Thursday, August 21, 2014

Trained at Space Camp

I decided I was going to celebrate my birthday by going to the CA Science Center and seeing the space shuttle Endeavor and convincing them to let me take it for a spin. I was successful on two counts. Look, I've seen Space Camp, which means that I know that an average person like me can fly a space shuttle. It wasn't that hard for Joaquin Phoenix to do and I'm obviously smarter than him. But they were unmoved so I just took pictures instead.

First of all, it's massive.

I mean, of course it's massive. It had to carry large things into space like satellites and whole sections of the ISS.

And it's covered in scorch marks and dents from space debris hitting it, which is terrifying and awesome.

It's a pretty good exhibit. There's lots of information on all its missions and a time-lapse video of the trek it made across town from LAX to Exposition Park (here's an abbreviated version). I spent about an hour in the hangar just checking everything out (I think I may be better alone at museums because I could spend days in them when the rest of my party has died of dehydration waiting for me to finish up.) But here's where it could improve. They could let me fly it. Or at the very least, they could let me inside of it. Is it too much to ask to sit in the captain's chair and fiddle with the instruments? While wearing space suit? And a head set so I could talk to Mission Control? I don't think it is. I would pay extra for it. Certainly more than the nothing I paid to get in. 

Later I went over to the IMAX theater and watched the 3D movie on the Hubble telescope. And Sweet Land of Liberty! You have to see this movie! It is so awesome!!! I have a wacky astigmatism that makes 3D movies hard to watch but after a while I was just so mesmerized by what I was seeing that I hardly noticed my eyes wigging out. 

And finally, I saw a lot of really cool things that day but these early astronaut boots were among the coolest. Double laces, zipper, and silver. Sign me up!

Friday, August 15, 2014

In my pursuit to bring joy to you and to make this world a little better, I feel it's my duty to share the newest Pracercise video.

It is majestic. I could watch her and her Gentleman Friend Victor prance through the fields with the horses for hours. I think she may be wearing one of those tops that you find at truck stops along the I-15. The kind that are just a ball of squished up fabric that magically stretches to fit any size. And you know that Victor woke up that morning and thought, "Yep. Today's the day! These pants are going to kill it!"

I really hope she only speaks in rhyme all the time. Like she calls up her girlfriend Sheila (I am absolutely certain she has a friend named Sheila who supplies her with all her chunky jewelry) and says, "I just went to Target to pick up some Clorox and walked out with Titanic, toothbrushes, and pink socks."

Naturally, I have come up with an elaborate tale of how Joanna met Victor. It starts with them sitting across the aisle from each other on the senior citizen bus to a local casino and ends with Joanna calling up Victor to see if he'd like to go line dancing with her since Sheila's lumbago was acting up. "Hey, Victor, how are you? Do you know Slappin' Leather? Sheila's back has gone south on account of the weather." The rest is history.

Have a great weekend!  Remember to get yourself a Slurpee (or a slushy equivalent) and let me know about it.  Let's make this the best Get Yourself a Slurpee Day ever!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


1.  Spice World is now streaming on Netflix. Which means that you now don't have to wait for me to invite you over to watch it. Which is great for you because that would not happen anyway. I've done it before and am always really disappointed when people don't appreciate it the way I do. How can I be friends with people who don't love Spice World?

2.  Amanda was in town last week and in between eating a lot of food we ended up at Cost Plus World Market and sat on one of their display couches for 3 hours and had a nice long chat. It felt very much like we were hosting our own TV show. You guys, Amanda and I should TOTALLY have our own TV show. We would say something funny and then pause for laughter from the ladies shopping around us. Then we went to Bert & Rocky's so Amanda could reconnect with her true love, chocolate orange ice cream. Those were really happy times when she and I were roommates and we would already be in our jim jams and one of us would say, "So, ice cream?" and we'd get up and put our bras back on and drive over to Bert & Rocky's.

3.  Guess what's coming up! GET YOURSELF A SLURPEE DAY!!!!! Technically it's on Sunday but I'm not going to ask you to break the Sabbath, even for a Slurpee. So we'll celebrate on Saturday AND Monday. That's right folks, we have a two-fer! As usual, please send me pictures of you and your loved ones enjoying a slushie beverage. Text (you have my number, right?), or post it on Facebook or Instagram (@rachelsaysso). There are just so many options for sharing the love. And, as an added bonus, if you share a picture you will be entered to win a $15 gift card to 7-11 or Sonic (Everyone has a Sev or a Sonic by them, right?) I am all about the giving.

4.  After paying for my groceries today I went to put my wallet back and my purse flipped over and the entire contents of it spilled all over the floor, thus exposing my collection of broken hair clips. There were at least 4. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Night of Nachos and Neil Diamond

Here it is folks, the 1000th post on my blog. If you're interested, I've compiled a list of things you're going to need to celebrate:

a pinata
Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits
your fanciest muu muu
a slushy beverage of your choice

Or maybe that's just my list.  Look, I'm not going to tell you how to celebrate. You have your agency. I just think that nachos and Neil Diamond would be appropriate.

I don't like placing any kind of importance on stuff like this because later this week I will write the 1001st post, which is more than 1000 (math!), so big whoop. But it does make me reflect. And while this blog means next to nothing on the grand scheme of things, it means the world to me. It means the world to me that people read it, and that friends will comment on it, and that ladies in my parents' ward will come up to me at wedding receptions and say how much they laughed at such and such. That's a big deal to me. I like making people laugh.

In that vein: have you seen Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda?  It's about a shark/octopus hybrid fighting against a pterodactyl/barracuda hybrid with lots of carnage on the beach and on jet skis. (First lesson of ocean safety: don't go out on a jet ski when a sharktopus is on the loose.) It's Jaws meets Jurassic Park meets Randy, your stoner neighbor who leaves Taco Bell wrappers on your lawn in the middle of the night.  My family caught about 5 minutes of it last night and in that we saw a woman run out of the water and shout, "SHARKTOPUS!!!!" and a man say in a gravelly voice, "From now on, we're doing it MY way," and that was all I needed. Instant classic!

Anyway, thanks for reading. I think you're great. Enjoy your nachos. And I'll help you get the Neil portion of the evening started. Sing out like you mean it!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Living the dream

1. Did anyone see Rac's comment on my last post:  "You are living the dream. Except for that rash thingy."  I'm totally using that as a tag line! Because ain't that the truth. When I finally get around to making Rachel Says So windbreakers that will be on the back. Good one, Rac.

2. In the category of Knechts Make Me Laugh I submit the family dinner we had on Sunday at my aunt and uncle's house. It was a What About Bob themed meal. Fried chicken, hand-shucked corn, salad with no tomato, and mash potatoes and gravy, Marie. Sarah was even wearing a "Don't hassle me, I'm local." shirt.

3. We've had Gina and Levi in town this week and it's been delightful. Levi has finally stopped ignoring us and has recognized that he has really fun aunts. And he's kind of hysterical. You should see him sing. a.) he's on key, which is astounding for a 2 year old, and b.) he sings with such gusto. At the end of each song he lifts his little face to the sky and shouts out the final note and shakes his head like he's Pavoratti. It is glorious.

4. I've had seminary training all week at 6 am and it's reminded me of how waking up to an alarm is the absolute worst. I cannot find a soothing enough alarm in my phone to make it any easier. Even the softest most gentle ones sound like air horns at 4:45 in the morning. What I think I need is a recording of someone slowly whispering, "Rachel. It's time to get up to start the day. You're a good person and I'm going to make you a smoothie. Your hair looks amazing." I wonder if Colin Firth would be available to record that. And to come over and make me a smoothie each day.

5. It has just struck me how funny a word smoothie is.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beach Bum

What is the point of SPF 50 sunscreen applied every 30 minutes if you are still going to get burned?!?! I mean, we were vigilant! But nothing can withstand the demon sun against our delicate northern European skin. All of us got pink. Red in some spots. But not so terrible. It was definitely manageable.

That is until I developed a freakish sun allergy. When has that ever happened? Never. I've been able to frolic in the sun my whole life, with proper protection. But now suddenly I'm like Dracula. (I'm going to write a post about how this has been the year to say about my body, "Well, THAT'S never happened before." Which officially makes me 80.)  By Tuesday night I got this weird rash on my neck and arms that would inflame any time the sun hit it. Which was all the time. And it itched and burned and turned me all splotchy and I felt kind of miserable. That was a bummer. And I ended up going home on Thursday which was an even bigger bummer. But then I was in a Benadryl haze for most of Friday and I slept in my own bed and showered in a place that had not been peed in by thousands of humans and I was feeling much better.

But the time there, even cut short, was lovely. So, so lovely.  I've mentioned before that one of the things I love about beach camping is that it is expected that you look like a beach bum. There's no need for make-up. Your hair is always in a ratty ponytail. You're either in your bathing suit or stretchy pants all day long. You have sand in your ears and dirt on your feet. You and everyone around you smell like camp fire and salt water and roasted marshmallows. It's heaven.

Things of note:

1. There were dolphins every evening leaping out of the water and riding on the crests of the waves.

2. We have this old, old, old table tent cover thingy that was the bane of our existence as kids trying to put it up. All we wanted to do was get down to the water but we couldn't until the whole site was set up. I have many memories of standing around that tent with all of my siblings, holding up a pole while my dad fumed over it. Instead of doing the sensible thing and borrowing an EZ-Up from someone we decided to bring the old beast. And Katie, Lindsay and I had it up in about 30 minutes. And none of us swore. And it stayed up the whole time. We felt like superheroes.

3.  I earned my fire-starting merit badge. And hatchet-wielding merit badge for chopping up kindling. I'm not even a girl scout.

4.  The ISS flew overhead one night as Lindsay showed us constellations. We all waved.

5.  You know when you catch a wave on your boogie board and your legs get all floppy in the surf? That's one of my most favorite sensations in the world.

6. Limited access to technology. Because the only outlets to charge your phone were in the bathrooms. Gross.

7. Hours of leisure time. We read and played games and sat and looked at the waves crashing or the fire burning for endless hours. With plans to do the same thing the next day.

8. Falling asleep and waking up to the waves crashing below. You can almost imagine that you're not in a tent.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Not burning

I'm going beach camping for a week so you won't be hearing from me until at least Monday. Don't be sad. I'll think of you fondly as I sit on the sand and not get sunburned. I'm too old for sunburns. I mean, seriously, how dumb was I in my youth when I knew that I could not tan and still I happily sat out in the sun for hours without any protection whatsoever and then spent the next 3 weeks in agony. Oh the blisters! Oh the itching! Oh the pain and the burning and the peeling! And then I would do it all over again because a body has to tan at some point right? Wrong! But no more. The only sunburn I will permit are the random spots I manage to miss with my SPF 50. There are always a few.

My family would go beach camping every summer for most of my teen years. There is nothing better. You know when you go on vacation there's always this pressure to do something. But when you're beach camping the only thing you have on your schedule is the ocean, interspersed with walks to the camp store, leisurely meals around the fire, and long games of Phase 10. Every youthful memory I have of it is dreamy.

See you on the other side, Moon Doggy!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bees, Crickets, and Flappy Birds

You guys, Nature is trying to tell me something. I don't know what. But here are some signs:

1.  A few weeks ago we discovered that hundreds of bees had died in our car port. The ground was covered in all these dead bees. Sometimes the wind would pick them up and swirl them around. How did they die? And why were they all dead right there on the pavement? Did they hit some kind of invisible wall that only bees can feel?

2.  Last week I was sitting in the chair in my room and reading before going to bed when I heard a thump on the light above me. And then when I looked up I saw a cricket coming toward my face. It landed on my shoulder and just sort of sat there until I FREAKED OUT and it leaped onto the wall. I had a serious staring contest with it, trying to decide what to do. It was way too big to smoosh. And it was at a weird angle so that I could not cover it with a cup and slide a paper under it to carry it outside. And I didn't want to swat at it for fear that it would leap at my face again. And I certainly could not sleep with it just sitting on my wall because you know that it would climb into my hair and host a Tupperware party or something. So I did the only logical thing, I ceded my room to it and slept on the couch. I have yet to see it again.

3.  The day after the cricket incident, a crow strolled into the Institute. The missionaries who frequent the place left the door open AGAIN (so help me Elders, if you don't start shutting that door and stop wasting all those tithing dollars on lost air conditioning, I will write to your mothers! Also, stop banging the door when you open it.) and a crow just hopped right in. Naturally, I barricaded myself in my office with several of the students because I hate birds and I think I would die if one flew into my office. They're just so flappy and unpredictable. At any moment a bird could fly at you and peck your eyes out. He wandered into the classroom, after a failed attempt at taking over the director's office. But he would not be shooed outdoors so one of the elders grabbed a sweatshirt and bravely bundled him up and set him outside and finally shut the door. And then the bird just stood there, staring at us through the glass door. Plotting, no doubt.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ukulele Lady

You would think that a ukulele fest in LA would be full of hipsters and Zooey Deschanel look-alikes. But it was mostly just a bunch of old people. Which meant that it was right up my alley. The Music Center puts this on every summer and I decided to see what it was all about. I have a ukulele that I inherited from my grandma and I know about 4 chords. Which can actually get you really far but I wanted to learn a little technique too. So I headed over to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and joined 300 fellow strummers for a few hours of serious thumb and pinkie pain. Who knew that playing the ukulele would hurt so much? The teachers all said this was to be expected. Maybe they should have put that in the flier.

Despite the pain, it was a blast. There were several classes and I met some fun people. You all know my theory about going to things like this, you're going to have fun because you're surrounded by people who are fun and looking for it. Everyone is already invested. They took the effort to get down there and have a good time with like-minded people. That's why going to these sorts of things alone is not a problem because you're bound to make friends.

I felt like most of us were all at the beginner level but I was at a disadvantage because it seemed like everyone there knew a ton about ukuleles. Nearly every person I talked to had extensive knowledge about brands and styles and shops and old men living in grass huts in Hawaii hand crafting instruments. Apparently if you own a ukulele you have to know everything about it before you actually learn how to play it. All I know about mine is that it was my Grandmas. And it's a cheap-o little thing that I love. Which is enough for me.

Also, everyone pronounced it without the y sound at the beginning, which I know is the proper pronunciation but I can't bring myself to do it. I'm not Giada, okay!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cursed feet

FOR THE LOVE OF FLIP FLOPS, I HAVE GOT TO STOP CUTTING UP MY FEET!!! It's like a gypsy woman has placed some kind of curse on my poor feet because they've been a disaster all summer.

Near the end of seminary the porta-pulpit I use in class fell and landed on my right foot and left a substantial gash on top of it. And then about 4 weeks later, after it was nearly healed and I could start wearing something besides flip flops, I  clipped the back of the same foot with a metal gate door and said so long to about 3 inches of skin.

Just yesterday I put on sneakers for the first time without any bandages and only minimal pain and I rejoiced.

So of course today I stubbed my left pinkie toe on a shopping cart wheel and it lifted the nail and I left a trail of blood in the Stated Bros. parking lot. A trail of blood that I hope will finally satisfy the gypsy woman so this curse can be lifted. Do you think if I explained that I can't get pedicures with open flesh wounds she'd help me out? Gypsy or not, every woman understands the peril of gnarly feet.