This is some good stuff

About a month ago, my sister posted about reading Roald Dahl's autobiographical stories in Boy and Going Solo, and I thank her for it. I followed her advice and took a break from my current read and read them both. Delightful I say. So here I am, telling you to go and read them too. Then write something down in your journal, or a place where you jot things down, about a good memory you've of your childhood. It will make you smile now and for years to come.


Quality Soundtrack

My first tape player was a hand-me-down from my oldest sister. My first stereo was a Sony CD player that had been used to near it's limits by another sister. My first Walkman, a gift I inherited from my dad. My first iTunes experience was enjoyed using my mom's computer. The fact is, I've never myself bought any music-enjoying technology. But I am a big fan of good music of all kinds.

It's been a few days now since receiving an mp3 player, and I am enjoying it more than I thought I would. When I walk, I subconsciously walk to the beat, and when it changes, my walking pattern changes. When I run, I run to the beat, and sometimes it's way too fast for my muscles and lungs, but I can't help but feel it. Today I think I even skipped to the beat a couple of times.


Uncle Tom's Cabin: A Review

My sister gave me this book for Christmas. It's a classic, and I can see why. It's important for everyone to read a book that "so aroused readers that Abraham Lincoln is said to have told Stowe her work had been a catalyst for the Civil War." It's an excellent way for someone like me, who has a hard time connecting all of the history dots when just reading a textbook, to learn about history. But what's more is that one of the major themes Uncle Tom's Cabin deals with is man vs. every darn thing out there while still managing to find faith in something to keep going. Now I'm not about to suggest that the trials we experience today are like unto what slaves had to suffer, but what I am going to say is that we all experience hard times and we can all learn from Uncle Tom and how he deals with what life gives him.


tag -eriffic II

I've been tagged to suggest six things everyone should accomplish/do before they turn 18:

Before I give my suggestions, I find it uncanny that on the back of the Reese's Puffs cereal box there are some great, and I mean awesome, suggestions for this very tag. Click on the photo to enlarge and read them all!

And now for mine:
1. Learn to be nice to everyone in high school, even the people that it may not be cool to be nice to.
2. Practice typing with Mavis Beacon (to prepare for the many papers you'll write in college).
3. Learn to budget/write a check/pay a tip.
4. Learn to drive a manual transmission car.
5. Do well on your standardized tests.
6. Make hugging your mom and dad a frequent activity.


We went to Amish Country to get our car fixed

This past weekend, we went up to Pennsylvania Amish/Dutch country to experience the simple life; unfortunately, however, this weekend was far from simple. Perhaps the pouring rain that accompanied us the 100+ miles to our Bed & Breakfast was a sign of the future, but we failed to get the message, and moved forward. We arrived at the Ellemaker House after dark, and while making our way to Bravo's pizza for some dinner, saw a horse and buggy in the parking lot. Our short visit was going to be pretty cool.

Enjoying the Ellemaker House

The horse and buggy makes a quick stop

We woke up the next morning, ate some breakfast, and with map in hand, the insider scoop from our B&B innkeeper, and a positive outlook - as it was still raining and didn't look like it was going to stop any time soon - we made our way to our car (which is actually a small truck). We hopped in the truck, and just like we've done for the past 3+ years, depressed the brake, fastened our seat belt, and activated the ignition. But the truck didn't respond like it has done for the past 3+ years, the engine would turn over but nothing would catch. At that time, we did what everyone else in our shoes would do, we just kept turning the key, hoping, that somehow, turning that key several times and in longer intervals was exactly what the car needed. It wasn't. Needless to say, after talking with several people about the problem - one of which was my dad, who, living out west, correctly diagnosed the problem by listening to my explanation and the engine over the phone - we knew we had to take it into a mechanic. It seems that all mechanics in Gap, Pennsylvania close at noon, and if they don't, they don't answer their phone, so you have to walk over to their building, enter the garage, then ask to see the boss. This boss said that Steve could check out our truck, and boy, are we thankful to 18-year-old Steve. He was our pal for a good portion of Saturday. He taught us a lot about car engines and didn't mind standing out in the rain while he diagnosed the problem. "How old's this truck?" he asked, "'Cause these spark plug wires need to be replaced. They have difficulty running in this humidity." The truck was fixed at 3pm and we headed home. While driving home, filled with the relief that we weren't going to be stuck in Pennsylvania until Monday, we reiterated the two points that had kept us semi-positive throughout the ordeal: 1) at least we had seen some horse and buggies on Friday night, and 2) thank goodness our B&B happened to be on the same street as an auto parts shop and three mechanics, one of which was open after 12noon on Saturday.

Sitting in the lobby of Anderson's Truck & Car Repair

The truck is fixed and we're ready to go home


A snack to relish

Once, while attending an event in a large convention center, I got really hungry and needed something to eat quite urgently. I could feel the creepings of the hunger headache. I didn't want to spend my hard earned cash on the overpriced $9 hot dog, or $7 popcorn, so I took some complimentary relish packets from the condiments booth and started consuming. After about the third relish packet, a friend from work, who I had no idea would be attending the same event, tapped me on the shoulder to say hello. I turned around with the empty relish packets in one hand and the waiting-to-be-eaten packets in the other. I tried to overcompensate for what I had in my hands by acting suave as I talked with the friend. That's what you get when a near-hypoglycemic Ashley meets a mega-frugal Ashley and then I eat relish packets. And it wasn't worth it, I still got the headache because relish is like eating pickled air.

About 5 months later I got overly hungry at the national zoo. I decided to skip the condiments booth and buy a regular Snickers bar for $2.