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April 2010


I like having posts with 'editions'.

Does that make me quirky?

Ha, who am I kidding. Being ME makes me quirky.

So, here we are at the end of a week about kindness, karma, and good o'l fashion happiness. I don't know about you, but I feel better.

One of the things I've tried to focus on this week is looking at all the pieces in my life that are working. All the layers that fit together to make this life I live a lot higher on the AWESOME spectrum and much less leaning towards the LAME spectrum.

There was a time, right after I relocated to Olympia where I believed that besides Adam and my dog, I was alone. Alone in this world, alone in this city, and Adam and I would simply be forced to soldier on together, two against the world.

And yet today I am able to stand here and say that this is so very far from the truth. Making friendships, especially lasting friendships as an adult is one of the most trying experiences next to moving and job hunting. Yet somehow, some way, we all manage to make it work.

Some friendships in our lives are less traditional. In this age of social media, the bloggosphere and the Internet it's amazing that I can stand here and proclaim to you that I believe I have managed to make and build meaningful friendships that truly enrich the quality of my life with some of you wonderful people who visit my website. Sometimes it is something as simple as connecting with another blogger and feeling as if we might actually be twins separated at birth (I'd link to some of you wonderful people, but I don't want this to become some weird popularity contest. Believe me, you all know who you are. I love you biatches!).

Sometimes it is watching as a friendship once unbreakable in elementary school/junior high then fizzled out in High School/adulthood is rekindled using the magic of Facebook. Who knew Facebook not only helped cure boredom and increase stalker tendencies, but it also helped rebuild friendships!

Then there are the kind of friendships that continue to be felt even when states and timezones separate your bond. These friendships aren't able to be felt on a day to day basis, there are no happy hours or weekend barbecues yet after a year apart, as you stand in your kitchen catching up like old times and you realize the time, money, and effort this friend sacrificed just to be there with you on your 25th birthday, you can't help but thank your lucky stars for their existence in your life.

What about the people who've known you for so long, you now consider them family? Hell, what about true family! I mean, who doesn't love having people in your life who will always know you a little deeper than the rest of the world? Even if in knowing you a little better than everyone else means they are able to embarrass you with ease!

Then we have the friendships that take you back and remind you of milestones long passed, but never forgotten. These friendships are precious because when you're together, it's as if you suddenly have the power to time travel.

Of course you can't forget those friends from life in your everyday either. By some grace of good luck I have found amazing women in this town, women who welcome me openly into their lives, women who make plans, take walks, sip wine, attend birthdays, women willing to reach out and give me support through a tough decision, take a walk along a pier, listen to my fears, invite me to a Zumba class because they know I need to be cheered up, carry my secrets, laugh with me. These women have made Olympia so much more than a stopping point in my life, but an actual home. Without them this city would indeed be a friendless wasteland, but with their acceptance and friendship, this town has become a place I love. 

Thank you to all the people in my life, both big and small. From the comments on this blog that BRIGHTEN my day, to the emails, the ghat conversations that stretch on for weeks, and the two hour marathon phone conversations, the happy hours, or Facebook repartees, dinner parties, or reunions, long walks, exercise classes, and practices, YOU NAME IT, I love you fools.

MAN, this is probably going to go down as one of the most sappy of sappy posts I've ever written! Forgive me for ending this week so damn hopeful and elated if that sort of thing gets under your skin and the only reason you ever even started reading this blog in the first place was the fact that you liked that I was snarky and mean. If you're missing the angry woman who's down on her luck and ready to snap, I'm sure she's still down there lurking around. Somewhere.

But before she rears her ugly head, come in here and give me a hug.

You know you wanna.  

Ashley, the SAPPY Accidental Olympian


I have a strong feeling here that I am sort of bastardizing this whole Kindness & Karma Week concept, but I feel that I must soldier on. Forgive me Grumbles if I have wandered off the path, but I've come to interpret Kindness & Karma Week for myself to be a lot more about finding the happiness in my own life once again, to pulling myself out of the funk I have been swimming in, and less about making a concerted effort this week to being kind to others.

Now, don't get me wrong, I haven't been running around punching strangers in the face or anything, but where Jamie is using Kindness & Karma Week to reach out and say, buy the person behind her a cup of coffee, I am using it for self reflection. I heartily believe though that in getting back to the happy place in my own life, I will be able to spread the joy to others as well. 

For 'The Small Things Edition' I found that with nearly zero effort I was able to identify a multitude of things in my life that require absolutely no additional work and absolutely no eye squinting or head tilting to feel joy, appreciation, elation, and happiness about.

Take for example, the tiny little plants that are coming to life in my kitchen as we speak. 

There is nothing exceptionally exciting for YOU about tiny dill plants, or miniature carrots sprouting on my kitchen table, but for me every morning when I see them stretching their little bodies towards the window I know that soon they will live in my garden, the garden Adam and I built, the garden we will tend, and eventually they will grow into strong beautiful plants that we will enjoy. And that, that just makes me happy. 




Additional smile worthy moments in my life include things like finding a 45 minute window in our CRAZY CRAZY spring weather to take my overly energetic puppy for a much needed run. Having monsoon rained on and off all day yesterday, coming home and having the sky open precisely when I needed it was almost as if Mother Nature was saying, "Go child. I'll hold back the rains just for you."

Thanks Ma, we needed it.


Suddenly I can't help but pick up on all these little things I might not normally notice that fill my life with simplistic joy. Minuscule things like standing in my kitchen getting ready for work, a task that might normally induce a scowl of epic proportions and seeing this. How in the world can I scowl when I look out my window and spot our beautiful backyard that started as a bleak wasteland of nothing and is ever so slowly being coached into a world of luscious grass, a newly leafing (is that even a word?) tree, and my first ever naturally grown tulips? When I look at this I can't help but think of the summer nights we're sure to spend sipping on cocktails, throwing the ball for the dog and barbecuing.

And my friends, there is NEVER any reason to be frowning about barbecuing and cocktails.

Write that down.


And lastly I leave you with a part of my life that I must admit I forget to get down on my knees and thank my lucky stars for everyday. When you let the sludge of life creep in, sometimes you find yourself unable to truly remember all the wonderfulness found in your very own living room. So if nothing else, this week has helped me to remember to thank the two individuals (well, one individual, and one furry monster) that stand by me even when I feel like I'm a flailing mess.


So now it's your turn.

Tell me about the little things in your life bringing you joy.

Sorry, did I forget to mention that this was an order and not a suggestion?

Great. Glad we're on the same page.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


So here we are, in the middle of Kindness and Karma week. I will be honest in saying that the simple existence of this week, this week dedicated to being happy, to myself, to others, to changing the way I think about life has already been seeping deep into my way of thinking. In a most immediate sense, I found a way to stop with all the silly fence straddling, and finally picked a side.

And you know what?

My crotch thanks me.

But mostly my mind thanks me.

I'm not entirely ready to tell YOU all what I decided on/about, but I promise one of these days soon I'll lay it all out and let you in on why I was wasting my time straddling metaphorical fences in the first place. For now just know I'm off, and life feels better.

In other Kindness & Karma news, I think one of the truest ways to be kind to yourself is to never be afraid to try something scary/different/foreign. Especially if you weren't doing something at the expense of your own happiness. I am famous for denying myself things I want because I am afraid, but someone in my life who constantly demonstrates the power of living life bravely is my mother. At the end of the day I have her to thank for time and time again showing by example the true joy that lies in conquering a fear. Without her examples, I'd probably be cowering in a corner somewhere right now.

My mother called me in late March to tell me she was going to be going on a trip. Where I asked? Oh, well she'd decided to hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, camp in the canyon for a few nights, and then hike back to the top. And she said it like that too, like it was going to be something maybe she did on a Saturday after step aerobics or something. Like it wasn't the most awe inspiring WOW of a statement to be telling her daughter.

And damn it if my mother didn't actually fucking hike her way DOWN and then back UP the Grand Canyon.

Here she is, standing at the top of one of the most spectacular sites this country has to offer with one of our family friends (who also happens to be my oldest friend's, mother), ready to descend into a place most of us will never see even if we manage to visit the edge of this impressive landmark.

Then, over the course of many many hours, and many many switchbacks, (see below)

they arrived at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The BOTTOM. When you stand on the edge and peer at the tiny little specs below, who knew that beauty like this lies buried in the crevices?



Can you imagine? They camped in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I mean, how cool is that? Maybe I'm weird and this is something people do all the damn time, but for some reason camping in the belly of something that is listed near the top on a list of of the most heavily visited National Parks, a place that is known for having one of the most striking vistas in our nation, well that renders me as absolutely speechless. Just thinking of those canyon walls towering above you, it gives me the shivers.

After the trek down, and camping in the belly of the beast for a few days, my mother hiked her way back UP the canyon. Repeat, she walked from the bottom of the canyon, winding her way back up to the top of THIS.

Walked and walked and walked until she stood once again on the edge of this impressive landmark.


When they started at the bottom it was in the high 80's, and by the time they'd finished, people, it was SNOWING. Even though they were physically exhausted, and pretty confused, what with the snow and all, they had completed their mission. Although I can't help but sort of laugh at my mom's face (she's in the green) because in all honesty she sort of looks miserable having just accomplished an awesome task.


The most amazing thing about talking to my mother afterward? She says to me, "You know, it was hard, and I could definitely feel how strained my body was in the end, but I never once got to a point where I thought to myself, 'If I have to take one more step I think I will just die.'"

Turns out it takes a lot more than hiking back up the Grand Canyon to kill off MY mother.

This is all a really long winded way of saying that if I grow up to be even half the person my mother is, I think I will have done more than ok.

Mom, I want you to know that more than anything, you inspire me. 

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


So I know I have mentioned Jamie of Grumbles and Grunts A LOT lately, and I want to promise you that A. I don't know her personally, and B. we aren't on some mission to infiltrate your mind with her lovelies, it's just, I think she might live inside my head because our thoughts are becoming creepy and all too similar and I'm a tad worried she's stalking me.

UPDATE: Lets be honest, I'm the one who's doing the stalking of Mrs. Grumbles. I could only be so lucky to be stalked by her Grumbleness.

I am currently thrashing around in my head trying desperately to come to some sort of decision about a certain topic. I feel like for the last couple weeks I've been straddling a metaphysical fence if you will, and if any of you have ever ACTUALLY straddled a fence for more than a moment, you know how painful that can be on the lady bits.

There have been a few days where I've been so torn up over this decision that I've actually felt as if I was wearing a backpack full of rocks. Or lead, or maybe even a few small wiggling puppies. It is uncomfortable, I feel dangerously wobbly, and most of the time all I want to do is lay down so it will stop causing me such trauma.

And I can't help but think that this isn't how you are supposed to live your life.

As my therapist has said time and time again, I'm supposed to be doing things that make ME happy and not giving a flying fuck what the rest of the world cares already.

And then, in the middle of all my wavering, hemming, and hawing, I read about Jamie's newest invention, Kindness & Karma week. A goal to STOP being consumed by the bad, and to instead let things that bring happiness and content back into our lives, and then go out and freely share them with one another.

And you know what? I can't help but think that this sort of forced exercise might be just what I need right now to remind myself what in this world does in fact make me HAPPY. Possibly by identifying those moments I can allow myself to stop straddling this damn fence and give my crotch a much needed break.

So Jamie, count me in.

I suggest if you too have found yourself doing a bit of fence straddling lately that you take a second and read what Jamie has to say about this pledge. It might encourage you to take a step towards figuring out what you want so you might finally get off that damn fence and stop looking like such a fool.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


Spring has finally arrived in the Northwest. This means we now suffer from skitzophrenic weather patterns, SUN, rain, SUN, rain, SUN, SUN, SUN (cue the hopeful feelings), then rain, rain, rain (cue the depression as you start to believe the sun will never return and you actually somehow slipped backwards into winter).

With that being said, when the sun decides to arrive, it is in everyone's best interest to head outdoors.

After raining all morning suddenly the skies opened and I realized it was time to capitalize on our fortunes lest we be blessed with rain all next week. So I gathered my leash and my pooch, and headed to the Deschutes river, also known as my next door neighbor.


I wont lie to you and say that sometimes I don't ache all the way down to my toes for Seattle. That I don't long for the days when I could jump on a buss and 15 minutes later be in the heart of downtown Seattle. But something I always felt was lacking from Seattle was this.

Sure, there were lakes, and parks, and wilderness 'areas' in Seattle. But on a day like today, you bet you'd run into 70 other people. Here, I walked for 15 minutes, and suddenly I was playing in my own private wilderness.

I guess it makes up for the lacking of hip happy hour options.

I love how Oly's face is a little deformed by the slowness of my iPhone's camera. Even with the deformity there is no denying that this is one happy pooch.


Yes, that is my dog trying to eat the plants growing on the bottom of the river. She's special like that.



I tried to capture this moment a million times. Having Oly run in front of me, then crouch down with my phone at the ready and call her back. In the end this shot made the cut because not only does Oly look happier than I've seen her all day running loose in a field as dogs always long to do, but the rays of sunlight in the top corner make the shot even more euphoric.

But I could just be sun drunk at this point.

It's hard in the Northwest not to get excited about a warm spring day. You'll have to excuse me. I'm sure if it rains tomorrow I'll be back to my gloomy self.


Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


I just got a call from Adam who is currently in Vegas. Having a tooten good time I'm guessing seeing as he called at 7:55am as I was arriving at work to tell me he was ON HIS WAY TO BED.

No, I'm not jealous in the slightest.

Ok, well not about the no sleeping thing obviously since I love me some sleep, but the vacation in Vegas part does stir up some serious jealousy.


So in other news, turns out I suck at following rules. Even when I'm the one who created them in the first place. When I posted the giveaway for the beautiful earrings created by Cecily Furlong I said I would close comments on FRIDAY the 23. Then yesterday on THURSDAY I wrote a post about how this was the last chance and bla bla bla and then at 5 I closed the comments. ON THURSDAY.

At this point I'm thinking I'll just go with my mistake.


Congrats Kelly of the Startup Wife! You are now the proud owners of these lovelies.


My only request is that you remember when people ask about them to gush that they are handmade oneofakind earrings crafted by the artist Cecily Furlong, who also happens to have an Etsy shop.

No pressure, but you are now officially human marketing for Mrs. Cecily in the Bay Area.

But, seeing as you make jewelery too, I think you get the idea.

I'll email you today to get your address so we can send the beauties your way!

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


Two things. First, today is the last chance to enter yourself into the running for a shot to win some lovely handmade earrings from the oh-so-talented artist Cecily Furlong. You have until 5pm Pacific Standard Time to enter and then I am closing the comments and picking a winner.

It's good to be the boss.

Enter the giveaway here, and be sure to also take a second to check out her Etsy page for additional treasures!

The second matter of business today is that my dog is adorable.

True statement.

BUT, she is also a rescue dog. This is an important detail pertaining to her cuteness.

Today Oly and I are being featured on the wonderful blog Fido & Wino as the representatives for Washington state in a new shelter/rescue dog awareness campaign called R.O.A.R. (which stands for Rescue Owners Are Rockin'). I submitted Oly's story, as well as the tale of how she came into Adam and my life because I think anything raising awareness about the power of rescuing animals is something that should be shouted from the rooftops. 

No kill shelters like the one where we adopted Oly swoop in and do the hard work of rehabilitating and rehoming dogs that people have abandoned/discarded/tossed aside. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that anywhere between 6-8 million animals are taken care of by shelters each year in the US. That's a lot of pets tossed aside looking for a home, and most aren't as lucky as Oly to be dropped off at a no kill shelter either. 

All it takes is a few minutes on to show you that your perfect pet is out there waiting. And lucky for you, rescue dogs don't come with the $1500 price tag of a designer mutt. At a shelter, mutts are not only abundant, but they're CHEAP!

Don't be scared, take a look

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


OK, that's not even a true statement, I guess goodreads HELPED me look like an idiot. In all reality, I was the captain of this ridiculous train.

Here's the deal, when I got all excited about my new Library page a loyal reader (I think, my memory is fading with age) told me about goodreads. A site where you list and rate the books you've read, become 'friends' with other book nerds, recommend books, join groups, basically it is the really nerdy version of Facebook. Without the coolness. 

I signed up for it because obviously I am the queen of cool. 

There is this feature in goodreads where in an effort to expand your friend network it links to your email and sends a, "Join me on goodreads!" email to the people of your choosing. 

So, I pick 6 of my equally nerdy friends. These people have ether told me they like to read, are in my book group, or were in an English class with me in college. 



People I wasn't embarrassed to write, "Hey, sign up with goodreads and then we can be book nerds together!"

Yes, I wrote something that lame and sent it to 6 of my friends. Because, I thought they would understand that I was making fun of us for being so nerdy. But, I also knew they would run out and create a page, because as I said before, we're nerdy.

But then something happened. Goodreads didn't think I asked enough people to be my friend or something, maybe goodreads though I was being shy about my love of literature and it wanted me to branch out, shout at the top of my lungs that, "I LOVE BOOKS AND I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS!" because they decided to send out my personal invitation to EVERY SINGLE PERSON I HAVE EVER SENT AN EMAIL TO. 



Email address.


Take a second and think about that. I am getting emails back from HR departments saying, "Thank you for your resume, we'll get back to you in 5-10 business days," because their automated system thinks my email was a resume. But those aren't too bad because they'll filter it and not give my SPAM a second thought. But what about the people I had personal email contact with while I was unemployed? People where I was one step away from getting a job? People I had hoped to impress?!?! What about college professors? Teachers Assistants at UW? College hook ups? Family members? All the millions of emails I've sent and received when I've sold shit on Craigslist?!?!?!?

I know you people, so you're shaking your head and telling me to get over it, and really I didn't think twice about this either at first because I assumed people would think it was spam and delete it, but people are emailing me back! My inbox is full of emails that basically go, "Why did you spam me? Who are you? What is goodreads? And why do you want me to be your friend?" 

And the kicker? These emails are usually followed by a goodreads confirmation that this person is now my friend. 

I am now looking at the book recommendations of the guy I sold my bike to on Craigslist. 

Do I really want to know what he's reading? 

Not really. 

But after spamming him he took the time to make a profile, and accept my request, and now he wants to be book friends together and I can't seem to turn him away. He likes books! Score one for literacy! Who cares if he's reading Going Rogue and gave is 5 stars, there has to be a way to hide his updates right? RIGHT? TELL ME I CAN HIDE HIS UPDATES! 

The emails just keep coming days later, and I think my favorite is the person who after I apologized for accidentally spamming him replied, "Well now I'm intrigued, what are you reading?" 

I guess it's not all bad, some of the people in there were actual friends of mine I was too embarrassed to send the email to in the first place who I am actually really happy took the advice of my spam and signed up. And if I end up with a few extra friends on there who might have been interested in buying my truck from me in 2007 I guess that's ok right? Because when I think about it, each time I get a new 'friend' goodreads sends me an email and actually congratulates me on becoming more 'popular' (their words, not mine), and lets face it, who doesn't want to hear on a daily basis that they're becoming more popular?

*At this point I feel like I should ask you to be my friend too because if the Comcast customer service rep is going to be my friend, the least I could do is ask the people who might actually KNOW ME to share with me their literary preferences.*

Ashley, the Accidental Idiot Olympian


That my friends is the Oly Rollers battle cry, warrior chant, victory declaration? Whatever it is called, all you need to know is that when someone screams, "OLY OLY OLY" you need to scream back, "OI OI OI."

I'm glad you know this now. I was worried you all wouldn't fit in. 

Last night the travel team took on the Charm City Roller Girls and seeing as I am nowhere near good enough to play on the travel team, as a league member and someone who plays on the 'intermediate team' I did glamorous things like man the bakesale booth (yes we are 12), sell raffle tickets, and stand around and scream things like, "KILL HER! KILL HER TWICE! HELL, KILL HER TWELVE TIMES!" all the while jumping up and down like a banshee. 

Do you like to scream? Jump around like a crazy person? Are you that person at a sporting event who's getting WAY too excited, possibly even the parent/friend/fan who brings your own cowbell to help cheer the team on (MOM!)?

Then I suggest you find your local roller derby team and watch a bout.

It will feel like you finally found your home.


IMG_0429 Photo1


 IMG_0438 All images were taken on my iPhone using either the Hipstamatic app or the Camera Bag app.

Did you get your tickets to watch your first roller derby bout yet? 

You didn't?

How about now?

Damn you people are slow.

Ok, well, if this doesn't hook you I don't know what will. At last nights bout there was a man dressed in a banana suit, but he'd modified it to try to look like a chicken suit, and he wasn't even the mascot of the team Oly was playing, but for some reason he came all the way from Philly anyway, and he juggled, while clucking. SERIOUSLY.

That hooked you didn't it? Right after you read that you bought tickets for a local bout didn't you?

Knew it.

You seem like the type of people who'd go nuts for a guy in a modified chicken suit.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


Last week the lovely, funny, and very very talented Jamie of Grumbles and Grunts made me a collection of thoughtful and oh-so-lovely gifts for winning a contest on her blog. The fact that Jamie was capable of sitting down and drawing me an exact replica of one of my very own photographs AND designing two beautiful cds in her free time between working, blogging, being a mother and wife left me wondering where exactly my own creative side was hiding.

Someone had taken time out of their life to make me these wonderful things, and if I was to hold my own contest I would only be able to offer them a sentence or two littered with bad spelling and horrible grammar, or a picture of my dog. And although I think she's adorable, I doubt me giving you a picture of Oly would bring you to tears the way Jamie's gift left me.

I am never going to make someone a delicate handmade card, or a piece of spectacular jewelry. I am never going to knit you a scarf, or sew your daughter her first pair of slippers. Any and all Christmas ornaments I ever give as a gift will come from a store, you wont see me baking something as delightful as this anytime soon, and if I am going to draw you something, it is going to come out looking like a deranged stick figure mauled by a rabies infested stick figure alien. Picture that one please.

But before you feel like I'm on the downer train there is light! and laughter! and happiness! because I might not be able to make you lovely people those things, but I know others who can.

Let me introduce you to my dear friend Cecily Furlong.

WindUp Girl
As you will note, if you can manage to tare yourself away from her fabulous hair for a second that Cecily is wearing some amazing earrings. The kicker? She made those herself. Cecily has always been artistic, so in High School (we were friends in High School, we aren't STILL in High School) instead of passing notes she would pass me elaborate cartoons, or instead of doodling on paper she would craft sharpie tattoos of mermaids that stretched the entire length of my calf. Seeing as she has two little ones now (ADORABLE I might add) she has lately been focusing on her jewelry instead of her art and selling it on her Etsy page. And when I say 'focusing' I mean creating the sort of shit I might think about stealing from her if she was stupid enough to leave me alone in her house it's so pretty.

So here is the deal. 

I want to give you something one-of-a-kind, beautiful, something that you will treasure and people will stop you to ask where you got it, AND I want Cecily to gain more and more eager and dedicated clients at her Esty store.

It's a match made in creative heaven if you will.

Cecily and I would like to offer one lucky reader these beauties.

Here is what Cecily has to say about them,

On Etsy, you get the opportunity to name your creations. I love this. Before I even start, I usually have a name in my mind. I am inspired by my environment, and southern California is a pretty inspiring place. Whether it be a swarm of bees looking for a home in our pine trees, or the Spanish moss floating ethereally in the White Oaks, or just a simple trip to the beach and finding a seashell in the sand, I am constantly inspired by nature. I specialize in earrings, because I absolutely am obsessed with them! Each piece is handmade by me, and one of a kind, to ensure a completely individual look.

 For this particular pair, "Rosy Outlook", I just fell in love with these tiny pink coral pieces, and the miniature pink beads that top them. Just looking at them made me smile! They are so delicate and beautiful, and make a subtle statement all on their own. I wired each one individually and attached them to a length of silver chain for a fluttery and glimmering effect. These would retail for thirty dollars on my website. This is what I do and I love it, I hope that they will make someone as inspired as they make me!

The giveaway will work as follows. You check out Cecily's Etsy page and gaze at things like this, Il_430xN.135494887

and this, Il_430xN.135544853

and then be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of THIS post. I don't care what you say, maybe you could answer the question, "Where would you wear these lovely coral earrings?"

The contest will be open from today (April 16th) until next Friday (April 30th). Then I'll close comments and pick a winner. Note, I'll let you enter twice if you repost this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter! Think of it, extra chances to look amazing.

Now GO! Comment! Shop! Gaze at the artistic talent of someone with great hair!

I'll see one of you with a new pair of earrings next week. 

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian