Friday, November 30, 2007

But I really need that drawer full of t-shirts I NEVER wear.

Did you all see that Oprah? The one with the pack rat with the house full of so much junk that they could fill a 10,000 sq.ft. warehouse with the stuff that wasn't covered in mold. Well, I saw it and it scared me to death because I totally have the hording gene. I have stuff all of my place that I'm POSITIVE I will need some day so I hold onto it, just in case. But clearly I'm never going to use it. I bet I could live the rest of my life and not ever need my notes from high school German.

Most of you know I'm making the arduous move from Apartment 210 to the exotic and far away land of Apartment 103 (Benefits: one less flight of stairs, closer to the Dumpster, farther away from Flo the 90 year old Apartment Manager who calls me every time I leave my balcony door open and there are more than 3 people in my apartment.) It's not a big move but I've lived in 210 for 4 years now and I've accumulated a lot of stuff. Loads and loads of stuff. The felt alone would astound you. But I'm taking advantage of the move and I'm getting rid of everything (Well, not the felt* (are you crazy?) or the books. The books stay.) I took the advice of the guy on Oprah who organized the pack rat's house and every night this week I've filled one bag of stuff to throw away and one bag of stuff to give away. Gosh it feels good. You should totally do it. You feel very Zen.

I attacked my purses last night. I have a problem with cleaning out my purses. The problem being that I don't actually do it. But I like to switch out every couple of months and instead of cleaning out the old bag when I make the switch I just take out my wallet, a notebook and planner and leave everything else behind. So about every 6 months or so I clean out the purses and find, besides 10 pound of receipts and gum wrappers, a treasure trove of useful stuff. Like pens and lip balm and tampons. Exactly how many tampons does a girl need in one bag? I apparently need 8.

I'm having a major purging of the apartment tomorrow, where I am sure to find even more tampons. I'm going to sally forth** and attack my bed room. Gone is the box of crochet books I haven't looked at in 3 years! Gone is the box of stamps I never use! Gone are half of the clothes in my closet! Gone is the bin full of cheap yarn! (Oh blast, I just convinced myself to keep the cheap yarn. I can make granny squares blankets and donate them to charity.) But gone is the bin of scrap fabric I've been holding onto with the plan of making a scrap quilt. That quilt is never going to get made.

But here's the thing. I'm totally strong now but I promise you that at about 4 tomorrow afternoon I'm going to be tired and hungry (because I tend to forget to eat when I'm cleaning my room) and weak and I will have convinced myself that I really, really need to hold on to every single birthday card I've ever received from anyone. So I'm going to need your help. I need you all to send me a text about that time that says, "Get rid of it, Rachel!" This should give me the strength to go on.

As would a plate of brownies, so, you know, if you're in the neighborhood....

Oh, and if you're interested in said crotchet books, scrap fabric or clothes in the closet, come on over and rummage before Goodwill gets it all.

* You are going to DIE when you see the stocking I'm working on for Camille. I can't wait to show you.

** I guarantee you that Katie is demonstrating how to sally forth right now. I am too. If you'd like to join in feel free. It's like a slow shimmy and you have to say "sally forth, sally forth" in a very saucy voice.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

That's fine. I guess I'll pay for the guacamole myself.

Dear Man Who Was Standing Behind Me in Line at Chipotle Last Night,

Some line, huh? I mean, it wasn't the longest line I've been in at Chipotle but it was a substantial wait. Long enough to make me worry a little that I would miss A Charlie Brown Christmas. That show always makes me want to hang garland and drink cider. Thankfully, Dancing With the Stars was on at 9 so I wasn't in too much of a panic (Side note #1: I'm not going to lie. I was a little disappointed that Helio won. I like him but I've been rooting for Mel B. all season because 1.) She was the best dancer, 2.) Her partner Maks is pretty nice to look at and by nice I mean WOW!!! and 3.) She's a Spice Girl which should automatically make her the obvious winner. But whatever.)(Side note #2: Have you seen Spice World? You should totally see it? It's awesome! But you should wait until after 10pm because it's one of those movies that is better when you're a little tired. And fast forward the part with the aliens. It's lame, which, obviously, is saying something.)

The line was also long enough for me to think on several occasions - if this man behind me gets any closer he had better offer to pay for my tacos. I should get guacamole, just in case. You were standing REALLY close to me. Let me demonstrate what I mean by REALLY: at one point I did a quarter turn to kind of give you a hint that you had breached my personal boundaries, and also to make sure that you weren't creepy looking (Fact: There is a difference between having your personal space invaded by a cute guy and having it invaded by a mouth breathing skeeve) and my shoulder brushed against your chest. That's REALLY close. And also kind of awkward.

Incidentally, you weren't creepy looking. You were actually kind of cute in a slightly aging rockabilly way, like you were at one time really into the Stray Cats and then decided to grow up and get a job at your uncle's morgage company, even though you still sometimes like to cuff the sleeves of a white t-shirt and put a cigarette in it when you’re puttering around the house. Your pompadour was a dead give away, and while it reminded me of the Fonze I’m going to have to knock you down for that. Although you get bonus points for wearing a very nice sweater. Cashmere? Had I been wearing shorter sleeves I wouldn't need to ask. But this is entirely beside the point, which is, even if you were Scary’s partner Maks, you were still standing too close. Because we’re strangers. We don’t know each other. I don’t even let my friends stand that close, as in close enough to feel your breath on my neck. Knights of Columbus!

By the time I got up to the counter I pretty much thought we were going steady. So did the workers because all the way down the line it was, “What can I get for you folks?” “Cheese for both of you?” “You guys want any chips?” Um, if me bumping into you wasn’t an indication that maybe you could back it up a little then that certainly should have been. But it wasn’t, because by the time we got up to the register the guy there said, “Alright, tacos and a burrito,” and when I said, “No, just the tacos,” he said, “So, your paying separately?”

Yeah, we sure are.

That’s fine if you want to be my Pretend Boyfriend (although you probably should have waited until you got a full look at me because believe me, I was not looking my best last night.) but the least you could have done was offer to get me a soda. You’re not the only one in this relationship, buddy. Oh, and if your interested and meet the qualifications (meaning generous, rich, and in contact with a good Slurpee machine vendor), the position of Wealthy Benefactor is still available. I noticed that you got the guacamole too.

Still a little uncomfortable about it,

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Very Rockefeller Thanksgiving

Here's the thing about having Thanksgiving at the beach - it only perpetuates the idea that all Southern Californians live like Rockefellers in mink lined flip-flops. Well, I can guarantee you that had I been a Rockefeller, I would have had a much warmer sleeping bag.

This was our second year of Thanksgiving up at the beach and I have to say that it really does feel like the lap of luxury when you're sitting on the beach and eating green bean casserole while the sun sinks into the ocean. But that's about as fancy as it gets when you're living in a tent. Sure, other people have RVs but we like to honor the Native American participants in the first Thanksgiving by staying in our very own wig-wams. Except that their tents probably were made of animal skin and kept some heat in. Ours were made of, I don't know, tissue paper maybe. Possibly the Ephemeral Turkey Spirits of Thanksgiving Past. Both of which retain as much heat as the ice crystals that formed on my nose. What I'm saying is that it was very cold at night. The kind of cold that makes you wonder why you always think camping is going to be super fun and adventurous, when really the only adventure you're having is anticipating your bladder exploding because you refuse to get out of your almost-warm sleeping bag cocoon.

So it was cold at night. But boy did the days make up for it. The days were exactly what makes people in the Frozen North kick themselves for not living here. Warm sun, no clouds, no wind (like ALL the weather people predicted) and the Blue Bird of Happiness nestled in the hearts of everyone on the beach, which, believe it or not, was not that many people. (Dear People Who Camped at Carp for Thanksgiving But Spent Their Days Playing Horseshoes at the Camp Ground Instead of on the Beach: I know you know how hard it is to get a site for Thanksgiving. We all united in spirit 6 months ago and fought for those sites. We were victorious! And yet, you were not fully enjoying your victory by being on the beach. How come? You know, you can play horseshoes on the beach. We played all sorts of games out there: bocce, paddle ball, catch, Frisbee. If you wanted to just hang out under the shade of your awning all day why didn't you get a spot at some RV park in Santa Barbara or something? Don't waste the hard earned victory. You owe it to the poor saps who didn't get a spot. Next time, I want to see you frolicking! Sincerely, Rachel).

I mentioned to one of my Sunday School kids that we did Thanksgiving at the beach and from underneath all of his hair he said, "That's not Thanksgiving." Um, I beg to differ. If Thanksgiving means being thankful and eating a lot of food then we were successful on both counts. Thanks to our pioneer heritage we Knechts have Dutch ovens practically growning in our gardens and you would be amazed at all the things you can cook in them. Things like the above mentioned green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes, and rolls, and rolls and more rolls. Oh, the rolls. I was really thankful for those rolls. I informed the kid that we should not be suckered into believing that Thanksgiving has to look a certain way (i.e. - a swirl of leaves blowing outside the window, the smell of snow in the air, uncles in sweaters.) We're never going to have that Thanksgiving (well, maybe uncles in sweaters, but let's cross our fingers it doesn't happen. Uncle Jeep in a sweater? The world would stop spinning.) and that's okay. We can still be thankful at the beach. And eat our weight in carbs. Did I mention the rolls? And the turkey fryer? Because I'm really thankful for the turkey fryer. Best turkey I've ever had. Better than any Rockefeller ever ate.

And I can promise you that my family is more fun than the Rockefellers. Yeah, that's right Rockefellers, we eat fun for breakfast and follow it up with hilarious hi-jinks and left over pie! There are times when I'm sitting around with the fam - aunts and sweaterless uncles, cousins with their kids, brothers and sisters, parents and the Golden Child - laughing until my face explodes, and wonder how I got so lucky to be a part of it all. They're on the top of my Thankful List.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Thanksgiving Proclamation

I hereby proclaim that subjects are no longer allowed to refer to Thanksgiving as Turkey Day. Anyone found calling it Turkey Day will be forced to eat nothing but cold oatmeal with no brown sugar while everyone else enjoys the Thanksgiving feast.

Signed, The Queen o' the Universe

PS. I'm off to the beach, where there are no crying parents, no dismal offices, no 5:30 alarm clocks, no traffic, and no Internet which means no blog posts. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'll think of you as I eat pumpkin pie while gazing at the lovely Pacific.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Just a few thoughts that individually don't quite equal a full post but can ban together and wear matching jackets that say "November 19, 2007" on them.

Behold the Golden Child:

Yep, the funk is gone. How can you be cranky when there are cheeks like these to kiss. Impossible.


Part of my job description today is tissue-passer-outer. I had two moms break down on me this morning. Sobbing and sniffling and wailing about the INJUSTICE of the schools and their FEELINGS were HURT and they're so CONFUSED!!!! It got so bad that one of our school psychs put this note on my desk:

Buck up ladies! Pie is just around the corner!


What are your thoughts on Christmas before Thanksgiving. I'm opposed. Sure, I love Christmas but hearing "This is My Grown-up Christmas List" a week before Thanksgiving puts me in a Scrooge-y mood. We get a whole month plus 3 days this year to celebrate (the most that is possible) and there are already Christmas lights up everywhere.


Because our office kitchen temperature usually hovers around negative-too-cold-to-sit-still-without-your-fingers-freezing and because some people I work with don't understand the universal sign of "I'm reading so please don't bother me,"* I usually go out to my car on my lunch break and listen to Jonesy's Jukebox. Dominic Monaghan (one of the wee little hobbits) was sitting in for Jonesy today and I have to say that he has some fine taste in music. Radiohead and Paul Simon. Nice. They must have good satellite service in the Shire.

*This is not to say that I don't like talking to people on my lunch break. If I'm not reading then please chat with me. But if I'm reading when you come into the kitchen I'm not doing it because I had nothing better to do while I waited for you to talk to me. I actually read because I like to and I'm probably in the middle of a really good part so shh.

Only one more link on my Post-it Note Thanksgiving chain. Wahoo!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007


Things that should get me out of the funk I have found myself in today:

1.) Cheery visit with Liz and Liz tonight
2.) My bed is nice and cushy and is calling to me even as I type. Listen, you can hear it... (rachel....rachel...come to me.)
3.) It is sunshiny outside but not hot like it has been
4.) Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow which will include...
a.) Trip to the gym, because nothing cures a funk like 45 minutes of death on the eliptical
b.) Holy French Toast. In case the eliptical fails me
c.) Christmas shopping, which I actually feel like doing
d.) Amanda's birthday, which will necessitate a phone call to her which always cheers me up (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!)
e.) The triumphant arrival of Sam, Stacy, and Ben the Blessed Nephew (accompanied by Katie) from Idaho-Land of the Spud!

But until all of those things happen I'm going to do the dishes. Doing the dishes has a very healing affect on me. Be gone funk!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Don't Own Flag Pants

Really? Did everyone but me know that it's the law that we have to put our hand over our heart when the national anthem plays? Standing up and removing your hat, I knew, but hand over the heart? No idea. I thought that was just for the pledge. I've noticed lately that more and more people were doing it but I just kind of assumed it was a by-product of the war.

Who's with me on this? Who remembers a time when most people didn't put their hand over their heart for the anthem? Anyone? Mrs. Boyd, my 1st grade teacher, had us sing the national anthem every single morning and not once did we put our hands over our hearts. And you would be crazy to call Mrs. Boyd unpatriotic (we sang This Land is Your Land every morning too. Mrs. Boyd = America. She was also from Punxsutawney, PA - Home of the Groundhog, which means that Mrs. Boyd = Awesome.)

It really bothers me when people use patriotism as a bullying tactic. Like you can't possibly love your country if you don't shout it from the top of your memorial flag pole in front of your house. Do we really believe that Obama hates that flag? I can guarantee that about half of those people who are criticizing him have a pair of American flag pants in their closet. How much do you respect the flag if you sit on it every 4th of July?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Very Schrute Christmas

When your kid brother is spreading the good word through the jungles of Brazil he deserves a whiz bang stocking.


Whiz bang in the sense that it's Dwight and Dwight is awesome. Pay no attention to the shoddy workmanship. My talent is always in the idea, not the execution.

Now, I just need to come up with another whiz bang stocking for Camille, who is spreading the good word on the Arctic Banks of Lake Erie. Or, as some people like to call it - Cleveland. Oh! I got it. Wait for it...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Veteran's Day

To my favorite veteran!

In honor of Grandpa Knecht, who can tell more war stories than your grandpa, here's his favorite joke:

What do you call a row of rabbits walking backwards?

A receding hare line.


Friday, November 9, 2007

A morning full of fake sneezes

We all have our morning routines. Here's my 4 year old monster-child neighbor's:

5:45 - Wake up
5:46 - Begin banging on the wall
5:52 - Start screaming that it's time to get up
6:00 - Finish screaming and get into the shower
6:01 - Fake sneeze
6:05 - Fake sneeze
6:08 - Practice break dancing routine
6:12 - Fake sneeze
6:13 - Fake sneeze
6:15 - Practice WWF moves
6:16 - Body slam rubber ducky
6:17 - Body slam again
6:18 - Fake sneeze and body slam at the same time
6:20 - Use bathtub as a Slip n Slide
6:22 - Start screaming that it's NOT time to get out of the shower
6:25 - Get out of shower
6:30 - Sneak out of the apartment and knock on door
6:31 - Giggle as mom yells about sneaking out of the apartment
6:35 - Brush teeth and fake sneeze
6:40 - Begin exiting the apartment
6:41 - Return to apartment for forgotten item
6:42 - Head down the stairs
6:43 - Return to apartment for another forgotten item
6:44 - Head down the stairs
6:45 - Run back up the stairs just because
6:46 - Back down the stairs
6:47 - Scream while getting into the car
6:48 - Fake sneeze out the window.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dear Egypt, Forget it. Love, Rachel

I got sucked into watching Globe Trekker last night. This is not unusual. I get sucked into watching a lot of things on TV, especially shows on PBS, because I'm 80 and very susceptible to commercial free shows. Because I have big dreams of acquiring a Wealthy Benefactor who will finance my three year trip around the word you would think that travel shows would do it for me. And they do, except that sometimes Globe Trekker has the opposite affect. Sometimes they go to places that completely turn me off to traveling. Places like the Vast Barren Desert of Egypt - Home of Sand, Sand, and More Sand. With a Side of Sand. And Some Scenic Views of Piles of Sand. The host, Megan, started out in Cairo, which seems amazing. Cairo - I want to go to. Cairo in January. But Cairo is a very small part of Egypt. The rest of the place looks like the bottom of my feet after a week of beach camping. I found this out because Megan left Cairo for a five day jeep ride through the uninhabitable desert on her way down to Luxor. Great Gravy! Five days through the desert in a jeep that did not appear to have air conditioning on unpaved roads. Driving and driving and driving. And then more driving. And then stopping to dump the sand out of your ears and then back in the jeep for more driving. Um, could someone please pass me some water, I'm feeling a little parched? And possibly one of those hemorrhoid donuts. And a shotgun.

My theory about desert driving is this: roads in deserts aren't actually roads but treadmills and the scenery you're seeing isn't real. It's a projected loop of desert scenery shown on giant movie screens to give you the illusion that you're driving through the desert but in reality you're not going anywhere. You're stuck in the desert forever. You're going to die there and jackals will come and eat your face.

At the beginning of the trek Megan visited an Australian Coptic hermit who lived in the desert mountains of Some Egyptian Place That Wasn't Cairo who said that the reason why he chose that life was because he had a vision after his mother died that told him to. But I actually think he stayed there because he couldn't bear the thought of driving through the desert anymore. That 20 years in a cave was better than 5 days of sand in your mouth.

Seriously, what does it take to get some water around here?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

So close

Knights of Columbus! I worked hard this morning. I mean, really hard. Hard like I looked up at the clock and 3 hours had whizzed right by. I got so much done. I've had the same 3 piles of work on my desk for weeks now and I managed to get one of them entirely down. Hooray for me! I was feeling really impressed with myself. Like, let's pat Rachel on the back and bake her a cake and give her a raise because clearly she's the World's Best Worker. And then my boss came in and said, "Where are my folders?" Oh poo. The one and only thing I absolutely had to get done this morning I completely forgot about.


On the very bright side: my lunch is still here (this time in the spec. ed. dept. mini fridge disguised as a container of ricotta cheese) and bonus - someone brought in gingerbread cookies. It is almost impossible to feel defeated when there are gingerbread men heads to bite off.

Monday, November 5, 2007


I was going to tell you all about the fun Halloween party Katie, Allie, Lindsay R. and I had and how I went as a bee keeper with yards and yards of tulle stapled to a hat. And all about the Chino High School Band Review and Invitational, about how much my family loves parades because there are so many things to laugh at. About the boy majorette who threw a fit along with his baton because the flag girls weren't listening to him. And about the girl who looked like she decided that morning to join the flag team and perform in the field show even though she didn't know the routine (like she was Bill Murray in the Man Who Knew Too Little, only less funny and more tragic). About our tradition of bringing hot chocolate to the field show and making friends with our neighbors. About how the man in front of us would not stop playing with his wife's hair. How Mr. Bowden, band dictator, not only acknowledged us but stopped and chatted, as if we hadn't been sworn enemies for the last 20 years. I was going to tell you about how I almost passed out at the organ yesterday at church because of all the left over funeral flowers on the stand, bursting with those nasty lilies that stink, how I had to leave Relief Society early because I was gagging on their smell. I was going to mention daylight savings time and how much I love the "fall back" time of year, even though I'm opposed to daylight savings time in general and how congress changed the weekend specifically. There would have been tales of the Gold Child, the Blessed Nephew, Heir to the Knecht Silver, how sometimes he can't hold up the weight of his giant head, how he's so close to crawling, how he talks to himself when he's lying in his crib, how he's the Cutest Baby Ever. I was going to write about Aunt Vickie's rolls. Delicious, buttery rolls hot from the oven. Rolls that taste like angels made them while singing about daisies and kitties.

But I'm not going to write about any of these things now because someone stole my lunch out of the office refrigerator and I'm cranky.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Halloween Miracle!

I've never been much of a plant person. I like them but I don't ever think, "I bet a plant would look great there." My thoughts are usually along the lines of, "That spot could really use a disco ball." But this year I seemed to have started a Home for Abandoned Plants because friends and family have moved and left all their foliage with me. First Amanda moved and left me a few, then my neighbor Sandee, the Plant Lady, moved and left me more plants than a girl should ever have, and then Gina and Chris moved and, well, when it's between your tv and your plants, your tv is always going to win the trip up to Utah in the back seat. I went from having 1 plant to having 20.

Well, there was a hit put out on my plants over the summer while I was away taking care of Maynard's bladder problem and counting the Duke's surfing tchotchkes. When I got back I found most of them whithering in the heat, all sad and droopy and brown, some very near death. I was kind of heart broken because I'd grown so attached to them and worked really hard to keep them alive even though I'm not naturally gifted in that area. But seeing them in such a miserable state got me feeling all E.R.-ish and I said, "Not on my my watch!" and got the defibrillators out. Well, actually, I got fresh potting soil and some fertilizer, but you get the picture. I trimmed all of them down to wee stubs and replanted and fed and watered them and put them in sun-shiny places and said a little prayer and then waited.

And waited. And waited some more. Gosh plants take a long time to come back to life.

Well, yesterday I checked on them and behold the miracle:

Alright, I know it's just a geranium, and that geraniums are pretty resilient but you should have seen the carnage back in September. This was nothing but gnarled ugly twigs. And now look at it. Full of hope and promise and possibly aphids, all ready for the mild California autumn and winter.

Now if only my one original plant would just look a little hardier.