Throwback Thursday, 10.31.13

Halloweeeeeeeen Edition!

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween has ALWAYS been a source of delight for me. I love the idea of being someone else, even for just a few hours. And free candy?? “The first 10 years of my life, I think the only clear thought I had was GET. CANDY.” I even went Trick-or-Treating well into my high school years! My senior year of high school, my girlfriends and I were finally able to have a thought beyond gorging on candy – we went around the neighborhood collecting cans of food for the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. People were quite surprised to see 1. Grown teenagers still trick-or-treating and 2. Grown teenagers not begging for candy! Many people were so impressed that they insisted we took candy along with their canned goods!

What is it though, that gets people so excited to be someone else for a night? For me, I love that once a year (okay, a few times a year), I get to throw on a costume and don the personality of someone else for a little while. Some wonder if maybe Halloween gives us the opportunity to be who we really want to be…

Costumes have included:

-Little piggy (1987)

– Ballerina (1989)

– Hippy (1994-ish)

– A Deal or No Deal Girl (2006)

– Paris Hilton Jailbird (2007)

– Amy Winehouse (2008)

– Glampire (2009)

– and this year…Cruella de Ville!

So who do you really want to be this year?

1987 Piggy with Dad

1987 Piggy with Dad

1989 Ballerina with Mom & Dad

1989 Ballerina with Mom & Dad

2007 Deal or No Deal Girls with my Best Friends at Ohio University

2007 Deal or No Deal Girls with my Best Friends at Ohio University

2007 Paris Hilton Jailbird with Britta, my then roommate

2007 Paris Hilton Jailbird with Britta, my then roommate

2008 Am WInehouse, complete with beehive hair, missing tooth, accurate tattoos and syringe for drugs! I'm most proud of this one!

2008 Amy Winehouse, complete with beehive hair, missing tooth, accurate tattoos and syringe for drugs! I’m most proud of this one!

2009 Glampire

2009 Glampire

This year's Cruella de Ville with my dear friend, Jonathan

This year’s Cruella de Ville with my dear friend, Jonathan

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Throwback Thursday, 9.26.13

Right about this time, TEN years ago, I was starting my freshman year of college at Ohio University. It was my first time outside of my safe haven bubble of family, church friends and teachers I knew and loved. I had jumped into a world of no parental supervision, completely new faces and professors that expected a HELL of a lot from me.

And I was ELATED. I couldn’t wait to start a life all my own. I was assigned to live in Lincoln Hall with 2 other girls, Mary & Samantha. We met once over the summer to coordinate bedding and decide who was bringing what. It was all very exciting. I volunteered to sleep in the loft bed (basically a top bunk with my desk and VERY small closet underneath). Sam and Mary shared the bunk bed, Sam claiming the top and Mary on bottom. While waiting in line at Target, Sam asked Mary and I, “So…do you guys drink at all?” I answered honestly. “No, my friends and I don’t think you should have to be drunk to have fun.” I was 18 and a church-going good girl. I wasn’t ABOUT to break the law by drinking underage! And it was true. We had some of the most random, silly, fun times without involving alcohol. Mary responded, “I drink sometimes, but not a lot.”

I held to my answer for as long as possible that Fall Quarter. But one thing led to another, and the 3 of us were attending house parties, frat parties, club parties…any kind of party we could find and drink cheap (but FREE!) beer. We always had an eye on each other and made sure the other two made it home safely. (Notice I didn’t say “made it to bed safely.” Many a night was spent on our dorm’s sky blue carpet!)

This Throwback Thursday is dedicated to Roommate Mary, Samson, the parties we crashed and the memories we made (some of them are a little fuzzy…thanks Natty Light).

Another Night in Athens! {Me, Mary & Sam)

Another Night in Athens! {Me, Mary & Sam)

Throwback Thursday, 6.20.13

I found myself at my dad’s house the other night looking for photo frames for a few of my many, MANY Alternative Fashion Mob Glitterati photos. Well, as always happens, I found not only frames, but a slew of other interesting things. I found 2 stuffed manilla folders labeled “Miscellaneous Thoughts” in my mom’s handwriting. I had stumbled across her version of Pinterest. In these folders were poems, articles, inspiring quotes, and other ideas she didn’t want to forget.

Underneath these folders was another folder labeled “Ashley.” This folder had grade cards, pictures I had drawn, a letter from Uncle Art to my mom about how to handle my (then) recent letdown of not making the middle school volleyball team, and a letter I had written to my parents.

Here is what I assume the background information is:

I was in 6th grade and absolutely (but secretly) obsessed with Hanson. They just weren’t the cool band to like, so my friends and I kept our fandom a secret. Anyways…I assume that I had a tons of pictures, posters, and other memorabilia that I wanted to hang up, but had run out of space in my own room. I also gather that I had already asked my parents for more space and been denied. Never (and to this day) taking “No.” for an answer, I did the mature thing, I asked again, providing legitimate reasons my request should be granted. I applaud my mother’s ability to say “No,” and give other ideas. I can pretty much guarantee that this did not go over well, and remember that I never did get the bedroom. The basement though….

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Throwback Thursday, 3.14.13

Two days ago, I stayed home from work because I was sick. Legit sick. This wasn’t one of those, I need a day to work on my masters or I need a day to catch up on rest or I need a day to work on my tan days. This was disgusting, no-one-should-ever-see-me-like-this sick. I won’t go into details (because you might never come back!), but just rest assure that I. Was. Sick.

Well, being that I’m a single girl living alone in the big city (okay fine, it’s suburbia. Whatever.), the only living soul I have to take care of me in my time of need is my dog. And as helpful as Dewey is when it comes to cuddling, he hasn’t quite mastered doorknobs, so there’s no way he’s gonna make it to the store to get me medicine and soup. My mom passed away 2 years ago, so that leaves Dad.

My dad, the superhero.

If there’s one thing my dad is good at, it’s care-taking. He took care of my mother throughout her entire battle with cancer, better than one of Queen Elizabeth’s butlers. Sure, sometimes he goes overboard and can stumble into over-care-taking, but it comes from a wonderful, loving place.

So I called Dad the morning I was sick. Right away, he knew that something was wrong. “You sound off…” “That’s because I am! I stayed home from school because I’ve got the flu or something!”

“What can I do? What do you need? Do you want me to take Dewey for the day? Do you need medicine? What about Ginger Ale? Do you have clear liquids? Sprite? Cherry 7-Up?”

He didn’t skip a beat when jumping into Dad-Mode. He told me he would be over around lunchtime with chicken noodle soup from Panera and some Ginger Ale and Sprite. When he arrived, he came toting a care kit filled with Tylenol, 3 cans of Sprite, 3 cans of Cherry 7-Up, 3 bottles of Ginger Ale, and what looked to be a pint of chicken noodle soup. But most importantly, even though I was sick and he really shouldn’t have risked it, most importantly, he came with a hug.

So today’s Throwback Thursday is dedicated to the #1 man in my life, my dad the superhero.

Thanks Dad, I love you.

This photo was taken, if not the morning after Mom & Dad brought me home from Catholic Social Services, a few days after.From this moment on, I would forever be a Daddy's Girl.

This photo was taken, if not the morning after Mom & Dad brought me home from Catholic Social Services, a few days after.
From this moment on, I would forever be a Daddy’s Girl.

The beach and Disney World have always been 2 of my family's favorite vacation spots.The picture on the right is for giggles! Check out that fanny pack and neon!

The beach and Disney World have always been 2 of my family’s favorite vacation spots.
The picture on the right is for giggles! Check out that fanny pack and neon! And I’m pretty sure those sunglasses clipped onto my actual glasses. Oh, and please disregard my Urkel-high elastic band shorts…

My Love Story

Valentine’s Day. A day that many couples use as an excuse to remind one another of their undying love. A day that many couples choose to ignore because they realize that they love each other the same today as they did yesterday and will tomorrow. A day that many single girls around the country loathe and use as an excuse to drink wine and eat chocolate (personally, I call days like those, “Tuesday”).

I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually had someone of the hairier sex to call “My Valentine.” {pause for thinking and Facebook researching…} …I think it was college…either Chris or Ian…either way, it’s been a long freaking time, so I have gotten used to shrugging the day off as just another day and using it as an excuse to wear every item of pink clothing and accessories I own (I call days like this, “everyday.”).

Well, once again, I am single on Valentine’s Day. No big deal. I’ve got Dewars (my dog, not the scotch…well, I’ve got the scotch too…). This year, not only am I a symphony in pink, but I am using today as a day to regale you with my favorite love story. And! It just so happens that said love story revolves around Ash Wednesday, which was yesterday!

……

Once upon a time, in the mid-1980s, there was a happily married couple that had been trying for years and years to have a child. They tried everything. The “usual” way was fun but didn’t work, the cabbage patch was brown and baby-less, and the stork was on a trip delivering Channing Tatum (seriously not mad about that one. You saw, Magic Mike, right??). After years and years of brainstorming ways to get a baby, they decided that they would try adopting one! Well, simple as it sounds, it’s not like perusing the deli counter and choosing the perfect, A1, Grade A that meat your family would enjoy best. No, for this couple (let’s just call them “Tom” & “Lois”…generic, completely random names), it involved many interviews, mountains of paperwork, excruciating home visits, and days & weeks & months & years of waiting.

Thank goodness Lois’ expertise was perseverance and Tom’s was spousal encouragement when the perseverance ran low.

Fast-forward past all those days & weeks & months & years of waiting. 5 ½ years, to be exact. It is now February 20th, 1985. Ash Wednesday. It’s a typical, cold, snowy day in Columbus, Ohio. Lois spent the day teaching and Tom spent the day at work (he owned a funeral home!). Nothing exciting was going to happen on this day except for a visit to church for the annual Ash Wednesday service. But something exciting DID happen!

The phone rang.

It was Catholic Social Services, Tom & Lois’ adoption agency of choice. They were calling to inform them that all the waiting, praying, sucking up to nuns with influence, and overall perseverance was about to payoff. There was a little, just-barely-month-old baby girl waiting for them.

God had finally called their number at the deli counter.

Now, in today’s culture, if this happened to one of us, we would probably rush to our computers and cell phones and spread the word that #babygirlawaits! and #godisgood! and Instagram photos of us and our significant other scrambling to ready the house and screaming & hugging in joy.

But that wasn’t what Tom and Lois did. Lois, being nicknamed “Worst Case Scenario,” didn’t want to tell anyone until that baby girl was in her arms. So she called one of her best friends, Marilyn, and told her to go out and get a snowsuit and a car seat. Oh, and don’t tell anyone what you’re doing.

Tom & Lois waited 2 more agonizing days, and on Friday, February 22nd, 1985, at 10am, their dream came true and they were given a baby girl to call their own. The days following were filled with smiles, laughter and joy. Friends and family filled Tom & Lois’ home when they finally activated the phone tree and announced to their world that they were parents. Finally. True to Tom’s dedicated work ethic, the next day, Saturday, he had to go to work for a few hours. He returned home to find Lois, right where he had left her, hours before, rocking that baby girl.

……

Because Tom & Lois got the call that their baby girl waiting for them on Ash Wednesday, they named her Ashley. Her middle name is Elaine after her beautiful mother. As you may have guessed by now, Tom & Lois are my amazing parents and this is my love story.

I’ll admit that every Valentine’s Day spent as an independent single girl carries with it a slight pang of bitterness and jealousy of those folks that do have significant others to fawn over for the day (even if they don’t acknowledge the holiday. They could if they wanted to! I don’t have a choice!).

But then I remember that my life has no shortage of love. I may not have experienced my greatest romance (YET!), but I have experienced true, unadulterated, unconditional love. So today, instead of focusing on thoughts like I wonder what the ex and I would be doing had we not broke up…and I wish that I had someone to cuddle up with and ignore this holiday with…and my personal favorite, VD sucks, but I rock! This holiday can suck it! I am going to focus on all the forms of love I do have in my life, because there are many, and paying that love forward.

My mom passed away in 2010 from endometrial cancer, but her love is still alive and well in my heart. Today will be dedicated to honoring my mother’s perseverance and my father’s spousal encouragement. Because if it weren’t for their dedication and sacrifice, I might not have ended up here.

{Mom & I}

{Mom & I}

Throwback Thursday, 2.7.13

Last week, I posted a piece of poetry I wrote as a 13 year old. This week, in honor of last Sunday’s Superbowl cheerleaders, I am posting a picture of myself right around age 10 (5th grade).

5th grade actually wasn’t too rough for me…I mean just look at me! I’m adorable! My teeth were all in the right place (in earlier years, they were alllll caddywhompus! Thank God for modern-day orthodontia!), my eyes look like they’re looking directly at the camera (I have this endearing little quirk in which, I am so far-sighted, that without glasses or contacts, my right eye drifts inward.), and my hairstyle isn’t too terribly 90s (oh lord, it was awful about 4 years before this picture! One equation can explain my hair at age 6. Mullet + Bowl Cut = Bullet. Precious!).

This photo is from my year spent on the Upper Arlington Drill Team, cheering on the Bucks. Now, I was no professional football cheerleader…I was just happy to be there! 2 years after this, in 7th grade, I tried out for the Hastings Middle School cheerleading squad. Much to my disappointment and surprise, I didn’t make the squad. I was convinced, CONVINCED! that it was because I had glasses and braces. I felt so discriminated against, that I made my mom call the coach and ask why I didn’t make the team (looking back, I don’t think it was a crazy request!). Part of me is still convinced CONVINCED! that it’s because of the glasses and braces, but Mom told me that it was because I wasn’t loud enough.

REALLY?!? ME?!? Not loud enough?!? Hell, I even write loudly! If you know me at all, you know that I am not a quiet person. Even in my adult life, friends are constantly telling me to lower my voice.

You’re starting to think I didn’t make the team because of the glasses and braces, aren’t you?!

Well, needless to say, I did not go on to become a varsity cheerleader. Instead, I gave track (too much running!), crew/rowing (WHAT? Go run a mile??? I joined crew so I wouldn’t have to run!) and marching band a try. In the end, marching band proved to be my favorite of all of my high school endeavors.

…probably because of the glasses and braces. 😉

Throwback Thursday, 1.31.13

So a number of my friends have jumped on the “Throwback Thursday” trend. Apparently, each Thursday, you post a photo of yourself “way back when” I think this is a super cute idea, but I am going to take it in a different direction.

Poetry.

When I was a middle and high-schooler, I truly believed that I was a budding poet (and that I’d marry Isaac Hanson, we’d be married by the time I was 23, and along with my poetry, I’d be a famous photographer…we all had big dreams back in the day!). I have numerous journals filled with emo poetry and teenage angst.

One poem stands out in my memory because I distinctly remember writing it and taking it to my mother, who was folding laundry in the basement and proudly reciting it to her. When I was finished, she beamed, “Ashley, that was really good! You are a wonderful writer!” Now…she was of course supremely biased, but nonetheless, that comment stuck with me, and who knows…maybe it’s why I am here today writing. Lord knows that I am no poet, probably because I stopped writing poems around 11th grade, but my writing skills have developed into something that not only do I enjoy doing, but I think others enjoy as well!

Without further ado, here is my Mom-Approved, 13-year-old view on life:

June 11th, 1998