Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sib Fest '016

This past weekend all of my siblings were together for the first time in nearly 4 years. It started with this:

And turned into this:

Sam, Gina, Casey Camille, Lindsay, Rachel, and Katie

Every family should have such a picture, right? I'm going to blow it up and frame it and hang it over my bed. I think we had just finished dancing to Bohemian Rhapsody. You can't tell but we are doing our best Freddie Mercury power stance. This was at our cousin Jared's wedding but it was basically nothing but rock n' roll and good times all weekend long.

We did make a quick trip to the beach and a longer trip around downtown LA, and then there was the wedding. But the best part of the weekend was just sitting around and laughing together. On Friday night we made boysenberry ice cream and watched ridiculous YouTube videos and sat around and laughed for hours until exhaustion hit and it was one of the happiest times I've ever had.

I recognized that it's a rare thing to grow up in a family of 8 kids (remember Erin). And that to most people it seems like a ton. But here's the funny thing. When we are all together I always get a sense of: Is this really all of us? Shouldn't there be more? And I'm not talking about all the people who weren't physically there (Casey's family were the only non-sibs present). It just always feels like there is so much joy and laughter and love that it should take dozens of people to generate it all. We are all keenly aware that to have this kind of relationship is special and I don't think any of us takes it for granted. Thus, the thumb-mic, power stance, joyful picture.

Here, have some more:

Addie and Graham Bone were part of the fun. Here's Graham trying to convince Boe to love him. Boe was skeptical.

I probably should not have put this first because you've no doubt died from the cuteness. Believe me, you don't even know the half of it. Graham is 100% grade A sunshine.

Once you've come back to your senses, here's Addie dancing at the reception.

Before the dancing even started she grabbed my hand and said, "Let's dance!" So we did for a good 20 minutes before anyone else came out to the floor. She just twirled and twirled all night long. That reception was a blast. And I generally loathe wedding receptions. I think they're usually a drag with bad cake to boot. But this was too much fun.

We went to Cantors after the temple and Casey ate a giant meat sandwich.

We also went to Cielito Lindo for taquitos the day before.

Of course we did. This is what Knechts do. Other things Knechts do: talk about maps and routes. Within hours of my two brothers being together they had already discussed a route to circumnavigate the eastern states by boat and the proposed expansion of the Metrolink gold line. 

Here's Addie adoring a taquito.

On our trip to downtown we went to City Hall to check out the view but also made it to the third floor, which I had never been to. And it is a beauty! How have I missed it all the times I've been? The mayor's office is on that floor and Sam and I went in to see if we could meet him. Why not? He wasn't in but the walls were covered with enormous pictures of him in front of iconic places. Which cracked me up. He's a good looking man, sure. But it looked like it was straight out of his portfolio from America's Next Top Model: Civil Servant Edition

Speaking of America's Next Top Model:

We took advantage of not being in stretchy pants and had Kylea snap a few pictures. That's going on the piano for sure.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The confetti cannons bursting in air

The Fourth of July is the best, right? It's like Christmas but you don't have to shop. And it's warm so you can go out and play a heated game of croquet, which we did. And there's home made ice cream and fireworks and you're surrounded by some of your favorite people. And the whole day is infused with that warm glow of patriotism - even in these dark, dark days of a vile, hateful, badly coiffed rock and a hard place with her own email server. As I stood in the church parking lot at 8 in the morning and watched the scouts raise the flag and marveled at how everyone has Americana attire I felt cheery and blessed. It's a pretty great place we live in.

And I kept that feeling all the way up to about 10 P.M. when I turned into a super crank  and nearly yelled out the window, "ENOUGH WITH THE FIREWORKS! GO TO BED, YOU DUMB HOOLIGANS!" They have been going off in our neighborhood for about two weeks now and it was crazy town on Monday night. Like, until midnight. And someone shot off a confetti cannon right in front of our house and our lawn looked like Mardi Gras threw up on it. Now, no one loves a confetti cannon more than I. I am nothing if not a confetti cannon enthusiast. I am, in fact, a little sad I missed it. However, I've never had to clean up after one. I'm glad the neighbors had a great time. But what was I to do with all this confetti in the grass?

This is how I ended up vacuuming my lawn. I got out the shop vac and sucked up all the little pieces like a mad woman. Mr. Across the Street was out as I was doing it but I'm sure he did not think I was crazy because he rakes his lawn every single morning. I'm sure that he understands that desperate times call for desperate measures. It had to have been kind of a funny sight though. But I didn't want to leave it because for one thing it looked trashy. And for another thing, I didn't want our gardeners to have to take care of it. I really love our gardeners. All they're supposed to do it mow and edge the lawns but they do so much more. They weed my vegetable garden, they prune the palm trees, they even take in our trash cans. I really didn't want them to have to deal with confetti. So I vacuumed the grass. It worked like a charm. And what I missed the sprinklers should dissolve in the morning.

And because my neighborhood is still shooting off the odd firework I think it's fine to post a patriotic song. Possibly the greatest of them all.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The smoking barrel

Prepare yourself for what you are about to see:

Oh, that's just me shooting a gun.

I know what you're thinking.  That I was abducted by a duck hunting cult. But I wasn't! I can see how you would come to that conclusion considering my stance on guns. But I try to be reasonable about this, that guns are out there and plenty of good, responsible, not-dumb non-killers own them. And I should be less terrified of them because, to quote Fran from Strictly Ballroom, "A life lived in fear is a life half lived." Not that I'm going to go out an buy one, but I shouldn't cower at the thought of them.

So when Jim, a guy in my ward and a gun enthusiast, invited me and Katie out to go skeet shooting I thought I would be brave and go. Plus, it sounded like fun.

And it totally was! I get why people do it. Yelling, "PULL!" and then firing is kind of thrilling. And we went to the Olympic shooting range out at Prado. I shot where the Olympians shot! The metal podiums are still there! I can't believe I did not get a picture with me standing on them. I'm such a dummy. Next time. There's still a chance that the Olympics will be back in LA in 2024 (oh, please, please, please, please, please! Although shooting won't be at Prado. I know this because I just spent the last 20 minutes looking over the bid and then another 20 minutes imagining me being named #1 Super Star Volunteer of the 2024 Olympic Games.) in which case I can go to the shooting competition and chat with the athletes because I will be an expert by then. I was an okay shot for my first time. Not great, but I didn't totally embarrass myself. My goals was to hit at least one and I far surpassed that. I got bunches of those clay pigeons. Katie did even better.

I would like to say farewell to my right arm though. It was a good 40 year run with it but I'm going to have to have it amputated because HOLY CATS IT'S PAINFUL TO SHOOT. This was not a surprise. Everyone who shoots says this. But that doesn't make the pain go away. Or the welts. Or the bruises that will follow. But I'll carry them as mementos of this day.