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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