Hi, I'm Nicole, and this blog post will probably ruin my chances of ever getting married. By the way, have you met my sister, Emily?

Most of you have probably noticed that I haven't posted on this blog in forever a few weeks. But if any of you are reading into that, stop right now, because I have only four words for you: calm before the storm. I admit it. I've been really busy lately. And the last thing I posted was a link to You-Tube, which obviously took TONS of effort and time. But, don't fear. I have three and a half hundreds of ideas for blog posts in the next few days, and, trust me, they're going to be good. They're going to be TERRIFIC. They're going to be…..nevermind. Let's get to the real subject of today's blog post, shall we?

As you all know, I usually blog about my domestic disasters. If you've been reading my blog any length of time, you know that I am really good at whipping up weird-colored foods (like the grey tacos. I'll never forget the grey tacos), breaking things (in fact, I will admit to you, in strict honesty, that there were TWO broken glasses in our household last week, although I maintain that it was not entirely my fault), and generally ruining whatever I touch.

Now. Whenever I post about my culinary catastrophes, I usually print off the post and go to the ironing board where my mom is doing something industrious, and I say, "Hey, mom, want to hear my new blog post?"
She, of course, being such a good mom, says, "Of course."
So I read her the blog post. And she laughs, and laughs, and laughs, and laughs. (Okay. Maybe not that much. But she does laugh. Honestly, she does.) But after I finish reading the post, she puts down the iron, looks at me rather sadly, and communicates to me nonverbally. Her look says, "Nicole, every time you post about one of your kitchen disasters, your chances of meeting a guy on the internet plummet." Now, she's never actually said it out loud. But there have been some less-than-subtle hints in that direction. And every time I get that look, I tell her, "I'm not trying to impress anybody, mom." Which is, mostly, true. I think meeting guys on the internet is a little weird.

However. If we process this logically, any guy who does like me "for reals" (like my little throwback-to-the-90's phrase?) is probably going to know how to use the internet, and, at some point, he's probably going to look me up online. And he's going to find my blog. And he's going to be so madly in love with me that he's going to go clicking through my archives for days at a time. And at some point in our relationship, he's probably going to broach the difficult question to my parents, "If I fall in love with your daughter, will it mean I have to cook my own dinners for the rest of my life?"

And, rightly so, my parents would sit that young man down in the living room and have a nice little chatty-chat with him and say the truth: "No. Nicole isn't a horrible cook. She's not even a bad cook. She's just less concerned about her reputation than she is concerned about having a funny blog." Which is true—I choose to blog about my disasters, because it's fun to blog about disasters, and because I like making people laugh. And because people like feeling better about themselves after realizing that the sister of a celebrity could actually be dumb enough to make a grey cake.

Now, don't think that this post is done just because I redeemed myself with all of those eligible guys flocking to my blog to check out my ability to put supper on the table in a reliable fashion. No. Oh, no.
See, I might be able to convince any suitors that I am not a horrible cook.
And I might actually be less catastrophic than I write about being.

But I have this sister. And…..well, compared to my sister, even my grandest efforts look really, really unimpressive.

See, my parents have this little tradition called "Date Night". Once a week, they eat dinner by themselves in another room, and we make a formal dessert and serve it to them and they sit and stare in eachother's eyes and mom gives dad a debriefing on the week, which, loosely translated, means: mom tells dad about what kids need "discipline" that night, and why. (Gotta keep it real here, folks.)

They've had this tradition for as long as I can remember, and I can remember all the way back to before the fourth grade. (No really. Scout's honor.) And, I think it's romantic enough for them to have their own special time and their own special dessert, and their own special selves.
But not Emily.
Um, in case I haven't introduced her before, Emily is my sister. You'll probably need to know that before you go on with this story. Emily is really pretty. She really does look like this all of the time:


That's her. And yes, she deleted the background that was there and put that nice background of a…..whatever.
So. With those little introductions taken care of, back to Emily and Date Night.

Emily takes Date Night seriously. For instance, it's not uncommon for me to come home and to find her swishing gracefully around the house, asking me how my day at work went and simultaneously doing cooking several gourmet dishes, making drinks in fancy goblets, tidying the house, and getting ready The Room for date night. And when I actually go in the room, to check out the arrangements, it looks like it's ready for some fancy European dignitary on his honeymoon. She'll have candles, and some delicious meal, and ROSE PETALS.

Yes. I just said, ROSE PETALS.
Seriously. Who, who, can compete with a sister like that?!?

If you don't believe me, here's a picture. This wasn't a "special Date Night". This was just a normal Date Night, one that happens once a week.


And if you still don't believe me, here's another picture.


And that….was all before the dinner came out. I just don't have pictures of that part.

Recently, Emily hosted a black-and-white party for Daniel's seventh birthday. I knew it was going to be good when she had a little photo shoot and made his invitations.

Actually, axe that. I knew it was going to be fun when she announced the idea of a black-and-white party. I would have never, never thought of a black-and-white party.


And when I got home from work on the day of the party, she had quite a spread going.


Candles. Black barbed-wire. I don't know what the barbed wire was for. But it looked good. Black and white cups. She made a black-and-white cake.


And she was hanging streamers.

Well, they were sort-of like streamers. There was this fuzzy black and white stuff, and when I came in, I stared at it and said, in disbelief, "What is THAT?!!?!?"

She gave me this look of exasperation and I expected her to say, "Nicole, that's a (fill in the blank with some fancy French decorating word)."

Instead, she said, "Um, Nicole, that's…..yarn."

Oh. YARN! I know what yarn is. Whoops! I don't remember exactly what the point of the black-and-white yarn was, but I know it had something to do with being draped across the refrigerator. It looked good, I remember that much.

And, to top it all off, her black-and-white cake was actually MARBLED. She made a black-and-white marbled cake. Not kidding, folks:


To be perfectly honest, we didn't get a very good picture of it, because everybody wanted to eat it as soon as it was cut.

It was a great, great party. But it wasn't a particularly special occasion. Emily does things like this all of the time. Most nights I know that when I come home from work, she'll have some spectacular dinner on the table. And, on the occasions that are really special, she hauls off with something like this, a lunch with my grandma earlier this year:


Isn't it pur-dy?

Oh. And check out this cake. Emily decided to make a cake for the county fair, and told us all that she would be pleased to place at all. Modest, of course. What ACTUALLY happened was that she took first place, Judge's Special, Best of Division and Best of Show.


By the way, in case you're curious like I am, and wondering WHAT exactly that lumpy green cake with the gold stripe is, off to the right, well, I don't remember. Emily would probably remember, but she's fast asleep right now and I'm trying to post this without, you know, waking her up to consult her in the middle of the night.

Speaking of consultations. Emily knows where EVERYTHING in our house is. Numerous times per week (I'm not going to put a number on it, because I would be embarrassing myself), I will be planning my outfit for the day, and I'll call out, "EMILY!!"

A faint yes will come from wherever she is, probably doing laundry, getting breakfast ready, and unloading the last night's dishes all at the same time.


She'll call back, "The one you got from Mrs. Miller after her mom and she went shopping in Palm Springs?"


She always responds the same way. "Hold on….."

And she drops whatever she's doing, comes back to my room, opens the closet, flips through the same clothes I just flipped through, and presents it cheerfully before going back out and doing other industrious things.

Emily is good at coordinating our clothes. Like this "sleepover" she had last year, for us, when I remember that she served homemade (!) jalapeno (!) poppers (!) and other stuff.


Emily is really good at cleaning the house.


Whoops. That's a picture of Jay's stuff during Fire Academy. Nevermind.

Emily is a really good photographer. I mean….our little kids are cute, but she makes them look like they belong in "Family Circle" magazine.


Or this one:


OOPS!!! How did that picture get in there? That's a picture of my Uncle Jim, last Thanksgiving.

And, why yes. I do believe he DOES have five pieces of pie on his plate. (There's a longstanding tradition of inexplicable origin, dictating that Uncle Jim is required to eat one regular-sized slice of every pie being served at Thanksgiving dinner.)

Back to our regularly scheduled program:







And, have you ever heard of Edible Arrangements? Well, we thought that would be really snazzy to have at Emily's birthday party. But since all of us were too cheap to actually buy it ourselves, guess what we did?

Yeah, you guessed it.

We made her make one.

For her own birthday.


For a potluck at church recently, she made up this delicious berries-and-cream trifle. The one you see below is actually not a picture of the one she made. It's a stock photo from Google Images. We forgot to take a picture didn't want to embarrass Martha Stewart too badly.


Emily is pretty much amazing. She's a great sister, she's a terrific friend, and, by the time any potential suitors finish this blog article, they're probably going to have forgotten all about me and be calling my dad about Emily.

Two reasons I have hope:

First, Emily is only fifteen. She's got a few years to go before, you know….

Plus. I've been asking my dad to pray about that whole, you know, "Rachel and Leah" passage in the Bible where Leah was older and her dad REQUIRED that she got married first. I'm thinking that there's some serious solid Biblical wisdom in that passage.

Second, Emily can teach me.

I know she can. Someday she's going to take me from being a passable cook and transform me into something great. She's going to make me spectacular. She's going to coach and drill and love and push me right into the world of gourmet chefdom.

Actually, nevermind that. What I REALLY mean to be saying is this: if, by some good fortune, I do actually manage to land a husband, Emily may just have an open invitation to permanently accompany us in case I lose my favorite red blouse, need to host any company, or need to take pictures of my kids.

She's that good.

By the way, for all of the guys who are currently using the "Contact The Blog Author" section on my blog, and who want to get in line for Emily, let me warn you: may not marry my sister unless you get past my brother and dad. Just so you know, Jay's approval is rumored to be conditional on a very strenuous trip that involves extensive sabotaging that Nobody Is Allowed To Talk About Until Afterwards. (Hafta test the guy's temperament, after all.)

Good luck.

And. For all of you multitudes of guys who really did like me before: I'm sorry. At least, if you married me, you'd never run out of reasons to laugh. That's got to count for something.

Psalm 50

For those of you who remember Matthew 7, you might be interested in what the little kids did last week!

Yole Good Poofy Goat Scarves

Remember my obsession with my site meter?

Remember how it led me to discover that I had a graveyard stalker?

Well, this time it’s contributing to a serious inferiority complex. (Kids, go ask your mom look that up on Wikipedia.)

But, like most of my stories, you’ll need a little bit of background to understand this phenomenon.


See, my site meter tells me, not just WHO visits my site, but HOW they got there.

If you think I’m kidding, think again, because I’m not.


My site meter tells me that some people reach my blog through predictable means.

Such, as, googling “Nicole Hearn”. Or, “Nicole Hearn Blogspot.”

Is that weird?

No, that isn’t weird.

That’s the kind of keyword I love.

People put my name in a search engine and find me.

Isn’t that just so….happy?

It’s the kind of thing that makes a person really want to just die and bequeath all of their money to Google.


But anyway.


People also reach my blog because they want to read about a song I posted.

Which is a little less thrilling. I mean, with all of the brilliance and wit on my blog, the people really come there just to read a post that had, like, THREE sentences (if that) of my own original writing? But it’s true. People search for the violet song I posted. The violet song that is basically one big long run-on, tongue-in-cheek sentence.

And, I do admit it. It’s a pretty cute song.

In fact, want to know how I got the words?

I googled them.


But, back to business: after that, the blog searches really take on brand-new dimensions.

Like this one:


“exuberates in a sentence example”


Or, how about this one?


“random quotes about weekends”




“good life name of goat”


Good life name of goat? Excuse me? Am I missing something?

I think I must be missing something. Please, let me be missing something.

What could that sentence (sentence?) mean?

No, really. Were they asking what  a good lifetime name for a goat was?

What other kind of names do you give goats?

Bad life names?

Half-life names?


Maybe my main question is this: did they find what they were looking for on my site? Did they satisfy their curiosity?

Did they visit again? (Nevermind. I know they didn’t visit again. Because my site meter tells me so.)


But enough time about the goats.

How about this one?


“name Yole”


Yole, ya’ll? Really? Remember, I was the one who didn’t know what Yole meant. Why is google sending poor people to my site for enlightenment, when I’ll only knock them further into despair? Is that fair? Is that really going to help global morale?


There are other keywords. But one of them really takes the cake.

No, really. Takes the cake.


“What are the real poofy scarf things called?”


And, uh, that search obviously led them here. To that picture that my mom said made me look like I outweighed an entire village of Asian sumo wrestlers. To the story about the kid named Grease who pulled his ipod out only long enough to claim prize after prize he won in a raffle. To the story about the fluffy white hat and the Leisure League singers.

Tell me: would you be traumatized if you were innocently searching for a poofy scarf, and if your search led you to that story?



I like keywords. I like figuring out from whence my blog readers have come.  It’s reasonably nice to know that Google knows I exist.  But remember how I started this post by saying that I was having a serious little inferiority issue?


Well, let me explain where that all comes in.

Pull up a chair and sit down, kids.

Pour yourself some tea. Nevermind. I don’t like tea.



Okay. Now that you’re nicely settled, let me explain this whole story in very Palin plain English:  among all of the keywords that lead people to my site, among all of the poofy scarves and the goat-naming parties and the name Yole and the weekend quotes, want to know the keyword that most frequently brings people from Google to nicolereneehearn.blogspot.com?


Oh. I see your ice-cream bowl is empty. That was fast.

Seconds? No? Are you sure? Then back to the story.


It’s two words.


Jay Hearn.

Jay Hearn.

Jay Hearn.


If you’re one of the five or so people left in North America who haven’t yet googled his name, Jay Hearn is my brother. And apparently he’s somewhat of a minor celebrity on the World Wide Web.


Now, you’ll indulge me if I have a few deep philosophical comments:

Isn’t it just a little bit unreasonable, that I should take the time to type the few blog posts I actually get around to posting  and then that he should swoop in and be responsible for half of my readership base? Is that really fair? I mean, I really do love Jay. And it’s not like I’ve never googled him. But still, people. One in every four times that someone types something in on google and lands on my blog, that “something” they typed was “Jay Hearn”.


Okay. I’m off my soapbox now.

And I’d like to finish up this blog post with a good deed. To the unlucky individual who thought that they would find out the perfect name for a goat by visiting my site, let me help make up for the disappointment you certainly experienced when you actually clicked on my link.

Tell me what you were feeling.

Tell me about how difficult it has been for your poor nameless goat. Tell me how embarrassed he’s been with this identity crisis.

Is it good to get that off your chest?

There, child. Have a good cry. It’s okay.

Let me make this problem go away for you.


Name your goat Yole.


You’re welcome.