Rick Perry…Really?

The Twitterverse and presidential primaries. They never fail to suck me back into the commentary vortex. I was doing so well, too, in my recovery from campaigning. Last night I had a relapse courtesy of Rick Perry & Co.

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Ugh. Let’s start at the beginning:

1.  “Defending conservatism” — Every candidate in this primary is going to try to be the most conservative. Welp, sorry, fellas, the word “most” only allows for one in this context. Not everyone can be the most conservative. Governor, you’re a really nice guy and I am supportive of a lot of what you did during your tenure as the leader of Texas, but you’re not going to win the Most Conservative Award, not with crap like this, that, these, and those on your record. Maybe instead of “conservatism” you could use a word like “principle” or “values”. Strong message, less liability.


2.  “against the cancer of Trump-ism” — Oy. Dude. Really? You just took Donald Trump, the equivalent of “Annoying House Fly” and elevated him to “Cancer”, one of the scariest words in the English language. As someone whose parents are cancer survivors, I’m surprised you’d throw the word around so loosely as political rhetoric. Also, you should recognize that you just put all of Trump’s supporters in the “cancer” category, too. You do realize that those are people you could actually get to, ya know, vote for you, provided you don’t compare them to the evil that kills more than 1,500 Americans every day, right? Way to go, isolating your potential supporters. Great comms strategy. Brilliant.

watch this

3. “I hope you’ll join me Wednesday in DC” — Yah, because we can all drop what we’re doing to camp out at The Willard for a whopping 30 minutes. Also, The Willard? As in the $500 a night hotel? How about a link to the streaming coverage instead? Know your audience, please.


Rick Perry (read: his people) would have us believe Donald Trump is the Governor’s biggest problem right now. He’s given more attention to The Donald than he has to Planned Parenthood, the taxpayer-funded entity that just got busted aborting babies and selling their organs for cash. Twice.

Screaming Frodo - Why

Rather than drawing attention to an issue that brings conservatives, Republicans, lots of Independents, and even Democrats together because, let’s face it, strategically killing an infant so as not to damage its little liver because “a lot of people want liver” and enough baby liver can buy Dr. Frankenstein a Lamborghini is worse than evil, Governor Perry has his undies in a twist because some reality TV star is doing what reality TV stars get paid to do: be obnoxious. Donald Trump is show business. It’s his bread and butter. Being pro-life, Governor, is yours. It is for any conservative. This isn’t rocket science.


Again, with that tweet, you elevated him from “nuisance” to
“a very real and scary threateverybodyrunawayasfastaspossible!”

panicGovernor, you have at your fingertips the hottest economic model in the country (hint: it rhymes with Lexas) – use it. American families are hurting. Gas is up again, especially in California. Food prices are going up as a result of the fuel costs. Unemployment is still a problem (well over 6% in some states). Obamacare is failing aga- still. The IRS is out of control. Small businesses are under attack. The Congress was just trumped by the UN (sorry, poor word choice). And you’re over here distracted by Donald Freaking Trump.



You’ve No One To Blame But Yourselves

It’s been a busy few days and I had not planned time to sit down and blog today BUT sometimes you find a reason so good you’ll forget emptying the dishwasher and starting the laundry to dish out a righteous amount of snark.

sarcasmLast week I lamented about California’s “war on women” as Governor Jerry Brown seeks to limit the amount of time we can spend in the shower. Sorry, ladies, but you don’t have time to shave, let that conditioner set, or belt out that latest Taylor Swift chorus – you’ve gotta save water because the state is in a drought and suddenly it’s time to panic. Or something.

panicBut then the voice of reason steps in and presents SCIENCE! When your primary argument is “Save the Fish!” and the numbers indicate what you’re doing isn’t working, well, it’s time to stop saving the fishes the way you want to and think of something else.


Malia Zimmerman published an article on Fox News today about California’s drought. Click here to read the whole thing. Her headline is very professional.

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Personally, I would have suggested something like this:

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That’s why Ms. Zimmerman gets paid the big bucks. It’s not that I am against saving the environment. I love the environment, with all of its animals and plants and trees. I’m for clean air and clean water. I recycle and clip 6-pack rings before I put them in the aforementioned recycle bin. Heck, I even use canvas bags at the grocery store (even though I don’t support a plastic bag ban, let’s be really clear about that). We can be good stewards of our resources without being ridiculous.

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AMEN! As we all learn in 6th grade earth science, there is a difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day activity: it’s sunny, it’s raining, look out the window and describe what you see. Climate is the long-term pattern that defines a region: it’s hot, it’s dry, it’s wet, it’s snowy. Remember the climate zones? Temperate, tropical, polar… (Thanks for being an awesome science teacher, Mrs. Gordon!)

you're awesomeSouthern California, even on the coast, is dry. Sure we get a nice layer of dew every morning, but there’s a reason people love the “perfect” weather here: it’s 70-something and sunny almost every day – it doesn’t rain. Oh, and the desert, well, that’s a desert so, honestly, why would anyone expect it to rain there?! Lack of rain in a desert should surprise no one. If you live in a desert and you know it’s not going to rain, common sense would suggest you plan infrastructure and resource management accordingly.


Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.37.54 AMThe problem isn’t there’s not enough water. The problem is the water is being poorly managed. Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink because WE’RE POURING IT INTO THE OCEAN. “But, Ashley,” you say, “they have big water storage and transport thingies!” Yah, let’s talk about those… Next paragraph!

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1980 was 35 years ago, y’all. Can you imagine if we didn’t update our roads for 35 years? Water traveling through this system will cause excessive wear and tear on the network. Building new ones? Nope. Updating old ones? I mean, if we have to but definitely don’t expand them because SAVE ALL THE FISHES!!

As I mentioned earlier, I like fish. I like their contributions to the ecosystem, as well as my dinner plate.

Quotation-Molly-Harper-god-Meetville-Quotes-237278Here’s the problem:

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Dear Environmentalists: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG! Seriously, if my goal was to save $10,000 over the course of 2015 and I get to December and only have $6 saved, I need to re-think my strategy because whatever I tried, clearly, didn’t work.

wrongCalifornia Congressman Republican (they’re evil, I know) Devin Nunes states in the article that, obviously, the environmentalists didn’t set out to destroy California’s water supply but they got a little carried away and *oops!* they did. He claimed that if the state had built only three new dams and stored water over the last 40 years (instead of allowing environmental zealots to shut down every proposed plan in court), California wouldn’t be in this mess. But we let the fish-savers win and here we are.


Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.53.51 AMSomething about that fish is just creepy…

Do you want to know how carried away these people are, still? They are opposed to desalination (removing salt from ocean water) because it would require “too much energy”. They’re against building new dams and water storage facilities because it might tear down a tree. And, have mercy, don’t consider removing all the red tape they so carefully, and abundantly, put in place.

Understand me: there are people in this state and country who would prioritize 6 fish over 319 million Americans. “Okay, Ashley, that is a serious overstatement. You’re fear mongering!” Before you go and accuse me of being an evil Republican, answer me this question:

Do you eat food?

Well, do ya, punk? I don’t care if you’re paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescadarian, carnivore, omnivore, no carbs or all carbs. Do you eat food? Then this drought affects you, too.

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Forget “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!” and start chanting “NO WATER, NO FOOD!” because that’s exactly what is happening. If we have to save those 6 little fish that an expert says is probably going to die anyway, if we have to divert water away from farms to save a doomed species, then we will produce less food. Supply and demand isn’t hard.

Less Product + Higher Demand = Higher Prices
More Product + Less Demand = Lower Prices

Take a look at your grocery bills over the last few years. The cost of bread, milk, and produce has skyrocketed while the fishie population has dwindled. It’s not that we shouldn’t care about the plight of one of God’s creatures, but we have to be reasonable about it: people need food and jobs and showers, for crying out loud. Besides, do you really want to be represented by these guys? I can smell the patchouli from here.

damsignWhat’s that about jobs? Oh, yah. Fewer crops require fewer workers. Fewer crops require fewer truck drivers. Fewer truck drivers require fewer logistics coordinators. Fewer logistics coordinators require fewer bosses. As you can see, we’re all in this boat together and the boat is in rough shape. Like, “held together with a wine cork, bubble gum, and a paperclip” bad shape.


So hug your tree-hugging neighbor, tell them it was a good try, clap ’em on the back and tell them that it’s time to get real. It’s time to re-align priorities and re-think strategies. It’s past time to build a few dams and store rain water. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to let my family suffer because a few fishes aren’t smart enough to find less-salty water to live in. Darwin was on to something…

fix stupidBy the way, this is the prized Delta Smelt. It’s really, uh, something…


I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands

Imagine you’re put in a slingshot: It has a comfy seat, the people around you are nice, and you’re ready to go really far, really fast. Total adrenaline rush, right? Yes! And then you realize you’ve been hurling through the air for 15 months…headed directly at a brick wall.

manateeI feel ya, bro. So here are some takeaways from the Campaign Life you should be aware of in case, ya know, you ever think about jumping into elections:

1. Your body will forget how to sleep. 4-5 consecutive hours, max. You will find a point beyond exhaustion and you still won’t be able to sleep. I’m a week out and I’m still struggling. 5 hours still feels normal and anything longer than that doesn’t leave me any more refreshed – it sucks because, honestly, all I want to do is sleep.

duckling2. When it’s all over, you will be an emotional wreck. Without a constant focus, you’re free to wander all over the emotional spectrum. Tuesday night I was a deadpan zombie, Wednesday I couldn’t shake anxiety because I constantly felt like I was forgetting something (there was nothing to remember), and Thursday I had a total breakdown because I paid $32 at a local beauty school for a disaster of a hairdo that was totally fixable. Seriously. Also, see #1. The struggle is real.


3. That massive to-do list that’s been piling up for well over a year is waiting for you, and you know it. You’ll put it off for a couple of days, then try to tackle it with vigor only to be worn out and frustrated in approximately 30 minutes. Energy, motivation, and focus will not be your friends for a while. Work in small increments & reward yourself for accomplishments. I recommend cookies.

Not do thingsIn order to get my emotions and stress levels in check (and to counteract the cookies), I decided to join a gym. Get some endorphins going, amp up the metabolism, wear my body out so it physically has to rest. What could go wrong?

everythingTune in tomorrow for that gem of a story…

In the meantime, here’s an awesome cole slaw recipe Adam and I enjoyed over the weekend!

Sweet & Spicy Cole Slaw
(Not everyone likes that mayo crap)

  • 1/2 head white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 medium bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large honeycrisp apple, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, garam masala, and cayenne together. Pour it over the cabbage, pepper, apples, and onions, which I’m assuming you put in a large bowl. Add some salt and pepper, then toss it again. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stir the honey and water together until it bubbles. You’ll see the bubbles go from pinhead sized to pencil eraser sized in a few minutes. Keep stirring; once the bubbles are big and the color is a nice amber, pour the hot mixture directly over the other ingredients. Not only will the heat will help break down the cabbage a little bit, but it will also help the peppers and apples absorb that yummy dressing.

Toss it all to combine, then taste it – what does it need? Nothing but time? Good! Let it sit for 30 minutes or so on the counter or overnight in the fridge. You’ll have a bit of excess liquid, so drain it off and keep it on the side for people who like extra dressing, or for that side salad you’re going to take for lunch tomorrow.

post-30941-that-is-genius-gif-Rita-Wilson-yUSYRemember, this is your cole slaw, so do whatever you want! Don’t have a bell pepper, but you have carrots? Go for it. Don’t like cayenne? Take it out. Think apple cider vinegar would be good instead of red wine vinegar? Done. Throw in some poppy seeds and get real cray. I just made this up based on what was in my kitchen. We served it up with some hot Italian sausage links and cold beers, but it’d go with just about anything. Happy eating!

It’s Only A Day Away!

If you think I’m not prancing around my house in a hoodie, shorts, and slippers singing “Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Elections tomorrow! It’s only a day awaaaaaaaaay!” at full volume, you’d be sadly mistaken. This is happening.

Welcome to the plight of the campaign worker.

tumblr_inline_mjf4i8IPHR1rrpsd7Early voting is finished and tomorrow is the Big Day, so that means 3 things:

  1. My to-do list is finite
  2. Only one more 3:30am alarm
  3. Operation: Campaign Recovery is underway!

For the last 15 months my to-do list has been like a gremlin that was thrown into a swimming pool and became 3,247 gremlins, all of which were fed after midnight. Every. Day. Since joining the campaign, I’ve never not had a legal pad, a big white board, and the back of an envelope filled with tasks, deadlines, notes, and reminders. To have 8 more items left is an unbelievable feeling.

xtinaConfession: I’m a morning person. In fact, there were even a couple of mornings when I actually enjoyed sitting at my kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee at 3:30 in the morning. It is so quiet that I can hear the waves on the beach, just like it was right outside by the mailbox, not around the corner and down the hill. But, let’s be real honest, y’all, 3:30am gets real old real quick. Why 3:30am? Because that’s 5:30am Central, and we start at 6:30am.

If I were going to bed around 8, then it might be more tolerable, but that’s nowhere near a reality in Campaign Land. Bed at 11, up at 3:30 – it’s enough to make this morning person have an episode.

Panic (1)Lastly, Operation: Campaign Recovery. Yes, it’s a thing. This is my attempt to detox, rest, and get back in shape. On the campaign trail, one is often limited to crappy, processed convenient, cheap food, inordinate amounts of caffeine, little sleep, even less exercise, and gargantuan levels of stress. It’s the price we pay to influence politics, leadership, and public policy. To us, it’s worth it. Seeing as how I have a dress to fit into in 48 DAYS, I’ve gotta get my keister in gear, and quick.

breathe-gifThe first step is coming down from the caffeine fix I’ve been living in for months on end. This will be facilitated by sleeping. A lot. Like, all day Wednesday. And juice. My Omega juicer is ready to go with my all-time favorite: kale-pineapple-jalapeño. Green, sweet, with a hint of spicy. So good.

1392.stripThe second step of this is getting back into a workout routine. I started this on Friday, actually, by registering to be a Social Runner in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run. Then, yesterday, I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement. Oy to the vey, y’all – I need some work!

trappedThe third step is allowing myself to relax. I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs: every time my email or text tone dings, I drop what I’m doing to rush to the device to take care of business. Yesterday Adam asked me if we could please change my text tone after the campaign because the frequency with which it goes off even has him on edge. Hundreds of texts and emails a week. I’m trading email, Twitter, texting, Facebook, and conference calls for yoga, journaling, sitting on the beach, crocheting, and reading books with paper pages.

tumblr_inline_n7dngdbSCW1ru8le0Campaigns teach you to be patient, persistent, and disciplined. You find out how dedicated you really are to your principles. It’s not easy and, a good chunk of the time, it’s not all that much fun, but it matters. It’s something that, for whatever reason, is in the blood of some people. A lot of us swear “never again” only to be suckered in 6 months later to help the newest champion of our cause. But, for now, it’s time to rest, recover, and PLAN A WEDDING!

Cyndi Lauper

Let’s do this!

Friday. I’ll start Friday.

Hey Sanka, Ya Dead? Yah, Mon.

I love this movie so much. If you have kids, show them this movie. As you can see, 21 years later, it’s still relevant. 21 one years later… good night a livin’, Cool Runnings was 21 years ago?!  Ugh.

old manBack in my day, we didn’t have iPads. We pushed around pieces of wood on another piece of wood and called it a game! I’m kidding. Kinda. No I’m not. Get off my lawn!

This is just a quick note to say that I’m alive! I’ve been working like a one-armed paper-hanger in Buckingham Palace, but it’s all good. Here are some updates from the week we planned so diligently for:coffee-advert-11

  1. I’ve been eating and, surprisingly, it’s all been pretty healthy
  2. I made shepherd’s pie and it was epic – recipe coming soon
  3. I’ve been getting 5 hours of sleep a day, not always consecutive but I’ll take what I can get
  4. The coffee has been getting stronger and while, yes, I chewed a small handful of beans at one point, I have not (yet) taken to grinding the beans and snorting them (Seriously, kids, don’t do that. I saw a kid in my senior English class do it once with Smarties and that dude has never been the same. For real.)
  5. I’ll be looking for a really great detox and a nap in about a week

One. More. Week.

kitten-falls-asleep-oElections are being held all over the country and people like me are busting their hindquarters to get you to go to the polls, so do us a favor and go vote!

Mama, there’s a girl in the castle!

In my little world, Early Voting starts next week. That means my work day starts at 5am Central (um, 3am Pacific) and goes until at least 10pm Central. It is my favorite part of campaigning. Everything comes together: all of the team, the volunteers, our messaging, and the party to get out the vote. God bless America and our constitutional republic!

Freedom EagleWhat that also means is I have to set alarms that remind me when it’s time to eat. Because I’ll forget. Yah. I will do this for two weeks. It’s pretty pathetic. My tummy inevitably rumbles when I’m in the middle of something, so I’ll ignore it until I’m finished with whatever it is I’m doing, then something else will pop up and next thing I know, it’s 4 hours later and I can’t remember what I was supposed to remember: food!

eatingConfession: This isn’t just an Early Voting thing, this is a campaign workaholic thing. Happens all the time. Early Voting just means I go into overtime, as so does the coffee pot. I’ll sleep sometime in November, around the same time I’ll start eating like a normal person again.

peter-pan-no-sleep-gifAdam will be “in the field” for the next two weeks, so while he won’t be home and that will suck, the silver lining is he won’t see the campaigning craziness first hand; he’ll only hear about it via text. Makes it a little better in my mind.

whoaWhen Adam is “in the field” his food options are limited (he may or may not actually be in a field). When Early Voting is underway, my food options are limited, too. Usually chips or dry cereal, plus whatever source of caffeine is closest. I wish I was joking. So the solution to the McCully dilemma? Cook a bunch of food on Sunday, pack it up, and eat it throughout the week.


At this moment, I have breakfast casserole in the oven, a pot roast in the slow cooker, and chicken and rice soup in the fridge. Grapes, apples, and pineapple are packed in ziplock bags. Tonight Adam is going to make his white bean chili (I’m so excited) and we picked up some pre-made salads at Trader Joe’s. If we need it, I have stuff for shepherd’s pie ready to go.

Yo I'll Solve ItI can’t tell you what a relief it is to me knowing my man’s going to be hard at work and not limited to a fast food burrito or beef jerky from a vending machine. I love taking care of him – it’s my favorite thing ever. Me having yummy food to eat is just an awesome bi-product, and I know it makes Adam feel better knowing I’m actually eating. Not complaining, just saying. Frosted Flakes are grrrrrreat!

confused smile

Sooooo, you want to get into politics? You’ve got to be dedicated, that is for dang sure. Dry Frosted Flakes and chewing coffee beans dedicated. I should write an e-book… You know I’ve got some stories. Anyway, here’s the recipe for the Pot Roast we’ve got going right now:

Pot Roast
(10 hours on low in the slow cooker – you won’t be sorry)

  • A purdy piece of beef (we picked up a 1.3-pound top round)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 medium onion (whatever color tickles your fancy is awesome)
  • 1 apple (honeycrisp or gala are awesome)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 glasses of red wine (one for you, and one for the beef)
  • Salt & pepper

fat flavorSprinkle the beef with salt and pepper, then place in the slow cooker. If there’s a fat cap (and there should be), whatever you do, for the love of all that is good in this world, DO NOT CUT IT OFF! Put that fat cap on top for the whole world to see! As it cooks, the fat will melt over the beef, giving you a constant, hands-free basting. That fat cap is flavor. If you’re really concerned about it, you can skim it off when it’s finished and tack on an extra mile tomorrow. Geez…

Give the carrots a rough chop into thirds. Peel and cut the onion into quarters. The carrots, onion, rosemary, and garlic into the pot. Now, you probably think I am crazy with the apples. Look at me, giving y’all my secret ingredient! The apples not only give a good amount of liquid when they cook down, but it’s a really lovely sweetness. Core and quarter the apple. Just trust me. It’s not going to kill you, right, Snow?


Make it a party by adding the stock, glass of wine, and 5 shakes of W-Sauce (let’s not pretend we know how to say it). 10 hours, low and slow.

Serve it up with something green (green beans, a salad, or wilted kale) or, if you’re like my gramma, mashed potatoes. If you’re like my grampa, you’ll want some ketchup for light dipping (seriously, it’s so good). We used to have pot roast at my grandparents’ house on Sunday nights… Ah, nostalgia!

So say a prayer that I make it through the next two weeks without a breakdown (emotional or mental), a case of shingles (not even kidding), or the flu (uh, yah). “Get into politics,” they said. “It will be so rewarding,” they said. They were totally right. Bring. It. On.

too old