Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I know I said we wouldn't be blogging again until we get back from Waco, but we just couldn't resist putting up some jack-o-lantern pics. Please enjoy!


We may not have another chance to blog before we take off tomorrow so we just wanted to let you all in on our plans. In the truest sense of the word, Nick and I are headed to Homecoming tomorrow afternoon! It's only been since July that we were in the great state of Texas, but it feels like an eternity. We'll be arriving tomorrow (Thursday) night and won't leave until Sunday afternoon so we should have lots of time to take in all our favorite sights. We'll be making the usual rounds to Rico, Ninfa's, and Crickett's, and we'll also be hitting up all the normal Homecoming festivities: bonfire, parade, Pi Phi gathering, game so if you are planning to be there, we are hoping to see you!

No need to worry about Fin. His new friend Rocket and Rocket's mom and dad are coming back to visit all weekend so he is set!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ocean Isle Beach Fire

I've been trying to find something eloquent to say about the students who were killed in the fire this weekend. Since nothing I can find seems right, for now I will ask any of you who are reading this to pray for those students who were killed and their families as well as the USC and Clemson campuses as we all try to deal with this tragedy.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Carolina Convoy

Carolina Convoy 2007
South Carolina vs. Tennessee
Nick and I in our seats at the game
Tara and I
Sir Big Spur, our live mascot
Well, we did it. Nick, Tara (my co-grad assistant), two other volunteers, and I made the trip up to Knoxville, TN yesterday to watch the Gamecocks battle the Volunteers. As a part of my graduate assistantship, I was in charge of 2 charter-busses full of USC students who had each bought a ticket on the Convoy.

It was pretty nerve-wracking, but we made it there and back with no major problems: no alcohol poisoning, no illness, no missing students, no fights, no problems. Well, no problems with the students anyway. We did have a bit of trouble with the bus drivers, but that's a long and ultimately boring story. And we did lose the game in overtime. However, suffice it to say that I feel very relieved today.

Nick and I are both exhausted - we got in at 6:30 a.m. - but we have had a great day being home with Fin, who missed us very much. Tonight we will be carving jack-o-lanterns!

We hope everyone else had a great weekend and is enjoying the fall-like weather. Until next time...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Are you ready for some football?!

You won't be hearing any more out of us until Sunday, or even Monday. That's because tomorrow is the big day that I'm in charge of the Carolina Convoy. We'll be taking two charter busses full of students to the Carolina-Tennessee game tomorrow. The responsibility is really scary, but I've got some great help.

We promise to report back with plenty of pictures soon.

Oh, and don't worry about Finlay. He's making a new friend - Rocket - who, along with his mom, will be hanging out with Finlay while we are away at the game.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Care About This

This encouraged me today:

Most of you who read this are in Waco so you probably saw this article today, but for those who didn't or who don't want to read the whole thing now, it's an article in the Waco Tribune Herald about how a group of University High School students are speaking out against teen pregnancy and trying to educate their peers.

I spent a year working in a high school with a similar student-body make-up to University, both socio-economically and in racial and ethnic diversity. I noticed similar attitudes toward teen sex and pregnancy as discussed in this article. At the time I felt absolutely hopeless for those students. When there is at least one pregnant girl or daddy in each class you teach, I think it's easy to be discouraged.

That's why I feel so encouraged by this article today. I applaud the Waco ISD school board for promoting an abstinence-based, but not abstinence-only, sex-ed curriculum. They are ahead of the schools here in South Carolina who refuse to take a common-sense approach to sex-ed, clinging to the false ideal of abstinence-only education. I salute the students who are behind this movement, and I hope and pray that they are able to make a real difference for their peers.

As a side-note, I got my hair cut yesterday...Picture to come.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Triumph!

To quote my father, who often, at this time of year, quotes Bob Cratchit, from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the pumpkin bread was "a triumph my dear, a triumph!" In all seriousness, the pumpkin bread was as big a hit with Nick's and my co-workers as it was with Mark and me when we were kids (and I guess even now).

Thus ends another day at the Hall house.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Bread

Even though it's still 80 degrees outside, I decided to begin making pumpkin bread today. It looks like the temperature will cool down this week, and, well, this weekend was the last chance I'll have for a while to do any baking. It was a success...

That's all the news for today - we have temporarily suspended the church search due to the fact that we will be unable to attend for the next two weeks. We spent the day baking, doing chores, and reading. Yes, yes, exciting times at the Halls.

Stay tuned for more exciting news this week.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


This about sums up the day.

Well, this morning started out nicely, with Finlay attending his first tailgate. You can enjoy some pictures below.

Finlay was not a fan of the train that was passing by the tg sight.
He was curious about the port-a-potty so he came in with me once.
He was pretty exhausted by the time we came home!

Then the bottom dropped out. First our Gamecocks lost to Vandy...TO VANDY!!! We only saw the game on gametracker, but it looked ugly, even on there. Good-bye #6 ranking.

Then the BaylorBears suffered a sickening loss to Texas. It was sickening of course, because for a while it looked like we were hanging in there. But after that, we know what happened. Same song, different verse. We have taken some pictures to commemorate our feelings about the football games today. Please enjoy these as well.

Perhaps we will have a more positive blog tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Happy Parents Weekend!

This weekend is parents weekend at the University of South Carolina. This morning I volunteered to help with registration for the 2,000 or so parents who will be visiting their students this weekend. I was a little bummed that I had to wake up kind of early to make it there, but in the end it was a pretty rewarding experience. The parents I met were sometimes absolutely precious, sometimes absolutely hilarious, but never boring. Their common denominator was the clear excitement that they felt to be there with their students. It kind of made me miss my parents, but then I remembered that this time, two weeks from now, I will be home in Waco with them, so then I didn't feel so homesick.

Tomorrow Nick and I will be taking "Big Red" (aka my car) to the SPA tailgate again. It will be another early tailgate, but it should still be pretty fun! We will bring back a report.

Happy Friday everyone, and happy parents weekend to Mike, Edith, Lauri, and Jay!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Clean Carolina

Today marked the first big even I have been charged with as a graduate assistant: Clean Carolina. It's an all-year event, similar to adopt-a-highway, but instead of sections of a road students or student groups adopt an area of campus. They clean it up once a month, and Student Government supplies them with trash bags and gloves. Our big kick-off event was held today, where we signed up this year's participants, handed out t-shirts and free pizza, and the areas got their first spiffing-up.

The event was a success thanks to my student senator and event chair, DeShawn (you can see him in the picture below) and some great SG volunteers.

Since I worked so hard all day, Nick is being his normal, truly wonderful self and making dinner. Hooray for my outstanding husband!

Also for your enjoyment today, I am posting a picture I took with Cocky, our mascot. He helped us recruit participants for C.C.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Flag Football

You know it's fall when flag football is in full swing!

Nick's team played a game tonight, and Fin and I were there to cheer them on. Nick played excellent defense, contributing to the AIS victory!

Fin had a lot of fun before the game, making new friends with some young kids who were also at the game. I am so00 grateful to his breeders, who taught him to be so great with kids before he even came to live with us! He is so patient and longsuffering - they can tug and yank on him and "pat" him as much as they want, but he just sits there, smiling and calm, never snapping or misbehaving.

Unfortunately, Fin is not the best game-watcher. He really wants to play in the game so he runs up and down the field (at least as far as his leash will go) and barks during each play. It's really annoying, but we can't very well leave him at home when we are gone until 10 p.m.

We're off to sleep now...Enjoy the pictures from the game.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday News

Today being Sunday, Nick and I continued our church search. This time we went back to Shandon UMC, but we also visited a Sunday School class to get a feel for the other married young adults in the church. We were definitely made welcome by the class, but we are really struggling to find a place where we fit in. This may be it; we just aren't certain yet. As it turns out, most people our age here are either married with kids (or kids on the way) or are singles. We would love to find a group of young married couples who are at the same stage in life as we are. Who knows, it might be waiting just around the corner. We have faith that we will find our place here.

After church we did exciting things like laundry and house-cleaning. I count myself as very fortunate that Nick shares this task with me. He is always willing, and sometimes I might even say eager, to clean the floors or do the dishes. He's such a great husband! This is especially helpful since we both keep full-time schedules. If he didn't help, only half of our chores would ever be done!

Since late this afternoon, though, we have been indulging in a new favorite activity. We put on some classical music and have been reading our books. Nick is finishing up The Hobbit, and I am reading The Birth of Venus. It has been relaxing, and Finlay has napped alongside us as we read. It's a perfect, peaceful way to start out another week. Below are some pictures of us enjoying our leisure time.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

We're Back!

After what some (Mom) may consider to be a prolonged absence, we're back. And as a peace offering we have included a new picture. This picture is of the whole family cheering on the Baylor Bears as they are steam-rolled by Kansas. Please note that both Nick and I are wearing our Baylor gear and we have some football essentials: chips, queso, and bee...uh, we mean Dr. Pepper- that new "blonde" version of Dr. Pepper...yeah, they just introduced it on the east coast...hasn't made its way to Texas yet. We would never consume any type of intoxicating beverage while watching a Baylor event. Never. Not us. So it must be Dr. Pepper.
Today we are also cheering on our Gamecocks. Well, sometimes you just need to cheer for a team that wins. Go Cocks!
Let's see, what has happened in the past week? Nick has gone to work. I have gone to work and to school. Finlay has enjoyed spending some time on the couch an getting to know his black kitty friend a little bit better. Our life is boring lately.
The most exciting thing to happen lately is that it has finally gotten cool here. Our AC hasn't run in two days! Last year this happened somewhat earlier so we are enjoying the nice, crisp air since it is finally here. Those of you who know me well may be expecting some mention of Christmas music here. Well, in a showing of unprecendented self-control I have yet to listen to a single Christmas song, not even one from the Nutcracker, which, come on, doesn't really count for me since as a child I would begin rehearsals for The Nutcracker in October. No, I am holding strong. However, all bets are off should the thermostat dip below 50 during waking hours.
We will try to be more regular with our posting, but we don't really think you want to hear about what we have for dinner every night or about the boring things we do at work. So until something interesting comes up, we may just not have anything to write about. Please be patient with our (sometimes) lack of inspiration.
Until next time!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Another Sunday at the Halls

Today was another typical Sunday for the Hall household. This morning we visited another new church. This time we tried an episcopal church in honor of Grammy since she loved her St. Richard's so much. We also thought the service might be a good fit because we really like a formal service. We ended up visiting the Trinity Cathedral in downtown Columbia. It's a beautiful cathedral with lots of stained glass, old style pews with kneeling benches, the whole schebang (sp.?) We really enjoyed the service - the preacher reminded us a bit of Ron Durham at CABC in Waco. However, we didn't get a feel for how many younger folks might be among the congregation. We are far from decided as to our new church home, but we already have two great candidates.

This afternoon we made another attempt at Finlay's new jump toy. He's exhausted and napping or he'd tell you about it himself. He did a lot better today, and he seems to finally be getting his command down. He also seemed to have a lot more fun! Below, you can see a few pictures of Finlay doing his "up" trick.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Finlay's First Steps on the Road to a Championship (well, one can hope, right?)

Hey guys, Fin here again. I figure that if Mom and Dad can blog so can I. Plus I know that lots of you guys like me best anyway! When I woke up, today seemed like a normal Saturday. We all slept late, watched College Gameday, and then Mom and Dad went out for a while (typical).

When they came home, I knew Dad was up to something because he was working out on the deck with his tools. Mom and Dad wanted me to stay outside with them, but I was just too hot, and besides that, why should I have to stay out there - it's not like I can help anyway!

Once he was finished Dad absolutely insisted that I come outside, and boy did I have a surprise waiting for me. Mom and Dad called it a toy, but I still haven't figured out why. To be honest, it looks pretty scary, and I didn't want to go anywhere near it.

I soon realized, however, that I had no choice. I had to play with my new "toy" if I wanted to get the treats Dad was holding out. I tried every way in the world to get to those treats without jumping over the thing - whatever it is - but Dad would only give me a treat if I jumped over it so I finally caved. It's not like I can't do it! It's just that it seems like a lot of effort to put forth when you can just walk around it. I really let Mom and Dad hear it about that.

They finally gave up on making me jump after a while, but the "toy" is still hanging out in the backyard so I won't be surprised if they make me do it again.

P.S. I overheard them talking about listening to the Baylor game tonight which makes me believe I will have to do that silly "Sic'Em" trick over and over and over tonight. Oh, least that means more treats for me.

Until next time,

P.P.S. We (Nick and Lindsay) would just like to say that Fin did an excellent job his first time working with the jump. It's up to AKC agility competition standards, and Fin can already make it over the bar for his class. He just doesn't really like to do it yet. We hope that once he gets better at it, he'll like it a little bit more.

"My stomach bug" and "The Waco connection"

Well, yesterday was not a great day for me (Lindsay). Apparently I caught a stomach bug - one has been going around Columbia. I won't give you the gory details, but my stomach and throat are very sore this morning...Finlay was a great care-taker, though, even sitting calmly beside me each time I bowed and prayed to the porcelain god. Shockingly, though, he wasn't too keen on giving kisses!

On another note, a new colonel has come to Nick's squadron. Nick spent the past two weeks working as his executive officer, and yesterday they discovered their Waco connection! As you all know, Nick married a Waco girl (that's me), and as it turns out, this guy grew up in Hewitt and graduated form Midway High, the same as I did. Although he escaped being in school with any member of the Reitmeier or Colvin families, it's still a pretty cool coincidence. I can't wait to meet him to find out what Midway High was like when he was there and if he misses good old Waco as much as I do.

Today Nick plans to make some AKC agility obstacles for Finlay. He's been excited about that ever since we moved to our new house with the big backyard. We'll see how that goes...

We hope you all have a great Saturday!

P.S. We are posting in green today in honor of the Baylor Bears as they prepare to taken on Colorado!!! Sic' Em!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fin's Very First Fight

Hey guys, Finlay here. You might note the large gash on my nose in this picture, and you also might be wondering where it came from. Now, this is not the time to start accusing Mom and Dad of being bad pet parents. No, I got this wound in my very first fight!
Dad took me outside to play after dinner, and we ran into a mean kitty. Well, I didn't know he was mean at first! I tried to play with him, but he just swatted me straight across my nose! (He has clearly not been de-clawed) I didn't give up on our blossoming friendship, though. I tried to win him over even after his completely unprovoked attack. Unfortunately it didn't work...
So if you see a mean lookin' calico cat walking around in your backyard, my advice would be to stay away.
(Not to worry, both of my nurse grandmom's - Mom lubed me up pretty well with Neosporin so the cut should be ok in a few days)
Until next time,

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

Did you know that I teach a class here at USC? Well, I co-teach it anyway. It's called University 101 and it's supposed to help first year students make a smooth transition to college life by addressing lots of first-year issues. We do a really good job of it here at USC, according to U.S. News and World Report. It's consistently a "program to look for" and was ranked first in the nation in programs of its type the one and only year they actually ranked them. So, I'm really excited to be co-teaching a class.

Today my co-instructor Steve, was at the beach (nice, huh?) so I had the class to myself. He asked me to address cheating. Now, I am admittedly no expert in the matter because, and I swear to you that this is true, I never once cheated on anything in high school or college. I have never considered that to be any great feat...that is until today, when I had the cheating discussion with my class.

I began by addressing my class, which is exclusively composed of business students, with a question: "How many of you have ever cheated on a school assignment?" I am not exaggerating when I say that every single hand in the room shot up unreluctantly. The I asked how many had cheated on a test. Once again, every single hand was in the air. The hands only started to go down when I brought up plagiarism, which to my class, is "a much bigger deal." Only about sixty percent kept their hands up for that one.

We went on to discuss the many forms of cheating, according to our university issued Transitions book, and let me tell kids had cheated in ways that the book didn't even mention. And that's in addition to covering every cheating avenue that the book did address. They talked about cheating with calculators, the best ways to create and conceal a cheat sheet ( one creative student had sewn hers into her private-school uniform), strategies for copying from a friend without being caught, and of course the relative merits and difficulties of cheating using one's cell phone. Cell phones, by the way, although feared by professors, are not widely appreciated among the the student population as a means of cheating. Oh, the things I learn from my students.

Now, those same kids adamantly asserted that they would never, not ever, consider cheating during college, but the scary thing is that upwards of 50% of all MBA candidates cheat. One can only assume that the undergrad statistic is comparable if not higher.

So, I left class wondering, will we ever be able to stop students from cheating? And if we can't, what then?

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Church Visit and "Here's a health" explained

Yesterday we made our first church visit since moving to Columbia. Both in San Angelo and in Sumter we attended United Methodist churches so that's what we started out with this time. We visited Shandon United Methodist Church, a big umc here in Columbia. It's very convenient - about five minutes from our house. I've included a picture here. Unfortunately I had to shoot it as we were driving by in order to avoid embarassing Nicholas. Hence, it's at kind of a weird angle:

You can also check out the church's website at We enjoyed our visit. Our staples were there: good choir, sang hymns, liturgical service. We'll have to visit a few more times, though, to get a better feel of how it suits us.

Now, for those of you who were confused by the allusions to "Here's a health Carolina" in my previous blog. That's a line in the USC alma mater, which is sung before each game. When that line is sung, we all raise our hands as if we are holding a glass to toast Carolina. Which is why I thought it was an appropriate title for yesterday's blog. The more you know! (and please tell me that some of you get that one).

Have a great day, and we'll meet again soon!