Friday, July 30, 2010

Grumpy Ice Cream Counter Girl

(Nope. I'm still stumped for words. Gah! But I feel like the only thing that really cures writers block is to write so I should just give it a shot and apologize up front. Your refund check is in the mail.)

Katie and I went out to dinner with some fun folks (People of Chino and Surrounding Areas: Go to Honolulu Harry's on the north west side of the 60 on Central and order the sweet potato stacks. I'm telling you this because 1.) I love you and the Bluebird of Happiness will take up permanent residence in your heart after the first bite and 2.) it is always a little sparse in the restaurant and I'm terrified that they will close down and then where will I get my sweet potato stacks. I tried to recreate them once and it was moderately successful but not nearly as scrumptious. Save the Stacks! Where was I? Oh right.) and after dinner we could not resist the draw of Rite-Aid right across the street and a Thrify's ice cream cone. You try and resist. Admit it, you can't.

So we went in and were served by the Grumpiest Ice Cream Counter Girl on the Planet. She was so grumpy that we had to make up a story about why she was so grumpy just to help us get over how surly she was, and also what a bad ice cream scooper she was. The ice cream just sat on top of the cone - when everyone knows that you're suppose to shove it down into the cone so that the ice cream makes the cone just a little soggy and that final bite is super awesome because the ice cream has filled in the grid at the bottom.

I just got distracted from the thought of ice cream cones. Sorry. We decided that she was in the last hour of her 8 hour shift and she had cramps and everyone was being really wishy-washy with their ice cream orders, like "How about rainbow sherbet, or maybe black cherry, no rainbow sherbet. But I do really like vanilla. Do I want a cone or a cup? A cone. No a cup. No, a cone. But a cake or sugar cone? Maybe a waffle. Did I decide on rainbow sherbet?" And have you noticed that the people who most often can't make up their mind are usually struggling over the grossest flavors. Black cherry? Bleh. So by the time we got there she had had enough. She was done with people and done with ice cream and the cramps were killing her and she had to be back to work at 8 the next morning to do it all over again and the last thing she needed was some smart alecky girl acting all put out that there is no rocky road left. (Although, seriously, no rocky road?)

So by the time I got home I actually did feel a little sorry for her even though we had made the whole thing up. Working with cramps (imaginary or not) is a drag.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wherein I bore you to tears

I have writers block. Oh, boy do I. It's so bad that I can't even think of a single funny metaphor to explain just how bad it is. THAT'S BAD!

So instead I'm going to show you a funny picture:

This is the handicapped spot at a hotel my family stayed in 10 years ago in Boston. I would love to tell you that this is as ghetto as the place got but it was just the tip of the iceberg.

Did I just say "tip of the iceberg"!? I totally did. Knights of Columbus, I am as boring as a big fat boring thing. If you paid to read this site I would owe you all a refund. And chocolate pudding. And a party, except that you would have to entertain yourselves because clearly I am not up for the job. I would provide a pinata though.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

If you happen to find yourself with me and my sisters

If you happen to find yourself in a car with me and my sisters and the Pina Colada song comes on it would be wise to sing along. And loudly. Even through the instrumental parts. And a thumb mic would not hurt.

Our love and admiration for you would shoot through the roof.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Don't Mess With Chuck

And now for the newest felt creation: Chuck Norris.

Wearing his Action Jeans.

Inspired by this little gem:

He's up on Etsy if you'd like one for yourself or a loved one. Or an a warning.
Also, I don't think I ever showed you a custom order I did. A friend of a friend contacted me and asked if I would make Hurley from lost.
I think he turned out okay considering I stopped watching that show after the first season. I don't mind cliff hangers or unanswered questions but I felt like it was just taunting me with all its mysteries.
If you want a custom order you can also get that at Etsy. I'm up for the challenge. I'll do just about anything, so long as it makes me laugh. And remember that I won't be able to make these for three months because the World's Largest Felt Collection doesn't travel well. So if you're thinking stocking stuffer, think fast before my esty shop goes on vacation.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

90 minutes of uninterrupted reading time

This day did not go as I had envisioned. It happens. I had so much that I want to get done. I did get the two most important things done on my list (New felt creation. Pictures to follow. I made it while watching The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which may be one of my favorite old timey movies. Rex Harrison is such an excellent grumpy guy.) but everything else was stymied by me locking myself out of my apartment for an hour and a half. I just went out to get the mail and habit took over and I locked the door behind me. I realized just as it clicked shut with my keys and phone inside. Katie wasn't going to be home for hours and Flo, the apartment manager, was no where to be seen. I tried to have a stiff upper lip about the whole thing so I stoically collected the mail and sat on my stoop with a view of the parking lot to catch Flo's return and read the Sports Illustrated that came today.

90 minutes later I had finished reading every article in the magazine, including the ones about the NFL, which under normal circumstances I would have completely ignored because do people actually care about pro football? Don't answer that. Even though I was sitting in the shade I was still a sweaty mess and was feeling kind of bummed about the whole lost afternoon business and also kind of dumb because gee whiz how many times does this need to happen before I learn my lesson and start dispensing spare keys to all my neighbor. So I wasn't my best self when Flo finally returned and I went over to get a key. So when, after handing over the key, Flo said, "Honey, you are really looking so good today." I just about wept because it may have been the nicest thing that anyone could have said to me at that moment.

I officially take back all the things I've said about Flo's 90 year old legs and how sometimes they give me the willies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A bunch of stuff that will fascinate you

There are a few questions in this post. Feel free to answer some or all of them. Or you can just say, with attitude of course, "Whatever! I'm on summer vacation."

1.) I'm sending Flat Rachel to New York to visit Valerie. Because she asked. And also because I can't find the slips of paper with all your names on them to throw into the sombrero and I just don't feel much like making new ones. Watch out, Val. She will eat all your ice cream in the middle of the night and then blame it on the dog. Even when you don't have one.

Question: If you could send the flat version of yourself anywhere in the world, where would it be?

2.) Every time I watch So You Think You Can Dance I want to cut my hair short like Mia Michaels. But you must PROMISE ME that you will not let me. There is only Woe and Despair and free room and board at the Home for the Sad and Tragic when I cut my hair short.

Question: Have you ever cut your hair short? Did you love it or hate it? Will you promise to save me and my hair from myself if I threaten to attempt it?

3.) Gina and Chris are in town so we all went to Disneyland on Monday. We had a discussion about how when you're at Disneyland it's perfectly acceptable to wave to complete strangers for no reason at all - something you would never do outside in the real world. But there's something about seeing people while you're on a ride that makes you want to wave to everyone. Like, "Look at me! I'm having fun! Let's be friends! And by the way you shouldn't being wearing socks with those sandals, you rube!" So we found ourselves on Casey Jr. and we were waving to the people riding the Storybook boats down below when suddenly this rather hairy man starts blowing kisses at me. And every time we would cross paths, which was often as the rides circle around each other, he would spot me and blow kisses in a rather exaggerated fashion. Waving to strangers can get you a boyfriend! But alas, we were not meant to be. He wasn't waiting for me when I got off the train which makes me think that he's probably a jerk who chews with his mouth open and is mean to his mother. Boy, did I dodge that bullet.

Question: What is your favorite ride at Disneyland?

4.) I just got my itinerary to Tunis. LA to Minneapolis/St. Paul to New York to Montreal to Paris to Tunis. That's 5 opportunities to sip ginger ale while trying to avoid awkward small talk with my neighbor. I am so bad at airplane small talk. It's the combination of the tight quarters and the common destination that makes me think that we're now best friends so I instantly start off with a sarcastic joke, such as, "Did you notice our pilot's glass eye?" and suddenly they're buzzing for the stewardess to bring them a stiff drink. Although I have found that this strategy either stifles further awkward small talk for the remainder of the flight or reveals a kindred spirit who will pull out the crayons when you suggest making hand puppets out of your barf bags.

Question: What is your favorite airplane beverage?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

This is not a joke.

I'm going to live in Tunisia for three months!

(And that, my friends, is how you lead with the big news.)

I'm actually serious. You don't even know where Tunisia is, do you. Don't feel bad about this. No one does.

Here, let me help:

I threw in Europe to give you a reference. I'll give you another reference: Star Wars was filmed there. Well, the Tatooine bits. I won't be in that part though. I'll be in Tunis on the Mediterranean. Rumor has it there is a private beach club where the wait staff will bring me beverages and watermelon.

Did I mention that I'm not kidding? Because I'm not.

Here's how it's going down. My friend Bronwyn and her husband and two little boys live there. Her husband works at the embassy and their time there is almost up. With the wee small children they haven't been able to go around and see some of the sights so they asked me if I would like to come out and stay with them and help out with the boys. Um, would I!

They asked about three weeks ago and oh, the mental turmoil and decision making I have had to endure. I do not make large decisions very well. In fact, I leave most major decisions up to my Magic 8 Ball. So when it told me "Signs point to Yes!" I said, "Duh, Magic 8 Ball. I know they do. But HOW?" Because there was the whole part about being away for 3 months. What about the Primary? What about Kramerica and the Pod? What about bills and responsibilities and being a grown-up? Who flits off to foreign lands for 3 months!?!

So I fretted and talked to people and worried and prayed and waffled between yes and no and did pro/con lists and made Excel spread sheets and suddenly things started to line up and then it was just a matter of convincing myself that even though everything had been worked out in theory that it would actually all work out in real life. That took a few more days but I'm all on board now.

So I'm going. I leave Sept. 1 and will be back around Thanksgiving. And I'm thrilled about the whole thing.

And now let's just for a second imagine the blog posts that will come out of this adventure. I speak neither Arabic nor French. I am foreseeing A LOT of awkward cultural exchanges. I've made Bronwyn promise me that if, through the combination of my friendly and trusting personality and my inability to properly communicate, I somehow end up as a slave in a Bedouin tribe she will come and rescue me. And now I promise you that if that does happen I will write all about it. It's a win-win for both of us.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Other People

How about I talk about other people for a change:

1.) Like my lovely friend Amanda.


Oh, man is she going to be excited when she reads this. Let me tell you a little something about Amanda and winning. She loves to do it. And she will go to great lengths for it. We were once at a bridal shower together and playing that game with the pins on the shirt and if you're caught crossing your legs or saying the word bride or marriage or love you have to give it away to the person who caught you and the person at the end with the most pins wins (have I mentioned how much I HATE bridal shower games?) and Amanda spent the entire time hounding people about it. "Did you just cross you're legs? It looks like you almost did. Why don't you just give me your pin." Finally everyone just started giving her their pins so she could win. I love her with all my heart and I'm thrilled that she won without any harassment.

2.) I will also mention my dear friend Valerie who believes, and rightly so, that every t-shirt has a story. So she started a blog about it and as expected, because it's Val, it's pretty clever. Valerie and her family win the prize for People Whom I've Known and Liked the Longest Outside of My Own Family. The Knechts and Appels go way way way back. And when we're all eternal neighbors in heaven you're going to want to live on our block.

3.) How about I tell you about Rac and her adventures with Flat Rachel. Or you can just read about them on her blog. I should warn you that there was a tragic accident that called for emergency surgery. Naturally it also called for treats. And she took her to see Eclipse, which was generous, as I would probably never take her. Rac is the Fun Aunt!

4.) I will end with this sweet story from the Pod. The place is crawling with old people. I'm talking really, really old. These two olds came in and announced that they were celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary. Four months, that is. They had been dating for 25 years and he kept asking and she kept saying no but finally, after they had both turned 80, she said yes. So they tied the knot in March and celebrate every single month because, in his words, "We may not live to see a year." They were like teenagers, only more cute and less annoying. I wanted to put them in my pocket and take them home with me.

The land of lost bills and creepy women

One of my jobs at the Pod is to get their finances in order. The record keeping that occurred before I got there was a bit of a joke - meaning that a large amount of bills have fallen through the cracks. Possibly literally. They have a secret room there. I would not be surprised if they have a worm hole. So at least once a day I get a phone call from some entity saying that the Pod owes them money. It's normally an astronomical amount and the fellas at Kramerica and I scratch our heads at the state of it all and I stress out over QuickBook spread sheets and have to remind myself that it isn't my money. Nor is it my problem. In fact, I'm trying to fix the problem. But oh, what a problem it is. Which makes me wonder what am I doing in finance? Shouldn't I be writing poetry somewhere? Or thinking brilliant thoughts about life and art and Tyra Banks?

But that is a topic for another day. The topic today is about how I had to go down to the county offices and to pay a bill. I got a call yesterday from the county health office saying that we had a delinquent bill from December for the health permit and if it wasn't paid in 72 hours they were going to shut the Pod down. I braced myself for how much it was going to be, thinking that if it was put off in December, when according to the records they had a bit of spare change, then it must be a ridiculously high number.


That's how much was owed. $31.25. I laughed. And then I asked if they would take a credit card over the phone. No. It had to be paid in cash or by check and since there was no time to mail it, it had to be done in person. So I dug into the petty cash and headed out to Rancho Cucamonga in the 110 degree heat and I must have fallen through a different worm hole from the one that's eating all the bills because the County of San Bernardino's Public Health Office is staffed entirely of women who speak baby talk to each other.

It was creepy, to say the least.

They spoke plain English to me but when they were addressing each other the following statements came out of their mouths:

"Did you sees that my flower bloomed-ed?"
"You's is such a sweet fweind."
"Can you pwease count the quaters-es for me so this nice wady can be on her way."

Ew!!!!! And they ALL talked that way! It's like how twins will create their own language because they spend all their time together. It made me feel very sad. And a little icky.


In other news, I finished The Hunger Games. Thank you and Thank you! I'll let you know the winner of the Mr. T bookmark shortly. Speaking of which, I have been doing a few commissioned felt pieces that I am finding to be outrageously fun. So if you have an idea of a d-list celebrity you would like done in felt let me know. I'll be happy to give it a whirl.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Alright! I'm reading the Hunger Games! Are you happy now?

With so many of you recommending The Hunger Games I was afraid that it would be on the Twilight side of things. That side being infested with angsty glances and too many adjectives. Not that I don't trust your judgement but I am suspicious of books that EVERYONE loves.

But you were right. Tammy went the extra mile (literally) and brought it and its sequel over for me to read yesterday and I'm finding it very difficult to put down. I even turned off the All-Star game to read it. And that is saying something. Don't be alarmed though. I turned it back on to see the National League win. Woot!

In other baseball news, George Steinbrenner died today and I can't think of him without thinking of Seinfeld. Let's all have a calzone in his honor.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I totally smoked those kids

1.) I turned on Jeopardy the other night and saw that it was kids week and I thought, "Sweet! I can totally smoke these kids!" Oh, admit it, you do the same thing. We all love it when it's kid/teen/college/celebrity week because we know that the answers are going to be easier and we can feel smart and superior. And while I did feel superior, I was surprised by how unnerved I was by these kids' freakish knowledge. They knew everything! Like stuff I didn't know until my 30s. I will admit that the bulk of my knowledge at 12 consisted of Baby Sitters Club trivia and the birth dates of all the members of New Kids on the Block.

2.) The contents of my shopping basket yesterday were: 1 box of saltines, 3 cans of soup, 1 bottle of apple juice, 1 bottle of ginger ale. I have the stomach flu. Do you know why? Because Flat Rachel is visiting Rac this week and the bad juju has somehow been transported through her to me. We can not catch a break, Rac!

3.) Hey, remember that I challenged you to read To Kill a Mockingbird this summer? I took the challenge too and finished it today and cried like a baby and then sat for a few minutes and sighed. It gets me every time.

4.) Does anyone have any good book recommendations. What I am specifically looking for is a really great story. A page turner. The kind of book that will make me neglect housework more than I already do. If you give me a book recommendation you'll be entered to win a Mr. T bookmark. Wouldn't that just make your summer if you won?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What to do in case of an earthquake

We had a little roller of an earthquake yesterday and I thought I'd do a public service announcement. Because maybe you're not from California. Maybe you've never been subjected to 13 years of public school earthquake drills where once a month the long bell goes off (the short bell is for fires) and you scurry under your desk until the all clear bell rings then you file outside to the open field with your class. Or maybe you have been through earthquake drills but never through the real thing. Or maybe you have been through the real thing but you're always sort of wondering what the best thing to do is.

Well aren't you fortunate that we're friends.

Because I am an expert at this. I know exactly what to do during an earthquake.

You stay where you are, but maybe sit up a little straighter to show everyone that you're alert and ready for action, and then have the following internal monologue:

"Oh brother, an earthquake. Okay, we're rolling. But is the jolt coming? Okay, there's the jolt. Was that a big enough jolt to be considered the Big One? It didn't feel like it was but who knows. Should I get up? Is it worth it getting up? Is it worth it getting on the ground for the Triangle of Life? The jury is still out on that anyways. Is it worth getting my clothes all dirty from lying on the ground? I'm going to look really dumb if I get on the ground just as it's stopping. Is this thing going to stop? Okay, should I get up now? How about now? This has been going on for a while now. It's got to stop sometime. I wonder what I should have for dinner. I think the milk has gone bad so cereal is out. I think I may have some tortilla chips somewhere. Nachos it is. Seriously, is this thing going to stop? Alright, it's slowing down now. I probably should have gotten under my desk to set a good example. I hope there's cheese at home."

And by the time you're done with the internal monologue it has stopped and you can commence the requisite Tales of Earthquakes Past with everyone in your general vicinity.

I should note that if you are in bed when an earthquake happens you simply interject a few thoughts concerning the location of your bra.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fire, explosions and sparkly things

A few thoughts on the 4th of July:

1.) Fireworks are a great combination of man's love of fire, explosions and sparkly things. And if you have ever made it to a Knecht Family 4th of July Street Party you know that they also incorporate man's love of impromptu dance routines and fake fist fighting.

2.) It will someday be discovered that one of the original drafts of the Declaration of Independence listed the unalienable Rights as "Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness, and Homemade Ice Cream."

3.) One of my favorite 4th of July memories was when we went to the Dodger game and sat out in the pavilion and at the end of the game they let us walk through the bull pen and out onto the field to lay on the grass and watch the fireworks. It was so magical that there may have been unicorns prancing around pots of gold.

4.) When my sisters and I were very young we used to roam around our neighborhood picking up remnants of used fireworks. We thought they were treasures.

5.) I once heard Sarah Vowell on This American Life talk about how she bonded with her dad over shooting off a cannon he had built. She always considered herself a little anti-gun so she was genuinely surprised by how much she loved it. I am more than a little anti-gun but I am not surprised. Because tonight when I caught a few minutes of a show on PBS that aired the festivities at the Capitol and they were playing the 1812 Overture, complete with lots and lots of cannons, I shouted "Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!!" every time one went off.

6.) Speaking of music on the 4th, you all should become organists. Because playing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" on the organ is so much fun. Even when you're a really mediocre organist (Hi!), you just pump up the volume and play it a little fast and you feel like you're at a parade.

7.) More on patriotic music. We can probably all agree that the piccolo is a very obnoxious instrument. Except when it is played during Stars and Stripes Forever. I want to march around and wave a flag whenever I hear them play their part.

8.) Ten Million Imaginary Points to the person (outside of my family) who can correctly identify this movie quote: "Alright America! I love ya'! I'm proud of ya! We gotta go."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It must be magic

I've been sucked into the World Cup. Maybe because I have a bracket to worry over. Especially now that my family has started a new tradition of prizes for the best bracket.

So I present to you several reasons why I don't like soccer and 1 reason I can't keep my eyes off of it.

I don't like soccer because:

1.) The field is too big and the players look like wee people,
2.) It is basically 90 to 120 minutes of failure. They shoot, they miss, the shoot again, they miss, they pass, it's intercepted, they pass again, intercepted again. And run and run and run and run and never get anywhere. Failure all over the place.
3.) Even though off-sides has been explained to me I still don't get it. Oh, I can tell you the details of it, but I can also tell you the details of how airplanes fly. The details don't stop me from being mystified.
4.) The players annoy me with all their fakery. I want to yell at them, "Get up, you big baby!" because enough with all the rolling around and grabbing your leg and whining. (Says the girl who cries when she gets a splinter.)

I can't keep my eyes off of it because:
1.) It's magic. No, seriously. It has to be some kind of weird voodoo because why would I enjoy watching men I can hardly make out spend 90 minutes basically not doing their job - which is to get the ball in the goal. And yet every time I sit down to watch a game I can barely turn away long enough to get myself another OtterPop.*

*As this is the second consecutive mention of OtterPops I would like to inform you that Katie found JUMBO OTTERPOPS at CostCo. I had to have two tonight to rehydrate myself after all the crying I did over a book. Now that is magic.

Amendment following this morning's game: CURSE YOU THE NETHERLANDS!!!!!!!! You have single handedly KILLED my bracket. Oh, Brazil, I had such hope.