Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bonne anniversaire!

If you've been reading, you know that I've had a pretty rough week. Monday's news left me crying until the well of my tears had run dry. Tuesday's discovery really just pissed me off. Wednesday, I had to have a biopsy. They say that bad things happen in threes. But even so, the outlook for the birthday festvities on Thursday did not look good.

Since the week was sucking so badly, I decided to take Friday off. I spent the better part of the morning at my favorite spa -- I got a massage, a mani/pedi, and even got my hair done. Then I went shopping (always a favorite activity). I took the puppy on an extra long walk. I enjoyed a long workout, not feeling rushed for the first time in a long time. And then, after taking as long as I wanted to get ready, the new man and I went to a comedy/magic show, where I laughed so hard that my tummy still hurts this morning.

So the hellish week ended happily after all. And my birthday was a happy one, despite the other not-so-happy events of this week. Thanks to everyone for your support about my dad. And thanks to everyone for the birthday cards, flowers, gifts, lunches/dinners, etc. I've never doubted that I have the best friends and family around, but if ever there was a week when I needed a little confirmation, this was it. So thanks for being there.

I heart you all!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

To the Evil Key-er of My New Car:

What kind of mother raised you to believe that it is acceptable to so badly damage the brand-new car of someone who has done nothing, I repeat: NOTHING, to you whatsoever?

Did the shiny (and did I mention brand-new?) silver paint allow you to see your monstrous reflection, and did it repulse you so much that you had to destroy said reflective surface?

Has life been so unkind to you that you felt it necessary to demonstrate to someone else WHO YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW that life is unfair?

Did you assume, based on the new car, that I have been even a little bit successful, and did it make you so angry that you needed to cut me down (or cut my car with your key, as it were) so you wouldn't feel like such a complete failure?

How would you feel if you worked really hard for something, and then within three weeks of getting it, someone ruined it?

I just want you to know that I forgive you (but only because I am required to do so). Whatever has happened to you that made you so hateful, that turned your heart into such an abyss of blackness, that stripped you of any conscience whatsoever, must have been so much more terrible than the foot-long scratch you inflicted on my unsuspecting (and previously unblemished) door. So I feel pity for you. I hope you gain a soul sometime in this life.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Dear God, It's Me, Nicole.

Nothing else matters when you are faced with the harsh reality that your parents will be gone someday. That you will one day mourn the loss of the first two people you ever loved.

In 1998 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has always been a strong, healthy woman, so it was no surprise to anyone when she fought it and won. Until 2002. When the doctors told us that it had come back. With even stronger resolve than the first time, she fought back again. And so far, she is winning. But until the doctors tell us that she is officially in remission, I live everyday in fear that my mom might not be there when my first child is born.

My father has been her rock, ever stronger for her, ever more supportive of her, ever more loving. Their faith and their relationship continually strengthened by this test. He has always been, and is still, my hero.

Which is why it came as a great shock to me this evening when he told me he has prostate cancer. How could this man, who I have idealized all my life, be fallible? Equally inconceivable to me is the thought that my daddy might not be there to walk me down the aisle someday.

And this, mere weeks after learning that my cousin, who is my age and one of my dearest friends, has just had her own brush with skin cancer.

At this moment, I cannot imagine how I am going to deal with this. They say "prepare for the worst, but hope for the best." But I refuse to accept this. I refuse to even entertain the idea that I could lose both parents so early in life. And yet at the same time, I am forced to realize that life is so fragile. That we may not have as much time as we once thought.

Friends in blogland, tell your parents you love them today. Tell your children you love them. And if you have ever been religious in your life, please pray for my papa. Thanks.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


As a teenager, one of my primary household chores was to babysit my four younger siblings so my parents could go on a date or sometimes just run errands. Why they continued to entrust me with this responsibility when so often things went horribly wrong, I still do not understand. But I was less expensive than outsourcing the babysitting duties (you didn't think I did it for free, did you?), so maybe that's how they justified it.

On this particular instance, my five-year-old baby sister had an extreme case of brattiness (not unusual for her at that time). In all my 13-year-old wisdom I decided that it would be fun for the three boys and I to gang up on her and teach her a lesson. I think most of us have told a sibling that they were adopted at some point or another. But we took it much too far. What ensued got me grounded for two months, and left emotional scars for which I don't think she has yet forgiven me. Here is how it played out:

Me: You know, you're adopted. Mom and dad aren't your real parents. If you don't stop being such a brat, I'm going to call the orphanage and have them take you back. Because we don't want a bratty little sister anymore.
Sister: [screaming, and starting to cry] I'm not adopted!
Me: Oh, yes you are. Just ask any of the boys. They know, too.
[All three boys confirm this sad, sad truth.]
Sister: [crying harder] Even if I am adopted, mom and dad don't want to get rid of me.
Me: Well, I'm in charge right now, so what I say goes. Besides, mom and dad don't want you around anymore because you're such a brat.
Sister: [crying harder still] You don't even know the phone number for the orphanage!
Me: Sure I do, it's 555-TAKE. (wasn't I clever?)
Sister: I don't believe you!
Me: You'll see, I'm not kidding. [I pick up the phone and dial, pretending to talk to the orphanage and asking them to take her back right away.] You better go get packed.
[At this point, my sister is crying uncontrollably. One of my brothers comes down the stairs with her suitcase, packed. Another brother sneaks around the house to the front door and rings the doorbell.]
Me: They're here for you. Say goodbye to everyone. You have to leave now.
[Now she is screaming and crying so hard that she is hyperventilating and turning blue in the face. At this very moment, my parents arrive home. She runs to them and tells the whole story, and I get in major trouble for masterminding this whole plan.]

I realize this story doesn't paint a very good picture of me. And it's true, I certainly wouldn't have won Sister-of-the-Year for most of my teenage years. But we all laugh about it now, because there was no permanent damage done, no therapy required. And thankfully, we're all really close now, despite many an incident of this very type.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Of sticks and stones

Let us all give thanks to Rico, for inspiring this little stroll down memory lane...

The scene: my childhood home in master-planned suburbia, circa 1993
The principal players: my youngest brother, myself, my mother, and a large handful of very helpful ambulance and hospital staff

It's funny how things can be so important at the time, but later you can't even remember the details. Like what school assignment I thought so important as to lock myself away in my bedroom while "babysitting" my four younger siblings, three of whom are boys, so my mom could do a bit of long-awaited and much-deserved shopping over this particular Christmas break.

Growing up with five children in the family, there was truly never a dull moment. Our house was always full of people and often full of noise, because we lived in the cool house. A trampoline in the big backyard. A pool less than 100 yards down the street. Cable. A constantly growing movie collection. Every Nintendo game known to child-kind. A pool table. A built-in basketball court on the driveway. A pantry and refrigerator stocked with all manner of goodies.

So I didn't find the noise of our full house on this particular day distracting. I was in my room, drowning out the pandemonium that could be heard throughout the rest of the house with my music and tending to my very important school project, as all good babysitters should do. But then, insolence! I was interrupted.

"Nikki!" screamed my youngest brother. "I got a splinter in my leg -- come help me!"

"Don't be such a baby!" I screamed back. "Go get the tweezers and take it out yourself!"

"But it's really big and it hurts really bad -- I need your help!" he insisted.

The nerve! I stormed out of my room to the entry hallway, where he and several other kids who could have been his friends or my other brothers (I can't remember) had been running and sliding on our hardwood floors. Remember how at age 10 we could find fun (and trouble) in the simplest things?

"Let me see it. I can't believe you're being such a baby."

So he proceeded to pull up the leg of his sweatpants to show me this "splinter."

And then... Stomach. In my throat. Room. Spinning. Blackness. Stars.

When I regained full consciousness, I saw a foot-long stick piercing my brother's leg. Yes, you read that right: PIERCING. It went in his knee and came out his calf.

You see, in California we have earthquakes. Big ones, sometimes. And occasionally, things settle. Like the ground. Or the boards comprising our hardwood floors. And when sliding on said floors, one must be careful not to catch an edge.

So I ran to the phone and called 9-1-1. They must've thought I was crazy.

911 Operator: 9-1-1, what is your emergency?
Me: My little brother has a splinter in his leg.
911: A splinter?
Me: Well, not really a splinter. More like a stick.
911: A stick? In his leg?
Me: Yes, it went right through his leg. From the knee to the calf. And it's stuck inside, sticking out both places.
Me: Um, I'm pretty sure we need to go to the hospital to have it removed. We live at [insert address].

The ambulance arrived mere seconds before my mom got back. Now I'm not a mother or anything, but I'm pretty sure an ambulance in front of your house isn't exactly what you want to see when you return home.

But the story ends well. My parents went with my brother to the emergency room, where they had to do surgery to take the stick out. In three pieces. Of course, this left me to continue babysitting the other kids. Because, clearly, I was responsible enough to be trusted with that again.

Like I said, never a dull moment at my house.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Humor at the Expense of Others

AKA Lessons in Proofreading

I know. You've probably seen some of these before. And maybe it's weak sauce that I didn't make up something funny of my own. But for some reason, these made me laugh out loud at home by myself when I came across them again today. So I felt compelled to share. Enjoy!

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

Miners Refuse to Work After Death

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

War Dims Hope for Peace

If Strike isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Typhoon Rips through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

(in an office restroom) Toilet out of order…Please use floor below.

(in a laundromat) Automatic Washing Machines: Please remove all your clothes when the light goes out.

(in a London department store) Bargain Basement Upstairs

(in an office) Would the person who took the step ladder yesterday please bring it back or further steps will be taken.

(in an office) After tea break, staff should empty the teapot and stand upside down on the draining board.

(in a secondhand shop) We exchange anything – bicycles, washing machines, etc. Why not bring your wife along and get a wonderful bargain?

(on the window of a health food shop) Closed Due to Illness

(found in a safari park) Elephants Please Stay in Your Car

(at a conference) For anyone who has children and doesn’t know it, there is a day care on the 1st floor.

(near a farmer’s field) The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but the bull charges.

(on the door of a repair shop) We can fix anything. (Please knock hard on the door – the bell doesn’t work.)

Church Bulletins
Don’t let worry kill you – let the church help.

Thursday night - Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.

Tuesday at 4:00 PM there will be an ice cream social.. All ladies giving milk will please come early.

This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the alter.

The service will close with "Little Drops of Water." One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.

Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.

The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They can be seen in the church basement Saturday.

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.

Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan in preparing for the girth of their first child.

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

The associate minister unveiled the church's new giving campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge--Up Yours."

8 new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.

Ushers will eat late comers.

The Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.

Evening massage - 6 p.m.

The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.

Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door.

The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.

The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.

The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy."

During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J. F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.

Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience."

Due to the Rector's illness, Wednesday's healing services will be discontinued until further notice.

Stewardship Offertory: "Jesus Paid It All"

The music for today's service was all composed by George Friedrich Handel in celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

On a church bulletin during the minister's illness: GOD IS GOOD Dr. Hargreaves is better.

The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister's daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.

The 1997 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.

Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.

22 members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening. Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, The Lord Knows Why.

A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It is a good chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

Next Thursday, there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on Oct. 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in school days.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

And the winner is...

Undercover Celebrity.

For the rest of you, here are the answers from yesterday's game:

  1. Wadsworth, Clue
  2. Elle Woods, Legally Blonde
  3. Ralphie as an Adult/Narrator, A Christmas Story
  4. Bill Lumbergh, Office Space
  5. Old Woman in Deli, When Harry Met Sally
  6. Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Carribbean
  7. Sherri Ann Cabot, Best in Show
  8. Vivian, Pretty Woman
  9. Xander Cage, xXx
  10. Ralphie as an Adult/Narrator, A Christmas Story
  11. Cher Horowitz, Clueless
  12. Milton, Office Space
  13. Elle Woods, Legally Blonde
  14. Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Carribbean
  15. Will, Good Will Hunting
  16. Mr. Green, Clue

Monday, August 15, 2005

Why I prefer to buy movies instead of renting...

...because then I can watch them over and over when I'm home sick from work, learning some of my favorite lines to quote in everyday speech.

Since I'm stuck in bed all day today, let's turn it into a game, just for fun. Here are some movie quotes that have recently amused me. Try to guess the character and the movie (leave your guesses in the comments). I'll provide the answers in a later post. Bon chance!

  1. "...the double negative has led to proof positive. I'm afraid you gave yourself away." (1985)
  2. "I just don't think that Brooke could've done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't kill their husbands. They just don't." (2001)
  3. "NOW it was serious. A double-dog-dare. What else was there but a 'triple dare ya'? And then, the coup de grace of all dares, the sinister triple-dog-dare." (1983)
  4. "Hello Peter, what's happening?...I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Sunday..." (1999)
  5. "I'll have what she's having." (1989)
  6. "You need to find yourself a girl, mate. Or perhaps the reason you practice three hours a day is that you already found one, and are otherwise incapable of wooing said strumpet. You're not a eunuch, are you?" (2003)
  7. "People say 'oh, but he's so much older than you' and you know what, I'm the one having to push him away. We have so much in common, we both love soup and snow peas, we love the outdoors, and talking and not talking. We could not talk or talk forever and still find things to not talk about." (2000)
  8. "In case I forget to tell you later, I had a really good time tonight." (1990)
  9. "The things I'm gonna do for my country." (2002)
  10. "Aunt Clara had for years not only perpetually labored under the delusion that I was 4 years old, but also a girl." (1983)
  11. "Daddy's a litigator. Those are the scariest kind of lawyer. Even Lucy, our maid, is terrified of him. And daddy's so good he gets $500 an hour to fight with people. But he fights with me for free because I'm his daughter." (1995)
  12. "...they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were merry, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it's not okay because if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire..." (1999)
  13. "The rules of hair care are simple and finite. Any Cosmo girl would have known." (2001)
  14. "I think we've all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically." (2003)
  15. "...I got her number. How do you like them apples?" (1997)
  16. "They all did it. But if you wanna know who killed Mr. Boddy, I did. In the hall. With the revolver. All right, Chief, take'em away. I'm gonna go home and sleep with my wife." (1985)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Why I Love Being an Aunt

My niece (aka, the cutest baby to ever walk the planet) just had her first birthday. Of course, this momentous occasion was commemorated at her first party, complete with her very own cake to dive into. Now, if you don't love this face, you are seriously dead inside.