Monday, December 29, 2008

Chocolate and Fruit

Oh, so many things to write about: like my trip to the fabric district where I got 8 yards of really good 60 inch fabric for 8 bucks; or how I spent the 3 days before Christmas covered in felt and how I discovered that making a felt horse is more difficult than I imagined; or the awesome Hanukkah party I went to (Thanks Appels! It was a lovely little present to see all of you again.) where I tried chopped liver(!) and found that while it looks and smells like cat food, it didn't taste that bad.

But instead I will write about more serious things.

A comment was made on my family's blog just now that got me thinking. Camille and I wrote about how Gina, who hates cherries, always manages to find the See's candy that has cherries in it. And Andrea (hi Andrea!) mentioned that chocolate should never be mixed with fruit.

I disagree.

What about chocolate covered strawberries? Or chocolate covered bananas? Or chocolate orange ice cream? Or chocolate molten cake with raspberry sauce? Or chocolate truffles with cream fruit filling? Or a banana split with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream and a cherry on top?

I can understand if you're working with generalities. If, say, as a rule you don't like fruit with chocolate but have your exceptions. Katie always point out that I do the same thing. For instance, I hate cucumbers, because the flavor is so over-powering that when it's in something that's all I can taste, and it's a taste that lingers for hours afterwards. But I have sometimes had them in certain dishes or with certain flavors that are stronger or compliment it and they're not bad. And I think that's okay. But can you really say that you don't like any of the things I just listed? Even chocolate covered strawberries? That's just kooky.

On a kind of related note: I got a gift certificate from a patient for a 1 pound box of See's and I cannot adequately tell you the glee that filled my heart. Glee, I say! Because I have never gone and picked out my very own See's. The boxes just show up at Christmas and you have to spend so much time using your psychic powers determining which ones are your favorite and which ones are gross. So the idea that I could have a whole box filled entirely with candies that do not have maple OR walnuts in them makes my heart swell a little.

If you agree with me on the chocolate and fruit thing you are invited over to share my box of See's, which will have a few of that variety.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Quik

The Knecht's celebrate Christmas in the morning. The rest of the day is spent like most days we're all together - cracking jokes about each other's head size, playing games and quoting Bill Murray movies - only on Christmas we're hopped up on sugar and wearing our jim-jams.

Like just about everyone else we have our traditions and one of them is a very large breakfast before the present opening commences. I know, we're like monks with all our self-restraint. The breakfast is jam-packed with all sorts of breakfasty type foods and it's all delicious and bad for you. We talk about this breakfast in epic terms and one of the highlights in a meal already full of them is the Chocolate Quik.

We love our chocolate milk. But my mom rarely got Quik on regular occasions when we were growing up because there's a lot of us and we already went through tons of milk in a week. If we had Quik on hand it would have been more cost efficient to just buy a cow to keep us in supply of milk. I grew up in Chino so it wouldn't have been so outrageous to keep a cow out back but who would pick up the manure? So no Quik before school. But we always had it on Christmas morning.

One year I came to the realization that I was a real live grown up and I could have Quik whenever I wanted. So the next time I was at the store I headed down hot beverage aisle to have a look. And I couldn't bring myself to buy it. Because Quik is a Christmas only treat. It seemed wrong to have it any other time.

I hope your Christmas is filled with your family's equivalent of yummy chocolate goodness.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Fiery Pits of Hell are up My Nose

Dear People Who Have to Be Around Me Today,

It's Monday, alright? I don't normally work on Mondays. I have a cold and I didn't sleep well and my left ear is so clogged up that I'm pretty sure Katie stuffed a sock in it as a joke last night (Why would you do that Katie? Why?!), and the homeopathic stuff that Doc had me put in my netty pot makes my sinus cavity feel like the Fiery Pits of Hell have relocated up there, or at least the boys locker room from the Fiery Pits of Hell, because that's what it smells like, and because I have to put it in my nose that's all I can smell and I'm not sure if I'm just smelling it in my nose or if I actually smell like it. And on top of all of this I have to work 12.5 hours today so maybe I'm just not prepared to look pretty or be chipper and maybe you should just back off and bring me a cookie. That would be a real big help.

Sorry about the smell,

Friday, December 19, 2008

A letter-writing opportunity from me to you

This article made me want to spit. And, given my extreme distaste of spitting, you can see just how angry that is.

Maybe it's just me but I feel that if we send a guy off to war and he comes back injured he should be set for life. All of his medical bills paid for, his mortgage paid off, his kids get to go to college for free, and his wife gets pedicures for life. He should certainly not have to worry about losing his job or his home because he was too busy learning how to walk with prosthetic legs.

On Veteran's Day I watched part of a show that surprised injured veterans from Iraq with home furnishings. I only watched part of it because I was a wreck after the very first one (Amanda, it was worse than the St. Jude commercials.) This guy came back from Iraq after he got his heel shot off. He lost it when his unit was being shot at and his friend was hit so to save him he laid down on top of him, without any cover for himself. And he came back to nothing. He was living in military housing with a wife and a new born and almost zero furniture. So they surprised him with some. Including stuff for his porch. And he broke down when he saw the porch. Just the porch! He hadn't even seen the two flat screen TVs they got him. And I thought, if a guy is so broken up over two lawn chairs and a table then we really need to be doing something more to make their lives easier.

So, if you're feeling the same way and would like to help out here's a link to Operation Homefront, the organization that is mentioned in the article. It seems like a pretty good group, and they have a lot of different ways to help, from volunteering to donating items or money to putting together care packages. Don't you think it would be so much fun to volunteer? We could all wear matching t-shirts! But I'm also going to suggest writing to your federal and state representatives and asking them to boost the existing programs and support any bills that would help out veterans and their families. Just type in your zip code in the box to the right on the linked page and a list will come up with all of their names and you can write one letter and send it to all of them. Easy! And fun. And they usually write back which kind of makes you feel special - like you're bff with powerful people and maybe they'll name a city street after you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cats in Wigs!

The other night I saw this on TV.

It's my early Christmas present to you. You're welcome.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Debate on Cookies

I was reading up on a debate on cookies. I shouldn't have because now all I can think about are cookies and do I have all the ingredients I need to make some tonight (No. Blast. I'm going to have to go to the store.) I use to hate making cookies. They take too much time. But I have discovered that the benefit of making cookies far outweigh the effort. The benefit being eating them until you're sick. Totally worth all the work.

The debate opened up with the definition of a cookie. I never actually thought that a cookie needed to be defined. It seems kind of obvious to me. But some of these people threw in all sorts of weird things. One person even said that a brownie falls into the category of cookie. That's just ludicrous. A cookie and a brownie are completely different. For one thing, you can't pull a pan of cookies out of the oven and put it on a towel in middle of the living room floor and eat out of it with a spoon as you and your girlfriends watch a Doris Day movie. Brownies are a category unto themselves.

I guess that maybe I'm a purist because I don't even consider cookie bars to be cookies. They fall under the bar/square category. I think in order for something to be considered a cookie it needs to be individually formed, preferably by elves, not baked then cut. It can be cut in the dough phase, but not after. I also believe that cookies should not be healthy. I have never tasted a healthy cookie that was any good. It's the butter and the sugar that make a cookie good and if you take those things out then you don't understand the point of a treat. You probably eat low fat ice cream, don't you. And if you give healthy cookies to people then you really don't understand the point of a treat, or a gift for that matter. I once got a plate of healthy cookies that were more bran muffin than cookie and I had to throw them away.

And a cookie should not contain raisins. They are an abomination. Not only because they're gross when baked but because they look deceptively like chocolate chips. Which makes them gross AND sneaky.

So I'm opening the debate to you. Tell me your favorite cookie and what your definition of one is.

And if you feel like bringing me a plate of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, heavy on the chips, I will not object.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gimpy finger

I made a u-turn yesterday and the steering wheel turned one way and my hand went the other but my finger didn't go with it and now it is, as Doc says, "seriously kerfuffled." She used a divining rod to make sure it was not broken and then she tugged and twisted and used this clicker thingy to move my bones and joints back into place and then she rubbed it down with some kind of magical ointment and put a splint on it.

There are two points I would like to make now:

1.) Certain things become difficult when your right index finger is in a splint. Things like typing, and writing, and eating your leftover burrito, and cleaning mole from your leftover burrito off of your scrub top.

2.) I can't put my finger down which means that it's always in the #1 position. It makes me feel kind of awesome.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cures for the wet ponytail

I overslept this morning. I blame myself. I had sugar last night after 8 and when I do that I get really antsy and fidgety and when I finally fall asleep I have really crazy dreams so I don't get any real solid sleep and it's hard to wake up in the morning. Which is fine on a day when I don't have to wash my hair but today I did. And that wouldn't be a problem because it's Wednesday and I can get into work whenever I want to on Wednesday except that we had a repair guy coming in for our dryer at 8 and I had to be here. Which means that I had 30 minutes to get ready this morning and that is not enough time to wash and dry and tame my tumbleweed hair. So I was forced to do the wet ponytail.

Have I told you about the wet ponytail? I feel miserable when I have the wet ponytail. I feel like a failure. There was a time back in the old days at the school district when I hated my job and I would stay in bed too long because I didn't want to face the day so I would go to work every day with a wet ponytail. To me, it is a sign of defeat. So, even though I've gone months without resorting to it, the fact that I had to today put me in a bit of a funk.

But this is not a tale of despair. Oh no. Because minutes after I put my hair back in the wet ponytail I was driving to work and I passed by a woman walking her dog. Wait, strike that. She was pushing her dog...IN A STROLLER! It was a little white shih tzu and it was wearing a sweater and was sitting in the stroller like it was the ruler of all four legged creatures. And I just laughed and laughed and laughed. There are few things more ridiculous than a woman pushing a dog in a stroller. And I wanted to pull my car over and give her a hug and a handshake because how can you be sad about a wet ponytail after that?

Update: Here's another cure for the wet ponytail blues

I just got off the phone with our patient database tech support. He sounded EXACTLY like Kenneth from 30 Rock. So much so that when we were hanging up and he said, "I was happy to help you, Miss Rachel," I actually said, "Thanks, Kenneth." It just slipped out! I would have meant it too except that he was zero help. But he certainly gave me a laugh.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Another Royal Decree

A patient brought in homemade biscotti for us as a little holiday thank-you for curing her yeast infection. What? You've never had your chiropractor treat your yeast infection? You are so 20th century western medicine.

I'm not a big fan of biscotti*, mostly because I've never had success eating them. They're usually shaped like a bread stick but taste kind of like a cookie, but never as good, and that confuses my senses. And they're crumbly so when you bite into them they kind of fall apart just as you're putting it in your mouth and then you have crumbs all over you. They're a mystery.

But CeCe's energy push yesterday did not help today because we were dead and I was falling asleep, so I thought that I would have a biscotti with the hopes that the sugar would do me some good. Little did I know what danger lurked in those Italian quasi-cookies.

Anise! Loads and loads of anise!

I hate anise. I hate black licorice. Even the smell makes me gag a little. It baffles me how people can like it. Seriously, tell me why you like it? I truly want to know. Because I've never tasted a dirty sock dipped in Clorox but I imagine that black licorice isn't far from it.

And there I was with a crumbly mouth full of it. Another problem with biscotti is that it's dry and it doesn't exactly leave the mouth easily. I had to chew and chew and chew and then I flushed it down with about a gallon of water and the nasty taste is still in my mouth. Bleh!

And so, I think it needs to be done:

A Royal Decree!

We hearby decree that black licorice, or black licorice flavoring, such as anise or Clorox, shall never be used in foods. Being a Benevolent Queen, we shall allow black licorice to remain for those subjects, such as the Queen Mum, who enjoy it. But all black jelly beans shall be removed from any assort bag, as the Queen does not care to be casually snacking on jelly beans and unknowingly pop a black one in our mouth and have it stuck in our teeth for several unpleasant minutes, thus causing death by grossness. And while we're at it, the Queen would like to ban biscotti too, because it confuses her.

Hugs and Kisses,
Your Queen o' the Universe

*Remind me someday to tell you exactly how I feel about people who pronounce words the way they are pronounced in the country the word originated in.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Energy push

I was in the process of writing about how a guy selling magazine subscriptions came to my door last night and was so obnoxious that I actually had to tell him to stop high-fiving me. And then he asked to use my bathroom. Sure, because I certainly don't see anything wrong with letting strange men into my home to pee. I suggested he ask upstairs, where they have a very large weapon collection.

But that story will have to wait because I just got off the phone with CeCe, one of our patients and a former employee here. She's a gem and I love her. She is a very lovely and genuine person. She reminds me of Sheila*, only she's a lot less worried about terrorist cells in Michigan.

CeCe called this morning to place a supplement order and I mentioned in passing that we were pretty slow today. So she hung up and called back a few hours later to tell me what her plan was to get more people into the office. Here's what she said:

"Sweetie, after I finish my lunch I'm going to do a HUGE energy push on the office so be prepared. We're going to visualize and manifest success! First I'm going to drive out all the bad energy from your office. Really mix it up. And I'm going to push the bad energy out of the doctor's head space so her fears don't drag you down. Then I'm going to ground the practice to the core of the earth and let all that good energy rise up into it. Then I'm going to place guardian angels around the practice and then I'm going to call all the good spirits to come into your heart. So what I need you to do is help me out by doing the exact same thing on your end."

And I totally would, except that I forgot to put the guardian angels' numbers in my cell.

*It's a real shame that not all of you know Sheila. I use to work with her at the school district pre-blog. But years from now when I compile Rachel's Greatest Hits an entire section will be dedicated to her. Some of my best stories are of Sheila and her computer. I love her and miss her.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

80 year olds should not be on Facebook

I blame Gloria entirely.

Gloria and I have been friends for a long time. Since we were freshmen in high school. Which was nearly 20 years ago. And now I'm going to put on my caftan and knit something. But whatever, I'm 80. And being 80 you can imagine how ridiculous it is that I joined Facebook.

I joined Facebook! That exclamation point means I'm screaming in horror and shame because I swore I never would. It just seems like something only kids who wear tight jeans and have over-styled hair do. But at lunch yesterday Gloria told me she joined and that all of these people we were friends with long long ago are on there and it sounded like fun to see what they were up to and if they look like they're 80. So I joined. And every single person I know on the planet seems to be on there. Which should make it okay, right? But, I'll tell you, I still feel like a sell out. And the whole, "Will you be my friend" thing makes me feel strangely pathetic.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm thankful for bras and razors

We have a few patients who belong to some theatrical commune in LA. They all live together in this big house/theater and put on shows every few months. They're dancers and actors and singers and they grow their own food, and, probably, weed. The head of the group is a woman in a wheel chair who always wears tinted glasses and speaks with a very low raspy voice. She has never shown up to an appointment without Marion, her assistant and Sonny, her poodle.

Sonny (who I secretly believe to be the evil mastermind behind this whole group) and Marion are in today. Marion fell off a stool and injured her back. She thought she was sitting on a piano bench and had room to slide over. She has a "very important dance performance" next week and needs to be fixed up before then. While putting her on the unwinding table I noticed two things: 1.) It was horribly obvious that she never wears a bra because, although she's young and thin, her boobs were sagging down to her naval, and 2.) she has the hairiest legs I've ever seen on a human being, male or female. And I could see, once she had the gown on, that the hair stopped just below her knee, making it look as if she were wearing human hair leg warmers.

And on that note -- HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enjoy the feast. I have a lot to be thankful for this year, including bras and razors.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

They Paved Paradise

Dear City of Long Beach,

I totally forgot to tell you that you're dead to me. I meant to tell you a week ago but I completely forgot. I went to Utah for a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving with my fam and I had squishy nephew cheeks on the brain. But don't think that because I've been distracted by their cuteness means that I've forgotten what you've done. I have not.

So, what did you do that was so horrible? You bought out Acres of Books and are planning to tear it down and build a parking structure. I just got a little ill when I typed that, and I'm not going to lie, I welled up a little when I heard. If Joni Mitchell were dead she would rise from her grave and shake her guitar at you.

Maybe you haven't been to Acres of Books. Because how could you have gone inside and done what you did? It would be impossible. This means you haven't seen the fluffy cat and cranky old man that greeted you at the front. Or the worker buried behind stacks and stacks of books in the back. You haven't been in the War Room and stared in wonder at how many people have written about the War of 1812. You haven't seen the children's section with old Dick and Jane hard covers and countless copies of Hardy Boys. You haven't come across a beautifully bound copy of Tennyson poems or an endless row of PG Wodehouse. You couldn't have had the thrill of going through a tiny door in the back and finding a warehouse full of floor to ceiling aisles of books stacked up in old orange crates. And then the thrill of going through that room and another tiny door into another warehouse of the same. You haven't gotten lost in the rows of books that dead end into other rows of books. You haven't spent a few hours looking at names of authors you have never heard of. You haven't smelled that sweet mixture of dust and old book glue.

So instead of seeing what a amazing place it was you decided to get rid of it to make room for people to park when they come for a movie or over-priced iced-coffee. I guess that's the way things go these days. But that does not change your status in my book, which is "DEAD". You're no longer Long Beach, place where my grandma grew up, where Lindsay lives, where Dad works, home of the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific. You are now That Dumb City That Tore Down Acre of Books to Build a Parking Lot. I'd like to see you attract tourists with that new name.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two Brief Things

Two brief items of relative importance

1.) I have figured out how the Doc and I are fundamentally different: I believe that people use too many commas. She believes that people use too few.

2.) I'm off to Utah tonight for the Pre-Thanksgiving Knecht-a-palooza. Itinerary items include eating, kissing adorable nephews and commenting on the size of our heads. There may also be bowling. Oh, and choreographing the Annual Knecht Christmas Spectacular dance number.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've really tried

Dear Patient I Don't Like,

I don't like you. And believe me, it hurts. Because I don't like not liking people. It makes me feel petty and ugly. I've been trying to find some redeeming quality about you so that I can say, "Well, she's always late and demanding and complains about her bill and conducts business calls while she's unwinding and leaves her used tissues on the floor and eats her lunch in the exam room so that it ends up smelling like old bananas and tuna and always comes in with greasy hair so when I have to stabilize her head my hands feel like I've been holding a ball of Crisco, but at least she..." except that I'm struggling to fill in the blank. The only thing I can think of is that your credit card clears some of the time. I don't know you personally so all I see is the side you're showing in the office, which is not pretty. And I'm not the only one who has picked up on this. The Doc and Lisa don't like you either. Even the other patients who are in the office at the same time as you have noticed and commented on how you're just so unlikable.

Now that that is off my chest I want to make myself clear here: I'm not trying to do you any harm. I know that you are frequently in positions where I could make you uncomfortable. I could pull on your ears too hard or not stabilize your head as well when the Doc is moving your skull around. I could turn the muscle stimulator up too high or put the head rest too low. But I'm not going to do these things because I'm very aware of how much I want to. And it disturbs me that I even think about doing those things. That would make me a monster, right? So I go out of my way to be gentle when I'm working on you.

There may, of course, be times when I will not move as quickly as I would with other patients to turn off your timer when it's beeping because I'm 80 years old and tired. Or I will grab the funky smelling eye cover when you ask for one because I don't have time to look for the nicer smelling one. And there may be a time when, after you have made me stand in the room, holding the blanket while you fiddle with your shoes and your gown and put extra socks on and finish your phone call and take yet another sip of water and then finally lay down only to remember that you needed to apply lip balm, I may decide to spend an extra twenty seconds or so scrubbing your face with the alcohol wipes you don't really care for, which then causes you to say you hope I didn't take it personally that you yelled at me when I told you we would have to cancel your appointment because you were 20 minutes late for the third time.

I don't take things personally. My last job mainly involved being yelled at by parents whose kids brought knives to school. I've learned to laugh it off. So when I was scrubbing your face today it wasn't to take out all of my pent-up aggression towards you or to teach you a lesson that maybe you should be more considerate towards people. I was just making sure your face was really, really, really, really, really, really, really clean.


Monday, November 17, 2008

A Peek

Several months ago Liz did a blog post about her favorite things inside her room and since I'm trying to be more like Liz (i.e. fabulous) I've decided to share my favorite things:

1.) Ernie. This is a little stuffed dog that I've had since I was 2 or 3. I've never liked dolls or stuffed animals and I've never kept any that I've received over the years. Except for Ernie. It's a testament to his awesomeness.

2.) My pictures. I draw silly pictures with crayons. I take the classics and redraw them into something funny. They mostly just sit in a folder. But my old roommate Cynda convinced me to get a few of them framed and I have to say, they give me great joy. Because I love silly things that make me laugh. Don't you? So, clockwise from the top left they are: Starry Night over a Trailer Park, I and the Village People, The Three Amigos, and The Glass of Kool-Aid.

3.) My Elvis clock. The kind with the swively hips. Andrea gave this to me for as a birthday present and it is now the standard by which I judge all other gifts.

4.) My never ending stack of books to read. I love having options. You can also see in this picture my Elvis light switch plate that Cynde got for me at a Warhol exhibit. I promise, the clock and the light switch plate are the only two Elvis things I have in my room.

5.) My desk. My dad built it for me. It's pretty awesome. It has all those cubbies and drawers that hold loads of pens and notebooks and scissors. And it has a drawer under the lid (it's a secretary desk so that writing part folds up and closes) that has nothing but pretty stationary in it. I purposely put it up against the window because I love to sit at it and write letters to people while looking at the mountains. It's very Elegant Woman of Leisure-y.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Everything's better with bacon

The Doc is "EXTREMELY. CONCERNED."* about the consumption so she has prescribed the following course of treatment:

1.) Diathermy: This is a heat therapy we use in the office that consists of putting two large heating pads over the lung region and roasting the bacteria to death.
2.) An onion poultice: You chop up an onion, wrap it in cheese cloth, steam it, then tape it to your chest for 2-3 hours.
3.) Raw bacon: Place 3 slices of raw bacon around your neck and tape saran wrap over it and let it sit there for a few hours to draw up the blood and relieve some of the swelling in the throat.

I told her the only way I was going to do any of those was if I could do them all together so that the diathermy would cook the bacon and I would be both well AND delicious.

*She is also EXTREMELY. CONCERNED. about getting the wrong paper towels for the bathroom and the plants going a day without being watered. Which is to say that I am not extremely concerned in the least.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dear Death

Dear Death,

Come and get me, because I'm pretty sure it's consumption this time.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Are you looking for your favorite pair of scissors? I have them.

Things I discovered while cleaning my room yesterday. And by cleaning I mean throwing a stick of dynamite in there and running for cover.

1.) I own a lot of scissors. And the funny thing is, I can't ever remember buying scissors. I noticed that there were several pair in my collection that say, "Property of..." and those ...'s are not my name. So, I would like to apologize to the Diamond Bar II Ward, which is no longer in existence and Kristen What's Her Name, who I think was my upstairs neighbor in college.

2.) My reading chair makes for an excellent step ladder. It's a good thing that the lamps I needed to hang went directly above it because it also makes for a good really heavy object.

3.) For me, cleaning my room is an all day event. Once I get started digging things out of the closet and under the bed there is no going back. I must clean and organize until everything has a place. You're asking wouldn't it just be better if I were a tidier person and cleaned every day. Sure. But these are not the Ways of Rachel. I'm trying to make them but it feels like trying to make the earth rotate in the opposite direction.

4.) Knights of Columbus, I own a lot of books. I mean stacks and stacks of them. Please come over and borrow them and forget to give them back. You want a copy of Pride and Prejudice? I have 5. And like the scissors, I don't know how they got there. I've only purchased one copy of P&P. I promise.

5.) I also have lots of crayons. But you can't have them. You can, however, come over and color with me and you can have your own box. We won't have to share the black.
5a.) I do know how I came to have so many crayons. I don't like it when the box gets all ratty and the main colors are worn down to stubs. It's worth it to me to have spend the $3 on a new box. There is genuine joy in opening a new box of crayons.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I've done the math

An update: The Doc is in a much better mood today. I commented on it and she pointed to her eyebrows, upper lip and chin and said, "I took care of this last night and felt so much better." So, to sum up, if you're ever feeling glum just pluck your unwanted facial hairs and the Bluebird of Happiness will once again rest in your soul.

Now let's do some math:

My age: 33

I went to a concert on a school night: -14

I went to see Louden Wainwright III: +13

He's related to Rufus Wainwright: -10

He's his dad: +16

I heard him on Morning Becomes Eclectic: -17

Which is on NPR: +18

He's a folk singer: +11

I went with my dad: +12

We made fun of a guy in a poncho who was sitting a few rows ahead of us: -7

It was in Cerritos (Home of the Ancient and Practically Dead): +13

It was a really great show and I had fun: -6

We left half way through because it was way passed our bed times: +18

Actual age: 80

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Someone needs to make me laugh right now.

The Doc is in the Depths of Despair over Obama being elected. She's been listening to Rush and swearing like a sailor all morning. Lisa and I have been having a difficult time breathing in here. I asked if there was anything I could do for her and she said, "Slit my throat." I'm telling you, it's worse than Death's cold icy grip. I need sunshine and fresh air and a joke.

Please, someone tell me a joke.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Free Sticker? Sign Me Up.

I woke up this morning feeling incredibly chipper. Why? Because it's Election Day! I love Election Day, and here's why:

1.) Tomorrow, the election will be over. I'm pretty sure that this election season lasted 18 years, which, in my opinion, is about 17 years and 11 months too long. When the world finally recognizes me as the Queen o' the Universe I will institute a 1 month campaign blitz. Candidates may only campaign for 1 month and they may not do it when important shows like America's Next Top Model are on. And it will perfectly acceptable to buy people's votes with brownies.

2.) I love to vote. And not just for the sticker. It makes me feel patriotic. I am not, by nature, an overtly patriotic person but I have to say that nothing makes me want to wave a flag and sing "This Land is Your Land" more than voting.

3.) I also love voting because it makes me feel neighborly. I love to stand in line at the polling place and think, "These people are all my neighbors!" And then I start planning elaborate block parties and wondering who would be good person to borrow a cup of sugar from.

I have had a ban on NPR for about a month now because I just couldn't handle all the economic/election/life is going down the drain reports on my morning drive. But I turned it on this morning and after hearing a piece on Charles Dickens' experience in debtor's prison (awesome!) they had a piece involving various poll workers around the country calling in and telling how the situation looked. It just made me so happy to hear about people voting. Where's my flag?

Friday, October 31, 2008

I did not shimmy at all.

First off, let's have a cheer for my sister Camille coming home from her mission. HOORAY! We picked her up from the airport yesterday and had a tearful reunion. Katie, Lindsay and I vowed at breakfast that we would not cry. Why would we cry? It's a happy joyous moment. We could totally be strong. But then we saw Camille coming down the escalator and she was crying and my mom was crying and then they hugged, all weepy like, which made a lady in the security line start to cry and well, when complete strangers lose it it's all over, right? We had a great day of laughing and joking and commenting on the size of her head. It was just like old times. (A brief note to Gina: Dad told me a story involving your head at a dance recital and I'm pretty sure that if ever there was a story worthy of blogging about, that one is it. I'm commissioning you to write the story. I'll pay you in chocolate covered cinnamon bears when I see you in a few weeks. The people deserve to hear it.)

Anyway, I want to tell you about how I got free meat from the butcher at Stater Bros. But I should first say that it was entirely unintentional and I did not use any womanly wiles to get it. I think. I wanted carne asada tacos for dinner so I went to Stater Bros. on my way home from work on Wednesday specifically because I love getting meat at the butcher counter and I know that Stater Bros. has one, unlike a lot of stores now a days. It makes me feel like Alice on the Brady Bunch. And you can get bacon by the slice. By the slice, my friends! If that isn't magic, then I don't know what is. Anyway, I went up to the counter and asked the butcher if I could have half a pound of carne asada. I don't need a whole lot because it's just me and Katie and it's just tacos. A half a pound is more than enough. So I asked for the carne asada and the butcher said, "Carne asada is my favorite," and I smiled and said, "I like it too," and then he said something like "we should carpool sometime," which I didn't quite understand but took to mean that we have so much in common wink-wink, nudge-nudge, so I just kind of smiled. And then he said, "but you only want a half a pound?" and I said yes and then he winked - winked! - at me and took out one piece and weighed it and printed out the sticker with the half a pound price and then he proceeded to pile more meat into the bag. I told him that he really didn't need to do that, I only needed half a pound, I couldn't possibly use all of that, it just didn't see right, but he just kept smiling and piling and not saying anything until I had like 3 lbs of meat in there. And I swear I didn't shimmy or anything. He just wrapped it up and handed it over and said, "Don't worry, it's on the house." and did a little ah-shucks when I said thank you, which is ridiculous because I'm certainly not the kind of girl you ah-shucks over.

So part of me feels a little guilty that I got all this free meat, even though I tried to stop him. And I'm not sure exactly how to feel about being a girl who gets free meat from the butcher. What does that say about me? But then part of me is like, awesome - free meat! And I want to high five people over it. But the real issue is that I have all of this meat in my freezer. Does anyone want to come over for tacos?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Now with twice the sugar!

Katie, Liz and I (This picture makes up look like a girl band. What would our name be? And we took this picture for a reason, not because we spend our evenings trying out the camera's timer function.) went to our ward's Halloween Party (and yes, let's be honest here, it's a Halloween party. You cannot pass something off as a "harvest festival" if it involves candy and costumes. Harvest festivals involve cornucopias and hay rides, neither of which were present on Saturday, much to my dismay). I don't normally dress up for Halloween because if I don't have a funny or clever costume then it's not worth the effort. And maybe in the past I haven't been so creative in October to think of anything. But somehow we got it into our heads that we should dress up (I blame Andrea. She was in town and strange things happen when she's here.) so we brainstormed and decided on breakfast, mostly because breakfast is awesome. I haven't met too many breakfasts that I didn't like.

So I was cereal (Honey Bunches o' Rachel: Now with twice the sugar and fortified with moxy) and Katie was milk (Mad Cow Milk: You'll foam at the mouth for more) and Liz was a spoon. We got together on Friday night to make the costumes and I have to say that if it weren't for pizza, spray paint fumes and that frantic energy that sometimes comes with exhaustion we would not have made it through the night. Friday nights are bad anyway but Katie had parent/teacher conferences all day, Liz had to cover like 10 other people's jobs and I had 12 solid hours of the Doc asking me to pull people's ears.
But it was totally worth it because you're looking at winners over there. That's right folks, we were the winners of the Upland First Ward costume contest. Woo-woo! Confession: we didn't even know that there was a costume contest, nor did we know that they were announcing the winners until we heard our names being called out while we were looking for a table to eat dinner on. I was a pretty exciting moment. Or, I may have still had some residual paint fumes in my brain and it just seemed really exciting.
We were all too tired to actually remember our cameras so thanks to Heather for sending me the picture of us. You can use your imagination for the back of the costumes. They involved nutritional values and a lovely story about cows.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Secrets of the Orient

A conversation with the Doc:

Doc: You look terrible.

Me: Um...thanks.

Doc: I mean, you really look very bad. What's wrong?

Me: Well, my allergies are cranky today.

Doc: I knew it [This is her favorite thing to say. She's like a phone psychic who says, "I'm seeing a man. A short tallish sort of man. Maybe your husband or brother or son." and you say it was your uncle and she says, "I knew it."] How many D-Hist [my allergy pills]are you taking?

Me: 3 pills, 3 times a day.

Doc: That's probably not enough. Let me test you.

[I grab a bottle and put it to my chest and hold out my arm which she presses down on and mentally asks my body how many pills its suppose to take. This is one of her Secrets of the Orient. Basically anything that seems kooky and I don't really understand I call a Secret of the Orient. I think it gives the office an air of mystery. She first asks if my body will accept it and then she starts to count and when my arm cannot resist her pushing on it and goes down that's how many I'm suppose to take. The point being that the body won't lie and will tell you what it needs. Like, if I were to hold a bag of peanut M&Ms up to my chest and you were to push down on my arm and mentally ask it how many I should eat, you would be counting for a very long time.

Doc: You're suppose to take 7 pills 3 times a day.

Me: As in 21 pills?

Doc: That's what your body told me.

Me: Are you sure that's not what your supplement budget told you?

Doc: Don't be sassy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Squatting. I mean it!

My grandpa does not like tipping and you have to be prepared to hear all about it when he takes you out for lunch to any place other than Taco Bell or Wendy's. Strike that. You have to hear about it there too. You also have to be prepared to slip a few extra dollars on the table when he's not looking because he leaves approximately 2%. After we twist his arm.

But, even though he is kind of cranky about it, he's got a point. I don't like tipping either. And here's why. I don't think people should necessarily get rewarded for doing their job. A server's job is to take my order and bring me my food and fill my water glass, all in a timely manner. Just like my job is to pull on people's ears and ultrasound planters warts. I don't get tipped for doing that. And I think that I could make a better argument for deserving a tip than someone who refills the chip basket, but I'm not. Because it's my job.

Now, I do realize that server's rely on those tips. They're paid practically nothing. I get that. And so I tip. And I tip well. Unless the service was bad and then I don't. I'm not afraid to leave a bad tip if someone who works for their tip does not do their job. Especially here in California where servers are paid higher than most states. But then I was watching Oprah the other day and it was on rudeness and they had this whole piece on rudeness in restaurants. They interviewed servers on what they considered rude behavior, and I agreed with most of it (like that it's rude to let your child run free like a lunatic.) But then one of them said, "I expect 20% or more for a tip. If I don't get it then I consider you to be rude." And that just made me mad. And I got all indignant and started talking in italics at the TV. You expect!? Like I'm working for you? Like I owe you something for doing your job! I don't think so!

And then the very next day I was reading this article and it got me thinking. Wouldn't it be better if restaurants either paid the servers a fair wage or added on a service fee of say, 18% of the bill and just got rid of tipping all together. I especially like the idea because there is nothing more creepy to me when a server is schmoozy with you, and you know it's just to increase their tip. Like when they squat next to you. Ew! Is there anything more disgusting then when a server squats? Here's a tip: don't squat! So, we get rid of tipping and they get paid whatever is fair and we're all happy. Right?

So, what do you think. Tipping? Yes or No. In this festive election season why don't we take it to a vote!


Instead of watching the debate last night I switched between watching the Dodger's lose and the season finale of Project Runway. My one consolation of the night was that Kennley lost. Her clothes were alright but her constant whining and eye-rolling made me want to put her in a corner -- for eternity. She spent all season being snippy with Tim Gunn! And Heidi! Who does she think she is? I only wish she had been rude to Nina Garcia. You know that Nina would have shot laser beams out of her eyes and then called the remaining ashes and wee little feather hat left on the runway "trashy."

Anyway, while watching Project Runway they had a promo for "Australia", the new movie with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman and directed by Baz Luhrman. It looks like I may want to see it because 1.) hubba-hubba, Hugh Jackman, and 2.) I love Baz Luhrman movies. He has flare. If I believed in having favorite movies Strictly Ballroom would be in the running. And I like Nicole Kidman, when she's not whispering her lines. But here's my issue. Last night when she was introducing the clip I was horrified by the color(s) of her hair. Her roots were the color of frozen corn and the rest of it was like corn after you've left it in the microwave too long. I don't know if it was for a movie or for Halloween or if she's too busy with her new baby and snuggling with Keith Urban to schedule an appointment with her colorist or if she has actually requested having two shades of corn in her hair. My point being that I am once again flummoxed by the Rich and Famous' inability to pull it together.

On a slightly more serious note: I wouldn't have watched the debate anyway for a very good reason. Whenever I watch debates this is all I hear:

Guy 1: Here's a very vague and over-simplified synopsis of my
plan. Blahbitty-blah-blah Chocolate For Everyone!
Guy 2: Now, why don't you be honest with these good people and tell
them that in order for everyone to have chocolate we will have to
kill bunnies under your plan.
Guy 1: We're not going to kill ALL the bunnies. Although
some of them will sort of have to die. But dead
bunnies are what the people want if it means chocolate. And besides it's
better than your plan that involves kicking small children.
Guy 2: I never said I would kick small children. I only said
that there was a possibility that small children would get in the way of my
swinging foot. The people demand it.
Guy 1: You're dumb.
Guy 2: You're ugly.
Guy 1: But I respect you.
Guy 2: I don't hate you some of the time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I am putting on my lab coat

I never thanked you all for your music recommendations. I've been checking them out and have to say that my friends have awesome taste in music. I knew there was a reason why I liked you all so much. I would especially like to thank all those lurkers (I really hate the word lurker. I sounds sketchy. Someone give me a better word please.) who spoke up. See, it wasn't so bad. And now we're all best friends.

And here's something interesting to no one but me but it's my blog so deal with it: When I first met Courtney she reminded of me of someone but I could never put my finger on whom. And that feeling has always lingered and bothered me. And then both she and Colleen recommended In the Aeroplane over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel and then it struck me. It's Colleen. She reminds me of Colleen. And none of you actually know both Courtney and Colleen but let me tell you...two sides of the same coin, those girls. If they were ever to meet, who knows what would happen. I like to think world peace and chocolate fountains in every kitchen.

But here's what this post is actually about. Books. Because I mentioned that I want to spend all my gift cards on music and not books. Do not be alarmed. I'm fine. I'm just doing a little experiment. Back in the Dark Days of Unemployment I often wondered in amazement that I was able to get by on so little. Because when I was working and making the big bucks I was always wondering where all of my money went. But when you're not making any money you realize exactly where it went. On things you didn't really need. Lovely things like going to the movies and new pairs of shoes and another shade of lip gloss and fancy cheeses and Trader Joe's and books. Lots and lots of books. But you can't get those things with your grocery money when you're not even sure when you'll have grocery money again. So I stopped buying those things and I missed them. A lot. Especially the books.

Then (rejoice!) I got a job and the money started trickling back in and I got excited about buying books again. Which ones would I get first? I had a huge list to choose from. It was a wonderful dilemma. And then a strange thing happened. As I was thinking about how long it had been it I went from "It's been seven months (hand on forehead while swooning a little)!" to "It's been seven months (fist thrust into the air over my awesome willpower)!" Because it was seven whole months of not buying any books and I still had plenty to read, thanks to the library and friends and that enormous stack in my bedroom of books I've always meant to read.

So I decided to go for a year of no new books. Just to see if I could do it. Because I figured it out -- it's been about 20 years of book buying for me. Twenty years! That's a long time habit there folks. And I'm happy to report that I'm doing fine. I still miss it and I fully intend to go back to buying books in February. But maybe not so many. I'm totally 80 right now, all wise and restrained. I'm going to go home and knit something with old yarn.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Yes on Prop 8

This blog may seem like a haphazard mess most of the time but trust me, there is an order to things. And the first order is to keep it light and funny. I prefer to stay away from hot topics and instead focus on the state of my felt collection and my love of bacon. I do this because I love you and I don't want to beat you over the head with my overbearing opinions, which, if you have spent more than 5 minutes in person with me, you know I have in abundance. And my natural reaction to things is to go for the joke. That's how I deal with life. I'm emotionally crippled.

So I've refrained from discussing politics and the upcoming election because 1.) it's exhausting for me to fight my natural inclination to be a cynic, 2.) there are certain topics that are hard to make a joke out of and 3.) there are people I'm close to and love very much who would be hurt by it. But last night an apostle of the Lord sent out a call to action and asked that all people with the means of communicating via the Internet (is there anything cuter than the Brethren talking about blogs? No, there is not.) use those means to discuss Prop 8, which is an initiative to amend the state constitution to read that only marriage between a man and a woman would be recognized. He specifically requested this of young adults with blogs. I initially thought, "Um, I'm not a young adult anymore." And then he went and raised the age to 35. Thanks, Elder Ballard. That was sweet. I'm taking that as permission to skip the single adult (the 30 to the grave crowd) Christmas brunch this year.

Now, I have been involved in the Yes on Prop 8 campaign for a while and have gone out and knocked on neighborhood doors and have spent hours on the phone (the phone people! This is how important it is.) canvassing the area for it. And it's been enlightening and kind of entertaining to get out and talk to people (Note to people opening doors: Please put on some pants). But I have refrained from writing about it here because I don't want to come off sounding like a bigot and I've been afraid of hurting people who read this who feel differently. To those people I want to say that I love you. I don't do well writing about serious things and I don't want my inability to find the right words to come off as me not loving you. I do love you. But if you think I ramble when I'm being funny it's unbearable when I'm being serious. It's like a really bad girls camp testimony meeting - only there are no leaders jumping up to make the announcement that they "saw bears by the kitchen" to cut it short.

And there's the whole issue of writing about sacred things. Because I don't take much seriously here I don't want those things that are sacred and important to me to lose any value by lumping them with the crazy antics of my boss or women with facial hair. But there comes a time when you need to publicly stand up for sacred things. And marriage and the family are very sacred and this is the time.

So, I'm voting Yes on Prop 8. I'm voting yes because I believe that marriage is a sacred commitment, not just a temporal institution, that is ordained by God to be between a man and a woman. I'm voting yes because children have a right to be reared by a father and a mother. I'm voting yes because I have an obligation to stand up for moral issues based on eternal principles.

I'm not going to write about the ramifications of this law and how if will affect the nature of families, the education of children, or our religious and personal freedoms. I'll leave that to other people better versed in those types of arguments. But, if you believe in this too, I will ask you to register to vote and remember to vote on November 4th. Voting is fun and you get to feel all civic minded and neighborly. And you get a sticker. And, it's kind of important. And I will ask you to talk to your friends and neighbors about it. If you live out of state and have friends or family in California, you can help by talking to them about it. The rift between those who are willing to stand up for what is right and those who sit by and watch is going to get bigger and bigger as time goes on. I want all of us to be on the side of those who are standing.

Have I mentioned that I love you. Seriously, I do.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why Saturday was AWESOME

1.) General Conference (check out the fam's blog for thoughts on it)
2.) Bacon
3.) I have taken on a Zen attitude towards sewing zippers and it has paid off. Eventually I'll get a good picture of these bags I'm making so I can show you, and then put them up on Etsy for you to buy which will then support my Life of Elegant Leisure and I can quit my job and spend all day making more silly things for you to buy and writing funny posts for you to read, both of which will bring immense joy and enlightenment to your life. See, this was a momentous day for all of us.
4.) Thanks to the America's Test Kitchen cookbook (or, as I like to call it, The Sweet Miracles from Above Cookbook. I'm not kidding when I say that everything I have cooked out of it has turned out perfect.) I finally made a loaf of bread that was a.) delicious and b.) light and fluffy but sturdy enough to cut and use for sandwiches and c.) nice to look at. I've had problems with making yeasty breads in the past (problems meaning they hate me and are constantly belittling me and calling me names.) but I put my faith in the cookbook and after several not so patient hours of rising and kneading and rising and kneading my apartment was filled with the sweet smell of warm bready goodness, just in time to enjoy a slice while I watched...
5.) The Dodgers win! Wasn't that awesome?! You are going DOWN Philadelphia. Down to Chinatown!
6.) I went to sleep with the pitter-patter of rain on my window. Rain! When was the last time we had a good rain here? Um...maybe 1987.
7.) All those fantastic music suggestions. I knew you would come through for me. Maybe I'll make you a mixer.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I've got music

A while ago I asked for book recommendations and I was THRILLED with the response. You all really came through for me - it has been a great year of reading - and I owe you a stick of gum and a firm handshake. But now I need your help again. This time with music because I find that I'm stuck in a rut. I haven't purchased any new music in ages and I miss it. I have a bunch of gift cards (Borders, Amazon, iTunes) that I'm eager to spend and I've decided to use them all on music. Why not books? That's a story for a later date.

So your assignment (And this is for everyone. And I really do mean everyone. Including lurkers. I'm counting on you. Yes, you! Do not be afraid. We're friends. Or friends of friends.) leave a comment with the name of an album you think I would like. Or even an album that you like and you think I should give a listen to. My tastes are broad and there's a good chance I'll like it - as long as it's not Garth Brooks. I have standards. And if you're feeling like an AP blog commenter, tell me why you like it. I'm genuinely curious.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Baseball Like/Don't Like

The post-season is upon us and I feel like it is time for a little lesson in Baseball Like/Don't Like. I'm feeling really great about this post-season for many reasons:

1.) The Dodgers are in it.
2.) The Yankees are not in it.
3.) The Angels are in it.
4.) Every other team in it, with the exception of Tampa Bay, I like (I'll explain later about TB). Even the yet to be decided ALC is great because I like both the White Sox and Minnesota. Although I'm rooting for Minnesota.

Let me explain.

There are teams that I love (The Dodgers, #1 in my heart 4-ever; followed by the Angels) and then teams that I hate (the Yankees, the Giants, the Braves). But then there are all these other teams that for whatever reason, I either like or I don't like based on a myriad of factors.

In general I like to stick with the National League because they don't have the designated hitter. The DH is for sissies. I also like to stick with teams that have been around for a while. I am very suspicious of teams who were created during my lifetime, like the Diamondbacks. And I don't like teams from Florida. Or Texas. Or other parts of California. If you're keeping score that's 3 strikes for Tampa Bay (AL, new team, Florida). I also don't like the Padres just for the fact that they have changed their colors a few times and are now using blue and white. I would like to point out to the Padres that there is already a Southern California team using blue and white. And I would like to point out to the Angels (even though I'm a fan) that there is already a Southern California team using LA in their name.

I like to root for old-timey teams like the Pirates. Or teams that haven't won a World Series in a long time, like the Cubs (It's just a shame that the Dodgers have to stand in their way this year. Sorry Cubs.) Or the scrappy underdog. Or enemies of enemies like Boston. Or teams from funny places like Minnesota (for some reason Minnesota seems totally hilarious. I think it's their accent. I spoke with a gal from there on the phone this morning and she kept saying, "Okay" with a really thick accent and it had me rolling.) Or who's on the team - there was a time a few years back when I liked most of the players on the Yankees and only hated the team out of principle. And then there's always the gut. If I like a team, just because, then I think that's a perfectly valid reason to root for them if none of these other factors come into play.

So, once the Mets were out of the running (I also don't like the Mets...just because.) and I saw the match-ups for the post season I felt really good about October. I can root for all the teams, once Tampa Bay goes back to Florida, and be happy with whomever wins.You're all welcome to come over and watch a game with me. Bring chocolate. And if the Dodgers make the World Series, be prepared for a big hullabaloo.

* 5.) At the end of it Camille comes home from her mission. Wahoo!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I would tell you if you looked homeless

Remember that woman I mentioned with the mustache? Well, I neglected to describe other things about her that are crucial to this story. She is a Theater Type Person which means that she regularly dresses flamboyantly. And she has rather wild hair that is held up on one side by a huge clip while the other side flows free. It all makes sense when you talk to her but at first glance she looks a little rough.

So today she was sitting in the lobby while her daughter was being worked on and she was schlumped over in the chair and nodding off a bit and snoring at times and another patient of ours who is German (I mention this because Germans are nothing if not straight forward) was in and she asked for a piece of paper and a pen. So I handed them over and she proceeded to write what I thought was a note to herself. But when she was done she very slyly handed the note to me and it read, "Is that woman sitting over there homeless?"

I looked over at the mustachioed lady and she did, indeed, look like a hobo just trying to get a little nap in a cool place.

Isn't that horrible! Has she no friends? How come her daughter hasn't said anything to her? Should I have told her that she looked homeless and that she should maybe spruce herself up a bit? Or, at the very least, shave?

And let's all do a big blogger hands-in right now that if I look like I make my living digging through trash you will tell me. I promise to tell you. Because we're friends. And if that is not the definition of a friend then I don't know what is.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things are not right

Things are not right. Not at all. The exact opposite of right as a matter of fact.


1.) I couldn't fall asleep last night until about midnight. And...
2.) I woke up at 4am. As in 4am in the middle of the night. And...
3.) Instead of going back to sleep I decided to go to the gym. And...
4.) I actually went to the gym. In the middle of the night. When normal, happy people are sleeping. Well, I had to wait until it opened at 5 but it was still dark outside, which, in my book, constitutes the middle of the night. And there were people there. Not vampires but real human beings who were chatting with each other as if they always workout together in the middle of the night. And I would like to point out that it was still the middle of the night when I finished my workout. There were still stars in the sky, for crying in the mud. There was just a slightly lighter shade of black in the east.

No. Definitely not right.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Three Things

Three funny things:

1.) All morning I was STARVING. Every time my stomach would growl I would wonder why I was so hungry. I ate a very good breakfast this morning.

Except that I didn't eat breakfast. I made breakfast. I was running late so I made my usual yogurt/berry/granola breakfast and put it in a cup and carried it out to my car and put it in a cup holder and immediately forgot about it. So by the time I dragged myself out to my car to go get lunch, still so confused as to why my stomach was beginning to snack on itself, the mystery was solved by the very distinct smell of yogurt that has been baking in the sun in an enclosed car for 5 hours. Lovely

2.) A direct transcript of a conversation I heard at work:

Mother of Kid Getting Treated: How do I know if he's out of alignment
Doc: Just check his crease.
MOKGT: His crease?
Doc: Yes. His crease. Check his crease. If he's out of alignment his crease will be crooked.
MOKGT: His crease?
Doc: (turns around and vigorously runs her fingers up and down her butt crack.) His crease.
Me: (snort)

3.) I guess this is my week to spot ladies with facial hair because there is a patient that was in the office today with the fullest mustache I've ever seen on a woman. I mean, it looked like she was entering a Magnum PI Look Alike competition. There was no sign of even an attempt to bleach and if she's waiting to grow it out a little to have it waxed she's about 6 weeks behind. Poor thing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Mysteries

I went back to the fair last night (For research, Valerie. RESEARCH!) and while there I realized that I had neglected to share a few more mysteries with you.

The Mystery of the Guy or the Girl: While driving to the fair on Saturday we were stopped at a red light and Katie yelled out "Guy or girl?!" and pointed to a pair of college kids on the corner. One of them was clearly a girl but the other one we weren't quite sure about. She had all the appearances of a girl: hips, chest, long hair, fashionable bag. And she looked really feminine. Except that she had a goatee. Well, more of a soul patch. Or maybe is was a rather unfortunate mole. What I'm saying is that there was definitely a large-ish patch of hair on her chin and it looked like she could have been a guy. For a sec I thought that maybe she was like my friend Shim at Barnes and Noble but then I thought if he's transitioning into a woman then why the facial hair. And if she's transitioning into a man why the tight t-shirt emphasizing the boobs. Such a mystery! We stared at her for as long as the light was red but drove off as confused as ever.

The Mystery of the Chocolate Covered Bacon: Yes. They sell this at the fair. I did not try it but if someone had offered I would have taken a bite. Because I'm tuff like that. And bacon and chocolate are two of my all time favorite things on the planet. The only real mystery is why it took so long to get there. There's no doubt in my mind how it got there though. No doubt two guys were sitting around and were all, "Dude, the fair is awesome. Everything is fried or on a stick. It's like Man Food Heaven." And the other one was like, "Yeah, but there's no bacon." And then Guy 1 was all, "But you can't just sell bacon and it's already fried and it won't work on a stick. How would they make it better?" And then they were both like, "CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON!" And the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders came prancing out and showered Mardi Gras beads and Gatorade over them while Van Halen's "Right Now" played in the background. Or, at least that's how I imagine it happening.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Adventures of Rachel Knecht -- Girl Sleuth

Titles and brief plot summaries of future books I plan to write once I turn my life into a teenage mystery series:

1.) The Mystery of the Amway Sellers for Jesus - The apartment across the way from mine appears to be vacant. I never see anyone come in or out. But about once a month a group of people show up, turn on all the lights, open the blinds, and stand around and sing. I always just assumed they were a roving band of beat-niks or something but then yesterday when I was coming back from the laundry room I saw that the lights were on in the apartment and inside was one guy with a guitar and several others with their hands in the air. Okay, now we're getting somewhere...they're a praise team. But then Katie went down to the laundry room a few hours later and reported back that they were now watching a dvd and she thought that maybe they were selling Amway. Mystery! I will solve this case by convincing Flo that I need to get into the apartment (possibly by tossing something valuable onto their balcony - like a tub of ice cream.) And then hide out in a closet until their next meeting, (definitely a tub of ice cream. I could live off of ice cream for a month, right?) and them casually step out with my tambourine once the singing begins and make friends in order to get more information. (Note to Self: Remember to toss tambourine into the balcony with the ice cream).

2.) The Adventure of the Killer Dragon Flies: As I was aging 50 years in traffic this morning I noticed that there was a swarm of dragon flies buzzing above the cars that were not moving on the freeway. I initially thought, "How cute," and was grateful for the uplifting sight because I was about to drive my car off the road and into the Wal-Mart parking lot below (except that I couldn't actually move my car because, did I mention, we were not moving). But then I noticed that they weren't so much buzzing as they were dive bombing. There were probably about 15 of them and they looked a little angry. Probably because they too had to get off on Grand and then found out that the Grand exit was mysteriously closed. I will have to hire a insect loving person to solve this one as I do not like bugs. Oh, and talk to Cal-Trans about the exit sitch.

3.) The Case of the Missing Zipper Foot: I pulled out my sewing machine the other day and discovered that the zipper foot was not there. And as the zipper foot has only one place where it would be my only guess is the World's Largest Collection of Felt got its hands on it and is holding it hostage. But a girl can't wait for a ransom note forever so I went on the hunt for a zipper foot. And no one had one! Where did all the zipper feet go? I know that fancy sewing machines require fancy feet but mine is a pretty standard one and I've seen loads of machines that have similar foot attachment thingies and I just assumed that a place like Joann's Fabric, a store that has a sewing machine accessory wall, would have a universal zipper foot. But none of them did. I finally had to go to the Joann's Super Store that had a Viking outlet (where I kind of wished the sales ladies had been dressed up as actual vikings) and convince them that even though I don't have a fancy sewing machine I still deserved to put in zippers. So they plugged their noses and rummaged through what essentially looked like a trash drawer and found one for me. But that still does not answer what has happened to all the zipper feet. I'll have to contact the Zipper Foot Council of America or something.

4.) The Case of Rachel and the Rednecks. How is it that a booming metropolis like Los Angeles can produce so many rednecks? Or is it the fair that turns otherwise high class people into beer swilling, cleavage exposing, butt scratching, turkey leg gnawing hicks? You know my deep love for the fair. Every bit of it is great, even the hordes of people. But I felt slightly assaulted by the amount of redneckedness I saw there on Saturday. Now it was 180 degrees with a billion percent humidity so I can understand how some girls would think it appropriate to dust off the old tube top. But Knights of Columbus I saw a lot of cleavage that day. I'd like to blame Fontana but I think I will need to go back to the fair to get to the bottom of this. And possibly ride the Big Yellow Slide a few more times. You know...for research.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Keep them away from the knife drawer

Dear Man Who Saw the Look of Horror/Disgust/Confusion/Panic on my Face Yesterday Somewhere Near the 210/57 Interchange in Glendora,

That was not meant for you. I'm sorry that I scared you.

You should know that I don't really like dolls. I've never owned a Barbie or a Cabbage Patch Kid and I have never been able to understand why people like them at all. They just sit there, staring at you, probably plotting to kill you in your sleep.

So, you can understand why hearing this on NPR yesterday would make me have that look. I'm sorry that it happened just as I turned to see if the lane next to me was clear and there you were, staring back at me. You can't tell from the transcript so maybe you should listen to it, because you will want to hear the tone of voice these women use when talking about their dolls - like they have shelves of scrapbooks dedicated to them. Right next to the shelves of crazy pills.

Again, my sincerest apologies. But by now you understand.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

10 to 15 samples of ice cream

I went down to the Fam's house on Sunday for the usual hamburger/popcorn fest (with a bonus of the Folks from the North showing up on the computer. (Fact: Nephews look just as cute on the web cam as they do in real life. But kissing their faces on the computer screen is not nearly as rewarding.)) and before dinner my mom said, "Did you hear that Bert & Rocky's is closing."

Baby pandas burst into tears. Angels fell from the sky in despair. A lone unicorn died with a heavy sigh. And my heart broke in two.

She quickly amended her statement and said that just the Upland shop was closing but the Claremont shop would still be open. Phew! Only the baby pandas cried for that.

But I'm still sad. Because Upland is my shop. Ah, those many, many nights when Amanda and I would be sitting at home and one of us would say, "I want some ice cream," and without even needing to say anything else we would get up, put our bras back on and head down to Bert & Rocky's. THAT'S HOW MUCH WE LOVED IT. We would walk in and say hi to all of our favorite scoopers and chat with the owner and sample 10 or 15 flavors. Then we'd both inevitably settle on chocolate orange and head home and watch Gilmore Girls.

The Claremont shop is only just a little farther away and it still has all the same flavors but it's more cramped and it's harder to find parking in the Village and the flow of the ice cream counter is bad (it's like an entire case is hiding behind a bunch of tables) and it's just not the same. Wah. But have no fear, Bert and Rocky's, I will still come and sample 10 or 15 flavors before getting my chocolate orange. I love you. Enough to put on a bra.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Dear Rachel,

That warning voice, the one you hear in your head every time you are about to say something that will get you into a sticky sitch, the one that comes with sirens and flashing lights and railroad crossing gates coming down and little green army men screaming orders at you, it's there for a reason. It is yelling at you because it knows that the reason why you don't talk about politics with people who do like politics in general and their political party specifically is because those people generally have very distinct ideas about politics and they're not exactly willing to hear your side of the story or really even give you a fair and unbiased reason to listen to theirs.

So please stop talking.

Do not get into it with a person who's views make you look like a tree-hugging, granola-munching, paper-recycling, hairy-legged liberal (in a bad way). Even though you do love trees and you had granola for breakfast and you have been known to recycle and you didn't have time to shave your legs this morning but you're wearing pants so it's no biggie, you're conservative enough to recognize that when someone essentially calls you that, it's meant as an insult.

And do not take it personally that you are called an ignorant sexist when you remarked that it was your personal belief that when a woman decides to have 5 children her first priority should be with them and that possibly having the second highest office in the nation may be a little too distracting, even though you were clear that it had no bearing on her credibility as a leader, or her right to seek after that office, nor would it sway you in choosing whom to vote for. Because you haven't made your decision yet and you were just stating your own personal feelings on the matter, which, let's face it, was a HUGE mistake.

And do not think less of a person for comparing a presidential candidate to Hitler and saying that he associates with "terrorists and Muslims." Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Even bigoted.

Just be kind to people and laugh at their foibles because you have plenty of them too, and we all know how very opinionated you are and how somes times you can be too bold. But most importantly keep your mind open and your mouth shut. Especially your mouth shut.

Hugs and Kisses from Your Pal,

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What's that I smell?

Dear Neti Pot,

I love you.

This morning I woke up for the first time on while I do the math...MY ENTIRE LIFE without being congested. I've only used you once and already your magic is working. Your sweet, beautiful magic.

At first I was a little turned off by the concept of you because, really, that's gross. Warm salty water up and out the nose? Ew. But I'm a believer now, honey. I'm a believer because I wasn't joking about the morning congestion. Every single morning. For 33 years. 33 years of sounding like a man in the morning. Not to mention the whole not being able to breathe part.

But this morning I woke up with the smell of victory in my nose. Victory over impacted sinuses. And you know what? It smelled good.

Hugs and Kisses,

Friday, August 29, 2008

I'll tell you this much - there was groping involved

I've been house sitting (surprise) for the Duke these past two weeks. They have a dog that (again, surprise) pees inside the house. It's really not even worth mentioning because this trend of incontinent dogs I watch has catapulted into the ridiculous. I mean, does EVERY dog pee inside the house and I just haven't noticed because I've never been a dog owner? When I lived with Rac and Emma at their family's home and we took care of Jane, their Boston Terrier, she never peed inside. And she was certainly not the brightest of God's creatures. Lovable and gaseous, but not bright.

This is all irrelevant because what I really want to say is that I have essentially been without a phone for two weeks and it's kind of been like Heaven for me. I get zero reception up at the Dukes. I am way beyond having no bars. It seems I can only call out if I'm calling 911. And since I can no longer talk on the phone in my car and most days I work so many hours (roughly about a squillion every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) that days go by when I'm literally only in my car or at work or at the Dukes, I haven't called anyone in a very long time. And I'm fine with that. You know my anxiety about calling people.

But today -- oh, today -- I want to call everyone because you will never believe what I had to do at work. Never. It is just too crazy -- and, I feel, not exactly for mixed company, which means it is not for this blog. Trust me boys, you would be mortified. But gals, you will laugh and laugh and laugh because, Knights of Columbus!, this is a funny story. It tops ultrasounding that guys toe and the time I had to guess whether the black furry stuff on a woman's back was part of her sweater or a rogue patch of back hair. Please ask me the next time you see me (unless we're in church, I can't do it at church) to tell you what happened. I'm DYING to tell it.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I lucked into a job with so many great stories to tell. It's like a dream come true for me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cows, Herpes, and Bob Costas

*I'm hoping for some great google hits from that title

1.) The other day I was driving over Grand, you know that part between Diamond Bar and Chino Hills, and there was a whole herd of cows all facing north. I thought it was the strangest thing because they were just standing there looking towards the mountains. I thought maybe there was some sort of cow convention going on and the keynote speaker was addressing them but I couldn't see any cows in suits with head mics on so I just chalked it up to general cow wackiness. And then today I read this article. Looks like you don't have to be a German scientist to make this observation.

2.) I think I'm allergic to my most favorite lip balm - Rosebud Lip Balm strawberry flavor. And anyone who knows me knows that this is a huge blow. This is sadly not the first time this has happened (remember the Suspicious Lip Explosion of 2005 that one doctor told me was herpes. I beg your pardon, sir!) I'm still good with Burt's but this one made my lips all pretty. It also makes the tip of my tongue numb and my nose all boogery.

3.) I miss the Olympics. I miss Bob Costas and warm and fuzzy Olympic montages. And I missed watching random sports that I never really care about outside of the Olympics - like track and field. To prove how brightly the Olympic Spirit burns within me, I actually didn't hate the NBA players when I saw them win the gold medal. The thought, "Good for Kobe," ran through my head. And it wasn't said with any bitterness. Who am I?!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Organ Failure

Dear Person Who Chose the Songs for Church on Sunday,

A little heads-up would have been nice.

I know that people who don't play the organ can't really distinguish between what's easy and what's hard but it was almost as if you chose from a secret handbook sitting around the clerk's office titled: Impossibly Difficult Songs to Play on the Organ that will No Doubt Bring Shame and Humiliation to the Poor Organist Who has to Play Them Because She Really Isn't Even That Competent to Begin With But Plays Anyway Because She Likes to Serve Where She Can Despite the Fact That She Has No Natural Talent for Playing as Evidenced by her Continued Butchering of Songs on a Semi-monthly Basis Which Manages to Kill the Spirit of the Meeting Every Time. I have no doubt the Deacons have put this out as they are always up to some mischief.

If such a handbook does not exist then you just so happened to luck into a trifecta of tough songs. "Who's on the Lord Side, Who?" (my favorite hymn/sea shanty) is tough but manageable at a decent pace, and "Behold a Royal Army" has a few challenging parts but I've worked my way through it before. So on any given Sunday I would have been okay with one, possibly even both of these with only a few minor flub-ups. But we took "Who's on the Lord Side, Who?" at warp speed and then we even took the sacrament hymn faster than I was prepared for, which made "Behold a Royal Army" more challenging than I was expecting because by that point my fingers were done.

I would have forgiven you for these but you didn't stop there. You had to put in "True to the Faith".

Let's talk about this song for a sec. I think every church organist will agree with me that this is the Widowmaker of all hymns. It's super fast and it has a bass line that doesn't stop. On a good day I can maybe get half the notes in but after playing the other two songs I already felt like I had run a marathon. Maybe you saw the look on Katie's face in the congregation when the song was announced. She looked over at me and grimaced and mouthed, "I'm so sorry." Yeah, so am I. Because this is not the only time this year that I've had to play it. It's the third - which, again, every church organist would agree is just plain mean. You're lucky I can't reach the pedals because if I had to play that bass line with my feet you would have seen me curled up on the floor in a pool of tears, which would have been enough to short circut the organ and then where would you be.

I'm happy to play the organ. Really, I am. But I'm just giving you fair warning that the next time I have to play "True to the Faith" it will be slow enough for you to wonder who died.


PS - Amy's comment just reminded me of another thing. They were LONG. Like 18 verses each. Were you trying to kill me?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Big Edie in the House!

The Doc has me on these natural allergy meds and I think what they mean by "natural" is "peyote" because I am feeling really loopy today. Like everything is silly kind of loopy.

Everything we do in the office has suddenly become hysterical to me. Like how I'm always pulling on people's ears or legs or heads or arms. And how the Doc holds up supplements to patients' chests and asks the body if it will take it (she did it to me and my body neglected to tell her that it would make me high.) I've been fighting off giggle fits all day. You may ask why I don't just let it out. Well, I would except that everyone, especially the Doc, does not see any humor in holistic medicine. No, not at all. They are Believers. And Believers don't think it's funny that you think pulling on their ear is hilarious. Anytime I try to make a joke about people walking up and down our hallway (a common practice -- something to do with calming down the body and preparing it for more pain), wearing nothing but a gown and their pantaloons, I get an earful about exactly why it is being done and how the Doc has saved their lives and did I know that the medical industry is trying to kill us and the pharmaceutical companies hate babies and puppies and love the Nazis. Did I say Believers? I meant Nut-jobs. Nice Nut-jobs, but nutty none-the-less. So no, I can't actually laugh. And you all know what a huge shame this is.

So what I wanted to tell you was that we have this patient who came in today to pick up some supplements and she just got back from Hawaii and was wearing a rather low-cut sundress and she's like 119 years old which means that (and this is the part where I rack my brain for a good euphemism because my dad reads this blog and I know that in a few seconds he's going to hang his head and sigh because he's wishing he had classier daughters but the peyote is really taking affect and I can't seem to think of a clever way to say this so I'm just going to tell it like it is, so sorry Dad) her enormous old-lady bosom was swinging down to her knees and all I could think of was Big Edie from Grey Gardens and her makeshift sweater/tube top and it took everything in me to not do my Little Edie impersonation for her and offer her some corn on the cob and then melt into a pool of giggles. I held it in...barely. But right now, with the Doc gone and all the Believers out of the office I'm laughing hysterically and can hardly see the computer screen from all the tears.

There will be entirely different tears tomorrow when Sam and Stacy and the Blessed Nephews return to the Frozen North. But for now I'm laughing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Put another candle on the birthday cake.

Happy Birthday to me! I love birthdays. I don't understand why some people don't. How often do you get the opportunity to eat cake and open presents? And while I'm more of a pie girl, I'm not going to pass up a cake dedicated to me. No sir.

So, to celebrate I want all of you to go out and eat lots of dessert. Because if you were here with me that's what we would be doing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Theatah!

I love Show Biz People. Don't you? They have such flare and they're just so funny, without actually trying. And you know how much I love that (think Wayne Newton). I love how they're always talking about their "craft" and "the arts" and "when I played Curly in the community theatre's production of Oklahoma!" (Does anyone else sing out the spelling of Oklahoma when they write it?) And I feel like I understand them a little because I was a drama geek in high school (for the record, I was very bad) and I know what comes of too much time under the spotlight. And also too much time hanging out with other Show Biz People.

So it was a real treat for me this morning when we had not one but TWO Show Biz People in my office! They were both in the unwinding room and were chatting away about classes they've taken and songs they're working on and what actor said what about another actor. Oh, the drama! It was a great. One of the guys has wild hair like Mozart and often speaks with a dramatic accent. And the other guy, while I was looking for a clothes pin to attach the wires to his blanket (it is such a long explanation. Don't ask.) he said, "You need a C-47. And I said, "What's that" and he said, "Oh, in Show Business that's what we call a clothes pin." He actually said it! And with a straight face. It was awesome. Later on, when I was pulling his ear (seriously, we do strange things here) I wanted to ask him if he ever played Curly.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Curry Chicken or Curry Chicken

Amanda gave us the Get out of Dodge challenge for the weekend. Here's what I did: (All the places I went to will be highlighted in purple.)

1.) On Thursday night Nicola treated us to the Hollywood Bowl for the French Masters Night. But I like to call it Classic Nicola Night because, as usual, she classed the thing right up. As anyone who has been to the Hollywood Bowl with me knows, I'm a cheap seats kind of girl. But not with Nicola. She managed to score box seats that came with valet parking. Which means that we did not have to walk the mile and a half up hill after paying $12 for parking. Oh no. We drove right up behind the bowl and dropped our car off and headed to our box, where we couldn't even see the seats we normally sit in.

2.) On Friday night we had our regular Olympic Opening Ceremonies party. We totally stuck the landing with all the delicious food. We had stuff from Italy, the Philippines, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil and France. And we had a great time watching it in China and making fun of the Hungarian teams outfits. Thanks to everyone who came and fed us.

3.) Lizzie had a birthday! And to celebrate we went to an Indian restaurant where I ordered something called khahiri chicken. Except that the waitress, who sounded like she may have been fresh from Mumbai, thought I said curry chicken. I can see how she would mix it up because the way she was saying them made them sound exactly the same. Here's the convo we had after she brought every one else's food out:
Her: Did you want the curry chicken or the curry chicken?
Me: I think it was called khahiri chicken but I'm not sure.
Her: Okay, the curry or the curry?
Me: Um...maybe it's not khahiri. It started with a kh. Do you have
anything like that?
Her: Yes. We have the curry chicken and the curry
Me: Do you have a menu? I could point it out to you.
Her: So you got the curry chicken?
Me: Not the curry, the khahiri.
Her: Right, I'll bring you curry.

By this point (that point being everyone at the other table asking for take home boxes) I was ready to just eat the rest of my naan and call it day. But it was also pure comedy and I can appreciate that. I don't actually know if I got khahiri chicken. It looked a lot like Brett's curry chicken but it said khahiri on the bill so who knows. And either way it was tasty.

So, I didn't actually head out of Dodge but I'm also pretty sure that Dodge does not serve curry chicken or curry chicken. I'm totally counting it.