Thursday, August 29, 2013

the next best game

Last week when I mentioned the awesomeness of Cards Against Humanity, you guys got pretty excited. A lot of you are fellow enjoyers of that game, or think you will be now that you know you can get it for free. A few weeks year ago (SHEESH!!! Where does the time go? I swear I wrote this like five minutes ago!) I shared 'Telephone Pictionary' with yall-- not a game I invented, by any means, but a really fun (free, DIY) game my family, friends, and I have been playing for the last few years. Yall got pretty excited about that one, too-- in fact, enough of you felt like 'pinning' it that I still get random traffic here from that post. Right on, game-playing party-people. So based on this evidence, I can conclude that games are a hit around here. 

Which is why when I saw this, I knew I'd have to share.

But first I had to track down the original source, lest I commit the unforgiveable blog crime of stealing someone else's amazing idea and hard work and claiming it as my own. Let's be clear here: I didn't make this. It looks like this girl did, so mad props for her for being hilarious and awesome. Too bad it doesn't look like she blogs anymore...we could probably be friends. So without further adieu, I present to you everyone's favorite new game:

 Please do yourself a favor and read every single game space. It's hilarious. Anyway, I'm sure you're all rushing off to print your game boards now, so I won't keep you. Enjoy!

PS. I feel like this would be great to keep on hand and whip out to play while waiting for your next RE appointment. You know, just proposition some other random sad stranger in the waiting room? Surely they could appreciate it. Ha!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

muddy the waters, why dontcha?

Betcha thought I forgot about our little Facebook discussion a few weeks ago. Well, I didn't. I'm just really lazy and never felt like recapping the survey. All those screen shots, you know? Phew. That's some work. But then again, it's a jerk move to beg you all to vote and then hoard the results to myself. I couldn't do it. So here we go! The results! Also...I realize that to make these little charts big enough that you can actually read them, the pictures will 'bleed' over into my right-hand side bar. I'm sorry about that. But I think it's a lesser evil than having to click to enlarge every single picture. Soooo...yeah.


I don't think I really need to summarize this stuff-- those of you that chose to elaborate did a great job of explaining yourselves!

I thought this was interesting: basically no one (that voted) likes blog FB pages because of the ability to see updated's all about the extra interaction! Who knew?

This is pretty self-explanatory. Don't you like how I minced no words with my option choices here? Tell me how you REALLY feel, people!! (and you did!)

I like how one person is getting so disillusioned by my survey that four questions in, they've decided to just rid themselves of FB altogether. HAHAHAHAHA. Not my intent at all, I swear!!! 

HA! So your conclusion is that you mostly hate blog FB pages, you REALLY hate seeing the 'new post!' thing in your newsfeed, you MAYBE think I should make a page anyway, but ONLY IF IT'S GOING TO BE AWESOME. I mean, no pressure. NO PRESSURE AT ALL.

So while truly this survey (like the one about commenting systems) only served to muddy the waters, it was still fun to see all the honest responses...and I was truly shocked by how many people were not fans of seeing the 'updated post' things! That really doesn't bother me at all (unless it's like multiple reminders a day...that's annoying), so that was really interesting to me!

Obviously I have not started a blog FB yet...not sure whether I will or not, but the added pressure to only do it if I can make it awesome is definitely daunting. Since apparently just reminding you that I've posted is not going to be enough to qualify it as awesome, I'm going to have to do some serious soul searching to think of what I could do that would take it up to that required level of awesomeness to make it worth it. Would amazing pictures of vacation do? Mojito of the day photos? Ha. 

And you may recall that there was a final question completely unrelated to the rest of the survey that I have not mentioned. Obviously the topic of that question was far more important than the rest of the survey and cannot be lumped in with today's post. It deserves a discussion all of its own, so just hold your breath and pray that you voted correctly lest my scathing remarks burn you straight to the depths of your soul. For someone as generally apathetic about polarizing topics as I am, I have surprisingly strong feelings about this one. Get ready

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

thanks...i think.

You know what I love? Compliments that...maybe aren't? You know what I mean? Like when someone says "you look like you feel better today!" You're like...ummm, thanks...apparently I looked like crap yesterday? That. I have three excellent compliment-maybes from the last three days. One of which is actually super awesome.

1. At church on Sunday I (was wearing a super cute outfit and) had on my favorite platform sandals. People who felt like commenting on my outfit/shoes had one of two "compliments": #1- (an ACTUAL compliment) 'You look cute!'/'Love those shoes!' know, something along those lines. Thanks! Thanks! #2- 'You're tall!' Ummm....yes? Thank you? I'm sorry? How is one supposed to respond to that! With an estimate newly enhanced height? (guessing 5'10ish?) To be sure, I think that the 'you're tall!' thing is a totally normal reaction because it probably IS the most notable thing, and maybe they never even looked down to see that the new height is due to SHOES and not, say, a 30-year-old GROWTH SPURT, but still. It makes me laugh every time. What if it hadn't been shoes? What if I actually had GROWN THAT MUCH IN A WEEK? I mean...I would probably be pretty self-conscious about it, so thanks for pointing it out!! Haha. Okay.

2. This morning in the kitchen I noticed Matt's outfit clothes (he always hates if I call his clothes an outfit. Weird boy.) and said 'You look nice, I like your clothes today.' It was a shirt and pants he doesn't normally wear together and it looked nice, so, there ya have it. He thanked me and then returned the compliment by saying "You look really comfy!" and I just had to die laughing. I mean, I was wearing my work indicating that they look comfy makes me feel like I just threw on some sweats or something. And let's be honest-- today's clothes involve actual waistbands and zippers, so I feel like that should count for something! Yesterday's Duggar-esque maxi skirt was a lot comfier. But anyway. I was dying laughing while Matt re-evaluated his words and redelivered the compliment in a way that sounded a little more complimentary.

3. Yesterday I was wearing this necklace. And please note that the picture is not from yesterday, but from Fashion Week, which is why I am looking so ridiculously faux-dramatic. It was just the best picture of the necklace I could find. Don't judge me.
Anyway, this is far from the first time I've worn this necklace (it's in regular rotation), but for some reason TWO different people made the same bizarre-to-me comment about it. "Have you read/seen Harry Potter?", they started. This is always a terrible question for me because I have to admit that I have not (well, I watched the first few movies when they first came out but I fell asleep halfway through and don't remember anything, so I'm not sure it counts) YET read/seen them. And that's just embarrassing because like, duh. Who doesn't love HP? Especially someone who likes to read as much as me? And I really have no good excuses for my delinquency and I keep saying that someday I will get around to it, but whatever. Hasn't happened yet. SO when these co-workers ask that and I say 'no,' then they're slightly disappointed but went on to explain that there's something (with some long made up name that I don't remember) in the HP books that apparently looks like my necklace and they like STEAL PEOPLE'S SOULS or something. A soul-stealing necklace? That's pretty awesome. So apparently every time I've worn this necklace, people are reminded of this HP thing. And not having read the book, I'm not sure whether this soul-stealing necklace is a bad thing or a good thing, but for my personal, everyday life, I'm calling it a win. Wearing a necklace full of stolen souls sounds pretty badass and since I didn't do the triathlon, I'm still looking for something to qualify me as a maybe this will be it. Erika: She didn't run a triathlon, but she will wear your soul in her necklace. That should get me some fresh respect, right? Exactly.

On a completely unrelated note, I would like to give a big shout-out to my new friend 2DogNight over at The Grand Science Experiment. Homegirl took the bull by the horns and MAILED me a book that she absolutely knew I would love to take to the beach!!

It totally made my day to arrive home to such a fun surprise yesterday afternoon!! In addition to Rules of Civility, which I am pumped to read, there was a sweet hand-written note. Doesn't she have beautiful handwriting? It's nice to see someone else who prefers to write in cursive. Sometimes I feel like I'm all alone in the world, doing my thing in cursive...but alas, I am not! Anyway-- many thanks to her for braving the post office and making my day!!  

'Aight. Any particularly awesome 'compliment-but-not' stories? My first two were pretty lame...I feel like you can do better (although you probably can't beat having a soul-stealing necklace). Pregnancy-related ones are welcomed...I feel like pregnant people are ripe picking for pseudo-compliments, and today I feel like I can hear these stories without crying, so let 'em rip!

Monday, August 26, 2013

on family, reviewing books, and long-haired-girl dilemmas

We had a relaxing, enjoyable, semi-productive (last) weekend (before vacation)! I also managed to take zero pictures. Terrible, Erika. Just terrible. Oh well.

Friday night my parents arrived (with dogs and parrot in tow, of course!) (yes, I generously allow their parrot to reside in my home (IN ITS CAGE, of course) every time they come to visit. You can't accuse me of not being a team player!). We kicked things off with an abundance of Mexican food consumption. See? It's genetic. Not my fault. As we're en route to the Mexican place my mom's like 'oh, have yall already eaten here a lot this week? Are you not feeling Mexican food tonight?' and it's like 'oh, maybe five a night or so....don't worry, we NEVER GET TIRED OF IT. Do you think it's a coincidence we choose to vacation in Mexico??' Playa, please. (Haha. For my Spanish-speaking friends, that was the American ghetto-speak 'player'...not 'beach.' Just FYI.)

On Saturday morning when I rolled out of bed, I couldn't find my mom. I knew she'd been up because the coffee was made, but she (and her pets) were nowhere to be found. Luckily I'm a detective and it didn't take me long to crack this case-- she was out in the flower beds catching up on all the weed-pulling I haven't done this summer. Score one for Mom!! I was like 'please, come every weekend.' I can roll out of bed, the coffee is made, and you're doing the boring part of yard work? NEVER LEAVE ME, MOMMY!! Soon my dad and Matt joined her and as I sat on my tush in a lawn chair, enjoying the relatively cool breeze, I watched as everyone else weeded, re-shaped hedges, and trimmed trees! It was pretty fantastic. My yard looks ten times better now and I can take absolutely no credit for it, but I'm totally fine with that. I mean, someone had to watch after the dogs. So...yeah.

My parents stayed until after dinner on Saturday. We spent the rest of the afternoon/evening doing important things like taking naps, grilling steaks, and doing our best to take a scientific approach towards sampling the Blue Moon Autumn Sampler case. After they left, I started PACKING! The good news is that my (one checked) suitcase is completely full. The bad news is that I have yet to pack any shoes, makeup/toiletries, or accessories. Therefore I spent some time carefully constructing my case for each pair of shoes that I'm going to have to convince Matt to pack in his suitcase. Wish me luck, and also let me know if you have any compelling arguments in favor of (really large, heavy) platform sandals. I feel like my defense is weakest in that area.

I've also been downloading books like a madman (Current Kindle library count: 120. Sufficient? I'm not sure.). Last night I just couldn't help myself and went ahead and read one. Good thing, too, because IT SUCKED and I wouldn't have wanted to taint my vacation with that nonsense. Tainting a Sunday night at home is fine. Wasting hours in a beach chair on subpar literature? No bueno. This brings me to my next question. Alright, so it was a free Kindle download book, which greatly lessens my anger at having wasted time reading it. At least I didn't also waste money. But apparently (from reading other reviews) it's not always free. It looks like it is normally in the .99-1.99 range. So here's where I'm in an ethical dilemma: should I post a truthful review of the book? I mean, I really hate leaving negative reviews. I'm firmly in the camp of 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything.' BUT. I'm also a huge fan of non-biased reviews on books, and this one seems to be lacking, as the vast majority are glowing reviews from probably friends and family of the author...with only a few brave people like myself who actually READ IT and felt the same way I do? I don't know. But I can only imagine that as a just-starting-out author who probably stalks her Amazon reviews like crazy (I mean, there were only 50 or 60 reviews total, but the 'average' rating was like 4.75 or something)...negative reviews are probably really awful. But what if they're not mean (none of the negative reviews there are mean, they're just...truthful) but really objective facts that could possibly help the author improve her future books? I dunno. Thoughts?

Because the author REALLY REALLY needs to know this: Homesteading farmers/miners living in the Kansas Territory during the 1850s did not say 'hell to the no.' I WASN'T THERE, BUT I CAN GUARANTEE YOU THAT THEY NEVER SAID THAT. And neither does anyone today. So just NO, PLEASE NO. Never use that phrase in a book again EVER. Thanks. That certainly wasn't the biggest issue in the is merely a symptom of a greater problem.

SO!  Onto a few short (okay, regular-length) days of work, and then vacation!! Today I'm 'test driving' an outfit that might be my travel day outfit. It's super comfy, but I'm faced with the dilemma that confronts me every time I wear long skirts: do I look like a Duggar? I have very long hair (normally pulled up/back since it's too hot for that hair-down nonsense)...when I wear a long skirt, I start wondering if people think I'm part of that long-skirt-long-hair conservative denomination? Maybe there aren't lots of people like that in other regions, but it's fairly normal 'round, I just wonder. 

Over and out, people. (Yep. Still need to learn more walkie talkie language. Add it to my to-do list!)

Friday, August 23, 2013


I feel like a broken record here, starting out half my posts this way, but seriously: thank you. started out pretty rough. But y'all were awesome and your support, prayers, and encouragement absolutely got me through a tough morning. I can't say thank you enough. 

I would have called it a success if I merely survived the day, but I'm happy to report that towards the latter half of it, I actually really enjoyed it!! I would like to recommend the following three things as a great antidote to a day that otherwise may be sucky:

1) Plum Paper Designs planners. I am a huge fan of planners and use them obsessively, especially at work. My current planner is running out of months and I've taken to keeping elaborate post-it notes for 2014..."put this on Feb calendar when you get one!!"'s dumb. Anyway, my current work planner, while functional, is lacking in aesthetics and personality. So I decided to see if the cutesy, monogrammed online world of custom planners could meet my needs at a price pointy boss could get on board with. And I found success!! The perfect, highly customizable planner with the functionality and cuteness that I desire require! And the boss agreed and said to order away!! So it was a huge and exciting win and now I have the arduous task of choosing the cover design I want. Wish me luck. 

2) Awesome friends. Our friends the Moores have been in town for a few days and we've been enjoying spending our after-work hours with them and the Gurleys. Heading over there for dinner (that I didn't have to cook) and drinks after work was exactly what the doctor ordered, in large part because we spent the (post-kids going to bed) hours playing...

3) Cards Against Humanity. Oh. My. Gosh. I actually almost DIED playing this game last night. That's how good it is. I was laughing SO hard and SO much that I seriously couldn't breathe sometimes. It was amazing. Even better- we got the game for free!! We hadn't planned ahead and ordered the game, but upon checking out the web page, we discovered that you can (legally) download and print the game cards for free!! So a printer cartridge and three pairs of scissors later, we had our very own game set! We felt so crafty. So anyway, if you have a highly warped sense of humor and some awesomely inappropriate friends on hand, I highly recommend you check out this game. If you are easily offended, I suggest you stay far, far away. 

This trifecta of events no doubt contributed to my crashing into bed last night exhausted but happy, and for that I am thankful. Today is starting off fabulously with a pre-work coffee blog-date with Meghan that was fun and did NOT result in me being serial murdered (contrary to popular thought about meeting people from the internet), and tonight my parents are coming to town to visit, so that will be happy. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

today I woke up crying.

Last night I dreamed I had a baby. And I woke up sobbing this morning.

It was a beautiful dream. And to be honest, I haven't had a dream about being a mother in a very, very long time. Maybe a year. I'm not in the habit of it, and that is a-okay with me. Because I hate it. Not the dream part. But the part where you wake up and realize that none of it is true. Maybe none of it will ever be true.

In the dream I had just had the baby- via c-section. I was just waking up from the surgery and hadn't yet seen the baby, whom I knew was a girl. As I sat up (I felt great! And also I was in my bed in my parents' house, ha. A homebirth c-section? Sure, why not.) I could hear everyone downstairs fussing over the baby. My baby. And I couldn't wait for them to bring her up so that I could meet her. My grandfather was the one who brought her up to me-- he's in his late eighties and very wobbly...I was so scared he was going to drop her, but he made it just fine. I held my baby and it was the best thing I'd ever done in my whole life.

Like this- only for once it was my baby and not my niece. In the dream, while I held her, Matt came in. We called her by name--THE name. The name we have always held on to, the name our daughter, should we ever have one, will be named. The name of the baby we've prayed for for so long. I couldn't believe that the name finally had a baby to go with it. It was as surreal and magical in the dream as I imagine it would be if it ever happened in real life. The 'me' in the dream was the real me...the me of today, the me that has spent the last five years watching everyone else get pregnant and have babies. The me that's spent years holding back tears (or not) as pregnancies get announced and birth announcements get opened. The me that still goes to visit new babies in hospitals, crying the whole way home in the car in fear that it will never be me on the receiving end of those visits. That was the me in the dream last night, the one who finally FINALLY got her heart's desire. And it was the most wonderful few minutes of my life, staring at my baby's perfect face. The most wonderful minutes of my life. But it was only a dream.

And I woke up and started crying, because it was only a dream. It may only ever be a dream.

Matt said "no, that's a happy dream. That's good! Maybe it's a sign!"

But I've had too many signs, too many years of things that made me feel happy only to crush my hopes again later. And so I can't feel happy about it. I am sad that I had the dream because now I have to deal with these stupid emotions again. Instead of waking up feeling cautiously optimistic but completely emotionally detached, as I prefer, now I'm sad again. Now I remember what I don't have. As if spending all day every day watching everyone else live out my dream isn't enough reminding. Now it has to haunt my dreams, too. And the few minutes of imaginary bliss aren't worth it. Now I have to live today with those images haunting my mind. It's 8 a.m. and I've already cried off my makeup- twice. And I hate that. 

So I'll dry my tears again and try to pull myself together. Unfortunately, today's just another day where I don't wake up and get to snuggle my baby. I don't get to complain about being tired from feeding my baby all night. I don't get to argue with my husband about whose turn it is to change diapers. Again. I'm pretty good at living this non-baby life, and most of the time I can even find something in it to be happy about. It's just a little harder today. I hate days that start in tears. 

"I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning."- Lamentations 3:20-23, NLT (emphasis mine)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Thanks for feigning enjoyment over yesterday's ambitious poetry! Did it at least take you by surprise? I don't know. I think I'd get pretty pumped to wake up and happen upon some unexpected limerick-blogging...but maybe it's just me? I must confess that back in college I was quite the prolific writer of lengthy limericks for my friends. Birthdays, special events-- most things called for a good limerick. I got really quick at writing them, too! Now I'm rusty, but maybe it's one of those things that'll come back if you work at it. We shall see. Also, at least I'm sure we all agree that limericks are the best form of poetry. I wish Chris from Bachelorette understood that. He could have saved America from a lot of uncomfortable giggling if he'd simply employed a different form of poetry with which to serenade Des. Amen? Amen. Regular poetry=awkward. Limericks=awesome. Take note, fellas.

But seriously, ain't nothing exciting (other than mowing the lawn) going on in my life right now. 100% of my mental energy is being put towards Vacation Prepping. Yes, I have been prepping for vacation and thinking about vacation and talking about vacation since I booked it IN JANUARY. I can't help it. I think it's genetic? My mom always talks about upcoming vacations for like 6 months too, so I think I just think it's ingrained in me as the right thing to do. But now that the countdown is in the single digits, I'm REALLY prepping. 

Sometimes I work on things that I can check off this list. (Or-- and I know I'm not the only one that does this-- I do something and THEN add it to my list and check it off. Cha-ching!) Sometimes I devote an entire evening to laying out all of my bikinis and cover-ups and then trying them all on, mix-and-matching the pieces and taking notes about which combinations are best and which cover-up best compliments them. Important stuff, yall. And then last night I spent at least an hour cleaning up my Kindle, downloading new books, and trying to make sure I have a wide variety of genres represented...I mean, what if I get to Mexico and just don't feel like reading chick lit? Good thing I got some more dystopian YA. But then if I'm not feeling that, there's hard-boiled detective fiction. And a World War II memoir. And even some non-fiction, as per Matt's request. Having a diverse library on your Kindle is probably tantamount to enjoying vacation, which is why I'm taking the task very seriously. And if you have any YOU MUST READ THIS!!!!! book suggestions, I will take them now. And I will be extra happy if you follow up your suggestion with 'I have it on Kindle and am happy to lend it to you!!' because I do not have endless monies to spend on electronic books, people. Seriously. Ha. (I am in particular looking to borrow the book(s) that follow Divergent...I bought Divergent last night but what if I really like it and want to read the sequels? They are more expensive, so I'm hoping to either borrow them or otherwise I'll have to wait til after vacation and get them at the library. Bah.)

I have not yet put much thought into the fate of my blog while I'm gone. I know. What kind of human am I? Apparently a terrible one. How can I just assume you will all be okay and your lives will go on if I'm not here to blab away every (weekday) morning? How selfish of me. No, but really. Some of you are so good and proactive at setting things up for your blogs while you're on vacation! A lineup of guest bloggers! Scheduled posts! It's like you never left! I haven't yet made it to that level, I guess. Last year I think I pre-scheduled one post and then I ended up posting a few (picture-heavy) times from my phone. This year the internet situation has changed-- last year the resort had free wireless in the lobby. So I could plop down a few times a day and catch up on all the internet from my phone. Otherwise I didn't use the internet at all, since I didn't enable any kind of data plan. This year they have decided to charge $15 a DAY for the (still-crappy, from what I hear) wireless in the lobby. Ummm...negative, cap'n. So I'm going to get the 'global data plan' from Verizon, which will only give me 100mb, but at least I can use it anywhere (and not just the lobby)? But I have no real concept of how much data 100mb is and fear blowing through it really quickly. (?) So I think I will probably be mostly just posting pictures and such to Instagram and FB, since I can easily keep track of how big the pictures I post are. Some IRL people have expressed amazement that I think I can't go a week without internet. I don't think it's that unbelievable. The main thing, honestly, is that I really have to be able to keep tabs on some potential adoption situations. If I can't get emails or calls for a week, what if something came up and we were unreachable? THAT CANNOT HAPPEN. I absolutely have to be able to check my email. So since there's that, then that also means that while I'm at it, having internet, I can have the fringe benefit of semi-keeping up with social media. So there, incredulous people. 

If you follow me on IG, this is the kind of exciting thing you can expect to see!! Last year I only posted 8 pictures on IG for my whole vacation! That's kind of sad; I expect to do better this year.
Umm....that was probably the least interesting paragraph I've ever written. So sorry. That said, any thoughts about vacation blogging? Pre-schedule posts? Write some more limericks? Post some of my 'best of' from the archives? Rustle up some guest posts? Do nothing? Don't make me make a survey people. Oh! Or maybe I should make one to go up in my absence. Ha. But actually that would kill me to know there was a live survey up and not be able to check its progress frequently. Probably couldn't handle that. I don't need that kind of stress on vacation. :)

Have I mentioned that we're taking walkie talkies to the resort with us this year? YEAH. Walkie talkies. Roger that. I am probably WAY too excited about this walkie talkie action. But we figured it'd be the best way to be able to keep track of our friends that we're going with, since we won't be able to just text and be like 'where are you?'...and then a co-worker lent me his freakin awesome walkie talkies, so bam. There you have it. 10-4. (I need to learn more walkie talkie code words, obviously. Roger that.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

a limerick about yard work. no, seriously.

An office worker by day am I-
With air conditioning and much coffee, the hours go by.
    Editing webpages all day,
    Proofing grammar-- oy vey.
While my heart longs for green grass and blue sky.

So when five o'clock comes and I leave,
From climate-controlled buildings I seek my reprieve.
    Discarding wedges and trendy shirt
    Donning old Asics, stained with dirt,
And to my dreams of being a farmer I cleave.

"Dibs on the tractor!" to the husband I say,
For its power and speed call to me this day.
    And as I circle 'round and 'round
    Piles of wet grass and angry ants abound,
As I gleefully race my trusty steed through the fray.

And the husband watches warily on
As I cluelessly surge across the lawn,
    For it happens every time
    (I'm kinda helpless, is that a crime?)
That the thing breaks, and Matt's help is called upon.

But such a mower-fixer as he you've never met,
A handy skill when you're married to me, I bet.
    For in all my exhilaration
    I lack the proper concentration
And paying attention to what I'm doing? I forget.

For when I'm up on my mower, you see
Going fast and turning donuts fills me with glee!
    And the more mundane things-
    Like going straight and listening for strange pings?
Well, those things from my consciousness do flee.

But since Matt's skills are always up to speed,
It's back to business in no time- on my steed!
     Bringing order to my land
     As I raise up my hand
And salute my farm-boy, though 'slow down!' his eyes plead.

As I circle around again
I smile and I laugh in the wind-
     I get the best of both worlds,
     Farmer life and office girl.
(And a husband with a lovely back end.)
PS. It's my seven-hundredth post! You should offer a toast!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mattie conquers a tri!

I don't know how to say this except just to say it, folks:

I'm married to a triathlete.


Yesterday was the Big Day and despite his nerves, Mattie did AWESOME completing his first tri!!! I am SO proud of him, as is evidenced by the almost 200 pictures I took during our 3ish hours there. Don't worry, I'm only going to bore you with 190 of them. Out of the goodness of my heart. So. Much. Goodness.

So we had to be up by 5, which is obviously why I woke up at 3 and was unable to ever go back to sleep. It was super awesome.

We were on the dark and rainy road by 5:30. Have you ever driven around Athens at 5:30 a.m. on a Sunday? I'm guessing not, since it seemed like the ONLY other drivers were other people participating in the tri. This was evidenced by the presence of fancy bikes on bike racks and various oval stickers with 26.2 and 140.6 on them. And also, I mean, why else would anyone in the world be driving around in the rain at that kind of hour? Exactly. They wouldn't.

Once in the park, we had to park about 11 miles away from where check-in was. Always great to get in a nice pre-race warm-up, right? Apparently some people thought so, since we saw some crazy folks RUNNING around (already checked in) the the dark...before they're about to do a tri?? Matt said he read somewhere that getting in a warm-up jog or something is a good idea, but I'm not so sure. I think those folks are just super nuts. Once we made it to check-in, near the transition area, it started feeling really real. There were people everywhere! Expensive equipment we've never heard of! People that look like they knew what they were doing! It was another world. But we adopted the 'fake it til you make it' philosophy and Matt headed off to 'body marking,' where they use giant Sharpies to write numbers all over your body.

My favorite body marking was the age on your calves. Every competitor had their age written on the back of both calves. I have no idea why, but it made my hours of people-watching much more interesting. I was extremely comforted and encouraged that tons of the most badass looking athletes were in their late 30s to late 40s! Unlike watching the Olympics, where I'm already a decade too old to think about doing any of it...this made me think that it's not too late, and that doing something like tris is something that you can continue doing into your 60s (there were tons of people in their 60s kicking tail!)...and also you will have a smokin' hot bod into your 60s. So, yeah. That was pretty great to find out.

Matt checked in (we'd picked up his race packet Saturday), got his timing chip, settled his bike and equipment into the transition area, lost his timing chip, panicked, found his timing chip, and then kissed me goodbye and headed down to the beach. I carried my 9,000 pounds of luggage/chairs (I looked like I was moving across the country or something. You know. Always prepared!) around in a very aimless fashion until I finally figured out where I could go to watch the swim. Right before the 7:00 start the sun finally came up and the rain slowed to a drizzle and I was able to switch to the dSLR for some mega zoom-lens action during the swim. There were hundreds and hundreds of competitors, so it was no small miracle that I actually was able to locate Matt amongst the throngs of shirtless, black-shorts-clad, blue-swim-cap-wearing men (and women, but it was pretty easy to distinguish him from the ladies)!

No idea where he is here, though.

 And they're off!! They entered the water 3 at a time, every 3 seconds. Matt was waaaaaay towards the back, so he didn't enter the water til almost 30 minutes after they started! (Meaning the guys that had entered first were like...done swimming and halfway done biking before Matt even started!)

I was standing very close to the finish line, so I never saw him enter the water. Matt's mom did, though, so she told me when he was in and then I waited 10 minutes and then started watching the finish area very carefully with my zoom lens. And then I saw him! Yay Mattie! You didn't drown!
Please excuse this gratuitous photo of my extremely good lookin' hunk of a husband. 
So they run up out of the water, across the parking lot, and over to the transition area to get ready for biking. Matt was totally ready for T1, as they call it (first transition), but I think he slightly underestimated one thing: pulling a compression shirt onto his wet torso. Please enjoy the most hilarious pictures ever: Matt Does Contortionist Things to Get His Shirt On-

After her got his shirt situation figured out, he quickly got the rest of his bike gear set and was on his way to the 14 mile ride!

 This meant I had a good chunk of time to kill. I walked up to the biking finish area, plopped myself down in my chair, and enjoyed analyzing all of the competitors as they rolled in. I was also glad to have Matt's parents there to chit-chat with as we carefully analyzed each bright-yellow-shirted-man in the distance and tried to discern whether it might be Matt. Don't worry, I have an entire photo series of a neon-yellow-shirt-and-black-shorts guy that isn't Matt. Of course, I didn't realize this until I he was 2 feet away from me and I was screaming "GO MATTIE!!!" like a maniac as I snapped pictures...well...oh well. Skinny guys with bike helmets and twinsie's a girl to know?

This was my view most of the day.

Finally he actually DID come by-- and we think his bike time (haven't gotten the official times from his chip yet) was around 50 minutes, which is better than he was hoping for!!

He graciously acknowledges his adoring fans, who are really just glad they're actually cheering for the right person this time.
He walked the bike back down to T2 and got ready to run. We weren't able to make it down this time, so no pictures--I'm sure you're devastated, but try to move on.

We headed over towards the end of the 5k course and set up our camp one more time. Matt's mom took a picture of yours truly.

A proud lady with a huge honkin' zoom lens...waiting to see her man run by!
It was a surprisingly short wait...and then we saw him!

I feel like his face says it all here. Pretty sure he was D.O.N.E.

And he was! Matt's mom was at the finish line and snapped a few right when he crossed it.

I sprinted to the finish line (so noble of me to jog 100 yards in light of such displays of athleticism...) and attacked him with a big ol' hug and kiss. He was sweaty and stinky and a teensy bit tired, but still obliged us by posing for a few pictures. I know. He's a saint, that Mattie!

And with that, his first triathlon was complete. And he PRd! Ha. I mean, we don't know what the record is, yet, but since it was his was definitely a personal best. We headed over to the expo area and he got his shirt and lots of snacks and drinks. He regaled us with his perspective on the race, answered our dozens of questions, and then we packed it up and headed on home.

And then we slept. After he showered, of course.

It was a great day. I am so proud of him for his hard work training and for persevering and 100% earning his Badass Triathlete status. Yay Mattie!!

Friday, August 16, 2013


Lest I be accused of being unable to organize my thoughts around a theme, please watch in awe as I attempt to write a post around the concept of mud in all of its literal and figurative senses. 

It's cool and rainy this week (and predicted to stay that way through the weekend). It certainly doesn't feel anything like Georgia in August, but it's a nice respite from...well, from a summer that has had very few complaint-worthy hot days to start with. Last night we took advantage of the cool weather (and prayed for the rain to hold out for a few hours) by walking to dinner at the Mexican restaurant, which is about 5.5 miles round-trip. We cut through some trails in the woods which was possibly not the smartest idea given the frequent rain. It was so muddy. I'm telling myself that it made the walk an extra-good workout, since my feet literally sunk down into the mud with every step and I had to heave them back out and plop them down again, only to sink down into the next patch of mud. It was crazy. Luckily I was wearing my non-cute Asics (no neon) that were already ugly and dirty, so it was no big deal. Just crazy. I've been walking those trails for four years now and never seen this much mud!

The triathlon is on Sunday. We spent most of the summer trying to mentally prepare for how hot it would be and how best to dress/prepare for the brutal 7am Georgia heat. Who woulda thought that the forecast is for rain and a high of 72??! And with much of this week being just like that, I'm guessing the lake water could be downright chilly (and VERY muddy)! Craziness. Luckily only Matt will have to deal with that, as my role at the triathlon this weekend is going to be spectator. That's right. 2013 will be the year that I trained for a tri...and...that's about it. :) I would like to blame patellar tendonitis and my inherent inability to stick with a sport for more than 3 months on my flaking out. It's okay though. I'm good with it. I will give myself an A for effort and declare myself to be a little bit badass. You know. Badass enough to want to do a tri. Just lacking in follow-through. Oh well! Join me on Sunday at 7 in cheering on Matt! You can do it from the comfort of your bed, though. No judgment.

Thanks for all your votes and opinions on the blog Facebook survey! Unfortunately, all you've managed to do is severely muddy the waters. Seriously. I've never seen less of a consensus about ANYTHING!! So far it seems like the general thinking is that no one inherently loves blog FB pages, you REALLY don't like your newsfeeds being clogged with 'new post!' reminders, but you think that I probably should start my own blog FB page, but DEFINITELY only if it's going to be awesome. So...thanks. No pressure or anything. And then the superhero thing? I'm just saying. I had no idea so many of you had such terrible taste in superheros. The WRONG superhero was winning for awhile, but finally the right guy has come out (barely) in front. Apparently people who like him are late voters? Ha! All that to say-- voting is still open...I'm hoping that the late-late weekend voters will come out in droves and provide some true enlightenment on the (FB) issue. Feel free to go vote again if you've had any mind-changing or are feeling extra passionate about something today! (Or you've seen the light in the err of your ways regarding superheroes...)

Finally, Mud. Did you know there's a Matthew McConaughey movie by that name? Last weekend (pre-cotton candy) my sisters-in-law and I noticed that it was playing in the local cheap theater. We were contemplating going to see it. When other family members were innocently commenting that they'd never heard of that movie and asking what it was about, here was my answer: "Matthew McConaughey." And the funny thing is that that is a PERFECTLY acceptable and reasonable answer to the ladies of my generation. Oh! The movie is about Matthew McConaughey? Perfect, count me in. There is no need for a plot recap, or a trailer, or a recommendation from The Academy. But people in other demographics apparently don't get that. "But what's it ABOUT?" Ummm...Matthew McConaughey. Didn't I already say that? 

Anyway. Just an interesting observation. We didn't end up going to see it (due to the cotton candy, of course), but it's still on my list. 

Have a lovely (and cold and rainy, if you're in Georgia) weekend!! Cheer hard for Mattie on Sunday! (And thanks for all your cheering for us yesterday. Yall are awesome.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

high five, fist pump.

You know what one of the best things about blogging is? 

You learn how much other people care. And how freakin funny people are. Exhibit A: a comment I received last night on yesterday's post-

I almost fell off my bed laughing at this. Homegirl (okay, Abby) made a SURVEY for me??! Clearly qualifies for BFF status, that's all I'm sayin'. 

But I guess that brings us to the topic at hand that Abby was alluding to: yesterday's follow-up appointment. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably saw me go all crazy-excited with WE GOT GOOD NEWS!!!!!!! as I was leaving the appointment. In retrospect, that was kind-of a jerk move, the vague 'GOOD NEWS!!!'--now quick, disappear and don't say anything specific! post(s). But I'm sure you can understand-- good news must be celebrated, and as such we went directly to Ulta. Obviously nobody has time for texting in Ulta. Sorrynotsorry.(Please note: had we received bad news, we also would have sought comfort by going straight to Ulta. Crazy how makeup works both ways. And also by 'we' I obviously mean that Matt indulges me. Pretty sure he doesn't find any particular comfort or joy in going to Ulta. Actually he probably spends the whole time praying for our bank account.)

SO! I had big plans to update the little chart I made last time, but daggumit I can't find the document ANYWHERE! I looked on all our home computers and jump drives...couldn't find it. Figured it was on my work computer. Can't find it. Stupid. So I can re-post the chart from June and then I'll just have to write out the new results in a paragraph. Such a data presentation failure...hopefully you can forgive me.



Total Count: 95 mil
Total Active: 27.5 mil
Penetration Count: (didn't test this since last time was NORMAL!!!)
Survivability: Not sure about the percentage, but the isolatable fraction count was 1.6 mil (!!!!) (from 300k last time?!?!)
Morphology: (either he didn't test this or just didn't tell us results, oops)
Motility: 29%

He also had his bloodwork redone in order to monitor the effects of the drugs he's on. He didn't previously have any noticeable problems/issues with his hormone levels, etc., so they wanted to make sure the drugs weren't causing any or doing anything else weird. But a nice discovery is that his testosterone level (which was previously on the low end of the normal range, but still totally fine) DOUBLED from 464 to 857!! And the new level is still well within the normal range, so it's a good thing...not too high.

In summary: EVERYTHING WENT UP!!!!!

Dr. W's conclusion: Matt's body is responding REALLY well to the current drug cocktail. He was pretty jazzed (and unlike my freakin optimistic RE, Matt's guy usually keeps his emotions on lockdown a little better). Ready for this?

He said Matt's chances of impregnating someone (haha, I don't say me because I'm not really an ideal candidate...someone normal!!) naturally (w/o ART) have gone from the 10th percentile to the 40th percentile!!!

That's a huge increase!!! Woooo!

But even better??

Well, for one, he said that if we stay on the current drug cocktail (which we are), we can expect to see continued improvements for probably the next six months. Which is awesome!! He said our chances of conceiving naturally have increased dramatically. But of course we should do IVF because now there is like a billion percent chance that it will work. (He didn't say that part about a billion percent. It's just the impression that he gives in his tone, which of course I know is not true because DUH.) So we nod and smile because we're still really not interested in pursuing IVF right now.


Then he says in this sneaky, offhand way: Well, if you're not yet interested in pursuing IVF...I would say you're on the cusp of being able to go for IUI again.

?!?!?! HOLLA!!!!

Because last month that was all I wanted to hear. And he shot it down completely. And our numbers were SO far from the minimum that they'd want us to have to consider IUI again. But now he's singing a different song!! And yeah...I can look at our numbers. They're still not quiiiiite high enough to be where he said he'd want them. But they're a heck of a lot closer. So that's probably why he said 'on the cusp,' which of course I immediately translated to 'WE'RE DOING IUI TOMORROW.' (But not really.)

I tried to play it cool, like I really could care less if our numbers are creeping up into the almost-normal range. Ya know, like my eggs are getting YOUNGER every day. I was all "well, we're doing some traveling this month and next month, so I really don't think I could squeeze it think we could do it in the fall sometime?" and he was like "yeah, that would give you a little longer to see even better results from the meds...that would be good." Totally cool. I'm sure he had no idea I was excited by this news.

Of course, this means I have to get the idea approved by my RE. Dr. W said he'd chat with Dr. S and let him know that he'd approved the idea. I need to make an appointment with Dr. S because I haven't been monitored or had an ultrasound in a year now, since my surgery, and I have no idea what the State of the Uterus (and tubes, and everything else) is. So it's not like we're totally in the clear, but we're a heck of a lot closer than we were on Tuesday!

I don't know why I'm so excited...I think it's just been three long years since my 3 IUIs in fall 2010...three long years of NO DOCTORS BEING WILLING TO DO THEM AGAIN because we were too broken for even that. And that's really something, when it's basically a low-risk, easy-peasy procedure that they get paid a lot of money for whether it works or not. So it's just nice to finally feel like we have an OPTION (that isn't a $20k IVF).

So there's our "WE GOT GOOD NEWS!!!" update. Big numbers improvement and a halfhearted clearance to pursue IUI...I'll take that over an appointment like June's anytime.

And thank YOU for your prayers, for the sweet texts and emails and comments, and for just generally being awesome and caring. You make infertility a much less lonely journey than it used to be. I'm really grateful.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

confessing again

'Bout that time, eh? Let's get to it.

1. My getting-rid-of-dead-flowers issues haven't improved any this summer.

This little lovely is on the dresser in my bedroom. You know, where I see it at least 50 times a day. Not like...tucked away in some remote corner of a guest room where it's out of sight, out of mind...this is in the prime time, buddy. And yet...just look. That's nasty. Who lives like this??! While you're busy being disgusted at how gross I am, you can also spend a moment trying to sound out the titles of the books Matt reads for fun. Not even kidding. FOR FUN! This stuff is not even related to what he does for work. It's entirely possible that man is certifiably insane.

2. I bought some of this a few weeks ago to help me get rid of some plain vanilla ice cream I had lingering in the freezer:
It's entirely possible that it is the most delicious thing I've ever tasted in my entire life, and now that the vanilla ice cream is gone, I just eat it by the spoonful. I know. That's terrible, right? I almost considered getting some more ice cream so that I could be more socially acceptable. BUT- then I realized that really, putting it on top of ice cream is a LESS healthy choice. I mean, if I really couldn't care less about the ice cream, that's just a ton of wasted calories serving as a carrier for what I really want. So if what I really want is a couple amazing bites of salty caramel, then it's really healthier to a couple bites of salty caramel and leave the ice cream at the store. Right? Right. So there you have it: Diet Tips from Erika. (PS. Don't complain when you get fat. I have a hunch this is a terrible diet tip.) (P.P.S. I was answering some kind of survey or questionnaire the other day that asked whether my blog could be classified as 'healthy living' or a 'health' blog. I think that after this tip, I can confidently answer that question with a resounding YES.)

And now that we've established that I'm gross and fat, let's polish off the trifecta of awesomeness with a final confession: I am less technologically advanced than most 80 year olds, because...

3) On Sunday, August 11, 2013, at age 30 and a half, I downloaded iTunes for the first time.

I'm not even Amish.

I just managed to make it this long without something that pretty much everyone else in my generation has counted as critical for the last decade or so. And it wasn't even really intentional, the not-having-iTunes!! It wasn't like ohhh I hate iTunes, I'm NEVER going to sell out!!! was just like...I never needed it. Or cared enough to get it? Or something. Probably helps that until recently I've never owned an Apple product (yes, means that neither my husband or I have ever owned an iPod, which is probably equally shocking. How have we survived??!! Amazingly well, it seems), which makes it much easier to never 'need' iTunes. Even after getting an iPhone, I didn't have to get iTunes...until the Apple people needed to replace my phone, which meant that if I didn't backup everything on iTunes (or a CLOUD, whatever the heck THAT is) that I'd have to start over on my new phone. Which would obviously be dumb. But anyways. I felt like a cavewoman or something on Monday night when I had to Google 'how do you download iTunes?' But I did it, and managed to back up my phone and reload everything to the new phone, which was the whole point of it. I still have not used iTunes to listen to a song, so I'll hold on to that for awhile and hope that it lets me keep some of my street cred at the retirement home.

And I'm done. If we can still be friends after all of this, that would be great. You can come over and admire my dead flowers while we eat caramel sauce from the jar and listen to my eight-tracks. BEST DAY EVER!

PS. We have another appointment with the RE today to get test results for Matt. If you want to join us in praying that things go better than last time, that would be awesome.