Monday, August 30, 2010

Calamity Jane in the Kitchen

I am a notoriously awful cook.  I am an even worse baker.  There's a particularly grisly story involving brownies from a box that ended up gritty and rock hard for an ACDA meeting...  Today I hit an all-time cooking wipeout though, when while sitting on my bed watching Flight of the Conchords it suddenly hit me that I had been boiling water for the last twenty minutes.  I leapt off the bed, raced upstairs and thankfully nothing was aflame.  Can't even boil water.  Probably not going to add that to the ol' resume.

I don't understand how I'm so horrible at cooking.  I remember helping my mom cook and bake when I was little, and she's a wonderful cook.  My brother is even better, and no one seems to have taught him.  Even my dad can throw together a decent tasting meal, and he will literally eat anything.  

Doesn't that look awesome?!  Shan, I want this for my birthday, please.  We both know I'll never be able to create this myself.  Sorry you'll have to find strawberries in December...

Currently Reading: The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber
Number of Days til Europe: 9
Number of Bikes Ridden: 0
Number of Blondies Consumed (this week): 4

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The last time we went backpacking it was in the woods.  That was physically intense.  This trip will probably just be mentally exhausting.  Also maybe physically, but at least we won't be climbing uphill for twelve miles with unfairly distributed camping supplies on our backs.

I bought a journal for our trip.  I've always wanted to own a heavenly smelling leather journal.  Now I dooooo!  It has an owl stamped on the front of it, which is cute and does not remind me of how creepy real-life birds are.

Once I worked as a park ranger.  That job wasn't great because the stuff was heavy and I am not strong or large, plus I had to do things like plant trees (not fun for six hour stretches) and rip down vines and pull up weeds.  I got to hike some, which was fun, but it was weird to be completely alone in the woods.  It wasn't even really peaceful, I was a little paranoid something was going to sneak up on me in the vast quiet space.  Anyway, it's related because one of the many jobs I was hired to complete but would NEVER do was feed the owls.  Yup.  The first day I learned that, I looked straight at my boss (his name is Travis and he is so so nice.  I was actually hired to sit and talk to him all day.) and laughed and told him there was no way in hell I was going to grab up dead mice in my bare hands and walk into a pen full of birds and set their dinner down.  Especially not after watching them fly at his own head.  That job actually asked me back the following summer.  I must have been awfully fun to talk to, which seems unlikely.

We also like to sing.  Or did.  We haven't sung together in a while.  I'm not bringing the ol' iPod to Europe.  I'm pretty sure I'd fuck it up, or maybe someone would actually steal my crappy old iPod.  I would still be mad though, crappy and old is better than brand new at my own expense.  I still hope we sing together though.  Julie was never one to judge that kind of stuff.

The summer before college we went to New Jersey with our friend Bee.  We went to this theme park on the boardwalk and there was a Haunted House ride that we decided to go on.  Once in the dark house (designed for three year olds) we decided to get panicky and scared and proceeded to clutch each other and scream, actually, truly scream, the Wells Fargo Wagon song from The Music Man with our eyes resolutely shut.  We could even hear the employees howling with laughter but we did not care.  Bee took a picture of us coming out of the ride because the people of the boardwalk could hear our terrified singing/shrieking.  I wish I could find it and scan it, it's hilarious.

We don't fight.  Like, ever.  I think once we got frustrated in New York and argued a tiny bit, but even then it's fuzzy.  I hope we don't start fighting in Europe, but it doesn't really seem like either of our personalities.  We've talked about how there will just be some days when we're not talkative.  There should be enough cool shit to look at and experience that it's not really an issue.  

Actually, at a Nats game in July she was quite frustrated that I said she had brown eyes when in fact she has hazel.  Troublemaker.

I'm not obsessed with Julie, but she's one of my only close friends from high school that I see and want to see on a regular basis.  She's teaching me to ride a bike tomorrow afternoon, but I'm not sure how that's going to go.  I feel like at age 22 there isn't much instruction involved in activities such as bike riding.  I really just need to sit on the damn thing and fall off it enough times that I figure out the balance and can get moving.  Trial and error learning at its finest.  I probably should be more embarrassed that I can't ride a bike, but I'm really not.  I just have to learn.  I bought a purple one.  I want to understand how gears work, they seem fascinating.  It's hard to be embarrassed around someone that has stood "guard" while you pooped in the woods.  And vice versa.  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And the Universe replied...

Dear Ashley,

We, the Universe, are sorry to hear that you are impatient but you're going to have to suck it up on some of those grounds.  Firstly, we gave you a trip to Europe, so... you'll just have to wait for that one.  It's only 15 days away though, so we feel you can comfortably deal.  Also you have not yet learned enough French, so you're welcome on that account.  We can, however, throw you a couple bones.  Firstly, here's a cute house for you in Ballston for a flat-out steal.  We know how much you love weird old things and the Metro.  Secondly, we've given you a decent brain so you'll figure out what you want to do.  You're just frustrated that you're a waitress, but law school and audition time will come soon enough.  You're welcome there too.  We hope we've mollified you enough to limit the number of frustrated outbursts, and we hope you remember all the great things you do have in your life and how often you have fun.

Much love from,
The Universe

Friday, August 20, 2010

patience isn't one of my virtues

My whole life is about waiting.    Waiting to accrue enough money to move out of my parents house, waiting to go on the trip of a lifetime (19 daysssss), waiting to find a person to be with who's not a total waste of time, waiting to figure out what I want to do with my life because I don't want to wait tables.

I don't have answers and I don't have means.  It's not ideal.

What I do have is energy and time.  I'm willing to give them both up in the pursuit of being whole and happy and leapy.  Complacency breeds lethargy of the mind and I hate it!!

SO CAN GREAT THINGS PLEASE HURRY UP AND HAPPEN!?!?!?  (I don't use caps lock a lot because it's pretty intense, but this is a wail to the laws of nature so I think it's okay)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I should probably be a lawyer

Went to Open Mic Poetry on Monday with a couple friends.  I signed up fully anticipating to giggle like the little jackass I am at others' too-public-to-be-real and saccharine emotions.  What ended up happening was way cooler (and more deserving of my $3).  My mind was blown by a 32 year-old, single dad covered in tattoos and an obese woman with pigtails that I believed to be homeless and insane until she opened her mouth.  There was a surprising number of people willing to get up and recite original works, and nothing was awful.  One guy did wax on about "horniness" for a good three minutes, but the whole audience was laughing out loud, and even he was grinning at his own stupidity.  However, the two poets mentioned above were amazing.

The guy was the MC of the event (Derrick Weston Brown), and his opening poem wiped the Arlington wise ass smile off my face.  He recited from memory and his imagery was both beautiful and simple.  He spoke slowly, so we'd understand, but with his eyes closed.  It was the most honest I think someone can be expected to be under such circumstances.  He wasn't doing it for show, he was just a poet.  It was so cool to watch an artist like that work.  This guy has an MFA in Creative Writing.

The woman was even better.  Her name is It's Real Light and she sings her poetry.  She grabbed my heart and hung onto it after singing the first couple of lines and then realizing the key she picked was too high.  Rather than get flustered, she stopped, grinned, and said, "Man, I gotta pick a lower key!  I'm startin' over!!!" and promptly did just that.  Her presence was wonderful, she didn't use the mic and bounded cheerfully into the audience to sing for specific people.  Generally that shit is scary as hell, but she wasn't aggressive and pulled it off so gracefully.  She's such a joyful performer, and her subject matter was life, but infused with the humor, sadness, and joy that life really is.  Plus her voice was badass without being trained and prim.  And she looks like a nut job.  Seriously insane- tiny brightly colored t-shirt with tiny jeans, braids pulled into giant pigtails over her ears.  And she made me tear up!

I love what you can experience if you let people surprise you!!  I'm starting to believe that not having expectations and letting life happen to you is the most fun and most rewarding thing you can do for yourself.

Tonight I waited on a couple of dudes who essentially irritated me the whole night.  I wasn't making great money, it was rainy, I had gotten lost in the suburbs earlier, and they made strange requests and spoke with a drawl (when will I learn not to judge that...seriously....).  At one point they grabbed me and asked me what I would do if someone just handed me $3 million with no strings attached.  I was about to say something sassy and walk away, but then I actually considered the question.  Free money is a pretty fun game for someone who has precious little.  One guy was eager for me not to "do something boring with it" and the other was pushing for me to do just the opposite.  I thought for about 4 seconds and told them I'd pack a suitcase with clothes I love to wear and then go to the airport and buy the first ticket to a place I'd like to check out.  Once I had had my fill of that place, I'd go to the airport and continue with that game until I ran out of money.  I didn't mention that I would buy my parents something extravagant, and definitely just dive right into that dress I've been eyeing at Anthropologie.  They both laughed and while the first guy agreed and was delighted I would be so foolish with free money, the other guy was appalled and tried to sway me into saving it.  No way, dude.  They ended up tipping me almost 50%.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How I Learned to Dive

Spent the last week in the tropical paradise of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Now, some prudent readers might think to themselves "What in the hell is the whitest girl alive doing so close to the Equator? Especially one who is petrified of both birds and fish?" Turns out I love free things more than I'm scared of birds and fish (the former poops in the sky, and the latter is slimy. both are insanely foul smelling.) and a vacation is lovely even if you find yourself with the people you occasionally need a vacation from.

***Here I should just mention that my family is great and I love them so so much***

The resort was nice enough, but the beach was AMAZING. White sand with huts built from palm fronds, not to mention the trees themselves.

The airport had a thatched roof (what!?) and when you entered the country you had to give the man $10 (....) as well as get your picture taken with Chiquita Banana. They then try to sell you the picture of yourself looking bewildered and dragging a suitcase behind a woman with wax fruit on her head. Also, bought some art for $40. The guy's original offer was $123. I feel like even at $40 I probably still got ripped off. The artist himself was passed out face down in the sand while chickens stepped gingerly over his body and nibbled sand around his feet.

Aside from being stupid beautiful and treacherously hot, Punta Cana gave me something beyond amazing: my scuba diving license (PADI what what!). We went for our first dive on Thursday and I fell in love, in spite of some mild food poisoning, the fact that I could not carry my own equipment, and that the fifty-year old, sinewy dive instructor wore a tiny black Speedo 100% of the time he was on land.

Howev, I would marry Frank if he would have me. After the first dive (7 meters), I was doneskies. THE OCEAN IS SO COOL!! The second dive (12 meters) was the following day (after watching Frank get stung by a sting ray the size of a saucer) and I was in heaven. We dove around a 1950's shipwreck and Frank grabbed my hand and pulled my inside the ship and enormous schools of silvery, iridescent fish swam inches from my face. Breathtaking. Bro-ski and I are meeting up with Frank in Florida in December and getting Open Water certified. I wanna see sharks and whales, Frank says he'd take me even if I wasn't. That's true love.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm a heathen and I like it

This blog is mine, and is not written with the express purpose of offending, but some thoughts, feelings, and things are just wrong. Yup, wrong. Wrong and misguided. This entry is about marriage equality. If you disagree, don't read this.

I am extremely blue-blooded. I am over the moon about Judge Walker's decision on Prop 8. Seriously, over the moon. I read the Huffington Post's article about it and was invigorated by my political leanings despite Walker's Republican nature, believing that good had triumphed evil even in the face of political adversity. Naturally, I turned to the NY Times, my Safari home page and trusted liberal newspaper, to see what they had to say. There, reality crushed me to its breast as I remembered that our Supreme Court is currently run by a Conservative tyrant. This is a classic Harry vs. Voldemort sitch, naturally the gays and liberals are Dumbledore's Army, and Roberts is Voldemort. DA is still wading through Death Eaters, but Voldemort knows we're coming. Spoiler alert: Voldy doesn't win.

Classifying a fellow human being as a second-rate citizen is wrong. Not to mention disgusting and ignorant. Furthermore, if others choose to marry, it literally does not affect you. So shut up.

The beautiful and terrifying thing about ideas is that they can really grab hold of you and refuse to let up. People can't filter what can be physically and/or emotionally damaging when it comes to their convictions.

Clarification: I do not believe in God. I will protest if Roe v. Wade gets overturned. I think guns are terrifying. I like taxes. I like marriage equality.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Shark Week Part One

Every time I hear the phrase "Shark Week" I do two things: 1. Get super excited. Toothy predators, what's not to like?!, and 2. Laugh out loud thinking about the "sharking" references on 30 Rock. While I could not be more excited that television is being inundated with prehistoric animals ravaging seals, I figure my shark week starts next week when I go scuba diving in Punta Cana. So rip up that seal, hopefully, I'll get to see one swim past me next week. Preferably from a safe distance, when its belly is full, aand I'm not suffering an injury, nor far from the boat.

Saw the Phillies get spanked by the Nats (and ohhh, did it hurt) from three rows behind the dugout. Cholly could hear me screaming my opinion on Oswalt (that he's crap) and I saw Chase in real-life size. I can't believe I forgot to charge my camera battery. My co-worker was so kind as to call me after Blanton get his butt handed to him on the second night of the series and gloat via voice mail.

RedTapeUpdate: After many an eye roll, I secured my temporary license, and the permanent one is at the mercy of the United States Postal Service. I am pretty excited to see the picture because I wore my best librarian shirt and had an awful hair day.