Thursday, November 29, 2012

the original fangirl

I know I've mentioned it a few times before, but let me just share this one more time:

I am SO EXCITED about the new Les Mis movie!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm also a little sad. Because loving Les Mis has always been my thing. And I'm finding myself stuck in that pissy hipster frame of mind where I want everyone to know that I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED LES MIS, EVEN BEFORE IT WAS COOL (ie: before it gets nominated for a million Oscars, which it apparently will be) and now that the general public is also going to be Les's like...a little bit of a bummer. I mean, it's good...because it's only the greatest story/musical ever, and good things deserve to be known about. But it's sad because...I don't know, it just is.

So for the record, I want you all to know that I loved it first. Maybe not first-first...because I'm guessing the novel had reached "classics" status about a hundred years before I read it. And because someone recognized the musical-potential and wrote a freaking amazing musical when I was a mere toddler. But from the time I've been old enough to know and understand greatness-- I've loved it most.

I don't even remember when or where I first heard the musical, but by early high school, I was completely obsessed. I spent all of my free time at home locked in my room, performing along with the soundtrack at the top of my lungs. Yes I was super cool and popular, why do you ask? In tenth grade, I tackled the novel. It took FOREVER, because you basically had to learn French in order to make it through. And Google Translate didn't exist. I know, I was a martyr for Les Mis. But anyway, I did it. Read the whole thing. And then started back at the beginning again because it is that good. I spent most of my free time (when I wasn't reading or singing) dreaming about and begging my parents to take me to NYC so that I could see it on Broadway and/or get "discovered" and become Fantine. Of course.

I never got to see it in New York, and now that it's not playing anymore, I have basically no reason to ever go to NYC. Haters.

BUT in 2003, the off-Broadway touring production DID come through Georgia, so my Dad happily escorted me to my first-and-only live theater performance of Les Mis. So glad I got this amaaaazing picture for posterity!

Try not to be jealous of my sweet choker and googly eyes. It's tough being a girl in love.

In other great acts of fan-dom, I got the giant playbill poster (ya know, the 3 feet by 4 feet version of the thing I'm holding above) that adorned the walls of my room/dorm/house for a good many years. If you knew me back when AOL Instant Messenger was the coolest thing ever, you'd know that my screen name was LesMis01...and actually, to this day, pretty much all of my online usernames are still LesMis01 (ya know, to pay bills online, etc.). 

And so now you know that when the new and sure-to-be-amazing (unlike all the previous versions of the movie...shudder) movie hits theaters in a mere 26 days, and I'm there screaming and singing and sobbing in the front (okay, maybe not FRONT...solid middle's more my style) row that I love it the most. However much you are loving the story and the songs and the costumes...I have loved them longer. And that translates to more. And I don't know why I feel so incredibly possessive and competitive about this-- it's actually a little creepy-- but I just feel like I'm losing a little bit of my corner on the market once this thing goes mainstream. Tons of people feel this way when that little garage or coffeeshop band they've been following for a decade suddenly gets "discovered" and goes mainstream. This is just the less-cool drama club version of that feeling. You can respect that, right? Right.

Well. So between this and yesterday's tale about my less-than-pleasant-smelling-feet...I think I've firmly established myself as the least cool blogger on the entire Internet. Truly a noteworthy accomplishment. At any rate...back to my awesome Life Plans for the evening. AKA paying bills and catching up on DVRd episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (lovin' Yolanda this season...anyone else?). Peace!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

so...this happened.

This afternoon at school, I was sitting on the floor next to the Smartboard with a small group of kids. My legs were sticking out semi-straight in front of me, towards the kids, who were facing the Smartboard. Stick with me here, I'm painting a picture. Details matter. 

As I'm busy imparting loads of wisdom and helping the kids take turns completing a task on the Smartboard, one of my students, D, suddenly wrinkles her nose as a horrified look crosses her face.

"Someone smells like FISH!!!"

I glance over at her and give her the "what are you talking about, you crazy kid?" face as I continue teaching. The other kids were completely focused on doing backflips across the rug whatever I was teaching and didn't seem to hear her, so I just let the moment pass. A minute later, she says it again.

"But someone smells like FISH!!!", with her cute little nose all wrinkled.

And that's when I glance down and notice that my feet, with their knockoff Toms halfway falling off, are situated approximately 18 inches from D's face. Now sure, I'm wearing my shoes sock-less...and now that you mention it, they're a little sweaty in there, too,

As I'm pondering this situation, sweet L walks away from the Smartboard and back to her spot, passing between D and I on her way.

"L SMELLS LIKE FISH!!!" D proclaims.

I jerk my legs up under me, sitting on my feet. L takes her seat, looking confused. I tell D that it isn't kind to say that people smell like fish, and that L doesn't smell like fish anyway. D apologizes.

A minute later, as I'm still sitting with my feet safely tucked under my booty, D takes another sniff of the air.

"Nobody smells like fish anymore," declares D. "Now it just smells regular." was your day?

PS. Just bought my winning lottery tickets. You better believe that when I get my $550 million, tops on my list will be new Toms. The kind that don't smell like sea life.

Monday, November 26, 2012

control freak

We got our Christmas tree yesterday-- yaaay! 

Here's what I discovered about myself as a result of yesterday's Operation: Get Tree and Decorate the House: I am a control freak. Maybe about everything. Definitely about Christmas decorating.

 My apologies to the innocent bystanders who fell victim to my controlling ways: Husband. Housemates. Innocent Five-Year-Old Who Just Really Wanted to Help.

Apparently Matt's figured this out over the past few years. He's even developed coping strategies! His technique for dealing with me? Lay low; do what you're asked; take no initiative. Apparently I don't respond well to other people's initiatives. 

Maybe because they're doing it wrong?

Even though this is totally blurry, I like how the lights look. Ha.
And then I complain because my arms hurt from doing ALL the lights and beads by myself. But then if someone tries to help, I snatch it back away because...yup, they're not quite doing it exactly right... 

But the great thing is, even though I'm evidently a huge witchy jerkface about the whole thing, my darling husband hasn't quit on me yet. He stuck by my side, bringing chairs to and from the dining room at least 80 times, fetching various tools from the garage, and telling me "yep, it looks great!" every time I needed reassurance that things were looking okay. And acquiescing when I asked him to take a picture of me decorating. Which upon later inspection, I realized looks like a very lonely picture-- me decorating a tree by myself. But at least it's accurate, right? Ha. And I wasn't lonely-- there were lots of people near me. Singing along to the Christmas music. Happily sharing Christmas memories.

Just not interfering with the actual decorating. I'm not much good at sharing that.

And it makes me a little sad!!-- this lack of ability to share the Christmas decorating. Because I have great visions of the whole family-- you know, me, Matt, the millions of kids-- decorating together...putting ornaments on the tree, tchotchkes on the mantel as we sip hot chocolate and listen to Mariah Carey's Christmas album...but then I start feeling panicky as I picture all the ornaments unevenly dispersed on the tree; the beads or tinsel not draping just-so; my grandmother's nativity set being dropped; my hand-crafted ornaments breaking. And I realize I'll probably be the jerk mom who decorates the house while the kids are at school. Or makes the kids sit on the couch and TOUCH NOTHING!!! while she does all the work in front of them.


Anyway. Just goes to show you're never too old for some new self-realization, right? Maybe next year I'll work on loosening up a bit. 


And maybe someday soon I'll take pictures of the finished tree and rest of the decorations! I'm just feeling too lazy right now. There are a lot of similarities to last year's decor, but I changed a few things up here and there. Ya know. Gotta keep things fresh, right?

Anyways. Anyone else a control-freak decorator? Is this something I should try to work on, or is it just a personality quirk I (and everyone else) should just embrace? Help a sister out...

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I can't believe my week of vacation is almost over. Can I just tell you how much it sucks that I've been sick for the whole thing? SO DUMB! Today I finally sucked it up and went to the doctor...where I proceeded to wait for TWO HOURS (aka the entire first half of the Georgia game) before getting called back. Ugh. Oh well. At any rate, I now have antibiotics and cough medicine with codeine, so hopefully I will stop hacking/start breathing/sleep sometime in the near future.

I've still been having a great holiday week though. Lots of lazy time with family, and a valiant Black Friday effort with the women-folk. We decided to go out at midnight, thinking it would be easier to just stay up late and head out than to go to bed and wake up at 3 or 4am. None of us really had anything we were dying to get...we just enjoy the tradition and the fun of it all. I ended up shopping til about 3:30 and got a new pair of (SUPER CUTE!! NEON!! FUN-TASTIC!!!) running shoes and some sweet shades. And absolutely zero "holiday shopping" was done. Ha. I don't have any idea what I'm getting people this year. But I'm great at buying things (or letting my MIL buy, as the case may be) for myself!

So anytime I'm with my sis-in-law Amy, you know some crafting is gonna be happening. On Wednesday, Amy bought a woodburner thingy at Michael's. And now I am a woodburning fiend! Have you ever looked at personalized woodburned ornaments on Etsy? RIDICULOUSLY expensive (in general. Now some of them have legitimate art burned on. I get that that takes talent and time. But the ones that are just words? Trust me, they're overpriced). Check out some of my amazing finished products: of those is a gift. Person with "E" initial who will receive this, if you see this first-- surprise!! Haha.

The monogram one was my first try. You know me-- go big or go home! Anyway. Now I think I want to get my own woodburning set. And maybe do a personalized ornament GIVEAWAY! What do you think about that?? (PS. This is the kind of crafting that the husbands can really get behind, because it means they get to cut down trees and make wood circles using big manly miter saws. Just a side note. But it's nice to find crafts that boys can be involved in, right?)

OK so I'm thinking about investing in a "real" custom blog design. Anyone have any recommendations for designers you've worked with or know? 

Well, I think I've rambled on pointlessly for long enough. Back to my slothing! And woodburning. Except I've totally run out of ideas of things to burn. Ha.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

new 'do

Don't worry, friends. I did not let hell or high water (or a cold, as the case may be) keep me from getting my hair cut yesterday. After all, "get a haircut" is on the 30 Days Before 30 list. So obviously I had to do it.

I went to a new (to me) salon and stylist, Brian. Early on in the appointment he asked (in a kind and not horrified, as would have been appropriate, tone of voice) "so how long has it been since you got your hair cut?" and I responded with a quick "I don't want to talk about it" and he laughed and steered the conversation to safe territory: our pets. That's when I knew we could have the kind of stylist-customer relationship I was looking for.

Here's the not-exactly-fair before and after shots:

 Obviously my hair is curled in the "after" pic, so it's not really a fair comparison, but...there ya go. I'll fight for equality in a lot of arenas, and my own personal hair before-and-afters isn't one of them. Anyway. He had to take a few inches off the bottom, because it was scary at the bottom. I'm serious. Nightmare-worthy. 

I believe when Brian flipped me around to see the "new me," my first words were: Sweet. I don't look like I'm joining the Duggars anymore! So now you know how bad things were. (Note: Nothing against the Duggars. They seem like really cool people. Just not my personal style-idols.)

Anyways. In my post-haircut life (24 hours now, yall!) I've already curled it twice, which is approximately how many times I curled it in the preceding 12 months, for comparison's sake. In my other time, I've been busy popping Mucinex and making sure my nephew Timmy remains entertained and well-educated.

Like my new rust-colored cords? I found them yesterday at a consignment store! So exciting.

Happy pre-Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

it's not exactly a manic monday

This was not supposed to be how my glorious First (Week) Day of Thanksgiving Break was supposed to go. Let me tell you how it was supposed to go:

Sleep in til 10 or so. Spend an hour or so lounging, drinking coffee, etc. Get dressed in a cute and leisurely fashion. Go to Athens and enjoy Thanksgiving potluck at Matt's work for lunch. Walk across downtown and get a long-overdue haircut. Go to the gym. Make dinner. Depart for Atlanta (~9pm) to pick up sis- and bro-in-law from airport.

Here's how it's actually going:

Wake up at 6am unable to breathe. Discover your annoying cough from last night is now of the terrible, deep, chest-y variety. Discover you've lost your voice. And your throat hurts. Get up, take cough medicine, allergy medicine, asthma medicine, and blow nose 200 times. Curse yourself for not remembering to buy cough drops at the store yesterday. Find yourself unable to go back to sleep, so get up again and make coffee for yourself and husband and crash on the couch with the laptop. Tell husband you probably won't make it to lunch. Get mad because the haircut that was easily procrastinated a whole year now feels extremely urgent, but probably won't happen today. Write a whiney blog, inexplicably using the third person for an entire paragraph. Blame it on the aforementioned medications.

Whew. Well now that I've got THAT out of my system, let's move on to more interesting other matters.

1. Colleen posted a blog today about "Keeping the Holiday Bitter at Bay" and it really resonated with me. This is my fourth holiday season in the infertility club-- my senior year, if you will. (Only time will tell if I go on to graduate this year, or start straight in on Infertility Grad School. I wonder how long it takes to get a PhD in this crap?) I'm a seasoned pro, right? Unfortunately, that probably won't make it any easier. What does make it easier is the amount of fellow fertility-challenged friends' phone numbers I've collected over the years. I've sent many a panicked text in the midst of holiday (who am I kidding...ANY day) emotional meltdowns to other ladies who know exactly what I'm feeling...and it makes me feel SO much better and less alone. Anyway. That's my tip for today: when bitterness starts taking over, text someone who can be bitter with you!

2. I was going to get my hair cut today and it was going to look awesome. So right now, imagine that this is me showing you a picture of my new 'do. It is perfection. And then you tell me I look just like Zooey Deschanel except way cuter!! And I humbly thank you for your kind words.

3. In a complete contrast to what #1 would have you believe, last night I had an absolutely amazing time at my church's annual Thanksgiving dinner/party. In addition to lots o' food, I took my Big Girl Camera with me last night, thinking I could spend time taking (ok- attempting to take) beautiful food pictures, candid pictures of people having fun, etc. As it turned out, though, I actually took exactly ZERO pictures and never even took my phone out of my purse because I was actually-- wait for it-- having so much fun just BEING there and chatting with people, I never wanted to stop to do something else. I know I probably sound like a jerk that this even surprises me, but it is what it is. Big social gatherings like this can often be really lonely situations when everyone is focused on kids and plans and other things that just generally serve to remind me of what I don't have. So over the years I've developed various coping mechanisms, like being that girl texting in the corner (see #1!), or wandering around taking pictures. Or being stuck like glue to Matt. And last night I did NONE of those things! I was so thankful for good conversation with lots of different folks, and honestly not hardly a minute of my usual angstiness. Thank You God for that-- I really needed a wonderful night of enjoying the people I love. And I got it. Hallelujah. :)

4. I've tried TWO Pinterest tips lately that have been majorly successful-- and FREE! I'd be remiss not to share:

So this "miracle tub cleaner" made by mixing equal parts dish soap and vinegar? TOTALLY WORKS. And even though every single tutorial swears you must use the BLUE DAWN dish soap...well, I decided to give it a whirl with what I had on hand, which happened to be purple Palmolive. And it still worked like a boss. And trust me, I had high expectations because I HATE cleaning tubs and I LOVE buying cleaning products (don't judge me). And it blew me away that this worked better than any product I've ever bought (and I've bought them all) and required absolutely none of my brute strength. I'm a fan for life.

Secondly, I was sucked in by the amazing testimonials of people swearing by the Oil Cleansing method for skincare. I have horrible, awful skin. For a few years it was slightly better (although never good), but for the last six months or so it has become really bad again. I've tried as many different products as I've been able to afford. Nothing's helped. This method is cheap-to-free and sorta made sense the way it was described, so I decided to try. I haven't been able to locate any cold-pressed castor oil, so I've been using a mixture of jojoba oil I had on hand and EVOO. I've been doing it for 4 nights, and so far I must say-- I'm impressed. I'll give it another week or so and if I keep being impressed, maybe I'll show you some before-and-afters. Maybe. Except I forgot to take before pictures. But I took some a few months ago before starting a different (VERY EXPENSIVE AND OVERHYPED) product, which didn't do anything at all for me, so I figure that those "befores" look pretty much exactly like I did on Thursday since nothing's really changed in the months since I took them.

5. I have three unwatched episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on the DVR and you better believe I'll be making good use of this sick day and spending some quality time with my favorite rich girls. 

6. My Canadian blogger pal Natasha sent me a big ol' box of Canadian junk food that I received on Friday. This was amazing because a) I freakin' got a big ol' box of junk food, and b) it's Canadian junk food, which is most definitely healthier than American junk food. So far I have basically devoured two coffee/chocolate candy bars and a bag of dill pickle-flavored chips. And I've marveled at how things are written in English and French on all of the packaging. FRENCH! I didn't even know anyone KNEW that language anymore, much less labeled packages with it (except for maybe in France, of course). My whole world revolves around English and Spanish, so I just assumed everyone else's did, too. Oh you funny neighbors to the north with your funny choices in second languages.

That's all I've got. Off to watch some Really Important TV, scrutinize my skin in the mirror, and think about how awesome my hair will look when I get it cut. Busy day!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Oh man, yall. I've been getting super needy this week. Not like actually needy-- like, needing food or shelter or anti-malarial drugs or something. Not like emotionally needy...which I am plenty often, but not this week in particular.

Like the worst kind of needy. The American-Entering-The-Holiday-Season kind of needy. Ya know...suddenly "needing" lots of things I actually do not need at all.


At any rate, I'm really staying on top of things this year by employing all forms of technology to help keep people (ya know...people. All those hordes of people clamoring to buy me birthday and Christmas presents. Surely they're out there somewhere...) informed. For starters, I have an Amazon wish list. To me, that seems like the bare minimum that present-wanting-people should do these days. So if you don't have one and you want/need need to get on board. It will take you back to your glory days (if you had them) of registering for wedding/baby presents. Minus the cool gun thing. And the high-pressure salespeople stalking you around the store. But bonus points go to doing it in your Snuggie (or other comfortable outfit of your choosing).

Secondly, I have a Wish List board on Pinterest. This helps keep up with the non-Amazon items I am lusting after. Useful for friends, sisters, sister-in-laws, and random internet strangers. Probably not helpful for most of our parents, boys, or people convinced that Pinterest is completely confusing and/or overwhelming. But then again-- the point of Pinterest is not to be practical. The point is to dream and enjoy. So a Wish List board is just another convenient place to collect things I'll never get/do. :)

But tonight I kicked things up another notch when I discovered May Books. You see, I am very particular when it comes to my planners. I don't do digital-- sorry, you can keep your Google calendar (which I DO use by force at work, but not on my own time) and organizer apps on the phone. My plans MUST be written on paper or they don't count. And I have very stringent requirements about how my planners must look-- have to have both month-at-a-glance AND weekly/daily spaces; no spiral; no "blank" calendar pages...and about 100 more rules. To be honest, it takes me an average of about 5 shopping trips (to Office Max, Office Depot, Target, and Staples...and then back through each spot for a double check) each year to find the right planner for the next year. And sometimes I still end up with the "wrong" one and have to re-do all my work later in January when it is determined I cannot live with imperfection in my planner. 

Yes it is exhausting being me, why do you ask?

The planner I have right now is perfection. So naturally back in August (while I was on bedrest) I started searching online for it so that I could order a new one for 2013. And they apparently do not exist anymore. This happens to me almost every year. I don't know why planner-makers feel the need to reinvent the wheel every year. Just keep making the ones I like so that I can focus my energy on something that actually matters. But no.

ANYWAYS. Long story. Sorry 'bout that. So of course I've lusted after Erin Condren planners for the past year, but I really cannot justify spending $50+ on a planner. Champagne taste and beer budget, ya know what I mean? But today Kelly mentioned May Books, so I went to check them out.


And it's not just the adorable fabrics and personalization options-- because those are awesome, but not a necessity for me. My planner now is solid tan. Plain as it gets. But it's not the outside that really matters to me. With the May Books, I can pick the INSIDE options that I want. And they have what I need. And they cost only a tiny bit more than what I normally pay (and then you can add in or subtract or whatever the gas savings of me not driving across town between stores all December long...). And they are SO FUN TO DESIGN!! So obviously these just vaulted to the very top of my OMG I NEED THIS list.

So I did what any girl would do.

I designed and designed to my heart's content, filling my "basket" with planners that Exactly Meet My Specifications. And then I told Matt to pick one and order it and throw it in a giftbag and call it Christmas (or birthday, his choice). Aren't I smart? I can't leave to chance that he'll pick the proper design/monogram/calendar options. So I fill the cart with equally perfect options, while still leaving an element of choice for him and surprise for me.

Genius, I tell you. GENIUS.

So that basically just made my Friday night. And now I don't have to waste energy thinking about planner-shopping for the rest of the year. Win-win. Any other amazing wish-list-organizing tools I don't know about yet?

Happy Weekend! I'm actually working for 8 hours tomorrow. Terrible, I know. The store I used to run needed some extra help, and I can use extra money (haha, duh, can you tell?), so...there I'll go. But it'll be fun. And then I still have lots of days off to look forward to!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

awesome WHAT potential?!

A few minutes ago I found myself distracted from my book (currently reading: Perks of Being a Wallflower) by Matt loudly laughing at the computer.

"What's so funny?" I innocently inquired.

He had been browsing the MLS on a local real estate page-- a normal and regular pastime for him. We're not planning to move...he just likes seeing what's out there. 

Well, here's what's out there today. Don'tcha wanna move to Athens? Orange underlining is my contribution, of course.

I mean, how many realtors brag about the incest (ment) potential of their properties? Not many, I'd have to say. Bold move, Mr. Realtor. Way to think outside the box. 

Or maybe you should-- I dunno-- think about PROOFREADING something before you post it on the internet for all the world to see? Heck, forget proofreading. Probably a simple RE-read would have served you well, Agen. Is that your name? Agen? Or did you actually just mean "agent" but...oops?

Right, so. 

I'm going to get back to my book. And mourn the fact that my own house has no such awesome potential. Or not.

And I'm going to re-read this post 40 times before I post it, lest I commit any of the same errors I'm busy snarking on right now. HA.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

it seriously needs to be weekend.

Although I understand conceptually that every day (and therefore week, weekend, month, etc.) is exactly the same length...daggum if it just doesn't feel that way sometimes. The good times seem to fly by (see: week at a resort). The mundane/boring times...juuuust....keeeeeep...draggggggging...byyyyyy (see: this week). I'm sure it has everything to do with the nine glorious days of freedom coming up. And having a stupid cold or whatever this is doesn't help matters. But for real. Holy crap this week needs to be done with.

So I never updated about the bachelorette party I was getting glammed up for last weekend! Although if you're friends with me on Facebook or Instagram, you might actually feel like you were there with me, so frequent and obnoxious were my updates. Oops. Sorry bout that. It's just that I so rarely engage in anything nearly this fun and photoworthy...I felt the need to thoroughly document it when I could!

My friend Elizabeth is the beautiful bride-to-be and her sister Sarah was the planner extraordinaire for the party. I've known Elizabeth and Sarah since I was in high school, although back then Sarah was one of the "little girls," as my friends and I referred to our group of five-years-younger-than-us sisters that were also all friends. Sarah was best friends with my little sister Sarah (that's not confusing is it- we just call them "the Sarahs" and are done with it), but now that we're all grown up and five years isn't such a big difference after all, I'm happy to call Sarah my friend as well. Sarah did a fantastic job planning a fun night for us all, especially considering that "us all" consisted 95% of ladies in their laaaaate 20s or early 30s. As the night progressed, we found great joy in pointing out the differences between the stereotypical bachelorette parties of 22-year-old babies recent college grads and the more seasoned 30-year-old professionals. 

We met up at Sarah's (SUPER CUTE!!!!) house first for some snacks and presents. 

22-year-old lingerie party: Model all of the new lacy, stringy gifts for your guests (on top of your regular clothes- optional).

30-year-old lingerie party: Model your fluffy new monogrammed bathrobe on top of your clothes while guests jealously comment on how comfortable and warm you look.

Then our ride showed up. Sarah got us a limo, which is seriously the most bachelorette-y thing ever. And also super fun. And also I would like to take a limo everywhere now, thanks. So our limo driver's name was Scotty, and Scotty was a realllllly special guy. The kind of guy that wears his handgun in plain sight, strapped across his chest, and constantly talks about protecting us and shooting people. And goes a little overboard with the body contact when helping the ladies in and out of the limo. Oh, were something else.

Anyway, as soon as he showed up, Scotty excitedly informed us that he picked up a "special movie" for us to watch in the limo. I'll give you three guesses, but I bet you won't need them! It's a fairly recent movie that most likely you or some women you know all got together to go see, giggling ridiculously as you anticipated the amazing dance scenes...right, uh huh. So anyway, that's what was on the 4 or so little TV screens in the limo. Some of the ladies were thrilled. Some of them were horrified. Ha-- with the 30 year old crowd, you just never can tell!
Elizabeth's thoughts about the film.

Unfortunately for Scotty, we mostly ignored the film in favor of the more-excellent 90s radio stations available for us to scream-sing along to. We also had a lot of picture-taking to do. Plus Sarah and I had to constant maintenance-work to do on our seriously bold lipstick.

We ate dinner at Eclipse di Luna, which was a delicious and fun tapas place. 

22-year-old bachelorette party alcohol choices: Jello shots

30-year-old bachelorette party alchohol choices: a couple respectable pitchers of sangria

Upon finishing dinner and finding ourselves with a substantial amount of time on our hands before our next engagement began, we decided to be honest with ourselves and admit that partying all night was not going to be possible without reinforcement. In the form of caffeine. So we told Scotty to locate us a Starbucks and step on it, which he did.

Unfortunately, what he managed to do was locate us the only Starbucks in Atlanta (and probably the world) that closed at 9pm. I mean, are you SERIOUS? I had never even heard of such a thing. But there they were, with lights dimmed and people mopping the floors. However, lucky for us, Scotty doesn't take "closed" for an answer. Not sure what kind of strings he pulled (or guns he flashed), but lo and behold-- the Starbucks employees were willing to unlock the doors and let us come in and purchase their wares!!

Victory is ours!!

We were sure to express our appreciation for their flexibility in the form of tips, don't worry.

30-year-old bachelorette party: Requires coffee.

We then made our way to Dad's Garage for an improv comedy show. I had never been to an improv show before, but now that I have I think I can express my feelings as this: I want to be an improv comedienne. It was so funny and I almost broke a rib with my raucous laughter. AND it was fairly clean, which was greatly appreciated. I definitely foresee myself traveling up there in the future for more shows. LOVED IT.

After that it was well past midnight, which meant that despite our caffeine reinforcement, the 30-year-old partiers were...well, done. Scotty gave us one last ride home, during which we celebrated Veteran's Day by singing the Armed Forces Medley. 

30-year-old bachelorette party: Everyone's sober enough to remember the Armed Forces Medley at 1am.

Elizabeth and I went back to her condo to spend the rest of the night chatting and giggling, which isn't so different than the many nights we spent like that during high school and living together in college. It was a perfect and entertaining night and now I am SUPER excited for her wedding in a few short weeks!

And also, I'm super glad I sat down to blog about this. Because now instead of feeling blah and irritated about this super long and boring week, I feel happy and inspired by reliving the fun of last weekend! So yay for that. 

And now I'm going to go eat brinner-- oh that's right, knocking things off the 30-before-30 list like it's no one's business. Oh yeah! One friend of mine (when I begged for 30/30 suggestions on Facebook) suggested that each of my Facebook friends give me $30 to help me celebrate! Personally, I thought that was the best idea ever, and I'd like to expand that generous offer to my blog audience as well. Feel free to send it via Paypal OR snail mail-- whatever works for you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

30 (days) before 30

I definitely never successfully made one of those ever-popular "30 before 30" bucket lists back when everyone was doing that a few years ago. I started to. I tried. I stressed over it. And I gave up after I could really only come up with one goal I really wanted to accomplish: becoming a mom. So it's a good thing I never actually made the list, or I would have to declare it a 100% failure.

However, it occurred to me today that I now have only 30 days left before I turn 30. Crunch time, yall. Time to wring every last bit of goodness out of my 20s before they're gone. So in true procrastinator's fashion, I'm hammering out a last-minute list of extremely (mostly) un-lofty "goals" for my last 30 days of 29-dom. Feel free to help out/shout encouragement along the way! And don't judge me if some of the "goals" are actually things I've already planned to do or just so happened to already do today. 30 goals is a lot when you're as unambitious as me!

1. Play video poker at the local gas station. [This is all Matt. He is begging me to list this. Evidently he really wants to do this, so that's why he's forcing me to put it on my list. Don't worry, I'll make him fund it!]

2. Eat a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce on it.

3. Cook/bake a new recipe.

4. Obtain clean fan blades in the master bedroom and living room. [Note that I said "obtain." This means I don't necessarily have to be the one doing this dreadful, most terrible chore. I can beg/bribe someone else and it totally counts!]

5. Eat at (from?) a food truck.

6. Shoot Matt's bow and arrow in the backyard.

7. De-lurk myself on at least 3 blogs.

8. Choose and decorate an amazing Christmas tree.

9. Roast marshmallows in the backyard.

10. Not sign this petition, so thoughtfully brought to my attention by one of my most ...umm... special... Facebook "friends." It's going to be really tough, since the thought of Georgia withdrawing from the United States to create its own new government is SUCH AN AWESOME IDEA, but I'm sure I can manage...

11. Brinner.

12. Get a haircut.

13. Take my vitamins every day.

14. Actually take the bag of "give to Goodwill" clothes to Goodwill.

15. Get to 150 followers. Come on, yall...surely 12 of you lurkers can tolerate me enough to jump on board, right? 

16. Finish watching seasons 1 & 2 of Modern Family.

17. Make a vlog. [Suggested by Amanda. Now I will need further suggestions as to what this vlog should be about. Go!]

18. Rate 150 books on Goodreads. [I've currently rated 125.]

19. Take pictures with my mom and dad.

20. Take a ridiculously long bubble bath.

21. Walk on the highest incline on the treadmill at a 3.5 pace for 5 minutes.

22. Memorize Psalm 30:1-5.

23. Make a secret Pinterest board. [I'm totally intrigued by this new capability, although I have no idea what to make a secret board about. Suggestions are welcome! ]

24. Diagram a sentence. [Random, yes. But I feel like it's a lost art. At least it's lost to me. And I'm concerned I've maybe forgotten how. So I should re-learn before I'm too old, right?]

25. Have 9 consecutive no-work days. [Hahaha, thank you Thanksgiving Break!! Done and DONE!]

26. Make a new Christmas craft.

27. Play piano for 30 minutes.

28. Make out with a tall, dark, and handsome bearded man. [My husband-whaaaat??!] [PS. Guess who suggested this one?]

29. Learn a new way to tie a scarf.

30. Beat Matt at a game of Jav. [If I've never described Jav before here, I'll be sure to do so at some point. Possibly.]

Well alrighty then! We have some very ambitious plans for the next 30 days, no? Don't worry, I won't bug you with an update every single time I complete one. Although I don't know how you can sleep at night knowing my fan blades haven't been cleaned...

Happy last 30 days of 29-dom to me!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

paintin' the barn

So in preparation for this evening's bachelorette festivities in Atlanta, I spent the better part of the day getting ready. Ya know, primping. Hair and makeup. Or as June (Honey Boo Boo's mom, duh) puts it-- puttin' a li'l paint on the ol' barn.

Obviously my barn doesn't get painted too often, as evidenced by Zoe's (my five-year-old roommate) reaction to seeing me looking like this. 

"MISS ERIKA!! You look so DIFFERENT! You PRETTY!! Miss Erika, I never SEE you look like this! Look at your face! Miss Erika, where is your ponytail? I didn't know your hair could be curly. Miss Erika you look like a BARBIE! Why do you look like that? Miss Erika, are you going to look like this always now?"

Well, despite her overwhelming enthusiasm for my new look (and for saying my name), I'm afraid I will not be looking like this all the time now. It takes more than 3 minutes to look like this, so obviously I can't make that kind of commitment on a regular basis. But thanks for the voice of support.

She walks by me occasionally with a look of awe on her face. "Miss Erika, do you always have those shoes? Why don't you wear them? Where did you get your necklace? Why did you want to look so pretty?"

Apparently I should paint the barn more often.

Friday, November 9, 2012

blates, parties, and surgery.

Has this week felt weird and long to anyone but me? I think I will blame it on the election. I was so looking forward to it all being OVER...but then, as it turned out, the post-election social commentary was pretty much even worse than the pre-election drama...sheeeesh. That was just some unnecessary emotional trauma that the second half of my week didn't need. Luckily it looks like things are dying down now and we can get back to enjoying what is left of our short time on earth, since apparently the end is very near...or so say half the people in my Facebook newsfeed. 

Anyway. The very bright and silvery lining of my week was my "blate" (blogger date, obvs) with the fabulous Jennie. We met up Thursday evening at Clocked for a few hours of deliciously greasy food and great conversation. 

Although the media and your grandmother might have you believe that meeting people from the internet will inevitably result in becoming another notch on a serial killer's belt, I am proud to say that I have now survived (and even ENJOYED) TWO real-life meetings with blogger friends. And it's pretty fantastic. Matt wanted to know what we talked about. I was like "oh, you know, what people always talk about the first time they meet and hang out: ovulation, politics, medical ethics, sex, religion, Disney World, sperm, faith, dog breeds..." Pretty standard topics, right? Ha. I guess that being blog and novel-length-email friends first helps you skip past all the small talk! At any rate, I had a blast hanging out and am thankful that Jennie lives fairly close by (a mere 15 minutes from the RE practice that we both go to) so that we can be real life besties as well.

And lest you think my socializing is over for the week-- well, you would be wrong. Tomorrow I'm heading back to the ATL to attend the bachelorette festivities for my dear friend Elizabeth! I am super excited, as there is going to be present-opening, beverage-drinking, tapas-eating, comedy-club-attending, sky-high-red-heels-wearing, and slumber-partying involved. I am pretty excited, to say the least.

And finally, some good/bad news. Please picture those drama mask faces that have one happy mask and one sad mask, if you will. Do those things have a name? How would I even Google them to find a picture of them? But I bet you know what I'm referring to.

Anyway. Sidetracked. Ahem.

So we got Matt's surgery scheduled! Yay! (Happy mask) And it's in 2012! Yay! (Happy mask)

We don't yet have word whether insurance will cover it and/or it will cost us a million dollars. If we find out it'll be way too expensive, then I guess we'll just cancel it. But at least we got the spot reserved. (no masks. this is neutral information.)

The surgery is on Friday, December 14. Pre-op is December 12. Also known as 12/12/12. Also known as MY 30th BIRTHDAY. This means that I probably won't get to have my amazing Hunger Games birthday party I've been semi-planning for six months. Because I was either going to have it ON my birthday, or the Saturday following. can do, now. We'll be in Atlanta for pre-op late in the afternoon on the day of my birthday (and with traffic and such...too hard to try to plan something for that evening). And I can't very well schedule a party for the day after Matt's surgery because he'll be...broken. And needing his wifey to take care of him and fetch him things and not running off to throw javelins and shoot bows and arrows and eat 12 kinds of bread representing the 12 districts. :( (Sad mask)

I would try to think of another time to have it, but...have YOU ever tried to schedule a social event in December? It's all but impossible. Not to mention...parties cost money, and so do surgeries. And this'll be our second surgery in five months to fund. Yippppppeeeeee. Ugh. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to me. (Sad mask) (unless, of course, all of these surgeries actually result in a child. Then it will be HAPPY MASK all the way.)

So that's the news. Now I'm off to read and otherwise enjoy a low-key Friday night with Matt, who is currently reading a book entitled "Your Call is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit."  Silly boy. 

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

confessing. again.

It's a dark and chilly Wednesday night...what better way to spend it than with a little unburdening of the soul?

-I'm freezing cold right now (It's 45 degrees outside, which definitely qualifies as "freezing" in Georgia, and 65 in the house) but I am too cheap to turn the heat on yet. As much as I hate being cold...I love saving money and "toughing it out" more. For awhile, anyway. Then I'll give in. I do cheat with a space heater in my bathroom, though. I'm not insane.

-I skipped Zumba tonight. I tried convincing myself (and Matt) it was because my foot is hurting, which is true. But the real reason is that the cute workout outfit I wanted to wear is in the dirty clothes hamper. I gave longer and harder consideration to the idea of pulling it out and wearing it dirty (yeeech!!) than I did to picking something else (clean) to wear.

-I'm slightly overwhelmed, shocked, and 100% disgusted by the reactions of many of my Facebook "friends" to the election. I've never heard so many people pledging to "pray for our President and our country" with such thinly-veiled hate in their tone, implying that what they'd actually like to be doing is spitting in the faces of both the President and everyone who didn't vote exactly like them. It's pretty sickening.

-I'm going on a blog-date (blate?) tomorrow!!! My blog friend/soon-to-be-real-life-friend Jennie is coming to Athens and we're meeting for dinner and hanging out! I am both super excited and a teensy bit nervous that I will be a big huge disappointment in real life. Ha.

-I cried my eyes out during Walking Dead this week. I also concluded that no matter how Mother Earthy you are, an all-natural homebirth (prison-birth?) VBAC is just a terrible choice during a zombie apocalypse. Just FYI. And then I cried some more.

I think that's all, folks. As feels good to get that off my chest. Feel free to jump on the confessional bandwagon!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

extra extra, read all about it...

 Here I am to provide you with a much-needed break in Election 2012 coverage. Your relief is almost palpable, so I will say you're welcome in advance.

And for the record-- hopefully by the time you read this I will have voted. Go Erika, you amazing citizen, you! I'm heading over as soon as I get off work, so...who knew, right? Anyways. Moving on to things that actually matter.

Breaking News Story #1:

On Friday night, I bought lipstick.
...annnnnd for some reason this picture gets all pixelated when I make it bigger, so...sorry 'bout that. So this is possibly the first real lipstick I've ever purchased in my life (other than freebies in the Clinique Bonus packages, or stuff people handed down to me), and I went with bright red because I'm all go big or go home when it comes to these things. But I only spent 99cents (Wet & Wild, baby...haha) because I'm not go-big-or-go-home when it comes to my money. I figure if I actually like the whole idea of lipstick, maybe I'll invest in something a little pricier, but this works just fine for the experimentation phase.

Breaking News Story #2:

We had an appointment yesterday at the IF clinic to go over the results of all the tests/ultrasounds/etc Matt's been having for the last couple months. As you may recall, we've had a male-factor infertility diagnosis for about 3 years via my regular OB and a local urologist. Unfortunately, although he did have quite a few appointments with that urologist a few years ago, they couldn't figure out anything or provide any help other than referring us for IVF/specialty clinic. So anyways, now that we're neck-deep at the RE practice with MY janky insides, we figured we may as well start working on Matt's, too. We're equal opportunity and all that, right?

Luckily yesterday's appointment didn't involve any actual exams/poking and prodding/discomfort, just a review of the results of all that that he's already done. Even still, Matt was not terribly enthused about the whole situation, so I did what I could to cheer him up:

Matt had never heard of a mustache finger before, can you believe that??! He cracked up laughing every time I did this. It was precious. I am the best wife ever, right?

So. Not surprisingly if you've ever met me, I took notes during the appointment. And rather than waste my precious time (hahahahaha) re-typing them up (and since probably .0002% of you will actually care about the details here), I just snapped a picture and you can read my notes in their handwritten glory. Please know that the doctor was talking fast, so that's my excuse for poor handwriting and incomplete thoughts.

For clarification, the numbers in parenthesis after most of the parenthesis indicate what would be normal/what they'd like the percentages to be. So like for the first line: Matt's motility was 11-18% (based on different analyses of different samples). Ideally, motility would be at least 40%.
The part that I found most fascinating was that less than 10% of the sperm could survive uterine conditions (that number should be over 50%). Then, OF THOSE that COULD survive, only 47% were capable of penetrating the egg (should be over 80%). I was totally fascinated by what the doctor was describing he saw during these tests. And NO WONDER we can't friggin get pregnant!! The doctor said that the extremely high mortality rate of Matt's sperm explains why our post-wash counts during our IUI cycles were so bad. The 'violence' of the wash process totally wiped them out. Poor little guys. Anyway, I just thought all that was really interesting.

The bottom line, though, in case you can't decipher my notes, is that a few dilated veins are (through a long, complicated procedure he explained at length that I could definitely not re-explain to you) causing the abnormalities in the sperm. So our options are:

1) IVF. Surprise, surprise-- who saw that one coming??!?! He said our odds of achieving pregnancy via IVF (only taking into account Matt's sperm issues-- NOT INCLUDING my endometriosis/janky tube/etc) would be around 50% over a 6 month period-- because of the abnormalities INSIDE the sperm, however, even if they were able to successfully fertilize eggs/implant embryos, there would be an increased risk of miscarriage for me because the sperm really may not be very viable to do things right. (Sorry for all those technical terms. Ha.)

2) Correct those veins surgically, which would allow for the future production of normal sperm. Odds of achieving pregnancy after this surgery (again, not taking ME into account) would be about 60% over a 1 year period. 

Obviously, he recommended IVF if we were anxious to have children as soon as possible. However, he pointed out that without correcting the problem (and it's degenerative-- the sperm will continue to get worse and worse as a result of increased swelling and temperature in the sperm-making-factory), we will continue to have issues for any subsequent children, requiring future IVFs or whatever. He recommended surgery if we had time, and also because it'd be a one-and-done deal, meaning that the sperm issues should be fixed permanently in case we want more than one kid. Additionally, the surgery should be covered by insurance, whereas (duh) IVF is not.

SO. While we obviously are anxious to have children as soon as possible...clearly, since it's already been 4 years and we're not 30 (quite) yet, we have time, too. One more year (with much better odds) doesn't seem like that much. Of course the biggest element is MONEY, as in, we have little/none...SO a mostly-covered surgery that will give us long-term results is a LOT more attractive than an extremely pricey one-time-chance.

So looks like we're signing up for another surgery! Woohoo! We're trying to get it in before 2012 ends, since we've already paid Matt's deductible. 

Breaking News Story #3:

To celebrate our successful appointment yesterday, Matt suggested we stop by the Mall of Georgia on our way home and see if we could find anything at Forever 21 and H&M. This is him playing best husband to me playing best wife earlier (mustache finger, remember?). Not shockingly, I found a number of outfits and earrings that I absolutely needed. And Best Husband strongly suggested I purchase them. So I did.

In summary, I have red lipstick, a fantastic new sweater dress, and a hottie-and-generous husband who is happily and enthusiastically submitting to man surgery in our pursuit of kids. I win.

Friday, November 2, 2012

for the love of excel

Last night, while chatting with some friends, I discovered that there are two kinds of people in the world.

Actually, scratch that. Any time you make some blanket “two kinds of people” statement, what you’re really meaning is that there are three kinds of people. People A and People B (your original “two kinds”)…and then the People who couldn’t care less about A, B, or anything having to do with A or B. People who are completely apathetic about A and B, and actually, as soon as anyone starts talking about A and B, these people will probably zone out and/or leave. So see ya later, those people. Haters gonna hate.

So back to my original story. There are two types of people in the world: People who love Excel spreadsheets and people who don’t. Obviously I am in the right camp of People, as a girl who truly-madly-deeply loves her some Excel. Last night I happened to be in the company of several other ladies who harbor similar nerd-love, and we spent a glorious 15 or 20 minutes reveling in our joint passion for spreadsheets, while our non-Excel-loving friends rolled their eyes and baffled that anyone could ever like—much less love—such a dry, uninspired program. It was lots of fun being in the company of like-minded spreadsheet-lovers, and it gave me a few minutes to reflect on the marvel of Excel.
I blame it on my dad. That man has such a deep and abiding love for Excel (and such a vast and unending storehouse of spreadsheets that organized every last detail of our lives) that I had no choice but to embrace the spreadsheet from an early age. I’ll admit that in high school and early college, my Excel useage was not very enthusiastic—I mean, there’s nothing flashy or sexy about a bunch of little rectangles and numbers. But as the years went by and I found myself not only embracing my dad’s myriad spreadsheets but creating my own to suit my personal organizational needs, I had to admit: Dad was right. Excel does make the world (or at least my world) a better place. A more organized place. A more easily-sorted place. And so I have no shame in admitting that I now have and use spreadsheets to govern almost every aspect of my life.

At work, I have a bit of a reputation for being an Excel nazi. That is—I tend to yell at people doing dumb things like organizing their data or making an inventory in Word. And then I rip it out of their hands and redo the entire thing into Excel—why?? Because it is better, people. Work smarter, not harder—and if you type up a long list of data with a million categories and variables into Word and then suddenly decide you’d like to look at and analyze it not in alphabetical-by-last-name-order as you had it, but by birthdate? Or neighborhood? Or you want to highlight in yellow all of the DLLs? YOU’RE SCREWED. Have fun working all night. Shoulda done it in Excel. Lucky for you—I probably already did, so I’ll send you a copy. Maybe.

And lest you think spreadsheets are any less useful in your home—well, they are not. If you could see my budgeting/bank account spreadsheets, you would weep. They are a thing of beauty and majesty (not the bottom lines, of course. We’re po’. But the organization of it all!). My annual Christmas card spreadsheets? Perfection. Easily sorted and analyzed, in case you were curious about which state I send the most cards to…or who I got a card back from. Need me to add a bunch of things up? I will always, always do it in Excel—just type it all in, highlight and sum it, and you’re done! Worried you maybe miss-typed a number or two? Simply look back through it all and double check, without having to re-type the entire thing like you would on a calculator. Truly, Excel makes the world a better place.

And so this is my heartfelt and completely lame tribute to one of my favorite things. Spending just a few nerdy moments last night with girlfriends basking in our shared Excel-love made me feel so happy and so connected, I just had to spill it all out here. I mean, what if there are more of us out there? More closeted spreadsheet-freaks, not knowing that there are others just like them out there? That would be tragic! So I tell you—come out and reveal yourself here. It’s safe. You will find company and people of a like mind. We can email each other our favorite spreadsheets and frolic in the nerdiness together. Together, we will make the world a more (drumroll, please!) Excel-lent place.