Here’s to Functioning

I was sitting at my kitchen table on Wednesday, catching up on annoying little life things. It’s been a while since I used my pill sorter, which has meant that I’ve missed my medication a few times in recent weeks. It was time to get back into the habit of using it, because it’s not just senior citizens that can’t remember what they took and when.

I went upstairs, grabbed my pill sorter and gathered the bottles, brought them back down, and sat back at the table. And I stared at those bottles. IMG_5208

I couldn’t believe how many there were.

I still can’t believe how much it takes to keep me functioning as a human.

I have no shame in this.

(In fact, I’m pretty damn proud of myself for the hours of therapy and doctor’s offices and hundreds of dollars I have put in to figure out how to function. I want to be healthy, and I’m doing what it takes to be healthy. If you’re in this boat too, there ain’t no shame on you and me. We’re fighting for our lives, and using the weapons that we have available so we can keep fighting. That’s a good thing.) [Steps off soapbox.]

It does feel surreal, though. How could I possibly need this much help to function?

Then KJ pointed out to me that, realistically, other people have to do this much and more to function. It could just be different from what I have to do.

It could be not eating gluten. It could be stretching out an old wound every day. It could be going to AA meetings. It could be checking your blood sugar. It could be meditation.

Whatever it is, however much you have to invest every single day in order to be the healthiest version of you that is possible, there is no shame in that. In fact, be proud. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of us.


Here’s to functioning as a human every day, and the things we do to be healthy.



I’d love to hear about something you do regularly to help you function.


Some More Good Stuff


Need some pick-me-ups in your life while you struggle to get the kids to school, your beach body back to work, or the boards on your windows before the next hurricane? Look no further, because it’s that time again. Recommendations from Ashleyne based on what’s going right in her life. Hopefully they bring joy to your life, too.


If you haven’t read anything by Douglas Adams, you’re going to need to fix that. Yes, I’m at least 30 years late to the party on this recommendation, but he really never gets old. (His writing doesn’t, I mean. Douglas himself has unfortunately been dead for quite a few years now.) I just finished Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and loved it. If you like quirky, witty writing, this guy’s for you.

Another great (and less dead) author I’m continuing to enjoy: Ann Voskamp. Even if you don’t have time to fully enjoy her amazingly descriptive sentences and meaningful imagery, stop and read chapter 3 of The Broken Way. Worth the 20 minutes, FO SHO.


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I recently discovered what I firmly believe to be the worst movie ever made. Country Crush, a made-for-tv movie about a young female country singer and a teenage mechanic, is sincerely awful from start to finish. And I LOVE made-for-tv movies! So you know it’s bad. It’s so bad, that I promise you, you straight up need to watch the first 5 minutes. 5 minutes, that’s all. Just do it, for me. Your brain will explode.

While we’re talking about made-for-tv movies, let me throw a good one your way. (Yes, there is such a thing. Really.) The Matchbreaker was quirky, funny, and cute. Basically, a pleasant surprise. And a great tribute to Christina Grimmie, since it was her only film role.


I’ve finally gotten on the podcast bandwagon, like a real millennial. And there are some great ones out there. The one I’ve found to be the most consistently interesting and challenging is called BackStory. It comes from a group of historians, and each episode they explain the history behind something that’s currently in the news. As a young American, I fully admit to being almost entirely historically illiterate. So I’m trying to fix that, one podcast at a time. And it helps when the history is directly related to what’s happening in the world right now.


Downsizing. I packed a zillion times this summer, and moved to a new house, so I am painfully aware of just how much stuff I own. Do I need it? No. Will someone else give me a couple of dollars for it? Maybe! And then I can buy ice cream, and I really like ice cream. Plus, getting rid of things really does feel freeing. I know they’ve been saying it for years, but turns out it’s actually true!



What are you loving lately? What’s the good stuff in your life right now?

Social Vigilantes

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I’ve been learning lately that there are two kinds of people around me: people who try to stay “up on” our culture, and people who, for myriad reasons, do not.

Really, keeping up with the times is nearly an impossible task, because as soon as you know something, it’s gone. It’s like a fighter jet going overhead. By the time you hear those engines screaming, the plane itself is probably out of sight. When you find out something or someone is cool, it’s probably not anymore. Finally hearing about Lin-Manuel Miranda? He was definitely last year. And wondering where Sean Spicer ended up? His 15 minutes were over before Melissa McCarthy got her wig off. And by this time, the majority of America has zero clue where their eclipse glasses ended up.

We’re short on memory around here.

The things that last a little longer tend to be conceptual, rather than tangible.

And right now, in our culture, the concept that is cool is social justice.

Hold up. I know some of you are feeling salty right now, and about ready to throw some serious eclipse my way for that statement. Tbh, I was scared to say it. But I’m p sure it’s true. So…sorry not sorry. (Pro tip: this paragraph will tell you which kind of person you are.)

See, I truly hope that the majority of people who are into social justice right now are in-it-to-win-it because it’s the right thing to do. But having lived among humans for some time now, I realize that’s not going to be true for everybody.

And just because something might be the right thing to do, doesn’t mean it’s got its own bandwagon going down the street. We are pro Black Lives Matter and we buy Fair Trade coffee, but when was the last time any of us took in someone off the street so they weren’t cold and hungry at night? Have you checked your clothes to see if they were made in a country that allows child labor? Yeah, me neither. Do I even know which countries allow child labor? Sure don’t.

Truth be told, we’re not all that committed to the social justice bandwagon, as a culture.

ThinkstockPhotos-586055578So we’re all talking about the same thing, let’s define justice real quick. According to the googles, something that is just is based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.

Are we, as a culture, invested in what’s morally right and fair? Well, we do promote, vote for, buy tickets to see, and retweet things related to social justice. But the other people and things we promote, vote for, buy tickets to see, and retweet are not all that morally right and fair. People with personal integrity no longer do better than people without it. And actually, when it comes down to it, a good portion of America no longer believes in morals. Most Millennials and almost all of Generation Z believe that truth is subjective. So how could we possibly promote justice, if there’s no moral “right” to line up with?

So, what happens when you push for justice, but also emphasize that truth is subjective?


Don’t believe me? Think about this: the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made over $12 billion in the last ten years, telling stories about vigilantes. TWELVE BILLION DOLLARS. And that’s just the movies, not the shows. DC Comics is literally promoting the Justice League right now. It’s a group of people who bring justice, according to their own view of what is morally right and fair. Now, I love Wonder Woman, but even I can see that if she operates only from what she believes is right, it might cause problems.

Two weeks ago, a man drove from Ohio to Charlottesville to hurt other people, because he believed he was doing the right thing, that what he was doing was just and fair. This was just the next in a line of people acting out in violence in the name of their own view of justice.

And if we, as a culture, are not committed to rewriting the script on what actually is just and fair, how can we fight back? How can we truly promote and battle for social justice? Until we commit to establishing what justice is, aren’t we just riding on the bandwagon, until the next cool thing comes along?

I include myself in this. I’m on the bandwagon. And honestly, I’m not sure how to change from riding to fighting. But I’ve learned that when I don’t know where to start on a big problem, I just need to take one step. Do one little thing. And then the next little thing.

ThinkstockPhotos-537604426So I’m going to start by choosing to speak about these things, even when I am afraid that I am going to say something wrong, something hurtful. Even when I might make a total child-of-a-horse-and-a-donkey of myself right up here in front of y’all. Or when I say something insensitive and ignorant, because my privileged, middle class, American, white self doesn’t know any better yet.

I’m going to speak when I’m scared to speak.

What about you? What’s your first step?

Checkpoint Reached

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When your counselor emails you to make sure you’re still alive, you know you’ve been gone from your “normal life” too long. And she’s probably not the only one wondering that.

Yes, hi. I’m still alive. Been traveling. What’s that? Oh, thanks! It’s my summer hairstyle. Keeps me cool, ha ha. I agree, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted. Hey, you’re looking good! Have you lost weight? No kidding! No, that’s okay, if I want to learn how to live on sunflower seeds and paste, I know who to call. How’m I doing? Well…

I went to Florida. And then I went to New York. And then I moved to a new house. And then I went to Colorado for two months. And then I went to Chicago. And now I’m finally home, in my new house, trying to figure out which drawer has toothpaste and which one has pesticide, while I schedule 1,486 doctor/dentist/psychiatrist/sleep doctor/therapist/car mechanic appointments. Oh, and I’m now a team leader at work. Which is AWESOME, but…umm…I don’t have time to work right now, so…

…So I’m doing alright, I think.

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I think I’m doing alright, mostly because I know that this is a new season, and that it’s okay for me to be ridiculously tired from all the things I just did. I’m realizing that seasons can be natural checkpoints, and that checkpoints are a great time to pause and rest, as well as to assess the things I’m carrying around with me and see what I really need.

For instance, I don’t really need a mandolin AND a ukulele, neither of which I play. Ever. Probably a good time to drop one or both of those.

Neither do I need to go to a doctor I really dislike. Ain’t nobody got time for cranky men giving you a pap smear.

But I do need a consistent, physical activity in my life. So I need to find one of those again.

How about you? As we head into a seasonal change, a checkpoint, what do you need to drop, and what do you need to find for this next season?

Snow Leopard Friendships


Sometimes in life, you have to spend months, even years, slowly and patiently developing a friendship.

Perhaps you interact occasionally at group functions, knowing each other from a distance, and then over time come to realize you could be friends.


Or perhaps you even dislike each other, avoiding or fighting constantly, until, after so many awkward or even hostile moments, you realize that the things you like about each other overpower what you dislike. Or even that what you disliked was actually just what you didn’t understand. (Fearing what you don’t know, and all that nonsense.)

I’ve had those friendships. In fact, lately I’ve considered taking a photo every time I meet someone new, in case that person eventually turns out to be a good friend. But the awkward factor would probably be too high. “Would you mind if I photographed you in case I like you later?”

These friendships can be especially deep, because you have years of shared experiences and mutual friends to enjoy together. They are time-consuming but incredibly worthwhile relationships to develop. Don’t be afraid to invest in those kinds of friendships, even if some of them don’t turn out the way you expected. The ones you gain will make up for the ones that drift away.

That’s the lesson for this week; that’s where the universally applicable part of this post ends.

Because every once in a while, you find someone that you immediately become friends with, and really there’s nothing you can do to make it happen except be in the right place at the right time, and jump in when the diving board appears. (Mixed metaphors, you say? Come on, you knew what I meant.) It’s a rare but amazing thing. Like comets. Or snow leopards.

For me, lately, I’ve been incredibly grateful for one woman who appeared in my life in August, pretty much permanently. She’s funny, she’s deep, and she gets my nerdy references to everything from Milo and Otis to Star Wars. We went on tour together during a particularly rough season for both of us, and were able to laugh and cry through it together. I appreciate her friendship probably more than I can say, and I’m fairly good with words.

And at this point, it’s permanent. She’s stuck with me. Forever. Sorry, Aech.


So maybe there is another universal thought here: if someone comes along and you instantly become friends, jump in. I mean, boundaries are a thing. A big thing. We can talk more about that later. But I’m just saying, don’t be afraid to make friends, even fast friends. Because they’re pretty great.

Isn’t It (Not) Ironic



One of the worst sounds in domestic life is that of a single sock hitting the floor when you have a full armload of laundry.

You’ve got it all under control, you’re taking care of business, and then one damn piece of fabric gives up on fighting gravity and suddenly you’re cursing your entire existence, exasperated by how impotent and futile humanity really is.

No? Just me? Oh, come on, be honest. You’ve wanted to swear at a stray sock or your husband’s underwear at least once. Life is hard enough without having to chase after stray undergarments while a white-hot pants-button brands LEVIS on your forearm.

I’ve said it before: it’s the little things in life. Usually I say that in a positive way; the little things are worth noticing, enjoying, breathing in. But the opposite is also true; the little things are able to make you angry, frustrated, and hopeless. And it can seem completely arbitrary. Sometimes, a little thing is no big deal. Sometimes it’s the best part of your day. Sometimes it’s the worst part of your day.

I decided to do some baking recently, and while using a stand mixer, I accidentally turned it on high before all the flour had mixed in, and flour flew everywhere. On me, the counter, the fruit on the counter, the floor. And it was funny. A friend took a picture, I swept the flour up, I moved on.

Last week, I realized I couldn’t find my favorite shirt. I’ve had it for a couple years now, it has some paint on it, and it shouldn’t be a big deal. But yesterday, when I spent some time looking for said shirt to no avail, I started thinking feeling like the entire universe is out to get me.

ThinkstockPhotos-153017775It’s like having ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. Which is not irony, by the way, it’s just the way of the world.

We are not in control.


In fact, there are really very few things within our control, and even our emotions are not always one of those things. How you feel is how you feel. You can develop ways to deal with and move beyond those feelings, but you still can’t control everything.

A sock falling onto the floor may always make you want to put your fist through the nearest wall. But it doesn’t have to ruin your day.

Just like enjoying the little things can be delightful, accepting the little things can be freeing. It’s just the way of the world. You are not in control.

Let’s pick up the socks and move on.

Flirting at Walmart


One evening last week, I was planning to go to the gym and then go to KJ’s house for dinner and a movie. She very considerately offered to let me shower at her house in between, so that I wouldn’t have to go home and then out again.

Things you need to know:

  1. I have been blessed with a pale face that turns the color of tomato soup as soon as my heart rate rises above two or three beats per minute.
  2. This particular day was a high cardio day at the gym.
  3. It had been raining in Indiana for almost a week straight.
  4. I had just purchased new rain boots (specifically for our 100 Hole Golf Challenge at work, but that’s another story.)
  5. KJ lives two minutes from a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

So. I wore my new rain boots to the gym, changed into my CrossFit shoes there, worked out, put my rain boots back on, and then drove to Walmart to pick up a bottle of wine and a pint of ice cream to contribute to dinner, since KJ was cooking.

Once I arrived at Walmart, my face still brick red and sweating profusely, I headed past the checkout lines toward the frozen food.

When the first gentleman addressed me, I looked at him to see if I knew him. Why else would someone say, “Hey, girl,” when I was in that state?

I did not know him.

“Hey,” I said, and kept walking. I only went a few more steps before I heard a wolf whistle come from the chip aisle. Really? I looked and saw another gentleman, a man you would expect to see at Walmart, looking back at me. I kept walking. During the no-more-than ten minutes I was there, at least five (I wasn’t counting because I didn’t expect it to happen, let alone to continue) different men either made comments or gestures in my direction.

Now, I do consider myself to be a feminist. I get annoyed when people don’t respect me, and straight up angry when people don’t respect the amazing women I know. But this particular situation just baffled me. Really, guys? You want a piece of what’s happening here? If I was in a grocery store and saw a woman buying a pint of ice cream and a bottle of wine, I sure wouldn’t mess with her. Even if she wasn’t dressed like this:


Not only that, but we had been practicing double-unders at the gym (jumping rope where the rope goes around twice for every jump) and I’m very bad at it, which means I had red welts all over my hands, arms, and legs. IMG_0142

Now don’t go getting worried about my self-image. After a lot of years of battling doubt and fears, I have reached a fairly healthy place, where if my body feels good, I feel good about however I look. Part of that has been a process of accepting that strong can be sexy. I’m not a magazine model and never will be, but I can deadlift 200 lbs on a Monday morning and then just go to work. I like being that kind of girl.

So it’s not that I don’t think I’m the kind of girl who could have 5-7 men notice her in one trip to Walmart. It’s that I was so clearly not asking for it, in any way, shape, or form.

In conclusion:

Can we all just eliminate the, “she must have been asking for it or dressing like she wanted attention or behaving in a way that invited that” argument from our defense bank?

And can we all acknowledge how AWESOME my new boots are?