Monday, May 30, 2016

Finders Keepers

I need you all to stop what you are doing and go watch Finders Keepers on Netflix immediately.

I know, I know -- your boss might be mad and people in traffic may not understand but this is urgent.

It's a documentary about a guy who buys a storage unit's contents and finds a human leg in a smoker that was left inside.

It turns out that the original owner of the storage unit is an amputee and for some bizarre reason, he was allowed to keep his leg after removal. He wanted it back but the leg finder enjoyed the attention it brought him and had parlayed it into some fame, and wouldn't return it.

The journey that follows is absurd and funny and frustrating and sweet; one of those meant to be situations that brings people together who need each other to fulfill their destiny (even if they don't like it) and proof that the universe has a plan.

I even ended up feeling a strange sense of admiration and sympathy for the weirdo who wanted to keep some other weirdo's leg. Talk about living boldly and making opportunities appear.

I hope everyone involved, and the leg, lived happily ever after the end of the movie because the world needs more characters and people who are passionate...even if it's about weird shit like someone else's rotting leg.

I'm a member of the Netflix Stream Team and Google wants you to know that I get free Netflix. I want you to know too, because it's pretty cool and makes me feel special. It doesn't influence my opinions on various documentaries and/or weirdos though.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I didn't die.

But only because I have friends who freely share their drugs.

I got a voicemail from the doctor's office late Friday afternoon saying my prescription was at my pharmacy...but I am not sure where they think the pharmacy is since every single one I've ever been to denies having it.

Luckily, a friend had an inhaler and I breathed freely all weekend long on borrowed albuterol. Also, I am beyond grateful for the comment suggestion of the over-the-counter medicine Bronkaid. Once I figure out where my prescription is, I will buy some of that when I pick it up.

I took the kids to Legoland on Monday and we played all day long until I was too tired to drive home, so we got a cheap hotel that was terrifyingly shitty.

And as I snuggled in one full bed with both of them (because like hell if I was getting a bed to myself on their watch) watching Full House on Nick at Night and amazing them by singing "The Name Game" to every name we've ever heard, I was really glad to be breathing, even if it was in probably-a-murder-hotel.

Now that I'm back home trying to figure life out, I'm a little "eh" on the whole breathing thing again, but it looks like I'll continue doing it for a while at least.

Friday, May 20, 2016


"The worst thing about having anxiety and asthma is not knowing when you just think you're going to die and when you're actually going to die," I texted my sister-in-law (who should have been my real sister, an error the universe fixed by bringing us together anyway) this morning.

This started yesterday evening but I realized it was asthma as I was lying on my bedroom floor in front of the humidifier in the middle of the night, clutching my rescue inhaler which was reading 0 on the little "how many puffs 'til you die" window.

I have mild, seasonal asthma which is usually a problem once or twice a year, almost always when my inhaler is for some reason unavailable.

I called the nurse's voicemail and left a wheezy message explaining that I want a prescription refill but I do not want to come in and talk about it because it's an ongoing situation and driving is hard without breathing. That I have a physical scheduled in two weeks, and we can talk about it then or sooner. Or that I would come today if I had to, because not breathing and/or urgent care aren't options this weekend, but that would suck for me. I was doing the trying not to cry thing at the end, so it better work.

Big Kid can sense my quiet, stressed out panic and is trying to help by keeping me engaged in conversation. Incessantly.

So far it's not helping.

Cough drops help temporarily but my morbidly obese cat is obsessed with cough drops, so I have to continuously push him away from my face and mouth, while Big Kid talks about Disney films that should never have been made.

The dog is wildly jealous of the cat, so when he sees the cat in my lap, trying to steal what little breath I have, he has to get in on it too and nervously stands with one paw on my thigh and stares back and forth between me and the cat, while trying to lick my ear. With the cat sniffing my breath and Big Kid telling me his stories.

I'm really at a point where I'm wondering why I even want to breathe in the first place. What was it that I liked so much about breathing?

The nurse will call me back at lunch and I'm going to go hide in the bathroom in a cloud of steam until then.

If I die, please tell Netflix that I loved them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Writer's Block

Guys, I’m supposed to be writing for work right now, to satisfy the anxiety of a looming deadline and life’s expenses, but instead I just keep opening blank documents and staring at them and thinking: “Well, this is it. This is when I’m going to just have to come clean and admit that I have been faking being a professional writer for eight whole years now."

I mean, yeah, I do the writing and I get paid for it from multiple sources who seem to like working with me, but still, I don’t feel like one. Do writers feel like writers? I think they would. I still feel like I want to be a writer, but what would that look like if eight years of getting paid for it isn’t enough? I have to pay taxes, shouldn't that count?

 I guess actually doing the writing instead of dramatizing the process would be a good start.

 Yesterday I couldn’t do it either; in fact, I polished 3 years of verdigris off of a copper top table while thinking about it instead. And right now I can’t. I can write a piece about how I can’t write that piece but in this dramatic moment of self-doubt, I am positive that this loss of creativity is forever now, like hiccups or the Kardashians.

That’s the hard part of doing what you love for a living, especially since creativity is a fickle bitch and panic is my muse. I know for a fact that I will get it done and I will obsess over it at all costs until I am satisfied with the end result and for that one fleeting second, I will feel like a writer again.

I know that after I publish this and check Facebook and wander around the house, I will commit to writing an intro, outline and rough conclusion and things will seem less impossible with every word put to (virtual) paper, and I will gain some momentum and it will be finished with some time to spare for doubting everything/editing before sending it off to my editor Monday.

I’ve even done the research, so I’m like a quarter of the way there already. I’m actually ahead of the game, as long as my creativity didn’t sneak off to die in a fire like I suspect.

 The everyday angst of writing is bumpy and I’m thinking about a career change to be a mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs instead, but I haven’t looked into the logistics of that yet.

I might do that right before I get started on this article.

Cat Trap

There is a little calico kitten that hangs out in my yard.

At first I thought she was a neighbor's cat, but now I think she thinks she lives here which makes her my cat, which is a very exciting turn of events.

However, she is reluctant to join me in my excitement.

I am enjoying the challenge of luring her in, though, and am surprised and frustrated by her stubbornness and commitment to the wild life.

I don't even care if she wants to be an outdoor cat (a privilege denied my others) but I want to put a collar on her and get her fixed before someone traps and releases her and cuts her ear to mark her, which will make her look raggedy.

"Ashley, is that a bowl of cat food out by the pool? Please do not leave cat food out, we do not need every stray in the neighborhood --"

"Uh, you can't tell me to let a kitten starve to death. That is a BABY. I will pick the food up at the end of each day, but I'm feeding her."

"We don't need another cat."

The next day: "I see there are cat toys next to the food bowl now. It seems like you're trying to get that cat to live here."

"It is a BABY cat!! We have nine million toys our spoiled cats don't play with, there is no harm in putting a ball and a little catnip mouse out there."

Two days later: "I see there's what looks like a small wooden cat house out under that tree in the yard?"

"Can you believe I found that on the side of the road? Someone was throwing it away! I was just thinking it would be nice if the little cat could get out of the rain."

The cat wants me to feed it and leave it alone, a sentiment I can really empathize with but can't accept.

We are making great progress, though. Now I can sit across the pool and talk softly while not moving at all, or, if I feed her, I'm allowed to sit on a bench in my yard and watch her eat.

We're going to be best friends.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Future Film Maker

"If I get good as a film maker, I'm going to copy the MGM logo but make it be a goose instead of a lion," Big Kid said.

"You mean when you get big as a film maker, not if!" I clarified.

"Actually, I said good. Adam Sandler is big. I don't want to be big. I want to be good."

"Right. Wow."

I think there's hope for his future as long as he grows out of the goose thing.