Peyton’s Lesson #7: Approach Tasks With Joy

Approach all things with the same enthusiasm, no matter how many times you’ve done them. 

Peyton & I have been working on a new trick: wave. It confused her greatly, as she was used to the palm of my hand as meaning “high-five”. Then she saw the waving motion, and thought “dance?” but that wasn’t what I wanted either. (Don’t get me wrong, she would definitely get frustrated after a while, if I kept at it too long.) But her enthusiasm and determination for figuring out what I was trying to get her to do is awesome. Peyton finds joy even in the difficult tasks.

Mom told us we needed to rake leaves before the weather got really bad & it started snowing. That’s right, FREAKING SNOW. Ugh. I was putting my shoes on, reluctantly getting ready to go out to rake, when I thought about voicing my complaints. That’s when I looked to my side & noticed Peyton’s excited expression at the anticipation of getting to go outside. So I stopped myself, distracted by her cuteness. Needless to say, once Peyton realized we were NOT going for a car ride, & all she ended up doing was standing around watching us shove leaves all over the place, she wasn’t quite as excited as before. But she was still happy to be out there with us. (& to run through the occasional leaf pile!) Unpleasant tasks: still finds joy.


I’ve been noticing all the times Peyton has shown enthusiasm or joy for what she is doing. Even the seemingly mundane, daily things. It’s almost contagious sometimes. I often wonder what she would look like if she still had a tail, the amount of times I notice her little “nubbin” moving with excitement.

So, even though I don’t see myself jumping for joy at everything I do… approaching unpleasant tasks with a slightly more positive attitude has really made a difference. Of course, Life and the wonderful people in it never fail to test me on this. Hopefully I can keep it up..

Peyton’s Lesson #6: A Best Friend

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.
– Josh Billings

A dog is a man’s best friend.

I was not very nice to Peyton a few days recently. I still made sure she was fed, & her bathroom needs were met. However, I hadn’t been playing ball with her, or spending much quality time with her. Yet, I was almost tricked into thinking I was spending quality time with her, because she continued to stay by my side while I did what I wanted to do. (I’m so thankful for you, Peyton!)

Well, one night she was [understandably] very antsy. That’s when I realized I hadn’t been very fair to her. I hadn’t been paying attention to her & giving her the appropriate amount of play time she deserved. I don’t play ball with her just for me and my sake, only when it’s convenient for me, or if I feel like it. I play ball for her, because it makes her happy. (Which her happiness in turn does make me happy.) She gives me so much, and she doesn’t even expect that much in return. The least I can do for her is make sure she has her daily fun/playtime. I wasn’t being a very good friend.

If I haven’t mentioned it previously, I am moved back into my parents’ house. Still on the job hunt. My state of mind isn’t the best here. I don’t want to be here. I tend to be a selfish person, & it’s easy for me to get wrapped up in my own pity parties about how much life sucks here. Mentally, it’s just not the best situation for me. Peyton is my saving grace. She prevents me from doing anything stupid/drastic.

Thank you, Peyton, for keeping me sane & reminding me to be less selfish of a friend/person. She is truly my best friend, & I hope to continue to be the best friend I can be for her.

I’m so sorry for ignoring you Peyton.

Shit [Grad] Students [Still] Say/Do

Ok, so as a sort of disclaimer I want to say a few things. One, I am guilty of all these things at one point or another. I’m not above any fellow students. Two, I occasionally find myself starting to fall back into a few of these “mindsets”, but I quickly remind myself I am now a graduate student & too old for this shit. Three, these are all things that I thought at least most graduate students would have grown out of by now. (Apparently, I get the faulty idea that every one of my peers should be at the same level, on the same page as me.)

Here are some things I’ve noticed my classmates doing/saying that old-student-ashley would have said, but new-student-ashley shakes her head/laughs at:

  • “Can I see my grade?” / “Why aren’t our tests/papers graded by now? It’s been two days!”

    • dude, calm down. Instructors/professors have lots of things to do. They’re busy too. Give them a reasonable amount of time. Not like finding out your grade sooner is going to change it any, anyway. As long as papers are handed back a reasonable amount of time before the next one… all’s good. (Different educators grade papers differently. Students should be able to have feedback to know how to write the next one.)
  • “It would have been nice to have a study guide. There’s just too much information.”

    • A study guide? Are we in fourth grade? Yes, I used to love study guides. I would bitch & whine when professors didn’t give us one. But, professors even stopped the study-guide-giving in my undergrad. So I started talking to the professors outside of class, trying to figure out how their brain works & if they’d give any sort of direction for study focus. Really the “too much information” is usually BS. (& Trust me, I’ve used that excuse MANY, many times!!) The main points are reasonable to figure out, from the textbook layout or the professors lectures. Time management plays a huge factor in this. Whatta bitch.
      • You shouldn’t be “learning things for the test” anyway. Especially not in grad school, when you should definitely be taking only classes that interest you. You should want to just learn about the subject.
  • “I just can’t retain anything if I study days before the exam. I swear I learn best when I study the night/day before!”

    • HAHAHAHHAHA. Hello, I’m Queen Procrastinator, if we haven’t met before. While I haven’t figured out how to NOT write a paper the night before it’s due, I, Master Procrastinator, have shockingly concluded from recent experiments… the best way of studying is by learning & reviewing a little bit each day along the way. NOT by “studying” cramming the night before. (I’m not saying cramming doesn’t work, because it can & has for me, but it truly is better not to. & it now it highly annoys me when people confuse studying & cramming for some reason..) I have also found this method to even reduce complaints about too much information!
  • Complain complain complain how hard something is. Once it’s done, brag about how easy it was.

    • You should be punched in the face for doing this. Especially if you go on & on about it. We all remember the hours of complaining and bitching; it wasn’t that simple. Someone should have slapped me once or twice during my undergrad…

Spooky Sunday: Part 1

Scary movie /31 Nights of Horror Update:

October 1: Shutter (The Original)

Ok, so someone once told me the original movie is much scarier & better than the American remake. (I’ve heard from horror film fans that this is generally the case.) I saw the remake a few years back in 2008 when it was released. Even though it wasn’t that long ago, I do not recall if I liked it or not.

Anyway, back to this original version. I did not care for it. I don’t know if it was: the fact that I had too high expectations for it, the fact that I had to read every conversation, or that I already knew the plot/storyline and that just wrecked the whole effect for me. Either way I was not too impressed.


October 2:  Cabin in the Woods

This is one I had already watched previously, but I had schoolwork to do & thus didn’t want to be distracted too much. Ok, this one gets a little bit of a mixed reaction from viewers, & understandably so. It’s a bizarre movie, to say the least. It’s a horror/comedy. If you’re a die hard horror fan, (& I mean not just “I like to get scared”) you’ll probably love this, as there’s references to other horror films. I can’t tell you too much about it if you haven’t seen it, otherwise it will give the movie away.


October 3: Kill Theory

This film is one of those 8 Films to Die For. I didn’t know what that meant, so I looked it up, & basically it is an independent horror film festival event held annually. Cool. This one sounded good, but I wasn’t expecting too much. So I decided to give it a try, & I am certainly glad I did. It was a psychological take on your slasher film. Sort of like Saw. I recommend this movie if you like slasher films that have a decent storyline along with the blood & gore. I think I’m going to give more of these After Dark Horrorfest / 8 Films to Die For movies a try…

October 4: The Crazies

I’ve seen this movie multiple times. That alone should tell you it’s good. But here’s a few things I like about it most:

  • The pace of the movie. Not too fast, but not too slow.
  • It’s not another stupid zombie eating brains movie.
  • The main characters aren’t superhuman. They’re just human.
  • Although the visuals are AWESOME in this movie, it doesn’t rely on that to keep your interest.


October 5: Dot Kill

Terrible movie. I found it hard to keep watching, I lost interest. The film/editing was also weird at parts. The plot was boring, the script poorly written. Predictable. Go watch fear dot com instead. (Actually, I watched fear dot com a long time ago, so I don’t know how good it is. But I’m pretty sure I liked it better than this one.)


Should I keep doing this type of (weekly, biweekly) post for the movies I watch this month? I don’t know how interesting that was to read, or if people are interested in this type of post from me. :P If you watch any of these, please let me know your thoughts on it! Or if you have any recommendations, those would be appreciated, also. :]


My 31 Nights of Horror

It’s October bitches!

Everyone knows October is the best month ever, because for one it’s my birthday month, but more importantly.. it’s HALLOWEEN! You should know by now that I love the scary stuff.  LOVE it. Which makes it perfect that my birthday is in the same month as Halloween; all the scary movies were coming out! Every year for my birthday I made it tradition to invite all my friends to see a scary movie. It was a spooktacular time. (I’m not even sorry for that one.)

I’ve decided this year to attempt my own 31 Nights of Horror.

I say “attempt” because with school & everything that is going on, I’ll probably miss a night or two here & there. Sometimes I may even watch a movie earlier in the day. Just depends on my schedule. But I will seriously do my best.

Anyway, I may get some suggestions from this 31 Nights of Horror site, or I might just watch a horror flick that’s on TV, OR I might just watch a scary movie I have access to. Either way, I’ll try my best to report back here on a somewhat regular basis & do a review-style type post. [Or maybe I’ll simply live tweet it, if it’s on TV. (@aayjayell is my “live tweeting” account) I enjoy live tweeting things too much.]

Although I’m sure I’ll watch some of my favorites (or just a lot of ones I’ve already seen), I hope to get to watch some good horror flicks I haven’t seen out of this!

What’s your favorite scary movie?

p.s. if you’re doing your own 31 nights of horror, let me know!

I Have Officially [& Finally] Turned To The Dark Side.

In honor of the iOS 7 release that Apple is supposed to be doing sometime today, I thought I would remind y’all of this post. A little over a year later, I am truly a member of the Apple army of brainwashed souls.

(ps I’m so excited for this update I just want it already!!!)

Actually Ashley

No, not that dark side. I am president of that dark side. I’m talking about the dark side of cellular devices and electronics.

That’s right, I’m now an owner of a new iPhone 4s!

After my parents putting on what I’m calling their most convincing performance to date, getting me thinking it would be a while before I could say I was an iPhone person, they surprised me with it this evening. Getting up at the ass crack of dawn and doing some unpleasant things (laundry, dishes, ..yuck!) paid off after all. Anyway, now I’m just waiting for my phone cover. (Which is really gonna test my patience… It’s not supposed to get here until around Aug 15-27!)

My iPhone + my MacBook Pro = Apple lover ♥

Yes, I remember the days when I shook my head at the iPhone and thought “seriously? I have an iPod touch! why would I…

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