Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inconsistency seems to be one of my strong points.

I've moved. Again. Pittsburgh official.

Worked my way through Anthony's and saved up enough to drive a twenty-four foot moving truck through the eastern end of Appalachia. Maryland to Indiana to Pittsburgh. I listened to country radio the whole way up and teared up several times. Whether it was songs I hadn't heard since I was nine years old in the backseat of a minivan or the fact that I was finally going somewhere, my eyes didn't stay dry too long. I felt so proud and free and excited. I stopped on a hill in rural western PA and had a picnic of an apple, some cheese and fresh basil and realized that I could do whatever I wanted in that moment.

Moving in took about forty-five minutes total. I'm a lucky gal: after driving two hundred plus miles I showed up to 8 dudes and various friends helping me unload everything I own. I remembered that this is why I love Pennsylvania. The sense of community here is so strong--created by a shared understanding of what people are to do for each other. Factory workers' sons and farmers' daughters have created this city, and the background is obvious every time I walk down the street. Bloomfield is a neighborhood smack in the middle of the city. On a clear night, you can see downtown from my window.

I got a job through my roommate slinging pizza a few days a week not long after I moved in. The job was easy, and enjoyable for the most part. It wasn't anything more than a kitchen built in an extra room of a warehouse but I got to throw dough a few hours a day and watch cable when we weren't busy. I kept filling out applications up and down Liberty Avenue and finally got a call back from a Pub called Silky's. When I went in for my interview, I pinned up my hair and dressed business casual hoping to impress the important chef I was going to meet. When I got there, I was called to the door of the kitchen and talked to Dora about my experience as he made bacon for the day. I spent about six months there, learning a lot and running my ass up and down a steep flight of stairs to fetch backups and refills from our walk-ins and freezers. As much as I enjoyed working in a busy city kitchen, I knew that there wasn't a lot more I would be able to learn and it didn't seem like the management was open to advancement for young girls who like to make sandwiches.

I met Chef Mike on my block, where he'd sit outside his restaurant when he had a free moment. We struck up a conversation about the industry. He complained about freshoutofculinaryschool kids not knowing now to put down a decent score and I believe my exact words were "I've never made hollandaise, but I'm a beast on the line." He ended up giving my name to Chef Len at Lot 17 and I got hired there right before Christmas. The kitchen isn't gourmet by any means, but it's a pretty tight crew that knows what they're doing and I'm learning something every day. I'm glad that I've taken my culinary education on myself. I'm continually buying new cookbooks and trying out recipes. I made paella a few months ago and it turned out perfectly--it may be the best dish I've ever made. I failed to get a picture of it but I think I want to serve it at my wedding.

Meanwhile, I met a fella. His name is Jarrett Richard Butler. He's a cowboy that rides a bike and drinks whiskey straight and wears bandanas and calls me darlin. We started going out in November and I fell for him, hard. I didn't even realize it at the time, but we clicked immediatley. It was like we spoke the same language. I feel lucky to be with him... It's the kind of love I spent years creating and hoping against hope was actually real. And now I have it, every day.

So that's it for now, I suppose. Cooking and being in love with everything and waking up smiling. This morning I made french toast with Italian bread, freshly ground nutmeg, and strawberries. I'm babysitting a husky this afternoon and might sew a skirt. Risking hubris, this is the happiest I've ever been.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Inspired by Randymommy

I love...
secret handshakes. men in white undershirts. America. Glacier Park. Indiana summers. freshly shaved legs on freshly cleaned sheets. taking your shoes off after being on your feet all day. Bill Pullman's Independence Day speech. the 4th of July. tomato sandwiches. ranch. sweet baby ray's barbeque sauce. old bay (tastes like childhood). "God Be With You Til We Meet Again." "Battle Hymn of the Republic." putting out sexy plates. fresh herbs. menthol cigarettes in the summertime. my three hour marinara sauce. dueling banjos. pinky swears. nicknames. realizing you've been reading for hours on end. new office supplies. throwing things in the kitchen. little girls dressed up as princesses on non-occasions. lake swimming. Irish accents. crab feasts. Wikipedia. Calvin and Hobbes. Blink182. Dinosaurs. the Air and Space museum. sleeping with the windows open in the summertime. really good steak. knuckle tats at parties. kitchen slang. building fires. summer thunderstorms at night. not wearing a bra. talking about drugs. the phrase "titties til tuesday." dock drinking. sweet potato fries. Beauty and the Beast. chivalrous young men. people who swear well. bandanas. high fives over getting laid. The Blue Album. going barefoot. really sharp knives. fresh produce. industrial parts of town. tobacco barns. dandelion jewelry. collective party recollection the morning after. making lists. fresh lemonade. graduation ceremonies. walking into a party crowded with your friends. aviator glasses. etymology. being a big sister. orson scott card. the anticipation you feel when you're getting ready for a big night. theme parties. trivial pursuit. my dogs. walt whitman. e.e. cummings. planning halloween costumes months in advance. rope swings. guns. driving pickup trucks. winking at handsome strangers. "Irish Party in Third Class." watching a cute boy play the drums. cooking dinner for the whole family.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

snowed in bramblings.

Heading up to Indiana in a few days for a weekend retreat. I'm excited to see everyone, so much so that I'm getting impatient and angsty that I'm not there yet. At the same time, I get apprehensive and nervous every time I go back. Maybe it's because the time I spent there was in a constant state of upheaval. Maybe because I get nervous to see old friends and realize that everyone keeps changing every day. I'm happier now than I have been in years, which is obviously a good thing, but I'm not the same girl that everyone knew and finding out if new me will like old friends just as much scares me. It's almost as if this huge production that seems to happen every time I visit is, while flattering and endearing, a little over the top. I want to be around often enough that there isn't so much anticipation and planning involved.

Honestly, I'm probably just tired. Had a really (really) busy day at work today and wanted to have some fun tonight but it's almost eleven o'clock and the snow isn't letting up anytime soon, so it's homebodying for me and mine.

I think I spend too much time planning, not enough time doing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

to god's ears

southern maryland is starting to grow on me, slowly. i spend most of my time in a kitchen or with my nose buried in a book, so things can't be that bad. most of the summer was spent bumping around with mike nims, dock drinking and getting into unnecessary scrapes. come colder weather, however, i tend to hibernate and only leave the house for real necessities like going to work and to buy cigarettes.

i've re-decided to go to pittsburgh. as exciting as montana sounds i feel like once i got there i'd end up right where i started in may--lonely and wishing time would pass faster. i had a conversation with heather mcneil when i was still trying to make up my mind about things wherein she gave me the solid advice of fun not being a waste of time. i'm excited to be around all my friendly family and in a city i love. so i'm setting a tentative move-in date of late july or early august. i've been looking around for restaurants i'd like to apply at and there are quite a few that seem very intriguing. i think this move is going to be my grown-up one. i'm planning on settling down there, at least for a few years or until something else comes along. who knows, maybe anthony bourdain will come propose to me and i'll have to move to new york where i'll be sous chef at his new restaurant. can't wait.

i'm getting a lot of enjoyment out of my job. i know that anthony's kitchen isn't making any earth-shatteringly innovations in the world of food, but i more or less have free reign on the kitchen. i can make recipes however i want and put specials on should i feel so inspired. i think it's a good place for me to train, so to speak, for bigger kitchens. i do wish i could go to culinary school but there's something so sexy about actually putting out food that makes me not want to stop, even for a little while.

so i guess that's it. nothing big or exciting down here in the pseudo-south, but i feel like everything's going well. not quite where i want to be on many points but i'm headed the right direction. things are good, i think. hope you're also doing well.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I have realized that drinking beer and smoking cigarettes has made my sinus infection feel better than sitting around waiting for my immune system to kick in in the healthy way does.

i don't know how to feel about this, but my throat doesn't hurt right now so I'm not complaining


i was sick for about a month but only felt it during the daytime because of whiskey

makes sense.

so i figured, two weeks of the flu is about right. no harm, no foul.

Monday, August 24, 2009

salvation lies to the west.

got back today from a week-long sojourn to the west which included two weddings: my sister's and my cousin's. they were in utah and montana, respectively. i enjoyed spending time with my family but i always feel like i'm having some sort of head trip when i go to provo. it's not a lack of culture, but it seems to be a showcase of only one kind, which ends up being the same thing if you live there long enough. all the same, my sister looked beautiful and seemed glowingly happy to be starting her life with her fella so all in all i'd say that was a success.

on friday we drove up to the reservation through the rockies. i sat in the front seat next to my father and had him tell me stories about being a little indian while the sun set on the missiouri river. the further we drove the more i wanted to stay. montana is one of the few places i've been that still seems wild. you can go for hours and hours and not see anything except a few ranches and big country. then it dawned on me: after this year at home, i can go finish school anywhere i want (provided i dazzle them with an essay about why i felt the need to play ladychild for two years instead of finish my schoolin). the university of montana is only four hours away from my father's family on the rez, and my mom will be moving there at the end of this year which means in-state tuition. most of all, i want to go somewhere new without knowing anyone. i've never really struck out all on my own without a person close by to run to when i'm feeling lonely, and i think i need some wild blue yonder to take me out of myself. sit on top of some hills and figure out what shape i want the little pieces of everything i've ever known to be. i feel like i need to get to know my country before i decide to go about changing it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

cabin fever and sojourns.

I'm turning twenty-two in four days. SHIT. Four days. Shit. I know if I read back over old journals to right before/during/after birthdays I always talk about how old I feel but I am legally and legitimately an adult. My sister's getting married this summer, for Christ's sake. But I still feel like I've got a lot more that needs to happen before I can settle myself down. Nothing wrong with that. Here's to hoping.

Laylay has been my saving grace this summer. Amid the borderline cabin fever and frustration at living in a predominately conservative household, she's always there to go on a trip or bitch, respectively. She's turning into a really cool gal, growing up like. I'm really proud of her, actually. I think she's gonna knock a few things that need it on their asses someday. Force to be reckoned with.

No boys, so far. I'm actually really enjoying things this way. Maybe it's because I was with someone for so long, but I remember being really lonely whenever I didn't have a crush or an object of affection but now I'd say I really am satisfied with myself, seulement. Nothing to give to take. Feels like an important step I didn't realize I took.

Oh yes, journeying to Penn's woods this weekend to celebrate my twenty-second year. I'm hoping to drink adult beverages, make googallay eyes at cute boys, swim in a dirty lake, and wear cute dresses. Also hug a bunch of people I hain't seen in too long a while.

Friday, June 05, 2009

3:50 A.M.

right now:
the duchess and the duke
old crow kentucky straight bourbon whiskey
camel menthol lights
lack of schoolwork
ripped and fraying jeans
a plaid fouton and a woven wool blanket

finding new ways to put food together
books books books books
feeding my family
doing dishes
snuggling smokey, the wolfdog
making up summertime clothes
missing home
trying to figure out where that is
excitement for anything out of the ordinary
wanting to hold hands with some boy

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

she'll kiss you 'til your lips bleed

So. I quit smoking. About twenty-eight hours ago. So far it's terrible. I've basically sequestered myself in the house so that I won't be around cigarettes or be tempted by that delicious wall behind the counter at any gas station. I really do want to be done with all the ill effects of smoking (and there are one hell of a lot for an asthmatic with an addictive personality) but goddammit, I like cigarettes. They're tasty and comforting and make you look cool. I don't know what else I'll be able to supplement them with. I've been inhaling cinnamon gum and even got cinnamon toothpaste and that's helped marginally, but now my jaw is sore because I went through about ten sticks of gum today. I also think it's funny that I decided to quit because I went for a run and couldn't breathe and didn't do a lick of exercise today.

I went to lunch today with Troy M. Woodward, Esq. We ate Mexican food and talked about pot and how fucked up his side of the family is. It was actually really nice. He didn't ask me to come back to Jesus once. He also said that he'd help me get a car AND that he needs filing done at the office, which means Ashley gets overpaid under the table.

Going through my old music makes me want to make mixes galore. hopefully they'll get done and put in the mail.
Fuck. My life is reduced to a series of nothings. At least I'm eating well now.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


I moved out and officially disbanded milk house today. I'm on the floor of my mom's living room and I just got my first mosquito bite of the season. There's blood all over my foot.

I spent most of the drive here staring out the window and crying. It's strange; I know I don't want to be in Indiana anymore but at the same time I feel like I'm floundering and taking whatever falls into my lap. I think this summer will be a good one but whenever I come home I feel like I'm put back into fifteen year old Ashley's life with chores and dysfunction and no place to go.

I have a feeling that I'm going to be on the internet a lot more than I would readily admit this summer, as it's available and I've grown to dislike watching television. So, I guess I'm saying I'll see you around.