Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Passive Agressive Slam

I saw two excellent example of the passive aggressive slam:

1.) Last night on Jeopardy! the contestants came out looking a little dressed down. The girl (Who was an art history graduate student and got one of the art history questions wrong. Ouch.) was dressed in slacks and a sweater and the two guys were both in dockers and button down shirts, one with a tie, one without. Alex came out and said, "Had I known it was casual day I wouldn't have worn a suit." Burn! The guy in the tie won.

2.) I was loitering in one of the non-fiction aisles at the library this morning (Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks - he's my smarty-pants crush. What? I'm 80!) and some guy was sitting at one of the carrels yakking away on his cell phone. I see out of the corner of my eye a concerned senior citizen walk up to him and I hear him slam something down on the top shelf of the carrel then walk away. When I walked passed him I saw that it was a sign that read, "Keep it low." and it had a cell phone with a line through it. You tell him Old Guy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This Train of Thought Has an Armpit Stop

This has ended up being a post almost entirely about armpits. I apologize.

1.) I read an article a while ago about how anti-perspirant causes cancer so I started looking for a natural alternative. Who wants armpit cancer? Not me. I picked up an all natural deodorant at the store and it made me smell like a sweaty water buffalo. No, seriously. Gamey. I smelled gamey. I would have smelled better if I had stuffed slightly used gym socks under my arms. So I tried another. Same outcome. And another. Again, with the water buffalo. And then I read an article written by someone who was equally concerned about armpit cancer and tested several different natural deodorants and came up with the best. So I got it and used if for a week and I'm sad to report that it was the worst of them all. I smelled gamey AND musty. I've given up my quest and am now back to my regular unscented cancer causing deodorant and I would like to personally apologize to anyone who may have been affected by my failed, and possibly foolhardy experiment. I think we can all agree that if I end up dying a few years earlier it was worth it.

2.) Did I ever tell you about the time I was working for the Doc and I had to spend 20 minutes ultrasounding her nephew's armpit? He had some kind of fungus there and the Doc believed that ultrasound waves killed fungus (Well, most ailments, really. It was one of her Secrets of the Orient.) so I had to spend 20 minutes rubbing an ultrasound bell over his armpit while trying to make small talk. We got on the subject of religion and it came out that I was Mormon and he was Jehovah's Witness so it got really interesting and ended up being kind of fun, if not slightly awkward. It is not every day you get to discuss the Plan of Salvation under such circumstances.

3.) That was not the first time I had had a religious conversation with a Jehovah's Witness during an awkward or uncomfortable situation. The first time was when I was 15 and doing driver's training with my Biology teacher, who happened to be of that faith. The three other kids in the car, all jocks, who went before me got asked about their practices and favorite teams. But when it was my turn and I was driving on the freeway for the very first time he kept asking me deep doctrinal questions like what did Mormon's think about Adam and Eve and original sin, what is the purpose of the Book of Mormon, what were our thoughts on capital punishment and if forced to kill someone (say, someone was attacking me and I had to do it in self defense) would I do so and would the church condone it. I'm proud to say that I maintained the speed limit and defended the faith but it was still one of the most angsty moments of my life. And armpits weren't even mentioned.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poppies! Poppies!

There were a lot of festivals to choose from in these parts this weekend.

1.) The Upland Lemon Festival which, ironically, is severely lacking in lemon desserts. Last year we looked high and low for any kind of lemony treat and came up empty handed. I then came home and wrote a letter complaining about it to which I am still awaiting a reply. Look for me next year Uplanders, I plan on doing something about that.

2.) The LA Times Festival of Books. Lindsay and I went to this years ago and had the most horrifying bus trip. No, seriously. There was groping. We were stuffed shoulder to shoulder into a bus that transported us from the parking lot to the UCLA campus and it took us up this winding hill and we were surrounded on all sides by nothing but sweaty hair men and women in clothes covered in cat hair and on more than one occasion on that trip up the hill as we swayed and tilted dangerously close to the edge did I think, "So this is how I'm going to die."

3.) The Grilled Cheese Invitational. I learned about this one too late, otherwise I would have been there. I applaud excellence in grilled cheese sandwich making.

We skipped them all and opted for the California Poppy Festival in Lancaster (Far Far Away Land), primarily for the frolicking potential. Hundreds of acres of rolling hills covered in orange poppies demand an excess of frolicking. Camille, Liz and I went to the festival first and did the usual festival type stuff and then we headed out towards the poppy preserve.

We didn't actually make it there though. We got stuck behind a person driving 35 miles per hour in a 55 zone for about 10 miles and we just couldn't take it anymore so we pulled off the road. There were more than enough poppy covered hills for us to frolic in.

I don't know what the fine is for picking the state flower but I went ahead and risked it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My ears have PMS

Remember how my ears were clogged? I haven't brought it up again because I feel whiny when I do and the truth is that it is exponentially better than it was when it all started. My right is all cleared up and my left is just sort of stuffy. I can pop both of them and I don't have trouble hearing anymore. You all sound normal again when before you all sounded like dolphins who magically learned English.

So, while my hearing has improved and the dizziness has gone away and the total despair that it would never ever in a million years go away and my fear of it being a freakish ear tumor that would eventually kill me have all but vanished, I still have a slight discomfort in the left ear. Like tube socks are stuffed in there.

Do you know what I just discovered eases that? Midol. Apparently my ears have just been bloated. I wonder if a pan of my PMS brownies and a Beaches/Steel Magnolias double feature would clear them up all together.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


1.) It all started last week when I had leftover ingredients for chicken enchiladas. I made them up and filled an 8x8 pan and froze it. The same thing happened last night when I had left over ingredients for stuffed shells. And today I was craving oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and since an entire batch is too much of a temptation for a Woman of Elegant Leisure who spends her days primarily at home I baked up a few and froze the rest of the dough in individual balls. I am officially a food-freezer. It's a good thing my freezer is wee and already stuffed because I can see this becoming a serious problem. If this is not a sign of 80-year-old-ness then I don't know what is.

2.) I'm amongst the gainfully employed. Sort of. It's part time. I work from home. And I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing. No seriously. When I try to explain it to people it takes me 10 minutes and we all end up more confused then when we started. It is very Kramerica Industries.

3.) You may not have caught Angela's comment about firesides because she just posted but she says that in New Zealand, where she is from, firesides are usually 2 hours long and they have no refreshments at the end. Clearly New Zealand is where the monastic order of the church is located. Do they also give up all worldly possessions and wear sack cloth? When no one makes a comment in Sunday School is that just because of their vows of silence?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dot Dot Dot

Last night I went to a fireside* where Janis Kapp Perry, prolific Mormon songwriter, was speaking. It was long. Oh, sweet land of liberty, it was long. It was wonderful, I was in the choir and we sang a bunch of her songs and she was lovely and humble and her husband told us the pick up line he used to woo her ("Those lips look too good to just play the clarinet.") But it was 2 hours. TWO HOURS! Once I hit the hour and a half mark of any fireside I start staring down the clock and contemplate faking a stroke to get out of there.

Anyway, she was talking about how music has strengthened her family and once she heard from a leader in the church that having a family song would build unity so she wrote one. And then she played it for us. And it was cute. But more importantly it reminded me of the time my Grandma Crenshaw wrote a family song for us.

Remember the watermelon blanket? How it was inadvertently the funniest thing my grandma ever did? The family song is the second funniest thing.

It was Thanksgiving and we were mostly all together for the first time in years and after dinner we were gathered around looking at old pictures when Grandma announced that she had written a family song and we were all going to sing it. So she handed out the words and Gina got on the piano and we all started singing. It was basically the history of the family starting with she and Grandpa meeting and then moving on to verses about the kids and grandkids. We were going along swimmingly until we got to the first bit of bad news. There have been a few divorces and deaths in the family but instead of writing about them in rhymes Grandma just put "..."

As in, "So-and-so got married and had a few kids and well ..."

So we're singing the lines and we get to the "..." and we all sing, "dot dot dot" and then promptly lose it. This continues each time there is any unpleasant news. There were probably three or four "dot dot dot" moments and each one makes us laugh harder and harder. By this time the song has gotten really long and Gina decided to speed it up so now were laughing and racing through the song and my sweet grandma is just sitting there singing her heart out. And now occasionally when there is bad news in my family we'll refer to it as "dot dot dot." It may be my favorite Crenshaw family moment.

*For those who don't speak Mormon: Special church meetings held periodically involving guest speakers and followed by snacks. Some are great. Some are just good. Some you want to shoot yourself in the foot. It's a shame I didn't have a blog back in the day when I was in the young single adult program of the church and had to go to two or three firesides a month. You would die over some of the stories.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Drama in the Hood!

Last night from about 9:30 to 10:00 there was a police helicopter circling around my complex. And then about 5 minutes after it left I heard three guys down in the parking lot right below my window saying the following:

Hood #1: Dude! I saw you dodge all those cars! That was awesome!
Hood #2: Yeah, I totally thought you were going to get caught!
Hood #3: It was right before I hopped the fence.


So I call the cops and told them a few ne'er-do-wells were bragging about getting away with something and in a couple of minutes I heard:

"Stop! Police!" followed by lots of running and banging into the gates and some scuffling.


I, of course, was too chicken to go out, (and plus, I had already taken off my bra, and my rule is to never put it back on until morning unless we're being evacuated due to a plague of locust or something equally catastrophic.) But, there are a lot of members of my ward that live here. There are two families upstairs, one on the other side of our wall and several in the next building and we all heard it go down. So, naturally today in church there was a great meeting in the hallway to corroborate stories. I missed it because I was in Primary but Katie was part of it and learned that our neighbor to the west was roaming around the parking lot with a bat and our neighbor a few doors to the east and home alone with her wee small children was ready with a gun (!) (both of these neighbors are women by the way. Amazons!) and do you know where the punks were? RIGHT UPSTAIRS ON THE LANDING BETWEEN MY TWO NEIGHBORS!!!! That's where they were hiding out while the helicopter circled before they came down and boasted at full volume in the parking lot. Mindy saw them through the peep hole!

I think they were wanted for vandalism (although a police helicopter seems a little extravagant for tagging.) and they only caught one of them. I'm thrilled that we're all safe but I do have one regret. I didn't get to use my nun chuck skills on them. Next time.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Women of Adventure and Spare Time

Heather and I are Women of Adventure and Spare Time so she called me up to see if I wanted to do something fun. She didn't have anything in mind so I gave her a couple of suggestions. One was to go down to San Diego to pick up sailors. It was the obvious choice.

We stopped off in Carlsbad to see the Flower Fields. It's 50 acres of ranunculus. Don't believe me? Behold:


and also

How about two more? Because they're pretty.

They're all planted on a hill overlooking the ocean. It's a bit dreamy.
We were slightly bummed that we missed the Red Hat Lady's Day/Style Show by one day but relieved that we missed the craft fair because while we are Women of Adventure and Spare Time we are also Women on Budgets with Very Few Discretionary Funds Who, Alas, Are Highly Susceptible to Hand-crafted Jewelry.
By the time we left the sun was finally breaking through the clouds and we spent the rest of the day down on Coronado, wandering around the restricted-to-guests areas of the Hotel Del Coronado (I love that Heather is willing the ignore signs with me) and eating ice cream cones on the beach. It was a perfect day, despite our lack of sailors at the end of it

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You Won!!!!!!

I use a very scientific method to determine winners of the drawings. I write down all the names of people who left comments on little slips of paper and put them in a cup,

this time in one of my cute little punch cups that I never use for actual punch,

and then I draw a name.

Congratulations Jared & Laurel! I wish I knew who you were so that I could tell everyone some interesting facts about you other than that one or both of you had lamb tacos for dinner. Although I can say you have the distinction of being the first complete stranger(s) to win a prize here. Oh dear, unless you're not a complete stranger. I'm horrible with names. We're probably best friends and I've completely forgotten you. Forgive me? And send your contact info to rachelknecht at gmail dot com and I'll ship Mr. T off.

Now, I know that I've had several drawings for this guy and I know that some of you are heartbroken that you still haven't won him. And I bet you're tired of risking your luck like that. Am I right? Well, I've finally got him up on Etsy. He could be yours! He could hold your page for you in your tenth reading of Twilight! He could sit on top of your desk, like he does mine, and you can hold private conversations with him about world politics or the price of shoes. He is the soul of discretion.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's like an orange on a toothpick

1. I saw the word Hottentot in the newspaper this morning and it made me laugh out loud. I love that word. Mostly because it's funny. But also because it reminds me of Mary Poppins when Admiral Boom yells out, "We're being attacked by Hottentots! Cheeky Devils!"

2. Here's another one of my baby pictures that makes me laugh.

Because could my head be any bigger? Knights of Columbus! In my other baby picture I'm offering you an egg roll. Here I am wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year.

3.) Speaking of the Chinese, I watched this fascinating documentary last night called Hebrew Lessons which followed several immigrant students in a Hebrew class in Israel and I was legitimately surprised by the number of Chinese people trying to get into that country. Any theories as to why this is?

4.) I feel like it's time for another giveaway. How about another Mr. T bookmark? Tell me what you had for dinner last night and you're entered in the contest. You have until Thursday at noon. I had vegetable stir fry. It was mediocre so I'm trying to talk myself into eating the left overs so as not to be wasteful. It's a tough sell.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


A few days ago the ward organist asked if I would sub for her in church tomorrow and yesterday she sent a text with the hymn numbers. I saw 255 and instantly panicked because I thought it was True to the Faith. You all are familiar with the long and passionate grudge I have against that hymn. I spent the half hour before I could get to a hymnal mentally writing letters to our ward music director and bishopric that started with "Are you KIDDING me?!" and "Is this some kind of JOKE!" and "Why?" and "How?" and "Do you hate me THAT MUCH!!?!??!!!"

But it turns out True to the Faith is hymn 254. Crisis averted. 255 is Carry On which is still a tough song but it has one redeeming quality: it has a little fanfare in the middle. I have found that organists are split on their opinions of fanfares. Some love them and some feel silly playing them. But I grew up in a ward where fanfares were celebrated. My piano teacher was our ward organist and she always told me that when it comes to playing fanfares you go big or go home. And our music director never conducted any song with anything less than unabashed gusto. So I kind of love playing fanfares. And if I can manage it, I'll turn the volume up a little during them just to make sure the congregation is alive.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Signs of Extreme Nerdery

1.) Last night I was riveted to a show on the National Geographic Channel about how the Great Lakes were formed (glaciers, volcanoes, prehistoric rivers!) I mean, I actually gasped a few times, that's how excited I was by the whole thing. Did you know the reason why the water level is lowering in the Great Lakes isn't because of global warming but because the earth underneath is rebounding from the weight of the glaciers that formed them? Fascinating!!! The show was proceeded by a show about how the state lines were formed, which I not only watched but recorded and will probably check the book out from the library.

2.) I'm teaching myself how to play the ukulele. But in order to do that I had to first teach myself how to repair and restring a ukulele. That was yesterday. Today I learned the A and F chords.

3.) I'm going to watch a Civil War reenactment on Saturday if anyone would like to join me. We can be nerds together!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I need a Catholic friend

The last time Lindsay went to Olvera Street she was a vegetarian which means that she missed out on the taquitos. Which is a shame. She wanted to go back and since I'm a Woman of Elegant Leisure she invited me to come along with her. We decided to make a downtown LA adventure of the whole thing.

So we drove to Union Station and hopped on the red line to Pershing Square then walked over to the Bradbury Building. I've always wanted to see inside.

Only tenants are allowed to use the really cool elevator so my plan is to convince my Wealthy Benefactor to lease an office there for me just so I can go up and down all day long.

Then we headed over to Angels Flight and spent 25 cents on a ride to the top.

It's been closed since 2001 after someone died on it (!) but it opened up again last month. It's a fun little ride and if you're in the neighborhood you should try it out.

Then we walked over to the Disney Concert Hall and got our real workout for the day by walking up A LOT of stairs. But so worth it because it's like you're walking inside a steel flower.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is just down the street so we decided to have a look inside. And, lucky day, a mass was going on! I've always wanted to go to a mass. We sat in for a while and watched them kneel and stand and kneel and stand. Have I told you my fascination with Catholics? The mass only made them more alluring to me. How do they know when to stand and when to kneel? How do they know what to say and when? Who was that random woman who got up to recite something while holding onto her purse? How come there are so many statues you can kneel and pray in front of? What is the purpose of lighting a candle? Can someone explain the different levels of the priesthood to me like what is a monsignor and how does he differ from a bishop or a priest? Are they all priests? Clearly I need to get myself a Catholic friend. Any takers? I promise to answer all your Mormon questions in return.

After mass we headed down stairs to the mausoleum. And look who we found:

Atticus Finch!

We eventually did make it down to Olvera Street for taquitos and horchata and churros - which, if you're wondering, is the Perfect Lunch.

Thanks for the adventure, Linds. You're kind of fun.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Spring Trifecta of Awesomeness

1. Easter
2. General Conference
3. Baseball Season begins

The only thing that would make this weekend better is if Wayne Newton showed up on my doorstep and invited me to be his backup singer.