Sunday, September 30, 2012

the good, the bad, & the ugly

This weekend Matt and I went with the Gurleys down to south Georgia to visit our besties the Moores. The Moores used to live up here in Athens...but then 3.5 years ago they moved away and left us, and it is so sad. So we always look forward to our twice-or-thrice-a-year visits with them. Here's a quick (ha!) breakdown of the weekend-- and be sure to stick around til the end of the post, cause there's big news regarding my giveaway!

The Good:
Well, time with friends is always good. And when the six of us (plus 2 kids) gather, there is always an abundance of good food to accompany our hanging out. We went to a restaurant Friday night that apparently serves the largest Philly cheesesteaks known to mankind:

Yeah, seriously. And it was only $10!! And it came with a side!! Ridiculous. Yes, it lasted 2+ meals. Other "good" included everything Amanda cooked. Homegirl's a great cook.

The Bad:
OK SERIOUSLY???! The fact that the vast bulk of my talking about our weekend visit with our friends will be summed up in the "bad" section is just wrong, okay? Don't think I'm okay with this. (NOTE: Endometriosis/"women's health"-related TMI to follow)

I spent 95% of Saturday in excruciatingly unbearable pain. I'm not exaggerating. I felt good for about one hour in the mid-morning, and other than that I was laid out on the couch with a heating pad, crying and hating life. IT SUCKED. What was the problem, exactly? It wasn't a cyst rupturing, although some of the pain was similar. It wasn't any kind of "normal" cramps associated with being on my period (although I'm starting to figure out the my "normal" isn't necessarily a non-endo-girl's "normal"). Basically it felt like everything between my rib cage and my thighs was twisting and pulsing and radiating pain. Without stopping. It wasn't like...10 minutes of bad cramps, a few hours of semi-tolerableness, 20 minutes of pain, few hours of I can deal with this...OH NO. It was hour after hour after hour of relentless pain. Tylenol didn't even touch it. I spent the whole day fantasizing about the stash of narcotic painkillers from surgery that I still my house, four hours away. Honest to God, the pain yesterday was worse than anything I experienced after surgery. Now of course, I stayed on the aforementioned painkillers on a religious schedule after surgery for that very reason-- so I wouldn't experience excruciating pain. So that's why this was worse. It was almost the worst pain I've ever felt, but I'm afraid that that coveted award still has to go to my hemorrhagic cyst. But I only had to feel that pain for a few hours before the hospital put me on a morphine drip, whereas this experience dragged on for about 14 (until I fell into a sleeping-pill induced slumber).

So what was it?? Your guess is as good as mine. Pretty much, I'm thinking this is just the pain associated with endo. A lot of endo girls describe being in pain like this regularly, which is why endo can be such a debilitating disease. I've had brief episodes of pain like this, but they've never lasted longer than an hour or so at a time, and have been more intermittent (with periods of more tolerable pain breaking up the acute pain). And while the pain was very much like that of rupturing cysts, it was just different enough that I'm pretty sure it wasn't that. So if all it is was "endo pain," then AWESOME...THIS is what I get to look forward to for the rest of my life? I'm not even two months out of surgery!! I thought it was supposed to get BETTER! So I was equal parts in pain and TOTALLY PISSED about this whole situation yesterday.

Let's not forget-- we were out of town, VISITING OUR FRIENDS while this was going on. Except for instead of visiting, I was hogging an entire couch, moaning and crying and lamenting that NOTHING EVER GOES RIGHT IN MY LIFE. I can't even enjoy a stupid WEEKEND. Ugh. That, my friends, was "the bad."

The Ugly:
Well, on FRIDAY night (before all that "bad" nonsense took place), while we were driving to the restaurant that serves giant sandwiches, Amanda and I found ourselves riding in the trunk of the minivan, sitting on the floor. Yeah, we ran out of seats, so we did what had to be done and had fun lounging on the floor. And had a little photo shoot.

And then we decided to try to take some beautiful "duck face" shots. Which I happen to be awesome at (amateur luck, I promise). And Amanda happens to be NOT awesome at.

 Sorry for the blur, but it's just how it goes. You can still see my impressive cheekbones and duckface-lips. And you can see how Amanda deals with things that might end up looking her attempt at duckface. 

So that was my exciting and unfortunately pain-filled weekend (PS- I feel much better today. Still have some residual aching/cramping, but much more normal and tolerable. Nothin my BFF the heating pad can't take care of.)

Exciting Giveaway Update!!!
OK-- LOVE all of yalls hilarious comments. And so does Colleen-- which is why she amended the giveaway offer and now wants to giveaway SIX COPIES OF THE BOOK!!! Isn't that fun??! So if you were thinking about entering but haven't...go ahead and do it, cause the odds of winning are pretty dang good! To enter, leave a comment on the original giveaway post!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Wanna know something super fun?? I KNOW SOMEONE WHO JUST PUBLISHED A REAL LIVE BOOK. Like a for real book that you can like...find in a bookstore! Or a library! Or Amazon!

Not gonna lie, it makes me feel pretty special. One degree of separation to a legit author! Woo!

My friend Colleen just released her first novel, Elly in Bloom!!!

Now seriously-- who else judges books by their covers? I know I'm not the only one. And the cover of this book? I mean, even if I didn't already know Colleen and want to read the book just 'cause she wrote it-- I would definitely pick this book by its cover. How pretty is it??! (Relatedly, back in June (months before the book was published) Colleen shared the inside scoop on just how the cover art came to be. It is so interesting!!)

So you can imagine how excited I was a few weeks ago when Colleen contacted me and was like "hey, I'm going to mail you my book!" Because I was planning on buying it anyway, so basically she just saved me a little wad of cash, which is always nice. Plus it meant I got something in the mail, which is also something I'm a fan of. And yesterday the book came!

Look!! I'm holding her book(s) in my VERY OWN HANDS!! Surreal, I tell you. She even wrote on the front page for me (which is my personal love language: book inscriptions. True story.)

Erika, Thank you for being the most wonderful internet discovery since Pinterest! I am so glad we found each other in the internet stratosphere, my skinny soulmate. I hope someday we can meet in person and sing Les Mis from beginning to end. Keep on blooming! Love, Colleen Oakes

If that doesn't prove we're BFFs, I don't know what would. She calls me the "best thing since Pinterest" (HIGH PRAISE), "skinny" (HIGHEST PRAISE), and wants to sing through my favorite musical ever with me? Soulmates indeed.

But wait! Did you catch something 2 pictures ago? There are TWO books there. Guess why?

'Cause I'm giving one away!!!!!

I know, I can barely contain my excitement! My very first giveaway!!

First, let me tell you a tiny bit about the book (if you need more info, you can check out the synopsis/reviews on Amazon). This summary is stolen directly from Colleen's blog, btw: 

Surrounded by lush flowers and neurotic brides, chubby 32-year old Elly Jordan has carved out a sweet little life for herself as the owner of Posies, a boutique wedding florist in St. Louis. It’s not bad for a woman who drove away from her entire life just two years ago when she found her husband entwined with a red-headed artist.

Sure, Elly has an embarrassingly beautiful best friend, a terribly behaved sheepdog and a sarcastic assistant who she simply calls “Snarky Teenager”, but overall her days are pleasantly uneventful. As a bonus, her new next door neighbor just happens to be an unnervingly handsome musician who has an eye for curvy Elly.

Just when she feels that she is finally moving on from her past, she discovers that an extravagant wedding contract, one that could change her financial future, is more than she bargained for.

With the help of her friends, staff and the occasional well-made sandwich, Elly bravely agrees to take on the event that threatens to merge her painful history with her bright new life, and finds herself blooming in a direction she never imagined.

I read the whole entire book yesterday and let me tell you-- it was fabulous. I actually laughed out loud (literally!) a few times. And I lusted over the descriptions of flowers (and sandwiches). Yall know I've been reading like crazy lately, and this book is definitely one of the most enjoyable I've come across. Elly is easy to relate to and impossible not to root for. I was very sad to see the book end.

And now YOU can have the pleasure of Elly in Bloom, too!! Because Colleen's going to give one of YOU your very own SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR copy! All you have to do is...

...basically nothing. I'm a newbie giveaway girl, okay? I can't see myself doing all that "follow me and friend me and look at my Etsy shop and do a backflip and some long division" stuff that Serious Giveaway Bloggers do. I'm makin my OWN rules here, okay? So if you WANT to do any of the above (especially a backflip, but be sure to record yourself trying!), feel free. Otherwise, just leave a comment on this post. Here are some suggestions for things you can say in the comment:

-"Erika, MAKE ME A WINNER!!!!!!!!!!"
-"Erika, you are so cool and awesome and I am so jealous you know a famous author." 
-tell me your favorite book
-tell me your favorite kind of cookie
-tell me about how poor and bored you are and how you really really need this book to get you through the weekend
-tell me what TV show you're loving right now

And so on and so forth. Just leave a comment (be sure to include your email address or some way I can get in touch with you if I don't have it already) and then I'll figure out how to do that random number picker thingy and pick a winner! I also might (if the Spirit leads me) decide to pick a non-random SECOND WINNER based on my personal favorite comment. So may that be your incentive. And may the Force be with you! And may the odds be ever in your favor!

Giveaway ends Monday-ish! So start commenting!!

And if you can't wait that long to read Elly, you can go buy it now on Amazon-- yes, it's released on Kindle as well!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

being sick: UPS, YHL, & HG

Today I'm home sick. Not to be confused with homesick...just regular ol' feel-like-crap, lost-my-voice-and-can't-breathe-so-I'm-staying-home-sick. Definitely not my favorite way to be-- especially since my paid sick leave is hovering around little to none, thanks to having already taken one zillion sick days this year for hemorrhaging cystssurgery, and ridiculously frequent trips to Atlanta to visit the RE. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

On an unrelated note (I have a hunch this whole post is going to be one unrelated note), I think I have a condition or disorder wherein I always think I hear the UPS truck. Like I'm not even kidding. I probably hear a phantom UPS truck/guy (leaving things on my porch, of course) like five times a day (more if I'm actually sitting at HOME all day, such, which causes me to jump up (even if I'm comfortably napping in my bed), run to the front door, and check. So has never been the UPS guy. Which is pretty devastating. Apparently I really need someone to send me something via UPS-- who volunteers? (PS. Does anyone else suffer from this? Should I be taking meds or something? A support group, perhaps?)

So since I have nothing to do today, I was killing time on Young House Love, where they're celebrating their five year 'blogiversary' all week. I watched the entire 20-minute Q & A video with reader-submitted questions about all kinds of things and it was really entertaining. It also made me feel like my ponytail is totally lame compared to Sherry's. I need to work on pumping up my ponytail-volume, no?

{pause to run to check the front window for the UPS truck again. no dice. just another garbage truck.}

I also really enjoyed their "day in da life" post. I think that their lifestyle would totally work for me. Full time blogging sounds fantastic. So does having a two-year-old. Although I don't really want to be doing DIY projects til midnight...or writing 8 (long, picture-filled, totally legit) posts a week. That seems like a bit much. I could do maybe 6. 

I've been doing some light research into my costume for my Hunger Games birthday party (which I may as well wear for Halloween, too). Naturally, I want to be Girl on Fire. I'm trying to figure out how to best make the "fire" on the cape. There are lots of ideas (some good, some terrible) floating around about how to attempt this. The other main part of the costume will be a black catsuit. Which reminds me that I need to be spending like 15 days a week at the gym. Ha.

OH! Speaking of Hunger Games-- Catching Fire is doing a lot of filming around Atlanta. Therefore I've made it my new life goal to be an extra in it. I've connected with one of the extras casting agencies in Atlanta so that hopefully I can find out about any opportunities. If Catching Fire doesn't work out, I would also like to be an extra for Walking Dead. I think I'd be an awesome zombie.

Well, now that your mind is probably exploding from the randomness of this post, I'm going to get back to my regularly scheduled hacking coughing, reading, and listening for the UPS truck. So long!

Monday, September 24, 2012

the time i identified with a pigeon

Sometimes, I'm not entirely convinced that all kids' books are written for kids. Due to my job, I come across new (or new-to-me) children's literature all the time. Like today. Today I read this book (one of many in the very-excellent "Pigeon" franchise by Mo Willems) and to say it spoke to my hard little heart would be an understatement. To say that I found myself identifying with the pigeon...yeah, understatement.

I would tell you about it, but who wants to waste time describing a mostly-picture book? Therefore I took the liberty to snap phone-pictures of my favorite pages so that you can get the full experience. Hopefully this isn't illegal or breaking any book copyright laws. For the record, this is less than half of the book, and I'm not telling you how it ends, so you need to go read it for yourself.

(In case you've never read any books about our friend Pigeon, here's what you need to know: He always wants something he can't have. Sometimes it's to drive a bus, sometimes it's to eat a hotdog, sometimes it's to get a puppy...but whatever it is he wants, he REALLY REALLY wants it and has LOTS of convincing reasons why he should get it.)

So this story starts with a new friend, Duckling, asking an unseen force for a cookie...

...which he immediately receives.

But then our trusty hero the Pigeon arrives, and he's a little curious about how Duckling got such a tasty treat.

Pigeon very quickly loses his ever-loving mind. What??! The stupid duckling got a cookie just because he asked for it???

Naturally, this reminds Pigeon of the zillions of times in life he has asked for something-- AND NOT RECEIVED IT. So he starts ranting.

Pages like this make me think that if Pigeon was a blogger (or a real person), we'd be BFF.

Bitter much, Pigeon?

It sure isn't, bro. NOT FAIR AT ALL.

Pigeon, I ask myself this question EVERY FREAKING DAY. Why did YOU get that cookie?!??!?!?!

Except I'm not (usually) talking about cookies.

And so this is how I came to find myself shedding a little tear and raising a fist of solidarity to salute my pigeon-bro today. Even though real pigeons are my sworn enemies. I'm not above making a hate-exception for a fictional bird so deserving.

Friday, September 21, 2012

things husbands say

So last night, Cat and I were getting ready to leave for our women's group (Bible study thing) after dinner. As we were discussing it, Zoe excitedly piped in: "Girls' night??! Yaaaaay!!! We get to go hang out with alllll girllllls and noooo boys will be allowed!!!" So we had to break her heart by informing her that unfortunately, it was women's night...for grown-ups only. No kids allowed. Understandably, she was crushed.

Never one to enjoy seeing kids sad, Matt enthusiastically spoke up to save the day. "Don't worry, Zoe!! You are going to have way more fun here with me and your dad. We're having...Men and Little Girls' Night!!!"

One billionth of a second later, Cat, Spence, and I are dissolving in hysterical laughter as Matt slowly figures out how totally sketchtastic his "night" sounds. Of course, he tries to take his words back-- "aw MAN...yall KNOW I didn't mean THAT...come ON...."-- but the damage has already been done.

Men and Little Girls' Night? 

Are you going to be driving this van?

So!! With that happy story in mind...hope you have a wonderful and sketchiness-free weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

in the confessional

It's been a few minutes since my last confessional, hasn't it?? Great. Let's see what kind of hidden truths we can dig up here...

-First and foremost, I want to put it out there that there is a very good chance that I will not be gracing any voting booths with my presence come November. If you've ever met me, then this is probably not coming as a huge shock. Every once in a while I try to get myself really psyched up and convinced that voting is so so so important and that it really really matters which dude wins...but I just can't. Apparently my patriotism and love-of-country is more of the Fourth of July ilk and not so much wrapped up in politics and hate. So judge me.

-The other night I had a dream. I had randomly received a bunch of greeting cards, and most of them were Christmas cards (despite it not being Christmas-time in the dream), but one of them was a baby shower card and it was from Jen Hatmaker. She'd written a really long, encouraging note inside the card and I was so excited and giddy because she evidently "knew" me and cared enough to send this random card. And I'm pretty sure this is not actually a "confession," but rather a random tidbit I just thought of...but I am open to any dream interpretations you may have!

-Thinking about writing a book is turning out to be a great filler of brain space. Time and energy that was previously reserved for feeling sad and pitiful for myself is now (somewhat) filled by planning my book! I even have a little notebook I'm carrying around so that I can keep track of all my great ideas.

-I'm thinking about writing a blog/dissertation about something I'm very passionate about: Why Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is probably the greatest thing to ever happen to Wednesday night TV and why all the haters are totally wrong and stupid. And dumb. 

-And on that note, let the record state that I absolutely do care enough to go on rants/argue with people/compose thought-out treatises about reality TV (and vote for it, if applicable, such as in the cases of American Idol and Dancing With the Stars), but I do not care enough about politics to do any of the above for that. HAHAHAHA. It is awesome to be as shallow as me. 

-Since our friends moved in, Cat has taken over planning/shopping for/cooking all of our dinners and can I just say-- I don't miss it at all. I'd actually have to estimate that my life is 28347 times better now (and my booty 28193 times fatter). And if/when they move out, I am going to have to hire a full-time cook, because I never want to go back to doing it myself. 

-The other day I mentioned that I was closing in on 500 posts and asked for suggestions about appropriate ways to commemorate/celebrate that milestone. One friend suggested I drink 500 margaritas. I almost died laughing. But it's not such a bad idea. Let me know if you want to sponsor a margarita!! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

a festival. and musings on happy endings.

It's been a fun but exhausting weekend. My parents came up on Friday and we had my mom's first festival all day yesterday. She's been making bracelets for about seven months now, and we've been selling them to friends and co-workers (and she has a few displays in shops around Augusta). But apparently the craft-fair and fall-festival scene is really where it's at, so she's signed up for a few of them for the next few months. Yesterday was our first one and it was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too!!

Since neither of us is the most outgoing, small-talk-with-strangers-inclined person ever, we had to step out of our comfort zones quite a bit, but it ended up being a fun and successful day! Of course, Matt and my dad were there as well, so it was fun just to have the whole day to hang out and chat in between customers (and friends/family that stopped by to visit!). Oh, and eat Fair Food. A lot of it. I started off with funnel cake at 10am (I declared it to be the most "breakfasty" of fair foods), followed up with a noontime snack of boiled peanuts, and 2pm lunch of polish sausage (with grilled onions/peppers) and an Italian ice. I declare that to be a smashing success of food consumption for one day.

I've been thinking a lot about "my book." Can you call it "your book" if you haven't started it yet (and have never written one before)? Oh well, I am. Here's the thing. As much as I love to read funny books, and as much as I like to write funny things (or things that I think are funny) on the ol' blog...I just can't see myself writing a funny book. I don't know why. Maybe because I can't think of any funny storylines. 

Right now I'm drawn to stories that feel real. And here's the sucky thing about real life: it's not always happy. The endings aren't always happy. Each sub-plot doesn't necessarily get resolved happily. Everything doesn't always work out the way it seems like it should. And so I have these two stories developing in my head right now, and I'm drawn to each of them for different reasons, but the thing is: I don't think there are going to be happy endings for either of them. Because it would feel contrived. And because I just can't do it. Perpetuate the myth that happiness is the highest goal-- the be-all, end-all of our existence. That only stories with happy endings are of worth.

And on the one hand, I don't get it. Because I like stories with happy endings. I get mad when they DON'T have happy endings, and I yell at the author (in the comfort of my own home, of course)-- what is WRONG with you??! How could you put me through all of that and then have it end all WRONG??! How dare you? Because I want to hear stories that give me hope-- stories that have happy endings, against all odds. But then you know what that does to my heart, right? It makes me think that all stories-- not just the ones in books-- will end happily. And that simply isn't true. And I think that sets us up for a lot more disappointment in life-- to eventually have to come to terms with the fact that not all of our stories will end happily.

So that's some of my internal struggle with 'my book.' Is it okay to want to write something that will probably not end with a happily-ever-after? Will it be too depressing to write it? I'm not talking about contriving some plot of extraordinary sadness and extenuating circumstances-- I'm just talking about people living real life, with all of the real-ness and tragedy that real life often entails. Will people judge me for lacking faith and hope if I'm honest enough to say that I just don't think that every story is meant to end happily?

I don't know. So I haven't started writing yet. But I think I'm going to.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

super deep, important, and related thoughts

1. I don't understand the people who flood your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram feed with self-portraits. There are a few folks in particular that I'm FB (not real-life) friends with that apparently spend HOURS A DAY taking pictures of themselves...and they're not even doing anything fun/special/picture-worthy!! I just don't understand! And they're not changing their profile pic-- just...sharing yet another face-shot...for reasons unknown. Anyway. This sorta astonishes me. I just don't get it. I would totally block these people, but sometimes they also post political rants that really annoy me, so I would hate to miss out on that, too...

2. My new roomie Cat is my TV soulmate. Seriously. We're a match made in heaven. Recent shows we flip the flip out over together: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Dance Moms, previews for Breaking Amish and Revolution, college football, most things on TLC, E, and Bravo. Shows we do not agree on: Abby & Brittany (I'm intrigued, she's totally freaked out), bird documentaries (I'll let you guess where I fall on that one).

3. I'm totally tempted to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Actually, I've been totally tempted for like...the past 3 years. But not tempted enough to actually do it. Here's the thing. I am drawn by the camaraderie, the "we're all doing this hard thing together!", the push, the challenge, the eventual bragging rights of "I did NaNoWriMo!"...but as always, I'm totally clueless as to what to write about. There are no stories in my head, waiting to be told. No characters dying to get out. I read all of the time. Seriously. I've probably read 30 or 40 books in the last month and a half. I want to write. I just. Don't. Know. What. About. So that's why I'm starting my NaNoWriMo brainstorming now (instead of around October 28, which is when I normally start thinking about it, and quickly realize I started thinking too late). What do you think I should write a novel about? Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before?

4. It's been almost six weeks since surgery, and I am happy to report I'm feeling pretty fantastic. I hope it lasts. But here's the thing that sucks: remember how I hurt my foot/ankle back in June? Yeah. Well guess what. THAT thing still hurts the crap out of me every day. UGHHHHHH. I never went to the doctor about it because a) I thought it would get better on its own, b) I didn't feel like dealing with another panel of doctors regarding something that has nothing to do with baby-making, c) I didn't feel like paying doctors for anything unrelated to baby-making, d) I figured that at the VERY LEAST, it would have time to heal while I was on bed-rest for my already-scheduled surgery. Well...turns out, it didn't heal itself, not even with the last month of bedrest/minimal movement. BAH. Now I'm trying to ease myself back into low-impact, doctor-approved-for-my-tummy exercise...and it's my friggin FOOT holding me back. This is extremely irritating to me. So now I'm guessing that I probably need to go get it looked at. Awwwesome.

5. A blog friend introduced me to the wonder that is Suri's Burn Book this week. And I laugh my face off. Every time.

6. I'm closing in on my 500th (published) blog post! Woohoo!! How should I celebrate?

7. Today I wrote a wish-list on a post-it note. Just in case a wealthy benefactor or genie in a bottle dropped by...I'd want to be prepared. Or maybe it could be early Christmas/b-day prep. Or maybe I'm just materialistic. 

The end.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

totally ranunculus

So you know how you have those deep, burning questions about me? Like, Erika, what's your most embarrassing moment? And What book, CD, movie, and TV series would you choose to take on a spaceship with you as your only companions for the rest of your life? Don't even pretend you haven't lost sleep wondering these things.

Well luckily for you, I am answering these questions and more over on my friend Colleen's blog, The Ranunculus Adventures, today. So get excited and head on over there to read my interview

And don't worry. Unlike my last guest blog, there are no Kleenex required today! Proceed without trepidation!! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

invisible bearsharks and what-not

So have I mentioned that there's a five-year-old living in my house these days? No? Well, perhaps that would help explain my lack of blog-time lately. You probably already know that four-year-olds are my absolute favorite group of people on earth. Picture a graph depicting a normal-distribution curve (come on- you know you took stats in college, you can do it!). Four-year-olds are right at the peak of that curve. Therefore, you can correctly deduce that three and five year olds are also pretty high on my love-list. So living with a five-year-old is pretty freakin fantastic, if you're me. (Note: on my normal curve graph, there are also peaks at age birth, 1, and 2. I love all babies/kids...until about age 7. Then it plummets. Sorry, 7 year olds. PS I also realize it is not a normal curve anymore. Just deal with it.)

So anyway. Yeah. We have some friends living with us right now, and their daughter Zoe has quickly become one of the highlights of my days. Mainly because she is hilarious, smart, and creative...and because she reminds me of myself at her age. It's like living with a five-year-old, picky-eater version of myself. Very enlightening. And entertaining.

This afternoon, after I had let her download new games to play on my phone, let her walk the dog with me, AND given her the bag of all of my dance shoes and ballet skirts and let her play ballerina, she declared me to be the "most fun friend EVER!!!!!" So basically I'm winning at life.

After dinner, she begged me to play with her in the hammock, an activity I introduced her to last week. Our backyard is actually pretty dangerous, since it is overrun with bears, sharks, snakes, and their most dastardly bastard offspring-- the invisible bearshark. But Zoe felt like it was worth the risk of being eaten by all of those things just to play in the hammock for awhile. Upon hearing that the bears were once again coming to eat her up, she sat straight up, made the meanest, most fear-inducing face you've ever seen, and scared ALL those bearsharks back into the woods when she screamed "Don't MESS with me, I am SCARY!!! I am an EIGHT. YEAR. OLD. BIKER!!!!!!!!!"

Her mom and I died laughing, picturing the wrath of an eight-year-old biker gang. Realizing that maybe she hadn't picked the scariest thing ever, Zoe amended her claim: "ACTUALLY, bearsharks, I am NINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

So between fighting off bearsharks and doing complicated dog-human year math conversions in my head (seriously, this is how these conversations go: "So, how old is Lola in people years?" "Four." "And how old is that in dog years?" "28." "Okay, so...well, if I were a poodle, how old would I be?" ".......umm..." "I mean, if I were 7 in people years, but I was a white poodle, and I walked and barked like this [demonstrates walking and barking] how old would I be in dog years?" "Uhh...about 49?" "OK, but if I was a poodle and I was 38 in dog years, how many people years would that be?"....and so on and so forth), you can see how I barely have time for anything else. And that's pretty fantastic.

PS. Remember the neighbors' roses I was so jealous of? Well, we went on a walk the other night and Zoe had a chance to smell them. She declared them to smell "nasty like garbage," so I guess I'm over my rose jealousy, now.

Friday, September 7, 2012

friday inspiration

I'd like to take this opportunity to come back from the dead (not really, I've just been busy and absent-ish from the blog world this week) to deliver you a little inspiration for your weekend:

If I had a dollar for every time I've had this thought...well, I probably wouldn't still be childless. So there's that.

In happier news, have you looked at the 10 day weather forecast for Athens? (All 10 of my Athens readers are thinking OMG YES!!!!! and the rest of you are like who the heck cares?) Highs in the low 80s and lows in the upper 50s are making me feel HAPPPPPYYYYY...except that at press time, it's still in the 90s and 827% humidity, so that's kind of a downer...but there is hope for the 10-day-future!

Weekend plans include Mexican food (hahaha...let's be DAILY plans include Mexican food), going on walks (to enjoy the weather, of course), and...uh, maybe painting my nails? Ambitious, I know. It's just how I roll. Oh, and I might go ALL out and get some fall-themed beverage...I'm thinking maybe this:

 Or this:

 Or maybe both. Because I'm crazy like that.

So that's all I've got for ya today. But raise your glass of fall-themed-beverage-of-choice for a toast before you go: Here's to a weekend that doesn't have ANY MOMENTS that lead to you thinking this-


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

most amazing thing ever (cross stitch ed.)

OK-- so sorry if I throw around phrases like "most amazing thing ever" a bit too much, but SERIOUSLY. This is the most amazing thing. Ever.

I am so, so, so thankful for my fellow fertility-challenged blog-friends on like...a daily (if not hourly) basis. The support, the commiserating, the's unbeatable. 

And also-- the humor.

A little while ago my friend Jennie sent me a picture via email. Jennie and I go to the same RE practice, although we see different doctors. Still, our experiences with the practice have a lot in common, and we regularly commiserate and compare notes. But today's email was definitely the first post-appointment-update-letter I've received from her that immediately had me in tears. Of laughter. Seriously.

Apparently while waiting in the exam room (the doctors don't share exam rooms, so unfortunately, I'll never get to see this for myself), she had some time to admire the wall art. And admiration quickly led to closer investigation, which led to (I'm guessing) hilarious laughter and picture-taking. And she shared the picture with me, and I'm sharing with you (with Jennie's permission). So without further adieu, may I present to you: The Best Wall Art A Reproductive Endocrinologist Could Ever Hope For.

Lest you be distracted by the kind sentiment in the center of the art, let me redirect your attention to the smaller words printed in the border. To quote Jennie, "It's like someone just randomly picked a lot of reproductive words and stitched them in there!  I found it really funny.  Only someone with reproductive issues would be familiar with a quarter of them."

So to you, my sisters in the trenches...I hope you find your favorite hormone/organ/procedure listed in the border. For those of you lucky enough to not know what any of those words mean...feel free to Google. And for anyone artsy enough to think they might want to make ME a similar cross all means, get started.  

PS. Anyone wanna hazard a guess as to how her doctor GOT this art? Well-meaning aunt? Finally-pregnant patient on bedrest? Awkward med school roommate?

Monday, September 3, 2012

write. draw. repeat.

Howdy yall, and Happy Monday-- we can say "happy" because it's a holiday, which is about the only thing that can make a Monday feel happy. Well, it's a holiday if you're an American. My regrets to my international readers. :) (But please don't ask my what this holiday is about/for, because I seriously have no idea. I should probably look that up rather than admit my own ignorance, but...take me as I am.)

So today I thought I'd share about one of my favorite games-- just in case you find yourself with some free holiday time on your hands, or maybe a large group of friends and family, and you're out of time-passing ideas...well then, I'll give you a new one! This game has been one of my favorites for several years now, and since we played some particularly hilarious rounds on Saturday night...I figured it was about time to share.

We call the game Telephone Pictionary. I have no idea who invented this game (my friends and I have been playing it for years), but I am aware that last year or so someone put out a board game version-- don't know exactly what it's called, but I can assure you it's entirely unnecessary. All this game requires are some scraps of paper, pens, and people. Could it be any easier?

So in case you're not terribly perceptive, I'll go ahead and tell you: Telephone Pictionary is kind of a mash-up of Telephone and Pictionary. I know. Shocker. So here's what you do. And don't worry, after I explain, I'm going to show you one of our finished games from Saturday. And it's really funny. And then you'll want to go play. So hang with me for a sec.

You should have probably at least 5 people to make it fun enough to play. There's really no limit, but I'd say if you had more than about 9 people, it would make the game way too long...but whatever. Just get yourself some people, and get ready for fun. Now- however many people you have, you'll need that many pieces of paper per person. So if you have 7 people playing, you'll need 49 pieces of paper. The paper can be small-- post-it note size is fine; we usually grab old printer paper from the recycling bin and cut it into fourths. No need to be fancy. Give each person a stack of papers-- as in my earlier example, if 7 people are playing, each person should have a stack of 7 papers. Am I a math genius or WHAT? And each person will need a pen. And now you are done prepping. Well, after you get your people to sit in a circle-ish shape. Oh, and people might need a book or something to press down on for writing.

To start, each person is going to write something down on their top piece of paper. What do they write down? you might ask. I will tell you: write whatever you want. A phrase. A song title. The name of a city. A sentence you just thought of. A statement about your favorite celebrity. Whatever. Just write it down.

Done? Everyone done? Great.

Now you're all going to pass your stacks to the left. Or the right-- doesn't really matter, just pick a direction and go with it. Everyone pass the whole stack. So now the person to your left is looking at the words you just wrote. After they think for a minute, they're going to move that piece of paper to the back of the stack and now they have a blank paper that they will DRAW YOUR WORDS on. Not write. Draw. Like Pictionary! So whatever you wrote-- they will have to translate that into art. If you wrote something easy like "dog"...well, they'll probably just draw a dog. If you wrote something creative like "When Harry Met Sally" (not that I have EVER found myself in that situation)...they're basically screwed, because they're going to have to figure out how to draw that. So good luck. To both of you-- because you're currently drawing whatever YOUR neighbor wrote, too.

So, done drawing? Great.  Leave your picture on top, and pass to the left again. So now you're looking at a picture. Stare for a minute, decide what it is, and then move the picture to the back of the stack. Write down what you saw. Or what you think you saw. Or what you think your neighbor probably meant.

And then pass. And pass. Every time you alternate drawing and writing. You never look back through the stack of papers-- only at the one on top. No cheating!

And eventually you get your original stack back. Depending on whether you have an odd or even number of people playing, you'll either find a sentence or a picture...and it may or may not have anything to do with what you originally wrote. Like this, from last night:

Simple enough statement, right? But how does that turn into this?

Cute dino, but...what happened to the rest of my statement? For that, my friends, we must see The Progression. Definitely the best part of the game. Sharing time, wherein each person gets to see the entire course of each statement...and point fingers of blame at the parties responsible for the communication breakdown. And laugh. A lot. So let's look at my Progression from the beginning. now we see, right?

The unanimous decision of my group the other night was that this game broke down the minute Matt attempted to draw a mermaid:

Who could blame Matt's dad for seeing that as Casper the Ghost rather than a mermaid? Come on, Mattie...where's the seashell bra? The long, flowy hair? Heck, even a handy line of demarcation to show where the human torso ends and the fin begins?? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MERMAID???

But then the rest of the pictures/words more or less followed a pattern. So sometimes that's how the game goes. Sometimes there are train wrecks at basically every juncture. Sometimes it's easy. You just never know!! But no matter what happens, it's a super fun game. Plus, then you can spend the next few days mocking a 29 year old man about his (lack of) mermaid-drawing skillz. And watch him get mad and challenge everyone in sight to a mermaid-drawing competition. Not that that has ever happened. I'm just saying it could.

So there you have it: Telephone Pictionary. Now you can go enjoy the rest of your holiday. And practice drawing mermaids.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

about last night

Lest you start believing I'm actually super cool and spend my Friday nights doing mature adult things, let me set you straight about last night:
 You see, Matt's sister Amy (above) is visiting from Vermont this weekend. So we thought we needed to do something really wild and crazy...ya know, show her a good time and all (like she didn't live in Athens the first 23 years of her life or so).
 So obviously, we decided to travel back in time and hit up the local SKATING RINK for the night! Sorry for the blurry pictures-- WE WERE ROLLING.
 And it would have been completely wrong to leave out Mollyanne, my fellow lover of skating. So she came, too.
 ...which is how the four of us cool cats (along with Matt's parents!!) ended up spending the evening (okay, barely an hour) at the skating rink in the midst of Teen Night. And it was awesome. And terrifying (all those young buckaroos whizzing around, showing off, weaving through us old folks). And surprisingly exhausting. But a lot of fun.

We were the oldest people (except for one creepy dad) by over a decade, but whatev!! We still made it! I was actually pretty surprised by the number of cool teenagers there. Apparently the skating rink is still what's up. Which is good. Better than video games or killing people or whatever else it is teenagers do these days.

In conclusion, my Friday night was awesome.

The rest of the weekend promises to be pretty awesome as well. Like I said, Amy is here with my beloved nephew Timmy!!

 And since he is apparently anti taking pictures with me, I had very limited shots to choose from. So I picked one where he looks cute and I am blurry, because you have plenty of chances to see non-blurry pictures of me. But look how cute my nephew is!! So I plan on stealing all of his giggles and hugs this weekend.

Also, it is FOOTBALL TIME!!! Wooooooo!!!!
 GO DAWGS!!! is a three-day weekend!! So what's not to love?

Closing and unrelated thought: So about that Odd Life of Timothy Green movie... how insanely dangerous would it be for me to see that? I have it on good authority that I will be doing the Ugly Cry within the first five minutes of the movie, and it basically won't stop until like...hours after the credits roll...and yet somehow I will feel inspired? I just don't know how I feel about that. But supposedly the movie does a fantastic and accurate portrayal of the emotions the infertile couple deal with as they deal with the fact that they will never be able to have children, and handles the whole topic really I'd kind of like to see/support that...but then, yeah, the constant tears...don't I already spend enough of my time crying? So I'm a bit torn.