Monday, December 22, 2008

Family Time

My family is coming TOMORROW!!! I have been so excited for so long and it is finally here!!! Kate and Mam-ma got into Houston last night and everyone will be driving up to Abilene tomorrow afternoon. In anticipation, Jon and I did some serious cleaning Saturday. Our house hasn't been this organized ever. It feels so nice to have cleaned everything out and have a place for it all. I also think this is the first time that all the laundry/sheets/towels have been clean, or at least they all were for a few hours. I've seriously been dreaming of a white Christmas for Abilene, but the forecast says it will be more like summer than winter. So no snow for this Christmas :(

However...I can rest assured that I will be sick of snow by the time we get home from skiing. Yesterday while fliping through the tv channels I came across and old episode of 'The Girls Next Door' (don't judge me!) where they went snowboarding in Vail!! I allowed Jon to tune in this once so he could get some pointers from their instructors and see what it is all about. Guess who shows up half way through the episode! Shaun White...duh! He was helping Kendra learn how to ride a rail. I must admit I was jealous. I went to the snowboard park the last time I went snowboarding, but I couldn't work up the courage to do anything :( but maybe this time!! I think I'm getting ahead of myself a bit...we still have Christmas to contend with.

This past weekend I was trying to finish up the last of my Christmas shopping, as was everyone else in Abilene. I don't mind saying that Walmart was hell on earth. Satan was definitley attacking my patience and holly jolly Christmas spirit! I literally walked a fourth of a mile to get inside and they didn't even have what I was looking for. My favorite part was sauntering behind the families of 5 pushing one cart down the isle. I think Walmart should mandate that only one family representative is allowed at a time the week before Christmas. They get the same amount of revenue and because people are in a better mood and aren't crazy mad, thus they may not be in a panic to get out as fast as possible. But, I'm glad to say that I made it out with some of my sanity intact. I won't pretend like it didn't give me a headache for a majority of the day though, seriously.

One thing I am proud about is that I have all my presents wrapped and nicely under the tree before Christmas eve! This is a wonderful feat for me. Usually I wait to go home and shop in Houston last minute, but since we are hosting I got things done much earlier. Another reason was because we had to mail Jon's family their presents and had to be done very early to get it there in time. This got me in the present mindset far earlier than normal.

All in all I am SUPER excited for Christmas and I can't believe it is almost here! Before I go I must say to remember what this season is truly about! God's promise of salvation being fulfilled with the greatest gift of all. Jesus our savior!!

"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
'Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.' " Luke 2:13,14

Also, if you have never heard Handel's Messiah performed, put that on next Christmas' to do list. The ending song is the famous Hallelujah chorus which is so beautiful in it's entirety.

Have a blessed Christmas!


Thursday, December 11, 2008


So, last night one of my prayers was answered! I have been praying for a long time about Jon and I meeting some new couple friends and getting more involved at Beltway. When we placed membership a few months back i knew that it would be hard for us to get plugged in at such a big place. One thing that we have wanted to get involved in for a long time was a life group. We had expressed interest a while back, but nothing came of it and I was a little let down. But, Jon and I pursued it because we felt it was necessary for us to get involved at Beltway. Well a few weeks ago we found out that there was a group starting to meet on Wednesday nights that was being led by a couple in our Sunday morning class. We had never talked to this couple, so we didn't know what to expect. But, it happened to be perfect timing and the night that we needed to meet on. Honestly, at this point I had almost given up hope of finding a group we could fit into and I was starting to enjoy my Wednesday nights at home. Isn't God funny how He sometimes waits until we are so comfortable to ask us to change, making it so much more of a commitment to Him. Well, God is always and totally right. I went into last night dreading it a little, I hate forced awkward conversation and I was worried that Jon wouldn't talk and it would be up to me. But, God is so gracious and blessed us with a wonderful evening! The group wasn't studying anything right now because of the holidays and different couples being gone a lot. It was a great time to just talk, get to know the group, and share what's been going on in our lives. We stayed for almost 3 hrs!! Plus, Jon stepped up and was such a wonderful spiritual leader. I love him so much! The night was wonderful and we feel so great about God choosing this group for us. Literally we were almost giddy! How perfect is God's timing.
Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First Bruner Thanksgiving

This year I celebrated two monumental things in my life on one very special day. I celebrated my first Thanksgiving as a married woman with my husband, and I spent my first holiday away from my family. It is great to have a new family, it is twice as much fun to have two families than just one. But, I think it is going to take a while to adjust.
This Thanksgiving I learned so much more about Jon's family. We decided to never do holidays together until we were married so we could put off the switching back and forth business. So, as this was my first big holiday away from home, it was also Jon's first holiday to have me around. Jon's family does things pretty similar to mine, but it is neat to see all the traditions that they have. The biggest one was the difference in recipes! I know that every family does there own signature Thanksgiving dish, and The Hickl signature dish is something I look forward to year-round. It was as if I had a whole different Thanksgiving meal experience! One cool thing that Jon's family does is cook the turkey in his grandma's very very old oven. It is soooo different! It looked like a giant metal crock pot. But I just loved that they still cook it in there! And it tasted wonderful!
One thing that I'm not used to is visiting both sets of grandparents over the holidays. Since my mom's family lives in Idaho it is always an either/or scenario. After we spent Thanksgiving day with Jon's mom's side of the family, we spent the next day with Jon's dad's side of the family. It was great to get to see all of them as well, but it was tiring. We did get to have two Thanksgivings in one so it was well worth it!
One thing I really missed this year was having a ton of leftovers! Even if we go to my aunt and uncle's house for Thanksgiving my mom still fixes some things at home so we can have Thanksgiving for days. I missed not having all the leftovers to gorge myself on. I was actually surprised how little I ate this year! Usually I come away with at least a 3 lb gain, but I felt about the same this time around. I'm sure I'll more than make up for it at Christmas.
As sad as it was to be away from my family for the first time, I survived and had a wonderful time celebrating with Jon's family. I'm so glad that I married someone who's family is so similar to mine so I always feel at home. Here are a few pictures from Thanksgiving:

Katy and I in our apron's working hard on the Thanksgiving Feast to come!

Jon and I worked hard to make this beautiful apple pie.

My first Bruner Family Picture!

Ma-ma working hard in her apron to make sure her recipes were perfect

Yay for our first Thanksgiving!

Overall my first Thanksgiving away from home was wonderful and I am so Thankful to have such a wonderful new family!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Encouraging Words

One thing that has been on my heart lately is the power of the tongue. In the Bible we hear a lot about the power of the tongue and that it is necessary to master it. For the past few days I have been thinking about the power of the words we use. When we speak to people we have the power to bestow life or death on them. Too often I find myself biting my tongue because for a long time I've believed that it is better to speak truth than lie. Well, that has translated into sometimes saying the first thing that comes to mind and not rationally thinking about what comes out of my mouth. If I have hurt or offended you by that I'm sorry.

Jon and I are in the class at church called Marriage Matters. Right now we are doing a series on the Celebration of Sex. You might think this would be super awkward but the class has been wonderful!!! It is so amazing to hear about what other couples struggle with anonymously. It was interesting what we talked about this past Sunday since it had been on my mind. I thought this was a great example of how our words can affect people.

A couple did this little role play where the husband kisses the wife on the neck and she has the choice of how to respond.
A. "Is sex all you think about!?" (think very sarcastic/irritated tone)
B. "How about we finish this tonight?" (very sweet/seductive tone)

The way a husband would react to the different responses affects everything else that day. With the first response he would be defensive, frustrated, misunderstood and he would take that with him to work and all the people he interacts with that day. With the second response he would feel elated, loved and wanted and he would take those positive feelings with them throughout the day.

That is just an example of the ways that we can speak life or death into people. The way we react to people and situations is a way that Christ can be shown.

Here is another example:
Yesterday I had the pleasure of talking with a girl who is wanting to come to ACU for College. She really wants to do missions or youth ministry. While we were talking she said that another University she was looking at was discouraging her from her calling because they don't support women in ministry positions in the church. How sad that this poor girl wants to give her life in servitude of the LORD and someone would dare condemn her for it. They spoke death into that girl and into the Kingdom of God. I tried to speak as much life, as God gave me grace to, into this girl. I pray that she was uplifted in that, and I hope that harsh words of other Christians have not tarnished that amazing heart God gave her.

It is our purpose as the body of Christ to spur one another on in the Faith. By speaking life into people, we speak God's grace and goodness into their hearts. Because we have faith in God we have hope of the eternal and therefore we have joy! Be joyful in the grace God has given you, and the promise of a new life. The trials of today will soon be over because we look towards something greater. Let these feelings of hope and joy flow from your mouth and bless those around you. Speak life!!!

Many Blessings

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tight Tights

Today was the first time I have worn tights since about 4 years ago with a thing called pledging. You siggies know what I'm talking about! 3-4 layers of pantyhose in that suntan color...but at least they were warm on those cold nights outdoors. After that I swore to never wear panty hose or tights again. I caved this morning. With the 40 mph gusts of wind and nearly freezing air I really don't blame myself. It was a last minute decision, I stood at my back door contemplating if I should take the time to squeeze into them. With one final gust I was sold, tights it is! Most times you like putting on your new clothes and wearing them for the first time, but I think tights are the one piece of clothing where this isn't the case (and possibly new white tennis shoes, because they are almost neon white). It was difficult to even do the classic 'roll up' to put them on. I forget how much thicker tights are than pantyhose. I got a bit of a workout pulling and jumping to stretch them out for the first time. Once I successfully got them on I was sad to see that all the decorative lines on them were all over the place. Then I tried to swivel them around my leg despite their skin tightness. I finally gave up and left my other leg to be crooked. It wasn't worth it. Now having worn them for several hours they are growing on me. The keep away the tinge of cold in the air and are pretty slimming on my normally enormous calves. I think that tights and I may have rekindled a relationship. I shouldn't hold the bad experiences with pantyhose over them. I just hope I can go the whole day without getting a run.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jon is a Mutant

"I am a mutant" exclaims Jon while limping out of the Chiropractors office. He went in for a check-up yesterday after several days of a stiff neck and pain. I had been waiting for his visit for well over 30 minutes so I knew something had to be wrong. After a few touches to the neck the doctor ordered an x-ray and his suspicion was confirmed. Jon has an extra vertebrae in his neck. If only Jon were a teenager and knew karate...then I could call him a Teenage Mutant Ninja. I don't think we could put turtle on the end of that and it be a reality. Because of this extra vertebrae his neck is actually longer than most other peoples. So I guess this makes our family the Brontosaurus' of the human race...minus the tail. Don't get excited just yet...there is some bad news to go along with this anomaly. Because his neck is longer than normal it is crooked and Jon has to have adjustments over the next several weeks and then once every 4-6 weeks...for forever I guess. We are scrambling to get another doctor to confirm b/c, of course, the first time we need to use the health insurance we've been paying into they don't cover it :D. As crazy as this whole thing is to think about, Jon is still in constant pain. Please pray for him and me as we try to figure this whole thing out and hope he doesn't need surgery or anything to straighten his spine. That's the latest for now...I'll keep you posted on any new developments.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I know that I have not been the best at blogging lately. My intermittent posts have not been all that fantastic and are very random! Let's get back on track with the last few weeks!

So I just finished up being on the road for work! It was a crazy few weeks, but things went well and I even got to stay at home one of the nights I was down in Houston. We FINALLY had our big event down in Houston, it went very well and I was, for the most part, pleased! It has been hard to be in and out of town and away from Jon so much. When I've been home work has been so crazy and tiring and laundry is non stop. There is no household chore I dislike more than doing laundry! I'm really glad that I had the first year before getting married to get adjusted to traveling for work. One frustrating part of my travels was missing all of my favorite shows! All my recruiting events are in the evening right when my shows are coming on. Plus, my computer doesn't do well with episodes online. Maybe I should just invite all the students over to somebodies house and watch the shows could be a great way to get to know students!

All in all I'm very glad the past few weeks are over, and I hope it is a long time before I have to get a rental car and drive all over Texas. Those of you who think driving Abilene to Houston is tough...try driving it 8 times in 3 weeks :D. It's good to be home at last!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Go Wildcats!

One thing that I've found interesting over the last year is how much more school spirit I have. Not because I have to for my job...but real legitimate school spirit! I wasn't the best Wildcat supporter while in college. I didn't attend sporting events regularly or anything, I rarely knew when they were happening even! But as Homecoming approaches this weekend I am getting more and more excited. I had to miss the last home football game and I am so excited to see our guys do amazing! Plus, I just love how alums come back and the parade and homecoming chapel and the homecoming queen. It is all so much fun and such a fun tradition. Here is a pic of Siggie pledges during the Homecoming parade when I helped with costumes! They are so cute!

It's so ironic how my job has made me appreciate ACU like I never did as a student. I knew ACU was a special place, I just didn't know how special. ACU is truly a gem. I think that we have become so adjusted to what ACU has to offer that we don't realize how special it really is. I love talking with families who have never seen or heard about ACU before after they visit the campus. They are blown away every time. They tell me all the things they are impressed with and love and it makes me realize how other schools are lacking in so many areas. I understand why older Alums don't want ACU to change. They have an idea in their mind of what ACU is and that it should always be that way. But they can rest assured that ACU's heritage is not going anywhere and God will always be praised on this campus. Praise God for the abundant blessings He pours out on those who are faithful.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A day in Houston

At this moment I am sneaking internet from Cafe Express while sitting in the parking lot. It is really funny to see how long people will wait thinking that I am going to back out. I feel sorry for some of them actually. But I need internet and I want the comfort of my that too much to ask? Plus there is a 4 story parking garage behind me! I'm amazed how people will wait for an up close parking spot at Walmart, in the meantime I have parked and already beat them inside. The lengths we go to be lazy!

I have been piddling all day and I'm so tired of it! I've had to kill 6 hr in Houston from a school visit to a church visit and couldn't stand to drive all the way home. I blew 2.5 hrs at Panera Bread...impressive I know. They actually have free Internet, so I ate and worked there until I got terribly bored. Then I went by DSW and got some clearance shoes and walked around the mall for a bit. Just now I got an amazing smoothie from Jamba Juice...nothing compares...and I only have about 20 more min to kill. I think I've done pretty good! I really wanted to take a nap because it is such a dreary rainy day, but I thought that was a bit risky, and this car isn't that big. I hope that my church visit goes well! I'm really tired though... and tomorrow I have to be up at this college fair by 7:30, did I mention that I'm staying at my parents house over an hour away :( 5:00 wake up call for me! And I still have to drive an hour home after my visit tonight. The next 24 hr is going to be terrible. But I'm hanging in there!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fall into the season

I am so glad it is fall!!! I'm ready to pull out all my sweaters and boots and carve pumpkins! It is still in the 80s here is Abilene, but I am holding out hope for that eventual cold front to blow through and cool things off. I really want to go and take pictures in a pumpkin patch! I've always wanted to do that, especially when I see all the cute family photos. They all have on their jeans and matching cable-knit sweaters. They should be on the front of a J.Crew magazine. I'm not sure if I can convince Jon to do it, but he has been more open to wearing sweaters lately, which is a good sign. My favorite parts of fall are
a. The leaves changing and the amazing colors (we're going to Illinois in a few weeks and I can't wait to see the trees!)
b. Thanksgiving, my fav food of all time!
c. Wearing fall fashion, and I love pea coats
d. That Christmas is just around the corner!

While riding in the car back from Church Sunday I was wondering when it would be appropriate to start playing Christmas music again. Jon thought I was ridiculous, but I have gone 10 months without it! So...I went onto Pandora yesterday and tuned into my Christmas station from last year. Jon was is too early. I hate that I always want to forget Thanksgiving and move on to Christmas. How could I with all that amazing food!!! This year however will be different. In efforts to keep our families happy during the Holidays, Jon and I have decided to do Thanksgiving with one and Christmas with the other. This year, Thanksgiving is with the Bruners. It is going to be really weird to not be at home this year. I can't say that Hickl Thanksgivings at my aunts house are the most fun...but the food is always top notch. I have no idea what the Bruners are used to and I'm a little nervous. What if I don't get my fill of broccoli rice casserole? Mom knows it is my favorite and always makes enough to last for a few days! I can only hope for the best I guess.

I was always worried about when this time would come because I'm the first in the family to screw our traditions up. I'm trying not to worry about it, but it is really hard. So, those of you who are single...enjoy your time of normalcy and tradition while you can!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

H is for Horse

Last week I had the pleasure of discussing one of my favorite things...horses. Not that I know too much or have a lot of experience with them, but what I do know I love. Darby, my student recruiter at work, has a lot of experience with horses and shares my passion. Although I think hers is a little more qualified. She has ridden for several years and used to have an instructor and everything. You know you are so jealous of her. After our talk today she said that she decided they were going to go riding this weekend, all that horse talk made her crave it. I wish I had a stable to go to when my horse urge hit. I've only had a few experiences riding horses. All but one have been the whole ride in line and sway side to side thing. You know what I'm talking about...

My latest horse excursion was while Jon and I were in Jamaica. My horse was named Viceroy and it was, of course, the ugly one. Here is a picture of Jon and his horse Cornstick and me and Viceroy. (please note that Jamaican horses are very small, I was worried they couldn't carry us the whole way! Jon is as big as Cornstick!)

Another not so good surprise was that Viceroy was also a very competitive horse. He was constantly trying to move to the front of the pack, but the horse in front of us kept cutting us off. There were a couple little tiffs full of biting and kicking, and that was even with the guide... I must say I was a little worried about riding up a mountain on an angry bitting horse. But, this was also when I learned to appreciate horses even more! It was so funny to see their personalities come out! In their little horse world being at the front of the pack is the most important thing, and I'm glad that Viceroy wanted us to be a leader. I also think that Viceroy had some kinda of complex because he knew he wasn't a pretty horse, so he wanted to make up for it by being the fastest. I hope it wasn't because he heard me say he was ugly :(

All that to say that I'm super jealous of Darby and her horse experience. However, this only aids in my determination to have horses on a ranch some day!

Monday, September 29, 2008

3 Months

Saturday Jon and I celebrated our 3 month anniversary. We forgot the to acknowledge the first two, so I thought we should at least celebrate our quarter of a year anniversary. This was really an excuse to go on a date and spend some quality time together. Here is how the day unfolded:

Sleep in until lunch
Lunch at Sharky's
Visit the Mercer's (a. to borrow the lawn mower b. to get our baby fix and remind us why we are investing in birth control)
Go to the park, walk and take pictures of things
Jon mows the lawn, Krystina goes to Walmart (fitting into our roles nicely eh?)
Krystina attempts to cut Jon's hair (for two hours!)
Dinner at Spano's
Putt Putt at Prime Time
Home and watch a movie

All in all it was a pretty great quarter of a year anniversary. Here are the few things I have learned in the first 3 mo of marriage:
1. make sure you have separate sinks for getting ready in the morning
2. bad morning breath is killer, keep scope nearby
3. a good nights rest and snuggling don't always go hand in hand
4. remember to turn the closet light off when you leave the house
5. you really don't have time to cook family dinners
6. the weight gain is real!
7. you have to watch his shows if you expect him to watch yours
8. girl nights are necessary, and boy nights too

So far that's it, but I'm sure there is much more to come...stay tuned for the 2nd quarter of a year anniversary.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Heroes Season Premiere

We begin this season with a recap of last season, overall 3 hrs of Heroes greatness! Jon and I did get a little bored being caught up from last season since we just finished it a few weeks ago, so we had to fast forward through the recap. We just couldn't wait to get to the good stuff.

Last season ended with a nail bitter. Nathan Petrelli was shot twice in the chest right before he announced that he could fly. In the opening scenes of the new episode we find Peter and Claire facing off four years in the future. Claire is donning some dark locks which actually look pretty good on her, especially with the dark side of Claire we haven't seen before. Things have not gotten better since they saved the world the first time, and Peter vows to make things right. This is where we find out that Peter goes back in time and is the shooter that gunned down his brother to keep the secret from getting out. The show progresses by updating us on the various stories that have been going on.

Nikki (Jessica) now becomes Tracy, who is the assistant to a corrupt politician. Her aim is to convince Nathan Petrelli to replace a recently deceased senator.

Claire is found by Sylar who eventually overtakes her and absorbs her power. We also find out that Claire is even more special than others and Sylar can't kill her. Also, Mr. Bennet's files on the 'villains' locked away in level 5 fall into Sylar's hands.

Mohinder and Mya discover a way to take 'heroes' genes and give them to others so everyone can have powers. Against Mya's urging, Mohinder injects himself and wakes up with heightened senses and amazing strength. After he and Mya 'bow-chika-wow-wow' he wakes up and realizes that something is very wrong with him. Blisters on his back would indicate...yes.

After confronting Peter about shooting Nathan Matt finds himself in the African desert. After walking what seems like miles he collapses, starts talking to a turtle and then realizes a man is there to help him. I believe this man is similar to Isaac Mendez in his ability to paint the future. However, he says that Matt wasn't supposed to be there and the future has changed.

Hiro and Ando uncover a new destiny for themselves when Hiro's father lets him in on a secret. It is a diagram that maps some sort of molecular structure, possibly the answer to genetic codes Mohinder is looking for. But just as Hiro looks at the diagram and new girl makes her debut as being 'super fast'. I don't remember her name, but she is French. After going to the future, Hiro finds out that he is eventually betrayed by Ando and he feels he can't trust him any longer.

There is much more to the story, but the main idea is that Peter has drastically changed the future by shooting his brother and not necessarily for the better. Mrs. Petrelli (who can apparently see the future) has a bad feeling about what is to come. As do I!

This season is going to be so intense. I can't wait! So if you are not a Heroes fan you need to get on the bandwagon and become one!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thanks Ike!

We Survived!!! No worries...Lake Jackson is intact. I cannot say the same for our neighbors up the coast :( I talked to mama Hickl yesterday as the power came back on at our house. We suffered minor damage to the fence in the back yard and lost a rose bush, both minor concerns. As the power returned Mom had also just finished cooking the entire contents of the freezer before they went bad. I'm sure the Hickl house was a hopin place with air conditioning, running water and an entire freezer worth of food.

Now on to Surfside beach which was not so lucky. Several beach houses were down or had the dreaded 'X' marked for tear down. But do not fear! Several of our favorites are still intact! Kitty's purple cow survived...

and a very surprising performance was given by the Surfside water slides. I believe theses were closed down about 10 years ago, I always thought they would have collapsed even without hurricane force winds. But it out-performed some houses! Very impressive!

Surfside is not the same, but at least we have these few landmarks to hold onto. In times like this I ask myself why the ugly brown beach houses didn't get ruined instead of the pretty ones. Those ugly ones always outlast, and maybe their longevity is the source of their old ugliness. Who knows, at least Surfside can't get much worse and we can only go up from here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The 11th and 12th days of 12th day!

Please tell me this whole time you've been singing these blog titles to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas. I can't stop singing it in my head and it makes me super excited for Christmas in 3 months!!! Now on to the reveal!

Day 11: If you are an employee of ACU you guessed it...Starbucks coupon. This only days after Hayley (the boss man) said that this idea was nixed. I guess the idea box was running empty. But who doesn't like to fuel up in the morning or mid-afternoon! Homemade coupon pictured below.

Day 12: There is much jubilation and a sigh of relief as this is the last day students can leave and the campus blame it on us! Sing along with me now...'On the 12th day of Freshmas, my big boss gave to me...a comp day to take for free!' I can't say that I wasn't expecting this, after all the idea box is empty remember! What else do hard working successful employees want besides cupcakes, Starbucks, Krispy Kreeme Donuts or even, shall I say it, a raise? But we've already gotten the first three and we are all crossing our fingers for the 4th to come. So hoorah! Pictured below was the deliverer of this great news. Note the little man...this, of course, was the response of everyone in the office minus Jeremy with his gimp knee.

*Also I wanted to add that over the weekend Jon and I used the 2nd day of 12th day gift card to Century Cinema to see Tropic Thunder. Rating= 3 out of 5 stars. I'm glad we didn't have to pay for it, but it was entertaining enough for a Friday night in Abilene. Disclaimer, don't be deceived by the opening previews for ridiculous movies, Jon had to clue me in that they were part of the movie and supposed to funny. After that realization it made much more sense.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The 9th and 10th Days of 12th day

I missed reporting on yesterday's commemorative gift because it came late in the day. So, I am combining both the 9th and 10th days.

9th Day: Black nalgene-esk water bottle with rubber comfort grip, white ACU logo on the front. The top also works as a handy hook to attach to a belt loop! Pictured below.

10th Day: Krsipy Kreme Donuts all around. This would have been another good one to announce beforehand so I didn't eat double breakfast.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

ANTM Has Returned: Season 11

Last night I turned on the tv and looked at the shows recording for the evening. To my pleasant surprise I see America's Next Top Model with a little red dot next to it. Finally! The absence of tv drama from my life was making things dull! But lucky for us, last night kicked off the season with a two hour episode. I must say Tyra was thinking outside the box with her 'futuristic' theme. But nobody can complain about full length leotards and tie up stiletto boots. I must say that the season premieres are a little cheesey for my taste, but props to Tyra for keeping it light and fun for the contestants. I know some of them can take things a bit too seriously. In no time we get to meet some of the contestants. Here are a few to keep your eye on in the upcoming weeks:

Elina-The sometimes lesbian that is open to loving anybody no matter what their gender. She announces mid-way through the show that she has a crush on Clark (we'll get to her in a bit). My favorite part of this episode is how the camera man cathces a hug between the two as Clark is handed her spot in the house and Elina rejoices.

Isis-The born in the wrong body he-she. 'She' believes that everything about her is female except the physical...and no 'she' hasn't not had a complete transition to female...enough said. Some are concerned about any nude scenes that may come to pass, and I am too!

Hannah-Grew up in a small town in Alaska with no electricity or running water. In her interview she runs around like a moose while Tyra strikes fierce run for your life poses. Claims to be very naive as their are no people where she came from. Seems like a 2008 flower child.

Clark-Overly confident barbie doll who admits she will use and manipulate people to win. She places toward the end in the first round of pictures while they 'talentless' girls give her a run for her money...including bff Elina.

Marjorie-Shy and sometimes spastic girl from France. She came to the US when she was 7 and then was home-schooled...not a good combo for a foreigner trying to fit in... She ranked first in this weeks competition, but will her unconfident awkwardness get in the way like it has for so many others?

Sheena-The ghetto asian. Currently lives in the Bronx and brings a sort fo 'flava' to the mix. She kinda reminds me of Cha Cha DiGregorio from Greese for some reason.

McKey-The boxing cage fighter. She's a fiery red head who skated by the first round of judging with her back to the basics boxing pose. Good call to take the fight against global warming so literally! But it may not work next time.

Best part of last nights show was when Tyra announced who would be staying. I wasn't aware of who was who, and for about 15 seconds could not figure it out! They were both crying and hugging...finally one of them said I'm sorry and I finally felt some closure as the Sharaun fell to her knees and sobbed. It was so dramatic! Especially for the first elimination! I can't wait to see what else is in store.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

On The 8th Day of 12th Day...

So at work we are currently having the 12 days of 12th day. Similar to Christmas, but without Jesus' birth and including the freshman Freshmas. We are celebrating because the 12th day of classes is when official enrollment numbers are taken and we can all breathe a hopeful sigh of relief! In the spirit of hopefulness our boss is presenting us with small tokens to commemorate each day. Lets get everyone caught up shall we?

Day 1: Same Kind of Different as Me-book the Freshies are reading and everyone else in the world apparently!
Day 2: Two movie tickets to Cinemark Theatre
Day 3: 2 cupcakes because 3 cupcakes on 3rd day is just predictable
Day 4: Wear jeans to work on 5th day
Day 5: (Wearing jeans from 4th day) Get fav Sonic drink for mid-afternoon snack
Day 6: $10 iTunes gift card I have yet to receive
Day 7: The Three Amigos (Which meant more to me than anyone else because Jon and I searched high and low for a dvd version the night before! My crave was fulfilled!) plus an astounding amount of candy and drinks and popcorn
Day 8: Mini-massage for 10 min...Mandy was great but it was a real tease!

I will keep you posted on the upcoming 4 days of Freshmas. So far, so good. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a 'take the day off' day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Six Flags

This past weekend I had the pleasure of going to Six Flags with Megan and Brooke! I haven't been to a theme park of any sort in about 4 years, so it was long overdue. I now finally understand why my parents never took me as a child and would bribe me to not go. I distinctly remember one time I wanted to go to the local fair with my mom. I was about 7 I think. As we were pulling into the fair grounds my mom, in a last effort to avoid the horrible day in store for her, offered to take me shopping for toys instead. But I was determined! I said no, of course, because the fair came only once in like 10 years so we HAD to go! My poor mom was throwing up after just a few rides because for some reason children love the rides that spin around in nauseating fast circles. She never took me to the fair again after that. On Saturday I finally felt her pain. I wasn't bent over a trash can at any point, but ever since the second round on the Batman ride I've had a continual spinning headache. This was the first time I have gotten even remotely sick on a ride, which I think means I'm finally an adult.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some pics from our wedding

Friends Jace and Randy took a break from the dancing to snap a shot with us

Almost same picture from Sara's wedding, but Sara and I changed spots. Note to all pictured, must take this picture at everyone's wedding.

Jon and I dancing the night away. I'm guessing this was 'our' dance. We actually got to dance a lot!

Mom helping me put on jewelry. I love that you can see the whole back of my dress!

One of my favs of me and my dad, although dad has his eyes closed. But he did in almost every picture so this was the best I could do.

Me and my lovely maid of honor (and also sister) Kate!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Olympics

It has come and gone so fast, like it always does. I just got into the routine of coming home after work to 8 hours of Olympic coverage and now it's gone. Last night Jon and I sat bored stiff. No more Heroes (yes we finished season 2 already) and no more Olympics. I'm fortunate enough to still have hours of footage of events I heard about but wasn't able to watch. That will be comforting for a few more days.

The 2008 Olympic games were pretty outstanding. Let's review some of the highlights:

1. Duh! Michael Phelps winning his 8 gold medals (and in great fashion with the Olympics being 8-8-08)
2. U.S. Men's gymnastics getting bronze with like 10 alternates on the team
3. "Smashing" France in the 4x100 meter relay in swimming (take that!)
4. Nastia Liukin getting Gold in all-around gymnastics (not a surprise but it was great to knock out China for a change)
5. The Chinese being ridiculously underage (but there is always a need for some type of scandal, steroids are overrated)
6. Treanor and Walsh dominating in sand volleyball for their 2nd gold
7. U.S. women's' soccer outing Brazil in soccer 1-0 in overtime for gold for the second time
8. Glenn Eller winning gold in trap shooting. Not that cool sounding at first, but he was the youngest of the final 6 contestants, is active in the U.S. army and set a world record!
9. Our U.S. doubles ping pong team (who were Chinese) that got the farthest ever in any Olympics. They were outed by their Korean counterparts!
10. The U.S.'s Shalane Flanagan who got the bronze in the women's 10,000m. The only U.S. woman to ever medal in this event, and she did it after having a stomach virus for 3 days! I cried when she won. But that is just how important these Olympic games are to me!

Now lets take a look at the not so amazing Olympic moments:

1. Both the men's and women's 4x100 meter relays dropping the baton on the final leg and loosing out on Olympic gold. Tragic in itself, but even more so because the same thing happened in Athens. Can't we learn!!!!
2. Women's water polo team loosing out to The Netherlands in the last minute of the game. The men also lost to Hungary.
3. Wallace Spearman getting disqualified in the 200m final for stepping on the inside line of his lane, forfeiting his Silver metal
4. The bronze medallist in the 200m final also stepping on the inside line of his lane and forfeiting the bronze. Luckily two U.S. runners were there to accept both medals!
5. Nastia Liukin being outed for gold on the uneven bars by the 12 yr old Chinese girl in a tie-breaker. Tragic!
6. The U.S. not winning any medals in diving and China dominating in every diving event by like 100 points.
7. U.S. Softball being outed for gold again, and this is the last year for it. (Isn't softball like basketball in that we should dominate and have no competition!)
8. U.S.'s boxing hopeful Andrade outed in the quarterfinals by South Korea's JungJoo. He left the match crying but I don't blame him! Then China won gold....again.
9. The U.S. having no athletes compete in the singles matches for a metal, however the Williams sisters pulled out a gold in doubles, and the Bryans managed a bronze
10. Newcomer Katie Hoff being out-touched for gold by England's Rebecca Addlington in the 400 m freestyle by .07 seconds. She was robbed!

(Please note that these events are not rated, they are simply listed in the order I remembered them)

So many great memories to take with us from this year! Now, on to the 2010 winter Olympics in Canada! Let's hope they can out-do China's show, but without the whole winning half the gold medals part.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Freshman of 2008

It has been a long year. They say that the year after College is this big transition year into responsibility and adulthood. I decided to add getting married into the mix, so I must agree with this especially in my case. It was really hard for me to stay in the college town that I'd been living in for the past 4 years. Getting engaged made it a little easier, but even a year later I'm still not completely sold on the idea. I was lucky enough to land a job for the very University I had just graduated from. Living in Abilene and not being associated with ACU was really weird for the brief time I worked under another employer. My first 'real' job was to be an Admissions Counselor. I thought it would be all fun and games at first, but I had a rude awakening that things were going to get serious fast.

The last year has been up and down for me, I've had high points and very very low points. I feel like I am finally to a place of closure after the past year. My students are here and enrolled, and today is their first day of College. The idea of having to start over from scratch is really scary. After all, this year has been an uphill battle for me. I have never had to work so long to see the fruits of my labor. I'm the type of person that would rather work as hard as possible for a short amount of time than draw the work out over the long haul. With this job I got the best of as hard as you can for the long haul. That's not to say that I'm not looking forward to next years class. I just know how long it will be between that first conversation and them being here. In the meantime, I look forward to watching this freshman class excel and succeed. Hopefully that will be a continual means of motivation for me. I will never forget the way it felt to walk in during opening ceremonies of Welcome Week and see all of the Freshman class together, and most of all to know that many of those students wouldn't be here without me. I finally feel refreshed and rewarded after a year of exhaustion.

Friday, August 22, 2008


This past Christmas my parents had the great idea of getting my then fiance a 6 month trial with Netflix. Now we are hooked. Since the 6 month trial was up, we decided to keep the account the account going and are even considering upgrading. Yes, their marketing scheme worked on us! We are addicted. One part of netflix we haven't taken advantage of is their 'Watch Now' option. Immediate movies, seemingly free. What could be better!? Well the selection over the past few months has not been ideal. We had felt this way a long while until we discovered that you can watch TV sitcoms as well, and then our hope was restored.

On this past Sunday evening, Jon (my husband) suggested something that, at the time, seemed to be a wonderful idea! We had been hearing a lot about Heroes, a drama series on NBC. I'd seen the trailers for the new season premiere, and yes I was interested, but with so many of my favorite shows finally returning this fall (minus Lost) I didn't think there was time to throw another in the mix. I caved. We stayed up watching episodes past 1am, a rare occurance in the Bruner home these days. We have completed the first season in 4 days! That is averaging 5 shows a day. And no we don't have lives!

I found the show to be very addicting! I even have dreams about it! (Will I soon discover my hidden abilities? Peter Petrelli didn't discover his until late in life!) I must give props to the writters, at least for the first season. Every episode left me hanging in agony and wanting more. Luckily it was only a mouse click away. I'm worried that I am being spoiled with this instant satisfaction of knowing what happens! When the series starts again and I have to wait a week for answers, I really don't know what I will do with myself. This may be a new approach to watching tv dramas. Just wait and then you can watch it all at once!

Last night ended the marathon of Heroes: Season 1. I was a little let down by the anticlimatic ending. It was good, but the Peter Petrelli and Sylar fight scene lacked a little something. I do understand that they are new to using their powers, so I'm just hoping that in future seasons we will get to see some much more cool action scenes. Right now I am anxiously awaiting season 2. Jon and I decided against starting it last night, we needed a break to get back into reality. Hopefully 24 hr will be long enough!

Friday, July 18, 2008


Early this week I was made aware of a new supposedly amazing restaurant in town assuming the name Bonsai. This new restaurant is comparable to the famous Abilene Fuji's. It was rumored that this Bonsai was even better than Fuji's. I was so taken aback, because speaking against Fuji's is as close to blasphemy as possible. I had to see for myself.

Jon and I went to Bonsai last night with great expectations. "What could possibly be better than Fuji's?" we asked ourselves. "This must be close to heavenly!"

First impression:
It does have some better curb appeal than Fuji's, but let's be honest...Fuji's is a square white building with a green sign. You can definitely tell that it is new, as there are strings of triangle flags hung around the entirety of the building. As I walked up to the hostess stand she asked me, "will you be dining in our sushi bar or our grill tonight?" WHAT! Sushi Bar! This IS heaven. I never thought Abilene was affluent enough to support a sushi bar! But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The menu was almost exactly the same as Fuji's. For a brief moment I wondered if this was really Fuji's number two and they just changed the name in order to create a seemingly great competitor. Then I tasted the rice. Fuji's 1, Bonsai 0. Jon described it perfectly, it tasted like something you would get at a buffet Chinese restaurant. Not a hibachi grill. The rest of the food, was different but good. The salad dressing had way to much ginger in it, and the soup was really spicey. The steak was tasty and tender, my favorite part of the meal.

Bonsai is not Fuji's. Whoever thought this place was better was deranged. Maybe they were high on Rainbow and Philly rolls, and I can't blame them for their fixation on the sushi bar. Bonsai was a little higher priced than Fuji's, and their menu's contradicted each other, which was super confusing. If you can't get into Fuji's on a Friday night, then Bonsai is a good second option. But it doesn't hold a candle to the original Abilene hibachi wonder.

New Name

Today is day 21 with the new name. Not legally of course, but in all other respects of being married. When I came back to work last week it was a whirl-wind of Bruner. It seems my work was more prepared for the name change than I was. On our honeymoon I was still traveling under the name Hickl, so I haven't really had the chance to get adjusted. I'm starting to get there. It will be a while before I don't have to think for a few seconds before responding when asked what my name is. Not the best feeling when people question your true identity because you take so long to answer. It makes people feel very suspicious.

Nevertheless, I am on my way to social security today to finally get my name changed legally. Then it's on to DPS, then banks, then on and so forth. They even have packets online that come with all the documents to fill out. At first I thought it was so rediculous that people would need that, but I'm starting to see how those people make a living making new brides lives easier. After all, once the wedding is over life is supposed to become easy and blissful. So far, I can't complain too much.