Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Her went to Target

Will you please excuse me while I turn into the Grumpy Grammarian and correct something that has been driving me crazy for a while now?


It's she and I. Not her and I.

For example: If you and your BFF went to Target to get a box of OtterPops you wouldn't say, "Her and I went to Target." You would say, "She and I went to Target."

I know that you probably read that and thought, "Duh, of course." I'm not saying that you make that mistake. I'm saying that every other person on the planet makes that mistake. I've been hearing it everywhere, from everyone. At the bank, at the Pod, at church, in the store, on TV. And every time I hear it, or its counter part, "Him and I," I get the creeps. No, really, it makes me feel all anxious inside. Like seeing 2+2=5. And I have to stop myself from gently correcting everyone because who wants to be that girl?

But it does not suppress the urge to throw a dictionary at the offender's head.

And so to stop that tragedy I will give you a very simple rule:

If you dropped you from the sentence what would you be left with? Did her really go to Target?

That is all. Carry on. And please don't be afraid to talk to me. I don't usually carry a dictionary.

Our lesson for next week, "I seen..."

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm Starting with the Man in the Mirror

Oh, it was a big weekend.

1.) There was my Dad's 60th Birthday Spectacular. It was so big that the 15 freeway was closed down, causing Casey and Kylea to give up their plan to drive to Utah and instead return to the house to celebrate some more with us. I have spent my whole life hearing how great my dad is - as recently as yesterday at church from a man who, I'm not even kidding, has never met him. And I'm here to tell you, you're preachin' to the choir, brother. I know.

2.) There was an epic Bocci Ball War in the park. Oh, it was a battle. We cheered and strategized and did hands-in and slapped each other on the butt. And it was loud and people stopped and stared and smiled. I have realized that this happens all the time. Whenever a bunch of us are out in public - either friends or family or a combo of both - people generally stop and laugh along with us. They come up to us in restaurants and comment on how happy we seem. They listen in on our conversations and laugh at the jokes. It is bizarre how often this happens. I have two theories on it: 1.) It's so rare that you see a group of genuinely happy people who aren't drunk that it's a bit of a phenomenon, 2.) The people I spend the most time with are really loud and cannot be ignored.

3.) There were nephews. Blessed Nephews! Here's Ben making soup in the watering can for Lindsay's dog Bo.

4. There were Wimbledon matches and World Cup matches (I'll write a post one day on my feelings about soccer. It will no doubt fascinate you.) The England loss put a kink in my bracket.

5. There was a little something called the Michael Jackson Sing Along. You already know how much I love a good sing along. Well, the Music Center has free ones every few months and they had one on Friday. We had been planning on attending for months, not realizing that it was on the anniversary of his death. Being there made us look a bit like super fans, but really we just like to sing and dance.

Here's what it looked like:

Yeah, Camille totally pulled out the thumb mic.

About 15 minutes into the program a group of elderly patrons walked into the amphitheater. They must have been on the board or something because they were all dressed like they were going out for tea.

Even though there all had lyric sheets none of them were singing. They tapped their toes but for the most part looked as if they would rather be talking about their stock options. It would have been a highlight of my life if one of them had gotten up to shimmy but I imagine none of the ladies would want to ruffle their well-coiffed hair.

The show went long and we weren't able to sing all the songs, including Man in the Mirror, which is Camille's fave. So on the way home Katie called into Love Songs on the Kost and requested it for her. She got on the radio and made up a story about how Camille had been on the wrong path for a while but was finally making some better choices in her life. She was so poised and sincere. It was very impressive. What was also impressive was how Kylea, Camille and I were in such hysterics over it that we all reverted to the grandpa laugh but you couldn't hear a peep from us on the radio.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Flat Rachel's Big Hot Adventure on the Surface of the Sun

Here's Andrea's post about her adventure with Flat Rachel complete with my commentary in purple. 

We had a visitor a few weeks ago. Not just any visitor...Flat Rachel came to stay with us! Flat Rachel belongs to my friend, Rachel. For those of you that do not know Rachel I think you should.  (I've redacted this part.  I paid her to say nice things about me in her blog but it seems a little self serving in my own.)  Well based off of the book Flat Stanley, Rachel decided it would be fun to send her Flat Rachel to friends this summer. She's calling it "Flat Rachel's Summer 'o Fun '010!" Flat Rachel is already lined up to go to such fascinating places as New Zealand, Tunisia, New York, Utah, and Nebraska. But lucky for us we got to be the first ones to host her right here in Chandler, AZ!

When Flat Rachel arrived her instructions told us we only had her for one week, we had to try something new/adventurous, and we were to take lots of pictures. She arrived on a Friday night, Andrew and I just so happened to be babysitting our nieces when she got here. They were quick to show her a good time. They shared their light sticks with her (somehow Andrew always seems to have those things around when the girls are over).  (Don't you love how FR looks like an astronaut with that glow stick around her head?!)

That evening we decided to take Flat Rachel to the park that is located in our neighborhood. It was a new experience for all since none of us had played in it yet. Paige took her down the slide,

Aubrey did flips with her, (It's good that FR didn't do any flips.  She's a barfer.)

she climbed the rock wall with me, (Brave!)

and we all made some funny faces for the camera.  (So because FR's face is the same does this mean she has a naturally funny face?)

It was a good time had by all, although it was hot! Did I mention that the weekend Flat Rachel arrived it was the first time the temperature got up to 110 degrees this year? When we were done at the park we came straight home and each had a bowl of ice cream. Flat Rachel was truly grateful for that. (You know it.)

I feel bad because I had all sorts of activities I wanted to do with Flat Rachel while she was here for a week. And then I got struck with that horrible stomach flu. Flat Rachel stayed as far away from me as she could (and to all those that will be hosting Flat Rachel, don't worry she's germ free, I am the queen of Lysol wipes.) She was very nice not to let her boredom show, and she enjoyed being able to stay indoors away from the heat and helped herself to a few good books and our cozy guest bed.  (Did you really think I would make a flat version of myself that wasn't a Woman of Elegant Leisure?  As if.  Flat Rachel knows how to take a day in bed.)

By the time I was over my bug it was time for me to send Flat Rachel off to her next adventure. I felt so bad I wasn't able to give her a true Arizona experience. So on the last day she stayed with us I took her to work with me to ASU. On my lunch breaks I like to take walks around campus. Each time I pass by the life science building I see a sign that advertises "the only complete collection of Arizona rattlesnakes in the world". So Flat Rachel and I nervously went into the exhibit together. Some exhibit. This was the only snake we could find:

I guess the rattlesnake collection got hit with the recent budget cuts as well. We continued on our walk and Flat Rachel begged me to try out one of these:  (As Real Rachel would too.  The first thing on my shopping list for the Wealthy Benefactor is one of these.)

She loved it. Then she got away from me. After a little bit of searching I found her here:

Do you think she was trying to hint at something to me? Notice she picked the AZ Night Life box. I hope she wasn't too bored during her stay with us!  (It's a shame FR didn't pack her bikini.  She would have fit in with the girls to the left.)

Flat Rachel enjoyed her day on campus and I enjoyed having some company with me at work. After such a long work day we needed an escape to paradise. So Andrew and I took Flat Rachel and met up with my sister's family in Kokomo. No, not that Kokomo (do I have you all singing the Beach Boys right now?) but rather the newest frozen yogurt shop in Chandler. It's a self serve shop which apparently is all the rage these days. (All the rage for nothing.  I'm not a fan of the self-serve.  I especially think it's a bit ridiculous that there is a tip jar at the register of everyone I've been to.  So now you're going to watch me dish up my own yogurt and you want a tip?  Sorry for the rant.  Back to FR.)  It was delicious but expensive. We all decided the next time we'll stick to Golden Spoon and let the workers serve us instead. But we still enjoyed ourselves and the yogurt, and the girls were very excited to see Flat Rachel again. In fact Rachel (the real one) is lucky I was able to pry Flat Rachel out of the girls hands to send her home.

We loved having Flat Rachel stay with us, and would love to host her again. Hopefully we won't be so boring the next time. But really, when it's this hot you kind of don't feel like doing anything. Here's hoping Flat Rachel can cool off and have an amazing time with the rest of her Summer 'o Fun '010!

This was great!  Exactly what I envisioned.  Especially all the ice cream and yogurt.  Can the rest of you picture Andrea in the snake room?  Yeah, me neither.  And yet because of Flat Rachel she did it.  I'm a huge fan of this experiment.  Thanks for playing Andrea!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Leg II of Flat Rachel's Summer 'o Fun '010

Guess who was waiting on my doorstep when I got home from work.

Flat Rachel.

She spent leg 1 of Flat Rachel's Summer 'o Fun '010 visiting Andrea on the surface of the sun.

Or, Arizona. 

She had a grand time.  Andrea wrote all about it on her private blog.  Because she doesn't like you.  But maybe, if we sweet talk her a little, she will let me cut and paste her adorable post for all of you to see the fun things she did with Flat Rachel.  There are snakes involved!  Or, one snake, rather.  And ice cream.

So while we're waiting on that Flat Rachel will hop back into the sombrero

and draw a name out to see where she's heading to next:

My dear friend Short Rachel!!!!!

Rac* and I have this tragic tradition going on where the few times we've been able to see each other in the 10 years since we've been college roommates one or both of us has become violently ill.  And I do mean violently.  I can honestly say that I have never been sicker, nor prayed for death harder, then that night after we got together back in 2008.  And poor Rac was having a hard time of things after she drove all the way down to Provo to visit with me when I was up there in February.  And then I fell to it about a week later.  How about a third incident:  the day after her wedding in 2002.  I drove back from Utah and then went straight to a James Taylor concert at the Hollywood Bowl and then drove home from that in the back of a van in the midnight traffic LA is so famous for and the spent the rest of the night throwing up everything I've ever eaten in my entire life. 

We must break this cycle, Rac!  We lived together for 3 whole years and I don't remember ever up-chucking my spleen.  Surely we can get back to what we once were - that being girls who don't barf every time they see each other.  Maybe Flat Rachel visiting you can ease us back into that.

Although, I should warn you that the whole week she was in Arizona Andrea had the stomach flu.


I'll Lysol her down before I mail her and we'll hope for the best.

*I don't think I've ever explained why I call her Rac.  Here it goes:  We both had funny tales of slaughtered names.  I am regularly called "Rachelle Necht".  And her maiden name is Farnsworth, which was long enough to cause her name to be cut off on roll sheets, like thus, "Farnsworth, Rac".  She said that teachers on the first day of school would always call out for "Rac Franworth". 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Childhood Dream Come True! (I hope the next one is a jet pack.)

1.)  The Pod banks at a bank with a drive through teller!  Not an ATM but an actual teller in a window and a tube you send your transaction through.  Rad!  The biller at the Pod usually takes the deposit but she's on vacation this week so I took it down and I nearly leaped out of my car and did an elaborate impromptu dance when I saw it there.  I opted for staying in my car and shimmying a bit.  It's been my dream since I was a kid to use one.  It was so magical to me that my mom would put the money in the tube and press a button and it would end up on the other side of the window.  And when the tube came back it would usually have suckers in it for me and the sibs.  I could not wait to do it.  So you can imagine my extreme disappointment when I was old enough to make my own bank transactions and the drive through tellers had been phased out for ATMs.  Stupid technology.  Well, welcome back to the 80s, Rachel!  I pulled up, took the tube out of the box, put the money in then pressed the button to talk to the teller just to say hi because I was so excited.  I may have squealed a little when I heard the swooshing sound of the tube being transported.  When it came back there wasn't a sucker with my receipt but I still felt like high fiving someone over it.  I definitely shimmied again.

2.)  A chain smoker has moved in next door.  (Note to Mindy:  it's your old neighbor who lived below you.  He moved into the Swanns old place.)  It's horrible.  If I have my sliding glass door open, which I do whenever I'm home, I smell cigarettes the entire time.  How would you handle this?

3.)  I want to travel to just about everywhere in the world.  (Dear Wealthy Benefactor, Please hurry.  Time's a wastin'.  Hugs and Kisses, Rachel)  So there is a very short list of places I do not want to go to.  The Philippines is on that list.  I was telling the girls at the Pod about the Great Moth Invasion at camp and one of the guys from Kramerica overheard and came out to tell us about this time on his mission to the Philippines after a monsoon flooded his apartment.  He went downstairs to check out the damage and notices that the walls were moving.  Every inch was covered in flying cockroaches the size of his fist.  Bleh!  And Ew!  And Knights of Columbus!  I realize that people - and particularly men - are prone to exaggerating tales from their missions but even so - pass.

4.)  Happy Summer!  Although I'm not such a fan of the heat of summer there is something very wonderful about the idea of summer.  There are always more parties and more trips to the beach and more ice cream cones and more book reading and more general fun in the summer.  Let's all enjoy a OtterPop in honor of it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Brief Recap of Girls Camp

1.)  Very little sleep is had up at camp.  This is true for the girls as well as the women who go up with them.  Because when girls and women get together we spend it gabbing.  It is the law of nature.  Men don't have that primal urge to chat so the handful of them that were up there always seemed to get plenty of sleep.  But not the women.  On Tuesday I had been up since 5:30, spent all but 2 hours of the day in the kitchen and by 11 pm was exhausted but was still down in the lodge laughing and chatting.  By the end of the week my conversations went something like this:

Someone:  Hi Rachel!
Me:  Zz.  Zzz zzz zzz.
Someone:  You look tired.
Me:  Z zz.  Z zzzzz'z zzzz zzzzzzz zzzz zzzz zzzzzz. 

2.)  There was an infestation of moths.  Giant moths.  Thousands and thousands of giant moths.  And if there is one bug I really have a problem with it is the moth.  Things that could potentially get stuck in my hair really freak me out.  So you can imagine how I reacted when within 20 minutes of arriving I shut the window in the wee small bathroom and 40 GIANT MOTHS CAME FLYING AT MY HEAD!!!!!! Had an axe murderer been on the loose this would have been the opening scene in my own personal horror film.  My hair was saved by my high pitched squealing and the frantic flapping of my arms.  Fortunately they magically disappeared after a few days but that did not stop me from lying awake each night panicking that one, or a million, of them would crawl across my forehead and nest in my bangs.

3.)  I cooked and cooked and cooked and cooked.  Oh, for hours and hours every day I cooked.  But I didn't wash a single dish.  The men did all the cleaning.  If this is how the rest of my life could go, I'd appreciate it.

4.)  You may think that cooking 3 meals a day for 100 people would be a drag but there was a lot of laughing in that kitchen.  Even at 6 in the morning.  Really.  I'm serious. 

5.)  It wasn't all cooking.  I also tie-dyed an apron, made several bracelets, sewed a quilt square (I love camp crafts!), learned how to tie a double half-hitch knot, gave a lesson on time management (wherein I made the girls do jumping jacks and math problems - thus confirming your suspicion that I will turn anything into a joke.), and spent an hour each morning reading out in the sunshine and fresh mountain air.  If it weren't for the progressive lack of sleep, the over abundance of dirt, the giant moths and other bugs, and the lack of cell phone reception, I'd live at girls camp year round.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"But look what happened to the cook!"

On Monday morning I'll be heading up to Girls Camp.  For those unfamiliar with this it's a week long trip in the wilderness for teenage Mormon girls.  It mostly consists of lots of hugging and crying and laughing and pranks and eating junk food and staying up way too late and not shaving your legs.  Which, apart from the whole teenage thing, pretty much sums up my life.  I even have the World's Largest Zit on my forehead so I'm going to fit right in. 

Some women will tell you of their experiences at girls camp of sleeping in tents and cooking their own food over fires they started themselves with flint and tinder and peeing behind shrubbery.  Which is so rustic and charming.  But not how things are done around these parts.  Groups out here go to camps with cabins and kitchens and indoor plumbing.  Which is exactly how I like to rough it. 

I'm going up as one of the cooks and I'm kind of excited about it.  I embroidered my name on an apron along with a cupcake.  Because my cuteness knows no bounds.

I'm also bringing up this one because I feel that a proper hostess apron is essential in the wilderness.  And it's cute.  Check out the fabric. 

I really classed that picture up with the bra hanging on the door, didn't I.

I got a food handler's card by correctly answering the following question: 

If you have symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea what should you do:
a.) tell your supervisor and go home;
b.) stay in the kitchen away from customers;
c.) continue handling the food, just don't breathe on it;
d.) lick all the food.

This is the photo I used for my food handler's badge.  
I don't think that I actually needed to print out the badge but I couldn't pass up the chance to put a picture like that on an official document.  Just in case I have to go on the lam for licking food when ill, I don't want the police to recognize me.   

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You can call it Starbucks, but I call it a miracle.

Last night I was reading a bit of a thriller and I decided that, even though it was late, I would read one more chapter before going to sleep.  Only to discover who the killer was at the end of it.  With 80 pages to go!  I decided to soldier on and I made it another 5 minutes before I fell asleep on top of the book.

Thus neglecting to turn on my alarm clock.

Which caused me to wake up 15 minutes before I had to leave for work.

And it wasn't such a good morning for me on top of that, what with my allergies laying siege to my head.  They stormed my upper sinuses!  They shoved tube socks in my nostrils!  And bags of chicken feathers were lodged in my ear canals!

So I arrived at the Pod late, stuffy, pony-tailed, bleary-eyed, and slightly grumpy.

And there, sitting on my desk was a hot chocolate.  Like manna from heaven.  Or, like Dr. J doing a Starbucks run.  But a miracle all the same.

I lament sometimes that the Pod doesn't have any real characters.  There's no Chiquita.  There's no Doc (will there ever be another Doc?)  In my opinion all the best work environments have crazy people.  (I regret that this blog started at the end of my run at the school district.  That place was LITTERED with crazy people.  You would not believe half the stories.  It's a good thing I've written most of them down and will eventually publish them in my memoirs under the chapter heading of "PRAISE!!"  And Other Things I Heard Yelled at a Computer Screen.)  So there's no one there who will tell me to put raw bacon on my chest for a cough and none of them seem particularly interested in my plans for the Fortress of Solitude.  But it can't be all bad if occasionally there's hot chocolate on my desk.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Veal Loaf

Last week at Camille's celebratory birthday dinner (Just prior to our Band of Brothers moment at the movies.  Save yourselves!), Lydia, who is Swiss and pregnant and therefore can get away with doing weird things, ordered liver and onions.  We all gave a collective "EWWWWWW".

And then some of us tried a piece.

I've had chopped liver before and I will say that it had the texture and taste of cat food.  Okay, so I don't know what cat food tastes like but that's how I imagine it.  It wasn't repulsive but I wouldn't sit down with a big bowl of it.  So I was not afraid to try the real deal - more curious.  Lydia cut me off a piece and piled the onions and bacon high and this time it tasted like cat food with onions and bacon.  Only chewier. 

And it reminded that the day before I had been strolling around downtown Upland and I went into an antique store and found an old cookbook:

Inside they had an entire section dedicated to cooking Good Meals out of organs.

I'm not sure which sounds more unappetizing:  Tongue in Tomato Aspic or Veal Loaf

Weren't you devastated when you found out that sweetbreads aren't cinnamon rolls?  In my younger days I would have thought that Scalloped Sweetbreads were sticky buns with fluted edges.  Not what it really is - pancreas.

Raisin Stuffed Hearts just proves my theory that adding raisins to even the worst recipe makes it sound even more disgusting.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The sweet taste of bitterness.

There are a few things I could write about.  Such as:

1.)  How I ended up as a judge of a couple of high school debates on abortion and how teenagers acting serious is one of my favorite things to watch;
2.)  How lately I've been running into people I haven't seen in years and years and I have almost the exact same conversation with them:  "Are you married?"  "No."  "Oh.  You look SO GREAT!"  This makes me think that I either I need to a.) put people on a rotation to be cut out of my life for several years or b.) never get married because who doesn't love being told you look SO GREAT!  Especially considering the tragic tumbleweedy state of my hair on several of these occasions. 
3.)  Parents who take their children to movies they will be bored with and then let them run up and down the stairs like maniacs only to scream at them for acting like maniacs.
4.)  How I went to a free Pat Benitar concert last night but left before she actually got up on stage because I'm 80 and can't handle sweaty, dirty crowds.

But instead of those things I will tell you about the deep, dark conspiracy to deny me a chocolate shake.  Oh, there is a conspiracy and I will not rest until I find who is behind it. 

Katie and I were coming home from the movies tonight when we both were overcome with the need for a chocolate shake.  So we drove out of our way to get one, only to be told at the drive thru that they were out of ice cream.  We were disappointed but not deterred and we drove to another place.  Only to be told, again, that they were out of ice cream!  And this time we had to suffer the indignity of sitting in the drive thru until the car ahead of us was done.  The guy at the window felt bad and offered us free sodas, which was nice and all but it just showed his ignorance.  What is a soda to a chocolate shake?  He could have offered us a handful of those little salt packets - it would have had the same appeal. We could have just gone across the street to the store to get ice cream and make our own shakes but we decided instead to go home and wallow in our bitterness.  Because nothing tastes as good as righteous indignation. 

Wait, that's a lie.  A chocolate shake would taste better.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Future Fortress of Solitude

Kramerica Industries has me almost permanently at the podiatrist office (henceforth to be known as The Pod.)  I am not looking at grotty pictures of feet anymore but I am cleaning up an ENORMOUS mess.  Oh, the stacks and stacks of paperwork I've had to go through.  The Denali of Paperwork.  Today I worked 9 hours with a mere 15 minute break to run to the post office to mail Flat Rachel off.  As a Woman of Elegant Leisure, who has actually be enjoying leisure for a few months now, I'm not use to these hours.

But here are two cool things about the Pod.

1.)  There's a tv in the lobby that plays educational movies to keep the patients entertained while they wait to have their toes removed, or other such treatment that I don't want to know about.  So far I've seen Planet Earth and a film about the railways of Colorado (zzzzzzz) but today we had on Endless Summer and a documentary that was made in the 70s about life on other planets that had Orson Wells pontificating about martians and how HG Wells got all snippy when he heard about the War of the Worlds broadcast.  My back is to the tv and I'm buried alive in paperwork so I wasn't exactly paying attention but I heard that voice and thought, "That's Orson Wells!" and I turned around and lo, there he was.  All bearded and glorious.  I could listen to Orson Wells talk about alien life forms forever.

2.)  There is a secret passage that leads to a hidden room.  Wait, let me repeat that.  A SECRET PASSAGE THAT LEADS TO A HIDDEN ROOM!!!!!  I was having a looksie around the place, trying to determine what we could throw away, because, oy, the stuff! and the person taking me around said, all casual like, "Oh, and there's a room back there."  "Back where," I asked.  "Behind that machine."  "That weird cylindrical thing?"  "Yes."  And then she wanted to move on.  Are you kidding me?  I ran to the cylindrical thing, which is actually a place for x-ray technicians to stand in that they can slide a door around to protect them, and I slid the door around and there it was...the hidden room!  Friends, I don't think I can adequately express to you how excited I am about this.  If I had any free time during the day I would be drawing up plans to make it into my Fortress of Solitude.  I really can't believe that the ladies working there haven't thought of this yet.  There are nothing but boxes inside.  Where are the bean bag chairs?  Where's the dim lighting?  How about the mini fridge stocked with soda?  The stacks of US Weekly?  The stash of Peanut M&Ms?  They are seriously lacking imagination.  Which is a bonus for me because I've officially called dibs.