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!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Date a Girl Who Reads

Wow... just wow!! This is me. I have been an addicted reader since I was five or six. I can remember during summers and on weekends, Mama waking up in the middle of the night to find me still reading. I love books- I love reading. I'm not literary or studied on the classics. I just adore books. And that thing about smelling the books. Uh, yeah... ME!!
Unfortunately, I am not a writer. I would love to be, but am not. 

Date a Girl Who Reads 

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by God, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

Writen by Rosemary Urquico

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tailgating (Hamlin Style)

Last night, Katie and I were discussing what we should do for an hour and a half while we wait for Amanda's plane to land Friday night. My flight gets into Pensacola at 9:30 and Amanda's at 11. By the time I get off the plane and out of the airport, the mall and Target will be closing. There are no good bars near by, not enough time to see a movie. We considered Chili's but knew we'd spend too much on food and alcohol and possibly not be able to drive back to the airport.

Eventually, we reached the obvious conclusion- we would tailgate! Friday night, airport parking lot, Kate and me + margaritas. We are going to tailgate in anticipation of the reunion of the Hamlin Girls. It's on.

This is not the first time this has occurred. One time Katie and I went to Walmart to buy some groceries and a huge pack of TP. At some point we lost Katie's keys in WalMart. So we bought beer and sat on the tailgate while we waited for Daddy to rescue us.

Naturally, Amanda will partake immediately upon arrival. The good news is that she travels with our DD, chaperon, and mascot.

See ya in the parking lot peeps!
(PS- AC, you may want to watch the airport security footage the next morning)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Making New Friends

I'm kind-of having a hard time with this. I've gone to quite a few networking events and Meet Up groups over the past few months. I'm pretty proud of myself, actually, because I am content to just stay with Niki. But it's bad mojo to base your life on one person (even if that person is perfection). So I've been branching out.

But the truth is- it's difficult making new friends. The friends I have just clicked. We were friends right away. Sure, we spent time getting to know each other. But it was always easy and we were comfortable together. And friendships go through phases- sometimes it takes work to stay in touch, sometimes you argue. But in the beginning I never had to push myself to do things with them. Now I do. Even when girls seem nice, eeeeeh, not for me. I don't believe in forcing friendships. And I'm not looking for acquaintances.

So what have you done? What things have worked for you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dog Tattoo

I actually, honestly, thought I was the craziest dog owner I knew. I created a bedside table for Van on Saturday. Or maybe AC, she's almost as bad as I am.

Then I saw this:

Jennifer Aniston got her dead dog's name tattooed on her foot. That's a little extreme. I would not get Van's name tattooed on my body. I'm sure she's grieving- I will probably just go ahead and die with Van because I'll be inconsolable. I get the bereavement thing. My dog is family. But a tattoo? Hmm...

I am, however, considering getting Van this do for football season. Geaux Tigers! :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sheridan French Giveaway!!

She's doing a give away! I'm no Bachelorette fan- but I'm glad it motivated her to give someone a beautiful piece of her clothing. Preferable me.

And be sure to keep up with her blog. She's a great writer in addition to designer. Her blog is funny and entertaining. Her stories are great and light hearted and her fashion posts will motivate you to wear color!! I started following because I thought her clothes were so pretty, but I'm a faithful reader now!

Friday, June 24, 2011

New Purchase!

It's not what you think. No fashion, sorry! But interior decor... kinda.

It's this:

How cute are they? Little air plants in a wine cork! (Thank you Oh, My Darling for the tip.) 

I have been having plant and flower issues of late. Generally, I am a decent gardener. And with more free time I think I'd be pretty good. Last year I had a nice garden. This year the plants on my apartment porch are fair to middlin and the zinnias I planted at Niki's are not going so well... SAD! I love plants and flowers. 

So I ordered these in hopes that their living off of air will help. And they can be inside away from the I-45 fumes (I'm thinking this might be hindering my porch plants. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Raining!

I am so, completely, ecstatic. It's RAINING! I have lived here four months now and I think it's rained once. I am not joking. It's so dry. This morning when I left for work, this was pretty much me:

When I was a kid, we used to play in the rain. Mama would let us run around (when there was no lightening, of course) in the yard and wash our hair in the water pouring off the roof. Or we would go for walks in the rain and splash in puddles. If there was thunder and lightening, we would drag a mattress onto our front porch and all cuddle together in blankets and watch the storm. Once, Katie and I went horseback riding in the rain just for fun. Sleeping when it rains is blissful.

I just love the rain.

Mama & I playing in the rain

Rain storm blowing in over the Grand Canyon.

Don't get me wrong- I don't like rain constantly. It can get depressing. But it's wonderful how everything is washed clean and smells fresh after it rains, like the whole world is cleansed.

Let the rain kiss you.  Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.  Let the rain sing you a lullaby.  ~Langston Hughes

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer + Weekend Pics

So, who decides when summer officially starts? The sun? The calendar (Memorial Day)?
I'm gonna go ahead and say it was 2 to 3 weeks ago when we started having 100+ degree temps EVERY DAY! I don't care when the summer solstice is or when the sun's rays hit the equator directly - if it's 100 degrees in June, it's summer. End of discussion.

Speaking of summer, we had a rather summery weekend. We loaded up the kids and headed to Galveston on Saturday. (AC, don't judge) Let me just tell ya, Perdido Key it aint! I am accustomed to beautiful, white sandy beaches. Their sand is brown and their water is brown too and their water will turn you brown. I made the mistake of wearing my white bathing suit and it's still soaking in stain remover. I mean, it's not dirty in a trash in the water kind of way. Just in a silty water kind of way.

At any rate, we had a blast regardless. The bonus to Galveston over Perdido is that you can take your dog with you without the risk of a $500 fine. This goes a very long way in my book.

Cutest beach baby ever!

Van and I hitting the surf

We could hardly get Nathan to come out of the water. The same goes for van

Playing fetch with Van

Love her!

Most adorable best friend ever.

This is Van obliging me for about 5 seconds before trying, again, to figure out how to get off of the fishing pier and into the water. 

Most precious nephew

This would be me torturing Nate and Van by making them pose instead of play in the waves. 

All in all it was a great day and we'll head back again (wearing black bathing suits!!)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Daddy Loves Daughter (a proper Father's Day)

For as long as I can remember, my Daddy has informed us that Father's Day is the day that fathers set aside to celebrate and indulge their children. Every year we got presents (as kids a Coke and a candy bar, now the money to buy it) and when we were home he'd cook our favorite things or take us out to eat or to do something fun.

Obviously, we never objected to this.

Yesterday this arrived in the mail and I fell out laughing:
Then teared up:

My Real Daddy
Isn't he the cutest? (Read about him here)
I'm a lucky girl!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Time Management is Hard!

Lately, I've been totally stressing about fitting everything in. It is HARD, folks! I have to keep up some ruse of an exercise routine because of my hormonies, my sweetie puppy girl is perfect all day wile I work and must get out to exercise, work takes up TOO MUCH TIME, I need to eat healthy which takes some type of preparation and not a drive through window, I haven't been reading as much (until I picked up Unbroken) and I miss books, I need to get out and network and make new Texas-type friends, I don't want to be alone forever... and did I mention work takes up too much time? All of this is weighing on me while the truth of the situation is that I really just want to spend my time with my BFF and her two kids because I am obsessed with them (in a good way).

I can not fit it all in. If I keep up the work-out routine I did in P'cola I come home, work out (leaving my dog alone again), take Van for a swim, eat something quickly, shower, got to bed. Did you see anything fun in there - because I did not.

After much stress, prayer, and self berating I decided to make some priorities.

#1 is a tie between The Kickels and Van. (Don't judge. My dog is my child)
#2 is exercise for the sole reason that it keeps my hormones balanced. If it didn't I would ditch it.
#3 Is work. It kinda has to be a priority because it pays the bills
#4 Reading (I heart books, OK??)

I have condensed my workout. I don't need to be buff- I just need to be me. Time with Van and Niki keep me balanced and happy and was the purpose of packing up my life and moving to Texas. Though I would one day like to work part time or from home and have horses and cows and pigs and chickens and a duck- for now work is an office and a desk and a necessity so I may as well not fight it. I've been spending more time reading and it really does make a difference for me and my mental state.

It ain't perfect, but it's working.
Am I the only one? How do you guys balance things?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wish I Was Here Wednesday

Happy Birthday Mommy!!!

I wish I was home today with my fam! It's my sweet Mommy's birthday and I want to be playing with her and relaxing on the beach and drinking wine and laughing!!

More Mommy Pics:
Aren't my parental units adorable?

How did someone so short give birth to people so tall?


Please check out her jeggings and boots

Christmas concert with Paw Paw

This just makes me laugh.

Happy Mirthday to the most wonderful mother a girl could ask for!

Monday, June 13, 2011

File Gumbo

Our weekend plans went a bit awry when Niki woke up sick Saturday. So I took the opportunity to make some of my Daddy's famous File Gumbo. I guess it's only famous in our circle of family and friends. But he makes amazing gumbo and I am pretty darn good at copying.

There are about a million different ways to make gumbo and also combos of meats and veggies. use what you like. Read different recipes. The main key: time, time, time and more time!

I use a dry roux and I make my own. It's just flour, folks. I use about a cup in my gumbo (yes, that's a lot- no, I don't care if you think so).
Note: it freezes fine so make a bunch and freeze it. It's great for soups too.

Turn your burner on medium-low (resist the urge to do it faster) and slooowly let it brown. it will take an hour or more. Stir every few minutes. This is almost done- I like it a bit darker.

I use about a 6 onions and 3 bell peppers- give or take. Also use celery. Satee until they're super soft and then add what herbs and spices you use. Sprinkle the roux on about 1/4 cup at a time and stir to coat the veggies. Add water or broth to just cover it and let simmer at least half an hour, preferable longer.

It'll get very thick. Add a bit more water and okra. Simmer another half hour or so.
After that you add your meats in stages and simmer all day. Seriously. Do not plan on eating the Gumbo the day you start it. Nuh-uh, big no no.

This is how mine looked at the end of day 1. I let it simmer from Noon until about 7pm.

We did this while it cooled :)

After it cools enough sprinkle with File put it in the fridge over night. It's KEY to let it sit at least one night. More is even better. The flavors meld in gumbo.

The next morning I pull it out and scrape the oil off the top, then heat it back up. It's good to let it simmer again about an hour or so before you serve.
Don't freak out if it looks like this (above). It always looks kinda iffy in the pot. :)

Serve over rice- DELISH!

If you want more on what I put in it and my steps leave me a comment and I'll send you my "outline." No recipe, gumbo is personal!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Reliving this

With the addition of this

Can't wait.


Reliving this

With the addition of this

Can't wait.

Paris + New Blog

I want to go to Paris!! I'm entering- bring it on!!

And on the bright side, I found a fun new blog to read!.

All of this is making me remember the book Lunch in Paris. Such a great read! Maybe I can re-read it on the plane on my way there. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dear Kid Rock

Watched the CMT Video Music Awards last night. I love country music, but I have no idea what CMT was trying to pull...

Dear Kid Rock (and also CMT),
You are not country. White trash does not automatically equal country.
He's wearing a silver track suit.
First, what men wear track suits?
Second, What country stars wear track suits?
'Nuf said.

Let me be clear, you look like an idiot.

I really think Jade put it perfectly last night when he asked, "So is he going to change his name to 'Kid Country'?"
Also- all country music stations nation wide, feel free to stop playing Kid Rock's music. I always change the channel.

Dear Sheryl Crow,
So many questions for you. Like why do you associate with the like of this:

Also, you showed the world your crotch when you got on your stool. Seriously. But kudos to you for coming back on stage later and owing up to it as well as telling us all that you were, in fact, wearing underwear. 

Also kudos for having legs that hot.
But why, why, WHY, I ask, do you mix your voice with someone of no talent?

You looked much better here.

Other strange occurrences:
Ludicrous. At the Country Music Awards. He may be even less country thank Kid Rock.
And while we're at it: Jason Aldean (who he was there singing with) stop trying to rap. You're country. Leave the rapping to Ludicrous. Preferably on MTV. 

Someone make this kid go away! It was bad enough that I had to see him on the MTV awards. Now he's all up in my country? His song with Rascal Flatts confirms my suspicions of that group... (Sorry Niki)

And I could never comment on country music without mentioning my crush. 

I love you Jennifer Nettles. You are perfect always. 

So, CMT, I get that you're trying to be cool. But stick to country, will ya? Those of us who like country music like it because it's different from pop and metal and rap. Don't try to blend them. Unless you want to have Keith Urban or Brad Paisley do another duet with John mayer. That's OK. 

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!