Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hometown Blues

As some of you know, i'm from a small town (what used to be small. The population is now at 26000! Dang!) just north of Palm Springs called Desert Hot Springs.
I lived on the same street, in the same house, until 3 days after I turned 18 and left for college.
My parents sold that house on Ramona Ave. and moved to the outskirts of town by the country club.
Anyway, I loved growing up there.
Despite the surrounding valley's opinion of us, our horrible reputation for drugs, gangs, etc, the fact I wasn't allowed to even cross the street and go to the park, and that my neighbors house and cars got broken into frequently (our house was broken into twice), I LOVED my hometown!
I grew up with the same people my whole life, I was never really scared to go for a walk, and up until the end of high school, I was never seriously offered drugs or alcohol or anything.
However, I did notice as my life flew by that the town was getting worse.
After our house was robbed the second time (the first time we were broken into, the cops caught the guy in the house so nothing was stolen ) my parents decided they needed to move.
And move they did, thankfully.
Although it hurt me a lot for them to leave that house (I lived there longer than I knew my own little sister!), it was for the best and I can see why now.

Yesterday, near 700 law enforcement officers took hold of my hometown of DHS early in the morning, rammed down doors, and made over 120 arrests.
They seized over 50 firearms, tons of meth and marijuana, and a whole load of gang members.
A lot it went down about 5 minutes away from the house I grew up in.
Some of it went down on the street right next door.
The raids weren't too violent, no shots were fired, and most of the citizens didn't notice anything was going on, apart from the occasional loud booms from the flash-bangs and battering rams.
The whole experience wasn't scary or out of control, but I suppose this all hit me so hard because I never really realized just how bad the city had gotten.
Sure, we had the largest crime rate per capita in Southern California with populations less than 100,000.
Sure we had meth labs on every corner and half the students at school smelled like weed.
But until recently, with three murders in the past month, it never phased me.

Right now, I can't even express how much my city needed these raids.
They had 450 gang members as targets to arrest and got 120 of them.
That may not sound like a lot, but you have to start eating away at the plague somehow.
The new DA was the one who organized it all, with over 45 different organizations there including local police, police from as far away as Banning and Rialto, SWAT, ICE, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies.
It reminds me of The Dark Knight.
A new DA, the true hero of Gotham, ridding the town of it's criminals, without turning into two-face and all.
I just can't wait to see how everything keeps progressing.
Hopefully soon, we can stop being called "desperate hot springs" "desolate hot springs" " the other side of the freeway" and other negative names, and just be the town I love.
Or, well, even better.
:)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Socialization

Brad and I have actually talked to other people in the last couple days!
It's nice sometimes to re-introduce ourselves into the real world.
We had our home teacher, Mark, come by on Sunday and after we talked for a bit, I told him that him and his wife should play some games with us, since Brad and I are always playing board games and card games by ourselves.
He said he would like to and said that him and his wife would come by the next night to play!
Also on Sunday, I got a call from the Compassionate Service Leader in the relief society telling me that one of the sisters, Aileen, needed a babysitter for Monday, so I joyfully accepted!
The next morning, I picked up little Matthew and he stayed with us until around 1, when his mother called and said I could bring him home and she would put him down for a nap.
He got pretty fussy when I was trying to get him ready to leave.
Probably because he was having such fun playing video games and playing on our laptops.
For a two-year old, that boy sure is technologically advanced!
After I dropped him off, I picked up our laundry from the laundry room and then hung out with Brad for a little bit.
Then I started to make some dinner.
I put some chicken in the fridge to brine, let some rolls start to rise, and pout some jello in the fridge in some cute dessert glasses.
I wanted to put some strawberries and whipped cream in with the jello, but we didn't have whipped cream, so off to the store I went.
After picking up the whipped cream, along with some basics like milk, eggs, cheese, and spaghettios, I headed home.
Brad had starting to bake the rolls for me which was sweet of him (even if he did forget to turn the oven on), and I took the chicken out and just put some cream of chicken and ortega chiles on top of it and stuck in the oven.
While all of this was happening, our guests showed up bearing cookies, so we played some card games and some board games for a while and had lots of fun, even though I didn't win a single game.
The chicken finished cooking while we were playing "Sorry" so I made plates for Brad and I and we ate while we played.
After we were done playing all the games, Brad and I took the Jello glasses out of the fridge, then cut up some strawberries, threw em in, and topped them with whipped cream.
They were super yummy and I wish I could eat one every day!
Today wasn't quite as eventful, but I did go visiting teaching, so at least I got to go out for a bit!

You know, maybe I will make some more jello right now.
:D

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Brad's Birthday

Today was Brad's 25th birthday.
It was actually a pretty normal day, but since Brad is still in denial over turning 25, I figured he wouldn't want a big celebration.
I bought him a black Nintendo DS, so that we could play games together since I have a pink one.
It hasn't come in the mail yet, but he guessed what his gift was yesterday, so I gave him a new game for it today that actually DID come in the mail in time.
He seems pretty anxious for it to arrive, and i'm pretty excited that we'll be able to better play games together, rather than him playing Fable II on the Xbox and me playing Mario Kart on my DS.
We slept in, ate some food, and pretty much just chilled until we left for the temple at 6.
We had signed up to do sealings.
Well, unfortunately, it wasn't quite the wonderful experience it usually is for me.
As we were kneeling, I started to feel dizzy.
My stomach was hurting and I felt like I hadn't eaten in days (even though we atre two hours beforehand)!
Soon, my eyesight started to blur and there was a ringing in my head.
As my eyes went more and more black, I started to hear less and less.
Soon, my eyes were completely open, and all I could see was blackness.
I was starting to get really scared, but decided to stick it out, since we were amost done with our list of names.
However, both Brad and the sealer noticed that something was wrong, so they had me stand up and go sit down for a bit and put my head down.
When I stood up, I was so dizzy, I could barely hold myself up.
I had to lean on Brad because I was just shaking so bad.
I sat down and put my head down and my head started to ease up and I could actually see and hear again, thank goodness!
Now, some of you know i'm a bit of a hypochondriac, so my first thoughts were that I had something wrong with me, a brain tumor, something that was causing me to go blind and deaf!
After I could see again, Brad took me out of the room and I sat on a bench outside the sealing room.
One of the sisters that were in the sealing with us, Kristen, that I visit teach, came out and offered to get me some graham crackers out of her bag to see if that would help.
After she left to get them for me, a plethora of sisters came to see if I was alright and brought me some saltines and a can of apple juice.
Kristen came back upstairs with more older sisters and more apple juice and saltines.
They were being so nice and helpful and i'm so grateful i had all these wonderful people trying to help me out.
After I ate a couple crackers and drank some juice, my shaking stopped a little bit.
Some of the sisters kept talking about how pale I looked, and I looked down at my hands, and sure enough they were ghostly!
Brad told me that that was the first thing he noticed that was wrong, was that my eyelids and lips had turned a different color and my skin was really white.
Later, one of the brethern came and told me not to be worried, because in fact, this happened at least once a week to people.
Apparently there's something that happens when we kneel for too long that can cut off circulation and make you dizzy.
Funny thing is, i'd felt dizzy before during sealings, but it had never been that bad before.
I started to feel better and noticed that the color in my hands had seemed to return, so I told Brad I was ready to go back into the sealing room.
I sat for the rest of the time because I knew I wouldn't be able to kneel anymore.
After we were all done, I was still a bit wobbly on my feet and had to hold onto Brad for dear life it seemed like, but after an hour or so, I felt all better.
I guess I just have a problem kneeling for more than a minute or two at a time. :/

(I know that for those of you who aren't LDS probably don't understand a lot of this, but just imagine kneeling down to pray for like, 5 minutes. )

After the temple, Brad and I drove over to Hard Hat for dinner.
We'd been to most of the other restarurants, so even though Brad doesn't particularly like Hard Hat, he knew i'd never been there, so off we went.
We both got salads, which is super unsual for Brad.
Mine was super yummy.
I've realized lately that I really like hot wing salads.
Brad got a chicken ceaser salad and wasn't impressed.
Probably because he doesn't like chicken.
Oh well.
It's nice to just go somewhere and sit and talk for a bit with no TV and no video games.

After we got home, we took a nap for about two hours, and now we're on our laptops, playing games, and watching the TV periodically.

All in all, an interesting day.
I just really wish Brad's present had arrived in the mail on time. :/

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Too Cold Again

It's been nice to be back home again.
As much as we enjoyed our little vacation, there's nothing like drooling on your own pillowcase and peeing with the door open.
Haha.
Anyway, I went to Sam's Club with my brother Paul this morning to pick up some food.
Since we were gone for almost two weeks, whatever we had left pretty much went bad, so I got some bread and milk and basic things like that.
While I was out, Brad went to a gillion different places to find me some pink carnations. :)
I got home and they were so cute sitting on the counter with a little card in front for me.
My husband's so wonderful sometimes.
That's pretty much all we did today though.
I think we're on our fourth movie for the day right now.
Maybe fifth?
I know many people think we're lazy and boring, but we're pretty happy with our lives.
I think that if two people can sit around and do absolutely nothing all day, and still be beyond happy, then that's real love. :D

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home again (almost).

Well, our trip out east is just about over.
We're in Utah today, but should be home in Idaho tonight.

We started out last Monday.
We left early in the morning and drove out to Jenna and Travis's to stay the night before we left on Tuesday morning.
Brad's dad was there, and he gave us the ride to the airport.
We got our tickets, got through security, and sat at the gate to wait for our flight.
Now, I have to mention this because it relates to something that happens at the end of our trip: When we checked in and got our tickets, it was from one of those electric ticket things.
On the screen, it said that we would be called up at the gate to receive our seat assignments, even though we had chosen seats already when we bought the tickets online.
I looked at our boarding passes, and where it should have said our seat numbers, it said "At Gate."
I repeatedly told Brad that we needed to go up to the counter and ask an agent about our seat, and he just kept telling me that we'd already chosen our seats, blah blah blah.
So, we start boarding.
We get on the plane, make our way towards where our seats should have been, and what do you know, there were people sitting in them.
We continued to walk towards the back of the plane, since there was a line of people behind us.
We didn't really know what we were going to do.
So, we're standing at the back, there's tons of people in the aisle trying to get to their seats, and over the intercom we hear our names and a request for us to go to the front.
We shuffle though all these people, just to go to the flight attendant and get out seat assignments.
Just to reiterate, Brad was stubborn, and I was right.
Ok, on to the rest of our trips.
The flights were just fine, Brad slept a little bit, we played Monopoly Deal, etc...
I already blogged a little bit about the first couple days, so i'll continue from there.
We had our open house on Saturday.
It was really nice to meet so many people that Brad knew growing up.
Afterwards, his cousin and uncle came over to visit for a little while, but we were so tired, we pretty much fell asleep, at least I did.
We stayed up the entire night before, just to see if we could I suppose, so we were pretty exhausted all Saturday.
Earlier in the day, we went out to eat at Angelo's in town with Brad's friend Jesse, Bary, and his wife Vicki.
After that, me, Brad, Bary, Vicki, and Brad's grandparents all drove out to their camp.
We looked around for a bit, then took a rifle, walked down to the pond, and took turns trying to shoot sticks on the ground.
Haha.
After we were out of bullets, we went back up to the cabin, got some more bullets, then grabbed a couple broken bb guns and shot at some random things.
Sunday we woke up early to go to church.
It's a nice little branch and all the old ladies in relief society kept telling me stories about Brad when he was little.
We also had to bear our testimonies, which wasn't so much fun for me, but oh well.
After church, we took a short nap and I don't remember much else happening on Sunday.
Monday, Brad's mom had asked me if I wanted to go shopping with her in DuBois, so I made Brad go with us rather than sit in the house and not go out at all during the day.
We went to the mall and walked around for a bit.
Debbie bought me some things at Bath and Body Works, which was super nice of her, and then she got a life-size cardboard stand-up thing of Edward Cullen to give to Alyce.
It was amazing! Haha.
After, we went to the Roadside Creamery and got some ice cream cones, then headed home.
Alyce and Debbie set up Edward, while Brad started playing with an electric helicopter he had purchased at Ross.
We spent the remainder of the day zooming the helicopter around the house.
Tuesday, Brad drove his mom to work in the morning, and after I slept for a while longer, we got ready to leave.
Brad rove us out to the log home they had lived in for a period of time, and just pointed out a few more places in and outside of town.
We also stopped by Debbie's work and got some ice cream from the soda fountain there.
He got a sundae, and I got a milkshake of course.
I'm not sure if we did anything else for the rest of the day.
I just remember watching "Australia" and playing games on our laptops.
Tuesday night, we also started to pack.
We did all of our laundry and got everything packed away.
Of course, we didn't go to sleep until 4 am, and woke up at 8.
I think the 2 hour time difference, plus daylight-savings on top of that, really messed up our sleep schedules.
Anyway, we got up in the morning, took showers, and said goodbye to the house.
We drove out with his mom to Hermitage and visited with Brad's grandma for a bit, and then headed into Sharon to go Kraynaks and see this little Easter exhibit, then went to Daffins candy where Debbie did some Easter shopping, and then we went by Reyers, which is apparently the Largest Shoe Store in the world.
Then, we met up with Andrew, Brad's cousin, at Quaker Steak and had some wings for lunch.
After that was all said and done, we went back to his grandma's and played Wii with his cousin until around 3:30 when we set out for Pittsburgh.
His mom dropped us off at the airport and this is where things get good again.
We checked in at the electronic counter again, but this time, we DID have seat assignments.
We were there pretty early and had almost an hour and a half to kill, so we walked through some of the stores until our shoulders hurt from our heavy bags.
We went and sat at our gate for a while and got on our laptops since the internet was free.
Pretty soon, we heard an announcement over the intercom that the flight was oversold and that they needed three people to volunteer to take a later flight.
The volunteers would get 300 dollar ticket vouchers and even hotel accommodations of the next flight wasn't until morning.
I tried to convince Brad that we should do it, since we didn't have immediate plans to get back and no one else was volunteering, but once again his stubbornness came into play and he said it was too much of a hassle to have to take a later flight.
So finally, after they made the announcement again and were sounding very desperate, I got up and went to the counter myself.
I asked them when the next flight to Salt Lake would be, they told me there was one boarding right then and would arrive at 11:21, which is only 10 minutes before our other flight would have arrived, that there was a stop in Denver, and that it was on United.
They asked me if I wanted to do it, I went and told Brad, and then told them we would.
Sounding VERY grateful, they handed us our ticket vouchers, our new boarding passes, and we fast walked to the adjacent terminal and boarded our flight.
Everything went without a hitch and the only problem I guess is that our checked bag didn't get into SLC until about half an hour after we did, but that was it.
See how this relates to earlier?
Lol.
Anyway, I love my husband, even if he is stubborn sometimes.
Well, we got our car, drove out to Jenna's, and we stayed the night here.
We'll probably leave sometime later in the day, though i'm not sure when.

All in all, it was a really nice week and we were both sad to leave.Brad spent the whole time trying to convince me that I liked it there and that I wanted to move there, but he really didn't have to try.
The atmosphere of the small town is absolutely perfect, and it didn't hurt that it rained a whole bunch while we were there!
I think when the rain came, I was sold.
I'm sure we'll probably use our ticket vouchers to head back east again.
Sadly, I didn't take very many pictures.
I know, unusual for me, but I just kept forgetting my camera!
I did take a few though, and i'll post them on my Facebook later in the day probably.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Back to the [PA]st.

Well, it's been pretty nice out here in Pennsylvania so far.
Brad drove me around town a bit yesterday.
We went past all the old houses he used to live in, he showed me where the high school was and where the McD's he worked at was.
He also showed me a Sheetz, which is apparently a very popular hangout in Brookville (it's a gas station. Yes. A gas station.)
We went inside and got some sodas and gum.
Then we drove out of town for a bit.
Past the bowling alley, the drive-in movies, the country club where he golfed and his sister's waitressed.
Then we were going to stop at his friend Jesse's house in Strattanville, but he wasn't home from work yet, so we drove on to Clarion and briefly saw the college and the dorms where he lived for a while.
Then we drove back to Jesse's because he was home and we played video games for a couple hours.
Afterwards, we picked up his mom from work, came back to their house, and ate leftover lasagna for dinner.
Today, we went through a bunch of Brad's old things that had been in boxes in his mom's garage.
There were a LOT of baseball cards and Star Wars related items.
It was nice to take a little trip along Brad's memory lane.
Later, after his mom made us some dinner, we hung out for a bit, then decided to take a drive.
Originally, I wanted to go on a walk since the weather was SO nice and it's freaking beautiful out here, but as it got later, and darker, and colder, I changed my mind.
Anyway, we just drove for a little bit, he showed me a few more places around town.
Then we stopped at the TA, the truck stop, and got some milkshakes at the restaurant.
My chocolate shake was so yummy, I think I could drink one everyday for the rest of my life!
It wasn't super amazing or anything, it just tasted exactly like the homemade milkshakes I make, and what is better than something that tastes homemade right?
Ok, enough about the milkshake.
Tomorrow is our open house and a zillion other things!
Brad made plans for us to go out to lunch at Angelos (I think that's the name) with Bary and his wife.
He's also got plans for us to go out to his family's camp.
And I want to get up early and have breakfast on the porch or something.
And we want to help his mom out with whatever might need to get done for the open house.
I guess we'll just go with the flow and see what plans we actually accomplish.
It's strange that it's already the end of the week.
I feel like we've barely even been here.
I guess we do have 5 more days.
I haven't really told Brad the extent of how I feel about this yet, but I think I am completely in love with Brookville.
Not just this town, but this whole area.
There are trees EVERYWHERE, it's just gorgeous!
It's a small town, which is how I grew up, how I live now in Rexburg, and how I always want to live!
The weather isn't even too bad right now, though i'm sure it's gets colder but considering it's probably in the negatives in Idaho right now, and it was in the 60's here today really makes me lean towards eastern living.
The shops are all little local businesses that close early, the streets are narrow, the houses are all two stories, people have known each other for years...
It's almost like going back to when I was 8 or 9, asking me where I wanted to live when I grew up and started a family, then taking that picture out of my head and plopping down in eastern PA.
And here we are.
Brad kept telling me he was going to try so hard to convince me that I would like it here enough to move here.
He really didn't have to try very hard.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

William Penn?

Well, we're here in Brookville, Pennsylvania.
After staying the night at Jenna's last night, we woke up around 5:30ish and Brad's dad (who was staying with Jenna and Travis for a few days) gave us a ride to the SLC airport.
After a long 6 hours, including a stop in Minneapolis and some Sbarro pizza that made me feel sick, we touched down in Pittsburgh.
Brad's mom picked us up and we headed straight to his grandmother's house.
We ate dinner there with her, as well as Brad's uncle (Greg?), his cousin Alex, and Alex's little baby boy.
We ate for a bit and then just visited for a while.
Later, we took off and stopped by the Verizon Store to say hello to Brad's other cousin, Andrew really quick.
Then we picked up Brad's sister Alyce from her bf's house and headed to their home.
Which, obviously, is where we are now.
I'm pretty excited for the week.
Hopefully Brad doesn't play computer games the whole time and leave me to do nothing.
I guess he already has a few things in mind for us to do though, so thank goodness for that.
On Saturday, Brad's mom is holding an open house for us!
One of Brad's best friends, Bary, and his family, will be coming down for the open house too, so that should be fun.
I also heard that Brad might have to bear his testimony in his home ward on Sunday.
Woo!
I was asked to give the closing prayer in church this last Sunday, so he needs some pulpit blessings too.

Anyway, i'm sure I could write more, but i'm so tired I can hardly think.
I'll try and remember to update as the week progresses.
:)