WHY can’t I just have my dinner.

The meeting is about to start.  I just get Grandma and myself inside, after having run from the last meeting, just before the gavel sounds.  To my delight, the meeting has, I guess, about 100 attendees.  Maybe more!

To my chagrin, I see once we walk in, several people have saved a place for Grandma and me up front – front row, near the doors to the gymnasium.  While that helps me direct her without having to fight obstacles, that means we are already, and still, somehow a focus of this effort.  I do realize I’ve been the most vocal leading up to this point, but I’ve become quiet in the discourse, hoping I would be replaced in the fight.


I sit down with Grandma, and I turn my back to the crowd and push my shoulder against hers to create a sort of wall.  People are trying to quietly speak with us here and there, almost cheer us on.  On occasion, I turn my head just a little and throw a head nod to one of the elder ladies adjacent to us in order to show some level of courtesy and acknowledgment, then I turn back to the stage.


Grandma tells me to pull out the big tray of black and white cookies, that we can have them here.  I am a little excited, imagining the swirl cookies that are one of my favorites.  She says the black and whites are good, aren’t they?  I nod, but am actually sad.  I only had a “black and white” once, after Holly told me they are amazing.  They aren’t.  I was sad I was wrong about the pinwheel cookies.  I remember to thank God for a second that maybe he’s sparing me from indulging.

I pull a rotisserie chicken out of my tote bag, and my favorite yellow stoneware round dish (the one Momma Bull bought me).  I begin carving the chicken so Grandma and I have food at intermission.  I want to take care of us, and to give us healthy food for dinner.  The meeting started early and will run late.

After I get the breasts and a leg carved off, Grandma takes the plate and turns to hand it to the elder lady adjacent to us – who is excitedly and eagerly awaiting.

I try to physically turn Grandma back around, and I hiss at her, “I’m not finished carving, and that is just for us.” She starts to turn back to Beulah again, and I turn Grandma back toward our tiny table again, and again hiss, “Grandma, I’m not finished carving, and that is just for us.”  She says “Oh!” and then waits patiently.  As I’m putting the last piece of chicken on the plate that I’m going to, she reaches for the plate again and is already positioning herself to turn in her seat.

I lunge and clutch the plate.  “Grandma! I told you–”

She interjects, “–that you weren’t finished cutting yet.”

I interject, “Yes, after I said that several times, you heard that.  How many times did I have to say that it is just for us before you heard me?”

Grandma settles into her chair, “Oh.”  She softens, and she seems very OK that I have prioritized taking care of us.  I explain that I cannot feed this room full of people, and in this instance, it was not my calling to.  Each of us knew about this meeting, and it’s length.  And every person knows his and her own needs to be taken care of.  Most importantly, every person here has the ability to provide for themselves, or everyone could have brought a different dish that we all share.  Simply because I am the only one to bring dinner does not mean that I must also provide everyone else’s.

The nice, older gentleman – Todd – leading our group in the meeting stands to say he’s going to order pizza, as it’s intermission.  Suddenly a swarm of people, about 20, come and encircle Grandma’s and my tiny table, standing and awaiting being able to reach for our dinner.  Then I realize Todd is gone.  Grandma says he went to order the pizzas, on a phone by the door.

I get up and run to Todd, hoping he’s taken a hand-count of how many people want pizza and how much.  I tell him that Grandma and I would each like one slice.  He asks what kind we each want.  I feel puzzled that we have options – what if every person gave an order with the exact toppings they wanted?  I tell him we are agreeable.  He asks how we want our crusts.  What?! Ummm, we are agreeable.  Low maintenance.  We’ll eat whatever.  He happily and chirpily bounces back to ordering on the phone.

I go back to our table, and all the food is gone except for one giant chicken breast, one tiny Chinese dumpling (which I had forgotten that I had cooked and brought), and two black and whites.  Other than the fact I don’t like chicken breast, the plate seemed like a full dinner for one.  Grandma says she had eaten her dinner and was full, and that what is on the plate is all that is left.  She leaves to socialize with Beulah.


I am angry that I left for only a few moments to tell Todd that we’d buy a couple slices of pizza, and all these entitled people picked apart the dinner.  In my anger, though, I still feel blessed that any food is left for Grandma and me.


Grandma is giving me a notion that I need to pray over my food, so I lower my head, and do not take my eyes off of the plate.  I start to count in my head.  One – two – three – four – five – six – wait.  I’m not praying.  I’m counting.  So I try to close my eyes, and I begin to pray.  Dear Lord, please, bless this food.  Please bless my body, use this food to restore my health… I squint my eyes open, and see the 10 or so people left, entitled, hovering over me and this plate of food, and that they are eager to grab at it.  I am absolutely livid.  I wrap my prayer up instantly, realizing I’m going to lose my dinner if I don’t keep a hawk eye on it. I am so mad that I cannot take enough time to even pray without strangers snatching away my food.

I begin to eat, and a guy my age whom I know (but in real life, I don’t, he’s an actor on Modern Family who plays a happy-go-lucky, quirky, in-love nanny) dives into Grandma’s seat next to me and reaches for my plate.

I smack his hand and say, “That is mine!”  He withdraws his hand and looks a little shamed, and I feel bad that I’m making him feel bad.  I put my arms around him and squeeze, and say, “Hey, let me explain my reaction.  Do you want to hear some psychobabble?”

TRESemme wants you to #ReverseYourRoutine

The TRESemme Reverse Conditioner and Shampoo kind of shocked me. Influenster sent it to me to review, and I was not at all expecting something that you use conditioner first and shampoo last! In 36 years, I had never heard of doing that!


Tresemme snap


I opened the conditioner, and it has that special salon smell… you know what I’m talking about! It also has that special salon feel. I feel like I am getting a real treat. The conditioner step is so good, and my words fail the yumminess of the feeling!


I then couldn’t wait to use the shampoo! Unfortunately, I realized it smells just like drugstore variety shampoos. Pretty, but really common and nothing special. I was sad I was using it second and would probably lose the salon smell.


Now, to dry and style my hair. I don’t use much product, and specifically haven’t been using any during testing this TRESemme. My hair is above my shoulders, and pretty thick, so I have decent volume usually. Indeed, this gave me volume and did not weigh down my hair. My hair was not as tangle-free as with other shampoos/conditioners, BUT, I have to say that it felt cleaner without that slick buildup from other brands. And it dried really soft and fluffy feeling!


Big hair is sexy hair. Closer to God, Sweetheart.


THE BIG PERK IS, my hair still smells like that special salon vibe all day! I get whiffs of it all day long, which is awesome! I was sure the shampoo somehow washed out the conditioner scent, but nope!


I’m really happy with it. I never used TRESemme until Influenster sent me this free set for review, but I buy it now. I have wondered if I could reverse other brands’ conditioner and shampoo with the same results or if this is specially formulated… but I haven’t tested that theory yet. Besides, why would I give up that salon experience!?


It doesn’t work for everyone, as no hair care does, but I recommend giving it a try! #ReverseYourRoutine!

Ralph Lauren’s Tender Romance, for your everyday Romance

“Tender Romance” smells pretty much like heaven, actually.

Tender Romance by Ralph Lauren is slightly floral, a touch of sweetness, and completely airy like summer.

When Influenster let me know I was in this campaign to try a new fragrance for review, I was nervous.

Completely nervous!

I haven’t been crazy for a scent since CK One (every college girl of 1999’s favorite) other than Betsey Johnson’s Too Pretty (which I pretty well love). I have also deeply enjoyed a Dior scent, as well as a Dolce and Gabbana, but…

My husband tends to be super sensitive to fragrances. That is, he’s sensitive, unless that scent is food… or nature (he’s pretty into our vegetable garden).

Instead of fulfilling my nervous paranoia, I received this gorgeous fragrance, and I’ve been wearing it ever since.


It reminds me a bit of the peonies growing by our front door, and how delicate but memorably they greet me each day. It has me dreaming of summer days at the lake, coming soon.

My favorite scents are amber and vanilla. This fragrance is a little more girly than I normally sport, but then again, so is Too Pretty…

so maybe I’m girlier than I thought!

This Ralph Lauren and Influenster box for the win! #candygirlgang

Thank you for the indulgent gift for review, Influenster!
And, yeah, all opinions ARE my own. Trust me – I’m not afraid to say if something isn’t cool. I like free stuff, but I’m not a sellout. :)
#TruthInAdvertising #WOM

Inspiration | 14 April 2015 | reflecting light

I wrote the pain down, got off and looked up
Looked into your eyes
The lost open windows, all around
My dark heart lit up the skies

Give up the ground under your feet
Hold on to nothing for good
Turn and run at the mean times, chasing you
Stand alone and misunderstood

And now that I’ve worn out, I’ve worn out the world
I’m on my knees in fascination looking through the night
And the moons never seen me before
But I’m reflecting light

Sam Phillips – Reflecting Light

Inspiration | 24 Oct 2013 | unwreck me

I put you high up in the sky
And now, you’re not coming down
It slowly turned, you let me burn
And now, we’re ashes on the ground

Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can’t live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you

I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me

I came in like a wrecking ball
Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
Left me crashing in a blazing fall
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me

(miley cyrus. 2013)

A Certain Award Show and The Question No One Is Asking

Without naming the award show everyone has talked about this week or the woman of the moment, I have to add these questions to the conversation:

1.  As feminists, how do we define what woman we revere for her sexual empowerment and what woman we will annihilate as trash for her self-exploitation?

2.  Is the male performer equally to blame for agreeing to participate in the routine?  Or are they both basically trained monkeys?  “Dance!  Dance and earn us ratings!”

Regardless of the answer to either (because there is no answer), I constantly question how we as women look at each other.

How we support each other.

How we denigrate each other.

Fine lines play between accepting a woman’s sexuality as charming and expelling a woman’s sexuality as “gross”.  Why do we find some women beautiful and other disturbing?  Is it in their physical attributes?  Is it because she simply sells it better, therefore convincing us we are smart to enjoy the peep show?

So many of us support Beyonce’s mastery of openly and forcefully shaking her crotch.

So many of us loved the Samantha Jones character on Sex and the City for her unapologetic self-exploitation, to the point where we happily turned our eyes away from the truth that her character was so often looking for validation (Kim Cattrall rocked at showing Samantha’s emptiness after quite a few of her conquests).

When do we stop cheering for a woman and start calling her trash?

When do we stop calling a woman trash and start praying for her because we feel compassion for her instead?

No answers.  Just questions.


~ Ashley Sue