Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Well hello, ya been?

(2 points if you caught the Lady A reference. Anyone? Anyone? No, I'm all alone in my country music world over here? Okay, fine.)

I didn't mean to disappear like that. It's just that a) I set myself up for failure by pointing out that my next blog was going to be #300 and it had to be am I EVER going to decide what is spectacular enough to constitute that blog? And until I do...I can't write? This is miserable. So just tonight, in the shower, I decided that I'm pretty sure Blogger is counting several unfinished/unposted drafts in their 'official count'...and since they never posted, they shouldn't really I hereby deem this my 299th and a HALF blog, with the option to later this week have a 299th and three-quarters blog, and so on. Anything to prolong my indecisiveness about #300. There you have it.

b) (did you even remember I was listing reasons I've been absent? No?)...I have a limited number of hours minutes that are not consumed by 1)commuting, 2)working, 3)changing flat tires obtained while doing #s 1 and 2, 4)Taco Tuesdays that our WHOLE FAMILY has started attending, 5)working out, or 6)sleeping. And then I made the fatal error of deciding to start reading this book:  

...and if you've read it and you are human, then you understand how extremely hilarious and riveting the book is and you will agree that it is certainly the best way I could be spending my free time in the evenings. And you will also hopefully understand that Tina Fey is my hero pretty much the funniest person ever and writes this book like it's the funniest blog ever...which is why my blog-reading-and-writing has suffered. I'm sorry. Don't take it personally, but you're just not as funny as Tina. And neither am I. Although I hope to be, because I plan on copying her style and her voice. I'm sure I'm not the first blogger to come up with this idea, either.

And I'm not done with the book yet, so don't give away any surprise endings or anything...but if you've read it and feel like I do, you should tell me so that we can bond over that. And so I'll know that you understand what it's like to not want to do anything but lay on the couch and read this book with a scary cover.

So, other than being busy, eating tacos, getting flat tires, and stressing out over blog #300...nothing much new over this-a-way.

Oh. Tonight I kicked my dog. REALLY HARD. I felt really bad. She should have known better, though. I was talking on the phone and simultaneously practicing grand battements. Don't think I'm going to fail my parents by letting 13 years of ballet lessons go to waste. No way. Anyway, Lola had the nerve to walk behind me and catch the upswing of my battement. Right in the ribcage. I don't think anything is broken, although she acted like the world was ending. I can't blame her. Have you seen my calves*? I'd be scared to get kicked by them, too. So...sorry, Lola. Not really your night, hun.

Well...this is fun and all, but Tina's calling. I am still accepting ideas for my #300 blog. Make 'em good and maybe I won't have to wait another week before writing again. Goodnight and sorry there's no Way Back When-sday tonight. Consider those tidbits about ballet to be your flashback for the week. Goodnight!

*Don't think I'm being conceited. I (and every other female member of my family)'ve had extremely manly muscular calves my whole life. I'm sure the years of dancing helped them along, but then the next 12 years of not dancing and/or moving much at all didn't do anything to help them go large and in charge they remain. I avoid calve (calf?? what the heck is the singular of calves??)-specific exercises like the plague, in fear that they will grow even LARGER and will be bigger than my thighs and my legs will look upside-down and I will not be able to wear pants or boots. THESE are the fears that plague me. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

me, a-z

Yall. I am SO lacking inspiration for things to blog about! Look at this sad mess-- no blogging since Wednesday? Something must be truly wrong in my world.

I saw this on another blog and thought...well, it's better than nothing. Get to know me a bit, then we have a little more chatting to do after the a-z is done, k?

A. Age: 28
B. Bed size: queen. The perfect size, in my opinion. Not too big, not too small.
C. Chore that you hate: Scrubbing toilets and tubs. BLECH.
D. Dogs: Just one, the beloved Lola. Part lab, part greyhound,full-blooded SCAREDY PANTS.
E. Essential start to your day: Well, if you must know, the FIRST thing I do every morning is take my temperature (BBTempers, unite!) That is essential in its own special way. My more 'normal' essential, though, would be coffee, and stat.
F. Favorite color: Umm...all of them? I have a really hard time with this question.
G. Gold or Silver: Used to be always silver. Now I could go either way, probs. Usually silver, though.
H. Height: 5'7
I. Instruments you play: Guitar, piano, flute. And I've always had a sneaking suspicion I'd be an excellent drummer.
J. Job title:
...I'm actually not going to put that, so as to keep myself from being so easily Googled. Trust me, it's not a common title.
L. Live:
 in a small town outside of Athens, Ga. In a neighborhood. We're the house with the best flowers. :)

K. Kids: None, which is the bane of my existence.

M. Mother’s name: Jacky!! Jacklyn, to be more precise. Or "sweet rabbit" if you're my dad...GAG ME.
N. Nicknames: I don't really have any. A few people still call me "Stone," which was my maiden name. That's about it.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Other than being born...I think just in 2000 when I had knee surgery.
P. Pet peeves: Too many to list; I'm easily annoyed. People who talk too much...people who offer unsolicited advice...people who spend lots of money on stupid crap like fast food and then complain that they don't have money.
Q. Quote from a movie: "I know you can be overwhelmed...and then you can be underwhelmed...but can you ever just be...whelmed?" (10 Things I Hate About You, best movie ever)
R. Right or left handed: Right. But I write like a left-handed person, if you can imagine that...because my mom, who taught me to write, is left-handed. I sort of hold my hand upside down.
S. Siblings: 2 biological siblings, Jake and Sarah. 7 siblings-in-law.
U. Underwear: Umm...yes. Preferably clean ones.
V. Vegetable you hate: Mushrooms, although those are technically 'fungi' and not vegetables.
W. What makes you run late: Nothing, really, I'm the most serially on-time person you've ever met. About the only thing that can get me off my game is the stupid TRAIN by our house, which can delay me getting onto the road that goes to Athens.
X. X-Rays you’ve had:  Woohoo, x-rays! Good times. OK: teeth, elbow, knees, chest, back, hips, abdomen
Y. Yummy food that you make: Everything, really. But I'm kinda famous for my sweet potato casserole and my apple dip.
Z. Zoo animal: Elephants! Giraffes! Pandas! And the baby version of any of the aforementioned animals. 

OKAY. Now that we're done with that nonsense.

This is my 299th blog! That means there's tons of pressure for my next blog (which will be the 300th, if you're not a mathematician)...any suggestions for what it should be about? You know I need help. Look at me. I'm filling out internet memes. HELP ME!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

dang serving sizes

If there's anything food-and-diet related that trips me up, it's serving size. See, I do a pretty good job of making healthy choices with my food. I buy healthy food. I cook healthy food. I like healthy food. I just like too much of it.

My philosophy is: if something is good and good for you, then more must be better!!

That is also my philosophy if something isn't good for you. More is still always better.

My problems with estimating serving size are extremely evident when eating cereal. COME ON. Who is it that picks the serving sizes for that stuff?? A few weeks ago I decided to actually know, with a measuring cup...out a "portion" of cereal. When I saw those 3 measly crumbs bangin up on each other in the bottom of my vast bowl, I immediately realized my problem. I must eat 14 servings of (healthy!!! good for you!!!!) cereal for breakfast.

Since then, I've taken to choosing my cereal in the store by just picking the one with the biggest serving size. Hahaha. It's a pretty solid plan. (Yes, I still look at calories and other nutrients and other factors, such as taste. But if it comes down to a tie or a 3-way tie, I go with the biggest serving.)

The other day I was thinking about this unfortunate situation and how I've probably struggled with it my whole life. I love cereal too much. And the serving size is TOO SMALL. It has always been this way, for as long as I can remember.

And was a problem even before I can remember.

Dear Baby Erika: Don't look so sad!! That is a very reasonable serving of Rice Krispies. Your parents are probably mean, giving you such a small bowl and all. And then they stand by and laugh and take pictures instead of giving you your friggin milk so you can eat. Don't worry. One day you will grow up and be able to eat all the cereal your cute little heart desires!!! Being a grown up ROCKS!

Grown Up Erika

PS. Happy Way Back When-sday!! Other friends reminiscing with me this week include Allison (Founder and President of WBW), Brooke, and Meg...join in the fun with us!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

true stories

Matt and I just impulse-purchased one of those online deal-of-the-day things. It isn't the first time. This time we got a one hour couple's massage. And we paid for it with money in the medical (read: baby/infertility treatment) fund. Guess we'll see if all the people recommending we just relax!!!! are right after all!

This is probably going to be the best medical money I've ever spent.

OH. Speaking of money being spent on medical things. Remember last month when I had my little MRSA episode? Remember how when I went to the doctor, they poked my face with a NEEDLE?? (to drain aforementioned wound) OK, so last week my health insurance company posted the bill/explanation of benefits for that little visit to my account online. Wanna know what they call "poking my face with a needle" (which took approximately 1 second) in health insurance language?


Wanna know how much they charged my health insurance company for this serious, serious, life-saving surgery?


Uhhh....seriously?? You STUCK MY FACE WITH A NEEDLE. And yeah, of COURSE I whined and complained about it for a week afterwards. But only because it HURT and it was emotionally TRAUMATIZING. Not because it was actually like...difficult on behalf of the doctors. Not because I was so wow-ed with the medical training it must have taken in order to POKE A NEEDLE INTO AN ANTBITE FOR ONE SECOND, which is what that 'surgery' amounted to. Not because it required any medical tools other than ONE NEEDLE which I'm pretty sure you can purchase at Jo-Ann's in a pack of about 20 for about $3. 

$150?? For that??!?!!?! I have got to get into the surgery business.

I'm not even complaining because I owe any extra money, cause I don't. Other than my co-pay, I don't owe a thing. But it's the principle. No WONDER we pay so much for healthcare. Because they're charging people (or insurance companies) A HUNDRED AND FIFTY BUCKS for what amounted to 2 seconds of a doctor's time. I wish MY time were so valuable...

This reminds me of the time they charged me $375 for saline. I am still mad about that one, too. 

OK. Anyway. Sorry. I didn't even plan to come over here and rant about just sorta happened.

Guess what??!?!?! Great news. I got a CAMERA THAT WORKS!!!!!! Big shout-out and thanks to my wonderful (and generous) sister- and brother-in-law Amy and Tom for passing on one of theirs that they didn't need so that I can have one that works!! If you'll recall, they are also the ones who gave us the laptop-with-webcam last basically, they are responsible for everything non-text that you see on this blog. I am very thankful!! My life can be properly documented in photograph now! Such a good feeling.

That Dolphin Tale movie?? Ugh. I really want to see it. I'm sorry if that is the lamest thing ever, but when I see the trailers...I just feel so happy inside. I must see it. Please don't think any less of me. I love inspirational animal movies.

This is possibly my most diverse blog ever. Massages. Healthcare rants. Cameras. Dolphins. I think we're done here. Farewell!

Friday, September 16, 2011

memory lane

Yall. THE WEATHER. Oh my. Today the high was like...72 or something. This, when it was in the 90s earlier this week. Be still my heart. Fall may come yet this year.

Tonight (and many Friday nights) the Mattie and I didn't have big plans. We decided to check out a new-ish BBQ restaurant in the downtown of our small (tiny) town. Since the restaurant is only open three nights a week, we hadn't made it over there to try it yet...but we'd heard good stories about the ribs. The food was delish, and the banana pudding to die reaffirmed my love for living in this town. I don't care if there are only 3.5 restaurants (I can only count this as a half, since it's open less than half the week). Afterwards, we walked around downtown for a little while. Tomorrow is our town's annual fall festival, so lots of people were out setting up tents and tables and pens for livestock and some extremely safe-looking carnival-type rides. We are excited to go to the Fest tomorrow, since the last 2 years we have had to miss it.

After we finished hoofing the massive length and width of downtown (15 minutes), we decided to go on a little scenic drive (hey, gas went down 10 cents this week...time to celebrate!). We've lived here for a little over 2 years now. Back when we were buying a house, we looked at a TON of houses in this town before settling on the one we ended up buying. For such a small town...there sure were a lot of houses for sale. So we decided tonight to go 'check on' the houses that we rejected. Just to make sure we made the right choice.

We drove by probably 6 or 8 of our reject houses. And decided we definitely made the right choice. It was fun recalling what each house was like and what characteristics seemed so good and bad at the time to cause us to nix it. 

I don't know if we're getting the house-hunting bug or what...but this was at least the 3rd time this week that we've gone walking or driving to check out houses. I have (sadly) fallen in looooove with this 100 year old house in our downtown...oh my gosh, it is to DIE for. Unfortunately, the quarter-of-a-million-dollars price tag is probably slightly a little bit out of my current (non-existent) house-buying budget. Darn. So instead, I just drive or walk by it and peep in all the windows and lust after the claw-foot tubs and the FIVE WORKING FIREPLACES and the refinished/remodeled everything and I stalk the listing on the MLS and I sigh and say "someday...if it's still for sale when we get rich...".

It's a good thing I made a label for our last home-buying experience. Otherwise I might start feeling nostalgic, like it wasn't the most miserable experience EVER. And I might want to start doing it again. Good thing I can go reread the drama anytime and remind myself that I never want to buy another house again EVER.

I do, however, LOVE LOVE LOVE the town we live in. I am currently working on recruiting some Athens friends to move out here so that we can hang out with people more often. That would make it even more perfect.

One of my favorite things about my town is the weekly Police Blotter. Yall, it is FABULOUS. Mainly because no real crime really happens...which I'm not complaining about. But they have to fill the police blotter up with something. So they just report on EVERYTHING they heard about at the ol' 911 Call Center during the week. Here's my favorite news from this week, and I swear I am copying-and-pasting...there's no way I could make anything this good up:

NEIGHBORHOOD COMPLAINT: A 45-year-old ----------- woman called police to complain that her 29-year-old neighbor was washing her car in a bathing suit, and offered to show the deputy a video she recorded of the incident on Aug. 27. The deputy told the woman her neighbor wasn’t doing anything wrong, and advised her not to misuse the 911 system.

Don't you wish you lived here? Where crime consists of folks washing their cars in their bathing suits? Obviously I fit right in, since I mow the lawn in mine...

I know this is the most random post ever. It's just a lazy, fall-ish Friday night...and life is good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

craftiness lately

Yall. I have been SO FRIGGIN CRAFTY lately. I blame it all on Pinterest. Actually, I don't know whether to blame Pinterest or to thank Pinterest. I have had virtually NO time to think about how miserable I am, what with all the crafts I've needed to do and food I've needed to bake/cook! Pinterest equals instant cure for infertility-related depression. Score!

Anyway. So I mentioned last week that my sis-in-law and I revamped my mantle decor. I didn't have any pictures because my camera was being finicky broken. That hasn't changed. However, I knew you were absolutely DYING to see the new mantle look, so I took it upon myself to take pictures using the WEBCAM, which is obviously my new favorite thing ever (besides Pinterest. And my glue gun.) 

Warning: Taking pictures with a webcam is totally trippy. And the results are fairly awful. But at least you can see sort of what my mantle looks like. And see some of my latest CRAFTS!!

Trust me, the colors here are really whacked out because of the webcam. My house is not dimly lit and pea-green. I think. Anyway, here's an unintentionally fishbowl-ish view of the whole mantle.

Up close of the middle to right side! The circle art is a craft from a few months back, as I'm sure you recall.

Left-to-middle. I really wish the picture were sharper so that you could be wowed by my West Elm clearance finds (the paper flowers and fox plate).

The "B" is a craft I just finished tonight! More details on that later.

I made this B with materials left from OTHER craft projects. I traced a B onto a piece of scrap plywood, which Matt dutifully jigsawed for me so that I had a B-shaped piece of wood. Then I used yarn (left from my yarn wreath) to wrap it and finished it off with felt flowers (also from the wreath). I love it! I want to hang it on our soon-to-come "B" gallery wall...but set it there against the circles and sorta fell in love with it there. So we'll see.

Speaking of yarn wreaths...

 Not gonna lie. I'm pretty stinkin proud of these awesome felt flowers. I am hooked on making them. I can't stop!! (See also: "B" with random felt flowers adorning it...)

I really like the texture of the yarn and the felt. Adds some dimension and warmth...and my house! I had planned to hang this wreath on the front door, but the door is black and this yarn a dark it's a little hard to see from the outside. So today I bought supplies to make ANOTHER wreath that will be easier to see on the outside. I will probably actually make about 100 of these now that I know how, so let me know if you want one.

Well, that's all the crappy webcam photos I have for you today...I'm sure you are really sorry I don't have more.

I would like to thank Pinterest, my sis-in-law Jessica, and Michael's and Jo-Ann's for providing hours of inspiration, supplies, and support for my newly-found crafty hobbies. Here's to many more hours and projects to come!

Monday, September 12, 2011

like a porcupine

In today's edition of Is There Anything They WON'T Do to Get Pregnant? (answer: NO), we deviate from our well-worn paths of Western medicine and take an exciting detour into the fine world of acupuncture!! Woohoo!!

And by 'we,' of course, I mean 'Matt.' Homegirl is not about to go all porcupine style on you. Nope. Not this week.

We thought about doing acu awhile back. There's a bit of research indicating that acu can have positive effects on MFI. We thought about it, looked around...and then just pretty much dropped the ball. I don't know why. I remember like 4 months ago being all gung-ho to start, then we just sorta forgot about it. Anyway, with a good friend beginning acu lately (for infertility/PCOS) and having lots of exciting stories to tell from got the ball rolling in my brain again.

Then I got a lot of support from some trusted friends/advisors regarding acu in general, and then it was pretty much settled. We all know I'm reluctant/hesitant/scared to death to start IVF. Here's a sort of last-ditch, maybe-this'll-work, it's-cheaper-than-IVF option we can try. Count me in.

Plus, it doesn't involve weird drugs. Unless you count the supplements they sold Matt today:

Come on. "Man's Treasure"?? Is there any guy who isn't excited about taking a supplement called Man's Treasure??? Right, that's what I thought.

So he had his first (of many, evidently) appointment today. Unfortunately, I couldn't go with him. That's actually not unfortunate, because I would probably pass out if I had to watch him (or anyone) get needles stuck into them repeatedly. I do wish, however, I had been a fly on the wall to listen to Matt's conversation with his needle guy. From what Matt told me...that sounded like a super awkward convo/interview. I mean...think about it. We're dealing with MFI. Obviously he's going to ask questions about...doing it. HAHAHAHA. Sorry,  but for as traumatized as Matt seemed coming away from that conversation...I bet it was hilarious.

Anyway, all other aspects of the appointment seemed to go well. The needles didn't hurt. The music wasn't bad, mostly bongo drums. There wasn't any weird chanting or Eastern spirituality thrown in. And Matt even got a nice long list (and verbal commands) about random health and nutrition things. Apparently the dude would put in some needles, leave for about 10 minutes, come back in to 'check on things' and throw out some random advice: "so...try to eat lots of almonds and pine nuts. But not hotdogs." That's a direct second-hand quote, friends. Take it to the bank. Almonds and pine nuts (how the heck do you eat pine nuts other than in pesto??)...not hotdogs. As though those things are normally consumed together, like peanut butter and jelly. Whatevs. And he even got an 'appendage massage' at the end (which Matt specified to me included ONLY arms/hands and legs/feet...not other, manly appendages...) (only Matt would feel the need to clarify that, btw)...and he was a big fan of the massage.

So! That's the big update. It seems I have found yet another way to procrastinate IVF! And one that actually doesn't involve ME doing anything (besides waiting around to get knocked up)! Sounds like a win-win all around.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

ten years

On September 11, 2001, I was a freshman at the University of Georgia. At 8:50something that morning, I was riding a UGA bus en route to my 9:00 Calculus class. The bus was somewhat quiet-- not because anything special had happened, but because it was fairly early on a Tuesday morning. The radio was playing on the bus, but suddenly the music stopped and a breaking news segment began. We've just been informed, the radio news reporter shared, that a plane has crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  He might have said something more, something about more details when he had them, but that was the gist of it. And I remember exchanging confused glances with my fellow bus-mates. A plane? Crashing into a skyscraper? It was just a little too weird. I'd never been to NYC to see the WTC in person, but I was fairly certain that it was pretty...huge. And so I'm ashamed to admit that my very first thought about the event that had just occurred was this: I bet that pilot feels like an idiot. How do you NOT SEE A SKYSCRAPER? 

That was the extent of my thoughts regarding the news I'd just heard. I briefly considered whether or not the people on the plane and the people in the building would be okay, and immediately decided that of course they would. In the world I was accustomed to living in, of course they would be okay. The pilot made an error. He would probably lose his job. But everything would be okay.

I went to Calculus. I didn't really know anyone in that class, but I had talked to the boy behind me a few times. Did you hear about that plane? I asked him. He hadn't, since he walked to class. I let him know what had happened. And that was it. The class wasn't all a-buzz. We simply sat down and listened as our professor droned on and on about derivatives and other boring Calculus things. We had no idea that in the time we'd spend sitting there, being alternately bored and confused about math, that the world outside us was swiftly changing.

We didn't know. We couldn't. We were stuck in a million-year-old building on the University campus. There wasn't a TV in the room. There wasn't a computer. Most of us probably had cellphones, but they didn't have texting or internet on them, so we had no way to find out that more craziness was happening. It wasn't just a fluke accident. Things were getting worse.

Class let out a little after 10. I walked back to my dorm instead of riding the bus this time. I decided to use my precious cell phone minutes to call my dad and see if he'd heard about that weird plane thing. I couldn't, though. No service. All towers were busy, it seemed. A little weird, but I walked on.

I had to get back to my dorm because some repairmen from Dell were coming to fix my laptop. I'd had a post-it note stuck to my desk for a few days: 9/11, 11am- computer guys coming. That was my plan for 9/11/01. Go to class. Come home. Get laptop fixed. Big plans.

When I got back to my dorm, there were roughly a million people crowded around the TV in the lobby. In my month at school, I had never seen this before. We all had TVs in our rooms. Who would sit in the lobby to watch TV? At 10:30 am? I tried to push through the crowd of crying girls. I got where I could see, and then I saw. I saw as they replayed the footage. I saw as they pieced together the various flights. I watched when the North tower collapsed.

In a daze, I went up to my room. I flipped on the TV in there. I sat, shell-shocked. Moments later, the two computer guys appeared. I don't know how they got through the security in my all-girls dorm, but somehow they got up to my room. Wordlessly, they joined me on my futon and we all watched as our world changed. We cried. Me and these two strangers. We sat and we stared in disbelief. There is no way this is actually happening. It can't be. This isn't the world I know.

The rest of a day was a blur. I remember being frantic to reach my parents. To know that they were okay. To let them know that I was. Just in case they were wondering. Just in case they'd thought those planes crashed into a dorm in Athens, Georgia, instead of New York City. I don't know why I was so frantic to make sure they knew I was okay. Nothing made sense that day, so why should I?

I remember the fear permeating our lives for the weeks and months and years following 9/11. Despite being a thousand miles away from Ground Zero, in a town that probably held very little to interest terrorists, we walked around in fear, like there was a target on each of our backs. I kept trying to tell myself that there is nothing to be afraid of. And then I would remember that that's what those people in New York thought that morning, too. They were regular people, just like me. People going to work and to school. People grabbing a cup of coffee and gossiping about last night's TV. They didn't have anything to worry about, either. Until they did.

I also remember the unity. I remember the stories of heroism. I remember learning about the heroes on board Flight 93. I remember feeling so thankful that no one I personally knew was affected that day. And simultaneously feeling guilty for that very same thing.

I find it so strange that 9/11 has become THE defining point, in so many ways, of my generation. I remember for the first few years after the attacks, you didn't even have to say 9/11. It was the understood pause in your sentence. "Well, I used to do such-and-such, before...but now I..." I can't describe it, but you probably know what I'm talking about.

I hate that 9/11 ever happened, of course. But for some reason, I find myself thankful that I was old enough to understand it when it did. I happened upon a copy of the Red & Black, the UGA newspaper, last week. They were doing a 9/11 tribute, of course, and they interviewed a lot of students to get their "where were you then?" stories. Unlike me, these now-college-students were just children then. In elementary schools. Most of them had few vivid memories, only a knowledge that something important had happened that they didn't fully understand. And I pity them that. I am thankful that I knew. As awful as it was, I'm glad I could fully 'experience' it. I saw, in the most second-hand of ways, of course, the deepest, darkest parts of human depravity. And I also saw the most selfless. I saw the good in my country. I saw a nation brought to its knees and drawn together by tragedy.

I was proud of that America. It's the America I like to remember. The one where-- for a brief minute, we really were all brothers and sisters, joined together for a common goal. I was proud to see my fellow college students pulling together, despite myriad differences in politics and religion. There was something so warm and safe about that time. Not safe because I knew nothing bad was going to happen-- that illusion had been shattered. But a feeling of safeness that arose from knowing that even when the bad did happen, that beauty would rise from the ashes.

My story is nothing special. But it is a story so deeply rooted in my mind and emotions...I often think there's no way I will ever forget the details. My selfish first thoughts. The way I sat through Calculus, barely even thinking about the strange news I'd heard. That post-it note, which remained stuck to my desk for the rest of the year. 9/11, 11am: computer guys coming. I couldn't throw it away. It was my 9/11...before 9/11.

I wanted to write down my story, just in case. I know I will never forget. But I just want to make sure.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

and then what?

Alright, yall. Today I'm doing the most ultimately lazy thing. I have a really funny Kid Story to tell...but the truth of the matter is, a conversation that took 60 seconds to occur in real life takes me like 2 hours to transcribe into writing that will properly convey the words, tone, and feelings of the real thing. So I'm taking the Weird Way Out by VIDEOING myself telling the story!! Creepy, no?? 

As a fringe benefit, I think that this video also sounds more like the 'real me' and a little less Southern than my last videos. Something about telling a story versus reading a bunch of words from a list.

So just so that you're fairly warned: this story starts out cute enough. But then it takes a sharp turn for the depressing at the end. I'm sorry it has to be that way. I'm also sorry that I stumble over the word "congratulations" and that I also still don't know where to look when I'm talking on a webcam. 

Umm...yeah. I totally did not know how to answer her, off the cuff. Everything sounded wrong! Then you can get a car! Too materialistic. Then you can get married! Too Disney-princessey and also completely unrelated to the conversation. Then you can retire!...huh? Like a four year old cares about that. I think I ended up saying something about then you can do whatever you long as whatever you want involves showing up at your job every day, and that said job pays you enough to do whatever else it is you might be wanting to do.

A few minutes later I decided to head back into conversational territory I was more equipped to deal with. What kind of job do you think you might want to have when you grow up? She first said that she didn't know, of course. I told her it's okay, she didn't really need to have it all figured out just yet, but what kinds of jobs did she think she might like to try?

She thought and thought, as she stared off into the distance, and then stared at me. Finally it came to her.

I think I might sell earrings.

And I had to agree. Because a life spent selling earrings sounds like a pretty happy life to me.

The End.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

season 11

It's Way Back When-sday!!

You may or may not have noticed, but college football officially kicked off last weekend. This is my eleventh season as a college football fan. I started college at the University of Georgia in the fall of 2001, which marked the first official Season I Was Aware of/Cared About College Football. Incidentally, my "first" season also coincided with head coach Mark Richt's first season at UGA. Since he is still head coach, it's been convenient for me because at least once per game a TV announcer will remind people of how many seasons he's been at UGA...and this is how I can keep track of how many seasons I've been at (or graduated from, but still a fan of) UGA. We're on season 11. Go us! 

I tried really hard to find a picture from my freshman year. Unfortunately, this was still slightly before the era of Digital Cameras Everywhere, so pictures were somewhat rarer in those days. I know I took regular film pictures, but I can't find an album. So the oldest pictures I could find are from sophomore year, which was a better year anyway because we made it to the Sugar Bowl (and I got to go watch it in New Orleans!!).

These pictures redeemed themselves (they needed redeeming since they feature a lot of bad hair, bad clothes, and not-sucking-in-your-tummy-while-taking-a-picture) by featuring many of my long-time friends that also happen to be fellow football aficionados (hahaha) and bloggers (or blog-readers)!

 (back row: Laura, Devin, Lisa Marie, Guy (now married to Devin), James (now married to Kristina); front row: Elizabeth, me, my sis Sarah, Elizabeth's sis Sarah, Dustin)
 (back row: Laura, Lisa Marie, Devin, Elizabeth; front row: Kristina, me)
 (L-R: Devin, Lisa Marie, Sarah L., me)

 Devin and LM making a MAJOR FAUX PAS by wearing jeans at an SEC football game. Tsk, tsk. As everyone knows, ladies dress up to go to football games. But I will forgive them since they didn't actually attend UGA.

A final picture of Dustin, me, Laura, and Anna in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. Yes, we are wearing red and black feather boas. That's the sort of thing you do in New Orleans for New Years.

Happy Football Season to you...and GO DAWGS!!

(And also, welcome to the SEC, Aggies!! You are very welcome here, since this would make my family complete/divided by having all of our D-1 schools in the same division!)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Well hello, good buddies. I have all kinds of non-important things to tell you today. Let's just get to it, shall we?

1. Reflections on the Dialect Vlog.

I think I sound more Southern on video/tape/voice mails/anything that's not real life than I do in my real-time ears. I'm sure that sentence made lots of sense. But isn't that true for most people? Don't you think yourself sounds weird on any kind of recording? I thought that was normal. But I did like 3 takes of that list of words (because I couldn't figure out where to look...or because Matt walked through the room and made me laugh...or because our fire alarm battery was dying and kept beeping...) and I sounded pretty much the same on all of them. So I also think it's because those words were especially chosen to showcase any accent. Like I sounded like a total hick saying "spittin' image," but first of all: how often do you say that in real life? And second of all, if it was mixed in with a whole bunch of other words/speech that DIDN'T sound probably wouldn't even notice. Or you "probly" wouldn't notice, which is definitely how I say that word. All the time. Except for when I just say 'probs.' Evidently I have the laziest mouth ever.

Then again, when Amanda met me in real life for the first time, that was like the first thing that came out of her mouth: "OHMYGOSH YOU HAVE A SOUTHERN ACCENT!!!! I didn't imagine you having a Southern accent!!!!!" and so maybe I do. A mystery for the ages, for sure. Still waiting on the rest of you to join in on this one by making your own videos...

2. I joined Pinterest. It is every bit as time-consuming and life-sucking-upping as I had suspected it would be, which is why I procrastinated joining for so long. It's done now, though. I have never been so inspired to craft/cook/decorate/shop as I am now! Unlike MOST of the lazy bums out there pinning things left and right, though...

3. Yesterday my sis-in-law Jessica and I spent the day DOING THINGS INSPIRED BY PINTEREST. That's right. We actually ACCOMPLISHED PROJECTS on our Pinterest to-do lists. Namely, we baked these Starbucks-inspired pumpkin muffins:

 and then we ate them. Not quite all of them, but we put a dent in them (with the help of Matt). We also made chili in the crockpot. It was a very Martha Stewart day.

We ALSO...and I am very excited about this...redecorated my house!!! For free!!! For quite some time I've been wanting to 'remix' my art/mantle/decorations...although I like the way I have things decorated, they've been basically the same since we moved in 2 years ago. I've heard that the best thing to do is just pull everything down and start new. I knew I'd need fresh eyes, since my eyes just want to put everything back right where it came from.

So Jess and I spent a long time moving things around and it looks FAB! We spent the most time on the mantle and the piano and some bookshelves. And wall art. And THEN, when we took a large metal star from above the TV and moved it elsewhere, we needed something to hang in its place. Lacking the perfect thing, we consulted with Pinterest and...made something!!

We painted a canvas that I had on hand with a B monogram (or mammogram, if you're Jessica). We were pretty proud of ourselves. Sorry for the crappy picture...I am still having major camera issues (want to know details of my ongoing camera problems? okay. the thing is, the friggin CORD doesn't work right. the USB end is somehow messed up so that it won't connect to the computer or its charger...but then SOMETIMES it just works...but usually it doesn't...which is why the camera is then either not charged or I can't get the pictures off. VERY FRUSTRATING. and I have no idea how to get a new cord, either. i just want a new camera, dangit.)

Anyway, so since the camera is currently not charging, I can't take any more pictures of our fabulous redecorating results, but I promise I will when I have a chance. I'm just loving it because I feel like I have all this new stuff...even though I don't, it's just the same stuff in different places. Total cost of my living room makeover? ZERO DOLLARS.

So basically it was the best Labor Day ever. Pumpkin muffins. Redecorating. Chili. Girl time. Painting. Winning!

This morning at 7am, as I prepared to go to work, I opened the dishwasher to put my coffee mug in.

THE DISHWASHER WAS CRAWLING IN ANTS. Like...for real. Millions of them. I shrieked. And cried. And said "WHY ME, ANTS, WHY ME???!!!"

So, welcome back to real life. I'd love to stay and chat, but I gotta get back to my regularly scheduled exterminating. Gah.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

dialect vlog

I know, twice in one day? Obviously I'm bored out of my mind today. So sorry.

So a long time ago, my friend Jessica posted this "dialect video-blog (vlog)" and I thought it was really interesting. However, at the time I was webcam-less, so I couldn't make one myself.

I've seen the vlog popping up on various blogs in the past week or so, and since I am now with webcam, I figured it was high time to join in the fun!!

So there's two parts to this thing. First you just record yourself saying a list of words. Not sure who came up with this list...some words, I can imagine how they'd be said differently depending on your accent. Some of them? I really think they'd sound the same no matter what. But whatever. Then the second part has you read and answer a list of questions about what you call different things. I've watched a lot of these vlogs lately, and this is the part that's most interesting to me. People call things all different sorts of stuff!

Most people preface their reading/answering with a little description of where they're from. Since I felt REALLY awkward talking to the webcam, I decided I'd just write my description instead of forcing you to watch another 30 seconds of me looking down, blinking a lot, and pressing my lips together.

I'm from east Georgia. I've lived here since I was two years old. Both of my parents were born and raised in Texas. I've never considered myself to have an accent in Georgia...but sometimes in other places, I notice it a bit more. I guess that compared to real Southern accents, I'm mild. But compared to some yankee or something...maybe it's there. Anyways. Enough blabbering on in typing. Let's blabber on in a video! Yeehaw!

Here're the words I'm supposed to say in the first video:

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught.

Umm...awkward!!! I don't really know where to LOOK when I'm on a webcam. I'm still a newbie, so forgive me.

Alright, here are the questions for part 2:

  • What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
  • What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
  • What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
  • What do you call gym shoes?
  • What do you say to address a group of people?
  • What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped
  • body and extremely long legs?
  • What do you call your grandparents?
  • What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry
  • groceries at the supermarket?
  • What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
  • What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

So! That was funsies and all. It will be more fun when YOU do one of yourself and join in the fun. Get to it!

I'll take two, thanks.

Let me ask you something.

Say you get your Sunday newspaper and you're browsing through the ads.

If you see an ad proclaiming "granola bar sale," what do you assume is on sale? Right, granola bars.

If an ad says "shoe sale!" then you probably deduce that some shoes are on sale, right? Right.

And if it happened to say "appliance sale," then I would think it completely logical if you went to the store looking for some appliances that are on sale.

Where are you going with this, Captain Obvious?

I just wanted to establish that we're all on the same page here. 

Because this is the ad that caught my eye in today's paper:

...soooo...I guess you know where I'll be shopping this afternoon. Happy Labor Day Sales to me!

Friday, September 2, 2011

a roller coaster kinda day

Speaking of roller coasters, I never accomplished my Summer Goal of going to Six Flags. Boo.

Today's roller coaster was more of the emotional/psychological variety. Exciting, right? 

I started out the day excited that it was the Friday Before a Three-Day Weekend. I had a lot of meetings at work. That was kind of a downer because the more time I spend in meetings, the less time I'm spending talking to kids and getting funny kid stories to tell people. Then, as is wont to happen sometimes, I just got really sad. It's crazy how it just comes over you (me). One minute you're contributing slash leading a meeting at work, the next minute you have to escape to the bathroom lest you burst out crying in front of your co-workers. 

The rest of the work day was pretty much a sham of trying to hold it all together and act like nothing was wrong. Because really...nothing (new) is wrong. This is just me. Emotionally unstable. Prone to random fits of depression.

Luckily, I finally got to go back to my school and see my kids. I immediately had a ketchup-covered hot dog dropped on my foot, leaving a big smear of ketchup behind...and that made me feel a little bit better. But I knew it was only a matter of time.

I call Matt every day when I get off work and start driving home. "What are you going to do when you get home?" he always asks. Today I knew. "Cry."

You know you've reached new lows when that is how you plan to kick off a holiday weekend.

Anyway, so that's what I did. Matt came home a few hours later and laid down next to me on the couch and we fell asleep. When we woke up at 6:30, I felt rested, happy, and hungry.

We decided to go for some fried chicken. Instead of trying to pick just ONE side, I opted to just get both of the ones I was craving. And then I ate all of it. And got dessert. And just generally ate Matt under the table. I put him and his pansy appetite to shame. And normally this would induce yet ANOTHER cry-fest, this time about how fat I am and how I have no self control. But for some reason, it didn't.

We went to the mall to return some Pants that Seemed Like a Good Idea At The know how that goes. While we were there, I happened to catch a glance of myself in a 3-way mirror. You know what popped in my mind? Damn, I look GOOD in these jeans! That like...never happens. So then I felt really happy.

I made it through the mall without buying anything, feeling good about life. We decided to stop by a Redbox and get a movie. While parked at the gas station, we noticed that one of my headlights was out. Darn. It was about 8:30. We decided to stop by an auto parts store right up the street and see if it was still open. It was, so at about 8:45 we had purchased (two) new headlights (because the other one's bound to go out too, right?). I was commenting to Matt, as we drove home, that it was good we bought the new ones, even if we didn't get around to installing them for a few days, just in case we were to get pulled over or something. At least we'd have them on hand. Matt agreed, but said that he didn't think it was illegal to drive with a broken headlight. Something about how then no one could drive motorcycles, since they only have one headlight? Whatever, it didn't make any sense and was obviously wrong, but I didn't debate him too much.

At about 8:55, on the outskirts of our town, we got stopped in a police checkpoint. License and registration in hand, we approached the officer. He looked over our papers and then said, "You do know it's illegal to drive in the state of Georgia with a broken headlight, don't you?" And Matt said "what?" and I grabbed the bag out of the backseat and practically leaped through the driver's side window, saying "WE JUST NOTICED THE HEADLIGHT AND BOUGHT A NEW ONE SEE THE RECEIPT IT'S DATED LIKE 10 MINUTES AGO AND PLEASE DON'T ARREST US AND DON'T I LOOK CUTE IN MY JEANS?" ...or maybe I didn't say all that, but I did show him the headlights and try to explain it in my most intelligent, I-once-thought-about-going-to-law-school voice. He smiled and nodded his head, saying "that's fine, I just wanted you to know, don't worry about it" and then told us some fun facts about cars with busted headlights and DUIs.

As we drove towards home, I tried not to gloat too much about how I was right about the headlights. It was tough, but I managed. I think.

And now we've spent a good evening just relaxing (me blog-stalking, Matt watching 'nail biter' football) and tomorrow we have big plans to wake up and be at the gym by 8, check out a KOLACHE SHOP we found out about at 9, and be at church for a thing by 10. I know. Ambitious for a holiday weekend, right? And then...COLLEGE FOOTBALL STARTS. I am super excited.

Luckily, the roller coaster day ended on an up note. Here's to hoping the rest of the weekend stays there!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

it changes everything...

Most Americans, myself usually included, hold pretty fast to the belief that money equals a certain degree of security. Gainfully employed since the age of about eleven, I've always been a saver: every dollar tucked away giving me a little leg up against the "what ifs" my mind constantly conjures up. If you'd told me a few years ago that I would willingly gamble away every dollar to my name (and a few I borrowed) on something that is almost certain to fail, I would have laughed in your face.

Infertility changes everything.

Today Camille is hosting a BlogShare contest. The topic is: Things I Never Thought I Would Do/Say and Why I Changed My Mind. You may as well subtitle this blog, my contribution, as "Part 27384 of Erika's Never-ending Whine-fest about her Empty Womb."

I'm not a big spender. It's just not me. We drive non-fancy used cars that we pay cash for. We live in a house we can afford (imagine that!). I coupon and bargain-hunt and yard-sale for things we need. We completed Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University before we got married, and I'd like to think we've done Dave right. We don't make a lot of money, but I'm pretty proud with how responsible we've been with what we've got.

With a track record like that, we probably don't look like the kind of people who go drop $15k on a shot in the dark. But that's where we are. Other than a miracle (which we would prefer, by the way, God), IVF is our only option left for obtaining a biological child. And IVF, even in the best of circumstances, is not exactly known as a sure bet.

Like I said earlier: if you'd told Old Me that this would be an option I would be seriously considering, I'd have laughed in your face. First of all, I would have thought, there's no way we'd have that much trouble getting pregnant. IVF is for people who are just really impatient or lazy or dumb or rich or something. There's no way I would ever be thinking about it. Because even if we did for some weird reason find ourselves unable to have children...we would just adopt. Obviously. It's just as expensive, but at least you know you'll get something for your money. Right?

Old Me was pretty judgmental, I guess. Obviously Old Me had never actually experienced the heartache of infertility and the physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, any-other-ical-you-can-think-of desire to have children that Real Life Me has felt. Obviously Old Me didn't know that adoption isn't "just adoption." It's a separate-but-equal endeavor...not just an easy backup option for getting a kid into your house.

Old Me was never posed this question, the hardest question I've ever had to honestly answer: Do you want a child or do you want to be pregnant? And had to answer that question with a tearful and heart-wrenching cry of I want to be pregnant. I have to know I tried everything possible. Only then will I be able to grieve and move on towards filling my desire for a child through other means. Only then.

So that puts us where we are now: staring down that IVF bill, facing the reality that to do it will mean parting with almost every penny to our name. Sure, we could wait a few more years til we have more money in the bank. But in the world of infertility, time isn't on your side. Our chances are a lot better on this side of thirty. The longer we wait, the greater the chance of failure. So we've got to do it with what we've got now. The emergency fund, the vacation fund, the car fund. All of them. On a gamble. Our one shot at a child. If it works, then we win. We pray we don't lose our jobs or need a new car or a new pair of shoes, but we will be thrilled beyond belief, thankful for our miracle. If it doesn't work, then we're not much worse off than we are now, just a lot poorer. We're still childless. We're still broken-hearted. But probably our hearts will heal, and knowing that we tried everything, maybe we will be able to move on.

I never thought I would be so irresponsible as to want to throw my money away at a dream. I changed my mind because infertility left me with no other options.