Monday, November 23, 2009

Low-Risk Lifestyle

I've started watching the show Fringe on Fox, and OMGWFTBBQ!!! It's awesome. I would marry it if I could (and I wasn't already married). But it made me realize I lead a very low-risk lifestyle.

For example, in the 2nd episode, there was a murderer who picked up hookers to do surgery on...while they were paralyzed, but fully conscious. (It was awful.)
And I started thinking "Oh, wow. How awful to be abducted and put in such a horrible sitation" and I realized that I have very little reason to fear - I don't live in a major city. When I do visit a major city it is as a tourist, usually during the day, and in well populated areas. I'm not risky.

But beyond that - my life outside of my location and its respective crime rate is also very low risk.
I went to college in state.
I bought a house in my childhood neighborhood
I've had the same friends since I was 14 or younger
I've never traveled internationally

I make all my decisions carefully - weighing pros, cons, financial obligations, time obligations, etc etc.

But, I didn't always used to be like this. In 2005 (my junior year of college, which some of you read about the other day, but I have since deleted it) I was a nude model for a life drawing class. I participated in Alternative Spring Break at the Carnivore Preservation Trust, where I fed tigers and drove across the country with bunch of strangers. I was the housekeeper for the most interesting man I've ever encountered.

I mean, maybe those weren't some of my best decisions, but I made them without consulting everyone, and that's the point.

Right now - what I'm doing is working; my bills get paid, my family gets fed, I'm decent at my job. My life is very safe, and in very little danger of being disrupted or uprooted...but honestly, maybe that's what my life needs?

All this deep thinking has made me start to wonder whether I should get away from blogging. It makes me look my sedentary, robot existence in the face, and I'm very displeased with what I see. Plus I use this blog for writing about the negatives, rather than all the positives - which is just counter-productive. I just don't know how to start steering my life in the direction I want it.

Three Things

1) Google Analytic
It keeps telling me that I have no visitors. But clearly, there are visitors because I receive comments, and every so often someone new shows up (which makes me SO happy) - and they have to come from somewhere. Literally, Analytics is telling me that I have no activity here, whatever. Can anyone help? Is something wrong? I mean, I have no trouble believing that I don't get any referrals from search engines, but really?

2) Pioneer Woman Day.
OMG. Let me first say that this was my first book signing, and will likely be my last. Ree Drummond is a lovely and gracious woman, and obviously, the logistics of the signing weren't up to her - but WOW.

I arrived around 5pm, she wasn't set to speak or sign until 7:30, so I knew I had some time. At the door they were giving out signing numbers, and at 5pm I was 111 - which I don't have a problem with. People came by early to pick up numbers, I could have done this, but didn't realize it was an option.

The worst, and most annoying part of this whole affair - the thing that really ruined it - the goddamn temperature. Before the crowd got there, it was 80 degrees. Once the crowd arrived and we were herded like cattle, it jumped about a MILLION DEGREES. I was down to a Hanes v-neck tshirt and ready to pass out.

There were a lot of, um, hardcore fans. And I just didn't know what to do with that. But, there were a bunch of really cool cats, and fortunately, I got to talk to bunches of them WHILE WE WAITED IN LINE FOR 2.5 hours.

Here's the thing about me. I don't like lines. I don't like waiting. and I really don't like crowds. So this was awful for me. Plus, I'm just not that person who wants/needs a signed piece of something by someone who doesn't know me. I THINK I understand the appeal, but it just doesn't appeal to me.

I really hope I don't sound like an asshole, but this was a learning experience for me, and it will take a HUGE draw before I try something like this again. Ree Drummond was adorable, she brought her (hot) husband and (adorable) sons. And the people I met in line were wonderful.

3) Disqus?
This is working out so far? No negative feedback? I REALLY like it. I like being able to reply to your comments. Hooray.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pioneer Woman Day

Today is Pioneer Woman Day.

Yesterday at lunch I went into Target to get a lock for the gym. The next thing I know I'm walking out of Target $95 poorer, I have a new outfit...and no lock. I forgot the lock.

The point is - I got a new outfit for Pioneer Woman Day...by accident.
And I planned to wake up early to make sure I was dressed and ready (because I'm not coming home after work).

But last night, I forgot to set an alarm. And I woke up an hour late. Fortunately for me, I work shifted hours (I come in and leave an hour earlier than everyone else), so I was able to get to work at a normal time. But I didn't have the time I was hoping to have this morning.

Which has contributed to me being really nervous about seeing The Pioneer Woman. Because she's really cool, and has a cool life, and a cool blog, and a cool cookbook.

I'm also nervous because I just know that she's going to be impressed with how punctual I am (I'm going to get there at like 5, because the bookstore is literally down the street from my work, and my house is like an hour away), and my new Target Blackout Outfit (especially my boots - I'll put up a picture, because they're that great), and we'll talk and she'll think I'm cool, and she'll want me to pick up my life and move to Oklahoma to become Pioneer Woman Jr.

And I'm going to have to do it, because you don't say no to an offer like that.

Anyone else going to meet Ree Drummond in Skokie today?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Comments

HI!
I changed my comment format to use Disqus.

I've had to sign up to use it on other blogs and I love it. I love that it tracks where I've commented and that you can see the replies.

If you hate it (the 4 of you that leave me comments, haha) I'll totally change it back. But give it a try, I love it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

NO MORE HAIRCUTS

Dear Ashley,
I know you love short hair, but listen to me for a minute - YOU NEED TO STOP GETTING YOUR HAIR CUT.

This doesn't look good

Every year you cut your hair short, thinking it will make you happy, and it doesn't. You leave the stylist temporarily pacified, but within two days you're always longing for the ability to throw it in a ponytail. Your hair is too thick, too heavy and too coarse to be cut into a cute spiky style. Not to mention it does grow quickly, so very frequent trims become necessary in order to maintain it.

Here's the problem: once you decide to grow out your hair, you stop getting your hair cut regularly. You grow it out until the ends are split, and it looks heavy and lifeless. Next time, instead of drastically chopping it all off, get a style. Have it trimmed and shaped, and I PROMISE you will end up much happier.

Sincerely,
Ashley

Friday, November 6, 2009

25



Happy 25th Birthday.
I love you.

That Darn Cat

So Tuesday night, I'm getting ready to go to bed and my mom calls and tells me a story about how there's a little kitten wandering around the neighborhood. My mom, sister and our neighbors were trying to catch the cat, and it jumped into a window well.

My 16 year old sister, was the only one small enough to get into the well, but she was terrified that she wouldn't be able to get out (it was a tall one). Well, she gets in, and the cat freaks and makes terrible noises and my sister leaps out like a piece of toast from the toaster. At this point my mom is laughing her ass off. The cat eventually got out of the window well (by climbing over our neighbors head) and got away.

Wednesday, I come by my parents to pick up Maddie, and my mom comes in to let us know that the kitten is back and eating some cat food we left out for it. So my 16 year old sister (Cailey) and I go outside to see him. When we get there, he's gone, but we can hear him meowing...so we follow the noise and he's under the neighbors deck.

For a good 30 minutes my sister and I are on either side of the deck watching the little cat. He's just a little guy (looks to be 8-9 weeks) and scared as shit. He's not feral because he KNOWs people...he's just scared of them. So we bust 0ut some tuna, put it in a cage and hope that he walks right into our little trap.

Before I proceed, our neighborhood is a well populated suburb, we don't get many strays. One of the other neighbors said there were more kittens and it looks like they were dumped (by assholes), but we haven't seen any others. And it is very obvious that this kitten will not survive if he's outside for much longer. We're looking down the barrel of frosty nights, and this little kitty isn't big enough to stay warm.

Back to the story...eventually the cat starts moving towards the tuna and out from under the deck, but he gets about 4-5feet from a person and won't come any closer. So I start meowing (sometimes one of my mom's cats will respond when I meow) and what do you know? Little Orphan Kitty starts talking to me. For 45 goddamn minutes, I am laying in the grass in 40 degree weather, in my work clothes meowing at a stray cat. He keeps walking towards me, but just as quickly backs up.

After a while, he sees his escape, runs past me and through the fence and bolts down the street. At this point we're like "screw it, lets pack it in", but as we get ready to go in the house, we see kitty coming back towards the house, meowing.

We lure him closer with tuna, and eventually he comes into the garage, and me, Mike and my sister are on the floor trying to keep him in the garage so we can close the door. SUCCESS. Kitty is now trapped in the garage.

At this point, we decide to leave him alone to recover from the course of the evening and let him eat some food, and drink some water. We're all relieved because now we know we won't find a dead orange cat in our front yard.

We have dinner, and strategize about how to get kitty into the cage (we can't let him roam around the garage with the cars in there). To make a long story short, we traumatize the cat further by using push brooms to corner him into the cage.

(I'm sorry this sounds terrible! But this cat is scared and hungry and thinks we're going to eat it - we really couldn't get near it)

As it stands, we have this adorable 8-9ish week old, orange tabby sitting in a cage in our garage. He's already adapting pretty well, yesterday he let me pet him, and went into the little kitty trance when you find just the right spot under his chin. I've contacted a couple of local vets about getting him/her spayed/neutered and basic vaccinations, but haven't heard back from any yet.

Mike and I have talked about keeping him (especially if we throw down beaucoup bucks getting him vetted), but our priority is Maddie. If we can't get kitty to get along with - or at least be ambivalent towards - Maddie, then we can't keep it.

Our master plan for the moment is to call the vet (probably our normal vet, if we don't hear back from anyone), and take him in, get him a clean bill of health and then move him to me/Mike's house so we can keep him in our spare bathroom. Once he's inside it will be a lot easier to socialize him. After that, we'll have either fallen in love with him and become unable to bear the thought of parting with him, or we will find a new home for him.

Any words of wisdom? Any advice?

OH YEAH: I also meant to post a link to a description of Guy Fawkes Day yesterday in the title...that has since been fixed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween WIN!

So, Mike and I had planned to let fate decide our Halloween costumes by going to the store Saturday morning and letting the HUGE SAVINGS AND DISCOUNTS decide for us. But when we arrived at said store, everything was 50% off...starting NOVEMBER 1st.

Sadness overwhelmed us, we got irritated with each other, and ended up having a not-so-whispered argument in the middle of the store. But eventually we found $8 angel wings and a halo, and $9 devil horns that are applied with spirit gum. Our costumes were simple (I wore jeans, a white shirt, and sparkly makeup; Mike wore jeans, a white dress shirt and a red tie) and life was good.

Mike's family came over for about an hour, then our friends came over. No one get hideously drunk, we played Apples to Apples, they ate my chili and cut up vegetables. I was complimented on being a good hostess (which was a huge point of pride for me). We did a community shot of tequilia...you know, for solidarity. And life was good.

But, sometime between 8pm and midnight (four hours...remember this) I drank 3 drinks (including the tequila). I was never drunk, I felt fine, but at 2am, I got a hangover and yaked my guts out. Three times...presumably once for each drink?
Really, stomach...liver? Three drinks and you've had it?

That pretty much sealed the deal for me, I'm not even going to bother drinking. Maybe one beer, but beyond that we get stranded on Headache Island, and occasionally we'll wander through Yak City, which is a bad part of town.

Oh yeah! Remember how I said we were going to get internet on Saturday? I lied.
We planned on going through a small, local provider, and we found out that there is a line of large, mature trees that obstructs the line of sight between our house and their tower. The internet guy couldn't get a signal. So now, the only way we can get internet through them is if we install a 6-8ft tower on our roof. No, thank you. So now we have to look into something bigger like Comcast or AT&T. Any suggestions?

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