Three things on Thursday

1. During my first communications planning course last night, my professor clicked to a photograph of the Mad Men cast in her PowerPoint and asked, “So what are some of the things that have changed in the PR/advertising world since the Mad Men era?”

The room was silent for a beat, until I offered, “You can’t smoke indoors anymore.”

I’m pretty certain I earned all my participation points.

2. This.  Group projects are a fucking mystery for me.  And the swear is completely necessary.

3. And apparently now you can pay to glitter bomb your enemies.  I have a fairly long list of nemeses but I think he would be worth the extra expense.  I should have factored that into my 2015 budget.

Well, that’s a start.

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I was 19, home in Minnesota on spring break from college, and up in Duluth for two of my cousins’ annual birthday celebration.  I walked into the funeral home hungover that Sunday wearing last night’s clothes to say goodbye to my grandfather before I drove the 2 1/2 hours back to Minneapolis.

He was eating breakfast – eggs, bacon, toast with jam, orange juice and coffee – his standard fare.  I sat down next to him and asked about his morning, about church.

“I prayed for the sins of my children and grandchildren,” he said, killing himself laughing.  I fixed myself breakfast and joined him at the table. That was the only meal I ever had alone with my grandfather.


I saw my grandpa’s younger brother, Uncle John, now maybe 90 himself, a couple years ago.  Uncle John said, “Give your grandpa one of these for me next time you see him,” sticking up both his middle fingers and jerking them in the air.

A week later in Duluth, I greeted my grandfather and told him I’d seen his brother recently.  “Oh? What’d he have to say?” he asked.

“He told me to give you one of these,” I said – half mortified – and stuck up both my middle fingers.

“Well,” he said, “did you give him the finger back?”

I loved his laugh.  I loved that he could spot a nose piercing or a tattoo from 100 paces, even at 97-years-old.  That he’d share his 10pm-smoothies.  How he looked at my grandmother – after about a 100 million years of marriage and thirteen children – like he’d struck gold.  That he believed red lights on Christmas Day were optional.  How he’d haul us all to church and then promptly fall asleep once mass started.  How he always illegally parked, citing his POW license plate as his get-out-of-a-ticket card.  He told me to say hello to the president on his behalf every time I returned to D.C.  He believed a good story was better than the truth.  He believed in all of us.

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This week

I have a five page paper due Monday on integrated marketing strategies and a 1000 word essay on writing well due Wednesday.  I’ve been instructed to always use the oxford comma.  I’ve been reminded that there are in fact stupid questions.  And that I’m capable of staying awake through a 2 1/2 hour class on Wednesday night after two work dinners, two work lunches, one work breakfast and two committee meetings the days prior.  I probably like a total jackass in a $300 Banana Republic suit and equally expensive boots with a backpack (thanks Mona!) slung over my shoulder.  But I’m owning it.

Grad school has been an adjustment.  I returned from Minnesota in late August, moved out of the terrible house into a new house with two more strangers, got into an epic, knockdown, drag out fight with a friend that hasn’t been resolved, started graduate school, withdrew from the American University Saturday training course (something had to give), 100% abused my month-long Amazon Prime trial and have limited my stress-eating to a brownie and a bag of chips and two suckers.  At least today.

I’m not feeling very light on my feet these days or like I’m having any fun.  But these things take time, so I’m told.  Adjusting to a life I left behind long ago when I graduated college at 20 and swore I’d never ever return to.  We’re in the middle of a reorg at work.  I miss my mother.

So while I’m adjusting – I’m making fantastic breakfast tacos.  I’m forgoing a couple extra hours of sleep on a school night for a couple beers after a long day with my favorite pal.  I’m also staying in a lot.  I’m reading good faction books that have nothing to do with school or work or responsibility before bed.  I’m online shopping.  And most importantly, I’m being easy on myself.  Sorry if I haven’t called you back.

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My Minnesota Vacation

The second I enter the state of Minnesota I revert back into some old habits – I whine at my mother as often as possible, mostly just to annoy her.  I immediately start consuming more bacon.  Personal hygiene becomes questionable the second I get up to the cabin.  Twenty miles north on 35W I start referring to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area as “the cities” and stretching out my vowels enough to make two letter words (n-o) up to two syllables (noooo-ah).

My Minnesota vacation was like summer camp but with alcohol.   I water skied and went horseback riding and square danced.  Then I water skied again so I’d have another two days of sore muscles to lament about to my mother (she 100% did not care).  I built exactly one fire and looked at the stars.  I let other people cook for me and took lots of naps and sat in the  sauna.  I tried as hard as I could to bottle up the relaxation before I returned to D.C. to pack and move and start grad school next week.

Waterskiing is particularly difficult when the boat keeps choking and you’ve forgotten which foot you put in the front of your slalom ski.  It was literally all I could do to hold on I was so tired by the end of full the lap around the lake.  Muscles I forgot I had were sore the next day.  But I look so athletic and Minnesotan in this picture.

My legs felt like jello afterwards.

One super quick way to make your legs feel like jello.



While horseback riding on Friday, my new Fitbit vibrated – Spankey the horse was pleased he’d reached his 10,000 steps.  Spankley the horse also accurately deduced that it had been years since I’d been riding and absolutely took advantage of me.  We quickly worked out a mutually agreeable arrangement – I agreed to swat the flies on his neck, he agreed to do whatever he wanted and not throw me off.  It was a win-win for both of us.


The horses lose interest in you as a person once they’ve been fed.


Saturday night my uncle had a party out at the farm  – the farm where my mom grew up and I spent many years as a kid horseback riding and swimming in the pool with my cousins.  My uncle hired a square dance caller for the festivities and the caller was not impressed with our abilities.  I’m pretty sure he would audibly sigh as we’d miss the call, stop moving and just stand in a circle looking at each other.  Or miss the call and just dosey doe because that’s the only move we had down cold.  I think he gave up on us pretty quickly.  And we gave up and switched to a 40-person game of flip cup because that’s something we’re actually good at.


Our best efforts.


My sweet grandfather is 97.  He still lives above the family funeral home – which is very confusing to everyone that we’re not related to.  I went out with my cousin Jean on Friday night and after one too many Jameson and gingers stood on a street corner and said, “I’m going to need you to take me back to the funeral home right now!”

“OK!” Jean said, “off to the funeral home!”

“Whoa,” said a stranger on the street, “what’s with people going to funeral homes?!”

That’s just how we roll.

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27 and then some

Last week – I turned 27.  I was tested for mono (negative).  Got an “atta girl” at work.  Was accepted to a master’s program at Georgetown.

“Oh good,” my mom said, “now you can be an education snob like everyone else in D.C.!”

I was also accepted to a professional development program at American University that meets on Saturday mornings once a month.  This will be the year of education.  My cabeza will get so big, my brain is going to hurt.  I’m going to network like a mother fucker.

I’m mostly excited to have an excuse to tote around a backpack.


I’m moving for the second time in less than a year next week.  To a house back on the other side of the Hill with two different strangers off Craig’s List and a Costa Rican mural on one wall in my new bedroom.  It’s obscenely bright and busy and probably a great thing I don’t do hallucinogenic drugs.  But it has sentimental value to the landlord, whose father painted the wall, and I find that endearing.


Thanks y’all for the birthday wishes.  And for being my friend.  And for the ill-advised birthday shots of Jameson.  Last week made a girl feel quite loved.  And I paid for it dearly on Saturday after a final birthday/grad school acceptance celebration.

No thanks ever again to Former Roommate B though – he had a shot of tequila waiting for me when I arrived at a very family-friendly restaurant Friday evening and told the waiter he wasn’t allowed to take my order until I drank said tequila, so he’s forever on my shit list.


I’m off to Minnesota on Friday to spend a couple of days at the cabin.  I’m going to let my mother cook me breakfast and pat my head and take naps out on patio looking at the lake.  Then off to Duluth to celebrate my cousin’s wedding and spend some quality time with this man – who at 97 years old still reminds me that life is very sweet.


It’s amazing what can change in a year.  My world seems so much larger these days.

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Some stuff on Friday

I ate two tacos and drank three beers and wrote the perfect blog post in my head last night as I was brushing my teeth.  It was epic – what is said, we shall never know.  I really should write these thoughts down, but it’s hard to practice good oral hygiene and write down my random thoughts at the same time.  And usually my moments of literary brilliance come in the shower.  Figures.  


I found a place to live!  After only 10 1/2 months of my current spot, I am returning to my beloved Southeast D.C.  I just prefer that quadrant.  And would prefer not to burn my current home to the ground, so it’s best I exit as soon as possible.  

I was emailing with my girlfriend about the new place and she said, “But you’ll be so far from H Street!”  Which is the location of our preferred bar hangout.  And by far she means like 9 blocks instead of 3.  

“I know,” I said, “but I’ll be so much closer to my gym.”  We both agreed that was the grossest thing I’ve ever said. 


When you’re Craig’s List househunting in D.C. everyone has extremely pointed questions with a mild to extremely traumatic story behind it that mostly baffles all common sense.  

My questions: How many days should a pot of chili soak on the stove?  (3 hours – tops.)  Do pizza boxes EVER belong on the living room floor – let alone for 24+ hours?  (No.)  How many days do you think it’s acceptable for bags of garbage that includes your untrained dog’s pee pads to be left on the back sun porch?  (Fucking gross.)  You spill half a pot of spaghetti on the stove – how do you respond?!  (Clean it up!)

New roommate:  If we run out of toilet paper for our shared bathroom, you….  (Buy more!)  Would you ever leave all the windows open downstairs when no one is home and only lock the door knob lock and not the deadbolt?  (Nope – getting burgled sounds like zero fun.)  What’s your conflict resolution style?  (Passive-aggressive as fuck!  Just kidding, that’s only when I almost step in your dog’s shit on the kitchen floor at 7am*.  Usually I converse with people about my issues like a fucking adult.)

All that other life shit – TBD.  Have a good weekend y’all!  

*I’ve made so many jokes about letting my roommate’s dog and bipolar cat (the one that likes to curl up on your lap, snuggle her head into your hand and then promptly bites you) out into the wild to see if they survive that if I did ever accidentally lose them, I’d never be believed.  Ever. 

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26 Going On…

I’ll be turning 27 next week.  I think that means I’m in my late twenties now instead of my mid-twenties.  My friend said to me the other day, “We’ll be in our thirties the next time we watch the World Cup.”  We did a collective shudder of our bodies and took a sip of wine.

I’ve been in D.C. now for over 5 1/2 years.  Over the course of those years and months I’ve had four jobs and three apartments and 14 different roommates.  I’m moving next month again, by the way, hopefully to a home absent of a tiny little dog that barks incessantly and often shits on the kitchen floor.  Where – that’s to be determined.  Luckily I am old enough now to have many friends with spare bedrooms, so me and my large collection of shoes won’t be temporarily without a home.

Being an adult – I think we can all agree it’s overrated.

I’ve got a good job and a savings account and a Roth IRA that I (un)wisely maxed out last year because I’m smart enough to save money each month.  But not always smart enough to resist large purchases like an adorable Vespa that I 100% don’t need so it’s best to get rid of all that cash.

I’ve got this pinched nerve in my neck that flares up during moments of stress or poor sleep or after 1 1/2 long hour bike rides on gorgeous Friday afternoons when I’ve called in sick to work and miraculously recovered around 2pm.  I’m diligently continuing my post-puberty battle with acne.  I don’t always remember the old adage “beer before liquor, never been sicker.”  Sometimes I chase a session at the gym with chicken tenders and french fries and beer.  Sometimes a salad and an early bedtime.

My friend told me once that as a child, she thought 24 was the perfect age to get married.  I recall being shocked the perfect age to get married was something I was supposed to think about – as a child or really ever.  Is that something I’m supposed to be thinking about?

So what exactly am I supposed to have learned by 27?  Besides that I hope to never never run for exercise ever again and I still think lima beans are fucking gross and you really should drink a shit ton of water every day.  That you should always use “I” statements instead of “you” statements when arguing, I look terrible in the color yellow and perfecting your early 2000s Pandora rap station is a valiant accomplishment.

There could be some hard and fast changes in the next month or so in addition to where I sleep at night.  There could be none.  Vague, I know.  But I’m one to worry about the jinx.

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10 on Thursday

1.  I was in Minnesota – specifically at my mom’s cabin in bum fuck USA – for five whole days last week.  And guys, it’s amazing how much my shoulders can relax when I’m standing on a dock looking at a gorgeous lake with a beer in my hand and polar fleece on my person and the firm knowledge that my mom is cooking me dinner at that very moment.  Because my mom is the best like that.

2.  Backstory: So my mother suffers from a crippling fear of missing anything fun ever.  She decided it would “probably be best” to fly from Minnesota to Atlanta where I was meeting my aunt and cousin this spring and drive the 4 1/2 hours with us to Nashville for a little mother-daughter bonding trip just in case.  Read: What if her flight got canceled because it never ever stopped snowing in Minnesota this winter and we had fun without her?!

So on Friday night we were all sitting around the fire at the cabin on her extremely comfortable outdoor furniture.  We had just consumed a delicious dinner, taken a delightful sauna and dip in the lake and were shooting the shit and enjoying a cocktail.  And mom falls asleep.

Now if you try to wake her up she just tells you she’s resting her eyes or she’s still listening, so we’ve learned to just let her hang out.  Plus she has insomnia like whoa, so she needs her sleep where she can get it.  Being the super lovely children that we are, we debated the pros and cons of drawing a penis on her face for a while (OK, we might have had more than one cocktail), but eventually decided against it.  Partially because it’s extremely unkind but mostly because we didn’t want to risk her refusing to cook us breakfast in the morning.  And mom makes a slammin’ breakfast.

Super sorry, mom.

3.  Proof she makes a slammin’ breakfast – one morning she made homemade waffles and turned them into sandwiches with honey ham and dijon mustard.  I highly recommend it for your breakfast pleasure.

4.  Do y’all know what loons are on the East Coast?  If not, this is a loon.  Also known as the other Minnesota state bird – besides mosquitoes.  They are very cute and have a lovely call that is very calming for us Minnesota kids.


So cousin Josephine, brother Tim and I are all swimming in the lake on Saturday and Tim’s Jack Russell Mila decides she desperately wants to get in the fun while simultaneously being terrified.  She buckled to peer pressure (all of us yelling “Mila, come here!”) from various parts of the lake and jumped in.

On the way back she seemed to regret her decision and jumped up on Josephine like a baby loon to hitch a ride.  She later tried to do this to me when I was swimming without the use of any flotation device by climbing on my head and we both went under.


5.  My mom’s cousin wrote this book – go buy it!  Here is the link directly to the Amazon page!  I gave it to two of my co-workers for their young daughters and then was like by the way – the main character lives in a funeral home.  Hope you don’t think that’s too weird!  Bye!

6.  I’ve had this song stuck in my head all week.

I’m bored now and need to get back to work.  Hope everyone had a nice 4th of July!

Side note – I hit publish by accident before I’d even read the damn thing, but it’s now been at least read over once but still not really proofed.

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My finest hour — Mexican-style quiche

I hosted book club (read: excuse to drink champagne at 1pm) last weekend and made some Mexican-style quiche.  Last time I made it was the morning of Thanksgiving and my brothers proceeded to unceremoniously house the entire thing.  Plus it’s pink, so that is generally awesome.  

Last night I used up the leftover shredded cheese and sausage to make a tart (quiche minus the crust) in a cast iron skillet which is just as delicious.  And much healthier.  Here you go – both versions.  


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Make sure your skillet is mostly clean, grease it up and add half a pound of sausage.  Or a pound.  Or whatever you have.  When the sausage is almost done, drained as much of the oil as you can without burning yourself or dumping all the sausage onto your kitchen counter (scoop out most of the grease with a spoon and then use a paper town to soak up the rest) and then tossed in some chopped onions and cooked those.  Then take some shredded cheese and dump that on top of the sausage.  Next mix 4 eggs, a little over a half a cup of cream and a cup of salsa together and mixed it all up and dumped it on top.  Pop it in the oven for like 20 minutes on 425.  


Do all of the above but dump the ingredients into a pie crust and not a skillet.  It takes about 45 minutes to bake a quiche.  And if your over sucks as much as mine does, precook the crust a little bit or else you might accidentally serve your girlfriends half-cooked pie crust.  And that’s a bummer.  

And then you eat it and it’s fucking amazing.  The end. 

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10 on Thursday

Because I FINALLY wrote my meeting minutes from a meeting 31 days ago after reading exactly everything on the internet.  Which is an extremely long time to avoid writing meeting minutes because seriously…what was that meeting about again?  I don’t remember either.  And it doesn’t help that my notes are absolute nonsense.  I’m good like that.

1.  I’m wearing this dress.  And I look fantastic.  My dad always says “self praise is no recommendation,” but he clearly has never worn such a comfortable, stylish and well-fitting dress.  With pockets!  I actually presume my father has never worn a dress, but that’s not here nor there.

2. Today is Kate’s birthday!  Happy birthday, Kate!  I sent her this video this morning and she was very confused.  It’s just bootleg footage of the best birthday song of all time from the very best kids show of all time – Back in the Barnyard.  The things you learn as a college nanny just keep on giving and giving.

3.  I’m still online dating, which is more or less the worst.  I went on a date with a lawyer last weekend who used the term “turtle dick” on our first date (not about himself, mind you, about his female friend’s ex-boyfriend).  My mother made a new rule after I told her that story – thou must never go on a second date with a gentleman who used the term “turtle dick” on the first date.  And my mother’s the boss of me.  Even at almost 27 years old.

4.  Also some advice for you men out there online dating:  “Ur” is not how you spell “your.”  Don’t tell me you enjoy writing sensual poetry.  Don’t be sexually suggestive.  You probably would think this is common knowledge – and I did too until I got a message from a gentleman asking if he could “cum on my tits.”  The answer to that question was 100% no you may not, sir.

5.  My very best friend for the rest of my days Lou was in town last week.  I took two days off work (the first vacation days I’ve taken so far this year – look at me being such a dedicated employee!) and we gallivanted around town.  At the risk of being disgustingly sentimental, there is something just wonderful about someone you’ve known for the majority of your formative years – someone who can inherently read between the lines, knows you front and back, and will still like you in the morning despite that fact that you forcibly shoved her in the shower at 3am because you ain’t getting into my bed with feet smelling like that.  (I’m not going to point fingers here, but my feet smell just fine.)

6.  I spent the majority of yesterday morning looking at graduate school programs.  And then the remainder of the day wanting to throw up.  I got real brave around 10am and finally looked up my GRE test scores from about two years ago.  I didn’t study at all and have the worst test anxiety of all time and what’s with this computer shit –  if they could just let me take the test with on paper with a pencil I’d probably be OK.  Turns out my test scores are not nearly as bad as I initially thought.  Either that or I have no idea what the numbers mean.  Either way, I’m going to start by thinking really really hard about a masters degree for the next couple of weeks and then maybe progress to thinking really really hard about applying for the spring term.  And that’s all I’m committing to at this juncture.

7.  If you need an amusing blog to read, this is probably my favorite child I-don’t-know-and-will-never-know-in-real-life of all time.

And speaking of children, I was sitting on my friend Liza’s porch Monday night (recently married!) and her two year old neighbor swung by for a little chat.  “Show Rachel your ballet skills,” Liza told the little one.

“Ballet!  Ballet!  Ballet!” she said over and over while dancing and skipping in a circle.  Probably the best dance moves of all time.  If only that worked in real life – like if only I could dance around a sheet of white paper and holler “Press release!  Press release!  Press release!” and that shit would just happen.  As opposed to thinking of ONE OTHER WAY to say that fill-in-the-blank sucks or we’re lauding the hell out of so-and-so.

8.  My youngest brother Jack is graduating college this week.  Oh, holy shit.  I can’t believe that I’m an adult, let alone that he’s an adult.  He can drink in the bar and has big muscles and can read now and everything.  He majored in biology which effectively makes him the smartest child in our family as I barely passed womens bio in college and all we did was talk about our feelings.  I’m very proud of you, kiddo.


9.  And in other news, Bree’s birthday is Monday.  So let’s wish her a happy birthday, too!   I’m going to be in NYC next week for work (can you say dinner boat cruise around the Statue of Liberty?) but I’ll think again about posting sometime before summer is over.

10.  And I’ve had this song stuck in my head for no less than 10 days, so let’s make it the song of the…how long it’s been since I lasted posted a 10 on Thursday.


And mind the errors – my ability to edit dissolved around the second press release about policy you don’t care about yesterday afternoon.



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