Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The kitchen floor got mopped today because I was in a cleaning mood...okay, and it needed it.

And then it got mopped a second time because just a few short hours after I mopped it I spilled half a can of cocoa powder all over it.  I managed to sweep up what I could but then there was the problem of the grout.  We have the deepest grout ever invented by man (I believe because men don't often mop and they don't think of the repercussions of deep grout).  It is the Grand Canyon of grout.  You need a mule train just to get down in it. Regularly Katie or I can be seen shaking our fists at it while crying out, "GROOOOUUUUTTTT!!!" 

So it's deep and the cocoa had settled in quite nicely.  I tried a damp cloth to pick it up, which only made cocoa paste.  And then I tried the vacuum, but because it's so fine and powdery it just blew all over the place.  Which, let's be honest, is a bit of a fantasy, right?  Cocoa powder swirling around your feet seems like a glorious dream...if you were living in the Wonka Factory.  It is not so much when you're trying to get it out of the GROOOOOOOUUUUUUUUTTTT.  I decided I would just leave it there because, well, it smelled really good and it sort of blended in, so I Swiffered it to pick up what was left and lo, a miracle occurred.  The narrow edge of the Swiffer was the exact size of the grout and picked it up like a champ.  Huzzah!  The cocoa powder was gone but the chocolately smell still remained.  Also, my slippers smell like chocolate from all the swirling. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Big Five

On Thursday of last week I was weepy.  For various reasons, not all of them bad.  One, in fact, was quite good (Later.  I'll tell you later. I don't know...I'm feeling superstitious.)  I had hit that point where you cannot stop crying, even though reason has set in and the sun has come out and the Blue Bird of Happiness is chirping in the tree outside your window.  And yet, you can't stop.  I've talked about crying here enough times to know that there are several of you out there who know what I'm talking about.  And if you don't know what I'm talking about can you bottle that magic and pass it around?

So, anyway, I was crying, and it got to the point where I had to resort to the Big Five.  The five things that, when combined, form a shield of awesomeness around me and make me feel like life can go on despite all the evidence against such a feat.  They are:

1.)  Pajamas (life cannot be so bad if at the end of the day you get to take your bra off and put on stretchy pants.)
2.)  My pink bathrobe that may as well be my boyfriend
3.)  Toast with butter and jam
4.)  Hot chocolate
5.)  The Blue Castle. (This book is like aloe on a sunburn, like aspirin on a headache, like  raw bacon on your chest when you have an upper-respiratory infection.)

It worked.  On Friday morning I woke up happy as a happy thing. The world may go on.

What are you Big Fives?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Lip Balm Addiction. I am not ashamed.

How long does it take you to go through a tube of lip balm? 

Me?  One month.  Which I did not think was excessive (mostly because when I lived in Utah it was more like 2 weeks) until I asked my dad how long it took him and he said 6 months...maybe longer.  And everyone in my family nodded their heads and said, "That's about right." Like they were monks who had taken a vow of chapped lips.

My lips have always been very prone to chapping.  Most childhood pictures of me include the tell-tale red ring around my mouth, thus making me look like a freckled Chinese toddler who has escaped from clown school.  And that one tube has a lot of territory to cover - my lips are not demure.  And I like a lot of coverage. But six months?  Is there some kind of ration going on that I didn't know about?

Just writing about lip balm rationing makes me want to stick my lips in a jar of Vaseline. 

Also, what is your preferred balm?  I am a Burt's Bees girl.  Ever since Chapstick changed their formula, which they refused to own up to when I harassed them by phone even though I could smell that it was different and it made my lips break out in cold sores, thus making me look less like a clown school escapee and more like a woman of the night. You're really going to go against my nose and my many, many years of faithful usage, Chapstick?  Really?

(Side note:  Happy 700th post everyone!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Granola Confession

You know I suffer from a yet to be classified by the AMA condition called weather paralysis that manifests itself in my inability to do anything but sit on my couch and watch Brit-flicks while eating cheese when it rains.  Well, it's been raining all morning and I am happy to report that I exercised for a full hour and showered and ate a real breakfast, not just a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles.  It wasn't until much later in the morning that I sat down with some brie and watched last night's episode of Downton Abbey (oh, that Thomas makes me so mad). 

One thing I don't mind doing when it rains is baking.  It just feels appropriate and it warms up my house without me having to turn on the heater (because I'm cheap and the heater makes my allergies cranky).  On the docket today is granola and bread.  I've been hiding the fact from you for months now but I make my own granola.  Because making your own granola just seems so, I don't know, granola-y.  And pretentious. Like, only people who use hemp toilet paper and brag about it make their own granola, right?  And yet, here I am, chopping up dried fruits and toasting the oats and measuring out flax seed (FLAX SEED!?!) What have I become?  Oh, right, I'm cheap.  I started making my own granola for the single reason that's it's cheaper than buying it.  The bulk granola over at Sprouts is so delicious, it's like crack, but it's also just as expensive.  So, yes, I'll admit it.  But that just means there's more room in my budget for cheese.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The capital of Burkina Faso is...

Ugh, you guys, unemployment has made me dumb.  If any of you have had a conversation with me in the last few months, you've no doubt noticed this.  My brain is just sluggish. I spend most of Jeopardy! saying, "Oh, it's...um...I know this...it's...GAH!!!!" because I know the answer but because I spend my days talking to myself my ability to be coherent has evaporated. I blame the lack of problem solving opportunities.  You know when you're at work and some guy comes in screaming about how he was over charged by one million dollars or you have to spend 3 hours on the phone because the coffee cups you ordered all have holes in them?  I don't have these problems, which isn't a bad thing.  It just means that I don't use my brain in those ways very often which means that I've become a little stupid. 

And so I have decided that I need to fix this and have started doing things I don't normally do, like math problems.  And logic problems.  And memorizing poems.  And learning new piano pieces.  I've also started memorizing all the world capitals. (Which really doesn't make me any smarter, just a bigger nerd and truly insufferable at parties) Two weeks ago I started with Africa, then last week was Europe.  Yesterday I dug into Asia, which has fewer countries but also has the -stans. You know, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, etc.  So I've had to come up with creative ways to remember them all.  Like, "Bishop Kek of the Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 1st Ward."  Or, "There's a cash tent under Tashkent, Uzbekistan."  Or my favorite, for Turkmenistan, "Turks in Ashgabat wear Oshkosh B'Gosh."

Next week is South America, which should be pretty simple ("Life is more simple in Thimphu, Bhutan"). I hope that by the time I get around to the Caribbean and all those little island nations in the south Pacific my brain will be back to fighting shape ("Go back to Baku, Azerbaijan").

(The answer to the title is Ouagadougou (pronounced wah-gah-doo-goo).  "Do the watusi in your bikini in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)

Monday, January 16, 2012

They start them young in the desert, and other things I learned in AZ

Camille and I went out to Arizona for the weekend because our best friends both live there.  So she dropped me off in Phoenix to see Cynde and Ryan and then continued on up north to see Pam.  Fun followed.

1.)  Cynde and I haven't seen each other since our trip to Rome last year. (Ah, Rome.)  So it was a grand reunion.  And just like the last time we were together, we ate a lot of gellato.  Cynde was explaining to a friend of hers, whom we ran into at a museum, that we've been friends since the tragic hair days of junior high and practically share a brain, to which the friend (a sassy elderly gal) said, "So you're half wits?"  It was indecent how much I laughed over that one.

2.)  Have you had fake meat?  Cynde is a vegetarian and she introduced me to the world of fake meat and I have to say...I'm going to stick with the real stuff.  It doesn't taste bad.  It just doesn't take like meat.  Plus it's squishy.

3.)  Ryan got a Nissan Leaf, and 100% electric car.  And driving in it was like driving to the future.  It didn't make any noise at all and you half expect droids to come out and open the door for you.

4.)  I was able to see my adorable friend Andrea and go to church with her.  When the meeting started I noticed that there was a child sitting at the organ.  And then Andrea leaned over and told me that their organist is 11 years old.  ELEVEN!  As in still in elementary school.  But it gets better.  She has been the ward organist since she was 10.  I was barely playing with two hands at 10.  I couldn't even spread my fingers wide enough to reach an octave at 10.  I would have wet myself if the bishop had asked me to play the organ at 10.  And she was good.  She played like a pro.  So much so that when it was announced that we would be singing all seven verses of How Firm A Foundation she played it at super sonic speed, like every seasoned organist knows you have to do in order to fight off the fatigue. Were we to have a True to the Faith battle she would school me.  Are they growing organ savants out there in the desert?

5.)  We spent all day Saturday at the Musical Instrument Museum.  It was amazing.  They have instruments from every inhabited country in the world and videos of people playing them.  Totally fascinating.  Here's what I have gathered:  a.)  most regions around the world have some form of the bagpipe; b.) people get pretty inventive when creating instruments, ex. gourd marimbas, mouthbows, Theremins; c.)  third-world countries know how to throw a musical party.  Nearly every video from the developing world was of some parade or hootenanny with people dancing in the streets or gathered around drums and bagpipes to shimmy, which I think makes them superior to those of us with 3-ply toilet paper.  I'm not asking for Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I'd just like to have more opportunities around here to dance other than in my bedroom while listening to Abba on my laptop.

6.)  I took one picture in the MIM.  One on the whole trip, actually. 

Elvis' jumpsuit.  Naturally.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Magic Hair

I had a very surprise job interview this morning (fingers crossed, kids).  I got the call at 9 and told him that I could be down in an hour.  To a place that was at least 20 minutes away.  And I had not showered yet.  And my hair definitely needed to be washed.  And since I refuse to go into job interviews, or out in public for that matter, with a wet pony tail because it is a sign of defeat, it needed to be blown dry.

Now you're saying that this is impossible right?  Because, considering my tumbleweediness and all of those cowlicks, my hair generally takes a solid 20 minutes to tame, which I did not have.  I had 5.  And yet, it happened.  Because I think my hair dryer was swapped out for some sort of government sponsored top secret super machine that the Soviets would love to get their hands on.  My hair was dry in 4 minutes and needed exactly 3 swipes of the straightening iron and suddenly it was the best hair day of my life.  Sometimes magic happens just when you need it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

This and That and Felt

A sampling of things I've worked up over the last few months of felting:

Han Solo bookmark

Princess Leia bookmark

A ballerina with a real tulle skirt.  Legit!

A T-Rex.  GRRRR.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for contest winner Erin

A Cogsworth costume for a friend, modelled by Katie. 

Mr. Darcy! (There was also a Captain Wentworth which I forgot to take a picture of.)

A Home Alone lap top cover. 

Dr. Who on the front...

...and the TARDIS on the back.

An angel stocking for Eliza because...

...just look at that face.  You're dying right now, aren't you?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Comma Coma

Katie needed something edited so I got out a pen and started reading.  And when I needed to verify a certain grammatical rule I pulled out the old Chicago Manual of Style...and spent the next 30 minutes reading it like a novel.  Because what the real party girls do on a Thursday night is read up on the proper use of a comma in a compound sentence.  (Conclusion:  historically, yes.  But used more so now only if it is needed to clear up ambiguities.)

While we're on the subject, I'd like to go on the record as stating I am for the Oxford, or serial, comma, even though it is going the way of Pluto.  I think it helps in clarification, continuity, and aesthetics.

And now I'm going to go put on a muumuu and find myself a few cats because I'm going to be alone for the rest of my life if I keep talking about commas.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I have many New Years resolutions.  Near the top of my list is to find out who is making the Kardashians so popular and destroy them.

What's yours?

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Great Hambino

All the Knechts have returned to their homes in Utah (Dear Utah, I thing you're dumb.  Please give me back my loved ones.  Regards, Rachel)  and I am left sighing over pictures of the Nephs and Niece.  Like these on Camille's blog.  Or these on Gina's which includes a brief video of Tom's tap dance routine.  Whenever there was a lull we'd get the cane out and make Tom dance for us.

A few days ago we took the boys to the park and while watching them play we noticed a little butter ball of a kid.  He was about three or four, short and round, his hair was buzzed high and tight and he wore a rugby shirt and grey sweatpants.  He kept chasing after groups of bigger kids, desperate to play with anything that moved.  I instantly wanted to take him home.  To my joy he latched on to Ben who brought him over to our blanket and said, "This is Jake."

And then Jake said,

"Hi.  I'm Jacob.  But you can call me Jake.  My dad beats up bad guys.  He does karate moves on them.  I know karate.  Are those grapes?  Can I have some grapes?  Hey, Ben, let's eat grapes!  That's my mom over there.  Hi mom! (We all wave in a "we're not going to kidnap your son" way.) Is that a ball?  Hey, Ben, let's kick this ball around. (Ben kicks the ball and Jake puts his head down and charges after it, only to pick it up and carry it back to Ben.) I got the ball!  I got the ball!  Ben, Ben, Ben, I got the baaaaalllll!!!!!  Kick it again!  This ball is great.  Let's run. (The run around for a few minutes as only four year old boys can then come back.) We run.  Me and Ben RUUUUNNNNN!  I love to run.  (We are now joined by Tom who starts eating some grapes.) Hey, Tom, share the grapes with Jake!  Jake loves grapes.  Let's go play in the sand.  Bye, bye, bye, byyyyyyeeeeeee!!!!!!!"

This went on for about 30 minutes.  Jake would come over and talk and talk and talk.  His mom would follow and apologize for him lounging on our blanket and eating our grapes and I would wave her off because who doesn't love a kid like Jake?

When we got home we told everyone about this kid. 

Me:  "He was pudgy and cute."
Kylea:  "He talked non-stop."
Casey:  "He was the Great Hambino."

Yes.  That's it exactly.  He's the Great Hambino at age four.