Monday, July 30, 2012

Why can't I just stay?

To find something so beautiful that it makes you cry to witness God's creations is an amazing feeling. My trip to Montana on July 20 surpassed all of my expectations. I honestly can't find the words to describe this place. Normal adjectives just won't do. And to sum up the weekend in one paragraph is a travesty as I don't feel I'm doing it justice. However, I could write all night about my trip so...I'm just going to post what my friend Anneke wrote:
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Rewind. My wonderful friend Ashley Jamison from Arkansas visited us this weekend, and we rode horses into the sunset, got chased by wild stallions, slept in a cosy little cabin, then set up camp in the beautiful Crazy Mountains, fly fished for speckly Rainbow Trout, explored blue lakes and thundering rapids, crossed rivers and streams, and climbed over logs. Jeremiah Johnson would want to take us for a wife if he had seen it. Best weekend ever. We have scratches and mosquito bites and tan to prove it."
Can you believe I did all of that in 48 hours? I know. It's unreal. And I also know that you are going, "Wow! How did that Ashley Jamison girl get up that mountain with all the chocolate sauce she eats?" Yeah. It was quite amazing how I kept up for the most part. The crisp, clean air was so easy to breathe I just glided right up. I also had the pleasure of renting my first car. Although it was a Kia (not to hate on Kia owners but mine was a load of poo) I had a nice 7 hour drive from Montana and Wyoming. I sang at the top of my lungs and even had to stop and pee on the side of the road. Note to Montana: need more rest stops so that I won't have to pee on the side of the road and act like I'm sight seeing when people drive by. Thanks.

I honestly wanted to stay. I created different ploys in my head. I'll put sawdust in the car. I'll slash the tires. I'll just say I'm not going home. I want to move to Montana and just live the simple life. I feel like Little Rock people just get so caught up in "stuff". You have to drive a certain car and dress a certain way and talk a certain way and poof your hair and wear hairspray and lots of jewelry. Whatever happened to simplicity? I drive a Chevy, wear clothes from resale shops (that's not to say I won't splurge every now and then) and eat non-organic food. Why is everything such a big deal? That's why I want to live in Montana. And also for the fact that is just so stinking awesome.
The family vacay was great also! It's been so long since I've been with my parents and siblings and their spouses. Being the middle child and the most neglected, I got to stay in the loft. Yay! Sorry...did I say neglected? Oops I meant strongest. Not all people can climb straight up a ladder ten times a day. Only people that hike up mountains. We did Yellowstone, ate at great restaurants, saw actual Hutterites (an offspring of the Amish) up in the Dairy Queen, and I went up in a ski lift for the first time. Pics and maybe videos to come. Y'all know I'm bad about posting :)

Location:Billings, MT

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pura Vida Mae

For those who have been to Costa Rica before, you will know what the title means. For those who have not, it means "The Pure Life". Mae means "dude". You will hear that more in the coastal cities. They will answer with "Pura Vida" to just about anything.

"How are you?" "Pura Vida"
"How was your meal?" "Pura Vida"

That's the Tico slogan. I think it's a fabulous way to look at life. Ticos honestly are the most laid-back group of people I've ever been around. It's so refreshing not to have to worry about your busy life all the time.

My stay in Sámara was lovely. My host family was precious. I do hope to visit again one day. I had many adventures as well. I kayaked to Isla Chora (Chora Island) which is on the Pacific. I'll tell you what, kayaking on a river and on the ocean are totally different. And you also need a good partner. Bless her heart, mine had never done it before and at times I wanted to throw her overboard. We got there safely without tipping over like the other crew did. I also tried snorkeling which turned out badly. It was way to rough especially for a person that doesn't swim well. My flipper feet weren't the right size and slipped off. I had to swim back by myself and nearly drowned. Panicking in the ocean is not conducive to good swimming. I finally made it without hyperventilating.

Horseback rising was also a must. Even though I'd done these things four years ago when I was there, I wanted to do them again. I was the most experienced rider which isn't saying much since I've only ever ridden a few times. It was all going well until the end. I wanted to gallop on the beach and feel wild and free. So I did. I just had no idea that the other horses would follow suit if they saw my horse. Uh oh. A sweet girl from Canada didn't know how to control her horse. At this point, we were all going super fast. It was getting so dark. I see Stephanie fly past me on her horse, arms and legs flying (her feet had gotten loose). She was trying to stop the horse, but it kept going faster. The next thing I saw was Stephanie flying off the horse and hitting a tree. Her head hit the tree, and I honestly thought she'd broken her neck because her head snapped back. I quickly stopped and assessed damage. She was sitting up and utter shock and disbelief. We call the doctor. I speak for her since her English is not good and since she was so angry. She hit her chin thank goodness. At least it wasn't the brain area as I was worried she might have a concussion. No teeth missing or blood in the mouth. Just some scrapes on her chin, chest, back and arms. She was one lucky girl. What all of us didn't know was that my roommate Sarah from Minnesota also fell. Her horse bucked her off and she landed on her bottom. She will have some pretty bruises from that. So friends, the moral of the story is: don't gallop on the beach.

Rachelle and I arrived in Tamarindo yesterday. It's so touristy which is totally different from Sámara. Our hotel is fantastic! I highly recommend to anyone traveling here on a budget. For $85/night, we get a king size bed, twin bed, dining area with kitchenette, hot water, air conditioning, wi fi, and HBO. The pool is beautiful with a waterfall thing. Breakfast is the best. A huge plate of fresh fruit (7 different fruits) then your breakfast of choice: traditional with eggs, gallo pinto (rice and black beans mixed together), cheese, bacon and a tortilla OR continental with eggs, toast and bacon. Coffee and fresh juice is also there.

Some other students from the school and I took a weekend trip to the Monteverde cloud forest for zip lining and then to Arenal to visit the Baldí Hot Springs resort and a natural wild life resort. It's so cool up there (low 60s at night) and was a nice break from the heat.

I have met so many people that will be lifelong friends. I have eaten well, gotten mosquito bites, and practiced my Spanish. A Tico actually thought I was Latina because of my accent. He said I sounded like a natural. Of course that thrilled me!

Off to explore Tamarindo. Have a blessed July 4th! Yay for America!

Location:Nature Trail,Tamarindo,Costa Rica

Monday, June 25, 2012

Destination: Costa Rica

I figured I'd just write what I put in my journal. It's long so get over it or don't read it. Or go sit by yourself and stare at people. This is from yesterday.

Sunday June 24--Day 1
I'm now sitting on the floor in the Liberia airport waiting
on my taxi driver to get ready to leave. Finding my taxi was a bit difficult. After a great and safe four hour flight down, I come out and look for my name on a piece of paper. I don't see my name. I look again at their papers, but I still don't see my name. I see a blond American girl, and she asked if I was having trouble finding my ride. She said she was going to Sámara and would give me a ride. She said she was waiting on her friend flying in from NYC.

I'm a risk taker, but I sho nuff am not getting in an unverified taxi.i was going to ride with María the American. I found out she's from Ohio, and works for a health and wellness center in Sámara. I've already made a friend! As soon as I'd decided to ride with María from Ohio, a man with an Intercultura sign came up to me. But...he doesn't have my name card. Boobface!! He has cards for Kyle and Stefanie. He said he had my name card in the taxi. I asked Maria to walk out to the taxi with me. Ya know, for safety. It turns out he did have my name card. No wonder he was confused. It said I was to fly into San Jose June 29 at 11:45. I asked if Paola still worked there and why there were mistakes. He said that Paola's assistant Stefanía is responsible. That boob.

So here I am waiting in the Liberia airport for Kyle and Stephanie to show up. I've been here since's now 2:30.

It's 3:15 and finally Stephanie is here. Stephanie is 31 and from Montreal. We got to visit in the taxi. My second friend! Kyle didn't show up or maybe our taxi driver got tired of waiting. Elio, the taxi driver, was so nice. We arrived in Sámara around 5:00. Stephanie lives right around the corner from the school. I, on the other hand, live a 25 minute walk from school. It's way farther than my previous home stay here.

My Tica mom's name is Kattia Palma. She has two boys, Rory and Joey. She seems nice but not as happy and motherly as Marlene.

I venture off to find my favorite places. I meet two snotty girls from Florida. They just graduated college. I just wanted to be like, "Calm down. I'm not going to steal your man (even though I'm way cuter)." It felt so familiar to be back at school and on that beach. I saw new friend Stef and her roommate Shawna who is also from Canada. I had to stop and buy mosquito spray; I forgot to bring my 100% deet. Boob. The Mosquitos were having my feet and legs for dinner. Fleas last week, now mosquitos. And that stinking spray was $12!!

I'm home for dinner by 6:30. I was famished. I hadn't eaten a thing since 9:15!! Petunia was having withdrawals. Kattia cooked two small chicken legs in a tomato sauce, white rice and flavored noodles with cilantro (eewwwww) in it. I licked my plate clean even though I hate cilantro. I ate with roommate Sarah from Minnesota. She's very sweet but loud--I think that's a northern thing. It's nice to have a friend in the house. Sarah said Kattia's cooking is lacking. I'm sad. That's the main reason I flew all this way. For realz. I want fresh fruit and fresh, white cheese, and gallo pinto with Lizano green sauce. I better get it. Speaking of food, I might've told a lie to Kattia. I told her that was allergic to all seafood. Ok. I lied, but I can't risk eating seafood. (I'm
Vomiting it's just dry heaves.)

It's around 8:45. I popped a Unisom to help me sleep. It's hot, humid and loud outside. I've got three fans going and my sound machine. Let's hope I don't get woken up by chickens and howler monkeys.


Location:Sámara, Costa Rica

Monday, March 12, 2012

10 Reasons I LOVE Going Home

Jamison Road Sunday in the pouring rain.
  1. I am always welcomed with dessert by my beautiful Momma. This time it was blueberry cobbler, and I couldn't stop eating it.
  2. I get to hang my head out of the window like a dog as soon as I hit Jamison Road and smell smell SMELL. You would be amazed what smells you miss like cow poop, hay, and just trees and nature itself. Even the rain smells better on Jamison Road. And boy did it rain. Gravel roads are not something I necessarily miss however.
  3. I feel a peace that I honestly don't feel anywhere else. I feel closer to God. I think it's because I'm surrounded by love and everything beautiful.
  4. I get spoiled by my Daddy because he will grill me whatever my heart desires. And those who know me well know my heart desires food all the time. Daddy grilled pork chops, steaks, chicken, and shrimp (that was for him since I don't like anything that swims), but the thought was there.
  5. I get to spend time with my Momma watching home videos and looking at old pictures. We laugh so much, and we stay up late like we are still young :). We felt it in church the next day, didn't we Momma? I also get to spend time with her in the kitchen which is my favorite place. Momma just loves cleaning up after me, and I love making messes for her.
  6. I get to spend quality time with Daddy that I wouldn't otherwise get to do. It's not like the man is a phone talker or anything. I helped him rake leaves for a minute (literally) then we drove to get some horse poop for his garden. I wouldn't trade those moments for anything.
  7. I get to bother my Granny. She loves me this I know. But I always stop there first to see if she has anything sweet to munch on as I travel the 1/4 mile down the road to my house. And I just love to go squeeze her and talk about Poppa.
  8. I get to see all the rest of my family--all of my sweet babies that I miss so much. I don't get to see their "firsts" so I love to spoil them when I'm home. Jamison showed me his new John Deere boots, and Addie sat beside me in church. At least they haven't forgotten me. And of course I can't forget all the oldies either--aunts, uncles and cousins. And we can't forget my new cousins Bo and Danny. Ooh boy, I could hardly sleep Friday night because I knew I was going to get to spend the morning with these precious boys. It was so nice just to sit and relax with little Danny on my chest and a perfect view of sweet Bo sleeping peacefully. I mean really, can life get any better than new life? I also must be selfish and say that I've missed Tela being up here in Little Rock. I got spoiled being with her each day, so it was good to get to talk to her.
  9. I get to eat at church potlucks. Somehow I time my arrival perfectly to coincide with these. It's so great to see the people that have influenced me as I grew up. It's good to just sit down and visit. My teacher who taught me in my 4 year old Sunday school class walked me to my car in the rain. I probably haven't really, truly spoken to her in years.
  10. Danny and Me
    The cake that I made for the potluck that Mom and I sampled too much of. Y'all. It's good. I mean. Good. The recipes at the end.
  11. As hard as leaving gets the older I get, I love going home knowing I always have a place to come back to. I never want to leave. And I do still cry each time I leave. It's that awesome. If you've never been home to Nashville with me, it's not too late. Jamison Road loves visitors!
Daddy and me

Chocolate Stuffed Sticky Bundt

Rhodes Chocolate Stuffed Sticky Bundt has a sweet little surprise hidden inside each delicious bite!
Bake Time: 35 min
Prep Time: 20 min (not including thaw time)


24 Rhodes™ Dinner Rolls, thawed but still cold
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans or toffee bits
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar


Cut rolls in half and flatten each half. Wrap each half around 1 teaspoon chocolate chips and completely enclose. In a bowl, mix granulated sugar, cocoa and cinnamon. Dip each roll half in sugar mixture until well coated. Place in a large sprayed bundt pan. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture along with pecans or toffee bits over rolls. Combine butter and brown sugar in a small bowl and microwave 30 seconds. Stir well and pour over rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until almost to the top of the pan. Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 35 minutes. Cover with foil last 10 minutes of baking. Invert immediately onto serving platter.

MAKE THIS!! It will change your life. I mean HELLO! Anything with a stick of butter is amazing :).

Peace and blessings and try not to get arrested!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Heartbreak Hotel

Sometimes I forget just how perfect a childhood I had. Today was a day when I was flooded with those grateful memories of my wonderful, Christian parents. I'd noticed one of my most vocal students had missed the past four class periods which is unlike her. She loves Spanish; she loves me or so she tells me daily. I don't even have to say it first. She is always coming in with the daily gossip and a huge smile. Not today.

She shows up for class today only to be checked out 15 minutes into class. I said, "Ok chica. What's going on?" She said she didn't want to talk about it. I said, "Well you're going to because I need to know why you've not been in my class.". We go out in the hallway. She proceeds to tell me that her mother is being charged with 3rd degree battery and assault...for beating her. DHS has removed her from her home, and she is now living with a foster family. She missed school because of the severe bruises on her body, mainly on her back making it very uncomfortable for her to sit.

I was stunned. I didn't say anything for what seemed like an eternity. I then asked, "Do you want to be with your mother?" She quickly responded with a no. I hug her, but I can't let go. I'm crying at this point which I know teachers aren't supposed to do, but I didn't care. What was ironic about the situation was SHE was consoling ME. I want to just hold her and love her and let her know that she is so incredible and so strong to be able to tell someone.

I continue crying as she reassures me that she is ok. She will be fine. I tell her I love her like I tell all of my students. And I truly do. They are MY kids. And it just makes me so sad that one of my kids is hurting. Y'all. I don't know. I worry so much about my kiddos. Pray that she can continue to be strong and that she can stay in school. Fostering at this age can be disastrous. Pray for her foster family, and pray for her mother. Pray for me because right I'm having images of her mother getting hit by a bus. Don't worry. She doesn't die, but it's still not a good thought to have.


Monday, February 13, 2012

She be so ratchet

Ratchet=nasty. My students think that I am not cultured enough in "today's" language, so they have decided to teach me a new word every day. And who said you stop learning? NEVER. Have you ever had one of those nights when you just think the most random things and none of those things connect? It's like, "Hey thoughts! Let's play connect the invisible dots." So I was thiinking just now about dots and that made me think about being chased by a crocodile. Very scary thought. So I googled "What to do when being chased by a crocodile" and it gave me the following information:
  • Since the crocodile is surprising fast on land, run in a zigzag motion for the crocodile has little or no ability to make sudden changes of direction.

I got so tickled. First, I of all people would find myself in that predicament. Second, can you picture running in a zigzag motion? Me the girl who falls so often? Third, who thinks while being chased, "Oh wait. A crocodile has little or no ability to change direction so I'm going to run in a zigzag motion." No thank you. I shall just run.

Luckily I have yet to be chased by a crocodile. Life is so good and very busy. My students are awesome! They are so sweet even though I want to sucker punch them sometimes. They did throw me my first surprise birthday party EVER. I was so shocked and grateful. They do have such kind hearts.

Speaking of kind hearts, wasn't it totally awesome that LL Cool J prayed on the Grammy's last night? What a statement that made! That did give me glimmer of hope for our world. I kind of want to send him some fanmail. I would always send JTT fanmail. I never got a response--that punk. Go sing to yourself you lion lover!

I'm so tired yet I hear the ocean. I would love to be on a ship right now with Sawyer or Jack from LOST. Oh be still my beating heart! You are beating so quickly that Dr. Jack might have to do surgery, you bad heart you. I really want to go to the beach. This summer I shall go to a beach. Where? I have no earthly, but I can tell you this. I will NOT get a heat rash because I will not. That's all I know to tell you. If you've ever had a heat rash, you think you're skin is dying.

Goodnight fair friends. Dream sweet dreams. I'm going to dream about oceans and writing in Spanish with one hand and English with the other...simultaneously. Mark Twain said to "explore, dream and discover". Marky be so smart. You so not ratchet.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My "How To" for the day

I'll be 28 in a few weeks. I'm not one of those people that will cry and get really upset when people don't tell me happy birthday. I mean, yes. It's nice and makes me feel happy when my birthday is acknowledged. I admit it. But I'm not going to go stab your picture if you forget. I just love any reason to eat, have a party and just hang out. So this leads me to the "How To" of today. Today's "How To" to throw yourself a surprise party!! Whoopee!

So I've thrown this idea around in my mind...ya know. Would people think it was weird if I, me, Ashley, sent out invitations to my own surprise birthday party. I mean, really, how awkward would that be for them. I'm awkward anyway, and I can handle myself. But others sometimes don't know how to react. "Hey, I just got an invitation to Ashley's birthday party. She invited us to her own birthday party. And it's a surprise. I'm so confused." As will most people be. We are celebrating the moment when I was pushed out of my mother. How much more awkward can you get?

The reasons why I will throw myself a surprise party:
  1. It's a totally fantastic idea that no one in the history of birthdays has ever pulled off. I mean, I've never met every person that was ever born. Could you imagine? I would be asking SO many questions like...what was it like wearing a corset AND pantiloons? Did your toga ever accidently fall off? Did you ever help build a cathedral or almost die of the black plague? See? So many questions so it's probably best that I've never met everyone, though maybe there was someone who had my same idea.
  2. People would marvel at my wonderful acting skills when I fake my surprise face or marvel at my ability to outwit myself.
  3. I get to choose what's on the menu.
  4. I get to invite whoever I want.
  5. I can make it a theme party because dressing up is one of my most favorite things to do.
So, how do I go about doing this? This is where I get the opportunity to outwit myself. I have no idea how to surprise myself. Any thoughts?

Moving on to my 2012 trip to who knows where. I think my friend Anna is going to come with me for a full week. She's up for whatever. We are for sure going to Paris, and I would like to go to Portugal again. I really miss the pastries, and I want steak, and the hostel was so much fun, and I want a painting from these Russian peeps, and I want to go to Sintra the fairytale land. So yes, I am repeating a country but who cares. Paris will be fun with a girlfriend instead of solo. There are just some places where it would be kind of lonely going by yourself. Like Barcelona was last year. So I do hope Anna can come with me!! And let's hope I save enough money.

To end this post, I shall share my favorite thing: TRIVIA. I love facts that make me think or laugh. Did you know...that a cat will clean itself with paws and tongue after a dangerous experience or when it has fought with another cat? This is believed to be an attempt by the animal to soothe its nerves by doing something natural and instinctive. I feel that humans do that as well except we use a loofa and body wash. Agree?

Go cleanse yourself, listen to Irish music, and get ready for my surprise birthday party!!!