Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Meeting Blogger Friends: Lori

Call me crazy, but I've never been one to shy away from meeting a new online friend. I'm gutsy and trusting, and I've made some amazing friends just by taking a chance. Heck, I met my husband from the internet! Last week in Cali, I tried to meet up with Hizzeather, but it wasn't in the cards due to difficult car situations. I'm looking forward to meeting Partner of a Pilot sometime in 2009 in England, as well as my ladies from Pilot Wives Club in March. And yesterday was my day to meet Lori.

Lori and I have been emailing for nearly a year, since she found me linked to my dad's accident blog. She randomly met my grandma waiting for a Temple Square flower tour in 2006. She got along well with grandma, and spent the rest of the trip in SLC with her. They've been keeping in touch via email, and we eventually started emailing. During this year she's faithfully followed my blog, and also began a blog of her own. I was going to be in her neck of the woods driving through Ohio, so we finally met up for lunch.

We tried to meet at Cavanaugh's Irish pub, but they weren't serving food yet. We settled on a Bob Evans' around the corner. We chatted and ate for about an hour. The funniest part for me is that she had the same haircut as Rosie! (long dark layers with bangs)


Thanks for lunch Lori! It was great to finally meet you!

To Liz and Mary

Dear Liz and Mary,
I love you two! Thanks for such a fun time this weekend. You ladies are truly remarkable. I miss living close to you like crazy. I will never forget our night together of great food, great conversation, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (post on that to follow).

Love,
Nicole

Monday, December 29, 2008

Boxing Day

I'm back from all my travels on the west coast, and arrived back in Detroit yesterday. Today I went around looking for boxes, and packed with my friends, Debi, Sue, Pat, and Lisa. Rosie's room is about half-full with neatly-packed and labeled boxes. I've been going-going-going since 6 am, and now I'm going to take a NAP.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Together

I just have to say how wonderful it was to have Christmas together with my husband. He's such a great man with a great family, and being with him was the best gift I could have asked for. All the stuff I mentioned yesterday (giftwise) was just icing on the cake. I can't wait for the next few weeks to be over, and we'll be settled together in our new home in Atlanta.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

New Layout


I spent my early Christmas Morning insomnia formatting my new blog layout. I struggled through Photoshop Elements (PSE) to make my own header. It wasn't as easy as I thought, and I wasn't satisfied with my first draft (the image in this post, click on it for detail) I spent a little more time and used some tutorials and made one that I like better.

Do you like it?

Totally Spoiled

Best Gifts of the Morning:

Black Leather Jacket
Timbuk2 messenger bag
BYU Womens Chorus CD - Wondrous Love
John Bytheway book - When Times are Tough
DVD - Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog
DVD - Jillian's 30 Day Shred Workout
CASH

Tetris Christmas


A Tetris Christmas from Jared Foster on Vimeo.

Just a little Christmas fun thanks to Melancholy Smile.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Pilot Family version of the Christmas Card


MERRY CHRISTMAS
from our family to yours! May the joy of the season bring you bountiful happiness, humorous company, good food, safe travels, much eggnog, joy and the spirit of the season!
The Bullock Family

Non-Rev Roulette


I decided on a new term for the luck required in flying non-rev...Non-Rev Roulette. I coined the term while punching in a Twitter message about crossing my fingers about getting a seat from SLC to LAX on Monday night. There had been a lot of weather delays through the day, and the airline had reassigned many passengers to my flight. The flight had 48 seats available in the morning, and an hour before I needed to leave for the airport the flight was overbooked by 6. However, several flights never made it in and the flight ended up being wide open. I got my boarding pass, lugged my bags through the jetbridge, and realized that our seats were in FIRST CLASS!

Rosie and I got free movies, pillows, blankets, Sunchips and comfy seats. I watched 97 minutes of American Teen, and Rosie watched Wall-E (when she was not listening to her new pink MP3 player from Grandma and Grandpa Watson) It would have been nicer to have seats in first on a longer flight, but we were happy to have a little pre-Christmas perk!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Farewell, Mary Ruth Taylor

Today I'll be attending the memorial service for Taylor's grandmother, Mary Ruth Taylor. She finally succumbed after a 25 year fight with Alzheimer's. She had been staying in a care facility in Rexburg, ID for the last year or two, so I hadn't seen her for a while. This is his second grandparent to pass away in 2008. Taylor's really broken up about not being able to attend the small family memorial service today, and possibly not attend the large funeral service in California in January (depending on his ability to claim bereavement days right as he gets 9 days off for moving).

I was fortunate to have 2 visits with Grandma Taylor in 2004 while still somewhat lucid. She was a sharp wit and loved to entertain. She immediately fell in love with Rosie, and loved to dote on her. We had our wedding open house at her home when Taylor and I got married. Through all of Taylor's tumultuous growing-up years, his grandparents raised him as a son. It tore him up when they sold their home on Edgecomb in Covina, CA because he called it "the only solid place in his childhood." We will miss you, Grandma!

My last 24 hours...TMI Alert

Very ill.
6 hours at InstaCare.
3 liters of lactated ringers.
3 vials of blood.
1 shot of Toradol.
Most likely diagnosis? C. Difficile
Suggested diet? BRAT and popcicles

I feel significantly less ill now that I'm rehydrated. I leave SLC tonight for LAX. I pray that the other travelers are understanding. And I get an aisle seat near the lav.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Flickr Mosaic


FLICKR MOSAIC

Concept:
1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.

http://www.flickr.com/search/

2. Pick an image.

3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.
bighugelabs.com/flickr/mosaic.php (choose four columns and three rows, also choose individual URL’s)

Questions:
1. What is your first name? Nicole
2. What is your favorite food? Gelato
3. What school did you go to? Murray High
4. What is your favorite color? Many
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Tom Chaplin
6. Favorite drink? Guarana Antarctica
7. Dream vacation? Florence
8. Favorite dessert? Dulce de Leche Cake
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Radio DJ
10. What do you love most in life? My husband
11. One word to describe you. Eclectic
12. Your nickname. Babe

I tag Lizzie, Wahlee, Erin, Brett, The Pilot's Wife, Lori, and Hollie!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

All Cuteculturechick Wants for Christmas...

For my blogging alter-ego, all I want for Christmas is a cute header for my blog! I'm not talented when it comes to making headers, and I haven't quite figured out how to use Photoshop Elements. If any of you are in a creative mood, or haven't thought of a gift for me yet...now you know what I really want!

And if I could have anything I wanted, no financial questions asked , these are the things I want for Christmas, but don't need in the least:

3G iPhone or 120 GB iPod
Black Leather Jacket
Dansko Mae shoes
Wii
Ogio or Timbuk2 messenger bag
NeatReceipts scanalyzer

(Did you know you can post your Amazon wishlist on your blog? Check out the widget on my sidebar)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas!


I've been tagged by at least 3 people for this Christmas meme. Here goes :)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? It doesn't matter so much, as long as it fits in my carry-on. It's gift card central for me usually
2. Real tree or Artificial? I like it both ways, to be honest. But I haven't had my own tree up for 3 years. We seem to regularly move at Christmas...
3. When do you put up the tree? One of the first few days of December
4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime the first week of January
5. Do you like eggnog? LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! Although this year I've been having the Silk Soy Nog (and it's actually a lot better than it sounds)
6. Favorite gift received as a child? My hot pink and electric blue Pogo Ball
7. Hardest person to buy for? My mom
8. Easiest person to buy for? Rosie
9. Do you have a nativity scene? No, but I'd love to have the Willow Tree Nativity.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?It's been email or blog posts for a while
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? An engagement ring from my ex-husband
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Christmas Story and How the Grinch Stole Christmas
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I shop all year long on the clearance racks and online when there are good deals, not necessarily for specific people. Then I see what I have, and decided who it goes to, and who I need to still buy for
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? *sigh* yes
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Egg Nog, Divinity, homemade caramels, Caramel Chex mix, and Ruffles with Grandpa's clam dip
16. Lights on the tree? Enough to blind you!
17. Favorite Christmas song? Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney, and O Come O Come Emmanuel
18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel as much as possible! Especially with family is so many states
19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixon! Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen! Rudolph Red Nosed Reindeer!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?A big sparkly silver star
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One in the evening and the rest in the morning, unless we have a big family get together on Christmas Eve
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The Crowds
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Blue and Silver
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Soup in bread bowls
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Leather jacket, 120 GB Ipod, Electric Keyboard, and a bunch of stuff off Amazon

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Weight Loss Blog

I decided to pick up the posting again on my private weight loss blog that I started almost a year ago. The funny thing is that I weigh about the same as I did when I started the blog in February, even though I've been up at least 12 pounds higher, and down 9 pounds lower than my current weight. I'm a total yo-yo-er. If you are really my friend, or really want to be part of my support system, email me or leave a comment with your email to become part of my support network.

This means you must comment and show me the love. My husband is gone all the time, and day-to-day encouragement is needed.

Hop on The BlogFrog Bandwagon

I've mentioned before in posts that I follow a mad number of blogs. I just counted who I follow this morning, and it's over 190. No wonder I waste so much time on my computer! I love my e-BFFs! For those who are wanting to connect to other bloggers, BlogFrog is a great site to reconnect. It's a Facebook for bloggers. Check it out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

family Date Update


With all the times I've been to SLC this year, I can't believe it's been so long since I've seen Mary. Going off to college does that, I suppose.


In my dad's words, Clint looks a little "horny"


Clint was so enamored, he just couldn't hold back!


Rosie wanted to get in on the action all night


We all went out as a family to Red Robin for Dinner, with Clint and Melina as stowaways. My mom called them her "adopted kids," and dad made plenty of comments to Mary and Clint to make them blush on their "family date." So far so good!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Matchmaking

Clint
SWM. Age 23. Occupation: pilot

Mary
SWF. Age 18. Occupation: Student

Since Taylor met Clint at Jet U in March 2007, he's been talking about how he's wanted to set him up with my sister Mary. She was 16 at the time, and he was 21. Taylor was insistent. For months, we've been trying to arrange a time when all of us would be in town at once. He met her today for the first time in SLC; she's 18 now and he's 23. She picked him up from the airport and they hung out with the family. So far they've watched a movie together and he's played the guitar and serenaded her, then all of the family went out to dinner when Rosie and I arrived. They plan to go snowboarding tomorrow, which both of them love to do. Will Taylor's long-awaited jaunt into matchmaking be successful?


Oregon Travelogue

Saturday, the three of us arose early to get ready to leave for the airport. My visiting teacher Sue drove us to DTW bright and early. We ate a quick breakfast at the airport, and got boarding passes without too much trouble. Rosie and I flew towards Portland (flying Northwest via Northwest) and Taylor flew back to Atlanta. This would be my last trip to Portland while my Grandma Watson still lived in Oregon – she moves to SLC on Saturday. Rosie forgot the battery to her portable DVD player (again!) so I handed over my iPod. The 5 hour flight was the longest I’ve been on in years, and has made me second guess the idea of flying with a child overseas.

We arrived around noon and picked up our rental car. Rosie wanted to drive into Washington State, so we crossed the bridge and got lunch. We ate at the Burgerville USA on Mill Plain. Since the last time I ate there in 2002, the chain has taken a more healthy approach – local and sustainable, with many organic ingredients-which is not typical for a burger joint. I got my beloved crispy chicken sandwich with Tillamook cheese, and fell in love with the most delicious sweet potato fries imaginable (yes Liz, even better than the 101 CafĂ©!)

I wanted to visit Title Nine’s store in northwest Portland, so we hopped on I-84. After a few miles, we realized we were going the wrong direction (east towards The Dalles). Since we’d already traveled a good portion of the trip, we continued to Multnomah Falls. It was pouring rain, but we didn’t realize that they had courtesy umbrellas until we’d gotten ourselves soaked. We snapped a few pictures, and after about 100 stairs, decided against the hike up to the bridge in the rain. We grabbed a few souvenirs at the lodge, and continued back to Portland. We enjoyed our drive through downtown, over the bridges of the Willamette River, with the friendliest drivers I’ve ever seen. We knew grandma was anxious for us to arrive, so we didn’t stop downtown. I decided to stop by my old house on Makah Street. I parked the car, and saw that a car was pulling out of the driveway across the street. It was Stephanie Siljeg, who’d been my neighbor from 1986-1993. We made eye contact, had a moment of happy recognition, and she pulled over. We made plans to get reacquainted at some other point of the trip.

We arrived at her home in Tualatin around 3:00 pm. We had plans to visit with Alaina and Jillian’s families in Salem Saturday night, but a large snowstorm was forecasted, and we canceled. So we just visited at her home for an hour, and then drove over to Bridgeport Village. We had dinner at Paradise Bakery, and went around looking at the shops. We stopped back over at Best Buy in Tualatin to buy another SD card, so I wasn’t limited on the photos I took on the trip. When we got back from dinner, we visited for a few minutes, and Grandma went to bed early. Rosie and I went over to the Siljegs and visited with Jodie, Kim, and Stephanie. It was so fun to get caught up after so many years. Of any non-family relation I have right now, the Siljegs are the oldest connection I’ve been able to make contact with. It was a lovely visit over hot chocolate and cookies, reminiscing over stories of the last 22 years, and I hope to keep in touch with them in the future. I got back to Grandma’s a little after 10 pm, and retired for the night after 21 busy hours.

Sunday morning we looked out the window to see the first bits of snowfall. By the time we left for church at 8:40 am, there was a decent 2" accumulation. Church was canceled after sacrament meeting, and we drove back to Grandma’s. We had plans to go to a large extended family get-together at Laurie and Ricks, but their area was impassable in the snow, and chains were required to get there. Eventually, we had about 7 inches of snow. For those not familiar with Oregonians and snow…even with just a dusting, everything shuts down, especially if it gets icy.

Grandma looked through her cupboards for any remaining food items, since she’d been finishing off all her food and packing her dishes. We had a lunch of chicken salad sandwiches, frozen noodle casserole, and steamed veggies. With the snow as it was, we stayed in for the night, with the exception of a snowy walk that Rosie and I took near sunset. We watched Hallmark Channel movies and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas broadcast. Grandma spent some time with me getting set up on the Familysearch.org website – she’s an expert since she’s currently serving an online church service mission for family history. She looks forward to moving to Salt Lake at the end of the week to serve in person.

For Monday, Grandma will be picked up by her realtor to sign all the closing documents for her home. Flight loads look better for Monday night instead of Tuesday morning (unless everything gets messed up from the snow). Rosie and I hope to meet up with Coral and/or Carisa today, both friends from my youth…as long as the weather cooperates and the roads are passable. They’re pretty icy at this point. We’ll hopefully be able to spend some time walking around downtown Portland, before heading to PDX for our flight to SLC.

Top Twelves of 2008

I’m a bit late for the 12 days of Christmas to start, but here are my top 12 lists of 2008 (because 10 are just not enough!)

Top 12 Obsession Albums of 2008
Twilight Soundtrack
Black Holes and Revelations by Muse
Perfect Symmetry by Keane
Once Soundtrack
Viva la Vida by Coldplay
Riot by Paramore
Narrow Stairs by Death Cab for Cutie
On a Clear Night by Missy Higgins
Juno Soundtrack
The Block by New Kids on the Block
All Sides by OAR


Top 12 Movies I First Saw in 2008
Twilight
Once
Juno
Madagascar II
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Wall-E
On Broadway
27 Dresses
Speed Racer
Iron Man
Run Fatboy Run
High School Musical 3: Senior Year


Top 12 Favorite TV Shows of 2008
The Office
House
Flight of the Conchords
Food Network Challenge
American Idol
Grey’s Anatomy
Private Practice
ER
Pushing Daisies
The Biggest Loser
Big Bang Theory
Music and the Spoken Word

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Good ol' Oregon Sunshine: frozen variety

Just dropping in for a moment to say hi from Tualatin, OR. Grandma doesn't have wireless internet, and I feel bad hogging her computer. Today the Pacific Northwest was hit with a doozy of a winter storm. There's currently about 5 inches on the ground here. Church was cancelled at the end of sacrament meeting to ensure everyone could drive home carefully. The big family party at my aunt and uncle's in Portland was cancelled because chains are required to make it to their house. So today, Rosie and I are snowed in with grandma. We watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas broadcast, and are now going to do some cooking. Hopefully this storm will blow over, and won't turn to ice, so I can enjoy my Portland plans for tomorrow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What to pack?


Earlier this month, I posted about my intended gypsy lifestyle for the remainder of the month. I will be leaving Detroit today, and will not return until December 28/29, depending on flight loads. Above is a picture of (a new version of my) trusty silver suitcase. It has traveled with me for over 40,000 flight miles and 3,000 road miles with me this year. It's a the Swissgear Zurich 20" pilot case in metallic pewter from Target. Before I was the wife of an airline pilot, and traveled by air infrequently, I would buy the super-bargain luggage from department stores. For $69.99, you could get a 5-piece set in a myriad of colors. Perfect, right? It only took about 3 trips by air before the wheels and handle were shot. I decided that I would invest in a great carry-on bag, since checking luggage on a standby flight is a non-rev faux pas.

This morning I'm flying to Portland, OR. The typically temperate December weather that I remember as a child will not be the reality this weekend. Heavy rain and snow showers are predicted tonight. Salt Lake City weather will vary from the 20's to the 4o's. And I won't be in California for 10 days, and the forecast out that far predicts average temperatures in the 60's to 80's. I have very limited space to pack for very different climates. For a girl who's a mad travel junkie, here's what I'm wearing and packing in my limited space:

On me:
Black half-zip sweater
Long sleeved tee
Black casual trousers
Two pairs of socks
Keen Ashland shoes (comfortable for walking long distances, but all-weather)
Parka, gloves, scarf and hat (which stuffed into a tote bag make a decent pillow)

In the laptop case:
Tucson, my trusty laptop
Meds, cold remedies, motrin, kleenex
3 magazines
Ipod and headphones
My quart-size zip-top bag with my less than 3 oz. toiletries
Snacks and gum

In the suitcase:
1 pair of jeans
1 sweater
4 short sleeve shirts
1 dressy shirt
2 shades, black and red
Underclothes and socks
1 dress, with hose and slip
1 pair dress shoes
Toiletry bag with dry makeup, floss, toothbrush, etc
Glasses in a case
Small Christmas gifts

During the summer, I'll include my swimsuit and some capris. I've almost got this packing down to a science. Any other tips for packing in with limited space?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh, Kay!


It makes such a difference when you work with great people, even if only a few. My first day of work, I was strolling by Kay’s desk. She was perusing Zappos, and I sauntered in her cubicle and we began discussing our shoe preferences. (She’s a Merrell lady, while I prefer Keens). Then later in the day, I saw her on Fodors and we started talking food. She’s always on the up-n-up on artsy flicks at the State, places to eat and shop, and tasty recipes. She's traveled all over the US and Europe, and has given me ideas for future trips.

Kay has such intelligent wit, and keeps me in stitches. We developed a great cellmate relationship - she’s right over the wall from me. We always have something to say to each other, and continually make each other laugh. We giggle and gossip. We’ve had a great time discussing conflicting issues respectfully through the election season. She was the one who arranged pro bono Utah vs Michigan football tickets for Rosie and I. She’s spent a lot of time in Utah, and understands the “Utah Mentality” that drives me crazy. We take lunch trips on the city bus downtown, most often to Silvio’s Organic Pizza. Agewise, I’m between her and her son. She’s wise with a youthful style and edge. And she’s understanding and empathetic, and has made the tough times bearable. Merci Kay, Je T’aime!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Integrity and Virtue


On Sunday, I attended my last week in the Plymouth Ward. I have been serving in the primary and nursery for my tenure in the ward, but really wanted to attend Relief Society for my last week. I'm so glad I did. There was a combined lesson/program on finding JOY in the season through serving Jesus, Others, and taking time for Yourself. I was immediately drafted to sing Lord, I would Follow Thee in a small ensemble with violin.

But even more moving than the lesson and music was the
letter read by one of the Young Women from the First Presidency during announcements. It was announcing a change to the Young Women's theme, based on a talk by Elaine Dalton:

"Now is the time for a return to virtue!"

The attribute and value of Virtue has been added to the Young Women theme. "Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. It encompasses chastity and moral purity."

The time has come for the young women of the Church to lead the world in a return to virtue. This is the time to be pure and to qualify for the guidance of the Holy Ghost. In the coming year, it is our desire that all young women and their leaders focus on the meaning of virtue, what young women can do to accept and act upon this value, and how this attribute can strengthen young women as they prepare to be worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and receive temple ordinances.

We will distribute through local priesthood leaders and also post online the Personal Progress value experiences and projects associated with this value. We desire all young women to complete and be recognized for completing this value, in addition to the seven values listed in the Personal Progress book. You may want to study the following scriptural references as you contemplate a return to virtue.

"I believe one virtuous young woman led by the Spirit can change the world."

For those not familiar with the LDS Church, Young Womens is the organization for girls aged 12-18. For the third hour of our Sunday church block, YW meet to discuss spiritual topics relevant to their age group, based on the Young Women's Values: Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, and Integrity...and now Virtue.

It made my heart burn with happiness to know that the leaders of the church are ever mindful of the moral turpitude of the world in this day and age. Our YW NEED the instruction on moral principles, even more than I felt that I needed the annual "chastity lesson" or "standards night" 10-12 years ago. It's not always easy to tell a hormonal teenager, "Don't date till you're 16" or "Don't make out with your date in the car." With the onslaught of sexual content easily accessible (whether sought or accidentally discovered) on television, movies, and the internet...I feel that this generation needs more frank discussion on virtue and morality.

I worry about my daughter as she becomes more impressionable to adult themes, and I have to always be careful what I allow her to watch. Obviously, I believe that moral values need to be taught in the home, but for YW who think their parents are fuddy-duddys and old fashioned...a carefully-prepared lesson from a YW leader they trust just might be the catalyst for more careful and virtuous behavior. The church curriculum will be updated, and personal progress goals will soon be added.

Kudos to you, church leaders, for making this doctrine and subject a priority.

Undisputed Eternal Queen of Awesomeness

A few weeks ago, I had blogged about how I was on a quest for tracking down a DVD copy of the 1983 version of Pirates of Penzance for Lizzie. I looked through Ebay, Amazon, and a host of obscure international media websites. I was able to find a copy, and purchased two ridiculously priced DVDs (I wasn't about to complete this search without a copy for myself). It was an SVHS transfer recorded from DirecTv, but it was my best option.

Tuesday the DVDs arrived in my mailbox. I talked Erin into previewing it with me while we cut out patterns for our vintage aprons. It was a night of domestic bliss...sewing, baking, and Gilbert and Sullivan. For being a VHS transfer, it was pretty dang good. Lizzie has said that she only has her very old VHS copy that has been viewed into the ground, and endured torture from her brother who can't stand all the giggling in "Climbing Over Rocky Mountains." It ain't no Blu-Ray, but it'll do. I can't wait to watch it with her.

Speaking of, this is an invitation to all Elegant Ladies of Leisure (or refined gentlemen who don't mind putting their masculinity into question)...an evening at the (home) THEATER:

Friday, December 26, 2008 at 7:00 pm
Pirates of Penzance on the big screen (well, a 42'' HD tv)
La Verne, CA at my in-laws
We will have tea and crumpets. Feel free to bring frou frou desserts, parasols, lace gloves and period costumes, and if you're daring...wear pancake makeup. You can even crochet a doily at the same time.


And even if Pirates isn't your thing, we'll be seeing Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at the Maverick Theater on Friday, December 27th. Let me know if you want me to reserve tickets...I'm trying to get a group rate.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dear Government,

Dear Government,
All eyes are on the Detroit Automakers request for a multi-billion dollar bailout. I realize this is a huge request, with many long-term consequences either way. However, at this moment I'm requesting another type of bailout in the Detroit region. Help my struggling family for the next month. I just paid my bills- car payment, credit card payment, 2 student loan payments, electricity, daycare, dentist, tithing, car insurance, union dues, internet, cell phone, etc - and the following will just have to wait till the next paycheck. (Which is a terrible way to feel in this holiday season).

If you choose to comply, this is what we need:

$368.17 for student loan #3 (I was able to pay the first 2)
$420.18 for student loan #4
$351.74 for student loan #5
$224.25 for car loan
$51.07 for gas bill (yes, we keep our apartment at a 61 degrees in the winter so our bill is affordable)

Total bailout: $1415.41

And if you're feeling extra generous, feel free to send $1105 to pay for our moving truck, $500 for our security deposit, and enough to cover our first and last month's rent. And for good measure, some groceries and a fat gas card for all my traveling.

See! Much easier than $15 billion!

Love,
Nicole

Monday, December 8, 2008

True Love

True love is being willing to wake up at 4:20 am to drive your husband to the airport in 16 degree windy weather with a smile on your face. And true love is having a hubby willing to come home on his "relaxing" weekend off to fix your computer when it crashes from the Facebook virus.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Honest Mistakes

On Thursday night, I was Facebooking to my heart's content, and got a message to from my visiting teacher to view a video of her cute kids. I clicked on the link. I'd been updating other media players that night, so when the pop-up for Flash player update came on, I clicked it without thinking. I looked at the actual page and realized that YouTube was spelled YuoTube. I immediately realized what I was happening, and tried to stop it. But it was to no avail...my laptop was invaded with the Facebook virus. It turned my laptop into a zombie. I was horrified.

My sweet husband decided to come back to Michigan for a day and a half to see if he could recover my files, wipe the hard drive,
start from scratch and reinstall programs. . To thank him for coming, I made him some peanut butter cookies...which got a little burned. While he was prepping the external hard drive for the 80GB file transfer, we decided to watch Garden State. I grabbed a bowl of water and one of my pomegranates to start shucking the arils, and realized that I sprayed purple juice all over my favorite crisp white tee shirt. I ran to my purse for my Tide-to-go pen, but it had been rubbed to death and was bone dry. I'm crossing my fingers that it'll come out in the wash.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I need a new drug

Lately, my addiction and craving has been for all things pomegranate. I've loved the fruit for years, but really got hooked on it in California. I have been happy that so many companies are hopping on the Pom bandwagon, and introducing delicious pom products. I love the Crystal Light Immunity cherry pomegranate single-serving mix-ins. I always keep a few in my carry-on bag to drink when I'm flying. I tried the pom Orbit gum, and love that it has a true pom flavor, not some kind of odd minty-pom like some of their fruit flavors. And this week I found Pom Jelly Belly beans. They are made with pom concentrate, and if you eat 35 beans, you've reached your necessary allowance of vitamin C.

I wish that the fruit weren't so expensive to purchase. The seeds from one fruit are quite filling, and Rosie and I share them and get our fill. We shared one over Thanksgiving and enjoyed it for two days. Pomegranates may not be the superfruit that blueberries are, but they are tasty and full of anti-oxidants. I want one like crazy right now, and I'm just waiting for Randazzo's to open so I can pick up a few.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The importance of December 5th

25 years ago, my brother Shawn was born. I'm nearly 4 years older than him. I fell in love with his big blue eyes and rosy cheeks. He's a big teddy bear of a tenderheart. He likes to call himself my big little brother. His preference for chocolate has always been well-vocalized, and most of the time I think of his birthday, I think of chocolate cream pie or chocolate cake. Today's his 25th birthday. Happy Quarterlife, Shawn!
10 years ago, I was on a Ricks College Choir retreat at the Teton Lodge. I was a flirt to a fault, and the red head with the cool glasses and charming personality caught my eye. We had a blast at the retreat. We cheated on big group games to be on the same teams. By afternoon devotional, we were holding hands. And after the dance that night, we had our first kiss. 19 days later we were engaged, and 3 months later we were married. The joke about "Ring by Spring" was true in our case. This picture was when he picked me up for Ricks College Cabaret, the night we expressed that we loved each other. Although he's not a part of my life anymore, he brought Rosie into the world, and for that I'll always be grateful.

5 years ago, our divorce was 4 days from being final. The consequences of his actions led to the downfall our our marriage. I had a bit of a personal revolution in December 2003, mostly for the good. It was an awkward time of figuring out single parenting, jumping back into the dating market, learning to be a self-sufficient provider, and really becoming an adult.

Today, I was offered a job that I can see me sticking around at for a good, long while. From what I understand about the position, I will be able to meld my medical and administrative knowledge with my spunky creativity. Moving to Atlanta will be a new chapter in my life. I look forward to the things I'll learn and the experiences that are waiting for me.

Woo Hoo!

Nicole is jumping up and down with glee.......she got the job at Emory!

Today I was offered the long-awaited position at Emory. I'll be an Admin Assistant in Development and University Relations. My first day is January 5th. Taylor and I also decided on the place we'll be living in. It's a 2 bed/2bath condo in North Druid Hills, 4 miles from Emory. Let the packing begin!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gypsy Lifestyle

Yesterday at work, I let my boss know that my last day would be December 12th (instead of the 19th, which I'd told her in October). I still don't have a firm job offer, but there's too much going on this month to be focused at work. I decided that I want to do some extensive traveling on the west coast, and return to Detroit the last week of December.

If all goes as planned, Rosie and I will be living the gypsy lifestyle out of carry-on bags for a couple weeks. We'll be braving the airport crowds, and pleading with gate agents to board flights on our timetable. This is our preferred itinerary:

Dec 13-16 Portland, OR
Dec 16-20 Salt Lake City, UT
Dec-20-27 Los Angeles, CA
Dec 27-29 Detroit, MI (to pack, clean, finish up dental work)
Dec 30 Drive from Detroit to Atlanta with a jam-packed car
Dec 31 Pensacola, FL for a New Years Party
Jan 4, '09 Begin new job

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another Farewell


"I wish I could engrave on every heart what I so keenly know and feel. I bear unwavering testimony that our Heavenly Father and His divine Son, Jesus Christ, rule and reign, and that we must all understand that the gospel is everlasting."

Joseph B. Wirthlin 1917-2008

'Tis the Season

Some people create elaborate hand-made greeting cards. Some people make amazingly cute holiday home videos. Some people deck the halls so beautifully that it looks like a catalog. Some people bake, and others do volunteer service. What is a Bullock family Christmas tradition? Seeing Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton, CA.

We're going the week of Christmas...probably December 23rd. You're invited to join us. If you've never seen the 1963 movie, you can check your local Walmart's dollar DVD bin...it's usually there. IMDB has listed it on the 100 worst films ever made list. Just imagine the campiness on stage with thrift store costumes and comedy improv actors. You KNOW you want to see it!

Technology Decade

1998: Started a Hotmail account
1999: Fell in love with Ebay
2000: Purchased my first computer and cell phone
2001: Purchased my first DVD player and digital camera
2002: Began Blogging
2003:
Texting
2004: Internet Dating
2005: Myspace
2006: Facebook
2007: Purchased my first laptop and iPod
2008: Twitter


What will I be obsessed with in 2009?

Inhalation Hazard

It was inevitable. Every hospital I've ever worked at, I've been a patient at. I thought I'd be getting off easy with a freebie at U of M Hospital, but I proved my precedent correct yesterday.

I was feeling a bit exhausted from Sunday's roadtrip, but otherwise with no illness symptoms. Right after lunch, I went into the tiny closet restroom across from my office, and was floored with a terrible smell. I really needed to relieve myself, so I thought I'd quickly finish and leave. Upon the throne, my eyes, throat, skin, and lungs started burning. My skin started to blotch up. I looked up in the air, and saw little particulates dancing around. I became lightheaded and dizzily fell off. Someone had used the industrial strength disinfectant spray (for cleaning bathroom surfaces) as an AIR FRESHENER, and sprayed it all through the air.

This chemical spray, which should only be used in a WELL VENTILATED AREA...not a little closet bathroom whose fan turns off with the light. And it wasn't like a little shot of potpourri spray, it was full-on 80's AquaNet-like sprayage. It was as potent as oven cleaner. There's a demon sprayer in my department (I still haven't figured out who) and I've left notes before to please be considerate when using this CLEANER to "freshen". I'm pretty sure I hit the brunt for a very recent spray. For some reason, the environmental services team leaves this aerosol in the department at all time, just because it's kinda far-flung from the rest of the public restrooms in the building. I started using those far-flung multi-stall public restrooms, but I didn't yesterday. I learned my lesson.

I immediately sent an email to Safety Management services, who advised me to go immediately to Employee Health. They said they'd send out an "environmental industrial hygienist" to check out the ventilation in the room. My favorite coworker walked me to the Med Inn and waited for me to be evaluated. Employee health checked my vitals, gave me a puff of Ventolin, and had me rest in the lobby for 15 minutes. Still felt shortness of breath, chest tightness, and eye stinging. They suggested that I be evaluated in the ER. So they wheeled me down, I waited an hour to be triaged, another 45 minutes for chest xrays, and finally 3 hours after the exposure got the breathing treatment.

The morning after, I still feel yucky. My eyes still sting, my breathing is slightly labored, and I really don't feel like working. However, I've got a dentist appointment this morning that I have to get out of bed for. They'll be checking the tooth abscess from the root canal and see if it's healed enough to do the crown prep. Haven't I been through enough already?!?

Monday, December 1, 2008

December Schedule

For the month of November, Taylor was on reserve in ATL. With the upgrade in pay to transfer to the ATL base, it's become a lot more senior base. He consistently held an awesome line in DTW, but when his mockbid for December came up...it was really iffy if he'd hold a line. He hated being on reserve living in Stone Mountain, since it's a 40 minute non-traffic drive each way (and you only get 90 minutes to report to Ops on reserve). So Tay's on high-speeds for December with a decent number of days off. The best part is that he has most weekends off, and he has the 23rd-26th off for Christmas. We'll be celebrating in California this year. Palm trees with multicolored lights and warm weather with the in-laws...that's the kind of holiday I want!

I am still not sure what's happening with my job and the move to ATL. I hope to hear from the hiring manager at Emory this week. But now that I'm being considered for two positions in the department, it may take longer to make a hiring decision. I'm hoping I'll get the one with better pay, but they just barely started considering applicants. My notice at work in Michigan was for December 19th, but I'm really hoping to push it up to the 12th if I get an offer. I plan to do some mad traveling this month and just pull Rosie out of school for that last week before Christmas.

My grandma has successfully found a buyer for her home in Tualatin, OR, so I will be going to spend a few days with her there. I have reconnected with a few friends from Elementary and Jr High years, and hope to see a few of them on the trip....as well as visit some aunts, uncles and cousins I rarely see. After Portland, I'll fly to SLC. I'll have some pre-Christmas time with my family, go to a HS friend's wedding reception, and hopefully help them move into their new home in Lehi (as long as the lease option goes through this week. They still haven't sold their home in Murray) Then around the 20th-22nd, I'll scoot down to California.

After Cali, hopefully I'll be starting at Emory. Taylor promised to do the packing this time, so I hope that I don't have to be stuck in Michigan any longer. But who knows if my plans will actually work out. Here's hoping!

Observations from Interstate 75

1. People just don't know how to drive in the rain! I saw at least 10 accidents yesterday...slammed into the median, running off the road, into the oncoming lane of traffic across a median. Yeah, it was torrentially rainy with poor visibility, but come on....use some common sense! Don't drive 90 when conditions don't permit!

2. I passed at least 50 Waffle Houses, and the one furthest north is in Bowling Green, OH

3. In KY, there's a sign for Big Bone Lick State Park. Also at this exit is a truck stop called TMI

4. I passed through lots of exotic places like Paris, Athens, Versailles, Rome, and London, but none of them were the locations I actually wanted to visit with the same name

5. The Wal-mart in Lima, OH does not sell cotton candy. I was having a massive hankering for cotton candy, and every other Wal-mart sells it...but I had to settle for Pringles and jerkey

6. If you ever pass through KY, stop at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea. So many cool Kentucky-made crafts and a CLEAN restroom

7. Twittering makes everything on the road a little more fun to report

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