Monthly Archives: July 2012

Family by the Numbers

When I talk about my mother’s side of the family, it’s usually in terms numbers.  My mother has 2 brothers and 9 sisters.  She’s number 7.  I have 37 first cousins.  And that doesn’t include their spouses or the great-grandchildren.  4 of us graduated high school in 2005.  I was the first girl born in 10 years.  We often have 60+ people and a buffet line for Christmas Eve dinner.  There was a “small bunch” at this year’s annual family day.  Just 40 or so.

At a family wedding a number of years ago, as we do at all family events, we congregated for a family photo.  First the aunts and uncles.  Then just the cousins in attendance (we’re missing a handful here).  Then all of us together, spouses and babies too.  The photographers always have to take many many steps backwards to fit us all in the frame.

When this photo was taken, my grandfather was impatient to return to his cigar.  We were moving too slowly for his taste to get organized.  He made his opinion clear that we should all hurry up.  My cousin Megan responded, “Hey!  This is all your fault!” sweeping her arms at the 30-some of us standing around him.  He laughed.  That we are.

My grandpa will be 96 years old in December.  He believes in the medicine of a good cigar and a glass of chilled Carlo Rossi.  The importance of having an excellent sense of humor.  The benefit of family and friends.  Red Lobster at 4PM on Sundays.  And that a good story is better than the truth.  That scar from where he got stabbed during WWII?  Actually his appendix.

My cousin made this video of my grandfather telling his favorite story.  Did I ever tell you my very own grandfather started WWII?  This made my whole day.  Thanks, George.

Papa from goodie pocket films on Vimeo.



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Happy birthday to me!  Yesterday I turned 25 years old– one whole quarter century.  I spent the weekend in Chicago following a work trip to Wisconsin and left feeling exhausted and full and slightly hungover after 4 days of excellent quality time with friends and family.  I’m a damn lucky girl.


Wisconsin was as you can expect Wisconsin to be– full of cheese curds and Leinenkugel and locally made meat sticks.  It was mostly uneventful, but involved a highlight or two.

There was a net set up in the backyard where we were staying.  After a BBQ Monday night and a handful of beers a piece, we decided to try our hand at a friendly game of volleyball.  First play of the game, old co-worker KT hit current co-worker K smack in the face in an overhand serve.  They were on the same team.

It’s a good thing K wasn’t hurt because it was a whole 5 minutes before we’d composed ourselves to ask if she was OK.  Another 10 degree turn to the head and she would have had a broken nose for sure.  And none of us were the least bit curious about seeing the inside of the Wisconsin hospital.


We rented out a bar Wednesday night for a work party.  Part of the deal was that we were in charge of manning the door, so I got to try my hand at bouncing.  Which was not nearly as awesome as I’d imagined it to be.

The cops came mid-way through the night.  Not because we were causing a ruckus, but because there was a black Mustang that needed to be moved.  I was sitting at the door, minding my own business a half hour later when an old man came up to me and got all up in my face.  Might I add, he’d recently eating a whole shit ton of crackers.


“Huh?” is what I responded.  Because yeah, there were a lot of people in the bar, but I’ve seen worse.

“There are people everywhere!  There is no aisle to move!  The cops were here!” he yelled angrily.  Crackers flying everywhere.  Mostly into my face.

It took me a minute to realize he wasn’t fucking with me and then as politely as one could be when one is getting spit on and within 4 feet of one’s CEO, mumbled something about the Mustang and that he should maybe leave if he didn’t like it.  His buddy pulled him out by the shirt collar mere seconds before I lost my patience.

I know one thing.  If that old man, I believe Ernie is his name, shows up on the same red polo next year I will 86 him before he steps foot in the door.  No one over the age of 2 is allowed to spit in my face.  And that’s final.


Chi-town was everything I needed it to be– fun, relaxing, fun, drunk.  I like to joke that Chicago is where to go when I need to be around the people who love me the most (save for my parents) and this weekend did everything to support that statement.

Lou and I had a whole tartare course (steak and salmon!) at a fancy restaurant located directly across the street from where they park the city garbage trucks.   I drank beers at my college hangout with my little brothers.  Took shots of Jameson.  Read my book in bed until late in the morning.  Enlightened by my 9 year old cousin that when she grows up she’d like to be either a singer, Broadway performer, lawyer or president of the United States.  Watched She’s All That on the couch.  Gifted a wonderful pair of new boots.  Smiled until my face hurt.

Essentially– an excellent excellent weekend.  I left feeling completely whole.  And damn, did I need it.  Thanks, friends.

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10 on Thursday

1.  Greetings!  I hope everyone is having a lovely day.  Mine is fairing well to moderately well, which is nice.

2.  This is more or less the best thing I’ve ever read: America’s Top 5 Most & Least Fuckable Presidents

To quote:  The Honorable Unfuckable President: William Howard Taft.  Way to get stuck in a fucking bathtub and have yourself remembered as the fattest president to ever exist.

I saw a model of his bathtub on display at National Archives a couple years ago.  It’s GIGANTIC.  I had to control every ounce of my being to not get inside the bathtub to see how I fit.

3.  Another side note, Taft’s campaign song was “Get on the Raft with Taft”.  If that dude was large enough to get stuck in a White House bathtub, you’d most certainly capsize kicking it with him on a raft.  I hope no one took that song literally.

4.  THANK THE UNIVERSE THAT HEAT WAVE IS OVER.  And yes, the caps are entirely necessarily.  If you don’t think so, you obviously don’t live on the East Coast or have far better air conditioning than we do at my house.  If one more person from Minnesota told me how nice it was at the cabin over the weekend, I was going to burst into tears.

5.  I spent most of Sunday afternoon lying in my bed as close the window unit as possible watching episodes of Big Love.  I made one trek out of the house for coffee and immediately returned.  It was literally too hot to walk 4 blocks.

6.  We’ve been watching the documentary Being Elmo over lunch at work and everyone keeps getting all teary-eyed.  It’s so sweet.  If you haven’t seen it and have any sort of tiny affection whatsoever for the underdog and kids following their dreams and Elmo, you need to watch it immediately.  And if you don’t like the movie, you probably have no soul.

6.  I biked from Woodley Park to Stadium-Armory Monday night in under 35 minutes.  That’s fast like lightning.  No one seems to be as impressed with my super fast biking skills as I am, but that’s cool.

7.  I purchased a ticket to Chicago the last weekend in July.  I am mostly excited that BFF4EVA now works mornings so she won’t try to kill me by keeping me out drinking until 4AM every night.  I’m going to be 25 years old.  I’m no longer a spring chicken.

8.  My trip to Chi-town is going to be coming off 4 days in Wisconsin.  Do you know what you do in Wisconsin for 4 days?  You eat nothing but cheese curds and meat sticks and drink delicious delicious beer.  And that is all you do.  It would kind of be the best place ever if I wasn’t from Minnesota.  Because since I’m from Minnesota, Wisconsin sucks as a general rule.

9.  I saw this guy walking up Capitol Hill last night.  I’m not sure if you can really grasp what’s going on here, but he’s wearing a long, fancy coat in 80+ degree weather and a very spiffy hat.

10.  In honor of the heat wave, our song of the week:

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Losing My Mind

Do you ever feel like you’re losing your mind?  Like your mother used to say, well at least my mother, standing in the kitchen.  Us children running around her hollering at the top of our lungs.  “You’re all going to make me lose my mind.”


I keep having panicked dreams.  Last night I fell down a waterfall.  You know those falling dreams?  The kind when you wake up, you can actually feel the fear of falling coursing through your body.

And then I was packing for a long trip.  I had 3 suitcases, all disorganized and haphazard with minutes to go before I was supposed to catch a flight to Africa.  Last week I dreamed I cut off all my hair.  Of course I google these panicked dreams in the morning: anxiety, change, unsettled.  Duh.


Between you and me, I’ve started looking for another job.  I’ve been here for 2 1/2 years.  And I’m starting to feel bored.  And stir crazy.  And in need of something new.

I interviewed for a job at a non-profit a couple weeks ago.  From start to finish, I thought the people interviewing me were disorganized and unprofessional.  Every bone in my body told me I’d hate every second I worked at that place.  It would have been a pay cut.  A large one.  Yet, the “although your qualifications are impressive” e-mail still stung.  I was going to reject them.  They weren’t going to reject me.


I turn 25 in 23 days.  I’m considering my quarter-life crisis.  How does one do such a thing?


It’s so hot that my front door has swelled beyond the confines of the door jam.  I fear for our electricity bill this month.  There is something about this heat and humidity that makes me uncomfortable deep in my bones.  And the constant switch from hot and humid to A/C cold makes my sinuses hurt.


I think I need a vacation.  Can you tell?  In the meantime, bless the women that have a drink with me on my front porch.  And make me ice coffee on Saturday mornings.  They help keep me sane (ish).


At least it’s the weekend.  Bring on the pool.  And the excellent book I’m reading.

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10 on Thursday – AMERICA!

1.  Happy (belated) birthday, ‘Muuuurica!  I only remember birthdays these days if there are Facebook reminders and even then I forget half the time.  I hope everyone had a safe and fun holiday and remembered to go show up at the office this morning.  I was certainly confused about what day of the week it was for most of yesterday.  But I was also a bit on the hungover side, so there’s that.

2.  Speaking of hangovers.  I will certainly be blaming the high temperatures in Washington, DC for yesterday’s.  Being outside in the District is like INSTANT dehydration/immediate potential of passing out.  I can actually feel the sun touching me.  And it is not a warm and fuzzy feeling, as one would imagine it to be when dreaming of summer during a blizzard in February.  It’s terrible.  I do solemnly swear never to bitch about winter ever again.

3.  I also did not know one could sweat this much.  Like seriously, dudes.  How is anyone supposed to date when the temperature is in the triple digits.  How do you introduce yourself?  Hi, my name is Rachel.  Normally my hair isn’t this gigantic (humidity!), nor is my make-up sweating off my face.  But you look like shit too!  Want to grab a drink sometime?

4.  There is no one in the office this week and I have a very limited list of things to do.  Most of which I accomplished by 10AM Monday and that included a 30 minute coffee break.  I’ve spent the last hour trying to figure out how to fish-tail braid my hair.  It’s only working well to moderately well.

5.  I bought an iPhone this week and it’s been stressful.  When I first left the Sprint store, I was tempted to ask for bubble wrap to properly secure it in my purse.  I’m told I will no longer be afraid of it very soon.  Most likely around the first time I drop it and it doesn’t shatter into a million pieces.  If it does, however, shatter into a million pieces, I will most likely be scared of it forever and return to my purple phone that did two things: text and make phone calls.  And did neither thing well.

6.  I am looking forward to Instagraming the shit out of everything.  Or as I accidentally call it once– hipstagraming.

7.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned my favorite July game lately– gunshot or fireworks?  A Capitol Hill tradition since…well, I assume forever.  We could see most of the fireworks from the Mall yesterday evening from a friend’s rooftop porch (Senate Square was all up in our way) but quickly turned our attention away from the Mall to watch the rogue fireworks shows going on in the neighborhood.  They were better.  Probably because there was the added thrill that they might hit us in the face.  They didn’t.

The fear was a little more founded biking home from the party.  At one point, a firework shot into a top of the tree and embers fell down to the ground in front of me seconds before I biked under said tree.  At least I was wearing my helmet.  Safety first.

8.  How come no one has bought me one of these muscle shirts yet?

9.  This happened.  And I think it’s hilarious.  Like so so funny.  HUGE fail, San Diego.

10.  Song of the week.


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