I live in a house full of cocks.

The "rooster perch" atop the kitchen cabinets.

It’s true. Well, it’s really a kitchen full of cocks. I won’t – and Kevin definitely won’t – allow the collection of roosters to overflow into other areas of our home. They are “contained” within the kitchen and that’s fine by me. I think I’ve made the statement that I collect roosters, I don’t want to be called the “Crazy Cock Lady.” Less is more, right?!

Some roosters are ceramic, others are glass, one is cast iron, and my favorite is made of barbed wire.

This little guy sets on the window ledge above the kitchen sink (nice view of the front yard and pasture too). I use his "feathers" to hold my ring while I'm washing dishes or cooking.

This collection began when we moved into our home in September of 2007. I received the first rooster, made of cast iron and painted bright red, as a bridal shower gift from the sweetest, most precious, little lady in Kentucky that wrote,

Every home needs a rooster to symbolize confidence and prosperity; and, it will watch over you and your family. Congratulations to you and Kevin, may God bless this marriage.

The one that started this collection!


Four years of marriage and a rooster collection later, Kevin and I are enjoying life in our rooster perch. Who would have ever thought I would have a kitchen full of cocks?!

Rooster made of recycled barbed-wire.

A funny cock story: my parents drove from Sebree, KY to Joshua, TX a few months after Kevin and I moved into our home. Dad and I were outside walking around and discussing plans for supper and suddenly realized we did not have a grill. Luckily, Wal-Mart is just down the road about 10 minutes. I went to the food section and Dad headed off to the lawn and garden department. Twenty minutes later, Dad is pushing a cart filled with a bag of charcoal, a charcoal grill and this rooster:

A gift from my Dad

Me: “Nice cock, Dad.”

The words escaped my lips before I could stop them.

Dad: “It’s a gift from ol’ Dad for your new home. Smartass.”

I don’t look at that rooster without thinking about our trip to Wal-Mart.

In between hours of teacher certification projects and lesson planning, I did some rooster research today. Roosters are interesting creatures. (Credit:

  • Roosters (male chickens, often called cockerels or cocks) guard the area where his hens are nesting, or protecting their eggs. He usually sits four or five feet above the ground and “looks out” for the flock. If predators arrive, he will sound a distinctive alarm call.
  • In Christianity, the rooster is remembered for crowing three times after Peter denied Christ. Thus, the rooster symbolizes Christ’s passion.
  • The rooster symbolizes honesty in China.
  • Sacred in Japan, roosters are allowed to roam freely amongst Shinto temples because believers think the rooster’s crow at dawn brings followers to morning prayers.
  • In dreams, roosters are considered time-keepers. Whenever you see a plumed rooster, it’s time to let others see your true self and “strut your stuff” by showing your gifts and talents.
  • The national emblem of France is the rooster.
  • Roosters are also symbols for pride, honesty, courage, diligence, strength, and watchfulness.

I’m not very knowledgable of the Chinese Zodiac (except for what I read on the placemats at the local Chinese restaurant), but the rooster is in the calendar and I thought it was relevant. According to the calendar, Kevin was born in the year of the Dragon and I was born in the year of the Pig. Geez, how ironic. Oh well, I’m a bacon lover. Oink. Oink.

Traits of someone born in the year of the Rooster include, according to

  • confident, motivated, loyal, trustworthy
  • individuals are blunt when offering their opinions
  • very sociable
  • extremely organized and keep neat homes (yeah right, here’s a big clue as to why I’m NOT a Rooster!)
  • active and in good health
  • if this person takes on too much, they become stressed and moody (who doesn’t?!)

Happy Saturday, y’all.


The Crazy Cock Collector


I’m (not) pregnant

But I’m seriously considering it.

But I haven’t consulted with my husband. This could be a problem.

I don’t need more problems, I’ve got enough to deal with.

I have a theory and my mother (plus a few others) agree that it might have some validity. We (mostly I) think that my allergy to dairy (cow’s milk) will go away if I become pregnant. For a brief, but oh-so-glorious, nine month period, I would enjoy the wonderful and creamy deliciousness that dairy has to offer.

At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with an allergy to cow’s milk. Please, don’t ask me if I’m “lactose intolerant.” It’s not the same. Not even close. So imagine my broken spirit when, after 21 years of consuming ice-cold 2% milk, real butter and my grandmother’s homemade banana pudding, the allergy specialists said, “I’m sorry, Nicole, but you are allergic to cow’s milk. You have to stop consumption now.”

That’s the day rain began falling on my parade. It hasn’t stopped.

Now, before you all get excited and worked up, I’m NOT pregnant. Do I want to be? Well, if it meant I would be safe from dairy products, then yes. If I sound selfish, I apologize. I don’t feel well, every square inch of my body aches, and all I really want to do is go home, put my jammies on, and lay on the couch. It’s times like this that I ask myself, “Why did I choose a career that involves speaking to teenagers?” I’m not very smart.

This week has been hell. On top of TAKS testing for middle school students (which translates into the most boring, dull experience any human being has to endure and includes pacing around a 600 square foot classroom, in silence, for 8 hours, as students complete their test and/or read or sleep), I’ve been suffering the past five days with an allergic reaction. Imagine fire and intense pain in your mouth, on your tongue, around the gum line, down your throat and esophagus, then into your stomach, intestines and beyond. By “beyond” I mean beyond. If you don’t understand, nevermind. I’m not explaining this.

Moving on……..

So, yeah, I’m in pain. I hurt. I’m not sure “pain” adequately describes this experience, but it’s a royal pain in the ass. No offense to the Queen or the newly wed couple.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, on their wedding day (04.29.11).

Speaking of the newlyweds, I did not get up early to watch the royal pageant but I admit to looking at pictures before leaving for school this morning. I really like Kate’s dress. I also love all the hats most women in attendance are wearing. It reminds me of the Kentucky Derby, which is Saturday, May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Queen Elizabath II wearing all yellow at her grandson's wedding.

I think the photo below is my favorite. The little girl at the bottom sums my feelings towards allergic reactions. I also think her expression mimics the attitude of some around the world that are sick and tired of this royal wedding. Honestly, I’m glad it’s over. I wish the couple well, but let’s move on people.

The little girl's expression is the best. She's so over this damn wedding!

Thoughts and prayers to the families devastated by the horrific tornadoes in Alabama. My extended family in Cullman are fine, but they are still without power. Cullman is located about an hour northeast of the City of Tuscaloosa, which looks more like a nightmare than it does a college town. ROLL TIDE and God bless.

Photo courtesy of Marvin Gentry / Reuters

Haiti trip update: my airline ticket was purchased this morning. I guess the next thing is to get all of the immunization shots at the local health department. That sounds like a fun experience. OH JOY!!!!

The Promise of Easter

It’s Easter Eve. The day after Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. Tomorrow, I will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection at Easter sunrise service with my church family at First United Methodist Church in Joshua.

We live in a Good Friday world with the promise of Easter.

~ Rev. Lara Whitley

Good Friday was supposed to be a holiday for students and teachers in Fort Worth but the excessive snow in February caused it to be a make-up day. However, instead of going to work/school, I took a vacation day to attend the memorial service for Lori McKenzie, a friend of mine who passed suddenly from a stroke. She was 35.

Lori Lynn McKenzie ~ 01.27.75 - 04.19.11

It was one of the most beautiful, most wonderful experiences I have ever had celebrating the life of a sister in Christ. The impact she made on so many people is obvious, she was a friend and a mentor to many. When I walked out of our worship center all I could see were countless motorcycles (one of Lori’s hobbies was riding a motorcycle) and more than 60 Sheriff’s patrol cars (Lori was a Sheriff Deputy for Ellis County, Texas). In remembrance of Lori, the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office is dedicating their new headquarters facility in her honor.

Me, Lara, Lori and Diane @ Glen Lake Camp Golf Tournament (April 23, 2010)

One of Lori’s other loves was playing golf. In fact, one year ago today we played in a golf tournament in Glen Rose, Texas benefiting the Glen Lake Camp, a United Methodist Church camp. We were the only all-female foursome in the tournament with more than 80 registered teams. In Lori’s terms, “we kicked ass and took names!” We really did. Finished fourth overall and took home money AND door-prizes.

I’d like to give a shout-out to my Aunt Georgia, today is her birthday. She’s celebrating without me. She called me last night, and I laughed for an hour afterwards.

Prayer request: an EF2 tornado struck Poole, Kentucky last night and caused severe damage to homes and other property. Luckily, my parents are fine, the cats and dogs are fine, and they had no property damage. However, other friends and family were not so lucky.

The view from my friend's living room inside their home that was destroyed last night (04.22.11) when an EF2 tornado struck Webster County, Kentucky. The family's entire farming operation was also destroyed.

Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. While this is a sad and dark time for them, there is an amazing spirit of community present among loved ones in need. I cannot be there physically to help clean-up the devastation, but I’m praying for my friends as they piece their lives back together.

On a much lighter note, I woke up this morning in an empty bed. Kevin left early for an auction northwest of Fort Worth but I didn’t linger because I had to get an early start on the BIG stack of student essay and illustration projects. It was a huge grading endeavor that I had to get done today. I began at 8:00 this morning and finished the dreadful task at 9:30 tonight. Oh. My. Goodness. Call me an idiot. Go ahead. I AM AN IDIOT!!!! Why did I assign such a task? Why did I assign this before a holiday weekend? Oh wait, there’s an even better question: why did I assign this project at the END of the grading period when grades MUST be entered and posted to the data collection office? Yes, I am an idiot. But, alas, the grading is finished, students’ grades have been uploaded in the electronic grade book, and I can cross this item off my to-do list. Yeah, go me!

It’s been an emotional couple of days but, it’s true: we live in a Good Friday world. However, we should live these dark days with the hope that Easter will come. I’m ready for tomorrow. I’m ready for Easter.

Living for the promise,



Forget that the Royal Wedding is later this week (it is Friday, right?!), I’m singing “Hail to the Queen” in my own way.  Check it out!

North Texas, bless its heart, finally got a teasing rain this evening. Most people in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex experienced heavier rain and thunderstorms, but here at our humble abode we collected about a half-inch of rain and a good sprinkling of marble-size to ping-pong-ball-sized hail. Luckily, no damage. Plus, I honestly didn’t care what was busted or broken or crushed because I desperately wanted rain. I swear the grass turned three shades greener in a matter of minutes. It was thirsty.

I’ll take the half-inch and be grateful. Kevin says he’s never seen this much hail. I like celebrating these little “firsts” with him, he’s such a cutie-patootie. In 2009, Kevin had his first White Christmas. It was the coolest thing. Ever.

Hail Storm - April 19, 2011

I have a question for you:

Who spends more than $50.00 at Hallmark on birthday and Mother’s Day cards?

Me. That’s who. $57.21 to be exact.

I think my Mom, grandmothers, and other lovely ladies who are also mama’s, will be pleased with the cards (yes, plural – I send multiple cards to individuals!) I send with love. I’m a stickler for cards. I probably own half of the company’s stock and the royalty checks have gotten lost in the mail. That’s got to be the problem. I should have my people call their people and get this whole thing figured out. I might have a trust in place – with lots of zeros on the account balance – waiting for me. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Another lovely thing is this gift I bought myself: it’s purdy. (That’s country slang for pretty, in case you didn’t know.) I was inspired by my friend and fellow-blogger, The Coastal Chicster. Miss Lisa went on an incredible Caribbean vacation in February and bought herself a fabulous piece of jewelry…click here to see her beauty. 

My gift to me, myself and I isn’t as fabulous as hers, but it’ll do in a pinch. I’m a real pinch though: it’s called being REALLY allergic to my wedding band. Yeah, that sucks BIG time. I’ve got to get it reset in platinum this summer. I’m severely allergic to the nickel elements in the white gold of my ring. It sucks. But here’s something else to add to my to-do list. The last time I wore my ring, I thought my finger would fall off after just 20 minutes. I spent the rest of the day with the symbol of my love and committment to my husband in the pocket of my pants. That was nerve-wrecking. I still have the scar from that nervous day in January. It’s like a severe burn on my ring finger. Ouch.

A Gift for Me, Myself and I

Whatcha think?

I think my nails need a manicure. Bad.

It’s the little things that matter

It’s going to be nice to be home later this evening, but the time spent in Austin with Kimberly has been wonderful. I think we both did a world of good for each other. She needed me, and I needed her. We re-fueled our souls with the peace, love, and serenity that were missing. Life gets chaotic. We get caught in the rat race. Plus, at times, life is just plain shitty.

It’s been an emotional and reflective weekend for both of us. She is at a crossroad where a decision will impact the rest of her life. I think everybody has stood at that crossroad, in some sense or another. I know for sure that I have.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to reflect upon my own life and consider my own situation. Specifically, the decisions I’ve made to get where I am. I don’t regret these decisions at all. In hindsight, I’m glad I took a leap of faith and trusted the unseen possibilities, the hope of something greater than my own understanding, to have the life I live. Whatever you call it (luck, chance, blessing, choice, etc.), I’m glad I accepted the opportunity to experience life outside my comfort zone. Now, I believe I am a stronger, more grounded person because of my previous decisions. I’m not saying every decision has been the right one, or the best one, but I am content with who and what I am. I realized this weekend, though, that I have taken too many things for granted. I’m incredibly humbled and apologetic.

When I get home later today, and I see Kevin, I want to kiss him. I will whisper ” I love you ” in his ear and hug him tight. I will forget, for a moment at least, the luggage in my car, the dishes in the sink, and the general clean-up around the house that needs to be done before another week begins. I will focus solely on him. Most importantly, I want to reconnect with him. 

I’ve spent eight years (four years married) with Kevin. We have this life of “us” because we are constantly together. Being “us” has become a habit. How easily I’ve forgotten the months spent apart by hundreds of miles and spanning across four states. A long-distance relationship is hard work. At times, it royally sucks. The pain of loneliness can be overwhelming when you are craving a touch from the person you love so dearly.

I needed this weekend. Not only to be with Kimberly, but I needed her to remind me of the little things I’ve neglected at home. For this, I’m incredibly appreciative.

On a lighter note, here’s a recap of our wonderful, amazing, and spectacular weekend in Austin:


This little guy is an angel in disguise.

Lunch with friends at Baby A.

Kimberly & Nicole (or Kimberly & The Giant)

Texas is obviously experiencing a drought because the "Twin Falls" is a dry rock bed. Please, no diving.

View from the trail

Sometimes you must stop and smell the roses…and see the butterfly.




When all else fails, and you’ve called your mother, you must…




then savor every crumb and morsel until you have…


Are you drooling on your keyboard?


Be jealous. Be very, very jealous. Those were some very tasty cupcakes. Kim savored the Dreamsicle (which, surprisingly, was not orange-y overload) and I devoured Sweet Charity (moist chocolate cake with vanilla icing). Just one little regret here: I wish I had gotten those two crumbs left in the wrapper. That’s a shame!

I’ll let you in on a little secret about these two flavors of cupcakes: they’re 100-percent Vegan. Shhhh, don’t tell anybody. No, wait, tell the whole world and Kim and I will eat them all!

That’s all, for now.

O.C.D Perfection

I'm the child that, when in grade school, would start over rather than erase a mistake on a paper.

My handwriting is UBER perfect. Most of the time. Occassionally, when I'm in a hurry it will resemble a mess. But even then, people still say it's as neat as a typed font.

I've always received compliments regarding my penmanship (i.e. handwriting) since I was a young girl. My father has beautiful writing; in fact, my Dad taught me calligraphy around age 6. That made a huge impact on my handwriting.

As I have gotten older, I've gotten into the habit of printing instead of writing (cursive). However, I made my Dad a promise that I would make it a resolution of mine this year to print less and use the writing skills he taught me at an early age.

My handwriting is a gift that I am proud to share with others too. I am the old-fashioned type that writes hand-written notes and letters to friends instead of emails. If anything, I am a Southern Belle and I ALWAYS send a hand-written thank-you note for ANYTHING worth being grateful for. It's important to me. 🙂

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Two Friends Going “Gruene”

My best friend, Kimberly, lives in Austin and I drove three hours last night to spend the weekend with her. She’s going through a difficult time and I needed/wanted to be here for her and with her. I love this girl. She’s my partner in crime. 

Today was an absolutely gorgeous and sunny day in Central Texas. There was not one cloud in the sky and it couldn’t have been more than 75-degrees. We didn’t pay attention to a clock or our phones, those things weren’t important. The only thing that mattered was Kim and I were together. We talked, shared, laughed, cried, and wholly enjoyed the peacefulness, quietness, and stillness of nature. It has been an awesome day.

About 45 minutes south of Austin, overlooking the Guadalupe River, is a little gem town named Gruene – pronounced GREEN. It’s one of those places locals try to keep secret, but tourists always find and want to enjoy. I’m glad I was a semi-tourist today. I say “semi tourist” because Kim has been visiting Gruene since she was a little girl AND we arrived to town today in her kick-ass, cherry red Ford Mustang like we owned that joint. Besides, tourists were arriving on Greyhound buses and wearing name tags.

Here’s a photo-recap of our day together:

A funny little story about the Gristmill Restaurant…this past week in class my students have been learning about the various economic activities in Texas during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, including industries like gristmills and sawmills. I showed students photographs and images of gristmills from online sources and one of the search results was this restaurant’s webpage….who knew that I would be enjoying a DEE-LICIOUS lunch with my bestie Kimberly just a few days later?!

Kim and I sampled different Texas wines at The Grapevine…our favorite was “Ghostrider” produced in Fredericksburg by Chisholm Trail Winery. Cheers!

This was “our” table at The Grapevine…we laughed and cried, then sat in silence and watched the world go by. It was heavenly.

After finishing our glass of wine – probably two hours later! – Kim and I made our way down to the river. You want beauty, keep scrolling!

Kim has promised me another trip to the River later this summer. Wanna know what we’re gonna do?!

According to Kimberly, toobing is the act of putting your ass in the center of a (hot-as-hell, black) tire (that may or may not be fully inflated) wearing minimal/inappropriate clothing, and consuming excessive amounts of adult beverages, as well as indulging in such delicacies as Doritos (store brand, of course) and ham-and-cheese sandwiches (also store brand). Disclaimer: By engaging in such activities you may be subject to things such as: mangy dogs, cowboy hats made of beer cartons, turtles having sex, saggy-baggy boobies, incoherent singing and exceptional use of swear words. If you are offended by any of these things, you may want to stay away from our waterin’ hole, bitches.

The water in Gruene is green and REALLY cold!!!

We met this lizard on our way back to town. He was a cutie.

Same lizard. Different angle.

Infamous “Gruene Hall” – the oldest dance hall in Texas. And, the stage.

More friendly animals in Gruene, this deer was laying down next to The Tearoom Restaurant, also in Gruene. Kim and I enjoyed the shaded porch nearby and met these lovely deer. They got really close at one point.

Kim and I returned to her apartment and her wonderful roommate had rescued this beautiful cat we have already named Sabbath. He’s a royal little creature, already making himself home on Kim’s bed, right under the fan and atop a luxuriously soft blanket. He also found a convenient water refreshment bowl.

What an ending to a wonderful, glorious, and most beautiful sunny day spent with a precious friend. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Village Idiot: All Max’d Out

The local village called, their idiot is missing…….

I feel really stupid. Until a week ago, I didn’t even know what a “maxi” was. Well, that’s not entirely true. My first thought was a female’s worst nightmare at a particular time of the month when tampons are not available. However, I consulted with a fashionista and learned that a maxi was the opposite of mini.


I’m so glad to have gone through 20-plus years of schooling to earn my higher-education to know the opposite of mini is maxi. Now I feel like a smart-ass. Moving on.

This month’s clothing challenge at Every Body Every Wear is a maxi skirt. Of course I did not own a maxi until a week ago. While waiting to meet a friend last week, I went into Ross and figured this “thing” would be worth the $5.99 gamble. I call it a “thing” because according to the label it can be worn multiple ways. Don’t worry, I’m NOT that brave and have no intention of being brave with this particular item of clothing now in my possession. I already had the white polo and brown sandals.

I guess this would be as good time as any to admit another IDIOT move on my part with this whole EBEW / maxi event: I was dressed in this exact outfit last Thursday morning all ready and willing to take pictures when I realized I was SIX days early!!!!! Thank goodness I checked the website and allowed plenty of time to change into more “Nicole-ism” clothes. I think I wore capri pants and a cashmere sweater to school instead. I wasn’t at all concerned if a big burst of wind was going to blow my skirt up to my eyeballs.

Shirt, Wal-Mart; skirt, Ross; sandals, Target - total cost of ensemble: less than $40

Again, my sincere apologies at this terrible self-portrait. My husband laughed out loud when he saw this picture and is STILL making fun of me not only that I’m blogging about the clothes I wore today, but also because I stood outside (before dawn!) in front a camera that was sitting on the trunk of my car. Yeah, I need a life. Or more friends. Or both.

After scrolling through the other pictures on EBEW, I don’t feel worthy of being called a participant because my skirt is not long enough. At least it doesn’t look like the other pictures. Mine does not drag the ground or hide my knees and legs. Where is the manual for wearing a maxi skirt correctly? I’m an epic failure.

I hope you like my feeble attempt at being fashionable for a day………I’m returning to the village now.

Why am I the lucky one?

You know the voice. The tone that means something is wrong.

I missed her call this morning while I was at church. The most wonderful, sincere, honest, and dearest friend of mine is suffering from a broken heart.

She’s the best Best Friend a person could have.

She deserves all that life has to offer.

She deserves to be happy. She deserves kindness, respect and honesty. She deserves to be held and comforted. She deserves to be pampered. She deserves accolades. She deserves to love and be loved. 

This situation she finds herself in is unspeakable. It’s unexplainable. It’s impossible to understand. Will my friend find love again?

After our hour-long conversation, I began to question my own situation:

Why am I the lucky one?

Friday Date Night

Get home from school/work and husband offers to buy me dinner.

Dinner is at a mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant in Cleburne. The salsa’s chunky. The prices are reasonable. I’m hungry. The food’s yummy and the tea is sweet.

On our way home, we stop for diesel and Kevin sees a roping buddy. After 30 minutes of roping talk, they decide to go watch tonight’s jackpot competition at a local roping arena.

So is my life as a roper’s wife.

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