Sunday, September 10, 2006


I apologize for my recent, sudden disappearance. I was not kidnapped. I was not murdered. But I assure you, my lack of posting activity was for good reason...


Dave was determined to surprise me after letting it slip one drunken night in Las Vegas that a proposal was forthcoming. Remember the funny money clip? And surprise me, he did.

It was my 30th birthday party. August 18th. White trash bowling. Trucker hats for everyone (everyone got a hat when they arrived, and your hat color determined your bowling team -- seriously, how clever am I?), wife beaters (with black bras, of course!), cut-off jean shorts, pizza, wings, jalapeno poppers, beer, a private suite of bowling lanes. It was awesome. Much thanks to all my friends and family who came to help me celebrate (and who unknowingly would share a moment with Dave and I that I will never forget).

Picture if you can, me in three-and-a-half-inch heels (who has time to get bowling shoes when you're busy hosting and socializing?), a piece of pizza in one hand, a bowling ball in the other. I may have been slightly inebriated. Not sure, but I may have been. Between my first and second frames, my lane shut down. I stumbled back to press the "Reset" button, when Dave pointed out a ball that had just rolled up and was glowing in the dark (it was Rock & Bowl that night at the bowling alley). "Hey Blonde Girl" it said, in big, bold, silver letters. Curious, I started to read the other writing on the ball. But then I came to a drawing of a ring and the words "Pop" and "The big question is here."

I spun round to see Dave standing behind me with a ring box and a huge smile. Suddenly, everyone was paying attention, and I think there was some screaming. He dropped to his knee and asked me to be his wife, and after giving my pizza to someone nearby, I immediately accepted. And this time, there was a ring in the box. A beautiful ring, the exact one I wanted, and it's colorless, so it sparkles like you wouldn't believe (as soon as I get a good picture of it, I'll post it).

So I've been a little busy with wedding plans these past three weeks (it will be May 5 at a local vineyard), but I will try not to neglect you anymore.

Hugs and kisses!

Monday, August 14, 2006

What do you do when you discover that someone who was once your best friend is not the person you thought they were? What do you do when it turns out that your friendship, like the better part of their life, was based on nothing but superficiality, lies and manipulation? How do you face them, when you don't like who they've become? How can you possibly help, when they are on a path to becoming the worst version of themselves? What do you say to someone when single mistakes in their past turn out to be a pattern of ongoing stupidity -- when clearly no lessons have been learned, no changes have been made, and there are no more excuses that could ever justify their actions? How can you believe anything they say ever again -- even an apology or a promise to try harder or do better -- when the most sacred trusts have been betrayed? And how do you deal when your heart hurts so deeply for the dozens of people whose lives they are destroying?

You know, 'cause I'm just wondering. Hypothetically, of course.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


In quite possibly the cleverest blog contest I've yet to see, Pauly D, capitalizing on the popularity of reality shows everywhere, has decided that today we will vote out one of yesterday's commenters. You should check it out. But you can't vote me off, because I have apparently won the coveted immunity card for casting my vote in the predetermined nth spot. So go on over and vote off one of my competitors.

Friday, August 04, 2006

What a girl needs...

Have you ever Googled yourself? It's always interesting to see where you show up on the Internet, and even more interesting to learn about your doppelgangers.

Try this variation, borrowed from Chronic Listaholic -- type "[Your Name] needs" and then list the top ten results. I included five extras, just because I thought they were funny.

Nicole needs:
  1. Nicole needs a family that can provide her with the accommodations she needs. Yes -- preferably a large house wherein I have a large bedroom with a large walk-in closet filled with a cute new wardrobe.
  2. Nicole needs a boob job. Again? I'm not going for the porn star look!
  3. Nicole needs to calm down. Absolutely. I think a massage would really help with this particular need.
  4. Nicole needs inspiration/encouragement. Indeed. I've been rather uninspired/unencouraged at work lately.
  5. Nicole needs a new page. If you mean a new home page for the new web site I have yet to publish, but for which I have owned the domain for the past two years -- then yes.
  6. Nicole needs to shut her mouth. That's a little rude! And besides, I'm technically not talking through my mouth at the moment.
  7. I think all Nicole needs are some boobs and then she'll look better. Seriously, what is it with you and boobs?!
  8. Nicole needs a new play. Would a musical count?
  9. Nicole's Needs: Exhibitionist & Voyeur This must be a more recent development resulting from my new favorite workout.
  10. Nicole needs a lot of help. Clearly.
  11. Nicole needs an intervention. Only where Girl Scout cookies (and ice cream) are concerned.
  12. Nicole needs to get to a photo shoot. That sounds like fun -- I could use a new headshot.
  13. Nicole needs friends. Don't we all need our friends?
  14. Nicole needs a man. Done.
  15. Nicole needs a babysitter. Only when I'm really drunk.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

My Boyfriend the Comedian

Dave came with me on an overnight gig in Lake Arrowhead last week. And here's what he pulled out of his pocket when we checked in to the hotel:

Yes, it's a ring box. And no, there wasn't anything in it. He thinks it's funny to tease me like this, but I say it's just mean!*

*I should explain this a little more: In Vegas last month, he got very drunk and we got in a bit of a tiff over some of his antics. During his efforts to make up with me, he let it slip that he is planning to propose in the next month. So this is his way of messing with me to try to throw me off, because he wanted it to be a surprise. If I didn't know his intentions, it would certainly be a slap in the face.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Year in Review

One year ago today, I arrived at the site of our upcoming event to set everything up so I could arrive at a normal time the following morning. I had no idea that you would be there. Or that you would be YOU. I was surprised and delighted to find that you were my age. And you seemed sweet. And normal. And I can't deny that I found you attractive. You were completely unexpected.

I woke up early the next day so I could look my best for you. I mean, for the event. ;-) And, as fate (read: Emily) would have it, my responsibility during the event was logistics. Which meant that I was to spend most of the day with the vendors, including you. I found you so intriguing. Our conversations were so easy and entertaining. I don't know if you noticed, but I went out of my way to spend extra time with you, to talk with you more, to flirt as subtly as I could manage, to do little things for you to make you remember me (I know you'll never forget the Peanut M&Ms). But I was not confident enough to say anything to you when we parted that afternoon. Plus, there was that whole vendor-client thing.

Over the next week, you popped into my head many times. Finally, following a pep talk by a couple of friends, I mustered up the courage to call you. I had been hanging on to the event file at my desk, because it had your cell phone number. You know, in case of emergencies. Or in case I wanted to ask you out, something I had never done before. After practicing what I would say, I nervously called you, praying that you would at least remember me. Even if you were already taken.

And I'm so glad I did call you. And that you remembered me. And that you were interested. And single. (Or, so you said. But I'm glad you stopped seeing that other girl when I called.) And since then we've had so many good times and made so many memories:
We've had such a fun first year together. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life making more memories with you.

I love you!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

You Know You've Become Famous in the Blogosphere When...

...someone on the other side of the country, even if he is the vice-president of my fan club,* writes a post about me.

*Sorry, Carl -- the office of president is reserved for my boyfriend.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Any Dream Will Do

Dave and I saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Sunday with Emily and Mark. The cheese factor was pretty high, but I always enjoy seeing a show. (Wicked was next on our list, but was regrettably sold out the moment tickets went on sale.)

And it got me to thinking...

Why have I never done a musical? I've been singing and dancing all my life, and Lord knows I'm a little bit dramatic. So why haven't I put these skills together and to good use? In high school it wasn't cool to be associated with the drama kids, and being a cheerleader I'm pretty sure that's why I didn't get involved in the musical theater program. And in college I didn't sing as much, so I could focus on my dancing. Then I got into a career, and well, I just never found the time.

But there's nothing quite like the rush of performing to a live audience (although I also love doing studio recordings). I enjoy singing with my three bands and occasionally at church, and I think I would love to be in a musical. Preferrably as the star, but any part would do. A good friend of mine played the lead in Miss Saigon several times, and I always envied that experience just a little bit. I know the music for most of the popular shows, having seen quite a few live and owning the soundtrack for at least 20 more.

So I think I'm finally going to audition -- just for a local production. (After all, my resume is pretty unimpressive in this field. And I don't think I'm the touring type.) So stay tuned...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

S is for

The Shape of a woman's body.

I've recently become addicted to Sheila Kelley's S Factor. I took my third class today, and already I feel stronger, leaner, more flexible, more feminine and more comfortable in my body.

Now don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying that stripping for money is something I plan to do now or in the future; it's not the point of the classes to teach women how to be strippers (although I imagine that you'd probably do just fine in that profession if this was the only training you ever received!). But a well-timed lap dance for my man is not out of the question, and now I'll have the skills to do it right. Plus, with the incredible workout you get with this program, I'll have the toned-up body and the resulting confidence to do it, too! I didn't realize that strippers are so athletic -- pole tricks are not easy and require a lot of strength, balance and grace. And, it takes a lot of practice to get your muscles strong and limber enough to control and slow your movement to the point that it drips in anticipation.

Anyway, it's really empowering and a much more interesting workout than the gym. So ladies, if there is a studio near you, I highly recommend checking out an intro class. Just beware of the repercussions -- I'm sore and bruised in very unusual places. And of course, Dave wants to install a pole in the house now.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Belly Up

I won a goldfish once at a carnival. I had never had a fish before, but I looked online for instructions on how to care for my new pet.

The first time I changed the water in his bowl, I carefully poured him into a cup with some of the old water while I washed out the bowl and refilled it with clean water. I added the recommended number of drops of whatever that solution was, and it was fit for inhabitance once again.

But then I had a thought — I couldn’t pour the old, dirty water into the new, clean water. That would defeat the purpose of the cleaning I had just completed. And furthermore, my little fish had been swimming around in his own filth. So I decided he should have a bath before he went back into his freshly-cleaned home.

I ran some room-temperature water, gently cupped him in my hands, and ran him underneath the stream twice, back and forth. Then I gently slid him into his clean bowl.

But he just floated there, on his side. I thought maybe he was in shock, or scared, or maybe he was playing possum. But when he still didn’t move after a few minutes, I realized I had killed him.

Regrettably, this was only a couple of years ago. So I can’t even blame childhood innocence for my crime. Thankfully, dogs are much easier to care for. And way more fun to have around.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Bird

I returned home after work one summer afternoon to find that the door leading from the carport into the kitchen had been left open. Not just unlocked. Wide open. Living in Utah, and especially living close to BYU, this was not much cause for concern (the crime rate there, as you can imagine, is relatively low), but was another frustrating reminder that the two boys I lived with were not exactly the most responsible people.

Nevertheless, I went about my regularly-scheduled business of sorting the mail on the kitchen counter and checking the messages on the answering machine. That's when I noticed that the vertical blinds next to me were rustling, and I could see a dark figure near the base of the sliding glass doors -- about six inches from my feet. At first, I wasn't sure what it was. But I wasn't about to wait around to find out, so I grabbed the cordless phone and hurried into my bedroom down the hall.

Why my gay dance partner was the first person I thought to call, I'm not entirely sure. I mean, he was smaller than I, and certainly no braver. But my boyfriend was still at work, so I called him in a panic.

Me: "Troy, there is a crow in my house. You have to come over right away to help me!"
Troy: "What do you want me to do about it?"
Me: "Kill it, of course!"
Troy: "I'm not killing a bird. Where is it now?"
Me: "I don't know! I'm locked in my bedroom."
Troy: "Go see where it is. Maybe you scared it and it flew out already."
Me: "Okay. Hang on..."

I emerge slowly from the safety of my bedroom, being careful not to make a sound. Peering around the corner, I can see that the large black bird is not in the place of my initial discovery. Maybe he's right, I think. Maybe it has left the house.

As I turn around, I notice to my horror a silouhette in the dark living room, perched on the arm of the sofa. It's looking at me. Directly at me. With glowing eyes, it begins to fly, claws outstretched, making the most terrible sound my ears have ever heard. I scream and drop the phone, run into my room and slam the door, when...


The bird has charged right into my door. It wanted to attack me. It was coming to peck my eyes out!

Now what am I going to do? I left the phone in the living room (I didn't have a cell phone at the time), and I'm home alone. What if it pecks through the door and eats me alive? My mind is racing, when I hear a group of boys in the kitchen calling my name.

Who has come to save me from this evil bird? It's my dance partner and his housemates. Apparently, my scream and the thud that followed caused some concern. So he gathered up the troops and came to save the day. I was free at last. But let me assure you, there is nothing funnier than six gay men trying to shoo a crow out with a broom.

Clearly, Alfred Hitchcock's got nothing on me.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Top Ten Reasons Why I Have an Ulcer

  1. Dave and I are trying to save for a house, which in Southern California comes at the bargain price of $600,000. For a two-bedroom condo!
  2. And my ring.
  3. And our wedding.
  4. And our eventual children's college funds. (Okay, so we're not actively saving for this one quite yet, but it stresses me out just to think about it! Or maybe it's the whole having kids thing that stresses me out. Either way, stress!)
  5. I am overworked, underappreciated and seriously underpaid (I know, who isn't, right?!) at a job that most days, I hate.
  6. So I'm looking for a new one.
  7. Of late, the gradual falling out with my sister and with a friend have come to a head.
  8. I am going back to school at the end of this month (read: less disposable income and less me-time).
  9. Bathing suit season is upon us.
  10. Most of the things I want to write about here (read: vent), I can't. But trust me, they're stressful.

So yeah, I could use a Xanax. Or a bottle of wine and a long massage. Or a vacation. Or maybe a cocktail mixing all of the above for optimum results.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Humble, Not-Pre-Written Acceptance Speech

If you've been reading lately, you either think I've lost touch with reality and should be institutionalized, or know that I participated this past week in Kevin Apgar's genius marketing idea, the Grassroots Blogger Book Marketing Campaign for Paul Davidson's forthcoming book, The Lost Blogs.

It was a lot of fun to write as someone else (Helen of Troy, in case you didn't catch it), and I've discovered some great new reads in the blogs of other participants (see the "Lost Bloggers" links at right).

As an added bonus, I was surprised and thrilled to learn that I have been chosen as one of six winners in this contest/exercise by Pauly D himself. (And, of course, I'm super-excited to receive my personally-autographed advance copy of his book.)

So thanks, Pauly D, for this honor. And everyone else, be sure to pre-order your copy of his book!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Lost Blogs: Day Five

How did I get here? From Queen of Sparta to Princess of Troy, and now a refugee. I have lost everything. It wouldn't matter if my love were still here. But I have lost him, too. And I don't know how to start over without him. I don't want to.

I look at the few survivors around me, and I weep. It is my fault that they are here. If not for my affair, they would have remained in the peaceful existence they knew before all of this. But Aphrodite's spell, nay, curse, was too strong to resist. All the women who have lost their husbands. All the children who have lost their fathers. I feel their scornful eyes upon me wherever I go.

I know what I must do. It will not bring back their loved ones. It will not bring back the wonderful kingdom that was conquered by the combined Greek army. And it will not undo the ruin that our city has become. But it might save me in the next life.


This post is part of Kevin Apgar's Grassroots Blogger Book Marketing Campaign (GRBBMC) for the upcoming release of the very talented Paul Davidson's new book, The Lost Blogs. If you want to read the possible blogs of hundreds of other historical figures (though much better-written, I'm sure), click here to pre-order your copy of Paul's book. At the end of this five-day contest/exercise, the characters of all participating bloggers will be revealed. If you wish, you can leave your guesses in the comments.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lost Blogs: Day Four

A firey orange glow now envelopes this land that was beautiful just yesterday. We had much time and took precautions to fortify the city in preparation for their attack, yet we did not anticipate a siege of this kind.

They came in the middle of the night, hidden, waiting for the opportune moment when their strike would hurt us the most. We weren't ready. And now our kingdom is being consumed by the flames of a terrible war.

We are far outnumbered, and the carnage is great. Even with some of the greatest warriors on our side, I fear we will lose this battle. Worse, I fear it will be years until the damage is fully done and we can start to rebuild what will hopefully be left of our kingdom.

Paris left me to fight today. He and his brother are no match for Menelaus, though. His brute strength and furious rage will overcome their experience and skill. I can't bear the thought of what is going to happen. And I can't go back to my husband if he kills the man I love. I am leaving the city tonight with my sister-in-law and a handful of other women and children.

This post is part of Kevin Apgar's Grassroots Blogger Book Marketing Campaign (GRBBMC) for the upcoming release of the very talented Paul Davidson's new book, The Lost Blogs. If you want to read the possible blogs of hundreds of other historical figures (though much better-written, I'm sure), click here to pre-order your copy of Paul's book. At the end of this five-day contest/exercise, the characters of all participating bloggers will be revealed. If you wish, you can leave your guesses in the comments.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Lost Blogs: Day Three

Preparing for bed tonight, as I was brushing my hair, I nearly lost my breath when I saw the reflection in the mirror. Not of myself, despite the vanity that some may say I possess. But rather, of the horizon. I turned and looked out my window at the sea that stretched out before me as far as I could see. The view was surprisingly and alarmingly tranquil.

Hundreds of ships, possibly a thousand, sails to the calm, quiet night winds, making their way to our shores. They were distant and slow-approaching, but I knew it wouldn't be long before they arrived. And my husband was certain to be on the lead ship.

My love lay sleeping -- peaceful, unaware of tomorrow's inevitable conflict. I couldn't bring myself to wake him with this news. I wanted only to enjoy one more moment of bliss with him before I was forcibly returned to the life I so willingly fled. I wanted to be free for just one more night.

So I drew the curtains closed and pushed the image out of my mind of what was to come. And I lay down beside my love, one last time.

This post is part of Kevin Apgar's Grassroots Blogger Book Marketing Campaign (GRBBMC) for the upcoming release of the very talented Paul Davidson's new book, The Lost Blogs. If you want to read the possible blogs of hundreds of other historical figures (though much better-written, I'm sure), click here to pre-order your copy of Paul's book. At the end of this five-day contest/exercise, the characters of all participating bloggers will be revealed. If you wish, you can leave your guesses in the comments.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Lost Blogs: Day Two

I awoke today, numb to the happiness I have known these last few months here, and instead filled with a dark and looming sense of impending doom. I am afraid -- not for my own life, for that is of no concern to me. But for the life of my love. And his family, who have been so kind to me ever since I arrived, unannounced. His father could just as easily have ordered my return, to avoid all this nonsense. His brothers could have thought me a cold, heartless, unfaithful wretch. But instead they chose to welcome me, to embrace and accept me and my choices.

How I dream of a day when we could be free! Free to start over together and leave this all behind. And I would willingly leave it all -- it was never about the money or the power for me. With my new love I feel more beautiful than any man has ever made me feel.

My husband told me I was beautiful, but he never loved me like this. Like all the others, he lusted after me. But he was interested in nothing more than the crown that would be his when my father passed on. The crown that should have been my departed, beloved twin brother's. No, this was never love. Rather, he has been plotting with his powerful brother and forming alliances with other kings and planning our demise. And as he draws nearer, my heart aches, for I know that my dream of a new life will never come true. I know the fate that will befall us. And I am powerless to stop it -- it is our destiny.

Still, I can't help but feel guilty. For although I deserve this horrible fate, I have brought disaster with me to this once peaceful kingdom. I will be the reason for the innocent lives that will surely be lost if this battle occurs. Perhaps I can convince my husband when he arrives to simply take me back and leave the people unharmed. I don't think he could look at me and kill me, anyway. But I must first convince myself that returning to my sad existence with him would be preferable to death.

This post is part of Kevin Apgar's Grassroots Blogger Book Marketing Campaign (GRBBMC) for the upcoming release of the very talented Paul Davidson's new book, The Lost Blogs. If you want to read the possible blogs of hundreds of other historical figures (though much better-written, I'm sure), click here to pre-order your copy of Paul's book. At the end of this five-day contest/exercise, the characters of all participating bloggers will be revealed. If you wish, you can leave your guesses in the comments.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Lost Blogs: Day One

Call it boredom. Call it fate. Call me aldulterous. But just don't judge me.

You have no idea how taxing it is, pretending to love a man your father chose for you to marry. A man who is not kind, not intelligent, not funny, not handsome, not charming. A man who to me, has no attractive qualities. Of the thousands of suitors that hoped to inherit my mortal father's throne by marrying me, many so much more handsome and charming than my husband, I was not allowed any say in the matter. This life that I would not have chosen, this forced pretense -- it eats away at me every day.

Of course I feel badly about leaving him. And I feel worse about abandoning our daughter. But for the first time, I felt something -- anything. For the first time I experienced an emotion that I never imagined I could feel in this life. It was as though the gods intervened when we met and gave me a taste of the life I could have had. And now that my senses have come alive, he is all I want. I want to feel, to taste, to touch, to experience love, to be happy.

But I fear that my husband will not allow us much time together. Surely when he returns to find me gone, he will come after us with all the force afforded to a man in his position. The very power that, by my father's decree, made me his wife.

This post is part of Kevin Apgar's Grassroots Blogger Book Marketing Campaign (GRBBMC) for the upcoming release of the very talented Paul Davidson's new book, The Lost Blogs. If you want to read the possible blogs of hundreds of other historical figures (though much better-written, I'm sure), click here to pre-order your copy of Paul's book. At the end of this five-day contest/exercise, the characters of all participating bloggers will be revealed. If you wish, you can leave your guesses in the comments.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


What would be the proper name for a male bridesmaid? It's something that I've recently been seeing with increasing regularity at weddings -- men in the bridal party along with the traditional female bridesmaids. Dave was in a friend's wedding over the weekend. On the bride's side. He wasn't on the groom's side, so you wouldn't call him a groomsman. So I've decided that he is a bridesman. Or perhaps a manmaid. ;-) Your thoughts?

In any case, he looked very handsome. And I have to give him credit for being secure enough in his manhood to carry a bouquet! At least he got to wear a tux, instead of a bridesmaid dress!

The wedding was in Palm Springs at a swanky resort, and the weather was perfect. I'm definitely a fan of the destination wedding. It's a nice excuse for a weekend getaway for the guests, and for the couple it helps shrink the guest list to a more reasonable (and affordable) size.

We're thinking a vineyard might be a romantic setting for our own nuptials. But I promise, that's all the planning we've done for now.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Playing House

My boyfriend's parents treated us to a weekend of skiing and relaxation two weeks ago at their Sunriver, OR vacation house. We ate great food (my boyfriend is a fantastic cook!) and drank good wine. We stayed up late, slept in, took naps. We skiied on freshly fallen, perfectly powdery snow. We played games. We soaked in the hot tub after a little coaxing on his part (I was not about to walk outside in a bikini, where it was snowing and zero degrees!). It was peaceful and lovely, and so much fun to play house with him!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Red is NOT the New Blue

Yesterday was a pretty big day -- we went shopping. For my engagement ring! And although I don’t get the final word on the ring that will be purchased, and although I don’t get to know when or where or how he is going to ask that very important question, I am so excited when I think of spending my life with this man that I can hardly wait!

Neither one of us has been engaged or married before, so this was a completely new experience for us. And it was definitely a little overwhelming. But still, so much fun!

We visited all the jewelers at a local upscale shopping venue. We received numerous lessons on the four “Cs” of diamonds – color, clarity, cut, carat. We tried on hundreds of rings to find the shape and size and design that looks best on my dainty little hand. In the end, we kept coming back to one particular style that we both loved.

Having a pretty good idea of what we wanted at this point, we decided to make our final stop at Cartier to take a peek at their selection. Now, I realize that Cartier is a high-end store, but I thought it was in roughly the same category as Tiffany & Co., where I shop fairly regularly. So I expected that there would be at least a few things there in our price range.

Our sales representative was very helpful. We tried on nearly every ring they had on display. She detailed the history of Cartier and provided some general information on their financing plans (the very fact that they have financing plans should have tipped me off to the horror that my eyes would soon behold!). She explained how you pay a little more for the Cartier name and the red box, but that the pieces hold their value better because of that Cartier inscription.

Then I tried the ring. The very same style we fell in love with hours before at another jeweler. The one that will likely be worn on my hand for the next 50+ years. (Unless he completely throws me for a loop and chooses something else.) It was exquisite. A 2-carat, nearly flawless, round brilliant diamond perfectly set on a platinum and pave-set diamond band. With a matching eternity wedding band. I can’t adequately describe how beautiful it looks on my hand. When I took it off my finger, I caught a glimpse of the price. And that’s when I almost fell over.


Surely, it was a misprint. Maybe the comma was in the wrong place. Or maybe that wasn’t in U.S. Dollars. Because how could a ring possibly cost as much as a luxury car? Especially when the center stone is only 2 carats! I mean, the exact same ring was just under $10,000 in every other store!

Not wanting to seem like I didn’t belong there, I tried to regain my breath and finish our conversation. When we left, I asked my love if he happened to see the price tag. He told me he, too, had almost had a heart attack.

Apparently, we’re just not Cartier kind of people.

A Special Announcement for All Members of the Nicole Fan Club:

Yes, this is for all one of you...

I am a totally legitimate recording artist now. Sure I've had a CD out for nine months now. But with the software that is available today, anyone with a computer and a microphone can record their own CD. But I have one-upped the thousands of unsigned garage bands out there...

I am on iTunes.

It actually happened a few months ago, but I forgot to tell you. Sorry.

Anyway, if you want to listen to clips or buy the songs, just search for "Wartime Radio Revue." I sang on the "Kiss the Boys Goodbye" record.

Oh. And if you want the entire album, contact me. I can get it for you cheaper than buying all the individual songs on iTunes. Plus, you'll get the CD cover with my name in print. ;-)


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My name is Nicole, and I am addicted to SuDoku.

Last time I traveled by plane, I was delighted to find that the airport bookstore had a SuDoku book, pencils, and even a pencil sharpener, all for the airport-bookstore bargain price of around $17.50. By the time I arrived at my final destination, I had completed nearly half of the puzzles in the book, and had a massive headache from staring at the same nine numbers for the last six hours straight.

At work, I take a SuDoku break to solve the sometimes diabolical daily puzzle. I find a sickening pleasure in decreasing the time it takes me to complete it, or in actually being able to complete the most challenging ones. There are many sites that offer puzzles, tips, etc., but I am partial to this one.

But let me ask you this, dear readers...

Can anyone tell me how many possible combinations there are? At what point are we going to run out of new puzzles to solve?

Although I am generally good at most kinds of math, this kind of calculation is not something I can figure out on my own. So I'm counting on my friends in blogland, or possibly my mathematical-genius younger brother, who has recently gone MIA from the blogosphere.


I had the best weekend. Don't even try to argue with me about it. It was the best.

We arrived Friday night at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort after sitting in six hours of holiday weekend, rush hour, Southern-Californians-not-knowing-how-to-drive-in-the-rain, traffic. First order of business: a long soak in the private mineral springs spa conveniently located on the deck of our room, accompanied by a delicious bottle of local Pinot Noir. Second order of business: none of your business!

Saturday morning, after sleeping in and another soak in the spa (in the rain, which was surprisingly fun), we were both treated to a relaxing massage. Then, it was off for an afternoon of wine tasting. Several vineyards, the equivalent of a bottle of wine each, and at least a case of purchased wine later, we indulged in an afternoon nap before heading out for dinner.

Dinner was interesting and may deserve its own post, but a long paragraph will have to suffice. Imagine the tackiest place you've ever been. I guarantee you, it will pale in comparison to this place. Upon first arriving and getting a brief glimpse of the lobby, we were a little apprehensive. But we were given a recommendation from a trusted source that the food at the Madonna Inn restaurant was excellent, so we pressed on. While waiting for our table (because who would think a place like this would be so popular as to need a reservation), we had the opportunity to more fully explore the premises. Red velvet jacquard walls with elaborate gold-framed mirrors surrounded us. Even the wall made entirely of mirrors had extra gold-framed mirrors hung on it. Flying golden cherubs were everywhere, most holding candle-lights. In honor of Valentine's Day (at least I hope that's the reason), there were no less than ten large, red-and-white papier mache hearts hanging above us at any given spot. Thousands of white lights produced an ambient glow that I'm sure was intended to be much more subtle. A swing band of nine men in their 60s, who I can only imagine had been playing there since the grand opening in the 1960s, was playing on the stage in front of the dance floor. All chairs and benches were made of thick, pink leather-like material and dark, elaborately-carved wood. The carpet had huge pink and red roses surrounded by greenery. Multi-colored, heavy, ornate goblets were set on pink linens at every table. Our table was apparently special -- it faced a man-made lattice corner, and we sat with our backs to the other restaurant-goers underneath a huge man-made tree. The food was good, as promised, and Juro (our waiter) gave us two free desserts -- I just wish we had thought to bring a camera to memorialize the whole experience. Too bad we didn't get to see any of the rooms while we were there!

Sunday morning, we slept in again and enjoyed another soak in our private spa before heading home via a leisurely, scenic drive down the coast.

Despite the fact that I got sick from slowing down after a couple of weeks of non-stop busy-ness, it was a lovely, romantic weekend that I hope to repeat in the near future.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Important Public Service Announcement: Don't Talk to Strangers

We had never spoken before. He always just sat quietly behind me in history class. But he seemed nice, and relatively harmless, and I thought maybe he didn't have a lot of friends. So I agreed to be his date for the upcoming homecoming dance. After all, I was popular and a cheerleader, so I knew it must have been hard for him to muster up the courage to ask me.

The next day, there was a teddy bear and a note on my car. Sweet, right? I knew I had made the right choice and I was looking forward to getting to know him and introducing him to my friends.

The plan was simple. My parents were hosting dinner at our house for me and my friends and our dates. Everyone was going to arrive at 6. Not being the most punctual girl myself, I didn't mind when he was a few minutes late. But when we were all nearly finished with dinner and he still hadn't shown up, I could feel the steam starting to rise off my skin as my blood began to boil. I did him a favor! How dare he stand me up!

Just as we were all getting ready to leave, he arrived. No apology. No explanation. No corsage. My teenage naivete told me that maybe he just didn't know that you were supposed to bring your date a corsage. So I let it go, and we all headed off to the dance.

Still fuming and hoping the drive would go by quickly so I could regroup with my friends, I wasn't paying much attention to anything he was saying or doing. But my attention was immediately captured when I realized we had just blown through a stop sign and were now about to be pummeled by a large van. With no time to brace myself, we were spinning across a busy intersection, headed toward the condominium complex on the other side.

You know how a crash never sounds like you think it will? How, after the screeching tires you expect to hear shattering glass or crunching metal, but all you hear is a single smack? When we slammed into the parked car, this crash sounded exactly like I thought it would.

Stunned and disoriented, I barely heard the voices outside the car. But regaining coherence, I realized that we had crashed just outside the home of some friends of my parents. They called the police and then called my parents to come get me.

A few minor cuts and bruises (and about an hour) later, I made it to the dance and found my worried friends. But I had some explaining to do, because I arrived sans-date. I couldn't bring him, you see, because when I left the scene, he was handcuffed on the curb, mid-arrest.

Apparently, the car had been reported as stolen. And, as it clearly wasn't his, it was also uninsured. And he didn't even have a license! People, do you realize what this means?!?! I could have been kidnapped or even killed, and no one would have ever been able to find me, because T.H. might not have even been his real name! Come to think of it, I never saw or heard from my multiple-identity criminal friend again after that night. Maybe he wasn't even a student at my school! Just think what could have happened!

And that, children, is why we should never talk to strangers.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I Think I'll Stick to Shaving

I normally hate forwarded emails, but every now and then you receive one that is so funny you simply must share it. This is one of those stories, compliments of my friend Kara...

All hair removal methods have tricked women with their promises of easy, painless removal -- the Epilady, scissors, razors, Nair, and now... the wax.

My night began as any other normal weeknight -- come home, fix dinner, play with the kids. I then had the thought that would ring painfully in my mind for the next few hours: Maybe I should pull the waxing kit out of the medicine cabinet.

So I headed to the site of my demise: the bathroom. It was one of those "cold wax" kits. No melting a clump of hot wax; you just rub the strips together in your hands, they get warm, you peel them apart, press them to your leg (or wherever else), and you pull the hair right off. No muss, no fuss. How hard can it be? I mean, I'm not a genius, but I am mechanically inclined enough to figure this out.

So I pull one of the thin strips out. It's two strips facing each other, stuck together. Instead of rubbing them together, my genius kicks in so I get out the hair dryer and heat it to 1000 degrees. ("Cold wax," yeah...right!) I lay the strip across my thigh, hold the skin around it tight, and pull. It works!

OK, so it wasn't the best feeling, but it wasn't too bad. I can do this! Hair removal no longer eludes me! I am She-Rah, fighter of all wayward body hair and maker of smooth skin extraordinaire.

With my next wax strip I move north. After checking on the kids, I sneak back into the bathroom for the ultimate hair fighting championship. I drop my panties and place one foot on the toilet. Using the same procedure, I apply the wax strip across the right side of my bikini line, covering the right half of my vagina and stretching down to the inside of my butt cheek (yes, it was a long strip). I inhale deeply and brace myself... RRRRIIIPPP!!!!

I'm blind! Blinded from pain! OH MY GOSH!!!

Vision returning, I notice that I've only managed to pull off half the strip.

CRAP! Another deep breath and RRIIPP!! Everything is swirly and spotted. I think I may pass out... must stay conscious... do I hear crashing drums?

Breathe, breathe...

OK, back to normal.

I want to see my trophy -- a wax covered strip, the one that has caused me so much pain, with my hairy pelt sticking to it. I want to revel in the glory that is my triumph over body hair. I hold up the strip. There's no hair on it. Where is the hair? WHERE IS THE WAX?

Slowly, I ease my head down, foot still perched on the toilet. I see the hair. The hair that should be on the strip. I touch. I am touching wax. CRAP! I run my fingers over the most sensitive part of my body, which is now covered in cold wax and matted hair. Then I make the next BIG mistake... remember my foot is still propped up on the toilet? I know I need to do something. So I put my foot down.

DARN! I hear the slamming of a cell door.

Vagina? Sealed shut!

Butt?? Sealed shut!!

I penguin walk around the bathroom, trying to figure out what to do and think to myself, Please don't let me get the urge to poop. My head may pop off!

What can I do to melt the wax? Hot water! Hot water melts wax! I'll run the hottest water I can stand into the bathtub, get in, immerse the wax-covered bits, and the wax should melt and I can gently wipe it off, right?!


I get in the tub -- the water is slightly hotter than that used to torture prisoners of war or sterilize surgical equipment -- I sit. Now, the only thing worse than having your nether regions glued together, is having them glued together and then glued to the bottom of the tub. In scalding hot water. Which, by the way, doesn't melt cold wax.

So now I'm stuck to the bottom of the tub as though I had cement-epoxied myself to the porcelain! God bless the man who convinced me a few months ago to have a phone put in the bathroom! I call my friend, thinking surely she has waxed before and has some secret of how to get me undone.

It's a very good conversation starter - "So, my butt and hoo-ha are glued together to the bottom of the tub!" There is a slight pause. She doesn't know any secret tricks for removal but she does try to hide her laughter from me. She wants to know exactly where the wax is located, "Are we talking cheeks or whole or hoo-ha?" She's laughing out loud by now... I can hear her. I give her the rundown and she suggests I call the number on the side of the box. Yeah, right! I should be the joke of someone else's night.

While we go through various solutions, I resort to scraping the wax off with a razor. Nothing feels better then to have your girlie goodies covered in hot wax, glued shut, stuck to the tub in super hot water, and then dry-shaving the sticky wax off! By now the brain is not working, dignity has taken a major hike, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to need post-traumatic stress counseling for this event.

My friend is still talking with me when I finally see my saving grace -- the lotion they give you to remove the excess wax. What do I really have to lose at this point? I rub some on, and OH MY GOSH!

The scream probably woke the kids and scared the dickens out of my friend.

It's so painful but I really don't care. IT WORKS!! It works!! I get a hearty 'congratulations' from my friend and she hangs up. I successfully remove the remainder of the wax and then notice to my grief and despair...

The hair is still there... ALL OF IT!!!

So I recklessly shave it off. Heck, I'm numb by now. Nothing hurts. I could have amputated my own leg at this point.

Next week, I'm going to try hair color......

Sink or Swim

I have a freakishly good memory. But there are times when my fond memories, recounts, or even photos of an event are simply not enough – I need videographic evidence. The following is a true story that, had I had the foresight to memorialize on video, would surely have won me the $100,000 grand prize on AFV.

Many years ago, I lived in Utah. I had a friend whose parents owned a ski boat, and we would often take it out on one of the many nearby lakes to go wakeboarding.

This particular summer day, we were meeting some friends at the dock for a day of fun in the sun. My friend suggested that the two of us should launch the boat, so that we’d be ready to go as soon as they arrived. I explained that I had neither backed a truck/trailer, nor driven a boat, into a lake before. But he assured me that it was easy, and promised to walk me through it from the driver’s seat of the boat. So I reluctantly got behind the wheel of his 1981 Bronco.

Things were going well at first. I was heading slowly toward the ramp, and the trailer carrying the boat seemed to be backing straight into the water. This is a snap, I thought. Why was I so intimidated? When my friend told me we were far enough in, I obediently pressed the brakes.

This is where everything fell apart.

Why am I still moving backward? The brake pedal is floored. I must need to apply the parking brake. Nope. Not helping. Let’s try pulling back out. Interesting – still sliding backward, despite my attempt to drive forward. This can’t be good.

My friend and I were yelling back and forth, trying to figure out what to do to gain traction on the mossy ramp, when I was suddenly slammed against the driver-side door. My friend had jumped over the bow of the boat and climbed through the back of the truck into the driver’s seat to try to do it himself. Not surprisingly, he had the same trouble I had.

But then it got much worse.

My feet are wet! Oh my God! There is water gushing in through the bottom of the doors! “We have to bail!” he screamed. So I gathered as many of our things as I could in 1.3 seconds and climbed out the passenger window.

Less than a minute later, I was standing on the roof of my friend’s truck, knee deep in water, in the middle of the lake. (Okay, not really the middle, but pretty far out from shore.) I couldn’t see my friend. Where did he go? I wondered. And then I spotted him.

He was diving in and out the water, trying to grab hold of the front bumper to pull the truck back to shore. Finally, he realized that, while he worked out every day, he was simply not strong enough to swim a truck, a trailer, and a girl to shore without a little help. So he swam back to shore, leaving me standing on the truck. Still knee deep in water. Crying.

After catching his breath, he started to laugh hysterically, when we both realized that the boat (thankfully, it was already detached from the trailer when we started sinking) was floating away. So he ran to the dock and jumped in to swim after it. As he docked the boat and called a tow truck, I decided that I couldn’t just stand there on top of the truck all day. So I swam to shore, fully clothed, through water that was now full of gasoline and oil.

And with perfect timing usually only found in movies, our friends pulled up at that very moment.

Amazingly, after being successfully towed out of the water and drying out for the next 48 hours, the truck still worked! And this little bath even fixed the broken radio! (But, as a trade-off, the headlights were permanently shut off.)

Years later, I was telling this story to someone, and their response was, “I can’t believe that was you! That story is famous around here!” And that’s when I realized that this would have been a winning video clip. But, of course, I didn’t think it was all that funny while I was immersed, so to speak, in the situation.