Tuesday, April 30, 2013


1.  Remember how the tellers at my bank are dumb?  They're also kind of bad at customer service.  When I got up to the window yesterday the guy said, "Hey, how's it going? I'll be right back." And then he walked over to a filing cabinet where there was a lotion bottle on top, squirted some into his hands and chatted with another teller who was working lotion into her elbows.  He then came back after about a minute and proceeded to take 5 minutes to count and recount the money, none of which was loose change, just clearly marked rolls and a few bills.  When he finally verified that they matched the deposit slip he said, "Hey! You got it right!"  Yeah, I'm pretty good at adding small numbers.

2.  The Magic Nerds were in my office and I showed them the blog post about their conversation and then they tried to explain what that conversation was about and all I heard was, "Blah, blah, blabbity blah.  Cast the blah blah and then blah."  I did make them clarify the basic premise of the game and discovered that I was right - it sounds dreadful and complicated and like a nightmare to play.  They told me that I should check out the Magic tournaments for a real taste of how extreme it can get.  I'm picturing a Chinese opium den but with a bunch of kids with bad skin.  They confirmed this is the case. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Addie - Hair of Wonder

I cancelled every single plan I had for the weekend and spent all of my free time kissing on my niece Addie's face:
I mean, could you just die?!!
Casey and Kylea came into town with her and I have to say, she's a keeper. They say that people stop them all the time when they're out on the town to comment on her hair.  Really, wouldn't you? It is a wonder.
Hooray for Addie!
Also, I'm calling out Utah because all of my nieces and nephews live there and I'm kind of mad about it.  Dear Utah, we're officially in a fight.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Why am I not an astronaut?  Why?!  WHY?!!!!

This slide show makes me want to bag it all and stow away on a Russian rocket ship. (Because dumb America doesn't send people into space anymore.  I mean, we do, but we have to thumb a ride from other countries.  Like we're hobos or something.  Why, America?!  WHY?!!!!!) 

Also, I may have a crush on ISS Commander and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield because he has a mustache and he does cool experiments in space  and he hid eggs for his crew on Easter. Okay, yes, I spend a lot of time reading up on the ISS crew because I WANT TO BE THEM!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finally, a throne at a fitting height.

Life Tip for Elegant Leisure:  when a friend says, "Hey, do you want to go parasailing with me?" you always say, "Yes, please."

It was my pal Emily's birthday and to celebrate she took adventures throughout the week.  That is a way to celebrate, am I right?  So when she invited me to go along with her for parasailing I jumped at it.  There are so many things that I love in that adventure:  Emily, birthdays, boats, sunshine, water, bobbing along 500 feet up. Perfection!


1.   The boat ride around Santa Monica Bay.  Oh how I love a boat.  Please, please, please buy one and invite me out for a spin.  I'll bring really great snacks.

2.  The sunshine.  It was a perfect day.  Clear skies and warm but not hot.

3.  The people we were with were a hoot.  There were the Mom and Daughter who could have been super models, the wife who's husband couldn't go up (angina?  lumbar probs?) but who was the cutest one out of all of us with her enthusiasm and vim, the three UCLA students who the very instant they got back to the boat after going up whipped out their phones and began tweeting, the two old guys in jeans, polos, and sensible shoes who kept reminding people to rotate seats whenever a group came back in.  And naturally there was a Mormon from Utah who works out here every other week.  We know how to congregate. 

4.  The view!  We could see everything from way up there: The whole coast from Pacific Palisades to Malibu, the people riding the Ferris wheel on the pier, the LA temple, the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and all the way into downtown.  It easily made my top 5 LA moments.

5.  Floating.  As soon as you lift off it is nothing but peace and quiet and smooth sailing.  It's incredibly peaceful and lovely.

6.  Not vomiting.  For the first time ever in my life I felt seasick.  And it was shocking to me.  And it hit the strongest when we got up in the air.  But I fought through it because, ugh, could you imagine!

7.  The whale at the end of the trip.  He fluked and flipped his tail at us.  Amazing.

8.  The Italian place we ate at afterwards.  The food was delicious and because we couldn't decide we ordered 3 desserts.  The guy kind of gave us a judgy side-eye, but who cares. 

9.  Being in Marina del Rey.  Because of this SNL skit:

For the record, this is exactly how we sound here.  Both the accent and our obsession with traffic routes are dead on. Although to clarify, you can't leave the Chino Correctional Facility via the 5.  You'd have to take the 71 to the 91 to the 5. Or the 60 to the 57 to the 5.

Thanks for a grand adventure, Em!  And happy birthday! Let's do it again.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


There’s a group of fellas and one gal at the Institute who play the extreme nerd game, Magic: the Gathering. It’s some sort of card game and from what I can gather you buy decks, or build decks, or something, and then you battle each other with your own decks. And it sounds as if there are myriad decks and countless cards to put in those decks. It also sounds like you can spend an insane amount of money on this stuff. But we all make silly purchases from time to time, right. Each card has some sort of power or trick or weapon or person and that’s where my knowledge ends. They play some days, but every single day they talk about it. For hours. And hours. And hours. Oh, the hours they can talk about Magic. If they spent half that amount of time on, say, doing their homework or bringing me a Slurpee, I wouldn't worry about them so much.
These conversations and games happen right outside my office so I hear it all.  And it's all very charming and nerdy.  The only real issue (besides the fact that I'm not kidding about the hours part) is that I literally only understand half of what they're saying.  You know how when you listen to people speak a foreign language and you can pick out words that sound familiar?  This is how their Magic talk sounds.  I think they're nearly speaking some form of English but I'm not entirely sure.
This morning I mentioned to a couple of them that I was going to start recording their Magic conversations and blog about it.  They gave me full permission to do so.  Here are just a few snippets:
You snatch an artifact from the graveyard and put it up front.
There’s all the different gollums you can put out. A two two Gollum. Two splicers.
I have a hero blade hold.
Desperate ravings is all crap.
There’s molten psyche. But there are a lot of colorless draws.
Tap four, he’s now five five.
It’s sitting in a pool of manna.
You sacrifice Balthor and every player brings red and black.
You have 4 nine nines.
Star Stars are equal to all creatures.
I blink lots of stuff.
Barbarians are awesome.
You swing with her first. Second combat phase you swing with him.
If you have Aurelia in your hands you can pull off 5 combat phases. Cloud shift her at the end of the 2nd combat phase. If you have Odric because it’s a red white deck you can get 4 more combat phases. I looked it up.
It implies your only other creature is a one one which is most likely not the case.
I was about to freak out because for a minute I thought that was a badillian click.
She’s a hilarious card. No she’s an awesome card.

Plus one plus one.
That's just the stuff I vaguely made out.  The rest sounded like the desperate ravings of a Badillian Click.

The part that I truly love about this whole thing is that when I was a student at this very institute, lo these many years, guys were playing Magic.  I wonder if we could round up some of the old gang of nerds and bring them out to meet the new gang of nerds and have some sort of Magic Summit.  I would have to lock all of them in the game room of course because I can't handle too much of the gibberish. But that would be epic.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ladies Day Out

1.  I spoke to the 8-11 year old girls this morning from church.  Is there a cuter demographic than this?  No.  Pre-teen girls are awesome.  I just love them.  Anyway, it was a big stake activity and dads were invited and there was a craft afterwards that I hung around for.  Glad I did.  Because do you know what else is really cute?  Dad's trying to figure out crafts.  They had to make this really simple macramé scarf and you could see all the men getting a little anxious, first because yarn was involved, and second because their guy brains clicked on and I could hear some of them mentioning how they wish they had rulers, or that square knot didn't look secure enough or wouldn't it just be easier if we duct taped this all together?  Dads are also awesome.

2.  It's been ages since I've purchased shoes.  I was looking for a pair of black, sling back, peep toe, 2-3 inch heels.  It was a fail on all counts.  But I did find these in the clearance section of Nordstrom's Rack.  And I had a gift card.  FREE PINK SHOES!!!!

3.  Last night at a baby shower my friend Jolene mentioned that she had never had a pedicure.  So a bunch of us went out this afternoon for one and then got some frozen yogurt afterwards and it all seemed so very Ladies Day Out. Plus, I wish you all could have seen Jolene's reaction when they painted flowers on her toes and put on little jewels.  It was priceless.  (Secret of the Blog:  in the first draft of this paragraph I typed "pedi & fro-yo" as a joke.  And then I wanted to kill myself and had to take it out. I refuse to be that woman.  I have my dignity.)

4.  Please tell me you're reading Nicola's blog. I ask because whenever she posts I get this warm, gauzy feeling in my heart and I want you to get it too.  She just ranked gelato.  This means that she's had enough gelato for a serious comparison.  We all should be so lucky. Her time in Italy alone will make you weep.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

No bears

Well, here's a strange turn of events:  I've started running on a treadmill.  Well, more like lolloping on a treadmill.  It's not pretty.  And it's just been twice.  Let's not go crazy.  I am slow and awkward.  My body was not designed for running.  It was designed to sit in a comfy chair with a good book.  My legs are freakishly short, I don't know what to do with my arms, and there is an excessive amount of bouncing that has the potential to throw off the whole enterprise.

And yet, the last two times I've ventured onto the treadmill at the gym (I'm an elliptical gal.  It's more conducive to reading.) I have been overcome by the desire to run.  And so I run.  For about a minute.  And then I walk. But then I run again for another minute.  Sometimes two.  This is surprising on many levels.  I mean, who knew that my body would be like, "hey, let's run!" when in the past all it's ever said was, "hey, can I have more ice cream?"  (Side note:  I both ran AND had ice cream tonight.  You're welcome, Body.) The whole time I kept thinking, "Is this right?  I have no clue if this is right.  Why am I doing this?  And why do they have a wall of mirrors right in front of me.  Do people really like looking at themselves when they jog?  I look like an Oompa Loompa being chased by a Vermicious Knid.  That lady over there looks like a gazelle prancing through the veld.  But it doesn't seem so bad.  I guess I'll keep going."

I don't want you to think that this is a trend here.  I mean, it's just been twice.  And it's not like I have any idea what I'm doing.  (seriously, what do you do with your arms?) I'm just really surprised by it.  Because I've always said that I'd only run if I was being chased by a bear.  And there wasn't a bear in sight.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Change Bank

About once a week I take the money we collect from selling cheap snacks at the Institute down to the bank that is staffed entirely by dummies.  The kids they have working that little branch in the grocery store are as dumb as a pile of rocks. A sweet, friendly, helpful, but dumb pile of rocks.  Large amounts of change stump them every single time.  It's quite a show. 

They always start out so haphazardly. I feel like the most logical way to count change is to group like coins together into dollars and then make groupings of different coins into dollars.  But these folks just dive right in and make the most random coin combinations. This always makes them miscount and when they point out that my deposit slip doesn't match what they've counted I have to point out that several of their stacks of coins that I watched them form don't actually equal a dollar.  Or that they mistook all the dollar coins for quarters.  Or they forgot to count several coins they pushed off to the side.  Or a roll of nickels is $2 not $4. 

I started to think that maybe it was me.  Maybe I make them nervous, just sitting there watching them count.  So I try to be as happy and non-judgy as possible.  I go along with the small talk and act totally casual about the whole thing.  And still they fumble.  And this isn't just one teller.  It's every teller (Except for one.  Fatima.  I always pray she's there.  She rarely is.  I need to learn her schedule.) All of them really struggle with this.  Look, I know that numbers are hard.  I've never cared for them myself.  But if you're going to be a bank teller shouldn't one of the minimum skills be counting?

At the end of every visit they all say the same thing:  "Can I go out of my way to do anything else for you?"  I think this is a very strange way to ask.  I don't know if the management started that or if one of them said it and they all thought it was so clever that they picked it up.  But regardless, no, I do not want them to go out of their way.  But since they're asking, I wouldn't mind a snack seeing as I will be there for a while.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Shut it, Amy!


I'm sorry to get all screechy on you but this is traumatic.  You know how in Little Women, when Jo comes in with the money for a train ticket for Marmie to be with her wounded husband down south and everyone is wondering how she managed it and then she takes off her hat and they all gasp because she has cut off all of her hair and sold it because she couldn't bear to ask Great Aunt Josephine for the money and Amy laments, "Your one beauty!" This is how I feel about my hair.  I know I complain a lot about its proclivity to look like a tumbleweed and my bangs are a true meanace.  But for the most part it has always been healthy and abundant.  And now it is falling out in clumps!

Okay, the truth is, I still have a lot of hair.  But at the rate it's going I'll have to invest in hats in about a month. Or get a weave.  Fortunately I'm an expert on weaves, thanks to Tyra, who loves giving them to white girls.

I scoured the internet and have come up with some causes:  post-pregnancy (nope), stress (nope), birth control pills (nope), extreme hair care (Have you seen how gray I'm getting?  There's no dye up in here.  And I let it air dry. The most intense thing I do is curl it a bit.)  I am left with either a hormone imbalance or a lack of fat in my diet.  The latter seems like the possible cause.  I have cut out a bunch of fat lately. Meaning I eat more vegatables than peanut butter now, when historically it has always been the other way around. But does this mean my options are either to be fat or bald?  Ugh.

In honor of my last post about Grandpa:  it is nothing but ice cream for dinner until this problem disappears.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

When do I get to be that old?

Today would have been my Grandpa Knecht's 92 birthday.  It made me think about the last birthday we spent with him.  We brought him Taco Bell nachos, a Pepsi, and chocolate silk pie and we ate dinner in his hospital room.  He was happy and talkative until he started eating his pie and then he started taking things seriously.  Someone asked him a question and without even looking up he said, "Don't bother me. I'm busy."  The man loved his dessert.  Sometimes when we would go out to eat he would just order a giant sundae.  If anyone questioned him he would simply say, "What?  I'm old.  I get to eat ice cream for dinner if I want to."  Fair point.

Monday, April 1, 2013

It's Time for Dodger Baseball!

Happy Opening Day!!!  And what a glorious one it was.  (We beat the Giants.  It was a shut out. Our pitcher hit a home run. Winter is over, spring is here, the Blue Bird of Happiness has returned.)
That's me on Saturday night about to watch the Dodger's beat the Angels.  I'm clearly delirious with joy at being back in Dodger Stadium.  I went with my parents and my Dad's new Russian BFF Sergei, who knew nothing about the game at all.  Try explaining baseball to someone.  Go ahead.  It's more complicated than you think.  But Dad seemed to be in heaven talking about bunts and sacrifice flies. And now Sergei can go back to Russia with the light and truth of baseball in his heart.
Side story:  See that usher standing to the left of me?  Long time readers of this blog will recall that she is not our normal usher.  Sid, who is 90 if he is a day, is our usher.  Every year we return fearful that Sid has called it quits, so when we saw this gal standing there we thought the worst. So we asked, "Where's Sid?" (fingers crossed)
"Taking a break.  He'll be down in a few minutes."
You made it one more year, Sid!