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May 2010

COASTAL BLISS

Right now, Adam and I are on the WA coast camping with friends. There is a 95% chance that right at this very moment I am hung over, smell like campfire, and have already used 700 baby wipes to clean my hands.

Having OCD is hard.


In honor of my vacation (whatever the hell that means), I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite pictures I've taken while on WA and OR coastal vacations in the past six or so years.

Manzanita, OR
2004, Freshman year spring break. My first ever encounter with a beach where you wear a rain jacket the entire time. And love it.

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Gorgeous-sunset

Manzanita, OR
2006, Junior Year spring break where apparently I thought I was God. And yes, I did have a friend in college who's parents had a beach house in Manzanita and it was fucking fantastic and made this poor girl very, very happy.

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Ocean Shores, WA
December 2008, the weekend I was laid off and life as I knew it seemed to crumble around me this beach made me feel better. I didn't realize that in three months this beach and I would become pretty close neighbors, and end up seeing much more of one another.

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Moclips, WA
Yes. That is an actual town on the WA coast. 2009 fishing trip with our brand new puppy. Bliss.


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Willapa Bay, WA
Memorial Weekend 2009. First clamming experience, where it turned out in a surprising twist that I was the master clammer in our household.

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Ocean Shores, WA
2009, camping with Adam's parents, and Adam's nieces and nephew. Watched as Adam's niece saw the ocean for the very first time.

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Ocean Shores, WA
2010, unusually warm February weekend lead us to the beach for kite flying, reading, and puppy inspired manic hole digging.



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I absolutely love Northwest coastal towns. Each time I visit a new one I envision my dream home, and my dream store. I'd open a seasonal bookstore/cafe even though no one buys books anymore. I wouldn't even care that it would have a high probability of failing, because I can already picture how deeply I'd love that little store. Maybe one day I'll actually make it happen.


You really must try this. I'll put a smore on for you if you promise you can make it here in the next couple hours.

Trust me, we've got plenty.



What are you doing this Memorial Weekend?



Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


IS IT 5 YET?

Adam, Oly and I are packing the car tonight after work and hitting the road. Through Memorial Weekend we'll be visiting the town of Long Beach, WA. A town I am sure to love seeing as the town blog is called, "Fun Beach Blog."

I was already excited to check out this WA coastal staple, but then I read about the World's Longest Beach Garage Sale happening this weekend and I was HOOKED. This garage sale is supposed to be upwards of 28 miles long. Can you imagine how many ratty Barbie dolls I could buy? I doubt we'll buy much of anything, but if nothing else I am sure the people watching is going to be absolutely spectacular!


As with all camping trips, the only sure things on our agenda are to eat, drink, find ourselves perpetually covered in a slight layer of grime, and spend a lot of time on the beach. The weather has done its usual Northwest dance of one day claiming we'll drown, and the next proclaiming that we'll be forced to break out the sunscreen, so in preparation I've packed everything from a poncho to a sun dress. It's going to be interesting.

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I know I've posted this picture on my blog before, but it so perfectly displays the white trash variety of camping Adam and I partake in I felt I had to share it again. Something about a weekend of irregular showering seems to help us slip seamlessly into our filthy alter egos. 



Ashley, the Accidental Olympian



VACATION FROM MYSELF


Vacations are supposed to be restful, right? A time to step away from regular everyday life and relax.

The problem with this is that before you leave for a vacation you find yourself spinning around like a certifiable CRAZY person trying to get a million and a half things done, yet it seems that somehow the days suddenly became infinitely shorter, just to spite you. Your 'to-do' list becomes pages and pages long even when you tell yourself repeatedly that this time things will be different. This time you wont actually make your life harder. Yet no matter how you try, errands seem to be never ending and right when you think you've crossed something off your list, 20 more items suddenly arrive as if to say, "Haha fucker! You ain't done yet!" and for a moment you contemplate pulling out all your hair. 


Here I am, gearing up for a much needed 4 day Memorial Weekend of camping, relaxing, eating and drinking on the WA coast and I feel as if I need a vacation, before my vacation, just to be ready.

How can I be at work/sleeping/driving/breathing when there is a camp box to prepare? Food to premake? Items to buy? Replacements to find? Cars to pack? Things to sell? Dogs to walk? People to see? Arrangements to make? LIVES TO SAVE?????

OK, that last one isn't true. But damn if it doesn't feel like that's what is at stake sometimes.



And why is it that before a vacation things that you couldn't possibly be bothered with, things like, "clip the dogs toenails," suddenly become MONUMENTALLY important? Why does the idea of being unable to clip the dogs toenails before a trip suddenly feel as if it has the power to either make or break the vacation? Will we survive Memorial Weekend if Oly is sporting coke nails? If the lawn isn't mowed? If I forget to weed the garden? If I don't fertilize the roses? If I don't clean the fish-tank? If the sheets aren't washed? If the floors aren't cleaned? 

Umm, probably.


But that wont change the fact that I'll do all that, and 200 more things completely and utterly unrelated to camping before we take off Thursday.

Because I'm super woman.

And probably just a smidge totally insane. 



Ashley, the Accidental Olympian



 

PORTLAND

This weekend Adam and I had a few errands we needed to run that little o'l Olympia just couldn't assist us with. So we weighed our options. Seattle? Portland? Seattle? Or Portland? North an hour to run our errands in a marvelous city we know so well? Or head south an hour and a half and run the very same errands in a city that's all shiny and new?

After a healthy toss of the coin we decided we were feeling adventurous and headed south to Portland, OR. (By the way, can I mention how lucky we are to live in the middle of TWO fantastic cities? Gloriously lucky if I do say so myself.) You see, we needed a new tent, what with our plans to go camping over Memorial Weekend, and it so happened that the AMAZING wonder that is REI was having their anniversary sale. Us poor folks will go to great distances for a good deal. 


Having lived in Seattle for nearly 6 years, I thought I could forever proclaim that Seattle was the Northwest's grandest city. Yes, I just said grand. Move on. Then right as I was going to make it official between Seattle and I, I met Portland. And while I was weak with indecision, Portland introduced me to a wondrous place called Kenny & Zukes. And before I knew it I was all, "Seattle, who?"

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Do you like reubens? THEN GO HERE. And get the potato salad. And then buy an extra one for me and ship it to Olympia. I promise to pay you back. And you know what makes Kenny & Zukes even more amazing than the killer reubens, game changing potato salad and amazing atmosphere?

Powell's Books, THE Powell's Books is a block and a half away. If you've never heard of Powell's Books before, then all I can say is it is basically every book lovers biggest wet dream. Times 40. We only had 45 minutes inside and I swear we barely explored the caverns within. There are so many floors of books that they had to color code the staircases and hallways so you know where the hell you are. People, I want to live here.

Powells 

 
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After indulging in mind altering sandwiches, and getting lost in rows and rows of books, I prompty put our house on the market and declared my love for Portland.

Ok, I wish that was the case.

Actually all we did after hitting up IKEA for some picture frames was come home and set our new tent up in our living room.

Tent 
We're toying with the idea of leaving it here permanently. Think of it as a guest room if you will. Or Oly's new crate. We're still undecided. 


Portland I miss you.

What's your favorite city? And more importantly, can I come with you next time you visit?



Ashley, the Accidental Olympian
 


 

COMING OF AGE

Hey Adam, remember last summer when you went golfing with my dad, and the guy at the front desk took one look at the two of you and said, in all seriousness, “So that will be one senior, and one junior, right?” and you almost died at the prospect of being mistaken for being under 14?

I think this will be the year you can finally pay adult prices at the golf course.


 
Although really, you should have let the man under charge you. I mean what’s the point of having a baby face if you don’t work it to your advantage?

A&O


 

If it’s ANY consolation at all, when I met you I never once worried about the possibility of going to jail for statutory rape. I figured you at least had your drivers license, and therefore fell under the law as being capable of consenting. 

 

Happy Birthday Adam.



Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


HALF ASSING IT

Are you one of those people who before you do anything you research, research, and then maybe do a little more research to make sure you know exactly what you're doing and you've got all your bases covered? 

Really?

Well aren't you special.

People, I am SO not that lady.


Take my new garden for example. 

So Adam pretty much designed the whole fence, thought out the exact plot and shape of land, figured out how much space we would need for a border, etc. He had to do all this work because the only thought I'd put into the project before he jumped on board was to wake up one morning and proclaim, "I WANT A GARDEN." If left entirely up to me I probably would have walked right out into the yard after birthing that thought and just started aimlessly digging up the lawn. Once I had a few holes I probably would have spun in circles tossing seeds into the wind and then wondered two months later why nothing ever grew.

So fast forward a few weeks. The fence is built (thank you Adam for being smart), the rows were formed, and there are actual living things growing in the ground. It's a fucking Christmas miracle really.

But then I come home from work yesterday and I walk out to the yard to admire the plants and I see that SOMETHING has been eating the leaves of my cauliflower seedlings.

I shit you not, I actually said the words, "NO YOU DIDN'T!" out loud to my empty garden. And there might even have been a finger snap or two involved. Directed at what, the bugs? It's highly possible I am insane.

So anyway, there I am, furious at my recent discovery of bug molestation when I notice ants. EVERYWHERE. But all of a sudden I'm not really sure what to think about this development because should I even be worried about ants? Is this even an issue? Or is this nature? I mean spiders in a garden are good right? So maybe ants are good too? HOW DO I KNOW IF I LIKE ANTS?

Turns out they aren't good.

This would be the place that a NORMAL person with a garden might do some research on organic, pet friendly ant removal. They might visit their local plant nursery and ask about tips on safely keeping ants away from their garden. Maybe this person would do an hour or so of RESEARCH online.

Me? I googled one or two things on my phone, read very quickly something about white vinegar being a natural and safe ant replant and just grabbed my half full tiny bottle of white vinegar and charged back outside. Because I didn't have like ANY vinegar, it's no surprise that I was only able to make a pathetic dribble of a barrier on one side of the fence. Suddenly the bottle was empty, and all I'd done is force the ants to take the long way into my garden. 

I think one or two of them might even have rolled their eyes at me.


After I'd failed miserably at protecting my plants I went inside and watched the latest episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey and promptly forgot all about my ant infestation.

Because OBVIOUSLY I am the best gardener in the whole world.


Honestly if I get even one tomato out of this garden it's going to be because my neighbor sneaks into my yard at night and tends to my plants.

Please tell me either A. how to remove these bastards, or B. a story of how you destroyed your own garden by being lazy or uninformed. I'll love you extra if you can provide me with both A and B.



Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


STANDARD OPERATIONS

Here at the Accidental Olympian household life has been pretty standard. The delicious weather this weekend has meant that instead of sitting around inside cursing the rain, there has been a lot of this,

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And even a little of this,

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I'd forgotten how absolutely amazing it is to wake up to a gorgeous sunny day, run some errands, work in the backyard, take the dog for a walk, go to the gym and STILL have time in your day to take the boat to the lake for a few hours of vitamin D collecting. This little lake ten minutes from our house doesn't seem to want to provide us with any fish, but it is happy to lend us its water for relaxation and tanning.

I'm happy with the arrangement.



Other than sunbathing and boating, I've done a lot of baby plant gazing. After we finished the never ending garden fence project it seems that now all I do is stand around and marvel as seeds turn into plants, and baby plants attempt to become vegetables.

Like these little guys. Planted the first weekend we created the garden rows, they just decided this weekend to push through and become actual squash seedlings. Don't be fooled by their adorableness. These little guys are going to turn into monsters. I can already tell I'm going to have some serious squash wrangling on my hands.

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I couldn't help but chuckle at this sight. My sunflower seedling is wearing a hat.

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In two short weeks it's impressive to think that my garden has already gone from a wasteland of dirt with crooked rows and two starter tomatoes, to a place where seedlings are pushing their way into the world, itching closer and closer to the time when they will be served up on my plate. If this is my life two weeks in, I can't imagine what this space is going to look like in two months.

I'm hoping when I sit down to make my grocery list it will go a little something like this. Lettuce? Check. Strawberries? Check. Tomatoes? Check. Onions? Check. Cilantro? Basil? Thyme? Dill? Oregano? Carrots? Squash? Check, check, check, check, check, million check.

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I'm getting hungry.



Ashley, the Accidental Gardener Olympian


TAKING A LOOK AT MY FINANCIALS


Adam and I, we always say that we're POOR. But most recently at a BBQ when I joked with a stranger that Adam and I were poor he asked me to clarify. Never one to be shy about money, I told him that over a year ago we bought a house, and it has swallowed our finances. Times two. He replied with a line I find hard to forget, "You aren't poor, you're pimp'n on a budget."

And yes, the more I think about it, we are indeed pimp'n on a budget.

What a lovely thought.

 

But holy hell if sometimes I wouldn't like to see the total come up for my mom's mother's day gift and think, "Well, that's high for shipping, but she's worth it." Instead of what I actually think, "WTF! I have to call Dad now and see if he can't pick this up for me at home and then I'll send him a check because FUCK I can't pay that in shipping for one little gift! WHY IS LIFE SO COMPLICATED? I JUST WANTED TO GET MY MOTHER SOMETHING THAT SAYS 'I LOVE YOU!'"

Or what about Adam's upcoming birthday? I thought up the most amazing weekend. No really, AMAZING. A surprise to beat all birthday surprises. I knew where the dog would go, where we'd stay for cheap, what we'd do. I could already picture his amazement when I told him on the morning of his birthday that no he wouldn't be relaxing at home, that instead we were going somewhere wonderful. His eyes were going to light up when I revealed to him what we'd be doing, and what I'd planned just for him.

Then I looked online for flights. And damn it if I can't help but wonder what it would be like to live in a world where I'd flinch at the total, and then think, "He's worth it," as I clicked the red 'purchase' button. Because HE IS!

And DAMN, since it would really be the most amazing surprise vacation.

 


I guess at the end of the day when these little things threaten to infiltrate my bubble of positivity and happiness I've been building around myself lately, I guess I have to try to steer my thought process away from feeling sorry for myself and instead remind the voices in my head that this is simply another year of pimp'n on a budget.

(raises my dixie cup full of wine)

But, here's to hoping one day I'll just be straight pimp'n.




Ashley, the Accidental Olympian


APPARENTLY, WHOOPI GOLDBERG IS MY SISTER

So, I'm like WAY behind the ball on this, but remember a while back when everyone was going to My Heritage, submitting their picture, and then figuring out who their celebrity doppelganger was? Facebook was filled with people being all, "OMG I look just like Jessica Simpson! Who knew?"

And then I would throw up in my purse.

For some reason I missed this when it was all the rage, and while watching tv with Adam this weekend I thought I would finally see who this site would link me up to. Lets be honest, I was looking for an ego boost.

I go to the site, upload my picture and I get this,

THERE IS A 70% CHANCE I MOST CLOSELY RESEMBLE AN OLDER, OSCAR WINNING, AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN.

And, if that wasn't bad enough, there is a 62% chance I most closely resemble the infamous male serial killer known as Charles Manson.

WTF. 



Ok, so this couldn't be right. Something had to have gone wrong because I am more than 70% sure that not only am I not, nor will I ever be confused with any African American individual, famous or not (note my vampire white skin), I am also pretty damn sure I don't resemble a male serial killer. Ever.


Feeling a little weirded out I search for a more 'normal' looking picture of myself thinking the weird expression from the last one had to be the reason my white ass was suddenly linked to Whoopi Goldberg. If you put two and two together, face contortions must equals bad matching results.

With my much more 'normal' image I hit submit and hoped at least for someone even mildly resembling me. Like I don't know, maybe someone WHITE and FEMALE. 


The results arrive and here's what we're working with in round two,

Turns out there is a 72% chance I could be BILLY MOTHER FUCKING IDOL.

Really?

I have to be picking shitty pictures right? Please tell me there is no way that my face most closely resembles out of ALL the celebrities in the world an older African American woman OR a white 80's male rocker.

Determined not to be beat and humiliated by some stupid website I find one more image and upload it to the magical face pairing software. You know what I got as a match this time after uploading this equally normal looking picture?

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Not an older African American woman, or a skinny white male, no. This time the contraption tells me that it has NO matches for me.

NONE.

Nothing.

Apparently now I resemble absolutely zero famous people. 

I officially give up. 

Please go on the site right now and tell me that the software also paired you with people not even of the same race or the same gender as yourself. And if they do actually match you with wonderful amazing hot people you're super stoked to be linked to, shut up and keep it to yourself.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian