Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Just now I was browsing at gap.com - not that I have any money to buy anything, but a girl's gotta know what's out there. So I choose accessories and glance through the usuals...hats, scarves, belts, bags, shoes...dog accessories...um, what?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Direct from Our Nation's Capital

I love long weekends. Not only do you get the extra day of weekend, but you get to work a shorter week. Good stuff all around.

You might think that spending this holiday in DC would motivate me to get out there and see some parades and do some generally patriotic activities, but you would be wrong. I barely even left my house, although I did sit on the back porch and read for a while. I was so zonked after the last few weekends of flurrying activities that I relished the chance to just laze around. So in celebration of this holiday, I chose the following activities:

Saw "The Interpreter" with C. Good movie, very interesting plot. No interpreter I have ever worked with looks like Nicole Kidman though. Just so you know.

Grilled burgers with the roommates. Yum...we have a new grill.

Shopped at the mall with Adrianne. Now I have a new sweater that I won't be able to wear until October, but it was really cheap.

Read The Alchemist. Pretty decent little read there, I recommend it. Although "devoured" might be a better verb to use. I have this problem in that when I read things that interest me, I fly through them and sometimes miss details in my quest to know what happens. I know that I ought to savour and ponder and all those things, but it's not really possible for me to do it on the first round. I'll reread it some other lazy weekend and catch all the small but interesting tidbits I missed.

Watched "Anchorman". Bit of a let-down, not as funny as I was led to believe.

Went into town for church (and may have found a winner, yay!). Counted at least 800 fanny packs worn by people either with American flag, various tourist trap, or matching t-shirts. Thus cementing my resolve to not venture anywhere near downtown.

Happy Long Weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Office Update

Seems that the love of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" spans the generations throughout my office.

And I need you now tonight,
And I need you more than ever...
Once upon a time, I was falling in love
Now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart

This song is better when sung with dramatic hand movements and your eyes closed, that evokes the proper teen angst.


Also, from the IT guy to E, since her boss's use of the email high priority exclamation point has gotten out of hand:

“That is totally like the boy who cried wolf. He abuses the exclamation point. I should send out an email asking people to refrain from using the exclamation point. I could make something up like it puts to much strain on the server or something.”

He really should, it's not like they would ever figure out he was lying. Turning on the computer itself is sometimes very hard for some of them.

The Wedding Nazi

Every wedding seems to have that person who is in charge of it. Whether it's the mother of the bride or the bride herself or someone they have hired to make sure things run smoothly, there is always someone to order the wedding party around. At my cousin's wedding, it was the church coordinator that we fondly referred to as the Wedding Nazi.

First, there are the hand signals. This was HOURS of merriment at her expense, because there were all sorts of hand signals to tell us when to go, when to stop, when to turn, you get the point. Trouble was that in all of the hours of rehearsing, we only briefly ever went over what the hand signals themselves actually meant. The wedding also took place in a freakin' huge church and she stood at the very back, giving us these weird motions that we were supposed to decipher. As Brad, a groomsman, put it: "What? Steal third??"

There was also no fun to be had, at least not if she could help it. Frankly, I think one of the only redeeming things about having to buy a dress (or rent a tux, as the case may be) and stand for hours and run around like a crazy person and all of the other things that come with being in the wedding party is the fact that the other people in the group are your age and are pretty fun. So you can cut up and play around like the goofy folks you are. We were informed that when recessing we ought to acknowledge one another - "Don't just grab his arm and start walking!" - so one of the pairs thought maybe a dip was in order. No such luck...we were informed that this was "reception behavior." In the end they settled for a complicated handshake, and received a pretty dirty look for it as we exited. On more than one occasion, we would all be quieted with "BRIDESMAIDS!" And then we would all snicker like fourth-graders caught whispering in class.

My favorite moment though was when I, with my 59-year-old Uncle Bob, got in trouble for opening the door from where we were waiting to go into the lobby to listen to the trumpet player. She caught our eyes, hers narrowed to show her displeasure, and she gave a dramatic swoop of the hands together to let us know that the door ought to BE CLOSED. We laughed a lot, but quietly so as not to bring down further wrath.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Oh, how I laughed

I went to see my ex-ballet teacher while at home...I took lessons from her for almost 9 years, and was her assistant through most of high school, so we're pretty close. It was kind of bittersweet really, because she's closing her studio and moving. It's all very understandable, being that the landlord is a jerk and she's tired of dealing with the horrible parents ("why isn't my daughter up in the front?"), but it still sort of saddens me that this very important place in my childhood will be no more after July 1st. Now it's this great loft in an old building, with a floor and a barre and a wall of mirrors, and tons of whacky decorations and leftover props from shows. There are class photos from every single recital, meaning that there is an entire wall covered in roughly 100 pictures. After July 1st it will probably be a quilting barn or some other sort of crap place that the WASPs in my town seem to love so dearly.

But that's not the funny part. She always tries to fix me up with her son when we mention my love life (or lack thereof)...even though he lives in Atlanta and we appear to have virtually nothing in common. He works on computers doing something with Unix, and that's the funny part. When he tried to explain to his mother the ballet instructor what exactly he did with Unix, she told him, "but honey, I'm confused...aren't those the Egyptian men with no balls?"

You know what makes me happy?

Random phone calls from people I haven't talked to in ages, that's what.

I was robbed, I tell you, ROBBED!

I was actually though. It's going to take me a bit to update everything, but here's the first in a series of what I've done with myself over the last week and a half or so.

So Sarah and I came into DC to meet up with work friends for brunch at the best-est brunch place, Kramerbooks, and drove in the rental car because trains on Sunday run about every 45 minutes. I locked it up, and Sarah helped me parallel park the thing because it was long. This is important to know for a later part of the story. Sarah stood right behind the car and watched me pull it into place.

Upon returning from the restaurant, full of yummy brunch goodness, we notice that her door is slightly ajar. We had come back with the friends to show off my RED bridesmaid dress, which we found crumpled in the floor. Thinking it was odd, but we had perhaps knocked it off when getting jackets out or something, we chatted some more and then got in to drive away. We then notice that the CD's I had (all five of them) were missing. Some other things too. Someone had broken into our rental car and robbed us!

Here's the funny part. They got almost nothing. We didn't have really anything of value in the car at all. For all their effort, the total take was as follows: five CDs, all replaceable; Sarah's makeup bag full of half-used makeup; a $20 point-and-shoot camera; and a homemade first aid kit, also Sarah's. So basically if they get $25 for the CD's they will be lucky, because no one wants Sarah's used makeup, except maybe Sarah.

We thought maybe it was a drag queen that robbed us, because the area is known for its queens, and Sarah did have some very nice Tweezerman tweezers in her makeup bag, but then she rightly pointed out that a queen would have taken the dress as well. What self-respecting drag queen would leave a red satin with silver beading floor length dress behind?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Whore Lived Like a German

I'm getting all sorts of random spam in my work email...apparently it's some sort of worm or something like it (I'm so high tech) that sends people loads of emails with links. Most of the subjects are in German, but my favorite subject is the one above. What does that even mean? It's also the only one I can read, as my German consists of : "auf wiedesen" (goodbye), "Hauptbanhoff" (main train station), and "Frohe Wienachten" (Merry Christmas). Most of those are probably spelled wrong too. So weird, but now I have to check my email periodically despite being in Texas and not at work so that I won't have to deal with 800 crap German emails when I get back.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Some thoughts about "Vertigo" in Philly

These are just tidbits that seem silly to include in the overall gushing:

-The couple in front of us made out for the ENTIRE SHOW. Not just pecks and smooches, no no no, full-on open-mouth kissing non-stop for two hours. TWO HOURS. I would have overlooked some smooching on the slow songs...but who makes out to "Beautiful Day"? What a complete and total waste of two tickets. They had to have spent at least $200 (but then the guy looked a bit of a schmuck, so he probably paid way more than that to impress the girl...), and for their $200 (or more) they spent the entire show with their tongues down each other's throats. They should have just bought the "Best of" cd's and stayed at home on the couch.

-A woman behind us had made her own concert shirt. No need to reread, you read it right the first time. Her own shirt. With little red stripes, sort of like the ones on the cd, and a little suitcase with a heart, like the last tour, and some wobbly writing in WHITE PUFF PAINT. PUFF PAINT. I just had to say it twice, it's so funny.

-At the very end, the woman behind me started going berserk and screaming about her undying love for Bono. I had to cover my ears...the same ears that had been subjected to massive sounds of rock 'n' roll without any hint of hurting. I wanted to let her know that while he is quite lovely and all of us love him a little bit too, he is also married and happily so from all accounts and really she was just embarassing herself. Because he sure didn't hear her, nope, just me. Me and the twenty people around her, cringing and covering our ears. She also yelled really loudly after the lights came up: "Where was 'With or Without You' ?!" And I told her it was at the "Elevation Tour." See how bitchy I can be when annoyed?

The first attempt at a description

This might be a bit tedious if you're not a U2 fan or very familiar with their music. Sorry...but we should talk, because you're really missing out.

I'm at a bit of a loss to even start this one.

As some of you may know, I went to the U2 "Vertigo" tour last Saturday. U2 is pretty much my favorite band ever (but then why wouldn't they be, because they are arguably the greatest rock band ever!) and I have been planning this for umm...at least seven months. Why seven months? Because the CD, "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb", was released in November, that's why. You would think that after seven months of planning and listening and coordinating in conjunction with those 15 agonizing minutes on Ticketmaster* that I would have over-hyped this show. That my expectations would far exceed actual events. But you would be wrong.

I really can't even describe it very well, and I'm sad to not do the show the justice it deserves. Sarah and I listened to several U2 cd's on the way there, including the HTDAAB one, and we still hadn't worn ourselves out on the music by a long shot. Actually we listened to them on the drive home too, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Did I mention that we also drove to Philadelphia from DC, and that Sarah flew out from Texas? This is the level of excitement that preceeded the show.

The sets are spectacular. There is glitter - yes, glitter. Only U2 can rock glitter. "Everyone, everyone" singing along to every song. Not just along mind you, but filling in where we were supposed to, like we were the back up singers. For instance, on "Vertigo":
Bono: "Hello, hello" (mike to audience)
Audience: "Hola!"
Bono: "I'm at a place called Vertigo..."
And the beginning of "Elevation" which is normally quite rockin', but they did it slow...with no instrumentals really, just their voices and ours for the first few passes at the first verse, and then the guitars kicked in. Still giving me a goofy grin to think about it, even a few days later.

They also played some old and previously mentioned favorites of mine, well blended with newer songs. U2 has some ridiculous number of albums out, I think 14 was the number I read the other day, and while all of the songs are good, the number of songs that are truly remarkable is still too many to put into one show. I sang along at the top of my lungs, jumped around like an idiot, swapped stories with the drunk guy next to me, bonded with U2 fans, the list goes on and on. One thing I did love about the crowd was that almost 2/3 of the audience was wearing some form of a U2 shirt. I would say it was about 50/50 as to which part of that bunch was wearing an older shirt and which part was wearing the shirt that they just bought five minutes before. We were all THAT EXCITED. Sarah and I fell into the latter category, prompted not only by extreme excitement but also by the Philly cheesesteak juice we got all over ourselves while trying to eat in the car.

Okay, this is clearly going to have to be a multiple part post, as it's already on the long side and I've really only gotten started. More coming soon...

*I would just like to take this moment to say that ticket brokers, especially those that buy up loads of tickets using advanced technology systems and then sell them for $1500 a piece to desperate fans, they all deserve their own special corner of hell.


Today at my meeting, the interpreter had a monogrammed "VF" on his shirt. But not on the pocket or anything, they were down on the middle, right to the left of his belly.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

How many of us are there?

Today I got a really funny email today at my hotmail account. I have an address with my full name, for things like my resume and stuff. Apparently there are few girls out there with the same first and last name as me. I think most of them live in New Zealand, at least according to Google, and one organizes protests all over the northeast U.S. for something to do with the Zapatistas in Mexico. But back to today:

Hi Rachel,

I have sent Sarah an email about the rodeos this weekend. But you should contact her as well.

Her name is Sarah B and her email is: notgoingtoputouttherealaddress@someschool.ca

Take care,

Now, I don't know a Mel, but I am from a place where there are lots of rodeos and lots of Sarahs. So I wracked my brain, but nothing came up. Also, I don't know anyone from Canada and apparently that's where this Sarah is from. I wrote back and wished them well at the rodeo, but let them know that their Rachel was out of this loop.

I've also gotten follow-ups to other people's job interviews...I also wrote these people back to let them know, because how horrible would it be to not hear from a job because they sent it to the wrong Rachel? Wait a minute...maybe this explains some of MY non-responses. Hmm.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Today, a distinguished (sharp suit, has graying well-trimmed beard) middle aged man that works in the upper levels of my company pulled out a ham sandwich and two juice boxes for lunch. How cute is that?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I'm going to gush for just a moment

My grandparents are all very lovely, wonderful people. In calling both of my grandmothers (in honor of Mother's Day, of course) I also spoke to my grandfather.

My mom's mom, Dedo. Real name May Delle, I think "Dedo" was the closest my older cousin could come to the real thing. She is about as Southern as they come, often telling me that things are tacky, or even worse, tacky tacky. This could be either about something I'm wearing or displaying bad behavior. It is an excellent, genteel catch-all phrase. In her time, she was an exceptional cook and entertainer. I still call and ask her for recipes, and my other grandmother defers to Dedo's opinion anytime I ask either of them for a recipe (i.e. "Well, this is how I would make fried chicken, but you really ought to call May Delle"). She always wants to know when I'm coming to visit next, even though we never do much once I get there. I wish I could go more often.

My dad's mom, Grandmother. Also known as Mee-Maw to some of the other cousins, I was grammatically and orally gifted as a child (aka non-stop talker) and I preferred this rather formal way of addressing her. Clearly it was the best choice, as almost all of my siblings and cousins refer to her this way as well. She has a soft Southern accent, and always asks about Dedo, because they are friends and she is Grandmother's "favorite of the in-laws." She always wants to know if I'm happy, especially since I'm in a new place, and if I'm making friends. She has never questioned my choices, although they must seem odd to her in comparison with my other cousins' (majored in something practical like business or education, got married right out of school). She more than anyone is who I would like to be when I grow up. I want to name a daughter after her some day...I would be so very grateful if she was around to meet her.

And last but most certainly not least, my dad's dad, Grandaddy. He got his name the same way as above (he was formerly known as Dano), and he is the only grandfather (by blood anyway) that I have had. He gave me a nickname, Ellie, because my middle name is Elise. He's really the only person who calls me that, but even in his email address book my first name is saved that way. He is the most gentle, caring man, and you might never know it because he isn't much of a talker. Only in the last few years has he shared insights about his past, as storytelling was always Grandmother's forte. He would tease us so much when we were young, but loved us so openly and quietly as well. As we said our goodbyes, he told me "see you next week, sugar." He's still the best with nicknames that make me feel all warm and squishy inside.

And barbecue aside, the second two paragraphs are the real reasons I'm looking forward to this wedding.

Saturday Night Recap

On Saturday, I went to see a friend's band play with some girls from work. The description of the venue was quite intriguing - the party had been entitled "Make-Out Party #7" and it was going be held at what appeared to be some dive called The Diver City House. Now this so-called venue was maybe eight blocks from where I live, and I had never seen anything remotely resembling a lounge or a bar in my area. This should have been a sign.

After a makeshift dinner, we all piled into EP's car and headed down the road, looking for this House. While driving in circles looking for our place, we kept passing by some people on a porch that were clearly having some sort of house party, but as we were headed to a club of sorts, this was not where we were going. Or so we thought. We only discovered that this was in fact our stop when EP recognized our friend the drummer's car parked outside.

We had come prepared with mixed CD's, as the instructions had informed us that admission was $6, but would be reduced to $4 with said CD. This was another reason we were sure it wasn't our party...who would charge admission to their own house? But then these people had also already named their house, so we really shouldn't have been surprised. The mixed CD (or tape, but who actually has tapes these days?) would be exchanged at a swap to take place after one of the sets, which we eventually forgot about and missed, but it worked out in the end as C and EP wanted to keep their own CD's anyway.

But back to the venue: this freakin' huge house had a full basement lined with silver insulation and a band area set up in the corner. They were also serving cupcakes in the kitchen, and there were generally people lounging around all over the place, some playing guitars or other instruments. So we chilled on a futon next to the treadmill and watched our friend's band (review: excellent musicianship and songs, bad lead singer). They even had party t-shirts printed up that some of the bands were wearing. I know all of you are curious, but no actual making out took place, at least none that involved the people I came with.

I realize this story is not so much dramatic or perhaps even all that interesting. It was just so surreal that I wanted to document it.

In other news, a girl I went to college with (we graduated in 2002) was only just exposed to beer pong this weekend. I am amazed by this. Although the rest of the story sounds pretty horrible (and makes the party I attended look downright pretentious), I can't believe she was first exposed to the game three years post-graduation.

Friday, May 06, 2005

And isn't it ironic (dontcha think)?

Funny how "happy hour" really ought to be called "bitch and moan about our jobs hour."

Thursday, May 05, 2005


How many girls does it take to find the source of the rotting-stink smell in their townhouse?

One (Rachel) to examine and smell everything she could think of that might be rotting, including the plants, the fruit, the trash, the fridge, the dishwasher, and various areas in the basement.
One (Adrianne) to walk around outside the house to see if any small rodents have died nearby.
One (Gina) to find the sack of raw chicken that has been defrosting on top of the fridge since Saturday afternoon. Pee-yew.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

What we need here is a good rant

It's been awhile. So really, I will just rant for a few. Okay? Right.
Of course the danger in this is that I will likely be caught doing something I have griped about. Eh, I never claimed to be perfect (but I can guarantee I will never be guilty of #1)

(Some of) Rachel's Pet Peeve's:

-Not spelling things out when you write emails or similar...i.e. "u" instead of you. That's just lazy and it looks ugly.

-People that I haven't talked to in just about forever asking me if I'm dating someone in the first five minutes of conversation. It's not like you actually care, you just want to know.

-Saran wrap. Okay, I know that pet peeves are probably more related to verbs than nouns, but seriously, I hate that stuff. It always ends up in a big wad, only partially covering the opening that I want it to cover.

-Certain people that I may or may not work with that call me up just to whine. Um, there's a reason I never answer the phone when you call...we have Caller ID.

-Slightly dirty old men who give profuse compliments. It's just icky and none of us are fooled.

-Do things, listen to things, read things, etc. because you think they are "cool." Now I know I use that word myself from time to time, but I don't really buy into the ideas of "cool" and "uncool". Junior high was rough enough to have to deal with it yet again in my twenties.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I want to meet you

I love that the click-click-clickity-clicking through tons of web pages a day sometimes reveals such gems as this.

I have no idea who he is, but I already am impressed by his coolness. Or lack thereof, thus in the end making him cool. Make any sense? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Monday, May 02, 2005

guest post through paraphrase

T, coming back from a group lunch with international visitors:
"Lunch was good, although I had some serving spoon issues."

All: ??

T: "Well, it was family style, and the visitors, after they had served themselves, would lick the spoons and stick them back into the dishes."

All: !!

T: "Yeah, I didn't go back for seconds."


It seems to me that there are many levels of being broke. There is the "sort of kind of" broke, where most everyone I know seems to be right about now, where you can sort of afford to go out to eat every now and then, and can kind of buy things but not without a small smidgen of guilt that you could probably do without that new whatever and save the money.

Then there is the sad but funny broke. Eb and I were laughing about this the other weekend, in one of those silly right-before-you-fall asleep conversations. This is where I was two summers ago, wrapping up graduate school in Europe. I worked as a receptionist in a hotel for 5 pounds an hour, and my friend Sarah came to visit and I pretty much spent everything I had earned traveling around with her. The day she left, I quite literally had maybe 200 pounds (at five pounds an hour, think about the math that it took me to earn even that!) to my name and roughly 165 of it went to pay for the last of my summer housing. So I had to subsist for the next week or so (and get to London and eat there too) on 35 pounds, the equivalent of which is like $55. These are the times when you eat a lot of canned tuna fish, even if you don't like tuna very much. Fortunately I do like tuna, 'cause I ate whole lot. Tuna and spaghetti and ramen noodles. And I think I ate about 5 meals at McDonalds while in London for four days, because it may be gross but you can be full for 3 pounds there. My big indulgence was going to see the Lion King on my last day, and I paid 10 pounds to stand in the very, very back of the back balcony for two hours. Ebony had a similar summer in New York the following year, which included sleeping on an air mattress and not having air conditioning. She ate a lot of canned tuna too.

And then there's the stupid broke, like when she and Ginger came to my house in late September and we didn't have hot water or heat (there was a cold spell) or the ability to cook anything, because I didn't realize that you have to change over the gas account and they cut ours off.

I know that I've left off the for real broke, as in your electricity has been cut off or something similar. I just haven't personally had to experience that yet...I'm hopeful that I never will.