Friday, April 25, 2008

debbie downer

I had plans for a fabulous post today, but then my aunt called this morning telling me my Grammy was going to the hospital in an ambulance because she had been throwing up blood and was very weak.

Turns out an artery in her intestines had burst and she had to have an emergency surgery to fix it (not sure exactly what they did). I went to see her tonight and she is doing fine for, y'know, being in the Intensive Care Unit. She lost so much blood her skin is like, green. Poor Grammy. If you get a chance, say a little prayer for her. If all goes well, she will be released from ICU in 3 or so days.

Isn't it great that the three of us all wore red shirts with jeans? We totally did not plan that. If you couldn't guess which one is me, I'm the one in the sunglasses because I'm so bad ass that I wear sunglasses at night AND indoors. Get well soon, Grammy!! We love you.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

iz can haz new names? kthxbye

My mom lost Tater Tot's collar nearly two months ago (the last time he was professionally groomed) and I've been holding off on buying him a new one because I kept thinking the lost one would pop up. But it never did. Then a few days ago one of my dad's employees left the gate open and Tater ran out and went all the way down the walking path without me seeing him. It took me 20 minutes to find him and I was freaking out because he had no collar.

I got him one of those surgical chip things from the vet a couple of years ago, but if a dog is lost it's a lot easier to look at his name tag to call the owner instead of taking them down to the vet, having them scanned for a chip, then looking up the owner. When your adorable puppy is lost, you want to make it as easy as possible for the person that finds them to call you. Of course, I had to give in and buy him a collar and tag after his sly escape the other day, even though I know the old collar will eventually turn up. I took the opportunity to 1. get him a cute collar with reflective paw prints on it in case we ever go walking in the evening time and 2. give him a new name. Awesome, right?

something cute!!!

Okay, that last post still has me kind of retching, and I just had to post something adorable to counter-balance the absolute disgustingness of my ant encounter.

I love Etsy so much because everything is homemade and unique, and you can seriously find anything you could imagine wanting on there. Well, I've been Etsy-stalking Cakespy for a while. I absolutely adore all of her little cupcake paintings and I was toying with the idea of having a custom Cuppy Cake watercolor done for Twin since she's the most devoted cupcake fan I know. I don't know what took me so long to build up the courage to ask Cakespy artist Jessie about doing a custom order, but finally I did and she got back to me right away, was super enthusiastic about my idea (me = "I'm thinking of a similar background to "Le Shopping" with one cupcake holding a latte, a cell phone, and wearing big sun glasses." her = "Cute!! I love the idea!") AND she had it completed in only a couple of days! The woman is amazing.

This is the original Cakespy she painted for me, it is seriously my Twin in cupcake form, I love it:

I'm totally the mint chip Frenchie ice cream cone!

fyi my closet is not a picnic table

This is not a familiar subject for me (i.e. it is not cute or delicious), however, I need to share. I'm housesitting for my parents tonight and decided while I'm home I should prep my room for my post-graduation arrival with all of my college apartment stuff. And, well, the picture some what explains it all.

The past few weeks I have been majorly purging stuff from my room at home. I saw a very inspiring Oprah on obsessive hoarding featuring a woman that had 15 dumpters worth of trash in her home. Gross. Well, my room is definitely not that bad since it is physically much smaller than even ONE dumpster, but one of the guest psychologists on the show explained that everyone has hoarding tendencies, even if they aren't as extreme as the crazy lady with 7 tons worth of junk in her 3,000 square foot house. You know that junk drawer in your kitchen? That antique chest you can't even open in fear of random stuff falling on you? The cupboard filled with crafting supplies you haven't touched in two years? That's all a form of hoarding in its own way, and the more clutter that physically fills up your life, the more clutter you allow to emotionally fill your life.

Admittedly we are a nation of people who love to have stuff, but when you have a hard time finding things you actually want or need because of all the useless material items filling up every nook and cranny in your home, you're not the one having the stuff, the stuff is having you. I encourage everyone to release the control all of your stuff has on you, clean out your closet, sell the things you can, give the rest to friends or charity, and throw all that stupid junk you don't need away. Trust me, you will feel so relieved after doing so. I had no idea how stressed my overflowing closet was making me until I cleaned it out and suddenly I felt so calm and relaxed. It was wonderful.

As you can imagine, purging 23+ years worth of material posessions is not an easy task and it takes time to go through all of the things you own, and even more time to convince yourself you don't need it. So I've been doing my spring cleaning in stages, and I'm down to the nitty gritty at this point as I've been really productive in the past few weeks. I decided to give a little storage area I have in the corner of my room another look to see if I could get rid of anything else. I found a few old notebooks I didn't need and when I grabbed them I saw a few ants. Ew, right? It didn't really bother me though because this house has always had a few ants in it, so I moved some more stuff around searching for anything I had missed in my previous cleaning sessions and saw some more ants. And more ants. AND MORE ANTS.

I thought they were just eating some vitamins I had left sitting out, but then I moved a plastic bin to reach the vitamins and saw they had made a little home for themselves under it and were having all kinds of tiny larva babies. It was so sick. The "nest" was about the size of my fist. I promptly freaked out, ran downstairs, grabbed some Raid, came back to my room, and sprayed the suckers good. Right next to the nest was a painting I made a few years ago of Tater Tot and I didn't want to ruin it so before I could finish spraying the pests to death I had to pick it up (covered in ants fleeing for their lives) and move it to a safe area. Okay, this is where the story gets really gross. I picked it up and the ants had literally made a giant larva nest the size of the 8 1/2 by 11 frame which was holding the painting. Thank goodness I hadn't eaten in a few hours or surely I would have barfed, and then I would have had two nasty messes to clean.

The worst part about all of this (you mean besides thousands of ants and maggot-like ant babies?) was that it was impossible to spray all of the ants right away because I had so many books and binders that had to be removed first. So they were scurrying around like crazy and crawling up my hands while I desperately removed photo albums and yearbooks as quickly as possible, before thoroughly soaking the cupboard in Raid and then wiping up all the ant carcasses with toilet paper and flushing them down the toilet. Nicolle: 1, Ants: 0. They put up a good fight, though.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"everything ends up okay..."

"...if it isn't okay, it isn't the end." - Dave Matthews

That quote has always really resonated with me. Partly (mostly) because it's Dave Matthews (aka the love of my life, sorry BF and Tater Tot), but also because it's so true. In the past year I have experienced a lot of ups and downs and then some more downs, but everything ended up okay for the most part. Things that happened last summer will definitely have a lasting affect on me, but I survived. I used to go to bed every night wishing I wouldn't wake up in the morning, that I could just sleep forever and never have to face the world again. Did things get better overnight? Not by any stretch of the imagination. It took a lot of time to get over what happened, and even now I still get upset if I think about it. The difference is I want to wake up in the morning and I want to get out of bed, and even though it still gets hard sometimes, it's not hard all the time like it was a few months ago. Moral of the story: even if it seems like your life is going to end, it's not; with some time and a lot of friends, you can get through pretty much anything life throws at you.

That being said, my mini-breakdown regarding graduation and all that seems to have subsided. My twin sister had a huge graduation party last year and so my family wanted to make sure that my "big day" was just as special. The thing is, I don't want to make a big deal out of my graduation. I'm definitely proud of all my academic achievements, but I want to have a very small celebration, with only a few family members and maybe a couple of friends. Well, everyone seemed to think I only wanted a small party to make it easier to plan, so what started out as a casual tea party turned into a monster of an event with my mom calling me on a daily basis to discuss floral arrangements and menu options. Not surprisingly, I decided to nix that whole idea, opting for a girl friend only tea party with my besties on the day following my graduation and having a super laid back family pizza party the night of my graduation ceremony. I don't know why, but instead of just planning it I ran the idea by my grandma and mom who both tried to talk me into having it at someone's house instead of the pizza parlor. Then came the discussion of salad and dessert options, and the whole turning-the-small-party-into-a-huge-event was repeating itself.

Decision? I'm going to do what I want to do and stop letting everyone's suggestions muddle with my head. After all, it's MY party, so if I want to have it at a pizza parlor, then I'm going to have it at a pizza parlor. Just thinking about it makes me happy. Seriously, it is such a relief to finally be celebrating my college graduation the way I want to. It's going to be awesome. I'm buying the cutest invitations ever, and my decorations are going to be equally as cute. I'd tell you all about them, but you'll just have to wait for the post-party pictures, I don't want to ruin the surprise!

Monday, April 21, 2008

collegiate words of wisdom

On I have no idea what topic: "The pervert is a gentle creature."

the solution to any crisis

I still don't know what motivated me to break down into tears yesterday/be on the brink of tears for the last week. However, I have found a solution! Chocolate covered strawberries. It's that easy. Eat two or three (or twelve) and all your problems instantly fade away. Who knew it was that simple? Screw therapy!

I went to my Grammy's house yesterday and she was raving about some chocolate covered strawberries my cousin recently made for a birthday party, so of course I called my cousin immediately and got the recipe. In my opinion, it is nearly impossible to screw up chocolate and strawberries, but there are definite degrees of tastiness and these seriously are some of the BEST chocolate covered strawberries your mouth will ever have the privilege to taste. Most important to successful dipping is to get ripe and flavorful strawberries, but a close second is the type of chocolate you use. Ever seen those containers of "dipping chocolate" in the grocery store? Yeah, avoid those. I have never had luck with those things. Instead, and this is very important, use Guittard brand milk chocolate. Not every store carries this brand, but trust me, it's worth a bit of a search. Per bag of Guittard milk chocolate use one tablespoon of shortening (Crisco). Melt in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring in 30 second intervals. One bag will yield enough chocolate for at least 40 medium-small strawberries. Yum!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

nervous breakdowns and such

Today I started crying for no reason at all and continued to do so for about an hour. Not sixty minutes straight, there were a few sniffles to break up the tears, but it was still pretty intense. Why was I crying? Really, I have no idea. I had reasons at the time, but I don't think any of them are actually why I was crying.

I was upset because I came home to give hometown chillaxin' a second try only to find the house completely destroyed by my little sister and her lame friends. I don't know why I expected them to have more respect for someone's house than to dump Taco Bell bags and wrappers in the front yard and throw plastic cups everywhere. Silly me. But still, that's nothing to cry about.

Then I called my mom and started stressing out about my graduation tea party. Really, Nicolle, really? You're going to freak out about something that's still three weeks away? And I'm only inviting nine people. That wasn't it, either.

Next I started stressing out about my post-graduation plans, which up to this point I have been nothing less than psyched about. I thought a lot about graduate school and put a lot of time into my application, and I was ecstatic when I found out I was accepted. So, that couldn't be the explanation for the waterworks, either.

I know enough from my ol' pal Frued to understand that I'm clearly projecting some kind of real anxiety onto these things that don't bother me at all. I just wish I knew what was really bothering me. YOU MAKE BUNNY CRY.