Thursday, May 30, 2013


As you know, I am counting down to the Total Muu Muu Immersion when I am 60.  It will be all muu muus, all the time.

Except when I'm Prancercising!  I'll make room in my closet for white stretchy pants, ankle weights, a pink jacket with shoulder pads, and a statement necklace. 

Do you think I'll be able to wait till I'm 60 for either? Me neither.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

1st Annual Archery Tournament

It was a typical Memorial Day in that I slept in and ate a lot of boysenberry ice cream.  I read In Flanders Fields and cried my eyes out the night before during the Memorial Day Concert (does anyone else watch this, the one on PBS?  And if so, why?  WHY?!! It's so horrible and awful and beautiful.) I hung out with the fam and lounged and enjoyed Leisure Reading Time. 

But it was atypical in that we had the 1st Annual Knecht Family Memorial Day Archery Tournament. And I won. If you ever need bales of hay shot at close range, I'm your gal.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Perfect Day

Once, years ago, Amanda and I had a Perfect Day.  It involved many, many glorious things and each time we're together we try to recreate it.  I think we were pretty successful on Saturday.  There was:

1. Caramel syrup at the Avocado House with Katie, Laura, Baby Rebecca, and Baby Rebecca's cheeks

2. My mom's chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven

3. Bike rides on the beach

4. Sunshine

5. The purchasing of novelty glasses

6. A stroll on the pier

7. Shakes from Ruby's

8. Did I mention the sunshine?  And the waves?  And the beach?  Because they were all perfect.

9. Sweet Potato Stacks with Katie, Camille, Sara, Baby Truman, and Baby Truman's thighs at Honolulu Harry's

10.  A very surprise visit from Andrea.  She was in town for just that night and we arranged to surprise everyone.  Huge success!

11.  Staying up way past my bedtime to talk and laugh and cry and laugh and talk with some of the greatest women I know. Oh, how I love these girls.

It was a day full of joy.  Thanks for coming into town Amanda.  Come back soon and we'll try for another Perfect Day.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Year 1

Seminary ends tomorrow.  Can you believe it?  I can't.  It's gone by so fast.  Even the time after spring break, which everyone warned me would be long and arduous because of a big lack of holidays, has just flown by.

And I have to say my heart is breaking a little. 

Am I going to love sleeping in all the way to 7?  You bet.  Am I going to revel in not preparing a lesson every single night.  Absolutely. (Welcome back, Leisure Reading Time!!!!) Am I going to miss telling my kids, again, to put away their cell phones and stop talking, please, seriously, why are you still talking?  No.

But am I going to miss seeing their faces every morning?  Like crazy. Ugh, I can't even talk about it without welling up.  They're the best class.  So eager and bright and funny.  They make comments and participate and willingly go along with anything I suggest. And there have been more and more moments where I see them really get it, like I haven't been babbling in front of them for naught.  This has certainly been the most challenging thing I've ever done in church but it's also been the greatest. 

One song we sing kind of often is "Who's On the Lord's Side", because it's awesome and essentially a sea shanty.  And naturally I do a little sailor dance whenever we sing it.  I must.  After class today a bunch of kids stood around and said, "This is how we'll always remember you," and started doing the sailor dance.  And I thought, yes.  I already know their testimonies are solid, so if they leave with a love of God and few dance moves, then my job is done.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jake Ryan Look Alike

There's a guy at my gym who looks like Jake Ryan.  Or Al, from the Al Movie (actually Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken but we only ever called it the Al Movie because that's the reason for watching.)

So because I love you and because I read an article today that said that PMS is all in our heads which made me want to do nothing but sit on my couch with a bowl of ice cream and watch 16 Candles, here you go:

Monday, May 20, 2013

A game for Geography Nerds

Have you discovered GeoGuessr? It's this game where you're shown a picture from Google Earth and you have to guess where it's at.  You can scan around and look for clues, like road signs in Russian or cars driving on the left side of the street, but sometimes it's just a mountain setting and you have to figure out if they're in Switzerland or Canada or New Zealand or Chile or wherever they have tall mountains with snow on them.  Some places are really easy, like the one with a sign that said, "23 miles to Erie, PA."  But others are super tough.  Like the one that had both pine trees and palm trees. And sometimes you're just lucky.  I saw a picture and guessed Sao Paulo, Brazil and it was.  I was within 5 miles of the spot.  It's incredibly fun.

I know you may be shocked to learn that I not only support but love something that is spelled incorrectly on purpose - I have a pretty firm rule on this - except that I'm kind of addicted.  So my standards have fallen a little.  And if you're going to ask which I love more, proper grammar or geography games, I'm going to choose geography almost every time.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Never read a boring book

Last week I picked the Art Society kids up from school and on the way to get some frozen yogurt* Jarron and I were discussing our favorite parts of Harry Potter when Kaiya asked, "Rachel, do books ever take you on a grand adventure?"

(It should be noted that Kaiya is an old soul.  She phrases things like this all the time.  She does not need lessons in the Ways of the 80 Year Old. I'll have her in brooches within a year.)

The answer of course is yes.  Hopefully every time.  This is why I read. If a book does not transport me then I'm not interested.  There is value in reading for knowledge but if it doesn't excited you then what's the point? Unless you're being graded on it you should never read a book that bores you. Even if you're hundreds of pages in already.  If you find yourself not caring then you should shut it and give it back to the library.  Let someone else discover how boring it is. But don't waste any more time with it when there are books like this to read.

This got me extremely excited for her.  For both of them really.  Because they like reading and they get that this is what is supposed to happen.  You're supposed to feel something different when you read. It's supposed to take you to a place you haven't been to before or back to a place that you love. You're supposed to read about people you would never get the chance to meet but would be friends with if you ever did. This is why we read.

What was the first book that made you realize that reading is awesome?  It was Anne of Green Gables for me. I had ever intention of nearly drowning in the Lake of Shining Waters and being rescued by Gilbert.

*Because there must be treats at Art Society.  Good treats.  I'm not talking about bags of jelly beans. We get fancy sodas for Trader Joes with exotic flavors like blood orange and pomegranate.  Because we're high class.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why don't they just hand out deodorant too.

My birthday twin Sarah totally wins with the Worst Ward Mother's Day Present of All-Time!  Here's her comment.

We had a cheesecake/chatting party the entire 3rd hour delivered on trays by our bishopric in our Murrieta ward. It was the BEST! This year as we walked out of the chapel after Sac mtg we were handed a tin of ALTOIDS by a teenage boy. Seriously? breath mints? 
Look, I'm not saying that a ward has to do anything for the women on Mother's Day or that it has to be spectacular. It's kind of a nice but silly tradition that can sometimes take away from the spirit of the meeting.  But if they do, at the very least they should not give a gift that says, "Your breath stinks."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I knew I should have stayed on the couch

Guess what happened last week.  I hurt my foot...FROM JOGGING!  Is this some kind of joke?  I was on the treadmill, lumbering along, arms flailing, everything else bouncing, feeling fine.  And then I stepped off the treadmill and it felt like I'd stepped on a hot coal.  A really sharp hot coal.  And it only got worse once I was home.  And even worse when I took my shoe off.  I always knew running was for dopes. And now I've learned my lesson.  It's nothing but sitting on the couch and eating cheese for me.

Except that I've turned into one of those people who wants to work out.  (Okay, "wants" is relative.  Let's say I want to work out more than I want this big butt. But how did this happen?  I really like cheese and couches!)  My foot actually feels a lot better and I've gone back to the gym but I'm going to stay away from the treadmill for awhile.  And the elliptical kind of aggravates it after 30 minutes.  So I've had to resort to the stair climber.  And oh, how I hate the stair climber.  I want to die every time I'm on it.  You cannot imagine the sweat that that thing produces.  And the pain.  And the wheezing.  I'm like an 80 year old smoker on that thing. Also, I think it hates me because after 10 minutes of significant climbing and wheezing it says that I've only burned 36 calories. Dumb stair climber.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother's Day Miracle

You will not believe what I did today.  It's the one thing that I dread someone doing to me and there I was doing it to someone else.  I sat down next to a friend and asked, "How are you?" and she started to cry.  And then I started to cry.  And then we had a nice cry together.  But it really started the waterworks for both of us. Although, to be honest, it had already been a bit of a weeper.  And not for any of the usual reasons that childless Mormon women cry at church on Mother's Day. There was just so much sweetness and love at church today. It's hard to keep it together when you're up against people being so wonderful.

On that note of Mother's Day at church:  we had a real breakthrough today.  You know how a lot of times they make the women stand up at the end of Sacrament meeting and pass out flowers to them?  And how it's always a little awkward?  And I'm not going to lie, sometimes even more awkward for those of us without kids?  I mean, I appreciate the sentiment, I really do.  And I'm grateful for any generous thought.  But it's just a little awkward sometimes.  So imagine how nice it was today to find out that there would be no standing and waiting for your flower but instead the men would be taking over the last hour so all the women could be together to eat cheese cake and laugh and cry and gab.  That is a happy Mother's Day indeed.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Deep Fried Party

A while back Isi, Britton, and I were having a serious discussion in my office at the Institute.  Isi was getting married and mentioned that he put a deep fryer on his wedding registry.  We immediately started brainstorming about all the things we could batter and fry. It was a productive and enlightening use of time.

Isi has since gotten married and received the deep fryer and yesterday he brought it in. 
Let the frying commence!
First we tried double stuffed Oreos.
Yum! The cookie got all gooey. Don't let Britton's face fool you. It was delish.

Then we fried snickers. A crowd favorite. And we loved them so much and they were gone so fast we didn't even take any pictures.
And then we got down to some serious business.  In the original discussion we came up with our Million Dollar Idea:  Hot Cheetos funnel cake covered in nacho cheese.  What?!
They crushed up the Cheetos.

And I mixed it in the batter.  And it looked like...vomit.

And the batter was too thick to drizzle so we made fritters instead.
They tasted interesting.  Not bad.  But not really great either. We decided we needed more Cheetos and a thinner batter.  And better nacho cheese (the kind they got was kind of gross.) I still believe! And you gotta start somewhere on your road to a million.
Have I mentioned I love my job?
Also, how June Cleaver am I in this picture?  If only I had worn my pearls.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Oh, I was cranky yesterday.  For no perceivable reason other than I woke up that way and had to get out of bed in spite of it.  My lesson didn't go well in seminary. There was a ton of traffic (which is kind of funny because Monday was the Worst Drive Into Work Ever - I was a full hour late, I had to drive TEN MILES (this is not an exaggeration.  I Map Quested it.) out of my way to get in - and yet I was Suzy Sunshine through it all.  Yesterday, I wanted to shoot flaming arrows out of my window at everyone.) And then I spilled half of my yogurt all over my keyboard at work.  Hey, have you ever tried to clean yogurt off of a keyboard? It's a pretty special experience because every time you pluck one of the keys off to clean under it yogurt goes flying everywhere.  And then when you're done half of your breakfast is gone. By about 9am I was at code level Super Crank.

People's voices were bugging me.  I felt like slamming my office door. Simple tasks became monumentally hard and time consuming.  I felt snappish. Which is the worst because there's nothing but lovely and positive people around me all the time at work.  It is a very happy place and yet I had to fight off the urge to throw things at heads.

I managed to make it home from work without maiming anyone and decided I should be sent to my room.  Because this is where cranky people belong. I probably should have gone to the gym to sweat it out but I have a hard enough time not saying anything to the neanderthals who lounge around the weight machines all day long.  I was not meant for human interaction yesterday, even with mouth-breathers.  So I put on my jim jams and crawled into bed and put on The Sound of Music and promptly fell asleep to Maria singing about the hills. 

What do you do on days like this?  Please tell me I'm not the only one who wakes up cranky and stays that way.

Today has been more successful.  My lesson went well and there was very little traffic.  Plus, I had leftover donuts after seminary that I handed out to the parents and kids who cut through the church parking lot on their way to school.  Much better than cleaning up spilt yogurt.

Also, we had a Deep Fried Party today at the Institute.  There will be pictures and details tomorrow but I'll give you a hint of what's to come:  Hot Cheeto Fritters.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Flaming Dirigible

I was driving out to the beach on Saturday and noticed a blimp floating over Angel Stadium.  And I thought, that looks so peaceful.  And then I thought, until it explodes into a FIERY BALL OF DEATH! 

Because when I was a small child I saw footage of the Hindenburg exploding.  My mom had to explain what a blimp was and how easy it was for them to go up in flames, and also, because I was a bit of a worrier, how slim the chances were that I'd ever be in or even near a blimp. While in theory bobbing along in a blimp sounds like fun, I don't think I would be able to get over the panic of my imminent demise. That footage has had a long lasting effect on me.  I can't look at a blimp without praying for the crew's safety and that I'm not directly under it when it comes down in a massive inferno.

So guess what I came across today, totally by chance. An article about the Hindenburg, complete with a video of it exploding.  I decided to face my fears and watch it.  You guys, my fears were only confirmed, DO NOT GO IN BLIMPS.  You will be amazed at how fast that thing lit up.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Nacho Table

Katie was partially in charge of putting on a carnival for the kids at church this weekend and she recruited me and Camille to help out with snacks.  We stationed ourselves at the nacho table, where we discovered how truly amazing it is to work a nacho table because 1.)  unlimited nachos and 2.) when you run low on cheese in your bowl you just scoop in some more -- same with the chips.  What makes nacho cheese so incredible?  It's not even close to resembling food and yet I would drink it by the gallon.

Next to the nacho table was the cotton candy table. I think I surprised the lady running in when I, in all seriousness, said to her, "It has been a life-long dream of mine to make cotton candy.  Can I please try it?" Because it totally has been.  Ever since I went to a school carnival in the 4th grade and saw how cotton candy was made I have wanted to work the machine.  I mean, you just swirl this paper cone around a giant metal bowl and cotton candy MAGICALLY APPEARS ON IT!  I didn't want to push my case because she seemed kind of hesitant (which, come on!  Did I not just tell you it was my dream?!) But I think I convinced her of my steady hand and personal responsibility and halfway through the night she finally let me.  And I'm happy to report that I'm a natural at it.  She even said so.  I made a beautiful and fluffy cone of cotton candy.  And then ate it all.  And then had more nachos. So, basically, it was a perfect night.

Dear Wealthy Benefactor:

Hi.  How've you been?  I hope you're doing well.  I've added a few items to the things you can purchase for me when you finally show up.

1.  Slurpee machine
2.  Golf cart
3.  Hot tub
4.  Industrial size (not the personal size you can buy at Walmart) cotton candy machine
5.  Nacho cheese fountain to go next to the chocolate fountain I've already requested.
6.  Adult-sized Big Wheel.

One day I will write an ode to your generous spirit, but until then...

Hugs and Kisses, Rachel

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Royal Espionage

So the Dutch have themselves a new king. As per tradition the queen abdicated and her son took over.  That's very civil of her.
I certainly love a royal to-do so I was looking over some pictures of the coronation and came across two of note:
I wonder what Charles is thinking in this picture.  Is he hoping that his mum will get it into her head to abdicate like the Dutch Queen did? Or is he content to just keep puttering around his garden and restoring really amazing homes. Or maybe he's just thinking about lunch. 
But that's not why I chose this picture.  Go ahead and click on it and get a good look at Camilla's brooch.  It's miniature portrait of Queen Elizabeth surrounded in diamonds with a wee crown on top! I need it.  I'm not kidding.  It will be mine!  When I saw it I wasn't sure how I would be able to get my hands on it.  I mean, it's going to have to be an inside job.  Someone who already has an in with the royal family.  But who? I got my answer in this picture:
This is a bunch of royal folk from other countries. And that striking woman in the center is Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al Misned of Qatar and I'm convinced she's the woman for the job.  She looks like she has royal espionage on her mind and a scimitar under her caftan. 
Doesn't it just kill you how glamorous some women look, like both a woman of elegant AND an international spy. The crown princess of Japan over there looks like she's going to give you a lecture on feminine posture and the princess of Morocco in the green looks like she'd rather be home watching an ANTM marathon and the princess of Sweden back there with the hat looks like she's trying a little too hard to be part of the club.  But Moza is all, "I can cut granite with my cheekbones. Now kindly hand over all of your jewels and national secrets before I turn this necklace into a bunch of ninja stars."