Friday, May 29, 2009

Lost Things

Maira Kalman has another series on I think you need to check it out. There are four parts so far so make sure you read all of them. You'll thank me for it. Whenever I see her stuff it makes me wish we were neighbors so she could invite me over for scones. I, of course, would be too bashful to invite her over. She would have to make the first move.

Reading it made me remember that once upon a time I had a book of hers that has since vanished. I'm fairly certain it is not in my home which means that I have lent it out to someone. This is not unusual. I am always lending books out knowing that I probably won't see them again, mostly because I can never remember who I gave them to. But I kind of miss that book.

Now on the subject of things found: I spent part of Monday cleaning my room and found a CD that has been missing for years. Seriously, years. It was in a CD player that I never use that was tucked underneath my reading chair. When I noticed the CD player I instantly knew, after years of searching, that the CD was in it, and it was. Victory!

Would you like to make a guess as to which CD it was? If you get it right I'll send you box of brownies.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Other Journals

If you're Mormon you keep a journal. Or, you have guilt about not keeping a journal.

I do keep a journal, which is full of Deep Stuff. And I have this blog which is full of Stuff That is Not So Deep, But Funny.

And then I have the notebooks, which are both Deep and Funny as well as being completely insane. The good stuff is in the notebooks. When I die you should rush to my place and call dibs on them because they are GOLD. I keep notebooks around because I need some place to dump all the left over stuff in my brain. And I have the World's Worst Memory so when someone tells me something, if I don't write it down in one of the notebooks it's gone forever. If I tell you I'll remember something I'm totally lying to you. Make me write it down.

Anyway, the notebooks. I have filled up dozens of them over the last 15 years of carrying them around and they're stashed away in a drawer somewhere. I was going through my partially used ones on Monday to see if I could transfer any of them over to that drawer and then I got sucked into reading through some of them. Minutes of fun! What I love about them is that there is absolutely no order. You could flip through them and find book titles, observations on people I see in public, craft ideas, blog post ideas, long division, funny words, directions to a friends house, doodles, scribbles, recipes, phone numbers, a list of all the countries in Africa*, quilt designs, notes on Sunday School lessons**, drawings of mustaches and birds and birds with mustaches, book ideas for when I finally write the Great American Novel, half written letters to friends***, sad little blurbs when I'm feeling depressed, movie times, gift ideas for Christmas, the price of bananas, websites I need to visit, quotes from books****, names horrible parents have given to their poor children, bad poetry, grammatical errors I find on signs, really deep thoughts, really silly thoughts, sometimes mean things that I'm ashamed of and want to tear out but, you know, posterity, and what-not, people I need to write letters to and the offenses they have committed, things I would buy once my WB shows up, and countless shopping lists that always contain at least three of the following items: bread, milk, party favors, eggs, yogurt, deodorant.

I realize that they seem like junk to most people, but they're like little spiral bound treasures to me. And I like to think that someday in the distant future an anthropologist will get her hands on them and will write an award winning thesis on the magnitude of my seemingly large and life altering glandular condition, because seriously, deodorant is on like half of my shopping lists.

*Fact: When I get bored I list all the countries of Africa starting in Egypt and working my way south in a zig-zag fashion. Someone, please stuff me in a locker or something.

**Although now I have found the perfect notebook for Sunday School lesson preparation and I have stockpiled them for future use. Lots of sheets inside, sturdy ring binding, durable covers, not too big, not too small. Perfect. You can get it at Barnes and Noble for about $5. It's black with "notes" written on the front. Dear B&N, if you had put the Perfect Notebook on your website I would have linked to it and my tens of readers would have put a dent in your stock. Your loss. Love, Rachel

***Rac, there are like 50 of these for you. I should just tear them out and send them to you for a laugh.

**** Example of one I found in the notebook in my purse: From Jane Eyre, "'Come, Miss Jane, don't cry,' said Bessie as she finished. She might as well have said to the fire, 'don't burn.'" I jotted it down because I like to think that Charlotte Bronte knew what it meant to be an Uncontrollable Crier, like myself.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Weekend Plans

Dear Wealthy Benefactor,

This is Urgent! I must make it up to Anchorage, AK tonight so I can be at the World Beard and Moustache Championship tomorrow. I'll pack while you charter the jet.

Hugs and Kisses,

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sign of the Apocalypse

Shiny leggings for toddlers

Get your wife and kids down to the bunker and make sure you have your can opener.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I forgot to bring the bonnet to the wedding.

It's a few days late but I want to congratulate my wonderful, beautiful, lovely, funny friend Andrea:

Wait, that's not the picture I wanted. I'm going to try again.
Um, close, but still not right. (Unless Andrew really did get her in the mail). How about this one?

Bing! Look how happy she is. Doesn't it make you smile like a loon?
Most of my pictures of Andrea involve her doing something funny. Or rather, her friends making her do something funny.* And this is the really wonderful thing about her. She's a shy girl in a group of friends who don't have too much trouble embarrassing ourselves, and she goes right along with us. Because while she would NEVER decide on her own that it would be hilarious to wear a bonnet through Old Town Pasadena, when Amanda and I suggested it she hesitated but did it anyway. Because she's awesome and knows how much we love a good laugh. I'm not sure why she has chosen to remain our friend after all the awkward situations we have put her in, but she has and I'm grateful.
I love you Andrea! You are one of my most favorite people on the planet and it would be really hard to top just how happy I am for you.
*True story: Just after the initial fresh-out-of-the-temple shots the photographer asked them to walk towards him and I casually said, "I think you should shimmy" and she did. True friend.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Mystery!

It's time for another installment of Rachel Knecht: Girl Sleuth, because we have a mystery on our hands.

Here's how it goes: Remember last week when I shamelessly requested mixed CDs? Well, a few of you have come through, and I thank you. You all have fine taste. But on Friday night Katie was going through the mail and pulled out a package for me. WOOT! Another CD! But who sent it?

And therein lies the mystery, because I don't know.

Here are the facts:

1.) The only clue to the persons identity was the name Spencer on the return address. There was no address.

2.) Inside was a CD that looks like it was from a McDonald's Happy Meal (I hope it was a cheeseburger happy meal, as those are superior). It had popular songs on it sung by kids. It is rather terrifying.

3.) Also inside was a recipe for cream cheese swirl brownies which look divine. Once the mystery is solved you are all welcome to come over and celebrate by eating them right out of the pan with me.

4.) The package went through the City of Industry center, which means that it's local.

5.) The writing looks suspiciously feminine (Sorry Spencer, if you are, in fact, a fella. You have lovely penmanship.)

Here are my guesses on the possible sender:

1.) A friend playing a joke - which, incidentally, is a good one. I'm basing this off of the girly handwriting. If this is the case, I'm on to you. You had better fess up now before any more time passes and then it gets embarrassing for you and you come to me one night, all sheepish like, and say, "Um, remember when you got that random CD in the mail? It was totally me." And then I have to shun you for holding onto that information for so long.

2.) My neighbor Spencer. He is the only Spencer I know. Wait, strike that. My cousin Sarah just married a Spencer.
2a.) My cousin Sarah's husband Spencer. Neither of these are very likely because I don't think either of them read the blog. Don't judge.

3.) A friend named Spencer whom I have completely forgotten exists. This is entirely possible as it seems that just about every day I get a request on facebook to be someones friend and I have to spend hours trying to remember them only to come to the conclusion that we must have been in the same book club in a former life. In which case, I'm really sorry.

4.) A friend who has a kid named Spencer and thought it would be cute to send me something from him. Do I have a friend with a kid named Spencer? See #3.

5.) A blog stalker who, months ago, found the brownie recipe and cut it out, knowing that I would love it but had no way of sending it to me and was too embarrassed to come out and just ask for a mailing address, and then I posted one on the blog and thought, "Finally! And I'll send her this charming but terrifying kiddie cd that I got out of my cheeseburger happy meal for a laugh!"

6.) An actual stalker. Which was Liz's immediate response. She happened to be over when I was opening the package and she gasped and said, "You have a stalker!" To that I would like to say: I have nunchucks and I am not afraid to use them. And realize that they are illegal outside of the class so if I knock you unconcious, WHICH I WILL, I will claim that they belong to you.

Fun mystery, huh? And one of you out there can solve it. Go to it, gumshoes!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I should be the next judge on ANTM

Dear Tyra Banks,

So, I hear you fired Paulina Porizkova from America's Next Top Model. That is a real shame because I thought she was leaps and bounds better than Twiggy. And she always gave really good critique to the girls without being all Wise Woman of the Forest, like someone we know (psst, I'm talking about you). I can see how this would be intimidating to you. But whatever. It's a new day, right? Onwards and upwards and what-not.

I gather this means that you'll be on the hunt for a new judge. And, to make it easier on you, because I know how busy you must be with ANTM and the Tyra Show and wrangling your enormous weave, I would like to recommend someone.


Now, I realize that I don't have any real experience in the fashion industry and I'm not exactly the model type (I weigh more than 92 pounds and my legs are approximately 2 inches long) but I do have a few qualifications that I think make me the best bet to sit next to Miss J at the judges panel.

1.) I've seen every episode of the show so I know exactly what my role would be. At judges panel I would be expected to sit and smile and occasionally say a sassy comment, maybe contradict Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker, but never you.

2.) I'm funny. I think the show could use more laughs.

3.) I'm short. And this would be an advantage since you're picking only shorties for the next cycle.

4.) My funny/short combo makes me the ideal side kick. Every successful show has one. Velma on Scooby-doo, Suki on Gilmore Girls, Rhoda on Mary Tyler Moore. I could be your Rhoda!

5.) You can ask Katie to verify but I am REALLY GOOD at guessing who will be the first picture chosen and who will be in the bottom two and who will be going home. Like 99% really good. This shows that I have a good eye. Or maybe I've seen the show enough times (refer to #1) to know that when a girl says at the beginning of the show, "There is no way I'm going home this week," she is totally going home.

6.) I make really good cookies. We will always have excellent snacks.

7.) I will not try to compete with you. I know that you like the spot light - you can totally have it. Believe me when I say that if we were ever in a competition to see who would look the fiercest in a cinched dress, you would win every time.

8.) I know how to smile with my eyes.

Pretty impressive list right? I hope to hear from you soon. I'll get the cookies in the oven in preparation.

Hugs and Kisses,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Better than a Midol

I've been grumpy the last few days. And teary-eyed. I'm fine. It's just PMS. (Women nod their head in sympathetic recognition - men avert their eyes and start humming to themselves.) When I get this way I have to look at a picture of me as a toddler - this picture - which instantly reminds me that I'm a naturally happy person and I should just get over it and go back to smiling like a lunatic. It helps.

But to give it a little boost, I've complied a list of things that have made me happy today:

1.) The local Chipotle called to say they're trying to drum up some business so lunch is on them tomorrow. Free Fajita Burrito Day!

2.) I talked to a customer service rep for the Texas Work Force website this morning. He was in India. And while he couldn't fix the problem he did make me smile by ending every sentence with " friend." As in, "I don't know why you can't post the job listing on the web site, my friend. Maybe you should try to set up a new account, my friend. I'll contact the North Texas Office to let them know you are having problems, my friend." Isn't that a pleasant way to talk? It instantly made me want to send him cookies.

3.) This clip from the movie It's Always Fair Weather. It's not Gene Kelly's best movie. In fact, I actually didn't even finish watching it. I didn't even make it to the roller skating scene. But that scene is MAGIC. Because he's on roller skates. He's tap dancing on roller skates. I am not making this up when I say that I would be dead if I ever tried something like that because 1.) I am notoriously bad on roller skates - as in I've broken my arm twice doing it - which means that I'm convinced that if I ever strapped a pair on again I would immediately fall over backwards, strike my head on a blunt object, hemorrhage and die., and 2.) Because I have broken my arm twice my mom has put the Eternal Kibosh on me ever skating again and if the hemorrhaging didn't finish me off the Universe would for breaking one of Mom's rules.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

People are more fun to hit than pool noodles

I got to spar last night at nunchucks class. This just means that instead of hitting pool noodles I got to hit people. It was way more fun than I imagined it would be. This is a slightly horrifying realization - that I like to hit people, albeit with really squishy nunchucks while wearing protective gear - but I'm sure I'll get over it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I am not above selling my love for a mixed CD

Several years ago I somehow lucked into a close group of friends who are lovely, intelligent, hilarious, and up for anything remotely fun. We were always throwing themed parties and hootenannies (No seriously. Our hoots are legendary. You would weep if you heard us sing You're in Love by Wilson Phillips. Weep, I say!), and having grand adventures. Some of them have gotten married and had kids and moved away but they're the types of friends that you keep forever. We will totally be having hootenannies in heaven.

Well, this weekend Wendy came into town and we got the gang together (minus Gina and Amanda, (we miss you), who will be having their own Northern Contingency Get Together next weekend.) and we laughed and ate and had a nunchuck demonstration. It was a pretty spectacular night.

So I was already on a high after everyone left and Katie reminded me that I didn't have my bib for the race yet. So I went down to check the mail and found my bib in there...and bonus!, a package. I LOVE getting packages in the mail. It's like Christmas in my mail box.

The package was from my friend Valerie. I imagined it was a bag of brownies as a thank you for recommending the book Rebecca. I recommended it long ago and she bought a used copy online and when it came she was ashamed of the rather cheap cover (cheap, as in Woman-of-Easy-Virtue cheap) and had put off reading it until now and she loved it. Of course she loves it. It's a GREAT book. But it wasn't brownies. It was better! It was a mixed CD. And it came with a note that explained that while other people merely told me about their favorite songs when I asked for them a few weeks back, she was sending me a CD of them. Now they were actually favorite songs of her husband James. He had a birthday party, wherein they crafted a block of cheddar into a boombox, and the CD was a party favor. But regardless, it was a CD of music that I have enjoyed all weekend long.

There something so wonderful about getting mixed CDs. I think it's fascinating to hear what people deem worthy enough to put on one. Whenever I make a mixed CD for someone I usually put songs that I'm listening to right now as well as songs that are old favorites. There is almost always a Neil Diamond song on there because people never expect him but when they hear him that love him.

Now, I'm telling you all of this because I really care about your happiness. Let's say there's a contest going on - a contest called Make Rachel Love You More Than She Already Does - and you really wanted to win it. I'm not saying there is a contest, that would be ridiculous because I already love you all so much. But if there were a contest what would really put you ahead is if you made a mixed CD of your favorite songs and sent it to (redacted). It would be tough to beat Valerie, so it really wouldn't hurt your chances if you slipped a few brownies in there.


In other news, the race was great. Tons of people and B-list stars. This is what happens when you go to charity events in LA. You always get B-list stars at charity events, but in LA you get a lot of them. Katie kept saying, "Who's that? He looks really familiar?" I was no help as I was a wee little bean sprout in a field of corn. All I could see were people's shoulder blades. This really is unfortunate when you're trying to catch a glimpse of That Guy Who Was In That Show. Because we got there insanely early we were able to make it up to the front of the pack. Which would have been great except that the front of the pack was for the runners so when Miley Cyrus counted us down and the confetti cannons went off we were forced to actually jog for a bit and then shoved our way to the side so we didn't get in the way of people who not only owned shorty jogging shorts but actually wore them without shame. We hustled around the USC campus and made our way to the Coliseum. If you ever get a chance to run onto the field of a major sporting area, I would highly recommend it. It is kind of exciting. If you throw in taiko drums as you run into the tunnel and someone standing at the finish line ready to put a medal around your neck than you have pretty great experience. Michael Bolton was slightly painful to watch because 1.) He's nothing without his awesome 90s mane and 2.) I can only remember 1 song that he sings so every time he started up a new one I would realize that I had completely forgotten that the song had even existed and then I would feel really sad for him. And he sang Nessun Dorma. Weird!'

I just checked my ranking on the race. I came in 6882nd out of 27738. I am clearly on my way to 5K greatness.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sure my hair would look great but would I stink?

1.) My hair has lost it's bounceability and I'm contemplating going old school (like 1900 old school) and rinsing my hair with vinegar because I hear it's a miracle worker on non-bouncy hair. But I need to first hear from people who have done this to find out a.) if it actually works and b.) will my hair smell like a pickling plant all day. Would someone else like to try this out first? I'll bake you cookies.

2.) I just read this article heralding the death of voice mail and I have to say hurrah for that. Because if there is one thing I am incredibly bad at, it is leaving voice messages. It stems from my fear of talking to people on the phone, although I prefer to leave a voice mail than to get the actual person on the line. Which should give you a pretty good idea of how bad I am on the phone. Gosh, I'm awkward. I jumble my words and I self-edit, which is great on a blog, but painful on a recording, and about 99% of the time I hang up and say, "Well, that was really dumb and embarrassing and now they won't want to be my friend anymore because I'm a moron who can't complete a sentence and I'm going to have to live in a Home for the Tragic and Friendless." The sooner it is dumped the better.*

3.) Last night Heather and I were down in the parking lot practicing our nunchuck skills and my home teacher drove by with the missionaries. Naturally, they had to get out and watch. And then one thing led to another and both the elders had the nunchucks and were beating on each other. It was the most enlightening/hilarious/horrifying thing I have seen because even though missionaries are servants of God, they are still 20 year old guys. And 20 year old guys will take any opportunity to beat each other up that comes their way. They will especially do it if given something as cool as nunchucks. This is one of the biggest differences between men and women. The girls and I just stand there and practice our moves. We would never dream of hitting each other because we know, from painful experience, that they really hurt. But the very first thing the elders did was start swinging at each other. And then they would take turns hitting each other really hard to see exactly how much it hurt. And they asked questions like, "Do you ever get to spar with each other?" (not yet but soon) and, "Have you learned how to kill a man?" (I think that's next month).

*Although it would also mean that I won't get anymore voice messages from Liz, who leaves THE BEST VOICE MESSAGES EVER. Seriously. You will laugh until you cry when you listen to them.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

For the Birds

I think the birds of the world are up to something. They're hatching some kind of diabolical plan to take over the world and it's up to us to stop them!

Here's how I know:

1.) Liz was attacked by one. It's a good thing she's a C.N. (Certificated Nunchucker)

2.) One infiltrated Andrea's building (maybe to tap the phones or plant explosives or check out the snack situation in case of a lengthy stand-off.)

3.) Early in the morning the birds that live in the trees outside my apartment have been having some kind of heated war counsel. They shriek and chirp and yell at each other for hours. I'm pretty sure that they are rival gangs who have no choice but to come together in the name of Total World Domination. But they're not happy about it.

4.) There are plump little fledglings all over Las Brisas (I know they are fledglings because Liz pointed them out to me. She knows a thing or two about birds. Specifically birds who are trying to kill you.) They hop around the parking lot, looking adorable, and I have a feeling that while I'm distracted by their chubby cuteness the heavies are pecking away at the gas line in my apartment.

5.) Birds are suddenly ignoring my car. Three times in the last week I have come very close to squashing birds with my car because, even though they're looking right at me, they refuse to get out of the way. Yesterday one took off about a second before my car ran it over and instead of flying away from the car, it flew into my windshield! These birds are playing chicken with me and I don't like it. Their boldness is terrifying.

6.) I have seen four dead birds this week. FOUR! One just this morning. This is the one that really gets me because I think the birds are sending us a message that says: see what we did to our friends who resisted us? Imagine what we would do to our enemies.

I wonder if they're upset that the swine flu has kicked the avian flu to the curb

Monday, May 4, 2009

This Blog is a Fat Joke

The 5K was a success! Except that it was not a 5K. Or even a 5K+ like they advertised. It was a 6K+. We passed the 1K sign in no time and then like 18 hours later we passed the 2K sign and we figured that something was up so I just mapped it out on Google Earth (don't you love that feature?) and it was 6.3K. Of hills, I might add. It was more of a hike through residential areas than a walk. But it was fun and the weather was lovely and we had a good cry beforehand as they introduced all the cancer kids we were doing the race for (seriously, I was not prepared for all those tears.) and at the end of the race we got medals and a pancake breakfast. I've decided that everything should end with a pancake breakfast. Wouldn't that be great if, say, at the end of cleaning your bathroom or balancing your checkbook or weeding your garden someone made you pancakes?

Funny story about that breakfast, but first some background: If you've spent more than 5 minutes with my sister Camille you have heard her call something a fat joke. Like if a chair is really small she'll say, "This chair is a fat joke." Or if she's trying on a shirt that doesn't fit right, "This shirt is a fat joke." You get the picture. So we started and finished the race at Chino Hills High - Home of the Huskies, and the breakfast was held in the school's courtyard and (this is where I wish I had my camera on me so that I could post the picture but you're just going to have to take my word for it) above the entrance to the courtyard was a sign that said, "Husky Student Entrance". The ultimate fat joke! We laughed and we piled pancakes and bacon on our plates.

One race down, one more to go. There is still time to donate to the cause. A good question was asked about it being a one time donation or by the mile. It's a one time donation. By the mile would be pretty sad as it is only a 3 mile race.

And good news on the musical headliner: Michael Bolton! HILARIOUS!

PS. I didn't get any pictures of us at the race but you can see what we looked like after the race as we jackhammered our parent's backyard. I think the medals are a nice touch.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Why can't they make it a 1K

Somehow I have signed up for not one, but two 5Ks over the next 2 Saturdays. I know. Who am I? This is the walking variety 5K. The only time I think it's appropriate for me to run is if I'm being chased by zombies. And it's not like zombies can move very fast. So unless there are zombies chasing me, I'll be walking.

Tomorrow I'm doing one in Chino Hills for the Let it Be Foundation which helps terminally ill kids. That's worthy, right? We get to briskly stroll around Chino Hills State Park and enjoy a pancake breakfast afterwards.

And next Saturday is a slightly larger one in LA. The Revlon Run/Walk for Women's Cancers where you get to walk around the seedier side of the city and end up at the Coliseum where an 80s band will be playing. One year it was Kenny Loggins. Last year it was the Go-Gos. I'm praying it's Boston this year.

I just registered for it and they give you the option to start up a fundraising page, and because I'm such a follower, I did. So if you would like to donate to the cause just click here. I particularly hate asking people to donate to things. No really, I do. I failed at all those school fundraisers and that was for things like new kickballs. Not for cancer research. But I know that you're a lovely group of people and if you're feeling generous or have an extra buck or two that you'd like to toss this way, head on over. The site automatically sets the outrageously high goal of $2000. But no worries, the Wealthy Benefactor will make up the difference, I'm sure.

And if you'd like to join us (it's just me and Katie so far) go ahead and register. We can wear matching t-shirts! We have to leave insanely early in the morning but I can promise you witty conversation after 7am. And if there are zombies you get to see me run.