Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Adult Night Life

On Saturday night we went out to eat. The following conversation took place on the ride home.

"When we get home, I'm going to bed first." I announced.

"No, I'm going to bed first," Mr. Ashley replied.

"I called it, I said it first. You can go to bed when they do."

"We're not ready to go to bed," little kid said from the back.

"That's too bad, we're ready to go to bed."

Big Kid asked, "Is this what adults fight over these days? Who gets to go to bed first and politics?"

"I don't fight about politics, I don't care. I'm not going to get upset about something I can't change," Mr. Ashley started.

"Don't tell them that! We live in a democracy!"

"Well...I'm just saying..."

"Don't tell them their participation doesn't matter before they can even participate!" I hissed.

"Here I really wanted to be an adult and it seems pretty boring. Seriously, though, what's an exciting adult night like?" Big Kid inquired.

"This was a pretty exciting night for me," I answered.

"Going out for Mexican food and fighting about politics and going to bed?"

"Yep. Good times."

He sighed. "Yeah, great, being a grown up is going to be very boring." 

"No! There was a mariachi band at the restaurant--doesn't that count for something?"

"Not really."

Well, I thought it was fun. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Overheard from little kid

"I have this little bump on my chest. I think it's some type of wart, I'm not sure. My dad tried to put medicine on it once and I wiped it as soon as I could and took care of my little bump so he couldn't make it go away. I'm really hoping it becomes a third nipple. That would be so cool."

"That's really weird, little kid."

"I love it! Don't call my third nipple weird!"

"I'm calling you weird."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Let Go

I'm in an odd position right now of feeling all self-helpish and empowered (how annoying is that word, by the way? I think it's pretty douchey. I just can't think of a better word) but not wanting to irritate the crap out of you all with a bunch of feel good shit.

Because I know it's annoying. I have the self-appointed life coaches on my Facebook feed and, surprise surprise, they are annoying.

Despite being so crazy busy and overwhelmed though, I feel calm and happy. When anxiety starts to rear its ugly head, I ask myself, "What can I do about this right now?" and if the answer is nothing, I let it go. Seems easy enough, but this is monumental in the life of Ashley, the over-thinker and over-planner. It's a true sign of transformation! (Another annoying word!)

So I'm going to stick two things that I'd like to share in one cheesetastic post and you can do the following:

1. Enjoy it
2. Tolerate it
3. Quietly pretend you're sticking your finger down your throat and make gagging noises.

It's a choose your own adventure kind of post.

I like this poem:

She Let Go
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely,
without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a
book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.
Here’s to giving ourselves the gift of letting go…
There’s only one guru ~ you.

By Jennifer Eckert Bernau

and I like this song: 

That's all. I promise. Maybe we can start each post with a warning, like "Caution: Yoga Ashley ahead" or "Warning: Crazy Ashley posting" so there are no unexpected surprises.

Maybe I'll be back later with a story about little kid's honorary third nipple. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pinterest Thinks

I just logged into pinterest and I guess they're doing a new thing where they show me pins based on what they think I like. They have:

Yoga pants
Yoga capris
Yoga Journal
Zombie makeup
Witch costumes
Sausage Dip
Kissing booths
Old wedding dresses
Pork Sausages
Antique China
Army Men
Whiskey Quotes

So...they nailed it! I was about to protest a few of those categories (whiskey quotes?) but I think it fits.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


In Kindergarten, little kid had to write a list of things he was thankful for. His list consisted of:

His teacher
Our dogs

Big Kid was highly insulted.

"I ranned out of room. You was gonna be under corn," little kid explained.

Big Kid has hated corn ever since. We cannot have corn for dinner without going over Corngate 2011 again.

"He loves corn more than me," he brought up again the other night. 

Still all self-helpish and empowered from yoga teacher training, I decided to mediate the situation.

"little kid, how do you feel about your brother? Why don't you tell him right now?" 

"I love corn."

 "Okay, you don't have to do anything, I just wanted to give you the time to say it if you wanted to. I think it will be sad if you can't tell each other you love each other as adults because you're just not in the habit of doing it." I said, going back to my dinner.(Steak, and delicious, and Mr. Ashley had it waiting for me when I got home.)

"I love him," he said, if not a bit begrudgingly.

"Then tell him that!" I said. "Don't tell me." 

"I love you," he said, after glancing up quickly.

Big Kid smiled, pleased but also uncomfortable now that he got what he wanted. "Thanks...but I want you to love me more than corn."

"He doesn't wait anxiously for corn to come home from school. He doesn't want to switch schools, and leave all of his friends for corn. I think his actions speak louder than his Thanksgiving list from Kindergarten. He said he loves you. How do you feel about him?"

"I love him."

"Do you want to tell him that?"

"I love you. I just wish you loved me back."

"He does love you back, he told you so."

"But not more than corn."

"But he loves you. Little kid, do you love Big Kid more than corn?"

"Hmmm. As much as corn," he conceded. 

"Okay, I'll take what I can get. I hate corn though. If I had to choose between kissing Hitler or corn, I'd pick Hitler."

"Okay, it's enough. The point is that you both love each other." 

"But not more than corn." little kid had to add. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Things for the New Year

Thank you to everyone for all of the kind words about Murphy. I know that sort of thing is always weird to reply to since it's one of those situations where there's not much that can be said but I really do truly appreciate it. It feels really good that so many people care and makes his life feel even more meaningful.

It's been both good and bad that I've been too busy to dwell on it much. Interestingly, the yoga studio offered me a position managing the front desk staff. It's a sweet set-up. I was slightly hesitant but they are understanding of the writing gigs and parenting thing I have going and reassured me several times that they want me to live an excellent life and are only interested in helping me do that.

I couldn't help but think of how I (and by I, I mean my husband but I'm not placing blame because I'm all enlightened and shit) lost my keys, including the studio key--right after I got it. And how I was an hour late that one time I forgot I was on the schedule. And every single thing I've confessed to and demonstrated personality-wise in teacher training.

And they want to hire me?

There was some nervous side-eye from me during the initial proposal.

But now I'm feeling pretty lucky. These are brilliant business people who care about my opinion and about my life outside of the studio. It's a flexible schedule with lots of working from home, as I'm used to. I get free yoga, workshops, and an amazing retail discount. I also think it is amazing, and almost eerie, that I walked in there on a Living Social deal last March or something, feeling lost and alone, and accidentally ended up in teacher training and managing staff before the year was out. I definitely recognize that the universe worked out for me this time and I'm grateful.

(And still surprised that they picked me.)

Speaking of teacher training, my next weekend starts tomorrow. I just got back from Miami on a studio business trip. I have no clean yoga clothes. I have no food packed. I have not studied frantically at the last minute, as usual. Would it be cool to say I'm over the teacher training thing right now? Glad I did it but ready for it to be done.

If that's ungrateful, that's okay, as I am a work in progress.

(and still a jerk sometimes). 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Last Goodbye

Yesterday was hard. Today it all feels a bit unreal. Last night I was in a complete panic that there had been some mistake, that we had done the wrong thing, that we should have gotten more opinions, that $7000-$10,000 wasn't unreasonable for a 70% chance through surgery. I asked Mr. Ashley several times, as if it would help at that point, "Are you sure? There was nothing else? There was no other way?"

But this morning I'm more at peace with it. I suppose.

(It all still feels terribly unfair.)

 I had asked the boys how they wanted to handle things and they both said they wanted to say goodbye. My mom met us at the vet's office, which was nice because she was one of Murphy's favorite people. It was like a living wake in that small room, with us holding him and petting him and promising him he would see Lily and Pearl again soon and offering our ideas on what dog heaven would be like. Murph was so happy to be with us yesterday but there was a certain spark missing from his eyes, like he was already a little bit gone.

Before leaving the room, the boys each gave him one last hug. Big Kid pressed his crying face into Murphy's neck and softly said, "Goodnight," into his ear. That scene is branded into my heart and brain forever. Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight goes around and around and through me.

They left the room and I sat on the floor and held him in my lap for the end, with Mr. Ashley and I telling him he was such a good boy and he was going to get so many treats. It was easy and peaceful for him. It was excruciating for me. It was definitely one of those "Being a grown-up fucking blows," moments but I'm glad I was there and I hope I can go as easily--without conflict, having said my goodbyes, being well loved. The first injection put him into a twilight sleep and I envied that depth of restfulness.

Back at the house, Big Kid said he was glad he went but that he wouldn't be doing it again. I told him that was okay. I don't necessarily want to do it again myself either. 

little kid handled his grief by drawing pictures:

The time Murphy swam in from the paddleboard to reach me: 

A picture of the ladder to heaven:

Murphy offering to protect Jesus (this one has earned the spot as my most precious possession):

 and a short story that translates to, "So he did it one day. He saw a person, he took action, bark bark, where do you think you're going. I'm going to heaven because I died. Well did I die? No, you just came up here. You could go back down."

I wish he could come back down. I wish they could all come back down.

 And so it goes.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Murphy

My poor sweet Murphy Louis has a collapsed vertebra in his back and has been paralyzed and at the vet since Monday. We have fluctuated wildly between giving up, selling our soul for surgery, rallying behind the idea of confinement and wheelchairs and manually expressing bladders and swim therapy, but our very honest, very compassionate vet has informed us that today might be the day where we are out of options.

He's only five, and comically cautious. It seems so unfair for his body to give up like this--a dog who doesn't do stairs or couches or beds or dancing or running. A dog who takes no chances.

I went and saw him last night. I'm still more traumatized by the passing of my cat than is normal (if someone said I could have one more day with her in exchange for my pinky finger, I would not  hesitate to offer my hand), and felt tremendous anxiety over the thought of being in that same back room and of going to say goodbye...again. But I'm glad I went.

He was so happy to see me, smiling big in spite of his pain and trying to scoot closer. I got a stool so I could reach his cage and leaned my entire upper body into it, resting my head next to his and thanking him for being such a good friend, such a loyal protector, such a selfless soul. I alternated between chattering happily about how many treats he deserved and how much fun we had at the beach house together to crying quietly into his neck about how important he was to our family and how sorry I was for not always giving the same level of love that I got. 

At one point the janitor tapped me on the back, offering a Kleenex.

"I been praying for the poor little guy," she said softly before shuffling away.

One of the vets approached and told me it looked bad and that she had spent the day researching special slings and calling local surgeons to see if they would take a chance with a risky and expensive surgery, with no luck. He can no longer control his bathroom function and I guess that makes him not a candidate for a wheelchair.

When I went to leave, he began to cry and I got halfway down the hall before turning around and going back to him. "I will be back tomorrow," I promised, pressing one more kiss onto his head, him pushing his face into me. I couldn't sleep last night, because I so badly didn't want tomorrow to ever come. 

The kids don't know how bad it is yet. They have asked for him every morning. Big Kid has an assignment to finish, which is coincidentally a story told through Murphy's point of view, and I'm waiting for him to finish it so we can have The Talk and decide what to do about goodbyes. I am dreading this moment almost more than the rest of it because as a mother, my grief will have to retreat behind closed doors in order to lessen theirs. There is a great temptation to just tell them that he passed away after the fact, but I can't imagine them just never seeing him again.

Once Big Kid told me that when he was an adult, he wasn't going to have pets because it hurts so much when they die. I told him that was absurd, to think of the joy they brought to our lives!

But I'm beginning to agree with him.

The thought of not hearing frantic barking at every neighbor who passes fills me with dread instead of relief. I will miss how he acts when he gets a treat, sitting and waiting patiently and then tossing it into the air over and over again while happily prancing in circles around it. How he drove me crazy at the beach house with never wanting to leave my side but being too lazy to participate in beach walks. Of the time he jumped from a paddleboard out in the Gulf and swam as hard as his little body could to reach me on shore--not because he doesn't like paddleboarding but because he can't stand to be away from me. About how awful it is that his final four nights were spent alone, without me. Ugh.

Today is going to suck. This weekend is going to suck. This whole year might suck.