Saturday, December 20, 2008
Event: Cut-out cookie failure. Lindsay's traditional cut-out cookie recipe turned out too dry, sweet, sticky, and crunchy. Cookies were inedible unless the cookie-eater needed a serious and painful jaw work-out. No cut-out cookies will be had by any Colvin/Reitmeier/Halls or any History department employees.
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Event: Diva Dogs is not answering their phone. They did not answer yesterday either. Finlay is forced to take a last-minute grooming appointment at the Petsmart on Harbison, possibly the biggest traffic debacle at any given moment in the city of Columbia and 20 minutes from home. Appointment time: 5:00 p.m.
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Event: Nick takes Lindsay's car to be washed and detailed for the big trip to Texas. It has now rained off and on since 3:00 p.m. It is now 9:00 p.m.
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Event: Photo-op for someone's Christmas gift (a picture frame). We are already so behind schedule that we are having to miss a friend's Christmas party. Boo. However, this picture is essential. Cloudy skies, wind, humid temperatures, and uncooperative Finlay led to a hot temper on Lindsay's part and severe frustration for Nick. The final picture featured only Nick and Lindsay.
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Event: Last minute errands. We got in the Gourmet Shop and Three Dog Bakery, but forgot the most essential stop - the pharmacy. Didn't realize this until later. It would later involve an extra hour on the road, a pharmacy which closes at 6 p.m. and a locked cabinet which further complicated the process.
Time: 4:45 p.m.
Event: We tried to develop the picture we'd taken previously while Finlay was being groomed. We'd been told it would take from 4:30 until 8:00. We had lots of time to kill. Publix, despite advertising photo services, did not in fact offer photo services of any kind. We trekked a few blocks down to Target, which did offer services. They were just slow to render them. We finally got the picture printed, paid for it, and then looked down to realize that I had lipstick - bright red lipstick - on my front teeth. Picture is now worthless and all effort spent in procuring it is an utter waste.
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Event: Following a nice dinner, we decide to return to Columbia proper to pick up my prescription, which must be filled no later than today. Arrive at CVS at 6:30 to find the pharmacy closed. Recognizing our predicament concerning lack of prescription's benefits, we seek out alternatives. All alternatives are locked in a glass cabinet which must be opened by an "associate." It wasn't worth it.
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Event: Returning to check on Finlay at the groomer's we pass no fewer than 4 wrecks. One was a flipped car. One was a car with its entire back crushed in. We feared for our lives as we headed back to the gauntlet that is Harbison Blvd.
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Event: Checking in on Finlay. Thinking that 2 1/2 hours is always more than enough time for Diva Dogs to complete the job we decide to check in with Fin and see if he might be finished early. He was not. We were told so in no uncertain terms. Our anxiety and frustration was not quelled when we were told that one reason he would be ready, actually later than expected, was that the groomer "didn't actually know he was there." Not kidding. He, in fact, would now be ready not a minute before 8:30.
Event: Rescuing our precious baby from the evil Petsmart groomers. Finlay is brought out to us smelling like cheap gas station coconut car freshener and still quite damp. Are you kidding me?! They had my small dog for 4 and a half hours and couldn't bathe and dry him completely?! Petsmart groomers. You are worthless.
We're going to bed now, before anything else can happen.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Go ahead. Look a little closer. See if you can figure out which one might be yours!
Santa's elves have been hard at work the past few weeks, as you can see. Sorry for the lack of posts! We can't wait to see all our family and friends in just one short week!!!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Still, we know that with so many people praying over this situation it absolutely is God's will for Nick to go down this path, and we are confident that he will be faithful to see us through it. Lately I've been using my Daily Light devotional book from Traynor and Morrow. The devotionals are strictly scripture - different verses put together in a cohesive way that makes sense. They're pre-planned for each date. Here's what December 3rd says:
"I would seek God and to God I would commit my cause. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. * Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and suppication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. * Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. * Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spead it before the Lord. * It shall come to pass that before the call I will answer; and while the are still speaking, I will hear. * The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. * I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live."
I love it when the Lord provides for me in ways like this - a surprisingly applicable word of scripture in such a timely way. It makes me remember that he is in control over all of this. I just have to commit to following him, and he'll make my path straight.
July seems as if it is a long way off, but I would appreciate any of you who will help me prepare Nick's journey through prayer. Pray for his preparation, for the preparation of those he will serve with. Pray for the Afghan people he will be serving, pray for peace in Mehtar-Lam, which is where he will be.
I'm so thankful for all of you who I know read this. Your continued support over the next 18 months will make all the difference for us.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Kelly, Jen, Lauren, and I
Helping Ellie and Rachel make their ornaments. Liberal use of glitter here.
While I was at Come to Christmas sweet Nick did all of the grocery shopping and household chores. I know I don't give him enough credit for this, but he does stuff like that all the time. Our household would be in shambles without him!
On one attempt we almost dropped Finlay. Almost.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Yes, we ate Thanksgiving dinner at the coffee table. However, I made it look nice anyway! Why the coffee table, you ask? The dinner was ready at 4:30, 3:30 for you central time-zoners, and the Cowboys game was starting.We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! We're thankful for all our friends and family, in South Carolina and at home in Texas. For those of you in the Lone Star State, we'll see you next month!!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I was still 10 minutes away when Matt called to say he'd made it to Waffle House and it was "questionable." Ok, no problem. His GPS told us that there was a Pizza Hut mere miles away. We got to Pizza Hut - even more sketch. We finally arrived at a local pizza place we'd passed whose parking lot was full of cars. LeCirque it was not, but we shared a tasty pizza and a few hours of great catch-up conversation. It was great! We're scheming to get Stephanie out to Charleston for a weekend tagged onto one of Matt's trips so that all four of us can explore the city together.
Lucky Matt will be dining at Hyman's tomorrow night (maybe the best seafood place in Charleston) so don't feel too sorry for him. Thanks, Matt for having dinner with me tonight! I had a great time, and I can't wait to see the whole Smith family in December.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I did a little retail therapy this afternoon - bought some stuff from Target and Pier One. I think either the people who live above or below us must smoke in their apartment so there's always this funky smell seeping into ours. I'm trying to solve this with lots of good-smelling things. I'm also hoping that this plan doesn't backfire, creating a mixture of yucky and yummy smells.
My ultimate goal in shopping today was to buy a church dress. Think it should be simple? Think again. I've got some money to spend - thanks to Mom and Dad for my birthday gift - so it's not even like I'm on a tight budget. However, I scoured the best mall here with my friend Rachel last weekend. Nothing. Today I went to some of the higher-end boutiques here, but even if I'd wanted to spend $400 on a church dress (no thanks!) I still didn't find anything acceptable. I also visited a stand-alone Belk's and Talbots (yes, Mom, I resorted to your favorite store). Nada. Zip, zero, zilch. No luck.
So here is my question: have any of my blog readers found a cute church-appropriate winter dress lately? If so, PLEASE tell me where you found it! I'm getting desperate.
Finally, I will end this post by asking for all your prayers. It's getting to be about the time that Nick and I have to make some big decisions for the next few years. Will Nick go on a long tour overseas? Should we move to Florida, California, or Germany? Clearly, there are other considerations too - I'm not going to spell them out for you. Please pray that we will be given wisdom and guidance as we try to make the best choices.
And very, very finally...Sic-em Bears! Beat the Aggies!!!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Philip and Amanda
Philip and I with my 10 point Whitetail
Nice work! (you don't want to see what it looked like on the ground...)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
We had an appointment for a couple's massage yesterday morning at Urban Nirvana, which is only a block from our house. You can check out their website here: http://www.urbannirvana.com/. It was fabulous! And it was so much more enjoyable since Nick was there with me.
We spent the afternoon watching college football then went out to pick up a few things for Nick's hunting trip to Texas next weekend. We finished up the night out with dinner at a great Thai bistro here called Baan Sawan. I had seared tuna with three sauces - so tasty!
We picked up some dessert at Fresh Market before heading home to pick up the South Carolina and Texas games. It was a great early birthday. Thanks honey!!
My yummy creme brulee and a mini cannoli - I couldn't decide!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
In additional news, we'll be officially joining our church at the end of next month. Woo hoo! Posts are slow now, and I apologize, but I've hit my busy season at work. Bear with me, and I'll come up with a good picture or two in the next few days.
Last, we really do have a big praise to sing. We were able to pay off Nick's first college loan this month!!! It wasn't a big one, but it's the first one, and it feels like a big milestone.
Friday, October 17, 2008
PS If you don't have time to read the whole thing, it's basically saying that Baylor paid freshmen to re-take their SAT's, some think in order to boost the US News and World Report ranking. Boo.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I don't think it will be much of a surprise to any of you that I will be voting for Barack Obama, and I'm aware that my little blue voice will probably be drowned in Texas' big red tide, but if I didn't submit my vote I wouldn't be doing my civic duty. Although I declared democrat on my application (Daddy, I can hear you cringing) I'm still an independent at heart, and will be trying to read up on the other candidates in other races in McLennan County and Texas. Your help (links, etc.) would be greatly appreciated! I do intend to be an informed voter.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
At the top of the John Hancock building - Chicago skyline.
Close-up of me and tall buildings!
Melissa - world's greatest supervisor - and I getting some deep dish pizza at Gino's East!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
And yes, he is sitting on the beach chair. He really does think he's a little human.
In other news, I find it really helpful to dwell on positive things when Nick is gone on trips. Maybe having "whatsoever things are good,whatsoever things are honest, etc." drilled into my head so many times paid off! At any rate, here are some things I'm thankful for this week:
First and foremost, Trenholm Road UMC. Nick and I have decided to join this church, and the people there are really reaching out to us. I'm really excited to get more involved with this church!
Second, phone cards. While Nick has been in Bahrain he has been able to call me every day, and trust me, hearing his voice and being able to communicate with him while he is so far away makes a huge difference.
Speaking of huge differences, I'm very thankful for our new apartment. While it is overall much nicer than our old house, what I really like about it is the sense of security I have in my home. I'm not afraid to walk Finlay at night, and I've been able to sleep!
Fourth, I am thankful for my new job. This one probably deserves to be higher up on the list. Not only is it a means of paying the bills and a reason to get out of bed in the morning, I get to do what I love all day every day. Add to that a fantastic supervisor (who I also count as a good friend) and a staff and faculty I couldn't enjoy being with more, and work is a great place for me to be!
Finally, my new car. I actually try to think of reasons to go places because I enjoy being in it so much! I guess if you've got to get a new car, you might as well have one that you love, right?
I hope you all are feeling just as blessed this Sunday evening. Have a great week!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Today was not so happy. Nicholas left for a month-long trip through the Middle East. He'll be visiting Bahrain and Qatar. As I'm typing this he is en-route to Frankfurt. Finlay and I are really sad and tired and don't really feel like blogging. Fin's actually concked out on the couch next to me. We're watching Hope Floats, which is not exactly helping our sadness. Perhaps in a minute we'll peruse the offering on our HD movies on-demand.
I hope everyone has a great Monday, and I'll give you an update on the new car just as soon as it's in my hands.
Monday, September 15, 2008
We have a few pictures to share with you. The first is from Nick's and my celebration dinner for my new job at Gervais and Vine. The second picture is of the massive plug of Finlay hair that stopped up our vacuum last weekend. We had to stick a curtain rod down the tube to force it all out! I know it's kind of gross, but we found it pretty amusing and amazing. I am loving my new job as an academic advisor in the History department at USC. As an extra bonus I even get to go to the national NACADA (National Academic Advisors Association) conference in Chicago in early October.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I'll also be putting together my first hurricane emergency preparedness kit, per the Red Cross. I figured that since I actually got a notice about the storm from the electric company I should look into getting ready for Hanna (and maybe Ike, we'll see). No worries Mom - we'll be set if Hanna gets to us!
Hope everyone is having a great short week!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
On a significantly less happy note, it looks like I'll be getting a new car sooner than expected, probably as soon as Nick gets back from his September deployment. Oh yeah, Nick's going to be back in Qatar for the month of September - I think I've neglected to mention that. Long story short, I took my car in for some routine maintenance today, and the guy showed me about $2000 worth of work that Big Red needs to make it though the next year. These are big things like replacing the ball bearings on my front wheel/brake/tire part (you know, the part that lets you turn - I'm not a mechanic!)
So the plan is to trade before she quits for good, which, if you believe my mechanic, should be really soon. I was a bit skeptical about the place, to be honest, until I ran into my former boss's(JB for you USC folks) son there, who told me that his family doesn't take their cars anywhere else. Seems like the place is legit so I guess I'll believe my mechanic.
I'm thinking about one of the new Honda CRV's. Does anyone have any experiences with/thoughts about them? Do you have anything else in that price range that you'd highly recommend? Considering all of the road trips we take, and the plans we have in the next few years to add to the Hall family, it has to be a small SUV. No sedans! Let me know your thoughts.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
This morning I contacted the alum club president, and I must admit I was a bit skeptical about the activity level of the alum club here. You see, there is not a single Pi Phi collegiate chapter in the state of South Carolina. However, I just got off the phone with Madame President, and she's sending me all the information about the club in the mail, adding me to the roster, and has invited me to the club's September meeting. It sounds like the club is mostly composed of older women (Ellen, the pres., graduated from college two years after my mom was born), but she sounded excited to have a younger woman in the mix. My days at Trinity UMC and with the PEO's in Sumter have taught me that there's nothing quite like having a bunch of grandmotherly and motherly women around when you're in a new place, so I'm equally excited to have some new Pi Phi companions.
I'll let you know how our first meeting pans out!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The first and biggest exciting thing is that Nick and I moved into our new apartment. Now, you might be asking yourself why on earth we'd move to an apartment from the cute house we had. The answer is two words: shadetown and deployment. The first word refers to our old neighborhood. At one time described as "up and coming" I've determined that the sentiment was in fact wishful thinking. While there were several nice families on our block, once you strayed from there it was a total mixed bag...of nuts! Since Nick is hoping to go to Afghanistan for nine months next year, and let's face it he's been gone for half of this year, we thought an apartment in a nice, quiet community would be far preferable.
We were not let down! Our apartment is bigger and so much nicer than our old (read uncleanable dirt and grime hiding in every cabinet, only two prong outlets, and power that goes out whenever you vacuum) cute (read tiny) house. We've got a nice deck for enjoying the outdoors, and I think Finlay likes his daily walks more than the chance to run around freely in the yard, which he only did occasionally anyway. I'll post some pictures as soon as all the boxes are out of the way.
Yesterday I also got my first major appliance! Yes, Daddy, I did my research first. If you've every been to our house when we've been doing laundry you know it's a big pain to dry clothes. The dryer didn't time itself or turn off on its own, and for the last eight months it has made a horrible screeching sound constantly that is apparently irreparable. Since we have to be more quiet in our home now (we're on the second floor of three) we decided that we had no choice but to buy a new dryer. It's nothing fancy, just your basic-level Maytag. Of all the dryers in our price range this one got the best reviews, and I know that Maytags tend to be trustworthy. The coolest thing about it is that it has a cycle you can run on any heat setting (any of the five!) that senses the moisture in the barrel and automatically shuts off when it reaches the desired dryness level (you choose from several options). I tried it twice yesterday and absolutely love it! I'm a little poorer now, but at least my clothes will be pampered from now on.
The last accomplishment yesterday was the cable set-up. It almost went perfectly. However, we had a small glitch - I mean, come on, it's Time Warner Cable, of course there was a glitch! When I submitted my installation request I noted that we wanted to switch our box to an HD box because our new TV is HD. The guy comes to install my cable - no box. So, knowing how pumped Nick is about getting HD and wanting to reward him during his sixth straight week of 13 hour-plus work days, I haul my butt down to the TWC office in Five Points. Not, I soon discover, a good plan.
When I walk in, I can barely fit in the door because the line is so long - at least fifteen people deep. I should note here that I am holding our massive DVR box. I quickly notice that stationed inside the store is a policeman - not a private security guard, but an honest-to-God City of Columbia police officer, complete with gun. This, I think to myself, is not a good sign. So I stand in line, waiting patiently. After all, if I'm not here, I'm at home unpacking boxes, which is frankly getting monotonous. So I don't really mind waiting that much. I'm determined to remain pleasant.
About fifteen minutes into the experience there is a mini-revolt in the store. It seems that about half of the people in there are just there to pay their bills with cash or money orders. Who knew that many people actually went to the store to pay their bill? Apparently they do. So, there is one cashier who is handling only these people, and at some point they decide to make their own line at her station. Not the right plan! There are others who have apparently inquired as to this option previously and were told that there was one line and one line only. They become somewhat irrate at the people in the new line. It's at this point that I become grateful for the policeman because he gets over there in just enough time to diffuse the situation and send everyone in the new line back to their original places in the old line. Then, like kindergarteners waiting for lunch, they all scurry back to claim their exact places. The woman behind me, who I am guessing was mentally altered in some way, definitely invaded my personal bubble to ensure that she got to claim her previous spot. She never backed off!
So fifteen minutes later( at least thirty total minutes of standing in line) I reach the counter, swap out my box, and head home to hook it up, grateful to have left in one piece. I get all the cords plugged into all the right places only to discover that the woman at the counter failed to supply me with an electrical cord. Since I'm working all day today, that will have to wait until tomorrow, when I'm sure I'll have another adventure at the TWC office.
Happy Hump Day everyone!