triannual torrential.

Things have been up and down and beautiful and sleepy and tough and smiley.


Wondering about blahgging:

“It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain.

Should I be keeping my mouth shut more?

Ah, well.


Favorite song right now…


I worked in the garden the other day for the first time… in… well… ever.

‘Twas a blast.  Especially with some Dig beer by New Belgium.  My new trend is to drink beers themed after my favorite activities.  Case in point.


The other day at work, I had to cry… like, really cry… and when that happens, I like to quote Tina Fey…

“…I’m not supposed to admit that there is a triannual torrential sobbing in my office, because it’s bad for the feminist cause. It makes it harder for women to be taken seriously in the workplace. My crying three times a year doesn’t distract me from my job any more than my male coworkers get distracted watching March Madness…”

It’s true.

After finishing up the tears, I had a meeting with a guy friend at work and he asked what was up.  I told him that I allow myself three cries a year at work…

– But you’ve cried twice today…


You just have to have a good cry every once in a while.


The other day, I showed up to spin class early.  A woman was on the bike next to me and we were warming up.  Those bikes are really close… uncomfortably close.

I noticed that I kinda smelled bad… repeat work-out clothes… whoops.

The woman next to me finally broke the silence and said…

– Thank god that smell is finally starting to go away.

– Oh, sorry, that was probably me.

– What?

– That smell… it’s me… sorry.

– What?  No, they painted in here last week.

– Ohhhhhhhkay… yes, the paint.  THAT smell… THANK GOD it’s gone!


My best friend and I are going to go to Greece this summer when I’m visiting her in Italy.  We booked a room at this fancy pants place:

I told her I’m so excited about beaches and pools and sunshine, and I’ll try to play it cool, but in reality, this is what I’ll look like:


And this is for all my literary lovelies…


Oh, also, I think “The Skin I Live In” is the best movie I’ve seen by far thus far in 2012.


Oh, also, this is this here blahg’s 500th post!  What!  What!  wull haaaaaay…

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.

where wine comes from!

I am a sucker for free things. 

I’ll take it!  I’ll do that!  Sure, I’ll eat that!

So, I won a two week pass to The Womens Club from a raffle from a 5k Momma and I did whilst she was in town.  I answered the phone call and when they told me I had won this pass, I got excited like I had won a trip to Europe or something.  I was that woman on The Price Is Right that wins a toaster on Plink-o and freaks. out.

Now, I’m determined to squeeze every ounce of worth-ness outta this free-ness… Which means?  Going to every class that I can make.  So, when Zumba was the only class after work and before my radio training, I thought,

Alright, old lady jazzercize-like class… I’ll take you… Let’s do this Zumba.

And it might not be just an older lady thing, but I mean, who’s mom doesn’t do Zumba?  Although, the other day, on the phone with an ex-boyfriend, he reminded me that I’m “not a spring chicken anymore… soon I’ll be a spinster.”  [no clue why that one didn’t work out… shocking.]

So, I wore pigtails to the class to reinforce my youthfulness.

The class started, I stood in the back… a head taller than every single woman in the class, which would’ve been totally helpful if you danced with your head.

I drank a bit of water, looked around.  The music started, the instructor had her Britney Spear’s mic on and started calling out moves… yep, moves… and they all knew them!  I soon, and quite harshly, learned a lot of things.  Let me tell you something about Zumba:  First, it’s not all old ladies, there are a lot of younger ones, too… But listen to me…


Excuse the all-caps and profanity, but my god!  When did all these women have time to go to Step-It-Up Camp 2011?!  I have never been so lost in my entire life.  It was SO hard and complicated!  This one took a close second behind my first hot yoga experience… and second only because I didn’t actually think I was going to die… unless it was of embarrassment…

It was hilarious how bad I was at it!  She would call out things like,

– Grapevine!…  Salsa!…  Shimmy!…  Push it!

And I would try to follow the fourth-row-back-watered-down version of what the instructor was doing, whilst mentally answering her instruction calls in a panicked internal dialog,

– Where wine comes from!… I want some right now!… What I do when I’m imitating a hooker!… Push it real good!

At one point, she literally called out, “The chicken!” and everyone in the class started doing the exact same Mick-Jagger-like dance while I went through every single one of these…

I was so confused by how bad I was at this dancing exercise… mostly because dancing is how I mainly get my exercise

Exhibit A:  my first halloween in jackson… one for the books.

Exhibit B:  fall fest ’09… all the single ladies. danced so hard i stripped down to tank top in front of mostly strangers.

Exhibit C:  allison’s surprise birthday party… makin’ it rain on dan long.

Exhibit D-runk:  rendezvous employee party ’08… you can’t get me to do squats like that without some lil’ wayne. p.s. dabney is winning at life hard at this moment.

Yeah, just click that “Topics of Discussion” drop-down to the left over there and select “sweet dance moves.”  You’ll see.  I like to dance.

But then I realized that it’s just organized dancing that I’m real bad at!  Once I connected those dots in class, I felt a lot better.

Cuz, hell, if we all had a couple cocktails in us, my dancing would look AWESOME… and the rest of the classes’ actually would, too!  Because, let’s be honest, and I’m talking to you, 17-year-old dancing in front of me who keeps adding extra “shimmies” to the routine… You don’t actually look cool!  Yes, you do look slightly cooler than me right now because I look like I’m just doing jumping-jacks wrong… but you just danced like a chicken to Michael Franti in sync with twenty-five other women… don’t try that at the club… or anywhere else than HERE.  [exception: some flash-mob i’ll youtube over and over.]

All in all, I sweat my ass off and I think I’ll probably go back.  Why?  Because the deep down confession is that I don’t find it one bit cheesy for those few steps that I’m actually getting it.   And then right after that Taio Cruz song, we start doing some high-knee-clapping-over-the-head move to a Kelly Clarkson chorus and I couldn’t love it more.  I feel awesome.  And I’m not sorry.

[a little embarrassed, but not sorry.]

it’s okay if your shoes aren’t doing it…

I got a text message yesterday morning, that read:

“You are going to crack up when you see the cover of the daily!”

My first thought was, Oh, no this cannot be good. Especially since there were many pictures of me taken like this…

a totally candid struggle.

And then I opened an email that read:

“I think they really captured the moment for you on today’s daily cover. Nice work in your first ever PPP!”

So, I had even though I wasn’t hungry and didn’t require coffee, I went to the café downstairs, ordered breakfast and picked up a newspaper.

I. could. not. stop. laughing…

it's like a very easy "Where's Waldo?"... only it's "Where's Rachel?"

Yep.  I’m the girl on the left… in the tights… and the tutu… who can’t get her drytop off.  Hilarious.  It just affirms what friends are calling me:  An Endearing Junk Show.  [“shit show” actually… colleen’s words… but we’ll try to keep it PG-13.]

And yes, I love it.  I take no pride in being the clumsiest friend, the biggest mess, but it happens… I’ve come to terms with it.

I trip and fall after traveling states to run one race:  i was from portland.

I fall off skin tracks and into snowbanks:  glorious embarrassment.

Once, while driving around garage sale hunting with a group of friends in college, I smacked my head into the driver’s side window because I got excited and whipped my head around because thought I saw a neon posterboard sign for a sale.  It hurt so bad… and was so embarrassing… I still hear about that.

So it was totally fitting when my friend, Andy, posted this video on my Facebook wall with the caption…

“Rachel Stevens. Age 6.”

I cannot get over it!  So precious.  So perfect.  I feel like that little girl so many times in life… in so many circumstances.

And I’m pretty sure there’s even a video of me somewhere from when I was around this age in ballet class where I just shrugged my shoulders on stage when I was supposed to be dancing.  Mom?  Dad?  Is this true?  Do we have that video?

I love it.

I’m going to go watch that precious video again.

The Pole Pedal Paddle: A Story.

Once upon there was a great team named, “Two Boobs and a Beard.”

[not shown… yet.]

One delightfully sunny, yet still a bit cold, morning, the team was separated by a huge mountain.  The boobs part of the team [renamed, “The Black Widow”] had to ski down three miles of icy snow to get to the beard part of the team…

only one tiny, little binding mishap and she survived! with a smile!

On the way down The Black Widow found the team’s beautiful ally in the sea of the cheering crowd…

might have to find a permanent place for this picture on the blahg.

…Colleen quickly became Two Boobs and a Beard’s SSAG.  [surprise support and gear.]

Anywho, the beard part of the team [quickly renamed, “The Fringe”] had to run [literally] because he said there were a few asses he had to kick on 10 kilometers of skate skiing.

[not pictured.]

But he said he’d check in with The Black Widow when he was done, right before he biked 19.8 miles…

"what? oh, did you need help? i'm posing."

The Black Widow vowed to follow him… not let him get away…

...and take pictures of him while hooping and hollaring.

And this is where the team’s super surprise SAG stepped up and carried so much gear [while walking really fast] while Two Boobs and a Beard started a quest by sea [river].  Did you forget what that beautiful SSAG looked like?

the BEST.

And while the boat portion of the day’s quest was trying, paddling for 9 miles of first and second class rapids, The Fringe and The Black Widow finished…

also, the black widow brightened up a bit by putting on a green wig.

The quest was over!  The Black Widow finished her first Pole Pedal Paddle ever and couldn’t stop smiling!  Until the team had to deal with all the clothes and gear from the day…

an explosion.

…Colleen [the SSAG] describes this as an, “Endearing Shit Show.”  [love.]  Everything was so confusing/hard at this point of the day for Two Boobs and a Beard.

But they made it back to the Village [where their quest began], only to find that the Endearing Shit Show got second place!  And that so, so many of their friends did so well as well!

second placers holding up a first placer! so happy!

Yep!  The famous Anna Davis did the race all by herself in the race division and won FIRST.  Fastest woman in the world.  Elliot and Dan also did the race all by themselves [Elliot – rec division, Dan – race division] and they both got second place!  [two boobs and a beard were in the rec division… if you couldn’t guess.]

Well, the day was already about as awesome as it could get when they went to the awards ceremony.  Two Boobs and a Beard got their second place prize, which ended up being awesome red hats with The Black Widow’s design on them… !!  [awesome.]

And then THEN The Fringe won the grand prize at the raffle!  A brand new cruiser bike!  He was in the bathroom so The Black Widow had to accept it for him!  So they’ve made the mutual decision that it’s both of theirs.  [obviously.]  So nice of The Fringe.

two boobs, a beard and a bike.

All in all, it was one of the best days ever… EVER.

The End.

a hot nap.

I did the dumbest thing I’ve done in a long time today.

I was like, “Okay, Self.  You should do something.  There’s a yoga studio like a half block from your temporary place.  Go to a yoga class.  Clear your head.  Feel fit.  Feel good.  Use your body.”

So, I check the schedule and they’ve got a 5:30pm Hot Yoga class.  I don’t know anything about Bickram Yoga.  [case in point: i googled “vickrum yoga” a whole second ago.]  And I’m thinking, “Awesome!  I like the hotness.”

The class lasts for and hour and a half.

I lasted about 20 minutes.  20 minutes until I laid down… I kid you not.

I get in there and I’m in my cotton shorts and my cotton tank top and after the first little “raise your arms in a circle, put ’em together, put ’em down”, I was DRENCHED.

Why the hell am I wearing cotton?  This is the worst fabric ever invented.  No one else is wearing cotton.  OMG, I’m the guy that skis in jeans!

Completely soaked.

I even took off my shirt… which surprised me.  I am NOT the climb in my sports bra / run in my sports bra / apres vous coffee in my sports bra / yoga in my sports bra girl… [ew]… but there I was:  gut blazin’, pooch hangin’… in my sports bra.

And then soon I feel like I’m going to throw up.  Like, really throw up.

This could be contributed to the mass amount of cookies I’d eaten earlier in the day.  My amazing friend dropped cookies off that read, “WHEN LIFE SUCKS, EAT COOKIES… THAT’S AN ORDER.”  [awesome.]

So, I did… I ate like six chocolate chip cookies in about five minutes.  They. Were. So. Good.

Until I was hot-snacking them up at hot yoga.

I’m gonna throw up cookies all over my rented mat and then the instructors gonna be like, “Dumb cookie eatin’ girl”… I bet she’s never even had a cookie.

So, after I had to lay down during the class to prevent throwing up or passing out, I finally got back up and joined the class again.

We were doing this weird thing where we lay down on our bellies and put our arms underneath our bodies.  The instructor was telling us how to do it when she says…

– Put all of your body on your arms… all 99 pounds of you.

What?!  Screw you, tiny lady… I haven’t been 99 pounds since grade school!

She quickly caught herself a bit after a pause and said…

– Or all 140 pounds of you… it’s all beautiful… you’re all beautiful.

Screw you, tiny lady!  I’m more than 140 pounds!  140 is your “everyone’s beautiful in all sizes” weight?!

We continued.  I survived.

I made my way to the locker room and all the girls started talking.  One turned to me and said…

– Was that your first time?

– Uhhh… Yeah… I’m sorry… I can’t tell if you’re making fun of me.

– Haha… No, not at all.  Good work!  My first time, I laid down for almost the whole class.

– You’re allowed to do that?!  I would’ve paid fifteen dollars at any point to take a hot nap!

All in all, I actually liked it.  Though most of the time I found myself saying, “This is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done, Rachel”, it’s funny how at the end of those kind of things you tell yourself, “Oh, that was great!”

I’ll probably go back… sans a half dozen cookies a few hours before.

[postscript:  i really loved the instructor and the class.]