Tuesday, December 31, 2013


A few nights ago I was talking to my mom and Lindsay about the whole Target debit card theft thingy and how I'm a little paranoid because you may recall that my card number has been stolen and my bank account wiped out twice this year and on top of that I had $30 left on a rebate credit card that was also stolen.  And Lindsay said to me, "So you've had this happen 3 times AND you had shingles?! This is a rough year."

To which I say, if this is all the bad things that happened then fine, I'll take it.  Those are hardly tragedies.  In fact it's been a year of grand adventure (as all years should be.)  Look, there have been plenty of rough patches in 2013. But it's hard to complain when life hands so you much joy.

This was the year I:

Went to New York with my sisters
Met Neil Gaiman
Became a godmother
Learned to not hate exercise
Went to a play-off game for the Dodgers
Sang "My Favorite Things" with Julie Andrews
Talked to Mock Turtleneck Guy
Found the Best Ice Cream in the Los Angeles
Did two days at the tennis tournament instead of just one
Met an astronaut
Memorized the order of the presidents
Discovered Prancercising
Survived my first year of early morning seminary and started a new one
Went to the circus for the first time
Saw New Kids on the Block from the luxury suite
Drove up the central coast with a bunch of wild teenagers
Made chocolate covered bacon
Went to the temple more
Went to lots of sing alongs
Read a lot of books
Had lots of Art Society meetings
Ditto that for book club
Laughed a lot with friends and family

See, it's been great.  Even if only half of these things happened I'd still consider it a success because there's so much to love about life (okay, truthfully, all I really needed was Prancercising.)  And I'm grateful that you come around here from time to time and share in the joy. It's an honor to have you be a part of it.  Here's to a new year full of wonder. And Slurpees.

Friday, December 27, 2013

It's been a week of Christmas

Since last we spoke there was:

1.  Julie Andrews.  Here are a few adjectives that were used on the drive home:  regal, charming, elegant, gracious, wonderful.  She is just so classy and beautiful.  She walked out as we were singing My Favorite Things and that may seem a little contrived but I'm telling you, it was one of the most magical moments of my life.  She is officially my model for elegant living and I'm wondering how many silk dressing gowns she owns so I can match it.  She must have a dozen.

2.  The Knecht Family Christmas Party, wherein we had a hootenanny complete with 2 guitars, a ukulele, a violin, an autoharp, and a bongo. There was also a ton of laughing.

3.  A surprise trip to Disneyland with Denise and her boys.  You just can't beat that. Especially when Drake yelled "Blast-off!" the entire time we were on the rockets.

4.  Christmas Eve brunch buffet at the Avocado House.  Caramel syrup for everyone!

5.  Christmas Day lounge-fest.  We don't leave the house.  We stay in our jim jams all day and we nap and eat and do puzzles.  It's the best.

6.  Santa Monica pier, LA Temple lights, and gelato with the fam.  White Christmases are for the birds.  It has been stunningly beautiful around these parts and 70 degrees is the perfect weather for December.

And finally,

7.  Lots of Addie time.  I cannot adequately express to you how cute this kid is. Oh, sure, you've seen pictures, but they don't do her any justice.  She has the most adorable personality and we would all spend hours just watching her babble to herself.  And now she's gone and we're in the depths of despair.  COME BACK TO US ADELAIDE!

Aside from the leaving bit, it was a perfect week of Christmas-ing.  How was yours?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I'll tell you about Julie Andrews and the Knecht Family Party hootenanny and the impromptu trip to Disneyland later. But right now I just want to say that I hope your Christmas is merry and bright and that the Spirit of Christ fills your homes and your hearts.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Hills Are Alive!

I didn't have much of a voice when I had bronchitis.  This is not a surprise.  But even after my voice came back I still couldn't sing.  Oh, I would try.  I would turn on the radio and clear my throat but nothing more than a wobbly croak ever came out.  This was a big bummer because I love singing at Christmastime.  And I missed a choir performance, which may not have ever happened before.  It was strange sitting with the congregation while the choir sang. This was also a problem in seminary because we always start with a song and there are only 2 girls who sing with me.  The other 15 kids just sit there.  Some of them mouth the words but it's mostly just me singing to them.  It's as weird as it sounds but I refuse to give up the song.

But my voice came back.  I'm able to sing, and just in time because it's a big singing weekend.  We have a choir number on Sunday and I'm singing in a trio.  But here's the really big reason why:

I'm going to a Christmas sing along and Julie Andrews is going to be there.

DID YOU JUST READ THAT RIGHT!?!?!?  Did I just type "sing along" and "Julie Andrews" in the same sentence?  I DID!!!!!   Literally two of my all-time favorite things are coming together. I've known about this since the spring and we purchased the tickets a while ago and yet I just can't think about it too much because my heart might explode. Or worse, my thinking about it jinxes the whole thing and it doesn't happen.  No, this is happening! At 11:30 am on Saturday I will be in the Disney Concert Hall and Julie Andrews will be on stage and we will be singing Christmas songs together.  And around that time you will feel a warmth in your heart, an inexplicable sense of gladness and good cheer.  And you'll go to your window and look to the west and you'll see a glow on the horizon.  That will be my joy.  It will not be contained. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

An Elegant Hand

At my ward's Relief Society Christmas party we all wrote letters to the missionaries and as I looked over the table I realized that I very rarely see anyone's handwriting these days.  How often do you get a handwritten note?  Not often.  It's all type, type, type.  It struck me how closely a person's penmanship matches their personality.

And then I had a flashback to the day when I applied for a job and the woman doing the interview looked at my handwriting and said, "That's almost identical to mine." And she pulled out a piece of paper and started writing and she was not kidding.  We were writing twins.  Very spooky. I got the job and we ended up being eerily similar in many ways.

And then again, I just finished up reading Rebecca where the New Mrs. de Winter keeps talking about how sharp and decisive Rebecca's handwriting was.  She's haunted by it because she has such weak handwriting and how can Maxim ever love her and her inelegant hand?  How, indeed!  And it struck me that for however long people have been writing they have been commenting on it.  And someday in the near future that won't happen anymore.

Then today I read an article about how important it is to still teach cursive in school. A lot of places have taken it right out of their curriculum.  I'm not as broken up about it as you might imagine.  The article was a little preachy and the gist of it was that it boosts kids' self esteem to master script. Hogwash, I say.  If anything learning cursive gave me anxiety.  I could never get the letters to look how they were supposed to look when I always could in printing.  And if I based my self worth on how nice my T's looked then that would be a sad thing indeed. But naturally, it made me want to dust off the old cursive:

Isn't it strange how we all learned cursive and we still break through and write how we want.  I mean, I really applied myself to it.  I did all those worksheets as a kid and still my writing has evolved to look nothing like how I was taught. Oh, how I agonized over those Ts.  And also the lowercase r.  I could never get that second corner.

But it is a little sad that kids today are missing out on the joy of writing the cursive Z.  I still use it because it's just so satisfying.  When I wrote out Zarahemla (a place in the Book of Mormon) on the board in class the other day, the kids did not know what it was.

This is just a really long way of saying, "Handwriting.  Am I right?"

Friday, December 13, 2013

Disney Day

The Fam went to Disneyland on Wednesday thanks to our pals Casey & Clancy.  And it was great.  Hooray for family fun. I mentioned last year when Casey got us in that I've been ruined forever from doing it any other way.  And I stick to it.  Free is better.  And even though it's a legitimate bummer that my mom has a bad ankle, there is no denying that the back door policy for wheel chair riders is fantastic.

While slowly making our way up Main Street we overheard a conversation:

Old Guy:  Hey, did you hear about the actress who stabbed her husband today?  It's all over the news.
Youger Woman:  No. That's awful.  Who was it?
OG: Um, I can't remember her name.  Reese, maybe?
YW:  Reese Witherspoon?
OG:  No, not with her spoon.  With her knife.

So it's corny but his delivery was perfect.

And then later that night, while in line at the Haunted Mansion we hear: "Hey, did you hear about the actress who stabbed her husband?"

Same Old Guy!  He is getting a lot of mileage off of that joke.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The footwear of choice for communist regimes

Any ideas as to why these North Korean soldiers are patrolling in heals.  I mean, they have tread which will help them chase their fleeing countrymen across the ice but that's where the practicality ends. Also, is Number Two wearing sensible pumps with blue socks?  Yes. North Korea is a glorious mystery. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Soup and sympathy

Do you want to know the most strenuous thing I did today? I lifted 6 pizzas. But the rest of the day consisted mainly of sitting and talking, so a normal full day.  And still I came home completely wiped out. Which is to say that I'm back among the living, just not 100%. And that's ok. I'll take what I can get.

I took off Monday and Tuesday and made it 4 whole hours on Wednesday, which felt like an enormous accomplishment. And I don't have the death rattle any more. I think we caught the shingles early enough to not be so miserable as I remember. And I can stand for longer than 5 minutes. Progress.

But what I really want to say is that I'm surrounded by the nicest people on the planet. My refrigerator full of soup can attest to it. People dropped by with food and sympathy, and countless more offered. My seminary class was taken care of (like early morning seminary is the easiest thing to sub for on a few hours notice.) And everyone has been so helpful and wonderful. I have felt very taken care of. So thanks. If any of you want letters of recommendations as a friend I'll write you a glowing one.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The doctor hiatus has ended

On Thanksgiving I watched the parade, made rolls twice (the first time was a bust, round two was a success), ate a lot, hung out with the fam, and ended the day in bed with a horrible cough and a rash across my stomach. Then I slept all day Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday. Every other time this would do the trick.  But last night I still had the death rattle and the rash was not getting any better and I was exhausted.  I mean, seriously so tired. Taking a shower yesterday wiped me out so much that I slept for 4 hours and then, upon waking up, found that I couldn't move my arms because I was still so tired.

Which was how I ended up at the doctors this morning.  "Sure, Rachel.  Of course you were at the doctors.  This is what normal people do."  Except that I haven't been to a doctor in about 6 years.  Mostly because I didn't have insurance for a lot of those years but also because I never think I'm sick enough to see a doctor.

I'm going to suggest to my doctor that he starts creating categories for patients based on their level of tolerance.  Because you know there are people out there who go in for a runny nose. They get one little paper cut and they're off to the doctor. And then there are people like me who only go in if limbs are starting to fall off.  I want to have a sticker on my chart that says, "She's not kidding.  She's really suffering.  Desperation drove her here. Please just give her drugs and let her go home."

Because when the doctor said to me, "I'm not going to give you anything for the bronchitis but if you get to the point of extreme exhaustion and you have to drag yourself out of bed to do anything then give me a call," I wanted to yell, "I'M THERE!  I'VE BEEN THERE FOR DAYS NOW!  WHY DO YOU THINK I'M HERE!!! AND LOOKING LIKE A HOBO!!!  I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH ENERGY TO PUT ON MASCARA!!! I HAD EXACTLY ENOUGH ENERGY TO PUT ON A BRA AND BRUSH MY TEETH AND DRIVE MYSELF HERE!!!!!" Except that I was too exhausted to scream and simply said, "Give me the drugs." Which he did.  A lot of them (I had to make a spreadsheet of when to take each one.) Because on top of acute bronchitis I also have shingles.  And they're fighting against each other for my attention which is why I'm getting worse and why I'm so tired.

So I got a lot of drugs, and while I was at it I also got a flu shot and a DTAP vaccination, because why not.  And then he noticed that I was due for a pap smear and suggested I could have that done today and then I punched him in the face. No. Not really.  Remember I can barely lift my arms. Which was just his dumb luck.

If you need me, I'll be in my bed.

PS. This is my second time around with shingles.  I'm not looking forward to the next few weeks.

PS2. One of my antibiotics doesn't work if I have any dairy, which is seriously cutting into my Season of Eggnog.