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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And about that baking…

I meant to follow up on this post in yesterday’s ramblings and completely forgot. And I know most of you probably sat around all weekend in nervous anticipation, wondering how the dessert I made for my mother-in-law’s birthday turned out, so I won’t leave you hanging any longer. The dessert of choice was key lime pie.

Well the good news is that is turned out great! And the better news is that it was the easiest dessert I’ve ever made, and once I actually read the instructions, I came to find there was actually no baking involved :o) It turns out that when you buy a pre-made pie crust (you call it cheating, I call it awesome), making a pie is really fairly simple, especially when the most time-consuming step in the directions is refrigerating it for 3 hours. I’ll accept a pat on the back if you’re offering.

Oh, and in case you ever want to pretend you’re domestic without actually having to have any culinary skills (ok, you will have to pull out an electric mixer), here’s the recipe.

For those of you that care, The Biggest Loser is its home stretch, and last night was the final episode filmed at the ranch. I know I haven’t blogged about TBL in a while, but I guess I can only talk about Tara’s domination, Ron’s mind-boggling stomach folds, and Jillian’s inability to properly pronounce people’s names so much before people inevitably stop paying attention. And of course, last night’s episode was no different. I do hope Ron is feeling a little ashamed watching these episodes, however. He should be embarrassed about the example he is setting for Mike (and poor left out overweight brother, Max) by lying on national television.

Anyway, I am not going to make any predictions about who is going to win… because let’s be real here, I don’t want to risk being wrong. Is that sad? But I have a feeling it will be Tara or Mike. So now that I have narrowed it down to a 50% chance of being correct in the end, I feel better.

And on a related—but very much a stretch—topic, I think it’s really funny when people guess “which twin is which” between me and Allison, and then congratulate themselves heartily if they guess correctly. Is answering a question correctly when you have a 50% chance of getting it right really that big of a victory? I guess so.

Oh, and Brian and I also finally bought a piece of furniture this weekend. Yes, our search has really only lasted approximately a week, but when you are as impatient and into instant gratification as I am, a week seems like an eternity. The woman who helped us was very friendly, but just as the other stores, very overbearing. She would show us a few pieces, and then promise to give us a little bit to talk it over and see what we thought. Then she would return approximately 45 seconds later (I guess “a little bit” is a debatable term) wondering if we had made a decision, and would we be willing to sign it in blood? It was all very comforting.

Her tactics worked, however, and we came home with a new entertainment “console,” whatever that means. We actually took it home ourselves in the back of Brian’s truck, and I had the privilege of driving while he rode in the back to hold it in place. When we made it home, I thought I would impress my husband by backing the truck into the driveway so that he could get the furniture out of the back and onto the sidewalk more easily. So with as much precision as possible, I backed the truck into the driveway and got out to inspect my parking job. And I did manage to get the truck in the driveway… approximately 1/3 of it, anyway. The remaining 2/3 remained parked in the neighbor’s yard. Impressive.

And so I leave you with a question—WHY is it so much harder for girls to reverse park vehicles than it is for boys?! Or is it just me?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I think I need to invest in a canoe

You know what’s really fun? Navigating Houston highways.

You know what’s even more fun? Navigating Houston highways during rush hour.

You know what’s even more fun than that? Navigating Houston highways while it’s monsooning outside.

Last night I had the pleasure of joining many other determined commuters in maneuvering through the wind, rain, and floods at a whopping 25 mph on the freeway with my flashers on. I was fairly convinced at one point that I was more likely to die than finish my drive, but stubborn girl that I am, I pressed on. And believe it or not, I made it to my destination (and back!) in one piece. And an added bonus—I heard Miley Cyrus’s new single, “Climb,” not once, not twice, but THREE times throughout the course of my drive. I’d like to think that she inspired me not to give up and pull over to the shoulder like all of the other quitters. Thanks a bunch, Miley. Or Hannah. Or whatever your name really is.

Anyway, that’s an activity in which I do not plan on participating again any time soon. Driving in the rain is bad enough, but driving in the rain in Houston with thousands of other crazies is a whole other ball game. I never would have guessed that living in the Houston area would involve so much weather-related drama, but hey, at least it keeps things exciting?

So yes, we went to Dallas this weekend and had a good time at the wedding. More importantly, they served sweet potato fries, chips and queso, AND miniature milkshakes… with whipped cream and sprinkles and everything. Most girls like to gush about the floral arrangements and the bride’s dress, but not me. Clearly I have priorities here, and they do not involve color schemes and musical arrangements.

And because we enjoy self-inflicted torture in the form of very long road trips, we’re headed to San Antonio this weekend to celebrate 26 years of Brian Wayne Joiner. Hard to believe he was 20 when I first met him… he was so young then, spending hours at a time playing video games, devoting most of his mental capacity to useless sports information. WOW he has really grown up a lot since then :o) Don’t worry, that’s why I love him. Well, it’s why I love him, and also why he sometimes drives me up the wall, but really it’s all the same when you’re married.

Anyway, because Brian and I are now mature adults, we are aptly going to celebrate his birthday with a trip to Fiesta Texas on Friday. Brian and I are both big fans of roller coasters, and somehow Brian managed to grow up in Texas without ever visiting this particular Six Flags location, so it was the obvious destination. Unfortunately, the aforementioned spring monsoons are scheduled to continue in most of Texas for the remainder of the week, so if you could please take some of your prayer time away from important issues and devote it to the weather in San Antonio, I would really appreciate it. Kidding… but also kind of serious :o)

We’ll be heading back to Richmond on Saturday for 2 very important reasons: (1) to celebrate our church’s 150th birthday, and (2) to go out to dinner with Brian’s family for his birthday at the Ragin Cajun. See below for details:

1. Yes, our church is turning 150! Fun how that it coincides with Brian’s birthday, right? Anyway, we will be attending all of the planned festivities, including but not limited to an ice cream social (I love the term “social”), an indoor picnic, and I think something involving butterflies. But I might have mis-read that part in the church newsletter.

2. Why Brian decided on the Ragin Cajun for his birthday dinner, I’ll never know. Actually, I do know—it’s because his parents are from Louisiana and instilled a value in him for Cajun food. Meanwhile, my diet growing up consisted almost entirely of grilled chicken, hamburgers, and Mexican food. And because I do most of the menu-planning and restaurant-choosing, Brian has been deprived of the freedom to consume sea creatures and other fried delicacies on a regular basis. So I'm taking one for the team, but don’t worry, I have already checked out the menu for this place and grilled chicken and hamburgers are both on the menu. Looks like I won't starve afterall :o)

That’s enough rambling for now. Have a dry, safe, and enjoyable day!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The dinner of champions

So I had a Dairy Queen blizzard last night… for dinner. Some of you are probably grossed out by that, while those of you that have more sophisticated taste buds are probably a little bit jealous. I just wasn’t hungry for dinner when I got home, and conveniently, neither was Brian. So we figured we’d wait for a little bit (and by “wait,” I mean that I took a bath and got into my pj’s by 6:30 pm…) and then head to the DQ. And I must say that it was one tasty dinner.

In other food-related news, my bowl of raisin bran on Tuesday morning only had FOUR raisins in it. Yes, I counted. And no, I’m not exaggerating. And if I’m going to be honest (and I think most of you would agree), the real perk to raisin bran is not the bran flakes, so you can imagine how disappointing my breakfast was that day. It was HEB raisin bran, and while normally I enjoy HEB brand food, I have always suspected their raisin bran to be lacking a little in the raisin department. However, if you are looking for a high quality knock-off raisin bran, then I highly suggest the Kroger brand. I would almost venture to say that it’s better than the real thing.

Let’s see how long I can keep talking about food.

I went to Pappasito’s with some of my co-workers for lunch this week, and I consumed more than my fair share of tortilla chips. This wouldn’t have been a problem if the waiter didn’t then proceed to bring out 2 chicken tacos that, when combined, were the size of a small child. Needless to say, one of the tacos had to travel home with me in a to-go box. Truthfully I probably could have polished both of them off at lunch, but because I didn’t want to (a) have my lungs collapse as a result of my expanding stomach and (b) pass out in a food coma at work, I decided to cut my losses and leave it at one. Don’t worry, I finished the other one for dinner that night, which is probably why I was still full last night (24 hours later) when I got home from work.

Moving on to more pressing matters—we are driving to Dallas tomorrow and back on Sunday. That’s 8 hours of driving in a 24 period for those of you that are counting. I really have no right to complain, however, considering that Brian has to do all of the driving. I think there was something in our vows about how he would serve as my chauffer ‘til death do us part. Or something like that.

For those that are wondering, we are going to the Big D to attend the wedding of one of my childhood friends. Should be fun times, as I haven’t seen many of the people that will be there since 7th grade. And since I wasn’t exactly looking like a super model in 7th grade (like I am now, obviously), I’m thinking it might be a good thing to leave them with a new mental picture to remember me by. Anyway, should be fun times.

Tomorrow also happens to be my mother-in-law’s birthday! She’s going to turn 21, isn’t that exciting? Yep, you’re doing the math right, she gave birth to Brian when she was -4 years old. Impressive, I know. Anyway, she has been a great MIL to me and I’m sorry Brian and I won’t be in town to celebrate on her actual birthday. Don’t you worry, though, because she and my father-in-law are coming over tonight for dessert. I am attempting to bake something that I have never baked before, so wish me luck. I’ll let you know how it turns out. And no, it’s not cupcakes. I’ll leave those to Allison.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thoughts from a rainy weekend

So if you live anywhere near these parts (that sounds so Texan), then you, too, likely experienced the torrential downpour of rain this weekend. I noticed many a facebook status lamenting the rain and talking about how it was ruining everyone’s lives, but you couldn’t find me complaining (for a change). You see, what I like about rain is that it takes away the pressure to be outside enjoying the weather. Instead, I am able to run errands and be productive (and we all know how I like to be productive) without an ounce of guilt. When it’s sunny and beautiful, on the other hand, it is much harder for me to clean the house and go grocery-shopping without feeling like I should be eating a snow cone next to the trailer park instead. So amen for the rain.

And speaking of grocery-shopping, we took a rare trip to HEB this weekend instead of Wal-mart. You know that saying that you have to experience the rain to appreciate the rainbow or sun or whatever (that was eloquent)? Well I have found that it’s the same way with grocery stores. In order to fully appreciate HEB’s awesomeness and majesty, I feel that it’s beneficial to “fast” from HEB for a while beforehand and only visit Wal-mart instead. Trust me. Because if you do that, you will find yourself shocked, amazed, and pleasantly surprised by the vast array of choices and the quality of the selection at HEB. You will also find that you greatly appreciate the other customers being fully dressed, and the fact that you don’t have to bag your own groceries. I know that I have discussed this topic before, and I recognize that it’s somewhat pathetic that a grocery store can bring me such joy, but I’m telling you, that place is better than Disneyland in my book.

And as if a trip to HEB wasn’t enough, I also got a pedicure this weekend! Brian’s sister was in town, so she, my mother-in-law, and I braved the rising floodwaters and went to Model Nail Salon on Saturday. Meanwhile, Brian got to go eat sketchy Mexican food at Larry’s with his friend, so it was a win all the way around.

Anyway, as is typical at a nail salon, the lady doing my nails tried to make small talk while she was scrubbing my feet. She looked up at me and asked, “What grade you in?” And I kind of laughed and said, “What grade am I in??” And she replied, “Yeah—junior? Senior?” Yep, that’s right, my friends. I am 25 (26 as of next month), and was just asked what grade I was in… as in, high school. I suppose one day I will take that as a compliment. Until then, maybe I should abstain from wearing sorority t-shirts, jeans, and Rainbows outside the house.

But hey, at least she didn’t ask me if I wanted my lip waxed like a lot of them do. My favorite nail salon pseudo-insult actually occurred in college. And it wasn’t the time that Allison slipped and ate it in the middle of the salon, although that was pretty memorable. Anyway, every time Allison and I get pedicures together (or go anywhere together), the ladies always figure out that we are sisters and then are for some reason very amused and unusually pleased when we reveal that we are twins. And after they figure that out, they usually spend the rest of the time examining our differences and pointing them out to us, as if we have never been made aware that we have different chins, hair lengths, etc.

So Allison happens to have this mole on her eyebrow, and the lady doing her nails pointed it out, saying, “You have mole on eyebrow. That good luck. That mean you make lots of money!” Allison nodded politely and acted as though she was taking this information very seriously, because who gives more accurate predictions of the future than women who work at nail salons? So, playing along, I turn to the lady and say, “Well I have a mole (actually it’s a freckle) above my mouth—what does that say about me?” And her response: “Oh, that mean you like food and you eat a lot.”

Thanks. Maybe one day my rich sister can buy me a lifetime supply of cheeseburgers and french fries to contribute to my impending obesity.

Oh the joys of nail salons.

And the last little tidbit from the weekend: Brian and I decided to do some furniture-shopping. Not that I don’t love the fact that the piece of furniture that once housed all of Brian’s Nintendo games when he was a child now serves as our main entertainment center, but I thought maybe it was time to find something that matched the rest of our house a little better. And let me just say that if you ever want to feel (a) poor and (b) like you are being stalked, then you should take a trip to the furniture store.

I know this is probably a given, but furniture is so ridiculously expensive! It makes me miss the days of college when we went to the Office Depot and bought the cheapest “bookshelf” made of particle board that we could find to display our television. But then I remember that now we have salaries and don’t have to take tests anymore, so I guess I’m over that memory. Anyway, furniture is expensive, and it can be a tad overwhelming.

Also, furniture salespeople are pretty irritating. They greet you when you first walk in the door, and by “greet” you, I mean to say that they lay claim over your soul. And even if you politely refuse their help and insist that you are just going to look around on your own, they very casually follow you around the store and randomly pop up (as soon as they think you are interested in something) around every corner asking if you have questions. Irritating. As flattering as it is to have a personal stalker, it kind of made me feel hurried and pressured—2 things I do not enjoy.

So we didn’t end up buying anything, which was a little disheartening after we had devoted 3+ hours of our rainy Saturday to it. And in fact, we almost thought about making another superfluous trip to HEB just to make ourselves feel better. Instead, we opted for dinner out and a movie. Which movie, you ask? None other than “17 Again” starring Zac Efron. And yes, I realize that I have the taste of a 14-year-old, which might be why the nail salon lady questioned what grade I’m in. But still, it was a good movie, and even though this might make me sound creepy, I think Zac Efron is really cute. There. I’ve confessed it to the internet. I feel much better now.

Have a great day, peeps!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Try not to be jealous

So I know this is going to be a clear indicator of my maturity (or lack thereof, as the case may be), but I have to tell y’all about some new songs I added to my workout playlist that really made my day today:

MMMBop (by Hanson, as if I even need to clarify)
I Love Rock ‘n Roll (by Britney Spears, which I probably did need to clarify)
Mambo No. 5 (by Lou Bega)

If you are judging my very 90s taste in music, then I guess I’m not doing myself any favors by telling you that I also have a song on there by the A*Teens. I’m sorry, but their version of Can’t Help Falling in Love With You has a great beat, so judge away. Don’t worry, though, I also added some more current Rihanna hits and even Viva la Vida by Coldplay, so hopefully that will give me some cool points. Who allots those points, anyway, and do I get extra credit for most likely being the only person in that YMCA that knows what an ipod is?

In totally unrelated news (unless you count the fact that BSB got their start in the 90s), have I ever written about the time I met Nick Carter and Howie Day from the Backstreet Boys? Ok so I just searched my old posts and “Nick Carter” did not show up, so I’m going to assume that I haven’t.

(Cue the squiggly screen that cuts to a flashback.)

About a week after we got home from our honeymoon, I took a break from writing thank you notes and unpacking our house—(ok, let’s be honest here—the house was unpacked within 48 hours, and the thank you notes were all written within a week, but I needed the dramatic effect to properly create the setting)—to check my e-mail. This was no easy task, as Comcast, aka: The Enemy, apparently moves at the speed of glaciers and couldn’t make it out to set up our internet until at least 15 years later. However, in true Christian fashion, we found a neighbor’s wireless internet signal and “borrowed” it until our internet was up and running.

Back to the story—I took a break to check my e-mail, which I thought was pretty exciting at the time because it was my brand new “Amanda Joiner” e-mail address and made my marriage feel more legit. Obviously. And obviously I am drawing this story out way more than necessary. So I had an e-mail from one of my long-time best friends, Elizabeth, waiting for me. She e-mailed me to tell me that an Austin radio station was having a contest to meet some of the Backstreet Boys, and considering they provided the soundtrack to our high school careers, she insisted that we both enter to increase our chances of winning.

I complied and thought nothing of it… until a week or so later. Elizabeth called and I don’t actually remember the conversation but I’m pretty sure there was some squealing like 13-year-olds and a little bit of shock and disbelief. We had been to a BSB concert in high school, and I remember turning dramatically to Elizabeth at one point and saying, “We are actually in the SAME room as the Backstreet Boys!” And let’s please acknowledge that I was 17, and not 11.

So anyway, a week or so later I made a day trip to Austin for this special event. Good thing I was unemployed and had zero friends, so I was totally available. But hello, I would have gladly cleared my social calendar for this event, and I think that’s pretty obvious.

Elizabeth and I nervously ate a quick lunch at Jason’s Deli, and got in the car to trek it over to the place where the “meet and greet” would be held. And we, of course, made sure to listen to our favorite BSB hits on the way, because how else are you supposed to get properly pumped up for such an occasion? When we arrived, we were expecting to see a bunch of teeny bopper younger girls with glittery makeup and braces. My, how wrong we were—I think we (age 24 at the time) were actually the youngest people there.

There were probably about 20 people total there, and the radio hosts (after what seemed like 800 years of waiting) ushered us into a room with a lounge set-up to wait for the guests of honor—Nick Carter and Howie Dorough. And this is where everything went terribly awry...

They asked for volunteers to ask the 2 BSBoys some questions. Because I have already clarified our immaturity level for you, you shouldn’t be surprised that Elizabeth started pointing at me and practically raised my hand for me to volunteer. The helper guy made note that I would be asking a question and moved on.

Fast forward a bit—Nick and Howie came in, and talked for a bit about their upcoming tour, their lives, etc. I wasn’t really listening, however, because I was too busy trying to figure out what on earth I was going to ask them. That, and I was trying to take as many pictures as possible to document the moment without looking like a stalker. (Wow, this is getting long).

So after Nick spent some time proving to us all that he is (a) not very attractive in person and (b) totally lacking in class as a human being, it was Q&A time. The other girls asked dumb questions, like, “Where is your favorite place you’ve been on tour?” and “What was it like (Nick) to date Paris Hilton?” And then it was my turn.

DJ: OK I think we have another question from the audience…
(helper guy comes over to me with the microphone)
Me: Ok, so my question is a “would you rather.” Would you rather—every time you meet someone—have to lick their neck, or have them spontaneously light on fire and know it was your fault?

Silence. Awkward silence. Crickets chirping. Both of them looked a little confused, so I explained the question (apparently it was complicated), and then explained it a 3rd and 4th time for Nick because he has no brain. Then the DJ, who was very cocky and a total jerk, booed me and said it was a bad question and moved on.

RUINED. My moment with 2 of my idols, RUINED. Now if we are going to be honest, Brian Littrell was really always my favorite, and I would have much preferred to meet him instead of the other 2. But STILL. Now I knew there was no chance we would ever get to be friends.

So the show continued, and meanwhile I tried (a) not to die of embarrassment and (b) to get Elizabeth to stop laughing at me. Eventually they wrapped up and we all got to line up for pictures and autographs. While we waited, I told Elizabeth that I was going to scold Nick for making me look stupid. And that is exactly what I did. As soon as it was our turn in line, I handed Nick my BSB photo for an autograph and said, “Hey, you made me look really stupid!” He laughed and apologized, but still, we all know the damage was done. Howie, however, was very friendly and we even chatted about my recent wedding and his upcoming marriage. I gave him some really profound advice, like, "Marriage is great! I highly recommend it." Great. Thanks, Amanda. Anyway, I think he secretly wanted to be friends with me after that.

So there you have it, friends. What could have been my moment of fame turned into my moment of shame. And when I was reading a book today about this girl meeting a famous movie star that she had always had a crush on, the memory came flooding back to me, and I was STILL embarrassed just thinking about it. And for the record, I decided that if I ever have the opportunity to ask a star a question again, I am going to stick with a much safer question: “If you could have any song play to announce your arrival every time you walk into a room, which song would it be?” Much safer, right?

And to close, as proof that I didn’t make this story up and therefore waste several minutes of your precious time for no reason, here is a picture from that fateful day:

Howie, me, Elizabeth, Nick

And just a shameless plug, by the way—my friend, Elizabeth, sells jewelry and her stuff is really cute! Click here to visit her website and make sure to buy something from her :) Also, she prefers to go by “Lizzie” or “Bath Volkie,” so make sure to refer to her as such.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The definition of frugality

I just split a piece of Trident gum in half in order to ensure that my last few pieces of gum last me through the rest of the day. In case you hadn’t measured recently, a piece of Trident gum is not exactly gigantic to begin with.

So here I sit, enjoying my tiny scrap of gum and enjoying the fact that I will not have to (a) go to the store at lunch to buy more gum when I have a new pack waiting at home or (b) sink to the level of asking someone else for a piece of their gum. I am admittedly selfish with my own gum, so I try to be respectful of other people who might have the same “issue.”

So there you have it. In a mere 2 paragraphs, I have confessed that I am both miserly and selfish… which are really kind of the same thing anyway. Maybe tomorrow I will try to write a post convincing you that I still have good qualities. But those aren't usually as fun to read, so maybe not :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Analyze this

Ok so if you haven't heard of Google Analytics yet, then you really need to get with the program. Basically it allows you to track where your readers come from, how often people visit, how long they usually stay on the site, etc.

It's actually pretty interesting, and I'm sure it can be quite a helpful tool if you are looking to make improvements to your website. I, however, really don't pay attention to any of the useful parts, because let's be honest, I am too stubborn to take criticism from other people, yet alone from a computer. I do, however, find the key word statistics to be very entertaining.

Basically it generates a report that lists all of the key words that people search that bring up your site in the results. Obviously there are a lot of common ones on there, like "bjandaj," or "Brian and Amanda Joiner." But what I would like to share with you today, readers, is a list of some of the more unusual (and more amusing) key words that have theoretically lead people to "Meet the Joiners."

"Thought-provoking questions": I can't help but laugh at the fact that a blog devoted to such topics as: which flavors combine to create the Thug Passion snow cone showed up when someone searched the words "thought-provoking." Boy, were they in for a disappointment when they sat down at their computers in an earnest search for questions to ask the in-laws or ways to get to know a new group of people. Sorry, internet!

"Define work exhaustion": I mostly just think it's funny that someone googled this. I didn't realize that "work exhaustion" was an actual term, or that my blog was capable of defining it, especially considering that I don't talk about work all that often. But yes, work makes me tired. And hopefully someone else found solace in finding that out.

"It's time to move here... definitely": This is ironic considering that I recently declared that it was "definitely time to move," but I hate to inform you that I meant that it was time to move away, not here. But hey, if you are a fan of cockroaches the size of your face or laying out in your driveway in your husband's pick-up truck, then yes, it is definitely time to move "here."

"Joiners baby": This just makes me wonder if someone was wondering if we (or some Joiner family) were pregnant, or if they typed it with an overwhelming sense of excitement, eg: "Joiners, baby!" As in, "bring on the Joiners' blog, baby!" Wishful thinking?

"Making your co-workers think you are rich": Ha, I have to say that this one made me laugh out loud. And I am pretty sure that I have made enough mention of my frequent visits to Walmart and my addiction to Dairy Queen to where my co-workers are more than convinced that I am not, in fact, made of money. Oh, and let's please not forget the time that I fished my badge out of the toilet to avoid having to pay for a new one.

"They look alike, they talk alike": This one actually showed up a few times in a few different forms. I guess I can expect as much when I make mention of my twin-dom on a regular occasion. And it's true, we look and talk alike. Sometimes we even walk alike. What a crazy pair.

"Transitions for unrelated topics": If this were a phrase in the dictionary, I'm fairly certain that a link to my blog would be listed next to it. And really, this would probably be a more accurate title for my blog, rather than "Meet the Joiners," don't you think? I think I'll stick with what I have for now, though.

And finally, for my most favorite key word search:

"Why do the Joiners think they are always right?": I know that if my husband or father are reading this right now, they are laughing. And really they are also mentally crossing out "the Joiners" and just sticking "Amanda" in there. It's true, I always think I'm right. And apparently the world wide web has taken notice.

Hope you got as much of a kick out of those as I did. Now it's your turn, so if you haven't signed up for Google Analytics yet, get to it! And if you have, please share some of your favorite key word searches!

Oh, and by the way, Easter was great. The end :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

She got it from her momma

Today we celebrate 59 years of the life of Betsy Nelson—my very own mother. Yes, that’s right, in just one short year, my own mother will be a 60-year-old. How weird is that? Anyway, she doesn’t read my blog because it’s blocked at her office, so she may not even ever see this tribute, but I thought it necessary to write one just the same.

And because I’m apparently very self-absorbed this week, in order to help you get to know Betsy a little better, I decided to share with you a few special traits that I inherited from my dear old mom. Some she will gladly admit to, and others I can guarantee you she will argue against, but I am nothing if not honest, so here goes!

1. My inability to leave the house without looking presentable: When we were in elementary school, Mom would drive us to school before her morning workout. And although she was sporting exercise attire and preparing to sweat up a storm in her aerobics class, I never remember her dropping us off without most of her makeup on. Other moms would be bidding their children goodbye with rollers in their hair and a bathrobe on, but Betsy was always looking her best. I will admit that I don't put on makeup before my morning workout, but I can guarantee you that I won't be showing up to work without first fixing my hair, putting on my makeup, and putting on my jewelry.

which leads us to...

2. My discipline regarding morning workouts: Growing up, I just assumed that all moms got up at the crack of dawn and worked out first thing in the morning. It wasn't until spending the night with friends that I realized that some moms slept in, and some moms (gasp) didn't work out at all! I appreciate that she set this example, though, because otherwise I would probably not have picked up the habit myself!

3. My love for shopping: I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a shopaholic, but I will say that I partake in shopping as a form of therapy and find great comfort in taking a trip to the mall. I would, however, go so far as to call my mom a shopaholic. She may not admit it in these certain terms, but she is a shopping addict. She is also very particular in her taste and is not known (unlike her daughters) to buy shoes at Payless or purses at Target, for example. Her standards are high, but she has always taught me that you get what you pay for, and I have learned on more than one occasion that she is right.

4. My stubbornness: If she does read this, I know that right now she is saying, "Nuh-uh! You got that from your father!" But I am here to declare to the world that Betsy contributed quite heavily to my stubborn nature. There are few people that I refrain from arguing with simply because I know they won't back down, but Mom is one of them. And if you know me and my affinity for confrontation, that should tell you something :)

5. My obsession with birthdays: Much to the frustration of our spouses, Mom raised all 3 of us Nelson girls to believe that our birthdays are, in fact, national holidays. It is not unusual for my mom's various birthday celebrations to span 2 or 3 weeks, if not longer. She doesn't expect lavish gifts or anything, but you better believe that you will get a black mark in the family history book (do those exist?) if you forget to call or send a card.

6. My ability to befriend strangers: It has been said and holds very true that Betsy Nelson has never met a stranger. We used to tease her because she would give Christmas presents to the guys that work at the local gas station that she frequents. I received more than one puzzled look when I tell people that we took a trip to Ecuador one summer for my mom's hairdresser's daughter's wedding. From her manicurist to her favorite Starbucks barrista, she is friends with all of them! And while I have often given her a hard time for this characteristic (usually because it meant we were never able to go ANYWHERE without her running into a "friend"), I will admit that it is one of my favorite things about her. I wouldn't dare say that I have reached her level, but I will say that I do my best to be outgoing and make new friends wherever I go.

And that, my friends, is a small tribute to my mom. I will leave you with a few pictures- happy birthday, Mom!

Mom with her favorite twin babies (1983)

Mom with all 3 daughters (My Wedding - 2007)
Mom and me at Brian's grandparents' ranch (Easter 2008)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Back in the saddle again

Nope, I am not going to be telling a story about riding a horse—sorry to disappoint you. I did, however, receive a tag from Desiree today, and it’s the first one I’ve had in a while. Actually, if we are going to get technical, it’s an award and not a tag, but still, you get the idea. Soooooo without further delay, it is now time for me to tell you some things that I secretly love.

However, I wouldn’t exactly use the words “subtle” or “introverted” to describe myself, so I’m guessing there are very few things that I love that I haven’t already publicly declared to the world wide web. So how about just some random facts? Great.

1. I have had the same tape in my car for 10 years. Yes, that's right, both of the cars that I've had were equipped with tape-players. Jealous? I thought so. I made this really sweet "getting over (fill in the blank with dumb high school boyfriend's name)" mix in 1999 and it has yet to spend a day outside of my car. I very rarely listen to it, but it's nice to know that if I feel like jamming out to "Don't Want You Back" by the BSB or "Never There" by Cake, I can do it with the press of a button. Or multiple buttons if I have to switch between side A and B of the tape.

2. I used to be addicted to deli-sliced ham. When I was a wee young child, I loved the packaged ham that my mom put on our sandwiches so much that I would sometimes sneak downstairs at night and steal a piece for a snack. The thought of doing this kind of repulses me now because I think ham is pretty gross. Also, I would draw my mom pictures and write her notes with the line, "I (heart) you more than ham" on them... at the time, that was real love. If I said that to someone today, it would signify something along the lines of, "I tolerate you at holiday functions when no chicken or turkey is available."

3. Allison and I didn't share clothes growing up. I know that you have always thought to yourself that if you had a twin, you would totally share clothes because it would double your wardrobe. And maybe if you weren't slightly uptight and majorly territorial, that would have been the case. But sadly it was not the case for me. Allison was totally up for it and asked to borrow/offered to share clothing on many occasions, but she was always shot down. I am owning up to my selfishness, so please forgive me, sis.

4. I am secretly sad about what might happen to Brian's and my imaginary friends when we have children. I think I have confessed on here that Brian and I have not one, but several imaginary friends. If I haven't, then here's my confession. They all have distinct personalities and habits, etc., and make regular appearances throughout our day. Maybe I will tell you more about them one day when I think you're ready for it. But anyway, my fear is that when we have children, our imaginary friends will be neglected and cease to exist. Yes, I am aware that this is probably the strangest thing you have ever read on a blog.

5. I dream about other bloggers. It's true, and I have a feeling that I am not the only one who has experienced this! I dream about the people that write the blogs I read every couple of weeks. This would be normal if I had ever met half of these people, but I haven't. So I usually wake up feeling like a major stalker.

6. Brian and I use separate bathrooms. Our "master" bathroom is pretty tiny, as in, I am kind of jealous of Polly Pocket's bathroom... so there really isn't enough room in there for both of us, let alone both of us and our toiletries. And there also happens to be another bathroom just a few feet away from our bedroom, so it just seemed to make sense. We both use the shower in the master bathroom, but as far as face-washing/teeth-brushing, etc. goes, I use our bathroom and Brian uses the other one. But I do dry and straighten my hair in "his" bathroom, so I guess technically we share them both :)

Feel free to return the favor (and make me feel a little less abnormal) by sharing some random facts on your blog!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Thug Passion: revealed

Now is the moment that you've all been waiting for: we discovered what flavors combine to create the Thug Passion snow cone. Because the weather was somewhere close to perfect yesterday, we decided to take a trip to Chill Out. And while our main goal was to get Brian a snow cone, our secondary purpose was clear: to find out what exactly a Thug Passion snow cone was.

So before he placed his order, he politely asked the woman behind the counter what flavors were in the Thug Passion. She replied in a very matter-of-fact tone (as if we should have known this all along) that it was made up of red raspberry and tiger's blood (the flavor, not the actual blood, in case you were curious). This didn't help me much, as I have no idea what flavor makes up tiger's blood (and frankly I can't understand why anyone would ever eat anything with the word "blood" in the title) but Brian insists that you all will have at least heard of that flavor, so hopefully you can help us out.

Brian then told the woman that he didn't want to order a Thug Passion, but that he had just always wondered about it. She smiled politely but it was clear that she wanted to get back to enjoying her burrito. So that was that, and there you have it, readers.

Also, we decided it would be nice to enjoy the snow cone somewhere outside... other than on the benches outside Chill Out that overlook the neighboring trailer park. And you might be surprised to read this, but Richmond isn't exactly full of picturesque fields and well-maintained public parks. Nonetheless, we planted ourselves at a "park" that overlooked the Brazos "River." I say "park" in quotation marks because it was basically a large patch of grass with a flag pole and a picnic bench next to the highway. And I say "River" because it actually more closely resembles a massive swamp.

Hard to beat a Friday afternoon like that!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I wish...

I wish…

- that cooking hamburgers in the house didn’t result in the entire house smelling like ground beef for extended periods of time.

- that lighting a vanilla candle (to address problem above) didn’t result in the entire house smelling like vanilla-flavored ground beef.

- that someone below the age of 70 was interested in taking kickboxing at the TW Davis YMCA with me (no offense, Jean Mom and Roy!).

- that the weather would make up its mind and stop acting like a hormonal teenager.

- that ice cream, cookies, and anything involving chocolate didn’t have so much power over me… I think I might need a 12-step program.

- that weekends lasted for 5 days and work weeks for 2 days, rather than the other way around.

What are you wishing for today?