Wednesday, April 30, 2014

some uninteresting thoughts

I'm not sure what it is...maybe the combination of ridiculous allergies, being surrounded by and talking to people all weekend, and some ridiculously busy days at work...but my head is all but empty of interesting thoughts. Devoid of humor. It's a sad state of being.

So in lieu of having anything actually INTERESTING to discuss, I have some random thoughts that are weighing heavy.

1. I am so ready for NPR's semiannual 'membership drive' to be over. SO READY. PLEASE STOP!!!! I loooove me some NPR. I've been an avid listener for the past two years or so. I feel like it's made me a better-educated, more informed, more interesting person. But twice a year it makes me want to die with its never-ending fundraising campaign. HOLY COW. I think it lasts like TEN WHOLE DAYS or something inhumane like that. Last week some fellow-membership-drive-hating friends made a brilliant point: they should figure out a way to make it so that if you donate, you quit hearing the rest of the membership drive. Like, back to your regularly scheduled programming! Because then we would all donate on the first day. Money like they've never seen before!! Because if I knew I wouldn't have to listen to them beg and plead for money for another week, I'd give STAT. Anyway. They don't do that, but they should. NPR, if you're reading this: please. I beg you. Stop the torture.

2. Sometimes being a homeowner sucks. Primarily when expensive things break and have to be replaced. This time it's our dryer. It broke the Thursday before Easter. So if you're wondering why I'm wearing clothes that haven't been in style since 1997, now you know. They're the only clean things left. We did do one small load of undies and such, but air drying is ridiculous and makes your clothes all crunchy, so...we haven't done any more laundry since. Our new dryer should be delivered on Saturday and we'll probably have 18 loads at the ready for the minute the installer guys leave. Ugh. I mean, the dryer is a slightly more exciting appliance to replace than our other two most recent Expensive Appliance Deaths (the water heater and the HVAC unit), but basically, I'm totally wanting new couches. And replacing boring appliances keeps stealing all of my money. Boo.

3. I took this picture over the weekend and it makes me laugh.

Welcome to Atlanta, where the painted and bejeweled dolphins hang out in random strip mall parking lots! (I can't judge- in Athens it's painted bulldogs everywhere.) (But at least bulldogs make sense (UGA mascot)...dolphins? In the middle of a landlocked, non-coastal city? Um okay.)

4. I have a craving to reread East of Eden. It just comes over me sometimes. East of Eden is my hands-down favorite book, my answer to "if you could only take one book on a deserted island," and the best book ever. In my opinion. I haven't read it in a few years and although it pains me to not be reading something new, I feel like I need to return to my roots. A slow, careful reread of the best book ever?? That sounds awesome. 

That's all I've got today. Many apologies. Feel free to pray something interesting happens today so that I can be less boring tomorrow! Ha. But- interesting in a good way, obviously. Like maybe I win a large sum of money! Or overhear a hilarious conversation at the gym! Or...whatever, something good. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

wedding weekend

We had a totally awesome wedding weekend. I need about a week of spa treatments and paid time off to recover, but sadly, it looks like neither of those things will be happening. Shocking.

All weekend I felt like I was heading towards the danger zone of 'overgramming'-- the state of abusing Instagram with an abundance of pictures no one cares about. I try hard to stay far away from that normally, but a wedding weekend with photogenic and hilarious friends that was also a pseudo-college reunion?? I just couldn't help myself. But then last night I counted how many pictures I actually posted and it was only 10. Ha. 10 pictures over three days probably isn't actually bad, right? Please give me your honest feedback about this. My goal in life is to not be Instagram-annoying. Among other things. Maybe.

Friday night we watched the Braves beat the Reds. It was awesome. Then there were fireworks. They were the most amazing, majestic, breathtaking fireworks I've ever seen. I would go back to another Friday night Braves game just to experience those fireworks again. Oh, and also for the food.

Saturday was filled with beauty, pampering, and more delicious food. We all got our nails done, and during the afternoon, Kristina and I did practice runs for hair and makeup. She was doing all of the wedding hair (except mine. No time for that; I did my own, ha.) and I did everyone's makeup. It was my first experience being a 'makeup artist' and it was WAY more fun than I'd anticipated. More on this later.

After perfecting the art of hair and makeup, we had the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Everyone looked lovely and the BBQ was awesome!!

Caitlin (the bride's awesome sister/fellow bridesmaid) and I zealously promoted using the wedding hashtag we created- #mayrodriguezwedding2014 (can't link to an Instagram hashtag here, apparently, but you should go look!). A few people besides us caught on and used it. But that's okay, we were as enthusiastic as if millions around the world were anxiously following our hashtag, awaiting updates. Our enthusiasm paid off late Saturday night when an un-wedding-related friend of Caitlin's noticed us on the front page of Instagram! So basically, we won at Instagram. We considered calling off the wedding, since our goal was accomplished, but Alyssa seemed like she wanted to get married still, so we pressed on.

Sunday morning was hectic-- Kristina and I could have easily used another hour for all the hair and makeup. We almost showed up to process down the aisle in our jeans and ponytails. But we managed to whip ourselves together just in the nick of time and all four bridesmaids looked lovely in our shades of teal and yellow.

I don't have many pretty wedding pictures-- naturally, I was busy holding my bouquet and helping Caitlin sneak the vows out of her cleavage (what?? We didn't have pockets and she was supposed to carry Alyssa's vows! So she stuck them down her bra. It was a great idea, until we realized that she had to get them OUT of her bra and we were standing in front of a hundred people....) (thank you, long prayer! I hope everyone's eyes were closed!) and had no time for photo-taking. But Matt had my phone and snapped a few.

Pretty field in the middle of a forest? Check. Hipster band? Check. Gorgeous bride and groom? Check and check! Gang's all here!

It was a super fantastic weekend. Now Alyssa and Victor are busy sleeping in and hiking around Colorado and I'm back to work. Womp womp.

Semi-relatedly, do you think it's too late in life for me to go to makeup artist school? Does such a thing exist? Because making people pretty turned out to be REALLY fun. Am I too old to start a new career? Things to ponder.

Friday, April 25, 2014

the most anticlimactic lipstick tutorial ever

 Last night we dropped off Lola to stay with her grandparents for the weekend while Matt and I travel for a wedding I'm in. I'm not going to lie. I don't know how people do this with their human kids on a daily basis. Even though she regularly annoys me and requires lots of, I love that dog. And packing up all her belongings and taking her to stay with Mimi for the weekend shouldn't be that big a deal, but then she looked at me with those big Lola eyes and I was like I'm sorrrrryyyyyy!!!! I'll come back for you sooooon!!!! and I didn't want to leave. Anyway. I think I have dog attachment issues.

To get my mind off abandoning my lab, we headed to eat tacos with Matt's parents. Life tip #1 from Erika: distract yourself with food whenever anything remotely stressful happens. That there'll get you through pretty much anything, promise. After dinner, my mother-in-law guided me through Step 2 of Dealing With Stress: shopping at Ulta. What can I say? My people know me well. And also, it was right across the parking lot and we were walking past like, stars aligning and all that.

I don't particularly need anything makeup-wise at the moment, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't just check to make sure, right? Right. And then as it turned out, I found something(s) I DID need! That's just how makeup goes.

I've had multiple requests for 'lipstick tutorials' in the past. I've never done it because my lipstick shopping and application is an absolute joke. I'm probably less qualified than my dog to write a tutorial about such things. (Just kidding, everyone knows Lola is gorgeous and perfect just the way she is. She requires no additional adornment except for occasional scarves and/or sweaters and/or puffer jackets if it's cold.)

But just for kicks, let me walk you through my extensive and well-thought-out Lipstick Shopping technique from last night.

Step 1: Thoroughly browse the high-end makeup side of the store. Pause frequently, observing colors, features, and prices. Make educated comments about things you read on beauty blogs and/or magazines. 

Step 2: Realize you have no business spending $30 on a single lipstick. That money could buy good eyeshadow or the best foundation on earth. Priorities, people. Lipstick ain't one of them (today).

Step 3: Head to the cheap aisles. NYX has some pretty solid cheap stuff, supposedly, PLUS it's all buy one get one 50% off today, so we'll start there.

Step 4: Do this to your arm. 

Note: this picture was taken maybe 30 minutes after the lipsticks were applied. They were mostly opaque when I sampled them. This is what they look like by 30 minutes later. This should tell you something about the longevity of $4 lipsticks, ha.
Step 5: Try to decide which colors you need. Try to remember which ones look like colors you already own. Fail.

Step 6: Try to remember which arm-sample corresponds to which lipstick. Fail. Should've taken notes...

Step 7: Grab two tubes at random, figuring that you're only spending $6 so if they both suck and/or are duplicates of stuff at haven't lost much.

Step 8: Purchase. Delight in the fear in your husband's eyes when he sees you leaving Ulta with a little orange bag. Laugh at the relief that washes over his face when you inform him you're only $6 poorer.

And...that's pretty much it. I tried them on when I got home. One of them is REALLY BRIGHT coral. I kind of loved it. Matt stared at me for 30 seconds before saying "it's....bright?" hahahahaha. The other one is a more sheer peachy-pink. Not quite as bright, but still fun. That's the one I put on this morning. And then I attempted to get a decent picture of it. Not so easy when the sun was trying to blind me.

There's me and my twin sister, modeling our new lipstick. Oh wait, no. But if you think I didn't spend 10 minutes thinking about how awesome it would be to have a twin sister to share lipsticks and dress matchy-matchy're wrong.

After the Big Lipstick Purchase we wandered to the store next door...a junky dollar-store type place. I found this gem:

A memory book for your cat??! GENIUS. Then when your cat is grown it can thumb through the pages, laughing at the antics from his kitten days, awwwww-ing at his baby pictures...precious. I feel like such a jerk pet mom that I haven't religiously kept these for each of my pets. I bet they feel so resentful towards me.

It's a quick half day today, then we're on our way to Atlanta for a weekend of wedding fun! Tonight we kick things off with Alyssa's 'bachelorette party' at the Braves game!! What can I say...she likes baseball better than bar crawling. I'm looking forward to it, being the gigantic baseball fan that I am. Ha. More like...I'm looking forward to stadium food. COTTON CANDY, right?? There better be some.

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

NIAW: knowing more

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week's theme this year, Resolve to Know More, Lauren had the great idea to find non-infertility bloggers willing to host infertility bloggers for a day! I think that's pretty genius, because let's be honest. I'm preaching to the choir here. And I preach to yall frequently. You ladies know infertility already...probably better than you wish you did. So I think that a lot more awareness will actually be spread by doing what Lauren is making possible- speaking up in new places.

All of that said- you guessed it. You're gonna have to click to find my nonsensical ramblings post today. I'm hanging out and helping you (and a bunch of strangers) 'know more' over at Mom-a-logues for the day.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

things I do because my mother wouldn't let me

I'm a rule follower. I always have been. I like rules, parameters, systems, and when people do what they're supposed to do. I don't always like or agree with a given rule...but even still, I abide by them. It would drive you crazy to ride in the car with me. I never go over the speed limit. Rule follower

Growing up, guess what? I was a rule follower! Obviously I disagreed with most of the rules my parents set up, but I very rarely sought to break them. I mastered the art of complying with my actions while SILENTLY REBELLING WITH MY BRAIN AND MY EYE ROLLS. I'm sure I was a delight to parent.

Now that I'm all grown, I understand and appreciate most of the rules my parents had. They were and are very reasonable people. They weren't on a power trip or arbitrarily strict. I still live by most of the rules that governed my life growing up: I don't run out in traffic, I don't climb into windowless vans with strange men offering candy, I wash my face before I go to bed, I don't smoke. 

But there are a few things I don't do. A few rules that got kicked to the curb once I left the nest. And I'm gonna be honest: I think that half of the joy I get from doing these things is just the knowledge that my mother wouldn't let me do it. But now I'm my OWN boss and I say yes. It's awesome. Sometimes being a grownup is the most kickass thing ever. So maybe deep in my heart there is a little seed of rebellion. Who knows.

The list is short, but here we go.

Things I Do Because My Mother Wouldn't Let Me:

1. Eat noodles with ranch dressing.

I know. I'm almost ashamed. But then again, I'm not, because it is SO FREAKING DELICIOUS. And my mother WOULDN'T LET ME. Was it because it's so grossly unhealthy? Because she spent so long heating up that Prego and she didn't want it to go to waste? Because the combination just disgusted her personally and therefore she didn't want to have to look at it on my plate? I may never know, but the fact is, every time I tried to eschew my marinara in favor of some Hidden Valley, I got shot down.

But now I'm my own boss. And while I am far too calorie-conscious to actually down a whole plate of noodles and ranch, I will admit that anytime I have a few leftover noodles, they're bound to rendezvous with a little ranch and be eaten up while I'm doing the dishes. And it is fabulous.

2. Walk around outside in my sock feet.

Exhibit A: last night
 Moms get in a frenzies about the lamest things. Walking around outside in socks has to be right up there at the top of the list. Yeah yeah yeah, I get that the Georgia red clay will NEVER EVER come out and they'll be permanently orange. The concrete will prick them up. They'll probably get a hole from a stick or something. And yet...sometimes a person just needs to walk around outside in their socks, okay?? Moms need to calm down. Now that I'm my own boss and I'm in charge of my own laundry and my own sock purchasing, I let myself walk around outside in my socks whenever the mood strikes (which is often). It's delightful. However, I don't judge my mom too harshly for this rule. I can see how it would be annoying to have to constantly replace the socks for three kids. I'd probably make a similar rule. But I definitely wouldn't abide by it myself. That's what being a grownup is all about!

3. Pop my gum.

I'm probably the most gifted gum popper you have ever encountered. Seriously. It's one of those things that 90% of you would never know about me since you don't know me in real life. The 10% that do know me are all nodding and wishing I would still abide by my mother's gum popping rules, which were plentiful. I'm pretty sure I learned the art of loud and obnoxious gum popping when I was still in diapers. I bet they thought it was cute at first. Ha! Joke's on you now. Anyway, my parents were always nagging me big time to stoooopppp popping your gummmmm!!!!!! whenever we were in the car, watching TV, or basically doing anything. I was allowed to pop my gum if I was alone in a soundproof room, which was not very often. Since I can't chew gum without popping it, this meant that I was doomed to spend most of my time gumless. I mean...what's even the point of life if you can't be chewing gum? Ugh. Anyway.

Either Matt is deaf or he's the kindest person on earth. I don't think he's ever complained about my gum popping. I pop it as loud as I want, whenever and wherever I want, AND IT IS AWESOME. I have my own office at work and that's my favorite part about that, too. No one complains or cramps my style. Freedom to pop. Bliss. 

Umm...I think this is the end of my list. Is that sad? 18 years of 'oppression' (so said the teenager) and now I glory in breaking three little rules? It is sad. Oh well. I'll just eat some noodles and ranch to cheer myself up while I dream up nonsensical rules to burden my own future children with! No cookies while you're wearing flip flops during Daylight Savings Time! I am definitely going to dominate parenthood.

Monday, April 21, 2014

winning at Easter

We had an awesome Easter weekend in Augusta with my family! First and foremost, this happened late Friday night:

That's right. The sweet, sweet taste of victory. As though winning 2048 wasn't enough, I also managed to introduce my dad to the joys of the game and now he is a fellow mega-addict. The best part is that (most likely due to my 4 day game head start), I am way way way better at it than him and he was really frustrated at how easily I could rack up high scores. It was marvelous. I've never been better than my dad at a mathy thing, so I'll take a victory however I can get one.

Speaking of my dad...he has a new addiction (besides 2048). This one I fully support. I am not recommending any sort of treatment or intervention program.

You know how some people are storm chasers? (PS those people are crazy) Dad is kind of like that, only his storm is Blue Bell on sale. He told this two hour long story (this is clearly where I inherited my inability to tell a story in less than 29820190 words) about every single grocery store sale, what ice cream flavors they had, what his logic was behind the purchase, and...lots more ice cream and money-saving things...that ultimately culminated in ALL THIS being in their freezer. And actually there was more, but the rest were duplicate flavors and didn't make it to the pyramid. And PS- only two people live in their house. So...yeah.

So for the rest of the pictures and weekend, please insert a bowl of ice cream between every activity and event. I'm nothing if not committed to the scientific process of choosing the best ice cream flavor.

It was way unseasonably cold and rainy all weekend until about Sunday afternoon-- we actually ended up having a fire Saturday evening and night!! Felt more like Christmas than Easter!! But we still managed to have lots of fun. Mostly because my niece is the cutest and most fabulous thing ever.

She's eleven months old now and walking EVERYWHERE!! And she's huge. Not that that's terribly surprising, since she was over 10 pounds when she was born...but now she basically looks like she's in high school. But she's sweet and cute, too, so that's all that matters. Oh wait, no, it also matters that she seems to remember me and love me.

Unfortunately, she was not interested in or loving posing for pictures in her cute Easter dress. We took about a dozen, and she's either screaming or just not looking in all of them. But oh well. She's cute anyway.

My Easter ensemble wasn't anything to write home about. Stupid unexpectedly freezing weather meant I had to scrap the planned sundress and scrounge my suitcase for the warmest things I brought that wouldn't look ridiculous together. Blah. But no one cared about my outfit when I was holding Carley anyway, so it didn't matter.

Sunday afternoon warmed up nicely and we spent the day on my parents' back porch smoking turkey ( a smoker. To eat. Not a pipe or something...), throwing balls for Lola, and watching the Beloved Niece do cute things and try to catch Lola.

It was a wonderful weekend and I was so happy to get to spend so much time with my brother, SIL, niece, and parents! Also, ice cream.

And in SUPER tragic news, it seems that my resistance is going to end and I am going to be forced into updating my phone operating system. I discovered that my FaceTime won't work anymore until I update, so...way to force my hand, Apple. Boo!! So I spent lots of time deleting stuff off my phone because I was about 4G short of the available space required to make the update. So that's going to happen soon. If I can't live near my sister, I at least require the ability to see her and my in utero niece/nephew via technology. long, farewell, delightful old OS. Out with the old. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

playing games & being irrationally angry at the wind

I used to have a life. And like...hobbies. Interests. 

And now there's only this:
Game still in progress...obviously.
Good grief. It's a good thing I never tried drugs. I'm sure I would have been hopelessly addicted after the first hit. Luckily, my drug is a phone game that I make myself feel better by calling it a 'math game.' I mean, I do feel like there are some kind of life skills or lessons embedded inside this ridiculously addictive game. Umm...finding patterns and formulas? Can we make some kind of good self-help metaphor out of the way that it took me days to even get up to 10,000, but once I did, now I can get to 10,000 basically on auto-pilot and now my new goal (besides getting to 2048, of course) is 15,000 (oops, just got there!) 20,000?

Actually my best accomplishment so far has been convincing Matt to download and start playing the game with me. And by 'with me,' obviously I just mean 'near me,' since it's only a one-person game. But now I feel way less guilty for zoning out on my phone screen for hours on end because now he understands why! So...a big win for 2048 evangelism! 

Anyways. In between sliding numbered tiles around, I've managed to accomplish a few other things in the past few days.

For one, I made this pizza last night. And it was awesome.

 Yeah. That'd be about a pizza completely covered in asparagus and tomatoes. And it was delightful. And now it's all gone. Oops.

I had a visitor hop by the (interior) window in front of my office and scare me half to death yesterday afternoon.

Yeah. You have a huge creepy bunny hop pop up out of nowhere in front of your face and tell me you don't have a heart attack. But it was pretty hilarious. And then we spent a good while plotting tricks on other coworkers and spreading the joy of being scared to death. It was great.

I'm trying to focus on these fun experiences to detract from the abject tragedy that's occurred over the last two nights. The dreaded late season frost. I'mma punch a meteorologist, I tell ya.

Tuesday night found us gathering up every last sheet in the house and trying to tuck in all of our cold-sensitive veggies and flowers. I told them to be strong. To picture warm beaches and the bright sunshine. Just ignore the frigid air!! It'll be gone before you know it!

I should have warned them about the STUPID FREAKING WIND.

I mean, we weighted down the sides of the sheets with rocks, flower pots, and other random heavy things, but apparently we were no match for the Arctic winds. The wind laughed at our weak attempt to cover up the kale and tomato garden and then hatefully tossed the sheet to the side and MURDERED MY TOMATOES. Stupid hateful wind. Obviously the wind isn't trying to eat healthy this summer.

So this is what 6 of our tomato plants look like. One of them in that garden survived (because the sheet ended up landing on top of it). We had a few more in pots that we'd moved to the garage, so they're fine. But most of them are a loss. Boooooo. Oh well. We'll replant. 

The beautiful new dahlias we planted SATURDAY look a little scary...I'm hoping maybe it'll just be a loss of the current blooms but that maybe they'll rebloom? Same with lots of the other flowering plants-- even though they stayed covered and didn't actually get frost on them, the temperature was still low enough to shock them and make them look really sad. Ugh. We covered again last night, even though it didn't get quite as cold...I didn't have a chance to look at everything too closely this morning to see how they fared.

Even though I'm sad, I'm trying to keep a little perspective. I'm a hobby gardener at best. If my tomatoes don't grow this summer...well, oh well. I'll buy them at the store. There are tons of real farmers in our area and state that stand to lose their livelihood and income this year over a late frost like this. So...perspective.

Also, I finally got to 15,000 on 2048. So life isn't all bad. Perspective! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

living the resistance

You probably think I'm pretty normal. Typical. As far as culture and lifestyle choices for the society I inhabit, I don't really stand out. I look, talk, shop, and dress like pretty much everyone else. 

But deep in my heart, I'm a rebel. Every day I live out my tiny, secret resistance. And nobody knows. Well, until now.

Behold: my one-woman cultural resistance against...against nothing. I don't even have a cause I'm carrying a banner for. These are just the things that have come to light in recent (or not-so-recent) days that apparently make me 'different' (I prefer to think of it as 'special') from most of the other folks in my peer group. Ha.

1. I haven't seen Frozen.

AND-- I've never even heard the song 'Let it Go.' I KNOW. Some of you are probably jealous, based on how much people complain on Facebook about being sick of that song. I don't know why anyone would be shocked that I haven't seen Frozen, really. I don't have kids. I don't babysit. We're firmly in camp DINK, even if not by choice, and camp DINK doesn't choose to spend $25 and a Saturday night being camped out in a movie theater full of crying three-year-olds who have to run past your legs to the potty every 12 seconds. To be honest, I have no problem with Frozen and have every intention of seeing it. I'm sure I'll love it, just like I love all the other Disney movies. It's just that people seem utterly shocked when they hear I haven't seen it yet. Really? Really. Okay then.

2. I haven't upgraded the operating system on my iPhone.

That's right, kiddos. Take a walk down memory lane. Look at those lovely old icons! The dull, non-cartoonish colors!! A few weeks ago, a coworker noticed my phone and practically weeped as she begged to scroll through my icons and folders, reminiscing about the good old days. Apparently my phone is some kind of museum now. Whatever. I mean, I didn't upgrade when the new OS first came out because I figured there'd be tons of bugs and it would be annoying. I wanted to wait a few weeks to get the kinks worked out. Now we're past the point of waiting...I'll probably just keep rocking this OS until I get a new phone (in like, a year). Why mess with a good thing? 

3. I haven't read Harry Potter.

Pretty much the only reason I'm still holding out on this one is to bother my friend Mollyanne. Ha. No one on earth cares about anything as much as Mollyanne cares that I haven't read Harry Potter. I wouldn't want to take that away from her. I'm not sure how I slipped through the cracks on this one, really. I have nothing against them. I'm 100% sure I'd love them, as they're right up my YA-loving alley. I think the main fear is that I know that once I start, it'll take a long time to get through all 7 of them (7? Right?) and in the meantime, think of all the other books I won't be able to read? Opportunity cost? I don't know. It doesn't make much sense, really. I need to do it. If I had them on Kindle, I'd be much more likely to make the commitment, because like...those books are really big, and if I have to get them in hardback from the library...ugh. Huge. Who wants to lug that around for weeks on end? Not me. Wah wah wah.

4. I've never played Candy Crush.

I know!!! What did I DOOOOO with my life all those months that everyone else on earth did NOTHING BUT PLAY CANDY CRUSH ALL THE TIME?? I don't know. Probably sit alone and catch up on some five-year-old cultural phenomenon I'd missed out on the first time around. I really have no regrets on this one. How could I regret not having wasted dozens of hours on a phone game? Exactly. I don't plan to catch up on this one, either. 

I would feel a lot more high and mighty about this particular one except that last night I downloaded 2048. I'm like one for two on Super Addictive Phone Games, I guess. Oh well. For the record, 2048 is awesome and I feel like it's a more intelligent game than CC, so I give myself props for that. I mean, there're numbers. Math? Right? Right. Also, although I've played quite a few rounds of 2048 by now, I'm still not entirely sure I understand what I'm doing. That's bad, right? Like, I get it? But then...sometimes the blocks all do something I didn't expect, which makes me think...maybe I don't actually get it. Oh well. I'll keep trying anyway. What's a good score? I have no basis for comparison here, so I'm not sure if I'm even doing good or not. Help me out, other sell-out people!

5. I do not and WILL NOT 'put a bird on it.'

SERIOUSLY, people of America. STOP ALREADY WITH THE CUTESY BIRDS ON EVERYTHING. This particular resistance is becoming increasingly hard to maintain, since I don't happen to make all of my own clothing, accessories, and home decor. But maybe I should. Or maybe I'll have to start looking at vintage stores to find a tshirt that doesn't have a damn 'adorable' owl on it somewhere. Good GRIEF! Staying strong on this issue was particularly vexing when we were trying to get the nursery ready in the fall. HOLY COW. Finding a non-bird-emblazoned baby item was next to impossible. It's gross. I can't wait for everyone else to move on past this sick obsession with gross, germy, hateful, disgusting air rodents.

 In fact, I think that I'll just go hole up in a cave with a stack of Harry Potter books, a Frozen DVD, and 2048...yall let me know when the world has gotten over birds and moved on to the next big thing that I'll probably miss out on. Thanks! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

culture. and flowers. always flowers.

It was a perfect spring weekend. SUPER perfect.

For example, take Friday night. First we ate Argentinian food on the restaurant's porch. Not only was the food amazing, but we were surrounded by flowering trees and a view of some of Athens's loveliest gigantic antebellum mansions-turned-frat houses (sad but true story). 

After we stuffed our bellies, we headed to the Georgia Museum of Art to take a gander at the new MFA exhibit. It was...arty. What can I say. I really don't understand much art, but I can look at it and cock my head in a thoughtful manner and nod maybe I blend in with the true art appreciators? Maybe. At any rate, I enthusiastically eat the free food and drink the free beer and wine like I know what I'm doing (and I do!), so there's that. 

I'm telling you. Sometimes there are some true advantages to living in a college town. I submit art shows with free (quality! local! Terrapin!!) beer as Exhibit A.

After our fill of art (and refreshments) we headed across the lawn to a scene I'm a little more familiar with: the UGA Wind Symphony's spring concert. Band concerts are my love language and I'm always thankful when Matt takes the initiative to figure out when and where they're taking place and then goes to them with me.

Pre-concert, obviously.
I was in band for all of middle and high school...and not just in band, but like...REALLY INTO BAND. My life more or less revolved around band, my friends in band, my private lessons, weekend honor bands, auditions, competitions, camps, and spending every spare minute of the day in the band room. I was just as cool as you're imagining. I loved every minute of it. Sadly, Matt went to a very tiny private school that had NO BAND, so he's woefully uneducated in the ways of music and band. But that's okay because it means he asks hilarious (to me and other music-educated folks) questions and makes funny observations about things in the concert program, the wind symphony itself, and music. It's very entertaining. So I would have to say that going to a band concert with Matt is probably the best thing ever. Therefore Friday night was pretty awesome. Again- thanks for the free entertainment, UGA! 

While our Friday was quite a cultural and artsy experience, Saturday was all about flowers. SHOCKING, right?

Our favorite local nursery was having its annual spring open house, which meant that in addition to plant sales, there was live music and free food! (You could say that we spent the weekend chasing free food...and it was glorious.)

A dude singing in a nursery-- HOW DO I GET THIS JOB??!

The combination of free food, lovely weather, live music, and good prices meant that we bought a ridiculous amount of flowers. Two new hydrangeas, three lantana (MOST CRAZY LANTANA COLOR VARIETIES EVER!!), and some super fabulous dahlias. And a raspberry bush! And some other things I can't remember the names of.

Hello ridiculously pretty dahlias!
Obviously this meant we spent the rest of Saturday afternoon digging and planting. And pruning and sweating and planning and examining. Shockingly, after all the new things were in the ground, we discovered that we 'needed' even more flowers. Funny how that works. So we had to go back yesterday and do it all again. What a tragedy. It was really torturous, let me tell ya. On the plus side, at least our flower beds will be super fabulous this summer!

Other plant-y observations:
1. With every plant I put in the ground, it adds to the feeling that I will probably never be able to sell the house and move. LEAVE MY BABIES BEHIND?!?! What if the new owners didn't care about flowers? What if they let them all die?!??!! The thought of this is unnecessarily stressful for someone that isn't even really considering moving. Ugh.
2. I'm pretty sure I just spent a week's pay on flowers. Workin' for the flowers, yall.

After all of that yard beautification on Saturday, I felt that the front door was looking sad and boring. I needed a spring/early summer wreath to get me through til it's time for the Fourth of July wreath. Allison inspired me with her fun natural-and-burlap wreath that she made a few weeks ago, so I set out to make one similar. But then I got sidetracked by things that were bright colors, so mine is a little less neutral and a little more TURQUOISE, but I'm okay with that.

The pictures suck because it was getting dark and iPhone pictures in the semi-dark and/or using a flash are a joke, but you get the idea. For a wreath that took about 20 minutes to make, I think it's pretty great! And it makes my front door look WAY happier. 

So with that, spring has been officially welcomed at our house. We knew it was really official when we both got multiple mosquito bites. Yup. Between the pollen, mosquitoes, and humidity, Georgia makes sure we never get too satisfied with the current weather. By the time the pollen leaves, it'll be 920 degrees every day...but my plants will be happy and blooming, so really, I don't care. Bring it.

Friday, April 11, 2014

oohhhh siblings.

Apparently yesterday was National Siblings Day. Ummm...I feel like we're just inventing holidays now, people. For real. Was this the first year? Because I never recall celebrating this in the past. And I didn't celebrate it yesterday. Not so much as a text to either one of my siblings. Oops! At any rate, since evidently the way to 'celebrate' or 'observe' NSD (PS- add this to my list of holidays with confusing apostrophe situations) is simply to share sibling pictures on social media, I'll have to say...I'm down with that. I'm terrible with cards and gifts and phone calls and thematic crafts and snacks, but sharing a picture on FB or Instagram? Can't we just celebrate ALL holidays this way from now on? (Thanksgiving being the obvious exception. There's no substitute for real turkey.)

All that said, I still didn't participate in NSD yesterday. It caught me unprepared...and then I kept forgetting to find old pictures...blah blah blah. When I finally got around to looking for some appropriate sibling pictures, I realized that I couldn't possibly limit myself to just one or two. People who can limit their life sharing to one or two pictures are people for whom FB or Instagram is enough. Those of us that can't limit have blogs. Obviously. 

I love my siblings. I love our ages and our order. I highly recommend that if you have any control or say-so over the number, order, sexes, and spacing of your offspring, you model them after my siblings and I: girl, boy, girl, with 2 to 2.5 years between each. It's really quite fabulous, particularly if you happen to be the first girl. I was always on the winning team. ALWAYS. With three kids, it's bound to end up as two against one most of the time sometimes. Given my fortuitous position, I was always on the winning team: it was either the oldest two versus the baby, or the two girls against the lone boy. It was awesome. Actually, it was mostly the two wisest against the gullible one (which also aligned with the age thing)...and that's what most of my favorite childhood memories consist of. Jake and I making up ridiculous crap and convincing Sarah it was real. It's taken her years of therapy and Googling to come to terms with what is actually real in life and what was actually a prolonged, elaborate, and fiercely defended series of lies that Jake and I created and managed to convince our parents to go along with. Sorry Sarah. But not really. It was hilarious.

Alright. Enough talking- let's get to the pictures. THE WORLD NEEDS TO SEE MORE ADORABLE CHILDREN FROM THE LATE 80s/EARLY 90s!!!

This picture will never not make me happy. Look how precious we were!! How coordinated our outfits! How tan our skin! How weird my bangs!

Sadly, we didn't live in an Olan Mills studio, so most of the time our pictures were a little less polished. We did normal kid stuff like fish.

 I made this picture huge because there are so many amazing details. The bows that Sarah and I are wearing. Her awesome overalls. My brother's jorts. And again with my weird-ass bangs. What the heck, 90s?

 This photo shoot was designed to showcase us in the outfits associated with our current favorite hobbies: dancing for the girls, football for Jake. Themed photo shoots?? My mom should have been a mommyblogger. Let us also observe that despite being thin, I had legit HIPS at age 8 or 9. And again- unfortunate bangs.

First day of school-- fifth grade. My 'bookbag' is large enough to hold the luggage for a family of 10 spending a month on vacation. I remember that it was always SO HEAVY from all the stuff (books) I had to carry around all the time. No matter, though- this is clearly what prepared me for a lifetime of Really Heavy Purses. Please also note: Jake's ROLLED UP JORTS. And Sarah's illegal amount of cuteness. How did she alone manage to escape looking ridiculous all the time?? I guess it's the trade-off for being really incredibly gullible. fast forward through a lot of years that I couldn't readily find already scanned pictures for...and skip to my college graduation!! Unfortunately, we all look mostly normal here, as it was only 9 years ago.

There aren't nearly as many pictures of us now that we're adults living in three different cities, but at least the pictures we do manage to take make us all look good!

My wedding (June 2007):

Sarah's wedding (Dec. 2010):

Jake's Rehearsal Dinner (June 2011) (couldn't quickly find a wedding day pic of the three of us, oops):

Awww...I love my siblings. And I will leave you with one short story to exemplify what a great big sister and brother Sarah had to look up to.

She was maybe 4 or 6. We were sharing a room at the time, and I was sitting at my desk (probably studying advanced physics or maybe reading Babysitters Club books) when she came in the room from taking a shower. She had her towel on and I glanced over and casually mentioned that what was really fun was jumping on the bed naked. She looked skeptical and said something about us not being allowed to jump on the bed, but I reassuringly told her that as long as you were naked, Mom and Dad didn't care. I brought Jake in and he confirmed the situation-- oh, yeah. Naked bed-jumping had the parental stamp of approval. Never one to miss out on something potentially really fun, Sarah started jumping on the bed naked. Jake and I quickly summoned our parents, who came in the room and were shocked to see their blonde angel doing something so bizarre and obviously against the rules. They scold. Sarah starts to point fingers at Jake and I, but upon receiving Death Stares Times Two, realizes the error in her ways and promises to never jump on the bed again, naked or otherwise. Parents leave the room. Jake and I have the BIGGEST LAUGH EVER and thank God for the gift of such a wonderful little sister to play tricks on. The end.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

books books books! and horrifying unidentified book objects.

It's pollen season in Georgia. If you're not from 'round here, that probably means nothing to you. If you are a fellow lucky Southern pollen-state resident, you're probably not even able to read this through your watery, itchy eyes, fuzzy head, and nonstop sneezing. Ugh. We only get to enjoy spring for about a week before the beautiful blooming trees, weeds, and grasses all conspire to kill us with their death pollen. It sucks. Especially when you're me and you'd much rather be outside enjoying the trees and flowers than doing anything else. Boo and extra boo.

Luckily I've been on a book reading rampage that makes being stuck indoors much less miserable. My new BFFs are the folks at the holds desk at the library. And my friend Colleen, who has been knocking it out of the park lately with her book recommendations. Last week I read Red Rising-- "Hunger Games for smart adults," Colleen called it. And she was very right. It took a little while for me to really get into it (which Colleen had warned me about), but once things got was amaaaazing. My main complaint with the book is that the author is a very good looking infant baby child who has already written a bestseller and he is ONLY 26 YEARS OLD. So like, that's just insulting. What have I done with my life??! On the plus side, at least he has a good eighty years of writing ahead of him. It sucks when you discover an amazing author and they didn't start writing books til they were like 60. OH THE WASTED YEARS.

After Red Rising I knocked out this month's book club selection, This is Where I Leave You. It was really funny and also really uhhh...scandalous. So. There's that. It made me alternately laugh and squirm quiiiite a bit. Should make for an interesting (or short?) book club discussion!

As soon as I closed TIWILY I moved onto Colleen's next pick.

 I was super excited about this one because Dave Eggers is the author of the best short story collection of all time, in my humble opinion: How We Are Hungry. Despite the fact that my college besties and I read HWAH (out loud to each other) cover to cover probably 20 times in college, I haven't actually read any of his full-length novels. Come to think of it, I bought A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius at a yard sale last year and haven't read it yet! It must be hiding on a shelf somewhere. Hm. Anyway, as soon as I read the summary of The Circle I knew I had to read it immediately. I'm not quite finished with it, but I can already definitely highly recommend it. It's blowing my mind and creeping me out on so many levels...I need everyone to read it immediately so that we can discuss. Thanks!

I have about 40 pages left in The Circle, but I'm already thinking about what I'll read next. (Yes, I'm also the kind of person that starts planning her next meal before she's done with the current one) I'm torn between The Rosie Project and Room. I think it's going to depend on how creeped out and stressed I am when I finish The Circle. If I need a mental break from anguish, I'll probably go with The Rosie Project, since it looks more lighthearted. If I feel like doing some more stressing and deep thinking, maybe Room. Or maybe sometime between now and the time I start my next book, Colleen (or someone else!) will open my eyes to something even better! The possibilities are endless, and that's really good, because pollen season is looking kind of endless here, too. 

I've been getting most of these books at the library because none of them met my 'free to $3' Kindle purchase requirement. And it's been working out just fine; I can find them on the library's archaic online library system, and 400 clicks later, reserve to have them on hold. Then the library magically contacts whichever remote backwoods Georgia library has the one available copy of the book I want- I'm guessing they do this via smoke signals or carrier pigeons, based on the time it takes and the prehistoric nature of their webpage design. Then the book travels to the Athens library (probably via covered wagon), and a few days later I get an email notifying me that it's available for pickup! And it's awesome. I mean, I mock, but really-- it's awesome. And since I have so many books I'm already reading, I'm not in a huge rush, so I don't really care that it kind of takes forever to get a book that's supposedly at a branch 30 miles away. Whatever. I appreciate the freeness of it.

What I do NOT appreciate?

Turning to page 184 and discovering a random brown crusty thing stuck to the page of my book.


What IS IT?!?! Toast. OBVIOUSLY it is a crumb of toast stuck to the page because I really just cannot allow myself to think about what it REALLY looks like (BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER) because then I would die of being grossed out. ICCCCKKKK. So...I don't know. This disgusting library book phenomenon has happened more times than I'd like to recall lately, and I will have to say...there are many, many amazing things about 'real' books (as opposed to Kindle books). I'll never judge you for being on Team Real Books Are Awesome and E-books Are Stupid. I get that. But can I just say...unidentifiable gross crusty objects on page 184 NEVER HAPPENS ON KINDLE. So...take that, Team Real Books.  

PS. I don't know if anyone cares, but for the record, none of these are affiliate links. Click away with abandon knowing I won't earn a single fraction of a penny off you! But for the record, I wish they WERE affiliate links. And that I could redeem the penny fractions for MORE BOOKS, preferably on Kindle...for obvious reasons.