Saturday, January 31

Crater Lake 2.0

Like last year, we decided to trek up to Crater Lake (which is only an hour and a half drive from Medford, maybe two hours) to participate in the weekend Ranger-guided snowshoeing adventure. To be honest, I feel kinda like I'm cheating part of the world by living so close to a national wonder. There were people there from Sac, Monterey, Hood River, etc. And us from Medford. Big stretch. But I still love it. How can someone not love the snow at 7,000 feet?

Pimping out the backseat of the truck on the way up. This was the only picture that didn't get the unfortunate double chin associated with taking shots of yourself.

So last year there were two people who didn't have CamelBaks and they gophered water from my hydration pack. Well thankfully those two (my brother and Babs) finally invested in their own so I didn't have to acquire cooties on my mouthpiece.

Moving out at the beginning of the trek. This was a nice level area to move about. It definitely got steep in some places. And the half inch layer of ice on the snow was sometimes helpful, but sometimes it just hinders the walking ability.

My dad, in "ass-less chaps." These are a staple for cold weather Beaver games. And sometimes he'll break out into a psuedo-striptease dance. Hysterical. You really have to be there to experience it. And just a note: My dad's CamelBak is under his vest, just for future reference. ;)

Starting to move up the slope of things. Last year's hike was probably half of how far we went today. It was pretty cool to get the full hour and a half that was slated for this outing. Last year's guy was a bit older and probably didn't want to expend the full energy to give us a bad ass tour. But thankfully this guy was a bit younger, and more spry, and was more than willing to give us an excellent outing.

More emo shots. With our latest haircutting spree, under the beanies we seem a little more 'cancer patient' than anything.

Family shot. Okay, not everyone. Just dad, myself, and brother.

Playboy shot in front of the caldera. And as you can tell, my dad and brother are dudes and thus didn't wear too many layers. Stac and I were fully dressed for the occasion, because once we got to the rim the wind was whipping. Ugh. Cold. Yay for beanies.

The last shot of the day on our hike out. That trek reminded me of why I don't want to be on a fire crew again. There was a stretch uphill that about killed everyone. Not my dad, though. He's a champ. So ya, sorry to disappoint people compared to my Cannon Beach shots. But I never said I was a pro. Besides most pictures were taken on the move while following the chain of people. So there.

And an amazing story from the Park. Apparently around 12:30pm, some guy had lost his cellphone down over the rim. So instead of informing someone, he decided to go down after it. So after falling 300 yards, paramedics were called in to retrieve him. Dumbass. That better have been an expensive cellphone. Mine's only $20, so I would have bagged the whole thing. I don't think calling in Fire Dist. No. 3 (from White City) would have been necessary. So by the time we were headed off the mountain (can I call it a mountain?), around 4:00-something, they were still working on getting him back up. I'd call it a loss. Moron.

Friday, January 30

Awww...pretty kitty...

Like many family members and some friends, there are people who may think I make up characters in order to make my life seem more interesting. Wook has yet to meet my whole family and so I always wonder if people think I made him up like George Glass (remember? Jan's fake boyfriend on Brady Bunch!?).

Well I assure that wook is real, and so is the little gato that lives in our backyard. He's been abandoned since as long as I've been living at my parents' house. Poor little guy. We feed him and he's started to be okay with coming into our house when we leave the back door open for him. Of course we have to lock that psycho cat of my mother's up in the parents' bedroom. I'm way okay with swapping out Psycho for this lil fluffer ball.

I've nicknamed him "Al" from algodon (cotton in Spanish). We're not sure to its gender. But it's a cutey anyway. Here I'm spying on him from my bedroom window (remember, the daylight basement concept?) after I turned out my light.

Awww, I got his attention. He likes my mom and I. He's come into the house and rubbed on our legs wanting attention. My mom has even gotten to pet him/her. As you can tell, I can't decide how I'll describe him/her without changing the gender. My theory is we should get a tranquilizer gun and just put it down for 20 minutes while we shave it. But not in the winter. The little thing suffers through the rain by sleeping under our deck. Poor thing is soo fluffy, but soo skinny underneath.

Now I feel like he's looking all asian at me. "No, I ajian." (Who's a Jon & Kate fan??) :)

Fluffer ball lounging in the sun, which is a nice break from the dense fog we had this morning. Sometimes he can't catch a break from Psycho, who will sometimes chase him around the yard. I think he's gotten the hint that I don't like Psycho, so Fluffer sides with me. :)

Sweepy kitty, meow, kitty kitty gato. So people can now see how cute he is. I have a soft spot for animals. Wookiees. Ewoks. Sarah's munchkins. Honey Nut Cheerios. Finding passports. And books.

But not necessarily in that order. Depending on how hungry I am, the Cheerios may bypass all.

Can I get a woohoo?

So the underlying decision behind going through my entire storage unit is not to determine how little I can live with (although it's a nice thought after reading the Voluntary Simplicity Movement), but instead I've been in a slight panic over where the heck my darn passport could be?!

Back in college, I used to keep it by my asian dragon (my dad painted it back in 1960-something, something that I'll treasure for my whole life - I should take a picture of it for y'all) because he was the guardian of my apartment. Well that was almost 2 years ago. In the mean time, I've packed up my whole life, put it into storage, traveled a little, worked a little, traveled some more, etc. So with that family cruise on the horizon, I was attempting to put into hyper-drive the searching for my ID. Cuz I didn't want to have to eat another $100 just to get another one (because you know with luck, I'd find it after I got back from the cruise).

Well as I'm continue to sort through "Keep," "Give Away," and "Consignment Shop," I pulled out my old refereeing briefcase (it's my old laptop bag which I used to carry extra whistles, game supplies, rule booklets for when coaches got rowdy, haha, and food) out of the garage. I don't know why/how it got out there. But it was there. Gaining cobwebs. So as I rifle through finding more pens (which I feel I can never have enough of), some girlie products (in case athletes had incidences, just call me Sister Mary Ashley), and...holy passport! WTF?

How did it get in there? Did my evil twin ref games in Canadia? Did it grow legs and walk in there? I swore I packed it with the asian dragon so he could protect it while things came alive in my storage unit. Apparently not. Damn. I'm impressed. So I called my dad, leaving a huge "waaaaahoooooo" voicemail. Pretty sweet.

Who's ready for Mexico? This relieved redhead right here.

The silence begins...

Okay, so wook doesn't ship out into the field until afternoon today, but it's still enough to document that my communication with that boy is stagnant until next Friday sometime.

I expect something of a text along the lines of..."Hey baby, I'm alive. And I'm on my way to Old Town to drink my weight in margaritas."

I actually requested to just know that a.) he made it, and b.) he's off to have a big meal and some booze because I know I might need it to get through this week and I'm not even the one there. It'll be a good evening for him when he gets back. Until then. Errrr, not so much.

When I asked him if he was ready to eat eyeballs since they're high in nutrients, he said, "That's gross." Well being the tv junkie I've become lately, I've been able to catch my Man vs. Wild/Survivorman episodes and have been taking plenty of mental notes. Bear Grylls was even in Hell's Canyon (the Snake River on the OR/Ida border!) and made it out. And I do believe he pronounced our state correctly. Yay.

So while wook has plenty of fuel storage to live off himself for a week, we'll see what he actually gets to choke down. That's kinda the only thing I want to know. 'What's the grossest thing you had to eat?' 'How many times have you brushed your teeth since?' :)

The rest of that survival training doesn't really interest me because I unfortunately don't have a desire to a.) participate, or b.) really know how all the guys and gals I know in the flight program are being man-handled. I like to focus on other things. Like how I leave in less than 10 days, tentatively.

I've made a good dent in my storage unit in the past couple days. It's a nice chance to get out and get my mind off of where wook might be and what he might be doing. I have a small chunk set aside for Salvation Army and another smaller chunk to go to the Women's Mission. I was able to look through my boxes of books yesterday, and somehow I kinda got a little panicky. I somehow felt their torture of being stuffed in boxes when they should be out on a fabulous shelving unit. Categorized. Perfected. Instead they're in boxes, shoved on a shelf, labeled "books" because I don't have the energy to break down which titles are in which box. Poor things.

Thursday, January 29


Acquired from my dad...

Europe usually has way better commercials than here in the States. Go figure.

Lady of Leisure...

What does a girl who still has 11 days to wait before she goes back East have to do?

Everything. :)

Last week wasn't necessarily a week off as I was the driver for my dad mobbin' around the state. And that weekend following driving my dad was a rowdy one with the Corvallis clan. So this week was mine to indulge.

Lately I've been waking up around 8am. Why? Because I can. :)

My goal is to continue to go through my storage unit and shrink down its contents. That and I need to dig out my passport for that family cruise that's going on for Spring Break. So far, I'm okay with relinquishing that old gold chair and ottoman that was the staple in my collegiate reading setting. I've begun to dive through my huge box of purses and declare which can go to other homes. I'm attempting to super organize my storage unit with boxes for each category. I have a "Beaver Gear" box, a "Camping" box full of all my lesbian gear, etc.

Usually with waking up around 8am, I shove my face with a heaping bowl of Cheerios, brew some coffee, go out for a walk/run if I'm feeling it, and dressing in multiple layers because it's still not warm in January here in Medford. So about noon is when I mosey out the door and head down to spend a couple hours delving, purging, organizing that darn barn of my life.

I know it's not the most productive manner in which to spend my day, but oh well. I enjoy lounging on my couch, watching Jon & Kate Plus 8, drinking my coffee, debating when I'll be able to negotiate down to a smaller storage unit. (I'm hoping before I head back East, but definitely before the cruise.) But I feel really productive when I'm able to load up my trunk with old possessions and deliver to a place where someone else will find them useful. Plus, good juju.

But first I think I'll have another bowl of Cheerios or a bagel with some cream cheese shmear. I'm feeling hungry again. And it's been over 3 hours since I've eaten. That's a long time without food. I'm one of those grazers. Gotta keep my fuel tank filled. I'm not like wook who can eat once a day. Along with drinking an entire pot of coffee. Somethings I'll just never understand.

Wednesday, January 28

Day ops...

Like other instances in which I secretly paint a room with a color choice of my own, it's done in the privacy of nightfall.

This time, it's a day op. Complete with Mike Rowe (my dad, he wears this Carhartt jacket on cold days when he's working...complete with Mike Rowe-style jeans. Thus the name. Anyways.).

My dad liked the color of my room so much (he even helped me pick it out the first time) that he wanted the downstairs room to be the same. Our theory: It's the man-cave. Thus the man should pick the color of his cave. Not my mom, however she thinks otherwise. You can tell we care by the fact that we asked her first. Oh wait. Nope.

So here's the taping off of the corner where my bathroom is. It's only a half bath, fyi. A full one would just make my day. But that question has been asked by the downstairs inhabitant for almost 20 years (we've been in the house for 19 years). The dark square on the right is Hopsack (which if you recall was my first choice. But I thought that color for a downstairs basement bedroom with only an East facing window was too dark. I still think it). So I settled for the larger patch on both walls, which is the Cream in my Coffee. The original color on the upper part of the corner was a buttery color which unfortunately didn't go with the carpet. Instead it made it look dirty. My mom thought to fix the problem by getting different carpet. Riiiight. Moving on...

One and a half gallons later, YAY! I took a breather inbetween both coats, made myself a PB&J sandwich and chatted at Sarah for a little bit. (Sorry I didn't talk more. Wanted to get this done cuz we still have the furniture to put back into place so my mom won't notice what went down today.)

You can kinda see it in the sunlight. Sorry but it's cloudy here. Next time I'll put a request into the Big Man Upstairs for better lighting when I'm trying to document my CIA operations.
The middle of the floor is strewn with purses I'm getting rid of, a basket of laundry, a box of purses I'm keeping, and the artwork from the walls.

My dad even wants to paint the downstairs bathroom while we're on a roll. Now there's a place I can be crazy and put up the Hopsack. Because how often do you spend time in the bathroom minus doing your hair, putting on a face, and making conference calls (if you get what I mean).

The rest is yet to come...

The last couple nights I've been really glad to be able to chat with wook after he's gotten out of class for the day. With it being Diego, there are just so many sights to see beside the inside of a cage, an interrogation room, and a sack over your head. In 'N Out. Delicious mexican food. The sights of the city. Fun times since he knows 2 guys who are there with him.

Obviously I'm not allowed to know the gritty details, nor do I really want to know everything that happens, but wook had to sign lots of paperwork including something about not being able to talk about this instant for 150 years. Wow. Way to cover the small details. But once that's up, a tell-all book?

The real schooling that sends my phone into a black void starts Friday and ends Thursday. Wook's surprised because it's a shorter time out than he first expected. He's still a little out of it being here on the West Coast. So our phone conversations at night are wrapped up early because his body is still tanked from the trek across. But that's okay. I'm just excited to be able to talk to the boy before I trek across myself. Excited. I need this.

Monday, January 26

Destination: Corvallis...

What started out as a simple trek up North to see everyone still tied to Corvallis/Oregon State backfired as my dad acquired new cases to investigate. Cannon Beach turned into Portland, turned into Corvallis, turned into Roseburg. This is a common occurence and things continue to burn no matter where my Fajah is. So with contemplation, and the hope of getting Stacey to drive up instead (initially I opted to, but as you read...things change), the stars aligned to allow me to stay in Corvallis on Friday and have Stacey drive up. Score.

Friday night was supposed to be a psuedo-belated birthday dinner at McMenamin's for Dane, since he's the first one of his friends to turn the Dos-Uno. Well...Trac caught the Barfy from her babysitting kids. They're cute, which is the only reason that's okay. So ya...Dane spent the evening taking care of Tracy in her nauseousness napping phase mixed with actual vomiting and the subsequent clean-up. What a champ.

So McMenamin's was a bust. Well I mean I still had my Rubberhead. Deliciousness. It's still lacking without the boys there to fill in the big booth we had. Come on, the military? That's your excuse? ;) Whatever. But Collin still knew one of the waitresses. Points, Collin. Points.

Sidenote: I was able to indulge on Wookstock's the night before with my dad, Trac, her roomie Nicole, my cousin Kelsey, her boyfriend, and my Aunt Janice. Aunt Janie, my dad, and I shared a pitcher of Moose Drool, while we all enjoyed Taco, BBQ Chicken, and Pepperoni pizzas. Divine. I don't think there's better pizza around. But in true scientific fashion, I'm more than willing to try. Guess I haven't given up on being a science major.

Saturday was the time of the week as us girls (Katie, Stacey, and I) prepped for a little girls' night with Murna. It was a huge success. Huge. That's what she said. The kicker beyond after the other girls went home, we decided to try out the Family Guy Drinking Game. Stewie has a weapon, two drinks. Peter's stereotypical laugh, one drink. Oh, they're at the Drunken Clam, three drinks. And so on, and so on. One episode can get you drunk. I think we watched three. I could be wrong. I know there were at least two. And after that, Collin, Stacey and I decided to break into the hottub and enjoy the solitude of a dip at 3:30am. Well someone thought it necessary to close off the hottub for maintenance. Boo.

So instead, Collin, Stacey and I loaded up the bathtub with warm water and jumped in. Yes, we were still in swimsuits. I don't like them that much. It was like sardines in a can. But to say we've done it, check. So with the warming of the extremities in the bath after running around outside in a January Corvallis rain, I was ready for bed. No, not 15 minutes from now. Now. Pj's bed...eyes shut. Unconsciousness.

And thanks to Collin for being a Rent-A-Boyfriend and playing Grand Theft Auto Friday night as I drifted off into a fabulous sleep. Much appreciated. The sound of gunfire is so soothing. No, I don't need therapy. I have it. It's Command & Conquer. :)

Touchdown San Diego...

In the time it took me to get ready, hang out some more, go get University Hero for lunch, and grab my charger which I left at Tracer's (while I stayed at C&K Futon & Breakfast, it, thanks again you two!), wook had landed in the sunny locale of Diego. Time zone, my own!

With zero success of reaching him the whole day, minus a few texts while Stacey and I drove home from Corvallis, I was finally able to have a real conversation with that boy since a few days past. 'Bout time. And he even pointed out that this was the first time we've been able to talk on the phone and be in the same time zone. Insane. Probably the last time that happened was Christmas 2007 when he came back to Washington State where his mom was stationed. And we know how that stressful trek happened. (If not, please comment and I'll detail.)

So as that poor lil wookie was still on East Coast time, I let him go to sleep around 9:30 (after all, I was in bed too. I love sleep. What can I say?). He had a big day today. Well, I guess I can't say it in past tense since his day is in the same time zone as mine. But ya. He reported to school this morning. Everything is hush hush as it's some blah blah security clearance. Whatever. I'll hear what I want when I see him next.

And ya, the military is so on-top of things that wook's ticket was bought Friday. To fly out Sunday. How he doesn't stress out about things like that, I'm jealous. I was frantic buying my ticket back East weeks ago. I hate wearing big girl panties. They suck. Where's my sugar daddy to do everything for me?

So wook will be in Diego till February 8th. Apparently they get a 2-day breather to decompress and debrief from their training. That means wook will only get a 2-day breather before his truly arrives. Around 7:30pm. That's the scheduled arrival. I'll believe that when I hit Norfolk International and de-plane.

I hope that I get to talk with him at least before they head out to the field for the near-week-long adventure of killing animals, eating grubs, being caught, tortured, and deprived of all forms of kindness. Ick. There's noooo way I could do that. I don't even like getting caught playing Hide And Go Seek.

I'll be a happy girl when I land in Virginia, with almost a month, excitement, reuniting, exploring, visiting, perusing, entertaining, eating, drinking, playing...overall being back with wook. Can't wait. But then again, I can. I still have another goal of shrinking the amount of my possessions in my storage unit. My theory: How little can I have and still maintain my happy self?

We'll see.

Wednesday, January 21


I'm so not meant for a third world country, or even a developing nation. I about died of hunger this morning.

Still in Cannon Beach, I was disappointed as Mo's (which is literally 75 feet out the back door. Yes, my dad gave me that estimate. No worries there.) didn't open until 11pm. Obviously I didn't think about the fact that it's still January here, not necessarily the tourist season, and I didn't send a warning letter of my arrival and need for food once I'm out of bed. Darn.

So as I enjoyed 2 cups of coffee this morning in my hopes of my dad wrapping up his investigation, my hopes were dashed as the time passed 12:00...12:30...ugh. Thankfully my dad had to run into Seaside to get a U-HAUL travel to take some evidence back to Portland. Yay, someone who can detour into Downtown Cannon Beach and let me get some grub. I would have made the 3 mile walk myself but I didn't think I had the energy to crawl that far through high tide, joggers, and who else stood in my way of a cinnamon roll.

Thankfully by 2:30 I had taken my 7 minutes to inhale a cinnomon roll from Cannon Beach Bakery.

Doubt that will hold me over until Ol' Spaghetti Factory in Portland tonight.

Tuesday, January 20

Haystack Rock...

Apparently I need to go back to Distance Determination 101. So as I previously posted that Haystack Rock was only 200 yards away, well I was greatly out of my mind. My dad estimates the rock to be about a mile and a half out our backdoor. Well I was close. Kinda. Closer than New York.

So as my dad had business to attend to, I decided to get off my duff and get out. I've been rather lazy in getting back into the athletic schedule I had before Christmas. So I would have felt guilty surfing online while my butt didn't get any narrower. (I'm still holding onto those 5 lbs. from Christmas after Grandmoose's cookies.) But first, a shot south as two puppies frolic (okay okay, full-grown dogs).

The infamous Rock and Needles rising out of the ocean. It took probably 45 minutes to walk to. Not that I was running there. I was strolling. Stopping. Taking pictures. People watching. Drooling over people with doggies runnin' amuck. Trying to not get my feet wet as water runned from the colverts draining into the ocean. Overall, great walk out.

"Jellyman, offspring...offspring, jellyman." Okay, well maybe not. But I thought this was cool. It was the only whole jellyfish (minus tentacles) that was beached. Plus, how can a girl not want to quote Finding Nemo?

A shot about a half hour until sundown. Plus all the footprints and pawprints strewn across the dampened sand. It was a good day to myself to just walk a few miles and take in the view.

On the northern side of the rocks with with the sun coming down between the bunch.

Can you tell I want a dog? Future Ashley. Settled with a yard and higher income Ashley.

I like how the sun is behind the rocks, highlighting the water pooling on the beach.

A cute little sign that I liked. And you can barely see the lighthouse in the distance. It's there.

Cliche sunset shot. [Insert some existential remark about the ocean's energy and desire to live here.]

About halfway in my walk. But it was sundown, so I decided to move Downtown. Unfortunately shopes close up at 5pm. Seriously? How do you sell things when you close when everyone else gets off work? Those things I'll never figure out.


So today I jetted off with my dad on a little trek up to Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Something burned somewhere in this neck of the woods, therefore he was called. We jumped into the truck after hitting up a coffeehouse for an Irish Cream Latte at 7:28am and hit the road. One rest stop just North of Salem. Another at Bridgeport Village (I'm looking for flip flops, people. Thick, comfy flip flops. Not Old Navy ones. My knees need more support in this geriatric time in my life). Taco Smell for lunch (yes, unhealthy, but healthier than Mickey D's). The ocean about an hour later. Seaside Outlet Mall (found and purchased a uber comfy pair of flip flops). And then checked into our hotel.

And the cool part. It's about 200 yards to Haystack Rock. Yes, that Haystack Rock. "Goonies never say die." Or incase you're a specific gorilla I know, "Wookiees never say die."

I'll take pictures tomorrow as my dad moseys up to play in some soot as I walk around and visit the cute little coastal community.

Sunday, January 18

You're looking for that now?

So as a volunteer librarian, I'm used to fielding numerous questions from members and people off the streets. What is this place? How do you join? Etc. Well today a young couple came in looking for the Democratic headquarters that used to be right next door. Umm, I'm pretty sure it's a little late to make fundraising calls on behalf of the party. Turns out they were looking for an Obama poster. Now. 2 days till Inauguration. So are they just now turning into Obama fans? With the hoopla surrounding the Elect, did they really think extra paraphenalia was going to be sitting around? Waiting for these 2 people? In Ashland, of all places?

I told them to try online, because that's the only place I could think of to get your hands on something so assumed popular. You could tell that was something that wasn't really what they wanted to hear. But then again, they obviously did think about it since they're just now trolling for flair. Good luck to them.

Ugh, really...

So this morning was a comfortable one. I was able to tuck in at a better hour than the night before. I'm still impressed with my efforts of 3:30am, and so was everyone else I bragged to, but I was looking forward to crawling into bed at hogging my bed all-the-same.

But...this morning I woke up at 7:15am...and had a slight heart attack for a milli-second.

"Omg, did I not set my alarm?? How long till I leave for work?"

*Snap into reality*

I've rarely had this occur. I think maybe a couple weekends in college I spaced the day and thought maybe I had class that day, but it doesn't ring a bell. I just felt like a goober. Besides Monday is a holiday for me. :)

Saturday, January 17

A time for the ages...

After indulging in some fabulous drip coffee at home, curling up with another Mandy Moore classic, Because I Said So, on my dad's leather couch with his oversized tie blanket, I was officially recovered from last night.

No. I'm not talking the time when Ted had to decipher whether he was still vomit free since '93 (for you HIMYM fans).

The amazing feat I speak of was the fact that Stacey and I hit 3:15am without missing a stride. In fact, we never even saw the clock tick away since we got back to her place at 9:30-something. Not too shabby for 2 post-college, semi-working adults. The night started out as eventful as 2 girls, Shaun of the Dead, the game of LIFE, and maybe a little bit of Seagrams. It turned into a complete score when her roommate and his girlfriend (?) came home and were more than willing to join us in Catch Phrase.

"Naughty nurse...French _____"


*high five Stacey*

And like anybody who's accustomed to waking up at 6:00am, I was up and hungry at 8:00 this morning. Much to the dismay of Stacey, lol. "Seriously?" Listen, it's time to get up. Plus I'm hungry. You know Ashley can't survive without immediately shoving her face with breakfast. But first, a little tea in the system. Then we made some delicious breakfast muffins. Watched a Jenny McCarthy flick, Dirty Love. Well we tried to. My stomach was making some severe gurglings so I opted to decompose in the shower a little bit. Plus those magic blue pills quieted the baby terradactyl.

I know this isn't exactly the most amazing night I've had. But I assure it's quite an accomplishment. I'm used to saying goodnight to wook way before he calls it a night on his end of the country. Now that's just sad. So when I told wook I made it to 3:30am before calling it a night, he was thoroughly impressed. Amazed. I am also. Still, lol. I was telling my parents that I haven't done that since like 2007. Crazy.

Friday, January 16

From a loft to a home...

It took somewhere from 2 days, 1 moving company, a couple hours behind schedule, mucho texts of "movers?," 1 tired wookiee, and a partridge in a pear tree to settle wook into his new place. What's left? A couple boxes of possessions he doesn't know where to put yet.

I'm loving his building as they have co-mingled recycling.

And feeling just a bit left out being on the West coast, I asked wook if he could draw me just a floor plan of his building since I couldn't find one online. Boy, did that boy deliver. Not only are the walls to scale, but he added in the furniture. I swear, if I didn't exist...I think people would think he's way too skilled to be into the female persuasion. The boy's got incredible decorating and art skill. Thank his mama on that one.

This is the first floor as you can tell as it's type on the image. The couch is actually on "borrow" from Joe as wook a.) doesn't have one, and b.) can't afford the leather unit he wants. The goal is on slate for a possible birthday present to himself. With a little chunk thrown in as my birthday present quota to assist in the costs. I will of course document everything via the blog when I'm back next. Countdown: Less than 25 days.

This is the second floor which took forever to post as sometimes my wireless doesn't work downstairs (the signal comes from upstairs on the other side of the house). The random square closet is actually the stacked front-loading washer/dryer machines. It took me forever to figure that one out. Upstairs are the turtles, another bookshelf on the left wall, and his dresser that's caddy-wompus in the corner. (How else do you describe it?)

And last night, I was treated to the best webcam tour my laptop could provide. He's such a nice boy. He even made me a reading nook near his desk so I can listen to gunfire as I delve deeper into my laundry list of readings. But before then, I have got to mail him some more books to make his shelves look better. He's acquired more shelving since moving in so the splitting up of his collection makes it look piddly. And since I've been perusing the Media Exchange, I've found some pieces that would fit his style. I wonder how many books I can stuff into those $9 flat rate boxes? You know they can weigh up to 75 lbs. I'll keep you posted. :)

Just a little sign...

So I read my horoscope this morning as I stuffed my face with my daily bowl of cereal.

LIBRA (Sept. 23 to Oct 22)
You're still in a time of transition where you have to let go of people, places and possessions. Don't think of this as a time of loss - think of it as newfound freedom.

Dang. Nail on the head.

Wednesday, January 14

Are you serious....??

So as Sarah makes her first trek sans-offspring and hubbins, it made me reminisce on the beauty of flying solo. No one to run after. No bathroom breaks to strategically coordinate like a military official. No one to disrupt you from snoozing, listening to tunes, people watch, etc. mid-flight.

But then that silence is always broken upon landing.


Ya, that guy. The one who thinks that talking really loudly on the plane while still taxi-ing is okay. Heard of texting? Ya. It's where you push buttons to talk. It's a phenomenal advancement in technology. That way you can send group messages, "Hey, touchdown (enter crappy destination, i.e. Lubbock)." Not making everyone on the plane go crazy listening to the same convo to 10 different people. I don't care. Neither do they, I'm pretty sure.

And just because it's still on my mind. A conversation from last night.

M(om): "So when do you leave?"
A(shley): "February 10th."
B(rother): "Wait, where you going this time?"
A: "To see wook."
B: "Didn't you just see him?"
A: "Ya, for a week and two days."
M: Egging me on, "Can't you wait another 8 months?"
A: "Eff that." Shocked look on my mother's face.

I'm not doing that again, unless there are ill-formatted, all-in-upper-case orders surrounding that option. I am glad I know I can make it with most of my hair still attached to my scalp. I found things to do to keep me busy. Work. Lesbian adventures. Cutting my hair off gradually. Sleep. Lots more. Yoga. Taking up running. Sending random care packages/cards to the boy. Staring at my possessions with teary eyes as they sit unused in my storage unit.

I'm excited to be heading back East. This time to a big city. Like really being in the city, not a couple miles out stuck at some house (thankfully with a pool) with nothing to do but weed the yard and run at night. Wook loves where he's living. He thinks I'll like it too. I trust his judgment, sometimes when I really don't want to (like going on Space Mountain for the first time. My equilibrium + roller coasters = nauseous mess. I believe the claw marks have subsided from his neck. But that's what he gets for sitting up front on a new ride. I now believe that ride is awesome. It just took some persuading. Lots of it.). Plus I really could use the break from living in 120sqft of dorm room. (But first I have to clean up Chernobyl.)

Ugh. I just don't want to wait the 3 weeks till I leave. I really want them to fly by for wook's sake also. He, like every other pilot, has to succumb to torture training. This is probably what I've looked forward to least this entire process. And it's not the silence for 2 weeks that'll kill me. It's the thought that I have no control over this one. And as we know, no news = Ashley making up news. Ugh. Okay people, let's focus. Umm, first stop. My to-do list for before I head back which is getting a little long. I love making lists. Crossing things off? That's where I stagnate.

One for the books...

So today was just another ordinary in my life. Woke up. Went to work. Came home for lunch. Got a text mid-afternoon from Trac, my sister. Apparently one of her friends turns 21 on wednesday and wants to "DANCE!!" Who does she ask? Me. The one, the only. Okay, okay, so who else would she ask. I was entertained to give her my $0.02 on the good (Cantina, even if the floor is super sticky and there's only one bathroom), the bad (cover charge at Platinum, and the stairs which probably aren't the best on a stumbling '21st' outing), and the hepatitis-infecting (The Peacock...ick).

Unfortunately it was the same day that Trac announced to the family of a Corvallis icon's passing. The legendary Gramma Damma donuts closed it's doors. Too much dismay from our family, Trac wished she could have gotten one last apple fritter. Many a memory exist of scraping together enough coin action to get a maple bar and a little chocolate milk, driving there in pajamas because wasting those extra minutes putting on real clothes could be the difference in getting the remaining slim pickings. Good times, great oldies, cool FM.

On a truly sadder note, this weekend I popped a card in the mail to a former roommate of mine from way back when. My old roomie Lyndsay, found her husband passed out on the bathroom floor sometime during the Christmas holiday. Turns out he went into a diabetic coma and didn't make it. I got the word from another old roomie of mine who I still keep in touch with, Katie Alvord (who lives in Chicago for grad school), while on my layover in Charlotte. I felt awful. This girl Lyndsay fell in love with a boy and *poof* eloped. Happily ever after. I definitely counted my blessings that afternoon knowing that even though I was leaving wook to come back across country, I still had him here....well, technically there, but you get the idea.

And to continue the trend of random thoughts. I was at work today when the song "Butterfly Kisses" came on the radio. Ugh. Least favorite song ever. Talk about stereotypical father/daughter wedding reception song. It just screams, "I have no originality."

Final note: For those who aren't somewhat regular yogis, there's a phrase which totally doesn't make any sense until you become a somewhat regular yogi. Long before I began my mat affair, I heard a girl say, "My yoga's gone to $#!t." You think, does an exercise do that. Well since taking off Christmas to go see some boy, the back of my legs haven't been exposed to their usual and enjoyed stretching and strengthening. So as I eased back into the sun salutation, thankfully my hamstrings/calves loosened up after about 20 minutes. But before then, my yoga totally went to $#!t.

Monday, January 12


Good thing I tubbed it last night, washing and lotioning the body, because I totally woke up at 7:11 this morning. My alarm was set for 6am. Did I just not hear it? Did I unconsciencely snooze it? I got nothing.

I know I tossed and turned last night for a couple hours, woke up to start my new book, Death at the Priory, got 18 pages in, saw it was beyond 11pm, so I tried my second time to catch some z's. It's what I get for getting something like 9-10 hours of sleep the past two nights. I apparently was fully charged. Least I didn't get up to start cleaning my room. I'm just too lazy for that, even if it needs it. Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow? :)

Sunday, January 11

Happy birthday and a bowl full of gumbo...

Today marks a memorable day in our family's history. My brother hits the 30 mark. I can't believe it. Us kids grew up cramming into the same twin bed like sardines on Christmas Eve for years, even after my brother and I went away to college (call it not wanting to give up on tradition). Now he's married and officially into his 30s. What's next? Ugh. Me. But thankfully not for many years. I didn't handle 25 very well. I mean, I like to think that I've accomplished quite a bit in my earlier 20's. Met a boy. Traveled to Germany. Graduated college. Overall, postponed adulthood as much as possible. :)

I also had my first shift in what seems like ages at my hippy library. Unfortunately more books caught me eye. Again. But this time fiction. Shocking. Usually I like the informative and insightful. But I feel like escaping now so fiction it is. We'll see how long that keeps up.

I realize I should/could have associated the books so the spines were more easily read. But I didn't. Oops. Tough. You can just tilt your head. One note. The Death and the Priory book is about murder in Victorian England. Just up my alley.

And I thought I'd revisit the awesome travels I had in March of 2008. This little Navy wife took a hiatus from East Coast living for a few weeks and stayed in the booming metropolis of LaPine, Oregon. Okay, maybe not booming, but it had a stop light. Progress, people. So I hopped in my car and drove the 2.5 hours from Medford to spend a long weekend with the munchkins.

Here's an awesome now-three-year old who kills me. Too cute. Too much fun. Too tempted to steal and run away with. But I think people would miss him. Okay, okay. I'll just need to visit more.

And the then-latest-addition to the buddah baby clan. He weighed a lot. And slept some more. But I never heard him cry in the middle of the night when Sarah got up to take care of him. I'm totally the perfect husband. Civil union anyone?

And I had gumbo for dinner. That's where that comes from. Just thought you'd like to know.

Saturday, January 10

Progress is made...

It's hard to figure out how to open a blog on yesterday's and today's antics when so much has been done. It's really exciting to see progress and a light at the end of this current tunnel.

So yesterday wook spent his first night in his new place. He was surprised with all he crammed into his Jeep on the trek up. And the turtles are thankful to be out of sloshing water and are currently in their old tank on the bathroom floor until wook can find one that's bigger and fits his budget. So far he's been cruising around on foot to see what the area brings. He's loving it so far, and I'm loving what I'm hearing. The supermarket nearby is a bit more expensive than he expected, but just think that you don't have to drive someplace for groceries (and they carry organic stuff. Yay! I'm still working on getting him to buy eggs in cardboard receptacles. He'll see the light eventually, lol.)

I'm excited on my end of the country as I was able to book my flight back East today. Now while I didn't get my ideal flights of Medford to Denver, etc. (the prices kept jumping like $200+ bucks, probably because it's a popular route), I'll settle connecting in Frisco because it was a nice price. Thankfully I'll be staying United so I won't have to dodge in and out of random terminals, which totally ruined my day that one instance. The only bad part of this round of flying is my return trek. I leave Norfolk at like 7:20 am. On a Sunday. Ouch. (Why a Sunday? Well wook has to work on Monday. It's just easier. Although it totally puts a damper on Saturday night. But I'll live somehow. I have to. I have a cruise to go on for Spring Break.) The only other choices for the price range we got were 6:00 and 6:18. Ick. To fly out past noon added like another $100. No thanks. People will just have to deal with my eye boogies.

So today is just going to be a nice, relaxing day for me. I've already started some laundry. I still haven't unpacked from coming back from Christmas, so that's on the list. I'll need to put my clean clothes away. Need to make the bed. Overall, need to pick up my living quarters after the annual Christmas Bomb explosion. (You know, when you get new stuff you don't have places for it yet.)

Just trying to stay busy as I watched the final BCS game on Thursday. Sad. Season's over. For everyone. What to do, what to do? Can't read because I don't have my white noise of gunfire, which totally puts a damper on the books that I've acquired from the Book Exchange. It's sad to think that I can't get into a book without hearing wook battle in WOW, or F.E.A.R, or Command and Conquer. But hey, gamer's need girlfriends too. That's why I'm awesome.

Friday, January 9

It shall be called "home"...

It seemed like just yesterday this cute, young boy with his face all painted walked through my door on Halloween with a gang of friends only to be left all alone with a bunch of girls and not knowing a soul at the party. Good thing I'm so sociable. :)

Well this boy is all grown up and landed his first grown-up apartment in the city. Shocking to think that 5 years later, he'd be occupying a chic, yuppy apartment that I'm dying to see.

And I'm thinking this isn't bad quality for just a picture phone. So this is wook's building. For those who are excited about a.) he being in the area, b.) me coming into visit very, very soon, his new address is: 388 Boush St. #117, Norfolk, VA 23510. I was very impressed/shocked that by the time I had gotten to work, wook had the paperwork signed and guaranteed a key the next day. Nice work.

And since he didn't seem to pack a wall charger for his phone (which is dying and he turns on only to check messages and tell me he's alive), I really haven't gotten much more into his itinerary of settling in. I can only assume that he's have the movers come just as soon as he can schedule them.

The best news of all was for this redhead right here: the store right down the street carries like half organic stock. My little hippie beating heart can not wait to hop on a plane and see this magical land. I'm beyooooond excited. If you guys thought I was elated for Christmas, hold on to your knickers, granny! I can't wait until I get to yuppify my heart out. How much fun! It's like being an actress and playing a part. I'll be playing the part of a girl who wears glasses (that's hard), loves scarves (oooo, even more difficult), and can't get enough fabulous ballet flats (oh wait, another zinger!).

How long till I leave?

Thursday, January 8

Viva Virginia...

So sometime around 6:00 EST, the great Wookious Maximus Generalisimo (who remembers that from Halloween??) arrived in the bustling city of Norfolk. Yay!

After not having reception out at his dad's in dang near the Smoky Mountains (let's just say scenarios ran through my head mostly involving a deer, a wrecked Jeep in a ravine, and a dead wookie), I finally got word that wook had made it back into cell range and was now in route to the VA. Phew. Not like I really knew something was wrong, but it was more in the fact that zero news equates Ashley to making up news. Ya, pretty much. If you don't tell me everything, oh, the brain connections will fly. (Why do you think it's so much fun to write fiction, lol?).

So after meeting up with his little Navy guy friend (who's been compared to his boyfriend [by me] and housewife [by Joe] since he's been doing some leg work in finding places), filled him on his recent findings. He attempted to make the drive from Base to Virginia Beach sometime around the morning or afternoon rush hour (I forget which one), and he only went 0.8 miles in an hour and a half. So that's a no on V.B. I hate the thought of wook having to commute. He gets irritated with traffic, let alone non-West Coast traffic. That stupid girl who cut us off in Nashville without even blinking because she was too busy playing with her weave and yacking on her phone didn't know what was coming.

With that said, wook's boyfriend decided to shell out the refined living expenses necessary for a one bedroom in Ghent. Close to everything. Super fabulous. Pretty much awesome. (And that description is totally from what wook was able to translate via a cell phone conversation with a girl, me, lol. I had to Google just to check things out for myself).

So I've been trying to figure out, just who is this housewife of wook's? And why does he have such good taste?

Three words: "He's from Berkeley."

Oh, well why didn't you tell me that sooner. That makes perfect sense.

So while wook originally planned for a 2 bedroom somewhere outside Ghent, he might now be looking for a 1 bedroom in Ghent. And while the rent may be higher than something he could find outside the area, I figure: you're only young once. Why not utilize your inner yuppy and play along with the psuedo world consciousness that goes along with people who wear glasses without even real prespriptions in them, who love scarfs for the concept (not that it covers their giraffe neck), and think drinking Cappaccinos really is experiencing France at it's finest?

And a side note: I'm so not loving the extra time zone wook is now over. We talk at 8:45 pm my time, and it's almost midnight there. Conversations can't be had when the poor wookie is yawning in my ear. I'm protesting. I don't know to who. But it's totally something a yuppy would do. :)

Wednesday, January 7

Looking to the future...

Like any college football fan, there comes a point where you learn to fight the depression of the season ending. With the bowl games running out, and basketball on the horizon (*snore* - sorry, just doesn't/can't fill the void), there's only one place to turn.

That's right. Next season. Thank you to whoever thinks this crap ahead to post multiple future seasons so Beaver Nation isn't left in the dark. And of course I've already put the 2009 games into my calendar. What's left to do? Well there's Spring practice, and then the scrimmages which they hold in Reser where the die-hard can watch, there's the Beaver Huddles where we hear coaches rant and rave about upcoming athletes, there's reruns on Versus and other lower-rated sports networks, and you can always fall back on wearing your jersey even though it's not football season. Don't have one? Well, that's okay. I'll take a picture of me in mine and email it to you.

Tuesday, January 6

Wookie sightings...

So this morning at 6:30 CST, a hungover wookie woke up to begin Day 1 in his relocation to VA.

Now why hungover, you ponder.

Well last night was half-price beer at Jelly Fish, a karaoke bar, and wook took the microphone to serenade the crowd to "Brandy," "Rocket Man," "Sweet Caroline," and other alike songs. He claims that the crowd seem to enjoy his performances. I'll believe that just because I wasn't there to witness. Dang it.

So with 900 lbs of stuff in his Jeep, including "three motion sick pissed off turtles," wook headed north to his dad's in Sylva, NC to help break up the drive. Also, wook and his dad are dang near clones, minus 25 years difference, so they'll be imbibing the night away as another successful trek to his dad's. Wook amazes me in his ability to sit in a car for the whole drive, with rarely a rest area stop. That was usually my department. "Oooo, let's take a picture." "Uh, oh. Ya, that soda went through me."

Tomorrow, or maybe Thursday, wook'll find his way into Norfolk with plenty of time to spare in reporting. First thing on his list is housing. Thankfully wook has a guy friend who's already in the area looking for appropriate dwellings. The one place that I found online and we both liked is apparently a hole. And as Sarah says, men even have low standards, lol. So hopefully this guy will come through with some successful finalists for when wook gets into Norfolk to give the ultimate opinion.

With regards to my impending visit, thankfully I wanted to postpone buying a ticket until we could finalize the dates a bit firmer. Well wook confirmed his dates to and from SERE today and they definitely don't correspond with our original travel plans. Initially I was to come in on Feb 4th. Well now wook doesn't get back till the 6th from California. That means I would have had 2 days to wander the lonely earth. Okay, maybe not that bad. I do know some people in VA that would have let me couch hop. But thankfully now we can move the dates out a bit and not have to rely on someone's sofa to sustain me.

And I totally had more to blog about, but it seems that beer I had with dinner [gumbo] has left my brain connections a little groggy. Yes, I promise it was only one. Sadly. A girl's still gotta work out tonight. Hello Christmas cookies that still need to be worked off. Glad to know the night's just begun.

Sunday, January 4

Welcome home...

So after much perusing of stores alike, I'm the proud owner of new running shoes.

Unfortunately taking the picture of these wasn't nearly as easy as it was finding them. After trying on every brand under the sun (minus LA Gear, sorry, I just can't), I settled for an uber comfy pair of Saucony. While I was sure I'd find Asics the most comfy (I like my toes to have some dancing room), I was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of dancing room in these.

And just a note: Sarah, these aren't the original white Asics I told you about. Those were promptly returned today as they were replaced by the ones below. Yay for money back.

I like the pink action on the sides. It reminds me that I'm actually a girl. Even though I may take on masculine qualities as the male counterpart to lesbian relationships while wook's away, I am infact a female. Shocking sometimes, I know.

And I'm in the process of acquiring a winter weight running top that'll keep me warm on those uber chilly days, like Saturday was. Even with a beanie, gloves, Cold Gear tights on, and 3 layers on top, it was a cold morning. I did buy a white quarter zip running top today but it was mentioned that my pit action will turn the white to a not-so-white color. Bad idea. So I'll have to go back tomorrow to hunt for a color other than the white, and not blue (which I have too much of already). Wish me luck.

And here's a picture of the journal wook got me. I tried to count the pages to see how long it'll last me. At the rate I'm going, I think it'll be taxed out in a couple months. Let's just say there's been lots on my mind. Oh well, more cute patterns to find.

Gotta love World Market for the post-consumer fabulosity that it is. Thanks wook. :)

Semper Gumby ("Always Flexible")...

So this morning after shoving my face with bacon, eggs, hashbrown, and toast, I checked my phone to get the following text.

"Hey baby. I have new news."

My first thought. Ugh. Really? What now? Are you getting designated a different aircraft? Could he be coming to California instead? Oooo....okay, I'll call him instead because I don't feel like waiting for the incoming text of information.

So while it wasn't anything that I jumped to conclude, it does seem to assist in the prevention of a frozen wookiee.

Wook's orders have been changed to include SERE school outside San Diego instead of heading to Maine like originally planned. My first thoughts were that a wookiee popsicle would be avoided. We both love San Diego, so how can one be disappointed in the change? Well apparently wook was geared up mentally to take on the New England winter. Plus, he was going to be that guy who toughed out SERE in Maine vs. the Diego-ers like everyone else. He had already begun to prepare for the resources he could have in a winter forest. Snow = water, etc. Now he'll have to figure his way out in the psuedo-desert that's outside S.D. where apparently the Seals train. Ugh. That has a girlfriend worried. Wook tried to reassure me that if he's hurt too badly, the injurer will be discharged. Okay, well they're still capable of kicking your @$$. Der.

So these new orders will allow wook an extra week in Virginia to nail down a place to live before he has to ship out on the 24th. That'll be nice. Wook's already feeling displaced as his room is empty, the turtles are in the bathtub, and his computer is on the kitchen table. Plus he'll be able to settle in more to the city as he gets an extra week of play. Whether this'll postpone my adventure, I don't know yet. But I'm not too worried about that. I'm coming out still. That's a definite. :)

Open house...

Yesterday marked the grand Open House to the new Medford International Airport. And laugh as you may, but a whopping 1,000 people showed up for the unveiling. Unfortunately my parents forgot to attend. No really. They wanted to go. Sad.

So the old airport was your standard, small regional airport. I believe there's 3, maybe 4, carriers into Medford. United, SkyWest, Delta, and maybe even Horizon. I don't know. We usually fly United outta MFR as a family, and occasionally I've taken the Delta to SLC to hop across the States. And the waiting room in the old airport is roughly the size of a volleyball court. The 3 "gates" are actually doors spaced about 30 feet apart. Pimpin', I know.

Well the new airport has 6 gates and apparently 2 waiting rooms. Alright, nice upgrade. And there's an observation deck on the second floor so people can watch the planes come in. The aerial dance of all 12 flights that make it into Medford on any given day. Okay, so I don't know how many flights there are a day really, but I don't find it that impressive.

What is impressive is that my latest round of flying for the holidays, there was a $20 price difference between Medford and Portland. Seriously? What is the world coming to when that happens? Whatever it is, I like it. Keep it up. Now while I don't mind driving to Portland so save a couple hundred bucks. When it's only $50 or $75 bucks, I'm not at all tempted. The drive north sucks. At least when you pop out of the mountains in Cottage Grove. I don't like driving straight lines. They bore me (unless it's going Medford to La Pine - then that's exciting). So I'll pay the extra chump change in return of painlessly being dropped off by some family member at an airport 12 minutes from my bedroom.

The new airport opens for travel on my brother's birthday (January 11th) so that means I'll be able to strut my way through on my next leg back East. Yay. My day will be made for when each gate has one of those tube-y extensions to board directly on the plan. Until then, I'll make the frozen march to the plane 50 yards away. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

Saturday, January 3

Touchdown: Nashville...finally...

It was a great week and 2 days. Should have been a week and 4 days but apparently United just doesn't care that much. Oh well, not my problem. I have better things to do with my time. Like blog. :)

I decided to hold off blogging during my 2 days of delay because I was worried that I might meet further delays if I complain too much. It was a weird to have an extra 48 hours of life in Medford while wook was en route to Nashville anyways because we had non-refundable reservations (we booked through Priceline to get uber deals - if it wouldn't have been for my delay, it would have been a good deal, lol).

Anyways, I decided that it was a good thing I had those extra 2 days to myself. I had had my hair cut the night before my intended flight date, and I just wasn't in love with the shape. So I had my hairdresser thin it out Saturday afternoon (which was awesome because she wasn't scheduled to be in but because my sister, Hayley, babysat her kids for years before she went off to school - I was in. Yes. Score one for genetic connections.)

That Saturday night I was also able to reattack my luggage and take out what I didn't think I would need, which was a good thing as Ohio turned out to be varying from 45 to 65 degrees. Wtf? Where's the artic tundra of a good ol' fashioned Midwest winter? Apparently it was in Portland, as they got a record 19" of snow. Go figure. I leave, it arrives. Although a bit North, it was still no where near Middletown, Ohio.

The trip across went off without a hitch except for one large delay I encountered in Denver. (Thank goodness that Ticket Lady booked me non-stop from Denver to Nashville otherwise Satan's horns would have spurred from my head as I screamed in tongues at every counter attendant I could lay my firey eyes on. Okay, I'm done.) The first delay wasn't no big deal. 40 minutes. That's a sinch. But then it went to an hour and 20 minutes. The final count was a little over 3 hours. My original connection was supposed to be like 45 minutes. Just perfect to get from one gate, to the bathroom, and to the next gate. But no. Each time the time was pushed back more, I called wook. "Houston...we have a problem." I can't remember how many times I called him, but later he told me that he was getting the feeling I was going to get a cancelled flight. No, thankfully. It turns out that our first delay was because there wasn't a free gate to load. Then apparently our plane got taken to assist in getting out a badly delayed flight. Okay, I get it. I can handle a little delay in the holiday season. But at least tell me the ultimate time I'll be sitting with my back to the wall, legs streched out, watching all the other flights leave on time. So finally the Airport Gods stole a plane for us to finally get us to our destination. Let's just say when the gate announcement for "Now boarding, Flight Who-Cares-The-Number-Just-Get-My-Ass-There to Nashville," there will whistles and cheers.

So as I rolled my little carry-on luggage to the exit of the airport in Nashville, after taking a tinkle stop (I don't know, I just can't pee in the claustrophobia-inducing airplane toilet), I called my parents to let them know I arrived. Finally! But just as I was yacking to my mother about who knows, I hear this, "hello..."

Holy crap! I totally just walked past wook. He had gotten bored with picking his butt in town so he bought a crossword puzzle and camped out at the terminal exit until I got in. I couldn't believe it. Mr. I'll-pull-up-you-jump-in-no-romantic-hugs-or-other-forms-of-affection actually came in to see me. Definitely didn't expect that. I was speechless for a milli-second. And he was so much cuter than I remembered, which is a great way to start a mini vacation. "Mom, I gotta go...*click*." I think she understood.

And the math just so I can make myself sick: 7 months, 25 days, 7 hours. Ugh. Never again, unless Uncle Sam is involved.

So we took to playing around the city, enduring the low ball temperatures of 26 degrees. I did think I would freeze. Let's just say we spent a lot of time in the car seeing places because there's a butt warmer on my side. :)

Nashville has the only full-size replica of the Pantheon in the world. Pretty cool. And of course we went to venture inside. But of course. Closed on a Monday. Makes perfect sense. Grrr...

And I gave wook my camera to take a picture of me. Well, what I wanted was a picture of me and the building. But he found my butt a better focus. Go figure. Boys...

We didn't last very long. A small walk around the building and we were back in the car, consulting the GPS oracle for a coffee shop to a.) get a warm liquid in us, and b.) get Ashley a little caffeine. Let's just say I was mentally drained over the past few days. So we sat in a coffee shop and just chatted in-person (which is a really fun thing to do versus Skype and texting) before we headed off to play in Borders/Barnes 'n Noble (I forget which it was).

Here's pretty much the only cool, non-blurry picture of the city at night that I had. It was hard to want to take my hands out of my pockets as the temperature didn't crest 31 degrees. And sadly it didn't snow. It was a gorgeous and fun city. And the best part was the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. Mmmmm, mizithra. Delicious!

I would just like to remark on the 2 infamous instances of our trek into the book store. Now with both of us being of college majors that revolved around novels, books, journals, etc., we have a love for the paged and spined collections. But since I only had a carry-on and with wook moving soon, we figured we were just in for perusing. We hit every genre as we made our way around the 2-story piece of novelistic heaven. I did happen to scroll the journal section as I was creeping up on the end of my current haven of thoughts and other stimulation. The only breaker was that the lines were only on one side of the page. Hello??!?...that likes wastes half the tree. Ugh. People. So I was quickly deterred. We were also in the Fiction section as I enjoy checking out the Classics (like Tolstoy) that are still on my list. One on display was Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. A great description of the meat-packing industry of Chicago prior to the FDA. Gruesome and gory, a great read. "I recommend it, wook."

Fast forward to after dinner.

Wook and I decided to open a couple presents each to tie us over until Christmas with wook's family. It is customary for us to get each other books as we're never done with educating ourselves and there is just something awesome about getting a book for a gift-giving occasion. It's an excellent way of remembering an occasion.

Anyways, I unwrap my first gift which is a book on eco-chic living. Oh wook. You're going to create a monster. And after reading it in less than 24 hours, I would like to admit that I have an even greater dislike of plastic now. It makes me crinch. But not to start a rally, I'll keep the story moving.

My next gift was a book too, I could tell. How can one not? But as I unwrap the awesome polka dot wrapping paper (I love polka dots!), I notice a familiar cover. It's Upton Sinclair's The Jungle staring back at me. So I look at him and ask him when he bought this. "Like a month ago." Uh oh, did he get scared when I called this specific book out at the bookstore. "A little." Sorry for the minor heart attack. Woops. But good thing I had stellar reviews of it. Plus, now he'll be more excited to read it. After he gets done with his Vampire Survival Handbook. (Yes, I'm awesome. I know it.)

Fast forward to the day after Christmas (we waited to open presents until wook's half-sister, Tayler, was around for the festivities).

I took to feeling the other presents wook had for me under the tree when he wasn't looking, and was intrigued that I felt another book under the tree. I didn't know what other piece of literature he could get while I was busy with Sinclair. Well fast forward to the unwrapping moment. I was surprised to find a new journal. A polka dot one. One with lines on both sides of the paper. Wook said he had a sweating moment as he couldn't remember whether the one he got me was lined on both sides. And the kicker: it's made of post-consumer materials. And he mocks me for using my reusable grocery bags. And here he is feeding my habit. Yay.

Here's a shot of the infamous traffic which we encountered in our trek up to Ohio. Random gridlocks of traffic, creeping along. Ugh.




All in all, there were 4 accidents like that on the 5-turned-7-hour trek up. Let's just say the roads were a little slick, and the bridges were even worse. But at least no one looked seriously injured in all the accidents we encountered. We did have a near-miss at the tail end of our trip. As we pulled into Grandmoose's parking lot (yes, Grandmoose, nicknamed from that "moose"), we missed wook's dad's truck barely. Patch of ice. I did what you're not supposed to do. I braced for impact. Good thing wook corrected, without over correcting, and just parked us in 2 spots. We'll fix that later. I need to get inside. I need a drink. And I think wook needs to check his shorts.

Overall a great trip. I acquired lots of great stuff for the holidays, including The Office board game, Serenity by Jan candles (another Office gig), oh ya...and 5 lbs. gained from Grandmoose's cookies. Too good to not consume. Ya. Let's just say I have until I see wook again to get back into shape. Man. Good things the holidays are only once a year.

So I'll wrap up the world's longest blog. Okay, maybe not. But my butt is numb so your butt has got to be numb. Hmm...I think I'm going to make some chocolate moo juice (that's Collin-speak for chocolate milk. Go figure.) :)

Friday, January 2

The journey continues...

What happens when you take one wookiee, have the Navy pack up most of his possessions, and have him trek off to a new city?

"I'm homeless!!" - his quote

Now while he's not yet living under a bridge or at an I-5 rest stop, he will in fact be "homeless" if only for a few days.

The movers arrive today, sometime between "9am and 1pm." Love that punctuality, lol. Until then, we're still perusing for a suitable apartment/house/dwelling for wook to really enjoy a.) living in a place with much more class than Florida, and b.) living alone and can decorate in his taste of furnishings. We're looking at anything from the standard apartment complexes near the beach, to downtown lofts, to whatever we stumble upon, honestly.

And a quick update: The movers are packing everything up as I type. (8:45 CST. Bright and early. I like it.)

He'll be taking a longer route up to Virginia, through North Carolina, so he can hang out with his dad a bit more before setting up camp officially on the East Coast. The plan will be to bunk with Mr. Mew so wook can actually tour some locations before finally deciding on one. We found a nice place on the water but the guy wanted a commitment before wook even had a chance to see it. I realize the times right now where rent income is needed, so I understand the owner's wanting it occupied, but I also know I want wook to love where he's living. Glad everyone's kosher.

I don't remember those exact dates that wook is officially supposed to report to Virginia, I just do know that he's scheduled to report to Maine between the 17th and 19th. Now while this was all I could focus on when leaving him in Nashville (I just feel bad for the guy, but I do realize it's necessity), I don't want to hear an ink of it for when I visit. Hearing about him getting beat up is the last thing I'd want to hear. Ignorance is bliss.

He's scheduled back into Virginia at the very end of January, which will leave him with a little time to set up house before I arrive on official Navy business myself. Okay, maybe not official. And maybe not even Navy business. But I'll be flying across to take a much needed breather from the West Coast. Now don't get me wrong. I love the West Coast. I'm just feeling a little detached from that silverback gorilla of mine, and would like to experience a new city alongside him. And if I'm lucky, I'll be able to have some spottings of displaced Oregonians. Yay.

It's an exciting time for everyone. Wook's super excited to get out on his own. It's a new city, in a place which will start his E-2 career. From what he hears, it's a fun-loving group of guys. Should be good for him. Can't have him miserable, after all. That's no good. And good thing he knows most of the E-2 class already, which was most of Joe's squadron. Should have zero time breaking in the city. Can't wait.

But first stop: Acquiring a residence, complete with mailbox, that wook can call home.

Thursday, January 1

New Year's Resolution...

It's hard to put into perspective my thought on Resolutions. Do I think they work? Sometimes. Do I think some people put too much thought into them? Yes. Are they ever set in stone? No.

So why the purpose?

I know everyone likes to feel better about themselves. That's why there's Perez Hilton, going for runs, seeing movies, picking flowers, alcohol, etc. There's always something to entertain. I just can never get into a religious following of how I'll make myself a better person for the incoming year.

Case in point.

The people who say they're going to work out 5 days a week for 45 minutes cardio, 30 lifting, blah blah blah. Thankfully like last year that ended before January did. As much as I like seeing my gym swimming with bodies lifting, toning, shaping, there's only so much I can handle with the Tony Little and Richard Simmons mentalities. I go to yoga to decompress, not get distracted with people who can't even get the knack of breathing techniques. I don't want to hear you groan because you can't nail the Screaming Pigeon pose. No one gets it their first time. Or their first year even. While some may think it's a competition, which you totally can't beat me and my double-jointed hips, haha, it's just a way to get out of the house, turn off the lights, listen to some off-beat music, and get your sweat on. It's like a little piece of heaven. On a mat. Bare foot. Believing that just maybe you're on the coast of Bali listening to the waves crash on the shore. Namaste.

So for this new year I plan on being just a continually better person of myself.

A little bit nicer (I'm fighting the redhead a little with that one), a little bit easier on unavoidable changes (like being delayed 48 hours on my attempt to get back East), a little more focused on what I want out of life (instead of like a goldfish, "that's a nice castle, that's a nice castle, that's a nice castle"), more able to go out of my way for people, willing to take more risks for myself. Just be a better person.

Cheap resolution? Yes, in fact I don't have to really pay for anything extra.

So while it feels like just another day in the week, minus it's not the weekend and I'm not at work, it's a new slate on the year. New events. More birthdays. More anniversaries. More times to laugh and love everything around you and everything far from you. New calendars to use. :) Another year to try and make the best of everyday. Another year to just take it day by day.

I think I can use a mimosa now to ring in the new year. Cheers to everyone!