Friday, November 30, 2007

Trying times and cynicism?

"You must remember this, a kiss is still a
kiss". Your romance is Casablanca. A
classic story of love in trying times, chock
full of both cynicism and hope. You obviously
believe in true love, but you're also
constantly aware of practicality and societal
expectations. That's not always fun, but at
least it's realistic. Try not to let the Nazis
get you down too much.

What Romance Movie Best Represents Your Love Life?
brought to you by Quizilla

Baja Fresh in Michigan

Yesterday, Taylor had one of the happiest moments of his time in Michigan....he found out that Baja Fresh is in the area. He was driving down Haggerty in Northville, and VOILA! A Baja Fresh within 5 minutes of Canton! Taylor has complained that he hasn't had any Mexican food better than Taco Bell in Detroit, and it wasn't for lack of trying. (Q'doba is blah, btw) Not only will Taylor be able to easily get his Baja Burrito or Burrito Ultimo, he is excited about the idea of smuggling home a sackful of condiment cups full of roasted pepper salsa to keep him warm on those cold, Michigan nights.

Baja Fresh is a special place for Taylor and I....we met at the now-defunct Baja Fresh in Murray. After three days of Mingle-winking, emailing and a phone call, Taylor met up with me for lunch at Baja Fresh. April 10, 2004, to be exact. We also listened to John Mayer's "Room For Squares" in my car, when the Baja Fresh employees started giving us the evil eye for taking up their table for too long during the lunch rush. As this time, Taylor talked about how he knew he'd never be happy living long term in Utah. He'd just gotten out of an engagement where his fiancee was content to live in Sandy, Utah for the rest of her life. He wanted to have a career that would satisfy his "wanderlust" and need to see the world. He was an international relations major at the time, but on the brink of BYU academic suspension. Who knew that 6 months later he'd be married to me, and three years later living his dream. All thanks to Baja Fresh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

CRJ-200 1, Duck family 0

Yesterday was Taylor's first flight out of O.E. training. He was on reserve for the day with a three-day trip planned for Tuesday. He got called in for a quick out-and-back to Wausau, Wisconsin. It was a cold, snowy day in Detroit...but after an hour and a half of de-icing they took off no problem. But as they came in for the landing approach, Taylor and the captain saw a flash of birds. Within half a second, a group of ducks crashed into the plane. They lost control of the nose wheel door and lost hydraulic system 3. It smashed the radome, went through the nose cone, then the radar, then the bulkhead, ending up in the forward avionics bay. Warnings and error messages were flashing, and luckily they were able to get down the landing gear before the hydraulic system bled out. Passengers snapped pictures of the plane after deplaning on the tarmac. It was one of those "once in a career" moments...and it was on Taylor's first flight out of training.

Any witty comments for his pictures?

Friday, November 23, 2007


Here's a rundown of what's filling my heart with gratitude at this time:
A happy husband who is finally living his dream
A lively, curious daughter who keeps me guessing (and showered with hugs and kisses)
A home in a good neighborhood, in a good ward, near friends, family, and freeways
A job that keeps me bringing home the bacon
A functional mind and body
A functional washer and dryer
A functional car
A bank account that's not completely empty
A fridge and cupboards that are not completely empty
The upcoming opportunity to live as a nuclear family unit in a new place to explore
A good cell phone and laptop to keep me connected to those I can't see on a daily basis
Participation in a true religion that inspires, challenges, entertains, motivates, and helps me through life's tough times
A world full of music, theater, entertainment, and culture to keep me creative

This list is not all inclusive, obviously. But on this Thanksgiving I have so many overwhelming blessings that listing them in this fashion would tend to take away from the depth of my gratitude. I'm a lucky girl.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Three Weeks Notice

Today I submitted my letter of intent to resign. According to Lizzie, I wrote a picture-perfect letter of resignation. My last day will be December 14th-ish. It was going to be the 14th, but that's the day of our big formal Christmas party and the managers will all be busy in order to give me a proper send-off (i.e. free lunch) my manager crossed off December 14, and penciled in December 17.

So I've done it. I've made an official step to moving to Michigan. Sure, looking for jobs and apartments online is part of the process...but now it means no more procrastination. I'm bringing home empty boxes from work, mentally inventorying my closets and bookshelves, and savoring some of the things that are truly California (currently I'm eating a teriyaki bowl from Spikes.)

According to Rachel, I'm not allowed to talk about "Turkey Day." But hopefully in the next day or so I'll post a Thankful For list...stay tuned

Friday, November 16, 2007


My first TV appearances were on “Ramblin’ Rod,” a Portland children’s cartoon plus live audience morning show. The kitschy show was interspersed with Popeye and Looney Toons cartoons, but the gold of the show was the chance for local kids to be seen on TV throughout Oregon and southwest Washington. The kids would have an opportunity to introduce themselves on camera, and say what city they were from. The luckiest kids were asked a lame question about the city they were from. (Tualatin is the home of the Crawfish Festival, btw) Rumor is that Krusty the Clown is said to be loosely modeled after Rod, considering The Simpsons creator Matt Groening is from Portland. The closest thing I could compare it to is Stanley Spudowsky’s Clubhouse on the movie UHF. My dad worked at KPTV channel 12, and knew Rod. He would usually give me a little extra camera time and I could tell a joke or say that my dad worked for the station. His trademark attire was polyester pants and a cardigan sweater covered in buttons and lapel pins, all gifts from admiring kiddie-fans. Kids with birthdays would get to stand in front of this big wooden tugboat, hand him a pin, announce their age, and Rod would make a comment like “Seven is Heaven!” or “Eight is Great!” Then all the kids would sing along with a pre-recorded soundtrack of the birthday song. (if you watched at home, you could follow the bouncing ball on the screen to follow the lyrics)There was a smiling contest during every show, where hokey music would play and the camera would pan the children in the audience for about a minute. The camera guy would then get to choose a few kids out that had the best smiles, and get a prize. One kid per day would get the SUPER SMILE WINNER prize, which was usually a free pizza at Chuck E. Cheese. I can recall at least two times that I won the super smile winner award. I’ve got a great smile, but the victory probably had something to do with my dad being friends with the camera guy. Hopefully in my upcoming move I’ll uncover my VHS recording of my last appearance on Ramblin’ Rod, with my 7th grade friends for my 13th birthday.

Ramblin' Rod was on KPTV 12 for over 30 years. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 69. For more info on this delightful part of my here.

Hallelujah, I love him so!

Just a little update....Taylor did it! He passed his O.E. That means he's a REAL employee, done with training with Pinnacle. But that also means that we've decided to move to Michigan. The next month or so will be an adventure, but it means so much to me that Taylor's achieved a lifelong dream.

Motown, here we come!

6 Odd Facts about Me

It's time for another blog...the 6 odd facts about me. I didn't ever get officially tagged, but I still liked the idea of it. So here goes....

Times New Roman font- Times New Roman font drives me bonkers. I hate that MS Word always defaults to this atrocious font. It makes my eyes hurt. It frustrates me. It is uncreative. I switch documents over to Arial font as often as I can. Times New Roman should be retired. Seriously.

Earthquakes- in the 18 months since I’ve moved to California, I’m pretty sure I’ve thought about earthquakes every day. I’ve never been in an earthquake, but I have this morbid desire to experience one. As my time in Cali may be drawing to a close, I have had more anxiousness and excitement about earthquakes. I’ve been google-ing and wiki-ing earthquakes, faults, and archival quake photos. Yes, I know that they are destructive, scary, unpredictable, and devastating…but part of me feels like experiencing an earthquake is just as essential to living the California lifestyle as the Hollywood sign, Disneyland, In-N-Out, the Santa Anas, and being stuck in traffic on the 405. I’ve had a bizarre phobia since childhood of being naked in the shower during and earthquake and not being able to find my clothes before I have to meet at a disaster shelter. I think that experiencing an earthquake would help me overcome this childish fear.

My hair- My parents had decided on naming me Rachel, until I was cesarean’d out of my mom’s body with a mop of black hair. My parents named me Nicole because my hair was “black as coal.” (I can’t imagine being a Rachel, no offense) It’s always been extra thick, slightly coarse, and usually unruly. I started getting charged the adult price for haircuts when I was about 10. I’ve permed it a few times to even out my naturally wavy/curly hair. But I typically prefer it straight. The flat iron was the best invention in the past decade for my beauty happiness. I’ve always wished that I knew how to French braid it….but attempts at learning have turned it into a kinky knotty mess. I occasionally suffer from scalp dermatitis, and the only shampoo to consistently treat it is $200-per-4oz.-bottle Loprox (It’s been much better since I’ve lived in Cali). I have a widow’s peak and lots of wispies along my hairline. My neck used to be extremely “man-hairy” until May, when I decided to purchase a series of laser hair removal treatments. It’s so much better than it used to be…but it’s still not quite perfect. If any of you decide to try laser hair removal, be aware that it’s not going to be exactly what you expect…strangely painful, random regrowths, and unpredictable rashes. My hair recently has been more wavy than usual….just like it was when I was pregnant (DON’T FREAK OUT, the test was negative!) I’ve been going to work with my “wild hair” a day or two out of the week. Also in the hair category would be my plucking obsession. I love my Tweezermans... blue, pink, red, and black. They are the best tweezers ever. They keep my browline in check. And my husband in constant fear.

Nuts- I am picky with nuts. I don’t like peanuts, but I do like creamy peanut butter or peanut sauces…as long as I don’t have to chew the texture of the peanut. I have “food sensitivity” to walnuts. I haven’t had any Benadryl-worthy allergic reactions to walnuts recently, but I did have a few throat-swelling, rash producing walnut episodes. Pecans and brazil nuts give me cankers, and I don’t like the taste or texture either. I will, however, eat pecan pie and pick out the nuts because the gooey sauce is so tasty. Hazelnuts and macadamia nuts I can stand, but usually don’t eat if I can help it. I do like cashews, almonds and pistachios…but they must be on my own terms.

Almost famous- I’ve always wanted to be a famous. Not celebrity-paparazzi-tabloid-corrupt famous, but well known enough that random people would recognize me for something that I had accomplished and get compliments. I want to influence many people in my life, not necessarily for the things I do, but for the way I made them feel. But part of me really does want to be celebrity famous. When I was I kid, I would interview myself in front of a mirror. The “interviewer-me” would talk in a different accent; British, southern, French, valley girl, thug…and I would talk in my normal voice. My first TV appearances were on the Ramblin Road show…which experiences require their own post altogether. I was in multiple plays and singing groups, and love to be in the spotlight. I was also an anchor on SpartanVision…the Murray High School morning television show. I don’t think I’ll ever be featured individually in a magazine or newspaper, but hopefully I’ll get another chance at 15 minutes of fame.

Foreign Candy- I believe that candy almost always tastes better from another country. American chocolate is waxy and so-so…bring on the European chocolate! I begged my mom to take me to the Asian market for Pocky and rice paper candy as a kid. A trip to Canada showed me the joy of Smarties….not the chalky citric acid mini-montrosities…but the creamier Nestle M&M clone with prettier colors. I also love the Rowntrees fruit pastilles from England. But my favorite foreign candy is Hi-Chew. I discovered it at an ABC store in Hawaii. It’s a creamier, softer version of Starburst…with more realistic flavors. It comes in green apple, purple grape, strawberry and other fruit flavors, but the best flavor is yogurt. It sounds odd, but it’s delicious and refreshing. For a couple of years I purchased it off of a website called, but they closed up shop. I had a friend in Japan send me a care package full of Hi-Chew a few months ago, and it was lovely. Liz told me that she’s seen it at some at a cute market in Diamond Bar, but I haven’t yet picked any up.

Michigan: Part 2

I never really finished my account of my Michigan trip. I was lucky enough to get my first-choice flight home on Sunday. I also got an assigned seat when I checked in, which typically doesn’t happen when flying standby. Not a lot was significant in the last day and a half…just some apartment hunting, shopping, and having a night alone at the Clarion. But these following topics were curious enough to bring up in my blog, since I’ve been thinking about them for the last week.

Blinking red light left turns – In the left turn lane at stoplights, it threw me off to see a blinking red light. I thought Taylor was running a red light. Instead of having a solid green light when yielding to oncoming traffic, the red light blinks when it’s time to yield. Most lights give you a protected left turn arrow at the end of the light cycle, but some just go to solid red and you have to wait to turn in the next cycle. The stoplights are also big yellow columns that have lights for all 4 directions of traffic.

No right turn lanes – So much congestion on side streets would be eliminated if there were right turn lanes. Instead, traffic backs up and random people slam on the brakes because nobody uses turn signals. It’ll take some getting used to.

Rest stop between airport and Canton – Detroit Wayne Metro airport (DTW) is about 25 miles west of downtown Detroit, and Canton is about 10 miles north of the airport. It was funny to see a rest stop in between DTW and Canton, because you don’t have to drive too far from the airport to feel like you are in a forest. Hope that my bladder is never weak enough that I can’t make it home from the airport without stopping.

Colorful houses – Not many stucco or brick homes in Michigan, but lots of colorful painted homes. People are more adventurous with color there than I am used to. It reminded me a lot of Martha’s Vineyard. I saw plenty of Blue and Gold homes in Ann Arbor, which made sense for UM. But seeing a pepto-pink gabled home with plum trim? I guess in the snowy winter whiteouts, you do what it takes to find your home.

Value City – After driving by three or four times, Taylor and I were curious about a store called value city. The best I can compare it to is Big Lots meets Ross meets K-Mart meets Payless Shoes. Very bizarre combination. Prices were pretty cheap, but the only thing we bought was a pair of gloves for Taylor. We didn’t venture into the Value City furniture store next door. I can only imagine…

Meijers – You know how some movies and tv shows will make up their own version of a warehouse store or chain grocery store? Meijers is Michigan’s version of the Walmart. The signage, store layout, products offered, and general feeling was the same…but the lines weren’t long and there weren’t as many screaming kids as Walmart. The best part was their international foods section. I will enjoy having easy access to several of my hard-to-find favorite confections.

I-94: Detroit or Chicago – I’m used to seeing Ogden, Pocatello, Provo, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Diego on freeway signs, since I’ve driven I-15 for the past 11 years. But it was a trip to see an interchange where my options were Detroit or Chicago. Oh, the places you’ll go!

Smoking section restaurant selection – I don’t think I’ll ever be used to having a waitress was me “Smoking or Non-smoking?” I’m glad I’ve lived in states that have had smoking banned for years. Going into a restaurant that allows smoking is never very pleasant, but I was happy to be in the far corner away from the smokers. And on the topic of smoking, it was crazy to see the Speedway Gas station chain advertising cigarette prices on the same sign as the gas (Unleaded $3.19, Premium $3.39, Marlboro $4.87)

Grits – I finally tried grits. Erin made grits on Saturday morning. They’re kinda like cream of wheat. But instead of adding sweet stuff (brown sugar, honey, ice cream, etc) to bland hot cereal, the base flavor tastes like chicken broth. Added on top was a mixture of meat, eggs, and salsa. It was different, but I liked it.

I've been tagged

I didn't ever get tagged by anyone to blog about six crazy habits about myself, but Lizzie did tag me to devise a list of 5 courses I would take to improve my life. I tag Steve, Zach, Wahlee, Nicole, and Celeste to do the same....

Five Courses to Improve My Life

How to deal with a husband in perpetual training 101: I had no idea in late 2004 that “training” to be an airline pilot would be so complicated. Ground school, private pilot rating, multi-engine, instrument, commercial, Jet U…and now Pinnacle. He’s always in training! His life is dotted with one test or checkride after another. He gets stressed, which adds to my stress. Three years and $100,000 later…tomorrow we should have an answer of if his O.E. is complete and he joins the ranks of a reserve F.O. He will continue to have first-class FAA physicals, type ratings, and other misc training throughout his career. I need a class to train me to cope with his training.

Magnifying your talents, and uncovering the ones you’ve hidden under a bushel 202: I used to consider myself a good actress. I used to consider myself a good musician…dabbling in guitar, handbells, bass guitar, percussion, cello, violin and of course…years of piano and voice lessons. I also was really good at speaking French for a while. I’m sick of how often I say “I used to be able to do that.” I need to rediscover my talents, especially related to the arts. I don’t want to go by the screen name “cuteculturechick” if the only culture I participate is a spectator of concerts, plays, and movies.

Dental Hygiene and slave labor opportunities to pay for massive dentist bills 303: I have bad teeth. I don’t ALWAYS brush and floss twice a day. But I’m more careful with my teeth than a lot of people I’ve talked to. Between my parents and I, over ten thousand dollars (out of pocket) was been paid in my life for dental work. I have another $2600 awaiting me as soon as I can afford it. I have dental insurance, but I still can’t get the care I need. I am thinking of ways to creatively raise funds to help financially support my local DDS.

How to realize it’s okay to pay full price (occasionally) 404: I have never in my life had a point that I felt comfortable financially. My parents said “no” to most of my requests that didn’t involve birthdays, Christmas, and the beginning of the school year….all in the name of “we’re really broke.” I’ve been a college student, with my sole support for a semester being $500 in student loans, and the proceeds of selling refurbished VCRs. I’ve been the wife of a student for approximately 8 years (almost 5 with Steve, just over 3 with Taylor) and a single mom for almost a year. I’ve had times where I worked two jobs, and still had to beg for money from family to pay my utilities. I was raised on thrift stores and clearance racks, and still have a crazy obsession with getting the best price possible. I have a ridiculous variety of punch cards, 2-for-1 coupons, and various discounts in my purse pocket at any given time. I try to get student and employee discounts whenever possible. I subscribe to many email newsletters on how to cut corners and save a little dough. I’m not sure how much more frugal I could be. So when I actually have to pay full price….GAH! I feel like a failure and that I have been ripped off. As Taylor’s career progresses and we get a little less strapped for cash…I will be ready to accept the idea that full price is just a reality.

Coping with the unexpected route 505 (senior seminar): Divorce, illness, unemployment, chronically ill relatives, depression, obesity, bad jobs…there are very few things I know I can count on to be a constant in my life (i.e. the Gospel) I get a set idea of how things should happen in my life, fully knowing that nothing goes as planned. But trials and suprises pop up and sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air and saying “C’est Finis!” This class would definitely have to be taught by someone older, more spiritual, more experienced and more wise than myself.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Really quick

I'm not sick anymore. I'm happy about that. Z-Pak, popcicles, and a day off work helped me recover from tonsillitis and an ear infection.

Halloween was full of lots of candy. And Rosie was a major flirt.

Right now I'm blogging from Canton, MI. I was lucky enough to get a seat on a totally booked flight from LAX yesterday. Sure, I missed the first flight at 5:00 PM (which consequently had 3 seats left, but I didn't get on the flight due to a broken printer...WTF??) but I did make it on the 10:00 PM flight. It was just over four hours in a cold cabin between two snoring businessmen. I arrived at 5:00 AM, Taylor picked me up, and I crashed on the couch at Mike and Erin's about 6:00 AM. After 3 hours of sleep, we had breakfast, played with adorable 2-year-old William, then headed out. We had lunch at Panera Bread (mmmmmm) then drove to Ann Arbor. I've been looking into jobs there at the University of Michigan. But after driving out there (20 miles on the freeway = 35 min with very little traffic) and going through crowded one-lane streets through Studentville USA, I decided I should be looking at other locations than just UM. It's a cool town. I'm sure that if we move out here, I'll go out and enjoy it. We probably won't venture into Detroit proper on this trip, but it's been interesting to get a taste of the area.

Oh, and we saw "Dan in Real Life." It's great...I recommend it.

p.s. Taylor's still not done with O.E. He's nervous...he has an appointment with a higher-up in Pinnacle's training department on Monday. Hopefully it won't be a pink slip.....

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