Thursday, May 31, 2012

Barricaded in the library

Thanks to a perfect storm of stressors on Sunday (lack of sleep, girls camp, a wonky printer, screaming kids in nursery, a weeks worth of quite possibly the worse PMS of my life) when a friend asked how I was doing while I was making copies in the church library I broke down.  It was a biblical amount of tears.  Followed by laughter because you know how much I love the ridiculous.  And at that moment there was nothing more ridiculous than I.  But that was followed by more tears because the problem with the church library is that it is a hub of the ward.  People come in and out all day long.  And when they come in and see a poor girl weeping they're going to ask how she's doing.  Which always, ALWAYS, leads to more tears for me.  Nothing makes me cry more than kindness.  One after another people kept coming in to check out a picture or get some chalk and they'd see me and ask what was wrong and I would break down all over again.  So my dear friends, champions of all crying women everywhere, barricaded us into the library so I could get a grip. They closed the doors and we had a good laugh over the whole thing because we've all been there. 

So that was nice, recognizing once again what lovely friends I have.  But what is also nice are the plates of cookies I have received this week.  Several gals have stopped by because they know that few things soothes the soul better than chocolate chip cookies.  It has almost made the whole thing worth it and I am considering have break downs more often.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I really like Memorial Day.  I actually feel much more patriotic on this day than I do even on Independence Day.  Maybe because there are a lot more distractions on the 4th of July.  I am easily diverted by fireworks.  But there's no such hoopla on Memorial Day.  There are just a lot of flags and stories of heroism and airings of Band of Brothers, which I get sucked into every single time despite my distaste for movies with people getting blown up.  And there's a war going on - which breaks me up. I mean, really. My mom and I made the mistake of watching 60 Minutes last night and there was story after story of men coming home from war broken and some not coming home at all.  And oh how we wept. We then followed it up with the Memorial Day concert that airs every year on PBS and we cried some more.  This is our Memorial Day tradition.  We cry.  And then the next day we eat homemade boysenberry ice cream.  Sweet land of liberty!

I don't know a single person who has died in war.  I feel very blessed for that.  But my grandpa, who flew in a B-17 crew, would sometimes tell the story of being on a mission over Germany during World War II  and watching a plane full of his friends get shot down. Can you imagine? I marvel at his life and how he fought and lived and now I get to live.  It makes me want to march around with a flag and a bugle while shouting at the top of my lungs, "We're really, really lucky, people!"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm also pretty dumb at spelling bees

Camille called to say the National Geography Bee was on so naturally I turned right over and picked it up about half way through and felt pretty good about myself when the first question I heard was, "The group of islands northwest of Madagascar that has these types of lemurs." Comoros!*  Nailed it.  The remaining 8 kids all got it right too, although one kid scratched out Seychelles before writing the correct answer down.  Rookie mistake.  Everyone knows Seychelles is north of Madagascar, not northwest.

But just as I started to think, "Why don't you challenge these kids a little, Alex Trebek," the next 30 or so questions turned out to be the type of geography questions even google couldn't answer.  Basically you have to be a super computer with an atlas to know the type of geographical minutiea that these kids were spouting off.  Or a 13 year old Indian boy.  (Poor Anthony Cheng was the last holdout for a name you could pronounce.)  I spent the rest of the show staring slack-jawed at the TV, trying to remember exactly what I had done with my squandered youth, other than reading a lot of Babysitters Club books.  I managed to eke out a correct guess on a later question but only because after 5 clues were given, and all the contestants had written their answers down, I figured it had to be the capital of one of the -stans.  Uzbekistan in this case ("The cash is under the tent in Tashkent, Uzbekistan")  It was a lucky guess.  At one point I said out loud, "These kids are insane! I want to be just like them!"  And I do.  Suddenly I want to pull out every map I own and start memorizing the location and shape of obsure bodies of water.

My questions is, what do you do with yourself when you haven't even entered high school and you have already learned everything there is to know about every single place on the planet?  The solar system is vast  but sparse.  Maybe the universe?  That's pretty big.  Maybe there will be a bee for that in the near future.  I hope Trebek hosts it.  Even though I think he'd be a lot more credible if he grew back his mustache. 

*Capital:  Moroni.  For reals.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"We do mitzvahs up on mesas"

My little pal Cindy has the distinction of being a Mexican Jewish Mormon.  Or a MexiJewMon, as we call her.  She showed me this clip in honor of her heritage:

I hate to break it to you, but this song will be stuck in your head FOR DAYS.  I've been humming it for hours now and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
I've never actually seen Phineas and Ferb but I hear it's pretty popular with the kids these days.  If this song is any indication of the quality of the show then I think the Youth of America are in good hands.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A partial eclipse of the heart

Happy Solar Eclipse Day!  Did you look directly into the sun?  I sure did.  Because I live on the edge, people.

The first solar eclipse I remember was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. We were supposed to go on a field trip that day.  No doubt somewhere incredibly cool and exciting and adventurous.  Some place that would make us the envy of the whole school.  But it was cancelled.  Ugh.  Is there anything worse?  You can't imagine the disappointment.  So instead of going to this incredibly cool place we had to go out to the park next to the school and eat our sack lunches*. My teacher explained the eclipse and then told us to not look directly into the sun.  Now, I'm sure I loved my teacher.  She was no doubt a brilliant educator. But I thought she was kind of dumb for thinking that she needed to tell us to not look into the sun.  Of course I'm not going to look into the sun!  You could go blind doing that!  When we got to the field there were several upper grade classes viewing the eclipse through special glasses.  I wanted to yell at them, "Do your really think those glasses are going to save your eye sight, you lunatics!?  What kind of fool teacher do you people have?"  I was, above all else, a rules follower.  Plus, I was already suffering from the huge blow of not going on the field trip, I certainly did not want to add to that by losing my vision.  So while the other kids in my class were roaming around the park, trying to wiggle their way in with the big kids to look through their glasses, I sat quietly in the grass, drinking my root beer and putting a pox on whatever it was that cancelled our trip.

Which is why this evening, as I stood outside in the shadowy light, I felt a slight pang of disappointment and a craving for root beer.

*Did your mom pack you a special lunch for field trips?  Mine did.  I had the same sack lunch every single day - peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, a juice box, and two of Mom's chocolate chip cookies (which were nothing to shrug your shoulders at.)  But for field trips she would swap out the juice box for a can of A&W root beer wrapped in foil to keep it cool, and a bag of chips, usually Funyuns, because those were really exotic.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Let's run away and live off your social security."

My cactus, which is about 3 inches high and 2 inches wide, has three enormous, glorious, bright pink blooms on it with two more about to sprout.  They only last a few days, they'll be gone by tomorrow is my guess, but it is still an annual joy.  In honor of it, let's watch my favorite scene from the movie Cactus Flower.  Goldie Hawn and Ingrid Bergman dancing in a disco?  Why, yes please.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Protecting the institute with our cardboard fort

Today's activities at the Institute included:

1.) A taste test of the Taco Bell Dorito Taco.  It was a draw right down the gender line.  The gals thought they was okay.  The fellas thought they were manna from heaven. (I did not take a picture because my fingers were coated in Dorito dust and taco juice.)

2.)  The arrival of new folding metal chairs that were removed from their boxes and set up.  And then the boxes were placed in the director's office while he was at lunch - for fun.

3.)  Removing the boxes and building a fort with them.

4.)  Plastic bag races across the lounge.

Monday, May 14, 2012

You have some explaining to do, Tyra!

How come I am JUST NOW finding out about this!

It is an outrage!  And I will not stop using exclamation points until Tyra calls me up and personally explains herself!  What is America's Next Top Model without Miss J, Mr. Jay and Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker!?!?

It's the day the smize died!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brooch Fortnight and other things

1.)  I would like for someone to please make me some chocolate chip cookies.  Thanks you.

2.)  A package came in the mail from Amanda the other day, wrapped in brown paper but no string.  She apologized for that.  It was a set of swively hula girls to keep Ruby St. Germaine company.  I'm afraid that they will only make her fall further into despair.  They are young and cute.  She has a piece of oatmeal stuck in her hair.

3.)  I was challenged at work to wear a different brooch every day this week.  Challenge accepted!  Today it was extended from Brooch Week to Brooch Fortnight.

4.)  The local classical music station is having their semi-annual pledge drive which ends on Friday and the DJ said, "Please contribute on this, the antepenultimate day of the drive."  And then I swooned.  That is a great word, my friends.

5.)  The book I'm reading now is such a drag.  And the book I read before that was too.  And the book before that.  What I'm saying is, somebody please help me!  I need you to recommend a book that KNOCKED YOUR SOCKS OFF. I'm not talking about an okay book.  I'm talking about the type of book that was so good when you finished it you hugged it and bought it mink stole.  I need a book worthy of fur!  And.....GO.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Who knew that Palm Springs was such a charmer

It has been dreary this week, weather-wise.  This is how May goes.  Overcast in the morning and then hazy the rest of the day.  Which is how I found myself spending an hour on Thursday night looking at pictures of sun-drenched island resorts.  And pricing flights to the Maldives.  And writing mental notes for the Wealthy Benefactor (Private villa and not one of those over the water bungalows because I like sitting on a chair with my feet in the sand.  Also, there should be a hot tub and an infinity pool.  I think those come standard with Wealthy Benefactors.  I mean, even if we're at his Swiss chalet there will be a hot tub and infinity pool, right?)

So when Camille called me at 11am Friday and said, "I think we need to be spontaneous.  Let's go to Palm Springs," I was on board.  Like something that is really, really on board.  SO on board. 
Four hours later we were pool-side.

Note:  that is the family pool.  The adults only pool was filled with really tan and mostly skeevy old people.  Several of them were making out.

Let's talk about this phenomenon for a sec.  Why do the elderly flock to the desert?  The place was swarming with them. You couldn't toss your support hose ten feet without hitting one.  Is it the dry heat?  Do they just really love sage brush?  Are they looking for a place to wear their extensive muumuu/desert Hawaiian shirt collection?  There were people at the pool who looked like they had done nothing with their lives but roast in the desert sun.  We watched a man spend at least 4 straight hours flipping from back to front every 20 minutes.  His skin was the color and texture of burnt carrot cake.  It's a mystery.
Back to the pool!  We stayed there all afternoon.  And all of the next morning.  And it was glorious.  The sun!  The breeze rustling through the palm trees!  The water that was the perfect temperature! Sweet land of liberty, I love a pool. It was hours of swimming and reading and napping and re-applying sunscreen because I refuse to be that dumb girl anymore, the one who thinks she could tan.  You can't tan, Rachel!!!  Do you see how pasty I am in the above picture?  I am still that pasty. Years of blistered, seeping (once even bleeding) sun burns have taught me well.
I would have been thrilled if that had been it, just sitting by the pool.  But we got a bonus treat at dinner.  We went across the street to this place called Billy Reed's and it was The Best Restaurant In the Entire World if Food Wasn't Factored In.  You guys, you have to promise me that if you're ever in Palm Springs you will go there and think fondly of me.  I actually bet that you won't be able to not think of me because it's as if everything in my brain spilled out and landed in this place - minus Tyra Banks.  The only way I can describe it is how Mrs. Olsen (on Little House on the Prairie) would have decorated Nellie's restaurant if Nells has been a wealthy banker instead of just a local mercantile proprietor.  It was very, very 1880s Mankato.  There were colored glass lamps and an enormous wooden bar and red velvet chairs and waiters with enormous facial hair, and it was kind of dark and musty.  Which all sounds dated and a little tragic until you throw in dozens of elderly folks in their best desert casual dining wear and suddenly it is kitsch paradise.  I could have stayed there all night.  Except that aside from lounging by the pool we had additional plans of lounging in our hotel room.  But on the way out I very nearly vowed to track Billy Reed down and ask if he would adopt me so I could be part of this empire because what do they have every Friday night?  Ballroom dancing. There were about 10 mature women of elegant leisure sitting at tables lining a small dance floor just waiting for a gentleman to come and ask them for a dance. I couldn't stand it!  It was possibly the best thing I had ever seen in my life.

Mystery solved.  When I'm 65 and the Muumuu Years commence, I am moving to Palm Springs because apparantly all I need is a pool and a room full of old people to make me happy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Even Lydia the Tattooed Lady would not put something so dumb on her shoulder

I'm going to start a new feature on this blog called, "Really Dumb Things I've Seen On Pinterest"

Starting with the girl showing off her shoulder tattoo of the quote, "Never settle for anything less than butterflies."

First of all, I had to look it up to see if it was anything significant because I've seen it on Pinterest a few times, mostly scrolled in vinyl over an artfully arranged bed.  Maybe Nietzsche said it or something.  But no.  It refers to having butterflies in your stomach when you fall in love. Oh wait, is it from Twilight?  I'm having a dark memory of Bella saying something like, "My stomach felt full...of butterflies."  And now I want to vomit.

So this is the quote you're going to permanently etch into your flesh for all eternity?  This?!  Butterflies?!  I would say that this is the dumbest tattoo I've ever seen but then I had a coworker whose daughter had a picture of Janeane Garofalo tattooed on her calf.

Don't  you miss the days when tattoos actually meant something?  A tattoo used to signal that you were dealing with a man who would run down kittens on his Harley, or had seem some action in 'Nam, or had killed a man in Reno.  He could certainly rupture your spleen in a bar fight.  Now your accountant probably has a tattoo.  Back in Days of Yore when people were feeling edgy and wanting to express themselves they would just pierce their tongue or dye their hair green or write some really bad poetry and call it day.  Now people are putting that bad poetry on their collar bones for the world to see.  You can't throw your tattoo away like you can your notebook of bad poetry.  But you can certainly feel just as mortified when you reread it years from now.