Wednesday, December 31, 2008


One year ago today, I lost one of the most influential people in my life - my grandmother. She was one month shy of celebrating her 96th birthday. There are no words to describe her. She was surreal.

It was rare to see Grandma without a smile on her face. She loved life, and she loved her family. She especially loved my PawPaw. This is a photo of the two of them on their wedding day. She waited 16 years to reunite with the love of her life. Oh, how I wish I could have seen their first kiss in Heaven:)

Visits to Grandma's house are at the top of my list of wonderful memories. We baked cookies and cakes, picked strawberries, snaps and peas, made homemade ice cream, and caught lightning bugs. We raked leaves, played Bingo by the light of an oil lamp when the power went out, and sang while Grandma played the piano.

Grandma packed our lunches, gave us a nightly scrubbing, fed us, hugged us, and made us feel as if we were the most special people in the world. She made us ice cream floats, read us bedtime stories, and made clothes for our Barbies AND for us!

I am so thankful that I was able to get to know my grandmother as an adult. Our relationship was VERY different as adults. In fact, I believe it was even better than it was when I was a child. She was a wise woman, and I can only aspire to be half the person she was.

Last Christmas, we had a little family get-together prior to our church Christmas program. Dad packed Grandma up in the car, and they headed to our place for the festivities! In this photo, she is enjoying a moment with my dad, my daughter, my niece and my nephew:) Isn't she beautiful?

Here's a close-up of the lovely little lady. She suffered from osteoporosis, and it was extremely difficult for her to hold her head up. However, when there was a camera nearby, she seemed to find a way to lift up her head and flash a smile!

I believe this picture was taken last year at Thanksgiving. We had eaten a HUGE meal, and felt the need to take a walk around the block. It was SO cold, and Grandma needed a bit of bundling to keep warm. She got the biggest kick out of this photo! I can still hear her laughing.

This picture was taken sometime in 2007. My dad assumed the role of primary caregiver for Grandma, and the loss has been especially difficult for him. Don't you think she looks a bit mischievous??

I miss Grandma every day of my life. Probably always will. She was one of a kind, and she touched SO many lives with her quick wit, and Christian values. She truly lived what she believed, and we were all impacted by her strong convictions. I believe that her prayers kept many of us out of serious trouble:)

I am blessed to have had this incredible woman in my life for so long. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Dreaming...

...of a warm, sunny beach. (And squeezing into a little bikini one last time.)

The South Beach Blogger Butt Smack Down (SBBBSD) starts January 5th. Any takers? If there is enough interest, I will create a sidebar area where we can record our progress. Pllleeeaaaasssseeee join me. Misery LOVES company:/

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Why is it that a teenager can sleep for three hours and look as fresh as a daisy, while a forty-something can sleep for eight hours and look like she hasn't slept for a month???

The inhabitants of Casa de Envy underwent some changes over the holidays. No, I'm not referring to the number of pounds we have collectively gained. That's another post for another, more depressing, day. The changes I would like to point out are actually POSITIVE!

Prior to the crazy Christmas rush, Snow White and I each paid a visit to our magician (hairdresser) Michelle. That woman can perform miracles. I added some sassy new bangs (to cover up the forehead wrinkles), and Snow White had her hair cut and colored a VERY dark brown (to accentuate her youthful beauty - it's alright if you hate her for being so cute). I told Michelle to make sure to keep SW's card handy, because the gray was taking over my hair, and I REALLY liked the color combo she came up with:)

During the course of our family celebration on Friday, SW & my niece made plans to shop on Saturday. Little Sis and I decided that we would like to shop as well. After all, that Christmas money was NOT meant to be put away for a rainy day!!! We packed up the girls, and met at Prime Outlets in Williamsburg. The Liz Claiborne outlet alone was worth the trip. (FYI) So we ended up with new outfits, as well as new hairdos! Go, Us!!!

Stay tuned for my South Beach Diet blogs that will be coming up in the next week or so. THAT will spell change...and a countdown to my 25th High School Class Reunion:/ Yes, 25th. Stop laughing. Now.

I saved the best for last. THE most exciting new change came Christmas morning. Santa (Cool Breeze) delivered a new Verizon Broadband Modem for our computer. The one that we like to call "The Dinosaur". WE HAVE HIGH SPEED INTERNET NOW!!!! NO MORE (*&$(*&$(*&@^^! DIAL-UP!!! Yes, my lovelies, I am now able to blog AT HOME!!! Yiiippppeeeeee!!! I believe my life is now complete. Either that, or my Blogger Butt is in BIG trouble.

The weather has even decided to change. It has been in the seventies here all day, and I cannot begin to tell you how elated I am!! It will end soon, but I'll take all the warm weather I can get:)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and are looking forward to the new year.

What changes have YOU made?

Friday, December 26, 2008

One To Go

What a whirlwind this week has been! Is anyone else exhausted from all of the festivities?? For some reason, we just keep forging ahead through the fatigue....I believe that whole process is called "denial"!!! Like a child, I am afraid I'm going to miss something:)

I will be heading out in just a bit for the last scheduled family Christmas function. It will be bittersweet. We are going to my grandma's house. Grandma went on to a much better place last year, and this is our first Christmas without her. While I know that there will be lots of laughter, I'm sure there will also be a few tears. Things just aren't the same - and never will be.

It's been a year of new traditions. We have all been forced to come up with creative ways to celebrate the holidays. I think Grandma would be proud of the way we've handled things:)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas. Hug the ones you love, make peace with the ones you don't, and let the joy of the season fill your heart:)
Love, BHE

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Best Tree Ever!

We had an eventful Monday night at Casa de Envy! Presents were wrapped, ornaments were hung, wine was....well, you get the idea.
The first hurdle was trying to figure out what to do about the one strand of lights that went out IN THE CENTER of the PRE-LIT tree. Cool Breeze knew that I was really wishing for some colorful lights this year, so he added two long strands of colored lights! He's the best:) Can you see the starfish in the center of this photo?

Snow White then proceeded to hang the ornaments. It was SO much fun to reminisce about the origin of each ornament, and to listen to what SHE remembered about some of them. She remembered the pre-school teacher that taught her to make some of her first ornaments out of construction paper, glitter and pipe cleaners:) This beauty is about 14 years old.

CB's mother gave us this beautiful tree topper a number of years ago. She's top heavy,(the Angel, NOT CB's mother), and gave CB quite a fit when he was trying to put her on top of the tree. She finally settled down:)

Do you see another starfish in this picture?

I enjoy sitting on the sofa and just staring at the lights. My dog and cat enjoy it as well!

Can you tell we are Wolfpack fans?

Snow White also remembered that she and I made these lovely ornaments with a bunch of neighborhood kids one year. 1995, I believe. It snowed every Friday for about three months, and the kids were starting to go a little stir-crazy. Thank goodness I kept a ready supply of craft items on hand. These had ribbons and jingle bells on them! Oh, and, of course, GLITTER!

I believe SW said she made this gingerbread wreath in elementary school. It STILL smells like gingerbread!

I am going to be devastated one day when these ornaments that my baby made finally disintegrate. Is there any way to preserve them?

Monday, December 22, 2008


I did it! I FINALLY finished my Christmas shopping! Better late than never....
Well, I do have ONE little stop to make on the way home from work today. But, essentially, I. Am. Done. WHEW! That gives me two whole days to wrap everything, and get the ornaments on the tree:)
I'm still not sure what happened to me this year. The word "apathy" springs to mind, but I don't think that completely covers it. Typically I am one of those women that you just HATE around this time of year. Tree up early, cards mailed the first of December, gifts ordered and wrapped two weeks ahead of time.....blah, blah, blah! Where did that woman go??? I hope she returns next year. I'm not fond of this last minute stuff - it's too stressful!
* * * * * *
A quick story to share...It was 19 degrees at my house this morning. As I drove in to work, I noticed an SUV coming out of the local carwash. IT WAS COVERED IN SOAP!!! Frozen soap. I wonder who the genius was who decided that it would be a good idea to run through the carwash on the way to work, when it was NINETEEN DEGREES!!! Bwahahahaha!
'Tis the season!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Beach Tree

In the year 2000, Cool Breeze and I were dying a slow death as a result of subdivision life. We decided to purchase a nice piece of property in the country, so that one day we would have a peaceful place to retire.

After endless weekend visits to "the property", we realized that we wanted to be there MUCH sooner than upon retirement. The only glitch was that Snow White attended school in our present county of residence. We were not willing to enroll her in another school system because she was receiving a top-notch education. Not to mention the fact that she would have to leave behind several close friends. The decision was made to apply for tuition status. If she was allowed to enroll as a tuition student, we could move. If not, we would stay put until she finished high school.

The good news arrived in our mailbox on a Thursday - SW would be allowed to attend with tuition status. Our house was on the market by Saturday!

We moved into our new little gingerbread house in the big woods the second week in December, 2001. There was little time to prepare for Christmas, much less decorate. We had tossed our old Christmas tree when we moved, and had decided not to bother with one that year.

Enter MOM! My Mom and Step-Father had attended a local fundraising event called the Festival of Trees. While there, they purchased the PERFECT little tree (already decorated), and gave it to us as a housewarming present. It made our Christmas complete!

Here is our little Beach Tree! She is VERY sparkly when lit, but I didn't have time to plug her in this morning before I took pictures......I was running late for work, the camera battery was dying and my dog needed to be let out. (TMI?)

Instead of a star or an angel, she is topped with a ship.

She's loaded with mermaids, shells...

...and Starfish.

I wanted to post this today because, when I woke up this morning, I was certain that I was beginning to feel the Christmas Spirit!!! YIIIPPPPEEEEE!!!
I hope it wasn't just gas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is... be cellulite-free.

This photo was sent to me via email. I have no idea where it originated.

I can dream, can't I?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm Trying

Here is another meager attempt to force myself to get into the spirit of the holidays. I borrowed (stole) this from my friend over at The Vinyl Village. Thanks, Buddy! I hope it works.....

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. Egg Nog makes my stomach hurt.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? Wraps them, and places them in neat little piles for each family member. Isn't he thoughtful?

Colored lights on tree or white? White. But I really prefer colored lights. (Now THAT may be the REAL solution to this Scrooge problem I seem to have:) Note to Self: Go buy you some colored lights!

When do you put your decorations up? Every other year, Thanksgiving weekend. This year, still getting around to that.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? The ham that my Dad cooks. Nothing else can compare.

Favorite Holiday memory as a child: My sisters and I would get up VERY early on Christmas morning, and run downstairs to see what Santa had left under the tree. After admiring our gifts, AND everyone else's, we would run upstairs and wake our parents up by shouting, "COME SEE WHAT SANTA BROUGHT US!!!"

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What truth about Santa?

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? One gift, and one gift only:) I believe this tradition dates back to my childhood. We were allowed to open one gift, and it was always pajamas! At least we looked really cute in the Christmas morning photos!!!

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? We haul the boxes out of the attic, watch Christmas Vacation, listen to Christmas CD's and reminisce about the ornaments and their origins.

Snow! Love it or Dread it? DREAD it. Unless it's on Christmas Day, and it's gone the day after:)

Can you ice skate? No. But I can roller skate. Does that count?

Do you remember your favorite gift? My Barbie Country Camper, and my red, white and blue three-speed bike.

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Being with my family. We don't see each other often enough.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Orange Slice Cake - Grandma's Recipe

What is your favorite tradition? Baking with my daughter.

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? Definitely giving.

What is your favorite Christmas Song? O, Holy Night. Nothing else can compare.

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Neither. They are just part of the experience.

Ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I recall. Although, when I was very young, I used to find things in my room, wrap them, and give them as gifts! I wanted in on that deal!!! I'm sure people were just thrilled to receive a used jump rope, or a set of jacks.

You know. This may have actually worked!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Perfect Gift

When I arrived at church last Sunday, I walked to my usual seat and prepared to plop myself down. Much to my surprise, there was a beautiful little package waiting there for me! I know you just laughed when you saw that the gift tag said To: BHE! And now you are thinking, "Why did someone at church leave a present for BHE?" Well, my BFF Noe Noe Girl has started her own blog!!! (Her son, Little T is also venturing out into the blog world. I think she has a future journalist on her hands:))

Noe Noe Girl is the coolest little Chica you will ever meet. She's sassy, funny, and she has some of the biggest hair I have ever seen! **Jealous** Her energy level knows no bounds. She and her husband BUILT THEIR OWN HOUSE. Not kidding!

Last week, she and I had a girls' night out with a group of friends. We had a limo take us around for a Tacky Light Tour, and then we went out for dinner. (We had to make one pit stop at Ben Franklin, but that's another story for another day.) Our faces hurt from laughing so much! (Don't expect to see pictures from this outing. There. Is. No. Photographic. Evidence.)

When I opened the gift, I could hardly contain my excitement!!!

Isn't it obvious that she TOTALLY "gets" me???

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Big Win

Oh, yes they did!!! Last night the Dallas Cowboys defeated the New York Giants. Who saw THAT coming??

As a general rule, you will not see anything sports-related on this blog. Today, I will make an exception. ( I forgot to bring my camera to work, so I don't really have anything else;) )

Cool Breeze has been a fan of the Cowboys since he was a small child. (I have the pictures to prove it!!) As a result of his undying devotion, I became a fan through attrition. Or was it osmosis? Brainwashing? Anyway, I pledged my loyalty to the Cowboys. For better, or for worse. (And who can resist watching Terrell Owens celebrate in the endzone?)

To be perfectly honest, I used to watch the games just to see Troy Aikman. (I'm SO happy that he is now a commentator:) ) Fortunately, they now have Tony Romo. Nothing like a little eye-candy to get a girl excited about a football game!

Do you have a favorite team?

Friday, December 12, 2008


As you all know, I live in a rural area. Rural, as in there are no Public Rest Areas in a 60 mile radius. This may cause a dilemma for folks travelling with small children this holiday season. Or for those who get a little over- zealous with the morning coffee.

My daily commute encompasses three different counties. As I entered County Number Two the other day, I realized that they were addressing the problem regarding the current lack of facilities. They have placed a porta-potty directly behind the "Welcome to Our County" sign. (Sorry for the blurry photo. I WAS DRIVING. Um, I was sitting at a stop light and didn't have time to focus. Yeah, that's it.)

Nothing says "Stop and sit a spell" like a porta-potty!
I'm considering hanging a wreath on the door. What do you think?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


100 Posts? It's official. I no longer have a life:) I've successfully created My Own Little World.

Please help celebrate this milestone by joining me for a cupcake. They are exact replicas of the fantasy home in which I now reside. In My Own Little World.

A BIG THANKS to all of you who have made this blogging thing so much fun. I never could have imagined the friendships that would form in a virtual world. You people never cease to amaze me with your wit, your kindness and your words of wisdom. I can always count on you to lift my spirits on a bad day, or to celebrate with me on a good one. It's not the act of blogging that is addictive, it's the people you "meet" who are addictive. I'm SO glad to have "met" you all!

Monday, December 8, 2008


A while back, my BFF, Mama invited me to join her new Blogger Book Club. I love to read, so this was a no-brainer for me. Unfortunately, I am worthless at writing a book review. Please bear with me while I fumble through an exercise that has haunted me since second grade. What did the author mean when.....AAHHHGGG! Why can't you just let me enjoy the book???
I was unfamiliar with the series prior to Mama telling me about it. Perhaps that's because my daughter has never been a voracious reader like her mother. It seems that these books were originally written for a much younger target audience. But, hey, isn't 42 the new 16?
After purchasing the book, I started seeing trailers for the movie. I am not a big fan of books being made into movies (As in: Stephen King should have NEVER allowed his books to be put on the big screen. Except Misery & Christine. But I digress. What's new?) That being said, I ignored the hype and vowed to formulate my own opinion of this novel.
The first thing I realized was that the book was about vampires. WOOT! Can you say "Kiefer Sutherland was totally HAWT in The Lost Boys"? I just LOVED his Billy Idol mullet and pointy teeth! (Sorry. That was a brazen attempt to incorporate Kiefer into my blog.) BUT, once I started reading, it dawned on me that a whole new breed of vampire had come to town.....specifically, Forks, Washington.
These vampires came out during the day. They lived among "normal" people. Sure, they had pasty white skin and gold eyes, but doesn't everyone who lives in a state that only has about six sunny days per year? The ice-cold skin and "sweet breath" were an interesting addition to the mix. I had always assumed that all vampires reeked of cave funk and blood. Who knew?
Here's the gist of the story: Bella, a tormented teen, falls in love with Edward, a vampire with a bad boy attitude. I would like to say that this is a classic literary struggle between good and evil, but Edward isn't REALLY evil. Surprise! They open their hearts to one another, which puts each of them at great risk....from others who ARE evil. Two worlds collide, and the ending is exciting!
I really enjoyed Meyer's contemporary take on vampires. The Cullen characters were well developed, and left me wanting to know much more about them. (Especially Alice) I will definitely be reading the other three books in this series. I may even see the movie!
My copy of this book is now in the custody of my sister. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did:)

The Bizarre Bazaar

I enjoyed reading your guesses last week, but no one figured out EXACTLY where I was. Heehee! Last Friday, my friend T and I attended the 33rd Annual Christmas Bizarre Bazaar. She and I are allowed one day per year together, and this is how we choose to spend it! Don't judge. I've lost track of how many years we have gone to this event, but it's a lot!

We started the day off with a delicious breakfast at the Riverbound Cafe. (I tried to post their link, but it seems to be off line...bummer) Three cups of coffee, and we were ready to take that craft show by storm - but we had to hit the bathroom first!! Our timing was perfect, and we arrived just as the doors opened. Not surprising, we ARE professionals.

This show is not for amateur attendees. You have to secure a plan of action, or you will be trampled in the aisles - or hit in the heels with a baby stroller. T & I have to review our plan prior to arrival each year, and it goes something like this:

-Ensure that tickets are easily accessible (These tickets were ordered three months in advance to save time at the door)

-Fill out door prize slip at breakfast (These slips are sent with the tickets)

-Strategically park (Close enough to be able to take packages out to the car throughout the day. Far enough away to avoid traffic when leaving)

-Find shortest line (This line will inevitably take the longest)

-Once inside, drop door prize slip into the box (We have never won anything, but we remain hopeful. My neighbor has won something two years in a row)

-Take out Christmas lists and give them a quick once-over (Never mind that we perused them at breakfast. The pace in this place is fast, and you don't really have time to think)

-Take note of all of the women crowded around the FrappaVino booth....Drinking merlot slurpees at 10 a.m. (Wonder how long we would have to wait to get a sample)

-Enjoy the fact that we are not rookies. (Many of these vendors are familiar, and we do not have to shop these booths. We enter, grab and pay. Done)

-Laugh. A lot.

-Pass the booths that are of no interest to us. (Shove our way in to the ones that are)

-Dodge, Dip, Duck, Dive.....and Dodge. (Where did all of these people come from?)

-Make trip to car to drop off heavy bags, which are beginning to cut off our circulation.

-Enter second building.


-Enter third building.


-Enter fourth building.

-Hit the free samples because we haven't eaten lunch, and it is now nearing dinner time.

-Buy dark chocolate covered dried cherries. Two packages. (Make a mental note to share one with family, and hide the other)

-Upon completion of fourth building, go back through first three buildings and pick up additional items. (Some were being monogrammed, others were just things we HAD to have more of)

-Exit first building. Sigh. Is the day over already?

-Get into car, and evaluate the day. Make notes for next year's plan of action. Sigh. Is the day over already?

-Talk about next year all the way home.

Doesn't that sound like the perfect day?!

I wanted to let you all know that I met Kristen from Mommy Needs a Cocktail. Earlier in the week, I Googled the show to find out what the hours were. Kristen's site came up third on the list (it's now second), so I checked it out. She had been a vendor at the Spring Show, but I wasn't sure if she'd be at the Christmas Show. Sure enough, there she was in the fourth building.......poor thing, she was sitting in a corner eating a bag of white cheddar popcorn. Did I mention that she's six months pregnant?? Evidently, vendors are to be chained to their booths for four days and not given any bread or water. Thank goodness she had the popcorn stashed away.....I'd hate for her to get into trouble with the Biz Baz police. Go over and visit her - she's hilarious!!! While you're there, order a t-shirt or two.....they make great gifts:)

Alright. Who wants to go with us next year? Do you think you can hang???

Friday, December 5, 2008

BHE Has Left The Building

Can you guess where I am today???? My kitty cat knows, but I've sworn her to secrecy!
Here's a hint: I am NOT decorating my tree, OR baking cookies.
I'll give you the scoop next week. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Peppy Sugar-Socks

As you know, I have been feeling a little like the Grinch this year. In an effort to hoist myself out of the holiday doldrums, I decided to find out what my Christmas Elf name would be. PEPPY SUGAR-SOCKS!!! Now if THAT doesn't get me into the spirit, nothing will! Makes me want to go drink some cocoa and wrap presents:)

Click HERE to find out what your Elf name is. Go on. You know you want to find out.....
When you write those letters to Santa this year, be sure to tell him that Peppy Sugar-Socks is your FAVORITE elf! Just don't call me Sugar- Britches.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's All So Clear Now

I have been trying to figure out why I've been such a Grinch about Christmas this year. Sure, we are cutting back just like everyone else, but that shouldn't impact my enthusiasm for this glorious holiday. I LOVE to send cards - not doing it this year. I LOVE to buy presents - haven't even started. I LOVE to decorate my tree - it's still in the attic. What in the world is going on?

Well folks, this morning I found the culprits. Their names are Personal Property Tax, and his evil twin Real Estate Tax. These jokers show up in my mailbox every year looking for money. They are never invited, and they certainly aren't welcome. BUT, they know that I HAVE to give them a check. When do they always decide to collect? THREE WEEKS BEFORE CHRISTMAS! Sorry, I didn't mean to shout.

Don't they KNOW that it's the worst possible time of the year for an added expense? Yes, I believe they do. Why can't they show up in the summer, when I'm not stressed about finding the perfect gift for so-and-so, or about getting out of the store alive when I go to purchase that perfect gift ON SALE? I suppose they just don't care about my plight.

Now that they have been paid, I hope I can forget about these dudes for another year. I'm ready to get EXCITED about Christmas:)

Cindy Lou Hoo got over it, and so will I!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bloggers Beware

We are all well aware of the hazards of blogging. Wasted time, no sleep, carpal tunnel syndrome, blogger butt....(Insert Your Personal Hazard Here).

Today I would like to direct your attention to a problem that we may have overlooked: Toddler Blogger Addiction. It's a frightening phenomenon that has never before been explored. If it's not curtailed, we might have to deal with an upcoming generation of people who never leave the house without a camera.....just in case! Would schools begin to require a Dictionary of Acronyms?

This photo shows a child that has spent WAY too many hours blogging with Mommy. Unless we can come up with a way for blogging to be lucrative, we must curb their enthusiasm immediately!

I'm counting on you to help.