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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Oops

I had a feeling that the last Richmond fun fact might have been a repeat... I should have gone with my gut! I apologize to those of you who are hungry for more Richmond fun facts. So here's a new one:

Today's new fun fact is about Calvary Episcopal Church in Richmond (the church we attend and the one where Brian works) Mirabeau B. Lamar, second president of the Republic of Texas, signed the deed as a trustee of this church. The building was destroyed by a hurricane in 1875, but don't worry, it was reconstructed in 1878.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wonderland, wonderland, shining stars, jingle bells!

Have y'all heard that song by Heidi Klum? It came out last year, but I have unfortunately heard it a few times this year as well. If you haven't listened to it, don't.

So we're back from a fun-filled Nelson family trip (minus Kelly & Andrew) to Santa Fe! It was chilly- just as predicted- and we even got snow on Christmas night! I, however, was the only one excited about this. Everyone else was moaning and groaning about how it would make the roads ice over and about how difficult it would make driving home the next day... which it was, but that's beside the point :) I was very excited about my first white Christmas, and made sure to yell "Yay!" over and over like a 5-year-old on the streets of Santa Fe. I'm so mature.

But anyway, we did a lot of eating, a lot of playing with Emma and Brown, a lot of walking around, and a lot (100+ rounds) of playing Apples to Apples. If you haven't played it, you most definitely should. Just don't play against me because I will beat you- ha ha :) For pictures of our trip, go here.

After 15 hours in the car on Wednesday, we made it safely home to Richmond. Sadly, Brian left for a retreat this morning and won't be back until Sunday. Boo :( However, my daddy is coming into town for work so I am meeting him and my grandparents for dinner tonight. And tomorrow I will be attending a Chi O alum/active/new member brunch with Brittany, Shannon, and Terrie... should be fun times!

So when Brian and I were on the home stretch of our drive (Austin to Richmond), a blog-worthy topic came up in our discussion: it really bugs me when businesses intentionally misspell the name of the business. For example, "Korner Kuts" is the name of a barber shop in College Station. In Santa Fe, I saw a daycare center called "Kidz Korner" (the "korner" theme is a coincidence). What is the deal with that? Does your business think it gains credibility by showing a blatant disregard for the English language? Or is that that you are just such a fan of alliteration that you refuse to have the words start with different letters?

Side note: I hate to be one of those people that just complains about things on my blog (or my "rant," as Brian refers to it), so I hope that I don't seem like Debbie Downer. It's really more or less intended to validate your feelings if you share them with me... or at least to validate mine- ha ha!

I am really excited for 2008 to arrive... not because 2007 was bad and I want to get rid of it, but just because it's exciting. There are already a few fun things on the calendar to look forward to (a few weddings, visiting my sissy & Wade in Salt Lake City one last time, having them move back to Texas, etc.). Besides, I think that 8 is a prettier looking number than 7 :)

Well it's been a while since the last Richmond fun fact, so let me see if I can dig one up for you:

Richmond-area historical tornado activity is slightly above Texas state average. It is 128% greater than the overall U.S. average.

Happy 2008, friends!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hit me baby one more time

So I was perusing the Houston Chronicle online today, and noticed two eye-catching stories that I just had to blog about:


The first was about a woman in Corpus Christi who had somehow "collected" (for lack of a better word) 237 dogs. 237. As in two-hundred and thirty-seven DOGS. In one home. I really can't see how this is possible, especially since my family used to have 3 dogs and it seemed like quite the full house (dog-wise). Anyway, the authorities-obviously-removed the dogs from the home of the 70-year-old woman because they weren't "living in healthy conditions." Wow, that's a shock. So anyway, they asked the manager of the city's Animal Care Services department to comment. She says about the dog woman, and I quote, "I think she slowly accumulated them to where they were more than she could handle." Really? You think? I can't believe an elderly woman couldn't maintain a house full of 237 dogs. I feel bad for the woman though, I'm sure she was attached to them and sad to see them go. By the way, can you imagine what it would be like for someone who was allergic to dogs to walk into that house?


The second article I read was about how Britney Spears's 16-year-old sister, Jamie Lynn, found out she is pregnant. I guess this really shouldn't come as any surprise, but it still makes me wonder if things could get any worse for this family. Not to say that having a baby is a bad thing, but I'm sure it was not the ideal outcome for this "role model" Nickelodeon star. Someone told me that the mom was writing a book on parenting... I'm sure it will be a real top seller now. The funny part of the article is that Jamie Lynn says she is shocked and didn't expect this to happen. I guess I can kind of understand that, but come on.

In other news, Christmas is less than a week away! I guess that's not really news (unless you are calendar-illiterate), but it's exciting nonetheless. Brian and I are preparing for a fun-filled Christmas in Santa Fe with the Nelson fam (minus Andrew & Kelly). The most exciting part is the forecast for Christmas day: High of 37 degrees! The only snow that I see in the near future forecast is on Friday, but hey, I'll even take left-over snow over no snow. Allison and I are bringing our matching Christmas PJ's, so that will be another highlight. Oh, and I made fudge for us to eat. I think that about covers the high points.

A shout out to all of my other hormonally imbalanced friends: today I listened to Amy Grant's "Breath of Heaven" (the song from Mary's perspective before she gives birth to Jesus) on the way to work, and it actually made me tear up a little. I have probably heard this song 8 million times in my life, but for some reason today it made me emotional. Isn't that pathetic? Don't be alarmed, though... the same thing has happened in reaction to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episodes, as well as in reaction to this one Houston subdivision commercial that airs semi-regularly. Oh the joys of being a woman...

I have been doing a lot of blog-hopping and blog-stalking lately, and I realized that reading blogs from people who have babies is not smart. It just makes you want to have your own baby to post pictures of and talk about. Maybe the solution would just be to get a dog... although I don't think people would be quite as interested to read blog posts such as, "Our puppy is finally eating solid foods and sleeping through the night!" Maybe they would. Either way, I want a dog. The good news is that Brian wants one too, and our plan is to get one after the new year... so keep an eye out for a new addition to the Joiner household.
In case you only read bits and pieces of that paragraph, let me clarify that the new addition will be a puppy, not a baby :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ok, now I feel a little silly

So in case you read the blog recently, you might remember me talking about an incident at the Joiner house involving glass breaking and police being called in the middle of the night. It was a big mystery as to what happened, and I was creeping around the house paranoid that someone was going to break in and kill me. Well, I can fear no more, because today we discovered the real culprit: the glass from a hanging picture frame.

We have a frame hanging in our guest room that used to fall out of its setting (ok, it was cheap) all the time when it was hanging in my apartment. Well apparently I had rigged it pretty well, and it hadn't fallen since we moved in... until the other night. The reason we didn't discover it sooner is because the glass broke and fell behind the guest room bedside table... and stayed there. Needless to say, we felt both relieved and a little bit silly when we realized that we woke up 2 of our neighbors and called the police over a broken picture frame :) Oh well, chalk that one up as a lesson learned!

I realized I'm a loser today, by the way. My company had its Christmas luncheon from 11-1, and they were kind enough to let us take the rest of the day of when it was over. Most people went to hang out with friends, went shopping, etc. However, I came home and cleaned for 4 hours... and the part that makes me a loser is that I have been looking forward to it ever since I learned that we would likely get to leave early after the luncheon. Regardless, I feel much better sitting in a clean house. So there.

Busy weekend ahead- 3 Christmas functions to attend AND Shannon's birthday dinner! I heart the holidays. And I heart the recent seasonally appropriate cold front that came in... this is the way December should feel :)

Ok time to get back to watching a series of DVR-ed TV shows that Brian and I have missed this week. Until next time- adios!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Baby, it's cold outside

That's not true at all. It's 80 degrees and humid outside. It is so humid that our front porch is covered in condensation and won't dry up, even though it hasn't actually rained. "It's beginning to feel a lot like summer, er, I mean Christmas..."

So I am at home enjoying my half day Friday and it is amazing. It has by far been my most productive day of the week, and might I add, the only time that I was at home this week during daylight. Very refreshing. I am officially finished Christmas shopping and very thankful that I won't have to compete with the crowds that will be out these next few weeks... although I'm stupid and will probably join them just because I like to see the stores all decorated.

Brian and I joined the YMCA last weekend. Yes, we do feel like we are 60-year-olds, if you were going to ask. We have gone twice at 5:10 am this past week (that's about as many times as I can drag Brian there per week without feeling guilty) and we were pleasantly surprised to see how many other people were up and working out so early with us! Watching other people's exercise habits can be pretty amusing. I watched one sweet woman pedal on the bike (I was spying on her screen and saw that she burned a whopping 90 calories in a period of 30 minutes... I think I could have beat that doing laundry or baking). Anyway, as soon as she got off the bike, she rushed out the door to get herself some coffee (nothing hydrates you like a cup of caffeine). As she was preparing her coffee, I watched her dump a butt-load (I haven't used that term in a while and I've been wanting to) of sugar in it. I just smiled and continued pedaling/fake running on the elliptical.

In other news, we had one crazy Wednesday night. Long story short: we heard the sound of glass breaking very loudly and clearly two separate times (within about 2 minutes of each other) and after checking out the house with a flashlight and baseball bat in our PJs, we decided to call the police just to be safe. They didn't find anything (here or nextdoor), but we know we aren't crazy... just can't figure out what happened. Needless to say, I am a bit paranoid now.

Ok so I'll end this post with one more confession: In my new office building, there is a set of elevators that has 2 on each side (facing each other). A lot of buildings - especially hospitals - are like this. Well I have to admit that every single time I get off of the elevator, I am turned around and can't figure out which way to turn unless I look for specific landmarks (ie: I know that our office is not on the side with the Christmas tree). For some reason, my brain just cannot conceptualize what side I am on when the elevator stops. It's as if all logic is somehow lost due to the upward/downward motion. And logically, I think that I would end up on the same side I was on when I got onto the elevator, but sometimes I don't think that ends up being true. Argh, I can't think about it. It makes my head hurt.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas

Ok it's not true, I don't really want a hippo for Christmas. A puppy, yes. A hippo, no. And by the way, I had to look up the correct spelling for hippopotamus because I admittedly didn't know. That is huge for a spelling guru like myself to admit, trust me.

Speaking of Christmas, have you ever heard of that song, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"? If you haven't, then it's time to crawl out of whatever cave you have been living in. Anyway, I have (understandably) heard this song come on the radio a few times lately. Upon hearing it the other day, I remembered something (brace yourself, another embarrassing confession is coming): It wasn't until last year (possibly the year before) that I realized the song was talking about the kid's mom kissing the dad (who was, of course, just dressed up like Santa Claus for Christmas).

For many, many years, I thought it was such a strange song... I thought it must be based on some strange dream that a kid had about his mom kissing Santa. I guess I thought the kid had some abandonment issues from a father that left him, and he was hoping that Santa would be his new dad? And I remember thinking it was really strange that a song with such unusual subject matter had become so socially acceptable and popular. Fortunately, I never vocalized this, so I avoided a lot of personal embarrassment and was able to have that "aha" moment in solitude. But now I'm writing about it for all the world to see, so feel free to make fun of me. And by the way, I still don't really like the song very much.

Anyway, Brian and I had a fun- although quick- weekend in Austin for Brown's 1st birthday. He and Emma were, of course, adorable as always and much fun was had on the bubble bounce that was borrowed for his party. Here are just 2 pictures to capture the festivities:



I sure am glad we only live 2.5 hours away from these two- I would go crazy if we didn't see them every month!
Not much else to report here- the weather has been gross and unseasonably warm and humid... oh the joys of living in Texas. So to enjoy this rainy day, I have been cleaning, organizing, and watching Hallmark & Lifetime Christmas-themed movies to keep myself entertained. Brian is fulfilling his Youth Minister duties for 5 hours of youth group this evening... fun times!
Well, I suppose I should get back to watching "A Boyfriend for Christmas." As the title hints, it is a really complex plot and I want to make sure not to miss any of the important details :) Happy 23 days until Christmas!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Workin' hard for the money

Ok, I'm sorry it's been so long between posts. I know that blaming it on my new job is a lame excuse, but it's true! In my adjustment to only having 4 hours between getting home from work and going to bed, blogging has somehow fallen to the bottom of the priority list. Facebook stalking, however, has remained steadily near the top. Pathetic, I know. But at least I am being a bit pickier about whose profiles I waste time looking at (since I have less time to devote to the hobby), rather than spending hours aimlessly perusing all of them.


So yes, the job is great! Waking up before 6 am is not my favorite part of the gig, but I like the company and the people and that's about as good as it gets! And, for the Houston area, my commute isn't horrible. It still tests my patience, but it could be way worse, so I really shouldn't complain (but don't worry, I still do). And as an added bonus, in exchange for working 7:30-5:30 each day M-Th (an extra hour), I get to leave at 11:30 on Fridays. Whoop.


So talking about work is boring- on to more exciting topics. My cute little baby nephew, Brown, is turing one tomorrow! Exciting, isn't it? Hard to believe a year has already passed... much has happened in his short little life! Here's a picture... isn't he cute?



So last week was Thanksgiving. Allison & Wade came in from SLC and good times were had by all. I really think they need to move here (Houston area) after Wade graduates... please comment if you agree! If you don't agree, please keep all comments to yourself. Anyway, we took them to some of the local hot spots (they are now honorary townies) and did other typical Oliver/Joiner things, including eating ourselves into morbid obesity and playing charades. We are so awesome.


Umm did anyone notice that last week's episode of Grey's Anatomy ended very dramatically with a "To be continued"? Yes? And did you also notice that tonight's episode was not a sequel to last week's, but rather a RE-RUN?! That is unjust, and I would venture to say it's even cruel. I spent all 9 hours of my work day (10 if you count my lunch break!) being excited about watching the follow-up episode at home with my hubby. I was very disappointed to find out that they had betrayed me. My only solace is/was the lit Christmas tree that is in front of me while I type this post. And the fact that "Bruce Almighty" is on TV... I like that movie.



Ok, well I'm not feeling very humorous tonight, and I don't really like to write if it isn't going to be funny, so I think I'm going to call it a night. I'll leave you with a Richmond fun fact...


According to city-data.com, Richmond's median age is "significantly below" state average. I, however, find that hard to believe... unless Texas's average age is 120. If there are, in fact, a lot of young people here, they must be hiding from us!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oprah is the root of all evil

Ok, it's not really true. I love her show and have set reminder alarms on my cell phone more than once to remind me to tune in to one of her shows. However, she is really proving a stumbling block for me. Today's episode is "Oprah's Favorite Things." If you haven't watched this, don't.

The upside of this episode each year is that you get to see lots of great (but primarily unaffordable for poor newlyweds) holiday gift ideas. The HUGE downside is that it makes you jealous and covetous (is that a real word?) like crazy. I was actually sitting here watching it and thinking to myself, "Hmm... maybe I could go through something really horrible (plane crash, cancer, etc.) and then Brian could write into Oprah and share my sob story and beg to get me onto her 'Favorite Things' episode..." Seriously. What is wrong with me!? But admit it... you've thought the same thing.

She is also having fake snow fall and playing Christmas music and it is just more than I can handle. I have decided to stand firm and give Thanksgiving its proper respect by NOT playing Christmas music until after Turkey Day has passed. I even resisted the temptation to turn on Amy Grant's Christmas album (the one with Jingle Bell Rock and Breath of Heaven, etc.) on my way home from Austin this weekend. I also haven't put up one single Christmas decoration. Not a single one. OPRAH, YOU ARE MAKING THIS REALLY CHALLENGING FOR ME.

Ok time to pick a new topic so that I don't get consumed by this. Oh, here's big news- I got a job! Yes, 3 months later, I am finally employed, and I'm really excited about it! I will be working as a Personnel Recruiter at Noble Drilling in Sugar Land. It seems like a great company, a great job, and the location is equally wonderful, so I feel very blessed. If any of you are ever doubting God's faithfulness in providing, don't. He always comes through. It's crazy. And wonderful.

Anyway, I must be honest and admit that I have mixed feelings. While I am very excited to have a job and re-join the ranks of the productive members of society, I am going to miss my stay-at-home wife life. No more sleeping in until 8 am (or later), staying in my work-out clothes until dinner time, eating lunch at home with Brian while watching "Ellen" on TV, chatting with my sissy on gmail, watching episodes of Law & Order and other daytime TV for hours on end, etc. I will officially be driving to work in the dark and driving home in the dark. This will take some mental preparation. The toughest part is that I will be waking up a good 3 hours before my husband. Here comes that jealousy again...

I'm way pumped for Turkey Day. I should be fasting in anticipation of the inevitable eating myself into a coma that will take place at Brian's grandparents' ranch in La Grange, but I'm not. I am also really excited for Mr. & Mrs. Wade Oliver's visit to see us in Richmond this weekend. They are going to help us decorate for Christmas, and in return, we are going to show them all the wonderful sights in Richmond. Maybe they will leave with a little townie in 'em. There is also a small chance that we will go puppy/dog shopping this weekend! Check back for posts detailing that visit.

Ok last topic for today's post: The Bachelor finale last night. What a let-down. The joy I had when I found out Brad was picking Deanna instead of Jenni was simply uncontainable... until I realized he was a total moron and didn't pick either of them. I realize that's honest and noble blah blah blah but come on, I didn't devote a season's worth of Monday nights to that show to come out with a bunch of single people. So tonight I am interested to watch the follow-up episode to see what he has to say about it. And it better be good.

That's all for now... no townie facts today because I'm too lazy to look any up. Maybe next time!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A few additions to "Confessions"

I thought of 2 more embarrassing confessions that you might find amusing:

1. It took me until late high school to realize that U-haul meant "you haul," as in "you haul your stuff." I had just thought Uhaul was a last name... I kind of ignored the dash, I guess.

These still really crack me up: Three things I thought were true about college until I arrived to Texas A&M for my freshman year:
1. I assumed that there was a PA system that spread across the entire campus in case the administration ever needed to make any "announcements."
2. I thought that classes lasted a year- I didn't realize they were only a semester long (I think a lot of people make this mistake).
3. I thought there were designated passing periods in between classes. And in theory, there are. But I thought everyone would gather in an area much like the WHS commons in between classes, and that we'd all have the same schedule. Apparently I thought college was just a big high school.

And that's all for now.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Confessions

Don't worry, this isn't going to be a post where I confess all the bad things I've ever done (ie: tripping my sister downstairs when we were younger and insisting it was an accident). Instead, I would like to confess a few things about myself that I should probably be too embarrassed to admit.

1. Up until I started watching "Law and Order" on a regular basis, I thought that Sing Sing (the prison) was located in China. I have to confess that the main reason I thought this was honestly because it sounded so much like the name of that/those pandas... sad, I know.

2. I didn't realize that movies were organized in alphabetical order at Blockbuster until I was well into high school. I thought you were just supposed to kind of look around until you found what you were looking for.

3. In elementary school, I spelled the word "peasant" with an 'h' ("pheasant" like the bird). When I misused it in a paper and my parents pointed it out, I lied and said that my teacher had taught me to spell it with a silent 'h.' I made the same excuse when they told me that "ogre" was not prounounced "oh-gree" as I had been pronouncing it. They either knew I was a big liar or thought my teacher was a moron.

4. I didn't know the difference between cilantro and pico until about a month ago. Yes, I'm being serious.

5. I also didn't know the difference between baking powder and baking soda until May of this year. Unfortunately, I learned this by ruining Brian's birthday cobbler.

6. While I was running the mile in 7th grade P.E., I ran into a fire hydrant and wasn't able to walk myself to the nurse. Why didn't I see the hydrant, you ask? Because I was checking out some of the cute 7th grade boys who were outside working on an art project.

7. On that note, I broke my foot playing Guesstures (charades) with Brian's extended family. I was trying to act out the word "hurdle"...

8. When I was in 3rd grade, my good friend's dad was teasing me and called me a dork. I, in an effort to tease him back, called him a bastard. I didn't know that it was a bad word until that day... but I learned very quickly from his response :)

That's all I can come up with for now... if I think of more, I will add them another time. If YOU think of more, feel free to comment and share with the world.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Freecell is life. The rest is just details.

Does anyone else remember those t-shirts? Football is life, soccer is life, gardening is life... whatever. They were from the same time frame as the No Fear shirts. I didn't really get that, though. There would be a soccer ball and then this big angry 90s "NO FEAR" scrawled across it. Like soccer is really all that scary? I mean, I guess it did result in my twin sissy's first and only concussion in college, but that's about as scary as it gets.

Anyway, in 6th grade, I had this boyfriend named Thad. His full name was Thaddeus Exton Smith Daniel. Cool, right? I sort of hope he googles his name and finds this some day. I know I would do something like that. Anyway, it was his birthday... I think it was some time in October? Well I had to get him a present, and it had to be something good.

So, of course, Mom and I go to the Cole Haan store (I think that's what it was called)... and looking back, that seems really weird. Maybe I already knew what I wanted to get him. Anyway, we picked out this totally awesome "Basketball is life" shirt (funny that he loved basketball so much- he was kind of short if I recall correctly). So we have the store wrap it and Mom drives me over to his house in her sweet red cadillac.

I remember it so clearly... we pulled up to his house and I was so nervous. Perhaps this was because in the 8 months that we had been "going out," I didn't intentionally see him outside of school once. I think we talked on the phone, like, 3 times. So I aptly decided that my mom should walk the gift up to his front door without me... while I hid in the car and pretended not to be there. So my mom rings the doorbell, and shortly thereafter, the door opens and his mom is standing there. They already knew each other, so they chatted for a second before my mom passed off the gift. Then Thad's mom called him to the front door to say thank you, at which time my mom decided to tell them that I was, in fact, in the car. I peeked my head up, embarrassed, to acknowledge the "thank you" wave that Thad tossed my way. Mom walked back to the car and we drove away. That's all I remember. I still have Betsy drive me over to Brian's parents house to drop off presents for him while I hide in the car... in case you were wondering :)

Ok so that was such a huge sidenote... sorry. The point of the title is to tell you that I love Freecell... the card game that you can play on the computer. It is way cooler than Solitaire- trust me. At this point, it's trumping facebook stalking on my list of favorite activities. I'm so awesome, I know.

Not much new to report here... I have been substitute teaching like a mad woman- I am the PE teacher this week. Translation: I get paid to watch "Magic School Bus" movies while wearing casual clothes and tennis shoes. Pretty sweet gig. Today this cute little kindergartener said to me, "I like your earrings. And I like you." Her friend then follows up with, "I like you too! I'm going to bring you a piece of candy tomorrow!" Being a teacher has its perks, apparently :)

No townie updates, unfortunately. We did eat BBQ at the famous Swingin' Door restaurant in Richmond. Coincidentally, there is an Amber Alert out for a girl from Richmond and she was last seen at this very same restaurant 2 days before we went. Don't worry, we had nothing to do with it. Promise.

Ok so I'll wrap this up with a Richmond fun fact so I can get back to watching "Beauty and the Geek.":
Jane Long, the "Mother of Texas," is buried in Richmond, TX! Beat that!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Encounter with a true townie

So this will be a brief post, I promise. I just had a blogworthy moment today and wanted to write about it before I forgot it ever happened.

Brian and I had a very enjoyable and productive Saturday, but that is beside the point. We decided to go see a movie this afternoon (what better way to enjoy the perfect weather? ha). Anyway, we walk up to the ticket counter and Brian says, "Two for 'Dan in Real Life,' please." As the person is printing out our tickets, we can hear this young townie-looking couple behind us discussing what movie to see.

Apparently, they heard Brian place our order. So the townie guy comes up to us and says, "Hey... is that movie good?" And we both look at him confused and say, "Which movie?" And he says, "'Dan in Real Life'- the one you just got tickets for."

Umm... really? We both replied a bit sarcastically, "Well, we haven't seen it yet... that's why we're here, so we're not really sure..." And he responded with, "Oh, ok," clearly with no understanding of why his question was a tad silly.

That's like being at a book store and purchasing a book, only to have someone approach you at the check-out to ask if the book you are buying is good. People are funny. And sort of dumb :)

Oh, and Brian thought I should also mention the lovely townie-couple we spotted today. Let me just give you a mental image: Picture a larger woman wearing pink printed PJ pants and a t-shirt, pushing her baby in a stroller. Now imagine her foxy husband next to her, decked out in a classy undershirt and sweatpants. Now check your watch- yep, it's 2:30 pm in the afternoon on a busy road in front of Wal-mart. Oh, the life of a townie...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Life as Mrs. Joiner

So I finally gave in to the fact that no employers want to hire me at this time, and decided to sign up for substitute teaching! Yes, that's right, for the 2nd time in my life, I get to be a pseudo-teacher.

Sadly, I'm not that "cool" sub that lets the kids get away with everything, tells them to call me by my first name, and lets every kid that asks to go to the "library" (code for wandering the halls aimlessly or building explosives, no doubt:) do so whenever they please. On the contrary, I have such a fear of inadequacy and failure as a sub that I do whatever I can to ensure order and obedience in the class. Don't get me wrong, I'm not Hitler in the classroom or anything, just firm. And a big proponent for bribing them with promises of writing a "good report" to their real teacher.

It's funny because all of the kids at the school know Brian as either the Youth Minister, or that funny guy that speaks at chapel once a week. Well one of the smarter kids figured out quickly that I was, in fact, Brian's wife. This lead to a lot of proclamations of how cool Brian is ("Did you know Brian has a razor phone?!" (by the way, no he doesn't) "Does Brian ever give you high fives? He gave me SIX in one day!" "Did you know I was the first person to call Brian "Scott" instead of "Brian"? (umm... what?)) and a few gasps of jealousy that I actually get to live with such royalty. Apparently they don't know (or care) that he leaves drawers open, snores in unusual patterns, and leaves his shoes lying around the house. :)

Regardless, after we spent a few minutes establishing that I was, in fact, Brian Joiner's wife, this sweet child turns to me and says, "So then, are you and Brian married?!" Apparently said sweet child never had "husband," "wife," or "marriage" on any of his/her (I'm protecting his/her identity) vocabulary tests.

All in all, I had quite an enjoyable day with my 4th grade friends, and think I even managed to leave with some of their respect. Or that's what I will tell myself, anyway. Hearing myself called "Mrs. Joiner" all day was a helpful way to get used to my new name. I know it's been 2 months, but all of you newlywed wives will probably attest that it is difficult to adjust to a new last name for quite some time beyond that. For all you teachers out there, I bet getting used to your new name is a lot easier when you have 20-ish kids repeating it out loud throughout the day... generally followed by, "May I please go to the restroom/get some water/play on the computer/do whatever I'm not supposed to be doing?" Oh, children... gotta love 'em.

In other news, I just finished throwing myself quite the pity party on the phone with my dad. His attempt at a pep talk unfortunately just provoked tears (not his fault). I am admittedly feeling discouraged and defeated by the job search. I know, I know... I'm bright, talented, and a great catch for any employer. I have Brian remind me of that on a regular basis. It just gets old hearing various forms of "no" via e-mails from employers that haven't even heard my voice, let alone met me in person. And various forms of "no" most often includes no response at all.

But alas, I know that the right job is out there waiting for me... God is just not ready for me to have medical insurance yet. Ha :) Gotta keep my sense of humor.

I suppose I'll end this post with another Richmond fun fact:

The average full-time Richmond Police Officer makes $42,540/year. The average full-time Richmond firefighter makes $49,703/year. Two things:
1. I wonder if it's like that everywhere.
2. Maybe I should be a firefighter.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Looks like somebody's got a case of the Mondays!

Ok so I don't have a case of the Mondays... I just like that quote. In fact, I think only people that work get a case of the Mondays. To me, Monday is just a return to gmail chatting with Allison, facebook stalking, tv watching, etc. Man, my life is tough.

Anyway, my parents came to visit us in Richmond this weekend- it was a quick trip (they were only here for about 24 hours), but a fun time was had, and I think they were at least somewhat exposed to life as a townie in Richmond-Rosenberg. It was my Dad's 57th birthday, so we made sure to celebrate accordingly (including birthday candles in his homemade apple crisp dessert baked by yours truly).

Mom and I did some power shopping (and surprisingly didn't buy much), while Brian and Dad went to the "malt shop" (as Dad calls it) and explored downtown Rosenberg. That evening, we had dinner with the other Joiners (Brian's parents and sister... Hi, Shannon! I know you're reading faithfully:). It was our first time acting as hosts, and I think we did a sufficient job. I only freaked out a few times... including when I realized Dad's shoes were making scuff marks all over our kitchen floor. Mind you, our kitchen floor is this warped plastic mess with a nail or 2 sticking out, but still, much effort had been put into sweeping and mopping it the day before :)

I'd say the highlight of the weekend was on Sunday morning when Mom found a dead (and squished) cockroach on her bed. It had somehow weaseled its way between the comforter and the blanket. The good news is that we haven't seen any roaches in a couple of weeks, so it had likely been dead for a while. Or maybe we haven't seen the roaches because they've been congregating in the guest room bed. Who knows.

Anyway, we were sad to see them (my parents, not the roaches) leave yesterday... I almost wish we were still planning the wedding so I'd have an excuse to go home and see them more! But I know Betsy is very thankful that the wedding planning is over, so I wouldn't wish that upon her :)

I don't have anything really excited to blog about today, I'm afraid. I am getting pretty tired of not having a job... for anyone who has ever job searched before, you can relate with the whole feeling discouraged thing. If you're not careful, you eventually begin to question your self-worth after enough people reject you and/or don't answer your phone calls and e-mails. Hooray. Nonetheless, I am trying my best to look at this "season" as a blessing, and enjoy it while it lasts. But still, if you have any job leads, please send them my way!

I'll wrap things up with another Richmond fun fact. Hopefully I will have more entertaining things to blog about later this week!:
(again from city-data.com) "Richmond-area historical tornado activity is slightly above Texas state average. It is 128% greater than the overall U.S. average."

... umm, should I be concerned? 128% is slightly above average, I'd say...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Things I've learned from Wal-mart

The other day, I saw a commercial that declared that Wal-mart can save families up to $2,500 a year. That is quite an impressive claim if you think about it. If you go to the grocery store once a week, that's an average of $48.07 in savings each time you go! Now I'm not sure how valid this claim is, but I think we'd all agree that you save a buck or two when you shop at Wally World.

Like many newlyweds, Brian and I are doing our best to pinch pennies and spend our money wisely. As such, we do most of our grocery shopping at Wal-mart. It also doesn't hurt that there is one less than a mile from our house (yep, just like living in Westlake or Highland Park... ha ha, right). I use the term "we" pretty loosely because I generally do the grocery shopping by myself.

As I was strolling (another term used loosely, as the store was-as usual-packed with other shoppers) through the aisles, it dawned on me that a good topic for the next blog would be lessons that Wal-mart shopping has taught me. So... here I am, and here I go:

1. I do not want to have children. Ever.
Ok this isn't true... I really do want to have kids. However, if I see a cute family walking around the neighborhood with their kiddos and suddenly get that urge to be a mommy, I know that an instant cure would be to go to Wal-mart. I'm not sure if it's that parents wait until their children are at their crankiest before taking them there, or if Wal-mart provokes the demons to come out of said children once they get there... either way, it's inevitable.

In college, I had a friend that said Post Oak Mall was the place where trashy parents took their kids to beat them in public. I am now sure that the same can be said of Wal-mart. I hear the children screaming bloody murder from the other end of the store and think surely someone must be running over them with a grocery cart to make them cause such a scene. And then when I realize that they are simply throwing a fit (maybe unsatisfied with the produce?), I wonder if I should run over them with my grocery cart. Sorry if this seems unsympathetic- I know that it is tough to be a mom, and tough to take your kids out in public. But all I'm asking is that if your child is possessed by the devil, please leave him/her at home with a sitter.

2. Organization need not be logical.
Ok, so I am still getting the hang of doing all the grocery shopping by myself. And I'm still learning where things are in the store, and how to get through the trip in the most efficient way possible. But I am growing more and more convinced that Wal-mart is on a quest to hinder me from doing so.

I realized early on that it is not smart to get the "cold" groceries first, because they will melt and get warm by the end of the trip (I realize this is common sense, but I was pretty proud of myself for figuring it out). However, in my beloved Wal-mart, the refrigerated foods (dairy, lunch meat, etc.) are in the far back of the store... while the frozen foods are at the front. Maybe I'm missing something, but does this make sense? I am forced to choose which can hold out the longest: the lean pockets and ice cream, or the milk and eggs.

3. Employees come first.
I'm sure you've all experienced this... you are walking down the aisle, and looking for a specific item- in my case, mac & cheese for my sophisticated hubby. Like with many generic foods, there are several brands and types to choose from, and usually you have to stand for a minute and scan the section before you can make an educated decision. However, there is a giant cart of inventory right smack dab in front of the mac & cheese section... being stocked back on the shelves by an employee.

I try not to inconvenience said employee, so I do my best to peak through the cracks in the cart and look behind it to find what I'm looking for. She then looks at me, notices that I am having trouble seeing through her cart, and rather than moving it a bit to help me out, she seems annoyed that I don't have x-ray vision and simply continues what she is doing. Hello? Do you want me to move the cart for you? I finally just reached behind it for the knock-off brand of mac & cheese (only .33 a box!) and went on my way... disgruntled, but at least I'd found what I needed.

Now don't get me wrong... I am appreciative of the low prices that Wal-mart offers, and realize that more often than not, you get what you pay for. As such, I am not really disappointed by the atmosphere that leaves something to be desired- I guess it's more of a love-hate relationship that we have.

The funny thing is that my receipt had instructions for an online survey on my experience at the store that day that offered the possibility of winning a $1,000 gift card to Wal-mart. I went ahead and completed it, and made sure to be honest. I put that I was "slightly dissatisfied" with just about everything it asked about, but when it asked how likely I was to return, I gave it a 10 out of 10. Whoever reads those survey results might think I'm bi-polar. And Brian says that the fact that I gave them a bunch of negative scores will prevent me from winning the gift card, but oh well.

And just to keep you informed, here is the fun Richmond fact for the day, brought to you by your favorite prospective townie:
(I thought it was amusing that this was included in the city's profile on city-data.com) "According to our research there were 41 registered sex offenders living in Richmond, Texas in early 2007. The ratio of number of residents in Richmond to the number of sex offenders is 324 to 1."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Things that make Brian happy

First, allow me (Amanda) to clarify that this post was created by Brian. It was his idea, and these are his words. I am just the recorder, due to his laziness :) From here on out, you can assume that Brian is the one speaking:

The following is a list of things that are currently exciting to me about this time of year:
1. College football:
What can I say? It's the greatest sport on earth, and when my wife watches it with me, there is nothing better.
2. Monopoly at McDonald's:
It may be weird, but I really like McDonald's. I actually got hungry for McDonald's after watching "Super Size Me." I saw a commercial for it today, and the first thing I wanted to do was go eat there, even though I had just finished dinner.
3. "Heroes" + Pei Wei = Awesomeness:
There are few things more satisfying in life than filling your belly with a Dan Dan Noodle Bowl and then coming home to see my sister, I mean Hayden Panietierre, on TV.

That's really all I've got right now. On another note, youth group is lots of fun, and I like my new job a whole lot. This was probably nowhere near as funny or witty as Amanda's blogs, but I felt pressured, I mean, I felt the urge (the urge being Amanda suggesting I write a blog) to write one. Maybe if you're lucky, I'll write another one some day.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cupcakerson? Browniever?

Ok so right now I am watching "Platinum Weddings" on WE. In case you've never seen it, it is basically just a show dedicated to people who spend more money on weddings than should be legal. They are shameless. The last one I watched totaled around $650,000... can you imagine? How about sending your kid to college, buying a house, some cars, or putting it in savings? Ridiculous.

Anyway, I am watching one right now that I actually saw a month or so ago for the first time. It is an Indian wedding, so of course it is quite an extravaganza. What has caught my attention both times that I've watched it, however, is not the amount of money spent. It is the fact that the bride's last name is Icecreamwala. No, I am not making this up. Yes, I am sure that's how it's spelled. Seriously? Icecreamwala? The title of the blog might make more sense to you now... "American" variations of this dessert-boasting last name. Wow. (Note: If your name is Icecreamwala, I don't mean to offend... I'm just amazed, really!)

I also have to comment on a couple of other things that I've noticed on TV these days (so what if TV is my only friend here?): I cannot stand that stupid Chevy commercial. The one where the cars spin in circles on some rotating platform, and the song goes, "If you want it, here it is- come and get it, bum bum bum..." It is so cheesy and outdated, it makes me want to key the cars. My first frustration as I watch this pathetic excuse for a car commercial is this- to whom is this commercial directed? People that just woke up from a coma after 20 years? Perhaps. My second frustration is this- I have seen this commercial at least 40 times, and it wasn't until yesterday that I actually realized what kind of cars it was for. Regardless, I want to apply for the person who created this commercial's job. Maybe I could even use some of my pictures from the Fort Bend County Fair Parade featuring large sweaty men in Chevy trucks...

Now in contrast, I really like the new Old Navy commercial with the song playing about the sweater. Brian looked it up and the song can be purchased on iTunes if you are also a fan ("The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson). I'm just really impressed that a commercial about sweaters made me want to purchase a song.

Anyway, that's all for today. Pardon my rage against the Chevy commercial- I think I am taking out my unemployment frustrations on the TV now. Don't worry, the TV and I are still friends... as evidenced by my plans to watch "The Bachelor" and "The Hills" this evening...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Law and Order" is life... the rest is just details

I mean that. Both literally (the tv show) and figuratively (law and order). Wow, deep, right?

So here's the thing... after 2 or 3 days go by without a new post, I start to feel a little guilty. But, like many of you, I put it off because there are more pressing matters at hand (checking facebook updates, watching Cycle 7 of America's Next Top Model for the third time this week, laundry, etc). However, without fail, a blog fan (ok, reader) always comments to prompt me back into a more regular routine. You can thank Brittany Preston Sciba for this update.

So it was a pretty slow weekend with the Joiners. Our weekends actually start on Thursday evening each week since Brian has Fridays off. This may sound appealing (and in many ways it is), but by Sunday evening, I am usually ready for Monday to roll around so that my laziness and overeating will come to a hault. Anyway, of course Thursday evening was spent watching the first episodes of Grey's Anatomy & The Office. Duh. Both were more or less what we expected... except for George professing his love for Izzy so quickly. It seemed a bit abrupt, but whatever. No one pays me to write the scripts, so I guess my opinion is irrelevant.

Friday started off with a bang. The Fort Bend County Fair (largest county fair in Texas, boo-yah) started this weekend, and the kick-off parade was held on Friday morning approximately .75 miles from our house. The answer to "WWTD?" in this situation was obvious. So we walked over to the parade and found the festivities already in full force. Lots of overweight white men in pick-up trucks pulling teenage girls in cute dresses in the back (umm, that sounds sort of creepy) who were candidates for the Fair Queen. I even saw the Ft. Bend County Farm Bureau Queen with my own two eyes... literally just 20 feet away from me! It was a dream come true.

We took some pictures (which I will put online soon), but got bored after about 45 minutes because all of the floats were the same (HS football teams, cheerleaders, obscure community service organizations - Jesus's Puppet Pals?) except the one with the dancing black people that was blaring "Crank Dat Soulja Boy" on a boom box. That one was Brian's favorite- go figure.

The remainder of Friday was pretty anti-climatic...we watched a lot of TV and sat around. We went out to eat an overpriced dinner in Sugar Land. After dinner, we decided to go walk around one of those neighborhood lake things to burn off the calories (Brian is such a health nut). That's when Brian tried (using reverse psychology, mind you) to convince me to pee in a public park. Though the challenge was tempting, I opted for a Whataburger bathroom instead. (Side note: does anyone else hate that creepy guy's voice that goes "What a burger!" on those commercials?)

Saturday morning was fun times- I went on a walk in K-town with Brittany, followed by lunch at La Madeline. Let me qualify that: lunch at the slowest and most inefficient La Madeline in the world. After that, Brittany came over to watch the A&M game with Brian and me. In the meantime, I helped her grade papers! I thought I was pretty good... except when I said that 100 minus 45 was 65. Oops. I even got to write "Awesome!" and "Great job!" if a kid made 100 on a spelling test. I heart good spellers. Now I feel fully equipped to teach 2nd grade.

Another side note (sorry this post is getting long): I helped out with the 1st-2nd graders at a church function on Wednesday night. At one point, the other adult that I was with asked the children, "Do any of you remember getting baptized?" and this little girl raises her hand and says, "One time, my dad took me to the airport!" ... ? The adult was a teacher, thankfully, and politely avoided a 10-minute rambling from each child about their own experiences at airports with, "The airport, huh? Well at churches, people get baptized!" Smooth.

Back to the weekend- I didn't feel great yesterday afternoon/evening, so we stayed home, played Sonic the Hedgehog on the Wii (best.game.ever), and went to bed. Today we went to church, cleaned the house, and while Brian has been at youth group, I have been mindlessly watching episode after episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I prefer SVU, but I take what I can get.

I'm almost done- promise. So I was folding laundry earlier, specifically Brian's boxers. He literally has like 8 million pairs of boxers. It's baffling. So while I was folding them, I thought of a really great joke to tell: "My husband has more boxers than 'The Contender'" ... funny, right? But then I thought to myself, "Wait.. is 'The Contender' about boxers, or did I make that up? If it isn't, my joke is ruined." So I decided to go ahead and tell the joke without looking it up to verify the facts, for fear of being wrong and not getting to tell the joke at all.

And one final note: do any of you other fellow bloggers find yourself doing things throughout the day just so you can blog about them later? Or a thought comes into your head that seems amusing, and you pridefully think you should probably write it down just to blog about later? Not that this happens to me or anything... just wondering :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Breaking news!

This just in: I, Amanda Jane Nelson Joiner, just took my very first bath at our house. I won't get into the details of my bathing- gotta keep this g-rated, right? However, I thought I should share this feat of courage with you all. It took a lot of encouragement from my wonderful husband (who probably thinks I am crazy... as if he didn't have enough reasons to already), but once he assured me for the last time that I could not get an STD from our dingy looking drain, I knew I had to just go for it.

You see, I have always loved baths... even the ones that included all 4 Nelson children in one bath tub being bathed by our heavy-set red-headed Scandinavian babysitter (shout out to Phyllis!). I know that baths are more of a girl thing, and I have often had people point out that baths are simply a way of soaking in your own filth, but I'm really not concerned about it. However, just like I mentioned my flip-flops in foreign showers thing, I never take a bath in another person's bath tub. So essentially, through my willingness to take a bath at our house, I have officially christened this as our new home. August 11th may be the move-in date, but September 25th is clearly the real milestone. So props to me. Thanks.

In other news, I have developed a new slogan to go along with the topic of the previous post: WWTD? Yep, that's right. Would would Townies do? Last night, I even made Brian give me scenarios, and I formed my answers based on WWTD? Example:

Brian: "You're in the mood for a sandwich. Where do you go to get one?"
Amanda: (pauses to consider WWTD?) "Duh. Sandy McGee's. Definitely NOT at Quizno's, Subway, or any of those other chains."

See? The slogan is really working out for me.

And in final news, I have another interview tomorrow for a job I am excited about... prayers for God's direction in my job search would be greatly appreciated :) Much love to my peeps! Yep, I said peeps. Peep peep.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My quest to become a local

So today as I was leaving for my run, I noticed a dead (or so I thought) roach by the door. I promptly yelled for Brian to come and remove it. After I closed the door, I heard Brian squirming a bit and realized that he had found the roach to be only half-dead. Oops. Sorry, Bri.

Anyway, that got me thinking, and I realized that we haven't seen as many of our little multi-legged (I googled it... did you know roaches have 6 legs and 18 knees? And did you know that a cockroach can live for a week without its head? You should check out http://www.roachcom.net/rofacts/ for more fun roach facts) friends in the last few days. Maybe it's because it hasn't been raining? I don't know if there is any correlation, but it makes me feel grown-up and smart to have assumed such a connection, so I'm going to go on believing that thankyouverymuch.

Ok so that has nothing to do with the topic of this post, sorry. Let's get down to business. I am on a new quest, a journey if you will, to become a local. I prefer to use the term "townie," but realize that this term can be confusing, especially if you google it. So we'll just stick with local.

Brian and I have lived here in Richmond for approximately 6 weeks, and I decided that it's time for us to start planting our new roots. As long as we're gonna live here, we might as well make the most of it, right? Right. So we'll start with yesterday:

We woke up and went for a walk, but not a typical around-the-neighborhood walk. A true townie walk. We went cruising around downtown Richmond to see the sights. We even ended up adding a few things to our future Townie To Do List: visiting the Fort Bend Museum, go shopping at the Treasure Hunter's Gallery, etc. After our walk we went on a (strange) little drive- through Morton cemetery, around the trashiest neighborhoods in town, and even to the spot where all the little league baseball games take place. Pretty intense, I know.

After coming home for a shower and a change of clothes, we then went out for lunch at Larry's, a local Mexican food restaurant whose meat tastes questionably like cat meat, in Shannon Joiner's opinion. The food and service are decent at best, but it's Brian's favorite, and it's a local spot, so it was the perfect choice.

We then went to check out some of the shops/boutique type stores on 359, and I was quite impressed to find that one store even carried hanky pankies (the underwear... if you don't know what they are, you are missing out)! All in all, our quest to be locals/townies is off to a good start. Future plans include visiting Brazos Bend State Park and the Museum of Southern History in the Sugar Land area. If you have any suggestions to add to our list, please feel free to comment.

And in honor of our quest, I am going to add some fun tidbits (I hate that word) of information about the Richmond area to the posts every now and again. Enjoy!

Richmond Fun Fact:
Named after Richmond, England, the town is rich with Texas history as it was among the 19 cities first incorporated by the short-lived Republic of Texas, in 1837.

*Please note that when passing by the Fort Bend Museum, a plaque informed us that Richmond was named after Richmond, Virginia... which one is true? You decide.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Welcome to Salt Lake City, where service is state of the art...

I discovered that "Salt Lake" is a nice substitute for "Circuit" in that catchy Circuit City jingle. I'm smart, I know. So it's been a week since the last posting- I know you've all been dying in anticipation of the next post. Don't worry, I won't be doing any more cross-country traveling for a while, so I should be home more and therefore more available to blog consistently.

With that said, let the next post begin! I spent a fun-filled weekend with my twin sissy this past weekend in Salt Lake City while her hubby was on some science trip... nerdy, I know (jk, bro). Anyway, there were some amusing and post-worthy moments, so I will share them with you in the form of a list. In case you hadn't noticed yet, I really like to use lists in my posts. Maybe I'll grow out of it, or maybe you'll just accept it. You decide.

Some amusing moments from my weekend in Mormon-land...

1. I learned that Allison is an expert on bees.
So we were enjoying our lunch at Wild Oats (similar to Whole Foods) outside on the patio when an unwelcome visitor appeared... a bee. He swarmed around my food suspiciously before attacking Allison's meal. She was understandably alarmed, but quickly came up with (based on the pleased expression on her face) what she considered the perfect solution: She cautiously reaches for the piece of swiss cheese from her sandwich and tosses it away from our lunch saying, "Here, we'll give him this!" Cheese? Seriously, Allison? Yep, you've always heard about bees' favorite things: honey, sugar, brightly colored patterns, and swiss cheese. Needless to say, this did not work, so we were forced to move. Nonetheless, I got a good laugh at her expense.

2. I decided that I really do not like people who recline their seats on airplanes.
I don't care who you are, how far you've traveled that day, or how tired you are... it is always annoying when you jerk your chair back mid-flight and crush the bones in my knee caps, or tip my 2-inch tall glass of ice water over. I can honestly tell you that I have not once used this evil reclining tool on an airplane, nor will I ever. And you know why? Because I have the ability to empathize. I think to myself, "Does the innocent stranger sitting behind me want my chair in his lap?" (no) "Does he value the continued use of his knees after this flight?" (hopefully) "Will my reclining make his trip more enjoyable?" (definitely not). I urge you, my friends, to ask yourself the same questions next time you think about pressing the recline button on your seat...

3. I got the obligatory post-wedding haircut.
Yep, that's right. I joined the club and chopped a good 5 inches off of my hair... well, I didn't, but someone else did. I felt like I lost 5 pounds, and I'm still having that phantom hair feeling in the shower (you know, the one where you reach to shampoo the rest of your hair and it's not there anymore)... it's pretty great. I do miss the long hair, but thankfully, it grows back. And now Allison and I look a little more twinny, like the good old days. Twinny... that's a really annoying word. Here's a before and after:








4. I became more firmly convinced that Allison & Wade need to move back to Texas ASAP.
I have always known this, but each time I get spoiled by a weekend with her/them, I am reminded how much I miss her/them! Deep down, they know that there is no better place to raise their first child (Gizmo, the goldfish) than around family... so it seems like a simple choice, really. I am thinking about starting a petition to send around... maybe if we get enough signatures, they'll come back sooner. Let me know if you are interested in helping with that.

Anyway, I had a great time and can't wait to see the Olivers next (Thanksgiving is too far away). If you have a free weekend, I suggest you go visit them... Allison is a great trip Nazi, er, I mean, planner :) And they are good cooks, so at least you might get some free food out of it (if Allison doesn't eat it before you get to it- ha ha, just jokes sissy). That's all for now- viva Salt Lake City!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

We live in an unjust world

Pardon my seemingly unjustified disappointment with the society that we live in, but I must vent briefly. Today I went into my beloved Target to pick up some groceries. As has probably happened to many of you fellow Target-lovers, upon entering the store, I was quickly distracted by the One Spot.

For those of you who don't know about the One Spot, it is basically a special section of the store where people (me) are tricked into buying things that they don't really need, simply because they only cost one dollar. Hence the name "One Spot." They have everything from plastic hot dogs to greeting cards to wedding favors (likely only appropriate if you are getting married in a trailer park, but that is another story).

Alas, I have strayed from my story. So anyway, I walk in and head directly to the One Spot, in hopes of finding a fun treat to take to Allison in SLC this weekend, or maybe a surprise gift to give my husband. I see that they have some fun Halloween decorations, and I am drawn to a bright orange pumpkin candy bowl. I think to myself, "This will hold my dark chocolate Hershey kisses perfectly (even though I already have a Halloween candy dish at home), and it only costs one dollar! I must purchase it!" A safe assumption in the ONE SPOT, right?

WRONG. No sooner had I fallen in love with the pumpkin candy dish when I noticed a sign above my head that says "2 for $5." Ok kids, now I'm not a math major or anything, but I am fairly certain that 5 divided by 2 is more than 1. In fact, if my memories from my days at Robert S. Hyer Elementary serve me well, that means that it was $2.50 per item, NOT $1 per item.

How can Target get away with this? If you are going to have a section where things cost $2.50, then it should be called the Two Point Five Oh Spot, and not the One Spot. Anyway, so that I don't leave you hanging, I continued shopping. But I left that One Spot as quickly as I could and didn't look back. My relationship with the One Spot just might not be the same ever again...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A weekend with the parents in Nueva Mexico

Greetings from the great city of Richmond, TX! I should be working out right now, but the last comment written ANONYMOUSLY (pathetic) on the blog inspired (ok threatened) me into creating a new post for you all to enjoy. I figured since I spent the latter part of last week in Santa Fe with my parents, I should give you all a few highlights in the form of a top 10. So here goes:

Top 10 Moments in Santa Fe (in no particular order):

10. I got my fi
rst "charley horse" ever. It was in the middle of the night, and most likely due to the concentration camp amount of uphill walking that my mom made me do the day before :) I got to wondering where the term came from (and I must admit that I thought it was spelled "charlie"), so I looked it up on wikipedia. Here is what I found.

9. I ate THE BEST blueberry muffin ever made. It's true. Ask my dad for confirmation, because we talked about it for the entire trip. It was at Bagelmania, and it changed my life.

8. We attended Santa Fe's annual "Pet Parade." Apparently this is a really popular event, as parking was a nightmare and the sidewalks were covered with onlookers. Basically, a bunch of the townies dress up their animals (mostly dogs, but also cats, rabbits, snakes, goats, guinea pigs, etc.) and walk them through the streets. I think the "best dressed" gets a prize. Anyway, there's a picture on the left.

7. I almost died from a coffee spill.
Ok, not really. But a waitress at dinner spilled a cup of coffee on my dad, which somehow splashed all over me? Anyway, I guess I was being punished for wearing white after Labor Day, because it was covering the left leg of my white capri pants. They are soaking in Oxiclean as I type.

6. We shopped. A lot. If you know my mom, you know that she loves Santa Fe and she loves shopping. We left no jewelry or clothing store unturned, all the while chatting with the people that work at the stores that have become some of mom's dearest friends over the years. Seriously. One of them was even invited to one of the Nelson weddings. We tease her about it, but it's all in good fun :)

5. I accidentally hopped in the hotel shower without flip-flops. If you thought showering in my new house without flip-flops was intense for me, this is even bigger. Don't get me wrong, it was a nice hotel. But who KNOWS how many feet have touched that shower floor. I am probably going to get an STD from it, but so far I've survived ok. I'll let you know if any suspicious rashes develop on my feet...

4. I left my straightener at home. This was an accident that was realized in Austin, the night before we flew out to Santa Fe. In a panic, I began rummaging through drawers in Allison's and my bathrooms at my parents' house, hoping to find an outdated straightener that had been left behind when a new one was purchased. Well I was in luck, but managed to find what appeared to be the first straightener ever created. It was by "BabyBliss" and weighed around 300 pounds. It also took about half an hour to heat up, and I had to re-straighten 2-3 times a day to maintain even remotely straight hair. This is a mistake that I will NEVER make again.

3. I missed my husband! Ok, I know, this is lame. But as a newlywed, this had to go in here. And I guess I have gotten used to seeing him 24/7, so it was a tough break. But not to worry, we have been reunited less than 24 hours, and I have already started nagging him again. And on a side note, I have already had him capture and set free 2 rebel geckos in the house.

2. We made fun of dad. Unfortunately for Steve, this is a Nelson family favorite pastime, but he's a pretty good sport. Most of it was about his love affair with his blackberry. Normally I don't participate much in the teasing, but really, he makes it so easy. One night in the hotel, I was showing Mom the wedding pictures on the computer. We look over to see Dad passed out on the other bed, cuddling with his blackberry on his chest. He denies the incident, but we saw it with our own eyes.

1. Mom and I got lost on a hike. What started out as an innocent 3o-45 minute walk on our last day there turned into a 1.5 hour trek through the Santa Fe wilderness. We started out on a trail near the hotel, and somehow ended up on a random highway. Thankfully, Mom knows Santa Fe like the back of her hand, so we were able to hike to a nearby resort and call Dad to come to our rescue. Meanwhile, directionally-challenged Amanda followed along mindlessly. We were fairly certain that we were going to end up as news on the Today Show like that grandma that was lost in the wilderness for 2 weeks. And was my mom's biggest fear that we would be stranded? No, it was that the news would refer to her as an "elderly woman" lost in the woods with her daughter. Ha ha, gotta love Betsy.

Anyway, all in all it was a fun-filled trip, and I was thankful to be included. And for all of you other Nelson siblings, Dad confirmed that I am, in fact, the favorite child :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Just another rainy Tuesday

So it's only fair to tell you that as I begin this post, I am in the company of a dead roach... oh wait- I looked up right after I typed that and he is moving. So let me amend that last statement: I am in the company of a dying roach. He's about 6 feet away from me. It's so nice to know that I don't have to spend my time at home alone! Guess I'll leave him there until Brian gets home- lucky husband :)

I know it's been a few days since the last post, so forgive me. Brian and I spent the Labor Day weekend in LaGrange, TX, with Brian's extended family. Fun times were had by all- many, many rounds of Mexican Train (dominoes) were played, and far too much food was consumed (as evidenced by my rude scale this morning).

I am making an impromptu trip to Santa Fe this weekend with my parents, leaving my hubby to fend for himself. Don't worry, I stocked him up with frozen pizza, lean pockets, ice cream, and freshly washed sheets for the weekend. Let's hope he survives.

Speaking of cleaning, Brian and I cleaned the whole house together last night- what fun! The big adventure was mopping, which we did "tag team" style (every other time that we had to ring out the mop, we switched moppers- efficient, right?). Brian even got on his hands and knees scrubbing our bath tub clean. As such, I decided that today was the big day... one small step for a normal person, but a giant leap for Amanda (Nelson) Joiner. Yes, that's right folks, I showered for the first time in our house today without flip flops! I know you're thinking, "What?! You've lived there 3 weeks and were still wearing flip flops in your own shower?" Well don't be so quick to judge, Judgey McJudgerson. I would go into my reasoning in an attempt to defend myself, but instead I will just ask you to stop and take a look at the posting written before this one. That should suffice :)

In other news, I am watching "The Hills" right now (I heart DVR)... anyone else think Spencer is a total dork? If we are all going to pretend that this is reality TV, at least they could get believable non-actors. These people are horrible.

Alright, the hubby has arrived home from work. Time to be domestic and go cook something while he takes care of the half-dead roach. Much love to you all!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Wade asked for it

Yep, that's right, it's day 2 and I'm already making another post. This is partially because it's new and exciting (and I'm OCD), and partially because Wade asked for it. Nonetheless, welcome to post # 2 from the Joiners!

So Brian and I may not have a lot of friends in Richmond yet, but we have managed to maintain pretty frequent company here at our house. However, our company is not of the human kind... cockroaches and geckos (that would make a sweet band name, wouldn't it?). But not just any ordinary cockroaches and geckos- allow me to tell you a little bit about our small friends.

The Cockroaches
These are a special breed of larger than life cockroaches. Today I swear that the one I found in the living room was the size of my big toe... and I have big feet. He was on his back with his little legs sticking up in the air, which you might think would make me feel sorry for him, but it didn't. Nasty little creature. Anyway, I'm fairly certain that they have breeding parties every morning and take turns daring each other to come out into the open. Sadly, we have "roach traps" (which don't actually trap roaches, but rather seem to poison them to death) all over the house, so this inevitably leads to their untimely death.

What gets me is that every time I tell someone that our house is decorated with dead roaches on a daily basis, each time the answer is the same, "Well at least they're dead!" Wrong. This does not help me to sleep at night. Dead bugs are just as gross as live ones. And the fact that there are dead bugs means that at one time, they were alive... probably dancing around in my underwear drawer or hiding in the microwave. Creeps.

The Geckos
I actually really like geckos- I think they're cute, and for the most part harmless. (On a side note, Brittany Sciba does NOT agree with this line of thought... Brian brought one near her and she ended up jumping on our couch screaming bloody murder- it was pretty funny :o) Anyway, these geckos, like their cockroach friends, are also a special breed. They are a daring group, fearless and constantly seeking a thrill.

You see, every time we open our front door, one of those little guys literally leaps over the threshold and into the house. This in turn, sends Brian into the ritual of crouching onto all fours and trying to catch the critter. It's sad, really, knowing that they take such a daring chance, only to be grabbed up and returned to the outdoors. But don't worry, we let them live... and sometimes we name them. We also name squirrels and snails though, so I guess that's not really unusual.

Alas, I must go, as we are about to leave for our Labor Day weekend in La Grange... look out for new posts soon!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The joys of unemployment

I am new to this blogging thing, but I have learned a thing or 2 from the SLC Newlyweds. So let's go ahead and clear one thing up - Brian will most likely never make any posts on here, or read them for that matter. So it's safe to assume that any first person references are to Amanda :) However, for the sake of feeling like we're in this together, there will be several times where I refer to us in third person. So go ahead and accept it, and move on.

You might be thinking to yourself, "I wonder what inspired The Joiners to start a blog... is it because they want to be like everyone else? Is it because they want to impart all of their life knowledge unto others? Or is it just because they are incredibly entertaining and want to give friends/family/strangers something to read in their spare time?" Well, while the answers to all of these questions are undoubtedly 'yes,' it is only fair to tell you the real inspiration for the starting of the blog: Amanda's unemployment.

Yes, friends, I have now been unemployed for 32 days, 18 hours, and 50ish minutes. The first few weeks, time understandably passed by quickly... one week was spent taking care of the last minute details for the wedding, one week for the honeymoon, and one week to get settled into our new house in Richmond (and let's be honest, Amanda made sure that happened in 24 hours). However, the last 1.5 weeks have allowed for a little more free time.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy life as a "stay-at-home wife"... it looks a little like this:

7 am- Alarm goes off, Brian starts to get ready for work while Amanda wallows in bed
7:50 am - Brian leaves for work; meanwhile, Amanda has drifted back to sleep
8 am- Amanda's cell phone alarm goes off to remind her to wake up and watch Dawson's Creek
8 am-9 am - Amanda watches D-Creek in bed, getting up once to get a bowl of Raisin Bran
9 am-noon - Amanda goes for a walk or run, gmail chats with Allison, looks for jobs online, watches whatever is on TV, and stalks facebook mindlessly*
(*I have developed a sad and pitiful habit... I have found myself (several times, now) pressing refresh on the "Friends" page over and over again until someone new pops up on the page. If you are a facebooker, please update your profile often so that I have something to look at)
noon - Brian comes home for lunch with Amanda
noon - 5 pm - Amanda watches Law and Order over, and over, and over, and over again, until her brain has turned to mush, and Brian finally returns from work
5 pm - bedtime - Brian and Amanda make dinner together and continue watching Law and Order... ridiculous, but at least she's not alone!

Anyway, upon realizing my pathetic-ness, I decided that I might as well give myself something "productive" to do, and rather than shopping around for car insurance or living room curtains for our house, a blog is what I landed on. With that said, you will likely see a lot of posts in the near future. So be ready and be watchful, you never know when this blogger will strike again...