Tuesday, December 16, 2008

'Tis Better to Give

A couple of weekends ago my mom took Tyler and me out shopping. Now I know that I've talked with many of you about her shopping bug and how, at times, it can be rather insatiable. It was just as insatiable as ever this time, but I don't know that we've had this much fun in a long time.

Mom armed each of us with $30 and the early bird morning ad for Toys 'R Us and off we went! I LOVE shopping for toys. And it was so much fun to pick out things for Toys For Tots. Thanks to the amazing sales, we left with TONS of stuff to give. My personal favorite was a set of twin baby dolls that came with a double stroller to push them around ... and it was only $12 thanks to the sale! Okay, maybe it was the stuffed plush set of doll doctor equipment. Or maybe it was the super cute teddy bear. Or the buy one get one free puppies. No, the two headed dragon. Or the Raggedy Ann. Or the matchbox cars. Or the football. Or something else super cool that I'm forgetting about ... Or maybe I'm a traditionalist and it was the magic baby bottles.

Then we had some Kohl's cash from Black Friday. So we headed over there to get more toys. I believe we left there with another stuffed animal, a super cool Play-Dough set, a Polly Pocket like doll, and I'm sure something else that I'm forgetting.

Totally fun way to spend a Saturday!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hummable Humbug

As I was reading the paper this morning and flipped over the Life section to skim what has quickly become one of my favorite pages - The Flip Side. I came across an article that made me LAUGH! So I thought I'd share. This is from today's Columbus Dispatch and was written by Nick Chordas:

Some folks worry that political correctness has gone too far where Christmas is concerned. The Flip Side, grammatically challenged since 2004, doesn't think it has gone far enough. Hence, we've identified six highly offensive carols that you might want to think twice about singing this holiday season. You're welcome, by the way.

All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
Most Offensive Lyric: "It seems so long since I could say / 'Sister Susie Sitting on a thistle!' / Gosh, oh, gee, how happy I'd be / If I could only whistle (th, th)."
Harmed Party: dentally challenged kids. Imagine the hurt when an already-self-conscious second-grader hears the song mercilessly poking fun at his or her temporary speech impediment. For shame, Donald Yetter Gardner, who wrote the unrepentant tune in 1944.

Winter Wonderland
Most Offensive Lyric: "In the meadow we can build a snowman / Then pretend that he is Parson Brown / He'll say, 'Are you married?' / We'll say, 'No, man / But you can do the job / When you're in town.'"
Harmed Party: marriage traditionalists. Can you imagine? An anthropomorphic stack of packed ice presiding over the sacred bond of marriage? What next? A real person grants divorces?

Christmas is Coming
Most Offensive Lyric: "Christmas is coming / The geese are getting fat / Please put a penny / In the old man's hat."
Harmed Party: overweight fowl and the elderly. We don't think that we should have to explain why "fat" would be considered an insulting adjective by our full-figured, feathered friends. Also, the implication that panhandlers must be of advanced years smacks of ageism.

Up on the Housetop
Most Offensive Lyric: "Next comes the stocking of little Will / Oh, just see what a glorious fill / Here is a hammer and lots of tacks / Also a ball and whip that cracks / Ho-ho-ho! Who wouldn't go?"
Harmed Party: child-safety enthusiasts. Nowhere does the song mention warning labels for little Will's holiday haul, which apparently includes a mallet, small nails (lots of them) and a lion tamer's lash. Disgraceful.

Merry Christmas, Darling
Most Offensive Lyric: "Merry Christmas, darling / We're apart, that's true / But I can dream / And in my dreams / I'm Christmas-ing with you."
Harmed Party: English teachers. Christmas is a lot of things to a lot of people - but it is never a verb. Keep your "Christmas-ing" to yourself, Carpenters. Some of us have proficiency tests to worry about.

The Twelve Days of Christmas
Most Offensive Lyric: "On the third day of Christmas / My true love sent to me: / Three French hens / Two turtle doves / And a partridge in a pear tree."
Harmed Party: patriotic Americans. French hens, huh? Seriously? They're called freedom hens. And, yes, we still think that joke is funny.

I'm thinking that my favorite is Merry Christmas, Darling. But it may very well be The Twelve Days of Christmas. Yours?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Also ...

... a note to my fellow doorbusters.

I acknowledge that it was an early morning. I was up too. Earlier than some, probably not than most ... the point I have is this ...

Even though it was early, I took a few precious moments to ready myself for the day. No. I didn't shower. One bathroom and 4 people does not afford all that much time for luxuries on early mornings with very tight deadlines. In my opinion, 5:40 was plenty early to be up that morning. However, I did take time to wash my face, brush my teeth and hair, and put on both makeup AND deodorant. I did so not only for myself, but also as a common courtesy to those with whom I would be in contact through out the day.

Please, if you were one of the many people with whom I had contact during that day but did not take time to do something as simple as apply deodorant before leaving your home that morning, consider doing so should you head out to doorbust Black Friday 2009. Thank you.

That is all.


When I was growing up, Black Friday shopping wasn't anything that was done in my family. Two years ago, Tyler found a really good deal on an mp3 player that he wanted to get me for Christmas. So out we went. However, we didn't go out till about 2. And I have to tell you, by that time of day all (read: most) of the crazy people were gone. This year, perusing bfads.com, Tyler discovered a sale that required our presence as doorbusters - at Half-Price Books. (Man am I a dork ... :P) The sale? The first 100 people through the doors would receive a free tote bag and a $5 coupon. Of those 100, someone would win a $100 gift card to Half-Price. Now ... I was sold at the $5 coupon. There are plenty of books at Half-Price that I could get for $5. So that was a FREE book! And seeing as I'm a dork ... free books are a great draw for me. I might also add that this sale was falling at a rather fortuitous time for me, as I just recently finished the book that I was reading. Doors were to open at 7 am.

So, we got up at 6. We (Tyler, his mom, my mom, and myself) left around 6:30. We got to Half-Price about 10 minutes later and there was already quite the line. Guesstimating, we figured there were about 50 people there already. I must admit, I was surprised by this. I didn't figure that there would be that many people in line to doorbust at Half-Price Books. I'm glad that we arrived when we did though, because the grew behind us rather quickly. They opened the doors about 10 minutes early and began to hand out tote bags and coupons. I headed straight back to the religious fiction in hopes of finding another totally mindless fluff read. Tyler checked graphic novels first then went to sci-fi, business, and finally came back to where I was. My mom headed for the clearance section (shock) and immediately began filling her bag with several books for her classroom (shock again). And I believe that Tyler's mom headed to the current publications looking for a specific book for someone for Christmas. She found a few things. Tyler found a couple of books. Mom filled her bag. And I was having some difficulty. There as a series that I was kind of interested in, but didn't want to spend the money on books 2 and 3 in the series and was afraid to risk them not being there at a later date. So I just set everything aside and figured I could use my coupon during a later trip to the store. Tyler's mom was no where to be found at this point in time so, we headed over to the music section towards the front of the store to look for a cd he's been wanting. (Please note, that at this point in time, we've been at Half-Price Books for about 40 minutes and there are probably close to 200 people in the small store with us. And I'm thinking, "Seriously? This many people got up early for Half-Price Books?" Regardless of my thoughts, I'm glad that we listened to Tyler and headed out early to wait in line. And here comes why ...) Tyler and I are busy digging through cds when his mom comes up behind us and says, "Hey you two! Get whatever you want today - I won!" Seriously. She won the $100 gift card. How fun! So I went back and picked up my series (and a couple of other books). Tyler grabbed a few books he'd set down and a couple of dvds. Basically, we went nuts. And we still have my coupon and about $50 left on the gift card. Oh yeah! Do you have any idea how much money $50 is at Half-Price Books? I'd bet that we get another 10-15 books out of it. Oh yeah! That's what I'm talking about! And that's why I'm a dork ... God love my husband that he not only puts up with my bookworm-ness, but supports my habit. :)

So after a very successful hour and a pinch at Half-Price Books, we all headed out to breakfast at Panera. Mmmm ... Panera ... From there we hit Barnes and Noble (Yes. We did need to go to another book store.) and Dick's Sporting Goods before Tyler's mom headed for home. (She had like a 4 hour drive back to WV, and we didn't want to keep her too long.) The three of us proceeded to Kohl's. It's about 10:30 by now and while the store is still VERY full, it is also well stocked and staffed and we were only in line for 30 minutes or so. Some larger purchases were made at Kohl's and required a trip home to empty the car (and for food. It was getting close to lunch time by the time we got through the line.) So we had lunch and mom took a nap and we headed out again around 1.

This time, we went up to Tuttle Mall. Stops at Game Stop (both inside the mall and in the plaza across from the mall. Seriously, Buy 2 Get 1 FREE, that warrants stopping in to look.), Sears (had a coupon), New York and Company (coupon and Buy 1 Get 1 75% off), Macy's (coupon), Lane Bryant (Buy 1 Get 1 FREE, whole store, mix and match. Seriously.), Go! The Game Store, and Great American Cookie (mom needed a snack, so we all three split a brownie and pop).

Down to Grove City. Dinner at O'Charley's. Stops at Game Stop, Target, Best Buy, and somewhere else. But I can't remember where. Headed home around 10. So we left at 6 am, got home at 10 pm, and took 1 hour off for lunch at noon. Needless to say that after 15 hours of shopping, we were tired and our feet hurt. Throughout the day we (and I'm counting all 4 of us here) picked up:
new 10 pc pots and pans
Belgian waffle maker
at least 25 books
6 dvds
2 pairs of new tennis shoes
new holiday decor
a few new tops
a couple of pairs of pants
a few under things
new jewelry (including ring, pins, earrings, and bracelets)
hillbilly golf
new belt for my skinny husband who keeps needing new belts :)
... and I'm sure that I'm forgetting something ...

The craziest part of it all ... we went out again on Saturday ...

Never let it be said that we didn't contribute to righting the economy on Black Friday this year ...

Monday, November 24, 2008

LOL ... Out Loud

So this was on the "vote to see if it'll show on the front page of Fail Blog" page ...


Saturday, November 22, 2008

In recognition of the festivities of the day ...

... a joke.

What's the difference between sheep and a comeback?

M*ch*g*n players don't mount comebacks!

Go Buckeyes!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dinner Anyone?

Tonight's dinner ...

Pot Pie. Stuffed with ...

chicken, sausage, potatoes, broccoli (because broccoli makes everything better), onions and home-made gravy with just a dash of tarragon for good measure.

Tonight's dessert ...

apple pie.

Man ... I am SO glad that I got over that whole "fear of pie crusts" thing ...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What I need and what I believe ...

... are worlds apart ... and I pray ...

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow, it all adds up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high
And like Icarus, I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
To give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
More deeply than the oceans
More abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

(To love you) Take my world apart
(To need you) I am on my knees
(To love you) Take my world apart
(To need you) Broken, on my knees

All said and done, I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me
For all I am, for all you are
For what I need and what I believe, are worlds apart, and I pray

I look beyond the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
And wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need You now
I owe You more each passing hour
Battles between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
And wash the feet and cleanse my pride
Take the selfish, take the weak
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
My sin-soaked heart, make it Yours
Take my world all apart
Take it now, take it now
And serve the ones that I despise
Speak the words I can't deny
Watch the world I used to love
Fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
Wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remain
Steal my heart, take the pain
Take the selfish, take the weak
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
Take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
Take my world apart

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Last weekend my mom took Tyler and me down to Circleville for the 100th annual Pumpkin Festival. It was fun ... However, if I never eat another piece of pumpkin bread, donut, brownie, pretzel, funnel cake, fudge, elephant ear (and the list goes on and on :P), that would probably be okay with me ...

Anyways, on the way back up we stopped at a pumpkin patch that we spotted on the way down to Circleville. None of us had been to one in a long time. We had fun. We picked out pumpkins. We could have as many as one person could carry in his arms for $20. (Good thing that Tyler was with us!) We left with 6 pumpkins (3 of med/lg to large size and 3 that were too cute to leave behind - pic of smaller 3 below ... more to come on the larger 3).

They sat on the deck all lonely and sad looking ... and it made me sad to see them out there all alone and cold and neglected everyday. Not really fulfilling their purpose in life ...

Until tonight!

Aren't they fun? I personally LOVE the spider!!!! :) (And, they were actually rather easy to carve out ... much more so than I expected!)

And ... there are even pumpkin seeds soaking now so that they can be dried and baked in the morning! What a lovely and festive seasonal snack! (A slight contradiction to my earlier statement, I know.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Adventures in the Kitchen

I've had a bigger food budget to work with recently ... and significantly more time on my hands ...

So I've been playing with new recipes ...

Two nights ago we had:

Zuppa Toscana!

And it was de-lish!! :) One pot, less than one dozen ingredients, and just over one hour ... and voila! Olive Garden at home. It was good stuff too ... super secret recipe here.

I would also like to remind my readers that, despite my young age, I am a bit of an expert baker. (Perhaps the few too many pounds I carry are testament to that ... :P) However, one thing has always scared me ...

Pies. Why? Simple. While I've been known to take what I consider the easy way out (baking with a box mix) on more than one occasion, I prefer to bake from scratch. In my world, the best brownies come from bakers chocolate and sugar, not a Betty Crocker box and cookies ALWAYS start with butter, eggs, and sugar. But I do stand firm on the fact that I don't use an easy way out if I can't make a better version from scratch. Hense, pie crusts struck fear deep in my baker's soul ...

*Flashback* My Gammy (dad's mom) makes the most INCREDIBLE pies. As an engagement present she gave me the recipe to my most favorite of her creations ... and in 5 years I haven't even attempted it because I just knew that I could NEVER make a pie crust. *End Flashback*

Last night I had planned to make a Toll-House Pie for dessert. I had surrendered to using a pre-made crust, even though I knew I couldn't make my own. We had some frozen crusts that someone gave us quite a while ago ... it was supposed to be fast and convenient ... Anyway, I took the crusts out of the freezer and discovered that there was mold on them ... EWW! So, (after a frantic side trip into the world of cleaning and sanitizing everything in sight) I made a decision. The filling was already in process and I was NOT going to waste perfectly good cookie-esque pie filling. So, I gave in. I went looking for my Gammy's pie crust recipe. Silly me figured it was included in the recipe she gave me 5 years ago. Nope. The recipe says "Pour filling into pie crust." No mention of how to get that crust. Just that it magically appears. Great. Now what?

Ahh ... recipezaar. Enter search for "quick pie crust" ... and voila!

My pie crust was light and flaky, buttery but not greasy ... really good for my first ever pie crust. And now ... I feel almost unstopable in the kitchen ... well ... at least in baking. Cooking is more of Tyler's area of expertise ... but perhaps with more time on my hands these days I can claim back that one too ...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lowest Common Denominator

As long as I can remember, I've been a 'gotta watch the morning news' kinda gal. As I've grown, I've begun paying attention to different parts of the news ... and today a realization hit me ...

I've often been frustrated with The Today Show in the past. Mostly because I'm shocked at what they consider "newsworthy" items on which to report. Granted, they now have 4 hours to fill. (Another point of frustration for me. When I started watching, it was 2 hours long. I remember when they added the 9 0'clock hour and vividly recall thinking, "What in the world are they going to talk about for another hour?" ... and now ... they've added the 10 o'clock hour too. And in my opinion - they don't really have anything to talk about during it.) Today, I was shocked at the realization that they have to report to the lowest common denominator in their viewing audience ... and that makes me scared for the future ... Let me explain.

They've been running segments for the last couple of weeks about saving money and how to live more financially responsibly. Fine. Most of these segments have been relatively interesting and have brought up some decent points. I didn't see all of today's segment, but what I did see was about what costs one should and should not cut. The experts on today were adamant that you should cut out your cable bill before you cut out your health insurance. Umm ... yeah ... DUH!

Upon reflection, I have the following to say. I have realized that this is a loose-loose situation here. First, The Today Show honestly felt that their viewing audience would benefit from this report - meaning that there are people out there who needed to hear that one should cut expenses like cable before insurance. And on the other hand, I'm a loyal Today Show viewer. And while I did not need to hear this, a large enough portion of their viewing audience did. Which once again ... makes me scared for the future ...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Simple Gifts

For those of you who do not know already, I grew up going to Catholic school. All 12 years. So, I went to Mass a lot. I've grown up and Tyler and moved away and found a church setting that we love. But every so often I miss going to Mass. I now appreciate the true beauty of what I took for granted all those many years. There is still something very comforting to me about the order and process of it all - the tradition of it all ...

Yesterday afternoon Tyler and I were at Half-Price Books with my mom. I was flipping through the section of the store that I go to first to find fluff reading these days and I opened a book that I had been considering getting for a while and began to read. The story began with an old Shaker hymn - Simple Gifts ...

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
- Elder Joseph, c. 1848

I've had a tough week. I hurt. If I let myself, I'd crawl in a corner and wait for the world to go away. But I can't. Instead I choose to focus on the positives in my life. I've been truly blessed with amazing family and friends, my husband is a wonderful man. We have a great church and support system. We have a home and a place to lay our heads at night. Even though things have been incredibly difficult for us lately, we've been blessed.

Music has always been soothing for me. The sweet notes carry comfort and healing to my dry soul. In this painful time, I found a song that I grew up singing. And now, this will be with me as I grow again. Such a powerful reminder - 'tis a gift to be simple ...

In this time of turning and turning till I don't know which way is up ... I pray that I'll know when I've come round right ...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This time ...

... four years ago, today, I was eating breakfast. yeah ... I know ... that doesn't seem like such a big deal ... I eat breakfast most days. However, this day four years ago breakfast was different. I stood in the kitchen at my mom's house with my mom, Deidra, Caryn, Amy, Laurie, Mandy, and Crystal ... rarely in my life have there been that many people in my mom's house at once, never have there been so many girls. So here's what was different ... this time, four years ago, I was eating my last breakfast as a Daniels woman ... for in just 7 short hours, Daniels wouldn't be my name anymore. I know it wasn't all that long ago ... but I still remember it like it was yesterday. (I hope in 50 years that it's still this clear.)

Happy Anniversary, my love! Here's to the first 4 and the next (at least) 50 to come!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Big Read

I saw this on SarahCool's blog and thought it was interesting, so I'm copying. :) :) While my mom wasn't an English teacher like Sarah's, my mom is a teacher, so my love of books began at a very early age.

I LOVE to read, and really didn't have a lot of time for it in college, then didn't really make it a priority. Now my life is different, my faithful readers know that it is a regular occurrence for me to devour a book in a weekend. Not only do Tyler and I head to the library regularly ... but I'm a Half-Price Books addict and we MUST go whenever we're visiting my mom.

I've read 40 of these... how about you? And I was surprised at some of their choices for the list. Bridget Jones' Diary? Really?

The Big Read says that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.

*A notable favorite book of mine that is NOT on this list below, but IS featured on their website right now is Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. I think that you should read it.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Underline the books you love. (I can't figure out how to underline today ... So I've noted my all-time favs with a *)
3) Italicize those you intend to read.
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or for whatever reason loathe.

* And, like SarahCool, most of the books I haven't read, I have made a conscious decision NOT to, so I'm not bothering with 3 or 4.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee*
6 The Bible - GOD!
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles*
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger*
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald*

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery*

47 Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett*

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White*

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (and I wish I NEVER had ...)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Friday, August 08, 2008

New Side Note

As you may or may not know, things are going absolutely swimmingly at South Main Designs. In the last month we've added over 40 new Sales Consultants to our team. And, because it's something that I am very excited about (and think you should be too), I've added a new section to the side of my blog - the section in which I update my faithful readers as to the numbers by which we are growing.

I recently celebrated my 1-year anniversary working there. This time last year, we had only 35 Sales Consultants. Our 100th Sales Consultant came in March. It took us just over a year and a half to get to 100, and now only 5 months to add another 100 ...

A few years ago, Andrea Rogers went to a conference where she heard the founder of another Direct Sales jewelry company speak. And Andrea often tells us how this founder was recounting their initial years and said that it took what seemed like forever to reach their 100th consultant, but the growth from 100 to 1,000 happened so quickly that she couldn't remember it ...

We're in that now. We can all feel it around the office.

And I have to say, it's a really cool place to be.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


For some reason this song was in my head this morning ... I'm glad it was. It's been the kind of week where it doesn't hurt to be reminded that someone sees flowers ...

Enjoy ...

in a field of yellow flowers
underneath the sun
bluest eyes that spark with lightning
boy with shoes undone
he is young, so full of hope
reveling in tiny dreams
filling up his arms with flowers
right for giving any queen
running to her,beaming bright
while cradling his prize
a flickering of yellow light
within his mother's eyes
she holds them to her heart
keeping them where they'll be safe
clasped within her very marrow
dandelions in a vase

she sees love where anyone else would see weeds
all hope is found, here is everything he needs

fathomless Your endless mercy
weight i could not lift
where do i fit in this puzzle?
what good are these gifts?
not a martyr or a saint
scarcely can i struggle through
all that i have ever wanted
was to give my best to You

Lord search my heart
create in me something clean
You see flowers in these weeds

gently lifting hands to heaven
softened by the sweetest hush
a Father sings over His children
loving them so very much
more than words could warrant
deeper than the darkest blue
more than sacrifice could merit
Lord, i give my heart to you

Lord search my heart
create in me something clean
You see flowers in these weeds

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th!

I like fireworks. They've always seemed magical to me ... It's one of the main reasons that I love the 4th of July. We're going to the local fireworks tonight. Are you going to enjoy your local show this year?

While I love fireworks, I must admit that I'm also digging the whole paid holiday thing too ...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

David Hasselhoff

and his judging "abilities" make Randy Jackson seem coherent and insightful.

What does that say about America's Got Talent?

... not that we don't enjoy the show ... just saying ...

A woman of few words ...

is what I currently am ...

Tyler was sick last week. He had no voice on Wednesday and very little voice on Thursday. He was so kind as to share his illness with me ...

I made it to noon yesterday at work. Tried to get up and get ready this morning - couldn't do it. No voice still ... fever ... coughing ...

Thank you darling for sharing your illness with me. You're so kind and considerate.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

We've Decided

that the world would be a "better" place if we had:

Zellner - the YouTube Channel

You know you would watch.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Also ...

Is there anything this guy ...

... doesn't sell?

Seriously. I've seen him in ads for at least 20 different products - including OxiClean, Orange Clean, Orance Glo, The Awesome Auger, Kaboom!, Vidalia Slice-It/Chop Wizard, Mighty Putty, The Hercules Hook, and Samurai Shark Knife Sharpener - just to name a few ...

So I wonder, if South Main Designs were to ever do 2 am infomercials ...

"Would YOU like to start your home-based business for FREE! Find out how with South Main Designs!" ...

I've seen him wearing jewelry. And we do have a mens line ...

... nah ... he may not be the best fit after all ...

Betty White

In the last month of watching Game Show Network on the preview channel, I've learned that if there's a game show, Betty White has been on it.

I have now seen her on Password, Password Plus, Super Password, The Match Game, What's My Line, To Tell the Truth, I've Got a Secret and several generations of Pyramid.

And then last night, we were watching something on CBS and sure enough ... she's on another one coming this summer - Million Dollar Password.

Is there a game show that she hasn't done?

(And on a side note ... in searching for pictures of Betty to include here, I've discovered that she has ALWAYS looked like this ...)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

This is bad ...

... very very very bad ...

... is on DishNetwork's preview channel this month. Or at least that's what we think is going on. You see, I was out of town traveling for work again at the end of this week and Tyler was flipping channels ... and found it. Productivity has severely decreased in our household. Which, while normally wouldn't be okay with me, today it is. We needed the time together to just relax and hang today. Now tomorrow will have to be another story ... but for now we're deep into a heated match on Family Feud.

And I'm really enjoying the down time.

So for now, it's all good.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Money Money Money


As many of you out there in Blogger-land know, Tyler and I have been in a situation of, umm ... shall we say, "money difficulties" for quite a while now. We had enough money when we first got out of college and were married, but we didn't manage well for the first year. Then I lost my job and Tyler was still on a grad student stipend. Then he finished school and I still hadn't found a steady job. Then neither of us could find a steady job that paid decently ... Then I found a job and Tyler started working on commission ... Are you catching the pattern here?

Yesterday we went to the store. We shopped off of both our "wants" and our "needs" lists. We left the store with a full cart. We unloaded at home and put away our groceries into our now very full cupboards. And everything we purchased yesterday we paid for in CASH! And man did it feel good! There's even money left in the bank account. We haven't had this feeling in FOREVER!!!!

Tyler and I were talking about it last night as we put away our groceries. It feels really liberating to just pay for something. It feels fantastic to not have to use a credit card just to get rice, milk, and bread in the house. We have been saying for quite a while now that we can see the light at the end of this tunnel of financial struggles. Last night I could feel the warm glow coming closer.

And it was good.

I will take the blame

When it snows next week.

That's right. I spent time this weekend packing up all of our sweaters and turtlenecks and winter coats and putting them away in our under-bed-storage boxes.

And as I was doing so ... I caught myself thinking, "Great. Now that all of our winter clothes are clean and packed away all neatly, this means that it'll snow next week."

Have I lived in Ohio too long? Because I'm pretty sure that this is a thought that many of us who live in this climate have pretty regularly.

Did anyone else pack up their winter things this weekend? Will anyone else be to blame but me?

Monday, March 17, 2008


I can't seem to get enough of it. For whatever reason right now ... my craving for it is insatiable right now.

Weird. When I do have cravings, it's usually for something sweet. Not so much salty.

So I'm curious ... what do you crave? And if you ever get weird cravings, what are they for?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Aches and Pains and Sheer Exhaustion

I feel kind of like her today.

Tyler and I have been crazy busy around here for the last day and a half.

You see ... we're hosting Easter this year. And, until yesterday, I still hadn't put away every last bit of the winter/Christmas stuff yet. (Can I just say that Easter this early is REALLY throwing me off ... How about you?) And on a scale of one to I'm a total looser, where would you rank the fact that I found a Creche on a shelf in our bedroom yesterday that I'm not 100% positive wasn't there still from last Christmas? But I digress ...

As I said, we're hosting Easter. No, we aren't having a ton of people over, but we are having family visit. And I was raised with the notion that you roll out the red carpet for everyone on holidays - family included. Tyler's dad, Al, is coming to stay with us on Saturday night. We only get to see him maybe twice a year ... even though he's only 2 and a half hours away in Cleveland. And Al's never been here. To Findlay. At all. So ... that kicks my need for a red carpet presentation into high gear ...

Which may not be all that much of a bad thing. I'll be the first to admit that I've been more lax than usual when it comes to housework lately. The basics still mostly get done, but some of the things that I prefer to see happen frequently (like mopping the floors) had been tossed to the way side some time ago. Cue the last 36 hours.

Tyler and I have whipped this house into shape in short order ... even to the extent of the oven, washing machine, dishwasher, fridge, and cabinets all being wiped/cleaned out. This house is cleaner than it has been in quite some time. And, while the work isn't finished yet and I still feel like the woman in the picture up there ... It's looking good. And I'm super pleased with progress. It's even beginning to look more like spring around here (now that the winter decor has all been put away :P).

I have a feeling that I will continue to feel like her for a while yet. There's still one more load of laundry to do. I haven't gotten to the ironing yet. And Tyler still has to clean up the office quite a bit this week ... But I'll tell you what ... I'm glad that I feel like her today.

It's a wonderful exhaustion of accomplishment ... and a feeling that over the years, I've come to enjoy ...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

To Whom It May Concern

There is another blog that I have been know to author with Tyler.

It's back.

Thought you might like to know ...

An Unfair Question

So we're sitting here and the Cavs are on TNT tonight ... which unfortunately means that Charles Barkley is on our tv tonight ... and Tyler asks me perhaps the most unfair question I've ever had to consider the answer to ...

If you had to (and I mean that your life, your spouse's life, your parents lives, your children's lives, and your dog's life depended on it) ...

If you had to download a podcast and MUST listen to it for 3 (that's THREE) hours straight ... would you choose:

Charles Barkley
John Madden
Steven A Smith
a drunk man with Tourettes syndrome

Which would you choose?

And I feel this is completely unfair. They're all equally AWFUL and torturous ... I suppose I would have to defer to where I was and if I had to play this podcast loud enough for other people to hear. I'm thinking that I would take the drunk man. But only if I didn't have to play it loud enough for others to hear. If someone else had to be subjected to it ...

Now that's a tough one ...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


out. Have you ever felt left out of something that maybe you really wanted to be a part of?

Honestly, I've been feeling that way a lot lately. Some of the things I'm not a part of are by choice (though t'was not an easy choice to make), others are not. I don't intend this to be a "woe is me ... boo hoo hoo" blog entry. I just need a chance to let my feelings out on the issue at hand. While I can't talk about all of the situations I'm currently feeling left out of, I can discuss a couple (for use as example) ...

Tyler and I are a part of a wonderful small group. I truly cherish the time that we spend with them on Tuesday nights. I always look forward to going and it's really a highlight in my week. There are 11 people who come to our small group. (I think I'm counting that correctly. If I didn't ... sorry about that ...)

Now, we knew that we're busy people, and that would mean that we would miss out on some things that we may want to be a part of but just can't. There's a book discussion that's about to start up at church. We're the only couple in our small group that's not a part of that book discussion. They're meeting on 3 Saturdays and we happen to be out of town 2 of those 3 weeks and Tyler's hitting a really busy time with STE and well ... we're still living in the reality of we just can't afford to do stuff like this right now. (There's a whole other blog about that festering inside of me at this point ... maybe later.) And yes, the books are available for a "donation", but it's just not a good time for us right now. But I'm kind of bummed. I'm feeling a bit left out.

Also going on at church, there is going to be a Spiritual Disciplines retreat at the end of the month. Again, it's bad timing for us. And again ... that ugly lack of money to do things is back on this too. But once again, we're the only people in our small group who aren't going on this weekend retreat.

Now, I realize that what I'm about to say is childish. I realize that it's dumb. I realize that I need to grow up and move on. But I'm going to say it none-the-less, and hopefully saying it will kick me in the butt and move me right along ... I feel like the fat kid at school all over again. I'm really feeling sorry and bummed and all that poopy stuff about and for myself right now. I'm sitting on the outside of a group that I really want to be a part of ... but can't.

I know that most everyone in my small group reads my blog. So please, this isn't directed at you. It's not to make you feel bad. It's just where I am. And I've had difficulty taking ownership of where I've been standing lately. And so, I shall start by taking ownership of this because I know that you will love me where I am in spite of where I am. I feel left out. And it's cool. I know that I can't be a part of these things right now. I understand that. But I'm still bummed. And I know that living life together means talking about common experience when you're together. I don't want them to not talk about the book they're all reading or the weekend retreat they're all going on while we're at small group on Tuesdays ... It's just that those topics leave the Betts family out. And that's just a part of life.

A part I'm not crazy about right now ...

In My Opinion ... Updated

Not only did I kill that book that afternoon ... Sunday, I killed another one. Aside from feeling like poo poo, the weekend was pretty awesome. I could sit and read forever. But alas, that allows too much escape and weekend necessities (like laundry) don't get done ... Tis a crying shame that I don't have time to read like that more often. Although part of me feels as though I appreciate it more when I do have time - or in the case of last weekend - make time.

Now what that means for me this week is that I will now spend nights after work and next weekend working at catching up to where I need to be.

But 1860 Texas was worth it ...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

In My Opinion

Heaven must look like this ...

I love to read. I'm sure that I've blogged about this before ... but I'm a bookworm. Last fall I had to hang shelves in our bedroom to hold more of our books. The two bookshelves in our office weren't big enough for our collection. Now we're running out of space on those shelves.

I had a dream last night that I rearranged our living room to make space for more bookshelves. The layout was wonderful when I was finished. I'd love to take what I dreamt about last night and use it for real in our living room. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that the living room in my dreams was about twice the size of the one we currently have. On the positive side, if we ever have a larger living room ... I have a very nice floor plan stored up in my brain ...

So, since we're snowbound today (see last post for feelings on that one) ... I think I'll read. I'm about 20 pages into my current bedtime book ... it's a good thing that I have a couple of books on my waiting list shelf right now ... it doesn't look like the snow is going to let up any time soon. And in that case ... it's a good thing that we're going to Columbus in a couple of weeks. By then I should be out of books and ready for another trip to Half Price Books!

Pretty ...

... isn't it? Peaceful, calm, beautiful winter scene ...

And I'm tired of it. Which is a bummer. I usually love winter. But today, there's a blizzard. It snowed and snowed and snowed while we were sleeping and it's still snowing and will continue to snow for quite a while yet.

Normally, I would just enjoy being home and would sit and read a book or work on some longer-term project that I have going around the house ... maybe I'd clean. (Yes. I enjoy cleaning. It's relaxing and very gratifying for me.) But today, I did not want to be snowed in. Today, we were supposed to go to Cleveland. But I just checked and every county between here and there that we have to drive through is already under a Level 3. Ah well. I shall be bummed as we sit here stuck.

Such is life right now ...

Friday, February 22, 2008



It was the kind of day where I was way more amused by this than I probably should have been ...


Monday, February 18, 2008

Mish Mash

Well ... Georgia was good ... the weather was warm, Savannah was beautiful ... I loved getting the chance to meet all of the women. I will always treasure that opportunity. And Savannah is on the list of places to visit when I have time to sightsee.

I've been fighting a cold. It took me out last week and won on Wednesday. I ended up taking a sick day last week. I will not take another one this week. But my ears hurt. My nose/head is full ... I'm thinking that some sleep will help. I know it's early ... it's only 8:30 ... but I'm thinking about going to bed ... Tyler's already there ... he's tired today too ...

Speaking of Tyler ... Wow. I love my husband. He's a keeper. I love him for many reasons ... and once in a while he totally blows me away with what he can do while I'm at the office. I didn't do any laundry last week, I was gone and Tyler was sick. Then I was sick. There were a lot of dirty clothes ... then we went to Mom's over the weekend (total surprise there) and went shopping (as she usually does), so we had more clothing that needed washed. The laundry's done. I've only done a couple of the loads ... and it's done. The bathroom's clean too ... and I've got to be honest - I'm not proud of it ... but the tub was bad. I mean bad. Now it's not.

Wow ... I just realized that I don't have anything really to say. I'll stop now. Just one more thing ... I heart Law and Order. I also heart TNT on Monday holidays. 9 times out of 10, TNT runs Law and Order marathons. I'm watching one right now that I haven't seen before. That's a rarity. I learned something the other day - this current season is its 17th. I didn't realize it had been on that long. That's crazy.

And that's all folks ... bed ... I'm tired ... I think my writing here has reflected such ...

Early to bed ... early to rise ... must be up and moving tomorrow morning ... early appointment ...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Well ... I'm off to the land of peaches this weekend. South Main Designs is hitting the road and headed to Savannah, GA for a three-day Southern Women's Show. I'm really excited about getting there and meeting all of the women ... I can't wait to break that 100 mark!

What I'm not so excited about is that things are not as peachy-keen as I would have liked them to be before I left ... The laundry isn't quite finished. I'm not quite packed yet. The errands are quite all run. The house isn't quite picked/cleaned up. Tyler isn't quite healthy ... neither am I ...

Yes ... that's right folks ... there's a stomach bug going around and it moved into the Betts' House on Monday night. Tuesday at work I didn't feel so great ... but Tyler ... he's running a fever, he's hot, he's cold, he's in the bathroom, he's hungry, his head hurts, his body hurts ... well ... He started dealing last night with what I dealt with at work all day yesterday (and will continue to deal with as I travel this weekend) ...

And, adding insult to injury - the seal on our toilet is leaking onto the floor.

And so ... I shall leave all of this behind for now and move on to the land of peaches ... where I hope that all things are peachy-keen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

One Hundred

Do you remember celebrating "100 day" when you were in school? Or was that just my teacher who did that?

I don't remember everything, but what I do remember was pretty awesome - at least to an 8 year old kid. We spent the whole week before gathering up 100s of things: straws, pop tabs, beans, Fruit Loops, pieces of paper, pennies, birthday candles ... Then on the 100th day of school, we celebrated.

You know ... I remember this being cool and a big deal. As I write about it ... doesn't seem so cool or awesome ...

Huh ...

Friday, January 04, 2008


It's been a year now. It doesn't seem like it. Some days I swear I just got off of the phone with JZ. Other days ... well ... lets just say that it feels like forever. I can still hear every word Carp said on the phone when he called to tell us. That was a lifetime ago. That was just yesterday. That was a year ago ...

I go back and forth a lot. It's very surreal sometimes. There are days where it just doesn't register with me. Then there are the days that are all too real. Those days aren't my favorite, but I know that I have to walk through them.

I had a realization the other day. I haven't been in the best of moods lately. To those whom I hurt or offended, I am truly sorry. I've just hit another rough patch. And I have to walk through it. I do appreciate those who offer patience and will wait for me on the other side. Thank you.

I can't say that I'm thrilled with this. As a matter of fact, I'm still pissed some times. I have to be honest with you - this is wrong. This is NOT how it was supposed to be. Mandy is not supposed to be a 20-something widow. The four of us are still supposed to be getting together to watch the draft, play Settlers, talk about nothing, and laugh till we cry. Our kids are supposed to grow up together and play. They're supposed to be friends and our boys are supposed to pledge STE together.

I can't say that I love where we are. I can't say that I'm happy about it. I can't say that it sits okay with me. I can't say ...

I can say that I'm still very sad some days. I can say that I miss Z like crazy most days. I can say that I still cry. I can say that it still hurts ... a lot. I can say ...

There have been a few moments during the past year that I can point to and say "some of the pain went away when _____". I know for a fact that when JT and Beth left a blank spot in the groomsmen for Z that some of the pain left with that acknowledgment. God I pray for more of those. There's still so much pain. Not a day goes by ...

However, I know Z wouldn't want a bunch of tears. He wasn't much for crying - unless you were doing so because you were laughing so hard that was all you could do. I really appreciated that about his memorial last year. I am truly glad that we were all able to share and laugh. I know that would have made him the happiest. I know it was good for Mandy.

Tyler and I had lunch with Mandy last weekend. Yeah. It's still weird. It's going to be weird. It's where we are. I do know this ... we can't just not talk about it. We can't just not acknowledge where we are and what's brought us here. That's just not healthy and it's just not right. With that being said, I like talking about Z. There's hardly a day that goes by that Tyler and I don't share something, some memory or thought or comment, about Z. It's like getting a tiny piece of him back - even if it is just for a moment.

With that said ... I'd like to share with you my JZ memory for the day ... (Disclaimer: I am aware that this is completely inappropriate. But so was Z.)

He had a favorite joke. He wasn't allowed to tell it. Mandy hates it. So do I. Tyler likes it too. He's not allowed to tell it either ... Today, something is a little different ..

So a woman went into labor on April first ...

Nope. I can't do it. It's a bad joke. Tyler will tell you if you really want to hear it sometime ...

If there's one thing that I've really learned in the past year it is that you have to appreciate each moment you have with someone. Every time that you have the pleasure to laugh with someone or cry with them. When you get to share a joy or a smile. When you are blessed to have time to talk about something, anything, or nothing. Please take note. Please remember. Please acknowledge. Please appreciate the gift of that moment. You don't know that you'll get another moment to share a joy with that person that you love.

It's always been difficult for me to wish, hope, or dream for a new year. Part of me always feels selfish or self-centered for dreaming and hoping for things like a house, less debt, starting a family, etc. This year ... well ... it's a bit different. I wish that Tyler and I will be blessed with appreciation for and realization of the joy that surrounds us. I wish that we can truly live each moment and love each person. I wish for a few less tears of sorrow and pain and a few more of joy and laughter. And I wish for healing ...