Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why can't I be Eats Her Weight in Ice Cream and Doesn't Gain a Pound Girl?

Is it me? It has to be me.

I think I may be a mutant. How else do you explain that for the second time this week I found myself in the dark because the electricity had gone out. Clearly I have some latent power that is manifesting itself now and I have to learn how to control it before I hurt someone. I'll also need to find Hugh Jackman, you know, for company because he understands how lonely it is to be a mutant.* My X-Men name will be The Lights Go Out When She's Around Girl. That will look great on an action figure box.

It happened this morning, right after I got out of bed. This would not have been a problem if I didn't need to get up at the crack of too early, which is officially 1 hour before the crack of dawn. It actually wasn't so bad though. I credit my pioneer heritage and the thousands and thousands of emergency preparedness lessons from church (One month supply of canned goods - check. Can opener - um...). I knew exactly where my flashlight was, and I had hung up all those clothes from off the floor last night that certainly would have gotten in my way when trying to get to the flashlight. I have tons of candles (Note to self: get non-smelly candles. The lemon-rose-pumpkin spice combo you had this morning made your allergies cranky.) And there is something about getting ready by candlelight that is very days-of-yore-ish. I just pretended I was Emily Dickenson all morning. Except Emily couldn't have taken a picture of herself to document the moment**:

I like how my shadow makes it look like my other X-Men name is Her Alter Ego Has Super Human Strength Girl. About 30 seconds later the lights came back on and I avoided the inevitable make-up application in the dark fiasco. Behold the joy! (And the extreme Asian eyes. I am very Asian in the morning.):

You can't tell from this picture but there is a little bitterness in my heart because what you can tell from this picture is that my hair is pulled back. For 3 consecutive days I had managed to not go to work in a ponytail. I'm a world champion justifier when it comes to staying in bed instead of getting up early enough to actually do something with my hair. I had set a no-ponytail goal this week and I was killing it, waking up early and not only washing it but drying it and curling it. I know, astounding. But my streak was ruined today. By the time the lights came back on it was too late to dry my hair and I had to go into work with the dreaded wet pony. Curse my mutant powers!

*I turned on the tv last night while I was folding piles and piles of laundry and PBS was showing the stage version of Oklahoma! that came out a few years ago. Watching Hugh Jackman sing is truly delightful.

**Lisa was a little disappointed that I didn't document the power outage at work. I actually did take one picture, not realizing that the flash would go off (Alright, so I'm not the smartest girl. Stop laughing!) thus making it look like we actually did have lights. That's Areina in the background, dueling a wizard.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Through rain, sleet, snow and chafing

I was driving by the post office this morning and saw a female employee entering the building wearing what looked to be work issued, government approved postal hot pants.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I work in a tomb

A list of things I did while the power was out for 3 hours in my windowless office.

1.) Filed
2.) Pretended that I was a spy while filing because I had to do it by flashlight.
3.) Started to do a few home-teaching forms until I realized that I needed a type writer.
4.) Started to organize some independent study packets until I realized that I needed a fax machine.
5.) Organized everything into piles to be done once the power was back on.
6.) Waited for the power to come back on.
7.) Took a couple of laps around the building.
8.) Repeatedly told people on the phone that I couldn't help them because our power was down and I didn't know when it would be back up.
9.) Tried to think of things I could do in the dark at work that didn't involve electricity.
10.) Decided that a nap wasn't so appropriate, even though George Costanza got away with it for weeks.
11.) Wrote letters to Camille and Casey, with expertly drawn stick figure pictures.
12.) Read by flashlight and pretended that I was a spy on a camping trip.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A love that might have been

I had a GREAT time at the fair on Saturday. It was really all that it should be. There were plenty of hysterical friends, including John & Amanda who came all the way from the Frozen North. I almost ran away with a baby pot belly pig. I tried the deep fried Smore (yeah, it was okay, but it needed less batter and more graham cracker. And it needed to be on a stick. Everything should be on a stick at the fair.) I won a stuffed animal by popping a balloon with a dart (I named him Steve after the carny who ran the game.) And even though it rained it only added to the adventure. At one point we were caught in a sudden down pour and it was just like in a movie, everyone screaming and running for cover (Note: this never happens here. Certainly not in September. Oh, California, you are so tricky!). Had it been a romantic comedy starring Kirsten Dunst and Luke Wilson it would have been the tail end of a fun fair montage chronicling the first date of Suzy, a klutzy dog groomer who has trouble finding non-jerks to date, and Mike, a sensitive but commitment-phobic gym teacher. They would have spent the whole day laughing and falling in love. He would have acted silly by making a beard out of her cotton candy. She would have tripped over one of those giant wagons that parents pull their kids around in and looked adorably frazzled by it. Then the down pour would come and they'd scramble under the grand stand cover and and he'd make his move by putting his arm around her shivering shoulders and go in for the kiss. (Even though I'm a sucker for the romantic comedy I would not see this one because Kirsten Dunst generally ruins movies for me. I haven't cared for her ever since Little Women, where she played Young Amy the Tramp.)

But the rain did ruin one thing. There was a break in the storm and we decided to run over to the Big Yellow Slide only to find that it was closed. Closed! As in, no slide for us. And then the rain started up again and made the whole thing really pathetic. We all just stood there in giant puddles, hoods up, blinking back tears and sighing heavily. Heather was able to collect herself and convince us all to get under the tiki hut awning but it didn't ease the pain. We were certainly in the depths of despair.

That's how I ended up on the Cyclone. Yes, my friends, I broke my rule of not going on carny rides and went on one with Laura and Cindy. We needed some serious cheering up and nothing does that better than challenging death and winning. It was one of those spinny rides where you actually have to work, like the tea cups, only it's attached to this arm that's flings you around in the air. I could completely visualize the arm detaching from the ride and the three of us flying into the duck ring toss booth. I thought, "Well, at least it would be something to write about. Especially if I throw up." You see, in my wild youth I would have loved a ride like this but since I turned 80 the old gut can't handle much more than a merry-go-round. And yet I was totally fine. No death or vomitting at all. I looked Death and Old Age in the face and laughed!

It was a good day at the fair.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Fair: A Tutorial

You are so lucky you know me. "Why," you ask, "besides your charming personality and extra large crayon collection?" Well, on top of those fine qualities, I also happen to be a fair expert. I'm always shocked to learn of people who have lived here their whole lives but have only been to the fair once and had sort of an okay time but didn't really want to go back. This is because they've never gone with me. The LA County Fair is the greatest place on earth! And because I'm a loving and generous friend I'm going to give you a little tutorial in how to get the most out of your fair experience.

1.) Enter through the Blue Gate. There are a few other places to park but unless you want to be mauled by rabid teenagers with more piercings than brain cells, go through the Blue Gate. Plus you get the added bonus of walking through a tunnel once you pass the blue gate. Tunnels are fun and mysterious and lead to adventure. In this case, they also lead to donuts the size of your face.

2.) Do not waste your time on the carny rides. A few rides are okay, like the Big Yellow Slide (you all know the BYS, right? If you're at the fair on Saturday come look for me on it.) All other rides are mostly death traps and while you're plummeting to your untimely end you're missing out on all the really fun stuff like...

3.) Vendors, vendors, vendors! I love walking through the exhibit halls because where else can you buy a bag of beef jerky, a bamboo plant, magnetic jewelry, shammies, a quilting machine, shatter-proof dishes, a Back Bubble, plus register to vote, get rid of constipation, pick up a pamphlet from the Masons and listen to the Elks 99 Orchestra all in one building. You should also have a look at the spa section on your way to the Flower Building, but be careful of the those vendors. People who sell spas and grills would put their grandma in a cage match with a robot to make a deal with you.

4.) The arts and crafts buildings are great places to see amazing things. Last year I saw an entire crocheted sea-scape and a hook rug with Elvis on it. People craft the kookiest things. It's also in here that you get to see the table setting competition. Do NOT miss this.

5.) The main animal section is great because you get to see all the babies (Is there anything cuter than a barn yard baby? I don't think so.) but if you really want to get up close and personal with an animal you need to go to the back barns where they keep the cows that are going to be shown and sold. They don't have gates on the stalls and you can walk right up to a cow and pet it. This will make you feel real country like, until snot starts dripping from their noses and you run away screaming like a girl. You can also convince a guy to open up the gate that leads to the horse stalls. When I was a kid I met a woman who had two fingers bitten off by a horse so I'm not real big on petting them but they're pretty to look at. Oh, and don't wear sandals. You know exactly what you're stepping in when you go into those barns.

6.) Animal races are worth it. Whether it's horses on the big track or the pigs by Building 6, it is worth sticking around to watch. Gina told me that at the Utah State Fair they have a turkey stampede. Now that would be something to see.

7.) Have a mullet count. I'm planning on doing this on Saturday. On Wednesday I saw a bunch but I didn't keep track. I will not be so lazy the next time. The place is exploding with really trashy people! They're everywhere. The fair is like one big giant Wal-Mart, except it's magical so all those people who usually drive me bonkers in Wal-Mart suddenly because hysterically funny when they're holding onto a turkey leg. I hope Screaming Mom with No Bra made it to the Dimension Bra booth. (Side note: the bust the bra is on looks like it could be peach but it's not. It's glowing! I asked that man in the background if I could take his picture and he smiled like I was from People Magazine.) Here's a fun story to illustrate the type of people you get to see: We were walking towards the animal area and in front of us was a highly mullet-ed couple. Mr. Mullet was holding onto the Pro-Cord with one hand (this is the "It" Item at the fair this year. It looks like a yellow hernia donut), and his other hand was wrapped around Mrs. Mullet and was SCRATCHING HER BUTT like it was a winning Lotto ticket!! Knights of Columbus! I almost choked on my Dr. Bob's ice cream cone from laughing.

8.) Get a Dr. Bob's ice cream cone.

9.) This brings us to Fair Food. I know that some people think buying food at the fair is a waste of money and a few years of your life from that early heart attack you're bound to have from ingesting so much grease, but not eating at the fair is like going to a movie theater and sitting out in the lobby. For book club a few months ago we read the Devil in the White City, which is about the World's Fair in Chicago, so naturally our food theme for the night was fair food. We had caramel apples, funnel cake (way easier to make than you would ever expect), fried zucchini, onion rings, and cotton candy. Besides the Food You Would Want at the End of the World theme we had a few years ago, it was the best night of food we've had, and that wasn't even REAL fair food. Really great fair food must fit into the following categories: it must be either fried, drenched in chocolate or on a stick. Which is why the deep fried chocolate dog on a stick may be the ultimate fair food. Go with an open mind, an empty stomach and a wallet full of cash because they will charge you $6 for a corn dog. It's worth it. Eat it!

10.) Invite me to come along. My excitement for the fair it contagious.

There, you're set. Go to the fair. Count the mullets, pet the animals, eat the food, enjoy yourself. But do not get your fortune told. She wasn't even dressed like a gypsy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Wal-Mart Moratorium is Back On!

Dear Lady Who Almost Ran Me Down with Her Shopping Cart at Wal-Mart Last Night,

Going to Wal-Mart is like when you're putting on your makeup in the morning and your dancing perhaps a little too vigorously or you're practicing your karate chops or you have a sudden arm spasm and you accidentally knock your mascara that's sitting on the edge of the counter into the toilet. You stand there contemplating whether or not you really need it and can you get away without wearing any, knowing that all day long at work everyone will look at you with concern and ask you if you're feeling okay because that's what happens every time you forget to put some on. Apparently you look like you have consumption without it. But you can't fathom actually putting on mascara that has been sitting in your toilet, even with the cap securely fastened so you give it up for lost and put on a little extra shadow and some shiny lip gloss, because nothing says, "I don't have TB!" like shiny lip gloss and your ready to start your day. Except that the mascara is still in the bottom of your toilet bowl and you have a feeling that it probably won't flush. Your toilet has never been the best of flushers. That's when it hits you that you're still going to have to stick your hand in the toilet and you try to remember the last time you cleaned it and you're pretty sure it was long enough ago to make you wish that you were the type of person who had a pair of industrial strength dish washing gloves on hand, but you're not because you've always thought that gloves were for sissies. Now that you are the sissy you rethink your assumption and vow to buy gloves, which doesn't solve your immediate problem but gives you a sense of resolve to never let this happen again. And besides, this is the price you have to pay for forgetting, just this one time, to put the lid down. So you stick your hand in and pray that they have an antidote for whatever it is you're about to contract.

Sometimes you have to go to Wal-Mart, even when you really, really, really don't want to.

I live right across the street from the Wal-Mart we met in but you'd never guess it by the Target to Wal-Mart plastic bag ratio under my kitchen sink. It's about 57:3. It kills my soul a little every time I walk in there. I tell myself that I should just suck it up. It's cheap and close and I'm poor and lazy. But every time I muster the strength and gird up the loins and venture across the street I come across the same people who make me want to curl up in the corner and cry. People like the large woman in a tank top and no bra who yells at her kids for no reason or the screaming child on the floor with the mother who won't do anything about it or the person who parks his cart perpendicular to the aisle so you can't get around it or the kids in those roller skate shoes who are always running into me. And there's always at least one item that your desperately need that they don't have. Last summer I was dying of a vicious throat infection and all I wanted was a Popsicle and instead of going to the drive-thru dairy on the corner for a box I went to Wal-Mart because I also needed tissue and cold medicine and a really sharp knife to cut my tonsils out (Inter-Letter Letter: Dear Dr. Lawson, Please take my tonsils. Please! PLEASE! I'm begging you to take them. They've brought nothing but pain and misery my whole life. Please. Love, Rachel). I think I may have been slightly delusional from the fever because I never would have gone in a saner state of mind. Anyway, I went and suffered through countless braless mothers and their screaming children and a whole gang of kids on rolly shoes and there were shopping carts everywhere and I got my tissue and cold medicine. Guess what they didn't have. Popsicles. That broke me. I went home and cried for an hour and didn't go back for 6 months. Curse you, Wal-Mart! Curse you to Nebraska!

What I'm trying to say is that I don't like to go to Wal-Mart because it always ends up being a bad idea.

But last night I was working on a new bird and realized that if I didn't get more light on my work space I would go blind and have to get one of those magnifying glasses that the brilliant, blind, albino Filipino kid in my high school had to use to read (True story. He's now a nude performance artist. He was beat out for valedictorian by the partially deaf figure skater. Chino High School was nothing if not progressive. I'm not going to tell you his name because you will be curious and will want to Google it and I'm trying to save your from having to see those pictures. I think that's pretty generous considering that you tried to kill me last night.)

When I realized that I would need more light I started to have an internal conversation with myself...
Practical Rachel: You need a light.
Sensitive Rachel: I know.
PR: It's late and you want to work on this bird.
SR: I know!
PR: You won't be able to make it to Target before it closes which means that Wal-Mart is your only option.
SR: I KNOW! Leave me alone!

And that's how I ended up on the serious side of your shopping cart. I parked in the gardening section because I knew that the lamps were in the back of the store and I like bypassing all of those people up near the check out lanes. I lingered there for awhile looking for mulch (I was in a fit of gardening the other night because while I was house sitting at the Duke's I left my plants in the care of...nope still can't talk about it...still very bitter...moving on.) and of course they didn't have any so I made my way to the lamp section. You probably noticed that they changed things around inside. I haven't been in the place for months and got completely lost. I have a feeling that you were lost too because why else would you run into me with your shopping cart? You were obviously disoriented. I was walking down one of the main aisle and you were coming out of one the side aisles, which I believe gave me the right of way, but you pulled right out and bumped me with your cart! I was standing right in front of you! You were looking right at me! I know I'm short but my butt is certainly big enough for it to be seen at quite a distance. I stopped and gave you my standard Wal-Mart Look, (the one of shock, dismay and resignation) as you turned right in front of me without even saying a word. You know when you're on the freeway and someone almost runs you off the road by cutting you off and then drives 20 miles below the speed limit so you switch lanes to get away from them but they keep switch lanes with you? That was totally you last night. You were moving so slowly up the aisle and every time I tried to turn into a side aisle you turned first. I couldn't shake you! I finally had to duck down some random automotive aisle to give you the slip. Wherein I found two scream children on the floor with their mom just staring at them.


Sincerely, Rachel

P.S. The only thing that saved you from a solid thumping was that before I left I picked up the mail and my order from the Soap Kitchen was there. Neatly wrapped soap = joy.

CC: Wal-Mart

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Tally

A tally of Saturday:

Miles logged: 214
Venues where I sang Valderee Valderah: 2
Oktoberfests we stumbled upon: 1
Elks we saw: Just 1 but it would have been higher if we had remembered our membership cards.
Traffic jams I found myself in after midnight: 2
Handicap spots I parked in: 1
Times I had to turn around to get up the mountain: 2
Minutes we waited at the intersection at Highland before we could turn left: 14
Amount we paid for that miraculous parking space: $25
Amount we would have paid if he had asked: $75
Times I thought apricot stilton cheese was made by angels in heaven: 18
Wishes I made that Carol Channing would adopt me: 5
Times I thought that anyone who doesn't live here is a chump: about 100.

Such a lovely day.

A few words on Pink Martini at the Hollywood Bowl. Yahoo, hooray and wowie! If you weren't there then you have no idea what fun actually is. There were several times throughout the show that I thought my only viable option for happiness would be to rush the stage and beg them to let me please, please, pretty-please be in their group and have fun with them forever. I'll be a back up dancer! I'll schlep the harp around! I can play the kazoo and make brownies for everyone! When they were playing Bolero and the fireworks were going off my face exploded from smiling so much. Those two post-bedtime traffic jams didn't even faze me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Notes on a baseball game

My first trip to Dodger Stadium is etched in my memory etched (I'm horrible with similes). I was eight-ish and my dad picked me up at my grandparent's house where I had spent the morning, no doubt playing King Leonardo and watching the People's Court, because that's what we always did with Grandma. (Sometimes we laid shelf paper in the cupboards. But Grandparent Memories are for another post.) We drove out to the stadium and I remember passing by the murals on the 101, specifically the one with all those kids up on the wall (You know that kid holding the basketball has grown up to be a certified bunny killer). We met up with Dodger Dave, and I distinctly remember my dad saying under his breath, "Oh brother," when we saw that he was wearing his Dodger uniform. Dodger Dave has never been known for his subtly. I remember that we were up somewhere in the reserve seating and that it was sunny and warm but that's about all from the game. Do you remember in color? All of my memories are mostly of color. This memory is all green grass and yellow sun with a flash of blue and white from Dodger Dave. And it has solidified my notion that Dodger Stadium is the greatest place on earth. I don't have a single bad memory from there. Only perfect ones.

Mom, Dad and I went to the Dodger game last night and, as usual, it was great, even without making it on the Jumbo-tron. We won (wahoo!) and it was short (home by 10:30, although like all good Dodger fans we left in the middle of the 8th) and we were surrounded by non-obnoxious people. This is about all you can hope for when going to a sporting event - that the people sitting around you aren't no-neck hooligans who will eventually spill beer on you. Our neighbors were lovely and charming. The one behind us especially. I've named him the Baseball Sage. He was wearing a pink Oxford and was expounding on all sorts of things to his young companion (I wasn't sure what their relationship was. The Sage was clearly a professor and my guess is the kid was his TA or a student who wanted to suck up to get a better grade by indulging the guy. Although at one point he went up and bought the kid a rootbeer float. Hm.) He kept talking about the ideal of baseball and it's many complexities. Academics like that make me both roll my eyes and giggle at the same time because 1.) What a windbag and 2.) What a character. And you should have heard him sing Take Me out to the Ballgame. Two words: Gusto and Vim.

While at the game I made a few observations:

1.) In baseball there are the long pants and the short pants. But future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux wears medium pants, or man-pris if you will. (And I will).

2.) Man-space is not just a theory.

It is a proven fact that if two male friends go anywhere and they are give the option to not sit next to each other they won't.

3.) I make it a habit to ask people how long they've worked at the stadium. I have never once heard anyone say anything fewer than 25 years. Case in point: Sid the Usher. I think he could be 119. I wonder if he's single.

4.) It's the old time stuff I love the most about Dodger Stadium. Vin Scully up in his box. Nancy Bea at the organ. Sometimes Tommy Lasorda will come out and watch a few innings. I even love that they reverted back to the old colors of the stadium. Certainly the Baseball Sage could go on for days about the traditions of baseball but I won't bore you. I'll just say that he would be right.
5.) All stadiums should be landscaped with palm trees.

6.) Baseball teams should not be allowed to change their colors just because they feel like it. I'm looking at you Padres. Dad pointed out that their uniforms are the same colors as our ushers'.

7.) Watching David Wells lumber around the bases after he hit a miraculous double makes me so happy that we don't have a DH in the National League.

8.) Baseball is awesome.

*Remind me to find that picture Camille sent me of Sid's old-man butt that she took last spring. Classic.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bad Luck

I'm going to the Dodger game tonight so I went online to see who they're playing (San Diego - eye on the prize!) and found out that tomorrow is Tommy Lasorda bobblehead night. Drat! I will console myself by trying to get on the Jumbo-tron 3 times (current record: 2 times.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mr. Las Vegas

I was at the gym on Monday night and saw Wayne Newton's face flash across one of the tv screens. I nearly fell off of the treadmill (would not be the first time). He's going to be on Dancing with the Stars!!!* So are Jenny Garth and Scary Spice. This is a Kitsch Trifecta clearly orchestrated by Aaron Spelling from his mansion in Heaven.

People are often confused by my love of Wayne Newton. (I don't know why it's confusing because remember, I'm 80 and one step away from a life of muu-muus and support hose.) It's actually pretty simple. It's the persona of Wayne Newton that I love. I love the idea of an old time Vegas showman who croons twice a night to old ladies who've loved him since the days he sounded like a woman (true story: for years I thought that Danke Schoen was sung by a woman and always wondered why they never played his version of it since it was his signature song. It wasn't until I watched a special on him and actually saw footage of him singing it that I realized that the person Matthew Broderick lip syncs to in Ferris Bueller's Day Off is not a woman, it's Wayne. I hope he wasn't beaten up too badly as a kid.) I love that his teeth are so white and that his hair looks like it was molded out of black licorice. I love that he calls himself Mr. Las Vegas and that all of his costumes are eagle themed. And he wears a pinky ring. You have to love a man who wears a pinky ring.

Basically I love Wayne Newton because he's funny without actually trying. If he were 30 and at the peak of his career I wouldn't even think about him. But because he's old and really, really tan and has turned into a caricature of himself I love him** and would gladly let the Wealthy Benefactor pay the $100 for me to see him in Vegas, (except of course that it's in Vegas and I have standards...and I don't have a WB yet.) I have a clear and solid image in my head of what Wayne Newton should be. I don't ever want to hear that he pays his own bills or trims his own toe nails. I want him to lounge in silk pajamas with eagles wings across the back. I want him to humbly shake his head when asked to sing a song or two at a dinner party but then pull out a microphone from his jacket and make a bee line for the piano where he has his personal accompanist waiting. I want him to call every woman doll and every man pal. I want him to have ties to the mob.

That's the Wayne I love.

*Blast and wretch, there goes my resolution to not watch any new shows this year. I can justify it though because it's on Tuesday nights and I've had that night blocked off for years now because of Gilmore Girls.

**This is the exact same reason why I love Old Fat Vegas Elvis more than Young Movie Star Elvis. OFVE is way funnier.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why God Made Opposable Thumbs

A few of us went out to Laura’s new place in Culver City (home of the Red Feathers) on Saturday for a night of food, challenges and “laughing until we pee our pants.” That last part began just 2 miles from my place when we noticed this car in front of us at a stop light. It had several Christian bumper-stickers on it. Not to the extent of the Jesus Jeep but enough to make me say, “Hey, that car’s for Jesus.” To which Katie pointed out that the lady driving it was praising. And indeed she was. Hand up in the praise position (a million points to anyone who puts their hand up in the praise position if you’re reading this at work and there are people around), other hand on the steering wheel tapping out the beat. At one point she even put her praise hand to her lips and kissed it. I don’t know what that signified but it threw us over the edge of hysterics. She was so dedicated to her praising that she didn’t even put her hand down to turn the corner. She’ll be blessed in Heaven for that. We tried to take her picture but she turned into the Christian bookstore parking lot before we could get a camera out. The same Christian bookstore that sometimes has a man outside of it singing into a bullhorn about repentance and salvation (Dear Mr. Bullhorn Evangelist: I appreciate your efforts but you're never going to be as good as the Hollywood Bowl Puppet Man. Love, Rachel.)

It’s people like this who made me not care so much when I get caught singing to myself. I like to think that my car is a little night club and I’m headlining (fact: I have a disco ball in my car). Elvis and Ruby St. Germaine (Tragic Lounger Singer and Possible Sumo Assassin) split nights on the opening act. I know, Elvis opening for me sounds a little farfetched, but you should hear me…I’m fantastic. “Um, Rachel,” you might say, “I actually HAVE heard you sing and you certainly wouldn’t get my American Idol vote.” True, true. But it’s really the performance I’m going after. And besides, I’m both the manager and the booking agent of my car which means I can book myself whenever I want. (Performing nightly. Please tip your wait staff.)

Now, everyone sings in there car, right? But do they do it with a thumb mic? You see, the thumb mic is the key to a really great car performance. Much like Barbra Streisand, who has her own special white microphone that she tours with, I have the thumb mic. But unlike Babs, my mic doesn't need a handsome carrying case and a porter. And also unlike Babs, I wear a bra when I perform. I've been using the thumb mic for years. Other people use hair brushes or spatulas or Sharpie markers but what happens when you’re in your car or an elevator or your doctor’s office and there’s nothing there to amp up your performance? That’s where the thumb mic is superior. It is always with me. I don’t ever have to worry about the ultimate thumb mic-ing song* coming on the radio and me being unprepared. That will never happen, unless of course I’m a victim of a tragic double thumbectomy. Heaven forfend!

The thumb mic makes it kind of funny when I’m spotted. A few people think I’m doing the thumbs-up sign to them and they throw it back to me. I get a lot of strange looks but mostly people just laugh. I like to think that I’m bringing joy to the masses because I know how much I love seeing people doing silly things. So the thumb mic makes me happy, and it makes others who see it happy too. And the performance in the car is extra awesome. Win-win-win.

Next chapter in my "How to be the Tina Turner of Your Own Car" book: the shimmy.

*Fernando by Abba

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My Governor is Austrian

I was a little grumpy yesterday. Something threw me into a funk and I found myself stomping around and mumbling to myself as I watered my plants, which I'm sure entertained/terrified Mrs. Across the Way, who was also out watering her plants. I forget that I'm not actually invisible and other people can see me when I talk to myself, which is all too often.

Fortunately the grumpiness didn't last long. There were several factors that lifted the funk and restored the Blue Bird of Happiness to my soul:

1.) I was finally successful, after a 2 week campaign, in convincing my doctor that it would be beneficial to me and everyone else around me if she gave the thumbs-up for my allergy medication to be refilled without me having to go in and see her. I don't want to have to spend $10 and an hour after work to hear the same thing I've heard for every doctor, which is, "Oh my! Your nasal passages are really blocked! Squirt this stuff into your nose twice a day for the rest of your life." The nose has been squirted and joy is in my heart.

2.) I found my MIKA cd in my glove box and listened to it all the way back to the Duke's.

3.) I picked up my pictures that I had framed and they look terrific. Like they're real art or something. I wonder if I could get Simon Schama-lama-ding-dong to critique them.

4.) Chipotle for dinner. Yum.

5.) This blog has gone international! Acording to the old blog minder, I have received 22 hits from a domain in Austria. Mystery! I don't know anyone in Austria. Who are you little Austrian friend? I will now give you a little German: Ich liebe dich. Ich möchte kartoffelsalat. Sitzen sie sich!

Four years of German and that's about all I can produce. Herr Baker would be so proud. If you ever see me in person, and you ask nicely and bring me a brownie, I can sing a song about a cat with white paws auf Deutsch. It is sehr charming.

Auf wiedersehen, Darlings!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Andrea should come into town every weekend

Dear Hobo We Almost Killed the Other Night,

Sorry about that.

You see, we were a little hysterical by that point. We had just picked up Andrea from the airport, which, for some reason, always makes everything so funny. I don't know why this is. It may be a combination of late night+very funny friends+mildly funny moments+the opportunity to make public spectacles of ourselves, although it could just be the very funny friends bit because have you met my friends? Hilarious. Like you really can't eat or drink anything while you're around them because there is always the possibility that one of them will say something so funny that you will choke and they'll have to do the Heimlich maneuver on you but they'll be laughing so hard that they can't so you'll run around the room trying to Heimlich yourself by falling onto the back of a chair but it's not working because you're laughing too hard to really concentrate on the landing, but miraculously the hard laughing also dislodges the piece of cake you were choking on and you end up with a really great story about the time you almost literally died from laughing. These are the type of friends I have.

Anyway, we picked up Andrea and only embarrassed her sightly with our very creative signs. (She's such a good sport. We do all sorts of humiliating things like make her wear a bonnet in Pasadena and try on really adorable clothes she would never choose for herself and she doesn't complain or make us stop. Secretly she loves it.) We decided to get some dessert somewhere. We tried Applebee's but when we walked in the guy at the front said that the air conditioning was broken. Boy was it! He was sweating so much it looked like his head had sprung a leak. So we headed over to TGI Fridays. You know the one off the 10 by the airport. Of course you know, you were there. Cross my heart, we didn't mean to almost plow into you but it was dark and we were slightly lost in that dead end street by the truck stop where Guasti should have gone through but didn't because there was that large pile of gravel and you with your shopping cart. The sight of you pushed us over into the Grandpa Laugh, you know where you laugh so hard that no sound actually comes out, it's just old man wheezing.

So you see, we couldn't help it. Maybe you should have noticed that we were heading straight for you and not gotten in our way. Or put reflectors on your shoes. That would have been helpful.

Rachel (And Liz, Katie, Heather, and Andrea)

P.S. If you're ever at TGI Fridays go ahead and order the fried macaroni and cheese appetizer if you're really that curious. We were and it wasn't all that bad. It wasn't all the good either but it was worth the experiment.