Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Great Couple Days in LA

I had a conference I was working in LA yesterday which means that I was actually home at a decent hour and that Chef and I got to run some Friday errands. We then went to our favorite hole in the wall Mexican place, hit William Sonoma in Beverly Hills and got treated to champagne and a 40% discount at the Banana Republic in honor of the royal wedding. Not a bad Friday night.

And then today after Chef got up at 5 a.m., I rolled over. I get up at 5 a.m. every week day so I refuse to do so on the weekend. I ended up closing my eyes and getting up at 8:30. Hit the gym, hit the shower and then we packed up for our usual Saturday morning grocery run. I'm firmly convinced that you can do anything you need to in LA as long as you do it before noon. We got in and out and home.

Just in time to realize we're hungry. Since I'd worked out and was craving red meat, we went to Irv's burgers. It's literally a hamburger stand on Santa Monica Blvd that has some tables outside. The little Asian lady that works there draws a quick portrait of each customer on their paper plates. It's literally only a little more detailed than a stick figure, but was so cute.

And the food was good. Just well done food at a good price. Plus we got to sit the beautiful, breezy sun drenched patio. It was one of those days that we were just glad to be living in such a beautiful place. And it made me realize how much I love LA. The vibe of the city. There are shits here but there are shits everywhere. It's mostly just the ability to have access to anything I could imagine. And the weather.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's up with the Tornadoes?

I've never been a big fan of tornadoes. I can't think of many people who have actually been through one are. I never understood people who thought it would be cool to chase down the storm.

I'm totally a "in the bathroom with my cats huddled in the tub" kind of girl. And I don't see anything wrong with that.

So I applaud my smart storm friends who were lucky enough to make it through the recent tornadoes that hit the south and the Midwest. My family lives in a town with some flooding so there's really no end to the effect of the storms.

What I am thinking about is whether there are more than average tornadoes this year. Doesn't seem like there have been more and with a higher degree of destruction than before. First St. Louis and the Midwest, then the South. I honestly think everyone needs a tornado break. Do you think I've got enough pull to arrange that or should it be requested by a multitude of people?

Either way, I know those who were affected would appreciate the break from the storms and every one would like the chance to catch their breath.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Lilting Accents on my Radio

The last two nights I've listened to some southern drawls on my radio and it made me feel like I was back in Tennessee. I was listening to my first audiobook: The Help. I don't think I would've normally picked up the book if I were just on my own. I'm not really one for many bestsellers. At least blockbuster bestsellers.

But when you're trying to find some free audiobooks, the choices are most likely going to be the most popular ones. So, The Help it is. And I'm kind of glad that I'm not actually reading it. Mostly because it's a little slow in the story section. The voice acting is really well done and the southern accents are pretty dead on.

But most of the reason why I'm enjoying it is because it's not just music. I'm a visual learner, so I have to pay attention to the recording to really follow along. I can't tune it out like music. So before I know it, I'm through a chapter and halfway home.

But I need some suggestions. I can go through about 3-4 audiobooks a month so I need some help. What should I listen to next?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Reality Star and A Football Player? Really?

Normally, I don't give a rat's ass who gets engaged to who. Okay, maybe I care a little. But when it's a reality TV star, I typically don't care at all. However when that reality TV star gets engaged to an NFL player that grew up near where I did and played college football in the town I lived when I lived there, I care a little more.

And that's why I'm perplexed at the engagement of Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler. Really? A chick that got her fame from drinking to excess and pretending to be a plotting manipulative bitch (in reality she probably was a plotting manipulative bitch, but she was one in high school and frankly, who wasn't?). How much, aside from notoriety, could they possibly have in common?

I mean, I really don't see Kristin Cavallari chowing down on some barbecue at Judge Bean's in Nashville. I also have a hard time seeing her pick up the phone at a Wilford Brimley 'betes testing supply commercial as she remembered to reorder Jay's strips. Or learning to cook without sugar.

Will Jay now have to buy a line of clothing she designs to movie premiere? I also question their publicist. Seriously? Why did you announce any wedding news this week when the world is only hearing the words "William and Kate"? Wait a week and let your engagement bask in the post-matrimonial after glow of the royals.

The one thing I'll give her was that she was smart enough to say yes to a Tosh.0 guest appearance.

Just sayin'.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Hate Motorcycles

When I first moved to LA and took that long trek to the DMV, I was forced to take another written test. I wondered at the time why there were so many questions on it about motorcycles. I mean, sure, you need to know about motorcycles, but they make up such a small portion of the vehicles on the road and were disproportionately represented on the test.

And then I started making my daily commute. And I began to realize just how much I truly, deeply, passionately hate motorcycles. Or rather the dicks that ride on motorcycles. Before I launch into this tirade, let me preface this by saying that I'm not talking about those who ride leisurely on Harley Davidsons on weekends. I'm talking about crotchrockets and the like, and the a-holes who ride them on a daily basis.

For those of you who don't live in a mild or warm climate and don't have to deal with an abundance of motorcyclists, this will probably be as new to you as it was to me. Here's the deal: Motorcycles here weave in between the cars in their lanes to get by. And by weaving, I don't mean they pass and get into a lane. I mean, they literally drive in the small space between you and another car. So if I opened my door, it would most certainly mean death to them.

Not only is this illegal, but it's rampant. And annoying. You're sitting there listening to your music in rush hour traffic, going 10 miles per hour and WHOOSH! A motorcycle rushes by and does the land equivalent to buzzing the tower. It's loud. It's dangerous. And it's aggrevating as hell. If I'm stuck going 10 miles per hour, you shouldn't be able to go 60 mph illegally.

And that's why I hate motorcycles.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Easter Surprise

Of the many smells that I've woken up to on Easter (slow-baking ham, the light hint of chocolate sitting in baskets, dyed eggs roasting in the early morning sun, an overwhelming aroma of sugar), none startled me quite like this morning's.

The epic saga began at about 4 a.m. when I was woken by a sour stomach. I tried to wait it out, but it didn't work and I had to purge. Not a great way to start the morning. It also took me about a half an episode of "Law & Order" to fall back to sleep.

I was just hitting my slumber stride when I felt a shove in my back. Like I'm apt to do at that time of morning, I ignored it. But then I got another shove in the back. I flipped over to say "WHAT?!" in my annoyed voice when Chef just pointed to a space of sheet about 8 inches from his face. The space had a glob of cat feces on it.

"Don't move. I'll get it up and get it," I said heading towards the bathroom to get some toilet paper to scoop up the glob. On my way back to the bedroom, I was startled by a steaming pile of cat poop sitting square in the middle of our stark white duvet.

"Don't move, honey," I said.

Chef saw my hands move to an area below the glob and looked down. "Aww! Really??" It was about that time when the stench began to turn my stomach for the second time in a few hours. It took a lot more toilet paper, some cursing and our cat specific stain and odor remover before the space was clean.

Of course, the smell lingered for a while. Chef smelled it too. It wasn't until he pointed it out that I realized that I had a giant cat poop smear on the side of my foot. Chef called it the ninja poop.

That was enough to necessitate a complete shower.

It's several hours and an additional shower later and I'm still wondering when I'll feel clean.

Happy Easter everyone!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Something I refuse to watch

Let's face it. My taste in TV and music (and even movies) has always been questionable at best. I know and can recognize things that are well done and good, but that doesn't mean that I won't take my time to watch something that's pure crap. It's happened many time before and will happen many times again.

But even with all that, I have to draw the line somewhere and that's with "Mobwives." Really, VH1? Aren't you supposed to be a video station? But apparently that got thrown out the window as soon as Flava Flav spread his STDs to girls whose names he didn't bother knowing so he made new ones up.

I don't really like any show that features wives of famous people. This includes all the Real Housewives series. It doesn't take a lot of talent to keep your body in shape (in some cases), and be a bitch. I could do that, but instead I choose to make my own money. I also tend not to trick men into having kids with me to get child support (I'm calling you out "Basketball Wives.")

"Mobwives" is worse because it's not only that these bitches aren't famous. But they're basking in the glorification of their husbands, fathers, uncles, or brothers who are famous for breaking law in as many different ways as you can. Which, in some cases, includes murder. But I'm supposed to feel sorry for them because a man in their life got caught and went to jail so they have to fend for themselves? really? Is this what being a strong woman is being compared to now days?

That's what makes me even more mad. That these women think of themselves (and others buy into it too) as strong women. Is it really strong to be a 40 year old in a bar doing shots and getting angry because someone showed up who you don't like? Are screaming matches that I didn't even tolerate in high school, let alone as an adult, really being strong or just being a bitch? I know there are times when strong woman and bitch get wrongfully mixed in use. This is not one of those times.

I don't fear that smart women will see the show and decide that fake boobs, a spray tan and bad attitude are suddenly a fulfilling life. I have more faith in women than that. What I don't want is those bitches profiting on this horrible show. Seriously, VH1? There's a reason that I don't watch your network. At least the girls of "Teen Mom," have that whole under 21 thing to fall back on. But what about the "Mobwives"? What do they have? Hopefully nothing except cancellation and resorting to getting real jobs to make real money.

In the mean time, I think I'll watch "30 Rock" again.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Getting our Marriage License- and my soon to be new middle name

On this Good Friday, I made it a great Friday and went with Chef to get our marriage license. After our ordeal at the DMV, I was not expecting this to be an easy process. In fact, because we were getting our license in LA, I asked my boss if I could work from home (in anticipation that it would take a long time and it sucks to drive to work to drive back and forth).

Oddly enough, it wasn't that bad of a process. We had filled out the paperwork before coming (although I literally made the middle name decision at the window) and just had to hand over our $90. The only tricky thing was that they didn't take Visa, which was our debit card backer. Chef and I thought this was a little weird, right? So, we wrote a check. No big whoop.

After a mere 10 minute wait, we were back at the window holding up our right hands and swearing that everything we'd written on the application was true. Then we scheduled our courthouse ceremony and were out the door in less than 30 minutes. Considerably less than the "at least 60 minute" wait the web site had told us to expect.

So, what did we do in the 10 minute wait? Two things:
  1. Debate my middle name
  2. Debate which day to get married
I chose "Clark Wrye" (no hyphen) as my "new" middle name. I just couldn't give up either name so I'll be the girl with three last names. Chef wanted me to change it to "Gray" so that I could pay homage to my dad (it's his middle name) and his Grammie (her last name) at the same time. I liked the idea, but in the end, I'm a sentimental who couldn't let go.

So, the second debate was on when we would actually get married. Well, that was a little more challenging. The Beverly Hills Registrar (yup, we're getting married in the 90210) only performs weddings every 15 minutes on Thursdays. So, it had to be a Thursday. And I wanted it to be a Thursday where I could take the Friday off too because what fun is getting married and then going back to work the next day?

We also had to take in consideration Chef's birthday. Because honestly, there has to be some space in between so we can celebrate twice. He deserves his own day and I mine. Then ours together.

So, space. That meant either we get married in 3 weeks (and I wouldn't get a Friday) or at the beginning of July. The next thing was that I'm travelling to Canada at the end of May and my passport clearly has my current name on it. I don't really want to worry about travel (even just to Canada) with all these names.

And with that in mind, we found a date at the beginning of July. Yay!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Have to Admit

This is going to be one of my confession blog posts, but before you get all excited, you must remember that I'm not all that scandalous. But here are things I must admit:
  • The commute is getting to me. At least this week. There's something about leaving the office at 5 and getting home by 5:30--not 6:30--that's appealing. Maybe I just need some good new music or books to listen to. Suggest away!
  • I'm not writing as much as I should be. I used to get up early to work out and then write, but I don't have time for both now and I refuse to get up earlier than the 5 a.m. that I'm already waking up at. So unfortunately, the writing has taken the hit.
  • I miss the South. It was instantly warm (although not entirely genuine) and had tons of polite people who took me under their wing. Some of those wings I wrestled out of, but it was nice to have people that care that much.
  • I don't miss the frequent and often inappropriate mixing of business and religion that was common in the south. It made me uncomfortable. It also made my non-Christian friends uncomfortable.
  • Me not being into weddings or wedding planning has nothing to do with Chef and everything to do with the fact that my mom's not here to do it with me. There are lots of great people who ARE here to help me and I appreciate them, but her absence is still felt. I know if we ever choose to have a child, that's going to be much worse.
  • I miss being around women who know football.
  • I have a shoe addiction. But that's a different post for a different day.
  • I think Mark Wahlberg is a pretty good actor that has made me laugh on numerous occasions. I'm a peacock. You gotta let me fly.
  • I'm about ready for a trip to Nashville then Evansville. One will be planned in next couple of months to see both.
  • I can't look at Jenny McCarthy without thinking she's bat shit crazy, no matter how much money she raises for autism.
  • I only eat 370 carefully measured calories every day for lunch so that I can splurge on dinner. And then I get pissed when Chef talks me out of dessert.
  • I don't think I'm as good a friend as I used to be.
  • I haven't tried really hard to find friends in LA.
Those are my confessions for now. Add any you want to call me out or just want to add one of your own.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I want to go to there. . .

Last night Chef and I went to see Tina Fey and Steve Martin at the Nokia Theater. I'm a huge Tina Fey fan and was so excited when Facebook actually targeted me with the right ad. Because if it wasn't for the Facebook ad that popped up on my profile a few weeks ago, I don't think I would've known about it. So, score one for you, Zuckerberg.

Anyway, I asked Chef and he was game for going. He was also smart enough when he bought the tickets to also buy a parking pass so we were zipped into a space without having to navigate around the Kings fans. He's a master like that.

Unfortunately because I live so far from work and the theater was close to our house, we didn't get downtown with a lot of time to kick around walking. There's also not a lot of quick food options at LA Live, so we ended up just going into the theater and grabbing some cocktails, and food at the bar. It was also nice because we each got a signed copy of Tina Fey's book with our ticket price, so we got those real quick and sat down.

I'll admit that I've soured to Steve Martin in the last several years. I've heard too many stories of him being an asshole from too many sources for at least 10 percent of it to be true. Also, I'm not a huge fan of his writing. I read Shopgirl and while it wasn't terrible, it also probably wouldn't have gotten much attention if it hadn't been written by Steve Martin.

So I didn't know who would be interviewing who between the two because the tickets and show title didn't really clear that up. Luckily, it turned out to be Steve Martin interviewing Tina Fey. And it was pretty funny. I was mostly glad to see (as I suspected, but there's always the chance for disappointment) that Fey is as funny and smart in person as she writes and portrays. In fact, she was so quick-witted that she actually left Martin in the dust a few times.

All in all, it was a great event for me. I loved it. Chef was a little bored, but I can understand. They weren't doing stand-up; they were talking about Fey's book. It was a pretty funny conversation, but you could tell it wasn't entirely spontaneous. Which, frankly, as someone paying for a ticket, I almost appreciated the effort more.

However, knowing that I admire Tina Fey and yet she's only 8 years older than me has me thinking. And those thoughts could take me two ways:
  1. Depressed because I haven't done nearly enough in my own writing to have made any kind of traction and because I never did the true artistic suffering stage in my youth, or
  2. Motivated to finish my book, write every day and see what kind of magic LA has in store. I've heard that dreams come true here. I'm not sure how that gets verified, but I'm willing to test it out.
So, inspiration moves on and I am so excited to live in LA because I get to go to events like this that don't happen anywhere else. Plus Judd Apatow, Catherine O'Hara and Adam Scott were in the crowd. That added a little star shine.

I'm sitting here wondering: Who wants to go with me to the next talk they're hosting? It's not gonna have 5000 people and it features one of my favorite writers, Ann Patchett. Anyone?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's in a Name, anyway?

Chef and I are going to get our marriage license on Friday. We have 90 days from that point to get hitched or we have to go through the process again and pay the $90 yet again. I am currently at lunch and decided to hop on the LA County Registrar's site to see about filling out the online application for the license.

I got stumped on the first section. Not the questions about Chef, but about me. I'm changing my last name to match his. Not that hard of a decision and one I'm happy to do. Not that I don't love my identity and my last name (it's served me well for 32 years so far), but I'm tired of my poor four letters being mangled in the pronunciation. Now my new four letter last name will be mangled in an entirely different way.

That wasn't the stumper. Here's the stumper: what to make my new middle name?

I'm seriously at a loss. My current middle name is my mother's maiden name and my last name is clearly my father's name. it's like playing Sophie's Choice in reverse. Logically, I know that if I do the traditional thing and make my former last name my new middle name, it doesn't hurt my mom or her family. But still.

It doesn't feel right to keep my current middle name and toss aside my last name. Nor does it feel like "me" to go behind door number three and hyphenate them both to make a combined middle name. That just seems like more trouble than it's worth. I'm not a hyphenate-kind of girl.

So instead of filling out the form, I closed the window and started this blog post. It's not a bad thing to love so many families so much that you want to make sure you're always instantly linked as being a part of them. But hey, I've got three days to make a decision and a lifetime to second-guess it, so why am I stressing now?

Monday, April 18, 2011

You Say You Want a Revolution

Okay, maybe I don't need a revolution. Maybe it's an attitude adjustment. Or "I say I need a inspiration". What can you give me?

I need to regain my focus, motivation, whatever it is that makes me care about my eating and exercise. My weight loss has been stagnant in the last two months and it's 100 percent my fault. I used travel as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. I mean, how often could I have a Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia? I had to take advantage, right?

And to make things worse, I have still been getting up at 5 a.m. every morning to get on the elliptical and make things happen. Why is that worse? Because I've been getting up so early and wasting my efforts. That just makes me mad. I'm an idiot.

On the other hand, the working out probably prevented me from gaining more weight than I probably should have. But it's awash and basically spent 8 weeks losing 2 pounds. Not cool.

So I'm going to be bold and say that I want to get back to the weight I was at at my lowest and I want to do it before the end of July. That's about a pound a week, which isn't all that ambitious. But at least it's a goal.

The cravings must be a household thing because Genghis is now begging for white chocolate macadamia nut cookies when Chef eats them. Carb cravings are a family trait for sure!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What's red, pink and cream all over?

Answer: Me.

I got my hair dyed on Friday after work. Dyed and trimmed. Took about an hour, which isn't bad. My one request to the stylist was to make the red pop a little more. Granted it had been 6 weeks since the initial dye, but the fade was not enough to account for the fact that I wasn't quite red. I had a red tint, but the color didn't pop like I had wanted.

I would've thought it was just me, but when I went back to my stylist, she said she had written "more copper" on the card with my hair color on it. So, it's nice to know my stylist and I were on the same page. She's a keeper.

Anyway, with freshly red locks on my head, I discovered that I can only really wash my hair a few times a week instead of every day. Blonde hair doesn't really fade. It just loses luster. Brunette and red fade and red fades the most and quickest. So, my stylist recommended that I not only use my color safe shampoo and conditioner, but also limit my washes. So I invested in some good dry shampoo and I hope it does the trick to make my color last.

But I digress. So the hair is definitely red. The cream is my skin color. My pale skin. Except my pale skin is not so pretty. It's actually not bad on my face (except for the tendency to freckle), but my legs are pretty pale and not in a good way.

Which leads to the pink. Knowing that my paleness needs some help and knowing that it's Sunday and pretty, Chef and I decided to hit the pool in our complex. We tag teamed the cleaning of the apartment this morning and then decided our reward would be an hour or so laying by the pool.

It was glorious. Nice, bright sun. 78 degrees. The only thing that was out of place was that we had to have two chairs (the only two lounge chairs left) that were partially shaded at times. That made it a little chilly for a few minutes, but overall, a nice 90 minutes in the sun listening to music and reading. These are the times that I start to think that I live in a resort and not necessarily an apartment complex.

The pink comes about 20 minutes after we get back to the apartment. My shoulders and face are warm to the touch and slightly sunburned. I hate to say burned because I've been sunburned. This is more like a sunkiss that lasted too long. A sun hickey, perhaps?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

They're starting to come out. . .

I realized this weekend as I was in New Orleans that my "ashley-isms" are really starting to come out in work settings. There's a typical grace period that happens when you're acclimating and with that comes the restraint of colloquialisms that have a background or only you think are funny. I can't even really claim most of these as "Ashley-isms" because I've blatantly stole the best of the best for my own use. I only originated a few, but all are starting to break the surface of every day talk.

I had a co-worker at a conference this weekend say "I'm not sure if it's the Southern coming out or if it's just your personality. Either way, you're cracking me up." I had another co-worker stop me three sentences after I had spit out a saying to say "Back up, did you really just say 'hitch in the giddy-up'?"

Yes. Yes, I did. Here are some others that have started coming to the surface lately:
  • "Noodle", as in "Let me noodle on that and get back to you"- stolen from a previous supervisor Suzanne
  • "Jazzed" as in "I get really jazzed about collaboration"-- I had hear it in use before but it wasn't until a previous supervisor, Erica, that I had hear it used in a context for work.
  • "Hitch in my giddy-up"- meaning "Obstacle" not sure where I heard it but I did and I kept it.
  • "Double awesome" because sometimes one awesome just isn't enough
  • "Word", as in "I concur" --clearly not mine or anyone that I know, but I believe I pioneered its use in corporate situations and well past it's expiration date.
  • "Howdy"- another overtly southern/ cowboy term that I think is more inviting than a traditional "hello"
I can't think of any other ones right now, but if you remember me saying something weird or have a saying I should start using, feel free to leave me a comment.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Racking Up Some Frequent Flyer Miles

So there are a few things that have been rolling lately. Mostly out of town. In my new position I have the opportunity to see some of the US that I haven't seen before. Mostly some east coast cities. But tomorrow I get to head to an old home, of sorts. Or better yet, I get to see a person who is like a home to me.

I'm heading to New Orleans tomorrow for a conference and get to see my friend Wendee. I'm excited about that. Business travel isn't the most exciting thing, despite the romanticizing of it. There's always a lot of things to do during the day and by the time you finish up answering emails that have piled up during the day, you're tired and ready to grab a bite and hit the hay.

But business travel in a city where you have friends means you get to a dinner out with someone and an excuse to delay work. Plus you get to see someone you might not be able to for a while. It's the best of both world and a better balance.

So not only do I get to add some frequent flyer miles but I get to explore work and catch up with friends.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Bulldog and a Huskie Walked Onto a Court

Or at least they will. Tomorrow night. And if it weren't for Facebook you wouldn't know it in California.

There are many delights to living on the west coast, but one of the things I have a hard time adapting to is the utter lack of interest in most sports. There are some rabid Lakers fans, but even those people really know little outside of professional basketball. So honestly, that makes them less of a sports fan that a specialist. And you only really need a specialist when it's something like a medical problem.

So we're one day out from a national championship game and mums the word around here. And what's worse is that I have a work thing tomorrow night until about 9 p.m. So if you can't get a hold of me, know that I'm again under social media sequester.

And until then, GO BUTLER! Any team from Indiana is a team I'll support!

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