The Journey

So, I failed. I didn’t get my latest Vacancy post out on Monday, which is a huge personal bummer, but at least I have a good excuse: WE’RE MOVING!

The last week has been a whirlwind. Husband has accepted a job in a new state, we’re resigning from our current jobs, working with a realtor to sell our house, securing an apartment in our future home city, boxing up everything we own, donating what we don’t want, getting some much-needed landscaping done, and trying to do it all in under three weeks so he can start ASAP. (Also there will be cat wrangling. Lord, give me the strength.)

While I did write Vacancy during NaNo, every part needs a handful of edits and some holes filled in before posting (and really it needs much more than that, but to be fair it’s free reading for anyone on the internet so grammatical and continuity errors will exist, and overall it’s not going to be my best and brightest work). I didn’t get to those edits last week, so I didn’t have a post this week. It sucks, it feels like a massive failure, and I’m sad, but it’s a reminder that while I’ve been pretty stoked with how I’ve been planning out and getting writing done in general, I’m far from mastering the planning process. Thankfully I did not see through a post idea for how to make a plan for your blog or novel last week L O FUCKING L.

So I’m planning to get Vacancy out next Monday and fingers crossed I can swing it even with setting up and shutting off utilities and boxing up my life (including the lovely nest I just showed you all) and being overwrought with anxiety about nothing in particular and everything all at once.

But really I’m quite excited for our familial journey. When Husband and I met, I moved in with him right away. We moved from that apartment to a second apartment in Columbus, OH, then we moved above someone’s garage in St Petersburg, FL on a whim with everything we owned including two cats packed into a two door Dodge Stratus, then we moved to an apartment in Tampa, then our first house, then our second house, and we’ve been quite comfy for quite awhile, so it’s probably time for the next great adventure. To be honest, I think we’ve both been getting a little antsy.

So here’s to the adventure, eh? I’m sure loads of fucky things will happen, and congrats because you have a front row seat.

Also, you won’t find out how they get the chandelier back up in Moonlit Shores Manor, but that’s because Lorelei doesn’t see it, and it’s magic anyway, not because I won’t be posting.

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Blogmas: 5 Last Minute Gift Ideas

I’ve thankfully finished all of my Christmas shopping with four days to spare, but I know not everybody is quite so lucky. To help out those poor, unfortunate souls with no idea what to get their spouse, coworkers, or other obligatory gift recipient, I’ve put together a list of five gifts you already have in your own home just waiting to be given to that lucky someone in your life. How convenient is that?

IMG_20171220_195406069Festive Diamond Sphere Decor

Imagine gifting a loved one with a beautiful globe of precious, shining gems they can place upon their Christmas tree. They may not even be able to discern that this fancy-shmancy looking ornament is nothing more than a ball of tinfoil, tightly packed by your own hands and impaled on one of the hooks you found unceremoniously one night with your bare feet while trudging to the bathroom, wondering how the fuck you didn’t find it two weeks ago when you packed away the unused decorations. Bonus if you’ve wrapped something up inside. Doesn’t matter what, everyone enjoys a surprise. I’ve put an old baby carrot in mine. It’s symbolic of the baby Jesus. Bonus to the bonus, this can be used as a cat toy!

IMG_20171220_195039887_BURST000_COVER_TOPHair Ribbons

We’ve all got a girly-girl to bequeath with a gift this season, but why get her the same old pink things she probably already owns when you can give her a hand-crafted, upcycled, laundry-chic accessory? Two used dryer sheets and a little knotting skill, and you’ve got an A+ gift that will have the whole world asking “Who is she?” and “Why does she smell so good?” (A valid question when someone’s wearing trash in their hair.) As a plus, your gift receiver can use this to play with her cats too!

 

IMG_20171220_195223877Best Friend Forever

Every child wants to wake up to a puppy under the tree on Christmas morning, but not every parent wants to wake up to a puppy piddle puddle where the tree used to be every morning after that. A good alternative is gifting the child in your life a pet that requires next to no responsibilities: a pet rock. Check your front or backyards, your giftee’s new best friend is certainly already out there, just waiting to be adopted. And if the giftee already has a cat, it won’t feel intimidated or bullied by Rocky.

IMG_20171220_195625029Sportball 5000 XG Turbo Pain Reliever

Active people. We’ve all got one in our lives, running from here to there, wearing tight clothes, eating a salad like they’re some kind of fucking rabbit. But they’re actually people, and you can probably hand off a gift to them as they jog on by. The Sportball 5000 XG Turbo Pain Reliever utilizes revolutionary crystalline hydrogen dioxide technology enwrapped in a patented malleable containment field. Applied directly to any spot of discomfort instantly relieves inflammation and pain, and will leave your gift receiver with a smile of pure satisfaction. This gift is also transformative! Sometimes you’re just lifting too heavy to take a break, and before you know it you need to hydrate and do it now! Drink up on demand with the S5XGTPR as it converts into an emergency hydration packet. Your cat can also utilize the Turbo Pain Reliever, albeit not for very long.

IMG_20171220_195817925A World of Possibilities

Chances are, you managed to actually purchase a gift for someone, at the very least you snagged something for yourself on black Friday, and you probably have the empty box from that purchase lying around. Well, wrap that baby up and hand it off! No, don’t put anything inside it, trust me. This can go one of three ways:

  1. They open the box, find nothing inside, then you tell them you’ve given them the most precious gift of all: time. When they don’t understand that right away, explain that the time they would have spent utilizing a gift from you can now be spent on something else–whatever they want, in fact. Tell them they are so very welcome as they will be too astounded at your genius to remember to thank you.
  2. They open the box, find nothing inside, then you scream “Oh my _insert_diety_here_! Where is…how did…what in the world? It was there! Right there, I tell you!” The receiver will undoubtedly get caught up in your flabbergastment, most likely to the point they will forget to even ask what it was you had boxed up, but in the unlikely event that they do question you, insist it was the absolute most perfect gift, specifics are unnecessary and, in fact, would only sadden them since they don’t have the gift now. If they give you any kind of skeptical look, immediately go on the defensive, “What? You think I just wrapped up an empty box and gave it to you? What kind of monster do you think I am? How very dare you!”
  3. They open the box, find nothing inside, then thank you profusely for getting them the perfect gift for their cat.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of last minute gifts. You are so very welcome.

Edit: Omigosh I forgot the music! I am so sorry, Dear Reader. To make up for it, please enjoy The Boss sliding down your chimney:

Blogmas: Recognition

A good friend of mine and I were discussing yesterday how when you do good works, they are their own rewards, and then today another blogger nominated me for the Liebster Award, and I immediately thought “fuck that, I am loving this recognition!”

Just kidding, but for real, it is incredibly thoughtful and kind for anyone to reach out and do something like this, and I’m really touched. I didn’t know awards were a thing in the blogging community, but they seem like a really great way to connect us a bit more and to get us access to blogs we would have otherwise sadly missed!

So, first, a huge shout out to T. Shaw for this nomination. She is also doing Blogmas and her blog has some lovely poetry and I’m jealous of her basil plants!

img_5691

So the rules for the Liebster Award:

  • Acknowledge the blog that gave it to you and display the award
  • Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination
  • Give these blogs 11 questions to answer.

I don’t know why 11, but it’s a nice number, so let’s go with it. Here are T. Shaw’s questions to the blogs she nominated and my answers:

What inspired you to start blogging?
I started “blogging,” if you can call it that, on MySpace a great many years ago. It was EXACTLY what you would imagine, so we don’t need to go there, but ultimately my inspiration was the desire to just…talk. I used to be very quiet and shy, and I had a lot building up inside of me, and I wanted to get it out. I knew I never could verbally, and most of my life I haven’t had people who really wanted to listen or people I wanted to burden with that, but I thought maybe one person somewhere out on the world wide web might, on their own time, lend an ear (or a set of eyes). So here we are!

What is your blog’s purpose?
My current blog is basically a big ole brand. Yeah, it might not seem exactly like that, but I’m hoping to someday have a book or two for sale, and this blog will serve as a homebase for that #honesty #selfpromotion #ijustwantpeopletolikemeandreadmydragonstories

 What are your goals for 2018?
I just did a post on this!

What was the most memorable moment/event that happened this year in 2017?
We found and adopted Rutherford this year and almost immediately after evacuated for Hurricane Irma. That was a trying time, but it helped Husband and I grow as a couple a realize what’s really important to us.

What is your favorite comfort food?
All of it. Seriously. I have a binge eating problem. It’s under better control now than it’s ever been, but on the whole it’s not individual foods I like, it’s just the act of consuming. It’s fucked up, and I acknowledge that I’m sick and need help. I mean…pizza!

Which actor/actress would play you if your life was a movie? And why?
Not based on looks, but I’d like to think an Ellie Kemper or Emma Stone would be a good choice for me. Ellie because my life is not really leading lady material (I say on my blog dedicated to me) and while I think Ellie could carry a film, she makes a great sidekick and character actress and that’s kind of me. She also comes off as impossibly optimistic, but with a bit of a dark/fucked up side which is kinda true to me. Emma would be able to fully pull off my more masculine qualities, but she’d be playing a me written to be less self-conscious and less fuck-giving which is like fantasy me!

Do you have a Christmas wish? If so, what?
Yes, but you can’t tell what you wish for, right? Then they won’t come true? Let’s just say I’m wishing for happiness.

Do you have any pets?

dibz
Diocletian, who is Bart’s brother, if you believe that.
IMG_20171216_161051252.jpg
Rutherford to the left, and Bart to the right. This photo is a lie, they hate each other for real.

What is your favorite season?
Fall because Halloween! And spooky things! And death! Okay, so not like that, but kinda! I like the part of the renewal cycle where we let things go, and that’s fall. Shedding leaves, calming down, reflecting and quieting our minds, steeling ourselves for what is to come. It’s just like how I love throwing things away!

What are you passionate about?
Writing, animals, fiber, kindness, feminism.

What is something new you’d like to learn?
I’d really like to get more into nutrition and better understand how the body metabolizes foods and processes energy. I’ve been considering going back to school for a few things, including dietitian licensure.

11 Fact About Me:

  1. I’m 30, and I don’t feel like it at all.
  2. I’m a black belt in taekwondo but way out of practice.
  3. My hair is most often purple, but it has been brown, black, blonde, red, blue, orange, pink, aquamarine, magenta, and green. It’s also in dire straights right now, so it’s going to stay purple for a while.
  4. I love music and in a past or future life was/will be a musician. Well, technically I am still in a band that’s on hiatus, but our genius won’t be understood in this lifetime.
  5. I LOVE HARRY POTTER.
  6. Lately, my ovaries have really been fucking, like, tapping their feet and pointing to their watches.
  7. I was a Backstreet Boys fan.
  8. I first got my period when I was 10 years old which is young, but it wasn’t that traumatizing until I had to deal with it at school where I had to figure out how to dispose of used sanitary products when the bathrooms did not have those little trash cans in all the stalls because elementary school kids don’t get their periods, duh!
  9. I love horror movies, but I’m a huge baby and have nightmares forever after seeing them.
  10. I so badly want to be one of those totally zen yoga girls who are just chill and cool and bendy and loving. Someday.
  11. Husband is my best friend.

11 Questions/mini-topics for my nominated blogs:

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. Which Friend are you and do you agree? (Don’t worry, this one won’t tell you you’re Mike.)
  3. What film have you seen the most. Is it your favorite? If so or if not, why have you seen it so many times?
  4. Favorite book and why.
  5. Someone who has been influential on your life and why.
  6. When’s the last time you skipped? (either skipped out on something or physically skipped like down a sidewalk)
  7. What holiday do you celebrate in winter, if one at all, and what does it mean to you?
  8. If you could retire tomorrow, what would you do?
  9. How’s your digestion?
  10. What’s your favorite mythological creature?
  11. What do you think is waiting for us after death?

If you’re really at a loss, you could just use those as blog topics for almost a fortnight. Damn!

I know not everyone will want to take part in this, and I will in no way be offended if you do not, so take this as an official “you’re off the hook!” Also, I don’t know anyone that well on here, so I apologize if this isn’t your cup of tea. I may not even notify the blogs below, just let the universe bring them across their names here, if they’re so inclined. And the nominees are…

Kaz818
GingerEffect
me
BiffSockPow
DGGYST
kaylaannauthor
Sam
Saranya
whatareyouonblog
driftingforward
Anachostic

And a little music while you peruse the above:

 

Blogmas: Looking Ahead

The year is coming to an end, so it’s probably time to reflect on what happened and think about how I want to handle the future, I guess. People make resolutions this time of year, but I don’t think that’s for me. What I want is too inconsistent to promise myself a set of things, but I can come up with a few vagueries to commit to.

  1. Expand my yoga practice – I really want to do a handstand, you guys. Also successfully hold crow for more than a second and get up into wheel. Maybe I’ll even go to a class? Who knows, but Adriene is doing a new 30 day challenge to start off 2018, and I couldn’t be more pumped!
  2. Write more – This blog and NaNo have helped me reach some personal goals in 2017, so for 2018 I plan to expand on that. I have a trilogy I need to finish, Vacancy to post, and the desire to write something completely new. I’ve been working on the same handful of projects for years now, and while there is merit in that, things get stale. My writing and my personality have evolved, and it can be difficult to work on a project that a version of me from 5 years ago was excited about and invested in, but the problem is, I don’t bring things to fruition fast enough. Hopefully in 2018 I can start and finish one whole thing. Wouldn’t that be something?
  3. Improve my nutrition – Now that I have my weight under control, I want to focus on macros. Giving up meat has made it really easy to fill up on carbs and miss out on protein, and somehow I don’t get enough fat everyday (I think a low cal diet kind of naturally does that to you). I’d like to expand the foods I eat to get more sources of these things and get back to cooking regularly.
  4. Learn something new – I told you these would be vague. I have no idea what I want this to be, but I know I need to keep my brain alive. Sometimes I have a really tough time thinking of certain words, to the point that I feel like I have early onset alzheimer’s. That shit needs to stop! I’m hoping I can turn the brain bus around with some exercise in the form of a new hobby. But then there’s the whole thing of finding time.
  5. Be more at peace with myself and others – There will always be things that I don’t fucking understand, and I’ll always be bitching about them, but once I bitch about them, I need to learn to more quickly let them go. Maybe that will happen through meditation or journaling or some other fluffy, hippie, bullshit hobby, but the end result needs to be a more zen me. Blogmas is actually my first step in that, if you think about it. An older version of me would write “Things I Don’t Fucking Understand: Christmas,” but this version of me is more likely to write “I Guess I Fucking Get It: Christmas.” Maybe that’s a new series?

So that’s five things, and five is a good number of things for a list, right?

Okay, also, starting this week I’m going to ramp-up the Christmas-ness of Blogmas. If you’ve stuck with me this far, you’ve earned it! I’m going to find some generic Blogmas ideas and I’m going to pull that shit off!

So Close, But Still So Far

There are just nine more days of NaNo, including today. NINE. That doesn’t seem like enough for 20,000 more words, but it really needs to be because ya girl is BEHIND.

On the plus side, this is the farthest I’ve ever come. I’m still excited about what I’m writing, I’m confident it can be edited into something really fun, and I’m so happy to be creating regularly again. Also, I’m creating content for this site which I’m pumped about. Of the cons, though, I feel overwhelmed and terrified of failure. I’ve been reminding others that it’s not really failure to not make it to 50k, and that’s true, but it’s a jagged pill to swallow nonetheless (thanks Alanis – you guys been listening to the new PopRocks channel on Sirius? #notspon).

So I’ve been pumping myself up for this last push, but the end comes during one of the most busy times of the year: American Thanksgiving. And it got me thinking; this is fucking dumb.

This is one of the worst times to be trying to write a novel, to be isolating yourself from your family and adding a bunch of extra stress on yourself. What the hell were they thinking? Well, I know the answer: they weren’t. I don’t care that they say it was “to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather,” they really picked November because it starts with an N-O and that’s more marketable. They were creating a website after all.

But we do it anyway, and we’re all probably better for it in the end. In fact, I’m hoping it’s a nice place to escape to if all hell breaks loose at the giving of the thanks gathering. I guess it’s an all-in thing: if I can do this, I can do anything. Right?

One of my bigger regrets is not posting enough during November here, but I do have at least four drafts, so get ready for some nonsense in December. That’s just to say that’s why I’m posting this now, to fill the void, which is really not a good reason to post a blog, but on the other hand, I DO WHAT I WANT.

Also, I’m headed to DC for Thanksgiving, so I hope I come back with some solid post ideas that aren’t just me flipping off the White House because I do want to keep my job. Wish me good luck!

 

Insert Catchy Title Here

I used to be a moderately prolific blogger. Not only did I love doing it, but I think I was, at least kinda, good at it. Then something bad happened and that led to something else bad, and I just stopped. I let that blog die, and that’s one of my biggest regrets. And I made the dumb decision to follow a high school boyfriend to college, so that’s really saying something.

So then I got an email this week reminding me to reup my domain, and I realized I’m doing it all over again! I’m letting (already let?) this blog die too! This blog, my god damned namesake! I think my issue has been a quest for perfection. I know it can’t be reached, “perfection is an abstract thought” my high school marching band conductor once said (at least, that’s how I remember it, but no one else from that time does), but I still tried to make things too nice when I started this out. I imagined this blog from some make-believe reader’s visit a year in the future. They’d read one post, enjoy it, and see a whole year’s worth of similar posts, released in a timely fashion, and know they could rely on me for quality content. But that was fucking dumb.

The truth is, I am incredibly unreliable. (Damn, that feels good to admit!) It’s all just gone down hill my whole life. I started out rather good at getting shit done and always being on time and having my shit together. But that is probably the most thankless form of existence. Seriously, people, don’t waste your time being thoughtful. I mean, be kind to one another, but in the end, fuck ’em, because you become known for this thing and if you ever slip up, it’s the end of the goddamned world, and when you fulfill those duties no one really gives a crap. I’m not saying anyone deserves accolades for being a decent human being, it would have just been nice to be given a pass every now and again when you fuck up like everyone else seems to do on a constant basis.

But none of that really matters since I’m basically not that person anymore. No, current Ashley is a bit of a slacker, at least in my personal life, and this blog, along with my writing, is my personal life. I always imagined writing would become my professional life, but with every passing year, that future gets cloudier and cloudier. I also tell myself that when writing is my actual thing I’ll be better at it, but that’s ridiculous – it will never be your thing if you don’t first get good at it! That’s lesson one folks, and it took me 30 years to really grasp it (if I have at all yet).

So what’s the point? The point is not to be all depressing and negative and have you take away from this blog to always be late to everything and never think of anyone but yourself. The point is, I’m going to try and take this blog back from myself. In trying to emulate what I had before, on my old blog, I’m hoping to get the spark back, and maybe even make myself less of a sack of crap. Can it be done? Only with a hell of a lot of swearing, so gird your loins if you plan to stick around.

I’d still like to write about writing, and I’d still like to write pieces of fiction for posting here. Vacancy will have to go on hiatus (ha – like it’s not already!) as that’s an experiment I did not think through well enough, but the story has a special place in my heart, so it won’t ever really die. I used to just blog about stuff that pissed me off, so I’m probably going to do that again. It’s a great outlet to just word vomit into the abyss that is the internet, and once it’s out there, it just kind of goes away. I’ve also been toying with the idea of making videos, but that requires me to do something with my hair.

I don’t know if I should go into this with a plan. I never had a plan before, I just did it, and that’s how creativity works. Yes, you can manufacture it, and you can force yourself to churn out shit until it turns to gold, but every time I’ve tried that I burn out. So what’s the solution? I guess, just doing it.