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January 2010

ONE OF THEM

Standing against the wall she turned to me and asked, "Can't we try this in slow motion? I mean, does anyone even know what the hell is going on right now?"

I chuckled, "I've been told this is actually harder in slow motion."

"I don't believe you for a second," she rebuffed.

I tried in this free moment to explain how the team operated. Trying to explain the whole 'throw you in with the wolves' approach I too had been subjected to as a newbie. I looked back into the three months I had been coming to practice and I threw a handful of tips at her I wish I had known. Her eyes darted from my face to the gaggle of women slamming into one another on the track before us.

I remembered what it felt like to feel as if you have absolutely no idea if standing on that spot was the greatest idea you ever had, or the worst.

Practice ended and as I packed up my gear there she was again. She introduced herself and then surprised me by thanking me. "Not everyone is willing to help out the girl falling all over herself in the corner. It means a lot," she said. I professed it was no big deal, and told her that I too had felt as she did when I started. I admitted to her that watching the advanced skaters dance in the rink had made, and even still makes my inabilities feel as if they are larger than myself. I explained, "I only started in November, and I am proof that these girls can teach you to skate. Somehow, someway." 
 
As I walked through the doors on my way to my car I called behind me, "BYE! See you all tomorrow night!" and calls of, "BYE!" "SEE YOU!" and "LATER!" reverberated behind me. For the first time I realized I may have passed that milestone I have been so eager to reach. Quite possibly becoming overnight someone that a new player feels confident enough to ask a question, if only to ask if it gets less scary down the road. Against all odds I might have become someone worth reaching out to in the middle of all the chaos and confusion.

The entire conversation, as short as it was reminded me how recently I too was that girl only one or two practices in. I still remember all too well what it feels like to stand in a room that was moving dangerously fast hoping I would either get it, or get the sense to stay home. 

Who knew I'd have the confidence to proclaim, "I promise you it gets better. Even better, I promise you'll get better."


Plus, she has to keep coming, or else she'll miss out on all the fun socks.

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People, I live for derby socks.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


TULIP BULBS, ALSO KNOWN AS ALIEN FINGERS


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Walking to my front door the other day I spotted these little guys and I couldn't help but whip out my camera. I wanted to be all, "Look how nature reminds us to be positive! Springtime bulbs represent new beginnings, baby puppies, lambs frolicking in fields of daisies, and the return of hope love and laughter."

But then I downloaded all the images and all I could see were ALIEN FINGERS.

I was pretty sure in September that I planted tulip bulbs, but turns out I actually planted alien seedlings. These tricksters are currently maturing into evil man eaters and are going to spring from the ground any day now and eat my soul while wearing Oly's dead pelt on their heads like a creepy dog hat.  

Damn I make a shitty gardener.


Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


SELF DIAGNOSIS

So, I just diagnosed myself. Yep, who needs a masters in therapy, clinical hours, and experience? Bitch I know stuff.


After careful examination I've come to the delightful realization that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. Isn't that the LAMEST acronym you ever heard?


"How you feeling today Bob?"

"Oh, not so good. I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with SAD again."

Could this 'disorder' sound any more pansy?


But seriously. After going through a week of dreary weather, and a week of hiding under the covers and getting NO sleep because my mind kept waking me up to thoughts of 'INTRUDER!', I was more than pleased to realize Saturday morning that the tides had finally turned. The sun was back, and suddenly I was a new woman. 

I mean, I grew up in a world where roses bloom year round, where tanning in January is normal and can actually be done out in nature instead of a tanning bed, and a world where threat of rain will actually send people to the store to stock up on food, groceries and toilet paper. Because God forbid their hair frizzes from all the sudden moisture.

I thought I knew all there was to know about sunshine after this California upbringing. I thought it was no big deal and frankly a little overrated. And then I moved to Washington. Suddenly I live in a world where a gorgeous day like this Saturday, after so many weeks of rain feels like having crack injected, snorted, and inhaled into my system ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

A sunny day makes me feel like I am mother fucking super woman. I can plant a garden, hike up a mountain, solve world hunger, repair Brangelina's relationship, grow rock candy, repaint the house, bake 20 hideous cakes, run a marathon, TWICE, train a monkey, reorganize the house, dig a well, volunteer at a soup kitchen, teach Oly how to mix me a cocktail, and build an addition to our house out of sticks and rocks collected in my front yard all after I end the war in Iraq, single-handedly.

There is no task too difficult, and even scooping up wet mushy three week old dog crap in my backyard feels like a fucking stroll through Disneyland because look, THE SUN IS OUT!

After a day of vitamin D I lay in bed, reviewing the trail of greatness I've left in my wake and suddenly I feel like my world has been turned right side up again. Those feelings of worthlessness, low self esteem, or despair appear to have happened AGES ago! Silly silly girl.

Then I wake up on Sunday and it's raining. And not like a sprinkle here or there, I'm talking torrential downpour where I was pretty sure that it was time to get to work building that arc I've always been itching to construct because there was a 90% chance my house might float away without me. Before I know it I've slept in till noon, haven't washed my face, and I'm refusing to go to the store to get more food so instead end up eating peanut butter on Cheese-It's with a side of pickles all day. I feel the urge to paint disturbing images, but then ten seconds in remember I can't actually paint worth shit and proceed to get really upset with myself for being such a terrible artist. I watch depressing movies about the Holocaust and then bemoan the pain of humanity for the rest of the day. I paint my fingernails black. I realize Brangelia are going to be ok after all, which seems great (obviously my counseling from Saturday worked), until I realize now Brad and I might never be able to be together. Damn big lipped bitch and all her children. Before I know it I feel the urge to write angry tirades in my diary about the evils of the world and I find myself having two too many glasses of wine and passing out without showering. Again.

And if on Monday I wake to a beautiful sunny day, suddenly I'm fucking Martha Stewart, Richard Simmons and the Dalai Lama, all wrapped up at once. When I sit down for my morning pee unicorns and sparkles will flow from my va-jay-jay and I wont be able to help but sing, "Damn it feels good to be a gangster," all day long. Because well my friends, it does. 


BASICALLY I've come to realize that the sun is fucking with me.



Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


A LITTLE BABY

January has been a weird ass month where I constantly feel like I am trying to play catch up, writing out this long list of things to do and finding myself unable to check off a single one.

It started with a new year, one that was supposed to hold promise, opportunity, optimism and WHOOO-HOOO it's not 2009 anymore bitches!

Then Adam left for a work trip and Oly and I went about our business, feeling a tad overwhelmed but we're independent confident bitches so we watched chick flicks and ate popcorn for dinner and said things like, "Adam who?" and then cackled and high fived one another. Ahhh girl time.

Then the roommate returned, and before I knew it we were off to California.

Suddenly that too was over and before I'd even unpacked my bags Adam was off again for another work venture, this time for even longer. But Oly and I didn't mind, we got a keg and we haven't stopped partying since. 

Kinda.

If by partying you mean going to work, going to derby practice, and then coming home and pulling the covers over my head.

Yeah, fucking party ANIMALS.


I try to play it off to friends like it's sort of funny that I get all freaked out being home alone in the dark as a grown ass woman. Like, "Haha look at me afraid of the dark! Boo! Look out little kid there are ghosts in the closet! Aren't I HILARIOUS? More wine please!"

I'm doing my best to play down the fact that really I'm sort of this panicky and anxious person since the loss of my Grandmother. In all reality, when the sun goes down I get all itchy and nervous, and most nights end with me locking the bedroom door, clutching a glass of wine, and taking a heavy dose of Tylenol PM wishing frantically for daylight.

The worst is that I remember what it was like to feel no fear in an empty dark house. To relish in it even. And I try to joke around with it, I talk out loud to my fear, I laugh at my childish terror, Ashley stop being such a baby, but it's still there. Each time I open the door to an empty room, each time I walk down the stairs into a quiet black space my heart stops, just for a moment and I think, what if...


SO, the moral of this story is, WHO WANTS TO HAVE A SLUMBER PARTY? You bring the pillows for the sexy pillow fight later, and don't worry, I've got PLENTY of wine.


Ashley, the Accidental Olympian



A LAND WHERE THE FLOWERS BLOOM IN JANUARY

Adam and I spent the weekend in southern California, which you already knew. I could continue to wax on and on and on about how cool it is to play golf in January, talk about the amazing food, boast about the beauty of winter outdoor wine tastings, or make you laugh by telling you the story of how the forecast called for consecutive days of rain and the words, "THE RAIN IS COMING" actually made front page news (still can't stop laughing actually), but no. I'd rather just show you some pictures.

It took moving away to a place with real live seasons to finally realize how amazing it is to see flowers blooming and thriving in the middle of January. I had to leave the land of the eternal sun to finally appreciate the absolute magic that is this corner of the world.

And now, some of my favorites.

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The Wizard, giving you his best Wizard grin.
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I had to end with another shot of this guy. I tried to take him home in my luggage, but turns out that chubby sausage body and those stubby legs just wouldn't fit. Hey Baxter, look out because next time I'm bringing a bigger bag.  IMG_3194

Want to see more of my trip? Like all 100 or so mindless pictures? Then click through the whole shebang over at Webshots.


Ashley
the Accidental Olympian
http://www.accidentalolympian.com


VACATION, ALSO KNOWN AS FAT CAMP

I don't want to leave today. 

Yes, one of the biggest reasons I don't want to hug my family and friends good-bye and board the plane is because I have no way of knowing if it will be three, six, or twelve months before I see them again. But the other reason I don't want to leave is the food. 

Holy shit, can we talk about the food? 


Yes, I mean there was one minor snafu with the whole shrimp and chocolate salad my dad made all of us on his birthday, but beyond that its been one food coma after another. 

There were breakfast burritos, some amazing BBQ, coffee cake, salami and cheese, gourmet wine infused cupcakes (No really these were an orgasm in my mouth. Tell me your mouth is not watering after hearing about a Ginger Lime Chardonnay cupcake. Excuse me I have to change my panties), wine tastings, environmentally conscious gourmet wood fire pizza, Danish pastries, top notch Mexican food, a hearty German meal, and the most awe inspiring life altering cosmic mind fuck of amazingness, THIS CAKE.

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I was told it is a chocolate devils food cake, triple layer, with chocolate fudge frosting master piece made lovingly by Joy of The Cauliflower Lollipop. The best way to describe this cake is to tell you that there is a pound of gourmet chocolate in the frosting ALONE. I am hoping Joy will make me one for my birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, First Day of every Month, and every Sunday for eternity. 

There has to be this weird pleasure that parents get when they watch as their children devour calorie after calorie. Be it at the hands of their own work, their friends work, or the work of paid professionals, going home is basically a non stop eat-a-thon. If a parent doesn't send their spawn home at least ten pounds heaver then damn it they haven't done their jobs as parents. 

I could make some comment about how I am going to go home and go on some anti vacation diet, but lets be honest, the only reason I don't eat like this every day of my life is because I'm lazy and can't afford it. 

Now that I think about it, hell, our financial strain is actually one long diet! Well look at that, I'm actually a mother fucking dieting genius. 

I'm going to make a fortune. 

By the way, you owe me $12.95 for divulging my dieting secrets.  



Ashley,
The Accidental Olympian

http://www.accidentalolympian.com


A CALIFORNIAN ADVENTURE

Our vacation is short but sweet, but so far our trip has been riddled with both wonderful and hilariously weird moments. All things I fully expected going on a trip to visit MY family. 


I played my first ever full 18 holes of golf on Friday. I would call it a successful game. I mean, I only almost hit Adam in the head with a golf ball at close range ONCE. And he was smart enough to dodge it so we didn't even have to go to the emergency room or anything. GREAT success. Plus, I saw the worlds largest eucalyptus tree. No joke, this thing is probably the oldest thing in California and probably knew a few dinosaurs by name. 

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We were also lucky enough to spend time with our legendary Catch Phrase partners once again. I don't know what it is about this game, but if you mix in the right amount of personality and booze you get a night riddled with one liners and inside jokes that you can take with you for the next decade. This round we walked away with a lovely nickname for Adam. He will forever be known as 'Queso' in the company of my family. Nothing could make me more pleased. 


OH, I also realized my father is a master chef. For dinner last night he whipped up a lovely salad. We were told it was going to be, "A party in our mouth." Hell, I LOVE parties so bring it on Pops. Then we watched in horror as he dumped the following contents into a bowl, 


Lettuce
Onion Ring Chip Things -- They looked like the nicer version of Funyuns 
Cranberries
Baby Shrimp
Carrots
Cheese
Artichoke Hearts
and the one that brought down the house, 
GODIVA DARK CHOCOLATE


Yep, you read that right. My father made us a salad that contained shrimp and chocolate ALL IN THE SAME BOWL. Needless to say most everyone tried it (it was his birthday after all) and no one got sick. Hell let's go ahead and count that one as another HUGE success. 

OH, total milestone, today I got to pee on a floating port-a-potty in the middle of a lake. Added bonus, it was named the S.S. Relief. CLASSIC. Knock that one off my bucket list. 

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We only have a handful of moments left here in CA spending time with family and friends so close they could very well just be family, all snuggling together in the home I grew up in. I can't help thinking in between all the belly laughing and full face smiling that it feels so fucking good to be home.
 
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 Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


WE’RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD!


And when I say 'the Wizard' I of course am referring to my family.

You knew that right? I mean, my dad could TOTALLY pass as some kind of post hippie wizard of coolness and air guitar if I really wanted to stick to this whole ‘wizard theme’. More than anything though I just really like the line, We're off to see the Wizard. And the more I think about it, it doesn't even make all that much sense in my own head, this whole Wizard-Family analogy, and quite frankly the more I read this paragraph over and over looking for a meaning to this mess the more likely I am going to give myself an aneurysm, and holy crap it just wont stop so folks on that note, WE'RE MOVING ON!



So after the Christmas freak out of 2009 that landed my ass in the therapists office and sparked many many nights of crying and nonsense that can only be cured by large glasses of wine, my mother and I decided to put those pesky wasted airline miles to use and purchased Adam and I tickets to see the folks over this lovely MLK weekend.

I like to think it was inspired in a sort of, “Wow, that was bad timing, but we still love you!” kind of way that makes me happy to call these folks my family.


At first I was timid, what with the whole recently canceling a major holiday because of my serious lack of mental sanity thing, but as the time has neared, and the conversations with family have become more open and honest I’ve moved on to this place of, “FUCK YEAH! WHO’S EXCITED ABOUT CALIFORNIA? THIS GUY!”


Last MLK weekend Adam and I headed South for a CA trip in honor of my father’s 60th birthday. Which was SUPPOSED to be a sneaky super amazing surprise, until I opened my big ass mouth and said something along the lines of, “OMG Dad aren’t you thrilled for your big 60th birthday party this weekend?”

Yeah, apparently someone forgot I can’t keep secrets. Life Fail.


Even with my snafu the weekend was wonderful. Mostly because it was all about sunshine, beaches, family, sunshine, wine tasting, BBQing, sunshine, friends, golfing, and did I mention all the sunshine? It was everything a winter escapist vacation is supposed to be. Except for the part where I had to beg Adam to get on the plane to come home to raining, pouring, miserable in the winter WA, and then had to kick my Dad’s ass for trying to bribe Adam to stay in CA and be his golfing/fishing/pool/football watching/chilling partner by showing him next weeks forecast of 75 degrees and sunny. In January.

Ahhhh memories.

In crazed anticipation of our 2010 trip (flight leaves at 5!!!!!!) I have been monitoring the weather app on my phone hourly and it seems that although we might not be getting a tan on the beach this year (DAMN IT!), we will at least be able to leave our NASA strength raincoats, rain boots, long sleeved shirts, gloves and closed toe shoes at home.

Which is PRECISELY where they belong.


And just to rub it in, because lets be honest I'm just a little high from all the excitement, this is what our trip to the Santa Ynez Valley in JANUARY looked like last year,

Beach

Golf 

Folks 

See, he looks like a wizard when he does that 'I used to be a hippie, isn't life AMAZING' laugh, right? Can't make this shit up people.

OH, and it's the Wizard's birthday today. Happy Birthday Papa!

This last one has NOTHING to do with sunshine, or California, or vacations for that matter, but come on, how could I not show you a picture of my parent's/sister's dog Baxter? I mean, he's a wiener dog, wearing a bandanna, and giving you the 'everyone beats me' face. What's not to love?

Baxter


Seriously, are we there yet?


 Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


MAKING MEMORIES

It’s in that moment when you’re late for work, crouched down in the pouring rain, using a soapy rag to wipe smeared cat shit off the side of your dogs all too happy-to-see-you face when you can’t help but think to yourself, “Why couldn't I remember THESE kinds of precious moments back when I was scouring PetFinder ravenously for my perfect little puppy addition?”

LIVING. THE. DREAM.



 Ashley, the Accidental Olympian