A quick check in...with photos!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm sneaking on at work to post, but I just wanted to show a few pictures of an adventure I was "forced" to partake in.  Normally I don't post pictures of friends/IRL people, but I'll make an exception.  Please enjoy, and celebrate with me that I survived/am alive. [/dramatics]

My office men! (sans one, unfortunately)
The death traps. Or as otherwise called, an ATV and one of the dune buggies.
You can't tell, but I'm kind of terrified here.


Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Looking forward to 2011: A 20sb Blog Swap

Monday, December 20, 2010

(Time for another blog swap!  This time it's the amazingly awesome Amanda - it's her first blog swap and I trust you all to welcome her!)

Hi, everyone! I’m taking over Ashley’s blog today. I’m Amanda and I’ve never done a blog swap before so I have a bit of stage fright right now. I feel like I’m talking on the phone with someone new and I don’t know what to say so I just repeatedly ask them how they are. True story: this happened with my boss during my first week of work. Me: “Hi, how are you?” Boss: “Good! How are you?” Me: “I’m great, how are you?” Luckily, before I delved into trying to laugh at how I just repeated myself, he got another call and had to go. Long story short: being awkward is awesome. 

Anyway, it’s pretty crazy that Ashley and I were paired up as partners for this blog swap. We have a lot in common: living in San Diego, trying to figure out our lives after graduating from college, really liking Charlie Brown, etc. It also seems like both of us had a pretty hectic year, and we’re looking forward to moving on.

Personally, I’m really, really looking forward to leaving this year behind. Sure, I’ve learned a lot, but 2010 and I didn’t really get along. We weren’t BFFs. There were so many times that I felt like yelling, “Universe: I get it! Enough with the lessons!” I’d be going along thinking everything was all hunky dory and then, BOOM! A layoff! Anxiety! Car issues! Party down, right?

Not exactly.

But good news! I’ve decided that 2011 is going to be spectacular no matter what. I’ve made a list of reasons why so that I can recall them when I’m feeling like a grumpasaurus.
-         I have a great new job. The last year taught me that my job satisfaction really affects my whole life. I’ve only been in my current position for a few weeks now, but so far so good, and I’m learning a lot. I’m hopeful that the new year will bring much more experience and will be the year that I finally feel like I’m going somewhere with my career.

-         I’m going to Egypt! Holy smokes! This is a completely new development, but my sister found an awesome deal. My mom is obsessed with Egypt, and while we’ve poked fun at her and her love for King Tut for many years, it looks like I’ll be spending a few days among the pyramids this summer. It’s a hard life, right? I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

-         The worst is over. It’s cliché, but I now truly know that I can handle whatever life throws at me. I’ve gotten good at budgeting my money, I’ve developed a great support system, and I’m finally feeling hopeful again. I know I’ll be okay.

-         Oh, and The Bachelor begins on January 3rd. Hell yes. I love me some raunchy reality TV.

Cheers to finding awesome new blog friends, being optimistic, and feeling excitement for what’s to come. 


#Reverb10 catch-up: prompts 2-4

Monday, December 13, 2010

Prompt #2: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
I was going to say work, since all it does is impede my time and I preeetty much blame everything on work.  But actually...that's all I've blogged or tweeted about recently.  And writing is writing, even if it's in the form of 140 characters or a quickly shot off blog post.  So really, work is the reason I'm writing?  (That is a strange thought.)

I realized though, something I do every day that doesn't contribute to my work: make excuses.  It's not procrastination - it's shoving blame off on other things.  I work too much, I'm too tired, I won't have enough time to write something worthwhile, I have to leave in half an hour...the list is endless.  I can make any excuse for any situation.  I simply take the easy way out, and I'd rather like it to stop.

As much as I don't want to admit it, yes, of course I can eliminate this.  It's difficult to accept blame, isn't it?  Maybe it's just me.  In any case, I'll have to face a lot of things to eliminate this: that maybe I'm not as disciplined as I like to believe, or that I'm not as confident as I seem.  But I know that this is necessary, and that I need to work on it.

Prompt #3: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors)
I didn't want to go down the steep, wooden stairs.  They looked rickety and honestly, the thought of it made my stomach drop.  And then as soon as I got down there, I'd have to walk the dark pathway that extended maybe three feet around the cliff's edge...two steps in the wrong direction and I'd find myself in the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, 30 feet below at 1 in the morning - not a situation I'd like.

Five minutes later, I'd gone down the steps and forced myself across the pathway - now I was standing at the edge of a jutting cliff, staring out into the darkness of the ocean and watching the waves crush against the rocks below me. My friends were behind me - I could hear them yelling at each other and hollering dares and horsing around - and in front of me was the ocean...and it felt like the entire world was at my feet.  Salty air, fresh wind, the voices of people I love and people who love me close enough to feel like I'm grounded but far enough away where I felt on my own...that small dip in your stomach as you look past the cliff and know that if three pebbles under your feet move your entire life will change somehow, some way...it's one of those moments where I know that my life, whatever the hell I'm feeling and thinking and wanting and needing...I know that my life is a life I want to live.

Prompt #4: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
For the majority of this year, I was unemployed. And most of the time, I was pretty much lost and hopeless and listless and, as much as I'd like to not use the word, depressed.  But during this time, I also recognized how blessed I was to be given a time where I was financially cared for and, while yes I was incredibly worried and stressed, I had all the time in the world.  And I used that time: I explored San Diego and facets of my life I never had before. I went to beaches I'd never been to, walked into stores I didn't normally go into, found libraries and buildings and secret hidden landmarks of San Diego I never thought I would. I had a pitiful attempt at GeoCaching that I would like to revisit in the new year.

Most of all, I went about my routine with new eyes. I started to pay attention to the tennis courts I went to, I started to look around the libraries I was constantly at, really listen to the customers while I sat at Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Panera.  There's so much gone unseen and unnoticed in our daily lives, and for a brief few months of this year, I really made an effort to take it all in.

It has dwindled as I've gotten more and more caught up in work and family and holidays and the drama and daily doings of life, but I hope to remember this feeling as my life continue.  That I'll take at least an hour a day or a day a week or a week a months to really look around and keep my eyes open.


Where I'm At Now

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why yes, my Firefox is a Big Bang Theory theme, thanks for noticing!

  • Pretty fucking irritated with my car/Toyota dealership. I'm at my 90k tune-up, and I get that it's major.  But fucking SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS MAJOR?! I'm going to cry. Last time I was there for my 85k, they said it would probably be around $300, maybe $350.  And that's what I've budgeted for the last six months.  And suddenly, oh, synthetic oil prices went up, and your cabin filter does need changing, and labor fees went up, and JUST ROB ME BLIND WHY DON'T YOU.  Fuck.
  • That said, I am now down 80% of my budgeted Christmas fund.  Um, sorry acquaintances and office friends: you get a hug now.  Maybe even a kiss on the cheek if I think you're really special.
  • Photo above is literally where I am at right now.  Starbucks in San Marcos.
  • I am also incredibly sick at the moment.  Maybe not incredibly, but sick enough where I'm breathing loudly through my mouth, my nose is a veritable waterfall that's too stuffed to sniff, and my head feels like an overinflated balloon. I knew this was coming since three co-workers and two friends were sick, and I'm already not sleeping enough...but it still sucks.
  • Peppermint mochas and Ritz crackers are not very yummy together.
  • Despite the negativity on this blog and in my life right now, I am excited for the holidays in relation to my office!  Not for the Christmas party, since I'm no adrenaline junkie (see this tweet for reference)--but because my boss gave me free reign to decorate the office!  And I'm so fucking exciting to decorate a space all on my own I'm even willing to ignore the slight offense that he's letting me because I'm female.
  • Feeling weird since I ran into my old co-editors big sister and she updated me on her life.  I'm happy for her, I really am: but it's strange to hear that my 3-years-younger old friend is now engaged and getting married in the Summer.  As if I don't already feel like 23-going-on-90.  Except I'm a lonely 90 year old, without even cats, who's never known love...
  • I have a free Disneyland ticket, and I forgot about it, and now it expires next Wednesday, and I have no time to go!  ARGHHHH.
  • Can't Stop. Listening. To...CHRISTMAS CAROLS.  (Currently: Glee Cast - We Need A Little Christmas.  Up next: When Christmas Comes To Town - Polar Express OST)
  • Wondering what the heck I'm going to get my brother for Christmas.  What do you get a 26-year-old who lives at home, hates any and all technology, and does not need anything else for his guitars?  He is not into cars, tools, football, going to the gym, or anything movie- or hollywood-related.
  • And am now signing off to go have lunch with my mom.  Despite the fact I'm not at work and am therefore not making money, I'm happy since I rarely get to see my mom during the week (you'd think I would since I live with my family...).


This post is basically a thinly disguised vent/emotional frustration dump.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Longest work week ever.  So much to do, so much done, but so much left to do.

I got mad at a coworker this week, which was the first time ever. I get frustrated with my work, I get angry at clients who call and yell at me for things outside my control, I have several slight irritations that will leave after a few deep breaths.  But this was the first time I was legitimately mad with my coworker.  And it was...not pretty.  It was mad to the point where I almost started crying because I just had no other way to release it.  I actually had to tell him to shut up for two seconds and to just go away, because looking at him was making it worse.

I haven't had that happen in awhile, and it's bad that it happened at work. I still think my anger was warranted, and no, I have not apologized.  But I recognize that it's a bad situation to get angry not only with someone who I share an office with and was assigned a task to complete with that day, but also because he is technically my "superior."  Have you ever called the person you're supposed to take direction from an asshole?  Because I don't recommend it.

I know that I'm sounding like a spoiled brat right now, and I get that it was not smart for me to do any of this.  But I really was just so mad.  He didn't help the situation because he kept repeating what was making me angry and kept picking at it over and over and over and was relentless.  Then he kept saying, "wow, you need a massage or something, calm down."  Do people seriously think telling an angry person to "calm down" helps?!

We're a small office, and despite the fact that he is my "superior," we are on pretty even terms. We work well together, we understand that the other has strengths and weaknesses that benefit the both of us, and up until that day, we've gotten along stupendously.  He didn't even get mad about me telling him he was being an asshole (because he knew he was) - apparently I just hurt his feelings.  He was pretty put out that I was mad, and he unfairly used the office doggie to finally get me to look at him and smile.

I hate fighting, I hate being angry.  We're fine, and no, my job is not in jeopardy.  But it was a terrible day, and even though I'm dwelling on it too much, I'd really like it to just be forgotten and in the past.

Moving along...

So, Christmas.  I wish I could post my calendar so you could all see how incredibly hectic this month is going to be, but I swear to God every friend I've ever had is popping out of the woodwork or going to be within 100 miles of me and wants to see me.  And don't get me wrong, that makes me happy and I want to see them, too--it's just crappy what with working full time now (yeah...I'm not getting into that) and having to shove in personal Christmas doings anyway.  Toss in drive times, at least 9 people who are coming in town and want to see me, my mom's upcoming birthday, another girl's birthday who insists on taking up 2 days to celebrate it, and the oddball decision of another friend choosing to throw a random party right in the middle of holiday season...I can't breathe just thinking about it.

It is, however, 3am now, and I should probably sleep since I'm going to be so ridiculously busy.  Contrary to how it seems, I do make good decisions--just not lately, apparently.

On #reverb10: I've never been one to post every single day. I just don't have the energy to do it, nor do I have the time to set aside every day to put up a post.  Plus, it's a bit overwhelming on the reader (in my personal opinion, anyway).  So, despite the fact reverb10 is a daily prompt, I'm most likely going to group chunks of prompts together.  And I will most likely put them on the weekends, towards a time when people don't quite read.  It's not that I'm trying to hide my responses, it's just that I'm mostly doing it for myself, as a reflection on a tough year to try to reconcile myself with it.  I don't need to overwhelm my readers with my personal woes every single day.


My year in one word, and how batman's an asshole. (They're unrelated. Swear.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

If you're tapped into the blogosphere even a little bit, it's a high chance you've heard about #reverb10.  (If you haven't, click here!) The day has finally come: Prompt 1!

Prompt: One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you're choosing that word. Now, imagine it's one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

Ashley's 2010 in a word: brutal.

This year was rough.  I started the year unemployed, and everything seemed to fall apart from there.  I started to get down on myself as a potential employee--and when that situation didn't improve, it started to take its toll on the rest of me. I started to doubt myself, who I am, what I am to others...pretty much everything.

And then I got a job. And it seemed ok again  - until I realized that my unemployment was a factor to my depression, but not the reason.  There were so many things that didn't get better when I was hired; in fact, it made it worse. I started to lose faith in me, in my worth, in the others around me.  I started to feel like I'd never amount to anything, as though I was wasting everything. And then it turned to the fact that I felt like a colossal disappointment to anyone who had ever believed in me.

I don't really know the turning point, or if there really was one...but the feeling is fading. There are still a lot of things I'm unhappy about, and it does unfortunately outnumber the things I'm currently ok with--but what matters is that I'm feeling ok about things.  That I can still tell there's good in my life, that there are things I am happy with and grateful for and incredibly blessed to have and am hopeful about.

Which is really what I'd like next year to be about.  It just needs to have a bit of hope.

And on a sort of related but not actually note...we have a client named Bruce Wayne.  Like...really.  That's his name.  And his voicemail message is hilarious, because it's just so serious.  It feels as though he's in such a rush because he's just like "ThisisBruceWayneI'mnothereleaveamessage" and its so quick and businesslike and its like OH SHIT he's out saving the world!

We were pretty psyched about having Batman as a client for awhile...until he emailed us back the answer to our question. And it won't really make sense to anyone who isn't in my industry, plus the fact that it is kind of specific so I really shouldn't share it on a public blog - but let's leave it that he's a prick. His answer was so facetious and clipped and RUDE.  Completely uncalled for, and the only conclusion we can come to is that Batman is, unfortunately, an asshole.


Fill-in-the-Blank Friday: Thanksgiving Edition

Friday, November 19, 2010

1. My Thanksgiving plans this year will include an incredibly large feast with my mom's immediate family at my aunt's house, my aunt's husband's family (which is always interesting since I went to high school with the sons and we did not run in the same crowd whatsoever), and a few of their neighbours.  30 of us total, I think?

2. My favorite Thanksgiving was all of them. I honestly don't remember too many distinctive ones...before I moved to the US, Thanksgiving was always a small occasion of just me, my brother and my parents.  It was lovely, but nothing entirely crazy.  Since moving to the US, it's always been a huge family gathering with the usual amounts of family insanity.

3. My signature Thanksgiving dish is pumpkin pie.  That's the only thing I am ever responsible for, and it is the only thing I want to be.  I love baking it.

4. My favorite Thanksgiving food is stuffing.  Always the stuffing.

5. Thanksgiving free association!   pilgrim hats, paper turkey cut-outs using a tracing of your hand, turkey, stuffing, yummy, pumpkin pie, holiday kick off, black friday shopping!

6. Thanksgiving is the official start of holiday music on the radio!

7. I am thankful for the abundance of love, respect and hope I am so blessed to have, from family, friends, coworkers, bloggy friends, even perfect strangers. I am thankful for the life I lead, for the life I have led, for the life I can and will lead.  I am thankful for the possibilities, for the certainties, for the uncertainties.

Happy Weekend, Everyone!


The State of Ashley - Mid(ish)-November Report

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Was I the only one who didn't realize Thanksgiving is next week?  Because holy shit when the hell did that happen and where the fuck did my time go?!

Now that's out of the way...

So, I'm alive.  Barely, and I think my stress levels will take care of the pathetic pieces that are left of me, but for what it's worth...at least enough to put up a blog post!  Work has gotten absolutely insane, and I basically work full time (on minimum wage!  Totally fair. Sarcasm).  I actually even worked overtime today.  I don't discuss work in depth on here, but I work in the financial industry (let's all laugh about that since I had to cry in my AP calculus class in high school to pass.  That's real, y'all) and a good 90% of our clients' fiscal year ends sometime this month.  Therefore, they're all scrambling and stressed and getting all holleration yelly screamy shouty, and it, in turn, makes my life murderous super fucking awesome.

In addition to that...a second job is on the horizon.  Sort of.  It's mine if I want it, but...I don't think I do.  I'm not sure.  It's all really up in the air and I can't make decisions, so we'll leave it that last week, I worked a grand total of 70 hours.  And I felt like I was dying.  I was literally falling asleep anywhere I was, no matter the time or place or if I was standing or sitting or leaning.

So, naturally, NaNoWriMo was a bust.  Or at least...so far.  I stubbornly steadfastly refuse to admit defeat, partially because I have busted out mass amounts of word counts in a week, and mostly because I still think I actually can complete it.  But I currently sit at 5,894 words--and those were all done the first 3 days of November.  I still may try for something during the holiday break, but...it may fall to the wayside.  Which is unfortunate, but necessary.

Despite the fact that I apparently don't know how close it is to the holidays, I am super duper excited for Christmas season!  I am that obnoxious person who has Christmas carols already, and why yes, I have in fact watched Elf already.  I have yet to buy my first Christmas gift (Target was sold out of what I was going to purchase :(), but I have thought about how I'm going to decorate my house.  And my room.  And my office.  And I'm trying to plan my office holiday party...I just can't help how much I love it!

One thing that's been happening is a loooot of baking (which those of you who follow me on Twitter have found out)!  I've gone kind of cookie crazy, for some reason. It started that I saw a recipe that I really wanted to try, and then I found out I am going to be baking a lot for the holidays, so I figured...why not start now?  I've had two go-rounds with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and one with mint chocolate chip cookies.  Both of which were mighty successful with my office men, which made me astonishingly happy.  It's just nice when someone tells you your baking is "delicious" and you notice that they come out to your office for cookies.  Makes me feel all warm 'n snuggly (is that sad?  Don't answer that...).

I wish I could have blogged more this month, but I feel like I'm slowly making my way into a routine.  I'm going to attempt the #reverb10 prompt-given reflection on 2010 that's happening in December...we'll see if I can find the time to commit to it, but it's nice to have something to look forward to that will make me be around here more.  Especially since I miss all you wonderful bloggy friends so!

I have work in the morning, so I am off to bed...but more importantly, how are you all doing?


This post is a lot more sad and vaguely desperate than originally planned.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Someone asked me the other day why I was bothering to do NaNoWriMo this year.  She was saying that I was so obviously unprepared and busy and couldn't really squeeze it in, and all I was doing was hurting myself since I was giving up hours at work so I could work on my novel and it was added stress.

The short answer is that I'm obviously insane.

But the longer, more reasonable answer is the fact that...I need this.

I don't like to whine about my job, because I get that I'm incredibly lucky to have one and be wanted, but I have to face the facts: it makes me miserable.  It's not something I am interested in, I will not be staying there, and all it does is stress me out and give me no gratification in the end.  I feel like I'm wasting my own time, as well as theirs.  I feel constant guilt for taking the job of someone who could really like this and turn it into something.

Basically, I am miserable with my life right now.  I haven't blogged mostly because I haven't had the time, but also because...there are few things I find interesting these days to blog about.  The place I spend at least 30 hours a week at makes me so depressed and hopeless I don't have the energy or care to do much else the rest of my hours.  I feel so detached and far away from anything I love, from anything that makes me feel passionate and real.

Which is why I'm doing NaNo(WriMo).

Writing is the only constant in my life, and since I started working, I haven't done any of it. It feels as though doing NaNo is the last shred of hope for me, that it's the one single, solitary thread I have left that ties me to being Me.  Maybe I'm being dramatic and/or putting too much stock in a simple activity, but...this is how I feel.  I need this. For my sanity, for a small, glimmer of hope in my life.

So, sleepless nights, endless wordcounts, less money, pissing off work because I won't commit to full time yet...

It will be worth it.


Halloween Fill-in-the-Blanks!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Link up here!
 1.   My Halloween plans this year will include handing out candy and having a nice evening at home, since I have work Monday morning :(  Over the weekend though shall be some celebrations because Saturday is one of my best friend's birthdays. So hoorah for some bar-hopping, club-going, costume-looking fun!

2.  My most memorable Halloween costume was in 2nd grade, I dressed up as an Indian.  Pocahontas had just come out on Disney (either that year or the year before, can't quite remember) and it was super "in" to try to be like her. But the reason I remember this most is because the only other girl named Ashley in my grade decided to be Pocahontas too (after I'd told everyone who I was going to be) and her costume was WAY more Pocahontas than mine.  But I was the one who actually looked like her (I had straight long black hair and tan skin and sang all the time; other Ashley had short dirty blonde hair and was ivory white). So, I was super jealous and mad ahaha.

3.  For Halloween this year I'm going to be
nothing - I haven't dressed up since I was 9. I'm kind of a party pooper.

4.  I've always wanted to dress up as Morticia from Addams Family. She just seems so fun to do!

5.  Halloween free association! bats, spiderwebs, jack o' lanterns, pumpkins, candy!

6.  The worst thing about Halloween is having to see incredibly slutty girls walking around, and then douche-y guys taking advantage of it. I get the idea of having the chance to be someone you're not, but really...what does being a slut accomplish?

7.  The best thing about Halloween is seeing other costumes. There are some seriously creative people out there! I love seeing well-made ones (best so far: Wicket the Ewok, Jack from Jack In The Box, a non-slutty Strawberry Shortcake), ones that are so original and/or cool that I don't care if they're a bit shabby (including: Dick in a Box [which was slightly disturbing] and a family dressed as Mary Poppins, Burt the Chimney Sweep and their kid one of the dancing penguins!), and as gross as they may be, even the disgusting ones are entertaining (so far the one that takes the cake is a man who was dressed as a priest -- complete with a huge rosary around his neck -- hitting on my friend and inviting her to see that he was commando under his robes).


Time to celebrate

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Brother Bear!
you always did rock. (yeah i said it!)

 Today is my brother's 26th birthday.  I cannot believe he's 26...where's the time gone?!  I understand I'm the younger one, but it's still terrifying to know he's getting older.  Seems like yesterday we were having water gun fights with our neighbours in Belgium when I was 5 and he was 8, or we were playing Scattergories in the TLA while we waited for our permanent housing in Italy when I was 9 and he was 11, or we were facing off in bowling league when I was 11 and he was 13...

So far the plans are unknown, but we know it involves cake--which really, what else could one need?!


525,600 minutes...how do you measure a year?*

Thursday, October 21, 2010

There were a lot of ways I was thinking of doing this post.

First I considered doing some sentimental route, talking about how much I've grown and learned and been so blessed to discover in the past year.  And that's all well and good and, most importantly, true--but I don't feel like being all mushy and gushy and boo-hoo-i-love-you-all-so-much right now.

So then I thought about this whole "in one year, this happens...and this happens...this doesn't happen...neither does this," and being sort of funny and sort of serious.  But then I started to wonder how many things I can find to fit that, and even though I'm sure I could come up with tons of things that can and cannot happen in a year, I'm simply not creative enough for that right now.  And if I was, I don't want this post to go on for eons, as it already appears to be doing.


So basically, the gist of this entire post is to say:

it's my blogaversary, y'all!  Bloggaversary?  Blogiversary?  Fuck I hate hybrid words.

It's my blog birthday, y'all!

One year ago I sat in a Panera, my boba drink on one side, my notebook on the other and thought, "Well...I'm unemployed, I have nothing to do but practice writing, why not start the blog back up?"  And rather than go back to the old blog I had waaaaay in the second year of college, I started this one.  A few blog titles later, here I am, happily as You're the Charlie Browniest (I know, I'm changing it soon, but that's for later in the post...).

And I am happy.  I am glad to have been here a year, and I'm glad at the prospect of being here even longer.

What better way to celebrate than a new layout?!  Since I've been talking about it for months (no, really, I think I first mentioned the redesign in July), I finally sat my ass down and forced the code out of me.  So, if you're reading this in a Reader, you are missing out, my friends!  Click that puuurty li'l link to take you to this here home page of my blog, and enjoy the newness.

I'll be the first to say it: the new design ain't much. It's different, and it's a template so it shouldn't have taken me this long.  BUT, I finally added all the buttons and images I wanted to on the side, and took out the things I didn't care for any more.  Most importantly though, I finally got around to my Blog Roll!  It's a separate page, up top riiiiight next to "Home".  It's still a work in progress as I get back into reading the blogosphere again, but at least it's a start, right?


Like I said about the new title, I was going to change it...and I still am.  But I'm waffling too much between certain options of titles, and I can't make the commitment to it right now.  So, I very happily stay at You're the Charlie Browniest, until at least the new year (holy shit I can't believe I just referenced the new year...) and when I can find the time to restructure and replace everything linked to this title.

Anyway, I've just found out some EXTREMELY happy news, and I'm off to go investigate how I can secure it.  I hate being vague and leading people to something with no results, but I don't want to jinx this--so until I have those hot little tickets in my hands, my lips are s-e-a-l-e-d.

Happy Thursday, all!

*Rent-heads for life!


This post is completely hypothetical. Except for the parts that are not.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You know what's really inconvenient?


Especially when they're superficial and dumb and they don't mean anything and they won't amount to anything (and you don't even want it to).

They're just incredibly distracting and time consuming and stupid.  Because I mean, let's say the crush is some dude from, oh I don't know, hypothetically let's say work and all of a sudden you're like "Oh crap, I have to care what the fuck I wear to the office because he might be in today" or you think "hmmm wonder if he'll be in today!" or "work blows and I want to kill myself but maaaaaaaaaaaybe he'll be in and I can ogle his attractive self and it will almost sort of be worth a second of it."


It's super frustrating knowing your crush is most likely due to circumstance and not real factors, that your attraction is mostly based on the what you think about him and not what you know, that you don't actually want to have anything with this dude but still get little flutteries in your stomach when he walks up to your desk and smiles and asks how your day is going.

I mean, if this were something other than hypothetical, of course.  Of course.

You do some good work convincing yourself that it's nothing, that you just like him as a person so it's cool when he's around and he's really no different from any of your other co-workers--and then it's all blown to shit when he comes striding into the office in that confident way with his freakin' adorable green hoodie and he gives you that little smile and asks "how are you?" with just the right amount of caring and actually listens to your answer, and then later in the day he'll stand with you at your computer and try to help you find some information you need and make you laugh and come hang out and stand talking with you when he's waiting for his slow ass computer to boot up.

I mean...hypothetically or whatever.

You continue to do good work since he's one of the traveling coworkers who is only in the office maybe 3 times a week, so when you don't see him for a string of 5 days and you don't even realize it's been that long until a client calls and asks for him and you hear his name and think, "Oh yeah, him...no he's not in the office at the moment, may I take a message?" you're convinced that you've finally gotten over this pointless, foundation-less schoolgirl crush...

...until he calls the office and you answer with your usual, "Thank you for calling [company name], this is Ashley," and he's like, "Hiiiii Ashley, it's [insert name of dude who I would have a stupid, stupid crush on if this weren't hypothetical and completely and totally made up], how are you today?" and suddenly those goddamn flutteries in your stomach wake up and you smile even though he hasn't said anything of worth and even though all you two do is talk about business and work-related crap you're still like weeeeeeeeeee I just talked to him!

Say it with me: hy-po-the-ti-CAL.

This is also incredibly inconvenient, because maybe one day he is in the office and the other four guys who are normally in with you both are gone on various meetings/lunches/appointments, so it's just you two and even though you're in separate parts of the office building he'll IM you through the office IM system and what starts as completely work-related discussion turns into witty banter and thinly-veiled maybe-flirting.  And then you realize what the fuck you're doing at work, with a co-worker, who you don't even know how old he is or where he's from or who he is really and you're like shit what has my life come to.

Dumb. Completely, totally dumb.  He's not even that attractive (because that's totally a deal breaker, y'all), and usually I question if he even likes me as a person at all.  Normally I get the feeling that I'm just another part to the day, a section of scenery that he sees but never processes, another face in an endless visual rolodex (can that expression even be used today?  Readers who are younger than 20, do you even get that?!).  I just feel like he sees me as that young, vaguely clueless girl who shares a building with him.

And then I start to wonder if I even like him as a person, because the few things I do know about him aren't exactly winning points with me.  We clash on a lot of beliefs, he runs marathons and freely says the words "calories" and "buff" and "burn", and eats chickpeas, and wears a puke green colored hoodie.

But then I remember that he is really nice.  And funny.  And smells fucking incredible.  And is helpful.  And he is really cute, in that sneak-up-on-you way.  And can dress up reaaaaaaaaaaaal well.  And invited me to his birthday celebration, even if I felt that was more a courtesy than a real invitation.  And was nice and offered to take a mushroom off a slice of pizza that was getting near me since he knows how freaked out I get by them.  And doesn't get all weird when I start talking football with them.

You know, this would all be a lot easier if I could just have a stupid, superficial, childish, foundation-less, pointless crush on the hottest guy in the office, because I know that even though he is smokin' hot and I'd probably let him do bad things to me because he is just that attractive, I still see that there is no real attraction to him and I'm mostly put off by the fact he sounds like the football player Kevin in Daria (no, really...).

Dumb.  So dumb. So, so dumb.

I mean...hypothetically dumb.  You know.


I am not ready for this week.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Notes for the day:
- saw someone at the mall purchasing a poledancing pole.  I'm not sure what concerns me more: the fact that it was a teenage boy, or that they sell that at the mall.
- accidentally pocket (purse) dialed 911.  oops?  The girl was really nice when I told her it was unintentional.
- writing inspiration struck for the first time in months.  Unfortunately not for my NaNo Novel, but for articles at least.  So, hurrah!
-jeans shopping is the bane of my life (alongside traffic).  Especially when you're short and chubby.

Obviously, I was at the mall today.  It was a half-hearted attempt at shopping for clothes for myself (which is, on the whole, unsuccessful 98% of the time) as well as an equally as half-hearted attempt at finding my brother a birthday present.  He's just a hard person to buy for.  He has very specific interests and likes -- which you would think would make it easier, but for some reason it's incredibly difficult to find something within those parameters.  He plays the guitar, he works at Panera and likes basketball.  Made worse by the fact that he's one of those people who buys things for himself when he wants them, and the choices are getting even slimmer.

Anyway.  I am not ready for this week.  I have to work an extra day (normally I only work 3 days) since a coworker has to be somewhere, and the prospect of working 4 full days seems so much more ginormous than working 3.  Even though last week I went in on my day off, too.  (I know, woe is me for having to work FOUR WHOLE DAYS.  I get it.)  I was planning to use my two days off to search for brother's bday gift, but I'll just have to shove everything I can into that last day.

The only thing seemingly redeeming about this week is the weather.  It's supposed to be rainy and cold all week, and I am so excited.  I love colder weather and am so glad that it means autumn is officially here.  Holiday season is on the brink! (Or is already here, if you go by department starts and Target and whatnot.)  Plus, this is a bit morbid, but usually this time of the year my city is freaking out about Santa Ana winds and dry weather.  The end of October is a particularly dangerous and harrowing time in terms of wildfires (Firestorm 2003 and the Witch Creek Fire of 2007 that burned my suburb were all this same time those years), and the fact that it's raining and wet is very good for us.  Therefore, yay for jacket + scarf weather and yay for no fires!

Hope everyone else's week goes well!  Any exciting plans for anyone?


This post contains drag queens. And pictures.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You know that point in blogging where you've been gone so long, you don't really know how to come back?  It's like...do I acknowledge the absence? Do I just post as though no time has passed? A little of half?

I'm totally there.

I'm getting worried about NaNoWriMo. Not even the fact that I will (hopefully) be working and have less time, I'm more worried about the creative aspect of it. Last year, I was all about this thing. I had so many story ideas that I was jumping at the chance to get down 50k words for any and all of them. That's why I managed to hit 52k in one story, and 35k in another at the same time.  The creativity and inspiration carried on for awhile, but...it slipped. And at this point, it's pretty much gone. I have a few story ideas floating, as always, but nothing that I'm totally interested in banging out 50k for.  And, it's 50,000 words - that's a commitment nothing has become worthy of.

I don't know what to do about that.

I went up to Irvine last week and got to see a few of my friends who I haven't seen in over a year. And it was absolutely amazing.  They're all Italian exchange students, and most had returned to Italy after their year studying at my university.  A few of them have come back to study for their PhDs, so I managed to go up and have lunch with a group of them.  It really made me miss those who haven't returned, but it was lovely seeing the others. It means a lot that they still care about me so much, even if I was only really friends with them for 4 or 5 months.  Italians make the world a better place, in my opinion.

That same trip really upset me, though. It's kind of odd how that worked out, but being back on campus was terrible. Not only did it feel awkward returning because I have such crappy memories of college, but it was crazy to see all the construction done. It's like a brand new campus, and I hate that I feel so out of place. I mean, obviously I still know the campus is set in a circle and Humanities is right across from Engineering and there used to be a tire swing in the center of the Park.  Those things don't quite go away.  But seeing the new Humanities building, and the entire new Second Year Housing buildings, and this massive parking structure at the ARC...it was just too weird.  The place I called home for 4 years isn't anything like it was, and that disturbs me slightly.

By the way, did you know that when you have over 1000 unread posts in Google Reader to get to, the number stops?  It just says (1000+).  Good to know.

I have to admit though, despite extreme exhaustion and general listlessness towards life, I've been craaaazy busy. Lots of celebrations and outings and general doings going on. Brother's girlfriend's birthday happened, so we did it up big (ie, bday party at her house that included an egg hunt. Yep.)...a friend graduated again so we partied downtown...went to a concert that was shameful mostly and surprisingly fun...hit up Hash House, the most awesome breakfast joint ever--where the flapjacks are literally bigger than a pizza--and got caught in rain...and got crunk with drag queens.

What? You want pictures? Why SURE!

Yep...the shameful concert was a Jonas Brothers show.  Two of my friends and I were able to get tickets for less than $20, so we were like...why not?  It's catchy and fun and I was am a die-hard *NSYNC fan for life, so this crowd ain't got nothin' on me. And I admit (as I have on this blog before) that one of my guilty pleasures is Demi Lovato music...
and she was the opening act. So, plus one more for me!  Have to say though, she's not that great live.  She's incredibly pitchy and doesn't know how to properly breathe while dancing and moving around.  So, a bit distracting, almost slightly disappointed, but...it is what it is.

Gotta admit, Jonas Brothers were...I mean, it all sounded right. Pretty much no surprises in their performance, except I didn't think Joe Jonas could get any womanlier...and then he took off that jacket from picture 1 and revealed that the black makes-me-look-like-i-have-cleavage shirt is actually an oddly fitted tank top and I was effectively proven wrong.  But so it goes, right?  So. It. Goes.

Just a few of the drag queens we got to party with!  The one we have a picture with was our table's hostess for the night and she was awesome.  The one in the coral/peach dress was our favourite for the night because she was so freakin' cute I pretty much just wanted to be her.  This was all at Lips, a dinner/drag show bar in San Diego that's apparently quite famous.  Food was good, entertainment was top notch...I'm pretty sure I'll be headed back there sometime.  When I'm made of money anyway, because shit's expensive, man.
Requisite bathroom photo?  It was mostly just to show how faaaancy the girl's bathroom was!
Lastly, the birthday cupcakes I made for brother's girlfriend!


Crummy weather and autumn!

Friday, October 1, 2010

For the first time in about 3 months, I have a weekend with nothing to do--and that is how I am going to keep it.  I can't take much more of this running around and being stressed out. Especially since in about 2 weeks, it gets to start back up with my brother's birthday, continue into one of my best friend's birthdays, and then the next thing I know it is going to be full-fledged Holiday Time!  Simultaneously the best and worst time ever, in my opinion.

So, any other Southern Californian falling sick due to this fucked up weather?  Because seriously, as if my immune system wasn't messed up enough, this week started in the high-90 degrees, rose all the way to 112 degrees, and then two days later it was in the 80s with craaazy rainfall!  And I mean full on thunder storms, lightning, windshield wipers on blast rain...and then you step outside and it's hot.  Do you understand how hard it is to dress for rainy weather when it's hot as death outside?  Terrible.

Anyhow, I've got to finish lunch and head back to work, so...Fill-in-the-Blank Friday time!

Link up here!
1.   True happiness is understanding and accepting that hopes, dreams and goals are necessary to have but not always meant to be.

2.  The most surreal moment of my life was walking across the stage at university graduation. I was so happy and stressed and confused and worried. So much work and effort and heartache had happened to get me to that point, it was hard to believe I'd actually succeeded. I still feel as though my diploma is one big joke (it doesn't help that Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed it).

3.  My favorite texture is uhhh...I have no idea. Something soft and pleasing?  Yeah. Sure. That.

4.  My signature color is grey or red, depending on what it's for.

5.  My signature style is comfortable and functional. I'm really not a fashion girl, and I dress for the weather and situation. My only real add-ons are jewelry and a scarf, if it's cold out.

6.  If I could choose one store to spend my life savings at, it would be Macy's. Because that's preeeetty much the only place I've ever been able to find decent jeans.

7.  My best thing about autumn is EVERYTHING. I love the crisp air, the changing colors, the anticipation of holidays and colder weather, getting to wear scarves and boots and cute peacoats.  Autumn means the beginning of the end to a good year (hopefully) and the hope for an amazing new one. Autumn is snuggling under a blanket for the first time in months.


I guess it's time for the weekly check-in...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's not that I haven't felt like blogging. Because I have.  Oh, have I.  While I'm at work, it's pretty much a constant stream of ideas and thoughts I'd like to write down somewhere--but of course, I can't since I'm at work.

Topics and/or thoughts in my head included but not limited to:
  1. how i'm wasting away my life
  2. the concert i went to 2 weeks ago
  3. my bro's gf's bday weekend, which was all sorts of epic and amazing. with a touch of falling asleep in the middle of a Mexican restaurant at 3am.
  4. stifling creativity by choice
  5. the displeasure of meeting the Biggest Douchebag In The World
  6. i'm constantly reminded how lucky i am to have the family i do
  7. my dad's return from the Philippines
  8. how my 16 year old self is kicking my ass for the direction i let my life go
  9. fuck me i want a tablet for my computer but i keep going back and forth about it
  10. i genuinely view my job as an annoyance that impedes my reading time.

But the fact of the matter is, I spend 9 hours a day staring at a computer screen.  I manage the accounts at work, which means working exclusively on a computer, going through electronic files and updating web records within a website. Around hour 4 I inevitably get a headache, by hour 5 I'm popping Tylenol, hour 7 I'm rubbing my eyes (I've saved a fortune by abstaining from eye make up since work started), and after hour 9 the last thing I want to do is go home and stare at one more screen.

On one hand, it's been interesting not being on a computer 24/7. Who knew there was so much life outside of this?! (I'm kidding) (Sort of) (Really) I admit my TV count has gone up a bit, but so has interacting with friends and having real conversations.

But on the downside, my poor little blog has suffered. I'm not giving up this blog, because I still enjoy it, and it's never really been about the readers and satisfying what they want (hate to burst that carefully placed bubble).  It's my little place, and it will be here for me when I can come to it.

Not that I don't feel bad, of course. My readers and blog friends are important to me, and I don't like that work - something I'm incredibly not crazy about - is taking me away from it/them/you.  My Google Reader has been upwards of the 700s for the past 2 months and it is driving me bonkers.  I'm trying, I swear--but you'll have to allow me the age-old excuse of a job getting in the way.


A quick announcement before ToT!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First, I waited until it was actually posted, but go check out the Schwab MoneyWise Money Mondays page! For those that did the 20sb blog-swap, you'll recognize them as the sponsor--now they run a contest where every other Monday they post up a finance-related prompt and you tell them an anecdote or experience.  WELL...if you check out the recent winners, you may just find a familiar name :)  Even though sometimes it sucks to think back about financial crises, it's an easy way to win $100...so that was nice!

Link up here!
 1. What’s the one thing you always do when you’re stressed?
I stare. It sounds weird, but when I'm incredibly stressed out, I simply freeze what I'm doing and stare at something. I'm not actually seeing anything; it's just moments where I space out. Not entirely productive, but...it happens.

2. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done for a friend?
You ever waxed a girl's back while she was drunk and trying to dress for a toga frat party? Yeah. College was a weird time.

3. What cleaning supply could you not live without?
A simple dust cloth does crazy wonders. But I gotta say, I'd take a vacuum because then I can suck up spiders/bugs. Icky.

4. How long do you plan on living where you currently reside?
Not too long, if I can help it. It's my parents' house, so I'll move out eventually.

5. Do you usually vote straight party, a mixture, or not at all?
Not at all?  That's a lie, but it's mostly just to avoid answering.

6. What’s something that you love to do, but seem to never make time for?
Bowling, art and design.

7. What’s your favorite store to buy things for other people?
It always depends on the person, but I'm fairly good at finding neat gifts from Target. Generic, I know, but I make it work.

8. What’s the weather like around you today?
Since I'm doing this the night before, I'll have to go with today's (now yesterday's when you read this) weather. It was coooold. And by "coooold," I mean it was mid-60s. But it was foggy and gloomy, too, so it seemed even colder.  I'm not complaining, I actually loved the weather.  That was where I work though; by my house it was high-70s and hot and blech.

9. What’s the worst book you’ve ever bought and read?
Hmmm...bought and read? I generally don't buy books until after I've read them (thank you, libraries), so I don't think I have any that qualify for this. Unless you can count textbooks where I was required to purchase before reading--in that case, I couldn't stand Heart of Darkness.  I know, I know, classic/great read/life changing/etc etc. I hated it.

10. What’s the closest thing to you that is yellow?
My necklace is gold, does that count?  If not...there's a mask I made in ceramics that's on top of the TV stand that I painted half yellow. Man...there is a surprising lack of yellow in my living room.


After last week, this week can only go up.

Monday, September 13, 2010

After spending Wednesday in a hospital making sure my grandpa was all right (he is, thankfully), I thought the week couldn't get much worse. I mean, being afraid your grandfather is going to die is a pretty shitty week in itself.

And then Thursday came, and I woke up, and all of a sudden the floor beneath me started to drop. And then rise. The only way I can describe it is that it's the sensation of being in an elevator - you know when it starts and the floor drops down before you get there, and then the floor comes back up a bit too fast?  It was that feeling, constantly, no matter where I was or what I was doing. Since that's not ideal for driving, I had to call out of work and my mom took me to Urgent Care. Thankfully it wasn't an inner-ear infection, but I was diagnosed with mild vertigo and sinus problems.  Friday the dizziness had gotten worse, so I had to call out of work, again. Having to miss two and a half days of work is not good when you've only been working there for 3 weeks.

And then Saturday happened.  The weekend! Good times! Time to relax, kick back, enjoy the fact that the next day you won't have any responsibilities, either. It's been such a shitty week, I'm glad for the weekend!

Except.  I was running errands with mom, having a good time just spending time with her after the stress of her dad being sick. We're in her brand new shiny Honda Civic, stopped behind a truck at a stop sign, waiting to turn out of the parking lot we were in. Making a comment about the song on the radio, laughing...then the reverse lights of the truck in front of us turn on. And he's backing up...and not stopping. Still not stopping. Mom honks the horn. Still. Not. Stopp--CRRUUUNCHHH.  Metal on metal is a terrible sound. My mom is stunned, I'm pissed off...the entire ordeal was in less than 2 seconds, and it is crazy how 2 seconds can alter a day.

And then the truck puts it in drive, and inches forward, and the next thing I know the truck is turning out of the parking lot.


Luckily, the only thing that flashes through my head are all the news reports and press releases I've ever written about hit and runs, and I know I need to get the plates.  All I'm doing is yelling, "Holy shit the fucker is leaving, get the plates, get the plates!"  So, luckily, I was able to get the plates.

Both my mom and I are not hurt. We're perfectly fine. Her beautiful shiny new car has a smushed front, the hood crunched accordion-style and the right panel of the car is dented in 3 places. We think the fanbelt was affected because a small drip was happening, too.  But she and I are fine aside from the bumped elbow I have when I tensed up as I realized the truck was going to hit us.  We were even lucky in that the car behind us at the stop sign saw the whole thing, wrote down the plates, watched the truck actually drive off, then stayed behind with us as our witnesses and called in the accident for us.  In terms of an accident, this is the ideal situation.

Doesn't make it suck any less, but it's pretty good in the grand scheme of things.

Everyone told us we're lucky to have gotten the plates on the car.  Even the police man told me I was smart for scribbling it down because, and I quote, "then the asshole is goin' DOWN."  Our tow truck driver gave a kind-of-scary laugh and said, "the jerk has no chance now!"  I want to get the fucker as much as the next person, but I feel as though my vengeance isn't as strong.

....so yeah. Worst week I've had in a really, really long time.  I'm almost looking forward to how mundane it's going to be going to work from 8-5.

I said almost!

This week had better go smoother, or I am going to kick some serious ass.  I don't know whose ass, but someone's.  Plus, I have a ridiculous amount of plans and can't afford to have it not go smoothly.  Which inevitably means something will come up, but I surely hope it has nothing to do with accidents or hospitals (please Lord hear my plea...).  And thankfully the elevator sensation and my dizziness has gone away, so at least that's an improvement over last week.


How's everyone else been?


Remembering what matters.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"What is all this talking on my radio? Where's the music?" I was groggy, having just been woken up by something--I couldn't figure it out, I just knew it was around 6am, 30 minutes earlier than I would normally have gotten up.  My radio was constant words and chatter, but I didn't bother to listen to what they were saying.  A faint glow was coming down my hallway, which puzzled me more. No one turned on TVs in the morning in my house; it had been discouraged for as long as I could remember, and the idea anyone would even try was an absolute horror to my 14-year-old self.

I got out of bed and went to the living room, too curious to let it go. "Mom?!" I exclaimed. Of all the people in the house who I thought would violate the no-TV rule, she was the last. I had expected my brother, since my father had had overnight duty at work the night before. I was about to start asking about the TV when I finally saw how stiff she was sitting, how she hadn't even looked my way when I'd said anything.  The remote control was in one hand, the telephone in the other.  "Are you ok? What's wrong?"

And then I saw the TV.  I remember the smoke, mostly. Lots and lots of smoke, from every direction, from everywhere, no matter which way the camera turned.  I saw the headlines on the screen, but nothing really made sense.  I had only vaguely heard of the Twin Towers, but I had no idea what they really were.  The idea that she was watching a movie flashed in my head for a second, but the layout of the picture was clearly a news channel. "What's going on? I don't understand.  What's happening?"

I've forgotten a lot of details about that morning, important things that I was so sure I'd remember years later. I have no idea if I saw the second Tower get hit. I don't remember any of what the news anchors said. I don't remember if I saw people on TV, or just the constant pictures of the towers. I'm certain I saw the Towers fall, but I don't have a memory of it.  What I do remember is the fear, and the hurt, and the terror on my mom's face and in her voice when she told me that planes had been flown into the Towers. That planes were being hijacked, and that they were saying it was terrorism.

What an ugly word: terrorism.  What person could ever justify an act meant to incite terror into people?  How does anyone feel they are working towards the greater good if the means are by fear and intimidation and destruction?  Even when I was younger and it was just a word tossed around the military lifestyle, I knew the implications and how wrong it was.

Hearing my mom say it, and the TV, and everyone else that day, all I could think was how that word had never meant anything to me before. Being a military kid, certain words are always in your vocabulary, but their meaning never comes to fruition.  They're part of history, given reason long-ago.  Those words aren't in my present. They're just not.

But they were, and I felt that terror when my mom looked at me and said, "Your dad called me and told me to turn on the TV, and not to worry about him. I can't get through to him again."

And I learned that even when you are 2,831 miles away from the worst national tragedy you never thought to imagine, you can be affected.  You will feel your own version of tragedy, of doom and helplessness.  You don't have to be in that city, in that state, even on the right side of the country.  Because when you see and hear that every station of power, every military base has been shut down, evacuated and/or on lockdown, you will feel the world get pulled out from under you.  And you will understand how widespread the attack was, how it was meant to break the country, not just the people who lose someone in the plane crashes and hijacks.

Without too many details, my father had overnight duty from September 10-11, 2001 at the largest Naval Air Station on the West Coast. He was one of the personnel in charge of the base the day, the hour, the very minute that these attacks happened.  He was one of the officers to evacuate everyone else and stay behind with the other officers in the event they would have to take action. That if for whatever reason, the west coast would have to respond or launch air defenses, my father would be a part of it.  That if for whatever reason, the terrorists decided to turn a plane towards the west coast, my dad could be at a target.

I'm very lucky that my fears never became real, that my only tie to this entire tragedy was a viewer and a possibility; never a true victim or one left behind.  It doesn't make me feel any less of this, but I understand that how much I can and will feel towards that day is blessedly limited.

When I think about 9/11, I don't like to think of it as a catalyst, as the worst day in my lifetime, as an ending.  I feel that does a disservice to those lost that day. It is a tragedy, it is a never-should-have-happened, it is a never-should-happen-again.  It is sadness, and anger, and frustration and fear and confusion and something that no one can ever truly understand.

But it is also a day that, no matter what was going on, we were all one. It was a day we came together as support, as hope and love and concern and belief.  It is the day we discovered what it is to be an American, or what it means to simply be human.  It is a day that we were all the same, that the rich where not the richer and the poor were not the poorer; that employees aren't the only workers and the glamorous weren't the shiniest.  It was a day where it was an honor to be alive, a blessing to feel and a gift to be able to touch someone.

Sometimes I do get angry about it still, and sometimes I do blame the day for a lot of other things that have happened. Like making me actually take notice of the danger levels when I'm on base.  Or being the reason for a war that has taken on its own meanings and angers.  For that very war taking away my friends for years at a time and altering them into the men they never should really be.  For that same war taking away a friend, permanently, and altering my heart in a way that never really should be. For the security that my father enforces once again as an airport employee. For changing the way of life by force and fear, rather than through learning and evolving. For creating such a deep sadness and tragedy into millions of lives.

But I always know that ultimately, it was a day where the hug was never tighter and the "i love you"s never meant more when my dad walked through the door that afternoon.  And that, too, is something I will never forget.


Fill-in-the-Blank Friday

Friday, September 10, 2010

Link up here if you participate too!

1.   The strangest thing I've ever eaten is Skittles & Wheat Thins together. Seriously. I'm not an adventurous eater, so that's the best I got.  (FYI, it's delicious!)

2.  I wouldn't be caught dead "smushing" with any of the Jersey Shore folk. Can you tell what I watched this evening? I blame the fact that I couldn't find anything else on to watch.

3.  When I am 75 I will....be that old woman still jammin' in the corner with her loved ones, not giving a damn what anyone thinks. I will also still be calling everyone "dude."

4.  If I had to be named after a place I would want to be named Marseilles. Because it is a lovely place. (Let's pretend it will work as a girl name.)

5.  My name is Ashley. It was almost Chelsea, but I am glad it isn't. No offense to the Chelseas of the world, but that name doesn't fit my personality.

6.  My all time favorite photo is one of my brother and I when we were kids; I was probably 2ish, BroBear was 4ish and we were in London. We used to sit in my mom's laundry basket and pretend like we were racing around in a car. My mom snapped a picture of us in her yellow basket; me in the back and my brother taking the wheel as it always was. It cracks me up that my brother's face is smiling, but then it looks pained--I can almost guarantee that I'm probably pushing my feet into his back.

7.  If I could afford it I would travel all around the world and write from wherever I wanted to be at that moment.


*tap tap tap* is this thing on?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Botanical Gardens in Balboa Park
  • I have a job. It is not what I want to do in life, I don't get paid enough, and it is a 45 minute drive from my house. But I keep at it, because I know I should and I really like the guys I work with. That makes me sound whore-ish, but I mean it because I am the only girl in the office. So when I say "I like the guys I work with," that means I like my office.
  • It feels early, but I've made the decision to do NaNoWriMo again this year. It was challenging and fun last year, and I'm intrigued to find out if it's possible for me to win while also working. I'm feeling a bit creatively stalled at the moment so I have no idea how this is going to work out, but I'll give it a shot.
  • To make a long story short, my grandpa was rushed to the hospital yesterday afternoon, so I have spent the last day and a half stressing the fuck out and running all around San Diego county (did anyone know there was a 54 freeway?! Because I sure as shit did not). He's fine, all is relatively well, and he'll be back at home by morning. Just with a bit more medication and the instructions to slow down.
  • I suuuuuper want a Darren Sproles jersey (SD Chargers).  Why the hell do jerseys have to be so damn expensive?!
  • My dad is in the Philippines now. It was kind of hard to say good-bye because it was frantic and stressful (we'd just found out about my grandpa, too), but he's safely there with his cousins and is ready to take care of the business that brought him there.
  • With all the activity of the past few weeks as well as starting a new job, I haven't had the chance go to running or play tennis. I am frustrated and feeling very fat.
  • A friend is visiting next week, and I am incredibly excited to see her. We saw each other briefly when I was in San Francisco is 2006, but haven't really been able to see each other since 2005. She was one of my closest friends, part of my high school group, and it will be lovely.
  • Remind me to tell you all how I keep getting hit on at In N Out. It is odd.
  • Has anyone heard about geocaching? Click here to find out exactly what it is, but I am intrigued! I want to go out and do some around my neighbourhood, but I unfortunately do not have a GPS system. Mayhapsly I'll figure out a way around it.
  • Labor Day weekend was quite good, relaxing and pleasant. Sunday was the closest I've ever had to a perfect day: spent with one of my best friends, we had a picnic in Balboa Park and watched all the people walk around. We walked through a bunch of the art studios on Spanish Village, finished out the afternoon with a leisurely walk through the park and some Japanese Cherry tea in the Japanese Gardens. After, we went downtown and walked around, poking in and out of stores and generally having a nice time. We went to dinner at BJs Brewery (if you ever go, get the flatbread pizzas. SO YUMMY.) and then watched a movie at her place. Plus, we got the best parking spaces everywhere we went. Perfection? I think so!
That's all I have time to update about, because I have 8 hours until I'm supposed to leave for work tomorrow, and I've been running on 4 hours of sleep while covering about 350 miles in the past 36 hours.  Friday at 5:36pm, I am collapsing on my bed and sleeping until 6:30am Monday when I have to get up to start the work week all over.

How are you guys doing? How was your weekend?


Ten on Tuesday! Volume...um...18? Something like that.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

1. Pretend it’s Monday morning–take us through a day in the life of you.
8:08; 8:21; 8:28; 8:30: alarm rings, promptly hit snooze
8:36: grumble and get up. Commence morning routine (in order: pee, brush hair, brush teeth, wash face, prepare lunch, eat breakfast, change out of pjs, moisturize/make-up face, pack bag to go, make bed)
9:15: drive to work. Usually arrive 15-20 minutes early. Sit in car like a loser.
10-5: work. Lots of spreadsheets, lots of accounts, lots of breaks to play with the resident office doggies.
5:01: drive back home
5:36: walk through front door; promptly announce how tired I am.
5:37-7:30: make nuisance of self, probably annoy family/friends as I recount the work day
7:30-8: Jeopardy!
8-11:30pm: dinner, TV and/or read
11:30: consider sleeping. Convince self I should, go to room and pop in movie "to fall asleep to."
11:37: "Damn this movie just got interesting!"
1:15am: "Shit where did time go?! I should be sleeping!"
1:16am: Commence night routine (in order: brush teeth, wash face, change into pjs, put on night moisturizer, braid hair, pee)
1:23am: Get into bed.
1:23:05am: Grab iPod to quickly check emails
2:15am: Dammit. Turn off iPod, go to sleep.

2. What’s your favorite reality tv show?
So You Think You Can Dance or The Biggest Loser. I don't really watch any aside from those.

3. What motto do you live by?
Um...Shit happens. No, just kidding (though that's not bad)...I guess I don't really have a motto? I don't think about it. Know who you are, know what you are, and know that above all, it's ok that you'll never fully know. That pretty much covers it.

4. If you knew you could you try anything and not fail, what dream would you attempt?
I feel as though I should be noble and say "find a cure for all cancers!" or the like--and while that would be lovely, I think it's much more fitting for me to say I'd be an editor for a magazine or be on Broadway.  Any of those will work for me.

5. What was your first job?
Real paying job? American Eagle Sales Associate and Aerie Lead (MOST MISERABLE JOB IN THE WORLD).  Not-really-job-but-gave-me-more-happiness-and-fulfillment-than-"real"-job? When I was 6-9 I used to help my mom at the library desk, checking out books and making recommendations to customers (yep, in all my 7 year old glory I declared Sweet Valley Twins to be like, the best evAR).

6. What is your current job?
Office Assistant at a Financial Analysis company.  More or less.

7. What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name (and you cannot pick the one you already have)?
I've always loved the name Zoe.  Ever since I was really little I wished it would be my name (even though I don't really feel as though it's my personality).  But that is why when I wrote under a pen name, it was Zoe.

8. What musical instruments can you play?
If we use the term "play" extremely loosely, I can say the piano and guitar.

9. Is it easier to forgive or forget?
I'm not sure either of those are really easy at all. I rarely forgive; I mostly accept. And I rarely forget; I choose to prioritize.  The easier is determined by the situation.

10. What is one food you’d never want to taste again?
Mushrooms, pickles, peas, pine nuts. Any of those.


I usually think I'm an easy-going, accepting person, but these are the Non-Negotiables.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

 (Meant in the romantic, "sorry, I won't date you if you do this" sense; not the investment banking, business sense)
  • No Smoking.  I get that I don't exactly treat my body as a temple, but smoking is something I simply don't understand. It's disgusting and there are far more negatives than positives. With so much evidence to the contrary, why would one continue?! I get the nicotine addiction, but there are other less-destructive ways to get the edge off.  And aside from this debate...smoke actually makes me gag and feel like vomiting. So...Future Man In My Life (FMIML) will not be a smoker.  Ever.
  • Support Gay Marriage. Ok, maybe not support, but FMIML cannot be against it. He doesn't have to want it, and I'll even accept indifference. The main point is: he can't outspokenly protest gay marriage. There are few things in this world I will fight for and speak up about, but this is one of them. I believe the right to marriage is one that belongs to humanity as a whole, not to heterosexuality, and I find no solid, legitimate evidence that the LGBT community shouldn't be allowed this. Of course I have other reasons, but that's enough for a Non-Negotiable List.  No H8 or no love from me.
  • Interest in travel. Because I am going everywhere I can whenever I can, and I'd like him to come with me sometimes, too.
  • Accept my non-religious life. I've always maintained that someone who does have strong religious convictions probably won't want me in the first place so this is a moot point, but I'll list it because it is important. I haven't figured out my beliefs, and I suspect that I never really will. I'm open for discussion, for debate, for the thought and exploration--but I do not stand for someone who punishes me for a difference in belief and/or pushes their faith on me.
  • Interest in sports (or will at least fake it on my behalf).  I wouldn't classify myself as athletic and I definitely struggle holding up a conversation that includes sports trivia and current standings, but I love me some football, I like me some baseball, I adore me some Olympics and I play me some tennis.  He doesn't have to talk to me about it, he doesn't have to keep up in it, but I'd appreciate at least accompanying me to some games and not being rude about it. I will make the effort for his interests, so I'd appreciate it back. (And yes, I do know men who have zero interest in sports.  This bullet point is necessary.)
The rest, I suppose, is open for discussion.  What are your non-negotiables?


      Monday, August 23, 2010


      I often wonder what I did to him. What his side of the story was.

      I know my side. I relive it often, much more than I want to admit.

      But I wonder what I put him through.

      Did I make him doubt their relationship? Did I plant a seed of doubt in his head? Her head?

      Did it make him feel guilty? Was I an unwanted thought? Am I the person he always tried to get out of his head? Was I the bad dream that haunted him at night?

      I wonder what he did with that birthday card I sent him. I wonder how he felt when he received it: was he happy? Did it make him sad? Smile? Was it another weight added to his heart? Did he read it often? Or did he throw it away, no reason to hold onto deadweight? Did he tell his girlfriend about it?

      Was I just some silly girl to him, clinging to a person he never was? Was I temptation? Was I another lifeline?  Was I a passing thought?

      Late at night, sleeping in the barracks, in the tent, as he and his unit moved from one camp to another...did he think of me?

      Did he ever think of me?


      About Me

      My photo
      I'm fairly obsessed with penguins, Peanuts (the comic), and the TV show Friends. Parentheses may or may not be (over)used in this blog, and books will pretty much be the only thing I ever talk about because they are my One True Love.


      #best09 #reverb10 12 Changes in 2012 2011 2012 20sb 30 Day Journal Challenge AAA absence album anecdote art article bad mood Balboa bathroom beach birthday blackout blog blog award blog birthday blog swap Blurb of Absurd body book books books; book review bored boys brother building fail California cards challenge change Chargers childhood China Glaze Christmas cigarettes clutter comic-con contest conversation excerpt cop out post Coronado creepy December Nights decoration Demi Lovato dilemma Disney Disneyland do you want to date me? documentaries Downtown Disney Dr. Horrible drag queens dream drunk earthquake Easter emotional Essie Fall family fashion Father's Day fear fiftypeopleonequestion fill in the blank friday Film first kiss food friends frustrated fun funny future future fail gifts girls Glee Golden Globes Google Google reader Google Wave greek guest blog Halloween happy health health insurance needs to rot in hell (but does it cover that?) help me hero hiatus hit and runs SUCK ASS holidays home hope hot humor hypothetical situations not at all based on reality or my life imaginary in memoriam inspiration introspective iPad Italians Jeopardy Jersey Shore John Mayer journalism judgment L'Oreal LA letters to myself library lies life life lessons Link Love Friday list love lust Mama Kat's Workshop Mash-Up Mayer Hawthorne mom money movies music nails NaNoWriMo nerd new year night out OPI opinion packaging party past peace Peanuts penguin personal photos pictures place poetry polish Portland Postsecret random relationships Restaurant Road to VDay room roommates from hell rush sad sdcc10 secret shame shopping sick sleep spoken word sports Starbucks strange Target tea Teaser Tuesday technology Ten on Tuesday thanksgiving this makes no sense this should probably embarrass me but it doesn't tips Top Ten Tuesday (Books) Toy Story 3 travel trips TV TV taping Twitter Utah Valentine's Day Vancouver 2010 weather weekend WHAT IS MY LIFE why does auto-correct suck so hard Wordless Wednesday work work sucks workshop writer's block writing YA you're not really a doctor anyway Zoya

      i'm probably reading

      Zoe's bookshelf: read

      The Dragon's EyeAngelsThe Lightning ThiefThe Man of My DreamsCity of GlassCity of Ashes

      More of Zoe's books »
      Zoe's  book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

        © Blogger template On The Road by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

      Back to TOP