A new home (on the internet)

So I’ve been keeping this little blog here on wordpress for about 4 years now (!) and with the help of my dude and his mechanically minded self, I’ve now found a more permanent home to fit all my needs. If you’d like to keep reading about my life and all its sundry details, please go to :

 

http://www.ashleysheets.com/

 

Ta-da! A real, live, website! How exciting!

 

This also means that if you follow me in a reader of some sort you’ll need to make sure to change the link to the one above. I hope to see you guys over there. Talk to you soon!

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Family Dynamics

For those who aren’t used to it, it’s kind of strange seeing your spouse interact with their whole family. With Jon’s granny dying, this means what limited family that exists out in the world is in the process of congregating in England. This lends itself to more familial interaction than I’ve seen in the nearly 4 years Jon and I have been together, basically, since our wedding day, which was the last time Jon’s immediate family was reunited. Jon’s brother lives nearby, and Jon’s sister flew over from Canada, so it’s been a full house these past 4 or so days! (Also, on a side note, Jon’s sister married a Canadian, Jon married an American….I think it’s fair to say the Norris children love North America. Can’t blame them, it is pretty awesome. Plus-we have seasons).

What has been brought to my attention is the sort of family dynamics that come to the surface when grown children are reunited, and how everyone seems to revert to…something. Obviously I wasn’t around when Jon and his siblings were young, but I can see whatever remnants remain when the three of them are together-the baby brother as the golden child who can do no wrong in the eyes of his parents, the oldest sister that loves to boss everyone around (sometimes nicely and sometimes not) and my dude, the perpetual middle child, fading into the background and taking the most flack, and responding to it all by either ignoring the whole spectacle, or coming back with a withering sarcastic comment in return.

It’s not exactly fun all the time, to be honest, because I’m an oldest child myself and I just end up sticking up for Jon in places where he either doesn’t give a shit anyway, or where he could defend himself better than I can due to his a) being related to those in question, and b) being more easily able to quell an emotional response (I am constantly a tightly-wound ball of emotion and rage, guyz). It’s just weird. And kind of stressful. Obviously I want to stand up for my partner, but it’s hard to do so and so fully insert oneself into someone else’s family dynamic. Especially when, let’s be honest, that family doesn’t all get together very often at all. And also, most of it isn’t worth arguing over. But that’s family, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s just because in my family we all either chill out or yell at each other. We’re equal opportunity fighters! There is no sulking or even any awkward silences. If you have something to say to someone, they will, no doubt, have something to say right back. No need to defend anyone because they are there, defending themselves, or at the very least spouting off their  (usually pretty strong) opinions. No wilting flowers from whence I came. And I think that making a new place in a different family brings all this to light, because everyone’s place is so easy to see. Another family’s dynamics, of which I am now a part. Hmm. Something to get used to.

 

And then there are times when everyone is around and we play scrabble together and enjoy each other’s company…..that’s pretty cool. So…family! In-laws!

the gymnast, high above the ground

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Today I am grateful. For family and for love, for food in my belly and a good book to read. Friends near and far and an amazing partner in life who makes me laugh and keeps me company and makes me feel wanted. Cute dogs. Good tunes. A roof over my head and some money in the bank.

This morning Jon’s grandma died. She was a sweet old lady of nearly 90 glorious years, and will be dearly missed, and her passing has brought up all these feelings and thoughts that I can’t find the energy to articulate at the moment. Thoughts of generations living together, and the things that we owe one another; what it means to be elderly today and what will happen when Jon and I’s parents grow old; what will happen to my family if I live overseas as  they get old (and heaven forbid, sick). What it means to be a family and how intrinsically, deeply connected we all are to one another, whether we always remember or not, whether we see each other consistently or not. Family ties, in all their glory and strife and sorrow. And it makes me think of my grandmothers, both long gone now, and how much I still wish they were here to talk to and guide me. Because I don’t know if there is a day when I won’t need their guidance. I miss them. But mostly my heart hurts for Jon’s family, and their loss of a really great lady who I never really knew at her best, and most of all for Jon’s granddad, who, after all those decades of marriage is now facing an incomprehensible loss.

Please love each other.

Things that happened this week:

-I commuted five days in a row from Hayward’s Heath to Brighton. It more than doubled the commute I’m used to. Easy 15-30 minute walk from front door to school, bam! Now: 20 minute walk to station, 20 minutes on train, 15 walk to work from station. Other people have it far worst…but whew! It’s tiring, and quite a change. More time for train reading though, a tiny silver lining.

-The commuting made me extra sleepy.

– I devoured the thriller ‘Gone Girl’, a book which left me impressed by its can’t-put-it-down factor and myriad twists and turns, but disappointed by it’s ridiculously unbelievable/frustrating ending.

-I began teaching a group of 15 year old Polish teenagers. They are so very teenage-y that I can’t help but laugh in-between giving them stern looks and reminding them that they aren’t stupid so they don’t need to act that way.

-The snow melted. It disappeared so quickly after its few days of covering our little space, and left behind only spring in the (still so brisk) breeze. No longer freezing. Just cold. And the sun even came out yesterday (and disappeared today). Now there’s no telling what’s left of winter. Another snow? More and more rain? Or is it almost gone now?

-Jon and I got new phones! I (we) are in love. I can do all sorts of things again, and I am feeling very warm/fuzzy about the technology that is available to me. The world is a crazy place, man.

Why I wish everyone had a blog

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So you may have noticed that I have a blog, and that I enjoy writing that blog, and that I seem to talk about a lot of stuff here. And back in the day that was really normal-“that” being writing about things on the internet, and “the old days” being a time of xanga and myspace and livejournal (I never got on the livejournal bandwagon, but you know what I’m talking about). Back then, everybody had a blog! And everyone dangerously overshared, and everyone put all their business out there into the ether, and basically it was just kind of great for someone my age, at that time. It was nice and weird knowing so much-not just about your best friends, but about strangers out in the world. And it was somewhat safe because not everyone in the whole world was doing it-and especially not your whole family, and your grandma, and your boss, and all your teachers, and all of that. And they couldn’t find it anyway, unless you wanted them to. But now things are different. Not quite so free and breezy.

I think blogging may be as big as ever as a social platform, but the actual social aspect seems to be rapidly diminishing in favor of monetizing and going “big”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  There’s a lot less middle ground, and there are a lot fewer personal bloggers out there. And I don’t mean the big lifestyle blogs, posting instagram pics in between giveaways and all of that, I just mean people posting about their lives, and talking to other people posting about their lives in return. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t know a lot of people who blog without a specific thing in mind….photography, or personal fashion/style, or travel, or cooking, or what have you. Only a very few people in my life have similarly aimless internet spaces-two come to mind. Just two!

All of this to say, the overtly personal nature of the things I write leads me to sometimes feel as if I’m sharing too much, especially in the face of how few people I know and love are out there writing. It leads to a feeling as if a lot of people in my life, or in the periphery of my life, know really personal or minute things about my experience, while I know next to nothing about theirs. And that makes me sad. And a little jealous. Because I want to know as much about them as they know about me. All the things. That, or I want them to know nothing about me. All or nothing, know what I mean? But never writing on my end would make me sad, as well. I enjoy keeping track of life and recording it this way. I like staying in touch with my family and friends this way, and just generally writing about things and having them in a specific place. So we are at an impasse.

Being so far away from most of my people very obviously leaves huge spaces in my day to day. And what I’m saying is I do truly wish that more people were blogging, and it’s all for very selfish reasons. I miss my people. And no one talks like they write. Even my own husband-he kept a blog when we lived in Korea and I loved reading it. It was so different and yet so similar to the Jon that I saw every day.His reaction to things that we’d done or places he’d been-it was just fun for me to read those, later. And even now, reading back on that time is just a little bit magical, and nostalgic, and all of that. I wish he had a personal blog now (he has a professional one, and it’s just not the same). I really believe that writing allows for a different form of expression, different from how most of us express ourselves in person, even to those we love the most. And getting insight into that side of someone is mesmerizing, and intimate, in a way that few things are.

Most of this rambling is just to put out there what I’ve been thinking. It’s not too profound. But oh, I would love it if I could have a little list of blogs to check in on, written by my favorites, multiple times a week. It’d be so much easier to stay on top of things that way. Don’t you agree?

Winter wonderland in Lindfield

Those of you in America (and maybe some other places in the Northern Hemisphere) have been enjoying the snow this winter, but since it just came to the south of England, I’m right in that sweet spot of being ultra-pleased that I look out my window and see a winter wonderland! And not a slushy gross gray one, either. Just white. Lovely.   lindfield snow

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Snow and Moving House

We’re all moved and getting settled back in our old place (coughcough-in-laws-coughcough) and now that we’re here I’m feeling a lot better about the whole thing. Determined. I don’t think anyone pictures being roommates with anyone at all after getting married-let alone with family-but it really is a good opportunity for us to take care of business, and it’s nice of Jon’s parents to welcome us here. So I’m keeping my chin up, dammit. Besides, it was our decision, and even that is a privilege. We are lucky. We will make the most of this.

Snow finally arrived in England the day we left our flat. And it was beautiful. I thought it would be a light dusting, but it just kept coming! If Jon hadn’t been so ill, and if we hadn’t been in the midst of moving, I would have liked to take a seaside walk in the snow. Alas, that didn’t happen.

Just the beginning of the hours of snow that followed.

Pigeons cowering against the building across the street, huddled for warmth.

I love when people use umbrellas in the snow. It’s weirdly adorable.

 

However, the view is far different up north in the quiet bit of small village that is Lindfield, our new/old home. It  snowed all day and we woke up to this yesterday morning…a still, peaceful, gorgeous winter wonderland.

 

 

And that vignette, my friends, is enough to cheer any girl up.