Monday, September 30, 2013

The Personal Sauna

The answer to yesterday's quiz, because you'll never get it.  It's an impossible quiz.  I'm like that really horrible teacher you hated in high school.
L = Lou = Dad (an old high school nick name)
B = B = Lindsay (we don't remember why)
M = McNelch = Camille (someone once called her this and said, "See what I did there?  I put a Mc in front of your last name." "My last name is Knecht" "Oh, I thought it was pronounced Nelch.")(for those who don't know, it sounds like connect. Like connect-the-dots, which all of us have been called many, many, many times before.)
H = Hubert = Me (who knows? Not any of us. Only my dad calls me this and he can't remember.)
I had a very LA day on Friday. It included the LA County Fair, a Dodger game, and 2.5 hours of traffic in between. 1.75 of those hours were spent on a 3 mile stretch leading into the stadium.  We finally made it to our seats by the bottom of the 5th.  The score was already 10-0. Go Dodgers!
At the fair Lindsay and I tried out a revolutionary new device.  The Personal Sauna:
I wish I had a picture of the inside because what it actually looks like is a Personal Outhouse, complete with a little hole in the seat.  It's for the steam to come out but you don't know that when you're first looking at it.  Naturally, we had to try it out.  And that baby heats up!  A lot.  But according to the picture behind Lindsay you can still work on your spreadsheets while your southern region is melting away.  And it can be yours for the low, low price of $1800.  Or just $80 a month.  They'll even deliver it to you and set it up wherever you want it. Bargain.
Also, I'm pretty sure we saw Gene Simmons.  Or someone who looked freakishly like him, which I imagine is not easy to do.  I mean, even without the Kiss make-up, Gene Simmons looks very distinct. When this guy passed by both Lindsay and I looked at each other and said, "Is that...?" Because holy twins! And this was before the sauna melt down so our brains were still pretty alert.
And guess what's back:
The Big Formerly Yellow Now Blue Slide!!!! It hasn't been at the fair for a couple of years but now it's built into the hill as a permanent fixture.  It's not as fast, which means you don't catch air and tumble off your burlap sack and smash into the slide and get plastic burns down your arms like you used to in the Golden Years, but it's still a whole lot of fun. Hip hip hooray!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Quiz

A quick quiz:

Me, Dad, Camille, & Lindsay were playing a game tonight.  On the score sheet were our four initials:  L, B, M, & H.  Can you match the initial to the person?  The first person to correctly do so will win a very, very short hand-written work of fiction by me featuring a zebra and an anteater.  Family members are excluded from playing. Oh, and my dad's name is Scott, so...that helps.

In other news, I was in Walmart this last week (it had to be done.) when I overheard the following:

"Mama's gonna get her some Duck Dynasty panties."

Have a great day everyone.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Silent R

This morning on my drive in to work I listened to some people on the radio talk about how sometimes girls just start to cry for no apparent reason (which naturally interested me, because Hi!) and the men on the show were saying how they just don't get it and this woman on the show said, "Sometimes we just get really fustrated and have to release some emotion."


And then she said it again.

And then a third time.

A woman who gets paid to talk on the radio, in English, said fustrated three times. I assume she thinks the R is silent.  Like all those other words with silent Rs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I headed out to Phoenix this weekend for Roycefest 2013. Royce is Cynde and Ryan's (bff and bffhusband) son, and my godson.  Yes, I'm a godmother. Not the fairy kind.  And if you can believe it, I did not make a single Cinderella reference the entire weekend.  Nor did I reference the mob once to his godfather.  That, my friend, is maturity.  Or maybe I was just off my game.

Back to Roycefest.  It was his first birthday party and baptism this weekend so I went out to celebrate.  My rule for attending 1st birthday parties is that I have to actually know and love and pretty much be related to the child to go.  Otherwise I don't see much of a point.  What does the kid know except there are a heck of a lot more people making faces at him and there's lots of trash to play with.  But Royce meets all the criteria and there's something sweet about inviting your friends over to celebrate one year of survival.  "He didn't die on our watch! Let's eat cake!" The funny thing about this particular child birthday party is that Cynde and Ryan know about 3 people who have children so it was mostly a bunch of oldies hanging out in the back yard.  But I really like their friends (this is no surprise.  Who don't I like?  Besides Hitler. And my old upstairs neighbors.) And it was a lot of fun and Royce was super cute with his cupcake and it all felt like a lovely thing to celebrate.

The baptism was great. Gosh, I love going to other churches. Cynde and Ryan's is teeny but super friendly and warm.  Every single person said hello.  And all I had to do for the actual baptism part was stand there and be happy.  Easy.

I really have no idea what it means to be a godparent. It's not part of my religious tradition and every time I ask people they usually say, "I think it means you get him if his parents die."  Eek! Why are you talking about them dying?  And what exactly are my qualifications?  That I can keep a house plant alive? But I love the kid.  And I promise to give him hugs and I take him on awesome adventures.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Like a thief in the night.

Oh give me a break!

For the second time this year my bank card number has been stolen.  Blerg.

I caught it in time for them to reverse it but not in time for multiple overdraft charges to go through because they wiped out my account and kept on spending.  Those will also be reversed but not for 10 days.  And my card had to be canceled which will be super convenient when I travel to Phoenix tomorrow for the weekend.  Hey, who wants to mug me in the airport?  I'll have a lot of cash on me.

On a positive note, everyone I talked to at the bank was super helpful and sympathetic and quick to respond, which made me feel better.  And I do feel very blessed that I discovered it today and not, say, tomorrow at the airport when my card is denied while trying to buy water.

Dear Criminal,

I hope that whatever you bought at Brookstone is a dud and blows a fuse at your home.  And I hope that whatever you got at McDonald's gave you food poisoning.  You belong in prison.

Love, Rachel

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunday Night Hoot

Long story short, Katie and I have two autoharps at our place.(There are so many amazing autoharp videos on YouTube. I couldn't choose!  So here's a long haired hippie.  And here's a real comedy duo.  And here's Dolly. Enjoy!) One was my Grandma Crenshaw's that I have since inherited and one belongs to K's co-worker.  We had a mini hootenanny the other night with her on the autoharp and me on the ukulele, which also belonged to Grandma C.  Neither of us are proficient by any means. But we had a lot of fun doing it.  So we took the show on the road and brought it all down to my parent's house for Sunday dinner.

Camille took one autoharp and Mom took another and I had the ukulele and Dad brought out his guitar and Katie shouted out chords to us and it was basically a ton of fun. And then Mom brought out her old guitar music from when she took lessons in the 60s and then it really turned into a peace rally.  Maybe the cutest part of the night was when my dad was trying to figure out the chords and my mom would help him by showing him how the fingers looked, just like Phoebe does with Joey on Friends.

There are many reasons why I love my family, but this is high up on the list -- when you say, "Hey, let's do this super funny and nerdy thing, like have a hootenanny on crazy instruments" they all shout, "Yes!"


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Boogie Wonderland

Camille, Allie, Katie, and I went to the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night to see Earth Wind and Fire.  None of us are actual EW&F super fans by any means but their songs are fun and really, we were just looking for an excuse to go to the Bowl.  Because it wouldn't be summer without a trip to the Hollywood Bowl.  Oh, I just love that place.  There is magic in the air.

Also in the air:  pot.  They should mention that included in your ticket price is a contact high.  That was the mellowest crowd I've ever seen.  And it meant that when lasers started shooting off from the stage there was plenty of haze in the air to make for a really dynamite show.  And anyone who wasn't baked was pretty drunk so the walk down the hill was kind of hilarious.  You should all be so lucky to live to see wasted and/or buzzed middle-agers walking down the hill of the Hollywood Bowl in not-so-sensible shoes. Comedy gold!

Maybe the best part of the night was our pre-show trip to our  new favorite ice cream place, Neveux, to say hi to Leo and pick up some peach pepper. Still so good!!! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Council of Elvira

So the early Catholic church held something called the Council of Elvira back in 304 AD.

Naturally, I imagined the Oakridge Boys performing after the priests finished up their breakaway sessions.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I got a flat tire on my drive to work today. I probably should have gotten a new tire months ago because the poor thing just kind of fell apart.  I feel very lucky to not have had a blow-out and that I was near my exit and that when I sent a text to my boss to tell him about it he sent back, "I'm on my way."

This was my first flat tire.  Can you believe it?  Charmed life.  In theory I know how to change a tire.  But in practice it was a little hard.  While I was waiting for help to arrive I got out the spare, found all the tools (the jack was in a SUPER SECRET COMPARTMENT that took me forever to find.  Why the mystery, Toyota?), loosened the lug nuts (also, face planted into my car while loosening them because first it was stuck and then it really wasn't and now I have a fat(ter) lip and a scratch on my nose.) So I feel like I was chugging along until I got stumped by the jack.  I'd like to think that I would have figured it out but in all honesty I probably would have been still sitting in that parking lot wondering how to get the dumb thing to work.

But helped arrived, the spare was put on (flat.  Ugh.) and I made it down to the tire store in one piece.  Hooray!

True story, my entire seminary lesson this morning was on having a positive attitude when we have to do hard things. You would not believe how cheery I was to Mohammad, my new tire guy, as I handed over my money. I was the Blue Bird of Happiness with that debit card.

Another true story, I just got a text from Katie saying that she too had a flat today.  Sisters, am I right?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Upstairs,

Welcome to the Hub!  You're going to find living here to be a joy.  The view of the mountains is lovely, right.  You just missed Flo.  You may have met her when you were first coming in.  Did she double book your apartment?  She did that from time to time.  I'm so bummed for you that you didn't get the full Las Brisas experience with her.

You're so quiet.  I can't even hear you walking.  The kid who used to live upstairs must have been wearing cement boots because I could hear his every move.  Speaking of him, I wanted to let you know of our expectations as your downstairs neighbors.  I think they're all pretty reasonable but your predecessor had a hard time with them.  So just so we're clear:

1.  Don't dump your bong water out of a hole you cut in your bedroom screen.
2.  Don't listen to really loud rap that is full of swears on Sunday morning (or any morning, really.)
3.  Don't invite 30 of your hoodlum friends over for a night swim and then hours and hours of reggae in your room while smoking pot.
4.  Don't take that unmarked parking space next to our assigned space. It belongs to us in a common law sort of way (the Kid never did this but others have and it's just wrong on a moral level.)
5.  Don't get into a fight with your girlfriend.  We don't need to know all about how you cheated on her.
6.  When you move out, don't do it in the middle of the night.  Dresser drawers falling down the stairs usually wake people up.

You've been great so far.  Keep up the good work!

Hugs and Kisses,

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Great LA Ice Cream Quest

Many said it could not be done.  They doubted that we had the fortitude to complete such a quest.  And yet, here we stand triumphant, holding in our hearts the sweet thrill of having found the Best Ice Cream in Los Angeles.

So, maybe not everyone would think to go on such a quest, but Katie, Camille and I did.  Ok, let's be honest, are you even surprised by this?  Of course you're not.  Who loves ice cream more than a Knecht? We were working off of this list and made it to five of them. By the end of it we felt like we had won something.

There were many, many things to love about this adventure.  Firstly, ice cream.  We decided that we wanted to find really unique flavors, and we did.  We sampled as much as we could and then split a small of our favorites.  Secondly, ice cream makers.  People who make their own ice cream are passionate about it and are interesting to talk to.  Thirdly, when people find out that you are on a quest they cheer you on.  Everyone was so supportive. Fourthly, Los Angeles.  If you ever get tired of me talking about how much I love LA you can just go ahead and find some other mildly humorous blog to read because I'm just not going to stop.  We saw a lot of it on this quest and it's all wonderful.  And I'll say this until I die, palm trees make everything beautiful.

Here are the five we made it to (in the order that we went, not the order that we loved.)

1.  Bulgarini in Culver City. There's a funny story for another date about this location, but needless to say it's a charming area with a few shops.  And there's a Father's Office nearby, which serves The Best Hamburger I've Ever Had In My Entire Life. Our guy Oscar helped us out.  What a cute kid.  He heard about our quest and then immediately started giving us samples, we never had to ask for one.  And he would sample them with us.  We settled on the stracciatella and the Gorgonzola (if we could get two flavors in a small we always did.) The Gorgonzola was, as you would expect, a little weird, but strangely tasty.  I also sampled their chocolate orange, and it must be said, it was better than Burt and Rocky's.  On our way out Oscar informed us that they just brought out a bunch of new flavors so we sampled those as well and that's when we hit on the single best sample we had all day, their pistachio.  It was a punch to the face of flavor.  Wow!

2.  Sweet Rose in Brentwood.  Meh.  This was our least favorite.  It was tiny and cramped and crowded. And the flavors were just kind of weird.  I tried the pistachio rose geranium which tasted like a garden bed.  We got fresh mint, which tasted like you were chewing on a mint leaf.  I liked that but Camille did not.  And we also had the Melon Chiffon which was pretty good (Katie didn't like it) but not as melony as I wanted it to be. You can skip this one.

3.  Ice Cream Lab in Beverly Hills was next. This was gimmicky but kind of cool.  They put the liquid ice cream mix in a fancy Kitchen-Aid and then shoot it with liquid nitrogen.  So the texture is a little different from churned ice cream.  And the flavor of the ice cream alone wasn't outstanding.  But the toppings they put on them were great.  We had the Rodeo Road, which is just fancy rocky road.  It was fun to watch them make it.  Science!

4.  Carmela at Fairfax and 3rd is adorable and so tasty.  And the girls there were great and helpful and happily brought out more sample spoons because we were using them all up.  We had the dark chocolate with cacao nibs (sweet land of liberty!) and strawberry buttermilk.  The combo together was fantastic.  We almost named this one our number one but then decided to try one more.

5.  Neveux.  While we were in Carmela another customer heard us talking about the Quest and she said, "Well, I'm here and I love this place, but no proper ice cream quest would be complete without going to Neveux." So we went.  It's on the section of Melrose where you can pick up a new eyebrow ring, a new tattoo, and a new venereal disease, so it kind of sticks out.  But I will always be grateful to that woman in Carmela because this place was our number one.  Without question.  Their Peach Pepper (you got it right.  Peach ice cream with cracked black pepper.) could bring about world peace.  We all chose it as our favorite.  We also had the Caliente Cinnamon Chocolate which is fiery and so delicious.  Not only did it have the most flavor but the texture was by far the creamiest we had all day.  We met the owner and chef, Leo Neveux (that's him on the right down below.  And Tim on the left.), and he told us the whole story about how he's trying to save LA from frozen yogurt and cupcakes.  Keep up the good work Leo!  We announced him as the winner and had a nice cheer for him.  His ice cream won in both flavor and texture, the place was charming, and the customer service was excellent.  Thanks guys. We're coming back on Friday night.  Have the peach pepper ready.

Friday, September 6, 2013


I felt like last year's summer was a bit of a bust.  I just didn't do enough summery activities to make it feel successful so I was kind of bummed out by the end of it.

So this year I set a goal to have a better summer.  I made a list of the most essential fun:

1.  A trip
2.  The beach, both for the sunshine and a bonfire
3.  Books
4.  Slurpees
5.  Some sort of outdoor musical thingy
6.  Swimming
7.  Homemade boysenberry ice cream
8.  Dodger game

I can put a check next to all of those things. 

My dad asked a question the other day:  what is one of your favorite travel memories - just a moment on a trip that you can pinpoint as amazing.  I'm applying that question to this summer.  There are a lot.

1.  When Gina and Lindsay walked into the hotel room in New York an hour after Katie, Camille and I got there and we all screamed and laughed and hugged,

2.  Watching Neil Gaiman sign books and seeing how nice he was to every single person, which then made me think that I probably wouldn't pass out,

3.  Seeing Sandy Koufax walk out onto the field at Dodger Stadium during the Old-Timers Game,

4.  Peach & boysenberry cobbler on Labor Day,

5.  Sitting in the light of our single lantern and laughing a lot while camping on the second night of the Amazing Race with the kids from church,

6.  Coloring with Rac,

7.  Swimming out into the ocean, well beyond the crowds and the point where my feet reached the floor, and just floating.

8.  Singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of my lungs at the sing-along.  And then meeting Mock Turtleneck Guy afterwards.

Oh, my friends, it's been a great summer.

Tell me yours.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Well, since you asked.

The checker at the store asked me:

If I had any kids,
If I wanted any,
If I was married,
How come I wasn't married,
How old I was.

I then told her my religion, political leanings, feelings on abortion, the death penalty, gun control, and the situation in Syria, and then handed over my social security number after announcing my weight over the store's intercom because it seemed really pertinent to her scanning my groceries.

Monday, September 2, 2013

An evening off the couch

I'm not much for wedding receptions.  It's not that I don't like them, or that I don't love the people they celebrate.  It's just that the cake is never as good as I want it to be.  And I have to convince myself that I like talking to people.  Here's the truth, I actually do really enjoy talking to people.  It just takes some reminding that talking to friends is always preferable to sitting on my couch. But anyway, yes, wedding receptions.  I'm iffy. 

But I went to one on Saturday for a long time family friend (congratulations Annie and Phil!  I'm not kidding when I say, Annie you were hands down the prettiest bride I've seen in ages.) and the whole night was filled with basically everyone that I love.  I mean, seriously, every wedding should be just like that.  I couldn't walk to the punch table without seeing 3 people I wanted to hug.  And the cake was amazing.  I'm pretty sure there was Nutella in it.

Two notable things happened.

1.  There was a reunion. 
That's Gloria, Sylvia, and Tammy.  We've been friends since high school (well, Sylvia and I longer.  I think we met when I was 3.) And when I saw the 3 of them sitting at a table together I nearly burst into tears.  What a total treat.  I mean, we see each other periodically but I can't tell you how long it's been since we've all been together.  It's been 20 years since high school.  Can you believe it?  Oh, boy. I did not intend to go to the reunion because thanks to the magic of Facebook I can keep in contact with everyone I want to from my couch.  But seeing them reminded me how great it is to look an old friend in the face and ask how their lives are going?  Being with them was definitely worth getting off of my couch. 
2.  Sometimes writing this blog is like writing in a vacuum.  Because of the times and technology people just don't comment as much anymore.  They're reading it on their phone and who has time to deal with auto correct when there are so many levels of Candy Crush to master. So I forget that people actually read this.  And that people other than my mom think it's funny and worth their time. It's mostly friends.  But some strangers find it.  Strangers like Annie's cousin Rachel who came up to me shortly after I walked in to introduce herself and say how much she likes this old thing.  And I can't tell you how adorable it all was. I mean, really. I was tickled.  Let's be best friends, Rachel!