Humblebrag: Things You Should Know About

Because I’m constantly doing awesome things, I decided it’s only fair to share the wealth. Here’s a quick rundown of some things that made me happy last week:

Runkeeper’s Running for Fat Loss I’ve been pretty lazy for the last month or so when it comes to running. I have another 5k coming up in about three weeks, so I decided to get back into training a few weeks ago. I’ve used Runkeeper for my training over the last seven months, usually using the Beginner 5k workouts as my guide. I switched over to the Running for Fat Loss program to focus on maintaining a slower pace for a longer amount of time versus the widely varying (but, in my experience, highly effective) Beginner 5k workouts. I’ve seen great increases in my endurance and stamina. With time, I expect my speed to increase as well.

Call Me by Your Name Want to get swept away by a romance? Want to remember that feeling of a budding crush that drives you absolutely insane? Want to remember that excitement of the first skin-to-skin contact with your beloved? Want to remember falling in love in the most exquisite language? Then read Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman. I read this book over the weekend and promptly gave to it a friend to read because the poetry in the description was to beautiful to leave it to myself. It reminded me that falling in love isn’t something you make happen. It happens to you in a uniquely earth-shattering way. This is basically a novel-length musing on love and lust that takes place on the Italian riviera and it’s gorgeous because how could a novel whose setting is the Italian riviera not be beautiful?

Best read by Oshkosh's version of the Italian Riviera. This angle does capture the screaming children feeding the dirty gulls.

Best read by Oshkosh’s version of the Italian Riviera. Unfortunately, this angle doesn’t capture the screaming children feeding the dirty gulls.

Videogum’s Breaking Bad Recaps Not to belabor the point, but I really like Breaking Bad. I also really like humor. And when the two are combined, it’s like my wildest dreams coming true. Not be dramatic or anything. I first heard of Videogum from Stereogum, back in the days when I was a music snob and only listened to music produced by weirdos in New York basements. Videogum is great for topical and viral humor, as well as tv show recaps. I forgot about the site for a while, but when Breaking Bad came back, I remembered their hilarious recaps. I don’t want to give anything away, but they definitely called Todd an “obedient child-murderer who ruined our Jesse” in this one. New recaps are posted each Monday.

Child murderer. Straight up child murderer

This is where the magic happens.

I’ve been in my new apartment for about three months now. One of the things that excited me most about the place (other than the beautiful light everywhere, ability to paint the walls, lots of closet space, a garage, pleasant yard, french doors, and great location) was a closet off the living room that had potential to be a fantastic little writer’s nook.

Me being me, it spent the last three months as a closet housing winter coats, paint cans, an occasionally-used box fan, extra blankets (I own no less than 10 blankets. I have zero explanation for this fact), and partially unpacked boxes. I saved this project for a weekend when I didn’t have anything going on.

That weekend finally came around, though it was a pleasantly busy weekend – containing a baseball game, Fox Cities Jazz Fest, dinner at a new restaurant, baking new treats (B-Crox in da house), Lolita-reading in the park, late night whiskey & jazz, lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in months, and vinyl night (True story: I brought Hall & Oates) at a local pizza joint. I squeezed a lot into that three day weekend.

Look at all the Throwback Thursday content! That's only half of it.

Look at all the Throwback Thursday content! That’s only half of it.

I’m now writing from inside my writer’s nook. When this little space came together on Sunday morning, I was instantly inspired. Finally, I thought. This is where all of my writing will finally happen. This is where I’ll write my masterpiece. This is where I’ll return to my fiction-writing. 

I’ve been in here for about two hours. Fifteen minutes were spent writing the above paragraphs. Twenty were spent taking pictures with my phone and camera (gotta have one for the instagram & higher quality for the blog post!). Another twenty were spent on a phone call I had been putting off. A cumulative 20 were spent idly on Facebook. At least 10 were spent trying to find the perfect writer’s nook music (finally came to the conclusion that Belle & Sebastian is boring and cute in the most annoying way). Then another 15 minutes were spent scrolling on Pinterest.

It’s funny how much time I spend excusing myself for not writing. Sometimes I think I need idea books, method books, style manuals, how-to books, or just new books. Even though one of my shelves is dedicated exclusively to books of this sort, I’ll get a new one. Inevitably, I read twenty pages, get a great idea for an essay, but then toss it to the side after a half hour when I think of a clever tweet because I’m all about instant gratification. It’s way easier to write tweets than it is to write a full blog post or honest-to-god memoir.

I’m hoping that at some point during my evenings and weekend afternoons in my writer’s closet, I’ll relearn patience.

Till then, keep an eye on my twitter feed. Every now and then there’s a gem there.

Sign of genius, I'm telling you.

Sign of genius, I’m telling you.

Vacation Notice

So.

If you need me, I won’t be here.

I’m going on vacation. And by vacation, I just mean camping with my family where I’ll be detoxing from the internet. We go camping in a magical place where my cell phone has absolutely no service, so I’m forced to live like a barbarian and not live tweet about people-watching at the LAUNDROMAT (there’s at least one reader who will get a kick out of that) and how much coffee I wish I could drink.

I think dusky is the perfect adjective here.

I think dusky is the perfect adjective here.

I’ll be reading. Maybe writing. But mostly reading. Running on trail, drinking whiskey & lemonade, night swimming, and hiking with the coolest dog ever.

Go home, dog. You are drunk.

Go home, dog. You are drunk.

I’ll catch you guys next week – I may or may not be back in time for Throwback Thursday, so don’t riot in my absence.

To My Devoted Readers…

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much lately. Instead of just articulating the facade, I’ve been out living (going to foggy basement parties, having spontaneous drinks with friends, dancing with new friends, running color runs, playing impromptu bluegrass concerts with my uncle, hosting parties, and occasionally giving out my number to boys I probably shouldn’t). It’s been fantastic. I highly recommend you stop looking at a screen as soon as you’re done reading this. Have you seen real life lately? It can be really beautiful. Everything is Blooming, folks. 

collage

I know that I told you my vacation from Throwback Thursday was only going to be for the month of May. It’s been over two months since I shared a diary entry. Young Ashley might be thrilled, but I’m not too proud of it. I started something and I didn’t follow through. I am supremely irritated when people do that, so I’m sorry that I’ve failed you. I know a lot of people really enjoyed those. This is going to change. Throwback Thursday is coming back this week. 

I had a housewarming party last weekend to break in my new place. Two of my closest friends made me a fantastic gift that inspired a new weekly post called Brunch with B-Crox. You can expect a recipe and short anecdote with my usual self-deprecating banter and weird pictures. My definition of Brunch is a pretty vague one, so it might not always be a breakfast recipe. And don’t worry, I’ll explain the B-Crox thing.

Since many people find my blog by some combination of the terms “seeing my ex” and “what to do,” I’m considering doing some sort of dating advice. I’m sort of hoping I’ll start following my own advice too. That would be neat. This is still in the brainstorming stages, but I figure that since I’ve dated people before and have an opinion, I’m qualified to tell people what to do. It’s real scientific.

I’m going on vacation next week. I’m not counting or anything, but I have exactly eleven days until I’m in the middle of the woods without 3g access. I have plans to read about three pages of Infinite Jest before falling asleep on the beach and/or day-drinking. Don’t worry though, you’ll still get your posts. If I don’t you can send me messages on Facebook about how you’re really disappointed in me – not mad, just really disappointed.

Happy Pills

I’ve spent the last year or so reflecting on life. In the spring, my two-year relationship came to an end. I spent the summer crying, drinking, and eating too much alone in my apartment. In the fall, I went off the antidepressant I had been on for almost six years. In the winter, I dated casually. In the spring, I started training and ran my first 5k Race. This summer I’m moving into my own apartment. 

The statement you probably want to know the most about is the one regarding my antidepressant. That’s not really what I want to focus on with this post, so I’ll just give you a brief overview: It was easier than I thought. I had withdrawals. Here and there I would have headaches, lethargy, a deep reluctance to get out of bed on grey mornings, and unexplained crying spells cured only by a long hug. Some days could only be explained by calling them Numb Days – days when it was like I forgot how to be alive and all I wanted to do was lie in bed – not cry or sleep, but just lie there. I usually ended up calling Andrea and after twenty minutes of trying to explain myself and crying, she helped me feel like a human again. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

Eventually things got better. My body re-acclimated to its normal bupropion-free state. I started to feel like myself again. It was like the drug had been muting my life. It’s so cliche, but it was like my life had color again. Like I started seeing through the Hefe filter after using only Willow for six years.

All is grey.

Willow: All is grey.

I don’t think I did much self-examination while I was on antidepressants. I was afraid of negative feelings. If I never felt sad, I never had to acknowledge the bad parts of my life. I existed in a bubble of false contentedness. By never truly going through lows, I saved myself from feeling guilt, sorrow, and anger. But I also didn’t experience the bliss of good days. Everything was dulled. 

WUT. Calla Lilies are the color of humid summer sunsets?

Hefe: You mean calla lilies are the color of humid summer sunsets?!

After getting through my first winter without an antidepressant, I’m confident I can get through whatever life throws at me. I’m not advocating that anyone who is on antidepressants (or any other medication) should just stop taking them. I did it with my doctor’s help. I told my family and close friends so I had a support system in place. Though it was sometimes hard, I became more self-aware. I saw how my actions affected my mood, my health, and my relationships.

I guess you could say I commemorated by rediscovery of a vibrant life by tattooing “Everything is blooming” on my wrist. It’s not, as one friend teases, shameless advertising for my blog. It’s a mantra. Sometimes I forget about it. Some days I’m crabby without good reason. Other days I think the world is terrible and humans are jerks. But most days I’m pleased with my life – the shadows as much as the highlights.

…now that I’ve completely focused on what I didn’t want to focus on, I’ll just leave this post. Expect my original idea on Five Ways to Effectively Disappoint People tomorrow.

Saturday’s Overdose on Vitamin D

Two beautiful things happened yesterday.

The temperature rose above 50.

And I had the day off.

After a busy and stressful week at work, I had actually planned on going into the office on Saturday morning to get a head start on a few things, but then I saw the weekend forecast and the concept repulsed me.

Found this sweater last fall and decided it's the most perfect piece of clothing I'll ever find.

Found this sweater last fall and decided it’s the most perfect piece of clothing I’ll ever find.

I ended up spending most of the day outside. I started the morning with a 3mi run along the river and through a hilly neighborhood. After showering, I cleaned my room, put on a slouchy spring outfit, and walked downtown to grab some lunch. I had the idea of getting some kind of spicy thai noodles, but the restaurant was closed. I ended up getting a gyro, parking myself on a park bench, and inhaling the thing in the most unlady-like fashion.

I don’t know if it was the sunshine, the lush sounds of Lana Del Rey in my earbuds, or the flavor clash of spicy gyro meat and cucumber sauce, but I was filled with a sense of total contentedness. My sense of hope was renewed. Life seemed beautiful again. The shreiking trio of middle schoolers in the pavilion didn’t annoy me. I wasn’t filled with jealous rage directed at the couple having an engagement shoot near the fountain. And I wasn’t even bothered when a wedding party showed up, the bride glowing with a slap-happy groom traipsing alongside.

I've never seen it advertised, but I think the serving size for gyros is ONLY ONE A MONTH, FATTY.

I’ve never seen it advertised, but I think the serving size for gyros is ONLY ONE A MONTH, FATTY.

I woke up this morning with stiff legs and messy hair, pleased to see that I have another day of beautiful weather ahead of me. I baked some scones (banana, peanut butter, and blueberry/chocolate chip) and I’m planning on returning to the park with a thermos of tea and Flannery O’Connor’s short stories.

April Snow Brings Carb Binges

I’ve been going through a mild depression. I’ve really only noticed it over the last week or so, while the weather has been exceedingly shitty, even for Wisconsin. You think that we’d have this figured out by now: spring doesn’t really happen till the first week in May. Yet as soon as April comes around, we all expect lush grass to replace the dingy snow. And then when it doesn’t, we complain. Each time snow is forecasted, our rants get louder and more dramatic.  “It’s snowing again? It’s halfway through April for crying out loud!” “It’s a beautiful winter we’re having this spring, isn’t it?”

Even though I know my spring will only last about two weeks before turning into a sticky summer, it’s still frustrating that I’m stuck inside watching the grass get coated in a wet snow again. It seems hopeless.

You are drunk, Spring. GO HOME.

You are drunk, Spring. GO HOME.

I’ve been working a lot lately. Between trying to get caught up at work and saving money for my new place in June, work has just about consumed my life. For the most part, I enjoy my job and my coworkers. But between working 10-hour days and working out nearly everyday, by the time I get home, I’m too exhausted to do much of anything. So I usually just shower and fall asleep reading, annoyed with anyone who has the balls to reach out to me and say hi. It’s not very conducive to forming friendships or relationships. My friendships have dwindled to the small handful who are tolerant of my absentminded selfishness. My love life has all but vanished. I spent Friday night on the couch with blankets and Hulu. Saturday was spent at the office, then stubbornly watching four hours of The Killing when I really should have just taken a nap. I reached out to a few friends from college, trying to fool myself into thinking I’d actually go out. I knew that I would just end up in bed by 9, asleep by 9:30. I was right.

I’m not sure why my depressed and antisocial behavior feeds itself. It’s turned into a beast I don’t really know how to tame. I’ve always required a certain amount of alone time, but I feel like that’s all my life has become. The transition of college to work is harder than I anticipated. In college, there are new people to talk with every hour and your schedule varies each day of the week. But working is the same all day everyday, and even if I do like my coworkers, I need to talk with other people.

I think really, I’m just feeling sorry for myself while the weather continues to suck. The forecast should just read SHITTY TILL IT’S NO LONGER SHITTY. But instead, they go through the trouble of describing the shittiness.

Completely unnecessary

Completely unnecessary, Accuweather.

I don’t really care that it’s supposed to be in the 50s. It’s still shitty and I’m going to blame my terrible mood and uncontrollable urge to shovel carbs into my mouth on it. Today I made two loaves of french bread, rice crispie treats, cake batter cookies, and I’m probably having spaghetti for dinner. An all-carb diet is good for the soul, right? I think what I need is a crazy night out with friends. I need to feel wild and free and like I’m stunning, beautiful, and constantly witty. The right amount of alcohol does that, and with any luck, I’ll find that next weekend. Until then, I’ll probably just keep reading and wasting time on Pinterest.