General musings on the ups and downs and ins and outs in the life of a 30 something, unmarried, life loving, some times interesting and sometimes not, mostly happy girl just trying to figure it all out!

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Believe...

My family is not exactly known for calm and quite Christmases. We try, but it never happens. My Granny always called us “The Hamlin Zoo,” and this seems to particularly qualify during the Holidays. We spent one lovely Christmas in a hotel in Baton Rouge after Amanda had nasal surgery. She was supposed to be allowed to travel a few days after the surgery, but that was revoked by the doctor. So Katie, Daddy and I packed up all of the presents (and in my family there are tons), decorations (most of them vintage), food, beverages, two small Chihuahuas (no, it wasn’t a dog friendly hotel)… you name it- we had it. Then we found out the hotel had a free happy hour each evening. Well, from 5:00 on there was quite a holiday party going on. Poor Amanda was either over dosed or under dosed on her meds the entire time.
Then there was the Christmas three of our all-time favorite family quotes were uttered. Katie was in Grad School at Texas A&M, and at the last minute we found out she wasn’t going to be able to leave her research project and come home. So instead, we all packed up the presents, decorations, food, two small Chihuahuas and a one-eared Golden Retriever and headed for College Station, TX. Each morning we were up and going at about 4:30am to go with Katie to the barn, freeze our asses off, and feed about 30 pregnant mares. Then at five that night it was the same story. It was quite an event to see the Hamlins in a frozen tundra of horse poo twice a day and my mother in her black velour sweat suit, fur coat and fur trimmed gloves sweeping poo of the concrete. But we did it. Why? No one’s really sure. It’s just what we do. The only really bad scene was when Mama’s 3 pound Chihuahua, Belle, was perched on one end of a blow-up mattress and I stepped on the other end and sent her flying. It was funny to everyone but Mama.
And then there was the Piece de Resistance of Christmas in Texas. Daddy and Amanda had gone back to the hotel for the evening and Mama and I were enjoying a much deserved bottle of wine… each. Now, Mama drinks two glasses of wine a night without fail. Sometimes three. But rarely a bottle. Actually, that’s the only time I can remember her doing that. Which explained what happened next. Mama ended up just a little bit drunk. Now, my mother is hilarious on a normal day. But this was just too much.

First Katie and I found her in the bathroom, leaning over the sink with her finger under a trickle of water. She has a very peaceful look on her face and when she saw us staring at her she informed us, “It sounds just like a creek, a mountain creek. It’s soothing me.” I’m fairly confident that both mine and Katie’s exact responses were, “Okaaaaaaaay.”
After we discussed mountain creeks for a few minutes, Katie tried to convince Mama to go lay down. She didn’t think she needed to lay down, but I told her she was a little drunk and she DID need to lay down. Well, she was incensed and out came favorite Hamlin-Family quote number two: “Girls, I am NOT drunk! If I were drunk, I’d be drunk! But I’m NOT drunk! And that’s just good common sense!” Katie and I pretty much lost it there.

Finally, Katie got Mama into bed, but she started feeling queasy because the room was spinning. A few minutes after she laid down, we began hearing, “I neeeeeed an Indian!” Naturally, we HAD to ask why she needed an Indian. Come to find out she was referring to an American Indian, and she needed one because, “They have cures.” We couldn’t help it, we laughed at her again. And the final line of the evening was: “Don’t laugh! I BELIEVE in Indians! And I Buh-Leeve in black people too! They know things, they KNOW more than we do!” I told her I was glad she believed in them because they were real, and Katie (being the nicer daughter) got herself under control, gave Mama two Aleve and got her to go to sleep.
So if you want a quiet, relaxing Christmas stay home. But if you’re looking for a wild time, figure out wherever it is The Hamlin Zoo is spending the Holidays.

Playing Dress-Up

I have no idea why, but I seem to have a thing for decorating and dressing up animals. You’ve already seen Tommy in her lingerie. At Christmas I painted a horse for a Christmas card, for Valentine’s Day I tied ribbons all over my sister’s horse.

Last night over Kahlua and Coffee some friends started discussing condoms and all the different varieties. I have no particular experience with this topic, so I just listened until Sally brought up glow in the dark condoms. Tommy has a cropped tail, and I recommended that we put a glow in the dark condom on it so we could find her at night. It’s basically guaranteed that we will try this idea out. Photos to come, I’m sure…

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Other Sisters

When I got Sally, I also got two more sisters. Annie and Kim have added so much to my life… none of it common. We have the most ridiculous amount of fun together that it’s just wrong.
One year for New Year’s Eve we decided that rather than going out we were going to throw our own beauty pageant. The rule was that you had to purchase your attire for the evening at a thrift shop or discount store. My attire consisted of a lime green, sequined, backless, formal gown and a broad brimmed hat, spray painted a matching shade of lime green, rimmed with white glitter for salt, and topped with a “lime wedge.” I was a margarita! Annie was Cinderella and Kim was the Burning Ring of Fire. We had an outlandish time, I tell you! Annie’s boyfriend was the judge and ran it like a true pageant. He even asked questions. Annie’s question was, “If you were any animal, what animal would you be?” Her response was that she was the beaver because she was soft and furry and could chew through wood with her teeth… later the lady who cleaned the stalls found a dead beaver on the side of the road. She pulled over, picked it up, and took it home and deposited it in her freezer. She later deposited it into Sally’s freezer and we took it and had it stuffed and mounted. It was the center piece at Annie’s wedding the following year. And you really should have seen the face of the Navy pilot who was taking lessons from Sally at the time when she took it to the taxidermist. She informed him, quite seriously and from her bathroom, that she needed help with her beaver.
The night after we bought Annie’s wedding dress (Vera Wang, no less) we took ourselves out to a lovely dinner at the Global Grill. We adore tapas, and we adore wine, and we adored a LOT of it that night! We absolutely worked ourselves into a frenzy of fun. The result was Annie and Kim climbing onto the antique, British occupation of Florida-era cannon in front of the county courthouse, riding the cannon, and licking the cannon.
Once when Kim was visiting we had a chicken that had had her leg amputated (by what we never found out). Seeing that she needed special attention, Kim relocated her to the kitchen counter where she took her meals for the remainder of Kim’s stay.

Auntie Roommate

This morning, my two-year old nephew called me on his mom’s phone. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was playing with his Monster Truck (which sounded like, “Monstwah Twuuuck”). It took me a minute to figure out Niki wasn’t with him, so I asked him what his Mama was doing- to which he replied that she was sending an email (“Ending uh eeem-wail”).

Anyhow- I know this isn’t that interesting to you (although it is to me and this is my blog), but it started me thinking about how completely awesome it is to be an Auntie! Oh, and S, that’s pronounced like “Ant” the bug, NOT “Ont.”

It’s a little weird when your best friends start having kids, especially when you aren’t dating anyone or getting married. But then the little boogers come and one day you hated babied and then you LOVE them!! And when you’re the Auntie and not the Mommy you get away with SO much stuff!! For example, when Nathan was about four months old, I gave him a beer to play with solely for the photo op. And when Aury was playing ball with Van and decided to stick the ball in her mouth, I took her picture first and THEN took the ball away. I dressed Nathan as white trash one day and took him out in public. Well, Niki actually dressed him a little like white trash, and I just pushed it too far. I didn’t get away with as much with Aury, because Shannon freaks out a lot easier than Niki. And Aury always had enough drama of her own. I find kids so entertaining now, and I have no clue how this happened to me.

The real blessing, even more than the kids, though, comes from your best friends. You get to see, and be a part of, this whole new piece of them! And they let you! These are things you always just assumed you’d go through together, but never really analyzed. You’re covered in barf (sans the night out drinking) and poop together, neither of you shower for days, there are bare boobs at the breakfast table… and all of it is somehow great. I have never laughed so hard and bonded so tightly! I am so remarkable blessed with Shannon and Niki!

I highly, highly recommend being an Auntie!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Dog's Panties

In 2004, I moved to the farm after Hurricane Ivan to do what I could to help Sally rebuild. After we finally managed to get the roof reattached and it was no longer raining into the house, Theresa moved in with us. We had a blast together!
A few months after the three of us began our adventure as roommates, Sally’s dog Tom Boy (Tommie to her friends) came into season. For those of you who don’t know exactly what this entails, it’s rather like a woman’s period. Tommie is a member of the family and lives in the house- there was no banishing her to the out-of-doors for the duration of her “visitor.” How could one girl ever do this to another? On the other hand, Theresa and I just couldn’t abide her being in the house and on the furniture without protection. So we did what any rational human being would do, we found an old pair of panties, cut a tail hole in them, inserted a pad, and put them on the dog. This may surprise you, but Tommie had no problem at all with the arrangement. The first pair we chose for her was a very chic pair of lime green boy-short style undies. She wore them with pride, and was a great sport. When she went outside she stopped to have her panties removed, and upon reentering the house she stopped again to “get dressed.” It was a great laugh and we had fun with this for more than a week, choosing new panties for Tommie and throwing the old away. While everyone else thought this odd, it really didn’t seem so strange to us. But what followed, I did find quite strange. Hilarious, actually.

A few weeks later, we were spending what began as regular evening in the log cabin. We had taken our supper, watched Wheel of Fortune, all was well. Sally had gone to take a bath and sauna and Theresa and I were doing whatever we did. I went to ask Sal a question and found her humming, dancing, and scrubbing her bathtub before she got in. This sounds normal, but I haven’t described her attire for you yet. She had stripped down to her skivvies and had her back to me, she was be-bopping around and shaking her booty to her own rhythm- which was how I noticed she seemed to be wearing a pair or the dog’s panties!!! It seems one day she had needed a new pair of panties for Tommie, so she’s offered up a pair of her own. Afterwards she dropped them into the laundry pile inadvertently, laundered them, and put them away… in her own drawer.

My reaction was to instantly fall onto the floor, laughing hysterically, and wallowing around in another pile of laundry which I now realize may have been dangerous. I couldn’t breathe, much less explain to her my hysterical fit. I think she may have believed I was having a seizure. And maybe I was, because I have never laughed that hard in my life. Hell, I’m laughing again right now. After a minute or two, Theresa came scooting into the room to see what it was that was wrong with me. I still couldn’t speak, but I managed to motion to Sally to turn around. Upon noticing the tail hole in the panties, Theresa also lost it. I think our tears of laugher may have created a small pool on the floor. Sally spent the next thirty seconds or so spinning around, quite ironically, like a dog chasing its tail until she also noticed she had donned the dog’s intimates. She laughed as well, although not quite as hard as Theresa and I did. She also didn’t call everyone she could think of to inform them of the mix-up, which Theresa and I also did.

Last night, Sally and I threw a small lingerie shower in honor of Theresa’s coming wedding. Rather than hiring a stripper, we just dressed Tommie in a lime green bra and panty set. Sally wore her own panties for the occasion.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Mother

I have two mothers. It’s not what you’re thinking, though. I adopted one. Or she adopted me… or both.
When I was eight I began taking horseback riding lessons at the Robarts’ Farm. Sally Robarts was to be my instructor, my friend, and eventually another mom. She gave me two additional sisters and a brother I sometimes acknowledge and sometimes don’t. Growing up, Katie and I spent hours with other kids hanging out at the farm on weekends and during the summers cleaning stalls, cleaning tack, riding, feeding, grooming, and bathing horses… anything just to be there! I have dozens of stories of our antics and adventures. You’ll hear about most of them eventually, not to worry.
Let me be clear: Sally is crazy. But so is my real mother, so this didn’t faze me. Sally isn’t crazy in the fairytale since of the word, though. Sally is crazy in the most basic interpretation of the word. As in, she is completely un-understandable. You will never figure her out because she says one thing, does another, says something completely new the next week and then does something out of the blue five minutes later. She’s totally random, you can never predict the next thing she’ll chose to do.
For example, she is adamant that I remain a “good, Christian girl.” And when I say adamant, I mean that she’s been morbidly embarrassing me for years now touting my pureness. Then one day when I was about fourteen, we were driving down the road when a man driving a huge dump truck full of red clay pulled up next to us. She noticed him leering at me and instructed me to look up at him, luck my lips, and crook my finger at him asking us to follow him. She wanted a free load of clay for the stalls. What she would have done when he got to our house, I’m really not sure- because I refused. She pouted for the rest of the day. See? Walking contradiction, that woman.

Most of the things she does are completely inappropriate. Like the day she tore a hole in the butt of her shorts and drove to the Goodwill store, blew through the front door and yelled at the top of her lungs, “I’ve had a SPLOSION (as in explosion) in my pants!! I need new ones NOW!” My friend Theresa was with her, poor girl, and I thought of this exact moment the other day when Sally was trying to figure out why in the world Theresa hadn’t introduced her new fiancĂ©e to her. Hmm… I wonder.
She also regularly wears spandex pants. The shiny kind- usually a size eight or so. She’s a size sixteen. She regularly explains to small children that they need to sit on horseback as if they are holding a quarter in the crack of their butt. Parents love this. After Hurricane Ivan took the entire roof off of her house, she let the Mexican doing the repairs move into the FEMA trailer. It was still raining into the house at this point. Every day at ten minutes until six she yells, “Ten minutes to Wapner!!” to remind everyone (herself and I and the digs) that jeopardy starts in ten minutes.
How long do you have to imitate Rain Man before you simply become him?

Saturday, February 6, 2010


It seems a logical place to start would be my childhood. That generally explains a lot about people. Not that I’m particularly logical, but a girl has to start somewhere. And our childhood certainly explains a lot about my sisters and I- in very different ways, but all the same it explains a lot.

I had a fairytale childhood… and I mean that quite literally, a childhood full of tales of fairies. When I was about four, and my sisters were three and one and a half (We were all born within three and a half years. We can discuss my parents’ fertility later.), we lived in a very old house in Abbeville, Louisiana. Mama was trying to get all three of us to take a nap at once, not a simple feat. There was a big vine growing in the bedroom window, and Mama told us the story of the Fairy Vine. This was a magical vine, a vine where the fairies played Chutes and Ladders, or something of the sort. It was also a vine by which fairies granted the wishes of little girls while they napped. We were enthralled, naturally. Little girls are easily enthralled, and we had the most enthralling of mothers! We made wishes, apparently for beautiful jammies. And they appeared. Mine were blue. Beautiful silky jammies with lace.

I can follow your thoughts here. I’ve had them too- in one of my lapses in judgment when I thought everything could be explained. She prompted our wishes, she ran to the store while we napped… something. First, let me tell you plainly that my Mama never prompted any of our thoughts. She loved our thoughts too much, she lived for them. She, both of my parents actually, were always very careful to allow us our own thoughts, our own dreams, our independence. You’ll have to take my word for it, but she never prompted our thoughts. And if she HAD prompted our thoughts, they would have involved glitter anyhow. Second, you likely haven’t lived in Abbeville, Louisiana. It doesn’t, or didn’t when we lived there, have stores that sell silk, frilly pajamas for little girls. And even if they had, it would have been blocks from our home and Mama would never have left us alone. Aside from having the foresight to believe in fairies, she was also a very good mother.

So after our naps, when we woke up, there were our beautiful new jammies at the bottom of the bed. Just waiting for us. And we were ecstatic. I wish I remembered what we did when Daddy got home! I can only imagine how we relayed our story to him.

And that was how all of our childhood was- full of fun and games and playing and fairytales. On rainy days, Mama put on her roller skates and roller-skated us, in turns, up and down the halls. On sunny days our dollar store swimming pool was filled with the shipping peanuts that came in my Daddy’s huge boxes of veterinary medical shipments and we “swam” in them in the front yard. Our house was full of stink bugs in the evenings when Daddy got home from work and he would spend an hour or so chasing “Dee-Buhs” around the house and getting them out as a game. During thunderstorms Daddy pulled a mattress out onto the front porch and covered us with blankets while we watched the storm blow by. While Christmas shopping for Mama, we played games of chase up and down and down and up the escalators.

Like I said, fairytale childhood. And I chose to believe.

All About Ashley

My photo
Spring, TX, Southern, United States
Playing with and keeping up with my nephew and niece take up a lot of my time. Van Geaux takes up the rest of it. Work is an afterthought most days! I like to be outside- but not when it's too hot. I get bored at my desk all day. Niki keeps my world spinning and without her and AC I'd lose it. My work ethic crashes at 4 p.m. daily and I live my sweet puppy and my hedgehog whenever I am not at Niki's. I truly believe naps are quality pass-time events, and sometimes I say bad words at work. I'm pretty sure I'm insane on multiple levels and I believe rules don't apply to me.
It seems that my life is quite entertaining. I didn't realize this myself, but was informed of it by my friends- who are rather entertained by tales of my life occurrences.

I'm far from a professional writer. These are just stories, comments, and other items for simple amusement. Hopefully it's a fun read, as Shannon plans to edit it into a book one day! Maybe we'll become famous, and maybe we'll just have some good laughs at my expense (and some other characters in my life). Either way, happy reading!