Thursday, January 28, 2016

Empathetic Voles

1. There was a sort of interesting article about how prairie voles manifest signs of empathy. Interesting in that there are people out there who study prairie voles. I am pretty fascinated by the career path of those people. Did they always have a thing for voles? Or did they get into college and find them? Or did they leave college, become an accountant, go on a vacation to Kansas, spot a vole in the wild, and have an epiphany that THIS is what they have been missing all theirs lives? Or are they just animal behavioral scientists who just happen to have voles on hand to study?

Of it it because voles are cute

And, also, the word vole is funny to say.

2. Thirty years, you guys! It's been thirty years since the space shuttle Challenger exploded. Some of you weren't even born! I was in the 5th grade and we did not have a TV in the room so we got the news when the secretary called Mr. O'Clock to tell him and some dumb kid laughed and Mr. O'Clock lost it on him. And then when I got home I sat in our living room and watched the news all afternoon. Boy, that was a sad day. I was already set on being an astronaut by that time. I'd like to thank my 1st grade teacher Mrs. Boyd for that. She talked a lot about Sally Ride. 

3. I had a cold over the weekend (and all this week and I am so D.O.N.E. blowing my nose) so naturally I spent it binge watching the 2nd season of When Calls the Heart. If that isn't the corniest show out there, I don't know what is. And I love it. We all love it! Admit it! But I have one serious beef with it. The styling of the characters looks like they just strolled into a some junior college theater department and rummaged through the generic period piece costumes and threw them on. All of the lady's blouses look like they could have been purchased at JC Penny's. And every casual outfit that Mountie Jack wore was straight from an LL Bean catalog. And the hair and make-up! What respectable woman in Olden Times wore her hair down like that? Or that much make-up? Lori Loughlin looked like she literally just strolled in from Malibu with her beachy highlights and tan and threw on a long skirt and a peasant top. I couldn't handle it. But then they'd say something endearingly cheese-ball and I'd forgive them and their lack of authenticity.  And then I'd blow my nose.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What was once lost

About a year and a half ago my computer crashed and I lost everything because I'm an idiot and I don't back anything up. Including all of my writings and all of my pictures, specifically the ones from my time in Tunisia. Obviously this was a blow. Why?! Why won't I learn?!

But lo, a miracle.

There, sitting in a little bag that I used to keep in my purse containing lip gloss and safety pins and other sundries was a flash drive that I popped into my computer and ALL OF MY PICTURES AND WRITINGS WERE THERE!!!!!!!! Oh Sweet Land of Liberty! I am not an idiot after all! I am a genius! I just can't remember being a genius, that's all.

Things that were lost but are now found include this picture of a sunset on the edge of the Sahara:

and this dead pope interned for all to see at the Vatican

and me convincing this bird to not peck my eyes out because I had had a really rough night

And snippets from little stories that include 

"You don't think a man of Hemingway's inclination and disposition would need a pair of warm socks from time to time? A man with such vices as his would certainly have poor blood circulation."


"Share your mutant power of getting rid of your own zits only if it manifests itself in a more profound way. Like, say, getting rid of other people's zits."

Treasures, I tell you. To me, at least. Oh, I was heartbroken for a long time and now I am not. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Get set for goose bumps

1. Katie and I did a food tour of downtown LA on Saturday through Six Taste. We met up at the front of the Biltmore Hotel with 13 other people and our tour guide and started walking. We had Thai, horchata boba, Jamaican patties and juice, guisada tacos, Austrian sausage and pretzels, BBQ brisket, and ice cream. Obviously, the tacos were the stuff of dreams. Every place we went to just gave us small samples, which was smart, but then I wanted like 20 more of those tacos. The Thai was mediocre and the boba was weird, as usual, (does anyone else feel, as I do, like shouting, "Will this boba ever end?!" whenever you have it?") but everything else was fantastic. I am now available to take you around to all of these places for Los Angeles adventures. Just name the date.

2. I held a gun for the first time tonight. Actually, three guns. We had a safety night for Relief Society and someone was teaching self defense and he brought a bunch of unloaded guns to show us. I did not care for them, as you would expect. But I also didn't burst into tears like I always thought I would. Look, I'm still not going to own one, if that's what you're wondering. Although all the classes terrified me enough tonight to check and recheck that all the doors were locked. My apartment felt very safe because we were on the second floor with only two doors that were always locked. This house is nothing but doors and windows and it feels like it has a neon sign on it that says, "Come assault me and take all my valuables." All night I kept trying to remember where I packed my nun chucks.

3. Did you hear that the winning Powerball ticket was sold in Chino Hills?! As in right next door?! Dear Rich Neighbor and New Best Friend, I make excellent cookies and all I really want is for you to buy me a ticket into outer space and also a Slurpee machine. XOXO, Rachel

4. This is the best thing I've seen all week. I am convinced I would be instant friends with this guy.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Naming of the Jumpsuits

I caught the beginning of the Elvis docudrama called This is Elvis and in it they showed his crew getting the hotel suite ready for his arrival. Setting out snacks and flower arrangements,putting up foil on his windows, neatly arranging his sunglasses on the vanity, that sort of stuff. And then there was a shot of guys pulling in all of his bedazzled jumpsuits, including a rack just for his enormous belts. Oh man. You just can't beat Old Fat Sweaty Elvis.

This naturally took me on an internet search for an archive of all of Elvis' jumpsuits, which I found because we live in wondrous times. Here, have a look. But if you don't have the time, here are a few of my favorites, with their names (of COURSE they have names).

The Blue Swirl

The Chinese Dragon

The Mexican Sundial

The Pharaoh (with cape!)

The Blue Aztec

And the greatest of them all, The American Eagle

Why don't you start your weekend right and watch it in action:

Monday, January 4, 2016

Loaded for Bear

The move to Chino, Christmas, and sending my parents off on their mission have all come and gone with nary a hiccup. And I'm unpacked and reveling in all this space and also the Hallmark Channel. You guys, how have I lived without the Hallmark Channel lo these many years? I have really missed those dumb, predictable, cheesy movies. Anyway, here's a smattering of things for your enjoyment:

1. First thing first:  How cute are my parent on their first day at the MTC:

I mean, come on! We got an update tonight and they are both so pumped about being there. 

2. Now let's talk about gardening and how I don't know what I'm doing. But despite that, I still have to keep my parent's plants alive for the next two years. On Saturday I pulled some weeds that I swear were anchored to the core of the earth. I got out the hoe and started hacking away, and that felt great. My parents used weeding as punishment while we were growing up so I've always kind of looked at it that way. But swinging that hoe around was therapeutic. I planted some strawberries, because why not, and some peas because picking a pod off the vine and popping it open and eating the peas inside while the sun shines on my face is one of my favorite things. Sweat peas and the ranunculus bulbs will have to wait until Saturday, after the first wave of the predicted El Nino storms pass. And I'm going to try to cut back my mom's roses. I've watched like 20 how-to videos so let's hope they make it. My mom loves those roses. 

3. Our new ward has welcomed us with happy, open arms. This helps that it is the ward of our childhood and a lot of the people know us and love us already. There's been a lot of call-me-if-you-need-ANYTHING and that's a comfort. Particularly from the former police officer who made me put his number in my phone and said that I could call day or night for anything but to be prepared because he would be "loaded for bear." The pacifist in me was like, "Oh, geez. Bloodshed." But the realist in me was like, "Yes. Thank you. Please bring all the guns." On a less extreme note, we were already invited over for dinner and cards with friends last week and that was fun. 

4. A memory came to me while we were having dinner with those friends. I think one of the last times I had been in that house was in 1988 when I was babysitting their wee small boys who are now fully grown humans with children of their own (I'm 80). I had just put the boys down and then I turned on the TV to catch the end of game 1 of the World Series. Yep. That's the place where I watched Kirk Gibson hit the game winning home run. I jumped up and down in front of their TV and silently cheered because I didn't want to wake up the boys. That's a great memory.

5. Hey, 2016! Let's have loads of fun this year, okay?