Friday, February 28, 2014

advice column: take 1!

Well, well, well. I never should have doubted yall. Not for a second. I've never met a group of people so full of burning questions!! Look-- you asked so many dang questions I was forced to make an Excel spreadsheet to keep track!!!!

As you can imagine, this really broke my heart. Making Excel spreadsheets is just so terribly excruciating for me...

Anyway, the idea with the spreadsheet is that maybe this way I can keep track of who asked what and what I've answered so far. Once I actually answer some questions (like in about two seconds), I'll highlight them! Genius. So let's get started, shall we?

I'm not answering the questions in any particular order. Some of them require more thought (and/or digging up some really old pictures in order to REALLY tell the story), some are funny, some are I'll just pick a little smorgasbord and get going, mkay? (Also, I'll include a link to your blog if I know it/your Blogger profile links to one. Some of you with your profiles linked to Google+...that means I can't find your blog (if you have one) easily. Sorry!!)

Deep and Probing Life Questions and Conundrums: Your Problems Solved!

Rach inquired:

Dear Erika,

Last week I discovered that my cat was licking my toothbrush when he was on the counter waiting for his morning tap water. I threw out that toothbrush and moved them into a cupboard. But what should I do with said cat to keep him from doing it again? Skinning and beheading are not an option, as my guillotine and machetes are undergoing annual maintenance. 

Horrified Cat Mommy

Dear Horrified Cat Mommy,

For one, I want to thank you for making me spew water all over my desk when I read this question. And it looks like a lot of folks had the same reaction, so...thank you for understanding the essence of this advice column: humor. Now, that said, I think I have some super valuable advice that can help you in this legit situation you've found yourself in. I don't think there's anyone here that can honestly say they haven't encountered a similar cat-licking-toothbrush situation. And I admire your desire to avoid (or at least delay) skinning and beheading. Since you've already solved most of the problem by putting your (new, un- cat-licked) toothbrush in a closed cabinet, it seems that your next step is going to be teaching the cat not to sit on the counter. The obvious solution to this is to start keeping your Doberman on the counter. Assuming the Doberman and the cat aren't besties, this should definitely ensure that the cat keeps to the floor in the future. Good luck!


Laura asked:

Dear Erika,
I was introduced to someone named Tom years ago. Now we are now rather close with their family and every time his wife refers to him, she calls him Thomas. I don't know if his wife is trying to correct me or if both names are acceptable. I've tried to pay attention to what others call him and it seems that those close to him call him Thomas. Should I be calling him Tom or Thomas?
Just name your kids what you want people to call them to avoid confusion

Dear Name Your Kids Non-Confusingly,

This is a great question and one that I encounter (or rather, see others encounter) often, as the wife of a person named Matthew-Matt-Mattie. I asked Matthew-Matt-Mattie to weigh in on this, and his advice was two-fold. First of all, you should just ask the guy what he wants/prefers to be called. If his answer is that he doesn't care, Matthew-Matt-Mattie says that that's truly what he means (assuming he's not the kind of guy that likes to play mind games). So call him whichever name you feel most comfortable with. I pressed him a little further and asked if it would be weird if after calling him Tom for years, you suddenly switched to calling him Thomas...would he think that was strange? Matt said no. If people start calling him (Matt) by a different version of his name, he doesn't normally notice or think twice of it.

After thinking through the situation a bit, though, Matt changed his mind and suggested that you just call the guy Tommy Boy. Let me know how that goes!


Kimberly needs to know:

How many times a week do you think I need to wash my hair to be an acceptable human being? How many times a week do you think I need to wash my body in the winter to be an acceptable human being? 

Dear Kimberly,

Based on the tone of your question, I suspect that you aren't going to like my answers very much...but they don't pay me the big bucks to tiptoe around the issues here. I'm gonna tell you like it is.

To be an acceptable human being (going to work every day, as you do, and otherwise participating in normal suburban life and activities), I think you need to wash your hair at least 3 times a week. This is very generous, actually, from me-- I wash mine every single day. BUT I know many people (usually curly-head people) that can skip a day or even two and be totally fine. Assuming you're one of those people, I'll kindly give you a 3 day a week minimum. Just because you CAN skip like eight days in a row of hair-washing doesn't mean you SHOULD, people. Think about the shampoo industry and what we'd do to it if we all had such lax hair washing routines!

As for washing your body, Kimberly...I know you live in Iowa and you're perpetually buried under 38 feet of snow for 9 months a year, but...I still firmly believe you need to engage in some sort of body washing every single day. I'm sorry. I just do. I will make exceptions for if you're on a camping trip or something, but assuming you're not camping in the winter (at 24 weeks pregnant with twins...), you need to be hitting that shower every day. 

I hope we can still be friends.


The Things You Need to Know About Me

Anonymous questioned:

Have you had any contact with Ellison's birthmother since the birth?

Since birth, the answer would be yes-- we were in very close contact the whole time we were (both) in the hospital. We spent a lot of time together with the baby and in each other's rooms. However, I suspect that you were actually asking about contact with her since the failure of the adoption and us leaving the hospital. The answer there is no, we have not. To me, this is normal. I wouldn't expect (or really want?) to hear from her. There was nothing angry or vindictive in our 'break up' so I can't think of any reason she would want or need to contact us. (I can imagine scenarios where if she were like...angry or something, she could purposefully hurt us by texting pictures of the baby or something...but NOTHING like that has happened) So I guess it's for the best. I still have her number (and some of her family members' names/numbers) in my phone...I don't know why. I keep considering deleting them, since seeing them as I'm scrolling for other numbers is usually an unwelcome reminder, but...I just haven't.


Lisa asked:

How do you know who and whom not to share your blog with? Does your family read it? What if you don't want family to know all your business but you feel like you would you feel like you would be a jerk for telling them not to read it when hundreds of people you don't know read it? I hate that.

This is a really interesting question! In general, I never 'advertise' that I have a blog. There's a link to it on the 'webpage' section of the 'about me' page on my personal Facebook. Therefore I assume that anyone who I know who is my FB friend could, in theory, know about my blog (if they care enough to look at that remote section of my FB page, ha!). I keep that in mind in situations where I befriend new people (coworkers, etc.) on FB. I don't think I've ever like...promoted it to someone in real life. "Hey, I'm Erika! I have a blog!"...that would be really weird to me. It comes up occasionally when someone in real life will be like "oh, I saw blah blah blah on your blog" and we get to talking about whatever it was...and then if someone else is like "wait, where/what is this?" and then I answer questions as necessary...but I always find that to be super weird, honestly. Ha. 

As for my family...I'm pretty sure everyone is aware that I have a blog. A few of them read it, but I'm not really sure how regularly. I definitely do not think I could/would tell anyone NOT to read it...that would be SUPER weird!!! 

As for having family know all my business...I guess it comes with the territory. I try to take into account the potential audience before I share things. Obviously I never want to offend or hurt anyone, so you'll notice I don't go on long rants and raves about family drama. If it's happening, you won't hear it from me here! ;) In general, I've found having a blog to be more positive than negative with family. I'm not really the best at sharing my deep thoughts and feelings in real life...I'm much better with my words in I feel like if they want to really 'know' me, reading my blog is a win-win. I don't have to face the discomfort of sharing deep stuff out loud. They can learn everything they'd ever want to know about my lip gloss preferences. What's not to love?


That was really fun! And we barely scraped a dent into the questions...yikes!! Thanks again for being super funny and playing along. Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

dear Erika...

I'm suffering from writer's block, people. It's excruciating. Although to be honest, I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often. I lead a pretty boring and ordinary life, so sometimes I'm kind of amazed that I can come up with crap to ramble on about five days a week. Ha. (You can just nod and smile if you're secretly thinking maybe you should stop rambling so much...)

I whined about my lack-of-things-to-blog-about plight on Facebook this morning, because obviously that's a mature thing to do. I guess on some level I was hoping someone would pipe in with a great writing prompt that I could spring off of and write up something in the time that remains before my workday starts. Like "Erika, I've really been hoping you'd weigh in on what's going on in the Ukraine...your political opinions are so on point." (Are you impressed that I even know something is going on in the Ukraine? You can thank NPR for that.) Just kidding. More like "aren't you going to talk about what happened on the Bachelor this week?", which is something that is actually plausible. 

Thankfully, my pathetic plea for help worked!! Or, maybe. I mean, I'm writing, aren't I?

Susan suggested that I open up a Q&A. Go look and see it for yourself if you don't believe me. I've seen folks do these before, but never done it myself in my six-ish year blog career. Why? Because there's a high chance of failure, to be honest. WHAT IF NOBODY ASKS ANYTHING? But today there's no chance of that failure. Before I agreed to do this, I made Susan promise that if no one asked anything, she would take the burden upon herself to make up at least 10 different names/profiles and ask questions under them. SO! I'll get at least 10 questions, which seems like a successful Q&A, don't you agree? Ha!

So here we go, my first ask-me-anything Q&A. Susan suggested that I establish some ground rules. I mean, I'm a pretty open book, so feel free to ask whatever burning questions about me/Matt/Lola/infertility/adoption/gardening/makeup/life you may have. You should probably avoid questions about politics because let's be honest...that's going to make me have to go look it up, form an opinion, and like...that's just annoying. I hate politics. So do you (according to the reader survey). So let's not go there. And also...I mean, I have no idea what questions are actually burning on your hearts (if any), but if it's something too personal or too whatever...please don't hate me if I choose not to answer it. Let's pretend I have some standards when it comes to what I share publicly.

BUT. Here's another great idea. You may not know this, but I've always had a not-so-secret life goal of being a Dear Abby-esque advice columnist. I love answering questions (especially about topics I have no experience or knowledge about!!!) and solving problems. So feel free to also throw in your big life conundrums that you need help sorting out. Feel free to make up ridiculous scenarios if you don't actually have one! And if you do that, you should probably make up a name to go with it, too, like this:

Dear Erika,
  I accidentally doused myself in a men's cologne right before I left for work this morning. I didn't have time to change. Now I smell like a man (I am actually a woman) and I'm really self-conscious. What should I do?

 Eau de Hombre

Obviously this is a scenario that I have some personal experience with (so my advice would be SUPER spot-on), but you get the idea.

So...let's do it. Assuming anyone actually has questions, I'll answer them in a future post (as opposed to in the comments or in an email) (unless your question is personal and you'd prefer that...just say so).

PS. If you ask how much I weigh, I'm going to lie. So sorry!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

the truth about my purse

 Alright friends. You can quit your frantic calculating and psychological deductions. The "guess how many lip products are in my purse" contest is about to be over. So is all the mystery (haha) surrounding just which fascinating objects I choose to weigh down my shoulder with on a daily basis. 

Please note: if you're new here, please skip this post. I beg you. This is ridiculously vain and silly even for me and I'd hate for you to walk away thinking that I actually think people care about what's in my purse. Ha. Save yourself! Come back tomorrow, when I'm sure I'll have something much deeper and more important to ramble about. Or...probably not, but one can hope. 

I explained yesterday that I've seen people doing these 'what's in my bag' things on Instagram. It inspired me. That probably says something about me as a person, actually. But let's not delve into that too deeply, shall we?

Onto my purse!

I've been carrying this bag for pretty much the last year. I love it. It's a lot smaller than most of my other bags and so I tell myself that that means I'll carry less, therefore it will weigh less, therefore I won't exacerbate my neck and back pain. It's a nice theory, but as most people who have actually tried lifting my purse can attest-- it hasn't really worked out. I'm not sure how or why, but this purse still weighs like 50 pounds. (Not really, but I don't have a scale handy to come up with a more accurate figure) Since you're about to see that there really isn't all that much IN it, I can only assume that the leather is heavy. SCIENCE. You can't argue with that, folks.

I should also probably state that this is really a nearly best-case scenario today. I greatly cleaned out and pared down the contents of the purse before our trip to Texas a few weeks ago. There was probably at least 30% more crap (primarily gum wrappers and...lip products, yes.) before the Great Clean Out. 

An aerial view. It might look like a mess, but I promise things are really quite organized. I can locate anything I need within 10 seconds- blindfolded. Promise.

Here's a bird's-eye view of the whole shebang. See? This doesn't seem so bad. Don't worry, we'll go deeper now.


Some obvious purse non-negotiables: my Kindle, sunglasses, wallet, and a penny. Because I like to flaunt my wealth.

Two packs of gum (watermelon and original bubblegum flavor...a girl needs variety!) and some TicTacs that were in my stocking at Christmas. Obviously I don't really ever eat them, but...where else do you put TicTacs? Also some concealer (and its accompanying receipt) that I'm going to return at Ulta. I forgot to stop the other day, so...they're still traveling around with me. Also that's the corner of my planner. The papers inside are a) a copy of our 2014 never know when you'll need to reference it!!...and b) some concert tickets.

All of this stuff above goes in the big inside pocket of the purse. Pens (alright, seven is probably excessive. After the photo shoot, when I put stuff back into the purse, I moved three pens to my desk pen holder. Four should be sufficient for the bag.), a flash drive, a mini hairbrush (that's the purple circle thing), my inhaler, a comb, a few hair things, keys, and a few lip products: two Baby Lipses (hate that name AND the pluralization) and an eos balm. 

And my keys. 

So far so good, right?? Only three lip things?! I'm normal!!

Oh wait, no.

The little bag. Guess what that bag is?

My beloved LIP GLOSS BAG!!!!!!!!! Wanna see what's inside?

IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL!!!! Really, this brings a tear to my eye. Is there anything more heartwarming than a lovely array of pinky-red products for your kisser? I think not. Sunsets and puppies be damned!

As you can probably tell, I like to buy my lip products in gift sets. That helps me avoid having to make hard in-store decisions about colors. JUST GET ALL THE COLORS!!! Problem solved. The nineteen lip products in my Lip Gloss Bag are those deemed most essential and most likely to be needed in the course of a day. Trust me, there are plenty more at home. Sometimes I change them when I fall in love with a new product and get 20 of it, of course. Also in the Lip Gloss Bag: a few bandaids, some cough drops, foldable scissors, and a hair clip. Nothing but the health and beauty essentials! 

This one's a framer. Dang. And in case you're wondering what my current favorite lip product is, not shockingly I'm going to go with the tarte LipSurgence. I LOVE THEM.

So let's do the math, people. Nineteen lip products in the designated bag (isn't that smart of me? So they're not all floating around, losing their lids and painting my purse red...) plus three out in the General Purse Population means that there are currently 22 lip products in my purse. The winning guess goes to Amanda J (she guessed 23), which is not altogether surprising. I would give her a grand prize in the form of a lip product, but since I believe she only uses clear chapstick, I think this amazing prize would be lost on her. I'd hate to waste my money like that, so I think that instead I'll just buy myself a new lipgloss in her honor. The Amanda Joiner Honorary Lip Gloss. Everybody wins!!!

Thanks for playing along, friends. And also thanks to all the people who guessed I might only have like 4-8 products in my purse. It blesses me that you think I have that much self-control. Now yall can start planning your Purse Intervention or something. Have fun!

Monday, February 24, 2014

weekend highlights and a guessing game!

We had a productive and lovely weekend. The best kind.

On Saturday we spent most of the day preparing for me to host book club that night. That meant more cleaning. And gardening!! I decided that since spring is nearly upon us, it's probably about time to get all the old dead plants out of the flower beds. You know, the ones I've been meaning to get to since...October...oh well. I finally did it, that's all that counts. I cut back all of the shrubs and roses and I have the scratches and cuts on my hands to prove it. Good grief. You'd think 'thorn proof' gloves would prevent shenanigans like that, but you would be wrong.

Our formational book club meeting was great! I basically just invited my friends who a) like to read and b) are great cooks...I figured that those factors alone would guarantee a successful book club, and it looks like I guessed right. At the very least I can be confident I'll gain at least 10 pounds every time we meet, so that's something. We had like eight different lists of book club book recommendations and trying to pick something as our first book was super challenging. In the future we're going to have the next month's host choose the book, but that was a lot of pressure for our first book, so we decided to all pick it together. In the pursuit of trying to pick something that would be a guaranteed hit, we ended up choosing a book that (nearly) everyone had already read and loved: The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I have loved that book for nearly two decades and am really excited to read it again (I'm going to be looking for all the things that more recent dystopian novelists ripped off from Lowry) and discuss it with someone other than my fifth grade reading group. 

I also had some last-minute crafty inspiration with my book club snacks! I didn't even find this on Pinterest-- it just came to me!!!

My snack labels are on BOOK PAGES!! I know. Brilliant. And because I know you're dying to know which book I sacrificed to be my labels, I'll tell you: I don't know. I bought a few books a couple of years ago at Goodwill for the express purpose of using them in crafts. I ripped the covers off because the first craft I did needed coverless hunks of pages. And so...I'm still using them and I don't know what they are, but I promise that I picked books that looked really boring and like no one would ever want to read them.

Yesterday's weather was way too nice to be indoors any more than absolutely necessary. Usually we go to Centergy (a yoga/Pilates fusion class) on Sunday afternoons, but I just couldn't bring myself to spend an hour inside when it was 70something and sunny outside. So it seemed like the perfect afternoon for my triumphant return to the tennis court!! (I say it like that so that you think I'm actually good and didn't spend the entire time whining and chasing my horribly-hit balls around three courts)

My mom gave me this insanely preppy tennis outfit a few weeks ago because she saw it and thought of me-- how sweet is that?? I can't say I've ever worked out in a collared shirt before, but it certainly made me feel like a more legit player!! It's safe to say my tennis game got a little rusty over the last few months off, but I'm excited to get back in the swing of things, so to speak. (Matt made that joke at least 18 times last night. Laugh with me.)

On the way to work this morning I had a great revelation for a blog I'll do later this week. Wait-- go ahead and lower your expectations. "Great" is really subjective here.

I've seen people do the "what's in my ____" thing on their blogs and Instagram-- I love it. Probably because I'm a really nosy person at heart. I always want to know what's in your purse, your bathroom cabinets, and your car's glovebox. I must know!!! I thought about tagging along and doing my 'what's in my purse' on Instagram a few weeks ago, but then I realized that I'm a packrat-hoarder in the purse department and Instagram could not possibly contain the entire contents of my purse. Clearly it needs a dedicated blog to do it justice. So I think I'll do that this week sometime. But here's the fun part. I think we should play a guessing game first.

How many lip products do you think are currently in my purse?

To help you better formulate your guess, here's the purse we're talking about:

As you can see, it's only about a foot long. Not a huge bag by any means. So...what's your guess? I'm going to be guessing too (but not here, that's not fair). And I promise I won't add or subtract any products before I count. Whoever guesses closest might get an amazing a lip product? Ha. We'll see.

Also, you should do your own 'what's in my purse' post. Indulge my nosy side, if you will. And if you won't, you can at least count and tell me how many lip products are in YOUR purse. Make me feel better/worse. Go!

PS. I read this news article this weekend and it is possibly the most disgusting thing ever. Do NOT read it/watch the video if you have a weak stomach or sensitive gag reflex. But if you're trying to convince yourself to eat less cake, this just may do the trick. You're welcome!!

Friday, February 21, 2014

a link-up, a storm, a bad choice, & a funny picture

First of all- hello to any visitors from Kelly's Korner! Today is her annual (semi-annual?) Show us Your Life: Infertility blog carnival...I always enjoy participating and meeting new friends to commiserate with on this crappy journey. Ha. Normally I do a nice little write-up about my personal infertility 'journey' (lamest terminology ever, but what else can I call it?), but I just can't muster up the energy for that today. I'll give you a quick summary and links instead. My husband and I are 31 (me) and 30 (him) and have been TTC since December 2008. I have stage III endometriosis and he has male factor infertility. We've gone through a (small) variety of infertility treatments, mostly in 2010. In 2012 we each had surgery for our respective issues. In November 2013 we had a failed adoption after three days with our daughter. That pretty much brings us up to speed. We're still figuring out what's next.

I blame my lack of energy (both physical and emotional) on two things today:

1) We had a HUGE FREAKING STORM overnight. Georgia's really going all out this month, I tell ya. Let's count up the weather phenomena she's blessed us with: snow and ice storm, earthquake, gorgeous spring, now a July-esque storm (complete with tornado watch!)...really. Really. During the summer I get used to the storms and can sleep through them. But my February self isn't accustomed to such disturbances and therefore stayed awake for the whole shebang. Delightful! (Also, sorry that this has basically turned into a meteorologist blog (is that even a genre? Wouldn't that be awesome?) the past few weeks. If the weather wasn't so varied and interesting, I wouldn't talk about it so much...promise.)

2) I made the mistake awesome life choice of taking the interval (Tabata-method) class again yesterday. I know, I know. I never learn. I was crying and dry heaving approximately 8 minutes into class, can just imagine how well the following 52 minutes went. Now my whole entire body is broken (please refer to the Pain Map from the last time I whined about this) and I may never be able to move again. IT HURT TO PUT ON MY EYE MAKEUP THIS MORNING. I mean, this is really not okay. Dumb, dumb, dumb. 

Due to my compromised physical and mental state, I'm about to let myself slide and break my own Cardinal Sin: sharing a picture I already posted on Instagram. I hope you can forgive me.

This was my selection for Throwback Thursday on Instagram yesterday (P.S. Any longtime readers of this blog or Allison's blog want to argue that Allison basically invented this phenomenon with her Way Back When-sday? I mean...just saying...we were doing this long before Instagram was invented.). I came across this magnificent picture while visiting my grandparents' house in Texas last week. 

In case it's not perfectly obvious, that is me in red. I'm sitting in my dad's lap. The other four handsome gents are my dad's brothers.

I think this picture is freaking amazing. I was the first child/niece/grandchild in that family and judging by pictures like this...I was worshiped by all. It's hard to know what to focus on first in the picture: the amazing 80s suits? The mustaches? The way my uncle Tim is holding my finger? The fact that I was (gorgeous as) a blonde? Or how about how weird it is that whomever was calling the shots decided that a good photo grouping would be the five brothers and the daughter/niece? And not...say...the wives? Or at least the mother of the baby? I dunno. I can see this particular photo arrangement happening (maybe) if we were all sitting around at Christmas, taking tons of snapshots of different arrangements of people...but to decide to get everyone dressed up and go to Olan Mills for the Family Portrait? Kinda strange. But awesome just the same. Anyway. Do you think this picture and the feelings of adoration heaped upon me (for the 2 years until I was joined by a passel of siblings and cousins) somehow seeped into my psyche and led me to believe, 25 years later, that I should probably start a blog? HA. But maybe.

That's all I've got. It's Friday- YAY. I'm preparing to host the very first (organizational) meeting of my book club this weekend! There's been no actual reading of books yet...we're basically just meeting to discuss forming one, make some guidelines (I guess?), eat snacks, and pick a book to read for our first month! I'm excited...but I also have to clean the house, which is somewhat less exciting. Feel free to give me your best book club advice/book picks if you have any...we're all newbies, so I'm sure we'll take all the help we can get! Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I need the spring

Georgia's working hard to get back in my good graces. After last week's weather nonsense, I'm glad to see that the rebellious state is coming to her senses and going back to what she does best-- blessing us with super fantastic weather that makes us happy to be alive.

The last few days have been in the low 70s and absolutely beautiful. Matt and I like to go walking around downtown Athens and the UGA campus during our lunch breaks. Yesterday we noticed for the first time that the daffodils are starting to bloom. It made me happy-- and also nervous, because a cold snap could be just around the corner. But I can't blame the daffodils for their optimism. I think I'm a lot like them. Overly enthusiastic at the first sign of happier times coming.

In honor of the early spring, I decided to wear a new necklace today. I got this necklace for my birthday in December, but I've felt like it's too springy to wear until now. But today? Bring on the spring necklace.

 The car selfies aren't really the best, but the necklace is cream, light peach, and a brighter peach color. I love it. It also inspired my eye makeup and shoe choices today. What can I say. I'm just pulled together like that. ;)

I got the new Ulta catalog in the mail yesterday and have been studiously poring over it. Spring beauty trends?? Do tell.

I don't know if my nails really count as 'springy,' but they are definitely making me happy this week. I painted them on Sunday with a fabulous gold theme...I told myself it was in honor of the Olympics. But possibly it's just because I really like shiny stuff. Either way, they're a bright spot in my day every time I notice them.

It's kind of hard to tell, but my ring finger(s) is an 'accent nail' and is glittery gold (OPI's Looks Like Rain, Dear) and the other four fingers are just a shiny gold (can't remember the's a Sally Hansen from a few seasons ago). Anyway. The overall effect is still neutral but WAY FUN. I'm going to convince myself that it's a four seasons look because there's no way I'm retiring it anytime soon. 

I'm just happy it's getting warm. That a new thing is coming. This winter has felt so long, and not just because of the weather. All The Evil (haha, I know that's actually from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I'm stealing the phrase and the sentiment-- it's easier than actually writing out what I mean) happened right as winter started and so the whole season has been tainted with sadness and brokenness. It was cold then and it's still cold and it's like things can't change until the weather does...or something. Or my wardrobe does. My memories of the three days we had with our daughter are attached to my clothes and there's nothing worse than pulling on an outfit for the day only to have a midday flashback to a few months ago when I was holding my daughter in that shirt. I even know (and avoid) which socks I was wearing the whole long day we spent waiting for her to be born...and I can't see them without remembering the hours I spent sitting cross-legged with her in my arms, the bright argyle socks peeking out from beneath her swaddle. I hate those socks now. 

So I need it to get warm so that I can put these clothes behind me. I need it to be spring so that I can start looking forward. I need to stop being reminded of my loss twelve thousand times a day. I need new distractions: a garden to plant, a bike to ride, a pool to lounge beside. The winter was sad and barren in every sense of the word and I'm ready for a new season. So thank you, weather and daffodils, for giving me hope that that could happen. 

On a much lighter note, I am in the market for an excellent new spring candle. We had some really great fall and winter ones and they were honestly some of the few high points in a really awful few months. Now I want something new to make me happy when I'm stuck indoors. I have a lot of fun summer candles, but they're fruity and beachy and like...that's just not spring. It's summer. Any ideas for spring candles??

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

an unexpected twist

Here's a story I didn't think I'd be telling. (PS. Don't get your hopes up too high (slash go on and let out a sigh of relief if you're a fellow infertile always anticipating/dreading a baby announcement...).)

Remember way back in October when I ordered a glider for our impending bundle of joy's nursery? Also, for the I glanced over the list of blog posts from October, looking for the one where I mentioned ordering the glider...I can't help but notice that damn, life was different in October. That was probably the most exciting and giddy and emotional and exhausting month of my life. The one month out of the last five years where we had a legitimate shot at becoming parents. Five years of hopes and dreams lived out in one stupid month of excitement and dreaming. October was something else. But anyway. Back to the real world...

So when we placed the order for the glider (and paid cash in full, up front, like the good Dave Ramsey disciples we are) we knew it wouldn't arrive for 8-10 weeks. Fine, whatever. And then, before the end of our 8-10 week Glider Waiting Period, we lost our baby. And caring about when her chair would come in was really the last thing in the world on my mind. We didn't need it anymore anyway. But the knowledge of its coming stuck in my head...and in an effort to make that day less painful, we even created a spot for the chair in our living room when we did our post-adoption-failure living room redo. We saved a place. I even looked forward to the chair coming because I mean...more seating! Fun furniture! Whatever.

At some point in November (still well within our quoted 8-10 week time frame) we heard rumors that the store we'd ordered it from had closed. What? We investigated ourselves and the rumors appeared to be true-- the storefront was empty and dark, but there was a sign on the door saying that they'd 'temporarily closed' and there was contact information for the owners. I immediately emailed them, and they quickly responded with kind assurance that they would be re-opening the first week of December. Okay...fine.

Suffice it to say, they didn't re-open the first week of December. Or at all in December. Or January or February. They are definitely gone for good, and with them went our cash. The management stopped responding to emails and the phone number was disconnected. In conclusion, we were SOL. 

Here's where I should rant on and on about how stupid this whole thing is and how sometimes the commitment to shopping locally and supporting small businesses can REALLY BITE YOU IN THE BUTT. This boutique had been around for probably close to a decade, so it's not like I just went and threw my cash at some fly-by-the-night establishment. It was the baby store in Athens. So I don't know what happened, but I can guarantee you that if I'd ordered the glider at Target or Babies R Us, I wouldn't have shown up one morning to discover they'd packed up shop and disappeared overnight (WITH MY CASH). Gah. Weeping and gnashing of teeth and all that.

But to be honest, I just haven't been able to muster up the emotional energy to care all that much about the whole situation. Sure, I hate that we threw away our money. I think it's crappy. But I just chalk it up with a whole lot of other expenses and purchases that were essentially a huge waste of money with the failed adoption. I mean, we threw away a lot MORE money on lawyer and social worker fees...we have nothing to show for them, either. So what's a couple hundred more bucks? I'd probably be way madder about this situation if the adoption hadn't failed. In that case I would currently have a 3.5-month-old daughter and STILL NO WAY TO ROCK would definitely have heard about this situation before now. But as it is...not having a chair is the least of my losses.

I bought a new shelf and put it in the glider's reserved spot in the living room. That filled the empty hole in the room. I wish it were so easy to fill the empty hole in my heart.

Last week, though, in a bout of snowstorm-homebound-induced mania, Matt decided to get re-angered about the chair situation. He got his panties all good and twisted and decided to research and see if there were any recourse we could have with the store owner. I believe his ultimate conclusion was that there really wasn't, but that didn't stop him from shooting off an angry email laced with thinly-veiled threats of legal action. The email immediately bounced back-- the account was closed. Figures.

So I was greatly surprised yesterday afternoon to receive a response from the store's owner. A very kind and gracious response, actually. He confirmed that the store was, indeed, closed for good. He would be unable to complete our order. Ya think? BUT he did offer us our choice of the chairs he still had in stock. He went to great lengths to describe each one, attach photos, and explain how each one compared to the chair we'd originally ordered. If we didn't want any of those chairs, he also offered to write us a check for the full amount of the money we paid (and he knew the exact amount, so he's obviously saved his receipts...that's somewhat comforting, I guess) and mail it to us immediately. Since none of the chairs in stock remotely match either our nursery or living room (plus they're the floor models, which means they're relatively used and have had thousands of butts sitting on them already...), we opted to request our money back.

So like...yay?! Now, Matt is of the mindset that this money should be his to spend as he wishes, since it was his email that prompted this turn of events. I'd given up the fight and forfeited the money mentally. So he should get to choose where the money goes...that's his thinking. Hahahaha. Silly Mattie. Good luck with that. Maybe out of the kindness of my heart I'll give him a $50 finder's fee or something before I go blow the rest at Ulta. Let's be honest. Oh, or actually, maybe we'll use the money towards future fertility treatments. Wouldn't that be ironic? Or something.

So anyway. Try to contain your shock that I haven't been whining and complaining about this unjust situation for months. I can hardly believe it myself, but I'm glad that by the time I got around to it, there was a happier ending. I wish more things worked out like that.

Monday, February 17, 2014

of earthquakes and blankets

I survived the weekend. Literally.

[I'm probably one of the few people left in the English-speaking world who actually CARES about the meaning of the word literally and is hugely bothered by the fact that now it's okay to use it to mean the complete opposite-- figuratively-- and also that it's now WAY overused. So please take note that I am using the word sparingly and correctly. Thanks.]

I've lived in Georgia my whole life. I love it here. I don't know if I'll ever live anywhere else and I'm okay with that about 95% of the time (except for when I want to live in the Middle East). But after this past week, I'm not so sure that the feeling is mutual. I'm getting the impression that Georgia is sick of her inhabitants and wants us all to leave.

Exhibit A: Two Snowpocalypses in three weeks.

Exhibit B: The Great Valentine's Day 2014 Earthquake. Before we're even fully recovered from Snowpocalypse 2.0!!

Technically speaking, the earthquake was actually in South Carolina. But just barely over the border, in a teeny town so small that folks there claim they're from Augusta (Georgia), which is the nearest sizable town (and the place I grew up and my folks still live). And we could all feel it, up to 150 miles away! So basically, Georgia.

I'm sure you're dying to hear a play-by-play of my True Life: I Survived a 4.1 Earthquake 90 Miles from the Epicenter story. Unfortunately, it's a little anticlimactic. We were watching TV. I felt and heard the walls and floor vibrating strangely, kind of like a very prolonged thunderclap during a huge summer storm or something. It lasted maybe 5 seconds. It didn't concern me enough to pause the TV or even mention anything to Matt, who- for the record- was sitting 1 inch away from me and reportedly did not hear, feel, or notice anything. I probably wouldn't have ever thought about it again except that during a commercial break (I hate you, HuluPlus. COMMERCIALS?!?! This is injustice.) I glanced at Facebook and it was slam-packed with friends and family all experiencing the exact same thing at the same time. Was that an EARTHQUAKE???? all us poor inexperienced, un-earthquake-initiated Georgians wondered. 

We decided it was. I mean, a scientific survey of everyone I know that was awake at 10:30 on a Friday night and cared to share their thoughts on Facebook (so, everybody) revealed that everyone in Georgia and the Carolinas had all experienced the same thing. Within 5 minutes it was trending on Facebook and Twitter. And there was NO OFFICIAL WORD from ANY reliable news source for like TWENTY WHOLE MINUTES!! This was practically as alarming as the earthquake itself. If a news anchor or journalist doesn't confirm that we just felt an earthquake, did it really happen? Was it some kind of collective hallucination? Is this a conspiracy? 

I mean, snarky memes were already flying-- and the quake hadn't even been officially acknowledged yet! The fact that people can make memes faster than the media can freak out over something alarming is...well, alarming.

I wish I could properly cite the source of this meme, but I can't. It all happened so fast-- I saw this appear on someone's timeline and almost died laughing. I tried to 'share' it, but it wouldn't let me (due to that friend's privacy settings). It was too funny and I was too caught up in the drama and excitement of the moment-- I just right-click saved it and posted it myself. I know. I'm a terrible person. And now I'm sharing it here. For the record, I take no credit for it, I doubt whoever DID make it is/could earn money off it, and I'm sorry.

The earthquake was all the talk of the town (and state, and tri-state area, I'm guessing) all weekend, which is pretty funny considering it was basically no different (and far less destructive) than a single thunderclap/lightning bolt in the summer. Still, we've all been playing "where were you when it happened??!" all weekend, same as we do after any other major, life-changing event. So funny.

But then again-- two extremely unusual (for us) weather/geological events in one week? I'm keeping my eye on you, Georgia. (PS. There was a 3.2 aftershock in the exact same town today!! I couldn't feel that one, but the Augusta-area contingent of my friends and family definitely did. So yourself, people of Augusta. Stop making the earth mad. Go hug a tree or buy a locally-sourced hybrid or something.)

In other equally life-altering news, I got a new blanket this weekend. (I know, somebody phone the press...)

The thing is, I've been lusting after this blanket for a month. A WHOLE MONTH, PEOPLE!!!! My sister-in-law has this blanket and when we visited her last month, I fell in serious love with it...and finally, at long last, I made it (well, its identical twin....conveniently mass-produced and sold at Target) mine. I had to wait a whole month because like...who just goes out and buys a blanket? It's not like I really need another blanket. I have lots already. It didn't come in any colors that particularly compliment my decor. And it wasn't super-bargain-basement I felt like I needed to really justify it if I were to buy it.

So I just waited a month. I still can't really say I need it, but I still really want it AND it got special clearance pricing (that made it roughly $5 cheaper than it used to be, whoopie...), became mine. It is HUGE and really, really, REALLYREALLY SOFT. I can't overstate the softness. And the hugeness. And the awesomeness. It's so awesome that I had a photo shoot with it.

Please ignore how hideous I look. I'd just returned from the gym (and changed into PJ pants, obviously) and couldn't be bothered to make myself presentable before I got back to cuddling with my blankie. Plus, I think it gives me super powers. Like the ability to survive earthquakes. And read lots of books. And watch lots of TV. Because that's pretty much all I accomplished in my post-new-blanket weekend. My only regret is that I didn't have the blanket before last week's snowstorm. I bet my endless days of being housebound would have been infinitely better if I'd had this blanket.

In semi-tragic weekend news, I finished (well, caught up to the current season/episode of) Revenge. Can anyone relate to the empty feeling that comes over you when you finish marathoning a show? there anything to live for now? What will I do with myself? It's pretty pathetic, really. Thank God the Olympics are still on...otherwise I might have to think of something to do that didn't involve laying on the couch caressing my giant new blanket.

Well, that's about it, folks. Time to focus on a new week and the inevitable separation anxiety that I'm going to experience when I am forced to leave the blankie at home and go to work. Wish me luck! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

snow, snow, go away....

Day 3 of Snowpocalypse.

I don't know how you people up north deal with this. I'm totally over it. I can't wait for it to be in the 70s next week. 

I've come to the eye-opening conclusion that I'm not a very productive Snow Day person. In other words, I've accomplished absolutely NOTHING and wasted a WHOLE lot of time during our three (and counting) days of being homebound. I see people's stories of Snowy Productivity and accomplishments this week and I totally cannot relate. And we've had power the whole time, so I don't even have a good excuse.

Things I Could Have/Should Have Done This Week:

1. Our taxes.
2. Fold the clothes that have been in the dryer since Monday.
3. Balance the checkbook and pay bills.
4. Exercise (with a DVD since the gym is closed and even if it wasn't, we couldn't get there).
5. Finally sort through the Depressingly Empty Nursery that has been shut up like a tomb since November. Figure out what to do with all the (probably expired or expiring soon) formula. Give people back the stuff they lent us.
6. Work on writing the requested (and promised) lipstick tutorial blog I've been procrastinating.

Things I Did Do This Week:

1. Finish Season 2 of Revenge. Sign up for Hulu Plus (which I hate so far-- commercials??!?!) and start Season 3.
2. Make and drink lots of coffee.
3. Go on Snow Walks each day.
4. Have a snowball fight with Mattie.
5. Play Scrabble (on a board, not my phone!).
6a. Including curling. I watched for like 15 minutes and tried really hard to understand what was happening and it's JUST NOT COMPUTING, GUYS. I would rather watch paint dry.
7. Stay extremely current on everything happening on Facebook and Twitter.
8. Visit my next door neighbors and play with their litter of 6-week-old puppies.
9. Pre-plan all the bitter things I'm going to say about the inevitable baby boom that will occur 9 months after this snowstorm.

Well, when I list it all out like that, I actually look pretty productive. Just not in ways that are actually important, ha. Oh well. I still have at least another day to knock out the first list. As soon as I finish Revenge Season 3, that is.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

a snow fashion tutorial

Greetings and welcome to Day 2 of Georgia Snowpocalypse 2.0!! Other cutesy names people and the media are throwing around to describe this rare phenomenon of snow/ice/cold precipitation in Georgia (for the unprecendented SECOND TIME IN ONE YEAR!!!!): Icelanta, Atlantarctica, Snowmeggedon. I kind of like all of them. I also kind of love that in an effort to not look/be as dumb as we were last month, we are being SO EXTREMELY OVERLY CAREFUL AND PREVENTATIVE during this storm...which means that we're practically under martial law with orders to NOT LEAVE YOUR HOUSE NO MATTER WHAT. I think if you were to dare to drive your car on a road, you'd probably be shot. Duly noted. Happy to stay home and watch ungodly amounts of Netflix and Olympics. Well, I'll be happy as long as the power stays on...which it has, so far. But we expect it to go out at any moment, so it's this weird situation of trying to enjoy it while it's here, but preparing to live without it.

Anyway. Matt was getting a little stir-crazy this morning and proposed that we go on an adventure. Basically that means we went on a walk around our neighborhood, but when there's snow and ice making the roads treacherous, suddenly it becomes an adventure. Before we departed on our snowstravaganza there was a Really Important Moment that happened in my closet. Remember my huge conflict about getting rid of my Timberlands? You guys had a LOT of opinions about that situation and I ultimately ended up pulling them out of the donation pile and hoarding them for a bit longer.

Well, guess who got called up to the plate today? 

That's right, ladies. Coming out of retirement for Snowpocalypse 2.0....the TIMBERLANDS!!!!!

It was a big moment for them. And me.

Since it's now snowed twice (and was super super cold another day), I am obviously an expert on dressing for the cold, as you can see. I'm sure you'll all be wanting to copy my snazzy outfit, so here are the details, from top to bottom:

-really old red hat
-fleece scarf
-sunglasses (to keep sleet from your eyeballs)
-long sleeved t-shirt under a fleece under a raincoat (with hood pulled up when necessary)
-fleece leggings under regular running leggings
-Smartwool socks (these are key)
-15 year old Timberlands

This outfit was surprisingly effective for our 25 minutes in the elements. It was about 26 degrees outside at the time and just lightly sleeting, which I know is basically summer weather to all of you Canadians and Midwesterners.

As we walked, Matt and I were discussing how now we feel like we can really relate to all the Winter Olympians. Or at least to how it feels to stand in the snow in the cold...which is basically all they do, right?

Lola was pretty jazzed about our snowventure. She liked running and tugging on the leash, which would cause us to drag behind her since we couldn't get a foothold on the ice-covered-snow. It was like she was a boat and we were the skiers! Pretty fun. 

Eventually she discovered the joy of just running in circles around me. It was hilarious. It would have been less hilarious if I'd fallen down, but luckily that didn't happen.

So obviously Snow Day 2 is off to a great start. It looks like we'll have at least another half-day off since I've been off since last Thursday (for our Texas trip), basically I don't remember what it's like to go to work. Or put on clothes that remotely match. Oh well.