There’s Chuy and there’s Lupe. And Pappa-see-toezzzz!
Ninfas does it right when it comes to nachos.

Fajita, fajita, I love you love you much.
Just gotta watch d’ hot plate— please don’t touch.

Tell Weight Watchers to leave me alone.
Jenny Craig—lost your number—leave your message at the tone.

I be seeing you this weekend –not just for today.
Fajita, baby-baby, my love for you’s no play.

I really like trees. They make me happy.

The tree pictured lives at Bayou Bend.

My co-worker just came in with a Paper City. It's been driving me crazy since I skimmed through an article about the Two&Only Royal Refinery Resort. I googled it, and found nothing. I asked people about this luxurious new resort on the Ship Channel that had a celebrity crew fly in and also had an indoor ski-resort. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy.

Today, I got ahold of the article, and read it to the end. It's an April Fools' joke.

Thanks, Paper City. Real cool. This just confirms that I will never have my pic in Paper City--even if they beg me.

Today’s unofficial sponsor of Happy Little Trees is Blue Diamond Almonds BOLD.

These almonds are fabulous. My favorite kind was the Chili-Lime. And now my favorite is the Jalapeno Smokehouse. When eating these almonds, be sure to have a liter of water nearby.

Thanks, Blue Diamond Almonds BOLD, for making these nutritious and delicious almonds.

An official Beth-recommended product.

In the Texas Med Center, smoking has been outlawed. There are signs posted all over that state “NO SMOKING.” And around those signs are groups of people smoking. It’s a picture of irony.

Today I passed a three-generation family of smokers: grandson smoking, daughter smoking, and Grammy in her wheelchair and hospital gown puffing away. I passed a total of about 20 smokers during my walk from one end of the campus to the other—everyone from patients to construction workers. I try to hold my breath when I pass, but sometimes I turn blue before I passed all the smokers.

Recently, I decided to stop this breath-holding charade and just become a second-hand smoker. As a child, my dad smoked three packs a day, and through college, I cut out my unconscious second-hand habit. As a second-hand smoker, I get some benefits of the contact experience; I don’t have to pay high-dollar for tobacco; I get the health problems; and that great smoky-hair smell. What could be better?

On Saturday, I took a journey out to my old workplace, the OEC (Outdoor Ed Center) in Trinity, Texas. My old work peeps were having a reunion.
On my drive, I noticed that there was a lot of steam coming up from the water because the air was so cold. I really like this pic I got:
Finally, I made it to the OEC base. I thought I was in a hail storm. But it was actually snow/sleet. In Texas?! In April?! It was quite bizarre.

Then I got to visit with people while dissecting crawfish.
Here’s me and Audrey:
Me and Bob the Crawfish:
Toast, me, and Al:
And the remains of the day:
I should have worn warm socks.

Around this time of year, I like to dabble in Catholicism. Perhaps I should explain. I don't mean to be disrespectful. The Catholic church usually does a much better job at celebrating and explaining Easter than Protestants, like myself.

One year, I got to dabble in Judaism with a group of Baptist. We had a Passover dinner led by a reformed Jew. It was very educational and symbolic. I will never forget my reaction after consuming bitter herbs. Both hands hit the table at the same time and my eyes got very wide.

Anyway, I really like attending the "Stations of the Cross" service on Good Friday. The first time I went was in Tahoe City, and I enjoyed the reverence of the service and the focus on parts of the journey to the cross. It helped me to ponder these things in my head and my heart.

I always try to sit in the back so no one will notice that I don't go up for communion. I think it's against the law or something for a Protestant to take communion in a Catholic church. I don't know what would happen, but I'm not going to chance it.

Happy Easter!

This may contain material not appropriate for children. I saw this last night while channel flipping. I love the posters in the background. I think this guy is too much like myself.
Watch until after the credits. This makes me laugh.

I have an important announcement to make. Before I make the announcement, you have to promise to still be my friend after I make it.

Here it is: I’m moving.

Since it’s across town, that means most of my local friends will try to disappear and suddenly not be able to help me move. You can run, but you can’t hide. Especially those of you with trucks and big muscles (you heard it right, Laurie!!).

Here’s a pic of my new place I’ll be sharing with my friend. (I’ve photoshopped it a little.) And remember Murray, there's gonna be a new sheriff in town!

My mummy and I took a trip via Norwegian Cruise Lines, and we had quite a nice time.
Here are some pics of our adventures.
This is our boat, the Norwegian “Gives Me Bad” Dreams. We don’t know why we had such bad dreams at sea. My mom was talking in her sleep and said, “For me? Are those petunias for me?!” –My mom has watched a little too much HGTV and read Better Homes and Gardens a wee bit too much.

My mom saying, “I don’t want head lice!”
This is Mr. Santos Beach. Yes, that’s right. The famous Mr. Santos beach in Cozumel. See if you can see the kid playing dead in the picture.
This is the pool we escaped to in Belize because the beach was muddy, and we were scared of being attacked by drug dealers.
The crew did a good-bye show. It was so much like The Love Boat. What could be better?! Although, the only thing I fell in love with was the International Cheese Plate.
Our cruise was “Freestyle.” I thought that was a skateboard term or something. Who knew.
And no, we were not on the boat that had people jumping off.