An Invisible Ocean

….of to do lists. I don’t know where the day went. There’s so much to do.

All of your comments are so supportive about our move. Thank you so much for that. I feel like you are right there with me. I’m starting to look cross country and imagine our possible stops along the way once we embark on that journey. I definitely want to make it up to Lindsborgh, KS and see the old house my grandfather grew up in again. And then Graceland. And I love tourist traps. I’ll never forget when my family was visiting Scotland around 1997 and my dad drove right past the Loch Ness Monster Museum because he and my sister were late for a tee time.  Who doesn’t stop for the “Nessie” museum?  Now I have to go all the way back to Scotland one day.

Speaking of large creatures, I watched Water for Elephants the other night.  I cry through 2 scenes every time:  when Rosie moves the stake to get to the lemonade, and when they figure out that Rosie doesn’t speak English.  As big as Rosie is, she reminds me of Diesel. He’s always looking at me like something has been lost in translatino. <—-that was supposed to say “translation” but translatino is so much better so I’ll leave it. Poor Diesel is getting so old. He will be 13 this year. One day he’ll be acting like a puppy but then he’ll sleep the next few days away. I’ve been worrying about him. We baby him a lot these days:


And then he goes and attacks the poor mail lady.

I shared this on Facebook last week:

Today our mail lady came and as she was leaving I just had this feeling I needed to give her our last Random Acts of Kindness painting. She gave me a hug and had tears in her eyes.

“Thank you. My father-in-law just died. I’ve known him since I was 5. That’s why I haven’t been here for the last few days. It’s been really hard being back today.”

At work no one acknowledged her loss, even though they knew why she had been gone. They did manage to acknowledge that she would not be getting paid for the days she was gone because her paper work wasn’t filled out. Ugh. She’s the nicest woman. Sometimes when I’m not home the first time around, she’ll double check on her route back to see if I have a pickup. Today she asked if everything had been okay mail-wise while she was gone. She takes so much pride in her job. It’s really refreshing and I try to recognize it whenever I get the chance.

I guess I just needed to share that story, maybe just as a reminder that you never know what someone else is going through.

Trying to remember this every day as I run around like a chicken with its head cut off, to make sure I am attentive to others.

I’ve been trying to slowly pull out items to sell to go towards our move.  I never realized how much “stuff” we had with the business.  We are finishing up orders but then I need to get rid of all the equipment too. Each of the machines weighs between 200 and 250 pounds. And I have so many things I’ve collected over the years….because I just like strange and odd finds. Then I need to go through all of Boo’s dresses too.  I was thinking about just putting all the artwork on eBay one day.  I never thought I could part with something like the Mona Lisa but now I’m just ready to let it all go.  It gets a little easier. I find myself sorting piles and then suddenly I pause for a second and then just throw the whole pile out.  I told my friend Megan I should sell the big chicken feeder that sits in our living room “because I’d always be able to find another one, right?”  But she said “you never know, what if there’s a run on chicken feeders one day?” Omg. What if there is run on chicken feeders?

We had a realtor over this afternoon to talk about listing the house. Up until now it’s been for sale by owner. I guess Boo was bored because I saw this note that she had been passing to Brett.

I love the pick-how-many-minutes-until-she-leaves:

In April I’m heading to the SNAP Conference in Utah to teach a sewing class. So excited about that. I’m sharing a room with Dana, Delia and Katy. What if I snore or something?  I feel like I need some cute PJs for such a slumber party…instead of my yoga pants I sleep in every night.  Maybe I should sleep in my contacts so I don’t look so nerdy in my glasses?!  This will be good for me….I’m usually such a hermit at conferences after the sessions are over.  Dana is so outgoing and fun…I can ask her all about her new house. And excited to meet Delia and Katy for the first time. I’ll bring snacks. That’s always good.

The last time I went to SNAP was in 2012 when I was on a business panel.  This was right when I was finishing up chemo.

I’ll never forget when I gave my friend Shari a Choose Joy bracelet at the conference and instead of Choose Joy it read: Plead for the Widow.  Random.  Shari runs an amazing art gallery in Jackson Hole, WY….she gets to see Warhols, Picasso’s, etc….every day.  I sent her Sea Monkeys as a gift recently, because who wouldn’t want Sea Monkeys?  Turns out she’s scared of them. Sorry Shari.

My Sea Monkeys died:

Rest in peace little Sea Monkeys.
You were loyal, selfless, tiny, fearless somethings.
You rose from a packet. You fought hard against the tiny current.
You will not be forgotten.


Oh, I’m working on revamping the website and making it easier to navigate going forward!  That’s a little daunting and way over due. I’ve let my WordPress go stale and nothing is quite working right anymore.  I’ve been putting it off forever.  So you will probably start to see some changes soon. Hopefully for the better.  It will help me stay on top of my newsletter better ….have you seen my RSS feed email lately? Yes it’s pretty lame and all the photos are wonky. Sorry about that. Anything you find annoying about blogs that I need to stay away from?

So much needs to be done and yet I’m not anxious about it all.  Just a little impatient at times. And trying to keep lists of really important things like health insurance, mail forwarding etc. Even trying to figure out the best way to get high speed Internet at the Inn.

Thursday I’m taking a plein-air class.  An all-day workshop up the mountain.  Outside with an easel, painting the landscape.  Something I’ve always wanted to do but never got around to.  I’ll take a bunch of photos too.



  1. Joanna says

    When you stop at Graceland you MUST take Boo to the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks march! …..I’m looking forward to all your stories about your journey – I love reading your words!

  2. Calico says

    I live not far from Loch Ness and your Dad did you a favour driving past the Nessie Museum! There are many far better reasons to come back to Scotland! x

  3. says

    I just wanted to wish you and your family every success in your new adventure. Life has thrown a lot at you and you’ve kept on going. Your blog is an inspiration to many and I look forward to your next chapter and more Boo quotes and Diesel adventures! xx

  4. Angela Lee says

    Please leave the blog black lettering on a white/light background. Nothing makes me stop reading faster than the headache I get from a dark background with white lettering!! Good luck on your travels. I love road trips!

  5. Karyl Howard says

    I thought of you on Monday as we drove from St. Louis to Wilmington, NC and Carolina/Kure Beach where my daughter and her husband and my brother have condos. We passed the road to Bryson City, in the glorious Smoky Mountains! I hope that you will have a wonderful family adventure! If I’m not mistaken, your dad went to Wake Forest University and I received my M.A. Ed. from there. We’ll go back through Winston-Salem on our way back to the Midwest! Take care, travel safely and find peace, friendship and love on your adventure!

  6. Carol hart says

    Hello Ashley. My daughter in law Carrie,introduced me to your blog. She was so excited when she read about your move to Bryson City. My husband and I live in Gainesville FL and have a home in Maggie Valley NC. Carrie, our son Chad and our grandsons Cooper and Caulyer have come to MV several times to visit and love the mountains and the feel of NC. They live in Ft Myers FL so it is a very different place for them. My husband and I will be in MV next week for a well deserves rest and will be driving to Bryson City to see the Hemlock Inn and take some personal photos for Carrie. Then this summer they will be taking a Road trip and the Hemlock Inn will be one of their stops for sure!!!! See you soon in NC!!

  7. Nicole L. says

    I love the painting you did in plein air workshop! It looks like a more abstract landscape which I think is more fun anyway. As for the blog, the one thing that drives me crazy is that I can’t right click a post to open in a new window. You used to be able to do that on yours but when you changed it the last time, that option went away.

  8. Amy Haven says

    “Making piles and then throwing it all out.” I love that. How freeing. Best wishes in accomplishing your to-do’s. But, that’s your speciality of course. And I am also terribly impressed with Boo’s writing and spelling as a 1st grader! My boy is…nowhere near. I’m going to have to complain to his teacher. 😉 Enjoy the “plieny” mountain air!

  9. Holly C says

    Lindsborg, KS?! I grew up right by there & have several friends who live there today. Absolutely charming little Swedish town. Go to the Stuga (Ol Stuga if you google it)- Mark Lysell owns the place & it’s a great, fun stop! Salina is really close- stop by the Steifel Theatre- it’s a pretty & historic building. There’s some good- although ‘greasy joint’ food: Cozy Inn is famous burgers (you’ll smell like a grilled onion), Jim’s Fried Chicken, and The Scheme (pizza). Have fun on your journey. Oh, and if you travel across I-70 to the East from Salina/Lindsborg- stop in Lawrence, KS. It’s a college town (home to the inventor of basketball!)- the campus is gorgeous, the food in downtown (Massachusetts street) is amazing and mostly all local (check out Free State Brewery- it never disappoints), and the town is the perfect mix of fun, contemporary, eclectic, weird, and charming!

    • says

      Wow thank you!

      Yes, my grandfather and great grandparents had a homestead there. The old farmhouse is still there, so I want to go and take photo and visit the gravesides. Grandfather went to Bethany College. Lots of history there. There’s a road named after the family there.

  10. Bunny Dannelly says


    A few years ago Ashlyn got burned out with her job in New York & took a break to drive cross country.
    With Will she did the Marine Corps Warrior Dash in Columbia first (I don’t think that’s a prerequisite), rested a bit & then set out.
    She said Graceland definitely did not disappoint. She loved it. Don’t miss Elvis’s airplane, as Ashlyn said, “complete with the smell of stale smoke”. Also, Santa Fe … but you have probably been there.

  11. Karen Butterfield says

    If you pass through St. Louis, you should stop at the City Museum. Don’t let the “museum” part throw you off. It’s remarkable and so much fun. The three of you will LOVE it. It’s definitely a fun place to stop and get your energy out. There are tons of places to climb and explore for adults and kids. Here’s their website.
    St. Louis also is home to tons of free attractions, with the zoo, art museum, Turtle park, the Arch and more all close by. I don’t live in St. Louis (I live in one of the surrounding counties), but it’s definitely fun to visit!