Friday, July 26, 2013


Tomorrow we leave for the beach house. It's on an island with no cars or stores so there's a lot of planning and packing that happens. Usually.

But so far I have gathered 7 bottles of wine, 6 bottles of sunscreen, ketchup, a shovel, and some Sweet 'n Low and I feel like I can make it work with that. I also bought a really huge raft.

Time to rest. (Not a nap, Mr. Ashley specifically told me we are too busy for a nap today.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Good Girl

Due to having an outdated and broken car stereo system, where my only option is the radio, I listen to a lot (and I mean, a lot, because it's all anyone plays) of top 20-type crap. One of my newer favorites is Robin Thicke's "You're a Good Girl." (Edited to add: I guess it's "Blurred Lines") I always turn it up and do some car dancing, much to the embarrassment of the kids. And by kids, I mean Big Kid, little kid couldn't care less what I do and has great/awful taste in music right along with me.

"Mom, this song makes me uncomfortable!" Big Kid insisted the other day.

"Why? It's so catchy! I love it!"

I'm one of those (dumb) people who don't really listen to lyrics, even if I sing them (badly), which makes for some fun parenting moments. I was surprised (and I'll admit it, slightly amused) when my 9-year-old matter-of-factly recited:

"But you're a good girl, the way you grab me, must wanna get nasty, go ahead, get at me,"

in a monotone voice. "It just makes me think that they know..."

I did know. Damn.

"Dancing?" I said.

"Dancing?!?" He questioned.

"Maybe? Like in a club?"

"Must wanna get nasty, mom? While dancing?"

"Well, maybe they, sometimes people dirty's not...but at probably don't know. But like in music videos? Have you ever seen one? Probably not." I should've shut up about 2 minutes ago at this point.

"Dirty dancing?"

"Well, yeah, kind of sexy? Maybe she wants to dance really close."

"You are making this so much worse. That's a thing? I'm not doing that!"

"No! No, of course not. Just like...rappers and stuff, music videos which aren't really even a thing, I guess, and people on Dancing With the Stars, or whatever."

"Now I'll really never feel comfortable about this song. I still don't think it's dancing."

I don't think it's dancing either, but I'm pretty impressed that I thought of that.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Gamer Girl

We heard a radio promo earlier today that featured a girl saying something along the lines of, "I sit around the house in my underwear playing video games and eating Doritos all day," in a sexy voice.

"I hope I end up with a gamer girl," Big Kid said from the back seat.

"Yeah? Or just a girl who supports you in your interests. Like the wife in King of Kong? She didn't play video games but she understood his need to be a Donkey Kong champion. That woman is a saint if you ask me, find someone like her," I suggested, referencing a documentary we saw recently.

" would be nice to find a girl who likes video games, though--not a lazy one, who sits around in her underwear eating Doritos all day or anything!"

"Right," I said, chuckling. "It would be fun to have someone that liked playing games with you, that would be cool."

"And mom?"


"Don't be mad--but maybe later, when I'm older? Like, much older? Maybe then I'd want the type in her underwear. I mean, I can just see why some people would like that."

I stifled a laugh.

"Don't be mad, I'm just saying--" he went on.

"I'm not mad." I said. "As long as she likes your mother, I don't care. I really wouldn't want to know..."

"Yeah, yeah, you won't even know."

"Okay, then, well, good luck with that! I hope it works out for you! What about the Doritos?"

"Eh, yeah, I don't know about that."

At least he's got standards.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Look

I'm heading back to the beach house in a little less than a week and need reading recommendations.

Don't get me wrong, my nook is chock full o' books that I have yet to read, but it wouldn't be a beach vacation without new books, right?


In exchange for your input, I will advise you to read Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. It's a memoir from a chef and I simply cannot believe that someone could be so good at writing and cooking both. I am not huge on memoirs or food and have no interest in chefs and have never heard of Gabrielle Hamilton. I didn't think I would like it but one of the few friends whose taste in reading I trust strongly suggested it and this was one of those books I could not put down. The author has lived a rich and fascinating life and has an unbelievable ability to put it into words. She's also a jerk. Google about her affair after you read the book for the full picture. An incredibly talented and genuine person who seems both deep and shallow at the same time. I loved it.

But don't base your recommendations off of memoirs or chefs, just books you couldn't put down.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Traitor Brain

I just had one of those old person moments where I found myself in a room questioning why I was there.

The really alarming part is that it was my closet and when I finally remembered, I was there to pee.

Don't worry, I didn't.

Anyone that follows me on Twitter knows that I also wore my shirt inside out today, and it was the type with the tag on the side instead of the back. I realized it when I put my hands on my hips while talking to a mom friend, then I had to leave my hands on my hips but she probably already saw it and I probably looked like a weirdo with my hands on my hips.

I'm worried that I'm going to be a really crazy old person. I hope I'm crazy enough to not even realize it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Good Job

How I imagine things go at Facebook headquarters:

"Wow! Things are going well!"

"Really well. Couldn't be better, really. That whole google+ thing ended up not being a problem, huh?"

"Yeah. Hey--do you think it's obvious we haven't really been doing anything?"

"What do you mean?"

"Like, you know, working? Or whatever?"

"Right, but everything is good. People seem to like it."

"Yeah, but we should probably DO something. You know? Especially since everyone's all "Blahblahblah, you handed over our information, waah, waaah, NSA, waaah."

"Like what, though?"

"I don't know. Something big."

"Maybe we could move everything that's usually on the left over to the right. You know how people look to the left for their notifications? Let's make them look to the right."

"Brilliant. I love it. What if we made the search bar a little bit bigger?"

"Good one. Done. We really went above and beyond there."

"Well, we're finished here. Want to ride in my Ferrari to go cash our paychecks? The seats are made out of endangered animal hides."

Monday, July 15, 2013


Thanks to a cat-related incident with an oversized comforter, we had to go to the laundromat the other day. I don't know if you're familiar, but it's as exotic and frightening as it sounds. Earlier, a storm had knocked our power out and I decided since we weren't missing much at home, we may as well catch up on all of the laundry while we were there.

Washing went well but when it was time to fold the clothes, one family was folding on one table and stacking their clothes on another (these are huge tables--make it work) and another guy had his empty laundry basket, a duffle bag, and his iphone on another table that he was leaning against, despite my obvious need of folding space.

The family's daughter blocked my rolling cart 4 different times. At first I was all, "Awww, 'scuse me, sweetie, coming through," and then, "Please step aside, thanks," and then we'd just glare at each other--as if she was the self-appointed 5-year-old gatekeeper of the dryer aisle, as I was basically forced to wait for her to allow me to pass. I never hit her with my cart but maybe the wheel nudged her toe once. I ultimately decided to fold my clothes on the two feet of space left on her parents' folded clothes table since she was more annoying than the ipod table-hogging guy. They looked at me like I was crazy as I took up the only empty flat surface in the room.

(They could have consolidated, don't pity them.)

little kid was eager to help. Big Kid was sluggish in the heat and at critical boredom level.

"Read a magazine, Big Kid! Look at all of the magazines! I used to love magazines when I was your age--a short little glimpse into adult life. Go ahead, pick one! Read whatever you would like."

Moments later I looked up to:

AARP? Out of all of the Men's Health and Glamour and Reader Digests...he picks AARP. Goodness, I love every bit of his ancient soul.

little kid was a folding machine and he wasn't bad at it.

"This is good for me to know!" he announced. "When I'm growed up, I will know my laundry."

"Yep, this is a good life skill! When you're in college and living on your own, you will already to know how to take care of your clothes. You will always be dressed nice and smelling good--the ladies will love you!"

"It will sure be nice when I get a wife," he said, while struggling with a pair of pants.

"Yeah. You'll get a good wife, too. Especially since you can help her with laundry!"

"Help her? Why would I help her?" I was ready to pull out my feminist soap box and explain that it isn't her job when he added,"She can help me. I'm the one who is good at laundry!" That's my boy.

When we finally arrived home, the power was still out. Big Kid had reached his limit of hours without internet and started to complain.

Exhausted from the heat and excitement of the laundromat, I fell to my knees and in an Oscar-worthy performance began to pound on the ground and beat on my chest, looking up at the sky and screaming, "WHY HAVE THOU FORSAKEN US, LORD? HOW COULD YOU LEAVE US, GOD?!? WHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYY?!?! WHERE ARE YOU IN OUR TIME OF DARKNESS, HEAVENLY FATHER? WAAAAAAAAH!!"

Big Kid was irritated, borderline mad. "Mom, you should talk. It's just that I have stuff to do."


 So he wasn't speaking to me for a while after that. As boredom settled in like a suffocating blanket, little kid began act like Big Kid was his mom. "Mama, mama, take me to the park! Mama, mama? Can I have a treat? Mama, please? Mama, please play with me, mama?"

"Awwwww!! Look, you've spent so much time bossing him around that he's imprinted on you. Like a baby duckling! You've been the 3rd parent for so long that he thinks you're his mommy, Big Kid!"

Big Kid protested the honor.

"Mama! Mama! Take me outside, mama! Please! Mama!"

And in an all-too-familiar tone, Big Kid roared, "MOMMY NEEDS HER ALONE TIME!!" and I could sympathize.

 Don't worry, the power came on soon after, and we all survived.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pool Play

The boys were playing a game in the pool today that made them look like they were hugging; it was super cute and I pulled my phone out to take a photo. The reality was that one was playing king and one was the slave and the king rode the slave's back and berated him for adding mayonnaise to soda, forcing the king to create a new law about no mayonnaise and soda mixing, and the slave would struggle to escape all of the abuse. (Big Kid was the king, in this instance.)

But still, in a photo it would have just been a hug, perfectly normal and adorable, two happy brothers that don't seem at all to be role-playing a relationship of tyranny. I didn't get the photo though because Big Kid swam away.

"Why can't I take a picture?" I asked as he would sink back under the water. "I can't get a picture of you and your bro hugging? For me?" as he slid back under.

little kid was all for it. "I'll get your picture for you," he assured me, swimming under to retrieve him. As they came back up, he said, "Dude, take the picture! Come on!" and clung to him, pressing their faces close. He went back under and little kid pulled him back up.

"Bro, do it for your fans! They love you on Instagram!"

Yeah, all 32 followers. I am very new to Instagram and was surprised my 6-year-old knew of its presence. I almost dropped my phone in the pool because I was laughing so hard. Big Kid would not pose for the picture.

So I got this one instead, and if we're being honest, it's a more accurate representation of our time spent at the pool anyway:

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Slowing Down

(I wrote this a while ago but kept it as a draft until I could add photos. Then I procrastinated on that for a ridiculous amount of time. I am consistent, if not reliable).

After a wedding we attended in June, we continued north and vacationed in the mountains.

It was wonderful. The cabin was perfect for our family, the area was beautiful, there was an orchard down the street where we enjoyed breakfast and delicious jellies and butters and pies. It was all very quaint.

Quaint can be borderline maddening though when you're not used to it. I can appreciate the slow, laid back way of life--as long as I don't need something. We ended up in a dry county (I didn't even know that this was still a thing) and despite not being a huge drinker (I talk about it more than I do it), I really needed a beverage or two to begin my vacation after all of the traveling and excitement of the wedding. After a few inquiries, we ended up at the next non-dry town where there was a small selection of Boone's Farm for wine and a clerk who was confounded that out of the wide variety of available flavors, none would meet my needs. He advised us to go to a package store, with a slow, heavy southern drawl.

"A liquor store?" Mr. Ashley asked, because we don't call them that here.

"Ah said a paaaaaaaaaaaaaaackage stooooooooore," he said, more slowly and loudly.

When he asked if there was a Bank of America nearby, a female employee with big bangs and acrylic nails guffawed at the thought, slapping her hand to her thigh and laughing as she repeated, "A Bank of Ahh-mair-ah-cuh?" as if this was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard. She laughed some more at the thought, as if he had asked for Plutonium. "Honey, this ain't no big city. You'd probably hafta go to At-lan-ta for one of them."

Seriously? Atlanta was two hours away.

At a Mexican restaurant in a different small town, I asked if they had Pinot Grigio and the waiter assured me that they did. "Yes," he said, without a trace of doubt.

"Okay," I said, delighted, "I will have a Pinot Grigio, please."

"A Pillow Whattio?" he asked. "We don't have a lot of them fancy beers," he explained apologetically. I cleared up the confusion and he promised he did have that and brought me Chardonnay...but it was close enough.

Every time Mr. Ashley left the cabin to run an errand, he'd be gone for what seemed like an impossibly long time and I would impatiently ask, "WHERE WERE YOU?" when he came back (because our phones were worthless there) and genuinely exasperated with them (and maybe with me), he would say, "I was out THERE. Everything takes forEVER out THERE. It is just how they are, there's nothing I can do about it." And I knew he was right.

Don't get me wrong, overall a charming group. That dry county business is bullshit though.

But the vacation was fantastic. There was a big creek in the backyard and I spent hours staring at it from a porch swing. We flipped every rock in it searching for salamanders and craw fish with little kid. We had fires in the fire pit in the backyard and roasted marshmallows and listened to music while chasing fireflies around in the dark. We played on waterfalls and hiked, swam in a lake, and played checkers and air hockey and pool and video games.

One day I was sitting on the porch swing watching the creek rush over the rocks and I thought of how lucky I was to be there, and how 5 years ago I was so sure I would never be happy again, and how everything worked out for the best. I was perfectly warm but not hot, rocking back and forth without effort, watching how the water slid over the stones and listening to a song I really liked. Some clouds shifted and a sunbeam cut through the trees to land on me and right then the song said, "Open up your heart and let it shine the brightest," and I thought it was the perfect moment, that little bit of synchronicity.

And then I thought to myself that that was a significant moment, maybe one of the most significant of my life because I had slowed down enough to recognize and appreciate it, and felt so good and grateful for everything that I have. The wind chimes rang just one short time as if punctuating the thought, the only sound I heard them make in all of the time that we were there. Maybe it was all a coincidence or maybe it was a sign or maybe it was my imagination, but it was simple and wonderful and would've been easily missed by the old Ashley. I want to make sure I never forget it, so there it is.

I am aware that cheesy feel good memory may seem out of place beneath my rant about slow people and dry counties. I am not perfect. I'm still working on things. Sometimes.

But vacation was wonderful. Even without the Pillow Whattio.

(and I never did add the photos to this post, but at least I finally published it.)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Friend Request

My memory is non-existent.

I'm not great with people as it is. My husband and I joke that I have that disorder that makes one unable to recognize faces. There are many famous people that own second homes in my town and they are all safe from me because I'm incapable of recognizing them. I was also incapable of identifying my old neighbor unless she was in her home--that was rather embarrassing, there were 3-4 times she said hello to me out in public and I'd be all, "Uh...hi?" until I saw her kid. She just looks like too many other people or something.

So, I have easily forgotten 95% of people from middle school and 85% of people from high school, which makes Facebook challenging.

Here's how my Facebook friend request process goes:

I have a friend request--yay!!

Wait, I don't recognize this person at all. Who in the hell?

Great. This is awkward. Now some creeper has found me, I've never seen this person ever in my whole life. (Studies pictures closer) No, never. Fucking weirdo.

17 friends in common? Fuck. Okay, we all went to high school together so I know this person from high school. (Studies pictures again, scrutinizing for any trace of recognition, trying other last names on the person if they are female.)

Fuck. Well, great. Here I am being a jerk again. This person seems perfectly nice and here I am calling them a creep because I have no idea who they are.

(Report situation to Mr. Ashley, who couldn't care less and advises me to ignore them.)

BUT I FEEL BAD, I explain to him loudly.

(Send childhood best friend a message asking if she knows them, 90% of the time she doesn't either which makes me feel better and worse.)

And then I just give up, deciding that having an awkward semi-stranger in my life is easier than letting them know that I think of them as an awkward semi-stranger and I reluctantly accept their friend request.

And that's why I have people I couldn't pick out of a line up as friends on Facebook.