Monday, October 27, 2014

Anti-Big Business Boy on Halloween

Big Kid had to write a poem about Halloween for Language Arts. It was hilariously Big Kid-like:


A long time ago, on October thirty-first,
People believed that the spooks would come and haunt the earth!
So people put on costumes, to confuse these fears,
but Halloween has certainly changed over the years!
Nowadays, this holiday is simply a device,
For corporate businesses to sell cheap merchandise!
Half of the costumes you see aren’t even scary!
With costumes such as pirates, princesses and fairies!
Although Halloween has changed, that’s not a bad thing, see,
We still get to enjoy sweets and festivities!
Halloween’s a time of joy, whereas it used to be controlled by fear,
So Halloween’s here to stay, year after year.

I shared it on my personal Facebook where it got a lot of attention and positive comments, so I told him about that the next day.

"Really?" he said, looking perplexed. "Huh. Imagine if they read something I actually wanted to do." 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

That Guy

Big Kid is active on some video game-related wiki. I still don't know what it actually is, but I checked it out once and it seemed innocent enough. His people are there, so whatever.

"The other day I asked on the wiki if people considered me a friend," he told me.

Since I know that people on the internet are complete and total assholes (except for you guys), particularly in the forum-type format, I was a little nervous as to what was coming next.

"Yeah. How did that go?"

"It went really well," he then went on to tell me about all of the people and what they said. It seemed positive. (I hear A LOT about this wiki, and I tune a lot of it out for my own mental well-being.)

"Huh. Well, that's good. You know, sometimes we just assume people don't like us and then, ironically, we close ourselves off and become harder to like. I think it's best to just operate on the assumption that people like you because why wouldn't they? You're awesome."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. I was just wondering if they think of me as an actual friend, or more like that guy that sits by your wife in yoga class."

"The guy that sits by your wife in yoga class?" I asked with a laugh.

"Yeah, you know, the guy that everyone thinks is weird but you kind of have to put up with because he's not technically doing anything wrong? No one wants to be that guy."

"Well, congrats on not being that guy."  (I have no idea where he gets this stuff. I swear no one in this family complains about guys sitting next to me in yoga.)

"I'll be honest, it feels pretty good." 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Being a Not Really

So I mentioned in the last post that I've been battling the Beautiful Day Monster. I broke a molar earlier in the week and it hurts and I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to get it fixed and that's about the best thing that happened this week, if that gives you any indication of how things are going. Life's just kind of a jerk like that. 

I'm also in the process of trying to re-commit to my yoga practice. I go through phases of convincing myself I don't want to do yoga and don't have to do yoga, but like medicine, I know I need it even if it doesn't always give me a good buzz.

I also just love being at the yoga studio. I work there and am probably one of the few people to truly miss work while on vacation because I love my co-workers and friends and the atmosphere so much. When I walk in the door, I feel the same way most people do when they arrive home after a long trip -- happy and relieved and comfortable to be there.

And those excellent friends I have made gently and firmly suggest I meet them for yoga because they know I need it, and I do and I feel better.

But that doesn't mean I'm not an asshole about it. Our studio's methodology is all about "being a yes" and today I was being a solid "not really."  This is what I was up to this morning:

1. Decided I didn't want to practice on my own mat, used a spare.
2. Decided I was slippery on the spare, left the room to borrow a non-slip towel.
3. Decided the towel smelled like yoga teacher training and wondered why.
4. Decided the apple I ate for breakfast was too big and wondered if my stomach might start to hurt.
5. Decided I was too hot and yes, my stomach hurt.
6. Decided maybe I should plan an escape since I had convinced myself my stomach hurt.
7. Decided that wouldn't work since I knew 75% of people in the building.
8. Decided I needed to floss and wondered if I should go do that instead of chair pose.
9. Decided I was not going to do the next pose no matter what the teacher said (at least 40 times).
10. Decided to do the next pose but only because I was in the front row.
11. Decided the girl behind me was too pretty and looked too amazing in her outfit.
12. Decided I'm never doing crescent lunge ever again.
13. Decided to do crescent lunge again.
14. Decided to take up Scuba diving.
15. Decided to make "why are we doing this?" faces at my friend who made me do it.
16. Decided to strain my eyes to see the thermostat.
17. Decided to lean far enough forward to see the clock.
18. Decided 75 minutes was just way too long.
19. Decided I would take A LOT of time getting into each pose so I'd have to do less time for each.
20. Decided not to do abs, even when the teacher (a friend) said, "Core is important. Even if we don't want to do it, we should...Ashley!"
21. Decided I couldn't breathe normally and wondered if I was having an asthma or anxiety attack.
22. Decided I was over-obsessing about the breathing because I wanted to not do things. 
23. Decided I would go ahead and do things. Kind of half-assed, but still.

And then it was time for savasana (AKA lying down quietly at the end) and I decided once again that I do actually like yoga. Which makes me suspect that I really just like lying down quietly but whatever, at least I do something well.

And that's how I yoga.

If you were picturing strength, serenity and grace, you were probably picturing that girl behind me.

But I do it anyway, sometimes, and that's got to count for something.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beautiful Day Monster

Big Kid has a teacher in school who sounds like a bit of a jerk. He's always on their case for bizarre reasons, like scratching an itch or getting up from their chair in a way he dislikes. He has Big Kid feeling so on edge and self-conscious that he often comes home feeling stressed, even if it's other people being picked on. There's not a lot I can do about it because there's no way to word that I don't like the way this guy doesn't like things so I just explain that dealing with jerks is a part of life, to scratch his itches freely regardless of consequences and to let this guy's drama roll off his back.

Today he got in the car and said that this teacher reminds him of a Sesame Street skit where the Beautiful Day Monster followed a little girl around and ruined everything. If she said, "At least it's not raining!" then the Beautiful Day Monster would make it rain.

I so get that. I'm pretty sure the entire universe is my Beautiful Day Monster lately. I have decided that I was probably Hitler in a past life to deserve the week I've had -- and it's only Wednesday.

I can't even get into it all here because it's boring and it would take too long. I've considered therapy so I could demand a captive audience but I guess those people want money to sit there and listen to me and, frankly, I don't blame them for charging prices I can't afford since I wouldn't want to hear it either.

So there's no real point to this other than to say that even if you do the hard work and shift your perspective and keep on keeping on and kick, kick, kick and all of that other positivity jazz, sometimes the Beautiful Day Monster is waiting for you regardless.

And maybe that's not your fault.

(Unless you were Hitler in a past life and then you're just screwed.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yoga Monster

"Mom, take a picture of me doing yoga on this rock!" 

"Mom, take a picture of me doing zen over here by the river!" 

I have no idea why he calls meditation "doing zen" but it and that little hand mudra he has going are adorable. I'm crediting his P.E. teacher since I don't say or do either, but anyone who follows me on Instagram will recognize the yoga pose selfie influence as entirely my fault. Sorry, not sorry.

I'm not proud of my onboxious Instagram behavior, but I also don't care since it's fun. Twitter can seriously suck it now that I've found Instagram.

"Mom, what if we do a series on Instagram where we do yoga poses together?" he suggested during a walk down a waterfall.

"I  would love that SO MUCH!" I replied, "You'll have to start going to yoga classes with me. I think you'll like my friend, Ma--"

"Oh no. No way. I'm thinking I'll just do the type of yoga where you take pictures of yourself doing yoga for Facebook and Instagram."

"Uh, that's not yoga."

"Who are you to say it's not yoga?"

"Well, it's not a type of yoga. Not on purpose. That's not intentionally a thing -- I'm sure most of those people have actual yoga practices."

"Yeah, well I do yoga in P.E. class every day. So I'm ready for Instagram."

I guess he has a point. And technically, he may be doing more yoga than I am lately.

(I'll do a vacation wrap-up post at some point, maybe. We were running the risk of me doing that weird thing where I avoid you all entirely because I have so much to say and nowhere to start. So now we have started.)

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Other than no signal anywhere there's no wi-fi, I really like the mountains!

But seriously, how do these people use their phones? Do their phones work? I'm all for no phone but with my phone also being my internet machine, it loses its charm quickly.

We spend our days hiking and playing and picnicking in scenic areas and our nights lying around the fire, watching movies and playing board games.

Cabin nights. Photo by Big Kid.

Luckily, my Netflix love affair has been able to continue uninterrupted up here -- I'm in the middle of Doomsday Preppers and, as a result, feel torn between pushing hard for more mental health services in this country or buying my own hazmat suit for home. I may or may not be scouting for "bug out" locations up here in these hills and thinking about buying a school bus to live in (and by "may or may not" I mean definitely not, but I think the preppers would approve of this general area.)

With Ebola all over the news, and apparently airplanes, I'm feeling extra thankful that we're too poor to fly. In the car the other day I was telling Mr. Ashley about the second nurse to be diagnosed.

"This is really scary," he said.

"It is. I did read a comment somewhere though that pointed out that more Americans have been dumped by Taylor Swift than have died from Ebola."

"I just think it's about to become a huge problem."

"What? Americans being dumped by Taylor Swift? That would be a problem, imagine all of the passive aggressive break-up songs," Big Kid piped up from the back.

Yes. Scary stuff. 

I might need ear plugs to go with my hazmat suit.

FYI--I'm now a member of the Netflix Stream Team. This changes absolutely nothing but in the interest of transparency, I feel the need to disclose that we'll be hearing even more about my Netflix viewing habits than usual. I am not compensated for my opinions, I am allowed to say whatever I want, and I will still loudly complain about whatever I would like. Basically I'm just bragging that I think they like me as much as I like them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall Y'all

I'm here in the mountains and it's really fall. I barely need a hoodie but I did wear one once when I was up near the clouds and it was chilly for a Florida girl. (Probably 68ish).

It's pouring now and I'm fine with that because our cabin has a tin roof and it sounds lovely, and maybe it will push in more hoodie weather and make the waterfalls more dramatic.

I really like fall. I've seen fall leaves before but I guess not in a way where I was truly out in nature. I knew the leaves would change colors and mountains and hills would be vibrant but I hadn't counted on how the leaves flutter down and swirl and twirl so gracefully before hitting the ground and how I can be out in the middle of that. That is awesome. I don't even care that it's making my car a mess, my dirty car looks beautiful.

I also LOVE streams. Creeks, streams, small rivers, waterfalls, large puddles, bath tubs -- I guess it's more accurate to say I love water and I am love, love, loving having water sources I don't have at home. The boys immediately went to work creating two dams in the stream in front of the cabin, creating a wide, clear pool and small waterfalls like really cute beavers that don't usually bite.

We hiked up to Long Creek Falls yesterday and spent a long time staring into the clear running water dozens of feet away from the actual attraction, combing through little rocks and flipping over big ones to see if any salamanders were hiding.

We could've done it for hours, we had so much fun.

And as always, the kids have been cracking me up but my phone with its hastily thumb-typed (and therefore barely legible) reminders of things to tell you about is all the way downstairs and like hell if I'm going where I can't hear the rain. So we'll do that later.

But probably not too soon.

Friday, October 10, 2014

God's Plan

I've been trying to post every day (for like 3 whole days now) but sometimes I'm tired and don't have anything to post about. Like today. So here is something someone else made that made me laugh:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Deep Thoughts by little kid

"One thing I noticed today is if you talk about the future, you're going into the future. Each and every second you talk about the future, the future is already happening."

Whoa. It's like hanging out with a little high dude who never has any weed.

In a true "doing things the wrong way" fashion, I already shared this story on a Facebook page that I never told any of you that I had. There's like 25 of us that hang out there, wondering whether or not we should tell the rest of you because then I will have an obligation to maintain said page and maybe an expectation to self-promote, and write the posts and THEN post them to the Facebook page, and I hate that idea. 

We're stuck in a continuous crisis of this being my casual life story (like a diary I keep stupidly leaving out for you to read) and ongoing outside pressure to treat it as something more than a life story, but we do what we want. We just never know what we want.

But if you want to go there and wonder whether or not we should all commit to socializing with each other, it is an option and easy to find. And sometimes I share stuff and sometimes I don't, just like here. 

I'm trying though, everywhere, all the time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Serial Podcast Listener

When we first moved into this house, Mr. Ashley took a stand and said no television in the bedroom. I've always needed noise to fall asleep to and he's always hated it.

It didn't take long for me to find podcasts.

I'm not trying to be an inconsiderate jerk, it just comes naturally. And also, background noise helps me shush my brain, who is a hyperactive traitor. I make my phone very quiet and put it on my nightstand and I'm sure it's still annoying.

I have a new favorite though and I need other people to listen to it so we can discuss it. Mr. Ashley has made it pretty clear he has no interest in catching up and joining me so you have to.

It's Serial and I think This American Life (another favorite) has something to do with it. It's like a true crime docu-series but it's an objective but human reporter interviewing all of the people who were involved in a murder, 25 years later (or something, I don't really do numbers). Each episode is another slice of the story and as it unfolds, you get to know the characters involved as real people. It's really interesting and authentic. The next episode is Thursday and I am waiting so eagerly.

I also love:
Stuff You Missed in History Class
Radio Lab
Oh No Ross and Carrie
The Moth and Risk (two different shows but similar)
Classic Loveline

and embarrassingly:
My Brother, My Brother and Me. Have I mentioned them here before? Probably so, because every time I mention them to anyone, they do something just incredibly ridiculous the next episode that makes me regret it. In theory, it's an advice show but the advice is awful. It's one of the few things that makes me laugh out loud, though, which is even more disruptive for people trying to sleep.

Mysterious Universe. I don't believe in anything they talk about but I like their voices.

A Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. Same as above (and I realize it's pretty weird to have 3 shows about skeptics on my podcast list and try to claim I'm not that into it.)

There are more on my list but, as you can see, I don't have time to listen to any others on a regular basis.

You can skip everything except for Serial, we have to find out what's going to happen. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Best Things in Life are Beaches and Cats

Just in case you don't follow me on social media (I take that personally, by the way), I feel the need to remind you that I love these cats so much that I wish I could marry both of them.


They do adorable shit like that every single day. When they are like that, I really can't leave them alone. I had to pee when I took this picture, but instead I took 15 photos, buried my face in their bellies, kissed them both dozens of times, and asked Mr. Ashley to confirm that they were the cutest cats on the planet until he asked me to please leave them alone.

They bring out the overexuberant preschooler in me and that's hard to find in adulthood. A small part of me doesn't want to go on vacation because I'll miss them so much. If it was up to me, we would drug them and force them to travel with us. So it's probably a good thing it's not up to me.

I'm over capacity for cat pictures on Instagram this week, so you get them here instead.

(That's why you don't follow me on Instagram, isn't it?)

This morning I went to the beach to eat breakfast and walk off the stress of dealing with lunatics all weekend long.

I read somewhere once that looking out at a horizon releases endorphins and I believe it, sometimes I crave it in a physical way. It's also way more fun than exercise. I felt immediate relief as soon as my feet hit the shore.

Then my breakfast fell into the sand and I laughed but more in the "fuck it, life is funny" way than the mental breakdown type of laughing.

At least I have sand.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Still Alive

I've sold almost $300 worth of random stuff to random strangers and haven't killed or been killed yet so I will be waiting for my trophy. I listed some things on Craigslist at the same time I posted on the yard sale site and Craigslist people definitely win most annoying. I think Facebook yard sale site people were the easiest, in spite of being outstandingly irritating. Then real life garage sale people get second place, with Craigslist people trailing way behind.

In my experience:

1. Yard sale site people win Most Likely to Ask for Insane Shit.
2. Garage sale people Most Likely to Spit at You or Steal Things.
3. Craigslist site people Most Likely to Kidnap and Kill You.

I just started ignoring all of the Craigslist people once I figured out the hierarchy.

I have some other things to get rid of but I'm really just over it at this point and I think it's time to drop it off at Goodwill, and by drop it off at Goodwill, I mean make Mr. Ashley drop it off at Goodwill.

I've been trying to figure fall out because we're headed to the Blue Ridge mountains on Saturday to see it. As someone with minimal seasonal experience, it was embarrassing to message various friends from up north and ask them to explain how this whole leaf changing business goes down but Google refused to offer any promises. I thought I booked at peak season but things are still green and I don't understand how long it takes or why it starts. People feel confident that I will get to wear a hoodie, though, and see at least some colored leaves, so fingers crossed. I'm also going to pick apples at a real live apple orchard like a real live migrant worker. So charming!

We're going with my mom, brother and nephew to get some rest from this crazy year and after all of this stranger interaction, I'm going to really need it. We're also bringing all of our dogs (and the kids) and we're driving, so it might not be so restful after all.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Facebook Yard Sale People

So I was going to have a garage sale.

I know. Anyone who remembers the last few garage sales is probably pretty surprised. Remember that time that lady threw a bag of baby clothes and spit at me? Good times.

While out to dinner with a friend, she expressed her disbelief and reminded me that I have sworn off garage sales, that they make me hate everyone and asked if I forgot. I assured her I had not forgotten.

Well, I lied. Like childbirth, the memory was fuzzy. Less drugs involved, though.

Once I got everything out to price, I decided "fuck that" and switched to online mode, using the drama-filled local yard sale Facebook site as my platform. Ours is so scandalous that both my mom and best friend have been kicked out. Pretty impressive to be removed from a yard sale page, and I say that as someone who once had a 30-day forced "time out" from a parenting site. (Sorry not sorry.)

So anyway, I should've known it was a bad idea. People are just extremely annoying:

Sure, I'll measure that for you. No, it is that big. Well, I don't know why it looks bigger, it's not. I guess I can measure again but I am pretty good with a ruler and feel confident that I've got this one right. I'd love to get it all out again and photograph it next to a measuring tape because you don't seem to trust me. Hmm, it is smaller than you thought. Like I told you. Twice. You're not sure if it will fit in your space, though, because you haven't measured. Okay.

Can you come over and look at it all? You don't know what items you're interested in? You want me to get everything out of the boxes and set it out so you can peruse it at your leisure when you stop by at an unspecified time today? Oh, like a garage sale! Did you miss the part about where I'm not doing a garage sale because I don't want to get everything out of the boxes so you can peruse it at your leisure? I actually stated in the album description that I hate garage sales and wasn't doing one. No.

You like the set of books but you want all of the books? I don't have all of the books. But you want all of the books? Right, I understand. No, I don't have the whole set. You really wanted the complete set. Yeah, I heard you and I'm not a book store and therein lies our problem. I just can't produce more 100-year-old books for less than a dollar a piece and I understand that I have failed you there.

What is the absolute lowest I will do on the home theater system listed for $100? The lowest is $75. Will I take $60? No. I said $75. Do I have speaker wire? No, I don't. Yeah, it's still $75. Sir, I don't speak Spanish, as indicated by the 5 previous messages and will need to continue negotiations in my native tongue. No, it's $75, for real. You will take it for $75? Okay, you can pick it up at noon tomorrow at this parking lot. What time can you pick it up? Noon. 12pm. Tomorrow. Remember?

Yes, I saw that you commented and messaged me three times that you will pick the item up right now but I'm pretty sure you can see the conversation stream indicating that someone else is picking it up in an hour. No, we don't need to talk about it on the phone. No, you didn't comment first. No. Just no.

Will I take a check? Right. Pieces of paper written on by strangers, magic beans, shiny rocks, a goat-- just bring whatever. No. You are sorry but you will be two hours late now because of this policy? And then text me on the way to tell me you don't know the area, don't have GPS and have no idea where you are? Fun.

Will I take less than $10? I'll take $5. Does the toy do anything? No, your kid does the doing, the toy is just inspiration for imagination. You have to think about it? Okay, here's a link to the original $150 lis--oh you do want it? I'm located at this address. Will I meet you ten minutes away from there? No. You don't want the item if I won't? Okay. That's fine. You've thought about it and you want the item now and will come over? Okay. You're five minutes away and realize you're two dollars short? Of course.

You "tough" I "leaved" in a different city? Despite it being a city-oriented website and every single one of my posts including the closest intersection in two places? So you are sorry but you can't pick the items up after all? It's okay, you seem pretty dumb. It probably worked out for the best.

Call you? No.

I also got a message from someone telling me that a lot of people stood her up/backed out on things she was selling, so she was going to back out of an item she was supposed to pick up because she decided to buy something else. So because you know exactly what a pain in the ass everyone is, you're going to be a pain in the ass in the exact same way? Interesting strategy.

Last, but not least, I got a comment and a message from the administrator chastising me for accidentally bumping an item by commenting that it had sold. I was supposed to wait 24 hours and it had only been 20. Oh, the shame. I considered getting banned on purpose to save myself from doing this again in the future.

Has it been easier than a garage sale? Maybe slightly, only because I can send Mr. Ashley to do the actual exchange since I'm ready to stab most of these people in the face with rusty scissors by the time we've finished with online negotiations. 

Friends, please stop me from any future bright ideas like this. The money isn't worth losing my faith in humanity.

(It's your job to remind me of these things because I'm a slow learner.)