Ahhhhh...a new year is on it's way! It seems pretty unbelieveable that we are in the 21st century. I kind of miss the 20th century.

If we are going to be in the 21st century, then I need the world's technological promises fulfilled. I still don't have a flying car, and I have never seen the earth from space. And I don't have a robot buddy.

Let's think about it. All we really have is a greater acknowledgement of how much trash we've got, the iPhone (for the few and the iProud), and the Prius. Life wasn't so bad when all we had to recycle was aluminum cans and phones had cords.

I'm just bitter. I really want a robot buddy and a flying car.

Happy New Year. May the farce be with you.

Every year I write some New Year's Resolutions.

What's crazy is that I usually keep most of them. Perhaps I am a goal-setter. Who knew?

This year, I've been thinking about some things that I'd like to accomplish, but they pretty much can be summed up by generalities.

Here's what I have so far:

1) Pray more.
2) Eat less.
3) Read more.
4) Spend less.
5) Clean more.
6) Eat out less.
7) Dance more.
8) Whine less.
9) Love more.
10) Envy less.

Closed for season.
Reason? Freezing.

dedicated to ET

I went to the optometrist today. I got to see a scary veiny picture of what my eye looks like on the inside. The doctor showed me a floater or two in my eyes. But I knew they were really bits of mascara. Every night, I always have a few bits of mascara floating in my eyes. They have to go somewhere.

I try every morning not to fret in the parking garage when I see a non-compact car resting in a compact car parking spot. Now that I am a compact car driver, I feel that membership should have some privileges. For all the people that think they have a compact car (when in fact they have a sedan or SUV), I dare you to a compare test with my car. It's like seeing a women's basketball team swarming the petite section clearance rack. Compact parking spots need compact cars.

I am not Santa. I do not need to eat a cookie for breakfast every morning. I do not need a cookie midnight snack.

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This post also entitled: A Very Johnny Cash Christmas

It's the holiday season, and it's time to start dressing in holiday fashions. So far, I have one dressy party, three non-dressy parties, and my family's holiday festivities for which to find outfits.

Most of my clothes consist of one color (or lack of color) palette: black. I have taken the little black dress, the little black sweater, the little black boot, and the little black pump with the little black purse to its limits. I really need to add color into my Christmas wardrobe so I don't look like I'm mourning Christmas every year.

I thought about adding some *pop* with some red shoes, but I've yet to find the pair that fit the pair I have in my imagination.

I also wanted to add a nice red sweater to my wardrobe, so I could wear it for my family's holiday get-together. I bought a nice, red, cowl neck sweater at Target which looked nice in the dressing room during my lunchtime shopping adventure. When I tried it on in front of my mirror at home, the cowl neck wouldn't lay the right way, and I kept envisioning how that neck would keep getting in my way or be filled with cookies crumbs all Christmas Eve night.

I took the red sweater back and searched the mall. I went to Forever 21, The Gap, Ross, and Target again. Nothing could be found that was the right red. I didn't want an orangey-red or too blue of a red. I wanted Rudulph's-nose-red. I didn't want it too clingy or too baggy. But no matter how difficult my own requirements were, there were very few red sweaters to be found.

I can understand why the mall stores might not carry full-on Christmas sweaters complete with bells and thistles, but I just wanted a holiday colored sweater.

On my last trip to Target, I bought a v-neck black sweater on the clearance rack. I might be mourning Christmas again this year, but who knows? Maybe I can get creative with that black sweater and put some stickers on it or something to pep it up. My hair is already red, so I should get automatic Christmas fashion points for that.

For some reason, I feel the need to post this.

My weekly grocery list:
-5 apples
-oatmeal packets
-dried cranberries
-organic milk
-frozen veggies
-spaghetti noodles
-spaghetti sauce
-chicken breast
-whole grain bread
-Laughing Cow cheese triangles
-corn tortillas
-mixed shredded cheese
-Guiltless Gourmet chips
-homemade salsa
-2 Larabars
-high-fructose corn syrup free yogurt

We had a winter miracle in Houston tonight. It SNOWED! I've seen snow many times before living in various US locations, but this snow was very special. The best part about it, was that it danced around, and then disappeared as silently as it entered our sky.

I examined the flakes to see if it was just sleet, or real snow. This was the real deal. Complete with unique flakes.

There's something so wonderful about unexpected blessings. Perhaps that should always be the true meaning of Christmas, and our focus. John the Baptist was an unexpected blessing to Elizabeth and Zechariah. Baby Jesus' birth was an unexpected (well, okay, also foretold--but the time was expected/unexpected) blessing to the world. And maybe even those crazy gifts that we give each other that can be a curse, should really be ways to give friends and family unexpected blessings.

I hope you have some unexpected blessings this season. (and I hope I do, too!)

-Did Santa ruin Christmas for Jesus? Or does he help it? It's something that I tend to think about this time of year when I see about 100 Santas a day.

-Why does the word Santa contain the same letters as Satan? Coincidence? Hmmmm...

-Is Santa's coat red because so is the blood of Jesus? Probably not.

-Jesus gives us life. Santa gives presents.

-Jesus lives in our hearts and he had twelve disciples. Santa lives in the North Pole and had twelve reindeer. Wow. Something about the number 12.

-Are there more Christmas songs about Jesus or Santa? Why are the Jesus ones considered offensive at school, but Santa gets a hall pass?

-Why did Santa get fat? I don't think Jesus was ever overweight.

Giving more like Jesus won't help the economy, but it might help a few other issues we have. [Click on Jesus]

I always thought love in a blue box meant that something was from Tiffany's, but now, my perspective has changed. I don't know if this is real love or just a feeling of being high off Vicks.

Living in Houston makes it a bit more difficult to conjure up feelings of Christmas. There might be a cold day, and I'll get really excited and pull out my winter clothing line and accessories. Before I can even find matching gloves, the weather changes back to 70 degrees.

When I think of Christmas, I have memories of being cold and also having to wonder if I will wake up to a Winter Wonderland the next day and be trapped in my house with movies and hot chocolate.

In the colder climates where I've lived, the pine trees in the stores are full, and the animals are hiberating. When you breathe out, you can see your breath. The car has to warm up for awhile (if you can get in it without the door handles being frozen). And my cheeks and nose are constantly frozen pink.

Those are the feeling of Christmas, I tell you. Times like those make you feel completely normal in a jingle bell covered red sweater walking into a pine and red-bowed filled room.

In Houston, to simulate the Christmas mode, here's what I do:

1) I put on my heavy sweater and stand in the frozen food section looking at the holiday Pillsbury selection.
2) I drive around with the A/C on looking at Christmas lights in the fancy neighborhoods.
3) I watch the ice skaters at the Galleria (this year I will hopefully skate with them!).
4) I keep my gloves handy, just in case, and sometimes, I buy a new pair at Target.
5) I start drinking hot chocolate and whatever other holiday drink Starbucks offers.
6) I attend as many Christmas parties as possible.
7) I make myself listen to Christmas music, and use that as my main shower singing track.

I've been thinking about this whole White Christmas deal. I don't think Jesus got a White Christmas in Bethlehem. So, where did the whole obsession with a White Christmas come from? I like to think it's a nice symbol of the purity of Christ and that's why we are so in awe when it happens, and not that we are the products of a Bing Crosby song's wish.

Last weekend, I also got to see Christan, Katie, David, and Jonathan. I didn't get a pic of Jon, so I'll have to take more pictures of him than all the other kids out of guilt (and because he likes pictures).

My mother and I went to visit Troy and Kim, and before our very eyes, Christmas started spilling out into the house.

Christan baked some cookies...

And served them with love.

Katie decorated the mantle with tender care.

And poor David was sent to slave away preparing the living room for the tree.

But worse than than, I think Jonathan was sent to the attic to dig out the boxes.

I can't wait until I have kids, and they're old enough to work for me.

All jokes aside, my nieces and nephews are the smartest and funniest kids in the whole world, and I know my mother will be so pleased to see this photographic evidence that they have the decorating and cleaning gene.

I have returned home from my Thanksgiving visit, a little rounder, but also well-loved, too. I got lots of sweet hugs from some little ones that I love.

Ethan feeding a deer

Marissa and Emily and their canine siblings, Sparky and Paws
Best day ever! It's pink!

Love like this can only come from a brother.

Help! With every commercial and drop in my mailbox, I feel more pressure to buy! I've already bought a car, but I guess I might better buy another to help the econony. And I better buy lots of Old Navy sweaters while I'm at it.

I bet the automakers are using that bailout money to pay for more commercial airtime:

"I really think that the talking VW bug on the mic is going to encourage more buyers. It reminds them of Herbie the Lovebug, and before you know it, wham-o! We sold another one! German engineering saves America!"

Of course poor GM doesn't have such cool commercials. The best commercials for GM are those that make you feel more American. And it's easier to feel American in the summer (you know, 4th of July, picnics, outdoor sports, rugged outdoor adventures)--so I think sales will slow down.

I do believe that it's true that puppies and babies are the best form of advertising. Put babies and puppies on anything and it's sold.

I've been addicted to weeks now to the website with the little Shiba Inu puppies. I did turn it off when they had a poop fest, but it was hard not to watch them--even when they were sleeping.

I didn't mean to start the day out cranky.

While on a work conference call, I thought I'd check on my home internet status that I recently got through the Big Brother phone company, and I discovered that it wasn't working. So, I tried some self-troubleshooting techniques and came up with no results. Then, I called the helpline.

I gave out my phone number to two different automated voices, and then was told to wait because all representatives were currently assisting other customers. When I did get a representative, she wanted to know my phone number. I told her, and then waited while she had me perform the same troubleshooting techniques I had already performed, but I went ahead and did it all again.

Then, she gave me an alpha-numeric ticket number that has about 20 characters and might also double for the secret code to start the space shuttle. She said that if the automated number did not call me back within 24 hours, that I need to call the hotline number again.

When I got to work, I got a call on my cell phone from the automated line. Then, the automated line told me, "Thanks for calling. All our representatives are currently assisting other customers. Please stay on the line. The next available representatives will be available in ___ minutes." That puzzled me. Didn't the line call me, and then they put me on hold in automated land? To quote the Olsen twins back in their diaper days--how rude! I almost wished I had picked numero dos so I could have been listening to the automated voice en espagnol for a little variety. But I waited.

Finally, after about 12 minutes, I got a real life rep on the other line. The representative wanted to know my telephone number. I told her I didn't have my DSL number, so she said I would need to call again later. She was going to hang up when I said, "Wait! This line called me, and can't you look up my phone number?" Amazingly, she did have that highly technical ability. She told me that a representative might be calling me by tomorrow, or maybe Monday they would come to my house. I explained to her that the last time I was told a tech would visit my house, they never showed. She said that this time they would call beforehand.

It all seems like such a game. We all know that the only way the DSL line will ever work again is if someone flips up the Griswald family breaker switch in the garage. This whole game of "Call this number, wait three days inside with no food by the phone, and we might call you" is not fun. And the whole cover of "our rep will call before they visit" doesn't make sense either. Why the empty promises? Just tell me the truth which might be something like this:

"Listen, lady. We have no idea what is wrong with your DSL. I am going to finish my game of solitaire and tidy up my online chat and eBay bid, and then I am going to give you a code. It's okay if you lose it, because we'll lose it, too. There are so many people that work for this company, that even though are business is communication, we have no way to communicate with each other. Also, our company has a lot of money so you as one customer have just about as much worth to us as a squirrel on one of our telephone wires. And also we have no control over our techs. We don't know where they are either. We think maybe there at home, or sitting at a Denny's. We don't know. Best case scenario, you'll need to call us about 5 more times and be on hold for at least 3 more hours before this is solved. While you're on hold, just keep visualing Tron because that's how we transmit our automated voices. It helps pass the time. Good luck."

[The statement above is not a real portrayal and is used for entertainment purposes only.]

I ate some really good Asian food yesterday. My friend, Linda, has family members in the restaurant biz, and her sister has a new restaurant in the Galleria. We ate there for a meeting with some friends from church and gorged on dumplings and rice and steak and pad thai.

I did my very best to be respectful and not eat every one of the dumplings we all shared at the table. It took major self-control. A bible verse about being in the presence of a king and eating too much kept running through my head...but I couldn't remember the exact order of the words or the context, but I knew it meant something about not eating more than everyone else at the table, or it would be better to cut off your hand or something.

Even the thought of my bloody hand at the table did not make those dumplings any less desirable. Over and over, I kept picking up my chopsticks, and then slowly kept sitting them back down as my mind wrestled.

In the end, I actually left a few. And I even left bites of dessert. Of course, those dumplings that got thrown away and the bits of chocolate wonderfulness we didn't eat still haunt me today, but I know that there will be more dumplings in my future. And the less dumplings I eat, the less I become a dumpling.

I confess that I put my makeup on while I drive. I have learned (the hard way) not to put on mascara or eyeliner unless I am at a complete stop. When looking for cars, I tried not to secretly wish that my new car would come with a vanity table and special holders for all my makeup tools. I have found out that several other ladies I know are also makeup artist drivers. I have tried to break myself from the not-so-safe habit, but it does save time on busy mornings, and if I have a wreck, at least I will have my makeup on in the ambulance.

The other morning I was thinking about my unsafe makeup application habit, when I happened to glance over at a car next to me. The male driver beside me was brushing his teeth while waiting at the light. I don't want to know the details of how he accomplished that task, but I found it fascniating. Then, later on in the day, I casually passed a Honda Civic in a parking lot, and realized that there was an electric shaver in the console. So apparently, it's not just women who get ready in their cars. For some reason, I find comfort and acceptance of my habit in this realization.

Now if I could just figure out how to shave my legs during traffic...maybe I could borrow that electric razor...

I don't know if this happens to you, but I frequently get, "You look just like _____ from that show _______."

How often I wish that those blanks could be filled with words like Blake Lively and Gossip Girl or even Vanna White and Wheel of Forture ...but my life lives out another type of fate.

Pictured below are my lookalikes per the public:


The One on the Right

My office is having a Thanksgiving Potluck on Friday. I am supposed to bring a sidedish. I am a bit nervous about my cooking abilities. I can make some pretty good Tex-Mex dishes, but that's basically just tortillas and cheese and involves the complicated cooking technique called "melting."

As a single lady, my cooking abilities aren't tested very often. I don't have a testing team (honey and the kids) who can complain about what tastes good and what tastes bad. I could experiment on my friends, but who wants to waste valuable dinner time with experiments when we could be hitting the sushi place?

I had hopes last year of cooking one new dish a month, but I wasn't too successful. Maybe I'll take some classes this year, so I can bring a souffle next year instead of OreIda fries.

I brought my own cup to Starbucks today. I thought it would give me a 25 cent discount, but the discount was just 10 cents. And I ordered a tall (12oz), but my drink was filled to the brim in my container (16oz). Maybe there is a benefit!

Also, I have a confession. The cup wasn't really my own. It actually belongs to a friend, and I've had it for over a year trying to return it to her. I guess today marked the day when I stake claim on the cup. I felt a little guilty about drinking out of it. But it is a really cute cup.

My co-worker decided that it might be easier for her to work from our downtown office. I miss her today. And I'm pretty sad that she's thinking about leaving our little work family.

I caught myself singing a song, and I think it was a heart cry of my subconscious trying to understand what was going on. Please click on this link for the song experience.

I got a haircut Saturday, and I haven't washed it yet. I had a conditioning treatment, and I was told to wait as long as possible to wash it, and now I think I'm just lazy. The cut has lots of layers and was cut to be worn straight. I have no idea what will happen when the water hits. I like the cut, but sometimes I have moments where I feel like this with all the layers:

And at other times, the hair starts getting a life of its own and can appear like this:

Tomorrow, I'm getting my haircut. With my new hairdresser, I just sit in the chair and let him work the magic. It's nice not having to figure out what I want it to look like. Sometimes I give him some basic guidelines, but I trust his opinion.

I think years of watching TLC What Not to Wear has helped me to be more trusting in other's opinion of ways to wear my hair. It's always frustrating to me to meet someone that is stuck in a hair rut, and refuses to cut the cord of their crimping iron for a new look.

Last weekend, I noticed a mother/daughter team that both had the same bad hair. It was severely bleached with 2-3 inch black roots. The ends appeared to be fried, and the hair was hanging with no life (I realize all hair is dead--but this hair was dead-dead). This duo with blonde ambition could have looked so much lovlier with a little touching up. They were both attractive women--they just had bad hair.

Sometimes, I almost have visions of starting a non-profit to help ladies with bad hair. I don't mean to sound all high-and-mighty like I have perfect hair, but I've just noticed that we ALL go through difficult hair transition times--especially through decade changes. --and when dyeing (or lack of it) is tied in to the mix, the results can be very scary.

I think I can hear the subtle click-click-click of the Holiday rollercoaster starting to take me up the hill. And I definitely feel the anticipation stirring in my belly. Now the question is, do I raise my hands and enjoy the ride? Or do I grip the safety bar and hang on for dear life?

If George Bush changed the spelling of his name to Busch, American's might stop giving him such a hard time.

Why do more people rock the vote for American Idol than President?

I felt a little cheated when even an episode of a boring lawyer show on ABC was pushing me to vote for Obama--or I'd be uncool.

The post-election process might go better if someone was elected Miss/Mr. Congeniality.

The main thing I have learned about this historical/hysterical election through the web is that our country is still both racist and sexist. No opinion poll needed.

One vote doesn't count quite as much as two.

I am doing a repeat costume today. I am a Starbucks barista. Nobody else at work dressed up. I suppose I was the only one that got the memo.

I thought about modifying the outfit so I could be a Princess Barista, but I still wanted to add on tattoos, so I didn't know if Princess and tattoos mix--I might end up looking like Paris Hilton Barista.

Next year, I think I really want to dress like a princess. Or maybe a fairy. I've spent my whole life being a clown, a cheerleader, or a nerd...and I need to realize that dressing like a princess is okay for me. Not every princess has to have flowing blonde hair or be graceful.

Maybe now I'll be a bit old to be a princess, but hey, better late than never. And princess also kind of means the boss, so that means I can be a princess if I say I'm a princess--I make the rules. Or then I'd be a queen...no wonder I never was a princess. The monarchy system is so complicated.

Sometimes I wonder: Can I bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan?

I confess I was a bad voter. I brought along my voting guide to my early voting experience and only thumbed through it a few times to look at the views of the Railroad Commissioner (I don't even know what that role is).

The rest of my voting experience was pretty much just voting for my party, with the exception of a few people I personally know or have seen a lot of signs for. What I'm most frustrated with myself about is the fact that the local dudes will probably make more decisions that effect me personally (and my vote will have a greater % impact), and I casually just picked names that sounded familiar.

I am prolife/anti-death penalty, but does it matter if my railroad commissioner feels that way, too? I wish the election could go beyond life/death and could be focused on civil liberties or laws beyond legal ways to end life.

I've been thinking that if most Democrats are usually pro-choice but anti-death penalty, and Repulicans are usually pro-life but pro-death penalty, then the conflict is really when we want to kill something. At which cell stage do we want to kill it--a few weeks past zygote or the prison stage? I vote life all around, myself. Save the cells!!!

Why do people in the parking garage at work who have unassigned places park in the same place every day?
I noticed a similar phonemenon when I was a teacher and didn't assign students seats. They normally would sit in the same general area everyday, and basically unconsciously assign themselves a seat.
Perhaps sameness is comforting. And I suppose sometimes our cars park in that work spot a little more often than they do in their place at home or anywhere else.
I have this vision that I'll be able to run strange reports in heaven--like track my patterns on the earth. I guess the Garmin watch would do that for me, but I don't really want to attach a GPS device to my body. I prefer to live free.

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I remember hearing about the disturbances of the Kenyan Presidential elections. I wondered how a county that had come so far, could fall apart with an election announcement. But the current election we are in is making me a bit tense. I am not one who appreciates conflict. Some people thrive on it. And they're good at it. I'm more of a peacemaker, so election time sends me a bit over the edge. Neither candidate is the Messiah. And honestly, our President is pretty much a figurehead at times.

I'm not into angry crowds, and I feel like both sides on this election are angry. They're angry at W. They're angry at banks. They're angry at oil companies. They're angry at teachers. They're angry at taxes. I'm not angry at anybody.

Since we all have an opinion, here's mine (for today), I think our moral compass is so off that we're trying to make politics define it, and it's not going to work--no matter how good any program or law or tax cut is that we establish.

Americans have a sin problem. And an irresponsiblity problem. We eat too much, drink too much, swear too much, spend too much, and wonder why our lives aren't perfect (I'm not saying that just by being "good" all our problems would be solved either).

We have the tendency to be a country of Numero Unos. We have to let our desire for success grow into encouraging others to succeed as well. Instead of pointing to politicians to solve our problems, we all as individuals need to face our own problems.

Remember how the fish in Finding Nemo all had to swim up to save themselves? We need to do that. We all need to swim up--or look up--beyond what our instincts tell us. Whether swimming up means picking yourself up by your bootstraps or just being kind to those around you, do it. And encourage those around you to swim up, too.

Oh dear. I think I just wrote a campaign speech. Ugh! The election!!

It's technically fall, but in Houston, it's not quite here yet. It is almost time to start pulling out a few layers, and I am so excited to wear one of my favorite clothing items--the cardigan.

In my mind, I pretend I look like this:

But in reality, I probably wind up a little more like this:

It's a delicate balance.

Last night, we got together all the Houston YL groups. The last time that we met, we had some difficulty with a few of the students we brought getting into a confrontation with students from another school. We were a bit anxious about bringing our students back again this year, but were hoping that by-gones were by-gones, and that the presence of the po-po would help.
Things seemed to be going well, and in ex-teacher fashion, I made sure I sat by the kids that didn't want me sitting by them. There were probably 250 kids at the event. All of the sudden, the kids sitting by me moved out in a group, and before I knew it there was a wave of confrontation right in my midst. This is the third time this has happened to me. Somehow, I am always in the middle of the mess. It ended quickly, and then about 20 minutes later, to my left, was another wave. This time, I saw the same kid that was involved in the confrontation in the same situation this year.
When it happened last year, I was so frustrated with him. I didn't know him, but his tattoos, gold tooth, and tough attitude turned my attitude towards being negative towards him. I had wished that he hadn't been allowed to come.
Over the last year, my heart towards him has softened. He has a few new tattoos (one of his mom's name), but more importantly, I saw him accept Christ at camp. And when I see him now, instead of snarling at me and everyone else in his path, he smiles. And when we share the word, he listens.
I love this kids and am so blessed to visibly see God work in his life. So last night, when I saw him in the midst of fists, my heart hurt. The disturbance was quickly settled, and I guess to his credit, he calmed down faster this year.
His behavior made me think. I thought about how Christ has changed me, but sometimes when I am in old scenarios, the same attitudes and actions can quickly flow out. I pray he continues to morph into the man God has created him to be. I pray that he knows that he is a new creation--the old has gone, the new has come. And that God loves him even in the middle of his mess.
In the car on the way home as I drove through the fifth ward, a few of the young man's friends explained to me what the issue was from their side. They said the other kids were wannabees in the hood. In their eyes, those kids lived in nice homes and had good lives, but wanted to be bad, because it was cool. The kids in my car all said that they didn't have a choice. Whether they liked it or not, they had all seen someone shot. I tried to remember if I had seen someone shot, and I don't think I have (hope I never do).
Lots of times when the kids leave my car, my heart hurts. Because I wish I could protect them all and keep them in a little bubble. And because I see their potential and hope and pray that they are wise, and make good choices. Teenagers of all SES levels can sometimes flip so easily from right path to wrong path.
It's such a blessing to be with these kids even if it's just for a small part of their life. I am so blessed with getting the privilege of knowing these kids.

Recently, more and more of my friends are getting really cool video games like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and SingStar. Since I am a karaoke queen (and former band member on the '07 tour of ITM), I naturally am gifted at these games. Therefore, they are even more fun.
I wish I had these games at home, but I don't see it in my budget to pay high dollar for a gaming system. I just got a real ipod, people. And that was only because I got a gift card for it. I have trouble justifying spending money on it. But my friends who own these systems have husbands that already bought the gaming systems (guys can easily spending top dollar on gaming systems with no regrets), so now they just had to buy the game to go with the system. I don't think their husbands are too thrilled with their wives practicing their tunes all the time, but I am so glad that my friends own these games, so I can visit and use the system.
If I had it, I would probably annoy my neighbors. But if by chance, anyone has an old gaming system around because now they have the Wii or something cool like that, let me know if you'd like to loan it to me for awhile.

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It's almost time.
I've only seen HSM1 once, but it was love at first sight with the teen King, Zac Efron. I am waiting for Netflix to bring me HSM2, and then my plan is to draft some YoungLife kids to go with me to see HSM3, so I won't look too suspicious going to the movie.


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I never really blog about work, because I like my job, and I want to keep it, but I am sharing this brief scene from today:

My cube is at an entry-key-only door.

Someone must have forgot their key card, so the person was just knocking on it lightly, so I went to the door and said, "What's the password?"

The person on the other side said, "Uh..I'm the president of the company."

Indeed, it was.

Just another day in my bizarro life.

I've been pretty much a politics-avoider during this election year. Everyone seems to be so tense, that it is almost more reasonable and quiet to have a discussion over religion.
All politicians are pushing for change, but what I would like, is to keep things the same--but that's impossible. Change is inevitable. It's going to happen for the better or worse whether we like it or not. Seasons change, leaves change, and our own bodies are constantly changing.
Or maybe we need to look back and do what worked before. We need a politician to look back and say, "Hey, remember the good old days? Let's try that again! Let's redo the 80's! Whoooo-hooo! Bring back the Cabbage Patch Kids and Rubik's cubes! Wham? Where are those guys? Let's make MTV play videos again! And let's put Adam Curry back on the air!"
I've been reading the Old Testament over the last few months, and it's interesting the history that keeps repeating. When a king is found, some do a good job, and some are just plain evil. The ones that did the best are the kings that love and serve God and remove the high places of the other gods that are being worshipped. If they don't remove those high places, then low and behold, some crazy group gets together and starts sacrificing there.  
Pray for our country. I don't think the election of the President can swing us completely back on track to honoring God, but who knows what God has planned. Is it possible for our country to really evaluate wrong and right that we've done? Maybe our country can't, but I can as one individual citizen. And you can, too. And hopefully the new guy that's elected can, too. God help us.

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I went to see my dentist. She is a Russian dentist, and is really tough on me. Since I take great pride in my dental care, I like having a dentist that demands excellence.
She complimented me on my tooth care, but also said I need to make sure I drank enough water, took vitamins, and calcium. Like a soothsayer (or toothsayer, hee-hee!), she could tell that I was a gum chewer. And she recommended that I not chew gum as much, but if I did, chew gum with xylitol. She also said to limit my chewing to 15 minutes. After that, it can wear away enamel.
I asked her if she was that one dentist--you know, the 1 out of 5 that doesn't recommend stuff.

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Read this article: Vampire Electronics.
I've been turning off more appliances that shamelessly suck power when not in use. My electric bill was only $30 this month.
Okay! Okay! I also did not have power for an entire week due to Ike. And, my electric company is taking an average of my bills, and then will charge me more later because they are the head vampires of my wallet.
Anyway, the point is to look out for things that you can turn off. I've got my t.v., dvd, vcr (still have one), and stereo plugged into a power strip, and I just turn the whole thing off during the day. I'm pretty excited about seeing if this makes a difference on my power bill. Because I'm a geek, but at least I'm not a vampire!

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My co-worker is feeling ill, so I recommended Airborne, which led to us talking about Wal-borne, which led to us thinking about the guy who has the job of naming all the generic Walgreens' products.

We found this list on line. My favorite name is Wal-Phed, but Wal-itin is pretty good, too. I was disappointed there is not a Wal-enol.

I think I already wrote you one good-bye letter, but here's another. I remember when I first test drove you with Mac, and he said, "Act like you don't like it when we get back to the lot." And as soon as we got back, he said, "It was great!" to the sales guy. Dr. Mac wasn't buying the thing, but I forgave him, because he helped give me a guy's opinion on it, and you were great.

Jeep, I have loved you as my wheels. I apologize for letting old boyfriends drive you from time to time. And thanks for letting my mom drive you despite the intermittent pedal-pressing thing she does. And thank you for not breaking down on me except for that one time in Austin where Kelley rescued me: "Kelley, I'm in Austin. I drove in for the day. Now I am stuck on the road--I guess I'll rent a car. I needed someone to know where I was." "Beth. Can I talk now? I'm in Austin. I'll come get you."

You were a great hauler of stuff, too. Remember when I was at IKEA and called T-Lo to see if he needed anything, and he had me pick him up a bookshelf because he knew I had a jeep?

And I apologize for all the times I called you "car." I didn't really know what to identify you as. My car. My truck. My jeep. I always thought that if I said "jeep," people would picture me as Daisy Duke (sans Bo/Luke/short shorts/brown hair/Uncle Jesse).

Thanks for being a good ride to haul Young Life kids around town these last few years. You looked just pimping enough to pass through any unknown neighborhood I needed to go in (or got lost in) with some authority.

You've been a good jeep. Please be good to your next owner. I can see it in his eyes that he likes driving you. Sorry you didn't get to retire in Colorado, but it gets cold there, and you are used to Texas.

So long, blue Jeep. It's been a good ride.


Brenda introduced me to a new Starbucks option: the breve misto. Not only is it fun to say, it's cheaper.
So far, I've tried it like this:
- Short, breve misto with one pump of caramel
result: a bit too coffee tasting
price: just under $2.87
- Short, breve misto with two pumps of dulce de leche
result: just right
price: just under $3
- Short, soy misto with one pump of cinnamon de leche
result: needs to be sweeter
price: $2.17

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Sometimes I feel weird eating strawberries.
Berry weird.

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My cell phone usage has been counted incorrectly. I normally don't really pay much attention to the call detail, so I got out my trusty calculator and did some figuring. I was told via the online system that my cell usage was 450 of my daytime minutes, plus my 7 rollover minutes, plus 90 additional minutes (at 45 cents a pop). The number had jumped in a huge way from one day to the next, so that's why I thought something must be wrong. I am a talk-aholic (with some friends with the same disease), but those conversations are always on night and weekend times.
I figured up that I had only used 389 of my 450 minutes, plus 0 rollover, plus 0 additional minutes. After talking over the discrepancy will my cell provider, they said the system should correct itself, but they would put a special note on my account. Also, they said they would give me 500 rollover minutes to cover any other mishaps. Hmmm...
This morning I checked the previous month's statement. Last month, I was left with only 7 rollover minutes. But when I added all my daytime usage, I found I had only used 328 minutes, which means I should have been left with 122 rollover minutes last month. And who knows how my other bills have been jacked up!
Maybe my rollover minutes got milky. Whatever the case, the experience has left me soured.

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As the storm surge rushed into Galveston, the newscasters were catching all the news. And apparently someone was trying to get their 15 minutes of fame in a bearsuit. If you are the person in a bearsuit, what were you thinking?!!

I'm now the owner of a Scion xD, so my Jeep needs to find a new home. Sorry to say, I had some thoughts that the Jeep might get an assisted suicide from Ike by become victim to a falling tree. Ike had a tree fall right behind my Jeep, damaging the back wiper a bit. But that was it. I still have about a million hidden pine needles to find.

The Caffey's neighbors woke up in the middle of the night to a tree coming in on their bedroom ceiling. Yikes!

I met an 86 year old man at Central Market on Sunday. We ate lunch together at the coffee bar. He gave me his card, and asked for my number, so I gave it to him.  After I wrote down the number, he got out a magnifying glass to read it. He also ate almond butter with his own gold spoon. And he kept telling me he had the secret to living to be 125.
I don't think I want to live to 125. But right now, I am on the Abraham/Sarah track for family planning, so we'll see what God has planned!

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Saturday morning, I experienced some pretty sweet joy. I absent mindedly turned on the bathroom light, and discovered something amazing -- electricity!!
During this time of the great Houston blackout, I thought about my trip a few years back to Kenya. My sweet friend, Mr. Mayoli, lives in his village with rainwater and no electricity. And it's a pretty comfortable life.
Maybe it's just the spirit of Mr. Mayoli which helps him not to mind not having those conveniences. Before becoming a widower, he lived for many years in the city, and during his retirement, moved back to the village where he grew up. I tried to keep a positive attitude and be grateful for things I did have: cool air (provided by God) and hot water (also provided by God through my gas water heater).
In Houston, not having lights has created a panic. Everyone rushes to the be the first to have every available D-battery in town (I'm assuming that one person hogged them all, because it took me days to find a store that had them). And finding a flashlight is like finding a brick of gold. I really wanted a flashlight that doubled as a latern, but did not have the luxury of finding anything nearly as cool as that during the high-demand.
Over and over again, the best thing that I've heard that has happened during these days (Lord, please not weeks) of no power, is getting to know/talk to neighbors. It's bizarre that the lights have to go out to realize that people are home.
I sometimes get frustrated with the constant noise of the city, but when all the power stopped working, and everything was dark and quiet, it was pretty scary. I wasn't really that scared of predators, mainly just roaches and possums.
So, thanks to the power company and friends for lighting my world. And prayers for all the workers' safety, and for those who are far from home helping out the Houston area.

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I have one lamp in my house that is being powered by a DieHard Portable Power thing. It's so amazing to have a light after the dark. I've learned lessons during this time, but my thumbs are too tired to type it.
Modern pioneers suffer from different ailments than old school pioneers such as tired thumbs from excessive PDA use for entertainment.

Having no power makes me feel powerless.
Actually, things are going pretty well. I have a portable battery to take home tonight, and I have a battery powered fan. It was really bizarre the favor that was shown to me at the Ace Hardware store. I had never been in that store in my life, and I was being treated like I was the President of Ace Hardware or something.
I keep hearing over and over at work how this storm has helped neighbors to feel closer. I've heard stories of families that got so close that they bumped heads with arguments, and others that have been blessed by the compassion and community of their neighbors.
Houston is a fast city. Something that had kind of been flowing through my mind a few weeks ago was the pace of the city. The cars move fast. The people move fast. The chips and salsa move fast. It's hard to fit everything I need to do into the day. And I sometimes feel like life is going so fast, I'm not doing the things that are most meaningful.
I know that God's glory will prevail no matter what the circumstance looks like, and I believe His glory is shining through the craziness of this storm. I am comforted knowing that God is bigger than any storm, whether literal or figurative, that comes in life. I am comforted by the ways He has physically and emotionally comforted me, when I don't deserve it. He shows me grace. I pray I can be that to people around me right now. Others before myself--a difficult concept to live out as a high-maintenance American woman.

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Starter questions:
1. Is your family okay?
2. Did you get any damage?
3. Did you stay in town?
4. Do you have power?
Follow up questions:
1. Have you found a place that has gas?
2. When do you go back to work?
3. Have you talked to anybody else we know?/Did you know anyone that was in Galveston?
4. Is your cable working?
Next set of questions:
1. Would you evacuate next time?
2. Do you have cable?
3. Is your pool green?
4. Can I come over?
Beth's answers:
1. Family is in KY; lost power with a post-Ike wind storm, but they are okay. I'm fine.
2. I have no damage to my casa.
3. I did stay in town with the Caffey family. THANK YOU CAFFEY FAMILY and neighbors!
4. I still do not have power.
1. Lines are too long.
2. Today, I'm at work. There's water here! We lost some windows, but now they are fixed.
3. Everybody is doing pretty good.
4. No cable to begin with. I'm hoping they'll forget and turn mine on by mistake for free. :)
NS of ?:
1. Yes. It was too scary.
2. See above.
3. Pool is green.
4. Come on over, but bring a light!

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I'm taking advantage of electricy and a wireless link at the minute. I'm hunkered down in the Northwest side of Houston waiting...for what I don't know.

This morning, I opened up my bible and read what it unfolded to, which happened to be Nahum--not very encouraging text for times like these. But nonetheless, I read it, and prayed for whatever might happen today.

My friend, Lisa, and her family have offered me a great haven. We've got boarded windows, closets to hide in, and more food than you can imagine. Lisa's mom just left to go check on her grandmother a street over, and I just heard Lisa yell to her mom, "No looting!"

So far, the storm surge is already bringing a lot of water into Galveston. There are many idiots appearing on t.v. One lady had two little blonde girls and explained to the newscaster she couldn't get out because she had animals. She had her girls at the beach to show them how strong the storm was. Then, the top idiot, was unidentified, because he was wearing a bearsuit. I thought I had seen it all. But dancing in a bearsuit in the hurricane surf? I had wished my city and area would handle the disaster with some class.

My friend, Eric, sent me a message that I would probably be experiencing the connectedness of neighbors, and he's right. People seem to have let their guard down, and communicate more easily with each other as strangers connected by craziness. The neighbors in this community helped us board up all the windows today which was such a sweet gift. I got to help a bit. It was my first ever hurricane boarding session. Lisa's mom even let me decorate the boards with spray painted messages.

Our biggest fear now is tornadoes that spin off of the hurricane, and also being without power for maybe days. Who knows.

My brother told me that gas in Owensboro, Ky was $5. CRAZY! I guess the whole country will feel the effect of this hurricane on Houston. We always knew we were an important city!

We've all torn ourselves away from the news for a little while. And are finally calming down after a hectic morning of last minute preperations.

I keep thinking of more and more friends that are out there...somewhere...and I hope and pray they are all safe.

Everytime I close my eyes I see a big swirling Ike moving ominously towards the armpit of America I call home. Please keep praying for us. Quite a few of us live here.

All things to God's glory.

It's hurricane season. That means, if you're a Gulf Coast inhabitant like myself, you spend a lot of time on websites like stormpulse.com. It's a bizarre feeling to be waiting and watching for hurricanes. You make plans for work and weekends, and then, everything can suddenly be put on hold, and you're no longer worried about Britney's second comeback on the VMAs or the Palin family, but you worry about things such as food, water, and air conditioning!
As a child, our family had safety plans. Because our house was really old with windows that wouldn't budge, our fire plan was for me to break the window, place my quilt over the glass and crawl out. We never did a practice, but I always believed it would work.
On a few occasions, we got stuck in our house in snowstorms. During one, all my other friends were stuck on campus, but I was with my mom and dad, and we had to drive the 5 miles of curvy roads to get to my grandmother's house so we could have heat.
In Houston, it's a different type of preparation. As we wait for Ike, the buzz starts building. A little less than two days before projected landfall, there is a slight sense of nervousness and tension in the air. In a way, it's exciting to have work canceled, but on the other hand, life is severely interrupted. And you're left with worry. Everything you own could either be waterlogged, molded, or blown to the next town when you get back. You don't know. Your neighborhood gas station has a line of cars that wraps around the street. Water bottles are more precious than gold. Canned food is a delicacy.
And you start to wonder about everyone you know. What are they going to do? Where will they be?
I have many gracious friends that know I'm a loneranger Richards out here in Texas, so they have been kind enough to provide safe havens for me. I'm planning on spending my time with the Caffey family. They're precious friends, and in a weird way, I'm looking forward to spending time with them, despite the circumstances.
So, we'll see what's in God's plan. Happy Little Trees could become Happy Little Stubs, but whatever happens, God is good. All the time. For that is His nature.
Please say a prayer for all the Gulf Coast peeps on the road and those hunkering down.

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Well, America, it's time.

After Hurricane Ike has left the building, I'm going to buy a baby Scion. That means, my beloved Jeep needs a new home.

If you know anyone who is interested in purchasing a lovely Jeep Cherokee Sport (2WD, 90K miles, nice aluminum wheels, new tires, cruise control, power everything, 1yr old battery, recent oil change, easy to take over bumps) for a price around $4,000(will also except Canadian dollars or Starbucks and Target gift cards equivalent in value), please let me know.

I love this Jeep. We've had some good times.

I realize that I really might need Jeep therapy after I sell it, and that has been factored into the price. My dad had a Jeep for years when he worked for different oil companies. Being in the Jeep feels like home. In a sense, it kind of has been my home. (No worries potential buyers, the interior is still super sharp!)

Me and the Jeep have laughed together. We've cried together. It puts up with my radio singing and station surfing. It has moved my belongings all around town.

But it's time.

I pray that it's next adventures will be just as fun as the adventures it had with me. I pray that the future owner will be blessed by owning the Jeep.

Pictured above is my little Jeep hanging out at Camp Olympia. My Jeep has lived a city life, and would prefer to retire to the country, but loves Houston. It's a great Jeep. I will miss it.

I have a hard time avoiding this in the grocery store. But I manage. I just slowly drive the cart away. Very slowly.

A friend of mine told me about the wonders of the NYC Ballet Workout DVDs. So, I ordered them on Netflix and have been quite pleased by the fun I am having.
When I was a kid, the main dance teacher in the county was Miss Debbie. I always wished I could be slathered with Mary Kay makeup and in a sparkly tutu with the rest of the kids and take her classes. But because I was the youngest of three children growing up in a poor farming and coal mining community (insert sad fiddle playin' here), my parents didn't have the resources to send me to Miss Debbie. I could be typing this blog post from NYC right now on my break from rehearsal for Swan Lake, but because the plan was different, I am just a wanna-be post-30 ballerina doing DVD work-outs.  
Okay! Okay! I had everything I ever needed/wanted and more as a child, and I probably enjoyed making up my own dance routines in the kitchen more than I would have enjoyed Miss Debbie's studio.
The DVDs are a bit weird to do in the living room, but it really is fun. And I am really thinking about purchasing some ballet shoes if I prove to be dedicated to my new found artistic movement. And I'm hoping it will help with my posture. It also gives new purpose to wearing my hair in a bun.

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I read an article yesterday in my Health magazine that said people that have dogs can lose about 14 pounds in a year. It's probably because they have no appetite after picking up dog doo and serving stinky dog food.
I still want a dog. I just have to get my back patio area all ready. I need to landscape a special area for business meetings for the pup. If I can figure out how to put a doggie door in my sliding glass door, I'll be really ready.

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I get updates from InStyle magazine that tell me how to dress for less in a movie star's outfit. It's a great little tool. This week's look-for-less included a lovely J. Crew top for $15. I didn't think J. Crew sold anything for $15, except for maybe last year's rafia belt. I did some clicking, and found several J. Crew items on sale.
I normally have a tendency to avoid catalog clothes shopping. It scares me. Items frequently fit me different than they appear on the mannequin, so I figure the same applies to J. Crew's or any other catalog's models. And I hate messing with shipping items back and forth. I don't find the process to be convenient or cost effective, since shipping can add at least $7 to the item.
But, I was going to put aside my opinions on catalog clothing shopping and splurge for a fun top or two from the J. Crew sale, and then I got two e-mails:
1) The first e-mail was from my friend who is going back to Kenya soon, and will be able to take some money to the recently orphaned girls I met there. The three young teenage girls are supporting themselves. My friend also told me of how helpful the $500 that we gave two years ago was to the girls.
2) The next e-mail was from a friend in Cuba right now. He told about many families there that had lost homes. He said that some homes were basically shanties, so they blew away easily.
After these two e-mails, my J. Crew tops seemed less appetizing. When I got back from Kenya two years ago, I didn't buy anything for a long time. I realize that there can be extremes to spending and not spending. But in the matter of J. Crew, I really don't need those tops. And I know by just cutting out some little extras, I can do a lot for someone else.

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I don't know if I'll vote for the boys, but this girl has promise. Wikipedia link attached.
Hello! She played tough basketball, eloped, has five kids, and still keeps her lipstick fresh! I like her already, and I just met her.

Why do I keep trying to figure out which SNL character will play her?

Sometimes I wonder... 
Learned to walk and talk, learned to bike. Passed all my achievement tests. Made the grade. Finished middle school without too many pimples or being too embarrassed. Finished high school well enough to go to college. Finished college. Got some jobs. Got some paychecks. Paid most of my bills. Moved around the country. Took some trips. Made more friends. Dated. Broke-up. Repeat. Exercised. Cleaned. Did laundry. Grocery shopped. Went to church. Read the word. Went to movies. Laughed. Cried. Flossed.
I've done all these things and sometimes I find myself still feeling like I'm waiting. What in the world am I waiting on? To be debt-free? To be married? To have kids? To finally finish all the books I've started reading? For the next American Idol season to start? 
I wish I could say that I was just waiting on the Lord. Which is what I should be doing. But I've become trained from my society that I must check off my American citizen list. I think it ends with waiting for your last social security check to come in.
Sweet Jesus, may I wait for you, may I long for you, above all the good/bad/ugly things of this world.
Psalm 38:9
All my longings lie open before you, O Lord;
       my sighing is not hidden from you.


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I'm feeling weak as a kitten today. I've been using every homeopathic remedy I can find, because I bought my get-out-of-the-city ticket yesterday, and I want to soak up every second of the beautiful NC mountains when I'm there this weekend.
I just got off the phone with another friend who says she has had the same sickness. She swears she picked it up from our other friend when they were sharing microphones. Yes, that does make them sound like real American Idols, but they just play it on t.v.
I think I picked up my illness from the last Astros game I went, too. If Matthew McConnaughey has the sniffles on this weeks episode of E! News, I'll know he was at the game, and spread his cold to me by touching the same door I did. When you have a celebrity cold, it makes being sick feel kind of special.

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This car definitely did not have that "new car smell." I can still smell it in my mind--maybe the distinct odor came  the items on top getting a little wet, and then baking in the sun on long Route 66 drives.
I've been feeling a bit of nostalgia with my Jeep again. What happens to my Jeep after I part with it? What if it one day winds up in a Whole Foods store with debris spilling from its gills? I couldn't take it.
Maybe I watched too much Herbie Goes Bananas as a kid. I have to remember that cars don't have a soul. Christine was not possessed; it was just a creepy car. Kit really didn't have a witty personality. Lightning McQueen is fictional.
But there is a part of me that struggles with this disbelief. I guess the same struggle I dealt with when parting with Teddy, my scraggly panda bear.
Cars are just metal boxes that get us from one place to the next. Really. That's all they are.
Man, that hurts.
I'm sorry Jeep!! I didn't mean it! I still love you! And you, too, family station wagon...wherever you are...

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Long John Silver's used to be one of my favorite places to eat as a kid. I loved to order the kids' special of fish and fries (aka chips for the Brits). I'd usually make a beeline to the treasure chest by the back door to see what tiny plastic treasure would be spit out after I fed the chest my pirate coin. After we got our greasy goodness served up, then I'd begin the journey to collect as much ketchup as possible.  The next tradition would be to settle into the booth and wait my turn to drench my fish in malt vinegar. Normally, I'd have to reapply the vinegar halfway through to probably soak the fish again for extra tanginess. 
Vinegar normally conjures up smells of dyeing Easter Eggs for me, but it also takes me back to those glory days at Long John Silver's. Oh! The crunchy fried bits! Loved 'em!
Too bad now I know that place clogs my pipes, and I should never eat there again. One of my neighbors from home actually had a heart attack right after eating there. Not a happy story.
One of my friends recently brought a bag of salt and vinegar chips to share with me. I try to not invite chips or vampires into my home, because both are tempting and evil. Last night while trying to figure out what new healthy items I can buy, I found myself in the chip aisle.
The chip aisle is trying to portray itself as harmless. I know the truth, but I succumbed, and bought a bag of potato poppers ("popped, because baking and frying are evil, but popped potatoes are wholesome"--yeah, right!). They had the secret tangy salt and vinegar chips in popped form, which had half the fat. The plan was to open the bag in the car, and try about 10 chips. I tried to space out eating them between neighborhood stoplights. And then while at a light, I received a stressful text that a friend's mother was ill, and I started stress eating all the way home. So then, I was left with trying to come to terms if I ate 1/2 the bag yet or not, or maybe just a 1/3 of the bag.
I used to hate salt and vinegar chips. Now, my taste buds have been forever bitten by the flavor. I will spend my life bloated and on high blood pressure medicine, but with a smile. ;)

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Miss Debbie is at the Olympics again! (Click on the link to see her pic.)
I worked with Debbie (and also the lovely Miss Nell and the always joyful Mrs. Mo) at First Baptist in Tahoe City my first semester out of college. Miss Debbie has been blessed with getting to be a missionary to the Olympic games. I'm so proud of her for continuing her legacy. She loves the games...and she loves Jesus.  Please pray for her and her team.

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My church had a special event for people who had been in the singles ministry for a long time. I was kind of thinking the event might be an evening where they were just going to pair us all up and host a record ceremony for the largest Christian wedding service in history.
Last night, none of us got married. And no one used the event as an opportunity to announce an engagement (which would have been awkward).
We listened, got fed (spiritually and physically), and finally got to mingle some. The mingling is my favorite part. But sometimes I have a difficult time in large groups of good friends, because I'm like an anxious puppy trying to greet everybody at one time. It's hard to have meaningful conversations with 200 people (unless you're Oprah and get a stage), but it is fun for me to try and make it happen.
I would be a really good speed dater. I might try to see if we can add that element into the event next year.
Kidding aside, I've been really blessed by my church. It's a great place. And I'm very, very thankful for all the sweet friendships I've made there--even if they haven't led to romance. These are people that I've laughed with, cried with, and laugh 'til I've cried with.
Sometimes in a life, we're led to believe that you've reached your deep friendship quota--in high school...or college...or whatever. But through the singles ministry at my church, I've had the opportunity to share new life experiences and have my precious friends quota keep increasing. It's such a sweet gift.

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I hit an non-moving object in the parking garage today. It was a little silver cabinet that holds fire safety supplies like an extinguisher and a hose. I was trying to back out of a tight spot and not hit any cars when I felt the car scraping something. Now, I have 6 inch indentation on my car, and the little cabinet looks like its supposed to be in a Salvador Dali painting.
I told the management company what I did. Now, I'm waiting for the verdict. Can I buy a replacement cabinet on Craig's List?
Also, I am planning on getting a newer car soon. I've been eyeing everything from a Lexus IS250, to a Mazda 3, to a Mini, to a Prius...and now I think I just need a high mpg car that is encircled with bubble rap or something. It might be a Civic that can double as an Art Car Parade participant.

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I finally figured out that NBC doesn't show events until way later, and I can figure out who won, by just searching the internet.
I read about Nastia's gold/silver issue and then got to see it last night on t.v. Nastia lost the gold by some weird gymnastics scoring method. It would have made more sense if the judges had put the scores into a Sudoku game and come up with a winner. Even though I knew the result, it was still hard to watch the disappointment on her and her father's faces.
Tonight, we will see Shawn finally get the gold! She's been such a trooper through this whole thing.
Being a competitive gymnast myself from age 12 to 13, I understand things that the typical viewer might not get (DeeDee, if you are reading this by some chance--or anyone from the Tichenor family--please don't fall over laughing right now). :) When you enter the floor, you are taught to walk with your chest out, head high, and to do this little dance-like thing with your hands to show your professionalism and poise. None of the other gymnasts have been entering the arena that way, but little Shawn also walks in that way. It makes me giggle that she is a good game player from start to finish.
And I love her smile. Nastia is the epitome of grace and beauty as she performs, but Shawn is just cute as a button. I'm so glad that she won a gold. God bless her. Somebody hurry up and put that kid on a Wheaties box!

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All day long, I've been picturing myself as an Olympian. I can't stop doing that muscle prep shake thing like the swimmers and gymnast do before their events. It does probably look a little bit funny when I do that in the break room at work, but it does help loosen me up a bit.

We're doing a mini Biggest Loser contest with a few people at work. So far, I've lost 4 pounds. That means, I'm a strong competitor. Anyway, Monday is the half-way point, and I already have three engagements planned for the weekend where eating healthy and time for exercise are not included. My only hope would be to drive out to the Biggest Loser campus for the weekend with my special trainers and cooks.

Tonight's dinner is at Vic & Anthony's, so I'll be losing in the bank account department and possibly experiencing calorie overload at the same time. Oh boy. I need a miracle, but not food poisoning!! ...just the ability to eat wisely amongst temptation. Oh, the trials of being an American!

I don't think my winning by losing is going to happen.

My little niecey has grown up. She's now 18. She starts college on Monday. It seems unbelieveable.

She came to visit me last Saturday, and we had so much fun.

I'm so blessed with great nieces and nephews. They're all so amazing.

Here's what Christan and I did:

We ate.

We cheered.

We pondered.

We Starbucked.

And then said good-bye. :(

Good luck in college, Christan! I'm so excited for you!

Well, the iPhone will have to wait to be a part of my family. I can't fit it into my budget right now. So, I wandered into BestBuy yesterday to check into an add I saw in the paper since my Palm 650 hand-me-down had suffered some recent injuries. I walked out with a FREE Palm Centro! It's blue and cute. And it was also seen on the move 27 Dresses. I have Sudoku downloaded on it, so it is quite a fun toy right now.

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I wasn't going to get Olympic fever this year. I've seen the Olympics many, many times. It's no longer a novelty. I was over it.
On Friday during the Opening Ceremonies, I did happen to flip through some channels, and noticed a neat little Q-bert display set to music. I had never seen anything like that before. It was pretty interesting. So, I guess my heart started to soften towards the rings again.
Then, on Sunday night. It hit. I was cheering for the men's freestyle relay team. I was yelling at the t.v. for the guys to kick harder and swim faster...my heart was thumping...my fist were clenched...I had the fever!! U! S! A! And they won!
My niece kept laughing over and over at the replay of Michael Phelps' excitement. His expression was priceless. I couldn't find the pic of him that demonstrates it as it was shown, and as we imitate, so the one shown will have to do.

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As a kid, I loved to ride in the back of a truck. It wasn't that pleasant for a really long trip, but was perfect for providing the closest thing you get to a convertible experience when you live in the country. I loved the wind in my hair, and having to squint to protect my eyes from dust. And I liked the danger aspect of hanging on for dear life just in case we hit a bump, and I got propelled out of the back.
In Houston, 99% of the people I see in the back of the truck are Hispanic men. Apparently, it's more of a blue collar thing here, and not used for fun rides for kids (actually a law was passed in 2001 that you have to be over 18 in Texas to ride in an opened truck bed - bummer).
Another interesting thing about the men in the back of the truck is that they somehow think that the best way to use their time is to see if they can pick up not only a job, but also a woman driver. On Saturday, on the way to pick up my niece at the airport, I had to drive behind a truck with some men in the back. My thoughts were: 'Eyes on the road. Straight ahead. Adjust radio. Stay distracted. Pretend they are not there.' I could feel four sets of eyes sizing me up through my car window, just waiting for me to look over.
Later that evening with my 18-year-old niece in the car, we encountered a similar scenario, right at the 59/610 split. I said, 'Hey, Christan, see the guys in the back of the truck...'
I was going to tell her that they usually always flirt, and right then, like I had sad the magic words bringing the situation to life, the men began to stand up in the back and make kissey faces at us, even using hand motions. It was priceless. Thank God for the split, as they headed off to Sugarland, and we headed home.
I mean, seriously, is that the way to get a date? It would be kind of funny if my single friends and I spent an evening riding around in the back of a truck romanically terrorizing Houston single men on the freeway with kissey faces and oogling eyes. Actually, it does sound kind of fun...maybe those Latino lovers on wheels really do know the secret to romance.