Tuesday, May 31, 2011

a question of legality

It's not often I come to you with a question of: is this legal, and should I do it?

But today is your lucky day.

So there's a house a few doors down from us. (Side note: why do we describe houses as being "doors" down? What form of standardized measurement is that?) It's abandoned/foreclosed/vacant/not really sure, but no one lives there, it's empty, and when they left they took their CHAIN LINK FENCE with them. ??????. Right. It's in some state of being managed by a 3rd party, and it's been "winterized" according to the sticker on the door, which is really good since it might get down into the low 90s later this week. I'd hate for the pipes to freeze.

Anyway. Another slightly irrelevant side-note is that when people DID live there, which was up until a few months ago, they had 3 dogs that they kept outside in their chain link fence. The dogs barked All. The. Time. I mean, 24/7. I couldn't sleep through the night for the first 2 weeks I lived here because I wasn't accustomed to nonstop barking (and trains). Anyway, so even though I never really knew them, they really weren't my favorite neighbors ever. But like I said, that's irrelevant.

So the thing is, this vacant and abandoned house, apparently owned by ***** Home Finance and inhabited by no one...well, it has the most spectacular hydrangea bush the world has ever seen. I'm not even exaggerating. It is jaw-droppingly beautiful. The blooms are the deepest, purest navy blue/purple you have ever seen. Not a hint of white on them. I mean, this is THE hydrangea I will forever measure all other hydrangeas by. And there it is, growing right up next to the front porch, practically invisible to the road because of some trees...and the house is vacant.

You can see where I'm going, right??

Would it be completely immoral/illegal to say, snip a few of those gorgeous blooms and take them home to enjoy them in a vase?? I mean, let's be honest. NO ONE is appreciating them where they are. (Unless there are other creepy neighbors like me, who prowl around the yards of vacant homes, looking for pretty flowers....) (j/k, I wasn't prowling. I just have a sixth sense for hydrangeas.) (maybe I was prowling a little bit.) I'm not talking about digging up the whole bush or anything (unless you think that wouldn't be wrong. then I might consider it)...just a few of the blooms, from the bottom or the back where they wouldn't even be missed...because they would look SO FABULOUS in a mason jar on my mantle...right??

I mean...the homeowners aren't enjoying them. Obviously if they cared that much, like as much as they cared about their fence, they coulda dug up the bush and took it with 'em. I personally don't think the bank is really coming out every evening and sipping a glass of tea on the porch, taking in the breathtaking beauty right next to them. AND, the house isn't even for sale. Because if it were, I would argue that the hydrangeas add to the value of the home (I, for one, would pay a lot more for a house with a hydrangea like that.). But it's not, and so I don't think taking a few blooms would be like...vandalizing, or lowering the value of the property. 

So I need your help. Should I take a few? Could I get arrested? Is there a cop out there, reading this blog, wanting to weigh in? Perhaps a lawyer? Or someone who has had their home foreclosed on and left behind a beautiful hydrangea bush? Anyone? Bueller? 

(PS. I will go ahead and admit that I did *ahem* help beautify their property today by removing the weekly circular from their driveway. There may or may not have been a $5 Publix coupon inside I was after. The point is, now there is one less circular in the huge pile on their driveway. Yes, I am the best neighbor ever.)

(PPS. Remember, I had to listen to those stupid dogs ALL THE TIME. Don't they sorta OWE me a few lousy hydrangeas?)

Monday, May 30, 2011

dead tired

What is it about sun and water that completely DRAINS you? You would think I'd run a marathon today, judging by the way I feel. Lucky for us all, I didn't attempt anything nearly that strenuous. But still. I'm exhausted. But I just have a few quick things to say before bed.

First of all, tomorrow I begin my "summer schedule" at work, which is 7-5:30 Monday through Thursday. So yes, I get Fridays off, but can I please point out how miserable that makes the other 4 days? Let's not forget I have a 30 minute commute on each side of that as well. So basically, I should already be in bed. But I'm not. Alas.

Also, why is it that "they" (whoever that is) take something that is perfectly good and perfectly healthy, and then think of a way to turn it into something way unhealthy and delicious? And for some reason, I can't resist the bad way. Like right now I'm eating some chocolate covered Craisins. I personally enjoy the regular Craisins, although I realize that their "healthiness" is already a little debatable. But still. Why'd they have to go invent something like chocolate covered Craisins? Couldn't we just leave well enough alone? I would also like to blame my mother for being the one to buy them and send them home with me last weekend. Thanks, saboteur! I have the same problems with fruit dips at parties. Normally I eat strawberries and grapes just the way they come, plain, and I think they are delicious. But at a party/shower, someone inevitably brings some cream-cheesey dip (usually me), and then I can't help but cover every bite of fruit with fat and calories. UGH! Who invented this stuff??! I hate them.

Alright, onto the final topic at hand.

Awhile back, someone (I think it was Amanda J, but I could be wrong...and I'm too lazy to go back and look) commented that they wanted to see a blog from/by Matt. She said she felt like she didn't really know Matt, and suggested that I do some kind of getting-to-know-Matt post. I thought that was a good idea, especially because I bet half the people that know him in REAL life want the same thing! He's a rather quiet guy, and especially if I'm around...he doesn't usually get a lot of words in. Imagine that. Anyway, I explained to him this terrible situation (that you guys don't really KNOW him very well), and he agreed to do an "interview." If anyone has any kind of questions they'd like Matt to answer, he has agreed to answer them, and I will post it here. I've seen this done on other blogs and it was a lot of fun, so you guys better jump on board. Here are some examples of questions I'm envisioning :

Matt, what's it like being married to such an amazing woman?
Do you ever get over the thrill of being married to Erika?
What's your favorite thing about Erika?

and so on. But in the event you actually don't just want to know more about ME (hard to imagine)...feel free to ask about anything. Infertility, work, sports, dealing with strong-willed women...you know, any of the things you think Matt might deal with. :) 

So...ask away. Even if you don't have anything you want to know...be a sport and think of SOMETHING so that I don't have to make up all the questions myself. Think to yourself "well at least this will be better than hearing Erika whine about babies again..." and I know a question of some sort will come to you.

And with that, I'm off to bed. It was a wonderful Memorial Day and I am completely exhausted. Goodnight!   

Sunday, May 29, 2011

digging. and a bathing suit.

You know how you can tell when it's a Saturday? (Well, other than the fact that you slept in, you didn't go to work, and life was just a lot better than normal...) When you check your Reader and there are NO new blogs. I mean, seriously, people. What do you do on Saturdays that's so much better than blogging? Just because it's weekend doesn't mean I stop needing reading material. So next weekend I'd appreciate it if you could do a little more blogging and a little less...whatever else you would be doing.

But my weekend has been great, thanks for asking! And the best part is: tomorrow is a holiday!! Woohoo!! For the past two years, I've had to WORK on Memorial Day (and pretty much every other holiday, too), so I am extra excited about having tomorrow off. I love not-working. Oh, funny thing from work on Friday, though: I was chatting with one of my favorite co-workers, and we were perusing the day's headlines on Yahoo. One of them was an article about how to make money blogging, so naturally I had to check it out. My friend was like "hey, you should start a blog! You would be a great blogger!" and I was like...dude, I already have a blog. And I'm still po'. So thanks. :) This leads me to conclude that people don't actually look over your full Facebook profile any more. I have a link to my blog at the bottom of my profile. It's not a secret or anything. So I just found that to be funny.

So I have this awesome habit of coming up with great ideas and sometimes, just sometimes, I decide to follow through with them. See, I've noticed over the past few years that the right side of our house is a little naked. I'm a big fan of flower beds and gardens, and it has come to my attention that we've totally neglected that side of the house. It's more like a weed showcase. Tall weeds. So I've decided that what needs to happen is a loonnnnnng flowerbed the whole length of the house (well, up to the AC unit). Some bushes. Some flowers. Some flair. And since I also happen to be the resident Gardener, Landscape Architect, and Lawn Maintenance Expert Extraordinaire, I decided that I would just make one this weekend. Lucky for me, I convinced Matt that he should help me (and by "help me," I naturally mean he should do the brunt of all the hard labor, while I helpfully boss him around). 
 before. We cut the grass the day before, so you can't tell that normally the weeds are like...window-high.

I was super proud of myself for thinking to measure the area before we left for Lowe's, and just in case you are interested, the space was 4 ft by 28 ft. In case you don't have your calculator handy, that's 112 square feet. 112 square feet of weed-plagued grass that had to be dug up. And the soil here in northeast Georgia is not so much soil as it is rock solid clay. People who used to live in Georgia will wax poetic about missing the Georgia red clay, with a longing sigh. People who have to dig up 112 square feet of it curse and shake their fists at God, questioning the meaning of life as they attempt to move the inpenetrable earth. So that was pretty much my Saturday. Digging, and digging, and then a little more digging. Intermittently I wondered whether any of my working out helped me to be more prepared for this day of digging, and I have concluded that I don't think so. Digging requires a skill and strength I'm not sure any amount of working out could get me. 

 during: the tiller isn't even useful until ALL the grass is moved. Ugh.

So we dug until our arms were broken and useless, and then we still had to dig some more holes to actually plant the bushes/flowers in. Talk about adding insult to injury. Hey Matt...thanks for doing the lion's share of digging up that enormous strip of grass. Would you mind now digging about 10 deep holes?? Thanks... The actual planting went really quickly compared to all the blasted DIGGING. As soon as those babies were in the ground, we called it a day and headed over to my in-law's house to collapse (and nearly drown, because I was entirely too tired to bother with keeping my head above water) in their pool. Classy fact: I had gotten really hot digging (imagine that, it was 94 degrees outside...) and so I had removed my tanktop in favor of working on my tan in my sports bra. I had also gotten really dirty. Therefore, by the time I made it to the pool, I realized I had little pockets of dirt in all the...um...creases in my skin. You know. I would say the "fat rolls," but that would be totally detrimental to my self-esteem, so we'll just say the areas where my skin sometimes folds over and touches. It creates a nice little spot for dirt to gather. Anyway, it was disgusting.
 Almost-after: We didn't tidy up and add mulch until Sunday.

We had a lot of fun hanging out with our family and some friends, which included some new friends who brought their 19-month old twin girls. They were cuter than could be, and have definitely solidified my plan to have multiples. Oh also, they were British. I'm not sure how I'm going to swing that one, but I will certainly try.

This morning at church was one of those sermons where it's like surely the pastor is reading my mail... this is so exactly what I needed/didn't want to hear. And then I realize...well, he DOES read my blog, which is probably more interesting than my mail anyway (bills, *yawn*)...so I guess maybe there could be a connection there. At any rate, the message was really challenging to me, about being persistent in prayer...and then don't you just know people wanted to pray for US, which naturally results in my crying my eyes out and my makeup off and I actually had tears running down my LEGS which was a new sensation. It was really encouraging, though...I love my church. Even if 95% of the people there are pregnant. I will forgive them as long as they keep praying for me. Ha.

The rest of the day has been good, and I even managed to find a bathing suit today that didn't totally make me want to vomit. Isn't it funny how your standards change as you age? A few years ago I might have wanted a bathing suit that was totally cute or made me look (tastefully) hot. Today I settled for the one that wasn't completely repulsive. YAY growing up!! On the way to the car, I asked Matt how much money is in our lipsuction budget. He said zero. That was depressing.

But tomorrow's a holiday, I have a not-completely-revolting bathing suit, and we're spending the day at the pool. That means this Sunday night is happy, and I'm off to enjoy it!! Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

lofty ambitions

It's Way Back When-sday!! Hip, hip, hooray!!!

I've gone through a lot of "dream career" phases in my short twenty-eight years here on Earth. Well, maybe it's really only an average amount. I'm not sure if I know what the average actually is. But I've had a lot of career aspirations.

In rough chronological order, I have wanted to be:

A paleontologist, an author, a teacher, an astronaut, a dancer, a librarian, an author, a Broadway singer/dancer, a physical therapist, a music therapist, an FBI agent, a mommy, and a lawyer.

Some of those dreams still persist-- I'll let you guess which ones (it's more than one. Put your guesses in the comments!)

However, despite my many career goals, most of my childhood play centered on a few favorite things. Digging through my old photos this week, I've noticed a few common things. I played dress-up and pretend a LOT (and I remember this, too...it's not just in the pictures). My favorite things to dress up as and pretend were, by far, 

a) being a mommy (high heels, lipstick, baby doll, purse)

b) being a teacher (high heels, chalkboard/whiteboard, prized "teacher edition" math book that I scored at a yard sale, bossy look on my face and sad faces on my reluctant siblings/students)

c) being an "office girl" (high heels, working at my desk with papers, files, pens, etc.)

Apparently my desk job was very tasking:

Now that I'm all grown up and my REAL JOB is actually about 50% teaching and 50% "office girl," I realize that my childhood play wasn't that far off from the truth. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like doing this all the time occasionally. (Things to note in this picture: That's a CHINESE JUMPROPE, aka the bomb dot com, draped over my shoulder. Not sure how it played into my office work, but obviously it did. Also, I appear to be a working mom-- see my baby stroller in the bottom left of the picture? I must have worked for Google or one of the other companies that let you take your kids to work. Also, I think I have this same haircut NOW.)

Happy Wednesday-before-a-three-day-weekend!!


Monday, May 23, 2011

can't hardly wait.

I know-- two posts in one day? Have I lost my mind? Am I going for a world record?

No and no. It's just that some things are too good to wait.

Last time we spoke (hello, like 5 hours ago) I was in the midst of some major drama and depression relating to infertility, as per usual. However, I was determined to not let it ruin my night, so as I said, when I signed off Blogger, I went straight to my stack of photo albums, searching for a gem.

And I found one.

And when you find something this good, you just can't wait til Wednesday. You can't even wait til Tuesday. You can't even wait for your husband to finish using the "family" laptop so that you can scan the picture and put it on your blog. You have to go out to the car, wearing only your nightgown, and fetch your work laptop so that you can do it RIGHT NOW.

I hope this is big enough that you can catch all the details. Like the writing on my "bottle." If you can't read that, then click on the photo to make it bigger. I promise it will be worth it.

Like any good parents, we can see Mom looking on as Dad snaps the photo. I guess I got my sense of humor/super-fabulous parenting skillz from them. If I ever find myself in a situation quite this awesome (being the parent, that is. Obviously I've already been in this situation as the baby.), I hope my camera is working. Although I'd like to think I have the foresight to not keep my liquor in a bottom (un-child-proofed) cabinet...

And in other news, I think I may now understand why I've never cared much for bourbon. Obviously I hit the bottle a little too much in my youth...


I think the title says it all. Blah. I feel blah. And also a little bit angry, and a lot sad. And tired. Physically. And emotionally...well, more like exhausted.

We had a really good weekend. We went to Augusta (my home sweet home), primarily because there was a shower for my soon-to-be sister-in-law on Saturday morning. Never ones to waste a 2 hour drive, we made a weekend of it. It was nice spending time with my family and enjoying the delicious restaurant offerings of Augusta Evans. (Sorry, but you know it will drive Matt crazy if I am not completely 100% accurate in my city-naming!) We spent most of the weekend enjoying one of my parents' various porches/decks. I must say, they are people who truly get their money's worth out of their porch furniture. They may as well sell off the inside furniture...it doesn't get used. They're outside-sittin'-people. I enjoy this, except for the fact that I am apparently an all-you-can-eat-buffet for biting bugs of all types. Everyone else is all "oh, isn't it such a nice night?? The mosquitoes aren't out yet!" and I'm like...no, they're out, it's just that they're all eating ME and leaving you guys alone. Glad I can be the sacrificial lamb!

Anyway. We spent most our time talking and eating (or doing both at once) and when we came back to Athens, our family was a little bit bigger-- we are keeping Goliath, my parents' (and mine!) dog, for the next month while my parents travel. Thus my need to obtain more pets will be temporarily quenched. Maybe.

We also came back with something VERY exciting (if Goliath wasn't exciting enough for you). Well, just because I love yall, I was determined to snatch up a few of my childhood/baby photo albums and bring them back here to augment my collection of Way Back When-sday photos. I definitely accomplished that, so watch out. But I also, in the course of working on some Top Secret Wedding Tasks, came across an unknown TROVE of treasures on my dad's computer. There were a ton of pictures (taken on his camera) from my wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and wedding day!! Now naturally, I haven't had any shortage of wedding pictures...but I have NEVER seen any pictures from my rehearsal dinner! Since I wasn't snapping them myself...and we didn't have a "real" photographer for the night...I just don't have any. It's like this big hole in my memory. I remember being there, but there is no photographic evidence. Until now!! You better believe I snatched up every last one of those pictures, and I have had so much fun looking through them. They were there?? Who knew! She was wearing what? Haha, not so much that one. But it's like I'm seeing it all through fresh eyes, and it also doesn't hurt that I was looking GOOD that night...since I'm vain, this naturally gets me really excited. Anyway...so while you were probably getting all excited about more baby and toddler pictures of me, now you're probably going to be stuck with four-year-old rehearsal dinner pics. Deal with it.

 So the weekend was all good, but then you come home and life just crashes back down on you. Oh yeah, I still have to work. Oh yeah, that laundry didn't fold itself while we were gone. Oh yeah, every single person I know is still pregnant (or already has a baby), plus a few more GOT (or announced, rather) pregnant in the two freakin days I was gone. Awesome. Oh yeah, I started my period again just so that I can be 100% sure I will not be getting to announce anything fun anytime soon. Oh yeah, I also couldn't sleep all night because the cramps were so horrible...I mean, seriously, God...I get that being pregnant really isn't in the cards for me because I'm probably a terrible person or something, and it's super awesome that I'm surrounded by people who get pregnant merely by breathing, because that way I can never ever forget how miserable I am, but must I ALSO suffer from horrible cramps that keep me up all night so that I can't sleep so that all I can do is focus on my misery?? Because really, that just sucks, and it doesn't make me a very nice or happy person.

I won this book in a blog giveaway a few weeks ago, and it just came in the mail last week.

I started reading it over the weekend and it's pretty good. One section really spoke to me the other day. I thought I would try to absorb it and apply it to my life. I had the chance to do that today, and I failed. Oh well, it was nice trying. The author said, "'unfair' feelings start erupting when others get pregnant, especially if their pregnancy happened easily, without even trying, unmarried, or worse yet-- unwanted. You struggle to congratulate those who have succeeded where you haven't. You tussle with guilt over jealousy. How can you possibly live out the Bible's instructions in 1 Thess. 5:16 and 18 to be joyful always and give thanks in all circumstances? Lord, surely you didn't mean I should be thankful in a circumstance like infertility or watching others live my dream? But God does mean exactly that. Otherwise, bitterness will tear your heart apart, which might be how you feel right now-- torn apart. Resentfulness doesn't bring you a baby, but it could break good relationships and your heart." (emphasis mine)

Since I was just thinking about it this weekend, it hit me extra hard today as I sat around all wrapped up in my resentfulness and jealousy. I wear that crap like a blanket sometimes, and it makes me so angry, but I just don't know how to take it off. Jesus help me.

So that's why I'm blah today. Thanks for letting me vent. I need to stop thinking, now, and go look at cute toddler pictures of myself (and/or hot rehearsal dinner pictures) and my cute doggies. Later gators.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

moving on

It's Wednesday, but not just any ol' Wednesday-- it's both Way Back When-sday AND the last day of school (for the kids in my school/county). (Note: it is not my last day of school. As a year round employee, I never get the joy of proclaiming any day to be my "last day." Until the day I win the lottery and/or retire.) There's been, as you would suspect, all sorts of "moving on" ceremonies and shenanigans over the past few weeks. Interesting note: in my county it is illegal (or so I've been threatened) to use the word "graduation" for anything other than actual high school graduation. The powers-that-be want the ONLY connotation of "graduation" to be the kind that happens after twelfth grade. If a student says something like "I'm graduating from third grade!" we are supposed to gently correct them and remind them that they are moving on from third grade, they have completed the third grade-- but they will only graduate when they finish high school. It seems weird to me, but I guess in a county where the graduation rate is like 3%, you do whatever you have to. (Just kidding. The graduation is really something like 77%. But for some reason our reputation has most people putting us at around 3. Weird.) 

Still, I don't really get how using the word "graduation" in reference to completing 3rd grade somehow cheapens the word itself. Are there really parents out there who would get an invitation to their son's 3rd grade "graduation" and afterward find themselves thinking oh!! Billy GRADUATED!!! Guess he never has to go back to school again, his education is complete!! ??? Ok, anyway. MOVING ON. (hahaha)

I myself have moved on slash graduated a number of times in my long life. I have this picture from the last day of 5th grade up in the attic (too tired to crawl up there) and it's awesome because it's proof that I hit my growth spurt EARLY in life. I have pictures of me with my friends AND with my teacher, and I tower over EVERYONE. I was 5'6 or 5'7 by the end of 5th grade, and that just wasn't normal. I'm glad I quit growing then! Anyway, I don't have that picture. Sorry.

Instead, I have relatively recent pictures from my high school graduation (c/o 2001, what's up!) and college graduation (c/o 2005). And it makes me happy to point out that I have shots with my dearest high school buddies in BOTH pictures, despite us all going away to colleges across the country south.

My parents had a graduation party for my friends and I before the ceremony. Thanks, Mom and Dad! Don't I have loonnnnng hair??
L-R: Jessica (FSU), Christopher (Ga Tech), Dustin (UGA), me (UGA), Elizabeth (Winthrop), Hallie (UGA & my roommate). Didn't we look nice?? And isn't this picture super-overexposed??

Hallie, Dustin, and I (the UGA-bound crowd) after the ceremony.

A few short years later, I found myself graduating from the University of Georgia. And I re-used my high school grad gown. Way to be economical, me!

My friend Alyssa and I were the only two members of our very elite club, the Three Tassels Club. We had to do a night-before-graduation photo shoot because actually wearing all three tassels is very complicated and heavy, so for the actual graduation day I think we just wore one or two each. To this day, we still sign our cards and book inscriptions to one another (because we tend to give each other books a lot) with a nice and mature "three tassels forever" or by proclaiming a book to be "three tassel approved." (Note: we had three tassels because we each got a Bachelors of Science, and Bachelors of Arts, and summa cum laude.) (Other note: please do not be misled into thinking that three tassels somehow translates into ever getting a job that pays actual money. Because that would be wrong.)

My siblings and I after the "commencement exercise" which is basically the longest and most boring and hottest and most impersonal thing you've ever endured.

Not surprisingly, my parents had a nice graduation cook-out afterward! From L-R: Jessica, Dustin, me, Elizabeth, Patrick. We had a lot of graduations that summer. My favorite graduation memory is when Dustin and I were driving up to Rock Hill to watch Patrick graduate. We stopped at a yard sale and bought him the largest, gaudiest red teddy bear "graduation present" you have ever seen. And some ying yang ceramic shot glasses. I'm pretty sure it was the highlight of Patrick's graduation.

This weekend we're going to visit my parents in Augusta. I have a shower for my brother's fiancee to attend on Saturday. My mom, who is a high school teacher, mentioned that she has to go to her school's graduation on Saturday night. Then she invited me to come. And then I laughed my face off for approximately one hour because graduations are AWFUL!!! I would have to love someone a LOT to sit through that kind of torture, and I can go ahead and guess I won't love anyone that much again until my own kids are 18. 

Anyway. So...you going to any fun and exciting graduations this year?? Now that I've gotten you all excited about them? Ha. If you actually are going, then here are my suggestions for how to endure:

1. GET A PROGRAM. Hopefully it will have a list of all the graduate's complete names. Then you can have fun doing things like a) making fun of names with your other mature co-attendees and, b) counting up to see which name "wins" (has the most people w/ that name). Also you can doodle, play tic-tac-toe, and pass notes with your friends.
2. Oh. Get a smartphone. I bet you wouldn't even notice how bored you are!
3. Come down with swine flu or bird flu or maybe the plague and sadly decline the invitation.

Monday, May 16, 2011

back it up

This is probably a blog that can be easily filed away under "why the heck did she think anyone else would want to know/think about that?" but...sometimes a thought just strikes me and I'm compelled to share. 

So since we don't have a fenced-in yard (and probably never will...we have a "fence fund," but let's face it...all the money there is better spent on infertility treatments), we have to walk Lola on a leash 3 times a day to go potty. It's not that bad (unless it's rainy or really cold), and as a result, I am super super familiar with my neighbors and their homes and yards. And since there's not much else to do when I'm walking, I have time to think. And to pass judgement.

For some reason, I have spent most of my life being under the impression that if you back your car into your driveway/garage...you're probably a criminal. You have something to hide. You don't want people to see your plates, and there must be a reason for that, right? It's because you're sketch. And because when you DO get busted, you want to make the quickest getaway possible. I get it.

So when I'm out walking, I can easily classify people. Car backed in= drug dealer. Car pulled in normally= not drug dealer. I can amend my judgements based on other evidence, of course...which I do, because since I walk so often, I learn other things about my neighbors, too. Always has the blinds pulled down, never comes out in the daytime? Definitely a drug dealer, possibly also growing pot in the basement. Only backs in once a week, otherwise usually does it the normal way? Well, maybe they just like to get their groceries as close to the door as possible. I'll give you a pass. You might not be a drug dealer.

Using my current classification system, about 50% of my immediate neighbors are drug dealers. This is a bummer, and I really hope none of them are also manufacturing meth, because having a meth-house in the neighborhood can be a real property-value-killer. However, this is also the reason I can get Matt to do all the after-dark dog-walking. There's no way I can do it with all these drug dealers running around, right? Right.

So do you pull in normally (non-drug-dealer) or do you back in? You can fess up. And if you do happen to prefer the back-up method and you're not a drug dealer (unlikely, I realize)...why?? Shed some light on this very perplexing matter.


Friday, May 13, 2011

this and that

Okay, you have been pre-warned that this is going to be a random blog.

First of all: Where did my last blog go??! I did a Way Back When-sday post on Wednesday (imagine that)...the title was "the one where i embarrass myself and my freinds"...I received several comments, which are still in my email inbox...and yet, the blog is gone? It's not on my list of posts when I go to 'edit posts.' I clicked on the link that is in the comment emails (you know how it says "so and so left a comment on your blog 'the one where i embarrass myself and my friends" and you can click on the link to the blog, but then it goes to a blogger page that says "this page is not available on the blog 'something beautiful'. Um....huh??? Anyone else had this problem? I can't even just 'repost' it, because it's not there to re-post! I 'labeled' it w/ the WBW label...not showing up there either. Can a blog just disappear?? Did Catherine or Kristina do some voodoo magic on it to make it go away so that they wouldn't have to be embarrassed?? This is a big mystery, not one I foresaw myself solving on this Friday afternoon, but alas.

OK, second of all: I never got around to sharing the awesomeness that was the beginning of LAST weekend. Mother's Day had to come ruin my life and all, and I neglected to talk about the good things that happened last weekend. I have lots of pictures and everything, but wouldn't you know it that at this time, my camera is not so much feeling like uploading anything.

I swear. Technology hates me.

But trust me, there are cute pictures. Of me and friends and family and I really wanted to post them just so that you wouldn't think all I do is sit around and mope. Ha.

Thirdly: My current obsession du jour is planning a trip to Six Flags over Georgia. I am a HUGE fan of Six Flags (and any other excellent theme park). It's really because of the roller coasters. I'm addicted. And I haven't been in a few years AND-- this is really sad-- I've never been with Matt!! I know, ridiculous. He hasn't had the pleasure of enjoying me in my truest element: being a marathon roller-coaster-rider. If you're the kind of person that enjoys a leisurely day strolling through Six Flags...then we would definitely not get along. I am the girl with a plan (okay, 80 plans, from my hairstyle down to my shoes) and I run with strategy and purpose from Point A to Point B. There is no walking. There is running. Some people at the gym are training for 5ks or marathons or triathlons. I'm training for my next theme park trip. There is no stopping for some overpriced food. There is only running to the next ride. It's amazing. But at the end of the day (which will be a weekday, preferably with a 50% or greater chance of storms), I've ridden every coaster multiple times and spent very little time in lines, and THAT is how we get 'er done, my friends.

Anyway. I am dying to go. I had a dream earlier this week and I was on the Freefall and even in the dream I could feel the bottom dropping out of my stomach and that weightless feeling...it was the best dream ever. I never wanted to wake up.

Also, I feel like it is important to go soon because I figure once (if) I get pregnant, it will be like 14 years until I can go again. Because there's no way my Theme Park Strategy can allow for the slow-pokiness and whininess of any child under the age of 13 (and/or 54" tall). I will never be that mom sitting on the bench holding the diaper bag. So, now's a good time to go.

Next topic: I really want one of these:

I'm not really a McDonald's girl, but these frozen strawberry lemonades look fantastic!! Anyone had one yet? Worth breaking out of my "I don't eat at McD's" snobbery?

Finally: I read this book last week (in about 24 hours) and immediately passed it on to Mollyanne who polished it off in about the same amount of time. UN-BE-LIEV-A-BLE.
 It's a true story (obvs) and definitely worth a read. Or if you're lazy, you can just Google their names and get the gist of it from news articles, etc. I'm going to file this one away underneath "books people who are undergoing infertility treatments probably shouldn't read, or maybe they should?" I know, my filing system is pretty detailed.

Right, so, I think that's it. Off to search for my missing blog...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

the one where i embarrass myself and my friends

  I know I've probably never mentioned it before, but I'd really like to be pregnant. But don't click away just yet-- this isn't another whiny sob story!! It's WAY BACK WHEN-SDAY, remember?? And since I didn't feel like climbing into the 29,482 degree attic and hunting down a truly old picture, I simply browsed back through some older pictures I already have on the computer. Back through the college days. And when I came across these, I knew I had to share. And also, I would like to pre-apologize to Kristina and Catherine. I am so glad yall were my roomies. I am 100% sure I would never have pictures like this if I lived with anyone else.

You see, pregnancy is not just a passing whim. I have wanted to be pregnant for awhile now. Like, including back in 2004, in college, when I was not dating anyone and it would have been entirely inappropriate/inconvenient/impossible to be pregnant. I still liked the idea of pregnancy. 

Or at least the look of it.

And so did Catherine and Kristina. Which is obviously why we had a Pregnancy Photo Shoot.

I mean, aren't you ever just hanging around your apartment, wondering I wonder what I'd look like if I were pregnant? and then find your roommates wondering the same thing, and then decide to all find some loose-fitting shirts, some smallish pillows, and a camera?? Right, me neither.

Obviously we were the inspiration for the hit (haha) Bravo! TV show Pregnant in Heels.Because I'm sure all 9-months-pregnant girls really feel like walking around the house in heels, right??

Isn't this so artistic/maternal/fabulous??

Wouldn't it be like, so cool to be 9 months pregnant at the same time as your BFFs?? Then our kids could like, grow up and be BFFs too!!! And get married!! I'm pretty sure these were some of the conversations going on during the shoot.

And yes, basically, I do still feel like it would be the coolest thing ever. Except that Stine will be on something like kid #4 and Catherine and I will be eeking out #1. But whatevs.

Well, you're welcome for that. Enjoy your Wednesday night. Let me know if you want to see any more cute pictures of me "pregnant." Not that I still pretend that or anything...no, definitely not. That would be totally lame.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I survived MD2011


It was touch-and-go for awhile there, but I ultimately survived Mother's Day 2011. Thank goodness it's over.

I like to compare my personal thoughts about Mother's Day to all those people who hate Valentine's Day so much and want to boycott it and wear black and all that. All commercialism aside, it's just a day dedicated to reminding me that I (still) don't have what I want.

Although I tried not to forget the "other half" of the day-- honoring my own mother(s)...I am just much too selfish of a person to not STILL let my day be ruined by my own problems. Which isn't fair, because my mom and Matt's mom are totally awesome moms. And just so that I don't go a whole post without a picture, let me just throw in this amazing picture of MY mom (and me):
Could my mom BE any cuter?? Seriously. I would so wear that tank top. Anyway.

Let's review my few Mother's Days, shall we?

2008: We'd been married for 10ish months. Were still trying to not get pregnant. Therefore, I imagine Mother's Day was a joyous day celebrating our own mothers.

2009: We'd been trying to get pregnant (TTC, in infertility-world-speak: Trying To Conceive) for  about 6 months. Not long enough to be worried yet, I think I remember being hopeful and happy on this MD. This would be my last year not being a mother (or mother-in-progress) on MD!

2010: This was a rough one. It was our first MD as being officially "infertile," and we were at the very beginning of our medical journey through infertility treatments. I was really sad, particularly because this was the first year that most of my friends (who had begun TTC around the same time we had) got to celebrate with their new babies and/or baby bellies. I was totally left out of the club and I hated it. However, I have very vivid memories of sitting in church and knowing-- knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt-- that it would absolutely be my last sad Mother's Day. I was 10% sad that day, and 90% happy that at this time next year, I would have a baby or at least be pregnant. There was not a single grain of doubt in my head that either the medical treatments or the prayer would have paid off and I would be a mother by next year. In fact, this is the one and only holiday that I 'marked' as The Date. I will be pregnant by MD 2011. I WILL BE. There was just no possible way that I wouldn't be.

2011: I wasn't pregnant. I don't know what kind of miracle I thought might occur between Saturday night and Sunday morning, but when I woke up it hit me like a ton of bricks: I missed my deadline. I'm still not pregnant. Still. It is Mother's Day 2011 and I am no closer to being a mother now then I was last year or 2 years ago or 10 years ago. The medicine didn't pay off. The IUIs didn't pay off. No miracles have occurred. I'm as un-pregnant now as I was the day I was born. Not knowing how to deal with the emotions this unleashed, I spent the better part of the day crying my carefully applied eye-makeup off.

I'm still not pregnant.

People were so kind to me, though. I got so many sweet messages and notes and cards. People hugged me and let me cry all over their church clothes. (And I'm crying AGAIN, now, as I type this and remember.) No one made me feel like a freak or like I'm overreacting. No one flaunted their motherhood in my face. I felt so much love and support.

But I can't stop crying because I'm still. not. pregnant.

And because I don't know how to feel anymore. I don't dare think about Mother's Day 2012. I can't. Because if I do, I know what will happen. I will feel the old familiar surge of hope and optimism (DAMN YOU OPTIMISM!) and I will see sunnier days ahead. Twenty-twelve?? Oh, I'll be pregnant by then. I have to be! It's an even year, and good things happen on even years! Twelve is my lucky number; my birthday is 12/12...I will obviously be pregnant by Mother's Day of 2012. And if I try to think ahead and project how I might possibly feel then if by some fluke I were not pregnant...I can't. Because I can't imagine how horrible that would feel. I can't imagine that my heart could survive that long. I simply do not think a soul is capable of grieving that much. My soul, anyway.

But those were the same things I was thinking last year, and look at me-- I made it. I did survive. I beat the odds...not the ones that say we will not be able to get pregnant...but the ones I set for myself, the ones that said I would not make it if I didn't. My friend Kristin, who is one of my road-weary soul sisters in the infertility battle, once told me that every month she feels like she's at the end of her rope-- and then the rope just gets longer. I like that picture and I totally agree...except that I am completely overwhelmed with the fear that this rope is miles and miles long and I've only climbed down like 30 feet of it. So yeah, the rope is longer-- but do I really want to even stay on? I'm tired of hanging on already. And now I've gone and lost myself in my own metaphor, but you know what I mean. 

Sorry to be a big downer all over your day and kill your post-MD buzz, but sometimes a girl just needs to unload. And since I can't unload without making a big sloppy cry-fest out of myself, it's probably better that I do it online.

I think that my game plan for next year will be this: Either I will be pregnant on Mother's Day, or I will be on a vacation. I will be sampling every rum-filled beverage in the Caribbean, or every sauvignon blanc in (wherever that stuff is made...Italy? Trader Joes? Haha), or every beach in Hawaii, and I will not even pause to think about Mother's Day. I will not look at Facebook and see pictures of moms and babies, and I will not go to church and make a fool of myself every time a family walks in. This will not at all do anything to dull the pain of infertility in general, but it should at least save me from a week of EVEN MORE CONSTANT REMINDERS of infertility (and from seeing all the men at Publix buying bouquets of flowers, which reminds me of why they're doing that).

But on second though...this plan will never work out, because it would require money. Money in the IVF/Adoption fund. So I guess this plan, like most of my plans, is contingent on me winning the lottery. A feat that has roughly the same odds as Matt and I getting pregnant on our own. Funny. (If you have a sick sense of humor)

And now I have no way to conclude this blog, so I will just leave it at this:

Hope your MD was better than mine. Here's to next year. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

your weekend just got awesomer.

Well you guys certainly aren't shy about begging for recipes, now are you?? Although I'm not blaming you. I did my own fair share of begging and hunting just to get my hands on this recipe in the first place. Then, once I saw what the ingredients were, two things happened.

1) I understood on a deeper level why it was so delicious in the first place.

2) I felt immediately guilty for drinking several cups of it a few months ago and guilty for the future in which I knew I would be drinking several cups more. Oh, and also guilty because I knew I was going to lead my friends and loved ones right into the lap of temptation by serving this to them, too.

So with the privilege of this recipe comes a lot of responsibility guilt. And also, please invite me over next time you serve it.

Without further adieu, I present to you Miss Diane's Coffee Punch.

 Sorry for the un-glamorous photo. I was too busy drinking punch to care.

1/2 gal vanilla ice cream in chunks
1 quart of cold strong coffee
1 quart of whole milk
1 pint of half and half
1 (15 oz) can of chocolate syrup
1 (9 oz) container of cool whip
That was the recipe as I received it. Now I'll give you my narrative about what to do with that laundry list of dairy products.

First off-- I couldn't find a '15 oz can of chocolate syrup.' The only choc syrup I know about is in a squeezy bottle thing, and those were more like 22-24 oz. So I got that and just measured out 15 oz. Next, the "regular" size of cool whip (name brand or not) was 8 oz. So I just used that.
Also, when you mix all this together it is a GIGANTIC AMOUNT!!!!! I made a HALF RECIPE (twice) because that's all that would fit in my largest serving bowl. So, you have been warned. It's a LOT of liquid, then you dump in the ice cream and you're in danger of overflowing your punch bowl.

I just mixed together all the liquids & chocolate syrup, then spooned in the coolwhip, then the (softened) ice cream last. It actually did really well sitting at room temperature for a long time because the ice cream continually melts and keeps it cold.
As I mentioned the other day, you can definitely have fun mixing in your choice of liqueurs. We mixed in Bailey's-- I would also think Kahlua or Godiva or something would be delicious. 

So...you're welcome. Your weekend, if you choose to make this, is definitely more delicious and awesome now. Unless you were planning on weighing yourself. I would recommend putting that off for another week or so.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

babies everywhere

 Yup. Babies everywhere. The state of my life-- only none of the babies belong to me. Boo hiss. But that's not what we're here for today, friends!! Today is Way Back When-sday!! I know, it's your favorite part of the week, too.

Do yall remember the Nutrigrain ad video? If you do, it's definitely the first thing you thought of when you saw "babies everywhere." This was one of the first viral internet videos I remember hopping on board for, back in the dark ages of the internet circa 2003. I love this ad. So you should definitely watch it and enjoy. Even though it has pretty much nothing to do with today's theme other than providing me with the phrase "babies everywhere." (My other favorite video from those days? The End of the World. Best. Video. Ever. But fair warning-- there's plenty of foul language. Sorry. I can't help it that it's still really funny. Apparently I have low-brow taste in videos.)

So!! Babies everywhere, eh??

It's Wednesday. You can bet that on any given Wednesday, I'm needing a mental break from the week slash life. And my personal favorite way to entertain myself (other than watching old school videos, evidently) is by engaging in a little online ogling of Cute Baby Animals.

I know. I'm the lamest person ever. But seriously-- few things will put a smile on my face like some Cute Baby Animals. Which is why I am totally addicted to watching the Panda Cam. Because if pictures of baby pandas are cute...then watching them LIVE ALL DAY LONG is obvs the best thing ever. Panda cam, thanks for making my life awesome.

Also, sometimes I just think of whatever random cute animal I'm in the mood to look at, like labs, or penguins, or zedonks...and then I just do a nice Google image search for 'baby ____ ' and I'm good to go. I am so not kidding. This can revolutionize your whole day.

So now you probably won't be surprised to find out that I love looking at pictures of my own pets as puppies/kittens. I mean, how do you think I even ended up with these pets? Because I am a sucker for baby animals, that's why. It's a miracle I only have two pets right now...and it would still be three, except for Nadia's unfortunate cat-napping, which is another story for another time. So here's a few of my favorite pictures of Way Back When Lola (the dog) and Aidan (the orange cat) were puppies/kitties. Yup. You're welcome.

Why yes I do have excellent taste in baby animals, thank you for noticing!! I wonder if there is such a job as being a baby animal concierge? Like...say you're in the market for a new pet and you just aren't sure you're capable of picking the right/cutest one? So you could hire me and I'd do all that backbreaking legwork for you. Test out all the cuteness...cuddle with them...yep, pretty sure I could handle that career.

Also, and here's where we delve deep into my psyche...baby animals are frequently THE thing that get me through the months (and months and months and months) of disappointment related to infertility. Because I love puppies, right? And unlike baby humans, I know that I could get myself another baby puppy ANY time I want. And so sometimes that's the thought (process) that consoles me. I'm once again not pregnant this month. I am really sad. But I would feel happy if I had a puppy, and I CAN GET A PUPPY IF I WANT TO. Even though I know I won't. That doesn't seem to matter. I feel better because I know I COULD. Is that weird? Should I be seeing a psychiatrist or something? I dunno. But I take great comfort in knowing that any ol' day, I could have a new puppy in my hands.

So there's our walk on the wild side for this week. We started with old internet sensation videos. We briefly talked about my love affair with Google images of baby wildlife. We looked at some super adorable pictures of my OWN baby wildlife. And then we took a glimpse into the Weird Side of my brain where my coping mechanisms lie, and now we're done. 

Have a great night. You can probably guess how I'll be spending mine.

Yeah. If this baby giraffe leaping through the air doesn't make you smile, then I submit you have a heart of stone.

Monday, May 2, 2011

let the good times roll

It was such a good weekend. Truly, I feel a little sad and wistful that it will never get to be last weekend again. Boo.

On Friday night we went to a new restaurant. It was good, but I'm not sure if it's going to be around long...not if our waiter has anything to do with it. So first off, he tells us the drink specials. They sound great, so we each order a beverage. Then he comes back and informs us that he was mistaken, those were actually just Monday through Thursday, and it was Friday, but no biggie- his manager said we could have that price just today, since that's what he had told us. Cool. That sounds reasonable. Thanks, man. So we have a total of three drinks.

Now, we had a coupon-- that's why we even tried the place. The coupon is valid for either lunch or dinner, for these certain combination plates, which have a "lunch" price and a "dinner" price, despite being the same thing. That's cool, whatever. We each order a dinner combination plate. The coupon is BOGO.

So the food is good, and we dine on the porch where the weather is superb, and we're ready for our bill. He brings it out and the total is $7.02. I mean...what?? Now, we did have a coupon, and we did supposedly get a better drinks price than we should have, but...$7?? The combination platter (one of them) alone should have been $6.50! So we examine the bill. He charged us for two LUNCH combo (significantly cheaper than the dinner), and then still deducted the amount of the DINNER combo (meaning we were making a profit on one plate). Then he only charges us (the reduced, Mon-Thurs rate) for two drinks. And...a $7 total it is!

So being the overly honest people we are, we call him over. "Hey, um...we really got 3 drinks..." and he nods and winks, 'yeah, yeah, I know, wink wink'...."wow, thanks...but also, it's dinner but you charged us for--" more winking and nodding and a bro-like pat on the back for Matt. "Do you need any change?" Well...no, I guess not...here's your over-100% tip because I have a guilt complex and also have this idea that your manager might realize what you've done and make you pay it back out of your own tip money and I want there to be money there for that scenario...

Anyway. Weird. It was like...too many freebies. I could have been on board with the free drink-- hey, that's a good way to get someone to come back. But then...the rest of it was just too much. Not sure if we'll be going back, although we do have another coupon...

So Saturday started off with our Royal Wedding Viewing and Brunch. I must be honest and admit that I caved in multiple times on Friday and looked at pictures and videos online. I have no self-control when it comes to things like royal weddings. (Things like royal weddings? What other things are like that?) So I was full of spoilers, but I think it made me anticipate Saturday morning even MORE! I spent Friday night (after the strange restaurant experience) pre-gaming: sampling sausage balls and twirling around in my wedding dress.

 The food was SO GOOD. I am a sucker for brunch. Please note (from top, L-R) the doughnuts, sausage balls, muffins, sweet potato biscuits, cinnamon-chip scones, frittata, and BAKED FRENCH TOAST with a monkey-bread twist. Um...I die a little inside, knowing I will never have the same spread before me again.
 Then there was the coffee punch. I first had this delicacy at my sister's bridal brunch. I have been craving it ever since. So I made it. And then Kristin brought Irish Cream to mix in. YUM!! This punch is like a big vat of frappuccinos. With ice cream. And now Irish Cream. So, yeah, it was good.

 There was also tea (on/with Mollyanne's china!) because we were striving for that authentic British vibe...not that I drank any. I was more into the coffee punch. Like ten times.
 We spent several hours ogling each others' wedding albums (and watching the actual wedding coverage on TV, duh), and then a few of us capped off the day by prancing around in our actual wedding dresses. WAY FUN! If it was fun being the bride way back then...well, it's super fun being a bride with a few of your favorite friends ALSO being brides!! Also, I do not personally feel like I am normally that mammothly tall, but Mollyanne (who is obviously the only one of the two who would be remotely in my same height-neighborhood) was barefoot and I was wearing (my wedding) heels. I like how Holly and I had very similar dresses...come to find out we had the same designer! Props to Casablanca Bridal: your dresses rock.

Now that I've written all this and reflected on what fun I had dressing up (even when I was by myself in the dressing up, Friday)...I think I lose all of my credibility in claiming I am not a girly-girl. The last few weeks have been insanely girly. I think I forgot to blog about the massage at the spa I had last week. And getting my nails done (at a salon, not by myself as per usual) the week before. I think I am a certifiable girly-girl now. Oh well. Not gonna lie-- it's fun!

Now normally, I would have been sad to leave the Brunch on Saturday...because the rest of the day is gonna be pretty downhill, you know? It's like the feeling after all the presents are opened on Christmas. Happy, but slightly sad that it's over. Ooh, it's also the same feeling I experience about 15 minutes into a massage. Enjoying it, but super sad that it will inevitably come to an end and then I won't have anything else to look forward to. Interesting.

Anyway...I had nothing to fear, because my day was not at all about to get worse. It was about to be equally fun!! Our friends Andrew and Lori came to visit us!! Andrew was a good friend of mine and Matt's from our Wesley days...Matt and he were roommates, and Andrew and I co-led a mission trip together. Lori is his beautiful wife, and we were SUPER excited to get to spend time with them on Saturday!! We have a tradition (if it happens twice, it's a tradition) of going fruit-picking when they come to Athens. Last time it was blueberries. This weekend we went with strawberries. I LOVE strawberry picking. And strawberries. And thinking that every couple looks like Jack and Jill with their little pails.

 In addition to strawberry-picking, we drank Coffee Punch (had to use up the rest of the ingredients!!), spent lots of time talking, and ate at Cali-n-Tito's. It was a wonderful and relaxing afternoon...I really wish Andrew and Lori lived closer so that it could happen more often!! They just (and I mean just...as in Friday) bought a new-OLD house. It was built in the 1920s! So they have lots of fun fixer-uppin' to do, and I am going to unleash some of my experience (and by experience, I mean I read Young House Love) on them...so hopefully we will see them again soon.

So there's my good-time-rollin' weekend. Sunday was good, albeit busy, and today I had a field trip to the park which resulted in a full-on allergy coma which resulted in me leaving work two hours early (because I couldn't see through my swollen-shut eyes) (so I drove myself home-- SAFE!!) which resulted in me sleeping for three hours which has resulted in this really long blog and will probably also result in me not sleeping tonight. Awesome.

On the plus side, Matt has been cooking dinner (grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, and wild rice) while I enjoy my 'sick time' on the couch...so I almost hate to bring this blog to an end...for then I will be faced with feeling really selfish if I don't go help in the kitchen. Oh the conundrum...