Forgot to mention I would be hanging with the turkeys in Kentucky during this week. Happy Little Trees will be up and running next week. Internet access and Starbucks are slim here in the great Commonwealth.

It's pretty cold. I'm sporting every item I could round up for cold weather at the Houston Target store.

Hope you all had a great turkey time!

Did you know Oprah writes down 5 things she’s thankful for everyday? I don’t do that. There’s one more thing that makes Oprah savvier than I am. Now, she’s even more thankful than I am. But I really don’t want to be Oprah, I’m happy being me. So not being Oprah one thing I’m thankful for?

Let me get a list going. And I’d be curious about your lists, too. Five will do for publishing. Make sure to share a longer and more personal list with God.
1.I’m not Oprah, but I’m happy being me.
2.I’m going home for Thanksgiving.
3.We still own my Grandmother Richards’ old house so I can swing on the porch swing like old times.
4.My neighbor got a beagle puppy named Smokey—but his good friends call him Smoke.
5.I get to visit with old high school friends late Thursday night. It’s been 14 ½ years since high school (and the end of 90210--we all graduated together).

Here's a little stroll down memory lane--click to watch:
90210 Thanksgiving

Today is probably a day in which I could eat chocolate covered crickets and not mind.

There a new gelato place in town called Gelato Blu. I went there yesterday because I was feeling a small case of the blues, and I knew that some gelato might be some good balm for it. I was greeted by the owner, Chuck (who makes all the gelato himself), and two workers, Kevin and Barbara. They were all very polite and gave me tons and tons of samples because they wanted me to love their gelato just as much as they did. And I did.

All the gelato is homemade—no mixes are used (which I learned that other competitors use). And I can take my friend that has a nut allergy there, because they don’t mix all the gelatos with the same equipment! I’m very excited to get to enjoy gelato with her.

It’s a quaint little place, and might become a good hangout for me. Especially since *bucks has again raised their prices on hot tea. I paid $1.57 for a tall hot tea. And then burned myself. Ouch for both.

Gelato Blu is more smurfy than Starbucks. And you can quote me on that.

Remem-bah! Remem-bah! Remem-bah!

My friend Ann let me burn a disc from her itunes last night. She's got some great hits from yesteryear. I got the fancy tune linked above because I got big dreams.

I also got the Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton duet that was the punchline to the first dirty joke I told on the elementary school playground--What do you call Dolly Parton in a hottub?

I journeyed out to Katy Mills a few weeks ago and journeyed into the J.Crew Outlet store. I like to pretend I’m long and lean and fresh faced like a J.Crew girl and that I have a boyfriend with a 5:00 mountain-time shadow, and he loves the red cashmere muffler I bought him with matching mittens. Although he hates getting the splinters out of the weave after he carries in firewood into the cabin where we’re staying for a holiday with our entire group of friends and family. Ahhhh…J.Crew dreams…


I bought a pair of jeans and a long sleeved tee. The tee looked navy in the store. When I brought it home, it became black. I did the test where I put it next to other black items, and it was black. Now in my florescent office, it’s once again navy and paired with black pumps and a black belt. All I can come up with is that this shirt is a hybrid. It’s gotta be the color blavy. I still like it. I feet mysterious with absence of all color and nautical all at the same time.

Every year, I try to add more fruits and veggies into my diet. I know that eating those magical foods is a great way to fight disease and cancer. So, why is it so hard for me to eat them?

Adding fruit to my diet has been pretty easy. I just have to make sure I take a weekly trip to the grocery store to stock up on apples, grapes, or berries (depending how much money is allowed in my food budget), but those veggies are a different story. Some days as I evaluate my food intake of the day, I try to bargain with myself that the salsa I ate counts for a vegetable serving.

Salad is such a cop-out for a solution because a) lettuce is for rabbits and possesses little nutritional value and b) by the time I doctor it up enough where I can stomach eating it, the salad has gained 50 fat grams and 900 calories.

My only good solution for eating more veggies has been making myself eat at home more. It also helps me in my personal training to be a housewife—and more importantly—a grandma.

Perhaps I’m a late bloomer at 32, but I think I still have time to develop some Jedi-like cooking skills like my Grandmother Richards possessed. “Use the fork, Beth...Never underestimate the power of the fork…” She could whip up some mean homemade buttermilk biscuits. And add a little hot chocolate gravy on top with a dab of butter, and your grandchildren are in complete bliss. This is after they’ve had servings of fruit and veggies, of course.

I am a huge proponent of non-traditional Thanksgivings. Today at work, I just had Chuy’s for our office Thanksgiving meal. It was fabulous. The creamy jalapeno was flowing. The fajitas were tasty. We were blessed.

Next week, I will trudge through the turkey. I will avoid the canned cranberry sauce and all of its seeping juices that try to stain my food. I will snub my nose up at deviled eggs. The pecan pie can dry up and grow some trees for all I care.

So, basically, I’ll eat some green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and some dinner rolls.

But perhaps this is God’s way of teaching me that life is not always about the food. (I know! Can you believe it?!) I will be very thankful for my company, thankful for the Lord’s provision, and so humbled and honored to be loved by Him.

…And I might pray to one day convince my family to plan a non-traditional meal. Doesn’t lasagna for Thanksgiving sound tasty? And really, who knows how to cook a turkey anyway?

I just joined a new club. It’s called Goodreads. I rate books I read and then keep them on my list.

I don’t read much anymore which is sad. I believe not reading keeps our brains from growing. That might be why God put his word into a book form. Reading really is food for our brain. And God’s word is food for the brain—and the soul.

Every month, I am faithful to read my copy of InStyle magazine, but I have difficulty settling into books as an adult. As a child, I was so much of an avid reader, my mother encouraged me to stop reading as much.

I joined Goodreads at the request of my far-away-friend Liz, even though I feel my current level of reading is sub par. I would probably do better at Goodfeeds—which could be a restaurant reviewing system.

I also developed a bad habit in high school of skimming books. I would read the beginning, middle, and end. Life is just too uncertain to not read ahead on the endings. (This works for most books--except for the Bible--which in doing this could scare the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of you.)

A friend of mine likes to get people on his book bandwagon which I gladly joined, because I thought he was cool--and I thought those books would let some of his cool philosophies rub off on me. Through his bookclub, I read Blue Like Jazz, The Irresistible Revolution, and I'm supposed to read The Long Loneliness--but in the middle of that I started dating someone who had me reading other books, and you can't two time book clubs very easily. I'm trying to find books now that aren't just to impress people, but are things that I really want to read.

I even have a bookclub that meets at La Madeliene, but I've never been.

It's sometimes difficult to do all the things I should do as a single woman: workout, read books, develop cooking skills, eat out, volunteer, and bring home the bacon. But I manage.

I got the hiccups at work again. I announced it to my co-worker on the other side of my cube area.

Co-Worker: “Hold you breath and smile.”

Never tried that one—so, I held my breath and smiled--which is an odd thing to do.

Co-Worker yelling over cube wall: “You have to force it.”

So, I smiled more. My co-worker came around to my side.

Co-Worker: “You smile when you hold your breath? What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m holding my breath and smiling.”

Co-Worker: “I said, ‘Hold your breath and SWALLOW.”

Believe it or not, the hiccups went away. I think I’m totally on to something here.

I know it’s probably not this persons fault because she just sings, and doesn’t write, but I would assume she has some right to choose…but why did Carrie U first sing “Jesus Take the Wheel” and then next have the song to be released be “Before He Cheats”?

Both songs involve cars.

One (with its ever-so-clever country style rhymes) points out that we just have to let go, and let Jesus take over. She’s got the baby in the backseat. And the road is like a sheet of glass from ice. Jesus has to take the wheel because she’s lost control of her car…and maybe her life. Wow.

The next song is about how she’s in a relationship that’s gone bad. The guy she’s dating is out with a girl who can’t even order strong drinks at the bar. I guess that means the girl is a weenie. So, in the song, Carrie decides to get him back by keying his car and carving her name into the backseat of his pretty little four-wheel drive. And maybe next time all that damage on his car will make him think before he takes another non-alcoholic girl to a bar that isn’t his girlfriend. He sounds like maybe he’s not a good pick to begin with.

Maybe she should have let Jesus take the wheel again…and the key. She could have just slipped a bible into the backseat of his pretty little four wheel drive with his name carved in the leather bound cover.

Apparently, this is her second bad relationship because the first guy should have been driving the car when she was on the ice, and it sounds like her rebound guy has no interest in her child—or maybe this was the first guy. Where’s the baby now? At home alone while she’s out keying a car?

I’m working on a new song for her called “Jesus Pick My Man.” It’s also a personal testimony and will be a ballad that all single girls should sing. I’m basing it off of an old Billy Graham sermon and the Bible.

Stay tuned.

I got a massage yesterday. We almost had a disaster at work, which was quite frightening, but we were released from work early. So after I did a bit of shopping, I decided it was time I checked out the massage chain that I’ve heard about where you can get your first massage for $39. I went to the closest one to my house, and walked up to the counter to see if they accepted “walk-ins.” There were only a few ladies sitting who were waiting, and an older gentleman that worked there (maybe the janitor?) who walked in with me, and several girls in matching shirts standing behind computer screens.

The girl behind screen #4 squeezed me in so I could get an appointment right away. She glanced quickly at girl behind screen #3 and appeared to give her “the look,” so I was a bit concerned about my massage adventure. After making a quick trip to the bathroom, I started to make my way back to the lobby when I was stopped by the older janitor man who was holding a clipboard.

“You must be Beth,” he said.

I flashed my best Oscar-winning smile, “Yes, I am!” And I began to secretly say a series of rosary prayers as only a devout Baptist can.

After a few minutes, I finally relaxed and realized that he was a professional, and I was a professional, so therefore, we have a professional experience on our hands—or his hands—or whatever. The massage actually wasn’t that bad. And what am I looking for in a massage therapist anyway? Tall, dark, and handsome? It’s a massage. Not a date. (Perhaps not the best comparison. Don’t know quite how to compare the two.)

This experience solidifies that I will only use a female masseuse. Once before, my appointment was with a young male at a fancy spa for a quick back massage. Afterwards, he said, “Hope you enjoyed it.”

That was so weird.

If you could just know that clearly in his/her mind and clearly in your mind, this is a therapeutic experience, everything would be much better. I try to keep in mind that it’s like going to the doctor…but what about the mood music? And where’s the paper gown to help me feel safe? And why are the lights so low?

Now I need therapy over massage therapy.

Lipglosses currently in my purse:

Victoria Secret Rush (can’t remember the flavor name, but it’s pink)
Clinique Black Honey
Sally Hansen Lip Plumping clear
Rimmel Gloss Snog
Blistex Lip Infusion
Estee Lauder Bois de Rose

I could have a problem. Because I want more!!

Back in January 2006, I was working out semi-regularly. I was preparing to have ACL surgery in March of ‘06, and I was kind of freaked out by it, so I compensated by trying to get in really good shape before the surgery, so I would recover faster.

I had in my head that I didn’t want to run long distances…I just wanted to be fast. Perhaps it was my fascination with Flo Jo as a child, but I don’t really like to run for long distances because it’s just too tiring and makes me want to stop and pass out. My face gets really red and I get sweaty, and it’s just not pretty. I worked my time down to running one mile on the treadmill in 8:22. Not too shabby, but nothing compared to what even the worst high school track teams members perform.

My goal this year is to run a 7:30 mile. Last night, I plopped myself on the trusty old treadmill at the Y, and came out with an 8:58 time. I have some work to do.

I found this on the net on wikianswers:
What is the average time it takes to run a mile?
After a major study in a group of 125,000 humans, the average mean time was approx. 10:07:79.

So, I guess I can run a mile faster than the average bear, but the other question is…who made up the test group?

Eat less. Exercise. Lose Weight.

Who knew?

Why in the world is weightloss such a huge industry?

And why can't I master the plan?

I really love food. Food is a gift from God. But I think pastries are a gift not from God. They haunt me. I want to eat them. There is a chocolate covered croissant at Au Bon Pain that I can't seem to get out of my mind. I want it in my belly. And then it will take up root in my tummy, and live there all the way through Christmas where it will steathly hide under bigger shirts until swimsuit season returns at which point it will yell at me with a megaphone: Boo!

Where am I going?

How did I get here?
And where am I going?!

Is it that Oh! The Places You’ll Go! book from high school graduation that has cursed me?

I have a restless energy that makes me want to go backpack across Europe, or plan a wedding for myself and a mystery man, or tour all the Starbucks in the U.S. playing my guitar, or visit elementary schools in all cities that begin with the letter “T” so I can read the children poems from Shel Silverstein using funny voices.

But that is ridiculous. I sound like a college graduate whose sorority letters have not yet begun to peel off her windshield or fade from her plastic cup from Rush Week 1993. I have been out of college 10 years. 10 years!! Children get potty trained, learn to read, and sometimes smoke their first cigarette in that period of time.

This, my friends, is the reason I need sleep. What you just experienced is my brain deprived of it.

Note: In sound mind and body format, I was not a member of a college sorority (unless BSU counts), and I do not support cigarettes beyond what is necessary to fund the great Commonwealth of Kentucky’s farmers.

We’re having an office Thanksgiving dinner on November 13. I’m counting down the days because the office voted on having…(drum-dinner-roll please) CHUY’s! We’re all so excited. On those days from now until then when the e-mails seem to flow in a little too fast, and the red light on the voicemail won’t stop blinking, I’m going to be looking forward to that lovely day of office togetherness and creamy jalapeno ranch dressing.

Have yourself a Merry Little Thanksgiving…let your tummy delight…from now on your toes will be out of sight…
So have yourself a Merry Little Thanksgiving….to-night….

Way back when I was a little girl, I used to dress up in a homemade costume of random things found around the house, grabbed my plastic pumpkin, and headed out around the neighborhood to collect candy. There was one strange man, that we were told to be careful around, and he would just hand out nickels, and not candy. And then there were a few houses that quickly became famous as they handed out some really good candy, and not just super bubble or that orange and black wrappered peanut butter chewy stuff.

Now, since we’re all scared of one another, we don’t trick-or-treat. Kids are scared of adults. Adults are scared of kids. But we’re buying more decorations than ever for our homes, and we’re still buying bags of candy, but then we’re hiding inside with the lights off. We’re all very confused.

Last night, I bought candy, and set out a lighted pumpkin (okay, it was a plug-in) as bait. Hours passed. Finally, a family with seven kids whose only English was “trick-or-treat” came to my door. The girls were cheerleaders with “USA” emblazoned on their chest. The boys were Batman and cowboys. These people have embraced American tradition, but maybe a little too late.

It’s always really fun to see little kids dressed up and to see their faces light up when you give them candy. If I were running for President, my platform might be community unity. And it would start with Halloween trick-or-treating in neighborhoods.

Do you know your neighbors? Twenty years ago did you know them?

Sometimes it’s just really strange to me that in the town of 100 where I grew up, I knew everyone’s name, and had been in most of their homes. And now, in a town of 4 million, I know the first names of the neighbors on the right and the left, but that’s it. And I’ve only peered in their garages.