Saturday, June 29, 2013


I love:
The Blackhawks.
Summer Joy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dahlia, Dahlia quite fancy...

I know I wasn't going to post about gardening again until next month but check out these blooms, y'all!

They made me so happy this morning I picked them immediately and brought them to work in a juice glass. They make up for the fact that the perfect strawberry I picked earlier this week was easily the sourest thing I have ever eaten.  

For the record - this picture is totally unfiltered. They are exactly that amazing orange-pink combination. I love love love them. Also, for the record, this blog has had 3 different pictures, because I was not satisfied with them...until this one...for now.

Happy Summer! Happy Blackhawks! Happy noma' DOMA! Happy Happy!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Letter to a younger girl.

Dear 13 Year Old Rachel,

Hey! I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you during the summer before you turn 29 - things are going to be pretty great. In fact, I would almost venture to say that you got nearly everything you wanted. It looks a little different and you'll be surprised by some of the things you've found happiness in, but just go with it, because it will all start to make sense eventually.

You live in a city full of tall buildings. They aren't the tall buildings you thought you would be surrounded by, but you will come to love them as your very own. As every day goes by you will wonder if it would even be possible to walk away from them at this point.

You have a job that is hard. Its really hard. You're going to doubt yourself most of the time, but you'll also have moments of great pride in the fact that you have built the beginnings of a little career for you. And at this point, you are making it really easy to take one of seven or eight little roads in the future. Plus you make some decent dollars. Enough to splurg on absurdity like a Kate Spade wallet and a new computer.

And! You have another job that is also hard, practical and rewarding that pays some sweet dollars when you need them. And you're writing. For living. Margaret Atwood, you are not - but that college degree is offiially useful. Wow!

You own your very own cat. She is the best and so pretty. You only get a little bit mad that she refuses to poop in the litter box.

There are so many people you call your friends. There are so many smart and lovely women who act as sounding board and perennial cheerleaders. Men who prove that there are great guys out there. People who live far away, and literally one block away, who make your life richer for their experiences and beliefs. Sometimes you sit around and think about how amazing your social circle is and it makes you embarssingly emotional. You'll wonder if its weird to sit around and get teary about how lucky you are to know the people you know.

You get to call your family friends, too. You miss them all so much. You're grateful for the ones who live close and treasure the moments you get to spend with those further away.

The big dream that you have, it's still there, but its evolving to be a realistic version of it. This summer you will stand on stage and people will laugh because you do the thing that makes you the happiest. How awesome is that? You're doing it. You're finding happiness and bringing people joy. Win.

Bonus points? You can take classes at the Joffrey Ballet whenever you want. You don't, because now it's too accessible to be special, but with any luck - you'll take those new black ballet shoes for a spin sometime soon. Get it on, pretty ballerina.

Sometimes you'll forget that you actually live in your house. Its not a big game of playing house. It actually is your house. Your green dining room and yellow office. Your little garden and absurd closet. It's yours. Like a grown-up with a dream apartment.

And you get to live in it with your best friend. You will have no idea that this is coming. It will knock you sideways the summer before you turn 24. But you did and you're finding your way together. It is a constant changing experience of trying to figure out what you both need and want out of this life. Sometimes it easier. Sometimes it is the hardest thing ever. No one will believe in you more than he does - and realizing that will overwhelm you. Plus he accepts the fact that you are always gassy.

You've lived through some really terrible things. And you wish you hadn't. And sometimes you get just so. sad. But you will recognize their value as they help you recognize how important it is to be grateful for what you have been given to enjoy.

So 13 year-old Rachel, try to remember to enjoy this summer before you turn 29. Be tired sometimes because you spent too much time and too many brain cells on celebration. Save some money, but make sure you spend some on dresses and champagne. Have fun traveling, and with the new babies, and making Chicago summer memories.

Almost 29 year-old Rachel

ps - You will never get taller. Sorry.
pps - You still can't spell. Thankfully, in a couple years, there will be spellcheck on every device you use and no one will have to know.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A pickle bowl - the Target sagas.

Guys. I've talked about Target before, but seriously?! This is a problem.

I went to Target with the express purpose of getting a gift card. One gift card, go directly the lady at the cash register - do not pass the dollar deal bins, do not collect an assortment of crap. Well, clearly, this did not go as planned. Here is what I came away with:

Bananas - okay. This is something we need. We're only home for 4 days this week, so we aren't buying actual groceries, but I discovered this morning that without a banana, I am fairly useless until lunch time.

Bath Poof - again, somewhat necessary. My current one is about to become just a big old pile of unconstrained netting. And were that to happen in the midst of a morning shower, the day would be pretty much over before the sun came up.

Granola Bars - clearly, I was starving. After a weekend in New Orleans, a day of my normal "let's lose weight without working out," diet was not cutting it. By the time I got to target I was about 2000 calories in the red and I got panicky. Like there might be some sort of cataclysmic event before I could get home to my lean cuisine and I would need rations.

Baggies - all the baggies were on clearance. Why? Who knows? Is it because they all have holes in them or are full of toxic off gases? Don't care. I will buy those off-brand-red-stickered baggies and I will put left over potato salad in them because I am an American.

Pickle Bowl - guys, its no secret that I love pickles more than most human beings. And I like to serve them to guests and I don't want to take the chance that I'll put out an offering of delicious pickles and people won't know what they are or something terrible like that. Thank the Little Baby Jesus that someone at Target had the common sense to make a bowl that said pickles so that when I put pickles in it my dumbass compatriots will be like, "oh, pickles?! wuuuuurd."

??? - I literally have no idea what is in this jar. It had a pretty brown-haired lady on it, and a red sticker so it was a done deal the minute I cruised by it. I'm not sure what I am supposed to pour this into or on top of or if I'm just supposed to shoot it with a salsa chaser. I guess we'll find out. Or we'll put it in the pantry and move it into four different apartments before we just put it on eggs. Anything goes on eggs.

Gift card - Guys. Don't ever say I don't get ish done. I get it done. I get it done to the extreme. When you need something done, you call me, and I'll get it done and I'll bring my own baggies.

Okay, but seriously, stop letting me go to Target.

Monday, June 17, 2013

with silver bells & habanero peppers, part 1

It all started with a need for produce.

When I worked at the circus, I had the illest produce hook-up. It was plentiful, it was punctual and it was free (well, except for payments I made in pieces of my soul).                                   

After leaving the circus I was unable to figure out how to get my bean-and-berry hook-up. Go to the grocery store? Nope. No way dude. YOU go to the grocery store. 

After a winter of surviving on frozen, tasteless misery that was shaped like vegetables, I decided it was time to buck up and hitch my wagon to the cheapest veggie scam I could find.

Luckily, Cougs was on her way to Chicago when I got the brilliant idea to plant myself a garden and she was able to help me get through the first steps (like buying a trowel) without anyone getting hurt.

Now it's been a month - and I am so gd. impressed with myself. I made things grow! Look at me!
Let's take a garden tour! (This is more for Cougs. than anyone else - but its the internet, and I do what I want).

I am so amazed that everything is alive still (with the exception of one tomato plant -unpictured- which, sadly, did not stand a chance). For some reason, the knowledge that fresh things are within my grasp is enough to keep me watering and checking and miracle growing like a good little plant mom.

While I would not say that any of my fingers are green, I am, clearly, full to the brim of pride over keeping all these little guys alive. And now that they are starting to actually show the promise of being edible in the not-so-far future, I'm starting to understand why people do this.

Growing veggies is one of those things that feels very grown-up. Like having a job in a tall building and making plans more than 6 hours in advance. Like making dinner more than two nights a week and waking up before 8:00 a.m. almost every Saturday. Slowly these grown-up things seem to be taking the place of all the things that felt so normal.

In an effort to not be too practical, I also have some very lovely flowers. When they bloom I feel like a frickin' magical fairy princess. I made you bloom with my long flowing locks, my sweet disposition, and my magic. Bloom you stupid, gorgeous flowers. Bloom.

Sadly, the dahlia that should be visible in the middle picture is between blooms right now. Which is a damn shame, because it is the prettiest. See you for part 2 in July.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Nola night

I am lying on this pool deck chair. The weather is the most perfect its been these past two days. When the sun is down, New Orleans June is almost bareable.

I am full of Krispy Kreme bread pudding and cheap daquiri. I am boozy sleepy. 

And I am nearly packed to the brim with stress. Stress that I am not doing enough, that I am wasting this vacation time. We should be out drinking or walking. We are not go do see -ing anything. And this makes me anxious.

Until I remember that vacation can be this too. Vacation can be sitting quietly at night and nap taking during the day and nothingness sprinkled through. 

When did my life get like this? Is it because this is a "new" place that I feel obligated to strangle as much out of it as I can?  We now take vacations with to-do lists, saving all our idleness for the trek to Nantucket where you would be a fool to do much more than sit on the porch with a book. Why is that? 

Something to ponder while me and the rest of my white people problems fall asleep at 9:30 on a Saturday night.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The earring thing.

Today was hard. Everything about it was an uphill battle dragging 50 pounds of fear and beaurcracy behind it. Today was the first day I felt real, genuine fear that I might fail at my job. For the first time ever I might be given a task and not get it done.

And then while rushing to get to the next hard, unhappy thing I lost my earring. 

At this point I don't have any "any old jewelry," every single piece has a story and most of those stories are so recent that I can remember ever piece of them. So to lose something that not only had a wonderful story, but a story that was less than three years old, was more than my soul had the capacity to handle.

And the universe knew this. The universe knew that my heart could only handle one giant turd today - not two. Because when I retraced my hurried steps an hour later, my earring was there - at the corner of Milwaukee and Chicago. Waiting patiently for me to come back for it. 

So. That was my day. Nothing but tears and anxiety but with the smallest glimmer of hope that things will be just fine at the end of it all.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

More. MORE.

Blog more, Self.

Blog instead of checking facebook, or falling asleep at 9 PM, or eating that extra scoop of ice cream.

Blog, for goodness sakes, because all the ideas you have for blogs are clogging up brain space that is desperately needed for work things, and other work things, and just general remembering how words are spelled and which day comes after Wednesday.

Self, you are being challenged. Get those blogs written. The one about San Francisco, and the one about pants, and the one about already being madly in love with people who don't exist yet*.

Blog about your adventures and your frustrations. Get it ALL out, Self. Otherwise, you will probably explode and someone will have to scrape your brain off of whatever solid surfaces you happen to be around (probably the cat).

So, Universe, I come to you. When do you write? Do you write when you are procrastinating and have run out of facebooks? Do you write when you're avoiding the scary work emails? Do you write instead of making spur-of-the-moment cake? How do you fill the internet with so many words, Universe?

*okay. Some of them exist, but in general, most of them don't yet. Intrigued? Good.

She's pint-sized and amazing.