Friday, February 26, 2010

My New Job

I have to submit weekly Sales Leads to my boss on Fridays. Basically so she can see what I'm working on, make sure I'm being productive with my time, pulling my weight, and quite frankly, covering her @ss when the GM has questions. This had me thinking today...

I consider myself a good person... I go to church regularly, I tell someone if they dropped cash in front of me, I occasionally let people in when traffic's bad, I smile at strangers, I Don't Mess With Texas... but I'm the first to admit I have PLENTY of room to improve on my character. I can identify at least 4 qualities right this instant that I wish I didn't possess, so strongly anyway. Everything in moderation! So instead of knowing about them and merrily moving on with daily life, it's time to work on em.

Now I'm the girl that has to laminate a marathon training schedule and record my progress with a permanent marker to make it official. This is no different, I need to submit my Character Leads to make it official. And if ever there was a boss of Character, it'd be Jesus. Thus, it's only natural that I submit my Leads to Him. Basically so He can see what I'm working on, make sure I'm being productive with my time, pulling my weight, and quite frankly, covering His @ss when God has questions.

See the connection here?

I like to think and write and pray, so this works out great... except I'm on the fence whether to make these Leads public. On one hand, it might be beneficial for others to read and possibly identify their own shortcomings through my shameless transparency (or just laugh at my downfalls), and on the other hand, my mom's voice is playing like a skipping record in my head "you don't have to tell everything you know - you don't have to tell everything you know - you don't have to tell everything you know". Writing my Character Leads on the World Wide Web could get embarrassing.

I'll have to think about this further. Goodbye.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blessed With Beautiful Bffls

This particular entry is solely devoted to one of my favorite blessings... my best friends. I like to refer to them as my 7 Dwarfs. I understand only 3 of them stand under 5'2", so technically they're not all dwarfs, but it's the first thing that came to mind, so I'm rollin' with it (I also recognize this insinuates that I'm Snow White and I'm not entirely against that either).

With Friendship Durations ranging from 8.5 to 17 years, these women have seen me through all my phases and all my stages. It's basically a miracle they're still around. In fact, I've only shamelessly begged one of them to stay friends with me by playing Whitney Houston's "Count On Me" on her recorder, but we were 14 and hormonal and it didn't seem like such a desperate/loser thing to do at the time. . . damn, hindsight is SO 20/20. . . but BLESS THEIR LITTLE PEA PICKIN HEARTS, I love 'em all. They've given me a million memories, a million words of advice, and a million reasons to count them as blessings.

(PLEASE NOTE: This listing is alphabetical. Yes, we're adults, but we're also still women. It's just the safe thing to do.)


Caitlin and I had a rough start. We played club soccer together in high school and never thought very fondly of each other. She was of the "Nerdy Loser" variety since she drove a station wagon and I was of the "Boy Crazy Promiscuous" variety since I was, well, boy crazy..... so we didn't really try to blend our worlds. To add insult to injury, she was a defender and I was a forward on arch rival high school teams. Don't get me started on the 2000 Regional Championship! It wasn't until we both committed to Rice that fateful day in February of 2001 that we began calling off our troops and waving the white flag of concession. Before we knew it, we found ourselves bonded by 4 years of collegiate soccer and thrust into a big, scary world as DUH DUH DUH regular people. Eeek!! Somewhere along the line, Cait became my rock... my daily email consult... my eternal source of literary wit and hysterics. We share a passion for red wine, the desire to figure out life and memories of *8/9 days in Indonesia (a point of contention that may or may not have something to do with our soccer numbers). She's my caitertot. Fiercely.


My friendship with this little firecracker didn't come easy. She made me earn it. Moving to Allen, TX at the age of 13 is considered Cruel and Unusual Punishment to most, but my parents thought it would be funny. I knew getting popular wouldn't be all fun and games, so I proceeded to beg Cori to be my "cool" friend in 7th grade. She allowed me to tryout by acting out a scene from Cinderella during class (the one where the wicked stepmother finds Cinderella brushing her hair and brutally locks her in the attic). I must have a knack for acting, because I made the popular team and we've been friends ever since. I also got detention, but that's neither here nor there. Cori has deposited a multitude of appropriate, and not so appropriate, things into my friendship memory bank over the years. . . one particular sleepover at her aunt's house has me scarred for life, but it's in my bank, Kids Raising Kids! and Quaker oat squares, wine coolers at Cowboys, our classy prom bus, not so dirty Santas, a beautiful wedding in Nuevo Vallarta. . . what a treat she is to my life. I could never borrow her jeans unless I wanted to sport some capris, but short-stature is no reason to cut her out of my life :) I love our weekly-ish chats almost as much as I love Starbucks and am humbled by her support, even through my lowest lows. That's a good sign you've found a true friend. She's my Fishole-Coricane. Luca Luca.


Is there anything more beautiful than that humorous, fun-loving, carefree Haleybug up there? I seriously doubt it. This is my free spirited friend that 80% of society might never take seriously because she makes her own rules and dances to the beat of her own drum. In a world of cookie-cutter lives, she's an inspiration to me. As an active member of a very small Alaskan society, she isn't a slave to the clock, but to the sunrise and sunset (which is appropriately inconsistent in Alaska). Unbeknownst to her, she reminds me every time I see her that we could all use a little more of a little less. I only get to see this bffl approximately once a year, but when we finally get to talk or see each other, it's like we never skipped a beat and I will cherish that about our friendship always. That and her ridiculous stories. When I think about her, I spend half my time in awe and half in fear and wouldn't want it any other way. I hope she ends up as sassy as her grandma so we can go on old-people cruises and laugh forever. I hope I find myself in Alaska soon to spend some sweet, calm moments wrapped up in her world. I hope she never loses her love for simplicity. I hope she occasionally washes the headwrap I gave her. I hope the organized mountain man she found balances her antics forever. In a floating cabin.


My favorite nomad, Jsmell, was fortunate enough to be assigned my roommate for our freshman season soccer trips ... a few months of close proximity and I'm surprised we even spoke after that, but low and behold, a true friendship blossomed. I'll never forget sitting outside Brown College our last semester at Rice and just crying about what we were leaving behind -- damn emotional females -- we shared so many sweet memories on that campus, but Janelle was headed east for Florida. We weren't entirely sure when we'd see each other again, but I knew this friendship wouldn't just fall by the wayside. Janelle is the most tenderhearted of all my best friends. She's a lover of babies and small animals, to a fault sometimes. She tried to save a mouse from a hotel once. Ick. I love her, but I hated her that day. She spent entirely too much time away from me in New Zealand and has now been in Thailand WAY entirely too long, but she's doing what she does best... sharing her heart with and teaching small Thai children. Be it email, gmail chat, skype, phone (when I don't screen the Unknown number of course), I take communication with my Jsmell any way I can get it. And when we get to catch up .... it's like "aahhhhh, not a cloud in the sky."


On my timeline of friendship, Juhmayuhme dates back to Curtis Middle School years. When I think of Jami, I think of Korbel champagne bottles at house parties, a teal Eclipse with hubcaps just slightly worse than my gold ones, two packs of Fruit Jammers after school almost every day (think I should send Debbie some cash for all those snacks?), "he's lookin' atchya"... things like this. Jami's the chuckle that plays in the background of almost all of my Allen memories, because somehow she finagled her way into every single one of them. And even though college sent me south and her North, we always did, and always will, find time for a meal and some drinks when we meet in the middle (but not Thai food. Lord God, not Thai food. And we can thank Matt and Maud for deciding that). Either way, I've watched this lover of beer and football build her dreamlife over the years... but she's still the same tenderhearted, massivebreasted, antihugging friend I could count on back in the day and that is such a soft place to land when the craziness of life gives us the window of opportunity.


I think it's pretty impossible to NOT be best friends with this munchkin! She loves everyone! She even lets nude strangers into her dormroom at wee hours of the morning to use the bathroom. Ok ok, that was just ONCE, but I vow to never let her forget it. I'm not even exactly sure how friendships actually happen, but this one definitely hit its stride when we became roommates at Rice. This California spitfire showed me the beauty of buying treats and introduced me to my all-time favorite beverage, Starbucks skinny vanilla lattes. I am forever in debt to her for that. We bonded through very thin walls and developed a mutual appreciation for eachother as complete opposites that drove virtually identical jeeps (although I never drove mine into a tree. or parked it in the middle of a bus route. or tore off a parking gate. or tried to stop it from rolling backwards with my tiny 5' frame. but that's neither here nor there). I'm so thankful for her sweet spirit and easy going aura... and for letting me stand beside her when she married one of the greatest guys I've ever met. Sidenote: if you've never had the chance to actually watch love happen, I feel for you. I had a front row seat to the Making of the Stansberrys and the journey was just so fantastic. This is the friend that sends a precious little card for every single holiday. How many friends do that?? This one's a keeper.


When you're just 27, a relatively young age in the whole scheme of things, it's superhard to chronicle a friendship that's lasted 17 years. We've been friends for more than half our lifetime. That's i n s a n e and such a blessing. We've made it through many successful and unsuccessful relationships, a million soccer games together and as opponents, too many years of school followed by a plethora of graduations... started in Dallas and ended in Houston... by chance, by devine intervention, by luck? Who knows, but she lives 3 minutes away from me and knows me best. And ya'll, she still laughs at my jokes and doesn't take my shit! If I think hard about it, our friendship was doomed from the start. I thought all black people looked alike so I kept calling her Tatiana, and she told me I looked like a frog. Oh the innocence of 10 year olds! But our offensive beginning set the stage for an authentic friendship. I see visions of country ham, soccer, Suzuki four wheelers, smoothie kings and suburbans, Thanksgivings so near and dear to my heart... laughing parents that also found friendship... all of it playing to the tune of "Oh Happy Day" :) Can't wait to grow old with this sister.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Jury Is Out

As a 27 year old, I've hit most of the obligatory milestones on the road to being an actual adult. I got a job, bought a car, pay all my own bills, file my own taxes, set my own curfew... I even developed an aversion to politics... but there is one thing I haven't done yet and it's starting to bother me. In my defense, it's completely out of my control, but I'm pretty much dying to join the ranks of the millions of other adults that complain about this.


I want a Get Out Of Work Free card! I want a free boxed lunch! I want the opportunity to sit with other randoms and lie about something so I don't get chosen! It's like a right of passage into actual adulthood. Why can't the ridiculous government find me?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Carpe Diem

I've recently been inspired to create a Bucket List. No, I'm not going through a mid-life crisis, a divorce or a death in the family. I haven't even lost my job. I just think most Bucket Lists will take YEARS to complete, so why not start early?

For as long as I can remember, my parents have POUNDED the importance of "planning your dive, and diving your plan". About 3 years ago, I took that to heart... and to the extreme... when I jumped out of a plane. I'm a moderate adrenaline junkie that wanted to do something completely out of my control and characteristically insane.

The appointment was made, the deposit was deposited, but when I pulled up to the address from the website, I literally almost turned around. The double wide trailer with clucking chickens out front didn't exactly scream SAFE SKY DIVE.

but plan your dive, dive your plan. So we moved forward with the paperwork and watched a short video in the double wide. On a 4" screen like those kitchen TVs from the 90s. BUT plan your dive, dive your plan, Ashley. So I dove out of a plane at 10,000 ft in January strapped to the front of the creepiest man I've ever met. And I l o v e d every second of it.

One week later, I got this great shot of the small, rusty plane I jumped out of and I vowed to be pickier with my next skydiving selection.

I've done other crazy things like running marathons, being a young American female that travels to Indonesia to meet Balinese people from a book I read, and I just recently signed up for a 3.6 mile run with 14 obstacles ranging from running through a creek, jumping over fire, and crawling under barbed wire in a mud pit. And I'm running it in this.

but there are still things I'm just dying to do! So without further adieu, here is my Bucket List The 2010 Edition:

• Sky dive, part deaux
• Bungee jump off a bridge
• Take Sheila Kelly’s S-factor course
• Shoot a real gun at inanimate objects, then possibly at small, over-populated animals
• Visit Andy and Haleybug in Alaska and kayak through their glacier-filled backyard
• Do a triathlon
• Zip line through a rain forest
• Slalom for longer than 2 minutes without falling
• Sober karaoke
• Decide on a Wednesday that I’m taking a vacation Friday-Sunday, and go somewhere fabulous

First up? A triathlon in April. Hold on to your tutus.