I haven't even thought about my resolutions yet, but I always make them, so I will make them again this year. Sometimes they aren't really resolutions, but goals. --Kind of like a yearly bucket-list evaluation.

Here's my list for 2010 (and geez! Shouldn't our cars be flying by now?):

1) This year's main workout goal will be to be able to run a loop around Rice University again.

2) Do some laps in the pool at least once a month.

3) Adjust the amount of weight I use on my assisted pull-up by ten pounds.

1) Take a day of solitude once a month, complete with random trips to Austin.

2) Keep a better prayer list.

Cleanliness (I keep this list next to the Godliness one)
1) Do a Saturday morning cleaning check every week.

2) Consider getting a maid.

3) Paint my fingernails once a month, then remove the polish within the next week.

4) Get a haircut every 8 weeks, instead of 12 weeks.

1) Pay off all my credit card debt.

2) Have enough money in my Christmas savings to buy all my gifts.

3) Spend less money on food and waste less food.

I need to check back on last year's list, and see how I did.

Hope you have a very blessed and Happy New Year! Can you believe it's 2010?! Crazy times!

If my sister were a superhero, she would be Gadget Girl. She loves gadgets. And she's always inventing new ones, but then discovers that someone else had the same idea after a trip to Wal-Mart.

For Christmas, she got me the Jupiter Jack which turns your car radio into a speakerphone. I haven't tried it yet, but it should be pretty interesing to have my phone calls in stereo. It might feel like God is talking to me or something. But I believe that God also talks in whispers, so maybe that isn't a good analogy.

She sent my cousin some cool Christmas 3-D glasses. I took some pictures of myself in the glasses, and hope you can see pictures of the effect seen through the fabulous lens of my trusty iPhone.

I had a very nice Christmas.

Sometimes Christmas can be difficult because so many emotions and memories are rolling during the holiday. Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future keep a constant stirring going on.

This Christmas, I had a very good time visiting with family and the few friends I got to see. I was able to finally take the focus off of me or who wasn't there with us anymore, and just enjoy what was going on in the Christmas present.

In addition to Christmas present, I was touched through the first couple of chapters of Luke with the Christmas past. I can read the story a million times, and each time a different part of my heart awakens (if I let it).

I also prayed for Christmas future. I told my almost-20 year old niece that next year, we might not be at the big family Christmas because each of us will be at our boyfriends' families. Right now, those boyfriends don't exist with those titles, but there's always next year!

I know there has to be somebody's present out there that I forgot. My memory sometimes fails more than it passes. I don't have Santa's knack for keeping my list in order.

Sometimes I buy stand-by gifts that are generic to throw in just in case. But is that really the Christmas spirit just to have a gift to pass off?

I don't really have anything on my Christmas list this year for myself. I usually ask for socks, because somehow I always lose one of every pair of socks I have. I am really hoping that this year I give more than I receive. I want to be a cheerful giver.

Sometimes in the past (starting with about age two), I wasn't a very cheerful receiver. I've tried to accept gifts without thinking about what else could have been bought with the same amount of money that I would like better. I need to remember a gift is something that someone took the time and effort to give you (unless of course it's the stand-by gift mentioned above).

I want to be grateful for the gifts I get. And I want to be give gifts cheerfully. Perhaps I do have a Christmas wish!

This picture makes me laugh because we are all kind of making weird faces. We needed someone to say, "Look this way!"

Tom is pointing like an Uncle Sam poster which is pretty funny. But the best part besides all the pointing and various direction darting eyes, is the fact that we are surrounding our friend, Susan, who graduated from HBU.

Congratulations, Susan!

And another amazing thing is that two of her sisters, her brother-in-law, and her precious father are here visiting from Kenya!

Her family is very special to me (and to everyone who meets them!). Her sister, Dee, is a breast cancer survivor and is now working to help other women in Africa have funds to pay for their treatment. The whole family is amazing. I got to meet them all for the first time three years ago while visiting Kenya, and my heart was never the same.

This morning after having a phone conversation with my sister about how Mickey went crazy in her kitchen eating flour (we think she might be gluten intolerant), I heard a disturbing sound.

The noise was high pitched bleeps followed by what sounded like, "Come out!" coming from a speaker system. My eyes widened, and I turned off my white noise making fan to listen a little bit more closely. I live very close to a fire station, so I thought maybe the guys were playing on the PA or something.

Then I heard it again more clearly: "4023 Beth's Street! (name changed to protect the innocent) Come out!!"

I live at 4020 Beth's Street. Scary.

Then, I panicked, I called my office manager to tell her that if I died in gun fire, that's why I wouldn't make it in to work. Then, I tried to tread very closely in the house in case anybody was on the run and heard me moving around and decided to join me.

I can't see out onto the street from my place. I only see the townhomes across from me and my back patio, so I just had to pray that the suspect had left the building before I left my building, and I wasn't caught in possible crossfire.

I google mapped the address and figured out that the address in question is a house that I watch quite often. I would always try to walk slowly with Mickey around the house, because three very attractive young men live there. It's a rental house, and the three of them all appear to have jobs since they leave the house in suits, and apparently are making ample money, since one of them drives a BMW.

The ironic part is how safe that I think my neighborhood is at times. I know most of my neighbors (or at least their faces and routines) so it seems like a place where I don't need to pack heat.
I won't start packing heat, but I definitely will leave those little guys off the Christmas Neighborhood Appreciation party that I'm planning on having. I'm scared they might try to hide snow in my house, if you know what I mean. (and yes, perhaps I've watched a few too many episodes of Law & Order.)

Alternate Title: Post Office Trips Leads to Healthcare Leads to The Blind Side
Yesterday I had a scary vision. I was in line at the post office with the rest of the 50 plus person Christmas crew, and scanned ahead to see how many postal workers were at the six stations: one.

This is the scene about 100 percent of the time in the Houston post office. I don't know if they all have lunch breaks at the same time, or what is happening. Most of the time, workers will be standing there, but won't help you because I guess it's a break or something.

Suddenly, a government-run healthcare system vision appeared in my head. What if, instead of wearing the postal uniforms, those workers were wearing scrubs?! And instead of needing stamps, we all needed prescriptions or to have surgery! I could only come up with one conclusion: Lord, help us!

Just like in small towns, how the postal service is usually run better, I would presume that if we had government healthcare, it might fare better in small populations where there could still be a personal touch behind Big Brother, M.D.

At the end of the day, I found myself waiting for a prescription at CVS. The man in front of me had earned a free Hershey bar with his CVS points, so I had to wait for the pharm tech to go to the front to pick him out a free Hershey bar and take care of his other items. Another lady was being served by a second pharm tech (the one that has the major comb-over). The lady was told that her prescription was going to be $25.

She said, "Isn't it ridiculous that we all have to pay different prices for prescriptions?"

The non-comb-over pharm tech said, "I know. Capitalism!"

I realized that they probably hadn't been to the post office that day. I know something needs to be done about healthcare. It's been a time bomb for years. But I'm frightened of the government running anything.

I like Capitalism. That's why I live in America --and maybe also because I was born here.

It kind of reminds me when the people of Israel demanded a king. God had them set up with governing judges, but they wanted a king, so they got themselves a king. And the rest is a crazy history.

If I'm going to throw the bible on this issue, I also believe that if we, the church, could (and would) take care of our communities' needs, we wouldn't need most of our government programs. (I'm not pointing fingers since they would all point back at me, too) Who knows, maybe the church should even start delivering the mail!

The number one movie at the box office last week was The Blind Side. Those that hear and see the story are enamored by the care and love the Touhy family showed a young boy who was in need of food, clothing, and shelter. I know it was a bit Hollywoodized, but my heart still breaks thinking of the scene where he was gathering the old popcorn at the basketball game to eat later.

We are touched by the movie because we all know that it was what needed to be done. It was that family being Christlike to that boy. And we wonder if we could have done the same thing. Most of us have become too afraid of one other to even reach out when there is a true need.

No government program could have helped that boy. He needed love behind whatever resource he was given. Our country needs a heart change. But I know that the government will keep trying to pad corruption with policy. It's the nature of the biz.

This season (and for the other ones, too), I challenge you (and myself) to have eyes that see others needs, minds that can figure out how to meet those needs, and hearts that can provide the love to go forth with the acts.

note to Aud: Please keep reading my blog even if I did get a tad political. I'll always love your passionate, socialist self. :)

Mickey is living the life of an outdoor dog these days with my sister's family.

Here's some pictures of her discovering leaves. She's a poser, so she took some shots just modeling in the leaves. She loves leaves. So do I!

My niece, Emily (who also likes to pose), took this shot playing with Mickey. They are two peas in a pod.
I bet she will be really excited when it snows!

I had the most bizarre Houston driving experience yesterday--and it was only the perception in my mind, not the normal bizarre driving experiences that occur in Houston.

I drove from Texas to Kentucky for Thanksgiving, and completed the journey back from Kentucky to Texas last night. After miles and miles of two-lane interstate, suddenly the lanes seemed to multiple, and then more and more entry ramps appeared pushing more cars around me. Then out of nowhere, this massive city with dark building shapes and glowing tiny windows took over the skyline. It made me a little bit nervous.

I drive in Houston around those buildings all the time, but for some reason, after being gone for awhile and driving through Kentucky countryside, my brain had forgotten that it had become numb to the site of massive buildings and bright city lights.

Even though it was a bit overwhelming to experience this feeling while clutching a wheel, I was glad that I was refreshed with the city-living experience. I take this city for granted.

Texas, I see you, and yes, everything is bigger in Texas.

Last night I didn't sleep well, because thoughts about all the details of my next day kept floating over me. I 've been trying to clean up the dog house, I mean, my apartment, for my mom's visit after Thanksgiving. I had cleaned the downstairs the night before, but by the next morning, the dog toys and chewed pieces of things were all over the floor again.

And then, I found a flea on Mickey's foot. I've flea shampooed her to the point she could have brain damage, bathed her in dishsoap, given her $51 Frontline, flea bombed my house, sprinkled magic white flea powder on all the floors, cleaned the bedding, have trash-bagged laundry, misted the furniture and curtains, sprayed the backyard with flea killer, and low and behold, a stinking flea! I actually caught it, and then the little sucker (literally) jumped off into oblivion somewhere to multiply, I assume.

I'm afraid my car might have fleas. I haven't seen one yet, but I know it's probably out there lurking. And I'll probably take them on my Thanksgiving road trip--spreading fleas throughout the Confederacy.

My boss told me that when he was young there dog had fleas, and when they returned from vacation, fleas coated their legs when they walked in the house. That thought has really freaked me out.

Mickey and I took our last long neighborhood walk today. I walk her about a mile down to a park and let her run around a tennis court on some mornings. She is a dog that just needs to run. I let her run with her leash attached for a minute, and she totally flopped and ate it on the grass because her feet ran faster than her body. She's a bit goofy.

Then, on the walk back home, I finally let her go sniff noses with the Airedale and Border Collie that always go nuts when we walk by their fence. When we got close to the driveway gate, the Airedale started attacking its Border Collie sister, then they chilled. The fence has a corner with some spacing in it, and Mickey kept looking back with her ear perked and the Border Collie with the blue eyes looked at her wistfully as if to say, "Please, get me away from this crazy dog! I want to be with you!"

I think that Border Collies feel a connection and immediately like each other. Last week, Mickey met a Border Collie at the dog park, and I promise, they both did a brief syncronized swimming routine. They both ran around the blue dog pond, and then made eye contact at each other at across the pond, swam to the middle, and did a turn facing each other. Mickey is the Esther Williams of the dog park, but I never expected her to have a routine down with another dog.

Today work ends early, so I'll rush around doing some errands, pack up the car, and head out to our first stop in Jackson, Mississippi. Then, Thanksgiving Day, we'll head out to Louisville and go meet Marissa, Emily, and Paws.

I'm going to try to document as much as I can of the adventure, so stay tuned.

Thanks so much for reading my blog. And have a safe and thankful Thanksgiving. God bless.

Maybe I've told this story before, but I'm telling it again.

For about a year, I had been hankering for dog. I had dogsat everyone else's dog in town -- co-workers and friends and a few strangers -- so I decided it was time to get my own dog. My childhood pet that lived at my parent's house died about nine years ago, and I missed having a dog.

I started checking out dogs online, and even had a one-on-one meeting with some, but none seemed to fit what I was looking for. I wanted a dog small enough to live with in my tiny two bedroom/one bath, but big enough to do dog things like run at the park. And I wanted one that didn't have a weird underbite or strange skin condition--like some of the dogs had. Also, the dog needed to be non-barky and genuinely happy.

Some things happened in life which left me a bit sad--a young co-worker was killed in a car wreck, my best Houston-based friend moved to New Jersey, and then, one Sunday morning, I got the news that my nieces' beloved dog, Sparky, had been hit by a car. On the day that day, I decided, I'm getting a happy dog--today.

I went to a local pet adoption center and met one dog that was especially friendly with a great waggy-wag tail. I took the dog for an attempted walk, and she actually obeyed the command to stop. She did freak me out a bit when she peed on the concrete, but I was told she was recently potty-trained. She was a big bigger than what I was looking for, but I didn't want to see that happy dog go back into her crate, and then maybe meet her maker before her time, so I took her home.

My house was totally not ready for a dog, but I did the best I could and made a quick stop to PetCo to begin my journey of spending half my paycheck there.

I didn't let my nieces know for a week that I had gotten a dog because I didn't want to remind them about dogs since their own dog had died. A few weeks passed, and then my sister's family began to search for a new pup to befriend their remaining dog, Paws, who was lonely since Sparky was gone.

In three different scenarios, the new dog adoption fell through, so my sister asked me what I thought about the girls taking my new dog since Mickey had turned out to be quite a bit too much for my apartment and lifestyle. So I said okay, but I wanted to wait until Thanksgiving to drive her to Kentucky. I was worried about her flying in the dungeon of the plane. And I thought that would give me significant time to get over my doggie-fever.

So, on Wednesday, Mickey the Dog and I will begin our journey to her new home and my old home. I am so excited to see the look on my nieces' face when I bring them Mickey. I'm not excited to see my own face as I drive 15 hours with a dog.

Mickey and I have had some sweet times, but I know that God has positioned me to be more devoted to the high school students and friends around me, than my dog. I will miss her waggy-wag tail and her hugs terribly, but I am so excited that she will have a real yard to run in and a new dog pal and some sweet dog-loving girls to keep her busy.

The deal is also that I get her back when they go to college. So, by then, hopefully she will be old and lazy like I will be at that time, too. What is a bit frustrating is that it kind of feels a bit like my dog is getting married before me. Oh well. May she and Paws live Happily Ever After.

I don't have TOM's shoes yet, but I will get some soon.

When I was blessed by going to Africa, it struck me for the first time that people didn't have shoes! I have tons of shoes. Shoes to go with particular outfits. Shoes that sparkle, and shoes that I got for their squishyness.

Also, if you know the founder of TOM's shoes, please give him my number and tell him that I think he is super amazing and super cute.

Oh, and buy some TOM's shoes, or tell me about yours.

Halloween came and went. I succeeded in squeezing into my cheerleading uniform circa 1993. It felt so good to be in my uniform again and brought back a lot of memories.

I bet that's what the superhero felt like on the Incredibles when he put back on his super suit. My body was a bit sad, because wearing the uniform made it wish to do backflips and toe touches, but knew if it was attempted, I would have to visit the ER.

I tried to vamp up my outfit a bit instead of just being a 34 year old that wanted to wear her cheerleader uniform, so I attempted to make a vampire bite on my neck. One of the teeth marks kept rubbing off, so then I kept getting questions about the love bite on my neck--not the look I was going for!

The gent pictured with me is Tom the Sheik. He's just Halloween eye candy for my blog--not a beau. The dude claims to have eight wives! I know better than that!

Last year, I dressed as a barista to work. I wore the apron and everything. It was my first Halloween in my office, and I was led to believe that everyone would be dressed up. Nope. Just me.

This year, my friend, Karen, bought us all festive headbands. Mine has a bat. I also got to wear my skull tights that I only wear once a year. I couldn't find my tiara, so I couldn't be a beauty pageant winner--even though I had an awesome "diamond" necklace. And I thought about being the wife of Willie Wonka, but I didn't have time to stop and pick up a ringpop. So, I am the Bridesmaid of Frankenstein wearing a black lace dress and my skull tights and Avril Lavigne old-school eyeliner.

Tonight, I'm going to another costume party, and I'm really excited. I went to one several years ago that was HUGE. It was a tad bit overwhelming, and many of the costumes were a tad bit overwhelming to my comfort zone. This one is with a bunch of good friends and some semi-good friends that I hope I'll get to be better friends with tonight.

...and my costume...I just can't say it. It's nothing too over-the-top or secretive, but I have this thing about the element of surprise. I even shy away from when friends ask me what I'm going to wear on a day-to-day basis. Because then, I'll either have my outfit idea shot down before I've even given it a test drive, or they'll show up wearing the same thing, and I'll look unoriginal.

I don't plan on being super original tonight, but I just can't spill it on the internet yet. Sorry.

I have one costume party event this weekend, and I possibly might dress up for work. I'm not sure about my work outfit, but I have the other costume planned out.

I might need to starve myself the remainder of the week in order to fit into the costume, but sometimes, that's the price you have to pay. So far, my starving attempts haven't gone so well, especially since buying (and eating) Halloween candy seems to be my latest favorite pasttime.

This weekend, I must get to Chocolate Du Monde to try their pumpkin fudge. A few years ago, I wasn't that excited about pumpkin flavored items, now I think its the greatest thing since spiced bread (and that would be pumpkin spiced bread).

I've been in a soup mood lately. It could be the chill in the air that makes me want to warm my tummy with soup.

I bought some boxed soups (my co-worker said that should be in the same category as boxed wine), and I'm trying to figure out if they are a good thing or not. Today at work I heated up one of them, and it looked a bit neon but tasted okay.

My other alternative is making my own soup. It's a rather consuming task making your own soup. My kitchen seems to transform from semi-clean to disaster zone with each added ingredient.

I made a nice butternut squash bisque a couple of weeks ago, and then ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next few days--which is one downfall with making soup as a single lady--it multiples itself in the pot and you get too much!

Last week, I bought a small pumpkin in hopes of making pumpkin bisque. So far, that little pumpkin is still sitting pretty in my kitchen, and hasn't been sacrificed for the soup yet.

If you have a good pumpkin bisque recipe or other soupy ideas, please feel free to share!

I'm trying to revamp my closet. I tried to steal some ideas about belting and layering from my latest J.Crew catalog. I think I may have some ideas in place. But sometimes if you try to copy what is in a magazine, things can go a bit awry.

When I was in high school, I used to get the fall edition of Seventeen magazine and study the pages very carefully. I would try to shop for items that looked like what the models were wearing, and then I would put together my outfits.

My junior year, I came to school wearing a white Hanes t-shirt with the word "brain" very carefully sketched out with a Sharpie marker just like in the magazine. My friend, Tay, who is now a stylist to the stars, was one of my top teasers. He came to school soon after wearing a shirt that said, "potato." I can't remember if he used the Dan Quayle spelling or the traditional spelling.

The "brain" shirt kind of became a legend. I believe I tried to make some variations of it myself, but none could ever equal the popularity of the "brain" shirt.

No worries--my new outfits will consist mostly of belts, not Sharpied shirts.

I used to be good at mailing things. Of course, that was when I worked in a fileroom, and my job was going to the post office to mail company things. I could easily slide in my nieces and nephews birthday presents, and I knew all the online tricks for making mailing packages easier.

Now, I've graduated out of the fileroom, and going to the post office seems like a major inconvenience. Somehow, I can never make their office hours. Or my car just doesn't like to spend time there. It would rather be lounging at Target or Starbucks.

My niece, Marissa, had a birthday on Saturday. I had her present a few weeks ago. And I mailed it...today.

I reluctantly called my sister yesterday to confirm their home address since they recently moved. By calling her (since my mom didn't answer) that meant I couldn't blame the post office for my own tardiness.

"You haven't mailed it yet?!" she said in her best older-sister scolds younger-sister voice.

"No...I didn't know the address..." I said in an attempt to cover.

"Just bring it home for Thanksgiving," she said.

"No, I will mail it!" I said bravely, as some people would say, "I will climb that mountain!"

I usually order directly from a online retailer, and that helps me get the presents there a little more on time. But sometimes that feels impersonal. I always wonder if they really read those little typed messages that are supposed to be included with the package that are 150 words or less. Maybe each of them have all of those typed little messages saved in a shoebox with a heart made from construction paper gluesticked on the top. --An auntie can dream!

I Picniked this shot. Once you edit photos, it's hard to stop. I even have a photoshop application on my iphone. It's like taking a picture and then bedazzling it or something.

The picture above is from the Run to Cure HD 5K from last Saturday. My friend Kristin's family is on the committee for organizing it. I was very impressed with their organization skills. Those things don't just happen, but take a lot of planning.

The 5K raised about $100,000 for Huntington Disease research. Pretty awesome.

Kudos to the Thurmond family!

I had a brief shopping fantasy at Target. I kept seeing things that I wanted to buy, so I thought for a moment, what if I could just go shopping crazy and fill my cart to the brim like on that old Supermarket Sweep show? Then I thought about still just filling a cart up but not buying any of it--just to see what it would feel like to be able to put everything in my cart.

What I would have bought:
-a Wii
-the Disney Seven Dwarfs DVD Collector's Edition complete with stuffed Seven Dwarfs
-the shiny zebra flats
-the Ugg wannabees
-the oatmeal chunky sweat vest
-the khaki fedora with a red feather
-the glamour necklace
-five colors of lipgloss so I could find the perfect shade
-soft toilet paper
-the new Clorox wipes decorative box
-the plaid flat iron
-a case for an iphone
-the ipod clock radio on sale for $39.99
-the teeny polka dot bikini for $3.74 for each piece
-a black scarf
-fingerless mittens
-Luna mini bars
-a Rocker chair
...and that's with only about 15 minutes of exploring time.

What I did buy:
-iTunes gift card (hopefully the recipient does not read my blog)
-Lysol disinfecting wipes on sale $2.09
-an elephant for Mickey to eat after the eyes are removed
-some Orbit gum
-some Colorstay lipgloss that is too much the same color as my lips

I took little Mickey to the vet today. Let's just say she had some digestive issues beginning at 2 a.m. I am still alive because of coffee right now. We took a trip to the vet this morning, because neither Mickey nor I could survive another 2 a.m. digestive issue wake-up call.

I brought a "sample" in from this morning, because that's what the internet said to do. The vet said, "I only need a bit." ...but I had brought the whole baggie.

The vet loaded her up with some pills, a shot, and a medicine-filled syringe down the mouth. His nurse explained to me how to give the pills. She said that they tasted bad--even to humans. The other assistant looked at me and said, "What's wrong?"

I said, "Oh, is the dog doing something?"

He said, "No, you're making a face."

Sometimes I am a bit too expressive. I paused and suddenly realized, that indeed, I did have a look of horror upon my face. But I suppose I was just picturing trying to give her a pill every day.

The check-out lady at the vet re-explained the medicine and the special food. She said, "Make sure your wrap the pill in turkey or something."

Another customer with a great hick accent said, "I jes' put sum peeenut butter on 'et an 'et goes rite down!"

The check-out lady said, "Well, I'm not sure about peanut butter, because they need to swallow it..."

The customer again insisted, "Oh no! They can swallow that peeenut butter! It goes rite down."

I politely said, "Thanks so much for the tip." This lady wasn't giving up on her indoctrination of peanut butter pill swallowing for pets.

So, we'll see what method I can come up with. If all else fails, I'll stick it in the blender and sprinkle it on the food.

I had to get gas before I went to work this morning. I put in my debit card, punched in my PIN, followed the instructions, put in the unleaded fuel, and then went on my way. The man that was on the other side of my pump did the same. But he beat me to the stop light near the station.

I noticed his gas cover was flipped out on his car. I thought to myself, "I wonder if he knows his gas cover is flipped? I mean, hello, couldn't he see it sticking out?"

Then, as if I were telepathic, he opened up his car door and went to put it back, but not before waving a finger at me and my car.

My gas cover was also opened. And my gas cap was hanging. Go figure.

The office supply delivery man just came by the office.

"Are you having a good day?" I asked.

"No," he replied.

"Did your truck get hit or something?" I questioned.

"No," and then continued, "check out this."

He then scrolled through some pictures on his cell phone, and showed me a picture of the back of the truck which had boxes thrown every which way.

"Who packed your truck?" I asked.

He said matter-of-factly, "Stevie Wonder."

If I could have a job for a day, I'd like to try out being a delivery man (woman), but I hope Stevie wouldn't be packing my truck.

This is disgusting. Brace yourself if you click on it.

I, too, am having a toe issue. And I, too, have taken pictures of it. I was trying to see if I noticed any positive changes. But I will NOT post those pics on the internet. But I will blog about it.

I did find one toe that did look a bit like my condition, but some others grossed me out so bad, it took away my mid-afternoon snacking urge.

Last night was our first Young Life Club of the year. It's amazing how God brings kids from all directions our way.

Here some pics of the events from last night. We wrapped up the night pretty well.

When you're not eating normal food because you're trying to live the mantra "You are What You Eat," food becomes a fantasy. I'm avoiding sugar, cheese, all dairy, processed foods...things that as an All-American Girl that are my staples.

These are the foods that when I have free reign over food again, I'm going to eat:

1) Port Wine Cheese
2) Chocolate Chip anything - muffins, cookies, bagels, YUM!
4) Triscuits
5) Nutella
6) A glass of milk
7) Candy corn
8) Rice Krispie Treats
9) Starbucks Caramel Macchiato, non-fat
10) Sonic Lemon-Berry Slush

One day, we'll all be together again.

I found this behind Mickey's crate in her journal:

September 28, 2009
Dear Diary,
I woke up early this morning and did my usually yoga move of the Downward Dog. I try to do it three times in a row everytime I get up. Beth wouldn't let me lick her face today. She acts like it's gross when I try to do that, but I just want to taste to see if she had anything good for breakfast still left on there. She's usually a bit salty.

After I did my bidness, we went for a walk. I really love walks. Beth drives me nuts with stopping all the time, so I try to pull her along. She never wants to stop when things are interesting like when I saw that great little tiny chihauhau. I wanted to just attack it, but she kept going the other way. There are so many birds out there that if she'd just let me off that dang leash... ah, well. As they say, it's a dog's life.

My stomach hasn't been feeling so well. If it keeps hurting, I might need to start whimpering in the middle of the night. Maybe Beth will finally come and take me out if I do that. And then I bet I could go for a walk earlier!

Well, I've got a new toy that still has one eye left that I need to chew off.
Mickey the Dog

She's two! I can't believe this little bundle of girl is the big two! I went to her birthday party and had lots of fun, in spite of not being able to eat the fun cake her mom made, because I'm fungi fighting.

Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."

Maybe I'm being considered right now. I wouldn't want to measure myself against Job by his uprightness or the torment he went through, but right now, I'm having some discomforts in life--those little annoyances that throw the game of Life off by a hair making everything feel weird.

Warning: Whine Session about to occur...

About a two months ago, I figured out I had a toe fungus (gross, yes). So, I started taking Lamisil. Then, a week or so ago, I got really achey and had a swollen knee. My mom has arthritis, so any type of aching or swelling gets me a little bit anxious.

With the help of Dr. Google, I believe I'm having a side effect from the Lamisil, so now I am going herbal. My sister told me about an anti-fungal diet which should be more correctly pronouced "anti - fun - gal," because this gal is no fun on this diet! I am not a veggie eater--or a big meat eater. I'm more into the French connection of bread and cheese and flavored teas. I'm going to try it for 10 days and see what happens. I'm hoping my toe will be able to be seen at the market again without frightening other customers.

On Tuesday, I walked out to my car with Mickey the Dog and found my car smooshed in the back. No one left a note or even a smoke signal. So, now I'm in a rental getting $1600 worth of damage repaired on my car. My deductible is $250, so that's not too bad.

Somehow this morning, I woke up with red eyes. I'm hoping it's from Mickey's hair getting in my eye and not from pink eye.

Fun times, people. Fun times.

A note about my whining:
Even as I write out my whines, I am humbled. I just spoke with a friend whose child just had one of multiple surgeries to help him to walk. My whines seem silly now. God, thanks for loving me, whines and all. I'll try to be less of a whiner and more of a thankfuller.

It's kind of bizarre, but Mickey is a lap dog. She likes to sits in laps, but she also likes to do laps at the local dog parks.

The water at the dog park is pretty strange. It looks like blue mouthwash. The white parts of Mickey get a bluish cast after she's been swimming around in it.

She's really funny to watch, because she sees a tennis ball floating and totally acts like she's going to go for it and be a retriever, and then she just leaves it and swims more laps.

Her other favorite activity in the water is running around the edges and splashing like crazy. Afterwards she likes to get near strangers and shake off the gallon or so of water she's soaked up.

I made myself laugh today as I was trying to tell myself to be content. I started saying the word "content" kind of like Napoleon would say "RETREAT!" if he had spoken English. I was thinking about the verse where Paul says that he's learned to be content in all situations.

I have had some minor annoyances happen this week, in the midst of several people around me having some pretty serious things going on. I feel petty being frustrated with these things, and I'm comforted knowing that God wants me to take all things to him--even the little ones.

While I live today...

I will be content with my fungified toenail.
I will be content with a dog that doesn't walk well on a leash.
I will be content with spilling my lunch on my pants.
I will be content with a dead cell phone.
I will be content with a randomly swollen knee.
I'll be content no matter what the circumstance.

I have now been a dog owner for about three and a half weeks. It's been fun (and a challenge at times) getting to know my dog (and myself) better. I've learned a lot in just this short time! Because I'm List Queen, let me express my thoughts today in a list.

Observations about Mickey the Dog:
1) Mickey is a happy dog.
2) Mickey has no concerns of strangling herself on the leash when she sees the following: another dog, another person, or a bird.
3) I still have no idea what kind of dog Mickey is, and probably need to stop trying to put her into a "breed box" of sorts.
4) Mickey only likes to play with the toys that have been recently touched by a human.
5) When visiting other peoples houses, Mickey may forget she is potty trained and decide to dump a load off on the fancy rug.
6) When eating at the table, Mickey likes to pace around making sad faces.
7) Her favorite toy is now the donkey what is missing stuffing and a head.
8) Mickey doesn't do so well with agressive dogs since she's a bit of a wimpy dog. She prefers happy chasing, not attack chasing.
9) Mickey has moments of leash walking greatness that are followed by leash walking disasters.
10) Mickey is smart, but has selective hearing.

All in all, she's a great dog. She's not a barker which is something that saves my nerves. I only heard her bark once this whole week and that was a half-bark at the vaccuum cleaner.

If you don't mind being covered in dog hair and kisses, come by and visit us!

I really like my new camera. I used my little new toy to take some shots of my niece, Katie. I've been editing some in different ways, and having probably too much fun doing it.

Here are some of my favs so far:

I always love black and white photos.

I tried to copy my friend, Leslee, here. She takes amazing photos. She gave me a quick photo lesson the day before.

Leslee showed me a website where a guy did shots like this. I loved it.

Since I'm now a pet owner, I'm also a pet hair owner. I am finding pet hair in places that I didn't know pet hair would travel. It's pretty gross.

Yesterday, I was almost having a pet hair breakdown, so I did a little google searching. After work, I went immediately to PetCo and bought The Furminator. It works pretty well, and people I know that have it swear that it will cut down on the hair in my house.

I also read a tip that I didn't believe would work, but it's my favorite one: the yellow rubber glove. Yellow rubber gloves aren't just for dishes anymore.

Somewhere in my life, I had purchased yellow rubber gloves previously, so I only had to dig under my kitchen sink to pull out the miracle pet hair cure. With one swipe, all the hair that was stuck to my couch balled together in a long ribbon.

Thank God, for yellow rubber gloves.

I got a new camera. And I love it. I wanted to buy an SLR, but then realized that with my old SLR, I never bought additional lenses, so I decided on SLR-wannabe (and much less expensive) Canon Powershot. It has functions that an SLR has, but the pictures don't snap quit as quickly as an SLR, but it's still a great camera.

When I purchased my old SLR about 11 years ago, I started taking lots and LOTS of pictures of my nieces and nephews. I loved the way the pictures looked so sharp. And because I lived away from my precious nieces and nephews, the pictures were great to have as a souvenir. I quickly became the official photographer of the family.

When the digital age came to town, I felt a bit lost. I missed film. My once awesome camera had lost its mystique.

I saw my friend, Leslee, make the transition. She made the transition so well, that she's now a professional photographer!

I was blessed this past weekend with getting to see my nieces and nephews who are now all growing up, and I was also blessed with seeing Leslee who helped me figure out some cool functions on my new camera and helped me edit a great pic of my precious ones.

I'm leaving on a jetplane this evening. I'm taking a quick trip to visit family and the friends I can catch.

My main goal is to be in the airport early so I can sip a Starbucks and read my bible, but I don't know if traffic will create such a luxurious situation.

On the way back, I'll be bringing two suitcases since I left my bag at my mom's house last time I was home.

It's hard living away from family sometimes. The worst part is how quickly the kids you leave behind grow. I try to go home about four times a year. If I had a learjet, I would go home once a month--to better chart the kids growth.

I always fly because the trip is 15 hours. It's not a fun trip to drive. Flying takes about two hours. It's kind of ironic that my mom's driving time to pick me up is the same as my flying time.

Anyway, thank God for airplanes.

I found a website that reviews frozen foods. I'm in love with it. I love how all the foods can easily be searched by brand or rating.

I don't eat frozen foods all the time, but in case I do, I like having this info.

Click here.

My favorite frozen foods (and not all of them are nutritional gold mines):
1. Totino's Pizza Rolls
2. Bagel Bites
3. Lean Cuisine Breaded Tilapia and Pasta
4. Wang's Chinese Dumplings
5. Bertolli anything

I just saw a lady in my building wearing a long sleeve sweater, plaid skirt, and tall black boots. Yes, it is September 2nd. And yes, this is Houston, Texas. The City of Houston should make a law that fall fashion cannot show its face until at least October 1st.

In this corner, Bunny Foo-Foo, weighing in at .1 pounds.

In the other corner, Mickey the Dog, weighing in at 41 pounds.

The match begins with Mickey the Dog making a quick move to pin down Foo-Foo.

Mickey the Dog appears to be using a technique that has only been used on fierce opponents.

Bunny Foo-Foo is clearly not the winner today.

No animals were harmed during this photoshoot, and Bunny Foo-Foo currently remains intact.

After many months of searching online and visits and looking at Craigslist for a possible match, I made a commitment. I got a dog.

Her pound name was Cookie, and the first night I had her at my house, I kept having anxious dreams about how I would find the dog the next morning. It was like Wayne's World with the alternate endings. In one of the dreams, after finding the house a mess, I had called the dog, Mickey, so I felt that somewhere in my subconscious that this should be the dog's name. I figured it sounded enough like Cookie to hopefully not confuse her too badly. So now I have a dog named Mickey (no relation to the mouse).

When I went to look at dogs on Sunday at the Highland Village Weekend Adoption Center, I was a bit sad, because I had just found out my nieces' amazing dog, Sparky, had been killed by a car. So perhaps my heart was a bit more tender that day. Whatever the case, this dog was the first one that I had seen that looked healthy and when I went up to the crate, she moved her head to be petted and licked my hand. She also learned the word stop pretty quickly, so before I knew what was happening, I had a dog! And then I was at PetSmart buying a crate and food and dog bones.

Yesterday was our first visit to the vet, and Mickey had a great time. She really loves people. Her guard dog skills are pretty much null. The vet also told me that instead of being about two like the adoption place said, she's closer to eight months to a year.

We've been trying to get dog walking down, and I keep telling her that I am the Alpha Dog, but she still pulls a lot. We're working on it. Now that I know she has puppy power still, I feel a little more hopeful about my dog training techniques.

If you are looking for a visit from a dog to cheer you up, let me know, and I'll let you meet her. But be prepared for lots of doggie love! She's a lover not a fighter.

It's been a hard week at my job. My co-worker, David, was 24, and killed in a freak one-car accident on Friday. I love going to my job, but for once, sometimes it's hard to get there. Once I'm there things get more normal, but then for some reason, it's hard to leave work, too, because then my guard is let down, and I feel sad again. Please pray for David's family and his friends.

I keep seeing his great smile and remember his expressions. He used try to not laugh when he would be funny, but then the smile would explode on his face. It was great.

One day, he was having a hard time at work. He and I were meeting about his career and future steps. I felt bad for him being so young and trying to get where he wanted to be, but sometimes having obstacles (like the economy) which were greater than himself. So being the spontaneous me I am, I said, "I'm sorry, but I want to give you a hug."

He said uncomfortably and freaked out by me and my spontaneous hugging issue, "Uh, I'm okay. I don't need a hug."

And me, being me, said, "I'm giving you one anyway. Just don't tell HR."

Even though it was not my professionalism best and the fourth grade teacher coming out in me, I'm glad I gave him that hug. And I'm glad he took it.

Even though Charlie Brown says grief is good, it's actually a bit hard.

A new Chuy's is coming to town. I'm excited! It's close enough where I can go there for lunch. Bring on the baja tacos!!

Happy Little Trees is happy to report that the trees in Colorado are very happy! (except for the ones being attacked by a nasty little beetle!)

Everyday we were amazed because we felt like we were living in a postcard. It's so amazing to be wowed so much by God's creation. I tried to soak it up as much as possible. I took pictures like a Japanese tourists because I didn't want to forget a single pine needle or wildflower.

We had an amazing time at camp. The kids were awesome. The camp was awesome. God, of course, is awesome. I was very blessed with the time at Crooked Creek. So blessed.