Thursday, May 28, 2009


On Monday, John and I returned from our first anniversary trip! We went to Ft. Myers on Thursday for a few days of fun in the sun. I laid out. John golfed. I shopped! I scored the cutest Lacoste halter dress. I can't find a picture on their website but it's super sporty and I got a great deal on it. You'll just have to come visit me in Dayton to see it. It was a fun trip, not romantic, but fun. We'll just need to schedule our 2nd anniversary cruise if we want romantic. Anyway, it was nice to see my parents but it was a 4 day calorie fest. Fried fish, cheetos, ice cream, pool bombs (some deliciousness with 2 kinds of rum, amaretto, tequila, etc.) and I'm up 3 lbs. Oops! Well, you only have your first anniversary once, right? (Picture above was taken on Sanibel Island)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Little Bit Wicked

I had put myself on the hold list for A Little Bit Wicked, an autobiography by Kristen Chenoweth, not really knowing what to expect. I am a fan of her performances and thought that reading about her life would provide an interesting tale. I was right. Chenoweth’s path to fame is probably similar to a lot of other Broadway/TV/Movie stars’ paths but her writing style is very conversational and it endeared me to her even more than before. I don’t suspect many other stars could do the same. Her southern roots and Christian upbringing that sculpt her personality shine through at every turn. Her ladder was long and sometimes not so cheery but she kept plugging away. This is a short review. Sorry. If you like Chenoweth, you’ll get a kick out of the book. If you have no clue who she is, you probably won’t care for it. There you have it.

Reading the OED

If you are a word lover like I am, you don’t need my review to convince you to read Reading the OED by Ammon Shea. If you are not a word lover like I am, OED stands for Oxford English Dictionary and it’s MASSIVE! It is a source of great information about the origins of all words in the English language. In college, I had to write a paper after selecting 5 words to research within the OED. I can’t remember what words I chose but I can tell you they were wholly uninteresting. I'm sure I just wanted to get through the paper as quickly as possible. I don’t remember what grade I got on that paper but I certainly regret not spending more time engrossed in the OED when I had electronic access to it and all the time in the world.

Nevertheless, Reading the OED is about one man’s devotion to reading the OED in its entirety over the span of one year. Each chapter is a letter. He gives some insight into his quest and talks about his reading location, his declining vision, and other tribulations along the way before highlighting his favorite words within each letter. He has a comical style of writing but it helped that I really enjoyed reading all of the definitions he paraphrased as well. And I found a word that I am in love with, petrichor, which is the smell after it rains. Did you know that smell had a name? It does! Shea points out many things that you knew there was probably a word for but wouldn’t have ever found it if you hadn’t read the OED cover to cover. Reading the OED was a fast read, faster than reading the actual OED itself, and is worth your time, if you are a logophile such as I am.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What I have been up to.....

  1. Watching season finales. I have liked most of them so far including: Lost, the Office, GREY'S ANATOMY, and all of the others I can't remember
  2. Getting ready for VACATION - we leave for 4 days in Florida on Thursday. It's supposed to rain but I can't wait. RELAXATION!
  3. Spent the weekend in Lexington. We've made plans to revisit someday when I don't have to be there for work-related activities. We will tour a bourbon distillery and see horses.
  4. I personal recorded on Friday. 4 miles straight. Longest I've ever run. Ever.
  5. I've decided to run a half marathon so I'm in training. (See #4) The race is in September.
  6. We celebrated ONE YEAR OF MARRIAGE on May 17th. That was the fastest year of my life. It was filled with ups and downs but mostly ups and I can't wait to see what year 2 brings. I love being married! I especially love being married to John. I put on my dress. We watched our wedding videos and the cake was mighty tasty.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Rules of Lifting for Women

I'm pretending that I whole-heartedly read The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler so that I can count it towards my totals. I actually read the first half and then I skimmed the last half. In my defense, the second part of the book was mostly charts, graphs, and illustrations. Anyway, I read good reviews that this book really helps to whip you into shape. As you know, I've been having some issues with my strength routine and the girth of my thighs. I've sort of cut back on the lifting but haven't measured my thighs to see my current progress. I digress. New Rules is a great informational read about nutrition, fitness, muscles, etc. Basically, an all around "this is what I think you should do to be healthy" book. Schuler successfully managed to add humor into what might be, for many, a mundane topic. I learned a lot about musculature and nutrition, like I said. There was a particularly disturbing section about how women who work their quads more than their hamstrings can end up stooped over when they're elderly. Just a word to the wise not to ignore your hammies!

All in all, I don't think I have the discipline to follow Schuler's routine but it seems simple enough. My main beef is he doesn't really advocate cardio and I LOVE cardio. He doesn't dismiss it but claims that his 3 day a week lifting routine will be all you need to tone and lose weight. I don't know if I buy that and I just don't think I could give up cardio. He's got good recipes in there for the meal plans too. I'm considering buying a used copy just for the recipes and maybe, down the road, if I really feel like I need to throw myself into strength, I'll follow it. New Rules is worth a read if you're looking for more information on incorporating lifting and it definitely puts forth a great plan if you're not concerned about cardio. Zumba news........

My nemesis has shifted her focus of evil efforts on the instructor! Yesterday, we were all standing around waiting for class to start.

Nemesis: Uh, so, is she here?
Nemesis' Posse Member: Oh, I don't think so. I'm sure she'll get here soon.
Nemesis: Well, you're a lot nicer about it than I would be. (real bitchy)

Ouch! Ever heard of traffic, nemesis?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What a week!

My, oh my! What a week. Sorry for the blogging hiatus. Out of town guests put the kibosh on my updates. It was a fun time but also some rough patches. Here’s the rundown:

Wednesday: I got rear-ended! I was sitting at a light outside work, minding my business when all of a sudden my car lurches forward and my head slams back against the head rest. “What just happened?” I thought to myself. “Did she…? Yes, I think that girl just ran into me.” And then I panicked. I managed to pull my car over into a gas station and luckily she followed me. My first inclination was to call the police but then I thought, “Well, if there’s no damage, do you still call?” We both got out, she claimed her foot slipped. BS! You were messin’ with your phone or your radio or something because I was stopped and you didn’t hit me as if you were slowing down for a red light and line of stopped traffic ahead of me. You hit me like you weren’t paying one bit of attention to your surroundings. Luckily, no damage. So, we exchange information. “Who’s your insurance through?” I ask, realizing she hasn’t written anything down. “The General.” She says. THE GENERAL! And all I could think of was the jingle. “I don’t have my card,” she mutters, “but these are both of my cell phone numbers.” I didn’t bother to ask why she had two cell phones. One for drug deals was my first guess. Later on down the road stopped at another light, I turn over my insurance card and clear as day it says, “What to do if you’re in an accident”. Oh, thank you, State Farm! This would have been helpful if all common sense hadn’t evaded me while writing down my information. Unbelievable! Then, I felt even worse about myself when reading the steps because I didn’t write down her license plate or the make and model. White, 4 doors, was all I could muster. I called my insurance agent and luckily, she said if there wasn’t any damage that she wouldn’t have called the cops either. Thanks, Bev! That made me feel better.

Later that night, after John had retrieved my mom from the airport. I burned my arm on a cookie sheet (injury #1). I tried not to let it get me down though. Our visitor had arrived and I was thisclose to vacation!

Thursday: I only had to work a half day (wheeee!) and so I hustled home to retrieve my mother, again, and headed north. Thus begins the driving portion of the weekend. 4 + hours later, we were in Willougby. We visited with folks up there and I choked down dinner. Maybe you don’t know that I don’t like peppers. Oh, but they’re sweet! People are always trying to tell me. If that’s your idea of sweet, please don’t feed me dessert. Dinner was stuffed peppers. I thought I did admirably eating more than ¾ of my pepper. Then, back to Amherst (more driving)

Friday: John and I went back to the Bee. (still more driving) with an outing to the Botanical Gardens first. This is where I was worried plans would fall apart, and I was right. We were promised a lunch out. When everyone was snacking on fruit and small bowls of soup during a brief storm I knew we were in trouble. I had been told lunch would be at a nearby restaurant but then the news was broken, “I think this IS lunch” my mom said. Oh for Pete’s sake! “I could have told you this would happen,” John says. Not helping. John and I weren’t very hungry having stopped for Liquid Planet (mmmm Elvis Chill) on the way out. So, no lunch for us, not even a mini lunch. After the gardens, there was craft time. We painted flower pots. John really had to man up for this girly day. His pot was beautiful though. It had a Mexican theme! Pictures to follow. Also, we got Chick-fil-a for a LATE lunch because we were starving by then. P.S. What has been completed thus far on the renovation of the Cleveland Museum of Art is fantastic! I can’t wait until 2012 when it’s all done. Then – more driving – back to Amherst.

Saturday: More driving! Back to Cleveland to the market for a Mother’s Day Observed outing I like to call Food, Flowers, FUN! And it was! We had breakfast, bought fruits and veggies and beaucoup plants. I’m replanting my herb garden. They are to henceforth be known as my Herb Babies. They are currently being babysat in Amherst but we’ll pick them up after Florida. I can’t wait! Dinner with my parents and the CAVS game. Then bed!

Sunday: Surprise, back to Willoughby to retrieve my mother yet again! Not much to report this day. We planted dahlias in our painted pots and then we got on the road. We stopped 4 times from Cleveland to Dayton. FOUR! Sometimes John and I don’t stop at all. I did not have this luxury. But, we got Cosi for dinner. That evening after having already tucked myself into bed, I had to go to the bathroom. When I go to bathroom at night I don’t turn on any lights. Not even the light in the bathroom. I feel it would disrupt John and Miss Sadie and also, it wakes me up more than I enjoy. Since I’m very accustomed to the bathroom path, this has never been a problem. On the way back to bed, I walked smack into the corner of my closet. Don’t worry, my head softened the blow and I now have a slight bruise above my left eyebrow. It hurt like the dickens! (injury #2)

Monday: last vacation day and MORE DRIVING! 45 minutes to the outlets where, they had nothing for me to purchase. I was looking for: shirts for work, casual capris and a large pebbled yellow leather bag. The bag wasn’t really going to be purchased but I’m still on the hunt. Sad to say, I came home empty handed. Guess I’ll save my moneys for next week. For dessert I made Pumpkin Angel Food Cake. Somehow, I got my fingers stuck in the hand mixer! I never touch the beaters when it’s plugged in but I must have been moving it when my hand slipped and it turned on. Imagine your finger being beaten! The beaters stop moving but they press your finger into the most unnatural position. “Oh my God!” John yells, as I try to free my appendage. The eject button was stuck. “Oh no!” He screams. “You’re not helping.” I responded. Finally I got the eject button to work and he pulled the beaters out. The skin didn’t break and it’s only a bit stiff today. (injury #3)

Tuesday: Driving to the airport early morning! Wheee! My mom’s flight was delayed and she ended up spending 4 hours at the Dayton Airport. Yikes! I felt really badly but what can you do. Tonight I’m zumba-ing and putting the house back in order.

To sum up – driving, driving, hurt self, driving, do mother’s day things, driving, hurt self again, drive drive drive, skip days of working out, drive, save money, hurt self, drive.

Only 9 days until FLORIDA SUN!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bathroom BFF

I have a new bathroom BFF at work. She's a stall talker, which I do not condone. She also, I think, continues talking to me after I have left the bathroom. I would try to get on a different schedule but I drink so much water that I go to the bathroom pretty much every hour.


BBFF: Oooh, girl you look cute today.

Ashley: Oh, thanks.

BBFF: Love those ruby red slippers.

Ashley: Thanks.

(I had red shoes on.)


BFF: Another cute outfit!

Ashley: Thanks.

BFF: You know, I have a skirt like that but am I too old to wear it?

(I had a floral A-line knee length skirt on. I don’t think it looks very young at all, and she was wearing a printed skirt.)

Ashley: No, I don’t think so. (this is the first time I’ve actually made eye contact with her and she has major wrinkles but that’s the only giveaway of her age)

BFF: So you just wear a short sleeve shirt with it?
Ashley: Well, or a blouse or something.

BFF: Oh, yeah. See I used to have my 22 year old who kept my outfits hip but she graduated and now I have to rely on you.

Ummm....okay. I suppose that's flattering. But, BBFF, should you really be dressing like your 22 year old daughter anyway? Or emulating the next closest person in age that you see on a daily basis. Also, if I have a not so cute outfit on one day, what kind of comments will I get. This is a lot of pressure on a girl.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gettin' it Done

I am on top of things this week and it's only Monday! We cleaned and organized so much yesterday in preparation for our out of town guest. Tonight, I managed to work out (my wonderful husband made dinner!) AND made these little tags for Mother's Day for the grandmas. We're getting them flowers. I made these cute tags and I put them on skewers so they could stick in the pots. How clever am I? I knocked those bad boys out in about 10 minutes. Pretty excited about that.

My mom will be here in less than 48 hours. I can't wait! I haven't seen her since Christmas and she is a good houseguest because she tolerates Sadie very well. Although admittedly, Sadie is calming down as she ages.

AND! Only 2 1/2 more days of work until my first days off since New Years! Not much could beat that.

P.S. I'm braving a Tuesday zumba class in honor of Cinco de Mayo and also because I can't go this Thursday or Saturday. Wish me luck! I promise to report back.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Guys, I am in a literary quandary. The last two books I started I couldn't finish. I have a small stack from the library but I'm not itching to pick any of them up. I don't know what to do. The books I really want to read I'm still on the wait list for. Does anyone have any suggestions? I feel like I haven't read anything that I've been completely wowed bylately and that's sad. I always like to have a good suggestion of something I've just read when others ask me but if anyone asked me today, "What should I read next?" I'd have to defer to an older one that I liked. I guess I can't expect all books to be winners. Especially not when you read as much as I do. But, I better get back on track or I'm not going to hit my 35 books for 2009.

This weekend I was duped, once again, by coupons. I hate when that happens. I've had my eye on this dress for weeks but it wasn't on sale. "No matter," I said, "I'll just wait for a coupon." It was a glorious day when I received the $25 off $60 coupon in the mail and I made plans to visit the mall this very weekend. I even talked John into going with me expressing the caveat at the beginning of the trip that I would need to try things on. So, into the dressing room I went, arms full of possibility. I found many pieces I liked however, the dress I'd be pining for was disappointing. The large was too big; the medium too short. BLAST! I spent a long time weighing prices and options and ended up with 3 blouses for work and a pair of capris, all things I needed and not just frivolous purchases! Well, at the register, of course, the blouses were not ringing up per the sign. When I questioned the rather snotty salesgirl, she said the 60% off sign was just for the ugly blouses right below it. (I added the 'ugly'.) I hemmed and hawed for a bit and ultimately walked out sans dress and spending more than I wanted, but still getting items I needed. Although I did have to buy the capris in my fat size. (That's what I get for shopping at stores whose sizes are not consistent. Or that's what I'm telling myself.) The main problem was this: when I shop I like to enjoy what I've just purchased. This time, I felt guilty for spending more than I wanted. I was in a funk the rest of the afternoon.

I was cheered up by dinner with friends and fat free Cold Stone. YUM! Also, my mama comes in 3 days. WHEEEE!!!!