Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fluffy Thing Fridays - Fluffy Cat Belly!!

I'm a cat person.  I admit it.  I LOVE dogs.  But I am mom to an insane furball named Jasper so I'm a bit partial to the quirkiness of cats.

One of the most awesome features of cats is the fluffy cat belly.

Unlike dogs, cats are very protective of their bellies and typically don't allow people to touch them.

But when you are presented with said cat belly, DO NOT IGNORE IT.

As The Oatmeal outlined in the awesome comic How To Pet A Kitty, petting the tummy of a kitty is like frolicking in the back hair of an angel.

Now my furball Jasper LOVES to have his belly rubbed.  And his belly fur is like goose down.  SO FLUFFY.

I mean how can you not love the almighty fluffy cat belly?


See?  This cat is giving you that look.  

The "I know you want to touch my belly but if you do I will KILL YOU"


Poor furball.




This is actually a friend of mine's cat.  LOOK AT THAT BELLY.  

Not only is he more than double the size of Jasper, look at that fluff!



Cheers, 

Ash

BTW.....Just a fire update.   Final cleaning, treating and painting is happening on Tuesday and then I should be able to totally move back in.  YAY!!!  In the meantime Jasper is still staying with my parents and apparently having a blast.  Last night my mom called me to inform me that the little kleptomaniac stole a piece of salmon she was getting ready to cook right off the counter and ran down the hall with it.  In full mom awesomeness she washed it off, cooked it and fed it to my dad. 



Monday, March 25, 2013

Burning Down The House - LITERALLY pt. 2

So last week I reported that there had been a pretty horrible fire in my apartment building.

Burning Down The House - LITERALLY

Now I had never dealt with anything like a fire or a flood before.

Hell I don't even live in a place that deals with Hurricanes or Tornado's. I live in Canada!  Worst we get is seriously shitty snow and ice storms.

So I figured I'd impart some of my newly acquired wisdom.

1 - Never EVER EVER leave candles burning unattended and make sure that when you do burn them, they are not near anything flammable.  LIKE YOUR BED.  No joke people.  A simple candle on a bedside table caused a major fire that destroyed 2 apartments, heavily damaged 3 more and generally fucked up another 10-12.  We all logically know that candles can be dangerous but I'm sure nobody would expect to come out of the washroom to find their bedroom engulfed in flames from a single candle. 

2 - Fire is scary shit.  I'm not talking a little OMG I burnt the toast fires.  I'm talking OMG there is a wall of flames and I can't exit the building because the smoke is so thick I can't breathe.  That kind of fire is scary as hell.

3 - Have insurance.  Just trust me.  Have it.  What this made me realize is that if I ever had a fire, all those books I own?  That shit would just become kindling.  

4 - Just because you THINK you know how you'll react in an emergency doesn't mean shit when you're actually IN AN EMERGENCY.  When the alarms went off and I looked into the hall the smoke was already pretty bad.  I had about 1 minute to put pants on, grab my cellphone and stuff a freaking-out cat into his carrier and get the hell out of dodge.  As it was, I had to walk through smoke filled hallways and stairwells to get out.  If I had waited even a minute longer it would have been bad. 

5 - In a fire, don't lock your bloody front door.  Learn from my mistake.  My instinct was just to secure my apartment not thinking that the fire department is going to have to clear each unit looking for people passed out from smoke inhalation.  They kicked in my front door as a result.  Gotta love the fire department.  They're effective.

6 - At the end of the day possessions are just things.  It's just stuff!  Stuff can be replaced.  Don't waste precious time trying to pack things up.  I mean hell I didn't even grab my purse.  I grabbed my phone because it was right in front of me and my furbaby.  If anything a fire or emergency makes you realize what's important.  The cat of the people who lived in the unit that caught fire unfortunately didn't make it.  It's heartbreaking especially when you find out that the woman who lit the candle was 6 months pregnant.  Take care of yourself and who matters to you because you never know when something like this can happen.

BTW....reports from the Toronto Fire Department indicate that the smoke in the building was so bad that at one point the fire fighters themselves were running out of air and had to evacuate so a third crew could go in. 

I was a floor above the fire and one apartment over.  That's too close for comfort.  And as it is, every square inch of my apartment needs to be washed and my walls painted.  Also every single cupboard, closet, shelf needs to be cleaned out and the contents cleaned.  Not to mention my linens, clothes, towels and pillows all need to be washed as well.  Thankfully my parents live close by and were able to come get me because I wasn't able to go back to my apartment till Sunday which was almost 4 days after the fire.  And trust me, it still stinks like a campfire there. 

Moral of the story?  Don't fuck with fire.  Because you're gonna lose.

Cheers,

Ash

p.s. I'm totally baking cookies for the guys at the firehouse.  I mean despite them kicking in my front door they worked hours and hours to ensure our homes were safe and put themselves at risk. I know it's their job and all but still, they deserve a treat.

Also thanks for all the love and well wishes.  Jasper is staying with my parents for the week and I'm still in clean-up mode.   Other than some small things that needed to be thrown out nothing was damaged that a little soap and some elbow grease can't fix.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Burning Down the House - LITERALLY

Sadly there shall be no Fluffy Thing Friday today as I am currently trapped at my parents house because there was a fire in my apartment building.

Wednesday night one of the apartments below me caught fire because a dumbass left a candle burning in her bedroom.  When she got out of the bathroom her whole bed had caught fire and shit went from bad to HOLY CRAP THERE'S A FIRE.

Home Sweet Home
I was reading in my pj's and when I heard the alarms stuck my face in the hallway and the smoke had already started to come up to my floor.

I grabbed my cellphone and my furbaby Jasper and got the hell out of dodge. 

We hid out in the building next door till just after 1am before the fire department would even let us back in to get some belongings. 

None of us could really stay because the smoke smell was overwhelming and you couldn't breathe. 

Thankfully my parents don't live too far away and my dad was able to come get me.

Other than 6 hours of cleaning I had to do yesterday to get the smoke residue out of my apartment all is well.

Oh and I have to wash every single think I own to get rid of the awesome campfire smell.

Fingers crossed when I go back on the weekend the smell is better.  They have crews going to clean and wash and basically gut the place so fingers crossed. 

Cheers,

Ash

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/03/20/forty_people_evacuated_after_threealarm_fire_in_westend_apartment.html

When the fire department kicks in a door.  They really kick in a door.  My whole frame and all my locks were blown right off.

My floors LOOKED ok till I pulled the rug back.  I guess the smoke came up through the cracks around the pipes under the sink because the kitchen and near the front door was the worst.


The inside of my cupboards look like this.  No that's no light.  That's the imprint of where things were sitting.


Moral of the story people.  Never EVER leave a candle unattended. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tea Party Bridal Shower aka. OMG Fascinators!

So a friend of mine is getting married in May.  Yeah the one that I bought the dress for. 

The other day I got the invitation for her Bridal Shower.

I'm so excited because it is being held as a Champagne Tea Party.

The best part of all?  The invitation says "Gloves and Hats encouraged"!!!!!

Do you know what that means?

Fascinators.

Remember the super cute little hats that everyone was raving about after Prince William and Kate's wedding?

I love hats.  And this whole event is the opportunity I've been waiting for to buy one of these babies. Because unless I'm going to the Royal Ascot there's really not many opportunities to wear one.

Have I also mentioned that I LOVE www.etsy.com?

I found this fantastic shop there that sells adorable handmade Fascinators and hair accessories.

Check out Suzanne's shop:  EyeHeartMe

I'm officially in love.

I'm getting one for sure and am just debating which one.

Now I LOVE the black and navy one's but this is a daytime tea party and I don't think they would be the best choices.


   I'm utterly in love with these two grey one's:


And these one's although I think the red is a bit much for a tea party:


I'm REALLY leaning towards this one though.  Partly because it's very spring.  


Most of her designs come in multiple colors including pinks, reds, ivory's etc.  So check them out.  

Can we also mention that Suzanne is super pretty and looks awesome in all these hats?

Help me pick people!!!

On a side note.  The wedding itself is on a Friday Night.  Think I can pull off the black one to the actual wedding?  Or is that too much?

Btw.....all photos are courtesy of  Suzanne's Etsy Shop.

Cheers,

Ash

Oh yeah, someone totally went there.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fluffy Thing Fridays - Bacon....I mean Piggies!!

I'm one of those people that if I actually think about my food walking around and being all cute, I can't eat it.

Case in point.

Bacon.  Could you eat this?

Adult pig's aren't all that cute.


I mean they're not horrid or anything but it's not like I have nightmares about eating them.

But show me a baby pig?  And OMG.

I'M NEVER EATING BACON AGAIN!!!



Booties!




It's a pig wearing Argyle people.  ARGYLE!



Also, I LOVE the fact that these people named their pet pig Hamlet.


Don't you love the little snorting noises?

Like seriously people.  I don't even have words for the amount of cuteness.

NEVER EATING BACON AGAIN.

And as we all know.  Bacon makes EVERYTHING better.

PETA needs to learn from this.  No showing people horrifying pictures.  Show me cuteness and I'm done.

I'm going to go watch Charlotte's Web and cry.

Cheers, 

Ash



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Forward My ASS....I want that hour back!

I miss sleep.

No, I'm not kidding.

I REALLY miss sleep.

Sleep is one of those things that you don't realize how important it is until you're not getting any.

By then it's too late, because at that point you're in hell and your brain has turned to mush.

Everyone remember Fight Club?  Yeah, that's what happens when you don't sleep.  You shoot yourself in the face.

I've written before about being an insomniac.  And I still have good nights and bad nights.

Recently I've had more bad nights than I prefer. 

I don't like the fact that I'm so used to being sleep deprived that I can function on less than 3 hours of sleep.

I mean shouldn't your brain explode at that point?

All of this comes back to the fact that Daylight Savings Time SUCKS.  Anything that screws with my very precarious sleep situation is a bad thing. 

My body is screwed up enough.  I don't need anything to make it worse for me.

People bitch and complain about DTS all the time.  And then there's the people that fire back and say, "It's just an hour you're not really missing sleep at all it's just shifting."

I call bullshit on that.  Because despite getting up what feels like an hour earlier in the morning, I'm not going to bed any earlier because the whole thing has fucked with my system.

And trust me, when you only get 4-5 hours of sleep on average,  1 hour is A LOT!

Cheers,

Ash



Monday, March 11, 2013

Look Ma, It's a Book Review - Matched by Ally Condie

I'm gonna full on admit to having a love of teen fiction.

I love it in all it's girlie dramatics and overblown emotions.

It's like watching a John Huges movie as an adult.

I had come across Ally Condi's Matched series before but hadn't read it.  So when Katie over at Words for Worms mentioned it to me, I added it to my ever spawning "to read" list.

Now Katie had a love hate relationship with the entire series because she felt it borrowed too heavily from a lot of other books.  And that's very true.  But after reading her review I made every attempt to read Matched without the prejudice of comparing it to a dozen other teen books.

And here's my spin on it.

Imagine living in a society where the government controls everything about you.  What you wear, what you eat, where you work, what you learn, who you marry, how many children you have and when you die.  They monitor everything from your dreams to your conversations to your heart rate as you exercise.

Communism ain't got shit on these guys.

Now imagine being a teenage girl.  When you turn 17 your name and information is dumped into a database alongside all the boys your age from your town and the surrounding towns.  After analyzing your info, the database spits out your MATCH.  Who you're most ideally suited for.  You go to a ball, your match is announced and TA DA, you're gonna fall in love with this person and live a perfectly statistically acceptable life with 2 children, a job and an eventual death at the age 80 when the government essentially murders you before you can get sick or become senile.  Everything is all worked out for you.

Problem is that for Cassia (the main character), the database spits out 2 matches. One of them being her bestest friend EVER, Xander.  And the other being Ky.  Another problem is that the officials say that Ky was a computer glitch and wasn't supposed to be in the pool to begin with. So she should just forget that he exists.  Xander is her ideal mate.  And she loves him.  But part of her starts to wonder about Ky.  Is he REALLY her ideal mate and the officials are just saying no because he's not allowed to have a match because of some shitty rule?

So being the stupid teenager that she is, Cassia starts to focus all her attention on Ky and low and behold they both fall in love with each other.

Yes it's cliched and yes there's not much that's overly original about the plot.  And trust me, there's lots of teenage angst and dramatics.

But here's what caught my attention.

The question comes up on whether love is a result of nature or nurture.  Cassia loves Xander.  She's know him her entire life and they are close friends.  On paper they probably are the ideal match.  But then if Xander was so perfect for her, why does she feel drawn towards Ky?  Is it simply curiosity?  Does she feel drawn to him simply because he popped up as her match?  If that was the case then she would feel just as drawn to Xander right?  I mean he's her match too.  But then again, she knows Xander inside and out.  There's no novelty there.  And yet she's willing to sacrifice everything just to get to know Ky.

Now what if Ky were allowed to legitimately be put into the matching pool?  Would he have ended up her one and only match?  Maybe. We will never know.  But the question still exists.  Does she love Ky just because some computer says she should?  Or does she love him because he really is perfect for her?

Girlie is stuck between a rock and a hard place for sure.

I'm looking forward to reading the other 2 books in the series.

Cheers,

Ash


Friday, March 8, 2013

Fluffy Thing Fridays - Otters

Gotta love any animal that holds hands.

No joke.  Otters link paws while they sleep so they don't float away and get separated.

It's the cutest thing EVER.

See?


And you have to know by now that I am a sucker for things with little furry faces.


Otters also look like they're super affectionate with each other.  Which is super cute.




Awww she's showing people her baby.  How cute is that?  
And how cute is that itty bitty baby?!?!


Did I mention they let their babies sleep on their belly? 
'Cause that shit's just adorable.

I mean they just look like happy cuddly animals don't they?


And I secretly want one as a pet so I can let it swim in my bathtub. Just sayin'.

Cheers,

Ash 

Obligatory cat photo.  Another momma who loves her babies.

What a beautiful cat.




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Stress, Failure, Criticism and my Performance Review

I have been seriously stressing at work for the last few months because I'm approaching my annual performance review.

As a company, we're recently implemented some new forms and the new process is a 20-page document that I'd rather have teeth pulled without anesthesia than fill out.

While I was at therapy last night, I tried to work out why this whole process was stressing me out so much.

I mean, I've never had a bad review and I know that not only my boss but the Partners are very happy with me.

So what am I worried about?

I've talked in the past about how I tend to be hyper-critical of myself as a result of YEARS of my mother criticizing everything from how I stand, speak, dress, behave to how I fold the laundry, wash the dishes or vacuum the floor.  Being an only child was difficult because I always felt that if I had a sibling there would be another person my mom could focus on.  But instead it was always just me, and all the expectations that came along with being the center of my mom's focus.

Now I understand that my mother is critical, not to be cruel, but to try and improve me.  She wants me to be the best that I can be at everything.  Problem is that over 29 years, that has resulted in me only thinking that I'm incapable of doing anything right if she still finds fault in everything.

Now what does this have to do with my review?

The whole process of having an in-depth performance appraisal opens you up to critique.  And that's what stresses me out.

My therapist and I talked last night about the fact that since I was little, I've avoided my mom's criticism by being a good girl.  If I never made any fuss, never broke the rules and never did anything wrong I'd never be criticized or told that I was bad.

It's probably why I'm such a control freak as an adult.

I don't like giving people control of things that I will be responsible for in the end because I rarely trust them to live up to my standards.  But they're not my standards, they're standards that are unattainable because they're based on the view that EVERYTHING has to be perfect.  I have to be perfect.

Well newsflash, nobody's perfect.

And that's why the review process stresses me out so much.

Because it's an opportunity for people I work with, to point out everything that is wrong with me.

Everything that just isn't good enough.

So instead of viewing my review as an opportunity to hear how good I'm doing, or how much people appreciate me, mentally I'm just focusing on the fact that someone could write something on there that's bad and then people will realize that I'm not perfect.

Hurt your head yet?

When asked what I'm afraid they would say that could be so bad I had absolutely no answer. 

I mean I know I'm good at my job, I know I'm friendly and respectful and helpful.

So what could they possibly say?

I don't have an answer for that.  Because what I fear is this big UNKNOWN that would catch me off guard.  I mean what could be worse than being told you're bad at something that you didn't even know you were being evaluated on?  Or being told you're bad at something that you think you're good at?

I know I'm not perfect.  I'm realistic about what areas of my job could use more focus or attention to detail.  So if stuff like that came up, I'm ok with that.

What I'm afraid of is being blind sided by this unknown criticism that I don't know how to protect myself from.  That someone will find more than a fault in my skills, but will find fault in me.

That I haven't just failed at a task.   That I'm a failure as a person.

And that's a scary thing indeed.

Cheers,

Ash


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Help! I'm being strangled by my dress!

OK so a very good friend of mine is getting married in May.

I took this as an opportunity to buy a dress I've wanted for a while.

I splurged and bought myself a really nice convertible wrap dress from a shop in New York. 

You know the one's I'm talking about.  Where it's basically a skirt and long straps that you criss-cross across your upper body to make like a million and one different styles?

Like this:



The dress is made out of a beautiful stretch jersey material and with the style flexibility I figured it was a great investment.

Now there are tons of different manufacturers of these types of dresses and a million and one tutorials on YouTube showing you how do to the various wrap styles.

Problem is.....I'm not the most co-ordinated person in the world.  So you give me any article of clothing that has two 9 FOOT STRAPS and I'm potentially going to strangle myself while trying to get dressed.

No joke.  I got the dress last night and tried a few of the more basic wraps and OMG.  Seriously?

You need to be a fucking engineer to figure out how to do this.

The videos make it look so simple but keep in mind, the people doing the demonstrations have done it so many times they could do it drunk and blindfolded.

Me?  Not so much.

Thankfully I have till May to figure this thing out.  Because based on last night's attempts I'm either going to strangle myself, accidentally have a boob pop out or have the whole thing just unravel accidentally.

On a side note a friend of mine joked that weddings are good places to meet guys.  Even if I do meet someone, no worries about drunkenly going home with someone because seriously there's no way in hell any guy is going to be able to figure out how to get me out of this thing!

Anyone successfully worn one of these dresses?  

Were you actually able to get in and out of it without assistance?

Because I think I need more hands.

Cheers,

Ash

I totally felt like this little dude.

Death by Party Dress!!!

 BTW...my cat? Totally thought the long straps were a toy and kept trying to attack them while I was trying to maneuver this dress on.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fluffy Thing Fridays - Pandas!!

Who doesn't love Panda's?

I totally want to go to China one day and hang with the baby Pandas at the Panda Sanctuary.

I mean they let you cuddle a baby Panda!!

How awesome would that be?!?!?


Look at those little faces.


I so want to boop that nose.


Nap Time!!  Notice there's always one kid in the group that doesn't want to nap.


Awwww.  What a cute little dumbass.


Honorable mention to Red Panda's because they are equally awesome.


And now, to brighten your day even more.  I present.  Panda's Playing on a Slide. 


Followed by Escaping Baby Panda's

Does anyone else thing that tech was a little harsh with the Panda? 
I mean that little guy was like the Steve McQueen of Panda's!!

OMG thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter First Time Mom and Dad shared this:


Cheers,
Ash
Obligatory Cat Picture.   Kittin in a Panda Costume.  He looks a little less than enthused.