Thursday, August 30, 2012

One down

Day 1 of seminary:  check!

I woke up on time and excited.  My kids are adorable and lovely and funny and eager.  My room doesn't seem to have air conditioning and it felt like I was teaching in a sauna.  But despite that one thing, I loved it. And really, isn't sweating good for the pores?

In other news, the institute students came back this week.  Boy, did I miss them.  I was sitting in my office listening to the buzz of the place - the constant game of ping pong, the squeak of Slurpee straws (yes, we have a Sev next door), the laughing - and I felt like the world was right again.

Monday, August 27, 2012

"'Tis a silly place."

Can you believe that I have spent my whole life here and have never been to Medieval Times? I mean, who loves campiness more than this girl?  So it was with true, un-ironic glee that I accepted Emily's invitation for last Friday.  There was a moment in the show when I leaned over to her and said, "You are my one true friend for bringing me here."

Because where else can you watch fancy horse dancing while eating half a chicken with your bare hands?  The highlights:

1.)  You probably all have been, but here's how it goes down:  You eat your dinner while a show of horsemanship and knightly jousting goes on.  And there are actors who play the king and the princess and the Bad Guy and the Master of Ceremonies and several knights. I could not help but wonder what it must be like to say, "I play the Bad Guy at Medieval Times."  Is this their actual job?  Or are they all accountants who do this on the side?  I'm legitimately curious.  And our waiter was no help at all when we asked him about it. But he did seem to have aspirations to at least work his way up to page boy.

2.)  You really do eat all of your food with your hands.  There are no utensils.  Which is so gloriously gimmicky.  I loved it. 

3.)  There was a falconer.  I mean, the Royal Falconer.  And I don't know if you're aware of this but I'm not too keen on birds, any kind really, but particularly large birds of prey that can claw my eyes out and nest in my hair.  So there was a little bit of panic when the falcon was let loose and he swooped over us and all I could think of was, "Do I in any way resemble a rodent?  When he flaps his wings do particles of avian flu flutter down on my tomato soup? I wish my hair wasn't such a frizzy mess because it is looking a lot like a nest right about now."

4.)  If cheering were an Olympic sport the Chinese would not even stand a chance against me.  I love to root for people.  Which came in handy because you're assigned a knight to cheer on in the tournament.  Ours had the best hair - lots of flowing locks.  But he was ousted in the first round.  It is a testament to how much I love to scream encouraging things to people that I continued to cheer on the other knights, even though I had no allegiance to them.

5.)  The stunts in the tournament looked something like this:  dodge a fatal blow, wait one second, tuck and roll like you've been struck. Or, if on a horse, narrowly miss being run through with the lance, wait for your horse to get to its mark, leap from the horse.  Impressive

6.) I love that Medieval Times is still a destination.  The place was packed.  I guess because it's been around for decades I just assumed that it had run its course and would shortly go the way of the Movieland Wax Museum across the street.  But no - people still wore their paper crowns with pride.  I was thrilled.

7.)  There are more than enough opportunities to quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail - as if you need them.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Five Things

1.)  I'm addicted to Sporcle.com.  Have you been on?  Don't do it!  You'll never leave!  It's a site with all sorts of random trivia quizzes.  And you know how much I love trivia.  Specifically geography trivia.  I'll get on just to do one little quiz about bordering nations and suddenly 3 days have passed and I've grown a beard and cobwebs are attached to it. Enter at your own risk.

2.)  Have you seen the fat Mini Cooper?  I think it's called the Countryman.  If by countryman they mean a fella who lives in the country and eats nothing but pork cracklins all day, then it's a pretty fitting name.  It looks like it has a glandular problem.  I laughed for days after seeing one and now I see them everywhere.  I will not comment on people who buy overweight Minis but if I believed in doing hashtags I would do one for missing the point.

3.)  I miss this girl

video

And I miss the girl filming it.  Dear Amanda and Bronwyn, please move to California.  Love, Rachel.

4.)  Actually, this goes for all of my friends who don't live here.  Why don't you live here?!  California is the best place in the world! I want you close by so you can come over and eat ice cream with me while we watch Gilmore Girl reruns.

5.)  Seminary starts in a week.  GAH! I've met with my students and their parents and they are basically the cutest group of youngsters on the planet. I've already decided we need matching t-shirts and a cheer.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Birthday fun!

Did you get a Slurpee?  I sure did.  But it was a bit of a fail.  I put what was marked lemon creme in my cup but it was actually banana.  Eww, gross!  Fortunately I did halfsies and had cherry lime on top. But I'm still going to need a redo.

Someone at the LA Music Center must have known that it was my birthday because they scheduled a Broadway sing-along on it.  Sweet, huh?  So a bunch of girlfriends and I headed over and sang and danced and made friends with people who love to sing and dance.


Side note:  I love my friends.  This is just a very small handful of the people in my life who are outstanding and good and beautiful and fun. Birthdays make me feel lucky.

You will never believe who was there!  Mr. Pleated Khakis/Black Mock Turtleneck!  And he was wearing the exact same outfit.  You can see him near the center of this picture, singing with his eyes closed:


The Lady In Red leaning into him is his wife and those two were IN LOVE.  They kept serenading each other and making googly eyes during the ballads. They were getting a little PG-13 during some of the songs.  It was amazing. I need to figure out a way to become their best friends.


After we sang our hearts out we headed over to this place in downtown that was out of this world good.  I loved everything I tried.  Including what I ordered:


That steak was a victory for mankind.  And so was the root beer creme brulee.  Yeah, you read right, root beer creme brulee.  It blew my mind.

And now for the funniest picture of the whole evening:


I brought Ruby out for a night with the ladies (I mean, she is a lounge singer.  Who knows Broadway's ballads of love and loss better than this gal?) I forgot I even took this picture but when I uploaded it just now I nearly fell off my chair from laughing.  It's her smudged face that gets me.  She's all, "Yeah, so I've lived hard.  But I also go to places that serve fancy desserts.  Classy!"

Hooray for birthdays!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

2nd Annual Get Yourself a Slurpee Day!

Hi Friends.  Guess what tomorrow is.  It's the 2nd Annual Get Yourself a Slurpee Day.  So go out and celebrate by getting yourself a Slurpee or a comparable slushy beverage*.  Why?  Listen, if you have to ask then you don't get Get Yourself a Slurpee Day.  It's fun, okay?  And there doesn't even need to be a reason to get one.  But I'll give you one anyway:  slushy beverages make people happy and I like to see you happy. Which leads me to part two of GYASD - take a picture of you and your loved ones enjoying a Slurpee and send it to me. Or post it up on Facebook (we're friends, right).  Think of this as a movement.  You share a picture of you enjoying a Slurpee and your friends see it and think, that's a great idea, and then they get one and post a picture and then there are all these pictures floating around of people relaxing by the pool with a Slurpee in their hand and bam - world peace. We'll all split the Nobel Prize money.  Who's in?

*Snow cones count.  Or if you're in wintry climes, you may substitute in a hot cocoa.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Other Stuff Happened Too

So the Olympics have only been done for half a day and I still have many hours saved on my DVR of unwatched events.  And yet I already miss them.  Come back to me!

Although it does not seem like it, other things happened besides a collection of sports we only care about every 4 years.

1.)  Stacy and the kids surprised us with a week-long visit.  It has been joyous.  The Blessed Nephews are like two blond tornadoes, but incredibly funny.  And Eliza is an angel with a button nose and dimples.  Casey and Kylea also came for a couple of days and we did what we do best, which is sit around and laugh.  And we had a sisters pedicure trip.  Ah.

2.)  Ben and I were pretending to be octopuses (wait, what was it?  Octopodes!) while swimming and he demonstrated the many skills the octopus has.  "JET PROPULSION!" He'd zip across the pool, "ARM STRIKE!" he'd sock me in the arm, "SUCTION CUPS!" he'd latch onto my face, "CAMOUFLAGE!" he'd attempt to sink to the bottom of the pool which was difficult in his life vest.

3.)  Multiple earthquakes.  But don't worry, just baby ones.  They were appropriate because I always associate earthquakes with hot weather.  And folks, it has been hot. 

4.) So, so hot!  So hot that our air conditioning decided to quit.  And on its way out it was all, "See you later, losers!  I hope you have fun turning into fruit leather while I'm gone." It is fixed now after two sweltering days and nights and I have erected a shrine around the thermostat, lest it feels under appreciated now that its working again.

5.)  I developed a mysterious craving for cucumbers.  I DON'T KNOW HOW THIS HAPPENED!  I'm sorry to scream but cucumbers are the one food I really, really don't like.  So imagine my surprise when I found myself thinking, "Hm, a cucumber sounds pretty good right now." And then thinking, "I have to have a cucumber right this very minute!" What is wrong with me? No seriously, this is freaking me out.  I made cucumber sandwiches for book club and woke up the next day excited to eat the left overs for breakfast.  I think it's a tumor.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"I know you. I know you."

Olympic sports I have a hard time taking seriously even though I will sit for hours and watch them:

Speed walking:  It's pretty hard to not giggle a little at the guys who look like ducks when they compete.  Do you think they get made fun of by the other athletes?  Also, they could all use a sandwich or two.

Rhythmic Gymnastics:  Let's be real here, I would choke myself with that ribbon. And I am a little amazed by what they can do with a hula hoop considering that all I've ever been able to do with a hula hoop was play space aliens with my cousins in my grandparents' backyard (hold the hula hoop around your waist, talk like an alien and make spaceship sounds, see how many cousins you can fit inside.  Hours and hours of fun.) And I certainly love a sparkly outfit.  But it's a little too Cirque du Soleil for my Olympics taste.

BMX Bikes:  I don't know. Is it really that special if every punk kid in the 80s was doing it?

Synchronized Swimming:  (See Rhythmic Gymanstics) I've never be able to watch this without giggling thanks to this skit.  It would be impossible to count the number of times the line, "I'm not that strong a swimmer," has been said by a member of my family over the last 25 years that skit has been in existence.  I said it just the other day while in the pool.  And then I did a couple of the moves.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Olympic Mustache

When Camille and I saw each other last night, after Andy Murray won the gold medal, we hugged and congratulated ourselves.  Because long ago we saw him play at Indian Wells when he was just a kid and we loved him then and have watched him there every year since (except for this year.  Don't get us started.) and we feel like part of that gold medal is ours.  In a symbolic sense, of course.  I'll start excepting endorsements now. 

In other news:  The gold medal winner for the skeeviest mustache goes to this guy:


Tomas Gonzalez, a Chilean gymnast. 

Whilst searching for his picture on the internet I came across this gem:


I do not know whose hand he is shaking but I'd like to shake it too.  He's like a bleached, permed My Little Pony.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Don't tell Kobe I said that. I don't want his head to get any fatter.

Olympic Round-up Part III

1. I think that we've all had enough time with Ryan Lochte this week to recognize that he is a total doofus.  Sure, he can swim and we all root for him.  But the poor kid is kind of dim when it comes to talking out loud.

2.  It's not very often when I say, "That Kobe Bryant is a swell guy."  In fact, I say that exactly never. That is up until the Olympics where he is popping up all over the place, watching random events and cheering people on.  And suddenly I'm thinking that we can totally be best friends because he loves the Olympics and I love the Olympics.

3.  I did not realize that the coxswain on a rowing team gets a medal too.  You guys, I have found my future gold medal! The two requirements seem to be you have to be short and scream really loud.  I'm great at both of those things.  Rio 2016 here I come!

4.  Maybe my favorite Olympic moment so far was watching the women's 100 meter preliminaries.  I love that if you come to the Olympics, no matter how you got there, be it a win or a wild card, you get to compete.  And it may just be one race that lasts 10 seconds.  But you still get your moment.  You get to put on the colors of your flag and step out on the track and run.  So seeing all of those women from places most people have never heard of, women who know they don't have a shot but do it anyway, women who are the first from their country to ever compete, women who couldn't practice with starting blocks because they didn't have any, well, it made me want to get an Olympic rings tattoo like every single athlete has.  Not really.  But maybe I'll paint the rings on my cheek.

5.  Trampoline is the sport of the future.  Doesn't it look like so much fun?  Except for the part where I would be vomitting from all that jumping and spinning.  I get dizzy just from the camera going up and down with them. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

En Garde

On Fencing:

1.) Have you been watching fencing?  I watched a match between Mariel Zagunis and some gal from India who would scream like a banshee (as in the sound of your death being foretold) anytime she got a point, or thought she got the point, or thought that Mariel got the point but it should have been awarded to her.  It was... intense.  If Mariel gets the gold she will have earned it because if I had that scream coming at me along with a sword, I would be cowering under the judges' table.

2.)  Another American was playing a Tunisian.  Obviously I was rooting for Team USA but I was sort of hoping the Tunisian would pull out a win.  That country supplied me with a lot of adventures, marriage proposals, and Orangina.  They are in my heart.

3.)  For some reason the arena is dark except for the area where the competitors fight.  And there are areas of flashing lights to signal when someone has been hit.  And they're wearing these shimmery silver get-ups.  So when they walk out, and the very excited announcer says their names it had a hint of Vegas floor show to it.  Or the Icecapades.