Tuesday, April 11, 2017

None of your nonsense

1. The following pictures were passed around my family a while ago and really, they're just too good not to share. 

Phoebe, Levi, and Prince are not having any of your nonsense. The side-eye game in the next generation of Knechts is so strong. 

2. There's a stretch of the 60 freeway that I drive on almost every day, between Central and Reservoir, that is lined with these tall evergreen trees in front of the sound wall. The wall is covered with a viney plant and every year around this time the vines burst forth with big, bright yellow blossoms. They're so rampant, these vines, that they have woven their way into the evergreens, so that the yellow blossoms pop out all over them. It is so glorious and wild. Most of our nature in these parts is tamed so it's refreshing to see signs of it that will not be controlled. No sir! Those vines will wend their way wherever they please. 

I feel like I should have a moral here. Like a, "So too is life..." because I teach seminary and I deal a lot in metaphors. But I've got nothing. I just really like how showy it is.

3. (Commence Old-Lady Rant) Do you know what really drives me crazy? The totally made-up word for an ancient and inevitable concept: adulting. Like, when fully-grown people say, "Ugh, I've been adulting so hard today." When all they've done is pay some bills. "Adulting" is code for, "I'm lazy and don't want to do this thing that I have to do because I don't live with my mother any more." Because "adulting" is really just doing things that need to be done, that humans of a certain age have been doing since the Dawn of Man. It is one thing for a 20-something to say it. The shock of doing your taxes the first few times is not for the faint of heart. But when people over 30 say it I want to shove them out a window. Guess what else adulting includes but no one ever mentions? Eating ice cream for dinner. Not having anyone tell you when to go to bed. Getting a pay check. Sure, you have to work for that pay check, but even then you get to choose what you work at. I don't know about you, but I never had a choice of doing the dishes or not as a kid. (End Old-Lady Rant.)

4. Heather, dear friend and mother of the Art Society, is recovering from an appendectomy. I went over to visit her and while there she showed me this video even though it risked her laughing and laughing caused her great pain. So that her sacrifice does not go in vain, I show it to you now. Let's coincidance! 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

What a shot!

You're not going to believe this but this was my and Camille's 10th year* of going to that lovely tennis tournament out in the desert. (It actually has a name. It's the BNP Paribas Open and it's the 5th largest tennis tournament in the world, just after the 4 grand slams.) It's hard to believe right? And I do appreciate you letting me bore you with pictures and tales of the shirtless old men who hang out there. You can scroll through every March archive of this old blog and see recaps of our adventures on the surface of the sun. Let's not break with tradition.

1. Aside from the tennis, and the frozen lemonade, and all the sunshine, the best part of the event is all the people watching we get in. At the very first match we went to I pointed out a guy sitting across the way with blindingly white teeth. We joked about how he must be a dentist with an addiction to the whitening lamp. Then shortly afterwords I noticed a lady in the same section with an interesting hat so Camille took a picture in order to zoom in so we could figure out what was on it. So here's the first picture:

And here's the hat:

Dolls, it turned out. Look, the sun is punishing and I wore an outrageously large number the whole weekend so I'm not going to judge any one's head gear. You do you, Doll Hat Lady! Also notice Santa, and the faces of the two guys in the front.

But look what else she captured:

SUPER WHITE TEETH GUY! Just smiling away and wondering when he can get back to his lamp. 

2. I would like all of us to take a moment to appreciate that the man pictured below chose to wear this outfit in public.

That's an orange sweatsuit--shorts edition. Bold move, friend.

3. We sat in the front row the whole weekend. Bleachers are for noobs. Don't tell anyone though. I don't want word getting around that one of the perks of the front row is that you can use the extra drinks barrel behind the player seats as a hat rack. 

4. The last match we attended was Feliciano Lopez and Dusan Lajovic. Now, you should know that Andy Murray's mom's nickname for Feliciano is Deliciano Lopez, and not for nothing. He is not ugly. And there is a lot of cat-calling going on from the ladies in the stands. After the warm up and right before the match started the two players were at their seats and Feliciano was drinking some water and then suddenly he tilted his head back and poured the water over it and shook out his hair. And all four of us (Lindsay and Susie joined us for Saturday) just kind of stared, like everything was in slow motion and a funky bass line was playing in the distance. It was memorable. So then the match started and the first set ended and Lajovic, as many players do, took off his shirt to changed it, and immediately after Lopez poured more water over his head. As if to say, "Challenge accepted!" We had a real sexy-off on our hands. All of that changed once Lopez blew his nose into his towel. But for a while things were smoldering. It was an awesome match, Lopez lost and jetted off the court in a flash but Lajovic, who we were sitting directly behind, packed up and then threw his (clean and unused) towel at Camille. Like it was a Wayne Newton concert or something. 

5. We caught the first few games of a doubles match and this is how the guy at the net stood, in case you're looking to improve your form.

6. We've been going long enough to remember when the grounds used to be filled with orange trees in full bloom. It smelled like heaven on earth. But they took them all out to build Stadium 2 and a tacky bar. We thought they were all gone but we lucked into a great parking spot that brought us through an entrance we had never used before and lo, there were orange trees in bloom. We all stopped and breathed deeply. Except for Susie who is from New York so the smell of orange blossoms is not part of her genetic make-up. But she humored us and took a whiff and managed to be a creeper in this picture of Camille sniffing.

Other delights:

Trying to guess the ball kids' names and shouting it out to see if they would look. "Hey, Charlotte!" "Ethan, over here!" and the stranger next to me cracking up when she realized what we were doing. You should totally sit next to us at sporting events. We're hilarious. 

Hearing the 80 year old Tennis Sage sitting behind us who had a massive speech impediment shout out, "What a shot!" except is sounded like "What a szchot!"  

The court manager giving us each a tennis ball, just because. I don't know, we tend to generate a lot of good will. 

All the people from different countries support their players. Croatia was in the house. Romania was in the same house with a bigger flag.

The ball kid coordinator who was so positive with them - cheering them on, reminding them to drink water and put on sunscreen -- that we had to stop him to compliment him on his efforts and then he ended up being a real close talker and telling us his entire life story (grew up in Van Nuys, was a teacher for 34 years, 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren, lives next door to the tennis gardens, living the dream) and that people are really drawn to him because he "exudes positivity." I'll say!

Standing in the security line, jostling for a better position, and saying to Camille,"You've got to use strategery." And the lady behind me saying, "That's not a word." So I explained it to her because we had plenty of time. And then about a half hour later I'm coming out of the bathroom stall and I hear someone shout, "Stategery!" at me. Line Lady!

The full moon rising in between palm trees over purple mountains as we walked back to our car on the last night. Perfection.

*Not consecutive. It would have been our 11th but Camille left on her mission right after we went our first time and we missed a year. Whatever Camille. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

High Sleep Standards

Is it lame to blame my lack of blog writing on my ludicrously early bedtime? I am very strict with it and I don't let myself start things after 8 for fear that it will cut into my sleeping time, so there you have it. No new blog posts for a whole month. Because I am an old woman.

(An additional sign of old-woman-hood is my advocating for early bedtimes like it's my job. You guys! You know how all day long you're like, "Woe is me! I'm so tired! Why?! What is my life?!" and then you look back at the night before and realize that you stayed up until 1 a.m. doing a fat lot of nothing simply because you didn't want to go to sleep? News flash! You could have been asleep. Go to bed! I have this conversation at least once a week with the 14-24 year old crowd I spend most of my day with. And thus concludes your old-lady lecture.)

Things I could have written about at the time but chose to instead fall asleep. 

1. A murder mystery scavenger hunt at the Getty wherein my combined love of art and sleuthing came together. It was SO MUCH FUN! Promise me you'll do it. And invite me along. Because I want to do it again. 

2. A riotous birthday party for Katie. All the sisters were in town and we invited a bunch of funny women over and we ate great food and we made them paint because, look, if you're friends with a Knecht at some point we will make you paint with us. Earlier in the day we went into Pasadena and tried a restaurant called Spudds that specializes in poutine. Every time I have poutine it confirms my belief that Canadians are on to something, despite the fact that they also eat ketchup chips. 

3. Just this week a girl came into my office to chat and asked what I did over the weekend and I said that I did a lot of house work while watching Anne of Green Gables. And she said, "What's that?"  I am proud to say that I did not banish her from society forever, which was my initial thought. But how can you have lived 19 years without so much as hearing of Anne of Green Gables?  And I don't mean not having read the book or seen the movies because we all have our own tastes. But to never have even heard of her? Am I way off on this, or is this nutso? You know what I need? Spare copies of the book and movie so when people make such shocking admissions I can just hand them over. "Come child, let me introduce to you the magic that has been missing from your life." I have been known to send copies of the The Blue Castle to people when they tell me they have never read it. I can't lend my copy out. Are you crazy? That book is dear to me. But I can certainly do my best to get a copy into their hands. It takes a village. 

4. All this glorious rain. But all that really needs to be said about it is, take that, drought!

5. I had a Bob Costas Sochi Olympics level bout of pink eye. I don't know where I got it from although at the same time I was suffering I saw a lot of posts from mothers saying their kids had it too. And just prior to getting it I had a meeting where I shook a lot of dads' hands. It lasted a full week and I looked like the living dead because the antibiotics made the bags under my eyes look like I was squirreling away mini marshmallows in them. Also, the goop. 

6. This video of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing You Never Can Tell without any rehearsal is the coolest. The beginning when he's trying to find a good key he goes Full Bob Dylan.

Monday, January 16, 2017


The pitch made by the makers of the movie La La Land: "Picture it - a musical set in modern-day Los Angeles. We'll have a dance number at Griffith Observatory. And little scenes shot on Angels Flight, and Watts Towers, and Grand Central Market. And a spectacular opening number in a traffic jam overlooking the city. And we'll have sunshine and palm trees and John Legend. I think Rachel is going to love it." Why were the creators of this movie talking about me in the pitch for the film, you ask? Because it was obviously made for me. The tag could have been: "For Rachel. Duh." I have been spending the last 2 weeks getting over a cold so I wouldn't be That Person in the movie theater but the expelling of lungs has slowed down and I finally got to see it this weekend and they were right, I loved it. Who wants to go into the city with me for spontaneous dancing?

A note on music in movies: I get really annoyed when the movement of the musicians in a movie don't match the music that is being played. For example, when someone is playing the piano and their arms are clearly moving in the opposite direction of the notes.  It drives me bonkers and it happens in A LOT of movies. I realize all of it depends on editing but it just looks shoddy to me. Of course I don't expect actors to play the instrument but at the very least learn the basics of how it should look. So it's very high praise from me that I thought Ryan Gosling did a passing job as a jazz pianist. It was clear that he wasn't playing but it was also clear that he made a solid effort to look like he was.

Can I make a total change of subject? The other day I was watching the spacewalk on the ISS, as I do. Although they've been available for viewing online for ages NASA has recently been live-streaming them on Facebook. Which, as you would imagine, opens this experience up to a whole bunch of kooks with keyboards. I'll give you a sampling of the comments that flashed by: "Fake! The government has been lying to us about space exploration for decades! They're hiding aliens from us." "Fake! This was obviously filmed in a swimming pool." "Fake! Where's the sun?" (This was asked when the ISS orbited to the night side of the earth. It is what we like to call a shadow.) "This is actually filmed on a secret base on the moon that they don't want us to know about." I would say about 10% of the comments were like this. What can you say? People are dumb.

But also, people are magical because there was a whole group of folks who were saying, "Fake! The Earth is flat and the government doesn't want you to know that so they filmed this on earth and made a computer generated spherical earth to fool you. WAKE UP PEOPLE!"  You guys! There are people who really believe the earth is flat. In 2017. People with brains and computers and eyeballs. There's an entire society with a website. You have got to check this out. It is hilarious. They call me, you (I presume), and every other fool who believes in a round earth Globularists. Isn't that the best? They pride themselves on being radical freethinkers. I'll say! What a grand world we live in.