Saturday, February 28, 2015

General Housekeeping

So, I suck at housekeeping. Of any kind. My home, my email inbox, my blog, my car, my hard drive, my mind -- it all needs help and organization.

I recently switched moderation off of comments after realizing the process required to submit a non-anonymous comment was ridiculous. Then I went weeks thinking no one was commenting, because blogger doesn't send notifications now that moderation is off, and I'm not going to check my own blog 500 times a day (not that I'm getting 500 comments a day...or 5, but still, that's how often I'd check if I did check) so I've been ignoring everyone and missing everything. Sorry about that!

This is undeniable evidence that I need to switch to a different blogging platform, a chore I've been meaning to accomplish for at least two years. Admitting that is kind of like putting it on the official "to do" list -- which isn't an indicator that it will happen any sooner but at least it's on a list now.

The Woman I Want To Be makes enough money to secretly hire a housekeeper to come twice a month and she doesn't tell her husband. Maybe she also has a personal assistant to organize her email, blog and hard drive. And a pool boy. And a pool.

And more jobs to afford it all.

It's all on the list.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Khaki Shorts Puppet Show

So, I don't know if I told you all but Big Kid has decided he wants to be a puppeteer when he grows up.

This is not even on the top 1000 list of jobs I had envisioned for him. Has any parent in the history of the universe hoped that their child grew up to be a puppeteer? I tried to ignore it for a while, but this desire has persisted. He now knows more about Jim Henson than Jim Henson knew about Jim Henson.

Once I realized this wasn't going away, I bought him these. These were expensive: 

But Jim Henson makes his own puppets. Using these puppets might be a form of puppet plagiarism.

(I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.)

So he made a puppet, and it's his favorite:

and he is creating a skit show with these puppets, with a narrator named Khaki. The series title is "Khaki Shorts," which I think is hilarious. The puppet above is named Dominick, which was little kid's contribution to this whole ordeal. Please pray those expensive puppets make an appearance soon--I've been working on convincing him that it's what Jim would have wanted.

Every few mornings I wake up to find scribbled notes on his white board and he apologizes for having to get out of bed and record these ideas the moment inspiration strikes. He loses sleep over this stuff. I find it both disturbing and delightful. I'd love to share photos of the white board with you but he has asked me not to release spoilers.

He finished his first skit the other day and it would mean the world to him if you'd watch it and like or subscribe to his channel. I shared it on my personal Facebook and he has been buzzing over the numerous likes and encouraging comments.

Here's the link: You're Toast
(It's only 13 seconds.)

I will keep you posted on his progress (and on the future of those pricey puppets.)

I hope he grows up to be the happiest puppeteer who ever lived.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


"Mom, you're proof that beauty comes from the outside," little kid told me the other night.

"You mean the inside?"

"No, I mean the outside. You're not always nice, but you are always beautiful."

Eh, I'll take it.

I'm actually pretty flattered.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Morbid Reality

I have a new obsession.

Don't worry, it's not dieting or more weird yoga stuff. But, really, when has it ever been dieting? Never. It has never been dieting. Unless we're counting my strict diet of mostly Girl Scout cookies and maybe we should be counting that. No -- it's something else that I'm not necessarily proud of but can't seem to stop.

I love true crime shows and, even worse, Lifetime Movie Network-esque movies.

(That last part is so embarrassing I'm waging an inner battle about deleting it.)

It's shameful. It's also dark, depressing, and slightly anxiety-inducing. The other day I saw a suspicious looking man sneaking through our backyard and hid in the bathroom as I texted his description to Mr. Ashley, who assured me it was definitely one of the landscapers who I've seen many times. He looked sneaky, though, even if vaguely familiar.

He didn't break in, but it would have made for a great episode of Forensic Files; a crime solved by the victim, a quick-thinking writer working from home. Maybe my husband would have even rushed to my aid or maybe he would have snuck home, killed me and used the evidence to frame the landscaper because that would make an amazing made for t.v. movie.

See how this has become a problem?

My Netflix suggestions read like the police beat. Things Ashley might like: serial killers, missing people, wives who kill their husbands, and lost children. 

I don't like those things, but I obviously kind of do. Ugh. It's complicated. This is not a good hobby.

My Netflix favorites for the month include: 
Fatal Honeymoon where a husband was accused of killing his wife while Scuba diving in Australia.
The Galapagos Affair about the mysterious disappearance of some people who settled the Galapagos.
Jody Arias Dirty Little Secret Look, I'm just saying some of the LMN movies are pretty good.
To and From New York This had the production value and plot of porn, without the sex (not good). 
The First 48 Collection I like to fall asleep to this series of detectives solving crimes.
Crimes of the Century Footage and interviews from people involved in infamous cases.
The Killer Speaks Convicted murderers discuss their crimes. It's fascinating in a terrible way.
Dance Moms Okay, not technically a crime show but it should be.

I also like all of the Frontline specials.

I'm trying to quit by taking breaks to watch Arrested Development for the fifth time, but I always go back. I don't think it's healthy or good for me, and that's probably why I like it so much.

But, seriously, watch Fatal Honeymoon. I think he did it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Challenge

I'm doing a 28 day challenge through the yoga studio. It includes weekly meetings, online support, conference calls, daily meditation, practicing 6 times per week, daily acts of kindness, eating well and journaling.

I was so sure it was going to be the motivation that I needed; that it would bring focus, clarity and inspiration to my life. I was going to recommit to my yoga practice (again...), start a steady meditation routine, connect with others authentically and just kick life's ass. I was going to be bikini ready and Buddha-like by March.

Go ahead, laugh, I'll wait.

The prize at the end for attending all of the classes is a t-shirt. The shirts never quite fit me right but I get fiercely competitive about "winning" and in past challenges have made myself crazy doubling and tripling up on classes so that I could "succeed" after bouts of procrastination. I inconvenience my family, friends and life to make it happen. I torture myself until I dread doing the things that I love.

The start of this challenge was no different and then I came down with a cold that really kicked my ass. And whenever I lose momentum, I just quit. If I'm not getting a shirt, then why bother?

(For the bikini body, Ashley, you might be saying. To be like Buddha, you might be thinking. Right...but Buddha would get the shirt.)

Then when I quit, I tell myself that I'm a quitter and quitters are losers and since I am overwhelmed by things other people can do, I clearly suck more than most people.

Do you see how hard it is to be me? With all of these self-imposed constraints and comparisons?

Any of you who have been around for a while remember my Woman I Want To Be (WIWTB) phase. Years ago, in one of our fits of self-improvement, the Renee and I made lists defining our WIWTB. We created a picture of what she does, where she goes, how she lives and instead of beating ourselves up over all of the things we weren't doing, we looked at our WIWTB with admiration and took baby steps to be more like her.

I'm not talking world-changing stuff. My WIWTB painted her nails semi-regularly, went to lunch with friends, wrote professionally, read great books, exercised. She liked herself and other people liked her. She laughed loudly, she had great friends, she kept her car clean.

While feeling like a loser over my most recent failure, I thought of the WIWTB all of those years ago...and I realized that I'm her. I grew into her. 30-year-old me would have been impressed by 36-year-old me, even if 25-year-old me would have been horrified (To be fair, 25-year-old me was an idiot.)

So, I'm going to keep on keeping on with my baby steps. I'm going to sit down and think about what the WIWTB would be doing these days. I'm going to like the Woman I Already Am a little bit more. I'm going to accept that I'm not always up for a challenge.

I'm going to buy myself a damn shirt.

And clean out my car. I need to do that, too.

Be nice to yourself, my friends. Life is its own challenge. The Woman You Want To Be will be ready when you are.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tut Tut

"Did you hear about what happened to King Tut's sarcophagus?" I asked the boys a few weeks ago when the story was in the news.

It sounded like the set-up for a joke and they eyed me warily.

(Side note: Remember the time I tried to surprise them with a trip to Disney World but they didn't believe me and begged us not to make them late for school? Maybe I'm a shitty parent.)

"It's not a joke," I assured them. "His beard was loose or had been removed for some reason and they needed to re-attach it for display, but instead of sending it to professionals who work to conserve big pieces of art, they just had someone glue it back on with epoxy, which is a glue that's kind of like tar. It oozed out around the edges a little bit and some got on his face so they tried to remove it with a spatula and scratched it. 3000 years of history and craftmanship ruined by some random guy."

Big Kid looked pained. "Can they fix it?"

"I don't know. Probably not the epoxy. I guess they might be able to fix a scratch? Can you imagine being the guy who screwed it up? King Tut should haunt him. That would be a good movie!" I had already mentally progressed to awesome plot lines but Big Kid wouldn't be deterred.

"It should be against the law. They should be arrested!" He was seething. Staring just past his computer screen but not quite at me.

"Yeah. I wonder about that. Is it illegal to be careless with artifacts?"

"People better be fired over this!"

"Do you want a smoothie for breakfast? I'm going to make one."

"My head hurts so bad because of this. I can't believe this could happen. I'm not sure I can eat right now, this is just awful. You're not sick about this?"

I was just trying to start a conversation, not ruin his whole day.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Like a Girl

My favorite Super Bowl commercial was Always' "Like a Girl" spot, featuring boys and girls doing things "like a girl" and how different it looked.

Big Kid didn't like it.

"That was sexist," he said.

"No, it wasn't. It was fighting against sexism!" 

"Did they even warn these kids what was up? Or was it like 'hey, little Billy, you're going to be in a commercial! We're going to ask you to run and throw like a girl, you do that the way popular culture does and then we'll go ahead and show millions of people and make you look sexist. And roll!"

"Right, but the fact that popular culture thinks girls suck at things is the message."

"So, better trick a little boy into looking like a jerk to get that message across, right? I doubt he thinks girls suck, he just didn't know what they were looking for and was trying to give it to them. I mean, I know most girls can probably throw as good or better than I can, but if they asked me to throw like a girl, I wouldn't throw like I normally do because I wouldn't think that's what they were looking for." 

"Girls were doing things badly 'like a girl' too, though."

"Right but they are girls, so they don't look like total jerks doing that."

"Okay, but isn't it a bummer that doing something like a girl means doing something worse than you normally would?"

"That does suck. It also sucks that they tricked the boys. They don't need to make boys look bad to make girls look good."

"Okay, let's just agree not to say 'like a girl' anymore. I think that was the point."

"And that's a point I can agree with, but I don't like the commercial."

I still liked it.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Kid Chameleon

The other day Big Kid hopped into the car after school and told me that he was going to be participating in a YouTube video about Minecraft with a friend of his.

little kid immediately asked if he could join.

"I don't know, I have to ask him if he's cool with that, but I'll find out." Big Kid answered.  "Bro, can I just make a suggestion if he does let you into the video?"


"Maybe you should go mute on chat."

"Go mute? No."

"It's just that your's bad."

"Well, I'll spell things right then," little kid offered.

At this point I interrupted what had become a private conversation. "If you can spell things right, why aren't you doing so?"

"It's, like, part of my persona," he answered.

"Bad spelling is part of your persona? Seriously? That's disappointing to hear." I said.

"Just derpy typing."

"Ugh. Don't do that. Don't be that guy." I love my children unconditionally, but bad spelling on purpose is not something I can get behind.

"Mom, it makes me look legit. If I just can't spell some words, I'm either dumb or an 8-year-old," he explained.

"You are an 8-year-old."

"Not on the internet. I don't tell anyone about my age. They don't need to know and I don't need them giving me a hard time." 

Big Kid interjected, "For real though mom, it helps him blend in. We are chameleons on the internet. His strategy is pretty good, I just don't want him doing it on my friend's video."

"The terrible grammar helps him blend in? Chameleons of the internet?" I was amused and incredulous.

"Yeah. I know it's sad, but it's true. No one can spell. The safest and smartest thing for him to do is type like a derp."

"And it works!" little kid continued. "When anyone asks my age, I tell them to guess and they usually guess that I'm a teenager. They think I'm cool. If they thought I was 8, I'd probably get kicked off of the survival server."

"Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing," I said.

"Mom, he's like a Minecraft celebrity. He is really good at what he does. He's also not up to anything that's not appropriate, other than the spelling thing."

Honestly, I'd almost rather he was cursing up a storm or something. And the fact that he can pass as a teenager due to his poor spelling indicates a sad state of affairs for our future. 

Unless everyone on Minecraft is 8 years old and faking it?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Gypsy Wind Soapworks Giveaway

So, maybe a month or so ago, some guy emailed me asking if I would review and/or do a giveaway about his wife's soap-making business, Gypsy Wind Soapworks.

My first reaction was, "We just did soap! How different can this soap be? How much soap does anybody need? How many words can I write about soap?" but I was bored and not busy, so I clicked through the link and found the most lovely soap I've ever seen; soap so unique and pretty that it was easy to find more words about soap.

Fresh Sugared Lemon Handmade Soap - Skin Softening, Moisturizing Shea, Cocoa and Mango Butters - Detergent, SLS and Sulfate Free

Photo of Fresh Sugared Lemon soap by

Once the soap arrived, little kid thought it was candy and asked if he could eat it anyway after I told him it was not. Big Kid declared it the most beautiful soap he had ever seen. Mr. Ashley asked how much the fancy soap cost with a worried look. It took me a week to even unwrap it from its cellophane because it felt so wrong to desecrate such beauty.

Then I realized I was in danger of becoming one of those weird old ladies who puts out special holiday hand towels and yells at people for using them, so I went ahead and used the soap.

As someone who lives simply (also known as "broke" in less linguistically creative circles), I love small purchases that make me feel pretty, special or pampered. Most of these purchases revolve around sleeping and showering because you are supposed to do both daily, and this allows me to write these expenses off as practical. Crisp sheets, a plush mattress topper, fluffy towels, and soap fit for a Disney princess; all little things that bring me luxury.

Also, it turns out that heart-shaped soap is very practical in that it is easy to hold. Not that holding soap has been a big issue for me in the past, but I was having a moment of thinking that this beautiful soap was not going to be very practical until I realized it fits more nicely in my hand than regular soap so now regular soap can really go suck it. Also, it smells as pretty as it looks!

These soaps would make great little gifts or amazing bridal/baby/princess party favors, and one of you is going to receive a two pack! There are three ways to enter and the contest ends Monday, so get to it!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And a big thank you to the soapmaker's husband for bringing this little bit of niceness into my daily existence! I'm looking forward to sharing it with one of you!