Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Random Things

I was tagged--many many times, so I am contributing.

Rules:Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, you are supposed to choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because you already tagged me or I want to know more about you. I chose not to inflict this painful but somewhat fun self-reflective exercise on 25 "friends." It's like a virus. (To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag people, then click publish.)

1. I am scared of being impaled through a car window with deer antlers. It has to do with summer driving in Indiana and our family nailing a deer one night in the Oldsmobile.

2. My dad got me Backstreet Boys tickets for my 21st birthday because I asked for them.

3. I went to see them two times. The biggest plus was that the beer lines were super short.

4. I've had to pretend to like women's basketball to avoid confrontation and I'm ashamed.

5. In high school while working in a sporting goods store, my butt was stuck to a toilet seat.

6. I wrote about the experience and overcoming obstacles to win a partial college scholarship.

7. In high school, I used to wear white t-shirts, and stick glow sticks in my cleavage at parties.

8. At the Eagle's Nest in Germany, I was able to get a private tour because one of our hosts was pushy. It was awesome.

9. My first car was named Carlos and was a 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Even without air conditioning and a CD player, it was awesome.

10. In 6th rgade, I was a member of the city's 2nd place African-American Academic Olympic team and didn't realize I was the only white team member until years later looking back on the pictures.

11. In high school, I was on the softball and volleyball teams, cheerleading squad, school newspaper, yearbook staff, and National Honor Society, but all I really wanted to do was write and drink like Ernest Hemingway. But I hadn't read any of his books yet.

12. My family owns a restaurant that's been around for 60 years and still serves the best spaghetti I've ever eaten.

13. While working as a waitress at the above restaurant, I would change my outfits, cleavage, accent and hairstyles to see how it affected my tips. However, nothing affected my tips like someone telling the customer I was the owner's niece.

14. I have a picture of my mom standing on top of the Twin Towers in New York and it freaks me out. Both aren't with us any longer.

15. I've seen David Sedaris read three times and still can't get enough of him.

16. I thought I hated cats until I got one. Then two more.

17. I once had a "love spell" pouch that I wore to a bar and lost while playing air hockey with the guy I was trying to "put under my spell." It didn't work.

18. I've tried many, many many times to read non-contemporary books, but I can't seem to really enjoy them.

19. My mom once hit me in the eye with Tabasco and told me to wash it out in a pool. I was supposed to get Tabasco in my mouth for cussing at my brother.

20. Chef and I met on the Internet. I used to think it was weird. Now it's mundane.

21. As a sophomore in high school, I read every book I could get my hands on about basketball in Indiana.

22. I can still remember all the lyrics to the "U Can't Touch This" parody cheer my old softball team had. Lachelle, Jamie and Sarah were good at making our cheers the best.

23. I ran into a girl during a softball game and accidentally broke her leg. The bone was sticking through the skin and required many surgeries. She was my teammate.

24. My dream job is to be a sports radio talk show host for ESPN. No make-up, sports and I get to talk for 4 hours. Bliss.

25. I am hopelessly addicted to carbs. Mostly in the form of loafs.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

T Minus Three Hours Until I'm 30

I woke up this morning a little depressed, as I prepared for my last few hours of my twenties. It was less about turning 30 and what I try to think of as just another birthday. It was more about missing my mom. Something about this time of year always makes me sad. When I think of our birthdays just a few weeks apart, I think of us when we were living together alone. . .just the two of us. We would each try to outdo each other making our birthdays special.

But just as I was reflecting upon my life thus far and what I've accomplished and how work is going to have me slammed for the next few weeks, the mail came. What a weird thing. The paper mail is so antiquated in today's digital age, but who doesn't still get excited when they get a letter or card or something other than direct mail. But I'd gotten a slip of paper that said I had a package at the post office. I expected it to be a present or something from a friend. Instead it was much better.

Today I got five copies of the book my story is published in. It was the first time that I've been published in book form. Magazine, newspaper, online and other forms, but never in a book. It totally lifted my spirits. I felt proud and excited to enter a new decade. This one hasn't been so bad. It started off rocky (mom dying), but ended up spectacular with many things I'm thankful for: Chef, my relationship with my dad, niece and nephew, move to Nashville, job trials and tribulations and successes, and a great group of friends to help me through. Not too shabby for the first 30 years. Can't wait to see what the next 30 will bring.

Hopefully one thing is Saint Oprah Day. Oprah and I share a birthday and I'm hoping fellow Catholics will overlook her religion and the 100+ years it takes for canonization and make her a Saint. Then I hope it becomes a federal holiday so that not only myself but the world can celebrate the day together. And that I won't have to take Paid Time Off to get the day off like I'm doing tomorrow. Maybe in the next 30.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's like They're Famous

Every time I'm in a drug store lately, I stop by the aisle with Products Scene On TV and stare in wonder. It's like seeing Nicole Kidman at the movies. Those products are famous. Some of them have their own TV shows.

Of course I realize that I'm falling for it, but I want to try them. I've bought and use the PedEgg. I keep meaning to get a PediPaws for our cat (the only one with claws). I know the Kinoki foot pads are nothing but a crock, but the same part of me that likes to look at the Q tip after it's been in my ear yearns to buy a Kinoki foot pad.

It's not just the product themselves, but their pitchmen that have become famous. Billy Mays is just about a household name. He started off shilling OxyClean and now it's washers, insurance, miniature cheeseburger grills, whatever. He even did a spoof of himself with ESPN.

However, Billy has some competition now with Vince, from ShamWow and SlapChop fame. Vince simultaneously creeps me out and intrigues me. He seems to have one eye cocked as he peers from behind his Madonna-mic and spouts out things like "the Germans always make good stuff." He's almost mocking in his pitch but so subtlely that you have to pay attention to the pitch instead of the masterful product to really pick up on it.

However, no matter the pitchman or the product what always seems the most disappointing is the actual products. The glitz of owning one quickly fads when you realize that your pet isn't on valium like the ones on the PediPaws commercial or that ShamWow is more Sham and less Wow. I learned that the hard way years ago when I bought the PVA 10 X mop for a friend. Needless to say the entire can of coke we spilled on the floor to test its strength left a sticky residue for days.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And Now They're Gone

Yesterday my three closest friends from high school and college made the up to 7 hour trek from up north to visit me. Actually, they got here on Friday night and Chef made them a delightful "Welcome" meal, but I digress.

We talked, shopped and ate. . .all three in abundance. It was so easy to get back in a routine with them. That's something I always love about the girls. It doesn't matter how long we've been a part, we can always get together like no time has passed.

The only bad thing about them coming is them leaving. It always sucks to be the one that's being left, not the one doing the leaving. I get depressed when I leave them in Indiana, but I know that I'm going back home. Being at home and then having them here and gone, it makes me so much more sad. I am officially depressed but know that it was totally worth it to see them.

They came down to help me celebrate my 30th birthday, which is next Thursday. I don't know quite how I feel about turning 30. Everyone says it's great, but I don't know if that's because it's true or because it's inevitability makes optimism a prerequisite. Either way, I know I should be doing something big, but I just don't know what to do. I'm taking off of work, which is huge considering it's a very busy time of year. But other than sleeping in with Chef and cuddling cats, I'm not sure what to do. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to pass them along. I'm open to just about anything.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Girls are Coming!

My girls are coming into town this weekend and I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Since I've last seen some of them in person, they've birthed a child, moved and gotten married. And I've been the horrible friend that's sat back and congratulated them from afar. Well, no more. They're coming down here to wreak some havoc and I'm ready.

Well, not quite ready. Chef has graciously agreed to prepare a lovely meal for us all and we have yet to determine the final menu. So I need to go shopping for the ingredients. And of course there is the issue of cat litter. While we will be using the LitterKwitter to toilet train the cats, we have yet to use it with all three cats. So despite vacuuming twice a week, we have 12 paws that carry the litter outside the box and into the immediate bathroom area. Two seconds after we vacuum, dustbuster or use the broom, one of the three (usually Genghis) goes in to do business.

But aside from the litter issue and grocery shopping, I am mentally ready to hang out with my best chick friends for a while.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Do they still make those?

The other day I was watching TV with Chef and ran across an ad for a local discount furniture store. They were nice enough to adhere to all my aforementioned local TV ad pointers, but were advertising something I hadn't seen in a long time: waterbeds.

I instantly looked at Chef and said "Do they still make those?" He replied with the "obviously they do or they wouldn't be advertising them," look. But it caused me to wonder who still owns a waterbed? Better yet, who is just now purchasing one? If there's someone with a waterbed out there, can you please leave a comment or contact me because I'm very curious.

In an era of sleep number beds, space age tempurpedic materials, feathered mattresses and the like, why would one choose a bed that shifts every time you breathe? The last experiences I've had with waterbeds happened in the mid-80s. I was in my youth and an uncle and a babysitter boh had waterbeds. I thought they were really cool and begged both until I got to sleep on one. That night I ended up wedged between the mattress on the side and the padded frame. To get out of the bed, I had to manuveur precariously and in a rolling motion. It was like have to watch the tide until you could go out into the ocean. I didn't want to get caught in the undertow.

Seriously, the curiosity is killing me. What is the allure in 2009 of a waterbed? Can someone help me?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tina Fey is WAY Better than Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin recently sat down with conservative filmmaker John Ziegler to answer questions for his documentary "Media Malpractice," aka "let's blame the media that Barrack Obama got elected." She blames the media for their obsession with her family. First, it is not a double standard that the family of a president or vice president --winner or candidate--gets roped in and put under scrutiny. And not just Republican families either. Ask Jimmy Carter how well his brother Billy helped his image. Or ask Chelsea Clinton if the media took it easy on her while she was in her teens. Here's the big thing: neither of them were pregnant as a teen when the candidate they were related to ran on a conservative platform. So, yes. There was that.

Then after talking about the double standard of reporting and how it hurt as a woman to have things like wardrobe brought up repeatedly, she called out two women for profiting from her campaign. First it was Katie Couric who originally questioned Palin about what media she read and Palin did not come up with a significant answer. Palin can apparently blame the media, but doesn't actually read, watch or listen to any of it.

Secondly, she slammed Tina Fey. Tina Fey of my favorite line "I want to go to there." Tina Fey of "Mean Girls"--the miracle worker whose words actually made Lindsay Lohan seem likeable. The one who won an Emmy for writing and acting for 30 Rock--NOT her Palin impressions. I wonder if Palin would've been as recognizable if Fey had not played her on SNL. And if it were so insulting that it was happening, why did Palin guest star on the show? Because the evil media was helping her then.

It's been two months since the election and Palin is still intwining herself with politcal pandering to those who might see her as a party leader in 2012. My only hope is that Republicans are doing less finger pointing and more looking at why they lost the election. Indiana had mass amounts of volunteers knocking on doors to get the word out and even Obama volunteers from Illinois to help gain interest. In doing so, a traditionally Red state that was neglected by the republicans for a long time went blue.

So lay off, Tina Fey. She's talented and can only see Emmys and Golden Globes from her house. Not Russia.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Name is Ashley and I Have an Addiction.

The first step is admitting the problem, right? Well, I already know that I have an addiction to TV, but lately it's a more specific addiction than that. I'm addicted to Intervention and the ID channel.

Perhaps I'm phrasing it as an addiction just so that someone will want to do an intervention and therefore call the TV show Intervention for help. How happy I would be to sit in a hotel room with my family and Jeff Van Vonderen (he's my first choice--Ken Seeley my second and if it has to be Candy Finnegan then think again) telling me that I have family that "loves me like crazy"! Plus it would be 90 days of self-reflection, therapy and good weather. They rarely send a person to a crappy place like Nebraska. It's always some place sunny and by the sea.

The downside would be the whole addiction thing. Even my meager addiction to TV would not be enough to be sensationalized for the show. I'd have to go all out and like lose my job, friends and perhaps maime a cat before I'd qualify.

My other addiction is disturbing as well. I'm addicted to real life murder mysteries and serial killer profiles. Our TV automatically goes to Channel 111 (aka ID-Investigation Discovery) to check out Dateline or 48 Hours Mystery. I see the words "Ted Bundy" and I think "YES!". "BTK" sounds interesting to me. I don't want to die by the hands of a killer, but I am curious to know about those who have.

So, if I'm at home with Chef and the cats, chances are good we're exploring death, addiction, murder and cat litter. But not necessarily in that order.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I hate that I'm blogging about this (aka Damn You, Fergie)

This morning, as I was trying not to fall back to sleep too deeply because I only had an hour before I really had to get up, I thought about Josh Duhamel. It's not something I do often and with his track record of shitty acting gigs, apparently other people don't either. But I was watching SoapNet (as I'm apt to do because of their early morning One Tree Hill or 90210 reruns) and a picture of Vanessa Marcil came up.

"Is that crappy Las Vegas show still on? I really wish she'd go back to General Hospital," I thought. "Wow, Josh Duhamel hasn't done anything lately and has never done anything good."

It's a rapid-fire kind of train of thought I have. One of the great things about Soaps (be they daytime or primetime) is the incestuous mingling of castmates, which forever links them in my mind with other crappy things or castmates they've done.

Nonetheless, Duhamel's less than stellar resume of Transformers, Win a Date with Todd Hamilton and All My Children (by far the best role he's had) is nothing compared to his new role of being Mr. Fergie. He and Fergie got married today. Weird that I thought about him conciously for the first time in. . .well, ever.

While I don't find many redeeming qualities about either of them, Duhamel irritates me slightly less than Fergie because his London London London Bridge is still standing. However, the marriage does seem to be a public announcement that Fergie is his fair lady. And from all reports it was a small affair with a mere 10 bridesmaids. Anything less than double digits is just unacceptable.

So, while there may be many things wrong in your life, at least you didn't spend the day pledging your love and devotion to someone who counts a guy named as a bandmate. Hopefully, you watched football.

Friday, January 09, 2009

An Open Letter to Those who Advertise on local TV

Dear area car dealer, restaurant, realtor or other business owner,

I know that cable and local TV stations offer you an opportunity, and usually a pretty affordable one, to reach your local clients and even specific demographics. I'm a big proponent of utilizing this medium. In fact, my mom sold local advertising throughout my formative years, so you could say my straight teeth, relatively unblemished skin and above average public education are all because of local merchants seeking advertising.

However, as an expert in local TV advertising (meaning that I watch a lot--like a tremendous amount), I would like to pass along some tips for you to get your message out.

  • Don't use your child or children in the ad. Seeing little Becky's face will not make me picture her starving because I didn't buy, sell, rent or lease from you. I especially hate any ads that create thought bubbles or voiceovers for babies--it's just creepy and wrong. Even if the child or children in the ad are old enough to decide for themselves to be in it, just say no. What they think sounds like a good idea at 10 will bite them in the ass in high school and college and lead to a creepy career path (see the Watson's girl). The same could be said for pets, but the rules are a little more lenient.
  • Do not make up a theme song or jingle for your company. I realize this is especially hard to overcome in Nashville because of the proximity of so many great songwriters, but just don't do it.
  • Use a catch phrase that actually makes sense for your business. To this day, there are thousands of people in Southern Indiana that can spout off "It's hot, Don." Don, didn't sell air conditioners, pools, ice cream, or cold beverages. Don sold cars, but few people remembered that. There's a business now that makes housecalls for something--I can't even tell you except that it isn't coffee related, and their phrase is "You make the coffee. We'll bring the cup." So now I've got to pay you AND do chores before you'll work with me!?!?!
  • Jesus wouldn't co-brand, so don't make him. There are many people and businesses full of faith. And some of them are very sincere about their faith. However, when you start mentioning Jesus and business, no matter how sincere, the lines of sinning and shilling become blurred. If you want to profess your faith, find a way to do so that doesn't make me think you're co-branding with God.
So the next time you're spending the dough to bring more customers in, maybe-just maybe-it would be wise to invest in a few extra dollars for a local ad agency to help steer you clear of having spent lots of money to create an animated super hero to promote your furniture company.

I'm just saying.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

If I were a Titans fan, I'd be pissed

Remember that guy in 2004 that was the League co-MVP? No, not Peyton. Steve McNair. Well, he originally agreed to host a Baltimore Ravens Pep Rally on friday night. Oh, and it was scheduled to be in Nashville across the street from LP Field.

Are you kidding me? Who on Steve McNair's staff thought it would be a good idea for him to host a pep rally before the first Titans home play off game in years for the opposing team? He played for the Oilers/ Titans organization for more than 10 years. He played in Baltimore for one. His name was just entered into the Ring of Whatever at LP Field.

Yes, I know originally the pep rally was for charity--but hosted by a sports radio station in Baltimore. I've got lots of experience with events like these. They typically raise a lot of awareness but not a ton of money. It's nice of him to want to give back, but if he's smart, he should write a check directly and not risk alienating the thousands of fans he has in Nashville--where he still lives.

Since the word hit Music City, he has since backed out. His agent denies that he was involved or knew it was a Ravens event. The radio station hosting/ coordinating the event says he knew. When it comes down to it, he probably did. I know there really isn't a lot of loyalty in sports these days. We hear that every day. However, it's a little different after you retire. After you retire, you are forever linked in the eyes of fans with the team that you spent the most time with. This team gave you the bulk of your earnings and those fans helped fund that team. It's not hard leap to make.

Most sports fans don't require retired players to be overtly loyal. They just expect them to not be overtly disloyal. And the charity probably doesn't want that either. Even though the Ronald McDonald house in Baltimore is benefiting, there could be some backlash to the same charity here. Trust me, it's not right, but it happens.

Here's hoping Peyton never does a pep rally for the Patriots. Even if it is for charity.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Another Biggest Loser Already?

I don't why I'm so sadistic. It seems like I can do nothing during an entire episode of the Biggest Loser but gobble down whatever I can get my hands on. It's almost the same thing with Intervention and having a glass of wine or beer. Instead of acting as a deterrent, it almost acts as a reminder of what instant gratification.

Either way, tonight the Biggest Loser premieres again. It just wrapped up the last season at the beginning of December, but with massive amounts of money to be made, it was "time to change lives." Look, I like the show. I watch it every week. But I really think the only reason they're doing another season so quickly is that with the New Year and resolutions, they can make more money. How? By plugging Jello, Zip-loc, Subway, and now General Mills during the "spontaneous" show segments.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still gonna watch, but I kinda feel like they rushed it a little. No big dramatic hometown surprises. Hopefully, they'll be some better, more likeable contestants this season.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Taking Swings at a Peeping Tom

It is a rare occasion that we have the cops called in my apartment complex. The area of town we live in is a nice part, but it's also in the middle of several bars, two universities and the people that are are attracted to those types of things. I've lived there for four years and while we get our fair share of dumpster divers and con artists angling for a buck, it's never been much to worry about.

Last night, however, as I was gearing up for bed and trying to avoid the dread of the first day back at work in two weeks, I heard some yelling. I asked Chef to mute the TV to see if he could hear it too and low and behold, were the sounds of two male voices. One was screaming "quit hitting me" and the other was screaming expletives and "just stay down then."

Chef threw on some non-pajamma clothes and headed outside as we could now hear a female voice screaming "I've called the police. Quit hitting him!!". While I wanted Chef to investigate, suddenly new fears came over me. What if he as the only dude had to intervene between two fighting guys? I threw some warm clothes on and headed out to make sure that he didn't get roped into anything.

The altercation happened a good 20 yards away. By the time we were out there, there was an audience of three of our neighbors, the two guys fighting and a girl in a short white robe. A mere moment later the police showed up. We sat there paralyzed in drama and found out that the man who was assaulted had been spotted outside the window of the man who did the assaulting. The couple had been in flagrante and the girl had noticed someone stopping outside their window on numerous occasions.

Apparently, there has been a peeping tom in our neighborhood for a few weeks now and while this man may or may not have been him, he tookt he brunt of it, so to speak. The accused peeper claimed to just be walking by, but the apartment is on the second floor, so it seems highly unlikely. What does seem likely is the scrubbing of the concrete where the alleged peeper got his beat down. Chef said the blood stains are still visible this morning from our apartment across the way.

This kind of drama makes me thankful for a few things: 1) that this is the only time I've heard or witnessed anything like this in my four years of living at this complex 2) that several of our neighbors called the police and were actively trying to help and 3) that I invested in some cheap Wal-Mart curtains years ago to help block out the patches of window blinds that are broken.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Can't Pinpoint the Crazy

For those of you out there that are football fans, you already know that today is a big day. It's the first day of Wildcard weekend for NFL play offs. Kick off for the early game is a mere 4 hours away and my Colts play in the late game. Last night as I was laying in bed, I could already feel the nerves. My stomach ached at midnight and I thought: What the hell is wrong with me?

I can't pinpoint the exact moment that I fell in love with sports. It could've been one of thousands of high school and college basketball games that I went to in Indiana when I was younger. Although I usually spent my younger years figuring out how to get money out of my parents for cokes and bubble gum.

It might have been a special trip that I took with my dad to Nashville, TN for a big junior college basketball tournament. I ended up with a new Cabbage Patch Kid, an appreciation for John Mellencamp, Meatloaf and Rod Stewars, and hours of bonding with my dad. He'd sit down with me at the beginning of every game and ask me if the teams were playing man to man or zone defense. We went to so many games and were such a fixture in our little basketball community that I was the flower girl in a junior college coach's wedding.

Basketball is easy to understand. We lived in Indiana--home of the Hoosiers, basketball goals in every driveway and literally a state where more citizens per capita average hoops playing time than any other place in the world. Getting into football was a different scenario altogether.

My dad and brother made the weekly three hour trek to Indianapolis to watch the abismal Colts lose to whoever came in that week. It was a special treat if I got to go along and I always loved being in the Hoosier Dome (before RCA soiled it). It wasn't until high school that I cared at all about football. I watched Notre Dame because it was in state and the only games consistently on television. I wasn't a Notre Dame fan though I learned the game by watching them play.

I don't know when I started getting nervous for games and caring so much that I'd schedule my real life around my sports life. My family still loves sports. I credit my dad for a lot of it, but my mom was also known to watch college basketball games on Saturday afternoons as she napped. We all have the bug. While I can't pinpoint exactly when I went crazy for sports, I can point my fingers at who helped make it happen.

And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Theme of My Time Off

I am lucky enough to work for an organization that allows us to take some strategic time off during the holidays and end up with two weeks off. To say that I needed the time off is an understatement as I haven't had any real time off in quite some time. Too long as my mental health was starting to deteriorate because of it.

Nonetheless, I've enjoyed lounging around, making a few day trips but ending up back in my bed, playing with the kitties and the like. However, if there was one complaint that I can make, it's that my time off has taken on a certain theme. That theme being: bodily fluids.

It started with sweat as I was working out and utilizing our Wii fit. Sweat I can handle. Sweat is good. But when it escalated to vomit, I was beginning to get upset. I was sick for four days. I'd try to eat and end up feeling like I was going to die. Not a great way to end up.

The next fluid was the sort that might be too unsavory to go in detail in on the blog, but let's just say it also required a lot of bathroom trips.

Within a few days it wasn't just me, but everyone was getting into the action. One of our cats, Mila, is having a hard time adjusting to the new living situation. Chef and I believe that she was the "top dog" so to speak in her last home and is having a hard time dealing with Genghis. So she's decided to forgo using her litter box and instead use the area right outside of Genghis's litter box or Chef's backpack (Genghis's favorite napping space). Every morning we wake to a new little surprise. It's like having a puppy.

So for all the time off and lounging, I've also been cleaning up, clearing out and basically dealing with a lot of crap--literally and figuratively. If I wanted to clean up this much, I would've have kids and not cats. But I digress.

Here's to hoping for a less liquid new year.


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