I Miss Blogging a Little Bit

nicole bullock 2017Three years ago, after over a decade of blogging, I had lost all my spark for writing on my blog. I had recently moved to Michigan (again), was figuring out where I was careerwise, and had felt disillusioned by the emotional temperature of the blogging world. Although I wasn’t targeted in the same ways as other bloggers, there was definitely snark being written and discussed online about me. It really felt like I had said what I needed to say at that point, and I had no desire to continue the website, other than to keep up my archives.

Last Wednesday, I gave a lunch and learn session on Google Analytics for the Social Media Association of Michigan. As part of the presentation, I pulled up my Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts to show people how to get around the platforms. Two things became very apparent to me.

1) If I’m going to be speaking about Google Analytics and Search Console, I need to have accounts that I’m not embarrassed to show the metrics on. That means I need to be fixing site errors and blogging more often.

2) The post I wrote about surviving my adult tonsillectomy was bringing about 70% of my site visitors. It’s a gritty, gross, detailed post about how bad it was to recover from getting my tonsils out. This got me thinking that maybe I don’t need to worry so much about concealing the tough and gritty parts of my life.

I used to write a lot about hard stuff…depression and anxiety, morbid obesity, chronic illness, financial concerns, and the struggles of living in a commuter marriage. And while my life wasn’t a perfect and shiny, it was true to who I was, and I received a therapeutic effect from writing about it. So I’ve decided it’s time to update my blog more often, and not worry so much about what people think about what I write about.

royal oak mi bungalowDespite dealing with some ongoing chronic health flare-ups, life is pretty dang great right now. My husband’s career trajectory is fantastic, I’m getting a lot of fulfillment professionally, and Rosie is growing up into a talented and cultured young woman. Time, career advancement,  and frugality has allowed us to knock out a significant amount of debt this year, as well as purchase a cozy mid-century bungalow in Royal Oak, MI. See how cute it is?

I chose to show a picture of the house last spring, when everything was green and beautiful. Right now it’s 15 degrees in March, everything is dead and gray, and I’m counting the weeks until Michigan becomes a verdant, magically green wonderland.

royal oak remodeled kitchenHaving a home with adequate space, with places to store all my things, and a newly-remodeled lovely kitchen has gotten me revved up to do something I’ve disliked for ages…cooking. Between experimenting with my Instant Pot and trying to eat more nutrient-dense foods (to overcome some vitamin and mineral deficiencies), I’ve spent more time in the cooking and preparing food in the kitchen in the past month than I have in the last year.

Despite all of the recipes I have tried, my current obsession is making berry cobbler. My favorite combo is blueberry, strawberry, and pear, with lime juice. I’ve been picking up fresh fruit from Eastern Market almost every Saturday. I wash and slice things up, boil the fruit in water and sugar, and then set to simmer and reduce it down to a syrup. I make the crumb topping with a yellow cake mix and butter, bake it, and it’s so tasty.

Parenting my amazing daughter through teenager-hood has been somewhat challenging, but more enjoyable than I expected. I love the woman Rosie is growing up into, and she is my best friend. I love the moment of feeling flattered when somebody tells me that they think that Rosie is my sister, not my daughter. Between mutually obsessing about Hamilton, musical theater, geeky stuff, travel, and good food, she has a lot of interests and skills that are unique to her. I’m anxious for her to get her drivers licence, so I’m not stuck driving her around for all of her school, drama rehearsals, choir performances, church activities, and ballroom dance classes. It’s crazy to think that she is only 2 years away from graduating from high school.

So that’s life for me these days. I’m not going to wait quite so long before I write up my next life update. 🙂

Wordless Wednesday: Signs of Spring

spring daffodils by nicole bullock

april snow in michigan

Wordless Wednesday: Neverending Detroit Winter

never ending Detroit winter

Settling Into Life in Detroit

blue berkley bullock homeOur family has been in Michigan for a few weeks now, and I feel like we’re settling into normal life. Well, as much as possible.

November was a month of transition. Packing, driving cross country, starting a new job, finding my way around, and trying to catch my breath. We were fortunate to be able to stay with the Mero Family in Plymouth for a few weeks, who we knew from our time in Michigan back in 2008. We did the one-car double-commute thing for two weeks, where we’d leave Plymouth, drop Taylor off at the airport in Romulus, I’d drive to work in Troy, and then go back to Plymouth. It was 120 miles round trip, and very exhausting and time consuming. I flew back to Salt Lake two weekends in a row to pack, attend a going away party, and get some last visits in with friends and family. On the second trip back, Rosie returned to Detroit with me.

I began working as an SEO specialist at Moncur Associates, a digital branding agency. I will be focusing on SEO, but working with the social media team to integrate social and content strategies for our clients. It’s been an interesting transition to go back to SEO after doing full-time social media at my last job, but I know that my social media experience makes me a better SEO, and vice versa. When I began working, the office was in Troy. Three weeks later, the office had relocated to Southfield. It’s a convenient location to my house, and a pretty snazzy contemporary office.

wooden dining room setOn the last day of November, we got the keys to our new house in Berkley. Our house is a cozy blue 1920’s bungalow with a white porch, squeaky wood floors, and a good backyard. Berkley is a suburb 11 miles north of downtown Detroit. I know this because we live off 11 Mile Road. When we drove out from Utah, we packed as much as we could into the cars. Because we had to coordinate the moving truck with Taylor’s company, we knew it would be a while before our stuff was delivered. Right now, the estimated arrival date is December 30th.

Our Black Friday was spent furniture shopping. We got some fantastic deals, and purchased a dining room set, couch, and beds. Other than our new furniture and the miscellaneous STUFF we’ve purchased on our multiple Target/Meijer/Costco/Walmart runs, the house is otherwise empty. It will be nice to have all of our dishes, kitchenware, dressers, linens, decorations, and clothes, but for now…we have enough to get by.

7 foot artificial christmas treeWe debated over a real vs artificial Christmas tree this year. I was set on getting a real tree…until I went shopping for a real tree. I don’t consider myself OCD at all, but I started getting frustrated at the “fresh” trees I saw in tree lots. Most were severely asymmetrical and patchy, and really didn’t look very pretty. The ones that were full and looked nice had very sharp needles. Four lots later, I gave in to Taylor’s pleadings and got an artificial tree. As a consolation, we bought a lovely fresh fir wreath. With the tree set up, full of lights and ornaments, this alone has helped our house feel like a home.

Christmas will be simple this year. Taylor will be on a 4-day trip, so Rosie and I will be on our own. Luckily, many new friends and people in our ward have invited us to celebrate with them, so we’ll have ways to be merry in our new city.

Wordless Wednesday: Woodward Avenue, Downtown Detroit

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Wordless Wednesday: Four Days in Michigan

michigan collage

I’m Moving to Michigan

detroit map pinLast night I updated my Facebook status, and mentioned our family’s move to Michigan at the end of the post. The general reply?

“Whaaaat? No! You’re Moving? Did I miss your announcement?!?”

Although I’ve been talking about our upcoming move for several months, I guess it’s never been official because I didn’t make a big to-do on social media.

So here’s the official announcement. Through the months of November and December, our family is moving back to the Detroit area. Taylor and I are driving out one car full of stuff on November 3rd, and the moving truck will probably come the first week of December once we’ve found a place to live. In the mean time, I’m going to stay with a family from our old ward for the days I’m in town. I’ll be in Salt Lake at various times through the next 5 weeks, but it’s going to be pretty busy with packing and moving preparation.

michigan mitten map print

To address the fact that it’s DETROIT I’m moving to: Yes, I know the city is bankrupt. Yes, I know the winters are cold. Yes, I know that it’s far away from Utah. Yes, I know you don’t like X sports team. But I’m okay with it. Our family needs this. And we’ve lived in Michigan before, so we know what to expect.

Taylor was transferred to Detroit back in March. He’s been commuting to Memphis for the last 4 years, but it hasn’t been too terrible because he could jumpseat on FedEx flights. Since he’s been based at DTW, he’s been dealing with two big stressors: living in a crashpad and commuting back and forth on standby. Both Detroit and Salt Lake City are Delta hubs, which means that a lot of passenger traffic gets rerouted at the last minute. He thinks he has a way home, then gets bumped. Or has to route through another city. It’s enough to take his 2-4 days home down to 1-3, and sometimes he’s home less than 24 hours before he’s gone another week. He’s hating crashpad life: 15-25 pilots sharing a hotel room full of crappy bunkbeds and one bathroom. Seven months of that torture has been enough to consider a career change. I don’t want him to quit his dream without giving life in Detroit another try.

michigan leavesRight now I’m being considered for a few different jobs, and will be flying out to Detroit for interviews in a few days. I’ve been job hunting for months, but earlier in the year didn’t turn out to be the right time to move. Now it is, and we’re being proactive. It’s scary to put moving expenses on a credit card and not know when I’ll have work, but sometimes a leap of faith is necessary.

It’s going to be difficult to leave Utah. We have such a strong support network for friends, family, neighbors, and former coworkers. We’ve been back in Utah 4 years, and it’s feeling harder to leave than when we left in 2006. But don’t you fret…we’ll still be back to visit. We’re planning to come back from Christmas.

Want to see us before we leave? On Saturday, November 16th, I’m going to hold a going away party open house. The location will be determined soon, but you can keep tabs on the event on the Facebook event. Hope to see you there!

 

2008 Year in Review

I will not lie. 2008 was probably the most difficult of my life, right up there with 2003 (when my ex-husband went psychotic and we got divorced). To save you from reading my 249 blog entries of 2008, I have prepared my longest blog post ever to truncate the insanity of the year. Here’s the rundown on what happened to me in 2008:

Jan 1, 6:00 am – Began driving cross-country to move to Canton, Michigan with my brother Jacob
Jan 4 – Moved in with the Pearce Family for two weeks awaiting our move-in date at our apartment
Jan 9 – While enrolled in 17 credits for school, began searching for full-time work
Jan 11 – Received a call that my father had been in a horrific car crash in Utah. He was taken in to a nine-hour surgery as I packed my bags and non-revved to SLC on the next available flight
Jan 12 – Appointed to by the family representative to make medical decisions for my dad
Jan 13 – Started his accident blog to keep family and friends notified (this link shows the extent of his injuries). Also told by Elder Dickson of the Quorum of the Seventy that the First Presidency of the Church was personally praying for his recovery.Word spread like wildfire and we had people all over the world praying for him.
Jan 14 – Called together a family counsel meeting with all family members, some extended family and our bishop to make a plan to run the family (groceries, paying bills, housework, etc)
Jan 16– Flew back to Detroit to prepare to move into my new apartment. Dad is trached and goes in for his third surgery. Still sedated and on life support
Jan 19 – Dad begins to breathe on his own without the ventilator, comes off much of the sedation. Rosie and I need a break, and go to California for 2 days to attend John and April’s wedding reception.
Jan 21 – Dad’s left leg is amputated just above the knee due to widespread necrosis. His right leg is injured, but not in as critical condition as the left.
Jan 22 – Flew back to SLC and tried to not get depressed with dad’s ICU psychosis
Jan 24 – Dad is transferred out of the ICU to the 11th floor with the amazing mountain view
Jan 25 – I wait in the surgery waiting room for his “full amputation surgery” where the stump was shortened, revised and closed with sutures
Jan 26 – My friend Kathryn, a concert violist from California, gave my dad a personal concert in the hospital, and then we went out for some non-hospital girl time at the Tavernacle and Melting Pot
Jan 27 – My dear prophet, Gordon B Hinckley, passes away from incidents of old age

Feb 2
– Michigan receives a huge dumping of snow and Rosie’s school is canceled. We travel into Ann Arbor for a day of frolicking and for two Fox Elipsus shows
Feb 3 – President Hinckley’s funeral, and a special fast is held for my dad’s recovery
Feb 4 – Thomas S. Monson is appointed the new president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and dad passes his swallow test and celebrates with a chocolate milkshake
Feb 5 – I celebrate my 28th birthday with lunch at Chili’s with Taylor and a homemade cake. As the greatest gift imaginable, my dad was transferred from the hospital to Aspen Ridge Transitional Rehab, which will become his home for the next 4 months. Also have a super-fun birthday with Taylor’s pilot friends and a few neighbors a few days later.
Feb 10 – Rosie and I go back to SLC for 5 days to spend with dad at Aspen Ridge. Dad gets to visit home for the first time since the accident. Taylor’s beloved car, The Silver Bullet (’97 Accord) bites the dust, and he replaces it with a green 2002 Civic
Feb 19 – I go to California for 4 days of ME time. Disneyland with Grant and Hollie, Disneyland with Clint, Liz time, and a lovely day with friends with Nathan McEuen in Ventura
Feb 22 – Dad has his 6th surgery, this time on his right knee. The damage is much worse than originally expected, and the long-term prognosis for the leg’s usefulness is realized.

March 3
– Have two awesome interviews at University of Michigan Medical Center, and we celebrate as a family with Turkey O’Toole’s at Bennigan’s
March 7 – I get offers for both jobs at U of M, and accept the postion in Thoracic Surgery
March 8 – Rosie and I take an impromptu weekend celebratory trip to Providence, Boston, and New Haven to see 3 more Fox Elipsus shows
March 13 – I ship off to Boston for 5 days of Irish fun with my Irish Princess friend Nicole, and we spend the next few days with Terawrizt, Lethal Dialect, The Bawston Strangla, and Shaymin. I come down with a nasty illness that will plague me for the next month
March 18 – Drop Cola off at the airport, and drive to Nantasket Beach to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, before returning to Boston for a few more hours of sightseeing and flight back to Detroit
March 20 – In an impulsive moment, I agree to head up the planning committee for my 10 Year High School Reunion
March 25 – Take one last trip to SLC before taking on the shackles of full-time employment. Nathan McEuen gives my dad a concert at Aspen Ridge
March 31 – I start my job at U of M, and New Kids on the Block officially announce their reunion tour

April 16
– Saw Ben Folds in concert at Adrian College with Mike and Erin
April 20 – Went to the ER for an grapefruit-sized ovarian cyst rupture. Diagnosed with PCOS.
April 25 – Assist Utah does an evaluation of my parents’ home in Murray, and decide that the renovations to the house are too extensive to warrant a renovation. They will need to find a new home.

May 5
– Began my parent-dentist relationship with Dr. Kam, who received thousands from me in the next 7 months. He did a great job, unlike my CA dentist
May 15 – Complete the most difficult school semester of my life, and have to take an incomplete on my first class ever. Flew to California for two days for Chris and Mary‘s wedding, a trip to the Huntington with Liz, and to celebrate Syttende Mai with Brett
May 23 – Take a two-day trip to Palmyra, NY and Niagara Falls, by way of Ontario, Canada. We stayed with Alan, my old HS boyfriend, in Rochester. He treated us to Dinosaur BBQ. Yum!

June
– My summertime slump. Thank you Prozac for fixing me.

July
– Attended Grandpa Dale Bullock’s funeral, dealt with a bad month of Taylor’s schedule, cut 7 inches off my hair, Lissy’s twins Sarah and Phoebe were born, spent a weekend in Northern KY with my old Ricks College roommate Stacey, and I went insane planning my HS reunion. Dad is done with Aspen Ridge My parents move out of their home of 15 year on Green Oaks Drive in Murray, and move into the Brigham Apartments in downtown SLC

Aug 2
– MHS X, the high school reunion, came off much better than all the nightmares that plagued me about it for weeks. I already knew everything going on with the people that attended because I read their blogs. I relinquish the responsibility back to the class officers for the next reunion
Aug 8 – Enjoyed the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I was a total Phelps Phan.
Mid-August – . Grandma Joyce in Portland decides to sell her house and move to SLC. My parents house goes on the market. I also reconnected with a bunch of my old Balmoral ladies through blogging
Aug 30 – My coworker Kay gives me the hook-up through a friend for tickets to the Utah – Michigan football game at the Big House. We wear red. Utah wins.
Aug 31 – Receive a random, smug message from Tim, the guy I dated right after my divorce, that temporarily sends me into an emotional tailspin. (History: I was madly in love with him, we were planning our wedding, and then he suddenly breaks up with me in a email. No contact for almost 5 years, then a message at 3 am after finding my blog) Actually, this is the year that EVERY man I ever dated got in touch with me through my blog or Facebook. Even Niko from Finland. Kinda creepy. Rosie and I drive to Lansing on a whim to meet up with Taylor for the night at his crew hotel.

Sept 2
– Rosie begins 2nd grade
Sept 13 – We spend Rosie’s birthday in SLC, and have a wonderful family turn out for her
baptism
Sept 21 – After months of deliberation, Taylor decides to take the CRJ-900 upgrade in Atlanta. He puts in his bid for January, he gets assigned for training in October.
Sept 22 – Taylor turns 29. One more year till 30!

Early October
– Begin revising resume and applying for jobs, and enjoy the most beautiful autumn that I’ve ever remembered
Oct 8 – Taylor and I celebrate our Four Year Anniversary We spend the weekend in Atlanta checking out neighborhoods and apartments, and prepare for Taylor’s move to ATL.
Oct 17 – Spend a family day in HELL, MICHIGAN and go to the Christmas Store in Frankenmuth
Oct 22 – Taylor leaves for Memphis and Montreal for 10 days of upgrade training. The pilot widow lifestyle resumes…
Oct 25 – Rosie and I attend the New Kids on the Block reunion concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Best concert of the year
Oct 31 – Rosie and I fly to LAX to spend a warm Halloween Holiday in Cali.

Nov 7
– Have a phone interview with Emory for a position type-cast for me. A few days later I go to Altanta to have an in-person interview. Best one I’ve ever had.
Mid-November – I give my notice at work for mid December, and everything goes downhill fast
Nov 21 – Have a Girls Night Out with Hillary and Erin to see Twilight
Nov 25 – Start a Twitter account. Post 211 tweets in the next 5 weeks.
Thanksgiving – Road trip to Atlanta. A feast at Golden Corral, and a late dinner at Waffle House

Dec 1
– Accidentally inhaled an industrial chemical at work, and am sent to the ER for breathing treatments. Two weeks of asthma follow.
Dec 5 – I receive the job offer from Emory. Also, I blog about other significant December 5ths in my life
Dec 12 – Last day of work at University of Misery. Begin packing for 16 day trip in carry-on bags
Dec 13-15 – Snowy visit in Portland with Grandma Joyce
Dec 16-21 – Visit with family in SLC. Another ER visit. Attended Grandma Mary Taylor’s funeral in Spanish Fork. Get upgraded to First Class while non-revving to LAX
Dec 22-28 – Visit with family and friends in Cali
Dec 29 – Pack up my apartment in Michigan
Dec 30-31 – Drive with a loaded car from Detroit to Atlanta, overnighting in Knoxville
Dec 31 – Ring in the new year with Taylor, Rosie, Hank, and Marissa in Atlanta

Girls Night Out

Last night, I grabbed my two best friends in Michigan, and went to see “Twilight” for a Girls’ Night Out. Husbands stayed back and watched the kiddos, the soundtrack was a-blasting in the car, and we were ready for some hot vampire action. We stopped by the store first, grabbing some drinks and candy to smuggle in. Hillary (middle) and Erin (right) had never actually met each other, but Hillary recognized Erin, and I think they made fast friends. After the movie, we had appetizers and dessert from Chili’s, and stayed up way past our bedtimes.

There’s no way I could have survived my time in Michigan with these ladies. Here’s a little about my ladies:

Hillary lived in the apartment next door to me. She is the only neighbor who came over to introduce herself in the whole time I’ve lived here. She has a deliciously adorable daughter, and Rosie loves to dote over. We both dealt with Absent Husband Syndrome for the first half of the year, as both men had to constantly travel for work. We kept up on American Idol together (although she voted for the wrong David) She moved a few blocks away in the summer, but we still saw each other all the time. She needed some extra cash, and I needed someone to flexibly watch Rosie on the days Taylor was on a trip. She was so sweet…she offered to let us stay over for dinner almost everyday that Rosie was at her place. We are both movie/music nuts and love to stay abreast of all the latest new releases.

Erin got to see my husband a lot more than I got to see him in 2007. Her husband Mike was Taylor’s bunkmate at Jet U for 5 months last year, so we both suffered from Absent Husband Syndrome. When they both started working at DTW, Taylor lived on their couch for next-to-nothing for three months. Erin graciously kept a stiff upper lip when he was hard to live with, and let him stay much longer than originally anticipated. We met last November on the weekend I flew out from California to find a place to live. We ended up living within walking distance of each other. We share the same obsessions of Trader Joes, creative crafting, Keane, blogging/LJing, and the fresh organic produce. It was tough to have get-togethers for both of our families because Mike seemed to typically work the opposite days of Taylor. She’s attempted to teach me to knit, and I still owe her a sewing lesson. We share the same pain of being drowning in debt from our husband’s careers, and living of their anorexic paychecks. I introduced her to the Twilight series, so we’ll always be connected through vampire blood.

Speaking of vampire blood, didn’t I pull off the vampire look pretty well to see the movie?

Before I leave Michigan, I want to…


1. Go to the Motown Museum
2. Tour the Ford Rouge Factory and Greenfield Village
3. Eat a sandwich at Zingermanns
4. Have a GNO with all the ladies I love
5. Chill in Royal Oak and Ferndale
6. See a concert at the Fillmore Detroit
7. Bridge jump naked from the Ambassador Bridge into Canada (just kidding!)

If interested in assisting me fulfill this list, please let me know!