nothin’ real exciting in Outside Magazine this month…

Oh, I forgot to tell you, I’m famous… again…

Remember this picture?

Well, that photo [me dancing in a green wig] has made an appearance in Outside Magazine this month.  So, go pick yourself up a December 2011 issue and check it!  I’m the center-fold… a dream come true… my mom would be so proud.

I’d show you my copy, but it lives at my desk at work so I can show people how important I am… in a green wig… doing a T-Rex dance… in Outside Magazine…

I hope you all have a wondrous Thanksgiving!  I am so thankful for so much!  You’re probably one of the things.

[much love!]

an australian evening.

It’s been a very Australian evening.

Last night, I came home to a package from such a sweetheart of a friend, Katrina.

It was FILLED with the sweetest Australian goodies.

So, tonight, I made myself an affogato.  It’s a treat that I would constantly order in Oz that consisted of espresso poured on top of vanilla ice cream… to. die. for.

And I put it in my new, amazing mug of Sydney.

notice the necklace, too!

She also gave me the necklace that I’m wearing that bears a strong resemblance to the necklace I wore constantly in Sydney: Magic Presents.

It is so nice to be taken back to Sydney, Australia tonight.  The time there was overall shitty.  I had nothing.  No friends.  No idea who I was or who I wanted to be.  I had to rebuild myself from the ground up.  Isn’t that amazing?  I did it.  It was such a beautiful time of finding myself.  BEAUTIFUL.

I started writing.  I started dancing.  I started loving.  I let go of so much and grabbed hold hard of the things I want in my life, inside of my soul, forever.

So, tonight, I’ll probably make another affogato, take some time to dance in my kitchen, write, write, write, and spend sometime with myself.

Thanks, Katrina, for all the wonderful presents…

she also gave me this wallet that i'm ob-sessed with.

…and for helping me remember such a beautiful time in my life.

I love you dearly!

a song i was mildly obsessed with in oz…

and another, that will always make me think of k$

tunes to take down a village.

This past weekend the ladies [allison and julia] came for a visit.

It was ah-mazing.  [do i say that too much?  whatevs.  it WAS.]

And, of course, Saturday night we ended up in everything from my costume box and had a late-night dance party.  O-M-G.  So much fun.


It was around 4am… yep… 4am.   And we were dancing to something along the lines of…

And [somehow] I was walking past my front door and I heard a knock.  [uh. oh.]

So, I answer the door in a blond wig, Kanye West glasses, an 80s-tacular silver jacket and a skirt that there are no words for.

It was my downstairs neighbor.  My sweetest-man-in-the-world-almost-70 downstairs neighbor.

– Hiiii… Could you…

– Oh my god, I am so sorry!

– Hey, you’re cute!

[oh, yeah, we hadn’t properly met yet.]

– Oh my god, NO.  I look like Pretty Woman on an off day.  I am SO sorry.  We’re going to bed right now.

– Okay, thank you.

– It’s just my friends from outta town… they’re WILD.

– Well I hope you had fun!


We immediately shut. it. down.

And went to bed.

I woke up the next morning feeling how my bedroom looked…

that's the exploded costume box at the foot of the bed. marshall bear was pretty distrot about the whole ordeal.


So the girls got their stuff together, cleaned up my apt [god, i love those girls] and had to head back to Jacksontown.  We said our sad goodbyes and my chest still hurts because I miss them so.

But I also had this horrible feeling in my chest because of what I had done to my sweet neighbors… woken them up… at 4am.

So, I bought some chocolates and wrote a card and tried to leave it on their doorstep… but they caught me.

– Come in here!

– I am just so embarrassed… SO sorry.

We ended up talking forever.  We talked and talked.  They told me about how they fell in love… love at first site… only three years ago.  We talked about everything!

They are the sweetest couple.  Pom: A almost-70 black man, who stands at 5′ nothing and glows with life.  Alice: His beautiful counterpart, who is one of the happiest people I’ve ever met and stands at 4’7″.

So there I am: The asshole giant who almost took down their adorable village by aggressive dancing.

And they were so full of grace with me.  Gosh, I could not have felt worse and here they were wanting to give me hugs to make me feel better.

– I just can’t believe we were that loud.  I turned on my radio this morning and was taken back by how loud the music was!

– It wasn’t the music that woke me up… It was the stomping.  I just heard this, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP and I was like, “What the HELL is that?”

– That was a LOT of bad dancing… that’s what that was.

They both laughed really hard and then said…

– You should’ve woken us up before the dance party to join!

I loved that.  I loved that we were sitting there talking, smiling, laughing… dancing in our own way.  Dancing with the closeness and love that I had the night before with Julia and Allison… but in a different way.  But the common denominator was love and laughs and smiles.

What it’s all about.

So, with that amazingly long introduction, I present to you a mix to make you smile and laugh and love and [hopefully] dance.

yep... THAT'S what we were wearing.


Click on this: WAKE THEM UP AND DANCE.

It’ll take you to a link with a big, green box that says “Download.”  Do that.  Click that.

Listen and let me know what you think!

I like to think that this mix is like November itself… Starts off slow, cold, picks up a bit, and then gets a tiny ridiculous.

My dream is that you’ll love the tunes, we’ll connect, and something inside of us will wake up and dance.

[i refuse to hide in a page of the story.]

you did this?

There have been two times in my life when I have been completely affected by a reaction to my work.

The first was when I was interning at a magazine in Jackson, trying to start my working life, secretly wanting to be a graphic designer.

I was told I was in charge of heading up the calendar, gathering all the information.  I took upon myself to design the thing and sheepishly put it on my desk in front of my [terrifying] boss and he looked at my design, looked at me, looked at my design, looked at me, and said…

You did this?  You designed this?

– Yeah…

– Wow.  This is good.

It affected me.  He didn’t say much, but he was surprised.  Taken back.  And I knew I was good.  Knew I wanted to be a graphic designer.

The second time was in Australia.  I was writing a lot a lot.  I decided to let a friend [i hardly knew, because: what’s there to lose?] read something I had written.  His eyes became so wide.  He looked at me, down at the journal, at me, at the journal, and said…

You are a writer.

He was so surprised.  And I was so affected, so proud.  I wanted to write.

I’ve been clinging to these two compliments and sucking them dry in application to everything I design and write.  I actually don’t think I’ve shared a single private writing to anyone since Australia.  I mean, this here blahg is pretty private sometimes… but private in the sense of it’s on the freaking internet.

So when it was my turn to share a chapter in my “Writing the Novel” class, I was terrified.  Terrified.

Because it’s not like I just sit there and read it and we move on.  No.  I email it to everyone a week before and they print it and take a red pen to it while they smoke a cigar and read it under a single lamp in a dark room and cackle every time I forget a comma.  [pretty much.]

Then we all get back together on Wednesday and discuss and critique the chapters for the week.


I literally had nightmares.  In the one last night, one of the best writers in the class looked to our teacher and said…

– I just don’t understand all the blood in Rachel’s story.

And I kept trying to tell them…

– What?!  There’s no blood!  There’s no blood!

– It just doesn’t make sense to me why she wanted to add blood to this story.

Talk about creepy… and let’s not read into that too much.  But, yes, nightmares about my writing.

I would start sweating just thinking about this critique.

I, so desperately, wanted everyone to just look at me wide-eyed, jaw-dropped and say…

– Wow.  You are a writer.

But I know that’s not how this class works.

And tonight was the moment of truth.  So I went to the store and bought a bottle of Big House Red Wine [what we drank at the swamp house] to be reminded of my friends and family who already love me no matter what.  And I bought a Cadbury Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bar [what i always ate in australia] to remind me of when I wrote, when I wrote my best.

I arrived at the home we meet at and sat down.

– Oh, look at that!  I brought a bottle of wine for us all to share.  I’ll take the big glass.

We sit in an intimate circle and I can see that my chapter is top on the stack in the teacher’s lap.  [gulp, gulp, chug.]

They started in on me, my chapter.  I breathed deep, deep breaths.

And it. Was. Awesome.

I mean, not my chapter, they didn’t like it at all… too disconnected, too vague… but the experience?  Ah-mazing.  I’m not kidding.  It was like a high; like a runner’s high.  People cared about my writing and were really trying to help with this story because they wanted to know it, wanted to hear it, wanted to read it.  Not for one second did I go all Flavor-of-Love-Girl-“I KILL YOU!” on anyone… nor did I want to.

It was great.  And the lines that people really loved, repeated, ugh, I could kiss them on the lips.  I loved them for loving any word… even if it was only one in the midst of dozens incomprehensible.

It has made putting myself out there in this way all worth it.

And now I’m addicted.  [ah-ddicted.]

I came home, I looked at myself in the mirror [lips only mildly purple], and beaming smiles from every angle, I thought to myself…

You did that?  Wow.
You are a writer.

what was that world i was dreaming of?

Things have been foggy [from the day/nyquil], but oh, so beautiful.  It’s like my body told me to slow down, stop being so worried about tomorrow, next week, next month, forever from now.

Made me remember a lot of loveliness.

Then I heard this song and fell in love again…

and thought of my dearest friend, Lisa…

and how she showed me these:

and how i think they are magnificent.

and how i want to give her this to hang on her Christmas tree so she thinks of me: rocky raccoon.

and she would give me this to hang on my Christmas tree so I think of her: a dear deer.

and the simplest thoughts brought me back to where I am, who I am.

[what was that world i was dreaming of?]

or trying.

My writing adviser has told us to just write when we sit down at a computer.  Just write.  Before actually getting into the story I’m trying to write this morning, I wrote this…

“There is snow on the ground, with orange leaves all around. And with the twang of coffee in my chest and the sound of the old radio filling this nest, I can honesty say that I would rather be no place else… no place else than here.

[full disclaimer: i would rather this place be cleaner.]”

I laugh because I almost don’t remember writing it.  And when I do, I smile at myself figuring it all out.  Or trying.


I moved to Missoula, Montana.  [we all know this… cuz we’re all just on the edge of our seats watching the quarter-life excitement that is my life.]

Why?  Well, I got a job… an awesome job.  But I was ready to move.  I was done with the person I had become in Jackson, Wyoming.

And when you’ve recognized that you’re done with a stage of your life, a time, it’s hard to grow… you stop growing because you’re so done with it.  And as a result, I started really not liking the person I was in Jackson.  I had so much potential, so much inspiration, so much TIME, so much love around me… and I’d constantly, minute by minute, let it pass by me… me: sitting on the couch in my pajamas at 11am.

So, I got the job, I made the move and I vowed to start things off as the Rachel I know I can be.

Except that I didn’t really do that…

I mean, I went through all the motions:  Got the great apartment.  Signed up for a novel writing class.  Joined a gym.  Volunteered.

But I never really committed:  Never decorated.  Felt completely anxious the whole time and have written maaaaaybe 600 words.  Never engaged with anyone that I work out with.  Felt overwhelmed with another obligation.

And yesterday was my breaking point.  I am so. happy. here… Why can’t I just jump in?  Why am I still living in Jackson?  Why am I more invested in Wyoming [and my wyoming self] than this Montana life [and my excited montana self]?

It’s like this tiny little puppy jumping up, nipping at my heels like, “HEY… HEY… HEY… HEY, YOU!  CAN WE GET OUT THERE?  CAN WE GO?” and me, sitting at this desk, saying, “Hey, hold on… I’m not ready, I have things to do.”

But yesterday, it all changed… I said, “Okay, let’s do this.  I’m ready to get out there.  Be here.”

And being the woman of symbolism I am, I called up a highly recommended salon and asked if I could come in to cut all my hair off.

– Yep… 5:45 work for you?

– Like… in 20 minutes?

– Sure… Yeah, otherwise it’ll be a couple weeks if you want Abby.

I wanted Abby… or so my friends had told me so beforehand.

– Alright, let’s do this.

I was heading to the gym… I turned around.  I went and cut off almost a foot of hair.

And I. LOVE. IT.

So much release.  Because this is so different: This is Montana Rachel.

Time to start a new… really jump into it.  Commit.

Like a woman in my writing class said last night…

– If your hair ain’t right, nothin’s right.

[things are right.]