Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I know it's been so long that you've probably all forgotten, but it's Way Back When-sday again!!!! Woohoo!!

Today we're looking into the not-so-distant past, to two thousand and nine in the year of our Lord. (Isn't that like the really proper way to say it? Something like that. 2009. AD.)

At approximately this time in 2009, life was good. We were taking a much-needed vacation: a cruise through the Western Caribbean!  I blogged a detailed review of that trip back when it happened, so if you need lots of details and pics you can just check that out.

For now, I just want to reminisce on a few select photos and make myself sad thinking about how I wish I were on a cruise NOW. Cruises are the best. If you've never been on one, you should go. Actually, now that I think about it...we should go on one again this year. We went in 2007 and 2009. To stick with an every-other-year pattern, we definitely need to squeeze one in before 2011 slips away. Mental note.

Reasons Why Cruises Are Awesome:
 Because you get to pose with palm trees.

 Because you can do this all day if you feel like it.

 And if you get bored, you can do something different! There is no shortage of options on a cruise ship.

 You can dress up for dinner (that you don't have to cook, pay for, or clean up after).

 Someone else cleans your room and makes your bed and puts cute towel-animals on it every day.

That should about convince you. Book your cruise today! (Carnival and/or any other cruise lines, if you would like to compensate me for this review and/or offer me a free cruise to review in the all means, let me know)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

bedtimes are for suckers

WOW, you are going to be thanking me for this one. Thanking me for giving you a wonderful new way to waste your day, that is. Check out the funniest blog ever:

Bedtimes are for Suckers: the only blog written by a pissed-off 5-year-old

It is freakin hilarious. I'd like to thank the AJC for bringing my attention to this gem today.And I would also like to thank the completely unintelligent commenters who clearly have no concept of satire and actually believed it was written by a 5-year-old. It's folks like you who give the rest of us in the South a bad name...

Please be warned: the language on this blog is not...shall we say..."safe for the whole family." Like, don't read it out loud to your five-year-old. 

That is all. I'll let you get to your reading. You're welcome!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

a really pretentious clothing sale

 Yall. Way to come through on a Saturday post and remind me that I'm not all alone in the world blogosphere-on-a-Saturday. Obviously the key, I'm telling myself, is to pose a critical moral dilemma and ask for advice. I'll try to schedule more of those in the future. For the appease all of your wondering minds on "baked bean-gate"...I did not tell the lady. I know. I'm a horrible person. I said "thank you!" and went on my merry way. Several times. EEP! I've tried to convince myself I'm not that bad since I normally over-share about cooking cheats, clothing deals, etc...I just took the easy way out this once.

For the record, the beans in question-- aka the only beans you should ever bother buying again for the rest of your life, unless you shop at the same Publix that I do, in which case don't even THINK about buying out the shelf because I have dibs already-- are these:

Seriously, just looking at this pictures makes my mouth water. THEY ARE SO GOOD. And frequently BOGO at Publix, so that doesn't hurt!

Alright, onto what this blog is ACTUALLY about. Clothes.

You may remember that I went shopping on Saturday. When I came home, I decided to bite the bullet and go through my wardrobe, getting rid of stuff I don't wear anymore. I've realized in the past few months that my closet is PACKED...and yet I wear basically the same things all the time. So obviously I'm hanging on to a lot of stuff that wouldn't pass the haven't-worn-it-in-a-year test. Or even my personal variation on that test, the "haven't-worn-it-in-3-years-and-wouldn't-even-if-it-fit" test (copyrighted). Since this is my test standard, you can see how I end up with so much crap in my closet. "Haven't worn that in a long time...but I might if it it's a keeper!"

I'm very liberal with my closet politics.

ANYWAY. So the fact that I managed to pull out a BIG OL STACK of clothes to get rid of is really something. Matt looked very amazed. He's never seen this volume of clothes vacate the premises before! (Or maybe he overheard me musing...if I'm getting rid of 8 pairs of jeans, I can easily buy 3 new pairs to replace them, right?? Right!) ("replace," even though I haven't worn any of the aforementioned jeans in like 4 years and they've already been replaced by the millions of jeans I'm not getting rid of) (my logic is flawless). Ahem.

So have any of you ever happened upon a blogger having a "clothing sale"? It's kind of like an online yard sale. I've seen them a few times on fairly popular blogs written by fashionable, skinny, rich girls. Apparently they clean out their (extra huge) closets sometimes, too! You know, to make room for this season's must-haves. And then they happen upon tons of amazing, still-fashionable, never-or-rarely worn items that they just don't need anymore...and so they post them on their blogs, make up a price, and people (apparently) just BUY THEM via paypal or something! Awesome, right??

I thought about finding one of these and linking to it, but then I would feel really bad if the blogger linked back to me and saw me making fun. I'm not really making fun..because I certainly enjoy these posts and if I ever happened upon the right item at the right price (and the right size), I would certainly bid...after all, I shop at real live yard sales with great regularity. So I'm not mocking these things. I'm just amazed at the fact that they have clothing that's worth all this trouble.

Typically, their online clothing sales look something like this:

Right here, imagine an artful photograph, reminiscent of an upscale catalog, of whatever item is for sale. A sweater, draped on some gorgeous fabric or hung on a mannequin. Sometimes the blogger even models it.

Then there's the description/commentary.  Marc Jacobs geometric print jersey dress, size 4. Like new condition. I'm 5'4 and it hits right above the knee. Originally paid $750. Asking $225.

Then there's another picture, this time a close-up zoom on the tag/label. See, it really is a size 4!! It really is Marc Jacobs!! I'm not pulling the wool over you on this one!

If, for some reason, there is a flaw (God forbid) in the item, there will be close-up photos and descriptions. Tiny, light brown tan stain (BBQ sauce) from weekend in the Hamptons on hemline. Barely noticeable. This way you won't be sketched out or surprised when your eyes happen upon the abomination. Full disclosure.

And then...there are more items. And more items. And they're all beautiful, in great condition, and for sale. And the funny thing is that any ONE item would be greater than/more expensive than/more fashionable than EVERYTHING IN MY WARDROBE COMBINED. And yet this girl has like 30 of them that she needs to rid herself of.

Different strokes, I guess.

SO! As I was collecting my stacks of stuff to get rid of, I decided to dig through and see if there was anything worth not just donating to Goodwill or throwing in the trash (seriously, I'm sure Goodwill does not want my old, disgusting, holey, sweat-stained workout tees). You know, stuff that still had some life in it that I could pass on to friends or family. know...have a really pretentious (fake) blog clothing sale with!! Brilliant. So here we go. Get excited. Here's the Best of Erika's Closet:

First up, this perfectly fabulous manager's polo from my last job. Incredible that I've been hanging on to this puppy for 4 years, isn't it?? Obviously you can see why:

A lovely shade of turquoise, this Jerzee brand polo (size Adult Small) will nicely compliment any jeans or khakis. Slight makeup stainage on the collar, and those tiny holes on the bottom of the shirt where I guess it snagged on my belt.

A steal at $0.25!! 

Next, we have a lovely white button-down from Kohl's.

This Apt. 9 brand shirt (size small) has tiny dots all over it, which surely has a term in the fashion world that I don't know. Shirt fashionably gapes across the bustline (if you're me). Although it may be hard to tell in the picture, shirt comes complete with lovely permanent pit-stains and collar discoloration!

Yours for the low, low price of $0.50!!!

Now don't all swamp me at once with your orders. I don't even have my Paypal set up yet! But don't worry, there are plenty more worthless clothing items just WAITING to be artfully displayed on the blog! (Also, for you men-folk, Matt is getting rid of about 20 pairs of boxers. Assorted colors/designs, size Medium!)

So...yeah. I had a good laugh thinking about selling my lame, non-fashionable, more-or-less-ruined clothing. And now I just have a big pile of it sitting on the floor in my room until I get up the initiative to put it in my car and take it somewhere. Sigh. I need a personal servant for this type of thing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

saturday night fever

Blogging on a Saturday is a silly and pointless and desperate thing to do. In my three-ish years of blog experience, Saturday is the absolutely WORST day to post. Apparently I'm the only human on the planet who reads blogs on Saturdays. If anyone else does, they don't come to MY blog, and they certainly don't comment.

But whatever. Good thing I don't have anything very important to share. Or do I?

#1: This morning we had a meeting at church. After the meeting ended, Matt convinced me that we should go shopping in Commerce since we were practically "in the neighborhood." Apparently distance is relative, since Commerce (home of a Tanger Outlet mall) is like 20 miles away (which is a far distance by our standards). But whatever. He's been begging to go shopping in Commerce for like 2 weeks. You don't have to twist my arm.

So we go to Commerce. Lucky for me, Matt decides he doesn't need a thing and only wants to spend time and money buying things for ME ME ME!!! So we spend a few hours engaging in some serious retail therapy, stimulating the economy, and filling up our car with bags of clothes, jewelry, and shoes for me. It was great fun and a great way to celebrate not dying this week.

Lest you think I'm too me, we found some AMAZING sales (and had coupons to top that) at Loft and Gap. I was in heaven. Then on the other hand, I am at least somewhat spoiled. I don't know very many women whose husbands love to take them shopping like mine does. Did you know that two years ago, Matt used all of his birthday money buying me dresses?? It was the most ridiculously sweet thing ever. He had said he wanted to take me shopping to buy one dress. But then when we both really liked two dresses and couldn't decide, he decided we would just get both. And also a skirt. Because he's awesome like that. 

Alright, so then we drive home and on the way pass a thrift shop I've never seen before (Matt claims to have known about it for a long time). We go there and it's AWESOME. I end up getting a big stack of books rollerblades!!!! (And knee pads and a helmet) (for a total of $7) I fulfilled my lifelong dream of getting rollerblades a few years ago (at a yard sale), but they were too small and even though I've used them many times, they always KILL my feet. The ones I got today FIT! I am super pumped. So if anyone wants my too-small (probably a women's 8 or 9?) rollerblades, let me know. Or if you want to go rollerblading with me, let me know that too.

#2: Tonight we hung out with Matt's family and went swimming and cooked out. I brought baked beans to contribute. This other couple (I've never met them before) came for dinner, and the wife complimented the beans several times. She even said "you know, I NEVER eat baked beans except for at my Aunt Whoever's house...I have never liked them...but yours are SO GOOD!"

This is all great, but I faced a huge Moral Dilemma: Those beans were totally store bought. I mean, YES they are good...they are my favorite kind, that's why I buy them! But my contribution to that dish consisted of buying 2 cans, dumping them in a Pyrex, and heating them up in the oven.

Now: should I have told the lady that? I mean, here she is missing out on something her whole life that can be so easily obtained at any grocery store. Or...just bask in the glory and keep it a secret?

What do you think I did? What would you do??

#3: My sister-in-law Amy gave us a new (to us) laptop! She also gave us our first nephew a few weeks ago, which I think I have failed to mention on this blog. Party foul. Unfortunately, my inaugural nephew lives in the very faraway state of Vermont, so I have not seen him in person yet. But thanks to the new laptop and its WEBCAM, we will be able to Skype with baby Timmy (and Amy and Tom)!!! So as soon as we got home tonight we got ourselves a little Skype account and then went a little berserk trying to find people we know with Skype accounts. If you want to be my Skype friend, then please tell me what your Skype name is. I am the world's suckiest phone-pal, but I have high hopes that I will be better at Skype, since sitting in front of a computer is like a personal strength of mine.

Alright, well, that's all I had to say. Shopping. Baked beans. Skype. That was my Saturday. Hope yours was equally wonderful!

Friday, August 26, 2011

because of zombies.

Four-year-olds are seriously the best EVER. Sometimes my job makes me crazy. But at the end of the day...well, I spend my days surrounded by four-year-olds. It doesn't really get much better than that. I can promise you that Matt, who spends his days surrounded by grown-ups doing grown-up work stuff, does not come home with any stories NEARLY as enjoyable as the ones I do. Like this one.

So we just completed the third week of school. My kids are starting to figure out school, starting to get used to strangers telling them what to do all day, starting to realize they WILL go home at the end of the day...starting to get it. Most of them still don't speak English (Matt asks me many days after school: did you get to speak any English today?), but we're making progress. We're starting to have fun.

But then there's the bathrooms. School bathrooms. Kids either love 'em or hate 'em. Most of them seem to love them, seeing as how the minute they enter them they completely lose their grip on reality and run wild, like a bunch of loud, cracked-out monkeys. There's always a few kids, though, who are scared of the bathrooms. They're loud. They're echo-ey. The toilets make a LOUD flushing noise. The toilets themselves are rather big for a tiny little four-year-old's bottom...definitely have some kids that are convinced they might fall in and drown. I can't say I blame them, really.

So I have this one kid, and I'm really sad I can't share her name because it's awesome, but this girl is just...perfection. She is the CUTEST, TINIEST, FUNNIEST little thing on this planet. She's smart and witty and I could absolutely just eat her up.

She is not a fan of the bathrooms.

All year (three weeks, that is), she's struggled with this. Obviously when you're at school for 8 hours, it's going to become necessary to use the bathroom on occasion. That's tough when you're scared to death. She usually needs someone (a student or a teacher) to be RIGHT THERE with her so that she will get up the confidence to use it. It's okay. She's not the only one. They're only four. But eventually, and it better be sooner rather than later, they're gonna have to be weaned off. I'm not spending the whole year standing in the bathroom.

So today, she drags me in because she really really really has to go potty. "Okay," I tell her, as I wander over to the mirrors to inspect The Beast. "Go potty!"

"But I need you to come stand by the door [to the stall]!! I'm scared!!" she replies.

"No, sweetie, I'm going to stand right out here next to the sink, okay? I won't leave the bathroom. But you can go into the stall by yourself."

"But I can't!!! I'm scared!!!"

"Why are you scared, sweetie?"

"Because of the zombies!!!!! I can't go in there!! The zombies!!"

I march over to that stall and give it a thorough once-over.

"Sweet girl, there are no zombies in there. I made sure. You can go in, and I'll stand right out here and make sure no zombies come in, okay? You can do it!"

With much trepidation and anxiety, she uses the bathroom. Immediately upon finishing, she runs back out of the stall and dashes across the bathroom into the hallway.

"HEY!!! Hun, you need to go back and flush that potty and wash your hands."

"I can't, it's scary! The zombies!"

"No zombies came in. Go flush."

She stands as far away as a three-foot-tall person possibly can and still bend over to reach the flusher. Immediately after flushing, she sprints back out into the hallway.

"HEY!!! COME BACK!! Wash those hands, girlie."

"No, I'm okay!! I'm all done!"

"Nope, not with those nasty hands you're not. Wash 'em!"

"But...the zom..."

"Zombies love dirty hands. If you don't wash your hands, those zombies will definitely try to get you on the playground. Wash em."

Perhaps one of the best things about four-year-olds is that there's not much of a distinction between real and make-believe yet. Zombies can be both my friend and my foe, all at once. Today, as we left the bathroom with an empty bladder and clean hands, they were both. Maybe next week we'll try to wean off the zombies and talk more about germs, but today-- I was glad they were there for me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

news that gets me fired up

I came across this article today, and I'm not gonna lie: it totally stressed me out.

You may as well go ahead and read it. It's the basis for the rest of what I'm talking about. In case you're too lazy, though, here's the gist of it: Someone found a newborn baby (umbilical cord still attached) in a shoebox outside a home in New York. Police are searching for the parents. The baby is (or was at press time, which was a few days ago) in the hospital in stable condition.

Didn't I allude to this phenomenon a few days ago? People abandoning babies? And how I'm like...anti? (Actually, I'm pretty sure I said that you should be sure to have more uplifting things DVRd so that you wouldn't have to watch news stories about stuff like this. But you could have discerned from that that I'm anti.)

There are so many things wrong with this situation. First of all: WHO WOULD ABANDON THEIR BABY??!?!?!! Please hear what I'm not saying. I'm NOT saying "who would not want their baby?"...because I GET that (unlike me) some people are not prepared, not equipped, and do not desire to have babies. That is so okay with me. I'm not advocating that people who fall into those categories SHOULD keep their babies! It would almost certainly be better for those children to be raised in homes where they are wanted and cherished. And there are plenty of homes like that.

I just don't get how you could abandon them, though. Choose to place in adoption? Yes, absolutely. It's a long and arduous process, for sure...I have nothing but respect for birth parents brave enough to go through with it. But I can't understand carrying a child for 9 months, giving birth, and then abandoning it.

HERE'S THE THING: Forty-nine states and a lot of territories (sorry, Nebraskans) (as of May 2010) have "safe haven" laws that will LET YOU give up your newborn babies at specified locations (hospitals, police stations, etc) with no questions asked. You do not HAVE to keep your newborn baby AND you don't have to go through a long legal process in order to 'get rid' of it, can essentially abandon it in a SAFE MANNER, where the child will be immediately cared for. You will not be held criminally responsible. You can walk away child-free. But your baby will be safe.

Who wouldn't choose that????!!!

The story above happened in New York, which has safe haven laws. So essentially the parents had two options. Option 1: Drop off the kid in a shoebox on the doorstep of the local hospital/police station/fire station. Ring the doorbell and walk away. Kid will be immediately cared for, as well as taken into custody of the state to begin the process of adoption. (And this is me conjecturing, but my guess would be that the adoption process would be a relatively quick one because PEOPLE WANT BABIES and DEMAND FAR OUTPACES SUPPLY!!!)
Option 2: Drop off the kid in a shoebox in front of some random house. Baby might die and/or suffer health problems waiting to be found. Person who finds baby has to figure out what to do...further delaying proper care, increasing chances of health issues/death. Once baby finally makes it to a hospital, now it's a criminal issue and the police must search for the parents??? What?? I'm pretty sure by virtue of dropping off the kid in a shoebox, the "parents" made it pretty clear they had no interest in parenting the child. I can imagine how that conversation will go. "Ms Jones? Hi, Officer Smith here. Right, is this your baby? We found her the other night behind that Dumpster. left her there because you didn't want her? I hear ya. Right, well, see...she's in the NICU now because she half-froze to death in that box...but she's all yours! When can we expect for you to come fetch her?" I have no idea why they're searching for the parents. That part really blows my mind. Are they just checking to see if they REALLY meant to drop her off? "Yeah, just double SEEMED like you pretty much didn't want the kid, since you just left her in a box out there...but did you guys change your minds? Want her back?" I think not.

I'm going to give the birth parents in this particular story a little credit. While they did not pick the BEST option for abandoning their baby (which would obviously be a hospital, or my house), they did at least TRY for a place where the baby would be found. The low-lifes that flush babies down toilets or wrap them in towels and throw them in Dumpsters? That's disgusting. I don't even have the words to describe how atrocious that is. 

I can only assume that the parents in this situation did not KNOW about the safe haven laws. And THAT makes me sad. I think these laws (which vary by state, but have many things in common) need to be publicized like crazy. Put 'em on the side of bus stops. Posters in public bathrooms. Billboards.  TV commercials. People should know that they do not have to abandon their children.

There's one last thing this story made me think about. The person who had the misfortune of finding the baby in the shoebox. Wow. I'm gonna admit it: they're a better person than I am. If I'd been the one to find that baby? You wouldn't be reading this story. I'd keep it. I know it. 

Baby on my doorstep?? Must be the miracle I've been praying for!! Unconventional, God, but I'll take it!

Or at least I'd want to. I'd probably keep her for about 3 days and then feel guilty and turn her in, at which point they'd probably arrest me for kidnapping and ruin the rest of my life. So the person in this story who found the baby...kudos to them for doing the right thing. Not sure I could have done it.  

Whew. I feel a lot better getting all that out. For a minute I was thinking to myself "hey!! this might actually qualify as a 'controversial' post, since I couldn't think of one to mention last week in my 'awards ceremony'."But then I realized that this probably isn't really controversial. I doubt anyone would argue that it would be better for babies to be truly abandoned. At least probably not anyone reading this blog. I do think, however, that I can get away with labeling this as 'politics,' which will bring my grand total of political posts to THREE...thus leaving the lowly 'fax machine' label in dead last place. Poor fax machines.

PS. My face-eating maybe-MRSA tumor is finally starting to get better. It actually got worse before it got better...I went to work on Wednesday and ended up leaving at 11:30 because I actually thought my face was on fire. Then I debated going to the ER for the rest of the day, and decided against it. Luckily, today it is doing a little bit better. It's still ugly, but it doesn't hurt as much. I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so thankful I don't have any weddings or class reunions or anything where I am forced to see people and take pictures going on this weekend. I think I would die. This is a very humbling ailment to have. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

i'm a survivor, i'm gonna make it (earthquake edition)

And now if that song is stuck in your head, you're welcome. It was my pleasure.

YALL! This week has been a little TOO eventful thus far. First I discovered I was dying.  Then I went to the doctor, and he more or less confirmed it. But then he gave me some drugs so that most likely it seems like I will probably live. And I will get to add "MRSA survivor" to my resume. THEN, yesterday afternoon while I was sleeping off the MRSA and drugs, I survived an earthquake!!!!!

I know, it's almost too much to take it all in. The things I have suffered this week...whew.

(PS. Please read this and understand my heavy and liberal use of sarcasm. I am in no way trying to make light of anyone's experience who has ACTUALLY suffered from MRSA or ACTUALLY survived/did not survive the earthquake. Please understand that!! I'm not a jerk! I just like to exaggerate things for humor's sake!)

So here's how it all went down.

I was sleeping on the couch and Lola was curled up underneath my legs. It's really a miracle of engineering that we all even manage to FIT on the couch. It's not that big of a couch. And then there's 5 feet and 7 inches of me. And a 50 pound lab. And about 6 throw pillows. And we all like to be as close as possible.

I woke up because the couch was shaking. I immediately assumed it was Lola, who sometimes likes to scratch herself with such vigor that it sounds like someone hammering metal and can easily shake a couch if she's on it or touching it. In my half-awake state, I reached over to touch her with my hand and realized that she was dead asleep, too, and definitely not shaking and vibrating the couch. But since I couldn't figure out why else the couch was shaking, I assumed it must be something she was doing, so I kicked her off. She gave me the "Lola eyes," which will pierce your soul and make you feel like a horrible person. But I was too tired to care. I laid back down and noticed that the couch was still shaking even though Lola was no longer in the room. I didn't have time to ponder this before I fell back asleep.

Fast forward a few hours. I wake up from my "nap" (sleep of the dead) and sleepily crawl back to the computer to see what exciting things have happened in the world since I last checked. Naturally, Facebook is my source of all 'exciting news' information...and lo and behold, everyone's talking about an earthquake rocking the East Coast and being felt from like...the North Pole to the South Pole or something. I immediately wondered if that could be the cause of my shaking couch. I checked out the AJC and Online Athens webpages to see what really happened...and sure enough, there were actual reports of tremors being felt in MY COUNTY!!!

I thus concluded that I survived an earthquake. Who woulda thunk?

So that brings the week's grand total of Huge Tragedies Survived to TWO so far. MRSA and an earthquake. Bring on the weekend and Hurricane Irene. Let's make it three. As long as #3 means my poor flowers and grass will get some dang rain.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

those four little letters

Thanks for all your words of encouragement made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that yall think my Face Tumor is "huge" and that I look like I got punched in the face. :) With friends like that...

Haha, just kidding. Actually it encouraged me to come to my senses and go to the doctor today. That and the fact that my face and neck (lymph nodes) hurt SO BAD last night I couldn't lay on my left side.

So it's a skin infection (cellulitis) that I've had many, many times before over the years...only never on my face. It's really good that I went in and got seen as soon as I did...prior experience tells me that if I'd waited any longer, it would NOT have been pretty.

Oh, and lest you think I got off with just a sweet little trip to the doctor, let me tell you: THEY STUCK A NEEDLE IN MY FACE.

Yeah, I am not even kidding or exaggerating. A NEEDLE. IN MY FACE. AND IT HURT LIKE CRAP.

If you're having a bad day today, or you start feeling down on yourself, may I suggest you just think to yourself: at least no one is sticking a NEEDLE IN MY FACE...and then you will feel better.

Oh, also the doctor, who is apparently best buds with my friend WebMD and knows nothing about my alarmist personality, had the nerve to mention MRSA a few times. "It might be MRSA. It's hard to say." "Have you had MRSA before?" "Well, I'm going to give you the medicine we'd use for're not pregnant are you?...oh, thank goodness."

If that doesn't make you feel hopeful about life, nothing will. He was even so kind as to write it on my discharge form...a few times. Just in case I was going to go home and question did he REALLY think it could be MRSA?...yep, he did.

I's no cancer or AIDS, but I'd say MRSA is a pretty solid excuse to get me out of doing whatever I don't feel like doing for the rest of the week, right?

OH. And after they jacked me up with a needle in my FACE, there was blood. They gave me a monster-sized gauze pad to hold up there for awhile, but when it was time to leave, put a bandage on it instead. The bandage went all the way from my forehead to my jawbone (on the left side of my face), which was my first clue that I was not going to be making it to work today: I seriously do not need to explain my freaky Face Tumor-covering band-aid to 66 four-year-olds and all my co-workers. (I'd much rather explain it at great lengths to the infinite masses on the Internet, right?) I was also given marching orders to go straight to a pharmacy and get 65 (ok, 3, but it felt like a lot more) prescriptions filled immediately. And to spend the rest of the day putting hot washcloths on the offending wound.

Anyway, I came home and went to do the first washcloth thing. Apparently the doctor-office-grade Bandaids are made with SUPER GLUE, because I seriously thought I was going to rip the skin off my face getting that thing off. I cried. Multiple times. I considered getting a neighbor to come over and pull the stupid thing off because I seriously could not get it AND simultaneously deal with the pain and emotions. It eventually came off, and I will NOT be putting back on the extra ones that they gave me for the road. It was horrific.

So now we're all up-to-date. I'm home, took my first DO NOT TAKE THIS IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR THINKING ABOUT BEING PREGNANT OR MIGHT BECOME PREGNANT OR KNOW ANYONE WHO IS PREGNANT OR EVEN IF YOU MIGHT BE WATCHING "A BABY STORY" LATER ON antibiotic pill, used the antibiotic ointment, peeled my skin Bandaid off, and am hoping the aforementioned antibiotic starts working soon so that my throat and lymph nodes will stop killing me. The doctor said that part might take a few days though, so boo.

Hope you're having a good day. If you're not, just try to remember: AT LEAST NO ONE IS STICKING A NEEDLE IN YOUR FACE. See, don't things feel happier already? 

Monday, August 22, 2011

and also, i might be dying.

Blah. It's Monday. Even though the work part of it is over, I'm still blah-ing it.

I had a really great weekend. Unfortunately, it's over now... and I think I'm dying.

The internet is great for a lot of things, but it sure does make it easy to be a hypochondriac.

 It started with this little bump thing on my face (on my cheekbone, where my blush goes). I noticed it Saturday morning. I thought maybe it was a weird zit or something. Possibly a bug bite. Not a big deal, I put my makeup on and went on with my day (which was a really good one and involved spending the day in Atlanta with our friends Andrew and Lori. A great day!).

But that bump got bigger. When I touched it, it hurt. But it wasn't big like a big zit. It was like...getting wider and flatter. Like when a bug bite swells up? Wider and taller. And hurty. Not itchy. Hurty.

Sunday morning, it was bigger. Maybe dime-sized. No time to worry about it-- we had to get on the road to spend the day in Augusta with my family! It was a great day. But that stupid thing kept growing. Or at least not shrinking, which pretty much equates with growing in my mind. I mean, it's on my FACE. Of course I'm paranoid about it. It looks like this huge...thing. This not-pretty thing.

My throat was hurting, too. I didn't really worry about it because I calculated that I spent about 20 hours of the last two days talking nonstop. A little throat hurtage is not unexpected.

Tired from a weekend of traveling and worrying about the friggin mountain on my cheek, I took a shower. While I was washing my face and neck, I noticed my lymph nodes underneath my jawbone were swollen. Like, really swollen.

Naturally, I consulted my good friend WebMD. WebMD and I are tight, but I'm not sure why. He always makes me assume the worst. Of course I probably just might have a viral infection, or maybe that bump is a bug bite that my immune system is trying to fight off. I'm sure that is the case. But why oh why, dear WebMD, must you also mention that it could be AIDS or lymphoma or a lot of other deadly diseases, too? Really? Do you REALLY need to put that on the list of possible problems I might have? Because for some reason, those just jump out at me and cling to my brain and cause me to think that I am probably most likely dying. It could be a bug bite. But I'm probably dying.

I managed to make it through the day at work today, but not without adding a lot more symptoms to my list: Face Tumor is like MASSIVE CODE RED STATUS, lymph node is super huge (visible to the naked eye), very tired, headache, ears popping, had weird stomach issues for a few hours.

I am definitely probably dying. I only hope I make it until Wednesday, because I'm supposed to go to the movies with Mollyanne tomorrow night and I have really been looking forward to it and I know if I die it will totally bum her out.

So, all fellow armchair physicians, feel free to give me any alternative diagnoses you may have. The internet has all but eliminated the need for med school, in my opinion. 

Here's a picture of me in my better days, the days back when I didn't have a Flesh-Eating Face Tumor and rare and exotic bug-carried diseases riddling my body.

 I finally got a hold of the pictures from my brother's rehearsal dinner and wedding. This was at the r-dinner. If you're wondering why I appear to be wearing the same dress in every single picture taken of me since's because I wear this dress approximately 28 times a week. You should be super pumped to know, though, that I bought a duplicate dress this weekend (in a different color) so that you can see a little variety in the future. I know, I was really excited too!

Well, I'm off to do important things like stare at my cheek in the mirror and Google stuff like "how do you know if you are dying of a bug bite?" Peace! 


I decided to take pictures and post them here so that after I'm gone, doctors will know what I was dealing with.

Please excuse the dark circles under my eyes. Or add them to my list of symptoms. Whatever.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

mi comida favorita

I feel like I made a huge error in my list yesterday. A huge and unintentional oversight. And I must amend my ways.

You absolutely will not survive infertility without

#10: Mexican food.

I'm sorry, it just cannot be done. So don't try.

For some reason, Mexican food seems to be the food genre of choice for those suffering infertility. I read a lot of blogs. I know a (relatively) lot of infertile people. And here's what's most frequently heard at the end of a depressing infertility conversation: "I'm just going to go eat ridiculous amounts of Mexican food." I'm serious. I have never once heard someone plan to go find comfort in Italian or Chinese food. It is ALWAYS Mexican.

For me personally, it's hard to say whether the infertility is causing the Mexican food of those chickens-and-eggs things. I have always loved Mexican food. But I have noticed that lately, like in the last 3 years that I've been doing this IF thing...oftentimes Mexican is the ONLY thing I eat. One night last week I realized, in the midst of cooking dinner, that I'd had no non-Mexican food for dinner in like 6 days. I started to wonder whether that could possibly be healthy. Then I thought about the hundreds of millions of people in Mexico who probably also eat Mexican food for every meal, and they seem to be surviving just fine. So I finished cooking and eating my Mexican food.

Me encanta la comida mexicana.

Which brings me to my next point: dinner tonight. Not surprisingly, it's going to be Mexican!! (Don't worry, last night I made homemade pizza...I felt so diverse!) But I'm expanding my horizons tonight based on a recommendation from one of my favorite blogs.
Soy Chorizo. 

Don't worry, I'm not going all fruity on you trying to be a trendy vegetarian. I'm an omnivore through and through. We actually normally avoid a lot of soy products due to the possible relationship between soy and male-factor infertility.  No need to take any extra chances. But I'm making an exception for this-here soy chorizo.


First of all, the name. COME ON. It's soy chorizo. The name is the funniest-ever possibly-unintentional double entendre. Chorizo is the Spanish word for sausage. So on the one hand, they're saying "it's a soy-based 'sausage', yall." Like it could be a soy hotdog (not a REAL hotdog, it's made of soy!) or soy milk (not COW's milk, 'milk' from soybeans!). That's probably what they meant.

But if you habla espanol, you know that "soy" means "I am". I am sausage. A soy product claiming to be sausage.

I'm sorry, if that doesn't crack you up, there's something wrong with your brain. How could I not buy some I AM SAUSAGE! Few vegetarian products make such bold claims. I AM SAUSAGE!!

(And yes, this funniness in the name was brought to my attention by that blog. Although I probably would have realized it myself if I'd ever noticed the product on my own...I would never have looked for and bought the product if the blog hadn't recommended it.) 

Anyway, the guys that write the blog are not normally huge fans of faux-meat, but are all ABOUT this sausage. And since I really do like (regular) chorizo but try to avoid it since it's not really the healthiest thing on the Mexican menu...I wanted to give this one a try.

And really Matt and I just like saying I AM SAUSAGE. What's for dinner tonight? I AM SAUSAGE tacos!

So that's the dinner plan for tonight. Diversifying my cooking with some I AM SAUSAGE. Happy Thursday/pre-Friday to you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SYCLW: infertility edition

I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of 'my favorite things' lists. I love a good blog that lists the 'top 10 ____  I can't live without.' I don't care if it's face products, workout gear, baby necessities...whatever. I just like knowing what people USE and LIKE and THINK I SHOULD BUY. I read all of the lists, even if they don't apply to me. However, it recently occurred to me that I've never come across a list of infertility 'essentials.' It really seems unfair. Unlike pregnancy (which lasts no longer than 9 months) and infant-hood (which is for like a year or something, right?) and working out (which you'll quit doing in 3 months because no amount of products can make working out FUN)...infertility can last for YEARS!! A LIFETIME, even!!! I mean, if that doesn't cry out for a list of must-have survival essentials, I don't know what does. 

Ever the giver, I decided I would be the one to give you that list. With a little help from my identical twin (triplet?) separated at birth  friend Amanda, I present to you the essential items/products/services/people you absolutely must have in order to survive infertility. Drumroll, please!

Stuff You Can't Live Without: Infertility Edition
Volume 1

1. Cash Money.
  It should go without saying, but infertility is @!!*$@&!($*^^! expensive. Things are definitely going to go more smoothly for you if you are rich. Not just a little bit rich, not just an average 20-something trying to get on their feet, not just a recent Dave Ramsey convert with an emergency need to be a trust-funded, lottery-winning, Bill-Gates-is-your-dad cashmonger. That way, when your doctor suggests you try something, you can base your decision on whether the procedure/drug/surgery is actually the best option, and not on whether you can possibly afford it or not. You can schedule your IVF with a lightness of heart, knowing that even if it fails 10 times, you can keep on affording to try again. Trust me, cash money is going to make your infertility experience a lot smoother. You actually probably wouldn't even need to see the rest of my list if you were really rolling in it the way you should be. On the off chance you're not, though, I'm going to finish my list.

2. A basal thermometer.

Don't even think you're going to make it outta this infertility thing without your trusty BBT at your side. It's just not gonna happen. So the sooner you make the investment (which is a very small one in the world of infertility, so don't hesitate), the better. Here's a head's-up for ya, though. When you're searching for it at your local drugstore, don't think it's going to be located with all the other thermometers. Nope. You get to make a special trip over to the 'family planning/tampons' aisle for this little baby! I know, isn't infertility getting funner by the minute? Don't worry, before long you're going to be spending ALL of your time in that aisle, so you may as well get used to where everything is. As soon as you get home, go ahead and get your...

3. Lifetime membership to

Trust me, you do not want to have to keep up with all the BBT tracking on your own. Because don't forget-- you're not some lucky kid who is only going to track for a month or two and then find herself knocked up! Nope, you'll be doing this for years. Don't tax your brain any more than you have to. Sign up for the year-at-a-time VIP membership. I can't believe I used to do the 3-months-at-a-time memberships. So young! So foolish! So optimistic. Again-- VIP membership is a teeny tiny, drop-in-the-bucket expense, so just spring for it.

4. Digital ovulation predictor kits.

 And go ahead and buy these in bulk. And try to ignore the cute baby on the front, filling your mind with lies about how useful these things are. It's just that Fertility Friend really wants you to use these to confirm your other signs. If you're on a medicated cycle and/or doing IUI or anything like that, your doctors requires that you use them. And I'll be honest here-- I normally just got the cheap-o kinds on the internet that aren't digital and require analyzing and comparing two lines. And trust me when I say: You do NOT want to experience the wrath of your doctor when she's trying to decide if it's time for the IUI and you're saying "um...I think it looks like I surged?? The lines look about maybe equal, I dunno..." and she says "you don't have a DIGITAL one? With a smiley face?" and you have to admit that no, you chose to cheap out on that one tiny little detail...I'm just saying....not that this has ever happened to me...I just wouldn't want it to happen to you. Bottom line: if you're spending $1000 on a cycle, spend $10 more so that you can make sure you do the friggin thing at the right time.

5. A DVR.

 Surviving infertility is at least 80% escapism (note: I totally made this number up, by the way). If you sit around thinking about your situation all the time, you're just not going to survive. If you sit around looking at facebook and blogs and other people's cute pregnant bellies and babies all the time, you're not going to survive. Escaping for a few hours via carefully selected TV programming is advisable. But woe unto you if you make the fatal error of chancing your TV time to whatever happens to be on. As it will turn out, all that's on is Father of the Bride 2 , a Baby Story marathon on TLC, and the 6 o'clock news will be all about the newborn baby they discovered abandoned in a local Dumpster.

Trust me, your heart won't be able to take it. Therefore a DVR is required so that while you're busy working and/or attending doctor's appointments, you're not missing out on essential episodes of infertility-friendly programs like House Hunters International, Real Housewives, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Say Yes to the Dress. These shows will allow you to escape your own miserable reality for a few minutes/hours and laugh and dream your way into happiness again. Just don't make the mistake of thinking too hard and realizing that if it weren't for infertility, you could be spending your cash money (see #1) on a house in Bora Bora, too, instead of on shots.

6. Junk food

(Note: You should by no means limit yourself to the items pictured here. These are just a few examples of recent faves.)

The thing is, you're going to need something to eat while you're watching the entire evening line-up on HGTV. And I promise you that the Clomid does not leave you craving carrot sticks. Your body (thinks it) is preparing for a baby! And babies like junk food. It's just a proven fact. It's either that, or hormonal, baby-deprived women crave junk food. One of those.

You need something to look forward to in life. THAT is a fact. Maybe you like your job. Maybe you like working out. Maybe you like babies. Maybe you like eating Oreos. Well...for what it's worth, I think you should get at least something you like out of life. Junk food just may be the best part of your day. Embrace it! Plus, it gives you a reason to go back to...

7. The gym.

Go ahead and buy a lifetime membership there, too. Between the stress, the junk food, the need to escape, the hormones, and the lack of kids to do stuff'll be needing to go to the gym. While you're sweating it out on the treadmill, you can convince yourself that being in shape will make labor easier someday. And your "pre-baby" body will be something more worthy of striving towards. And at least this is money spent that you might actually see some ROI. (and if you don't, then you can at least blame the infertility and help yourself to another bag of Oreo.)

8. Kleenex.

 Go ahead and stock up on this stuff, too, and don't be cheap. You're going to be crying a lot. Let's not also be scraping the skin off your face with discount tissues. That will only add insult to injury. It's best to keep yourself surrounded by high-quality Kleenex at all times: keep a box in your car, another at your desk at work, and an emergency pack in your purse. Trust me: pregnant people and people with unhelpful advice are everywhere, which means your next cry-fest could be anywhere, too. Don't be caught off guard. Be prepared!

9. Community.

I am so, so, so thankful to be going through infertility now and not 20 years ago. As luck would have it, you probably don't know many fellow IFers in real life. Thank God for the world wide webz: bringing miserable people together for 15 years now! The community of women you will find writing on message boards and blogs will be your lifeline. You will compare protocols. You will whine and bitch. You will pray for one another. You will rejoice with one another and you will cry together, too. You might even get lucky enough to meet in real life.

You might find yourself realizing that infertility really SUCKS...but I never would have found the soul-friends I've found if it weren't for it. And in some way, you'll feel better. You'll feel less alone. You won't have to escape quite as much. You'll find strength in numbers. You'll have someone to text in the middle of the night when you start your period again and that person will understand exactly what you're feeling.

You'll find out that there are other people in the world with burdens worse than yours. You might feel a little less sorry for yourself. You might take 2 seconds to pray for someone other than yourself. You might even become a kinder, more compassionate person for it.


You know it's killing me to only have 9 things on this list. I like the roundness of a good Top 10. But I'm going to leave it here because otherwise I might never STOP thinking of things to add. :) Relationships are the most important weapon in your IF arsenal-- of that I am certain. 

 However, if you can think of anything important I left off, feel free to add it in the comments! 

And in case you're thinking Hey, what happened to Way Back When-sday? I've been looking forward to that all week!...then, thanks!! I just wasn't feeling it today, though. It'll probably be back next week, though, so just hold your horses til then.