Tuesday, April 30, 2013

a lot of vapid thoughts

So many thoughts swirling around my head. So few of them are worth sharing. But I won't let it stop me. That's the essence of blogging, right? Right.

1. Despite not getting enough sleep last night (for obnoxious reasons I won't bore you with), my hair, makeup, AND outfit all ended up being cute today! The trifecta! Who knew! When such a glorious thing happens, it's hard to know whether to revel in it (and highly document the occasion, which I will hopefully do as soon as someone else gets to work and can take a pic for me) or do the opposite and pretend not to notice, lest the universe notice your vanity and cause a suddenly downpour to ruin your hair or something. Obviously I'm taking the first approach because DANG I love me a good hair-and-makeup day!

2. Relatedly, I've been using a new Smashbox eyeshadow palette the last two weeks. But you wanna know something? I bought this palette in DECEMBER. For real. It was going to be a Christmas present for someone, but then I ended up getting them a different palette (Sephora loves me at Christmas) and this one just stayed in my closet. After Christmas I noticed it, lusted after it, but thought no, you can't just keep it for yourself. So I thought I'd give it to someone else for a birthday or something. Or use it for a giveaway on the blog! So many great, selfless ideas. But then I never did any of those things. So two weeks ago, after lusting after it in my closet for all of these months, I decided that the Statute of Limitations had expired and that I could just use it for myself. So I did and I am and it is glorrrrious. You know I love my Naked palette but this one is so much fun because there are all kinds of COLORS! And gel eyeliners, which are now my Most Favorite Thing Ever. Anyway. Sorry to brag and tell you about the Giveaway that Might Have Been, but it's not gonna happen. Keepin' this one for myself, yo.

3. I used the Endomondo app for a bike ride (followed by a very slow, painful jog/walk) yesterday and it is sweeeet
Look at all the fun info it gave me about my ride!! I wore my phone strapped in my little armband thingy during the ride and somehow the app uses GPS (and magic, most likely) to calculate your distance while you're going...so every mile it would vibrate and say "three miles (or whatever mile it was) in seventeen minutes and twenty-one seconds...lap time five minutes and forty-six seconds" (or something like that). It was so fun and also kept me motivated during the ride. And also informed me that I have NO CONCEPT OF DISTANCE or time. Which isn't really shocking, but wow. I've been walking/running in my exact same neighborhood on the exact same path for almost FOUR YEARS and have been underestimating the distance by HALF A MILE for the whole time. That's just pathetic. Ha. 

4. Question for my friends who frequent reproductive endocrinologists: Do you still get your regular annual physical/checkup? If so, do you go to your regular OBGYN or do you go to your RE? For the past 4 years of IF I've still been getting mine and just going to my OBGYN...but it's almost that time again and this year I feel like that's a little pointless. I see my RE so frequently, do I really need a separate appointment with (let's be honest) someone who doesn't know a whole lot about my condition or what's been going on for the last year? If I'm going to go in for a checkup, I'd much rather it be with my RE because at least he knows what to be looking for, what to test for, and could give me useful information. But do REs do regular physicals? I'm sure this is information I could find out by calling, but why do that when I can just ask you?

5. I love a lot of things about my new job (maybe not so 'new' anymore...I've been here almost 5 months!), but I must say that unlike teaching, this job isn't doing a THING for my tan. Major bummer. When I was teaching I didn't even have to think about getting a nice base tan on my arms and legs-- recess took care of that lickety-split. But now? Shocking that sitting in an office all day doesn't put any color on your face. Major bummer. Summer clothes do not look nearly as cute on (my) white skin. Please recall that bacon is not only a delicious food group but also my model for living: brown fat looks better than white fat.

6. Someone tweeted this the other day and I would like to submit that it is the Funniest Thing EVER. I look at it about 5 times a day and bust out laughing every time:

Know the struggle. I'm sorry, but if you don't think that's hilarious, you have no soul.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

off with a bang

Anyone wanna guess who this is??

If you guessed some weird sweaty girl who sneaked into the group fitness room at the gym so that she could take a selfie and then apply a strange filter to it and post it on the internet then you would be partially correct. I mean, you would be entirely correct, but there's more to the story than just that. Obviously.

That would be me, an hour ago. The very same me that just worked out SIX of the last SEVEN days.

I know, I know. Please. Really. Your applause is deafening.

I warned you: When I decide I'm going to do something, I get extremely enthusiastic extremely quickly. And when I decided that I wanted to do a triathlon, something I'm not remotely qualified to attempt...I decided to funnel the enthusiasm towards training. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty dang proud of myself this week. Not that I've made any great strides towards becoming an amazing athlete...but that I freakin' WORKED OUT six out of seven days? Yeah, I'm proud of that!! It makes me feel like I really can do this really hard, really not-me thing, if I can keep trying.

Most of my enthusiasm probably stems from the fact that starting any new 'hobby' (if this can be considered that...I certainly can't call it a lifestyle yet, so 'hobby' will have to do) involves a lot of shopping and buying, two things I'm excellent at doing. Saturday morning found Matt and I at the local used bike shop where I purchased a bike...something that will probably come in handy when trying to do a triathlon. Do I know anything about bikes? Did I do any research? Um, no, unless you consider reading all of the comments you folks wrote to be research (which I do, so thanks!). I pretty much picked the one that looked prettiest and had comfy handles. Scientific, I know. We got the bike home, I took a few spins around the neighborhood (including one major wipeout in my own lawn...apparently Lola does not like to be 'walked' by someone riding a bike and did not take things into account when she decided to take off running at top speed after a squirrel, consequently yanking me off the bike? Who knew. Please ignore my stupidity. It won't happen again for a few more days) and Matt and I were off on our first bike ride around town. We rode on quiet side streets, some trails through the woods, and our little town's downtown area (that has bike lanes and like...1 car every 5 minutes). It was fantastic and exhausting...I seem to remember bike riding as being a lot easier the last time I did it (1998ish). 

"I love when Erika gets new hobbies and buys tons of 'necessary' crap and makes me fix it all!!"--Matt
  We also got in a workout Friday night. Normally we go to the little taqueria in our town for dinner. It's about 2.5 miles away. So instead of driving, we jogged there (with a few breaks for walking and catching of breath). It was great. And then we had to walk home. That was not as great. But whatever, it was basically free exercise, and we still go to eat Mexican, so...genius, really. 

I decided that in order to really do this thing, I would definitely need one of those little arm band thingies to hold my phone. I probably shouldn't share the methods I've been using in the past to hold onto my phone if I need it when I go on a run somewhere...let's just say, they're not as socially acceptable as an arm holder thing. Or as sanitary. SO! Arm thingy it is. And I bought a little bag thingy (a lot of 'thingies' are involved with tris, apparently) that hooks on my bike so that I can tote my junk around when we're riding, too. See? I like buying things. And then I want to exercise more so that I can use all my things, so it all works out. And I downloaded the Endomondo app to track my workouts and mileage. Anyone else using that? Wanna be friends with me on it? Lemme know. There were lots of similar apps to choose from...I picked this one because it got tons of great ratings AND I thought it was funny that the word 'endo' is in the title. It refers to endorphins. Maybe I can start replacing the negative connotations of 'endo' in my brain? Probs not, but we'll try. Also it has the world 'mondo,' which I'm pretty sure is the name of those Koolaid-like beverages that were in plastic bottles with a snap-off top that we drank in elementary school? Those were the jam. So obviously my logic for selecting workout apps is as solid as my logic for everything else (picking teams, picking golfers...) in life. Glad to see that hasn't changed.

So anyway...the conclusion of this mostly-pointless post is that six days into my decision to try to do a tri, I am still really excited and into 'training' (if you can call my feeble workouts 'training,' even), which is probably some kind of world record for me. The end.

PS. Also, for those of you like my friend Casey who still find yourselves to be on 'Team Rum Drink,' (as Casey named it) as opposed to Team Triathlon, don't worry-- those are actually not two opposing teams here! Because IF I stick with the tri and go through with it...my trip to Mexico will be a few weeks after the tri, which is totally ideal because a) maybe I will be smokin' hot from the tri training, but even if not, b)I will definitely have earned a week of Team Rum Drink and Team All You Can Eat 24/7. So YEAH. I'm still on Team Rum Drink...it's just taking a back seat for a few months.

Friday, April 26, 2013

justified, part II

First of all- thanks for all the expert advice, support, and enthusiasm about my bold proclamation yesterday. Ha. I appreciate that you can be so enthusiastic even knowing I'll probably forget all about this in another week or two! But for the time being, your excitement propelled me to do some more 'training' yesterday (Thursday! A day I normally do NOT work out!) and to keep running even when I was sore...so...progress, I'd say. Not sure if I'm going to be happy for the accountability or regret talking about any of this very quickly! Such is the nature of blogging, I suppose. 

So anyway. I need to share another story of justification with you. Please recall my lifelong mortal fear of birds. Something many people like to mock, and nicer people choose to just accept...but surprisingly few people share my fear. So whenever I have a chance, I like to present compelling evidence (such as this) that I AM RIGHT AND JUSTIFIED in my fear, and the rest of you are being foolish.

This happened yesterday:

I kid you not. Bird attack. In my own parking lot. To one of my favorite people.

Here's how it went down.

Diana, who just returned from 10 days in Bali (I know, it's okay to hate her a little), was returning to work from a dentist appointment. I found this out when she sprinted into my office like her clothes were on fire. She was shaking. She was wide-eyed. She was acting surprisingly un-jetlagged. She couldn't get her words straight.


You might think I would freak out. That's probably what she was expecting, knowing my track record of Bird Fear. But I did not. Because when the thing you expect happens...well, it's what you expect. It's not surprising. You might be surprised, however, to hear that I immediately correctly guessed WHICH bird it was.

"Was it that bird that lives in the bush in front of my parking spot?"


"Yeah, I figured. That bird is extra scary. I always suspected it would come to this."

True story. Some mornings I have to sit in the car for several extra minutes until the bird and I reach an agreement that I can exit my car, run into the building, and then he can go back to his aggressive patrol of the bush. I hate that bird.

And apparently that bird hates Diana, which is why for no good reason at all he decided to FLY AT HER and PECK HER ARM. I am not kidding. She had peck marks on her cardigan to prove it.

I hate that it happened to Diana, but a tiny part of me loves being proven right. Okay, a huge part of me. I AM RIGHT, DAMMIT! BIRDS ARE EVIL!! I wanted to call everyone who's ever mocked me and tell them. But I hate talking on the phone, so I figured blogging about it would be the more efficient way of getting the news out.

Naturally I told Matt all about it. He pretty much laughed it off, like getting attacked wasn't a traumatizing experience for Diana, or like I was probably exaggerating the whole thing. This morning we found ourselves a new parking spot. I have no need to prove my dominance to that bird. He can have that spot. After we parked, with no birds in sight, I sprinted into my building. As I looked out the door to see Matt walking across the parking lot to cross the street to his office, what do I see? That same evil bird, crossing into Matt's personal No Fly Zone. I saw the fear flash in his eyes as the bird came squawking up next to him. It didn't touch him. But it came close. And through the glass doors I yelled "I TOLD YOU SO!!!!"

I love being right.

EDIT: At approximately 9:00 a.m. my co-worker Katherine arrived at work, parked in The Spot, and was subsequently attacked by the bird. As of approximately 9:03 a.m. we were plotting our Threat Removal Plan, to be implemented immediately.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

she wants to tri what?

You've probably gathered by now that I have rather impulsive ambitions sometimes...and I lack follow-through. I could link back to specific incidences, but I'd rather not...it'll make me look bad. You can do the research yourself if you don't believe me. :) It's just that I often get these great ideas in my head and get really gung ho for like two weeks, confident that it's the thing I'm going to do next. And then I normally don't. 

It's okay. I'm okay with this. These are never important things...just little grand ideas I get about frivolous things I suddenly want to do. So it doesn't matter if they never pan out. They make me feel excited for like two weeks and then I'm over it and no one's been harmed, so who cares, right?

So Tuesday at about 3:00 I decided the next Thing I want to do is train for a triathlon. (Not an Olympic-length. A sprint triathlon. I'm ambitious, not insane.)

But why, Erika? Do you like to run? Do you even own a bike? Are you a good swimmer?

The answer to the above questions: I don't know; no; no; no.

Clearly I am an excellent candidate for a triathlon, right?

Well, I am. For some kinds of triathlons. Here are some triathlons I would excel at:

-The Ulta-Sephora-MAC counter triathlon.
-The Zumba/gardening/laying out triathlon.
-The 'read these three books really fast' triathlon.

See, I have a lot of strengths. They're just not things traditionally considered to be amazing accomplishments when done in a record amount of time. This world...so arbitrary. Ugh.

But let's move on. I've convinced myself that training for and completing a triathlon (there's one in Athens on August 18) is definitely possible and then I was doing some research and found these web pages that said you can go from couch potato to triathlete in 12 weeks and I have 16 weeks so I can TOTALLY do this, right? Plus I'm not even a couch potato, I'm at least a few steps above that, so basically I've got it in the bag.

Things I have to get over in order to become a triathlete:
1. I hate running. Like really really hate it. This is bad because at the end of this triathlon, there's a 5k. AFTER you swim 1/2 a mile and bike 14. So hating running is going to have to go.
2. I'm scared of riding bikes and don't own one. Minor detail. It's not really that I'm scared of riding, it's that I'm scared of riding near cars. So I need to find places to ride that aren't near cars. And also find a bike.
3. I prefer to spend my pool time on a lounge chair with my Kindle and a rum-based beverage. That will have to change if I'm going to swim 1/2 a mile in open water without drowning.
4. I would need to train 4-5 days a week in order to build up the skills and endurance (although most of the workouts would not be long (hour or less)...only one long workout per week (bike ride), which could be on the weekend). I currently work out maybe two or three days a week. I'd have to make some lifestyle changes to accommodate this.
5. Because we don't have access to an indoor pool, the swimming training will not be able to start for probably another month, or whenever I deem my in-laws' pool to be warm enough. So that'll put my swimming on a tighter time frame.
6. I don't dope. I've heard this is standard operating procedure for bike-riding, and I'm not sure where to purchase steroids. Dang you sheltered lifestyle...

So it's a lot of obstacles to overcome, and I can't even really say why I want to bother trying except that I want to do something really hard and work towards it and be proud of myself if I complete it. Is that so much to ask? I feel like training for something like this would give me a difficult but obtainable definite goal (unlike pregnancy) to work towards. And anyway, the internet said anyone could do it. So obviously the internet is always right and therefore I should do it.

Matt's all for it. I said I wouldn't do it unless he'd do it with me and of course he was all about it. We did our first day of 'training' (run/walking and biking at the gym) on Tuesday (about 3 hours after I decided I wanted to try. See, I'm really ambitious on the front end!) but naturally had to take yesterday off because one day was too hard. See how I work? 

So there's my big new life plan. We'll see how long this one lasts. Anyone want to offer a pep talk, or personal triathlon success stories, or talk me off the ledge? Feel free. Ha. Also, are there any triathlon apps or training plans? Well, let me rephrase. There are lots of triathlon-training apps and training plans. I just have no idea which ones are good. Tips?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

a true story about coach purses and cat ladies

To call my sister a cat lady would be a vast understatement. I'm not sure that any 25-year-old woman ever, in the history of the world, has loved her cats (and dog) with as much passion as my sister. Only she manages to do it in a very cool way-- Sarah's a very hip, outgoing girl...so her cat-lady-ness is merely a funky and endearing part of her personality. But she makes no secret of it. If you're Facebook friends with my sister, you'd better prepare yourself for nonstop photo-documentation of her pets (cats Elroy and Cletis and dog Otis). 

So anyway. Sarah's always looking for bigger and better ways to express her love of her kids, so this weekend when we were shopping and I happened to notice these huge, gaudy, ridiculous cat purses on a rack at a shoe store, I jokingly grabbed one with two cats on it and shouted "SARAH!! Look!!! A purse with Elroy and Cletis!!!"

She nearly lost her mind.

Her unadulterated passion for this purse was immediate and loud. "OH MY GOSSSSHHHHHH!!!! LOOOOOOOK!!!! IT'S CLETEY AND ELROY!!!! It's so bright!! They're so cute!! Everyone will ask about my cats!!!! It's big enough for my iPad!!! I can keep Otis's toys in it!!!! I looooooooooove it!!!!"

She immediately pranced around the store, demonstrating the many excellent features of the purse and admiring how skinny it made her look (not hard- she is already skinny and gorgeous to start with).

And then she made this bold, bold statement, as she tossed her current handbag to the floor with an eye roll of disgust:

"Coach is out. Cats are in."

This is the bag she had been using. A lovely shiny gold Coach tote...roomy on the inside, buttery soft leather, plenty of pockets, large enough for an iPad (not that I have one), a zipper on the top...I'd been admiring it all weekend.

So if Coach is out and cats are in, then.....?????

"Take it. It's yours."

As soon as we were back in the car (she was driving) I was instructed to take everything out of her old purse, organize it (apparently my reputation precedes me), and load it into the new purse. As a reward for my duty, she let me keep the old purse as a token. Just like that. My personal collection of Coach purses just doubled.

And this is the true story of how I got a new purse this weekend. And a few hours after I inherited the purse, I got my new haircut. Not to brag, but don't you wish you had a sister like me?

And now not to be a downer, but you may recall that Sarah's husband is currently deployed. Yesterday he sent some really sad news our way. I'm guessing you can guess what kind of sad news comes from a deployed soldier. Sarah is so strong-- we're incredibly thankful her husband is safe, but getting that kind of news just serves as an unwanted reminder about what he's really doing over there and what the risks are. If you have a minute, would you pray for the safety of our troops? As Sarah laments, "people in the States are 'over' this war, but the fact is that it isn't, and the soldiers that are over there are in an incredibly dangerous situation and still need the support and prayers of their country." So anyway. Show a cat lady some love and say a prayer for her husband, will you?

And remember: Coach is out, cats are in. But since I'm okay with being unfashionable, if you find yourself needing to get rid of some 'out' Coach, send it my way.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

my swedish education

So I've already mentioned that I've been reading the 'Millennium Trilogy' for the past few weeks.
Normally it doesn't take me this long to read three books. But these are not normal books. And the main thing I'm learning from them is that apparently nothing I thought I knew about Sweden is correct.

Things I Used to Think About Sweden:
1. It's really cold there.
2. Everyone's happy there.
3. Everyone is tall and blonde and looks like a supermodel.
4. Everyone is rich.
5. Everyone is happy.
6. There are no politics.
7. People pretty much just shop at Ikea and sit around being cold and happy.

So I'm not sure where I got all of these beliefs, but there they are. Were. Obviously I've never been to Sweden, met anyone from Sweden, or even bothered to Wiki anything about Sweden. I just had this general impression of happiness and bliss and societal peace and snow and since Sweden is basically irrelevant to my life, I didn't bother to fact-check.

Well thank you Stieg Larsson (may he rest in peace) for setting me straight.

Things I Now Believe About Sweden:
1. It's really cold there.
2. No one is happy there.
3. No one is monogamous there.
4. No one cares that no one is monogamous there. Even if it's their own spouse.
5. All levels of government, medicine, and police are corrupt.
6. All names (of people, places, streets, etc.) contain no fewer than 27 letters and I would sprain my lips if I tried to pronounce them.
7. People pretty much just shop at Ikea and sit around being cold, hacking computers, participating in conspiracies, and doing extremely personal things with an extremely large number of people.

So evidently Sweden isn't quite the frozen utopia I had imagined it to be. I'm going to think twice before planning my next vacation there. And no, I'm still not going to bother to do any additional research on Sweden...I mean, if the combined 1500 pages of the Millennium Trilogy can't tell me everything I need to know, then obviously it's not worth knowing. 

Consider yourself educated.

PS. All that being said, I'm still really enjoying the books. They take forever to read because HOLY CRAP THERE ARE SO MANY CHARACTERS and I can't keep them all straight. Their 40-letter names don't really help the situation out, either.

Monday, April 22, 2013

sisters, celebs, and going platinum

I got my hair did this weekend (by my sister!! because she's the best ever!!).

And yes, that means I get my hair cut in my parents' den. But what can ya do? Her salon is near Savannah. I live near Athens. That's a five hour drive, for those of you unfamiliar with Georgia geography (shame). So we take advantage of a weekend when we're both visiting home.

Sarah is the only person who understands what I mean when I say make me look like Zooey Deschanel. She can translate that onto my head. I don't know why I ever bother trying to find other acceptable hair stylists. They never measure up. She's been cutting my hair since she was in MIDDLE SCHOOL (trust me, she had no formal schooling at that point)...no one else will ever be as good as she is.

I asked for Zooey:

Source: google.com via Erika on Pinterest

Sarah makes me Zooey:

With much less-awesome brown eyes. Which Sarah and I are sure to rag our mother about (my dad has blue eyes, so this is all Mom's fault, clearly).

Anyway. I love my new 'do. (And it looks awesome straight, too.) (And my head is SO MUCH LIGHTER!! I have really thick hair and she cut about half of it off. But it's still long!) But guess what we discovered?

May I introduce you to my first official gray hair? Thirty years old, and wiser every minute. This guy's been hanging out in my bangs...I've been catching glimpses of him for the last couple weeks. He's a nice normal texture, though (not the crazy wonky gray hair that happens sometimes), so I'm leaving him be. I'll think of him as FREE HIGHLIGHTS, so what's not to love about that? Sarah says he isn't really gray, he's pure white. Which is probably the most awesome thing ever, so you can just feast your jealous eyes on that beauty and think about how sweet it's going to be when I'm pure platinum. A platinum Zooey. The world isn't even ready.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

join the movement

How exciting-- it's our week! 

Orrrr....not. Exciting, that is. No one wants to be part of a group that gets an 'awareness week' (or month). Being a part of those groups never means anything good, as far as I know. There's no awareness week for being awesome, or having a lot of cats, or not stubbing your toe for a third time today on that stupid coffee table. You know. Things that would be worth celebrating for a week or month. It's always the crappy stuff that needs awareness-raising.

So here I am, waving my flag: It's National Infertility Awareness Week! Let's celebrate?

(Side note: Who picks the weeks for these things? Because if it were up to me, I would have picked the week before Mother's Day. THAT is Infertility Awareness Week de facto, my friends. Ask anyone who's in my club. May as well call it like it is. So now we get TWO weeks, I suppose.)

 As I mentioned during Endometriosis Awareness Month (wait- endo gets a whole month, but infertility as a whole only gets a week? Seriously- who DOES plan these things?)-- if you're afflicted with it (endo, infertility, breast cancer, whatever)...you don't need an 'awareness week/month' to remind you. It's your whole life. I guess the point of the month is to remind everyone else what it's like. Or raise money. Or something.

The theme for this year is 'join the movement.' 

I feel like I've done that over the last few years. Not necessarily even intentionally...but I've been blogging pretty openly about our infertility for a number of years here, and somewhere along the way I've connected with a lot of other women doing the same thing. And though I've never joined any kind of real-life support group, I feel like we've established the same sort of community through blogging and social media. And having the support of these girls has given me the braveness and strength I've needed to be bolder and more open in my "real" life, where I know far fewer fellow IF-ers. I don't know that I've started any 'movements,' but I think I've at least established myself as the designated go-to girl for infertility in most of my real-life circles...so I guess that counts for something.

And just in case anyone wasn't aware, I put changed my FB header thing to be this. Awkward.

I don't exactly know what direction to go with this post. Am I supposed to be raising up an army of people, convincing you to join our movement? (LIKE LES MIS?!?!?! Do you hear the people sing?) If you're not experiencing infertility yourself, what can you do to 'join'? I feel like I'm preaching to the choir here-- pretty much everyone who reads my blog is either a) infertile themselves or b) has heard me ramble on ad nauseum a million times before about how miserable IF can be and how to not be one of the people that makes it even worse. But just in case you're new or you have a short memory, I'll throw out an easy-peasy #1 way you can be a friend (and not a foe, or One Of Those Whom IF Girls Send Nasty Emails To Each Other To Complain About. You don't want to be one of Those.) to the IF movement:

Give our disease(s), and consequently us, the respect you would give anyone else with a disease you deem 'legitimate.' It blows my mind to hear (both first and second-hand) the flippant write-off that infertility gets. I can't imagine people treating other diseases with such lightheartedness. Upon my friend's diagnosis with breast cancer, I heard no one suggest that she 'just relax' and it would go away...I heard no one laughingly complain about what a pain bra shopping is and tell her she is lucky she won't have to deal with that anymore...I heard no one suggest that it just wasn't God's will for her to be healthy. Why? Because breast cancer is a devastating, life-altering, and potentially life-threatening disease and people generally treat it as such. I'm not trying to suggest that an infertility diagnosis is equal to a cancer diagnosis- don't get me wrong. But what I am saying is that the diseases behind infertility (even the unknown ones that people with unexplained infertility suffer from) are real, they are medically explainable and sometimes medically treatable, and the effects of our diseases in our lives, both physically, emotionally, and socially, are very real. Just as you would not probably offer helpful suggestions about medical protocol (based on an article you read online or something you heard your sister's boyfriend's aunt did) to someone with epilepsy or kidney disease (unless you happen to be a physician, researcher, or have suffered it yourself), the men and women of the infertility community appreciate you biting your tongue before doling advice out to us, too. My endometriosis is caused by the growth of endometriomal tissue in areas outside of my uterus. The growths (and subsequent cysts and adhesions) have not only caused a huge amount of pain, but mangled one of my ovaries and my Fallopian tube, making it unlikely that a fertilized egg could ever implant there. That is a medical problem. My diminished ovarian reserve means that I have fewer eggs left, and those that are left are of diminished quality. Lower-quality eggs are less likely to be fertilized and less able to implant into my wonky Fallopian tubes. No amount of relaxing will fix these issues, and suggesting that it might only makes you look foolish. My husband's poor sperm quality with damaged DNA is unable to fertilize eggs. It is caused by vein abnormalities that developed during puberty. A tropical vacation will not fix this (although hopefully his surgery did). Propping my hips up on a pillow after sex isn't going to fix this. Trust us-- if the thing you read on the internet or saw on Dr. Oz was the cure we were waiting for, we wouldn't spend thousands of dollars on reproductive endocrinologists, experts, and surgeries. Trust me.

I have many friends who do not suffer from infertility but whom I still count as 'in the movement.' These are friends who recognize the physical and emotional pain caused by infertility and offer emotional and practical support wherever they can. They educate themselves about our diseases and ask thoughtful questions in an effort to understand better. They offer optimism and hopeful anecdotes when they sense those things are needed-- they offer a beer and a shoulder to cry on when those things are not. They jump to our defense when people brush over the pain of infertility by informing us to 'just wait, it'll happen', and they help steer conversation back to neutral ground when they find us growing teary as people share tale after tale of labor and delivery stories. I am so thankful for these friends who have perhaps unknowingly joined our movement, who understand when we dread baby showers and baptisms, who send us cards on Mother's Days, who give us first dibs on holding their babies (if we feel like it). Friends who text while we're at doctors appointments to let us know they're praying, who follow up with us afterwards, who rejoice in our small victories (OVULATION!! WOOO!!!!) and mourn with our losses...they've joined. I don't care if they donate to the research fund or join a walk-- the support they offer in real life is worth more than all of that. 

Chances are that you know someone in your real life who is dealing with infertility-- it effects 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age. Many of these couples may not be public with their status, but if they are, I hope you know how much you can help them in their journey. Treating their disease with the proper amount of disease-respect (I'm pretty sure that's a thing) and offering the same degree of concern you would to someone suffering from any other health problems is an easy way to start. Don't underestimate yourself-- even women brimming with fertility have been valued supporters and allies in my own life. You don't have to share a disease to support someone with it.

So there's my spiel. Join the movement, people. 

In case my plea wasn't strong enough for you, let me borrow the words of the original movement-makers:

Will you join in our crusade? 
Who will be strong and stand with me?

 Hint: It's a song from this book/play/movie (my favorite ever), and describing infertiles as 'les miserables' (the miserable ones, roughly) is quite apropo. I wanted to splice a picture of my face into the picture above, but I don't have Photoshop on this laptop and I'm rather lazy, so just use your imagination and pretend it's my face instead of Cosette's, ok? Thanks!

For more information about infertility or National Infertility Awareness Week, please check out Resolve's webpage.

Friday, April 19, 2013

bring on the chemicals

Yall. What a crazy night in Boston...to wake up and hear all that went on while I was blissfully sleeping...unbelievable. Relatedly: nothing makes you feel dumber than hearing that the suspects are from Chechnya and immediately yelling at the NPR guy on the radio "WHERE THE EFF IS CHECHNYA??"...like, seriously, Erika? I need to put down the novels and pick up a map, apparently. I try to make myself feel better by remembering that the countries in and around Russia and Eastern Europe and the Middle East change names/borders/etc like once a week, and the map of that region has probably changed 200 times since the last time I was in school, but...still. It should go without saying, but my thoughts and prayers continue to be with Boston (and now Texas, sheesh) this week. What a terrible week...hopefully they will catch this other suspect today and let Boston start towards healing. Jesus, please.

And I will preface the rest of this about-to-get-really-shallow blog with the acknowledgment that I know this is like, lower than a zero on the Scale of Actual Problems. I recognize that complaining about my hair at a time like this is like...reprehensible. But it's been on my mind, and you people give good advice, and ya know...a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

But seriously, yall. My hair.

As part of the Great Chemical Purge of 2012/2013, in an effort to lower the amount of weird endo-enhancing, estrogen-disrupting hormones I expose myself to, we embarked on the notorious Bird Food Diet. That has been well-documented, I would say, and somewhat well-adhered to. You know, except for when I'm at work and there is always delicious non-BFD food in the break room...then I fail to adhere. But that's beside the point. But I also tried to up our game in terms of decreasing the amount of weird chemicals we expose ourselves to in other contexts, like cleaning products and health and beauty products. For the most part I am pretty satisfied with the less-chemically products we've switched to, but when it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I am about to throw in the towel.

Those things are TERRIBLE.


I've tried maybe 3 different brands of shampoo and only one kind of conditioner (it's a HUGE bottle...ugh...and I hate to waste it, even as I hate to use it), and these things don't do jack. I may as well be rinsing my hair in saltwater every night and call it a day. It's not the in-shower 'performance' of the products that bugs me so much (a lot of people complain because  the more 'natural' products don't get sudsy/foamy like conventional shampoo does, which is weird, but not a deal-breaker for me)...it's the fact that MY HAIR IS AWFUL.

This is how I feel about the situation. NOT HAPPY.

I have long hair. But it's not like...unreasonably long. It's very straight. And here's what I do all day: sit in an office. Sometimes I get up and walk around. That's about it. So please tell me why, if I leave my hair down, I inevitably have GIANT RATS' NESTS of matted tangles all over the back of my head at like...3pm? SERIOUSLY? Like, if I'd been running...20 miles...with my hair down...with 50mph winds...and then I rubbed my hair around in some chewing gum...I could understand the matted-ness. This should not happen when all you do is sit around an office. It's disgusting. My hair is tangly, NOT soft, and even borderline frizzy sometimes, which it has never, ever been in my whole life. It's too STRAIGHT to be frizzy. Until now. And let's not even talk about how ridiculous it is when I wake up in the mornings. It's like if you got your prom up-do with 5,000 bobby pins and a bottle of hairspray, and then never took it down and slept on it for a week, and THEN took it down...imagine what would greet you? That's what I get to tame every morning. And you wonder why I wear a braid every day.

Obviously the question is...maybe my hair IS like this naturally, and it's been the chemicals I've been using (via shampoo and conditioner...I've never regularly used any other sort of 'product') for the last 29 years that leads me to believe I have non-frizzy, relatively silky, manageable hair. In that case, God bless you, chemicals. I can't wait to welcome you back into my life, as soon as I dump down the drain use up the rest of this 'natural' crap.

If anyone has any arguments as to why I SHOULDN'T re-embrace the chemical-filled goodness, this is your opportunity to convince me. I'm happy to continue using the green-er products that DON'T SUCK (ie: body wash, shaving cream, cleaning products, SOME makeup, laundry detergent)...but this shampoo/conditioner thing is just not going to be one of them (unless someone has a proven product recommendation that WORKS). I hate giving up on what should be a fairly painless lifestyle change (WAY easier than, say, going GF)...but hopefully I have adequately demonstrated that it is NOT painless. It is ridiculous. And that is why I have to say once more: bring on the chemicals.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

here she goes about her flowers again

 It's been a rather somber week, but I've been making an effort to focus on the good. It's easy to stare at the news websites and TV news all day long and get obsessed with the details of the evil. It's harder to remember that there is still beauty, still worth, still goodness in the world and in people. 

It's easier for me to remember when I'm in my yard, examining every inch of new life that bursts forth every day. I swear, spring is the best best best in that every single day there is something new to delight in out there. Every single day I find something that yesterday was dormant and dead-looking has sprouted green leaves, or bloomed a flower. It's so ridiculously gratifying and encouraging to see beauty and life sprout up where you least expect it. I probably walk around my yard a hundred times every evening, and I swear I notice something new on at least 98 of the trips.

If you don't think these are the most beautiful little things on earth, I'm pretty sure you have no soul. I'm not entirely sure what they are...last year I convinced myself they were phlox, but I could be wrong**. I don't really care. They're beautiful is what they are.
 Last year, after the doctor's appointment where they unofficially diagnosed my endometriosis, I was madder than fire and drove immediately to the nearest Lowe's and drowned my sorrows in buying a crapload of plants and a little apricot tree. I know, I have strange ways of dealing with sadness, but it's probably better than binge drinking or something, right? So in order to accommodate all of the new plants, we had to dig up a new huge long flowerbed across the back of our house. It was a lot of work. But I had a lot of angry energy. 

Anyway. That flowerbed ended up turning out quite nicely, and I've made a few more additions this year that I think are going to pay off nicely and it just may turn into my favorite spot in the yard. In my head I refer to it as the 'endo garden,' because that's what it reminds me of...it's only there because I was so pissed off at the new diagnosis that I freakin dug up my yard. But it's a nice reminder that good things (like flowers!!!) and beauty can come out of something not-so-good.

And after all that, I don't even have any pictures of that bed presently. :) But I do have one of our little apricot tree, which sprouted leaves and a little baby apricot just recently!

I don't even know if I like apricots. It was such a random choice. I blame the anger. And the endo. But hey, at least something's being fruitful around this house. Even if it's just a tree.

More 'phlox.' Even though it grows in little clumps/patches, there are all different flowers within the patch. That makes it even prettier to me. I like the randomness and varying shades of pink, white, and purple. SO PRETTY!! This particular patch of it is growing right next to one of my hydrangeas, which is currently sporting some gorgeous new leaves. It would be awesome if the hydrangeas would bloom while these things are still blooming, but I don't know if it'll work out like that. We'll see.

Hydrangeas are funny because they get their new growth out of the dead. So you don't cut them back, because the new stuff will grow out of the (seemingly useless, brittle, gray) previous year's deadness. They look so funny when they start growing in the spring...all of that beautiful bright green springing out of the nasty old sticks. I need to take a picture of it. Gardening is so full of symbolism to me that it's ridiculous. If I spent any more time out there getting my zen on with my plants, I might actually lose my mind. It's so awesome.

We've planted three new roses this year. I never thought I'd be much into roses, but Matt really likes them. We have three knockout rose bushes already established, but all the roses we've planted this year are of the climbing, long-stemmed variety. I'm excited (well, I will be, if they grow) because we will actually be able to cut them and enjoy them inside. Knockouts are awesome, but no good for clipping. I've just been scared of climbing roses because I hear how finicky and prone to disease they are. I did absolutely zero research before buying and planting these, nor do I have any idea what to do to care for them, so clearly I'm off to a great start.

It's silly how much happier I feel even just after uploading these pictures and writing all this out. I think that in my next life I am going to be a yard gnome and just hang out in someone's flower bed all day. If that's not a solid Life Goal, I don't know what is.

**As per Natasha's comment below, I looked up the flowers she mentioned and have now concluded that my 'phlox' are DEFINITELY Sweet William (dianthus barbatus). MYSTERY SOLVED!! Thanks, Natasha!! PS. I love blogging. How else would I have ever figured this out?**

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

even this

I can't even express how overwhelmingly sad I have been since yesterday afternoon. I've been walking around in this haze of numbness and bitterness and snapping at my husband and ignoring my dog and just generally feeling sad yet having nothing productive to do with it. And I don't want to feel better or get over it because you know what? What happened in Boston SUCKS. And I wasn't there, and I don't personally really know anyone who was, and it's not like woe is me, this is all about me, I am so effected. I'm not. But like any other living, breathing person with a soul, those explosions rocked me to my core and I am angry and so, so sad for everyone whose lives have been ruined by this. And when tragedies like this strike, it seems like we don't know what to do-- to mourn, or to try to move on? To bask in the grief and the sadness, or to fight for optimism and try to find silver linings? 

When I try to pray, I don't get any farther than Jesus, please...

And every time it stops there, because I can't go on. I don't know what to say, I don't know what to request. It's just too much. Jesus, please is all I have. 

And in the midst of Jesus, please, I remember this:

"The LORD says, 'I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts...'" (Joel 2:25 NLT)

And I know I wrote a lot about this a few weeks ago, and I know I meant it, but I don't want to remember it now. I don't want my faith to be drummed up, I don't want to offer some fake, cheery hope to people who are missing their friends, their limbs, their children. Right now, even the hope of redemption can feel a little bit callous. Like it somehow insults the valid feelings of grief and loss right now. 

And so I try to ignore the quiet voice promising to redeem even this. The promise that even this is not beyond restoration...somehow. In some way. 

It doesn't seem possible...that there could be any sort of redemption to come from this. What would be nice, I inform God, is if you could maybe just give these folks back their loved ones. Or their limbs. I'm pretty sure that's all they really want...not some grand promise of a someday redemption.

I love how I can just tell God how best to run the world. I'm sure he really values my input. And as soon as I finish telling him what's up, I lose my bravery once again and it's just Jesus, please.

And again He says:
"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten..." (Joel 2:25 NIV)

Even this. Even now. Even when we're too broken, too angry, too sad to want to hear it. Even still, He promises to redeem.

Boston, my heart breaks for you. In the depths of my sorrow, I know that I can't even begin to understand what it's like for you right now. And there's nothing like some girl who has no idea what it's like to go through this coming and offering promises of redemption, but here I am. I pray Jesus, please and He whispers back that even this He will redeem. I don't know what it will look like, but I wait with you in expectation and hope, even as today I cry. Jesus, come.

Monday, April 15, 2013

open table discussion: blogs on FB

Today we're going to have an open table discussion. Sound good? This is a not-terribly-important topic that I've been thinking about the last few days and I figured that you folks-- fellow bloggers and readers-of-blogs--would be a pretty good crowd to seek advice and opinions from. So here we go!

Today's topic regards posting links to your blog on Facebook. I know a lot of people (a lot of you, a lot of my other FB friends) do this. You have it set so that when you post a new blog, it automatically posts a link on your FB wall. For some reason, I've never personally done this. But not because I dislike it or think it's stupid-- I don't really have any good reason for why I don't engage in this. That's why I want to discuss.

I do have a link to my blog listed under my 'contact information' on my 'About' page. So it's not like my blog is a big FB secret-- my opinion has always been that if you wanted to find my blog via FB, you could. But I guess if you're not looking for it, you may never notice it-- as opposed to if I were putting links to new posts on my wall a few times a week. On the rare occasion that someone else shares a link to my blog on their own wall (and tags me in it), I inevitably get a bunch of emails/comments like "OMG I didn't know you had a blog, why didn't you tell me??!"...like...umm...was I supposed to personally notify everyone I knew back in 2008 when I started my blog? The greater question is why don't you adequately stalk people on FB, my friend? Exactly.

So personally, I rather like when people post a link to their blog (when there's a new post). Once. Or maybe twice, if there's a long period of time in between. I don't enjoy 5 FB posts and 3 tweets all about the same post, especially if I'm already a subscriber and have already read the post-- that's just overkill. But whatever. So let's assume we're talking about a tasteful single FB post. I'm a fan. A lot of times, for blogs I already subscribe to and read regularly, it's unnecessary, but sometimes a handy reminder (like if I read the post on my phone but didn't comment, I'll see the FB post and remember to go back and comment). For people whose blogs I don't read regularly or subscribe to, I like to see the link because if it sounds interesting, I may want to go check it out. And I mean, let's face it: My FB newsfeed is so junked up with stuff I don't care about (ads, politics, game updates, stupid memes)...I can easily ignore the stuff that doesn't interest me...so if it happens to be a blog I'm not interested in, it's no biggie to ignore it. It doesn't hurt my eyes to see a link.

So then I'm like, well, why don't I set my own blog to post on FB? And then I get this weird feeling in my stomach. I don't know why. Because I like when other people do it. But I feel weird about doing it myself. Anyone care to psychoanalyze that conundrum?

So here's where I need you to weigh in. If you currently have your own blog set to post on FB-- do you like it? Do you get more random (well, I guess not THAT random, since they're your FB friends) readers? Do you feel weird about it? If you don't blog or don't post your blog to FB-- how do you feel about it in general? Do you think it's annoying when people do that? Do you like it? Do you think I should do it? Would you roll your eyes at me if I did that? Could you care less one way or the other and wish I would shut up about this? Feel free to share. Ha. Remember, it's an Open Table Discussion, so...go!

PS. To be clear, I'm referring to my personal FB page-- not a 'fan page' for my blog. I don't have one of those. That will have to be a separate discussion for a later date, so hold your breath. 

PPS. I am not even close to considering a blog 'fan page' on FB. Just to be clear about the first PS. You will probably be holding your breath for a long time.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

yesterday I was almost famous

You don't know how close you were to knowing a celebrity. Namely me. Except for then it didn't work out, so I'm just stuck being the same old me as always. Oh well.

Friday afternoon I noticed a posting on the Atlanta Journal Constitution's webpage saying that Catching Fire (book/movie 2 in the Hunger Games trilogy) was re-shooting some scenes in Atlanta on Saturday and they needed some more extras- male and female, ages 18-35. Interested parties were to send three pictures and some information to a certain email address.

Guess how many seconds it took me to decide I was definitely interested? Exactly- somewhere in the neighborhood of .2 to .3. I quickly gathered my photos (and Matt's, what the heck) and sent in our info. Then I spent the rest of the day plotting my quick rise to stardom that would surely result from my acting debut. I was going to tear up the red carpet next award season, yall!!

But then it happened. Or rather, it didn't.

No one called. No one texted. No one emailed. No one needed me to be an extra.

Let's take a moment of silence to remember what could have been.

And now we're over it. Oh well. They obviously weren't ready for this jelly, so...their loss. Now their movie probably won't win ANY awards, and I'll just have to slowly shake my head (and my fist) and remind them that you shoulda picked me.


Clearly they're unaware of what a beast I am at archery. Too bad, so sad, Hunger Games people. Your loss.

I had a pretty great Saturday anyway. There was plenty of fun in the sun (aka yard work), golf-watching, some Man Clothes shopping (I know, a very foreign experience for us all, but Matt has been wearing the same clothes to work for like 5 years and it was high time), some nail polish shopping (had to even out the shopping balance), and trips to several different Verizon stores that finally resulted in me getting a new (non-janky) phone (that doesn't freeze up and/or die every 30 seconds), and a trip to the dog park. Pretty exciting day!

Last night I discovered that E nominated me (or rather, this post) for BlogHer's Voices of the Year! Obviously this is my next big chance to grab the fame and fortune that eluded me yesterday. Or not. But it is pretty fun. If you want to show me some love and/or you have nothing more exciting to do for the next five minutes, you can go here to vote for me. I think you have to sign up or register or get a BlogHer account (whatever they call it) in order to vote, but it's probably not that painful, so don't let it deter you. Just think about how those Catching Fire people wronged me and do what you can to set things right in the world. Thanks so much. (Can you tell I'm getting super uncomfortable soliciting votes? This probably means I will never be running for public office. Which is shocking, given how much I delight in politics...)

Anyways. I should probably go do something productive, considering Matt just spent 25 minutes IRONING and he just now trotted off declaring that he was going to switch out his summer/winter clothes. And I'm still lounging on the couch. Ugh. How dare he try to show me up in productivity? Lamesauce.

(Also, in book news: last week I finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire...I was unable to make it to the library and fetch the third book this weekend, but chances are really good I'll get it done sometime this week. NOW. I obviously want to watch the movie(s) next-- opinions on whether to go for the original Swedish movies (I can handle subtitles) versus the more recent American version? Also, I don't have Netflix. Where will I find the Swedish ones to rent?)   


Thursday, April 11, 2013

who needs ESPN when you've got me?

Yesterday afternoon I was doing a little research on this webpage. A co-worker came up from behind me and saw the computer screen. From a few feet away, she exclaimed in astonishment:

"Are you browsing eHarmony??!!!! That looks like eHarmony!!" I cackled out loud with laughter and waited for her to get close enough to see what it really was. "Oh. Golf? You like the Masters? Actually, that's probably not a bad group to pick a husband in, really..." and I had to agree. You could do worse. And is there any other sporting tournament with such a variety of ages and nations represented and playing? As a world-renowned sports expert, I submit to you that there is not. 

Anyway. YES I like the Masters. I'm from Augusta. It would be extremely wrong not to love the Masters. While I don't pay a whole lot of attention to golf the other 11.75 months of the year, for the first week in April- I'm all about it. So I needed to find out what time 'my' players were teeing off and what the pairings looked like. And then I realized that my choosing of golfers to root for is only slightly more legit than my March Madness bracketology. So naturally I wanted to share my picks for this year so that you can join me in rooting for them (since I get the feeling that 98% of you really couldn't care less about golf...and the 2% that do are also from Augusta and probably have your own complex Golfer Picking Methods. Or maybe you actually know golf for more than one week a year. Whatever).

My #1 Pick of All Time: Sergio Garcia (Spain)


I have been rooting for Sergio since 2000. At that point in time I was 17 and he was about 20 and I'll give you three guesses why I followed him around the National all year that year (I worked at the Masters--HUGE PERK OF LIVING IN AUGUSTA), but I'm guessing that you only need one. Yup. I was pretty sure I was destined to become Mrs. Garcia. For the record, Matt is well aware of my love deep respect for Sergio and isn't threatened by the fact that when my dad calls to tell me that "my man's on TV" or "my man had a great round yesterday at the such-and-such tournament," I get pretty giddy. It's cool. The great thing about being a Sergio fan is that it's never crowded there. He's never done so well that it's really trendy to root for him (ahem, I'm looking at you, millions of Tiger groupies...). Half the years he doesn't even make the cut for rounds 3 and 4. It's okay. I'm no fair weather fan. I will be Sergio's #1 fan until he retires from golf, and probably even after that. 

So as always, my #1 pick for the year is Sergio. But I've learned that it's good to have a few backup picks just in case he gets knocked out early...I mean, it's no fun having no one to root for on Sunday. Therefore I present to you--

My #2 Pick: Bubba Watson (US)


I've been rooting for Bubba since...last year when he was the playoffs to win the tournament (and he did). So. Not a lot of history there. HOWEVER. What an amazing guy. I became his Twitter follower immediately following the conclusion of the tournament and watching him blubber all over the place, bawling his eyes out about how he was happy to win the Masters, but it all paled in comparison over his excitement about the baby he and his wife had just adopted a few days prior to the tournament. Hearing his story about their infertility and journey to adoption (his wife wasn't even at the Masters to see him win- they hadn't even had the baby for a week yet!) and his excitement over being a daddy...oh my GOSH. Not a dry eye in the world, I'm pretty sure. Not to mention Bubba went to my alma mater!! At the same time as me! I'm pretty sure we had some classes together...okay, no I'm not, but what if we did? Anyways, Bubba's the real deal and a really good golfer and incumbent winner...of course I'm pulling for him!

Although it's pretty safe to assume that at least of my top two picks will make it through to Sunday, I decided to let one final golfer into my good graces and favor this year.

My #3 Pick: Guan Tianlang (China)

This is Guan's first tournament, and I really don't know a thing about him except that he's FOURTEEN YEARS OLD. I mean, for real! How cool is that? In the MASTERS! This isn't the Olympics, where the barely-pottytrained crowd regularly compete. This is an old man's sport. So I'm pretty excited to see an 8th grader stepping up to the plate, and I will definitely be checking up on him and cheering when he's doing well. Unless he starts acting like a 14 year old boy. In which case I will write him off as obnoxious and move on with life. So don't screw this up, Guan.

So there ya have it: My 2013 Masters Picks. Feel free to join me in cheering for these obviously excellent choices as you drink your lemonade, munch on your egg salad sandwich, and dream of azaleas and Amen Corner. There is truly nothing as delightful as a warm April day on the Augusta National, and even though I'm practically the only one in my family that won't actually be there this year, I'll happily watch on TV and bask in the happy memories. And cheer for Sergio. Obviously.