18 August 2013

When the Circus Came to Town

There is a small circus going on in the lot next to Ben's school so we got two free vouchers for the kids if we bought tickets.
Cool, we love all circuses so we're in.

Show was at 3.30pm.
We arrived at 3.40pm to a very long line at the ticket booth. Hmmmm...
Plenty of people arrived after us.
There was another line for people who had groupon tickets or something so there was confusion and annoyance and plenty of those pesky people who can't accept being livestock in a line so insist on marching to the front to try to figure it out. They are the worst.

The lines kept changing as people realized they were in the wrong one but we stayed firmly in place.
Eventually another line started accepting cash-only sales so we lost more people from our line.
Then they called for more groupon or whatever to another place so even more defected.
At some point, we somehow became the last people in our line.
We absolutely can not figure out how this happened - there were no cutters (I'm from Tennessee, where we will perform a citizen's arrest if we spot line cutting) so we assume plenty of folks just gave up on this podunk little sideshow.

Finally, as we could already hear the late-starting festivities kicking into full gear inside, we reached the ticket booth with our little vouchers and our eagerness to see some half-assed clowning.
"Okay, the 3.30 show is sold out but we can get you into the 7.30 show."
"Do you want the 7.30?"

I looked at my children who would be white hot messes by 7.30 and wonder what the hell just happened.
I looked around and there is NO ONE else waiting.
Every single other person has gotten tickets.
"No, that's too late."

We started to trudge away and my anger was at a steady simmer while I tried to explain to Ben why we were walking away from the circus with its heavenly popcorn smell and the come-hither call of dated techno music.

Now, I am a shady parent at the best of times but when we are literally THE ONLY FOUR PEOPLE to be turned away from a suddenly sold-out circus, what bit of parental magic I may have, fails me.
"Why don't they have any more tickets?"
"Why can't I go to the circus?"

Ben starts to wail.
Tears are welling up in my eyes too.
I'm not weepy because I want to see this particular second rate shit-show but because this circus has become a living metaphor for our life at the moment.
Now I want to cry because I've said that a circus is a metaphor. Blech.

My husband is sometimes a much smarter person than I.
While I took my defeat swiftly and with much concealed fury as I marched across the school parking lot because we were too cheap to pay $3 for parking, Marcel had gone to the cash-only line to see if there are any lingering tickets there.
Magically, there were!

After a little confusion because we didn't actually have cash so they had to figure out how to physically carry two tickets to another booth where we could use our card (I was right about this circus being run by idiots), we were in!
And it only cost us 60 freaking dollars.
(Please keep in mind both kids were free so this is $60 just for Marcel and me.)

An usher showed us to our little ragtag section of morons who obviously don't use groupon or have cash so got stuck with the crappiest $60 seats in the big top:

The worst of the line obsessors, who marched to the front to figure out what was going on four different times, was there (of course).
The odd early 20s couple with no kids who looked like they were in the middle of a fight were there.
The family who each filmed every act of the show on their separate iPads or smartphones were there.
We were there.
Sitting at an angle to a giant rigging pole so we could see about half of what was going on.

Evan was terrified of everything to begin with - the woman on the swing, her dramatic music, the "clown" that looked like Carmine from Laverne and Shirley.
He was having none of it.
So we moved to the back row where we had more room for them to squirm and distract Evan.
Now we were directly behind the rigging so could see maybe 25% of the action.
Ben wanted popcorn, cotton candy and a blinking plastic gun that shot bubbles so naturally we bought and shared a $3 bottle of water because that's all the cash we had.

Ben asked where everyone was going at intermission.
Having no money and no desire to give any more to these circus hoodlums anyway, I didn't want him to realize there was a whole world of overpriced food and souvenirs beyond the door so I panicked and said everyone was going to the bathroom.
I think you know what happened next.
"I have to go to the bathroom too."
He did not need to go to the bathroom and I did not want to stand in a long line with a restless four year old for a port-a-potty experience so I held my ground.
Needless to say, we left the circus in a huff before intermission had even ended.

We are not doing this right.

07 August 2013

Ashley cried about the following things this week

PMS, am I right?

Between the two pregnancies and literal years of breastfeeding (you thought I'd shut up about all of this by now, didn't you?), I went about 4 1/2 years without experiencing these joys.

I'd like to think that those years would have just been swept under the rug and forgiven.
Instead, it appears that my body stored up all the emotional wreckitude and has chosen to release it upon me for a few black days every month in the form of uncontrolled weepiness that is just not cool.

Therefore, I present to you a list of things that have made me cry this week in order of acceptability:

1. The story of the 2 year old boy with leukemia who only had a few weeks to live so his parents decided to get married immediately.
He was their tiny best man and was carried down the aisle.
He DIED two days later, comfortably in his mama's arms, causing me to s-o-b uncontrollably for my entire commute home last night.
My commute was 50 minutes.
TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE (if you didn't shed a tear, you are a robot)

2. Seeing Ebony's multiple September issue covers dedicated to Trayvon Martin.
Well done.

3.. That commercial about finding the cure for cancer where people are reacting to seeing the headlines that literally say "Cure for cancer found" or whatever, then show a montage of people obviously suffering from cancer hugging those they love.
I am living my normal life, then this ad comes on and I am immediately a wreck.
I can't deal with it.
KINDA ACCEPTABLE (but really could be solved by turning the channel if I was capable)

4. Watching .gifs from the Jay Z Picasso Baby artsy fartsy gallery performance.
Let that sink in.
Not the entire video, just the little silent seconds-long clips from it.
Mind you, I was listening to a very poignant song from Josh Pyke's new album while watching these but the song doesn't bring tears on its own (I tested the theory).
I find the clips so damn delightful and unexpectedly sweet that apparently I am charmed into tears.

5. Hearing that old Katy Perry song about hot & cold and yes & no.
It is the theme song for Australia's Masterchef, which I apparently miss more than I thought I did.
This is my rock bottom.

Hopefully I won't have any updates for this list but if I do, I'll share.

18 June 2013

Step up Ladies and Watch out Boys

Cracked open the crate of CDs that I've been hanging on to since the 90s and popped the Squirrel Nut Zippers in my car's player today.

Time machine back to 1997.

August was fading away and blessing me with the kind of magical balmy night that you can't convince me happens anywhere but Tennessee. By my side was a particularly handsome specimen of high school heartbreak and I still thank the Southern summer for memories of his arms in that t-shirt.  

The Italian Street Fair was alive with swing music in the park right by Nashville's full-size Parthenon replica.

I'll wait while that sinks in ...

I was falling in love with swing music and summer breezes and love itself. I probably ate cannoli.

When it was over, I floated to my best friend's place on a cloud. I don't remember if I gushed about his smile or if I swore to her that I was going to start dressing like the swing crowd. I hope I told her about his arms.

I know we watched the news.

Princess Diana was being pried out of a car in a tunnel halfway around the world & in my best friend's bedroom, we had a front row ticket. We stayed up all night, waiting for the good news from the hospital in Paris, but we all know how that that turned out. I thought of my other best friend who had already called dibs on Prince William and I knew would be devastated watching the same news.

I'm not sure if I cried, if we tsk'ed at the tragedy from the cynicism of our teenage wisdom. Maybe we just watched quietly. Did we do anything quietly?

I'm furious that I can't remember little details of the days and nights I was so certain I could never forget. Was there anything remotely Italian about the street fair that wasn't on a street? Did I get to enjoy those arms? I'm just going to assume I ate cannoli. I've got to hang on to that damn CD.

07 May 2013

Anyone still out there?

Hello & hi there. It's been a while but you're looking mighty fine these days.

I'm going to start this blog with a major plug for work. If you're a Facebook friend of mine or follow me on Twitter, you're probably already sick of me sending out work links but this is a really fun project & we want to get it out there in the world.

I haven't talked much about work but not because I don't love it. I really do love it. I get to write & be creative all day every day so there's not much to not love.

Now this project was shot before I came on board but I've been in the wings watching it come to life through the editing, sound, graphics & the still photo shoot to accompany it. It's really awesome & I hope you get some chuckles out of it.

If you do enjoy it, let me know - it would be cool to get some feedback on it. If you really want to support us, like our facebook page or follow us on twitter.

Or don't. Whatever. I don't want to be a pest but we are a very small production company who would like to keep growing & being awesome so I'm going to be plugging this for the next few weeks.

If this is all new to you, let me introduce you to The Hangover Theory, a mash-up of The Hangover & The Big Bang Theory. It's a fun experiment in branded entertainment, which is a direction we are heading in at Sapling.

The first video is a trailer & the second is the first short episode.
There are five more to come then we'll release the final full version of it.

I couldn't embed the video from youtube so I've uploaded it here. Therefore, if you want to share it with your friends & loved ones (no pressure but it would be awesome & I'll repay the favor when you have something to flog), I beg of you to use the following link so we can get more views out of you:

Thank you kindly!

Now on to the triumphs of parenthood...
Benny dressed himself today!
Light blue Humpty Dumpty shirt with light blue jeans & flannel shirt to keep warm.
Everything put on, zipped & buttoned by himself.
I couldn't be prouder!
I have no idea at what point in development this is supposed to happen for boys but I'm assuming it's around 12 or 13 & he's super advanced? Right?
Please don't burst my bubble by telling me about your son who came out of the womb in a tuxedo, tying his own bow tie & straightening his cummerbund (note: when I originally typed that word, I mangled it horribly, somehow dragging poor Benedict Cumberbatch into the fray).

When I attempted to help him straighten out the button situation, he made the executive decision to just leave it unbuttoned. I can respect that.

And then when I started snapping pictures, he walked away. 
He's turning 4 on the 18th but I'm pretty sure he thinks he's turning 17.

While these pictures are here, may I please ask for your assistance with some decorating concerns?
Those grey $9 IKEA curtains are placeholders until we have inspiration/money for something better. 
We are looking for an affordable big rug & are inheriting an awesome funky coffee table. 
Yes, we hate the carpet but it's staying until it's so filthy it falls apart because it's so soft for the little guys at this point & we want to replace it with wood, which won't be as kind to a certain stumbling toddler.

So, we need help on paint colors for the walls!
The room has a blue, grey & yellow color palate with plenty of splashes of other accents.
Main problem is the mezzanine up there behind the couch is our dining room & kitchen area so while we don't have to use the same color, it needs to work together.
And anyone have some great curtain suggestions? I may just steal my friend Dana's cute ones while she's asleep. 

And Evan gave a rose to his daycare lady for Teacher Appreciation Day. 

That's all folks!
I am absolutely going to attempt to blog more regularly. And not just start 20 different entries then get distracted & wander away like usual. We shall see ...

23 March 2013

The Second Son

Evan is now right around 18 months old so he's reached the very pleasant stage in life where he is no longer a baby but not yet a toddler (if you're not humming Britney Spears right now, we probably shouldn't be friends). I'm also pretty sure that he has been possessed by Satan so that's no good too.

We are quickly approaching time to wean him completely - the only feeds he has now are at night anyway so I have to stop the feeding to sleep & bringing him in to our bed because I'm too lazy tired to stay awake long enough to feed him & put him back in his bed.
Technically, I'm not feeding him to sleep because it's not enough to put him to sleep anymore so I feed and rock him, then put him down in his bed where he peacefully drifts off to sleep.

Wait, no, that's not quite right.
It's less drifting off, a tad more screaming like a banshee.
Also, a dash of punching the rails of the crib and throwing things at us.
He's such a charmer.

Marcel obviously has to deal with his nap times, which are equally as delightful. He captured today's session in a series of photos that will be no doubt be dragged out every time Evan tries to argue with us as a teenager. The rate at which he already argues with us, regardless of his lack of conversational skills, guarantees we are going to be up shit creek with this one.

With no further ado, I give you Evan's naptime of terror.

12 March 2013


I have started new blog entries about 500 million times now but I either get interrupted or I lose enthusiasm for what I'm writing or I start thinking maybe I'm spending too much time up on my soapbox so I step away.

Turns out it's really hard to get back into once you've gotten away from regular blogging.
Who knew?
Everyone. Everyone knew.

Rather than forcing myself to come up with some original programming for you, I'm ripping other bloggers off (yay for stealing!) & just giving you a glimpse of life at the moment. Without further ado, I'm currently:

Watching pilates DVDs. Not only am I watching them, I'm actually doing them (well, have done them a handful of times)! I find it to be a hard workout but I'm also a wimp so you may think differently. In any case, I also find it to be a really fun workout so I'm happy to do it. I started doing short videos that I could find on Hulu Plus on my TV but they're all too short so I finally broke down & bought an actual set of full-length DVDs. I've also been watching way too much HGTV. Is anyone else addicted to Love It or List It?

Eating pure junk. Seriously, had a stomach bug situation yesterday & today I'm eating like my tummy's made of steel. There is something wrong with this picture. I'll be miserable tonight, I'm sure. And I'm starting Weight Watchers again soon - I don't like seeing the chub creeping back on after I worked so hard.

Planning Ben's 4th birthday! Some days, I can't believe he's that old. Other days, I'm convinced he's a very tiny & adorable teenager. I'm attempting to plan a little party for him & keep it simple & fun & not fussy. I'm not against big, fun, super planned parties but I know me & I'm not ready to jump off that cliff until he's old enough to demand it!

Reading embarrassing things. When I was home sick, I downloaded a book that I knew would have a bit of romance to it but thought it was more intrigue & politics but fluffy enough for a lay-around day. Turns out the author has a whole line of pure romance novels & I downloaded one of them by mistake. I have no complaints. I may do it again ... ON PURPOSE. Please don't judge me.

Inspired by Dorothy Zbornak, Liz Lemon and Kimmy Gibbler.

Excited about the Papal Conclave! I don't know why. I guess I just love pomp, circumstance, ancient traditions, mystery and all the scuttlebutt that comes along with the conclave. The last time this came around, I had a great bet on it with my office at Nat Geo but I have not gotten my act together this time. I need to at least an informal poll on Facebook or something.

And now for some gratuitous shots of my handsome young sons. Ladies, hang on to your ovaries!

Until next time, I bid you good day.

25 February 2013


I'm itching to blog again.
My brain has hurt too much to dive in for the last few months as I've adjusted to the New World & working & all that jazz.
But be on the lookout because I'm stretching my typing fingers & getting wound up!

To be continued ...