Dear friend

I miss this lady.

When I was in Ohio in September-which, whoa, how was that seriously nearly 2 months ago now?- this beautiful woman was totally down for hangouts at the drop of a hat. We’ve got the sort of friendship thing going at this period of life where I know that nothing important will change between us because I’m away, and that we can pick up where we’ve left off, no matter how long it’s been since our last face to face. And at this time in my existence, and with the whole “up and moved sticks to the UK” thing, it’s also nice knowing that she is one of my few friends who isn’t completely devoted to a landlocked American life (aka, you can bet your ass we’ll be seeing each other not just in Ohio during this lifetime). I would never deign to only be friends with people who travel (never never), but it’s so reassuringly wonderful to know when you’ve got a few comrades that you can be counted on to meet here and there around the way-and it’s not all on my shoulders to keep friendships alive. I really appreciate that. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Anyway, with a busy week nearly behind me, I found myself looking at photos tonight from that visit. September seems far away. And I just have to say I miss my friend.

In January we will drink drinks and have talks and do alllll the thrifting. I am thinking of you.

Ohio flashback: Kingwood Center in Mansfield, Ohio

I can’t believe this was so long ago now, but looking back at these pictures of our visit to Kingwood Center in Ohio I’m reminded of a lovely day wandering amid late summer greenery with my husband and my mom, and that’s pretty cool. In comparison, today Brighton was blanketed in the thickest fog you’ve ever seen. It was eerie and seasonally appropriate and summer could not feel further away.

Jon made friends with all sorts of birds, strangely enough. Ducks and peacocks, and a goose or two. Even though he usually doesn’t have the best luck with birds…true story. He has multiple “attacked by avian beings” stories, and it’s weird. Apparently Ohio birds don’t hate him.

Ahhh romance…

Hi mom!

Nearly ten years ago I actually had some of my high school senior pictures taken here (non-American readers, those are pictures you take before graduating from high school. Everyone has them and they are cheesy yet awesome and soooo good to hold on to and show your incredulous future husband at some point). Another thing I can’t believe was as long ago as it was (whoa, that’s a messy sentence!)-high school, man. Ten years ago I finished it. What? Anyway, I had to recreate (sort of, ha) one of my senior pics in the actual spot it was taken. See?

Week 2 of CELTA is proving to be as exhausting as the first, with more and more piling on. One of the women in our class dropped out today. Gotta keep on powering through though….chug chug chug. And now, back to lesson planning…

Loved Ones

Oh, the fam. The thing about going to Ohio was that I saw more of my family in two weeks than I normally do in 6 months-wait, in this case 9 months. That’s kind of how we roll. But that also turned into everyone wanting lots of pictures, and what better place to put those pictures than this place of mine on the internet.

Look at how cute my niece is! And her hair is my color, which I love, and which my sister hates. I bought her a cool Viewfinder-type toy when we were in Paris in June. The pictures inside are all Parisian vignettes-the Eiffel Tower in the sun and at night, the Champs Elysee, Montmartre, stuff like that. I gave it to her while we were visiting and she kept pretending it was a camera and making us look in it. When we left, my sister told me that Ry continued to look into and exclaim “It’s Jon and Ashley!”. How adorable is that? Kids man…they’re funny. Double rainbow in Crestline! It seemed that the whole street ran out to see. I was disappointed to see that most just took a picture with their fancy phones, then ran back inside, undoubtedly to share their newly taken photo. I, on the other hand stood on the porch for a long time, until it went away. It was a nice moment. But then, I took a picture too so I guess I suck just as much as everyone else. 

Probably another contender for the Sheets-Norris holiday 2012 card:

The other funny thing about taking a trip like that is that so many of the pictures are ultra posed, to the point of ridiculousness. Like, a hundred of interchangeable pictures of me with my hand on my hip, cheesin’ like a fool next to someone I think is great. There is a particularly cheesy photo of Jon and I with my dad and stepmom in front of the piano, but I don’t know if they’d approve of it being put on the internet so I’ll refrain from posting it on here. Sorry dudes, it’s a total keeper.

And this, I love…

…Jon being weird while my niece forces my pregnant sister to play with her/pokes her in the eye. (And let it be known that I’m not posting pictures featuring my sister because she hates having her picture taken whilst pregnant so I’m sortakinda respecting that. There is, however, one phone picture of us that I posted over here).

Family, ya’ll.

Screw it, I’m posting the piano picture. Look at Jon!

Hahaha, it’s so great!

Birthday’d

Yesterday was lovely. I turned 28 on a sunshiney, chilly day in Brighton, and Jon and I had what we like to call a “good Brighton day”, where we just sort of wander around and enjoy all the weird and fabulous stuff happening in this city (a walk by the beach? check. shirtless dudes even though it’s barely 60 degrees  out? check. parade of activists going down the street, in this case chanting “meat is murder”? checkity check) We made our way over to some sort of arts festival that I never caught the name of, but that Jon thought would be right up my alley-he’s always right. This was after birthday pancakes and presents of course:)

I somehow managed to keep myself from buying books at this festival (as they always have used book sellers, and I can rarely say no), but I’ve got too many to-read books as it is in my house, and even cheap books aren’t as good as free books from the library, amirite? We did, however, purchase a screen print from a local artist featuring a whale saying hello in Welsh. Looking forward to framing that in our little abode!

Birthday part two was a bit more exciting. Jon surprised me with reservations at a cool little wine bar in town, and I loved it. Some of our friends met up with us there, and we caught up with Colin’s stories from his recent trip to Japan, and talked of other things. Eventually we moseyed over to the North Laines Brewery and colored some free children’s coloring pages while I drank cherry stout and enjoyed being an old lady. I was a little disappointed that no one could be bothered to go dancing or karaoking with me, but c’est la vie-people aren’t as crazy as they used to be in their early 20s, I guess!

The finished product of all our hard work. 

And this guy might be in this year’s Christmas card, perhaps with photoshopped santa hats and elves all around us…

The night ended with a visit and a drink at our friend/neighbor Lois’ place. She’s a fellow October birthday girl and we bid adieu to my birthday at midnight as we ushered hers right on in. I have to admit I was feeling a bit melancholy about the whole thing-not about getting older, but about only having Jon with me, and none of my old friends or family around. It was…a little emotional at times, which surprised me. But overall it was a nice day, and I’m a lucky lady.

How I looked on the way home.

Peace out 27! You were…okay, I guess. On to bigger and better things!

A country wedding

This is what happens when one of your oldest friends gets married, and you dance the night away with another one of your oldest friends and then thriller comes on:

thriller dance ashley joebeautiful faces

Joe and I, we’ve got moves. And we were basically stone cold sober for this whole thing, so none of our sweet skills can be blamed on alcohol consumption-we just like to get down! Some of us (I won’t name names but it wasn’t me) had toooo much fun at this gorgeous gathering, but overall the night was unforgettable and perfect and I’m glad my lady friend got the wedding she deserved-even though a crazy storm and subsequent temperature drop of nearly 20 degrees threatened to derail the whole thing! Perils of an outdoor wedding, I guess. But I think it was worth it to have the chance to get married on her parents lovely property in the middle of the Ohio corn fields/forest/other greenery.

With the bride and groom at their rehearsal dinner.

She’s a beauty. 

My handsome date.

And one last picture of Joe and I. We have been one another’s go-to wedding dates over the past several years and we always have a good time, always tear up the dance floor, and usually look pretty fancy while doing it. Case study 1 and 2 and 3.

I know I say this often, but I seriously, honestly, love a good wedding. Love.

Celebrating

After Jon and I were married in Ohio we kept saying over and over that we were going to have an English wedding, or at least a party or something over here. And it took us a full year of marriage to plan that something. Our friends came, we had Pimm’s and cupcakes and many drinks and a dance off or two, and some people even got us gifts, which was beyond nice. It was a really great little party and I’m so glad we have people who love us on both sides of the Atlantic.

(Photos taken by the belligerent Dave)