Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Signing Off on 2008

Much like my boss signs off on my expense report (which usually includes a cup of Starbucks as breakfast) I am signing off on 2008. In my industry- we're pretty much done with our year by the middle of December and the Holidays are a good time to take a much needed break. I've had to stumble into the office for a little while, but for the most part, I am signing off until the New Year. I'll be spending most of my time frantically getting Christmas presents bought, wrapped and enjoying time at home with Cole & Joey. I'll also spend some much needed time with God reflecting on this crazy year. There are also a stack of books screaming to be read.

I have to say I'm glad that 2008 is soon to be in my rear view mirror. Hopefully, I won't look back. In case you are just now tuning in, I began 2008 knowing I was headed for a divorce and the road this year has been a rocky one. My amazing Dad, who was married before he and my mother married some 37 years ago, told me that my divorce would probably be the hardest thing I ever did. As usual, he was right. While my theme for 2008 might have been Bitter Party of One..2009 will be a much more positive.

So to summarize in 2008. I sad goodbye to Will. I got over bitter. I got mad and totally channeled that energy into some pretty cool home improvements and weight loss. I've navigated the beginning of the terrible 2's, and single working mommy world. Survived another merger/acquisition on the professional front. Completed 14 new retail stores for my client and signed on all of my 2009 deals. I've made some amazing new friends, met a marketing boy, and let some really cool people into mine and Cole's life. I said goodbye to Tobie. I adopted Joey. I saw my big brother get married. I supported friends through their journey. I started running. I started Blogging. I started accepting help from people. I grew as a person and in my Faith. I cried a lot but, all in all I laughed much more.

I started this Blog as an outlet for the random thoughts in my crazy head. It's been therapeutic for me. A very real documentary of my journey. I have to thank all of you who read and comment. Some of them publicly on the blog, but I get many emails of encouragement that are much more private. I've been amazed at the notes I've received from people I've never met who have been where I'm at or are contemplating it and thank me for just putting it out there. I'm not a woman with many secrets. If I have a thought- you'll generally know what I'm thinking so blogging has been really natural for me. I think my favorite notes have been : "no pressure but keep the blog posts coming.."

I brought in 2008 fearful and alone with a case of strep throat, a bottle of champagne, and a lot of Wii ( I think I made the pro level that night in Tennis) Two NyQuil capsules later I woke up to 2008 and in addition to strep throat I had pink eye so my eyes were swollen shut. It took me a couple of days to get them open again, but they have been wide open all year long. I finally saw that I'm much stronger than I give myself credit for. I saw that though I didn't feel worthy of it, God never left me this year. He showed me the way and brought really amazing people into my life who have helped & supported me. The past months & my ex's actions have shown me that I absolutely made the right decision in walking away from my marriage. I felt more alone in that relationship than I have ever felt out of it. I hope he feels less alone too.

So if 2008 was a year of bitterness and fear. I'm vowing to make 2009 a year of Hope and New Beginnings. I am hopeful that Cole will continue to thrive, that I'll find the next step in my career path, and that I'll continue on my meandering soul journey. I'm also hopeful that I'll run a 1/2 marathon, finally take a guitar lesson, channel some of my writing energy into actually starting the book that's in my head, continue to build on the new relationships that have been brought to me this year, travel more, worry less, and be okay with not always being okay.

I have no idea what's in store for me. I only know that Cole and I made it through this year and I feel like my little man and I can make it through anything. We have a pretty amazing supporting cast & now have a new sidekick in Joey to join us on the roller coaster that is our life. I didn't get around to Christmas Cards this year (shocking I know) so I hope this post finds you and yours at Peace and that you have a moment to think about the true meaning of Christmas and to be thankful for all that 2008 showed us and hopeful that 2009 will rock!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Addition

Big news everyone. Really big news... There's a little one involved..Just kidding...pick your jaw up off the floor...No worries on the baby front.

I've adopted a companion for Cole & I. She is so sweet and clearly has good genes on her side. She has freckles like me, some red coloring (which is always a good thing) and she's really smart. She's been a little shy and slow to warm up- but baby steps are being made everyday.

I have so named her.. Josephine Drury Peterson. But we'll call her Joey. She already has her own theme song.. "Joey" by the infamous Concrete Blondes. So when she's upset me I can bust out in song with "'re driving me crazy.." it's awesome.

After I adopted Joey (who is an Australian Shepard if you're wondering) I told my Dad and his response was " I knew you wouldn't go too long without a dog.." He was right. I'm a sucker for the dog. I think I lasted about a month.. and really wasn't planning on getting a dog so quickly, but she was everything I was looking for. I had narrowed it down to three breeds really: Golden Retriever, Australian Shepard, & Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I wanted an older puppy,close to a year in age, because I knew I didn't have time for the itty bitty puppy craziness. Cole and I had tagged along with a friend to visit a breeder and I was instantly taken with Joey who they were calling Tapp. She was extremely concerned about Cole. She just watched him... she'd slowly start to make her way toward him and then back off. I'd done quite a bit of research on Aussies and knew that the females often began being the keepers of small children. I loved her temperament, her coloring, and it felt right. The breeder explained that another lady was interested and had submitted some samples of Joey's DNA for testing because she had plans to breed Joey. Someone else was 1st in line for my dog. The nerve! I wouldn't know until Thursday of the following week if I could have her. It was fairly nerve racking,but told myself if it's meant to be- it will be. I prayed. Stressed a little bit and was my usual persistent (bordering on obnoxious self). Obviously Joey is part of the family now. She's really part of Cole's Christmas and he's really concerned about her. "Mommy..Joey?" He wants SO badly to play with her but I'm encouraging him to give Joey plenty of space.. She's not completely out of her shell yet.

I feel slightly guilty as I am usually an advocate for rescuing a dog and this is my first actual dog "purchase." There are so many dogs in shelters who need good homes, but with a little one around- I guess I wanted to know what sort of temperament I was going to get. I guess in a way I did rescue Joey from being bred herself? That's what I'll keep telling myself. But please welcome Joey to the cast of characters in mine & Cole's crazy life!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I knew I could...

OK so I didn't know I could..but after Friday night when I plowed thru 4.5 miles and felt like I could run another 1/2 a mile with no worries- I felt a little more at ease.

Saturday night I was good and opted for Crab Cakes instead of a steak, only ate one of the cakes, two martini's (liquid courage is awesome) and I was out of the restaurant by 10pm and in bed by 11pm resting up for the race Sunday morning. Race day child care was a little stressful.. Cole's Dad was going to take him for the entire day, but wanted me to drive 1/2 an hour north before the race (which was downtown) on Sunday and bad communication put me in a pickle. So once again, my amazing friend helped me out and opened her door at 6:30am for me to drop off a very confused toddler. "Mommy -No! I sleep" he protested as I jostled him out of bed. There was no Good Morning sunshine to be found. When he saw Ms Rhonda in her PJs I think he knew he had it made.

So off we went to the race. I have to give kudos to the folks who organize the White Rock Marathon. With over 30,000 participants it was extremely well done. Lots of bands playing along the way. The residents of the Lakewood Community and around White Rock stood out in their yards handing out orange slices, holding banners and cheering runners on. I had five people to share 26 miles with. What amazed me on my run were the runners doing the full 26miles on their own. It wasn't glamorous. It was, instead, a mental and physical battle for them. Along the route you could see people yakking, stopping to relieve themselves in the bushes, stretching out muscle cramps, stopping to walk, and tend to injuries and sadly some of the runners were just passed out.

It was nothing like what I pictured in my mind of all of these extremely fit people sprinting through 26miles. It was brutal. A very real battle of the body and mind. One of my teammates summed it up best when he said " Running isn't a glamorous sport.. today we're all just humans..." It was very human. Nothing extremely vain about sweat, stank, and bodily functions. But what amazed me as a battled through my own five miles running into the 35mph winds.. when you're out there it's all about finishing what you started. Setting an objective for yourself and committing to finish. The rest of it being aches and pains, the elements, the course and the other runners, well it just becomes road kill as you plow on through. I never looked back as I ran and didn't notice any of my fellow runners looking back either. How awesome would our life journey be if we could all just keep looking forward in our run and not look back at the carnage & mistakes behind us. I thought about this a lot during my five miles. I spend way too much time in life looking back and wondering if I could have done something differently rather than focusing on the next mile marker.

As I rounded a corner and saw the mile 13 marker, I must confess that somewhere in my mind I thought I should be coming up on mile 14, and just when I started to feel a little defeated there was a lady holding up a sign.. Yes, it might have been a little cheesy, but as I read did give me a little warm fuzzy. It said " Tough times never last- but tough people do.." Chew on that for a while.. I'm chewing on whether or not I should train for a 1/2 marathon or hang up the running shoes for anything more than a leisurely run and fitness for the time being. Here are my team's race results:

overall place : 380 of 757 teams
Pace: 10:14 mile
time: 4:27:58

*please note that this results are a little off..we lost about 5minutes of run time in the hand off between runners at the 2nd exchange point & it was 4:44 before our first runner got to cross the start line* I'd say we did a little better than a 10:00 mile. I'll take it. Holla!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I think I can..

I'm just going to be completely honest and ask for prayers, good vibes, and general happy thoughts for me on Sunday morning. I'm running the 5 person relay at for the Dallas "Run the Rock" marathon craziness. Shout out to my friend Christina who is actually going to run the full marathon.. you go girl!

So I only have to run five miles.. and I can run five miles. I haven't been doing a great deal of five mile runs here lately and I have to admit I'm a little concerned about this five mile craziness for several reasons:

  1. There are four other people on my team..they are all runners. Good ones and I'm not so great. I'm going to bring the average way down.
  2. I'm insanely competitive and don't like to be "not so great"
  3. Day light savings time and crazy winds have been messing with my running mojo and running on a treadmill makes me feel like a little rat in a wheel so my running time has been greatly decreased lately. So I haven't been running to become better than "not so great" Oh and I also have the excuse of a vile stomach plague too...
  4. If I totally suck and I'm the only one effected that's one thing- but there are 4 other people who probably won't suck and I'll feel really bad if I let them down
  5. Did I mention the insanely competitive part?

Yeah, I'm a little stressed. But I have a plan. I'm going to get some good rest this weekend. I will not stay out late and get tipsy with my girlfriends Saturday night for our annual Christmas dinner. (OK just slightly tipsy but I'm leaving the restaurant by 10pm come hell or high water) I'm going to run tonight... I'll rest tomorrow and Sunday morning I'll have a Jamba Juice with the energy boost..crank my iPod with bitter chick music that keeps be going, breath deep and plod through five miles the best way I can. Hopefully there won't be a whole lot of old people passing me because that makes me feel like a huge loser...but it does motivate me to run faster.

So there it is. A blog confession of fear. On Monday there may be a pic of me crawling that last mile posted on my blog... or I could run my fastest mile ever..who knows? Guess you'll have to tune in Monday to find out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Everything's Broken

Are all of the broken things in my life symbolic of me as a person? Just kidding with this were starting to worry weren't you? Ashley's sad again here comes another blog post of her going on and on about how broken she is.

Actually everything is broken in my life. My faithful Volkswagen is getting old and becoming not so faithful. I was driving down the highway the other day when across my driver's console flashed "STOP!" (with a loud beep of course) "Brake Failure" Service Manual!" Seriously.. all of that while cruising 70 mph down the highway. That'll make you pee your pants. Of course, the service manual wasn't of any help. Luckily one of my gal pals turned me on to a good mechanic who is honest and tells it like it is. I need new breaks and my pads are the brake fluid got low.. and caused the "STOP you crazy idiot" message from my faithful car. That's what I get for not buying a GM product. My Dad worked for Chevy for 40+ years and until I bought my Volkswagen I'd never driven anything BUT a GM product. Every time I call my Dad about something wrong with my car I can almost hear the snicker in his voice. "Ash you've got 95,000 miles on a Volkswagen...Really?" He says...

So my oven is possessed as well. When cooking anything, depending on my oven's mood, F1 or F2 flashes and it makes this horrible beeping noise. I sometimes get convinced that machines develop a mind of their own..Like my oven is secretly screaming at me.."you want to bake something well F U 1" or "oh, you think you want to broil something well F u 2" Truly the oven is telling me it's okay not to cook. So I called the GE service man and he advised me that my oven is just older than dirt and they don't even make the control panel for it anymore... so it'll cost you $800 for a new oven and have a nice day... Awesome.

That leads me to my roof..(though not currently leaking) got trashed in all the hail storms last spring. The insurance man has been to look at it, cut me a check for my depreciated roof and left me to get bids for a new roof. Why do roofing guys give me the creeps? It's like they all but say they are going to commit insurance fraud with all of their "we'll absorb your deductible" mambo jumbo. Do I look that stupid? Maybe I do, I don't know..but it just puts me in a foul mood to talk to one so I guess I'll wait for it to start actually leaking.

Lets move on to my fence that's falling down... I just need to the wind to blow really hard and I'm sure it'll blow away too. Nice!

Thankfully, my Dad was able to replace the several bricks that had to be removed from the back of my house when Marketing Boy & I tried to fix the water hose hookey up thingy and broke the pipe off in the wall. So that one only set me back a small fortune in after hours plumbing costs...but I totally saved on hiring someone for the masonry work!!

I also have a peculiar wet spot in the middle of my back a pipe burst underground or something and there's a crazy mud pool in the middle of the yard..not near the house or anything. I'm sure a small moat is inevitable.

For the grand finale-my laptop . The piece of crap. I boot up this morning only to get this long "beeeeeepppp" and another stupid blue screen. Luckily a different blue screen than the "blue screen of death" I got when my last laptop crashed. I've backed up all my work.. so lightening can go ahead and strike- let's just hope said lightening strike takes out ALL of the re-imaged laptops in my office. Good grief. Somebody get me a Mac already.

So with all of these broken things in my life.. I really am broke myself. Broke in the financial sense. It's going to be a long, cold, lonely winter with no money for shopping...which reminds me I have to cut a check for my $178.00 speeding ticket before they haul my broke *ss to jail.

Maybe if fix all of these things..I'll feel fixed too. Thank God for coffee and Mommy Juice.

Monday, December 8, 2008


hab⋅i⋅tat/ˈhæbɪˌtæt/ [hab-i-tat] –noun
1.the natural environment of an organism; place that is natural for the life and growth of an organism: a tropical habitat. 2.the place where a person or thing is usually found. Paris is a major habitat of artists. 3.a special environment for living in over an extended period, as an underwater research vessel. .

I often say that if my house isn't together- I'm not together. Hello my name is Ashley and I am a neat freak. I've mellowed greatly since having a two year old- but for the most part I can't stand dishes in the sink, crap everywhere, and I try to keep things tiddy. It totally messes with my world if a bed isn't made or things are amuck. I'll revert to doing a mad dash through an airport before I'll leave my house in disarray. I have issues.. I know...I can't help it. My most efficient helper in my life as a single mom is my housekeeper who I affectionately call "Poppins" who comes in twice a month and on those weeks I'm in a noticeably better mood. I'd give up a lot of things in my budget before I'd give up this luxury...When I'm at home, after Cole is asleep.. I don't sit down on the couch and zone out. I putter. I pick things up...I fold laundry..I wander looking for something to do. I can putter picking things up for's my thing. When I'm stressed you'll generally find me with bleach and a tooth brush scrubbing's not normal. The day before I had Cole I washed every window on my house and cleaned my air purifier with a q-tip. I have issues.

As I look around, if you looked at my office right now- you wouldn't guess that I'm a neat freak..there are market maps, piles of paper everywhere, a coffee cup, my water mug, a blackberry here, a financial calculator's kind of scary. You might actually wonder by looking at my office if I had a handle on my life... but this isn't my Habitat. This is where I land to do my's not what keeps me centered.

I have a great deal of sweat equity in my house. When I bought it- I was certain that Rainbow Bright had vomited there and then moved on the greener pastures. It was hideous..but the price was right, the floor plan was awesome, and so I bought it. It's been painted floor to ceiling, bathrooms re-done, granite installed,and six years later I finally have it about how I want it. I'll probably sell before Cole goes to school as there are too many memories associated with it, but it's my home and I am a firm believer that in today's world our homes should be our sanctuaries..The place where we can land and relax, get our love cups filled up by the people and animals who reside with us, and gather the strength to go out and do it all again the next day.

I thought about this as I was scrolling through some pictures that I had on my Blackberry and found a picture that I had snapped at a recent Habitat for Humanity build that I had the pleasure of being involved with. My church does a great job partnering with this organization and we usually send out a team of folks to work on several Habitat projects per year. I like to work on one right before Thanksgiving as I find that it puts me in the right frame of mind for the Holidays. We were working one of the last weekends on the house- so it was a lot of laying sod, and detail trim painting- but as the family worked with us.. I asked if they were going to be able to be in the house in time for the Holidays. They should have moved in this past weekend. How awesome is it that they will get to spend the Holidays in their new home-one that they helped build. I was moved again as I stumbled onto the picture on my Blackberry this morning trying to find some space for yet another Cole pic.

We all need a soft place to land.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Tree is Up!

So I got the Tree up. Woo hoo! It was major thing I'd been avoiding..but I poured myself some Mommy Juice... handed Cole the lights..cranked the Christmas carols and two hours later I had a tree up, lit, and standing somewhat erect. Yes, the star is a little off and the lights aren't great- but I had a two year old helper. The fact that he didn't shock or strangle himself on Christmas lights is amazing.

For the first time in six (6) years the tree is all about me and Cole. It sort of rocked. My childhood special handbag ornaments (I had a handbag issue before I had a kid and became broke) all of my Eiffel Tower ornaments..I bought a couple of new sassy chick ornaments.. There are, of course, the Cole ornaments and this year I bought him a new choo choo ornament that he put on the tree and then he promptly yanked it off. He also got tangled up in my "bead" tinsel. The whole experience wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be and when we were done I took him outside and let him see the tree lit up in my dining room window. He said "Mommy wow!!" and we were pretty proud of our accomplishment. Above is the crappy picture taken from my Blackberry Curve.

Who is Marketing Boy?

Some of you have asked... so let me try to explain that relationship..or maybe you'll have to wait. Here's his pic:
Ok I have downed my take out salad. Back to work for me. Holla!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I survived..and I'm thankful

So I survived my first Thanksgiving post divorce. I got down the Christmas tree and the ornaments.. yes they are still sort of scattered around the front half of my house but hey..progress was made. This year is all about new traditions and new memories and so I found myself spending Thanksgiving with Marketing Boy and his family. It's nice to spend time with someone who gets where you are and is okay with it. While I love my family it was hard to explain this concept to them. I tried by just saying " Let me figure out how to get through this first Holiday season. I've always been there and done my part, but this year I need my space." So they rallied and were supportive and Cole and I spent Thanksgiving night with them and stayed through breakfast the following morning.

The Plague
It was shortly after that- when the plague hit us. We'd seen Marketing Boy's kids become stricken and just written it off as food poisoning, but when the plague came knocking on our door it was brutal. Projectile vomit from a two year old cruising down I-35 isn't fun. A Saturday, Sunday & partial Monday spent thinking the end was near wasn't very fun for me either- but I weighed in this morning and the good news is I've made my goal weight loss before the Holiday season. Woo hoo! I found the entire process very cleansing..literally...

The moral of the story is beware people..there is a nasty stomach virus lurching around so keep your homes stocked with Sprite and Ginger Ale and lots of antibacterial cleaning products. You'll thank me when the green monster comes knocking on your door.

Transforming Thoughts
I took last week off to spend some time with the C Monster, catch up with some friends, and just sort of give myself a break. I hadn't had a week off yet this year? So it was good. A lot of soul searching. A lot of thinking and a few moments of giving myself permission to not be okay. Will came to collect Tobie, which was painful. He chose not to see his son during the Holiday,which was also painful, but here's where I am at: It's not my fault and there's nothing I can do about it other than what I've already done and that's surround my son with the best possible people I can. No, his Dad chose not to see him, but I had friends who did want to see him and by Wednesday the Wahlstedts were in Cole withdrawal and needed to have lunch to get a Cole fix. I'm lucky. Cole is a lucky boy. Sometimes we have to get over the fact that love and support doesn't come from the people we think it should. I'm learning to accept it where I find it and to quit asking questions or having expectations.

I stumbled into Church on Sunday a little late, and too stubborn to admit I was still feeling sick and heard the message. It was a good one about accepting that where we are on our Soul Journey is exactly where we should be. To accept the twists and turns, the delays, and the shortcomings because at the end, the divine detour of life sometimes leads to a divine appointment. I pondered this while trying not to hurl: this year has felt like I've done nothing but Crazy 8's in my journey... but here I am.. apparently exactly where I should be. I remembered that this time last year I had given myself a very real timeline for determining my next step in life. Stay in my marriage or walk away. Look how far I've come? It's been painful and hard, but I'm exactly where I should be and what if this Divine detour or delay is leading me to something great?

I've gotten past the plague and this morning I woke up tired, but I think I've shaken off feeling blue. There are 29 days left in 2008....I'm going to enjoy the Holiday season and be thankful. I find myself thinking 2009 has got to be good to me.