Best. Idea. Ever.

A big thumbs up to Best Buy for being so revolutionary with their work ideals. Check out this article, then send your resume in to Best Buy's headquarters...


Wow. Haven't we all been waiting for someone to blaze the trails with this idea?? Here's to hoping this concept is as viable as we all knew it would be.


Help wanted re: eyebrows

How long does it take for eyebrows to grow back in?? I've been plucking for years, but I would kinda like them to grow back in so I can start all over and possibly get a professional waxer or something to give me that great, face-changing perfect arch to my eyebrows. But I'm wondering how long I'll have to look like I'm completely ignorning my appearance with these straggly hairs that are trying to make their way back in.

Can anyone provide any help on this??


I'm going to be an Aunt!

Thanksgiving 2006 was so wonderful! The fiance’s family came into town from Indiana and Chicago and spent a few days with us. I’ve mentioned before about how fun they are and how much I enjoy being a part of a bigger family. This was no exception. It was a blast!

But perhaps my favorite part of the whole week was when His 5-year old niece called me “Aunt Michelle”, completely unsolicited. She was simply asking me a question, and it came out of her mouth so naturally, as if she had been calling me that for years. It was precious! And it brought tears to my eyes. Right there at breakfast. Being an only child I have had zero chances to be an aunt thus far in my life, and now I’m going to be one, 5 times over! I want to the best “Auntie M” ever! (That’s what they are going to call me… how cute is that!?)

I cannot thank His family enough for being so welcoming and making me feel like a part of the family so quickly. Nine months is not a lot of time, and there is a lot of distance between us and his entire family, so we don’t get to see them that often, but in that time they have managed to make me feel like I am one of them. And that means more to me than they will ever know. They were all especially kind to my parents, whom they just met for the first time this weekend, and to my best friend. What more can I ask? (Even as I am writing this, I am sitting here with His dog on my lap/arm. She’s making it difficult to type, but it’s totally worth it. She loves me too!) I truly am blessed and thankful.


I've been thinking...

I think I'm going to dimantle this blog. I haven't felt inspired by it for a while now. The title and stuff just isn't doing it for me. While those two things are very important in my life, I don't feel they accurately portray the cleverness and insight I'd hoped to share with the world. I'll keep you posted, but rest assured I'm not leaving, I'm just going through a Madonna-like reinvention in my career and will emerge a bigger and better blog.


Whew! You'll excuse me for the blog break while I've been basking in the enjoyment of becoming betrothed, won't you??



Here's how it happened...

Mike thought of EVERYTHING! He had a very elaborate scheme planned and I fell for it all. I was completely surprised! We were in Whitewater, Wisconsin for a conference that he went to for work, and I was there for fun and to go somewhere I had never been.

So, a couple of weeks prior he had told me that there was a mingling event with all of the conference attendees and their significant others, and that it was a dressy affair. So, on that Saturday, he had told me to be ready by 4:30 and that he would come back to the hotel to change and we would leave. So I was all ready to go, all dressed up and everything. And then the phone in the hotel room rang, it was the front desk telling me that I had something at the desk and asked me to come pick it up. When I got down there, the woman handed me an envelope that said "please do me the favor of reading this letter in the lobby for reasons that I will explain in the letter". So I sat down and started reading. And immediately started bawling. So I'm sitting in the lobby, all dressed up, crying. In the letter he told me that there was no mingling event, that he had used that as an excuse for us to get dressed up because he was taking me to one of the nicest restaurants in Milwaukee. (The 21st best restaurant in the country.) The letter said that I should finish reading and if he hadn't met me in the lobby by the time I was done, to head back up to the room and he would meet me there. I waited for about 10 minutes (and read the letter once more) and headed back up to the room. Little did I know, he was in the hotel and had watched me leave to go down to the front desk. Once I was gone, he had gone into the room and set up candles and had champagne and champagne glasses with our names engraved on them. And that's what I saw when I walked back into the room. I cried even harder when I saw him standing there! And then he proposed. It was amazing!

He put so much thought into all of it. I'm a very lucky girl! (Also, the week prior, he had given me a gift certificate to get a manicure, so that my nails would look nice when I showed people the ring, although I didn't know that at the time. See, he thought of EVERYTHING!)

It could not have been more perfect! I'm crying just writing this.


I am forever tied to Wisconsin!

Well friends, as it turns out, I came home from Wisconsin with something even better than cheese. . . I came home with an amazingly thoughtful fiance and one stunningly perfect engagement ring!!! Yes, this trip to Whitewater, WI proved to be thee most special trip I have ever taken. (My next entry will be about the proposal and the perfect weekend I just had. I just didn't want to leave you all hanging wondering about my cheese adventures.)


Heaven, here I come!

This blogger is headed to the CHEESE capital of the World . . . that's right, the great and wonderful state of Wisconsin! And I'm pretty darned excited. Any place that claims CHEESE as its finest product has got to be a blissful place. I'm hoping to find myself amongst all kinds of CHEESE statues, monuments, rivers, lakes and streams. I'm guessing that there will be little old ladies standing on the streets outside of their CHEESE stores passing out samples. And I bet there is just a whiff of sharp cheddar in the air that lingers over the whole state. Yummmm!!!

I will not return to Ohio without some sort of CHEESE-like item, whether that be CHEESE itself or a CHEESE-shaped magnet or a t-shirt with CHEESE on it or one of those CHEESE hats that Green Bay Packers fans always wear - I've always been a giant fan of those!!

This is going to be one heck of a trip! I can't wait. I'll be sure to share all of my CHEESE adventures when I return.


I have tendencies...

Ones that drive me nuts. And make me breathe hard. And sweat. And consume my everyday thoughts...

"Did I or did I not close the garage door?? Did I or did I not turn off the straightening iron?? Dammit!"

I definitely have some obsessive/compulsive tendencies. I will often turn the car around to double check the garage door - or sometimes call friends to do a drive by and let me know if it's closed - then I'll have to run inside to make sure the straightening iron was unplugged. It's a very unsettling feeling. And I know that if I didn't do these things, I couldn't focus on anything else until I knew for sure. But I am thankful that it's not to the degree to which some people suffer. (Anyone catch the MTV special about this disorder? Wow.) What a difficult way to live.

So, I would consider my tendencies mild, but annoying just the same. Anyone else have tendencies?


Looks like dirt to me

"It was a big clump of dirt," Rogers said as the Tigers knotted the Series at a game apiece. "Dirt and resin and all that stuff put together, when it's moist and you're rubbing up the baseball and it stays on your hand.
"And I wiped it off. I didn't know it was there and they told me and I took it off, and it wasn't a big deal."

- Kenny Rogers, Tigers' kick ass pitcher

Tony LaRussa believes him. Jim Leyland believes him. I believe him. Let's move on.


Tag, you're NOT it... anymore.

I just heard that tag is being banned on school playgrounds during recess. Yes, tag. And here are the reasons why:

1. Risk of injury. (such as falling down)
2. Potential for inappropriate touching.
3. Kids are of varying sizes and may tag someone too hard.

Your thoughts?

I think I'm old.

I tell ya, with technology the way that it is now, and how quickly everything is upgraded and downloaded, I find it hard to keep up. I do not consider myself technologically savvy, I can set up my dvd player, cable AND my old-school Nintendo to my tv (at the same time, thank you very much!) but I cannot download something from itunes, or jam out on my ipod or mp3 player or satellite radio, hell, I probably couldn't even burn a cd. I feel like I have missed the technology boat and have swum myself right into fuddy-duddy town.

But I also think that a lot of that stuff has its time in the sun, then it quickly fades away. And unfortunately I just don't have the expendable income to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy items like these only to have them be obsolete years later. And I just don't feel like i NEED these things.

But I'm glad these things exist, it's nice to know that we keep making advances in our society, but where will it all end?? I can't wait for the day when my phone is the primary hub for all technology, how fun to watch tv on that screen, huh?! Then I'm sure someone will come out with a phone that does just ONE more thing than the phone I have and my phone will suck.

I just hope we don't blow ourselves up. With this heavy reliance on technology, it seems bound to happen. One day, everything will go kaput. I just have that feeling. But maybe it's cause I'm old??


On another note...

I find it ridiculous that famous people are in commercials talking about how great boxed hair dye is. Am I really supposed to believe that Eva Longoria stopped at her local Target and bought a box of L'oreal Feria Chestnut brown hair color and plopped down in her bathroom to do her OWN hair? Yeah right. I'm sure she couldn't have possibly paid $8,000 to have that done.

It's just too unbelievable. And it bothers me.

Anyone I know can be famous.

Wow. A job well done to Dove for creating this campaign about real beauty. We know that famous people are make-upped, done up, plucked, primmed, starved, styled to the nines, and airbrushed to the hilt, but it's still refreshing to see things such as this as a reminder that given the proper committee, anyone could look famous.

Take a look at this "normal" girl go through the star treatment and become almost unrecognizable.



Pinch Me.

The De-troit Tigers. In the World Series. It's true.

A big woohoo and enthusiastic high five to all!!!

It's going to be very difficult for this blogger to sit still waiting for Game 1 on Saturday. The excitement is building!

p.s. I can't believe any of this. To go from the worst (WORST) team in baseball just two years ago, to the World Series... it doesn't get much better than that!! Jim Leyland for President!


I heart family.

This past weekend has solidified for me my desire to be a part of/have a big family. Spent the weekend with the BF’s family and had.a.blast. Seriously, there’s always something going on, somebody telling a story, people laughing, kids running around, it was chaotic and fun, and I just loved it. I love walking into a house and having to give 12 hugs before sitting down. It’s comforting and heartwarming.

My family isn’t like that. First of all, we’re not big. I have a small to medium size family (which has served me well over the past 28 years, let’s be clear.) And secondly, we’re not loud by any stretch of the imagination – on either side of my family. (Although, give my aunt and me some wine and we are by far the loudest of everyone.) Thirdly, and this part saddens me, we’re not a huggy family. And I totally want to be one. But that’s a hard thing to incorporate at this stage of the game, people don’t become huggers overnight. I’d probably get some strange looks and “what’s gotten in to her?” statements.

Sigh. So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one day I will be a part of a big, loud, funny family. Or if not, I’ll have to create one of my own. And dammit, I will.

*Please note that I mean no disrespect to my family – I love you all and think you’re great. And I would trade away none of you. Just try to be more loud, K!? :)


They Did It!

Yay! The Tigers beat the Yankees!

Such redemption. I love it!

On to California.


To Wear or What Not to Wear?

This past weekend I was going through some old photos from babyhood to my college years and it got me thinking. . . Now, I consider myself a fashion monger, I love to keep up with trends and the like and find great pleasure in doing so. But when looking through these photos, I thought to myself, "that's something that I thought looked good?" and "perhaps I'm not as fashion forward as I think I am." (Obviously there were some 80's choices that should not have been made, but I'm talking more about the high school/college years.) At the time, I thought everything I was wearing looked great. And I think that now as well. It's not like college was all THAT long ago, so trends haven't changed too, too much.

I guess what I'm saying is, every year I feel like I gain a better understanding of what looks good and what doesn't. But maybe I'm wrong. And I wondered if most people felt that they are getting better looking, either facially or fashionably, as the years go on?? If this is the case, is getting older really that bad of a thing?


My athletic support

Best of luck to the Detroit Tigers tonight as they begin a post-season 5-game series with the (loathsome, dreaded) Yankees!

I speak for everyone when I say that the Yankees have won enough, it's someone else's turn. Their years of bullying need to end. The Tigers deserve to continue. They had the best record in baseball for the vast majority of the season, after many, many dismal years.

I'm rooting for them all the way! Please join me in my support.


Churches are clever.

I am such a fan of the message boards outside of churches. I think the people who put those messages out there are super clever. I almost always chuckle at them and think they're quite funny. One that I've seen recently says this:

"Let's meet at my house Sunday before the big game"
- God

The message is clear and cute. Perhaps its my line of work that makes me appreciate these, but I really do think that churches really have a good handle on cleverness. God has a good sense of humor. I appreciate that.


The Autumnal Equinox

Happy First Day of Fall!

As far as I'm concerned, this ranks right up there as one of my favorite days of the year.

I hope this Fall season brings everyone much joy and coziness!


Bring on the McMuffins!

I hope everyone is sitting down. I have an announcement. This was just released....

McDonald’s considers selling breakfast all day!!


In related news, I must go change my pants.

A Letter to Lindsay Lohan:

Dear Lindsay,

I write this to you today not as a fan, but as a concerned human being who does not enjoy watching a train wreck. I am tired of you gumming up my beloved Us Weekly with your weekly tragedies. Between the partying, the numerous jaunts to the emergency room, the scathing letters from movie producers and famous Hollywood actors criticizing your poor work ethic, it's time to do yourself a favor and leave this life behind. Now, before you truly hurt yourself. I can see where this is all heading, and it ain't good.

Now I don't blame you for this. Not entirely anyway. I am certain that your mother, Dina, shoved you into this glitzy, glamorous life in a desperate attempt to live vicariously through you. She is perpetuating this downward spiral in the most horrid of motherly fashions. For a woman who calls herself "the white Oprah" she is certainly not allowing you to find your spirit. And I think the real Oprah would have something to say about that. And your dad, with his drug problems and prisons sentences and trying to steal your millions, surely isn't giving you the father figure that you and your siblings deserve. Your parents are money-grubbing dirtbags and for that, my heart goes out to you.

You're young, I get that. You like having a good time and what not, and you most certainly are allowed to make mistakes. But with these mistakes, you are losing whatever talent 10-year-old girls think you have (and some others, but I don't wish to debate this now), and are quickly becoming what every famous person fears, a Hollywood cliche. It's not too late. You are on the brink, but you don't have to jump off the ledge. Please heed my advice.

Save yourself. Skip the cushy, flashy stint in famous person rehab, which only spits you back out into the same destructive society, and go directly to a remote town in Iowa or somewhere and fade off into obscurity.

And ask Tara Reid to go with you.



Let the Season Begin!

Last night we had our kick-off bowling season league meeting. That's right, I'm in a bowling league. What??

I thoroughly enjoy bowling. And I won't apologize for it. At first it was just something that my friends and I thought would be fun to do (this is our second year), but now I find myself eating and breathing bowling and getting tres excited for the season to start. I don't think it's possible to have a bad time bowling. It's just a fun, silly game where you wear butt-ugly shoes and drink and laugh with your friends. What's not to like??

Just to show you how hardcore our team is, one of my friends/teammates is 5 1/2 months pregnant and is still bowling! And plans on bowling right up until the end!

We bowl every other Tuesday, which is nice. It gives us time to miss it in between and not get too overwhelmed with the obligation of going every week. Although every time we're there we always say that we wish we did it every week. :)

The season officially starts next Tuesday. Super fun! Wish me luck!


I'm in love!

I just wanted to say it.

September 11

I hesitate to write anything because it is so hard for me to put into words the memories and emotions that I feel surrounding this day.

I feel the same today as I did five years ago. Silent. For me, talking would have indicated that it was possible to think and form words, and it just wasn’t. And I’m finding that it’s still just as difficult.

But I know that, with a tear in my eye, I will always remember.


Why on Earth does someone need this?

Has anyone seen this new Glade plug-in that's a 'light show'? Apparently it changes color while plugged in. What is the benefit of that? An air freshener is supposed to make a room SMELL good, not light it up. Period. End of story.

And you can only see it change color when the lights are off. And if the lights are off that usually means that you are not in the room. Or you are sleeping. In which case, the constant changing of the lights is distracting and annoying.

And the commercial for this product is stupid. And the thing costs $11.99. Whatev.

Oh right, the Reunion.

Well, so last week was The Reunion. I was expecting much worse, but in all honesty, I didn't hate it. There was minimal "so, what are you doing now?" crap. Mainly because I just hung out and talked with my friends who already knew those answers. There were a few faces I did not remember and a couple of people who I didn't think would be there that were, that I was excited to see. All in all, it was a mediocre time. Very anti-climatic.

So, to answer those burning questions I posed last week, that you've all been sitting on the edge of seats waiting for...

  • Will anyone lie about their position in life? Um, to my knowledge, and those that I talked to, no one really appeared to lie about what they were doing these days. Rats! I thought I would uncover at least one fink.
  • Where will I sit? Well, I sat where I thought I'd sit. At the cool table. With my friends. Discussing (read: gossiping) about who was there. And yes, to my recollection, everyone sat with the same people they would have in the high school cafeteria.
  • Would I be nice to everyone? Of course I was. You don't get voted the Coolest by mouthing off and insulting people.
  • Are things still funny 10 years later? Um, not so much. As much as people wanted them to be, they just weren't.
  • Will people get into a fight? Sadly, no.
  • King and Queen? No. Damn it. I was a shoe-in if there was.
  • Can I retake my Senior Pictures? I have an appointment next Thursday.

Ultimately I discovered that 10 years does not really change people too much. Personalities are the same. And I didn't notice too many (if any) dramatic makeovers or makeunders. I wasn't surprised by much. Some people are married or engaged, some have kids, some are single. And others are happy, some are trying to be happy and some are just coasting. Oh well. What can you do? We're just a humble, middle American high school, that for one night thought we would reconnect, because it's just something you do. It happened. I lived it. Now I'm moving on.

But I will always have fond memories of high school. Cause I liked it. But I think I'll probably just take them with me and remember them on my own time.

Peace Out RHS.


Good news for Everyone!

Who couldn't use some good news??


I'm so happy, I could spit!

Ugh, foiled again!

I ask you: Is it possible to walk into Target and leave without spending less than $50?? Cause I can't seem to do it.

A simple jaunt to my favorite all-in-one store left me $76.24 poorer. And I just laughed at myself. Those Target people are SMAR-ART, they really know how to appeal to the consumer in me, even when I just need 5 simple items, they some how find a way to keep me in the store for over an hour and convince me to purchase multiple items (I had to trade-in the basket I had for a cart), including a frozen pizza?? Why the hell do I need a frozen pizza from Target?? I dunno, but I got one.

Somebody over there really knows what they are doing. Target is consumer crack. And I LOVE it!


The Reunion Special.

Tomorrow is my 10-year class reunion. ("You're old" jokes are not welcome.) I still can't believe it. Time really moves.

So, it's just got me thinking all kinds of random things...

  • What if people totally lie about what they're doing now in order to squash their lame high school reputation?
  • Where will I sit? Will there be a complete regression back to the high school cafeteria and will we all sit with the same people we did back then?
  • Will I be nice to people I didn't particularly care for? Because it doesn't matter anymore.
  • Are the things that were funny in high school still funny 10-years later?
  • What if people who didn't like each other back then are there and they get in a fight?
  • Do they do King and Queen of the 10-year Reunion? If so, I hope I win! (It will be redemption, won't it S?? Hahaha!!)
  • I've never liked my senior pictures. Can I get new ones taken in honor of the 10-year anniversary?
Should be an interesting night. There are all kinds of cliches surrounding these silly things. Who's gained/lost weight? Who's successful? Who's not... blah, blah, blah... I'm not interested in that. I want to know the answers to these questions. I'll be sure to give a full report after Saturday.

The Coolest Girl in the Class of 1996

Giving it everything he's got.

Yesss!! He pulled out another one!

In a match that lasted until nearly 1 a.m.

I stayed up and watched the whole thing. I had to.



My new endeavor.

I've decided that it's that time in my life where I should learn how to cook. Prior to this decision, I considered making a package of Lipton Chicken noodles cooking. That was enough to satisfy me, but I suppose that's not true of most people. As M and I spend more and more time together and have more and more meals together, I think it's time for me to spread my domestic wings into the cooking arena. (I think I've mastered cleaning.) So, I'm gonna try it. We'll see how it goes. I made a rather successful batch of sausage gravy and biscuits last night. (Who's impressed??) It's not difficult to make, but I'm starting off easy until I get the hang of it.

So I'm looking for recipes. Any that anyone would like to suggest, please feel free. I'm open. Just a few guidelines to keep in mind: I don't like onions. I won't go anywhere NEAR mayonnaise. (I gagged just typing that word.) And touching uncooked chicken is a fear of mine. But if you have a great chicken recipe, I'd be willing to wear plastic gloves.

Bring 'em.

Don't we deserve this?

So, ask me how much I got gas for the other night. Go ahead, ask me... $2.40!!!

I was pumped! Pun intended.

Not sure of the actual number of days, but I would guess that's it's been close to a year since gas was this "inexpensive". The rumor is is that it's going to keep getting cheaper.

Yay! It's about damn time.


A crowd favorite.

So, the U.S. Open began last night. I'm not the world's biggest tennis fan, (I always watch the major tournaments) but oh how I love Andre Agassi! I've been a fan for nearly 15 years or so. He once was a bad boy with the long hair and the attitude, but he has become one of the most amazing people in sports. He is such a gentleman who is always respectful, gracious, humble and just a class act, win or lose. Such a great model for the up and coming athletes. I would guess that not too many people have a bad thing to say about this man.

And at 36, he's still got the desire and the love for tennis that many of his colleagues lose after they win a bunch of tournaments and money. He's still competing with the best of them and is still looking good. His first-round match against Andre Pavel last night was so great! But I only say that because he won.

So this is his final tournament. Ever. I'm sad. (Yes, I'll probably cry, cause I do that.) But what an awesome legacy he will leave behind.

Oh, and in about 15 years, look for little Jaden and Jazel to take over the tennis world. The first brother and sister duo team to win mixed doubles! Can't wait. I hope they look and act just like him. I bet they do!



Simpler times

I love lists like these! For all of my 80's-loving, neon-colored, tall-bang-wearing, french-rolled-pants wearin' friends!!. . .

(Sorry for the link!)



Just so you know...

I love ostriches.

And thus begins my random thoughts of the day.


Laughing all the way... Ha Ha Ha!

As I sit here and ponder one day having a family, I vision how I’d like that to go. I often read articles in Us Weekly or People about people who are on Saturday Night Live or other comedic shows/movies (although the comedic quality of SNL is debatable) and I always get a smile on my face when they say, “I grew up in a funny family. We were always laughing.” Well, I’ve decided that I want to have one of those.

I hope my kids grow up thinking that their Mom and Dad are a hoot! And that they get along with their siblings, who are also hilarious, and their friends will come visit and think, ‘Gosh, I wish MY family was this funny.’

Now I know, families, by definition, are funny. Inherently every member has their own quirks, their own special qualities that make them unique, but I’m hoping to foster an environment of hilarity. And I have aspirations for one of my children to grow to be a comedian/comedienne. I will tell them jokes and read them bedtime stories from Dave Barry and let them fall asleep to the Late Show with David Letterman and encourage their talents no matter how far out there they may be.

But the biggest lesson I will teach them will be this: To be truly funny, you also have to be smart. (Take Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle and Kathy Griffin for example.) So study hard, read the newspaper and know what’s going on in the world. (Oh, and do onto others as you’d have them do onto you… that’s a biggie.)

And they will know that Mom and Dad will be their biggest fans! Laughing along with them all the way!


Meeting the Mom.

Here is a show that I just can't get enough of. I absolutely adore it! It really makes me smile. I just love the chemistry that the actors have together, and I'd like to think that they are all friends in real life. It's one of those shows that you don't have to feel guilty for liking, it's just pleasant and funny.

In case you haven't watched it, Bob Saget does the voice over from the perspective of the main character Ted. And he's talking to his kids about "how he met their mom", but the beauty is that we still don't know who he's referring to, so there is much anticipation as to who the mom is and how they met. It's great. Really great.

Tune in every Monday at 8:30 on CBS. You'll be SO glad you did.

Now, go and 'suit up'! :)



A letter to the makers of men's cologne:

Please, PLEASE urge men to only use one squirt (2 at the most) of your product. Using any more than this may cause friends/loved ones/co-workers to gag. Uncontrollably. I feel a disclaimer on the back of the bottle is warranted. Please write me back and let me know when this has been taken care of. Sincerely yours, Pencils and Heels.

A letter to wearers of men's cologne:

Please, PLEASE only use one squirt (2 at the most) of cologne. By using multiple squirts, you are inducing headaches and ruining tastebuds. You may be the most gentle of men, but really you are doing yourself a disservice because no one will ever want to get close to you. And those who have no choice but to be close to you, will be flaming angry and unable to focus. Perhaps no one has had the courage to tell you that you are using too much, so as a general rule of thumb, squirt once and END IT! For crying out loud, you stink! Sincerely yours, Pencils and Heels.

#1 in my Top Ten List!

I can think of no better way to start this blog, than to give a shout out to my all-time favorite funnyman! I have been an avid fan of his for 12 years, even before I was allowed to stay up and watch the show. His wit, his charm and his wonderful ability to laugh at himself (and his great ties!) are unparalleled in current late-night television. (And have you seen him talk about his son?? Beyond precious.) I can only hope that some day I'll be lucky enough to sit in the Late Show audience and be in the presence of greatness.

Dave, if you're reading this: I have the utmost respect for you and your talents. Thank you for many years of laughter and joy!