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Archive for June, 2009

puppies smell like cookies

My dear friend Erin makes me smile, even when she doesn’t know she does.

Frank and I took a trip with Erin and John to the town of Nashville. You know, basically my heaven – full of cowboys and country music – ahhh! Love. It.

While we were there, we bummed around the mall a little bit. And the mall had a puppy store where you could go in and test drive some puppies. Erin eagerly dragged us over to the puppy store, promising Frank that puppies smell like cookies.

For those of you who know Frank well know that Frank loves when things smell good. He loves, loves, loves candles and diffusers and incense. Smell is a critical part of his life experience. To find out that puppies smell like cookies probably cause Frank to pause and consider adopting a puppy. If they smell like cookies, what bad thing can come from them??

The first clue should have been that the store smelled NOTHING like cookies. Not even close.

But Frank, trusting Erin who seemed so genuine and sincere in her promise of cookied puppies, looked past the initial smell. He went up to the window and picked out a cute little pug puppy and we were walked into a test drive room to see if we liked the pug.

We sat down on the bench, pug in hand and Frank took a big, hearty whiff of the puppy’s head, expecting Nestle Tollhouse cookies and getting… well, puppy. He looked at me and his face was full of disappointment.

“This puppy does NOT smell like any cookies I’ve ever eaten!” he said, incredulous.

And that, folks, is why we are probably never getting a puppy. Or any more cookies.

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Hope

Considering how I have felt in the past day, I feel that the below verses really are speaking to me. While I am not feeling particularly hopeful that the outcome of what we are going through will be what I want, I know in my heart that the outcome of what we are going through will be what God wants for us. Paul says,

3Not only so, but wec]”>[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ” Romans 5:3-5

The good news, at the end of all of this I will have more character and hope, right?? Kind of like an old house and everyone loves the charm of old houses. (Except if you have to live in them, they are kind of high maintenance – right Frank?)

“Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds — his name is the LORD— and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”- Psalm 68:4-5

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Shrinkage

We had another follicle study today to see if I was ready for the HCG shot. Ah, yes, good times.

My follicles actually shrunk.

I wasn’t expecting that. I thought I’d go in and have some huge follicles. Nope. They shrunk from where they were last Friday.

What does this mean? Well, it means that I didn’t get the HCG shot to release the eggs. And that means we’ll have to start from a fresh slate next month with 100 mg of Clomid (instead of 50mg that we did this month). Helllllo crazytown!

As always, this is all in God’s timing. It’s just taking a lot of personal emotional discipline to keep myself focused on Him and His goodness.

Alright. Back to work.

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man plans…

and God knows better.

Thus was the theme for the entire weekend. But what is amazing is how God held both of us in His hands and kept us safe and provided before we even knew we needed provision. Here is how the weekend went:

FRIDAY.
I took a Summer Day on Friday. First things first, I zipped off to the doctor to have my follicles studied. I love my ultra sound technician. She is Egyptian and has the sweetest demeanor – very calm and pleasant. Unfortunately my follicles were too small to get the HCG shot (the shot basically causes my ovaries to eject the eggs). I was SO crushed because I had this grand plan that it would all work out just fine… and then it didn’t. I called Frank to update him and almost started crying. But then I realized that it probably worked out for the best because my next follicle study will be on Tuesday and Frank will be off of work. That helped cheer me up.

And it turns out I was extremely blessed that it worked out this way. More on this later.

So I went to get my hair cut (most of my hair cuts seem to coincide with disappointing doctor appointments – must be God looking out for me – “Well, that sucks, but here – feel better!”). I liked the guy who cut my hair and I think it turned out just fine. Then I headed down to Nordstroms in Oakbrook with Toni & Dorothy. I had my favorite salad, which also helped pick up my mood – but the real kick in the pants was the Diet Coke. De-Lish. Mmmm. Oh, and the new shoes on sale helped too. The day was looking pretty rosy.

I hurried down to Midway to catch the early flight and pick up Frank’s car so that we wouldn’t have to pick it up when Frank was scheduled to arrive at 10:30 pm. I stopped by Target and purchased some Crystal Light packets, water and Weight Watcher’s brownies. Again, feeling pretty sunny about life in general while I was eating brownies in the parking lot, watching the thunderstorm.

Ah, yes, the thunderstorm. See, sometimes I forget to put my aviation hat on. I love thunderstorms. I especially love when I am not caught walking outside in them. So I was playing Brick Breaker on my phone (dirty slut game – gr! I am addicted), drinking Cherry Pomegranite Crystal Light (amazing!) and eating Weight Watchers Brownies, just waiting for Frank to park his plane in ATL.

So at 9:30 pm Frank called to let me know that they had a ground stop (an official “No Go” from ATL airport). They would be in an hour late. Because of the storm. Dirty. Suddenly I didn’t like the storm so much.

I mosied on over to the Barnes and Noble thinking I might be able to kill a few minutes before the store closed at 10pm. The rain was coming down in sheets and I decided to just watch customers run to their cars, trying to dodge buckets of rain and getting completely sopping wet in the process. Remember, I’m the girl that thinks Bret Michaels falling is hilarious. The people who realized that resistence was futile were the best. They sort of waddled slowly to their cars because their jeans were stiff from the water. Ha.

At 10 pm, Frank called to say that the ground stop had been extended and his flight might even be canceled. Joke was on me because I didn’t have a key to his crash pad and would have to find a hotel.

At 10:30 I realized that I was getting increasingly cranky because I had only had Crystal Light and Weight Watchers Brownies since my salad at lunch. I spied with my little eye – a Wendy’s! After some mental negotiating, I determined that I could have, nay, deserved, a Single, regular fries and a Shot-oh-Frosty (Jr. Frosty for those of you who are not familiar). Apparently the rain makes Atlantans hungry because the line was several deep when I got to the drive thru. No matter – I had nothing but time.

Once I secured my dinner, I went back to Barnes and Noble. At this point the storm was starting to let up, but the lightening was still spectacular.

Now, let’s just talk about my dinner. I forgot that Wendy’s puts mayo on their Singles and while I was willing to take some liberties with ordering a hamburger and fries, I felt that it was going too far to have mayo with it. Using a fry, I scraped some mayo off, but after eating 2/3rds of the burger, I decided the burger wasn’t good enough to warrant such diet deviations. I started in on the fries, but they were soggy and metallic-tasting. I wish I could say I had a few fries and gave up the fight – but sadly – I held out hope that the next fry would be better than the last. Halfway through the fries I realized the futility of this thought process and gave up on the fries too. Instead of being mired in profound disappointment with one of my favorite QSR chains, I put all of my hope in my shot-oh-frosty – and I was NOT disappointed. Bliss and joy in a small cup with a large spoon. Happiness.

I felt MUCH better after I finished the shot-oh-frosty. Mmm.

Frank called and suggested I go to the cell phone lot at ATL and wait there. Tired of my current parking lot vista, I decided to take his suggestion.

Along my drive on Camp Creek Parkway (always a pleasure, especially in percipitous weather conditions), I realized that I had consumed about 40 oz of Crystal Light deliciousness and I needed to go. In sort of an epically bad way. The kind of bad where I actually wondered if there could be a positive outcome if my bladder actually ruptured. Every bump and stop was horrifically bad.

And that is why I was NOT happy when I got to the hourly parking lot (the cell phone lot was just a myth) and found that the folks at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had decided to run a psychological experiment on Atlanta drivers. The lot was under construction and the traffic pattern had been radically modified, requiring drivers to cut across the exit path to continue to more parking and I found myself in a death loop traffic pattern: no freaking way out! I circled and circled and circled and finally drove around a gate and continued on to more parking.

Grabbing my book and some jeans (I was still in my traveling dress from that morning), I walked quickly into the airport (it was still wet and I was wearing my squishy flip flops that are not ideal for wet conditions. I figured if I fell, I’d probably pee myself and that was just something I didn’t feel like experiencing just then). I found a delightful restroom where I relieved my poor bladder and changed. Then I joined the rest of the tired, soaked Atlantans in the waiting area to read a book.

Frank’s plan FINALLY landed at 1 am. He texted me and told me he needed to find a gate. I told him to double park and let the passengers find their own way home. Good thing he’s the pilot and I’m not because he decided to wait for the gate.

At 1:15 am he told me he needed to check with operations to make sure he wasn’t needed. I waited at the top of the exit escalator, excited to finally see him after such a long wait. At 1:30 he texted and said he had bad news – they needed him to fly to Philadelphia. WTF!!!!!

Oh and did I mention that Delta was making announcements that said, “All of our affiliated hotels are out of rooms for the night.” Awesome. Did I mention that I didn’t have a key for his crashpad? Ok, good.

I texted him and asked him to bring me his keys for the crashpad. At 1:45ish, he came up the escalator, key in hand. I gave him a big hug and walked him partway back to security. Then I watched him walk the rest of the way down the long, white corridor to security. His long legs quickly put space between us and he was gone. I think the whole thing lasted about 90 seconds and I was alone in the airport again, holding the silver key to the crashpad. But I did not cry.

I went to the crashpad and parked the car. I lugged my bags to the door and met A, a flight attendant who lives at the house. I went upstairs and started to take off my shoes and get settled when Ashley knocked and let me know that I couldn’t park where I parked. Crap. So I went down and moved the car.

And then I realized that I left my phone on the seat of the car. So I went back out to the car and set off the car alarm. CRAP! But I did not cry.

I crawled into bed, slightly defeated, but very grateful that we were not missing the ovulation window. That would have put me over the edge.

At 4:15 am, Frank texted to say that he made it to Philadelphia and he would take the first flight he could take home. Ok. Good.

SATURDAY.
At 10 am, I called Frank to find out which flight he was going to be on. He let me know that crew scheduling required him to have more rest before he could get on a flight home since he would technically be on “duty.” AWESOME.

Next flight he could take home would get him in at… wait for it… 8:30pm.

I cried.

But I was determined that my trip would not be in vain. Now it was me versus Atlanta and even though I was down 1-0, I whipped out my annoying perseverance and decided that I was going to give Atlanta the a**-whooping that it needed.

I calmed down (this weekend was an exercise in self-discipline) and went for a long walk through the neighborhood near the crashpad. I felt better. I took a shower, made some lunch, watched some TV and read a book. My reserves were refilling. I talked to God for a while and thought about life and decided to leave the crashpad to get some gas. Filled up the tank, talked to my friend Erin and got impossibly lost (but not impossible for the GPS! you like that Atlanta? Even though your streets are curvey and nonsensical, you could not get that past me!) and then got found. I went to Barnes and Noble for a few hours and had a warm chocolate chip cookie (screw you, diet) and some Crystal Light (mmm). I wrote in my journal and started reading a book. Time flew by and I found that I appreciated the quiet time.

I headed back to the airport and called Frank. He let me know that again, his flight was delayed. I laughed out loud. You have to be freaking kidding me! So I went to McDonalds and had a snack wrap (grilled – healthy) and a light lemonade (love me some flavored water!). Frank let me know that there was no clear reason for this delay, but it was looking like 10:30pm. I told him to list me on the last flight out to Midway just in case and I’d call an audible from the airport.

Frank texted me to let me know that they were pushing from the gate and he was on his way – but they were 30 in line to take off.

I headed over to the airport and had to decide between daily and hourly parking. I optimistically chose hourly (and because I knew how to beat the traffic pattern in the parking lot, I did not let Atlanta win on that account) and dragged all of my stuff to the ticket counter.

The 11:25pm flight was booked to 137 of 137 available positions, but 10 people had not checked in and I was the only crazy person on standby. Great.

Frank texted me to let me know that they were turning back to the gate. Apparently someone was having some medical issues and they needed to let the passenger off of the plane. Seriously – are you kidding me??

He texted me and said that he was reviewing the events of the past 30 hours and was struggling not to laugh maniacally out loud.

ETA for arriving in ATL: 11:30pm.

I sat at the gate for the plane to Chicago and read my book (I finished two books on my trip – yay!). I debated and prayed about whether or not I should get on the flight. I told God, “If you don’t want me to go, then don’t have a seat for me on the plane.” I was trying to get God to make the decision for me, but I think in the end, either route was fine with God and He made me make the decision on my own. I was standing at the jetway, ticket in hand (there was a seat), but I was filled with dread. The idea that I would be taking off at the same time that Frank would be landing just broke my heart. I couldn’t do it.

I turned around and walked off the jetway and went back to the gate agent. I handed her my ticket and told her I changed my mind. She looked at me like I lost my mind and I don’t think she would ever understand.

My heart was light and I felt great walking away from the gate. Frank landed and I met him in the terminal. I was so happy to see him, but I could see the weariness on his face. We hugged and walked quickly towards ops. He still needed to check in and make sure that he wasn’t flying anywhere else. I prayed as I waited for him to come back up from ops.

Well, I had pulled the goalie, so to speak, and my last ditch effort worked! Frank was done for the night and I got a last minute goal in at the buzzer. TAKE THAT ATLANTA!

Hrmph.

Of course, as we headed into dreaded overtime with our battle against Atlanta, I was quickly sobered by the realization that I would have to catch the 8:25 am (EDT) flight out to Midway (since the 9:25am flight was oversold). That meant I had to be up at 6:15 am. By the time we returned to the crashpad, it was 12:30am. This did not give me a lot of time to sleep. But when I consider all of the times I went with less sleep for things that are a lower priority, just a few hours with Frank was well worth it.

SUNDAY.

I’m not going to lie: 6:15am HURT. I was in a fog. A giddy fog, but a fog nonetheless.

Frank dropped me off at the airport and I joined other foggy, tired passengers in line for security. Participating in the mandatory strip search extravaganza, I managed to not break an ankle juggling my bags and putting my shoes back on. The ride on the tram to the D concourse was uneventful. The flight was wide open and I had a row to myself.

Now, I will say this, the guy in front of me was either hung over or a girly man with major anxiety about flying. He was fidgeting a lot and his girlfriend was trying to soothe him. When I sit normally in my seat, my knees are EXACTLY to the seat in front of me. No room to move. (you can imagine how bad it is for Frank then) This gentleman didn’t push the seat back before take off, but he was pushing so hard on it, he was bumping my knees. I was annoyed. As soon as we acheived 10,000 feet, this guy put his seat back HARD into my knees. It actually hurt. I yelped and moved my knees and his caring girlfriend looked back and said, “Sorry.” And then she reclined her seat. Hrmph.

Because I had the row to myself, I was able to reposition myself so that I could stretch my legs out, but I was more annoyed in principle. I mean, c’mon, who just lays back in the seat so hard and so fast that I can’t even move out of the way? I wanted to brawl. And I would have brawled except for a few key factors: 1) I was non-revving and it would put Frank’s travel priveleges (and probably his job) in jeopardy and I figured that was a pretty uncool thing to do, 2) airlines and the FAA generally do not appreciate onboard brawls and 3) I’m not as scrappy of a fighter as I appear. I’m really more of a lover than a fighter.

Deciding against a bar-roomesque brawl, I opted for a snooze.

The thing about snoozing on planes is that you tend to wake with your mouth open and your ears popping. Today was no exception. Groggy, I deboarded the plane at Midway without incident. (Mr. Girly Man, I’ve got my eyes on you!) and hurried to catch the shuttle to the economy parking lot (ugh).

Home by 10ish, I checked my email, ate some real breakfast and snoozed for an hour before I got ready for tea with the girls.

Our small group plus some additional girls went to tea in Long Grove at Seasons of Long Grove. It was delicious! I had the Mango Ceylon tea (what in the world is ceylon??) and some finger foods that were REALLY good. mmm. Then we toured Long Grove, stopping at the pre-requisite Long Grove Confectionary and the Apple House for some additional goodies. It was such a nice time! It was a nice time-out from my on-going battle with Atlanta.

While I was at tea, Frank texted and said he was called up for a trip to Houston. (Atlanta’s really playing a good offense, I have to admit) I hoped against all hope that it was an early trip to Houston, but alas, that would not align with how our weekend went. He was the last flight out of Houston back to Atlanta. That flight lands at 10:30. If anything happens, including (but not limited to) the skies opening up over Atlanta again, he will not make the 11:25 flight home. Regardless, he won’t technically be home until Monday.

I guess Atlanta wins in overtime on a technicality. Considering that Atlanta won in April, too (every flight on AirTran was booked from my desired departure date of Sunday through Tuesday because of weather related cancellations that corresponded with heavy spring break traffic), I am down in the series 2-0.

So, Atlanta, best of 7?

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project atlanta.

Today, I am going to go to the doctor. Get my hair done. Lunch with Dor. Get to Midway and Fly to Atlanta and Connect with Frank.

Tomorrow, we are going to watch a ton of TV and movies. We are going to go for some nice long walks and generally enjoy being in the same place at the same time for longer than 6 consecutive, waking hours.

YAY!!!

FK, here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!

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based only on my feelings about Him.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that they know God without reading the Bible. And you know, I am sure that there are people that really do walk with God without the benefit/availability of His Word. I do not dispute that.

But I do think that there is some major error in only knowing God through your own eyes and experiences.

Because this is the biggest thing I am going through right now, I want to put it in the context of fertility.

I want to be pregnant and I am not and it is not an easy road. The journey to pregnancy may be over after this month, or it may continue on. But as a human, I know that 1) I wanted to be pregnant months (well, actually, years) ago and 2) I am not, at the moment pregnant nor a mom. Yet, all around me there are women getting pregnant with multiple babies without any difficulty. If I were to describe God based on this experience, I would only think of Him as being unfair with a wicked sense of humor.

But because I have the benefit of His word and my brothers & sisters in Christ, they help give me a more complete picture of who God is. I know of Abraham and Sarah in the Bible who God promised would begin a great lineage of nations, with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. And at first, it did not work out according to THEIR plan, but ultimately, it did work out according to GOD’S plan. When it worked out according to God’s plan, God blessed them AND He was glorified in it.

The blessing of God’s word also describes a just AND merciful God who knew that there was nothing I could do to be worthy of His love, but loved me all the same and sent His son to die for m. I think often of what a tremendous tragedy it would be if Jesus just died and was never risen. I think of how sad and full of despair the disciples must have been that Friday – wondering why God would do this to them and take away their leader.

But they only knew sadness and despair on Friday because their knowledge was limited (Paul says, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”) and they didn’t know entirely what God had planned (even though Jesus was giving them all of the information they needed in His teachings). And how much greater was God’s plan that what they ever could have imagined?

In my limited knowledge of God, based on my limited experience and understanding of Him, I could very quickly determine that God was not a God for me because He allowed others to have children, but not me (on my timing). By doing that, I would also quickly forget the abundance of blessings and grace that He poured out over my life so far (a wonderful family, a fantastic husband, a rewarding/challenging career, lovely friends, the gift of being born in a country where I can be free to speak and pray) and in my selfish short-sidedness, I would try to reduce God to an impotent, uncaring, unloving, cruel God.

But when I spend time learning about God in the Bible and in community with other believers, I am reminded of the enduring character of God’s love. I am reminded of all the prayers that He answered that I simply turned around on and said, “I deserved that anyway.” I am reminded that His vision and plan is much larger and still more intricate than anything I could ever wrap my brain around.

Because I know how my brain works, I know that I couldn’t know God without knowing the stories of the Bible. I know I too quickly forget the good times when faced with the bad. I know I too quickly feel entitled to receive the blessings that He’s given me. I too quickly fall deep into myself.

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to get pregnant on our own, we also get to do the AirTran Dance. Ugh. I am sure it will work out in the end, but it is stressing me out that FK is now flying until 10:30 pm on Friday night AND we have to try to get his car from the shop down there BEFORE we can go back to the crash pad. And this somehow involves a cab.

Dirty.

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