Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Viva La Resolution!

Not mine, but funny. 
It's the day, time of year, frame of mind to think about beginning again. I like new beginnings. Even if it's only on the calendar. New beginnings mean new possibilities and what's life if we aren't thinking of how it could be even better.

Or maybe that's just me.  Maybe you've already accomplished all your dreams.

I, on the other hand, have not. So instead of just wishing things were different, I pictured how I wanted things to be different by the end of 2014 and worked my resolutions from there. Not sure it will be any different, but I'm trying it.

By the end of 2014, I will:

  1. Have a literary agent. So to do that, it means that I have to have something I want to show an agent, which means I need to get to work. I'm dreaming big here, so go with me. . . 
  2. Have 1,000 per week visiting my blog. I'm halfway there now, so really it means that I'll just have to post more, read more, share more, and generally be more engaged. I think I can do that. 
  3. Be down 40 lbs. I'm beyond pudgy, and I don't have to be. I run consistently. But I also eat consistently. Consistently bad. I'm over it. Time to hunker down and shed some lbs. 
  4. Say 'no' more often. Specifically 'no' to a few things: 1) time-wasting activities like TV for the sake of TV and Candy Crush. 2) Events or activities that I get guilted into doing or going to. 3) People who are draining without any benefits. 
  5. Say 'yes' more. Specifically to new things that I've wanted to do but might be too chicken try and to hanging out more with friends who I say 'no' to for no good reason. Additionally, this also means that I'm going to ask more of others, specifically to take Chef up on his offer for us to go out to eat more. 
  6. Made unplugging from technology a habit. No more answering emails at 10 p.m. because my phone is by my side. I will use the sleep mode on my phone. I will learn what items are truly emergencies and what ones are just other people's emergencies.
  7. Put more into my time instead of putting more time in. This includes writing, reading, working, and being present for my time at home with Chef. 
  8. Use my money for good instead of evil. This not only means spending or saving more wisely, but also not buying stuff that leads to negating other resolutions--like toys to waste time. My one exception is the aforementioned dinner dates with Chef. 

So that's it. That's my list. What's on your list?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Women and Politics

I did many things over my little break from work last week. I hung out with Chef, ate way too much, watched movies, got used to using my authoritative voice to get the Xbox One to obey my commands ("Xbox Watch TV!"), and watching tons of movies and TV.

I finally (and almost sadly) am now caught up on Scandal. It was watching this current season that I stumbled upon a monologue so well-written that I thought I was watching a different show. (The show is fairly well-written, don't get me wrong, but not a lot stands on issues per se). Oh and Lisa Kudrow delivers it like a bad ass so bonus for that.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What Are You Gearing Up For?

I can't decide if these books
make me want to set a new
reading goal or a goal around
clutter for 2014. 
Only a few more days before the new year begins. I always get really excited at the new year. Mostly because I like the idea that things can change in a year. That hard work can make dreams happen. It's the wholesome American Midwest in me that likes to believe that working hard is rewarded. 

So I'm gearing up for what I'm going to concentrate on next year. This year I wanted to be well, write daily, try new things and be a better blogger. For the most part, I kept those resolutions. The end result is (the past week--okay, month--aside on the health part) has been more blog traffic lately (funny how that happens when you actually post more than 1-2 times a month), a solid draft on the novel plus several new stories and outlines for future stories, a fairly consistent running schedule, and an indoor skydiving experience under my belt, among other things. 

So now I'm thinking, what next? I will have a goal around writing, one around reading, one around my health for shiz, and then something else. It will have to be realistic, but maybe this time I'll start backwards. I'll start with what I want to have accomplished at the end of next year and then work backward on what it'll take to get me there. 

What are you preparing for in 2014? Any big goals on the horizon?

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Happy Holiday

My 2013 Holiday Card
My holiday joy was mildly interrupted by yesterday's call, but the joy definitely outlasted it all. It started on Christmas Eve. Chef and I had some massive dollars to spend in our FSA account, so we did something we'd done before and got eye exams. Very festive, right? While we were waiting on Chef's glasses, we went to lunch at PF Chang's. It was delicious, but also indulgent because I had a glass of wine at lunch, and then topped it off with a decadently awesome Vanilla Bean Bourbon Milkshake.  Heavenly.

We had a great Christmas, and a good meal at Ruth's Chris, which sadly left us a little ill for the rest of the day.

However, all in all, it was an awesome holiday. And two more days off to boot. Going back will be hard, as usual.

Hope everyone else's day was just as wonderful!

Eye Exam selfie--that's how close I had to be to see myself

Vanilla Bean Bourbon Milkshake

Mid-milkshake: Look at that smile.

The last of my Holiday Spirit Quest: One of two stockings stuffed

My First Flask

The beautiful green satchel my husband got me. Lucky me!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Holiday Shakedown

My crude diagram of the accident. I'm the heart car,
the Ford SUV is the asterick and the square
 behind me was the one that nudged me. 
I spent the morning with Chef--out and about. Doing some gift card spending and having a good ole time. We had picked up lunch and were heading back into the house when my phone rang. It wasn't a number that I recognized but it was from LA, so I picked it up. It could've been a client or someone work-related.

It was neither. The guy said "I'm Martin X. Ben's dad. You remember? Last week. . ." The signal was bad, the call dropped, and I couldn't discern who it was. I was trying to rack my brain thinking if I had been working with some kids lately at a charity, and frankly I couldn't think of a "Ben" to save my life. A few steps later, my phone rang again.

And here's where things got interesting.

A few weeks ago I was on my way to a work event in bumper-to-bumper (aka normal LA rush hour) traffic. The car to my left, a Ford SUV-type, was in a left hand turn lane, but their butt was sticking out so I couldn't move. The cars in front of me had gone on the green light, but I was still blocked. Apparently the car behind me didn't care. A black sedan, probably a Prius but I couldn't remember, nudged me forward. I knew I had been hit, and stopped but didn't realize that my car's driver side mirror had hit the taillight of the car who was blocking my lane. The black sedan took off around me and I got out to check my car. A few scrapes on the back bumper, a scrape on my side mirror and then I saw the Ford SUV had a broken taillight. I got the driver to pull over, I pulled over, we exchanged information, and I went on to my work event. A little rattled and a lot pissed that after 12 years with no insurance claims, poor Liam Nissan had two claims within 5 weeks. I also waved my fist at every black Prius that I saw, which was a lot because it's LA and everyone drives a Prius.

I knew the driver of the Ford SUV was mentally challenged in some way. I didn't know what in particular, but I tried my best to make sure he had everything he needed and I did too. He said the policy was under his dad's name and that his dad would probably get a hold of me.

And his dad did. But not before calling my insurance company. The Ford SUV had called my insurance company before I could even call them and alert them. I wasn't going to file a claim for a scrape, but gave my testimony, uploaded pictures of my car, the Ford, etc.  And then I thought I was done.

But the driver's dad called me today---more than three weeks after the accident, and asked me for $150 for the damages to his son'ts car. He kept saying that I was at fault and that I just needed to pay him and that he just went to get an estimate today and that's what took so long.

It felt wrong. He felt pushy and I KNEW that someone on his end had already alerted my insurance company. I told him that I was not admitting fault, that he had already filed a claim with my insurance company and I wasn't going to pay him if he still has something pending against me. Martin told me that they hadn't called my insurance company at all. That he had no idea how my insurance would have their information. He closed by saying "My son is autistic. You know you are at fault. But fine. Do whatever. I'll assume you will call me back to take care of this."

I called my insurance company and the long and short of it is that they denied his son's claim because it was determined that it wasn't my fault. So his insurance company would have to cover it. That no one on that end should have contacted me at all. My insurance company (who I love!) gave me a copy of the denial letter in case he called me again.

I have a feeling he won't be calling back. I might've had some sympathy if he had been honest, but the total ambush about month after the fact AND after the denial really pushed my limits.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Kittenz II Cats

Nothing says Christmas like dressing your cats up like tiny little members of the world's furriest boy band. I only have a few items left on my Holiday Spirit Quest and last night I took care of #7- Have the cats sporting their holiday ties at least once this holiday season. That means that I only have to watch a cheesy holiday movie (one of which is sitting on my bedroom DVR) and stuff a stocking (or two) which I (or Santa) will do tonight. I have to say that I still love doing these spirit items. Mostly because if I didn't, I wouldn't try at all to get into the holiday mood, and what fun is that?

So, today we also went to use the last of our flexible healthcare spending for the year and got glasses and contacts, as well as eye exams. This has become somewhat of a Christmas Eve tradition. We get exams, Chef gets glasses, we wait for the glasses by walking across the street to the mall. We did all that today PLUS had a delicious lunch at PF Chang's. It's not quite opening presents with the family, but it's not bad at all.

In the mean time, here are pictures of the furry family of boy band members (and Mila) in their holiday attire. Enjoy!

Attila looking dapper in his plaid tie.

Genghis and Khubla wondering how they could've worn the same outfit.

The closest I could get to having all three in the picture at once.

Genghis kinda likes his tie.

Genghis and his half-brother Attila looking very much like they are ready for their holiday choir concert.

Genghis and Khubla waiting for their cue to sing.

The best one of Khubla by himself
Mila did not like her holiday fur collar AT ALL.

This was the most she would do with it. I can't blame her. It had bells so she couldn't hide at all from the other cats. 

Engineers + Cats = Pure Genius

I had yet to experience the love or anguish of cat ownership when the first part of "The Engineer's Guide to Cats" came out, but I do appreciate a good sequel.

We too practice corporal cuddling in our household. Wanna see the first one? Click here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

72 and Snowy

Yesterday I got to play around in the snow. It was man-made snow, but still a good time. A festival had ordered snow and it rained so they weren't able to use it by the date, so they donated the snow to the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House. They're a client, so I was pitching cute kiddos playing in the snow in 70 degree weather to the news media and got a bite. All in all this snow day was a win-win.

The local Fire Department came by and got into a snowball fight with the kids.

This little girl was enamored by the camera. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Shopping, Singing and Giving

A VERY large tree at the Citadel
Outlet Mall
 So I'm happy to say that I've conquered a few more items from my list a while back. There's 4) Listen to Christmas music for a week's worth of commutes (it's Friday, so check!), 5) actually go to a mall or shopping complex to buy a present, 10) have all my presents bought a week before Christmas, and 12) Give to a new charity. Nine tasks complete, three to go and 5 days until Christmas. Not to sound overconfident, but I think I got this.

The most trying of these were numbers 5 and 10. Last Saturday I got up early to be at the outlet mall at 10 a.m. when the stores opened. I got there at 10:05 and ALL the parking was already taken. I had to park on a side street a quarter-mile away. They were running shuttles from other parking
This was JUST the line to pay
at the Coach outlet store. It was a
30 minute wait to hand
over your money.
lots miles away to accommodate the shoppers. It was, sadly, the first of three malls that I went to last Saturday, but because of this marathon of shopping that took six hours instead of my estimated three, I was able to have everything bought AND shipped before the 16th--a full nine days before Christmas. And I also had my fill of Christmas shopping so next year it's all online!
Merry Xmas from Xtina

Lastly, I give to a lot of charities. Mostly because I was in non-profit for so long (American Heart Associations) so I give to that one, plus to the ones my previous co-workers now work at because people tend to stay in non-profit, PLUS the new ones like Ronald McDonald House of Southern California or UNICEF that are clients PLUS my tie with breast cancer causes will always be strong (shameless plugs for great causes). I decided to donate to one that personally moved me and WASN'T health 826 LA. It's the local branch of a national organization that encourages young kids to write and provides tutoring. I hope to volunteer there one day but until then, this will have to do. I hope you gave to your favorite this year too!
related. So I donated to

Thursday, December 19, 2013

#11 Drink a Holiday Inspired Coffee Drink

I've had a couple in my quest because I prefer the gingerbread or egg nog or pumpkin spice lattes to regular ole coffee, but below is a picture of my favorite coffee for a couple of reasons. I was so hot that I had to get it iced. It was 71 degrees at almost 6 p.m. less than 2 weeks before Christmas.

Yup that seems to describe the holidays in LA in just one mundane snapshot.

It was an iced non-fat, no whip, no molasses Gingerbread latte, by the way. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cookies and Candles

Didn't turn out TOO bad
So I decided that I didn't really want to make shaped sugar cookies, but really just wanted the frosted sugar cookie taste. So I found a recipe for sugar cookie bars and VOILA! However, the cookie part tasted a little too floury in the end, but the icing is delicious. And from scratch. Not as hard as I expected.

Homemade icing-delicious! Wish I had food coloring though.

One carby delicious cookie bar

And of course, I also put up my decorations a while ago. In fact, I have already bought another holiday-smelling candle because my old faithful had burned too long. It might not look too much like the holidays, but it certainly smells like Christmas.

Nothing says Christmas like my touch of tacky from 2011-- Snookie! 

And the stockings were hung.  . . to drive the cats crazy

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#2 Give a Gift to Someone Who Isn't Expecting It

Sure, I might've been a little fast and loose on the name tag, but she totally knew who it was from. The one danger about giving a gift to someone who isn't expecting it, is that they feel the need to reciprocate. Which wasn't the purpose of this exercise at all. I found something that said my friend's name so I got it. Simple as that.

In case you were wondering, here's what I got her. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Holiday Spirit Quest Continues

I've slowly but surely been making my way through the list of things to get me into the holiday spirit. Some of them got me into the spirit, but that spirit was "why the holidays can be stressful." I guess you can't enjoy the highs of the holidays without some lows. But I digress.

In an effort to capture my smaller list and to hit one of my personal goals of hitting 100 blog posts this year, I'm going to break my spirit quest up even more!

Today's quest item is #1 Make a list of for Santa (and Chef).

I'm a big believer in telling people what I want. If not in every day life, at least at Christmas. I love the concept of the wedding registry. It might be because I never actually had one, but the idea of letting people know what you like and the items you want seems like a sensible way to do things.

In that spirit, I always make a list for Santa. This year, I used Pinterest, but there are some things you just can pin (here it is). So here is my list. This is not to insinuate that I want you to get me anything. That's just rude. This is just to help those who are getting me something.

And as a bonus, my birthday is only a month away, too.

  1. A literary agent (this girl's getting close to selling her book)
  2. An understanding editor who sees potential in my manuscript
  3. An Apple Macbook Pro (13" or 15" with retina display)-- I'm tired of burning my legs off with my current computer. That may be why I'm writing everything long hand. That and I love buying notebooks.
  4. To hang out with my niece and nephew for a few days that aren't holidays
  5. A Large 15" green satchel from the Cambridge Satchel Company 
  6. A variety of kitchy things from modcloth
  7. More time with my hubby
  8. A variety of lovely shoes from Sole Society
  9. A new blender (although I'm not thrilled about giving up a blender from 1970 that still works)
  10. A new women's XL Andrew Luck Colts jersey
  11. A Colts bucking bronco vintage t-shirt in women's XL 
  12. Gift cards from:
    1. Amazon
    2. Sephora
    3. Ruth's Chris
    4. Arclight Hollywood Cinemas 
    5. Sole Society
    6. Target
    7. Bauble bar

Friday, December 06, 2013

It's Not Really Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

As my family gets pounded by snow today, I am searching for the Christmas spirit. I think I'm still relishing the post-Thanksgiving of it all. That week between Thanksgiving and December was non-existent this year so I haven't had time to physically or mentally adjust. Although for its part, LA is trying to get me in the mood. I've been to two hotels this week that were both decorated to the nines for the holiday and the weather was LA cold this morning (a brisk 42 when I woke up and only hit a high of 59).

So, to continue my tradition, I will embark on my third annual Holiday Spirit Quest. The list will be shorter this year because of the lack of time. I will keep it to a dirty dozen items--the twelve days of my Christmas, so to speak.

The guidelines are the same. To do things that have traditionally made me think of Christmas. I can repeat items from previous years' list but I have to add new things too.

Here goes:

  1. Make a Christmas list for Santa (or Chef...or both).
  2. Give a gift to someone who isn't expecting it.
  3. Make homemade sugar cookies.
  4. Listen to Christmas music for a week of commutes.
  5. Actually go to the mall or shopping complex to buy a gift. 
  6. Put up my Christmas decorations, sparse that they may be. 
  7. Have the cats sporting their holiday ties at least once during the season. 
  8. Watch at least one NEW cheesy holiday made-for-TV movie. 
  9. Stuff a stocking (or two).
  10. Have all my presents bought a week before Christmas. 
  11. Drink a holiday-inspired coffee drink. 
  12. Give to a new charity. 
What would you add?

Monday, December 02, 2013

I Think I Felt it More than LA

It's hard to believe it, but Chef and I have officially been in LA for THREE years now. Three years, one address, two jobs and one wedding. Crazy. When I moved here I was scared to apply at a PR agency because I had watched too many horrible Bravo reality shows about PR people who were all waifish, dumb, self-centered girls. And while there are plenty of those in this town, there are also lots and lots of smart, funny, sarcastic women (and a few men)sprinkled in with agency life as well. Plus a lot of fun things. That's one thing that people in PR won't tell you, but people figure out pretty easily. 

I mean, what other profession can have me making oatmeal for high school students one morning and then meeting the CEO of McDonald's at a meeting right after? Not many, that's for damn sure. And besides work there is the wonderment that is LA. I remark about it all the time and it still doesn't cease to amaze me. Whether it's the traffic (it's worse than you've ever imagined people) or the beautiful skyline or the way that a good neighborhood can turn into a bad one (and vice versa) in the matter of a block. It's all what makes this place so fun to be at and now makes it home. 

After three years I can safely say that LA has left a bigger mark on me than I on it, but who can really say the opposite and mean it? Maybe like a Son of Sam serial killer, but those have never been my particular aspirations. 

Thanks for three great years, LA!

Monday, November 25, 2013

What's for (Thanksgiving) dinner?

Part of this post is to take a moment and reminisce about all my favorite Thanksgiving foods (aka starchy foods). Part of this post is to remind people that in between Halloween and Christmas there is a holiday that may not have all the glitzy songs or decorations, but has what I consider to be most important: kick ass food.

This week is Thanksgiving and I for one am most excited to pile a load of cheesy, sweet, deliciously comforting carbs on a plate and devour it. It's the one tradition of Thanksgiving that I've been able to keep. As a kid, we didn't have a ton of Thanksgiving traditions. In fact, the only tradition seemed to be that we got together, which looking at it now seems like a good tradition to keep.

The Wrye Family Thanksgiving included getting up and going to both sets of grandparents. Some times we went to my mom's family first. Sometimes, my dad's. It just depended on when my mom's set decided to do something. My dad's side, aka my Grandma Wrye, always had dinner ready about 4 p.m., complete with setting off the smoke detector. Thanksgiving wasn't really Thanksgiving unless one of my tall, male relatives was reaching up to take the 9-volt out of the detector at some point. Never for anything big. Usually just some forgotten rolls. In the end, it was the BEST.

My mom's side, on the other hand, makes dinner for other people 363 other days a year as they own a restaurant. So my grandpa would insist that my grandma not cook a big meal. Sometimes she listened and we ate pizza. Sometimes she didn't and we had all the fixins. Toward the later years, my grandpa made sure my grandma didn't cook and made reservations for us to eat together. That was also awesome and the best. Again, the theme being that we actually got to see each other.

But as I got older and my time off was saved for the "big" holidays and people became more scattered, sometimes the only "Thanksgiving meal" I would get would be from the potluck at work (which is actually the smartest way to do it. Our office would pay for a precooked turkey and everyone brought in everything else. For the price of one dish (or bag of rolls if you were really lazy), you could get a full Thanksgiving meal.)

Now I'm fighting to keep Thanksgiving. It's hardly worth it to go all out for a full dinner for just the two of us
when I know the leftovers will never get eaten. So, I've picked my favorite carb and his and we'll dine on them. It will be delicious, if turkey-free. Maybe I'll get a pumpkin pie too. I love me some pumpkin pie. Or better yet, some Pumpkin Delight from The Pub (pumpkin cheesecake + pumpkin pie=heaven.)

What's your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Wanna Catch Fire

I'm gonna wait until Sunday morning, because that's how we do, but I am so ready to see "Hunger Games: Catching Fire." The first one was just so-so, I gotta admit. The books take place so much in Katniss's head that it seemed unlikely that it would be able to be translated into a movie in a cohesive way. And I was kinda right. There were some big holes in the first one.

But hope springs eternal and the second book is set up more outside the head and in the moment, so it lends itself to being a better movie. Plus the along with the rest of the nation, I have a girl crush on Jennifer Lawrence.

Fingers crossed, it rocks. Or else Chef may boycott the third one. (But he probably would still go because he loves me.)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Magic Number

Remember when you were a child and your parents would insist you "say the magic word" and then you'd say "please" in a sing-songy voice like they'd just pulled a string on your back. Whatever you wanted would suddenly happen because of that magic word.

My magic number is kind of like that, but only in that it spurs action. My magic number is a weight that I hit that literally and figuratively hits me in the gut until my spontaneous reactions are guilt and shame. . .and exercise.

Last week, I hit my magic number. I'm sure other people have their own magic numbers. Especially if you've ever lost weight before. I vowed while in the middle of the struggle that I'd never weigh over XXX lbs again  but that number slid up 5 lbs or so when I decided that my apathy was overtaking my need to look decent in clothing.

However, the aforementioned guilt and shame mixed with a pre-work breakdown while selecting an outfit that seemed to look better just a few weeks ago was enough for me to REALLY start logging my calories again in myfitnesspal. Not the fake logging that I do where I start the day strong, but by 3 p.m. conveniently get temporary amnesia about my mid-afternoon M&M gorge or that Venti (which I swear is Italian for BIG ASS) latte with SUGAR! and a side of extra sugar.

The magic number has been hit and my apathy has instantly turned into action. Calories are watched closer than Kim Kardashian by the paparazzi! The gym is left with the funky combination of my morning breath from my panting and my sweat.

And in a few months, the work will payoff. It has before. It will again. Except maybe this time I'll drop my magic number by 15 lbs so I don't let it get this far.

Remind me that I said that in a year when I'm reaching for another cupcake.

Friday, November 08, 2013

One of these Things Does Not Belong Here

I had another City Council meeting today and it did not disappoint in term of things to see. Which of  the following did NOT occur:

  • A full American Indian tribe doing a chant and dance
  • A man in a batman mask at the podium advocating for something or another
  • A homeless looking man saying the "Indians didn't sound like Indians. They sounded more like Hawaiians."
  • A small dog named Lola being featured for adoption during the meeting
If you said ALL OF THE ABOVE, you are correct.

Seriously, go to a city council meeting sometime. Instant entertainment. 

Monday, November 04, 2013

Last Day in Hollywood

Well, kind of. Our office is moving from Hollywood Boulevard to Westwood on Friday. And because I'm out of the office for the rest of the week, this was probably my last time in the office (barring something catastrophic that I forgot). I've only been in Hollywood for about 16 months, but that was enough. The novelty of having the Walk of Fame just outside our office wore off after a few times of trying to trudge through crowds of tourists that were blocking the sidewalks to take a photo.

I will also not miss the miscellaneous road closures, the daily religious mob that chanted every day at noon (which signified lunch for us), and the most exotic lunch option being the California Pizza Kitchen.

We move to Westwood. I'm excited to get to know a new neighborhood, especially one so close to UCLA. And for me, the difference is pretty negligible in terms of commute, which is essential in LA. And I think that this office will even have an outside facing window, which is awesome. Oh and the fact that there's an actual loading dock and I won't have semi-drivers drop off my convention gear in the middle of a street because they can't find parking, will be an added bonus.

So as I left today, I was sad that I will probably not be back there a whole lot, but happy to not be going back there a whole lot.

Westwood ho!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Kind of Excited And Terrified

I have officially finished hand editing my novel and I have to say that it doesn't look as bad as I thought it would. Are there some big sections of boring prose and little progress? Why yes, yes there are. Are those sections easily cut or rewritten to better fit into the entirety of the story? Why yes, yes they are. Considering I started writing this novel in pieces that weren't not necessarily in chronological order and I wasn't sure if I what I wrote would end up making much sense, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised.

So now I'm adding my edits into the computer and adding some touches before I send it to a few trusted people to read through before...DUM DUM DUM...trying to find an agent. My goal is to theoretically have something workable to send out by January 1st. I'll be using this time to not only polish the roughness of the manuscript down a little more, but also to mentally prepare myself for the agony of being rejected constantly.

I don't know if anyone takes rejection well, and I am no exception. I especially have a hard time if the rejection is coming towards something I care about and needless to say, I care about my writing. Even when I try to pretend I don't.

What I really fear is that this thing will get looked at and people will think it needs a major overhaul. Which means that I'll be rocking myself quietly in the corner for a month or so. As much as I love this novel, I'm also ready to start working on something else, too. Meaning that I need to have some time devoted to the new characters in my head. Unless that's schizophrenia, but then that would present before I turned 30, so I think it's just new characters.

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 11, 2013

I Believe I Can Fly...So I Did

Just off the ground

I have always wanted to skydive...except for the whole jumping out a plane part. I always thought that if I could fly without having to do something so inherently against my natural level-headedness it would be worth it.

When we were looking for apartments on a trip out to LA years ago, I was flipping through the promotional channel of attractions on the hotel cable channel and BAM! The answer to my request was right there. Indoor Skydiving. Simulated skydiving. Fake skydiving. Whatever you want to call it. A few months back a work friend was talking about wanting to fly but having the aversion to the whole plane-jumping thing and I mentioned the indoor skydiving. She was totally down for doing it.

Now flash forward last week to a staff meeting where a co-worker said she couldn't use her invite to a HR party at the indoor skydiving place and did any of us want to go, eat free Brazilian food and try out the wind tunnel.

Um, yes. That would be us over here please.

So last night my friends Meredith, Alexis and I went to iFly at Universal City Walk, ate some Brazilian ribs, and then suited up to fly. We got an adorable (and aspiring actor-SHOCKER) instructor. I think that being an attractive guy must be a prerequisite to being an instructor there because everywhere we looked there was a tall, handsome man who made flight suits look good leading a group of awkward-looking adults in goggles into the wind tunnel.

On our way or down with Ian, the instructor, photo bombing
Anyway, cute-as-a-button Ian gave us the hand signals and then lead us one by one into the booth where we flew up and down and then he grabbed our waists and walked us up on the wall of the tunnel so that we were about 2 stories up flying.


And I think from the look of pure joy on my face you can tell I had a good time. I even paid money to get those pictures, but it was well worth it.The tunnel is out in the middle of City Walk, so as you're in there, there are a bunch of tourists that are taking pictures. I thought I would care more about that. I didn't.

I liked it so much that I might actually do it and PAY FOR IT next time. As opposed to a free corporate events cultivation party.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Is this Diet?": My Eternal Struggle

I knew the water was "diet," but
the fountain drink? Argh.
I have an addiction. On the scale of all addictions, it's on the lower end, but it's mine and therefore it clearly matters to me.

My name is Ashley and I'm addicted to cola products.

For those of you who actually know me, this is not a surprise at all. I am rarely at a meal without bubbles tickling my nose. I say "cola products" or "frosty carbonated beverages" but my tastes are fairly consistent. I prefer the diet variety. Diet Dr. Pepper, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Diet Mountain Dew, all are acceptable. I have my preferences, but in a pinch, I'll even drink a Diet Pepsi. Usually with a sneer after I've had the following conversation with a waiter or waitress.

Me: I'll have a Diet Coke.

Waiter/waitress: We serve Pepsi products. Is that okay?

Me: Not really. Do you have Diet Mountain Dew?

Waiter/waitress: No. We have Diet Pepsi.

Me: Ugh. Fine. Okay. I'll take it.

And I drink it nonetheless. Don't think that my cola consumption is exclusive. Frankly, I'm just a regularly thirsty girl. The hypochondriac in me will wonder if I've got diabetes, but then I get my blood sugar taken and I don't. I even make a deal with myself that I can't have a cola until I've had at least 32 oz of water in the morning. This usually happens. Less so on the weekends.

All this to get say that I'm fairly attuned to the taste of colas and I got one today from the McDonald's across from work. McDonald's fountain drinks are the best. They're like the absolutely best way to drink a soda. I'd say that even if they weren't a client. In fact, I think I have. Anyway, a few sips in and I'm starting to panic "Is this diet?". I don't drink calories unless it's a spinach smoothie, so this is really gripping me.

Of course, it's either go without or down the drink that may or may not be diet, so I did what any addict would do: drank the thing and lived in denial.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Was Moved to Tears, but It Was Probably Hormones

An actual scene from Grand Theft Auto 5-- do bikes count?
You know how things that are supposed to move you to tears or emotion don't and then you feel like you have a heart of stone? That happens to me a lot.

But then sometimes a story that is sad but maybe not earth-shattering just tears me to pieces. That happened to me last night. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and ran across a Gawker story about a mentally-challenged 21 year old from Florida who had been robbed. That sucks what really got me was that he was robbed of Grand Theft Auto 5, the newest, hottest version of the video game, moments after he went to pick up from the store where he had placed a pre-order and been paying it off in weekly installments of $10 or $20. He had just left the store when a couple asked him for the time and then beat him up to take the game.

It's a sad story, yes, but why it brought tears to my eyes, I can't really explain. I just imagined myself as a kid working hard and saving my allowance to get something and then having someone beat me up for it before I could enjoy it. The couple who robbed the man was arrested, but they had already sold the stolen game. Last night, I just wanted to buy the guy the damn video game, and hoped the Internet would make it right.

I'm happy to say today that the victim has gotten a copy. Hopefully he got it home safely.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Blog Wouldn't Be The Same Without Poop-related Posts

Those of you who really know and love me, know that I have a long history with poop. In just about every sense of the word possible. In that light, my friend Meredith sent me this video and  had to post it. 

It was my duty. 

You're welcome. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

I Went to San Diego and Came back With Photos...and Allergies

There's something about clean, ocean air that doesn't agree with me because I was in San Diego for three days, two nights (on a work-related trip that included some delicious food) and by day three was so clogged that I was begging for the ability to breathe.

Two days after being back and I'm still draining, which is as lovely as it sounds. The one bonus is that my body is exhausted so I'm going to bed before 10 p.m. and skipping my morning run for more sleep. At least it's Friday.

In case you needed proof that I'm alive since I've been ignoring this blog for two weeks, here are the best things that I brought back from San Diego:

This was the view of a little cove next to the restaurant where we had some of the best shrimp and bananas foster cake I've ever had in my life. What's not captured is the loud moaning of seals in the cave that echoed out. 

If you look closely on the rock, you can spot three seals. Do you see them?

My favorite picture. It was a pretty sunset and the wine was good. Sometimes I forget that I live here.
This is a great reminder. 


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