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, February 23, 2012

It's Started

There is some bridge that children cross when they step into two-year-old territory that turns them, on occasion, into screaming, spitting, scratching monsters. I was pretty convinced that my little Lorelei angel would skip this phase due to the fact that she has always been an adorable, peaceful, easy little thing.

I was wrong. 

Today, Niki and Lorelei picked me up at the VW dealership so I didn't have to wait for them to service my car. This is what best friends do (see this post for explanation). When they arrived, Niki asked me to check out Lorelei's hair bow. It was quite a piece of work made up of pink and brown ribbon piled about 4 inches off the top of Lorelei's head. Turns out it was two hair bows. Niki clipped the pink one on this morning to hold her hair back while she ate breakfast. When she changed her for the day she put in a brown bow and Lorelei had a fit. The pink one was a must. Unfortunately, by that point the brown one was also a must. When they picked me up she was wearing the brown bow with the pink bow clipped on top of it. It was quite lovely. 

You are probably asking yourself: Why didn't Niki just put her foot down and let Lorelei know what was what. Right? Wrong. Let me just describe a Lorelei fit for you: 20-something pounds of adorable falls to the floor with a screech, and arms and legs begin flying in all directions so quickly that you are pretty sure the child has sprouted three to five extra limbs for the sake of her fit. All of this flailing is accompanied by screams and sobs the decibel of a KISS concert... if you are sitting directly next to the refrigerator-sized speakers. No human being can tolerate this for more than about 60 seconds. But then an arched back and shrieks are added, her face turns a strange shade of purplish red, and razor blades sprout from her finger tips while demon possessed smoke begins pouring from her ears. No joke. So if all of this can be prevented with a double-decker hair bow, that's what is done. 

Moving on- We headed for a couple of thrift stores to kill some time. This started out very well with Lorelei pulling things off the rack and holding them up while exclaiming, "Cute!" But she got bored rather quickly. At the next store she refused a ride in the buggy, but also refused to be held. A two year old roaming loose in a grungy second hand store littered with random glass items from who knows where is not acceptable. So Niki put Lorelei up on her shoulders so she could browse. I turned around a minute later to find Lorelei perched precariously on Niki's right shoulder in a Superman pose. That store didn't last too long either(although it lasted long enough for us to purchase a cashmere sweater, a Calvin Klein top, two books and a Star Wars sleeping bag for $9. Not bad.).

After that, we made the only logical decision and went to lunch. Lunched started off odd, but cute:

In an Auntie-induced stroke of genius, I told her she could bring "Bear" to lunch. Bear, who by this point was sporting the pink half of the double-decker hair bow, got her own chair and everything. Bear had lemonade, some bread and colored. All was going swimmingly until the food arrived. Food is no longer a sign of sustenance to Lorelei, it is a sign of attention being divided between her and something else for all those around her. Not good. Let the melt down commence. After a few minutes of trying to convince Lorelei to eat in her high chair, which only ended in Lorelei being balanced on her stomach on the table with her feet on the chair that was now a foot behind her, Niki just let her eat in her lap. Except she didn't want to eat. So she ended up again perched in the Superman pose on Niki's shoulder while Niki tried to eat a calzone.  I finished off my food quickly and took her to wander around the restaurant. We packed our traveling freak show up and headed to pick up my car. Too bad putting Lorelei into her car seat brought back the screaming banshee. Our conversation to calm her went something like this:

Lorelei, do you want Bear?
Do you want Tutu Baby?
Do you want juice?
Do you want a snack?
Do you want to go to Disney World?
Do you want to continue to breathe?
Do you want a bowl full of M&Ms?
Do you want our eternal love and devotion?
Do you want a life-size dancing talking pink bear of your own?

We gave up and drove to the dealership with a small, screaming, attacking alien in the back seat. I got out of the car and got ready to head for the safety of my own with Niki and I being very careful not to look at Lorelei- both because she was calming down and we didn't want to start her off again, and also because we were afraid if we made eye contact she would turn our brains to mush with her x-ray vision. At that point, I did what an Auntie does. I got out of the car and left Niki alone with the beast. Because at the end of the day, some times you've just got to play the Auntie card. Not the mama!!!

The best part? Lorelei won't be 2 until next month. It's ON!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Anti-Vasectomy Act

My sister sent me this today and I think it's awesome!

Let me just go ahead and tell you- this might be a tad bit controversial. I think it's just plain funny, and kind of genius, but that's me. However you feel about birth control and abortion, I have to believe women will find some justice in this.

There is a State Rep in Georgia, Yasmin Neal, who has proposed a law that would ban vasectomies for men using the same guidelines by which most states restrict abortions. The blog entry (link below) that I read this on states the anti-abortion movement as a Republican movement. I believe it to be more of a religious movement. I am a strong Christian with a well grounded faith- but I also have big doubts about a lot of things people do and say in the name of religion. Restricting my rights as a woman is one of those things. I simply believe that the church and the government should not decide my medical choices. I also don't believe abortion should be used as birth control- so there you go.

That being said- why DON'T these movements want to restrict men's roles in birth as well? What's up with that? I don't know how far this will go and if it will even make it to the Georgia floor for open discussion. But Yasmin Neal has guts- and a great sense of humor and justice- as far as I am concerned. Go girl!! I put her speech introducitng the Act below. Click on the link to The Maddow Blog to watch it.

"Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies. It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women's ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States. Women, our bodies, and what we do with it are always up for debate.
"This bill has been drafted for all women who have the wherewithal to choose. The day has come where men should feel the same pressure and invasion of privacy that women have faced for years. I have introduced this legislation because it is the purpose of  the General Assembly to assert an invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of the men of this state and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men.
"This bill states that vasectomies can be performed to avert the death of a man or to avert serious risk of substantial or irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the man. This bill mimics the abortion bills throughout the nation, and just like the abortion bills interfere with a woman’s right to choose, it’s only fair that the General Assembly debate the men’s right to choose, as well."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs

I am in LOVE with eggs. I really, really adore them. When I lived on the farm they were always so fresh and delicious that I got addicted. So when I flew back last weekend I carried some home on the plane. :) That's right- in my carry on.

Last night I had been busy all day and not really sat down to eat. And I was starving!! But I had little to no groceries, so I decided to make a dinner out of this:

OK, fine- out of this plus sage and two eggs. 

I got a recipe like this out of Cooking Light a year or so ago and I vary it with whatever I have around. It's also excellent with sausage and half sweet potato, half red potato. 

It's SO easy- chop half the onion (the whole one if you're using 2 potatoes) and cube the potato. Put a little olive oil in the pan and cover with sage (I like a lot, so I used about 2 tablespoons. Vary to your taste). 

Cook until potatoes are soft (20 to 25 mins over medium heat. It also helps if you put a little water in and cover for a bit so they steam. But be sure to let the water cook off.)

It also helps if you add some wine- as in add it to your glass.

Finished potatoes

OK, after that I poach/fry my eggs. I learned this method from Miss Sally at the farm and it's much easier than frying. Less breakage! Basically, you just put about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water in a hot skillet and add a little vinegar to keep the eggs together. Cook until done.

Put your eggs directly on top of your potatoes. The yolk mixes with the sage and it's absolutely perfect.


I like meals like this where it's one pot and easy, but you feel like you've really made yourself something nice. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Please Don't Assume

Read another great article today by the original Savvy Auntie, Melanie Notkin. You may kinda remember she is a reason for my blogger comeback.  You may also kinda, sorta remember that I enjoy her articles because she openly addresses that fact that while being a single woman is more acceptable now, it still has a stigma. Believe what you want, but it's true.

Her article in the Huffington Post today is called "Single Woman Does Not Equal 'Career Woman.'" Good stuff. Because when you're almost 30, single and working, people assume your career is most important. Wrong. I would love to be married (happily married), raising kids, and not facing every day alone. I like my job, sure, but I like it mostly because it pays the bills. What I love is friends and family. And the reason I am still single is not because I chose my career over love, it's because I haven't found love yet. And because maybe I'm a little picky.

Get it right: the fact that I choose to be happy and find joy in my circumstances, that I chose to do well in my job, and that I do not mope around and spend every evening husband hunting doesn't mean I don't want marriage and family. And for people to assume that is a , "Punch in the gut," as Melanie puts it. There are many times I would love to have a pair of arms to step into to get a little relief, someone else to pay some of the bills, and darn it- someone to take the freaking car to have its oil changed! But he isn't here, so I do it.

This could become a rant, so I will stop. But read the article and know that there is value in realizing that the people around you may not have chosen their circumstances, but they may be doing their best anyway. And that goes for all people, not just single women. That is just my struggle and my life. Remember to look at the people whose path you cross with love, not judgement. Remember that you can either uplift them or bring them down. Watch what you say off the cuff, because we all have our struggles. Be kind. And be supportive.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kudos, Glamour

So, I was reading my Glamour Magazine on the elliptical this morning before work and found a few articles about body image, healthy weight and Photo Shopping in the current issue. Wait- let me rephrase that: I found a few real and worthwhile articles about body image, health and Photo Shopping. Worth a read if you're up for it.

One of the articles discussed the Photo Shopping of photos in magazines, ads, books, etc and whether or not it should be done. I think we all know that the retouching of photos has gotten out of control. Removing blemishes and stray hairs is one thing- taking inches off of waists and adding abs is another. The truth is that it's not just young girls seeing these pictures and getting bad body images that lead to eating disorders; it's you and me as well. Thus my being on the elliptical before work this morning. Seeing celebrities on the beach, models in clothes and advertisements for perfume (hello! so racy!) messes with my brain too- and while I know that the images aren't real, it doesn't stop how it shadows the view I have of myself in the mirror.

The other article I loved was a reality check about celebrity appearances. It's their JOB, ladies! Gweneth Paltrow spends at least an hour and a half in the gym 6 days a week and watches what she eats. They admit how they look involves daily stylists, deprivation and lots of exercise. So unless you plan to quit your life and become a professional celebrity- good luck!

All this being said, Glamour is not going to stop touching up photos. But it did open the door fairly wide for discussion and was up front about its practices. It also pledges to cut back on the amount of Photo Shopping done. We'll see if it really happens- and if it does, good move, Glamour.

Retouching Article

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I am constantly eating...

I am so serious- I can't stop eating! I eat all day.

I should have been a cow so I could just graze... all day... every day... because if I'm not eating I am chugging water to trick myself into thinking I don't need to eat. Maybe this is why I like cows so much.

So what's the deal? Is it just me? I try to do a good job of snacking smart. And for the most part I do. Here are some staples:
- Goldfish crackers (whole grain). I love these!!
- Raisins (I have recently rediscovered my love of raisins)
- Apples
- Grapes
- Pretzels
- Greek yogurt with granola
- Peanut butter and crackers
- Hummus with carrots and celery
- Almonds
- Light cheese sticks
- Luna bars (they taste like candy bars, I swear)
- Granola bars
- A crap-ton of water

I rarely eat an actual lunch, I snack at 10, Noon, 2 and 3 or 4 instead. But I almost always eat dinner.

What's the scoop, friends? Do you snack constantly like me? What are your snacking faves- I need variety!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

God Does Nice Work

I have a friend (a second mom, really) that says that all the time. And God does do nice work. He really does. It isn't always easy to remember it or see it clearly. And I am beginning to think it is OK to just try to get it, and try to see it. I mean, let's face it- we're human. We simply are not ever going to understand God. Sometimes I think maybe I should move along from that goal and try just to understand what little I can and be comforted by that. 

It's little things that always get me and bring me back. Like this:

I mean, really! Birds in a perfect smile. Go figure. I look at that and think, "Hi God!"

My faith is a quiet faith, a peaceful faith. I don't do rowdy and wound up well. Excitement, sure, I like my share of that. And joy- lots of joy. But what I love most is when God sends me those little messages here and there. This week he answered a prayer I had for a friend. It really had nothing to do with me at all, just a little wish I had for her life. And He answered it. It wasn't earth shattering or life altering. It was little, but something I wanted for her. And that just set me back right for a while. That one little thing he took the time to arrange in her life so perfectly. Hmm... God does nice work! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Abby Loves Me!

Well Oh My Heart, as my Granny would have said, someone actually reads this blog! I admit that I like the sound of that- but I wasn't under the impression it was particularly popular.

The life of an unmarried, childless 30 year old (almost) is probably not too entertaining to most. I don't party a lot, I don't post about fashion, I cook- but I don't post the meals that often. probably because I forget to stop and take photos! Those are the topics of a popular blog. Me? I just think I am a small niche of Southern girls who have no voice.  I am told on a regular basis by at least one member of my family that I need to get a life. but you know what- I like my life! So my blog is an outlet for me. But yay for someone liking it!!

Abby of Seaweed and Sassafras sent me this yesterday:

Liebster is German and translates to "dearest" or "favorite". It is meant for up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers.

Here are the rules:

- Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog

- Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you

- Copy and paste the blog award on your blog

- Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed

- Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog

Now, the fun part of passing it along!

One of mine HAS to be Abby. I can't really send it back, I guess. But she's great! She met my sister living on Guam and has used her time there to start her blog about FOOD (is there anything better??). I love that she has adventurous recipes. 

Two Sisters With Southern Charm (I am really trying to bribe her to come back here...) 

I will work on my two more... got to get some work done now! ;)

Thanks Abby- much love!! 

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!