Friday, October 23, 2009

The Max factor!!

I did it!!! I gound a legal, above board way to get a kitten!

So one bright, crisp morning I was getting ready for class. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was humming my favorite hymn. I went to go get my clothes from my closet to get dressed for the day (my closet is actually just outside my bedroom) and as I open my bedroom door to access my closet….I see a little furry rodent, namely a mouse, scurry in before me. I let out the most obnoxiously girl-ish, high pitched scream- possibly the most annoying sound I’ve ever made, and refused to go anywhere near my closet. That’s right. A mouse commandeered my closet. I told him that if I came home and he’d been sewing me a gown for the ball, all would be forgiven.

That’s not what he was doing.

We’d been having mice problems before that, and they kept getting worse the colder it got. So finally our land lord agreed that the best possible solution was a little furry, purry mouse hunter.
Enter: Max!
I adopted Max, whose original name was Cookie from the MSPCA ( Massachusetts SPCA) . He was 14 weeks when I adopted him back on Sept 28, making him almost 17 weeks now. So a little over 4 months. In the nearly four weeks that I’ve owned him he’s gotten SOOO big!!! But he’s still a little baby. When I took him home and saw him next to a real grown up cat he suddenly looked TINY!!!

Little Max is a little purr box!!! He purrs ALLLLL the time and VERY VERY loudly!!!! For the first few weeks he’s been SUPER mellow. Playful, but pretty chill most of the time. He loves the car and rides in it for hours and hours just lying on the seat and not bugging anyone. The last week he’s gotten rather naughty. I come home from school everyday to find everything I own knocked on the floor. His new favorite game has been throwing his litter EVERYWHERE. It’s…..cute….

Max has big floppy paws that are too big for his body. He has a white chest and all white paws. He likes to sit very tall and proud and errect- he looks very proper and like a little gentleman in a tuxedo and white gloves.

He’s super playful, and loves to hide behind things and jump out and attack your leg when you walk by. He loves to smell my mouth and sticks his whole little tiny head inside my mouth. His head’s getting to big to do that now, but he still tries. He also puts his paws all over my face when I’m holding him facing me.

He can jump SUPER high, particularly if he’s on my bed. He’s a cuddler, and really likes to kick me off my pillow at night.

NOTHING scares him. Doors slamming, balloons popping when he’s playing with them, loud noise...the little punk is totally FEARLESS!!!

He’s also totally intrigued by the kitten in the mirror. He likes to check behind the mirror to see if that’s where the kitten is. Recently I moved my mirror off the ground to sit on my window ledge, and that was REALLY a curve ball- Now the kitten was in the AIR!! Max could only see him when he was on my desk or on my bed! How did that kitten get up there?!!?

Max also loves to attack my big knot of hair- I’ll pull my hair in a big messy bun I’ll be doing homework or watching tv or whatever and suddenly I"ll feel two little paws attacking my bun. He totally declares war on my curls. He’s out for blood. Thank goodness my hair is thick and my bun is pretty big or he’d probably remove my scalp.

Oh…and those mice? He didn’t even have to catch any. Those mice sensed Max, and got the heck out of dodge.I love my little baby Max!!!! Naughty though he may be, I just can’t stay mad at him!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's been so long...

Hello everyone!! I am back! It has been quite some time since I have gone on one of my maniacal rants, so I decided it was definitely time to come back!
Well for those of you not stalking me and in the know, I have moved from Provo, Utah to Boston, Massachusetts! GO SOX!I am actually living in Brighton, MA which is just barely east of down town Boston. I am attending Boston University to get my masters in School and Community Counseling. GO TERRIERS!! This will lead me into any number of different possible careers, and I have not even remotely decided between them, so don't bother asking yet. I know I want to work with teenagers, preferably ones that are labeled high risk in some way. What can I say? Normal is boring. It is a one year "intensive program" ( translation: we absolutely kick your trash for the entire time you're here) where you do your course work and your internship all at the same time. I am interning at English High School- the very first public school in America. Do not be fooled- more than historical it is G-H-E-T-T-O. We're talkin' there is a fairly even split between Latino and black students, and then, as it was phrased to me by one of the permanent school counselors, " And then we have...MAYBE three white kids."
Me: " wait...three percent? or"
Counselor: " Oh, no. Three total. Three people."
The headmaster is a big, hugely energetic, super positive black guy who took one look at me and said ."....uh oh. you're a little size not so big aren't you? you're not going to faint, or pass out, or cry on me are you?" I assured him I've seen all kinds of fits and had all kinds of kids ALL kinds of mad at me in the past. Bring it. ( He seemed pretty satisfied with that response)
Other than than, I have moved into a HUGE and BEAUTIFUL house. It is seriously giant. One kid that came to a party here last night said, " Wow. It looks like one of the Harvard buildings!" The house is four stories and is divided into two groups with separate entrances, etc. There are five of us on the top two floors, and four girls on the lower two. All the girls in this house and the house next door are all members of my church. I am TOTALLY LOVING my roommates. I get along particularly well with two of them and we are having a ball. There was a HUGE party at my house last night that was ridiculously "off the hook" as my lovely roommate Molly says. Those of you who know me well are probably not surprised that I spent about...1/3 of that time hiding in my roommate Courtney's room...and the entire last 30-45 minutes in my room. In my pajamas. Really just wishing everyone would get the heck out of my house. Yeah, that's right. I'm a party animal.
Well that's where I am, and what I'm up to. Life is good.

However, what would an Ashlie blog be if I did not get up on my soap box about something. So a few things, increasing in their seriousness as they go.
A: Driving in Boston: Insane. The only entity that can survive in this place without getting tragically lost is a GPS system. (that's right. they speak. they have accents. as far as I'm concerned, they're entities) I have now purchased a GPS system. This will save my life...probably literally.
B:Last night I was told that I look like an Osmond. As in the Osmond family. Donny, Marie...etc. I have NEVER gotten that before. This is very curious to me....
C: I am beyond sick of hearing about Michael Jackson. Seriously. Let it go people. There are about 85 million more newsworthy topics. Let it die.
D: Welcome back to higher education in a place where most people are not religious. I have a class that is about the theory and practice of counseling. My teacher is the head of the department, has a PHD and is clearly an EXTREMELY intelligent woman. She is, however, on the younger side, and in the two, three hour sessions of class, she has used the F less than 30 times. me....just seems a bit excessive. I'll grant you...and may heaven strike me dead for saying it..her swearing is usually amusing. It's not like..angry, or offensive because you feel like she's upset or a totally explosive person. It's pretty mellow, entertaining-ESE in nature. But at this point, I just feel it is beyond over the top. And in bad taste.
E: Last and finally. In this same class we were discussing the contextual model of psychotherapy which basically states that it doesn't matter which of the many many models of psychotherapy you choose from which to work so long as you are relatively consistent and that certain common factors are always in practice as they are responsible for the largest percentage of efficacy in therapy. One of these common factors is that you, as the counselor, and your client need to believe in what you're doing and that it will provide some kind of relief from whatever problems the client is experiencing. Our teacher posed to us a question that had once been asked of her.

"If a client came to you and legitimately believed in their heart and soul that they were possessed with some kind of evil spirit, would you feel comfortable prescribing exorcism and sending them to an exorcist?"
This discussion went several directions, one of which made me very uncomfortable. The girl (sitting RIGHT next to me..AWKWARD...) said that no, she wouldn't because she's not a religious person, quite the opposite actually, and went on to give her view that she would not work with a religious person because she couldn't believe that religion would help them, and therefore would be compromising her own set of beliefs and standards to work with them. However, she also CLEARLY expected for it to work the other direction (as in that I as a religious person could not be so close minded as to not with a non religious population.)
This was just infuriating to me on so many levels. First of all, which I brought up, this person coming to therapy believe they are possessed is not necessarily so religious. In fact, it might be because they are NOT so very religious that they are believing that they are possessed. We don't know, we don't have enough specifics, this is a pretty broad question that all of us would probably need to take in a lot of specific situational factors to come up with an answer we were comfortable with. However, even if this person WAS so very religious, I am really sick of the stigma placed on "religious people" that we are so very hard to work with, and so very "boxed in" in our ideas. How completely exclusive and close minded of my classmate to refuse to "compromise her own set of beliefs" to work with someone who believed that religion would help them. I must not force region on my clients, because that's close minded ( which I agree with in the professional world, you shouldn't do that) but it doesn't work both ways. Either you're inclusive in your clientele or you're not.

The other things is that according to when I last checked last on an NBC study, 90% of Americans did not want "In God we trust" removed from being the US motto. Non religious people are not the majority, they are simply making the most noise.
For those of you dying to know: I did say something. Super nicely,and several comments later so it was not directed right at this girl. We still sit next to each other and play nice and all get along just great. ( You basically share every class with these people, so making enemies is not so wise).But still none the less, I made my point. The old Ashlie still lives.

Monday, May 11, 2009

the PG girl interrupted

I'd like to take the opportunity to make some requests of people in general. These requests are broad, but all have something to do with the concept of dating/relationships/flirting. These have arisen from problems I have had or that close friends of mine have had, or both.

Buckle up:

First of all: Leave single people ALONE.
Recently the fact that I am single has become of increasing interest to...well pretty much EVERYONE around me. I have been the victim of the deep and well intentioned, but severely annoying, concern of others. I am realizing that I am reaching a rather pivotal age. People are starting to see that I am getting older- I am past due in getting married, but not beyond hope yet. I am past due, but not expired. My eggs are still viable.There's still a little time... so they've gotta HURRY!
Recently I sat in complete stunned silence as an office full of men I work with (none of whom would have any personal reason for checking) told me that one of the first things, if not the first thing they noticed about me was that I wasn't wearing a ring AND that as time passed and they got to know me it became a very pressing concern to them- something they needed to fix. That is just disturbing on a number of different levels. On a very basic level...why are you starting at my hands?....
In that conversation(and from many people before and since) some variation of the following question was posed

" How is a pretty thing like you not married?"

While that is probably intended as, and might sound like a compliment, it's really not. It's not only rude, but incredibly awkward when the asker actually WAITS for answer...(as though you'd have one prepared or really have any idea why you're not married....)
First of all, girl you're talking to probably disagrees with the statement of her alleged good looks. She now has NO idea what to say as the already awkward feeling of receiving a compliment she doesn't agree with is now compounded by the fact that she knows she should just say thank you, but is having difficulty doing so because she's kind of insulted. If your object was to stun her into silence and immobility, mission accomplished.
When and if you ask this question you have just, although perhaps unwittingly, very strongly implied that there is something wrong with her. By asking the question in the first place you have ruled out the possibility that it just hasn't been right for her to get married yet or that past relationships have just not worked out through no real fault of her own. I think when everyone is being practical and honest they will admit that there is a lot more to getting married than just being attractive, and even if she is a beautiful girl there could be many reasons (none of which have anything to do with her focus on education, her personality, her "intimidation" factor, or anything else like that) that she is not married yet.However, if you're expecting an answer from her, you're also expecting that she HAS the answer which means it's something identifiable and concrete. You've also just taken something that is REALLY complicated and simplified it down to a " do you like me? check yes or no" kind of level. Getting married is complex because people are complex. If marriage for her should be simple it kind of indirectly implies that she is simple, and that's insulting.(I realize that's not as it's intended and is kind of a stretch, but since when are girls rational?)

I'd also like to point out that while marriage is clearly a wonderful thing and a marvelous goal, the implication that you are somehow bizarre, out of place, that your lack of husband DEFINES you, is the FIRST thing people notice...or is something that is of such a deep and wild concern that everyone around you is going to immediately take it upon themselves to analyze and remedy the situation is kind of degrading. I'd like to think I'm worthwhile and can make a difference in people's lives before I'm married, too. Feeling an incessant need to try and fix this problem by setting your single friends up on countless dates is very counter-productive. People need to work and fix their own problems, if it even is a "problem", which it probably isn't. And even if it is, and they're too career or education driven, too intimidating, too picky (my favorite) or whatever...guess what? odds are, it's NONE of your business.
It's also probably important to mention that some girls are very upset that they aren't married, and don't want you bringing it up and reminding them. This isn't true in my case, but the question in itself represents a level of insensitivity- It's really none of your business and is a really emotional and difficult issue for some. Don't try and touch on something that could be a very real source of pain with someone you barely know. kinda mocks the pain.

Next: Places you do NOT flirt

1. From car to car: I gotta tell you...I am deeply offended by car flirting. You're sitting at a light or you're driving next to each other and some guy honks his horn or, is being visually "flirty" through the window. Seriously? Either run me off the road and get my number or stop. This is a waste of my time, is going a whole lot of no where, makes me feel kind of cheap, and is now growing exponentially in awkwardness because the natural course of Ashlie's life demands that we continue getting stopped at EVERY SINGLE red light together. There's no point. Makes me feel cheap. Don't do it.

2. In the temple. Seriously- don't flirt in the temple. Do not ask for someone's number in the temple. Do not wink at people you do not know in the temple, or make the entire experience awkward by continually watching someone. Pay attention. Find someone to bring to the temple to marry LATER. It's kind of sad that I have to bring this up...but...there's precedence. Let's just leave it at that.

3. In front of clients: for me this is especially true because I’m working with teenaged boys who are already sex maniacs,and your attempts to flirt in front of them is like expressed permission for THEM to try, but this is true anywhere. I don't want to watch people hit on each other instead of bagging my groceries so I can get out of the store and on with me life etc. Depending on your job you might be able to get away with this a little more or less, but...there is a time and a place. Be professional

- Make out at the temple, on or off the grounds, in the parking lot or parked nearby. just...don't.
- Make out anywhere, publically. Being sweet is one thing. Instigating violent illness in others is not okay.
- Another one I've actually had people say: the reason I'm good at what I do or that my students listen to me is because my they "think I'm hot". Do not tell ANY teacher that. Those who have made that comment to me have dismmissed any talent, effort, or hard work on my part and made me eye candy. Once again. Cheap. Degrading. Perhaps a more shallow person who puts their entire worth on their looks would be flattered by this statement...but let's hope you're not hanging out with people like that.
- do NOT imply that just because you think a girl is attractive that she must be a heart-breaker. Maybe she is, and maybe it's her fault but maybe she's had her little heart pulverized. Leave her alone.

In general I think this problem arises from people not wanting to just simply say, "I think you're pretty/beautiful/whatever" because that's scary. Instead they have to accompany it with some kind of other statement to make it "less awkward". (ie: I'm going to ask why you’re not married, say you're a heart breaker, tell you that the only reason your students listen to you is because you're pretty. )*insert swoon here. Scary though it may be, if you really think she's pretty and you want her to know, she'll be much more impressed if you just tell her. Which brings me to my next point.
-Be careful with your compliments- keep them simple, keep them sincere. And until you're in a committed relationship, avoid intense extremes. I don't care if she really is the most beautiful thing you've ever laid eyes on...maybe don't mention it in QUITE those words. Also, mentioning something OTHER than her looks will go a LONG way. She wants you to know HER- not her face, and not her body. Again- she'll be much more impressed with a compliment that took more than two seconds to notice about her.

Conclusion: do not cheapen a girl down to it being all about her looks. do not flirt in stupid places, and if you think a girl is pretty, just freakin' tell her. Oh-and leave your single friends ALONE.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Day

Okay, yes. It's Valentine's Day. Oh sweet mercy. The ultimate day of being accutely aware of what an utter disaster your love life is. I thought I would take this opportunity to share a few random thoughts I have about Valentine's Day:

-The frustration of buying a Valentine's Day Card
It is my experience that Valentine's Day Cards come in three categories listed below:
1. The hopelessly in love- this group of cards is clearly for people who are madly, truly, deeply, inexpressibly in love...I want to grow old with or I HAVE grown old with you...I'd die for you, "I love you so much, I want his and her towels, my life meant nothing until you used my toothbrush..." etc. Often times they might make you a little nauseous if you yourself do not find yourself in a similar fairy-tale state.

2. The ridiculously dirty- Unlike the above ones which are nice, just a little sickening if you're not in the mood, this second group of cards is by definition gross and disgusting and base and crass and degrading to men and women...and any other form of higher intelligence for that matter. They usually contain some variation of the following message: Every time I see you I can hardly contain myself from ripping your clothes off. Or...even more repulsive...Every time I see you I DON'T contain myself from ripping all your clothes off. Gross. Nasty. Just in bad taste.

3. The single girl- This one has several sub categories. There's a sub category for the angry, the depressed or hurt, as well as a special category for the "feminist-single-and-lovin'-it" type. All are directed from one single girl to another, all contain some sort of "better off without him" message, and nearly all mention a greater love for chocolate than men.

The problem with all of these cards is that I hardly EVER have a relationship (for which I would be buying a Valentine's Day card) that is appropriate to one of these categories. Perhaps certain of the single girl cards, but to be honest, most of them don't apply. If I'm married for a million years I would never purchase a card from the second category, and the first category...well...check the left hand. Cuz there's nothin' on it.

Why are there no cards for someone you're dating that is...great. wonderful..but not necessarily your soul mate yet....and you're NOT ripping off all their clothes or thinking that when you see them...and they're NOT a single girl? Although this isn't necessarily a present issue for me, it just bugs. It's lame. And I don't like it.

To me Valentine's Day is about love. All forms of love. The first category is great, but not necessarily applicable to all. The second category is not about love at all. Is a physical relationship part of a marriage? Absolutely. But to degrade it to those terms only, and to express them in such a crude way infuriates me. The third..well..sometimes they hit a concept or idea of love, but to be honest, usually totally miss the mark.

"There are as many ways to love as there are moments in time" - Edmund in Mansfield Park, Jane Austen.

I would LOVE to see the greeting card industry cover some of those other forms of love.

On a slightly more positive note, I am a really lucky girl. I have many relationships that are extremely special to me, and are all some form of love. So often people say something like "love conquers all" or "makes the world go 'round" or whatever, but limit it to such a narrow spectrum or facet of love. Love between man and a woman is incredible, yes. However, there are so many other powerful examples of love. In my life, it has not [primarily been the romantic relationships that have turned me world around. At least not yet. But my life has been literally saved by love.

Another note: Those of you who know me well know that one of the things I struggle most with in this life is the transience. I hate that nothing stays the same, that no one is in your life forever, that things can change so quickly that what once meant everything to you can suddenly be gone. On Valentine's Day I love to remember what a favorite author of mine, Louisa May Alcott said:

“If in my present life I love one person truly,
no matter who it is,
I believe that we meet somewhere again,
though where or how I don’t know or care,
for genuine love is immortal.”

~Louisa May Alcott to Maggie Lukens,
February 14, 1884