Monday, December 31, 2007

Losing it

Picture this.


I'm whipping up my Thai chicken lettuce wraps and sesame noodles and realize that I'm out of toasted sesame oil.

I quickly went into my closest, threw on my shoes and came out like this....

Best part is, I didn't notice until I was walking out of the Safeway (a.k.a. the not so safeway) with my sesame oil.

SWEET.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dreaming



Lately, I've been having some very weird dreams. Some of which I remember, some of which I do not.

Last night I had a dream that Sage had four little kittens of her own. They just rolled right out of her and tumbled across the kitchen floor. I feared that I really was going to be seen as the crazy cat lady.

How would I ever find a husband, how would I get rid of that cat smell (two is not bad at all, but six cats!?!?!?), how would I take care of them all?

I woke up to find sage cuddled up next to me (as the picture illustrates) and not a baby kitty in sight. Phew.

I'm off to shop and cook for the New Years Eve party tomorrow. I can't believe 2007 is over. From October until now, it's been a great year. But the rest of it was mediocre at best. A lot of stress, a lot of frustration, and a lot of sadness. I'm ready for a new year.

John and I are celebrating at my friends Tom and Brooks' place. They are like family. I'm making Thai chicken lettuce wraps and cold sesame noodles (the provide the booze, I provide the appetizer).

After a little grocery shopping, i'm going out to watch the big game. GO STEELERS!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dear Vacation

Why do you have to go by so quickly?

Unhappily yours,
Ashley

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cafe du Monde and no kids

Speaking of New Orleans and Cafe du Monde....

I should preface this post by saying that I am one hell of a planner. I don't always take the reins, and I'm just as happy allowing someone else to throw something together, but when interested, and when motivated, I can throw something together in a flash.

This week, we have to work, but the schools are closed and there isn't a kid in sight (avoid the mall). As a result, that gives you a lot of psychologists and not much to do.

Every year the National Association of School Psychologists (http://www.nasponline.org/) hosts a professional development convention in a different city. I went to it last year in New York City. It involves one week of fun, friends, and work related advancement (in addition to shopping, checking out a new city, and the perk of not having to take personal or annual leave. We get paid just like it was any old day in the schools).

Anyways, like I said, I was lucky enough to go last year and stayed with one of my very favorite friends, Amanda, in NYC. However, NYC is only about 3 hours away from here and easily accessible.

This year, the convention is in New Orleans. I figured that it was a little far fetched to head down there (funds are tight, motivation was tighter as a first year "real" school psych). Anyways, I got all the emails for NASP about the event in September, October, November, and erased them from my inbox before I could even read them and get any ideas.

Call it the Christmas high, or the not having much to do at work lull, but I randomly decided that, yes, I am going to NASP, and that I'm going to recruit a few friends to joined me. Within 10 minutes, I had convinced my friends (and coworkers) Alli and Mari to take the trip with me. I made a few calls, called in a few favors, and found a hotel room right in the hot spot of town for only $39.00 a night (yes, this is a great deal. Yes, I have a good connection. No, sorry, I can't hook you up as well). I accomplished this in about an hour. Mari and Alli looked on in disbelief.

Today, we booked three plane tickets which I (with the help of fabulous boyfriend) found on southwest for under $150.00. We fly in on fat Tuesday, and the first night of the conference.

I've been doing the I'm going to New! Orleans! During! Mardi! Gras! For! Work! Dance! for the last two days.

In other news, although I love working with the kids, it is incredible to have adult interaction over Christmas break. We usually work in the schools Mon-Fri, but we also have offices at a satellite building. Whenever we have to work, but the kids don't, we usually all meet up there to work together for the day. It's amazing what a little adult interaction can do for you. I needed that.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What were they thinking?

This is not that best quality picture possible, but I took a picture of a picture over Christmas.

This picture is prominently displayed at my parents house. All I can say is, what were they thinking?

I remember the day we went to take this picture more than 15 years ago. I was so mad that I was stuck wearing that outfit. My sister got to wear the coolest dress in the world, and I was stuck with the skirt version and a plain old cotton tank. Amused, I was not. I blame my parents from raising me as a diva.

I was also very annoyed that I was stuck posing with my cello. I was a pretty active child (my parents wanted the diva out as much as possible :). I played soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse. I was a cheerleader and did pointe ballet and jazz dancing. I was in acting school and did more plays than you can count on both hands (all of which I enjoyed and begged my parents to do).

Except there was one extracurricular activity that I did that I did not enjoy- playing the cello. My parents made me play the cello. They thought it was beautiful and exotic. I thought it was annoying to lug on the school bus every other day. They thought I would grow up to be a cellist, I was counting the days until I could quit. They sent me to the Hart School of Music for extra lessons (in addition to those provided at school). I pretended that I was awful in an attempt to get kicked out (it didn't work- they knew I was a diva and were on to me).

To make a long story short, my parents continued to make me play the cello until the 11th grade, when the realized that I wasn't really that good at it (practice makes perfect, and practice I did not). I quit immediately.

Now, forever frozen in time, is this classic family photograph of me and my cello. Gross.

15 years later, I'm still jealous of my sister's dress, and I'd rather be posing with a champagne glass like my mom... or at least my field hockey stick. I actually enjoyed that.

Christmas in 500 words or less

Christmas day began with a 10 am wake up call. Can you say heaven?

We all went downstairs and had a fabulous time making beignets. The great little French donuts that you can purchase at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. My family is obsessed, and we buy the mix in bulk whenever anyone visits New Orleans.

Next, we opened presents. The highlights from Christmas day included a new Coach wallet and a pair of Joe's Jeans (among other stocking stuffers).

We spent the next five hours feasting on Ham, playing Cranium (a personal family favorite), drinking champagne and hanging out. We also took a hike through the woods in pajamas. Overall, it was a fabulously relaxing holiday.

It was the kitten's first Christmas and their first time away from home for more than a few hours. It was an interesting adventure. I thought that Snap would be totally game, and that Sage would be scared shit less. The exact opposite occurred (Sage actually shit on the floor when we tried to get her in the crate to go home).

Sage loved the new house, Snap cried most of the time. They were both very happy to go home. Especially since Sammy (our family dog) drooled on them for better part of two days. They surprisingly both reacted better than I thought they would to a giant dalmatian, 8 times their size.

A cute picture my mom and Sage....

My father (who hates cats) attempting to cuddle with Snap. Neither look particularly amused with the situation. I think it's probably because Snap spent the previous two hours on my sister's lap. My sister is in love with Snap and totally plays favorites.
Sammy, the drooling dog. She was also in on the Christmas spirit and she sported a Christmas dog collar throughout the holiday celebration.

I am totally bummed that it's back to work tomorrow. I hit up the sales today and officially feel like a little adult. I stocked up on after Christmas wrapping paper, and went crazy with ornaments at pier one. Now I just need to buy a dresser so that I can actually store all of my new goods for the next year. I guess that's next on the list for me. I'll be looking at on my lunch break tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The color of the season...


Okay, before I take off for bed, I wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas (10 minutes left to celebrate). I'll provide a full wrap up after I've recovered from all of the festivities.


I'm going to sign off with a picture of two fabulous presents compliments of my brother and sister.


The most comfortable slippers in the world, and the most adorable rain boots (I work with children, and it rains sometimes. Yes, they really are necessary- and Yes, I really wanted them both).
Isn't Christmas really all about getting gifts that you wouldn't necessarily buy yourself, but that you've always wanted? :)

Christmas Eve, part two

The feasting on Christmas Eve didn't end with the pretzels and cookies either, seafood quickly followed. We aren't catholic, nor are we Italian (probably the furthest from it), but we like to partake in a seven fishes celebration every Christmas Eve. Our love for seafood is our excuse. We started off with king crab legs. My sister's hand is in the picture just to show how huge these things really were. It was heaven in a crab leg.

There's no such thing as a holiday without lobster. We added that to the list of seven as well.




We also open about half of our presents on Christmas eve. My sister gave me this lovely book entitled, "Stop Dressing your Six Year Old Like a Skank." It's really the perfect gift for a school psychologist (also, note the gorgeous Tiffany's necklace that I'm wearing, compliments of my fabulous boyfriend).


These next two pictures are backwards, but I made my mother and sister flower pot pens for their desks (yes, they also received real, non cheesy gifts as well). However, they both are now gainfully employed with their first "real" job, so I wanted to do something for their desks at work. They had other ideas.
*Disclaimer*: not shown in these pictures are the 3 bottles of champagne, and 2 bottles of Chardonnay that were consumed prior to opening gifts.


Erinn looks psyched. My mom, not so much.... (until she learned that they could be used as hair decor).

My aforementioned fabulous boyfriend bought my parents some lovely wine (my personal favorite), which we also enjoyed. Thanks, J.








Christmas Eve wrap up.. part one.

Christmas started early this year for my family. My brother lives in Virginia Beach, and decided to spend the holidays with his girlfriend's family. He came up to Northern VA on Saturday to celebrate with us. We ate, drank, and played a lot. Prime rib was the meal of choice (brother's choice) and it was fabulous.

Anyways, until I can write anything more substantial. Here's Christmas Eve, part one in pictures.

My mother has an obsession with aluminum Christmas trees. She literally cried when she was outbid for a pink one on eBay at the last second. My dad and I think she has plenty already.



Yet another aluminum Christmas Tree. This is the one with the presents... most of which aren't actually in the picture, and which were opened on "mock" Christmas with my brother.

If you're scared of the head in the lower left hand corner, join the club. I hate that thing. Someday, I might just throw it out the window. Oops, sorry mom.


Plenty of Santa's to go around


We hand dipped and melted chocolate for 30 chocolate covered pretzels, complete with Christmas sprinkles. Did I mention that the only people at our house on Christmas Eve were me, my mom, dad, and sister (oh yes, and our neighbor Steve)? We didn't make them for anyone else either. They were all for us, and as a result, I'm currently too fat to fit in real pants (which is why all my xmas pics will be complete with sweatpants).


We didn't stop at the pretzels either. Our family tradition is to make Christmas cookies and decorate them every Christmas eve. We also ate most of them. Ourselves.






Sunday, December 23, 2007

In case I can't get back on here

Merry Christmas to all!! I hope you enjoy a fabulous time celebrating the holiday and spending time with friends and family.

I just returned from Northern Virginia with the family, am about to celebrate a mini-Christmas with J, and then I'm back to VA tomorrow. The kittens are about to take their first trip in the car (aside from vet visits).

Stay safe, stay happy, and stay full of Christmas goodies.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thank you

They won. Phew.

J and I went to watch the game at a local bar. They host trivia every Thursday night, and for some strange reason, J is obsessed with trivia.

Last night was incredibly annoying and included a round with 39 questions that looked like this....

DTHWBOH

Deck the halls with boughs of holly.....

....was the answer. Try doing that for 39 different Christmas songs. I gave up after four and continued watching the game.

You know, the one where the Steelers won.

Technically, today was the last day with kids. However, I had a staff meeting in the morning and then the psychological staff party in the afternoon. So my kid seeing days ended yesterday.

It was so much fun. We have a group of people on staff that make up songs to popular tunes such as "Deck the halls" and "Silent night." I would write the lyrics on here for you all, but I think it's something only a school psychologist would understand.

In other news, I've ate more in the last two days that I have in weeks. It's pretty disgusting. Pretty soon you're going to have to roll me out the door.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stillers

You BETTER win tonight.

I've got my jersey on, and i'm headed to the bar to watch the game.

I'd prefer to be sitting on my couch in pjs watching the game, but NFL network is trying to rip us off and i'm not taking the bait.

Cuddle


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Charity

I'm going to preface the rest of this post by warning you that I've very recently shared a carafe of pinot grigio (and chicken parm, chicken marsala, salad, bread, and other yumminess) with Mari. The buzz is settling in quite nicely.

I am BEAT. It was quite a day (they usually are).

My morning started off with three IEP meetings. Such is the life of a school psychologist.

After the meetings, I headed over to my other school (I have three, the one I'm referring to now is the one filled with drama) for a Christmas celebration. It's an under resourced school and as a result, staged a "debit card" shopping spree for the children.

The outcome was absolutely incredible. We do this thing around here were we give students tickets for displaying good behavior. Well this Christmas, we allowed the kids to save up all of their tickets to go on a Christmas shopping spree. Because many of the children and their families cannot afford gifts, we asked others throughout the county to donate whatever they could that would be good for moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandma etc. Amazingly, we filled an entire classroom with incredible items donated by others.

The kids had an absolute blast picking out items and buying them with their tickets. I spent three hours in the wrapping room, wrapping hundreds of presents as the kids looked on with huge smiles on their faces. It was an incredibly rewarding experience, but so tiring. I never realized how tedious wrapping presents for hours could be.

I came home, took a nap with J., Snap and Sage and felt better immediately. When Mari called and offered the prospect of italian food, I jumped out of bed, put on some fat pants, and ran out the door.

The jury is out


I'm not still not sure that I can get used to this.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I can handle a little more

Okay, after resting up for a few hours (or cleaning the heck out of my apartment- which I find cathartic) - I suppose that I can muster up a little more energy to complain.

As I've stated previously, I love to shop. I have a pretty extensive wardrobe, which fills an entire walk in closet to the brim. However, I am a bargain-ista. I buy a lot, but I always find a deal (or at least try to).

I don't by anything full price and I always find some way to get it cheaper. Online shopping is great for that- sometimes.

For about the last year or so, I've been visiting http://www.retailmenot.com/

That website is amazing. All you need to do is type in whatever store web page you are surfing, and they'll let you know all of the deals, coupons, and free shipping possibilities at that online store. I don't think I've actually paid for shipping (or ordered something that was not at least 10% off since I disovered that web page).

Somehow, Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic smartened up and forced the makers of retailmenot to take down all coupons, codes etc., that were not provided by them (before it was regular people like you and me supplying the codes).

I find this incredibly annoying. I realize it was a smart move on their part, but I don't think I can get used to paying full price.

In the meantime, shop at Victoria's Secret. You can usually get 20 dollars off your purchase, in addition to free slippers, free lotion, free shipping, free whatever with your order. Lets hope that they don't jump on the old navy train.

I may sound bitter, but this has happened to me before. Being the bargain shopper that I am, read: cheap, I used to order all of my magazine subscriptions at http://www.discountmagazines.com/ It's only 5.00 for a year-long subscription. They used to offer Glamour and tons of other good reads. I used to sing their praises all the time. Most of my friends probably got sick of me directing them to the website. Sadly, nowadays you're lucky to get Fisherman's Weekly or Dog Digest for 5 dollars a year. Bummer.

And the stockings were hung

On the wall, with care (it should be interesting to see the 12 inch tall Santa try to fill those babies up).


Because my mantel looked like this. No space for stockings. Which reminds me, I have four Christmas cards this year, so far. Four. Apparently my popularity is dwindling.

We have a stocking for Snap, one for me, and one for Sage.

Today was just another Tuesday in the hood. I don't think I sat once between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. I'm happy that everyone thinks I'm super woman, but come on. Even super woman needs a break.

I'm breaking now. Which is why all you get is pictures.




Monday, December 17, 2007

Five things...

5 Things I was doing 10 years ago:

1. Getting my drivers license
2. Waking up at 6am on the weekends to sling bagels @ Einstein Brothers
3. Living in Pittsburgh, PA and a junior in high school
4. Living for free and having my parents cook for me
5. Finding a prom dress

5 Things on my T0-Do List today:

1. Pay Bills
2. Clean my bathroom
3. Wrap Christmas presents
4. Sleep
5. Finish testing some kids (tomorrow, but it's 9:30. That is allowed).

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire:

1. Quit my job or go part-time.
2. Hook my family up for life, if possible.
3. Vacation- abroad and islands
4. Buy a house
5. Pay off the student debt

5 Things I'll never wear again (or have never worn):

1. Any kind of fluorescent color socks that match my sweater.
2. LA Gear
3. Peg leg jeans
4. Hats with daisies on them
5. Scrunchies

5 Favorite Toys:

1. Computer
2. Dance, Dance Revolution
3. Sing Star (man, I need a PS2 bad).
4. cell phone
5. Cranium and other assorted board games

Christmas shopping

I love buying people gifts. I like finding things that people would want/like/need and seeing their faces when they open them. Christmas is about giving, you know.

Unfortunately, not only do I like to give to others, I also love to give to myself. I tend to do the whole, one for you, and oh, maybe about three for me type deal. It's not really a great idea. Especially since 'tis the time of holy debt.

J's sister had her baby today. I went to old navy to pick up a cute little outfit for the new addition. Well, I want a cute dress as well. Shouldn't I get one too?

I can usually come up with some pretty good and/or creative gifts for coworkers, friends etc. However, my family is incredibly difficult. If they want something, they buy it themselves (ha, sounds strangely familiar). Every year I send out the same Christmas email.

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan and Erinn,

What the heck would you like for Christmas. I'm serious. You better tell me. NOW! (you heard me, email be back).

This year I threatened that they would all get 8 x 10 framed photographs of Snap and Sage.

Even that threat didn't work (and if frames weren't so expensive, i.e., if I didn't spend that 50 dollars on a new silk shirt, that would be the gift of the year).

So yes, my family is very hard. When they don't give me any type of gift ideas, I usually go for things I would want. Fuzzy slippers and flannel pajamas. Check. A steelers jersey? Obviously (sorry that you love the Patriots- no, really I'm sorry for you). Hmm.. are you sure you didn't want cute purple polka dot wellies? Oh wait, that was me. Lets trade.

And so the shopping goes. I finished my Christmas shopping two weeks ago.. but the gift giving keeps on going and going and going (cures the Mondays by 50%).

Speaking of Mondays, today was quite a Monday. Legos weren't thrown, but pencils, backpacks, hats and gloves were. I got quite a work out chasing a 10-year-old around the school twenty times.

That reminds me, I need to go pick up a few more pairs of flats. For Mondays.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A day at the orchestra

So- today, John and I met my family in downtown D.C. to grab some lunch and catch a matinee show.


Lunch was great (we went to Famous Luigi's for pizza), the show on the other hand was a different story.


I love all things Christmas. My family and I are known to rock out to the Transiberian Orchestra and Mannheim Steamroller each and every holiday season. As a result, when we found out they were coming to the Verizon center, we had to go.


The show was set to start at 3 pm. It didn't kick off until about 3:20 pm. No biggie, aside from the fact that heat most certainly rises (and if I didn't realize it before, I definitely do now). I wore a dress, knee high suede boots and tights (i.e. not a bulky sweater and wool pants) and I think even my hair was sweating.


The first song opened and I was a little nervous. The lighting (strobe) and pyrotechnics made feel as though someone slipped a tab of acid in my pizza. Think the Pink Floyd laser light show with cellos and violins. My mother was tripping out so bad that she had to wear sunglasses throughout the entire show.


The first hour of the show was fabulous. We were bopping our heads along with the band, having a great time. Then the show kept going, and going, and going. In fact, they didn't stop singing (nor did they take an intermission) until after 6 pm. Two hours and forty minutes of orchestra.


One would think that even the biggest fans would grow sick of it in that time frame. Not so my friends, not so. The lead guitarist kept yelling out the the crowd, "would you like to hear a few more songs?" My sister and I could barely lift our heads (damn, heat exhaustion) enough to roll our eyes at each other and whisper please, no. God, no.


But no, the orchestra lovers yipped and yelped and were elated to hear another 3 songs. After that, he came back on to announce several more. Gag me.


On the way home I decided that perhaps orchestras are not for me. I'm much happier listening to the C.D. in the comfort of my own home and will continue to do so every holiday season from here on out.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A cat story

First, lets talk about cops. Last night John hosted a Christmas party at his house. We were in the middle of a hardcore sing star competition when the cops knocked on the door.

They said if we don't quiet down, they are shutting down the party. People, this is Annapolis. John's house happens to be sandwiched between two lovely (i.e. ghetto as all hell) neighborhoods. Are you telling me that you have nothing better to do than break up an innocent Christmas party on a Friday night?

I read the police blogger. There is no way that there isn't anything more exciting going on, on a Friday night around here.

Anyways, since this is a crazy cat lady blog, I think it's about time I talked about my cats.

Snap. Snap is the boy. When I brought him home the first day he got sick. I had to take him to the emergency vet at about 11pm the night after I bought him. I've only been that scared a handful of times in my life. It's amazing that I loved that little guy so much after only one day.

I was actually afraid/embarrassed to walk into the vet because I was a total mess. Tears streaming down my face, red puffy eyes. I couldn't even talk to the vet without breaking down in tears for the little guy. Luckily, everyone else there was crying too (not for snap, but for their little guys).

Anyways, after two weeks of antibiotics, Snap was fine. He's certainly more laid back than Sage and he's about half her size in weight. He's either a runt, or the sickness did him in way back in August. Snap is certainly the friendly cat, but he's not really into cuddling or being held for more than five minutes. But he's the first one to greet me at the door within seconds of me walking it and he's the first one to come out and see what's going on when people are over.

Sage. Sage has anxiety. When other people are over, she runs under the chair and won't come out. She could care less when I get home (or at least she tries to pretend for the first few minutes) but she is so incredibly loving. She doesn't like anyone who takes her place on my lap, in my bed, or that gets my attention.

Sage sleeps with me (or tries to) every time I nap, or lay down for the night. I'm not just talking at my feet either. She'll come right up to me, put her head under my arm and try to force me to be the big spoon. I actually love it. She's also plastered to my stomach or lap every time the TV is on. She pretends she could care less about where I am or what I'm doing, but within a few minutes she's joining me.

Do you want to puke yet?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Postal Service

Have you ever used one of those automated package kiosks in the post office?

I appreciate them because there is never a line and it's relatively fast, but they ask some seriously dumb questions.

Question #1: Is your package a large envelope, a box, or a letter?

Okay, that's easy. It's a large envelope.

Question #2: Is your package square or rectangle?

Ummm, seriously? Are there any packages that aren't square and/or rectangle? How does one even wrap a circular item in a mailing package? Wouldn't you put it in a box?

Question #3: Is there any guns, weapons, gunpowder or bombs in your package?

Obviously i'm here at the public post office to ship off a 20 pound vat of gun powder. Everyone! Look at me and my package full of TNT.

Question #4: Would you like next day shipping for $32.00 or priority mail (2 days) for $5.67?

Gee, now that is one tough question.

Like woah

This week has been incredibly busy. Perhaps it is the Holiday rush, where we have to get everything done before our time off (all one week of it)- I swear, you would think that we were off for a month or something.

I wish.

Anyways, I digress. It's been one heck of a busy week full of testing, reports, finalizing reports etc. Any day that I don't have time to spend on gmail chat is far too busy for me.

I cannot believe that the holidays are only about 10 days away. I've finished my shopping, I've mailed all of my Christmas cards, I've set up my mantel and my tree, and I've changed my ring tone to a lovely Christmas ditty. However, the 60 degree weather isn't making me feel a lot like Christmas.

I actually started sweating at work today! Are you sure that it is December?

Today I was doing a conflict resolution group with three, fourth grade boys. Apparently one of them has been forcing the others to carry his instrument, open his backpack, and open his lunch box. We looked at him and said, "Do you force them to feed you too?"

He looks back all wide eyed and innocent and said, "No, I can actually handle that myself."

Well, phew. I wish I had that much power when I was in elementary school.

I asked him why he forced the other kids to do things for him and he just said, "I'm just one of those lazy type people."

Then I had to deal with more bathroom issues. I'm not really sure why people call the psychologist for anything and everything related to the bathroom. Our boys find it amusing to play in the toilet, throw soap at one another, and scale the walls of the stall (true to male form).

We already have three students that must be accompanied to the bathroom at all times. I don't think that that is part of my job description.

Anyways, this is an incredibly boring post, but I really only have stories similar to the ones outlined above to share this week. Such is a life with ten year olds.

I'm going to the transiberian orchestra this weekend. I'm very excited. My parents will be meeting the boy. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Feasting

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can and quickly. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an "eggnog-aholic" or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it!!!! Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand-alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello???

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, pumpkin and mincemeat - have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips: Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Year in review

As 2007 comes to an end...

Where did you begin 2007? In my brother's bed (he wasn't in it of course) after a night of celebrating with the family.

What was your status by Valentine's Day? Questionable. I thought I was in a relationship, he didn't.

Were you in school? Technically, I work in a school. Plus, I was an intern for half of 2007. Still pumping out papers on a monthly basis for Tufts.

How did you earn your money? I was an intern. I worked for 2 dollars an hour.

Did you have to go to the hospital? Not that I can recall.

Did you have any encounters with the police? Yes, far too many. But never for me, always for the kids. Like I said, I work in the ghetto.

Where did you go on holidays? My parent's house

What did you purchase that was over $1,000? My apartment. Every single month.

Did you know anybody who got married? My friend Caroline and my cousin Kristin

Did you know anybody who passed away? No one that I was really close to.

Did/Do you like someone? certainly

Did you move anywhere? I can finally say no, I stayed put

What concerts/shows did you go to? Kenny Chesney, Hairspray

Are you registered to vote? Yes

Where do you live now? Midatlantic

Describe your birthday? Mexican Fiesta at Brook and Tom's a few days before, Party with the family a few days after, and happy hour and the driving range on the day.

What's one thing you thought you'd never do but did in 2007? That makes no sense. But I guess go to bed before 10pm by choice.

What has been your favorite moment? The fall in general

Where did you go on vacation? the Poconos (exotic, I know), Las Vegas

Any new additions to your family? Not my immediate family

What was your favorite month? October

How much have you partied? A lot over the summer, but I've cooled down recently

Who has been your best drinking buddy? I have lots

Made new friends? A couple from kickball!

What did you do for 4th of July? A firepit at Tom and Brook's place

Favorite Night out? The Thunder from Down Under night

Name the instance in which you had most to drink? I've learned how to control myself in my old age.

Are you in a relationship with someone you met this year? Quite happily

Monday.

I think that pretty much explains it all.

Today was incredibly busy, yet went by incredibly slow (the work part, when i'm home, time never goes by quite as slowly).

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Festivity!

Last night was Hilary's Ugly Sweater Christmas Party! Fun was had by all.

Jen, Mari, Hilary and I posing in front of the Christmas tree. The ho, ho's team up with the KMart sweater team.

There was plenty of karaoke

John looked adorable in his not entirely that ugly sweater.
Everyone loves karaoke, I think we sang love shack half a dozen times last night.

My house before the party. If I could figure out how to add edit pictures on blogger, I would have put this one first.
Anyways, there's nothing like an excuse to dress like a fool, drink lots, sing karaoke and enjoy the holiday season.
If you'd like to see more pics.. check out my picasa album or facebook account. They are all up there.

I'm off to veg out, recoup and watch the steelers/pats game on the couch. I'm really crossing my fingers for the Steelers. After living in Massachusetts for seven years, I loathe the patriots. With an extreme passion. LETS GO STEELERS!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

creativity

So.. I'm going to an ugly sweater Christmas party tonight @ Hilary's place.

After checking all of the goodwills within a 10 miles radius for an ugly sweater, I decided that it was time to use a little creativity.

So, I came up with this.
It was taken with my cell phone, so it's not incredibly clear, but I figured that it was about time to toot my creativity horn.

I made one for my friend Mari, and one for John to wear (the jury is still out as to whether or not he will). We'll be the ho, ho, ho's! I may act like i'm 62, but at least I have a few good ideas left in me.

There should be plenty more pics to follow after the party.

Oh, and in inspiration of half of my foot (which is visible in this picture) GO STEELERS!

26 or 62

You decide.

I think that as of late, I'm acting more and more like a geriatric individual, rather than a feisty, energized 26 year old.

For example, nowadays, when I'm invited out, whether its for drinks or a party after 9 pm, I can barely drag myself off the couch and make it out. I think, wow, that's incredibly late. I'm not sure that I can make it out. The old Ashley never went out before 10 pm.

New geriatric Ashley prefers happy hours which begin at 5:30 and end by 8:00 pm. It's not like I really even go to bed at 8:00, but I'd much rather be home, in my pjs and relaxing.

Geriatric Ashley also pulls on PJ bottoms within moments of entering the apartment. Whether it's 3 pm, or 7 pm it doesn't matter. My pants are already half unzipped as I'm sticking the key into my apartment door. Nice.

Last night, I went to happy hour at around 6. By the time my boyfriend came over at 8, my eyelids were heavy. We sat down in our pjs, ate popcorn, drank some wine and watched a movie. About half an hour in, he looks over to me and says, "can we just go to bed?"

I said, "what about the movie, honey?" He didn't care. We have yet to make it through an entire movie together. God, what's happening to me?

Do things get better, or worse from here?

I'm off to do a little christmas shopping, and then tonight we have an ugly sweater party. Here's hoping I can stay up past 10 pm.

Friday, December 7, 2007

My unlucky black pumps

It's just been one of those days.

Today, after my staff meeting and before heading back to my school, I went to Chipolte (my favorite) with my friend Mari.

As we walked out of Chipolte, I noticed that I had a flat tire. And when I say flat, I mean flat. Rim on the ground, not a drop of air left. True to my anxious form, I started flipping out and cursing my black pumps. Not to get off topic, but you may remember what happened the last time I wore these shoes- I ended up on a search and rescue mission through the forest outside of the elementary school looking for a gun. Apparently, although very cute, these babies are tres unlucky.

Anyways, to get back on track, I did what any other girl would do (freak out, call mom crying) and then obviously call every boy that comes to mind. Not surprisingly, most 26 year old males are at work on Fridays at 12pm. That wasn't going to work. Instead, Mari and I spent a few minutes scouring our brains, coming up with the names of a few male coworkers who would be nearby (also leaving the meeting). Amazingly, this task is much harder than one might think. Out of the 70 or so psychological staff members in our county, about 6 are males. Four of which are at least 60 yrs old.

So of course, being the rational person that I am, I began cursing the fact that I went into a female oriented profession. Yeah, psychology is great, except when you have a flat tire.

Luckily, Duane (one of the few male psychs under 60) came to rescue Mari and I. However, while we were waiting outside, in the freezing rain/sleet no less for Duane's arrival, no more than three guys walked by to heckle and stare. Yes, my tire is flat. Would you like to help? Apparently not.

One man even pulled into the spot next to me, narrowly missing my stupid black pump by about a quarter of an inch, got out of his car and said, "Look a flat tire!" before continuing on his merry way into Chipolte. Thanks captain obvious. Now I remember why I became a psychologist, in an attempt to help people like you.

Anyways, no thanks to the peanut gallery standing outside staring, Duane was able to save my life (not only am I anxious, but also a little dramatic). He was nice enough to follow me the entire way home from the meeting (about 20 mins) to make sure my donut didn't fall off, and didn't leave me behind until I pulled into the VW dealership.

I know, the sane thing would have been to take the tire to the nearest gas station, however, no more than 2 months ago, I just dropped $1,200.00 on these shiny new tires and rims. Not because I wanted to, but because I needed to pass inspection. So yes, I pull my Jetta right up in there, got out of the car and said excuse me, but I'm mad (I'm on a first name basis with the Jetta guy). He just laughed and said you're lucky you are so pretty.

Nice, I was really hoping to get sexually harassed after this already lovely day. Anyways, once in awhile you gotta let the sexual harassment go, because he got down on his hands and knees and fixed my tires. Apparently the parking lot is a dangerous place, because a lovely, 4 inch long metal shard was stuck in my tire tread. Not only that, but he gave me one of those air pressure checkers for a Christmas gift (b/c I was so cute) and refilled the rest of my tires. I felt as though I could let it slide this time.

So yes, now I'm finally home, after three hours bitching and moaning and missing very important work events that needed to be done by today.

Thank god it's the weekend.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Who knew?

For as long as I can remember, my favorite color has been purple. Maybe there is something more to it.....

Your Brain is Purple

Of all the brain types, yours is the most idealistic.
You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.
Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Reverse psychology

sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

2 hour delay tomorrow. sweet, sweet sleep in.

HO HO HO

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Neither.. but I could go for a hot peppermint mocha from starbucks.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Who doesn't wrap their presents?

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
i'm all for white lights. 100%

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nah.. but maybe I should start.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
I did it a few days after thanksgiving this year.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert):
seven fishes on christmas eve!

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
Every year we picked out a new ornament for the tree.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Wait- you mean santa isn't real?

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Usually we open all of our family gifts on Christmas eve. We save Santa's gifts for Christmas day.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
With lights and tacky hand-made ornaments from my childhood!

11. Snow: Love it or hate it?
I love any excuse for a day off.

12. Can you ice skate?
It's one of my favorite pasttimes

13. Can you remember your favorite gift?
The helicopter ride over the grand canyon was pretty sweet.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Family, fun, and dancing to the magic flute song.

15.What is your favorite holiday dessert?
I may a pretty mean peppermint fudge cake. I also love to decorate sugar cookies and the sweet rice krispie treat wreath.

16. What tops your tree?
A start

17. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving
BOTH!

18. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Anything by Mannheim Steam Roller or Trans-Siberian orchestra

19. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Love Actually

20. What would be the best gift you could receive this year?
Good Health, Love and Cold hard cash for me, my nearest and my dearest.

No bones were thrown

Well, we did get some snow. Some- being the operative word. Alas, no snow day, no two hour delay, and certainly no early dismissal.

It does look quite beautiful out my living room window though.

So yeah, it was just another day, back at the grind. A relatively amusing day, that started off pretty disgustingly (I won't even go there- but it involved one six year old and one toilet).

I realize meteorologists probably get paid a lot more than I do, but at least I have fun. I was able to "rock out" with some first graders today in Physical Education class. In addition, I learned the ins and outs of sick days a la a third grade student with Apsergers Disorder.

We were talking and he said, "You know, the time I had an ear infection was the best day of my life. I've never had a better day than that" I said, excuse me? He continued, "I got to lay around all day, drink coca cola, eat candy and play video games. Now that, was the best day ever."

So it's true, kids really are just little adults. Just add some rum to my soda please.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Still going on about wand wavers

If you've ever stopped by my myspace, you probably noticed the fact that I loathe meteorologists. Amazingly, I spent half of my childhood lusting after the job.

Now I know why- waving a wand at a fake map and making things up (such as snow storms- maybe, hail- that could be as large as a golf ball or nonexistent, and potentially gust worthy winds) is much easier than spending the day with hundreds of children. Not that I don't love spending my day with children, but for $80,000 annually, waving that wand seems like a pretty sweet gig.

We should have a snow storm tomorrow. Now, being the nondiscriminatory person that I am, I like snow in all shapes and sizes. Whether it results in a two hour delay, an early dismissal, a snow day... like I said, I don't discriminate. Any of the above are fine with me.

However, I can envision that I'll wake up tomorrow and feel much like I did a handful of times last winter. The wand wavers predict an inch, or two, or three (In my neck of the woods, an inch stops everything). I wake up at 4 and 5 and 6 am, inevitably waiting for that lovely text message from the local television station, giving me the best news I'd hear all day; snow day! Two hour delay! More often than not, that text never comes and I begrudgingly stomp out of bed, peek through the blinds, and see nothing more than the sun shining on green, dew covered grass.

I'm hoping that I wake up to snow. But I've learned my lesson after far too many disappointed mornings.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I heart weekends

Oh, what a weekend.

I went to the redskins game yesterday. I spent the night before dreading the cold, dreading the crowds and dreading getting up early (I'm a Steelers fan, it's my boyfriend who loves the redskins- and who asked me to go).

However, I bundled up well, enjoyed the crowds and had a great time at the game. I'm not going to lie though- I stayed up until after midnight watching my own Steelers game after we returned from a full day at fedex field. I'm exhausted to say the least.

I'm very jealous of all those in the Northeast right now. I could go for a good snow day (or three). I spent the last seven years in Massachusetts and about nine in Connecticut, so i'm jonesin' for some bad weather.

To be honest, I'm really not a winter person at all.. but if it's going to be freezing, it might as well be snowing and pretty. Instead, it's rainy, chilly, and windy here.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Waiting for Santa....

He doesn't realize that we've got another month to go....


Oh, the weather outside....

is frightful.

Frightfully freezing.

It's time to whip up some comfort food. Here is one of my specialties...

I'll include the real recipe, but also include my cheats for when I'm feeling lazy.

Meatloaf Stuffed with Mashed Potatoes and Cheddar

For the Mashed Potatoes:
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled.
kosher salt/pepper
1 tbsp butter
1/4c milk

Boil potatoes until soft (about 25 mins). Mash them coarsely with a potato masher or fork, blending in the butter. Mix in the milk, as needed. Season with S+P.

When I am feeling particularly lazy, I buy the instant potatoes and it works like a charm.

For the Meatloaf (I've used ground beef and ground turkey- both are great!)

1 lb ground beef, turkey, chicken (you pick)
3/4 c plain bread crumbs
1 small minced onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1/3 c ketchup
1 egg beaten
1tsp Tabasco
2-3 oz of sliced cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a large loaf pan or a high sided sheet pan. In a mixing bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, egg, Tabasco, s+p. On a sheet of foil, pat out the meat into a 10 by 10 inch square. Arrange the cheese slices over the meet, leaving a narrow border all around. Spoon mashed potatoes in an even layer over the cheese. Using the foil as a guide, fold one side of the meet up over the other, and press down to seal. Gently form into a loaf shape. Place meat loaf in prepared pan, seam side down and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake for about 45 mins.(when I'm feeling particularly lazy, I layer the beef in the bottom, put mashed on top, cheese on top of that, and then spread more beef over the top. Tastes just as great with a little less work). ENJOY! :)

I'm off to a reunion with some great friends who have moved away. I made a lazy girl's lasagna, but I could really go for some of this meatloaf now.

Happy Saturday!