How to not do college: a Sunday series πŸ’‹

I told Matt I was going to create a series of blogs about “how to not do college” and he kind of just gave me a blank stare – then goes “considering you completed 4 years of undergraduate college and 3 years of law school… I’m not sure you’re qualified to speak on the matter.” 🀣

He has a point.. I DID college, I did a lot of it. Wayyyy too much (0/10 recommend). But that’s precisely why I know exactly what NOT to do to YOURSELF during college. Consider this a how to: how to survive ages 18-22, how to make GOOD decisions (vis Γ‘ vis my BAD decisions), and I may even sneak in a fashion tip or two. Basically, consider yourself enrolled in the world’s longest extended lesson on everything not to do, because it’s tried and true.. and I’m not sure that I’m what you would consider #goals.

First, please note: I was unaware that college was a choice.

When I say unaware, I mean, I had no idea that it was an option/there was no legal obligation to go to college, like there was in high school. Not going to college was simply not a discussion in our household and it wasn’t until I heard of people in high school that were going to go straight to work 😱, that it even crossed my mind that college may (possibly) be a choice. Don’t be that kid. You’ll just look dumb in front of your classmates. (thanks mom and dad! πŸ˜‘)

Also, I recommend having a clear understanding on the inner workings of college credit hours BEFORE enrollment. Otherwise.. you will try to sign up for 15 hours of class a day and have a breakdown in the enrollment classroom (in front of all your new classmates) because it keeps telling you that you’ve hit your credit limit.. tenfold. Fun fact, I had no idea that college students didn’t go to school from 8:00-4:00. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

yep. That’s RIGHT. I thought we were going to be going to classes all day, every day, just like we always had. For how long, you ask? UNTIL I WAS LITERALLY CRYING DURING ENROLLMENT. As in, yes, I was actually AT the college when this little nugget of truth was revealed to me. (Thanks again, mom and dad! I feel STRONGLY that this could have been brought up at least ONCE before you set me free on the world).

Goals are good. Have goals. But don’t shape your entire college experience around a goal that you have predetermined is your ONLY option. Give yourself a little grace – up until three months ago, you had to ask to go to the bathroom. Dip your toe into college, at the shallow end, and take a minute to get used to the temperature. DO NOT dive headfirst into the deep end and suddenly discover you do not know how to swim. I have never been a strong swimmer.

So for example, Med School. I think it’s a good idea to think about it, pursue it, but don’t like.. cut-off every other option in your life. Especially for a goal.. you are not 100% committed to completing (come to find out!). 18 is a hard to time to decide what to do for the REST of your existence. It’s okay if you need to give it some thought. Most people do.

Otherwise, you’ll be so determined that you are going to med school that you fast-forward the whole college experience by completing 21 credit hours (you know, those introductory classes in college) before you even get there. Inevitably, you’ll be thrown in the pre-med program, and taking calculus as your first college class, when in reality, the last math class you took was in like ninth grade.. and it was elementary algebra.

How bad was it? I’ll paint a picture. Imagine me, walking into my first college class, sitting down, and getting up after 5 minutes and leaving class, because I ASSUMED I WAS IN THE WRONG CLASS.

The limit (of how under-qualified you can be) does not exist in calculus class – which seriously sounded like some weird cult-language to me. 😳 Imagine my horror when I realized I was in the right place and had to go back in. I know they mean something else when they say the walk of shame.. but this particular moment had to qualify somewhere on the walk of shame – scale of misery.

One final token, and this is an important one, do NOT wear your cute new dress, with your sexy new thong, and your fancy Vera Bradley backpack, to your first day of college.

Inevitably, you will walk the entire length of Jayhawk Boulevard (I don’t know- 1/2 a mile? Give or take) with the bottom of your dress tucked up your back, by your super snazzy, new backpack, and your ass will just hanging out. FULL BLOWN ASSAGE. Let me just say, it’s not actually as breezy as you would think. And I’m not sure there is anything quite as awkward as mistakenly thinking you look like hot shit and appreciating the stares and finding out later it was for ALL the wrong reasons.

Talk about the walk of shame. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ bless the upperclassman that finally pulled me aside and updated me on the butt situation. I have no idea who she was, or what she has done in her life thus far, but she truly deserves all good things at all times.

LEARN FROM ME! Sunny daze ahead, friends (probably).

Wellness: what does it mean for me?

Wellness — I have spent so much time trying to understand what it means to me lately. I know I have alluded to it in the past, but I’m going to be straightforward, right now.

In September, I opted to switch my anti-anxiety medications around. This was a decision that weighed heavily on my heart, but ultimately, I felt like I needed a change.

I’m pretty “in-tune” with my anxiety; after all, it is my longest, nearest, and not-at-all dearest frenemy. I have struggled with anxiety for almost as long as I can remember breathing. Medications, therapies, good times, bad times. So in September, I felt like it was time for a change. I felt ready to make a change.

It almost ruined my life. I have never been so sick, so depressed, so low, so anxious in my entire life. I honestly should have been hospitalized. I spent 3 months absolutely miserable… and I couldn’t remember why I decided a change was needed.

And being that low really does make you think… what is wellness? What does wellness mean to me?

Wellness used to mean climbing on my horse’s back, taking off at a full gallop, for as long as we both could last.

Wellness used to mean spending hours brushing her, detangling her mane, and kissing her soft spot on her nose.

Wellness used to look like walking around the Lawrence dog park with my TWO favorite girls, stopping to let Harley take a quick swim.

Wellness used to look like my home, in Lawrence, sitting on my roof, staring at the stars, and listening to the steam whistle signal class was over for the night.

I used to know what wellness looked like for me. Wellness used to seem easy.

I’ve come to realize that wellness is a choice, and it’s a choice that you have to make Wellness was so, so hard to see during those 3 months.

But I see wellness in taking a night to binge watch my favorite tv show, in my favorite place (bed) with my three favorite poochies.

I see wellness in mopping my floor (is there anything that makes you feel like your shit is more put together than a mopped floor?) and testing out a new recipe (I recently started testing out the instant pot.. it’s a little scary LOL)

I choose wellness by choosing to love others when I don’t feel like loving myself. By sharing phone calls, and telling stories, and setting lunch dates.

I feel wellness in sitting on my back porch, sharing a cigarello, and jamming out to Brian Davis, with Matt. Sunshine on our face, summer breeze through our hair.

Wellness looks like sharing a good meal, with good friends and good family, making memories.

I choose wellness when I let myself say no, when I remind myself to take time to me, when I remind myself to rest.

I feel wellness when I sit down to watch a game, at a favorite restaurant, and share a couple of budlights, and an appetizer or two, with my favorite guy.

I feel wellness with a good bubble bath soak, a juicy murder podcast in the background, and a glass of wine, before an early bedtime.

I feel wellness when I sit down with a good book, or to solve a puzzle with my mom, or sit down to watch dateline or go grocery shopping with my dad.

I feel wellness on lazy Saturday mornings, cuddled up with Matt and our three babies, telling stories and laughing with one another.

I’ve come to realize that wellness takes different forms on different days. Wellness changes with the times and changes with the needs. I have to be honest, I would love to have access to some of my old “wellness” techniques, but how exciting is it that the entire world is open for the pursuit of wellness?!

I plan to keep pursuing wellness, for myself, and I’ll keep you updated on what I find out. Pursue wellness, friends, we ALL deserve it.

Sunny daze ahead friends, surely. πŸ’•

Sunny daze ahead friends, surely. πŸ’•

Great news! My salsa wasn’t roofied. πŸ˜¬

In this classic rendition of what Matt describes as an “Ashley-only Scenario,” I may have accepted roofied salsa from a stranger in the grocery store parking lot. It went like this:

The other day, like the mature/responsible adult I am, I went to the store on my way home from work, because inclement weather was pending.

PS: I don’t watch the news, it’s depressing. So I only knew this because we got the option to remote into work. REAL ADULT LIKE.

So anyways, I’m minding my own business, grabbing the essentials: Oreos, milk, frosting, Mountain Dew and cereal, like the adult I am (and the adult I feed at home expects 🀣).

Fast forward, and I’m trying to load up my truck with the goods, and the guy parked next to me has every single door to his vehicle open. Every single door.

I’m trying not to be a dick, but like… it’s cold and… my sunroof wasn’t open for easy drop in (because winter), so I kindly ask if he minds if I shut his door nearest mine for a second. This dude is super polite.

But like… it was weird. This bro had over 8 open coolers in his vehicle. I’m trying not to stare because ya know… you do you, boo boo. But this guy has an ASSLOAD of salsa in his car. Like.. 800 containers. It really gets the mind rolling on who could possibly need that much salsa.

As I am maneuvering into my truck, this guy yells out “hey, you ever tried Big Mama’s Salsa?!” … um no. “Hot, medium or mild?!”

And me being the weirdo I am, and my inability to NOT channel Paris in uncomfy situations, I just blurt out “Hot, that’s Hot!”

πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ why am I me?!

So.. he gives me a random container of hot salsa, in the middle of the grocery store parking lot, mid-evening. And me, being an IDIOT, kindly accepted it and ran home to show Matt my prize.

Matt… immediately is not proud. 0% part of him is beaming with the face of a proud papa, the way I imagined this win was going to go over. WHO DOESN’T LOVE FREE SALSA FROM STRANGERS IN PARKING LOTS?!

Apparently, NE has a human trafficking problem. Matt is convinced I received roofied salsa. There was some logic to his argumentation… but I wasn’t ready accept the salsa was a no-go. To the fridge (of expiration) it went.

AND THEN I SHIT YOU NOT.. today, I go to the store to pick up more milk (seriously, Matt has a problem🀒) and THE SALSA MAN IS THERE. turns out he’s totally legitimate and sells homemade salsa to Hyvee.

So.. that’s the win of the week. My salsa wasn’t roofied. But, what kinda asshole gives you free salsa without including the Tostitos?!

Back to the fridge (of expiration) it goes. No promises that we’ll ever eat it, but let me know if you end up trying Big Mama’s Salsa and liking it. It’s apparently all the rage.

Sunny (roofie-free Salsa) daze ahead, sweet friends (probably).

If you aren’t yelling at him to sit down, is it even love?

To start, I should mention, Matt and I have been dating 3.5 (billion) years as of today. Yep, 3.5 years ago, he invited me to his cousin’s wedding and the night before the wedding had the epiphany that he had no idea how to introduce me. I had just driven up from KC, we had hung out.. twice (the second time is a story for another time), and he was suddenly bamboozled by the fact that I was going to meet the entire extended family. I could tell it was hitting him hard.. he was getting a little pale, but eventually he mustered out the “so.. should I introduce you as Ashley, my date, or Ashley, my girlfriend?”

I cannot understate the sheer beauty of the moment.. the date or the girlfriend?

All laughing aside, words have never been his thing, and this was a big moment for him. Matt, my Matt, was the perpetual bachelor, and he wanted ME to be his girlfriend?! Yes, yes, a million times yes. Now that I have had time to think about it, I think he was into the whole KC ➑️ Omaha distance thing. I was low threat. LITTLE DID HE KNOW πŸ˜‰

People often ask us how this beautiful love story got started: an Omaha boy, trained in the trades, obsessed with working out, with a mean(ish) dog, and then me, the KC girl that would NEVER leave the city, had one more year of law school left with her sweet and loyal sidekick puppy-dog by her side… and was most definitely NOT obsessed with working out; and let me just say, it’s QUITE the story. Hold onto your butts- it’s about to get exciting.

But first, how many of you have heard of Country Stampede?! It’s a 3-day long country music festival in Manhattan, Kansas. As a Jayhawk, this is most definitely enemy’s territory, but what can I say? Manhappenin’ throws a hell of a party. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Most festival attendees camp out in the park that the festival is hosted. Stampede attracts a certain kind of crowd. There is minimal showering, potentially no teeth brushing.. or teeth. There are often mud fights, and at least one person vomits an hour for the entire 72 hours of the festival. The crowd is rowdy, but in all the best ways. Boys wear shorty shorts, and America themed everything; girls are clad in daisy dukes (I have underwear longer than some of these “shorts”), bikini tops on, but boobs most definitely barely hanging in those tiny, tiny cups. (I swear, the bikini tops are always 10 sizes too small). And the cowboy boots. Everyone is in cowboy boots. It’s truly a sight for sore eyes.

I know it sounds like I’m judging, but I swear I am not. I miss that crowd more than anything. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of hang. Those are my people!

My mom and I go every year (besides this year- thanks COVID) and it’s always a girls weekend to “pre-celebrate” my birthday. My best friend (Logan) and her mom join us too. It’s a whole EVENT. While we have all certainly adjusted to High Five Friday and Slap Ass Saturday… the first year we went… it was just my mom and I, and we most definitely sat in the mud and cried. This was not our proudest moment, but I’ve promised to be honest with you. We’ve toughened up a LOT and slap all the asses now. But, under no given circumstances, do we camp. And we NEVER will.

HOWEVER; we do/did get there early every day, mid-June, to sweat our imaginary ball-sacks off, for HOURS before the first show starts. It’s actually my friend Logan’s fault. She insists on the best seats in the wide open field, every. single. year. (Logan, you know I love you). So it’s all part of the tradition, if you haven’t sweat your brains out and dehydrated twice before nightfall, you’re not stampeding right.

So.. after the first year/mud-sitting/crying fiasco, mom and I got smart. We learned to bring chairs. Of course, we forgot to bring them with us every year, so they ended up being NEW chairs every year, but whatever… chalk it up to another stampede tradition.

Thanks to Logan, we would get there nice and early and have our 4 chairs lined up in a little row, optimal viewage (I’m making this a word) to the main stage, the catwalk, and both screens. Logan was on it. It may have been early, but she put in the work.

SO BACK TO MATT, the reason for this post (sort of). πŸ˜‰

It’s mid-afternoon, I’ve already dehydrated once, I’ve watched the drunk people throw each other into mud pits, I’ve seen the hourly vomiter… I’m rubbing my once cold Aquafina on my forehead, pretending like I don’t hate everything (including Logan for getting us there so GD early!), and this guy catches my eye.

First, he catches my eye because despite the fact we’ve been set up for HOURS, sweating it out for Old Dominion, he and his crew roll up, walking between two rows of chairs, and set up all 6 of their chairs, smack in the middle of everyone. Not even TRYING to follow the crowd lines. But they were hot (like visually attractive, not just sweaty… everyone was sweaty), so no one really cared.

I couldn’t stop staring at Matt, but I promise you.. it’s not for the reason you think. Matt (my precious, angel Matt) was apparently intoxicated (which had nothing to do with his attraction to me in the slightest BTW). He was chatting with his friend, Nate the Great, and I have never seen anyone so engaged in a conversation in my life. His facial expressions were priceless, you could tell he was 900% invested in the story. Seriously, the best kind of audience. (I often wonder what happened to this listener when I am reminding him for the 15th time where his keys are 🀣). But anyways, I was enthralled. My prior boyfriend’s inability to use his ears at all may have played into it, but my god, I was captivated. For hours.

Admiring from afar, but most definitely not making a move. UNTIL he and his tribe of dipshits (sorry Batman, Nate the Great, Clingy Girlfriend, and Man Piece (yes, these are the names I gave them)) decided to use the exact moment that Old Dominion broke onto the stage (ya know- the headliner) to stand up and have a photo op. Like multiple photos.

In true Ashley-fashion, my cool was lost. Undoubtedly choice words, such as, HEY YOU THERE, FUCKERS IN FRONT. SIT THE FUCK DOWN. NOW. were uttered.

And Matt swears that was the moment he was hooked. So he spent the entire night flirting with my MOM. Before the night ended, he asked me for a dance. After the verbal assault I unleashed on him, it was the least I could do… right? And the rest is history. ❀️

So my question for you is this: if you aren’t screaming at them to sit the fuck down, are you even really in love? I’ve never been more sure of something or someone in my life. I am so grateful that I get to be Ashley, the girlfriend. I’ll never stop being thankful for that “Ashley” mouth of mine, getting me into the right amount of trouble. 3.5 years later, and he still sits on command… sometimes. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜˜

Sunny daze ahead friends, I promise. πŸ’•

3 Truths and a Big, Fat Lie

3 truths and a lie, you know the game right? Someone tells you four interesting, juicy, somewhat unbelievable, tidbits about themselves and their lives; 3 are true, one is a lie. It used to be a game you could play in high school to “flirt” with your crush over text or it sometimes showed up as a “fun” get-to-know- you game that your teacher/educator forced you to play (that you most definitely hated). Here, it’s showing up as an intro to a blog post, so love it or hate it, let’s play:

1. I have rode horses since I was 11 years old, and got the first love of my life, Star, at the prime age of 12. I lost her December 26, 2019… and life hasn’t looked the same since.

2. I love to grocery shop and HATE to clothes shop. Clothing is so challenging and it never fits me the way I want it to fit.

3. I have a subconscious, but increasingly evident, obsession with black/white colored mutts. I’m on my 4th (with Zeppelyn) in 9 years.. and I have no regrets. Apparently, they’re just the best.

4. I lead a Pinterest-perfect life, full of happiness and joy, at all hours of the day.

So.. which is the lie?

What I thought was the obvious lie… wasn’t so clear. Hint: I don’t lead a Pinterest-perfect life, it’s not all giggles and kicks over here, and sometimes.. I just lie. We all do. Social media is a lie – a carefully constructed, photo album of all the happy, joyful moments, that seems to seriously lacking in work place drama, discontent, self-loathing, internal battles, sickness, relationship turmoil, and all other “negative” feelings. The truth is… happy sells. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

I’ve always considered myself a very honest, candid person. And then, a few months ago, I made a Facebook post. It was stupid, I had had a bad day and I was frustrated about something (I honestly don’t even remember) and so I posted a “rant” about how over adulthood I was. I got the normal sympathizers, the “feel ya there, girl,” all the “it’ll get better’s” a girl could want, but then I got an unexpected response.

I got a message, from an old high school acquaintance, that simply said: “sorry to hear you are going through this, but I have to admit, you always seem SO happy. It’s nice to know you are human.”

Immediately, I thought.. what a weird thing to say to someone who is truly going through a mental breakdown/break-through (I’m choosing break-through these days🌞), that has been sick as hell for weeks, that hasn’t gone 2 days in a row without crying in months… yet, here I am… Little Miss Sunshine, a gigantic liar.

I should preface this by saying- I hate liars, but it’s all part of the game.. isn’t it?

I’ve come to realize lately (like as I am drafting this blog) that this kind of lying is okay. It’s okay to put your foot down and only share positive things, it’s okay to portray your life the way you want it to seem (habits take time, after all). It’s okay to share photos that make your heart smile, quotes that set your soul on fire, and just “fake it until you make it”.

The other option is to be negative all the time, and sad, and never share anything that adds joy to your life.. or anyone else’s life for that matter. Do you know what I call that? Manifesting the SHIT out of that SHIT. sad stories, complaints, sickness, negativity. The more you share, the more you manifest doom and gloom.

I choose joy. I choose sunshine and rainbows. And sometimes, it’s a lie; and sometimes, that’s okay. In the face of the current state of our country, COVID, racism, unemployment, police relations, I choose joy. It’s not naive, it’s not thoughtlessness, it’s not being close-minded or ignorant. It’s simply my only choice – I choose to manifest dog love, family, love for Matt and self-love.

Manifest what you love and you’ll reflect that love. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ even on bad days, even when you’re going through tough times, positivity can become so entwined with your identity, that it is shocking to others to find out that you actually have more complex human feelings.

As a consequence of this epiphany, and the knowledge that I seem “always happy,” social media is suddenly jaded. I’ve come to realize, all those Pinterest-perfect people… probably also have actual problems, and real emotions, and hardships too. Maybe all those bodies we envy, the marriages that we covet, trips we turn green for, the babies we long for, are the silver-linings to some real shitty shit. That’s the beauty of social media-maybe they’re faking it until they make it too. Maybe we’re all a bunch of fucking fakes; but at least, we’re trying.

In a roundabout way, this is all to say: choose joy, friends. Fake it, until you make it. Celebrate other people’s wins, because you never know what shit happened behind the scenes of that perfectly crafted Facebook post. Don’t envy, don’t hate, don’t get jealous. Your comeuppance is coming, and the sooner you embrace the joy of YOUR journey, the happier you’ll be. I’m saying this as much as myself as much as I am saying it to you – a happy facade is better than nothing at all.

Sunny daze ahead friends (optimistically)

Firm opinions about absolutely nothing πŸŒž

Things seem bleak. Things ARE bleak. It seems like people are more divided, feelings are more hurt, anger and hate is permeating into every aspect of life. Personal lives, relationships, careers, friendships are being tested and pushed.. and after 2020, we kinda needed a break. As you know, or you should know, I refuse to comment/engage in political discussion, religious discussion, controversy of any kind really. This is because some of my most loved people are radically different than me, feel radically different than me, look radically different than me, love radically differently than me, and I still love them. Like.. a lot and for me, that’s the only thing I really need to know. Love harder, love better, love differently, love intentionally. My goal for 2021 is that everyone important to me feels seen, loved, and heard by me. Spewing hate and anger prohibits that. So.. no dice. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

But… I was getting a little bummed that my promise to myself (and my loved ones) was preventing me from sharing opinions when it’s ALL THE RAGE on every social media platform. So, instead of anything political/controversial/hateful, I’m creating a list of super firm opinions I hold that effect absolutely no one and have no true detriment to society in the slightest. Enjoy.

1. Tupperware shouldn’t exist. I hate it; it’s disgusting, it’s smelly, it’s absolutely never clean again after the first use. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ help me fight the war against Tupperware. Don’t even get me started on the lid situation. It’s just toxic.

2. Those goldfish, with the exposed brains, in pet stores.. are ridiculously frightening. They shouldn’t be exposed to children. They shouldn’t exist. Ferrets look like furry snakes and I am a little afraid of them also.

3. Rolling over on a squeaky dog toy in bed whilst in the middle of a deep sleep is the fur parent equivalent to the real parents rolling over on a child’s talking toy. The terror is the same, probably.

4. White queso is WAY better than yellow queso. But I can agree it can be mood dependent. In sum, queso is fucking bomb no matter what color. The same goes for enchiladas. It’s honestly magic.

5. I’m a huge advocate for finishing exactly 0 show series. I tried it once. Characters I loved died, the ending wasn’t what I expected, I was left hanging, overall… the ending didn’t live up to expectations. So.. I propose, we skip all endings. Watch a series until you don’t think you can handle another minute of the drama, then immediately turn it off, stop following, and forget the experience ever happened. I promise, your imagination won’t let you down – the show really might.

6. There are no slower drivers in the world than the drivers in Nebraska. I know, I know.. this probably coming off as controversial. It’s not, it’s FACT. As a Kansas Citian, I know how to drive at normal speeds. My fellow Kansas Citians, who have visited me, can all attest… Nebraskans are the SLOWEST. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

7. Disney world is the Devil’s playground. I know, this may also be alienating. I’ll tell you more about it some other time, but just know.. it was the TRIP. FROM. HELL. I will never return, but good for all y’all that like it, I’m invested in your experience being better. But truly, everything on your trip could go absolutely wrong in every single way, shape, and form, and still be better than the TRIP. FROM. HELL.

8. Elephants should be household pets. For real. Everyone would be better if they had a baby pet elephant. Plus it could reduce carbon emissions. Slower, but reliable, transportation. Plus their memories are amazing. We all deserve one. 🐘

9. Bingo is the most fun game. Ever. Online bingo = a way of life. Live bingo? THE ANTICIPATION IS UNREAL. Bingo can be played at any age and enjoyed by every person. It’s America’s game, fight me about it!

10. Cheddar bites and mozzarella sticks are amazing ➑️ the phrase “cheese curd” is horrific and underserves the entire fried cheese industry. It’s a freaking crime.

11. Rappers/musicians shouldn’t be allowed to use cop sirens in their songs. It’s heart attack inducing if you are driving. I hate it and someone needs to make that a real life rule.

12. I don’t think it’s THAT offensive when people clap when the plane lands. I don’t get the hatred for the habit. Sometimes, you just gotta clap for joy. Sometimes you’ve been sitting for hours and you just need release energy somehow – clapping is that outlet. Don’t hate the expression. It’s probably better than like a freaking break dance competition or fist-fight.

13. Telephone calls need to stop. Like fully. It’s an ancient practice. Text me, message me, snap me, Facebook me. DO NOT CALL ME. Telephone calls desperately want to be extinct. I desperately want them to be extinct. Let’s make this the goal of 2021. Together, we can conquer the freaking telephone call NIGHTMARE.

14. Spring water tastes like fishbowl water. It’s gross.

15. Printers should literally NEVER be allowed to run out of ink and lightbulbs should never burn out. Who actually remembers either of those items when they go to the store? ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. Then.. BAM.. one day, in the middle of a school/work crisis, you’re suddenly reminded you’re out of the damn printer ink. And it’s midnight. And Walmart is closed. And life just sucks at that point. Printer ink and lightbulbs put people in bad moods. It’s a science.

16. We should make plastic dishware and silverware the new norm. Dishes are nasty. How lovely would it be if we could just use the plate for meal at hand and throw it away. No more soggy food. No more leftovers.

Honestly, with that… I’m circling back to the eradication of Tupperware. So I guess.. I stop.

Sunny daze ahead friends (probably).

Sunny daze ahead friends (probably).

Enneagram: Whatever

I have a secret.

I don’t know my enneagram, and honestly, I don’t want to. I get the basic premise of the enneagram test; it’s to help you understand yourself and your way of thinking, your perceptions, your inclinations, your triggers, and your passions. When you know your enneagram number, and you know someone else’s enneagram number, you can calculate compatibility with others, understand group dynamics more clearly, you know how to communicate better and share healthy relationships and discussions. I think we can all agree these are GOOD things. So… what’s my deal?

Twice in my life (that I can remember), I have taken these “tests” to identify my strengths and weaknesses, and both times, I didn’t get the answer I wanted. I know, I know, I know… that’s not how these tests work, but just hear me out, these kinds of tests are tricky.

I overthink the questions, I “lawyer” them if you will…”in this [blank] scenario, you would respond [blank] accordingly..” Immediately, my brain tracks to.. well it depends! Is it sunny or cold out? What side of the bed did I wake up on? What implications would this have on me, on my family, on my dogs? I know you’re supposed to go with your gut reaction, your first/immediate response. Here’s the thing: my gut doesn’t have firm opinions, and sometimes quite frankly, it’s fucking directionless. If my gut was a Girl Scout, abandoned in the woods, you’d never see me again, even if you left me with a map and a compass.

The first time I took a test, which I am considering similar to the enneagram test, I was in 10th grade. It was a Career Aptitude Test that went along with the practice ACT. I KNEW I wanted to be a doctor; had wanted to be one since I was three. It was my dream and I was bent and determined to make that dumb Career Aptitude Test reflect that very dream. I answered all the questions fully expressing my great, and what I thought to be endless, joy with helping people, working long hours, flexibility, all things science, gross liquids… everything I thought would point this test straight north – next stop: med school.

My number one recommendation: trash woman. I was shattered.

The second time I took one of these personality-style tests, it was in our leadership class in high school. I don’t remember the context; but it involved being grouped into 4-5 different color categories based on your answers. Everyone wanted to be yellow or purple. I got red.

And it might as well been a big ole bucket of scarlet red paint all over my face. Red was for domineering, loud, “natural-born” leader, sometimes argumentative, confident. I wanted to be the passionate/artsy purple or the lively/cheerful yellow; but no, I got stupid, bossy red. And I have hated the color red ever since.

Trash women have wonderful attributes and are a very, necessary (to put it in 2020 terms: essential) part of our work force. There is no shame in being a trash woman. I just didn’t want to be one (update: I still don’t). And testing the color red wasn’t supposed to be an insult, there are lots of fantastic people who have rewarding careers, where natural born leader and domineering are considered positive attributes. Hint: an attorney is one of them.

But the point is, both times, I tried to manipulate the answers to who I wanted to be and I didn’t get accurate results. To be clear, I am probably red πŸ™„, but the Career Aptitude Test was a fluke, and I often wonder what results I would have gotten, if I hadn’t insisted on steering my results towards what I KNEW I wanted to hear.

So, that’s my deal. I don’t trust myself to be honest with myself or the test. I think I will pick a number I want to be, shepherd my answers that way, and end up being like an 800 on the blue map, with swirls of purple and a massive streak of red.

To be fair to myself, and to you, I don’t really believe in grouping myself in one category anyways. I think knowing how your brain works and how your brain processes things is important. I think knowing how the people with whom you surround yourself with brain’s process things is important. I think it’s imperative to know your values, to have a strong moral compass, and to believe your heart to be good and sincere and kind. You don’t need a number or a color to know that.

Please understand: I have no problem with enneagram numbers and the full-hearted believers. I also know that the Career Aptitude Test and the Color-test (as I am naming it) are completely different than the Enneagram Test. I think there is true science to the Enneagram tenets; and I mostly believe it whole-heartily.

I just won’t buy in. To be honest, the test is too long anyways. The bar exam is the last test of that length that I will ever take. 😜 Of course, it is possible that this entire post gives away my exact Enneagram number. That would be the ultimate irony; poetic-justice in a way, but in the meantime…

Here I am, Ashley: Enneagram Whatever.

Sunny daze ahead, sweet friends. 🌞 probably.

2021 UNrecommendations

Well… it’s happening, due to high demand, and my monstrous ego, I’ve decided to blog. Simply put, I can’t imagine who wouldN’T want to read my crazy antics and get to know the inner-workings of my semi-stable brain. Maybe, you’ll laugh (hopefully, WITH me). Maybe you’ll cry or maybe you’ll get bored. It’s really up to you what you take from this, all I can promise is brutal honesty, a heavy dose of sarcasm, some cuss words (I am who I am, sorry dad), and a little insanity. My mom has also recommended I share some of my recipes.. so maybe that too.

So buckle up, strap in, glue your helmet to your damn head, empty your bladder and do whatever it is that you have to do to prepare for a ride.. a wild ride. A star-studded, bronc bucking, rodeo type of ride… my very favorite type. πŸ’ƒπŸΌ

2020 was a different kind of ride, like that weird ride in Disney world where they sing that one creepy song and you’re in the dark the whole time? The ride felt like hours, but really it was a few minutes, and the shrill song in the background makes you feel crazy. But at the same time, there were moments like that stupid carnival ride, the Egg Scrambler or whatever, the one that flings your insides into the side the car and bruises your lungs? Then, right when your innards have adjusted to be being slammed into the left side of your body, you whip them HARD to the right; whiplash fashion. Then the ride ends, right before you suffer internal bleeding and lose the last week worth of lunches. And oddly, you sort of had fun.

That was 2020. Mostly not fun, a little bruising, lots of shitty- high pitched songs/whining, but also.. somehow.. okay-ish? I came out alive, I came out healthy, closer to stable than you may have thought, and now… I’m just here to help. ⬇️

Just some “un” recommendations for 2021:

1. Drink a lot of water. Like a lot of water. But don’t drink a gallon of water a day if you are my size/similar size. Trust me, you’ll think inundating your kidneys and liver with love, and nourishing your internals the best way possible, but really… you’re setting yourself up to pee. Like a lot. Like 46 times a day (it seriously happened once). It only took me a week of this fun, before I got smart. DON’T DRINK A GALLON OF WATER A DAY.

2. Don’t vow to make 24 “life-altering, soul-changing, self-loving” actions on social media, then kick off the list with an amazing week long cruise with the Caribbean with all your favorite people. Inevitably, you will dock back at the port, corona virus will be running rampant, and all your soul-nourishing, fun-filled concerts and trips planned for 2020 will be canceled. Life took a dramatic turn, it wasn’t foreseeable.. but still NOT COOL. No one wants to watch you draw a bubble bath, light a candle and tout #selflove for the next 10 months. It’s a bad look. Trust me, I’m talking about me.

3. Don’t decide to change your anxiety meds, based on the recommendation of your Gyno, who’s MUCH more concerned about your nether-regions than your upper half – ya know.. the brain half. There’s the chance that she won’t notice your serotonin deficiency, rip you off all traces of any serotonin, and then make you feel like it’s YOUR fault you’re suddenly unhinged. Actually, learn from me. Don’t change anything that doesn’t need changed – EVER. change is dangerous.

Kidding. I know change is inevitable. But I hate it. It’s okay if you hate it too. I hope for minimal change in 2021 for me.. and for you if that’s what you want.

4. Stop waiting on others. Like.. if you’re sick, and you know your medication is wrong, and your doctor won’t call you back, you don’t have to throw up in trash cans for two months while your “doctor” insists you’re “adjusting”. You’re not adjusting. You’re sick as hell and she may be trying to kill you. If this sounds like it’s getting personal, it was. I’m over it. On a broader scale, just don’t wait on anyone, trust your brain, trust your body. And while I’m on it, stop waiting on those “friends” too. People that want to be around you, don’t make you wait, ever. EVEN IN A PANDEMIC.

5. Be sweet, but not too sweet. Don’t volunteer yourself to all your neighbors to be their pandemic-survival tour guide. Unless you’re a nurse, or a doctor, or a teacher (HINT- I AM NONE OF THE ABOVE), you’ll just end up driving your unknown neighbor’s great-grandma to the emergency room, for COVID-like symptoms, because you suddenly forgot how to say no. Here’s a thought; drop off an extra roll of toilet paper, offer some cans of soup if you have a couple to spare, and MIND YA OWN. don’t take a stranger’s grandma to their death trap. It’s bad for morale.

6. Don’t fail to explain the double-tap favorite trick on Instagram to the unfamiliar. There is NOTHING worse than a stalking situation going awry due to happy thumbs. (Mom, looking at you). Let’s be honest, there is something rewarding about seeing people you kinda hate/kinda love to hate get a little chunky.. but I think you really (ASHLEY- GIVING MYSELF A PERSONAL CALL OUT) need to think about your own quarantine 15, those “a-little-too-tight” jeans, and maskne before you get a little judge-y. I’m gonna go ahead and hop off my 100 pounds of cremated high-horse remains and stay in my own damn lane.

7. Speaking of exercise, you should do it. You should do it in a normal amount. You should commit, like a normal person, to a normal amount of work, that matches your current physical state. HERE’S, WHAT NOT TO DO – join OTF, work out like 900 times harder than you have since like kindergarten p.e., then be shocked when your body immediately rejects your existence. The method is tried and true -IT DOES NOT WORK. bursitis is no joke, and it will scare you out of every working out again, seriously. (See above Quarantine 15 commentary).

8. Don’t get drunk and carry your horse ashes around the house, weeping. At least.. not frequently. Even the world’s most patient dad, gets tired of putting away 100 pounds of ashes every other weekend. I’m gonna be honest, it’s taken me a minute; but those ashes and those tears don’t bring her back. But what I can do, what I should do, and what I think everyone should do, is live life harder, louder, and more lovingly. Learn from me. 100 pounds is a lot of freaking weight to carry around, whether it be the weight of grief, the weight guilt, the weight of paranoia, the weight of shame, 100 pounds of anything is TOO much. Unless you’re Matt, then 100 pounds of Ashley is the EXACT right amount. Drop the weight, sis.

9. Don’t let your 10 pound puppy do anything that you won’t think is adorable when your puppy is suddenly 50 pounds (small head, big butt – opposite of her mother as Matt so kindly reminds me). There’s a reason I wake up to paws on my face and my 100 rottie mix actually thinks she’s a lap dog. I can’t walk into my own damn house, without Lucy demanding a sit down, paws on shoulders, stare down. The queen THRIVES on eye contact. But actually- while I’m on the topic, just don’t let anyone do something to you that’s less than adorable more than once. Rule of thumb, life rule, important notice, WAVING NEON-SIGN OF LOVE FROM ASHLEY, don’t let anyone in 2021 treat you any less than perfectly adorable.

10. Don’t waste toilet paper. The world may shut down again, and if the hoarders get crazy, you’ll be reduced to the WORST brand, tissue paper, even a paper towel, with no end in sight. Don’t hoard it, because that’s real dickish. But also, don’t waste it; because let’s be honest, paper cuts are real.

That’s all I got for you, brought to you from my favorite place in my world, my bed, sandwiched between dogs… aka Heaven or a close enough knock-off for me.

Sunny daze ahead friends, probably. ❀️